In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Be The Change, Inc. 2016 Highlights

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2016 inspired in many of us a desire to affect change and make a difference in our communities. In 2017, we all have the opportunity to be agents of change in our nation.

At Be The Change, Inc., our mission is to advance social change to achieve a just and energized democracy by inspiring empowerment, service, and opportunity in our country.

Our vision is that one day every person will be empowered to join with others “to be the change they wish to see in the world” to create a just democracy.

In 2016, we made great strides towards both our mission and vision, and we want to share some of our greatest hits with you in the hopes that it will inspire you to move into 2017 with the courage to take action.

We chose to use a quote from Gandhi as the subject of this message, not only because he is the inspiration behind our name, but also because we hope that you will shake up the world in your own way in this New Year.

All our best,

Be The Change, Inc.


  • The vision to engage one million young Americans in a service year became closer to reality in 2016 with the successful merger to create Service Year Alliance, a joint venture of Be The Change, Inc. and The Aspen Institute. Together, with our Service Year Alliance colleagues and supporters, we are making a year of service a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. Learn more about our work here

A better you. A greater us.

  • General Stanley McChrystal, an outstanding American and veteran, agreed to chair Service Year Alliance, and Be The Change Founder and CEO Alan Khazei is serving as Vice Chair along with John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises.

  • Service Year Alliance shared important thought leadership about successful nonprofit sector mergers in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

  • In addition, Service Year Alliance is building the infrastructure to achieve this vision by continuing to develop an online marketplace — — that connects young people to 32,000 service year opportunities (and growing), and laying the foundation for a robust national recruitment and awareness campaign in 2017. 


  • Opportunity Nation our campaign that works to ensure where you are born shouldn’t determine your destiny, hosted its marquee event, the 2016 Opportunity Summit, in New York City last September. The Summit drew nearly 1,000 people and sparked an online conversation around #TheNationWeMake.

2016 Opportunity Summit

  • We released a strong bi-partisan policy agenda, endorsed by more than 130 organizations, that provides bold goals with decisive steps to restore opportunity in America.
  • Opportunity Nation’s Retail Report, supported by the Walmart Foundation, engaged a critical industry sector where 25% of workers are young adults. The report details how employment in retail can lead to more opportunity for youth. The report was followed by a blog series titled Retail Pathways. The series features young people, like Jordan, who used jobs in retail to jump-start their careers.
  • We strengthened relationships with individuals and organizations through our 200 Opportunity Leaders and 350 Opportunity Nation coalition members, increasing our funders and supporters by 35 percent.
  • In 2017, we will expand our reach and impact by developing a cultural campaign, expanding our coalition membership, advancing our policy plan, and elevating the index in reach and application.


  • Got Your 6, our campaign empowering veterans to lead a resurgence of community across the nation, has a foundation built on the spirit of service, pride in our nation, and the promise of bridging the civilian-military divide through perception shift and collective impact. In 2016, Got Your 6 engaged 20+ media partners and 70,000+ fans and social media followers, reaching over three million people with inspiring veteran stories during 2016 Storytellers events. 

Former VA Secretary Bob McDonald at Storytellers 2016

  • Got Your 6 launched the 2016 Veterans Civic Health Index. This research provides tangible evidence that veterans volunteer, engage with local governments and community organizations, vote, and help their neighbors at rates higher than their non-veteran counterparts.
  • Approximately $1.1 million in funding was granted to 20 nonprofit Veteran Empowerment Coalition partners to support on-the-ground initiatives ensuring successful veteran reintegration and veteran empowerment in communities across the country. This represents a 22% increase of the previous year’s total, and supports Got Your 6’s mission of achieving widespread social change through the power of collective impact.
  • In 2017, the campaign will continue to use storytelling to change perceptions of veterans, and build new capacity for advocacy and government relations.

Opportunity Boston

  • Opportunity Boston, and its approach for increasing opportunity for children and youth in Boston, is ready for public launch in 2017. The campaign’s strategy includes a citywide movement to provide greater opportunity for Boston’s children. Through extensive community engagement, we have secured interest from nonprofits in Boston, the Mayor and Governor’s offices, the Chamber of Commerce, and more. 

Working group with Opportunity Boston supporters

Where We Go From Here

Together, we are convening resources to build a stronger American democracy. Our coalition members, youth networks, business champions, board members, and donors are integral links in a chain that ensures every individual is empowered to “be the change they wish to see in the world.” Here are a few examples of this work:

  • Individuals like U.S. Air Force Veteran Ed Woodward, who shared the emotional story of his brother and the day he decided to “live for both of them,” will be empowered to do more for veterans.
  • The team of 10 AmeriCorps volunteers who will join with Mona Baroody, a community leader, to plant seedlings and restore the community from the Butte Fire that scarred their small community in California.
  • An Opportunity Leader, Savion Castro, who as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has united with a group of friends to create the group M Power to provide civic education for students.
Each of these stories demonstrates that with one individual, change is possible, particularly around empowerment, opportunity, and service.

Click here for more about Be The Change, Inc. and how we are creating systems change around pressing social challenges.

Stay up-to-date on our latest work by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

We wish you a great 2017!

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