Villages in the Sky: DIY World Change

Just another weblog

the best part of fundraising June 21, 2010

(sara)  a couple of days ago, i was stressing out.  fundraising has been the biggest challenge for me since we started this adventure more than a year ago.  i’ve done non profit energy organizing, but never from the position of executive director and to jump straight into non profit management from scratch has been a huge growth experience.  and i relish bringing a bit of my “green-ness” to the position.

there’s no easy way to keep track of the leading projects competing for the “G4C” and i was going through project by project checking vote counts only to discover that we’d been bumped out of 5th place by a project that hadn’t previously registered in my tracking efforts and had jumped all the way to 1st place.  we need to hold onto at least 5th place to stay in the competition after july 6th.

i’ve been a lot of places in the last year, fallen in love with a lot of people as i’ve worked to hussle this festival.  and before that i was working closely with young activists across south carolina and the southeast, where i’d formed a tight kint family of climate activists defending the south against dirty energy.  it’s one of my greatest sadnesses, that i fall in love so often, form deep relationships and then move on only to lose touch because of the sheer number of people i want to hold in my life.  so when i saw that we were down in votes, i hesitated.  as a youth activist i learned to harness the power of facebook for event promotion, network strengthening, etc.  but i hadn’t been in touch in so long, and now, when i needed help i would pop back into the lives of so many of the people i’d lost touch with.

but i bit my lip, swallowed my guilt and hunkered down at my computer for a blitz of facebook wall posts to old friends.  after a couple of hours, i re-emerged from the realm of computer thin connections and hoped for the best, still feeling a little cheap.  but my friends rose to the occassion and took my breath away.  not only did we move into third place, but i’ve written a dozen love letters, reconnected with more friends, and am now making plans to see many of my southeastern family while i’m in south carolina for the next couple months.

just a part of the family i'm rediscovering

nothing about this project is normal.  and even if we don’t get the 10,000 dollar grant, this has been an exercise in reconnection and has reaffirmed my commitment to making this project happen in raucous style.  it’s not that i forget how much i love the idea of a festival that changes the world, it’s that i get so blinded by the stresses and challenges that i am not always connected to the thrill of what we’re doing.  and any project that allows me to strengthen old and new relationships under the guise of fundraising is a project i want to be a big part of.


if you haven’t voted yet, or made all of your friends vote, it’s pretty simple.  just go to: and follow the instructions for voting.  thanks so much!


Help us win the G4C May 14, 2010

Filed under: Fundraising,getting involved — villagesinthesky @ 9:58 pm

(Sara) It seems like deciding to delay has been rather fateful for the festival.  A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative of the Grant 4 Change.  The G4C is an online granting program run by Nau clothing company.  They seek organizations and individuals creating change within the scope of their own mission statement and this year that means sustainable design.  Anyone can be nominated and submit their project, but the G4C courts five “seed” nominees–projects they are particularly impressed or excited by and showcase them on their website before the application process is open.  And this year, we are one of their seed nominees.

Which means we need to mobilize all of our friends and supporters–and their friends and second cousins–to vote for VIS by June 20th.  You can go right now to: and click on the “vote/share” tab to support our nomination for the 10,000$ grant.

This is an important opportunity not only to raise money, but to promote what we’re doing with the festival.  While we’re outreaching for votes, we will be exposing new people to the project and our vision.  Who knows what could come of this: maybe 10,000 dollars to support our work, maybe five new awesome allies, maybe new people who want to attend in 2011.  You can help us find out!

is an online granting program run by Nau clothing company.  They seek organizations and individuals creating change within the scope of their mission statement: this year that means sustainable design.  Anyone can be nominated and submit their project, but the G4C courts five “seed” nominees–organizations they are particularly impressed or excited by, and have them apply early and showcased on their website before the application process is open.  This year Villages in the Sky is one of their seed nominees.

And so it begins March 31, 2010

Filed under: build up camp,getting involved — villagesinthesky @ 1:04 pm

(Sara) All of this excitement and I haven’t even had a chance to write about it.  As we promised, seed camp begins officially on April 1st.  But tomorrow, tomorrow we’ll have an influx of folks from the east coast coming to kick us off right.  Our agreement with the community is that all of our volunteers stay on the site, that we feed them from our pockets.  Sounds simple enough, but prepping a site without any infrastructure for living on has proven more stressful than expected.

And all the last minute details are being hammered out today and tomorrow morning.  We’re getting help building composting toilets, fixing up an old shack to house folks, running to the grocery store to get a couple of days worth of food, doing dishes that haven’t been done since Burning Man in August, going to board meetings to make agreements with the community.  It’s a rush job and there’s a lot of folks working it here in Missouri.  And by tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be ready.

Someone elses barn raising

And then it will begin.  We’ll be starting with a bang, a party to set the tone for our balance of work and play.  Then we’ll go to work, with pole barn raisings and the first zip line going up.  It will be maddening and chaotic the whole time, but, like everything else we’ve done so far, it will be magical and I am certain that, in the end, I will be pleased and proud.  And we’ll have one hell of a festival.

If you’re interested in coming out anytime in April and May to help with seed camp, drop us a note at  The more, the merrier.  Really.