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Welcome to gozarks portal into the past, present and future of life as we know it.... researched, observed, intuited and empirically experienced from an isolated nook in a semi-rural cranny of The Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

Come blog with me and we'll chat about all sorts of stuff!

We support, endorse and work to amplify all actions that role-model and empower the sustainable, happy and prosperous well-being of life among the people of all nations.

The Purpose Prize NOTES:

The good news is that I don't have to wait until December to find out that I didn't win <smile>. On April 23, 2012, I got a polite (boilerplate) 'Thank You' note Michelle Hynes, Vice President, Civic Ventures and Purpose Prize Team Leader, acknowledging my participation and kindly informing that the selection process is continuing, sans me and roughly 1000 other submitters. "We applaud the work you are doing... to make the world a better place for all of us," she wrote.

Now, just so we're totally on the same page here, The Encore Purpose Prize celebrates 'people over 60' whose advocacy work is  changing the world for the good, so I figured I'd toss my name in the hat.

I mean heck... who couldn't use $100,000 to forward their movement <smile>. And there are actually some folks (see notes at right) who seem to believe that the advocacy work I've done as gozarks is actually worthwhile.

Thus on March 30, 2012, I submitted my initial application to be considered for this phenomenal award. The questions asked on the application and my responses to them follow:

--ISSUE AREAS--

The major issue areas that my work addresses are: Community Building and Renewal; Crime, Safety, and Victim's Issues; Education; Media and Journalism.

My specific issues are: Social justice and equality: changing unjust inequitable systems by shining the brilliant light of media on common-sense, egalitarian solutions that serve 'the greater good' of happy well-being for all.

--THE BIG IDEA--

In 250-500 words, tell us the nominee's story. What's inspiring about it? What big social problem is the person tackling and how specifically is he or she going about it? What, concretely, does the work entail? Why is this innovative or entrepreneurial?

In April of 2000, I bundled together the promotional skills, design talents, strategic development capacities and business acumen gleaned over 30 years of professional work, packaged this bag of media, marketing, and communications proficiencies as gozarks.com and set my civic-minded cap to doing for hometown 'good works' (non-profit) groups what highly-paid experts do for the leaders of major multi-national corporations:

<> Showcasing their achievements and pitching their products, projects, programs and services with paramount professionalism and resonant panache.

<> Helping them engineer effective and efficient organizational structures.

<> Strategically empowering their outreach campaigns and generating public appreciation for the good works they do.

I also aimed to teach-by-example the volunteers who drive these organizations how to best utilize promotional strategies and known resources to 'exponentialize' their own organization's capacity to grow and do more of what they do best.

And, I decided to do all this for free.

Still, as the head-of-household for our family of six, with four kids (who were all under 13 at that time) and a disabled spouse to care for, a living had to be earned.

So I decided that for every hour of service billed to a paying client, I would give an hour or better of the same high-quality skill to a group or project that was, in my sincere opinion, doing great stuff but getting insignificant recognition.

To guide me in choosing 'who' and 'what cause' would benefit from what I was willing to give, I looked for organizations that were already focused on societal equality via common sense-based, egalitarian principles; groups who had what I saw as laudable and attainable goals for challenging the status quo, but were lacking effective methods to get the job done.

One long-time colleague, when asked for a candid assessment of my activism, said that my "willingness to take on any issue and stick with it, while seeking team-building and egalitarian consensus benefiting all persons (with) unsurpassed organizing and promotional skills was inspiring."

He credited me with "often uncovering solutions that were right there, but no one else could see."

He concluded that by my "relentlessly sticking to the truth about the common community good, acknowledging the good in all persons, seeking consensus-building processes and promoting healthful, democratic solutions" I had helped "raise awareness, even among those with whom you disagree."

Tactically, my work requires the conceptualization, research, development and implementation of comprehensive strategic marketing campaigns including the design, production and publication of logos, brochures, promotional hand-outs, news releases, white papers, bios, fliers, flash-animations, videos, charts, maps, newsletters, radio shows, websites and promotional events that are critical to 'getting the word out' about the 'features, advantages and benefits' of the products, services, programs and events of the organizations I serve which are working to make the world a better place for all of us to live.

Bottom line, I do what I do because it needs doing to level the playing field. I love doing this, knowing that a rising tide lifts the whole fleet. (499)

--THE BEGINNING--

In what year and at what stage in the person's career did the work or idea for which he or she is being nominated begin? What was the person doing immediately prior to starting this work? (Maximum length: 75 words)

My first hand education in the potent effects of generating free publicity started in 1970 as a first-time retail business owner. We raised $500 for the Michigan Chapter of the National Foundation for Sudden Infant Death (quite a lot for a small merchant at that time), got major media attention for all project sponsors and brought scores of new clients into my store. Dazzled and amazed, I've been hooked on promoting good causes ever since. (75)

--IMPACT--

Concretely, what impact has this work had on the community, the region, and the world? What have been the outcomes of the work in the past few years? (Maximum length: 150 words)

The only tangible, direct and immediate outcomes of the work I do are epiphanies, bright ideas and ah-ha moments. Given I am doing a good job of what a person in my shoes is supposed to do, my work is 'invisible' and I can take no real credit for the outcomes achieved by those I serve. Still, examples of the outcomes thus guided, coordinated and inspired include:

<> A functioning public area used for local carnival/festival functions in a small-town community.

<> A variety of public information forums, such as (in February this year) the "Have A Heart for Advocacy" meet-and-greet held in the Rotunda of the Arkansas State Capitol building that featured the educational exhibits and representatives of over two dozen good-works groups.

