#dotORG Highlight: Everybody + POOL (@PluspoolNY) to Make First Swim in NYC’s East River in over 100 Years Possible!

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New York City is not only the most populous city in the United States, but it is truly a global power city, having an incredible impact upon culture, media, art, fashion, technology, education, and entertainment. People from all over the world travel to visit and experience the Big Apple — for the views and leisure trips, to get a taste of the cultural groups that line each crevice of every borough, to pursue professional opportunities, and to see if they can make it in the famously competitive city.

However, New York City has one strange shortcoming—NYC’s inhabitants are unable to swim in the waters that almost completely surround the city.

Simple Idea: Instead of trying to clean an entire river, what if you started by just cleaning a small piece of it?  And what if you could change how New Yorkers see their rivers, just by giving them a chance to swim in it?

Three years ago, friends Dong, Archie and Jeff proposed the + POOL — a floating pool for people to swim in, that would act as a water filter for the East river.

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They have since been working with leading engineering firms, design offices, architectural and environmental organizations, as well as city and state private organizations that have stakes on the water, to further develop a plan to clean the river and enable New Yorkers to swim in the water for the very first time in over 100 years.

So, how would the filtration system work?

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The layered filtration system in the + POOL is designed to clean up to half a million gallons of river water every single day, eliminating bacteria and contaminants incrementally to ensure that the water meets both city and state standards, and is suitable for people to swim in. There will be no chemicals or additives used, just natural river water.

Who is this pool for? EVERYONE!

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+ POOL is designed as four pools in one: a Kids’ pool, Sports pool, Lap pool and Lounge pool. Each can be used independently, combined to form an Olympic-length pool or opened completely into a 9,000 square foot pool for play. Its simple and iconic shape will mark the return to clean rivers in New York City.

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+ POOL by the numbers:
Pool Dimensions: 164′ (l) x 164′ (w) x 5′ (d). Each arm is 32′ (or four lanes) wide.
Pool Area: 9,300 sf
Pool Volume: 285,000 gallons
Deck Dimensions: 205′ (l) x 205′ (w) x 8′ (d)
Deck Area: 14,700 sf
Water Turnover Period: Every 6 hrs (2 hrs at Kids’ pool)
Water Turnover Rate: 707 gpm (259 gpm at Kids’ pool)
Max Daily Turnover Volume: 694,000 gallons/day

Crazy Idea: + POOL is driven by the supporters, backers and collaborators that want to see the pool in the river.  What if the pool was broken down into bite-size chunks and everybody had the opportunity to have a tangible and measurable impact on building the pool?

+ POOL, including the deck, walls and floor, will be made up of 70,000 tiles. If every single tile is purchased, the entire $15 million construction budget of + POOL will be funded from front to back. Get one for yourself, for your mom, for your girlfriend or boyfriend, with an image of your dog or your favorite Gucci Mane quote. This is an opportunity for EVERYONE to make their lasting mark on a new landmark in New York City.

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Check out the tile pricing options and associated perks of each purchase here.

+ POOL (www.pluspool.org) is a truly innovative #dotORG with an exciting mission: to clean New York City’s rivers and enable the city dwellers to swim in them for the first time in over 100 years. It’s a beautiful thing to see the power of a #dotORG organize people for a cause; in this case the cause will go beyond technological advances by creating a positive environmental footprint in a global power city. Who knows, maybe this initiative will prompt additional power cities and alternative ones throughout the world to follow suit. We can’t wait to see the development of the + POOL between now and 2016!

 

#TaliasLegacy

This week we wanted to recognize and honor the story of a 13-year-old girl who devoted her short time on this earth to supporting children and families who live with cancer, while battling cancer herself.

Talia Joy Castellano was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue. This is the most common form of cancer found in childhood and infancy. A short time later she found out that she also had Leukemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow which causes almost one-third of all cancer deaths in children and adolescents younger than 15 years old. Battling two cancers at once is almost unheard of.

