Welcome to Project Ubuntu

Project Ubuntu is a year-long service project that will visit communities in all 50 states and Washington D.C., mobilizing a contagion of kindness along the wayThe purpose is to celebrate and inspire people all over the country who dedicate their time to improving the lives of others, to support their causes by serving alongside them, and to inspire others to offer their own community service efforts.

About the Project

August 26, 2012 through August 24, 2013, one week spent in every state and Washington D.C.

About Ubuntu

“Ubuntu” is a philosophy found throughout the southern nations of Africa that is characterized by the notion that a person is a person through others (in Zulu: “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”). That is, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu says, it is not centered around the concept of “I think, therefore I am;” but rather, “I am a human because I belong. I participate. I share.” It comes from someone “knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”

For more details about the history and various sources of the philosophy, including those listed above, see the Wikipedia entry. This page also has a video of Nelson Mandela discussing his personal definition.

Read more about how the ubuntu philosophy has shaped the formation of this journey

The Purpose
A team of City Year alumni will celebrate people who dedicate themselves to improving the lives of others by supporting their causes alongside them and inspiring others to offer their own community service efforts.

The unifying principle of this year will be to find, celebrate and inspire “good people” who see a purpose in helping others obtain the resources they need, deserve and lack in order to live freely. For example, many elementary-aged students lack the resources to be truly presented with the “American Dream,” and more than 1,500 young Americans in City Year volunteer annually to alter that injustice.

We want to focus on finding folks who are dedicated to selflessly serving their community, be they occasional volunteers or people working full-time for non-profit causes. We firmly believe that such individuals transcend class and ethnic categories, and we will find them as we travel to 51 diverse urban and rural communities.

We want to inspire our partners by providing support and encouragement, as well as by connecting them with the massive, invisible network of goodwill they are a part of. We also hope to inspire the rest of the world by telling their stories and mobilizing a contagion of kindness.

This campaign is called Project Ubuntu because it celebrates the people whose purpose is defined by enabling all humans to thrive. Not only do they see the value in helping others, they see responsibility. Kindness, rather than being a transient quality, is part of their essence: they exist as a person through other people.

The Scope
Project Ubuntu will spend one week in one community from each state and Washington, D.C., spanning 51 diverse urban and rural communities between Aug. 26, 2012 and Aug. 24, 2013. Every Sunday will be spent traveling, covering some 14,133 miles of road and flights to Hawaii and Alaska.

The Strategy
To use our skills (especially event planning and community engagement), resources and enthusiasm to partner with various organizations across the nation. Initially, this is being planned with the assumption of almost no working budget. The states can be split into three categories: places we want to engage musicians, places that have City Year, and places we want to work with a different organization.
i) Music states – Work to partner schools with musicians M-F for free music lessons, demonstrations; organize charity benefit concert for the Saturday.
ii) City Year locations – Support in a variety of ways, including corps member trainings, special events, service days, Civic Engagement work, WSWC support, and sports tournaments.
iii) Other communities – Identify volunteer-driven organization to join for the week, the need being addressed, and how best to use our skills to support the effort.

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