<> A number of regional and national conferences, including the 4th Annual RSOL National Conference being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in September this year.  (149)

--THE FUTURE--

What specifically does the nominee plan for the next five years? Describe the specific role the nominee will take in these plans. (Maximum length: 100 words)

In September, my show goes on the road. Traveling in a van-sized RV equipped as a mobile homeoffice, the first stop of my nation-wide sojourn is Albuquerque to do a media and communications workshop at a national law-reform conference.

Then I'll be empowering the arts, keeping a promise made (two years ago) to Donna Todd of the London Frontier Theatre, to infuse the marvelous WPA structure her troupe calls home with new life

Beyond that, California, Nevada, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida are calling, all being places where I already have friends and know lots of important causes to promote. (100)

To assist me in developing the application at left within the bounds of veracity, I posed several questions to a dozen+ folks, some of whom I've know for upwards of 2 decades and some for barely a year, yet all having worked with me on various advocacy projects. I asked of them:

What would you say is the “exact focus” of my work?

How would you describe the work I do?

What (if anything) about my work do you find 'inspiring'?

What (if any) 'social problems' do you see my work addressing and how does my work help resolve these problem(s)?

What is it about the work that I do that is innovative or entrepreneurial?

What would you say is 'the best idea' I've ever had?

What would be your 'best guesstimate' as to how many people and/or organizations have been (beneficially) influenced, invigorated or empowered by and through my work?

Their responses were amazing and humbling. Excerpts follow:

The main focus of your work has been constitutional rights with advocacy for individual freedom and justice; adherence to the law and revealing misuse, and political disruption

Your work has a common focus on social justice and equality. 

You are a quick learner and like to use what's available to create better useful things, through life, design, leadership and education from your own experiences and research.

Your work to change unjust or inequitable systems and processes serves the greater good. 

I've watched from afar, wondering how you have so much energy to get involved in so many tough issues. You can't stand to see bad things happen to defenseless people.

Your passion for what is right and fair is inspiring.

What we did, with your attention to detail and promotion/public awareness, lifted the effectiveness of WHATEVER undertaking - from simply getting through a meeting to organizing a national conference, and numerous projects in between!

You have made a continuous stand for being the change you want to see in the world; for making people use their own critical thinking skills.

You ensure that even (especially? ;>) "unpopular" issues/opinions are not swept under the rug.

You invest time and money in traveling to empower others and by having a consistent web presence.

I admire your continuous devotion to find and work together with like-minded people and still tolerate, educate and have patience for rudeness and ignorance of facts.

Your focus is to better the world and everyone around you through education.

If I had half your courage I'd be KING!

You are a motivational speaker, inspirational journalist, creative thinker and a leader in everything you do.

As an entrepreneurial innovator. you have always supported yourself with determination and perseverance.

You bring to the table hands-on administrative development, communications and marketing training and execution, product branding, and creative thinking expertise.
 
You are willing to take on the largest challenge and are not dissuaded by the seeming impossibility of the task. 

You are flexible and easily move from one strategy to another if proven results warrant the change.
 
Social equity and justice are the bedrock of your advocacy campaigns. 

Your dedication to simple, common sense solutions to endemic social problems has been a breath of fresh air. 

Your laser like focus on solutions allows you to rise above many political, players to put the solution ahead of ego.

Your work has a common focus on social justice and equality. Your work to change unjust or inequitable systems and processes serves the greater good. Rather than teaching communities how to live in darkness you teach them how to install light bulbs.
 
Your ability to consider difficult challenges from a logical, process driven perspective, bringing corporate professionalism and standards to the non profit arena, gives you a unique ability to combine government, commercial and nonprofit strategies into a cohesive management solution.

One of the social problems that you recently have been addressing in the justice system is that is "one size fits all" punishment is wrong.

Undoubtedly, being a mother is 'the best idea' you've ever had.

The way you raised and empowered you children through homeschool and life lessons is by far at the top.
 
Your work as a mother has impacted the world through your remarkable children. 

Your national and local advocacy has opened eyes to various issues that were going unnoticed. 

Thanks for sorting out all of our craziness and making sense of it. What you've done is incredibly well organized and thorough. I see why you are the expert.

You standing up to "the powers that be" - especially getting thrown out of that county meeting simply because they were incompetent, incapable of dealing with the questions/issues you raised.

Your media campaigns have been instrumental to the success of many organizations and you are sought out as an expert for guidance in laying out a fundamental administrative foundation, developing strategic outreach and organizing conferences.

All your ideas are great, and you just are only one person. You have rarely have the support of adequate people or finance to the job and yet you get things done.

I am inspired by your perseverance in spite of all the intimidation (you have endured).

It is difficult to say how many people and organizations have been helped by your work. I know of roughly 50 different groups that have benefited in just in the last year.

You have been steadily reaching more people throughout your entire life, helping, organizing and leading everything you have ever been involved with.

Your work in our town generated what is now a functioning public area used for local carnival/festival functions.

It's hard to say how many organizations have profited from your 200% participation (and)  knowledge of advertising, effecting hundreds of people's lives. This is not counting the 5 wonderful human beings that you home schooled.

WOW - from national organizations to local garden clubs, politics, fairness-groups, and civic activists, hundreds of people directly, untold indirectly, particularly via gozarks.

You have done so much it would be hard to put it in just the few words that I can spell...

~ celebrating professionalism in service ~

 

That you may be filled with strength and power, rooted and grounded in love that surpasses all knowledge: Be kind to one another; live with compassion, producing every kind of goodness; stand firm and hold your ground in truth, righteousness and peace; be courageous; embrace faith which is perfect trust in justice. ~Ephesians 3-6 (condensed)