Seeing the Light

Seattle leaders recognized that significantly more street lights were out in poorer parts of the city, and this situation offered more opportunities for crime. The “process” for getting them fixed was through citizens’ complaints — a low-priority for the city, with barriers from citizens that include: lack of trust/hope in government, language/cultural barriers, etc.

By changing the “system” to one that logged the date the bulbs were put in streetlights in a neighborhood, and then automatically scheduling maintenance in a year and a half (average bulb life) and replacing all the bulbs, the problem was resolved cheaply and efficiently.

Philanthropy must move beyond providing programs and services to actually changing policies, institutions and structures — such as by developing┬áregional networks that include those formerly marginalized.

We can do this. We need the right mindset.