The Story So Far
We wanted to tell you the story of Be Change so far. Be Change started life as a program being developed by AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme, the corporate responsibility arm of the biopharmaceutical company, with their employees advising the development (with support of the former mindyourmind Program Director). They knew they wanted to create a crowdfunding platform for youth and their allies (like teachers, community leaders, parents, etc.) to make the healthy changes needed in their communities. They named it FundHope – because of the awesome change and hope these projects would bring.
In 2013, mindyourmind as tasked to grow the platform and launch it. mindyourmind (yeah, you read that right, bold-unbold-bold-no-spaces) is a non-profit program that exists in the space where mental health, wellness, engagement and technology meet. At mindyourmind, young people are valued as experts in their own experience and they can choose to engage in whichever way makes sense for them. Young people are involved in everything that we do, every step of the way. We impact systems change by increasing the capacity of young people to reach out, get help and give help through the use of technology, engagement and research-informed innovation.
When we inherited Be Change, we decided to do what we do best – talk to young people about what they would like to see. We interviewed young ChangeMakers who had amazing insight on what would make a wellness crowdfunding platform rock. We heard that they wanted more than just a crowdfunding platform. They wanted a program to help them grow their ideas, prepare them for fundraising, get the right partners and launch and sustain their ideas.
At this point, FundHope was the name of a religious crowdfunding program – so that name had to go. We were brainstorming over lunch of other possible names. Then we thought, well so many of mindyourmind projects start with “Be” (Be Safe, Be Heard) why not go with it? I thought of quotes I have seen being shared around the young ChangeMakers community – the most popular one being “Be the change you want to see in the world” – and then it hit us. Our users want to Be Change. So, from that point on, that was our name.
With an awesome new name, we set off to building an incubator program with a crowdfunding platform. A place where young people would have access the partnership, mentorship and funding potential they need to make their ideas happen. It also became a chance for us to flip youth engagement upside down – instead of youth being involved with what we were doing – youth were engaging us in what they were doing. And we are going to be so much more awesome because of it.
Tune in to our next blog to hear about how we started building Be Change with young changemakers from across Canada.