The OURVOICE impact system is a whole-community solution to hunger. By harnessing the resources and potential that every town shares, it provides a dynamic, customized support network that activates and organizes the spirit of change. The result is a community-driven system to end hunger by providing scalable tools for resolving the root causes and consequent toll of hunger and poverty in communities across the country.
Powered by specially developed technology, OURVOICE addresses hunger's root causes by determining the reasons people are hungry and the blocks to community engagement. Once we identify the specific reasons people are going hungry and the misperceptions hindering participation, we resolve those issues using technology and media campaigns that inspire and empower a full-community solution. The OURVOICE system creates a durable philanthropic matchmaking network pairing specified resources to root needs. And it works.
OURVOICE is a proven concept backed by over a decade of experience, research, testing, and measurable positive results. The system was initially developed for humanitarian relief efforts in combat zones in Iraq, then further developed and tested in the hunger space through an alliance with Feeding America in Ventura, California.
The OURVOICE system is now being implemented in Los Alamos, California, a rural farming community of about 1600 people near Santa Barbara. We chose Los Alamos because it is representative of towns across the country, with both the problems and the promise found in every American community. While much of the town is stable and growing, a third of its population is still food insecure.
OURVOICE will be partnering with two non-profits, The Los Alamos Foundation and the Santa Barbara Foundation, to shore up the existing hunger alleviating programs, help identify specific needs, and implement a needs-based matchmaking system that utilizes existing assets within the community. Once the system is established, creating durable and measurable solutions it will then be scaled to towns and communities in need nationwide.
A full, comprehensive OURVOICE system deck is available to download here
After thorough research into its demographics and history, the city of Los Alamos, California was selected as the initial launch location of the OURVOICE system. In order to establish a strategic and replicable system, our team put together a plan of action that includes a project plan, budgets, timelines, staffing, alliances, and media production plan.
As a first action, OURVOICE has successfully launched a social media and outreach campaign to fund Summer in the Park, (SIP) a free daytime care program for children of all the working families in Los Alamos, California. Now up and running, this visionary project allows parents to take on employment through the summer while their children are safe, nourished, and supported. SIP will provide thousands of meals while creating jobs and teaching leadership skills to local high school students.
Ongoing meetings with stakeholders and community leaders are underway in order to understand the needs of the Los Alamos Foundation, a local non-profit organization with a mission to help the residents of Los Alamos climb out of poverty. With their help, we have gained insights into the core needs of the low-income community and researched and produced initial community needs and action plan documents. Additionally, our team is in the initial stages of building technology systems for “root needs” data gathering in the low-income community that will be scalable to communities across the nation.
The OURVOICE system will harness the resources and empower the leadership already present in Los Alamos, bringing the town together and providing a dynamic support network that activates and organizes the spirit of change. Through specialized technology and media applications, needs are identified and correlated with appropriate resources. Meanwhile, barriers to full community engagement, like bias and lack of awareness, are addressed and resolved. The result is a uniquely effective philanthropic matchmaking system and a resilient community safety net.
OURVOICE is scalable to every community because it harnesses the potential that every town shares: the will to help. What’s missing is awareness, motivation, and the tools to make a difference and see real, measurable results. The OURVOICE system bridges the gaps and provides a customized network that brings everyone together for the benefit of the whole. Once proof of concept is established in Los Alamos, the system will be expanded to communities across the nation.
Media actions promoting awareness and understanding are a key component of the system because hunger isn’t obvious–it lives in the shadows and on the edges, working the night shift and laboring behind the scenes.
Although largely unseen, in many ways the poor are the pillars of society: they provide the crucial support structure that keeps everything running. Without them, no community can function. When left to languish, no community can thrive. But when the needs of the hungry are met, the whole town is strengthened.