Following the diagnosis, Talia started spending more time with Tammy DeLaRosa, a cancer survivor and close family friend. DeLaRosa shared in an interview, “I have drawers and cabinets and stuff full of makeup, and she just started going through them and pulling them out, and then she asked me if I would put makeup on her and so I did.

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Talia began experimenting with makeup after losing her hair to chemotherapy treatments. She created her own tutorials and posted them to YouTube. One of her videos earned more than 8 million views, and her channel (GMA News) gained more than 750,000 followers. “I love and adore makeup, using it as my wig and having so much self-confidence to go out to the grocery store without a wig,” she says in one of her videos, “It’s just amazing.” What seemed even more amazing was Talia’s positive attitude despite the circumstances, truly evoking her middle name, Joy.

The YouTube make up guru had mentioned in a video once that she dreamt of meeting Ellen Degeneres. The TV host caught wind of this and turned Talia’s dream into reality when she invited Talia to appear on “The Ellen Show” in September 2012.  She said, “I am inspired by people like yourself. I think there are a lot of people who go through a lot of struggling situations, and despite what the doctors have said and the cancer you’re going through, how do you stay so positive?” she asked.

Referring to Ellen’s character Dory in Finding Nemo, Talia responded, “When people ask me that, what do you want me to do, be depressed? I mean a little fishy told me, ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!’

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Ellen, a Cover Girl representative herself, made Talia an honorary Cover Girl and presented her with her own portrait. The makeup brand was awed by Talia’s story and also awarded her a makeup table and $20,000.

Of all the positive messages that Talia video-blogged online, the one that resonates with the Public Interest Registry team most is the idea of leaving impactful footprints on the world and being a part of something bigger. This little giant certainly did that.
Talia’s favorite charity was the Base Camp Childeren’s Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit #dotORG that serves 200 families that are fighting cancer daily. With her footprint in mind, Talia launched a fundraising campaign called “Bring Hope Home” to raise $125,000 so that the local charity in Orlando, FL would be able to buy an office condo to create a permanent home for their programs.

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Talia wanted to leave her legacy at the BASE Camp office by creating Talia’s room — “a destination where girls can come when they’re feeling down, a place where they can come to get pretty…filled with make-up, nail polish, pretty dresses, jewelry and shoes!” (BaseCamp)

Please help BASE Camp fulfill Talia’s Legacy with your donation.

Last week, on July 16th, Talia unfortunately lost her battle to cancer, but she continues to win over all of our hearts. Just a few days before she passed, Talia posted her 74-item bucket list to her official Facebook fan page. This list included to-do’s like “leave my handprint in wet cement,” “send a message in a bottle,” “help a newbie with cancer,” and “jump in a pool of jello.”

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Talia’s supporters are now honoring her life by completing all of the items on her list and sending in photos to with the hashtag #TaliasBucketList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We would like to send our deepest condolences to Talia’s family and friends. Thank you for helping this bright young girl share her light and energy with the rest of the world. Her legacy will continue to live on.

Reflection on UBM’s Business4Better

Last week, UBM held its 4th annual Business4Better event in London. This two-day conference is part of the company’s Community Engagement Series, which was founded in Brazil in 2009 and now also takes place in India and the United States. Business4Better “brings together not-for-profits, social enterprises, business leaders and corporate responsibility professionals to share, learn and connect.”

Thuy LeDinh of Public Interest Registry had the opportunity to attend B4B for the first time and witness how UBM has made this event, along with the rest of the Community Engagement Series, part of its personal commitment to operate as a responsible and sustainable business in its longterm effort to bring the voluntary and business sectors together.

There has been a growing trend for businesses to exercise their corporate social responsibility (CSR) through foundations, events, campaigns, specialty programs, and projects for various causes. What is inspiring about UBM is that they have truly begun facilitating their business based on the idea of improving society. UBM understands that the interconnectivity between sectors is vital for success in a future society.

