The Power of the Crowd
We’ve all heard that often-used (and occasionally misused) Margaret Mead quote:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
While it’s a frequently cited notion, it’s not so often that you actually see it in practice.
Last weekend, at Inspiring Stories Trust’s Festival For The Future, we got to see that exact thing in action. 500 ambitious, optimistic, and very capable young people came together for a weekend of inspiration with which they were sent on the implicit mission to go out to change the world.
On a global scale, 500 people would definitely come under the category of a ‘Small Group’, but when we were standing in the main space at the Sir Paul Reeves Building at AUT University, that number seemed HUGE. Indeed, the attendance this year was the largest in Festival’s 5-year history. And it felt like it.
I had the pleasure, once again, of MC’ing the weekend – along with long-time friend and creative collaborator, Alice Canton. This gave me the benefit of being able to observe the weekend with a bit of a birds-eye view.
For the first time this year, I felt slightly old at the festival. Founder of Inspiring Stories Trust, and big-time friend of Curative, Guy Ryan, has spent a huge amount of his time advocating for the world-changing potential of young people. It stands testament to the strength of the vision he has for Festival that as we - the original audience - have grown older, it’s maintained its focus on targeting up & coming leaders; feeding them with inspiration and then sending them back into their communities to make big, grass-roots change happen.
One of the things that I delighted in this year, as I have in previous years, is the collective altruism of the attendees; this year more palpable than most. The reason being that this Festival coincided with the launch of another Guy Ryan led initiative: The Future Fund.
Guy has an ambitious goal to raise $1,000,000 by the end of September (that’s only 3 weeks away now). These funds, unlike the usual fundraising model we’re used to in NZ, will be used to set up a fund which pays out an annuity in interest which can be used to further even more cool projects spearheaded by young kiwi leaders. So the donations made to it will be useful forever; because the fund will only use the interest, the original capital investment (the donations) won’t get touched.
It’s a genius way of doing things.
The fund launched formally on the Tuesday prior to Festival for the Future, and so naturally Guy put the call out to the people in attendance to get behind it. Despite young people not generally being associated with having large amounts of disposable income, the support for Future Fund was pretty incredible - if not in cash donations, then in enthusiasm for taking up the mantle to spread the word to people who might be able to make significant contribution.
Which reminds us… are you keen to make something cool happen with your spare money? You should probably check out http://www.thefuturefund.org.nz, to see if it’s something you might be into contributing too.
Margaret Mead said that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens was the only thing that had ever changed the world. But a bit of money always helps.