21st Century Community Organizing – what is that?
Our organization is built on the principles and successes of powerful community organizing efforts from the 20th Century, from the Civil Rights Movement onward. We live in a very different world than we did fifty years ago and we need new methods to achieve the same objectives of justice and equity for all. Our goal is to leverage the technology of today and merge it with the effective practices of one-on-on relational community organizing to spark pathways out of poverty and community improvement. The definition of community and the mechanisms for building relationships are not geographically bounded in the same way anymore. People, ideas, and opportunities are now able to connect digitally and we should leverage that potential power. We intend to make the connections between local, place-based relationships and virtual opportunities and possibilities. Social capital can still be built in church basements and school PTA meetings, but it can also be built in mobile apps and social media. We do both types of organizing to build capital and opportunity, and we are proud of it!
What is a Union Capitalist?
Union Capitalists are individual community members of UCB. They are the people who participate in community events and volunteer opportunities. Participation could include, but is not limited to, volunteering at their child’s school, participating in community workshops, shopping at local stores, or helping with neighborhood projects and clean-ups. By doing so, they earn points that they can redeem for social and financial services that they need. Union Capitalists sign a ‘Commitment of Opportunity’ and make a pledge to be active members, but do not pay to be members of UCB.
What is a Member Institution?
Member institutions are the community centers, health centers, schools, local businesses, and banks that have partnered with UCB to give out points for individual member involvement. When Union Capitalists participate at these institutions they earn UCB points (see above for participation examples). Member institutions benefit by partnering with UCB because it increases patronage, whether that is more volunteers or increased revenue. Interested in becoming a Member Institution? Contact us at
What are UCB points?
UCB points are the points that Union Capitalists earn when they participate in and improve their community. For every hour that our members give back to their community they earn 100 points. Members earn double points by participating in member institution activities, and can also earn points any number of ways that helps to improve their community, from street sweeps to helping at a food pantry. Members track their UCB points on the UCB app with their user account. Union Capitalists save and redeem their points for social and financial services that they need, such as public transit passes or gift cards to local businesses, and in the long run can save points to earn home loan assistance, help with college tuition, and so on.
What is the UCB Mobile App?
We have developed a mobile application to enter, track, and reward UCB points! For our members with smartphones, they are able to attend a community event, click a ‘geolocate’ button or snap a photo with the app, and earn points seamlessly through the online platform. They are also able to track their points, see a listing of upcoming events, purchase rewards, and connect with other Union Capitalists. For our members who do not have smartphones, we still have a fully functioning tracking system using text messaging and good ol’ paper and pencil – no one is excluded if they do not have access to smartphone technology!
How will my donation be used?
All donations directly fund our operating model, which is intentionally simple: The rewards we distribute to our members = The amount of money raised minus operating expenses. Thanks to large in-kind contributions from Family Independence Initiative, Leadership for Educational Equity, and our technology partners, we have minimal operating expenses, which means a majority of all funds raised go to rewards distribution and community projects. For our fall pilot the rewards were distributed in December in the form of gift cards. In the future, rewards will include public transit passes, gift cards to local businesses, credit toward child care expenses, home loan assistance, and much, much more!
Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes! We are an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered with the IRS. We can provide our tax-exempt status letter upon request.
Why the name “Union Capital Boston”?
Our mission is to organize our economic, social, and economic capital in order to create new opportunity and improve our community. By creating a ‘union’ of our capital, we can maximize our resources and leverage economies of scale to gain even greater rewards and benefits. In the future, we hope to broaden our impact and expand to other cities and regions that could benefit, so that one day there is a Union Capital Philadelphia, Union Capital Detroit, or Union Capital Oakland. As we grow, we will utilize a franchise model in which each local program is a freestanding organization that is a member of Union Capital National. Another reason in choosing the name is that we want a name that signifies power and influence. Although some people may think our name sounds like a bank, we like that. We are kind of like a bank, but a bank of human and social capital. Our members are powerful and influential!