For decades, we have recognized three main sectors: business, government, and independent. In the standard model the third sector has essentially been perceived and labeled as a third wheel because its consituents (not-for-profits, NGOs, NPOs, etc.) have not clearly defined a universal name to use, and do not have the same resources that businesses and governments have access to. The overarching problem with this model is that the three sectors rarely – if ever – seem to work together cohesively, simultaneously.

LeDinh reflects on a story that Lord Michael Hastings, KPMG International’s Global Head of Corporate Citizenship, shared in London:

On April 24, 2013, an eight-story building collaped in Bangladesh. This building, the Rana Plaza, contained apartments, a bank, a variety of other shops, and garment factories for some of the world’s largest apparel companies, such as H&M, Primark, and Walmart. Despite concerns and evacuation requests that Bangladeshi NGOs had voiced to employers about cracks in the building, workers were prompted to show up the next day. That very next morning, the building collapsed, trapping 3,122 workers inside. After 17 long days of digging through rubble, the death toll reached 1,127 people, and approximately 2,500 people rescued from the building alive were injured. Given that the majority of these workers were women that were single parents and/or sole providers for their families, the entire village of people was disrupted, and effectively destroyed.

After this horrific tragedy, some of the questions we are left asking are:

  • How do we prevent tragedies such as this from happening again?
  • What dialogue needs to happen? Between who?
  • Who will be held responsible for making sure that brands and businesses who set up international factories implement proper safety precautions and pass factory inspections?
  • How do we promote ethical working environments, and ultimately ethical consumerism?

In the case of the Bangladeshi factory collapse, it would have been advantageous for dialogue to occur between advocates on behalf of the workers, businesses, and government officials – to regulate safety measures before allowing people to work in the building. Communication must work both ways; if businesses and governments work together with the independent sector, they will likely have more effective and efficient results.

Like UBM, Public Interest Registry strongly believes in a new paradigm where businesses increase their interaction with government and members of the independent sector in order to develop strong relationships that will improve society. We feel that to make this happen, there is a need to go beyond a digital impact and aim to create interpersonal connections via civil partnerships.

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[Image taken from the World Economic Forum’s Report: The Future Role of Civil Society]

UBM is taking the first step toward trying to unite all three sectors; we would like to see this trend become a way of life across the globe.

Public Interest Registry will be offering .NGO, a new and exclusive domain extension representing “Non-governmental organization”, as a part of this initiative – to give NGOs around the world the opportunity to find and communicate with one another, with donors, and with potential business partners. The ultimate goal is to help NGOs build capacity and become sustainable while working towards improving society.

The .NGO domain is expected to launch in 2015. Its counterpart, .ONG – the acronym for .NGO used in Romance languages – will also become available to the public by Public Interest Registry at that time. To learn more information and submit an expression of interest for these domains, visit www.ngotld.org.

Leveraging Celebrities to Enhance Your Cause Marketing

In cause campaign efforts, celebrity involvement can help catalyze momentum to reach and engage your audience when it is approached and strategized correctly. What does it really mean to find the right celebrity for your cause and collaborate together to create an authentic partnership? What is the best way to navigate the triangular dynamic between brand, cause, and celebrity? Nancy Gofus, the COO of Public Interest Registry, had the opportunity to explore this topic with a fantastic panel of experts at this year’s Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago on May 29, 2013:

Connie Fontaine, Director, Marketing Communications, Ford of Canada
Nancy Gofus, COO, Public Interest Registry
Joel Goldman, Director of Entertainment Industry Relations, Malaria No More
René Jones, Founding Director, United Talent Agency Foundation

The leading message of this panel was that in order for cause campaigns to be effective, stories need to be told; more importantly, they need to be authentic. Additionally, the ultimate goal for brands, nonprofits and celebrities is a win-win-win situation. In order to be successful, nonprofits and charities that are organizing cause campaigns need to identify an advocate that would not only be able to relate to and support their mission, but that would also be appealing to their audience.

