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
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:
The major issue areas that my work addresses are: Community Building
and Renewal; Crime, Safety, and Victim's Issues; Education; Media
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
<> 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.
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)
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
<> 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)
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.
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.
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
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
What would you say is 'the best idea' I've ever had?
What would be your 'best guesstimate' as to how many people
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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...