October 20 2010
Listen: Almost on a daily basis, I find Milwaukee to be both bigger and smaller than my expectations for the city. Sometimes everybody seems to know everybody, while at other times, something or some one completely amazing will fly so far under my radar, it immediately bowls me over upon discovery. This piece came together through a perfect melding of those two opposing mindsets.
While putting together interviews with the Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Cheryl Nenn told me "yeah -- our offices are with all the other MEC orgnanizations." I pretended to know what she was talking about at first, but eventually I had to own up: "Cheryl, what do you mean by MEC?" It's the Milwaukee Environmental Consortium, a group of 10 environmental non-profits sharing an office space, resources, ideas, and a general passion for protecting the environment. Wow! Pretty cool. And seeing as we're doing a week on the environment for Make A Difference, this resource only made too much sense.
Unfortunately, since I found out about MEC so late in the game, I didn't have much time to organize anything. Fortunately, I like short timeframes. So, I needed to figure out a concept that would work with little to no preparation on either side of the interview. Fortunately, since I'm practiced at barging around asking people to drop everything they're doing to talk to me, I quickly came up with an idea -- introduce myself and then ask one simple question, "What's something small somebody can do to make a big difference?"
And that's just what I did -- interrupting lunches and phone calls, I had a chance to talk to 7 folks from MEC in under 12 minutes. Not too shabby. And everybody I spoke with, even without any prep time, was ready with an answer:
You just heard from Groundwork Milwaukee, Park People of Milwaukee County, and the River Revitalization Foundation, just 3 of the 10 MEC orgs. Learn more about them, then take them up on their suggestions! Later this week, check back on for another piece and more MEC-driven ways to make a difference. Also, go to the MEC's website right now for more info on all the orgs and plenty of ways to get involved!