There is a big difference between booking talent for a commercial cause marketing spot versus a public service announcement.  For a commercial cause marketing spot, you need to find an advocate that is truly connected to the cause, who would be more willing to donate their time to show their support. Alternatively, talent agencies will be looking to collect heavy lump sums of money to book their clients, especially when the spot ad is for a large commercial brand.

From the brand perspective, you’ll want the talent to be proud to be affiliated with your company. Again, the relationship needs to grow organically and the story that you seek to tell needs to be authentic. When this relationship is met with a cause campaign, the dynamic becomes incredibly powerful and the potential to move audiences to demonstrate social good increases.

If you are either a brand or celebrity, or are working on a cause campaign, check out the video clip from the forum above. There are some great takeaways!

Litterati: Crowdsource-Cleaning the Planet

Jeff Kirschner came up with the idea for the “Litterati” movement after his young daughter spotted a piece of litter floating in a river near his home in Northern California. “Daddy, that doesn’t go there,” she said.

Feeling the need to create a movement to stop the world’s littering habit, Jeff came up with the idea to take a picture of litter he found and post the photo to Instagram, using the hashtag #Litterati. He began encouraging people across the world to share pictures on Instagram of litter they found before disposing of the trash. Using the #Litterati hashtag, picking up trash became a social – and oftentimes artistic – activity.

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A @Litterati Instagram photo

It was not hard to find others eager to help rid their communities of mindless litter. With “Litterati” quickly growing, Jeff started to organize tagged #Litterati photos from all over the world into a “Digital Landfill” on http://www.Litterati.org.

Using Instagram’s geo-tagging and time-stamp features, Jeff could also track where and at what time the pieces of litter were found. He built a map on Litterati.org showing all of the locations across the world in which participants are finding and picking up litter, using the #Litterati hashtag. In addition to the litter map, the Litterati website also presents statistics of litter data for public viewing. Currently, 13,059 pieces of trash have been picked up around the world by Litterati participants – and that number is quickly growing.

Jeff has big plans for how he uses all of this Litterati data:

“I believe Litterati is in a position to create a level of environmental awareness that touches millions of lives,” he writes in an email. “Litterati will be able to work with local government, helping city officials understand more about where trash is emerging, and which brands are the most commonly littered.  We’ll collaborate with brands to help them better understand the lifecycle of their product packaging, so that they can move towards earth-friendly designs. Whether it’s a young child, a government official, or high-powered executive, our goal is to inspire people to take ownership of the [litter] problem.”

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One of Litterati’s maps of litter collection

Public Interest Registry chose to spotlight Litterati.org because we love the way Jeff is using his dotORG to help solve our world-wide littering problem. Litterati’s core values of integrity, collaboration, and simplicity resonate with our own, and we fully support Jeff’s use of the Internet to reach other people across the world interested in cleaning up the Earth.

Imagine the impact we could make if every single person in the world disposed of just one piece of litter. In Jeff’s words, “Global collaboration is paramount towards reaching a litter-free world. Individually, we can make a difference. Together, we can make an impact.”

Visit www.litterati.org to view Litterati’s impact so far. Use the hashtag #Litterati on Instagram to join the Litterati movement! You can also follow @Litterati on Instagram and Twitter.

ResellerClub and Public Interest Registry’s Growth in India

ResellerClub recently interviewed our Channel Manager, Anand Vora, who shared his thoughts about HostingCon and his experience working with ResellerClub.

HostingCon was held recently in Austin, Texas. This particular event is a great platform for registries to see what people are doing, especially in relation to the newTLDs that are coming to the Internet. With the newTLD applications, Public Interest Registry has applied for .NGO, .ONG, and 4 International Domain Names (IDNs).

A big thank you to ResellerClub and all of the resellers that have helped us develop messaging and gain a lot of growth in India through their channels!