Jim Eischens

Civic & Community Involvement

Using Tech To Boost Community Engagement

Using Tech To Boost Community Engagement

In the spring of 2017, something new began in Louisville, Kentucky. The Gigabit Experience Center in the city provided something that is critical in the 21st century — a free, high-speed internet.

Although most people throughout the world use the internet, there are still families with a lower income that do not have access to a fast and reliable internet access. Since opening the Gigabit Center, Louisville has given its citizens the opportunity to share ideas and communicate about improvement to be done in their own communities.

This is only one example of what has been happening in cities around the world that are taking advantage of internet technology. It has helped them with creating service institutions that aim to involve more people in community projects. It also helps city leaders connect to citizens under them and collectively solve and fix problems that are of common concern.

Athens Responds To Crisis

An example of the new way of using technology is the Greek capital Athens. When in 2008 the city endured a financial crisis, the people of Athens began tackling their problems in a new way. Instead of waiting on outside help, the people of the city began owning and solving their problems through improvisation and spontaneous efforts on a local scale.

After this, an online platform was created in which city projects were submitted to be seen by like-minded groups of people. The city government has access to the platform which allows it to support and facilitate projects that are initiated by its citizens.

Counting People in San Jose, California

When the housing prices of San Jose skyrocketed, many people were forced to live in undocumented dwelling places such as mobile homes and garages. This made the population count of the city almost impossible in the standard way, and the city suffered a cut in federal funding that is dependent on the counted population.

With the help of technology, a text-message tool was leveraged that would allow volunteer citizens to count the undocumented population and share the results with others.

Anchorage, Tearing the Wall Between Citizens and Government

With the lack of communication between mayors and their citizens, the latter have become cynical and uninterested about their local government. In Anchorage, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz uses an Open Data Portal to share the work of government agencies with their citizens. This transparency about the work of government agencies in real time at battling issues in the cities makes citizens more aware of the efficiency of their government and makes them more aware of the issues in their own hometown.

Amazon Is Stepping Into The World of Philanthropy

Amazon Is Stepping Into The World of Philanthropy

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has long kept quiet about his philanthropy. In a tweet and an address in Washington, D. C., Bezos has finally broken the silence. His philanthropy plan is of donating $2 billion for preschool programs for people of low income as well as for providing shelter and food for the homeless. An executive team will be hired to run the preschools as an independent nonprofit group. For the shelters and food, the money will go towards existing organizations.

Among the 1,000 people that attended the Economic Club of Washington event was Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser as well as Governor Larry Hogan. Both of them are working to make the second Amazon headquarter part of their own hometown. If this happens, 50,000 jobs will open in the next 20 years. While Bezos made no promises, he mentioned the announcing of a second location this year.

The interview at the Economic Club was focused mostly on the philanthropic push with his wife MacKenzie. The preschools that will open will operate like Montessori preschools and make sure that children from low-income families are up to date with their education.

This donation will place one of the world’s richest people amongst the mega-donors. Meanwhile, his company is dealing with increasing scrutiny over its growing influence on the economy and financial power.

Although his personal fortune is around $164 billion, Bezos has not been largely involved with philanthropy until this time. This silence has made him stand out to large company founders like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

Before taking this step, Bezos asked the public through Twitter about the best way that he could use his fortune to help the world in the now. This is how the decision on funding education and support for homeless people came about.

The Bezos Family Foundation has already been supporting children’s education until now. Their donations have also been pouring into Princeton University and Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In the future, Bezos plans to give out money to nonprofit organizations as well as the Blue Origin, a company that works on creating reusable rockets that can make space travel more cost-effective.

Bezos has faced ongoing criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for income inequality. Bezos has refused to discuss the conversations he has had with Donald Trump and does not feel that he needs to defend the actions of his company.

Ways To Get Involved In Your Community

Ways To Get Involved In Your Community

Community engagement is something I am very passionate about. I believe It’s important to give back to your community in any way you can to better the environment and the lives of the people who live there. Not only does it help make the community a better place, but it also brings with it a sense of pride that you did something good today.

