Around the Institute

Humorsexuals Changing the Conversation on Same-Sex Marriage, and Other Tidbits

May 11, 2012

City as Laboratory
Living Labs Global, a non-profit based in Copenhagen that promotes innovative solutions to urban problems, recently announced the winners of their 2012 awards. Twenty-one cities from around the world participated, and each selected one technology-based proposal to tackle local problems concerning traffic congestion, pollution, sustainable energy, and children’s health, among others. The basic premise behind the awards is simple: creating a space for folks to share best practices and learn from one another is a first step toward scaling up solutions that work.  

Much has been made about Vice President Biden’s opinion that NBC’s Will and Grace helped “move the needle” nationally on same-sex marriage. Even the esteemed Stephen T. Colbert made a big fuss about the potential role of sitcoms, and those “humorsexuals,” on changing attitudes across the country. All kidding aside, Biden points to a key insight communications mavens have known for quite some time now: continuous exposure to certain media messages can change opinions and behaviors. The challenge? Developing strategies to get there…and measure progress along the way.

Clever, Insightful and Bold
That’s how we like our advocacy evaluation tools. We like our coffee black. At our latest breakfast event this week, Sue Hoechstetter from Alliance for Justice (AFJ) and Marcia Egbert from the Gund Foundation presented their latest joint venture: AFJ and Gund want to help advocates—and funders—better understand and navigate the murky waters of advocacy work. Over time, AFJ’s updated Advocacy Capacity Tool could collect enough information to allow organizations to compare themselves to others around the country. Bold, indeed.