Research Local Programs

Start by researching local programs in your community that you can join or volunteer for. Volunteering is an excellent way to help these programs thrive, as many of them are non-profits and cannot always afford to staff properly. Whether it’s a local animal shelter looking for help walking or feeding the animals, or volunteering at a retirement home to read and interact with the patients there, you cannot go wrong. Volunteering to improve other peoples lives does wonders for your mind, body, and spirit.

Shop Local

This is one of the most important ways to get involved and build up your community. Shopping local can be crucial to a communities success because it truly builds up your local economy. Putting money into the hands of local businesses means you are investing directly into the success of your community. Usually, when you spend money at a local business, that business will then pay it forward and support another local business, keeping the money in the community.

Organize A Community Clean Up

The perfect way to make an impact on your community today is through organizing a community clean up. Not only does this mean you will be protecting the environment you live in, but it’s also a great way to meet and connect with new people by bringing that overall sense of togetherness. Who knows, you may just inspire someone else to get involved!

Donate!

If possible, check into some local charities and donate to causes that will directly impact the overall lives of some members of your community. Be sure to make your donation to a reputable, established charity. Some great charities include local food banks, where you can help feed some people who may need a little extra help. You never know when someone may be struggling financially, or if maybe one day down the road it will be you who needs the extra help. Every penny counts, and no donation is too small.

About Jim Eischens

Jim Eischens is an accomplished real estate professional with over two decades of experience in property management and business development. His diverse portfolio includes single family homes, multifamily apartment buildings, hotels, charter schools, office complexes, and a resort business. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of his portfolio of management companies.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Jim Eischens is an active community member and committed philanthropist who cares deeply about giving back. He credits his commitment to civic service and the community to his desire to be a well-rounded individual and participant in society.

Jim Eischens understands the importance of supporting organizations that run on donations and volunteers so that they can continue to do the great work they do. Growing up, Eischens was involved in organizations, sports, and youth leadership programs, that were funded through fundraising and philanthropic efforts. Now, supporting these organizations helps give other children a chance to realize the same benefits that he had.

Youth Sports

As the father of three daughters, Jim Eischens has been a coach for their youth basketball and soccer teams for over a decade. An athlete himself, Eischens understands the importance of staying active and taking advantage of the outdoors. Most importantly, sports provide an opportunity to build friendships and teach important values, such as teamwork. Over the years, Eischens has enjoyed watching his daughters develop as athletes, but more importantly, as people. Not to mention, coaching has given Eischens the invaluable opportunity to bond with his daughters and develop a closer relationship with them.

Civic Involvement:

Jim Eischens recognizes the input his University fraternity has had on his life and now volunteers for the fraternity housing corporation to ensure the fraternity will continue to offer the same experiences and opportunities to young men at the University of Minnesota.

Eischens is heavily involved with the St. Odilia church and school, where his daughters have attended. He has developed projects such as an outdoor classroom which allows for the use of his skills as well as benefit the children for warm weather learning opportunities. He has also operated a game tent with his daughters for the annual church fundraiser. This fundraising opportunity is great for the students to socialize and is a welcomed bonding time with his daughters.  Eischens is also active in the St. Odilia’s Men’s Club which is dedicated to providing community service and youth sports support.

Jim has adopted a garden in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood through the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, which strives to improve and enhance the quality of residential life in the neighborhood.

Community Involvement:

Jim Eischens is a member of The 49ers, a St-Paul-based men’s networking club. As a club, they try to incorporate business transactions between the members and offer support for one another. The members of the club engage in numerous social activities throughout the year as well.

Eischens also volunteers and supports the North Oaks James J. Hill farm society as well as the North Oaks Children Hospital guild.

Personal Interests:

In addition to his involvement in the community, Jim Eischens has a passion for classic cars and agriculture. Eischens attends a classic car show from time to time and enjoys taking his 1967 Chevy Impala convertible out for a drive any chance he gets. Furthermore, he loves everything related to farming and agriculture. Growing up, Eischens lived on a small farm in Southwest Minnesota. From an early age, he participated heavily in the youth organization 4H and in the local chapter of Future Farmers of America. These organizations offered countless opportunities and opened many doors in agriculture, leadership, and travel. His family still owns the farm, and Jim Eischens enjoys reconnecting with his roots when he travels back home.