The Lewis Family Foundation, with its interests in empowering emerging leaders, building strong partnerships, and using storytelling to drive action and impact, is excited to partner with the media organization Grist to build a New England hub for the Fix program. Fix will facilitate events that convene Fixers from diverse backgrounds to generate surprising, “that-just-might-work” ideas to tackle thorny problems such as climate change and environmental injustice. The program brings these Fixers together to break down silos, develop partnerships to accelerate solutions, and usher in a whole new narrative of what’s possible.
With their New England partnership, Fix and the Lewis Family Foundation will launch a network of regional Fixers that fosters new connections, collaborations, and learnings, and that represents a powerful new wave of leaders in sustainability. And they will advance the world-changing work of Fixers using in-person convenings and the power of media to drive the public to action.
“We believe in a systems approach to problem-solving,” says Grist Founder Chip Giller, who launched Fix in 2018. “The challenges we face as a society are too big, and too complicated, for any one person to address. So we help foster collaborations that build a better world more quickly and expansively than individual Fixers can do alone.”
Giller, a Massachusetts native, founded Grist in 1999, intent on using a new type of journalism to engage the next generation on environmental issues. Grist was one of the first digital-only media organizations, and quickly became known for its clear-eyed environmental reporting — and its injection of much-needed humor into topics that can often be dreary.
Drawing connections between the environment and things such as food, economics, and health, the Seattle-based nonprofit has built an audience of more than 2 million monthly readers, and has been especially successful reaching readers in their 20s and 30s. In the process, it has helped to create a new generation of people who are informed about and active in green issues.
With Fix, Grist is going one step further, using its media platform and its community-building experience to inspire action. Each year, the Fix staff scours the country for individuals who have a vision for a more just, sustainable future, and the drive to make that vision a reality. The most inspiring are named to the Grist 50, a list that highlights a diverse group of emerging leaders and innovators.
Fix then helps them take their work to the next level with gatherings that equip them with new relationships, resources, and ideas. The Fix editorial team helps to broadcast their stories to the world with its website, social-media channels, and a regular email newsletter, “Shift Happens,” which highlights solutions and the people behind them.
By deliberately pulling in people from across sectors, backgrounds, and experiences, the program has illuminated missing links and launched new collaborations. Policy experts have learned from artists about ways to inspire; farmers have learned from attorneys about structuring land transactions; community organizers have learned from academics about building a fact base.
Last year, Fix helped create a $20 million pro bono legal fund that supports Fixers like Davida Herzl, the CEO of Aclima, who’s planning to disseminate air pollution sensors across developing countries, and Catherine Flowers, founder of the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise, who’s developing solutions to rural-health and economic issues in the South.
“The goal is to build an engaged, solutions-focused network of leaders from a diverse range of disciplines,” Giller says, “and a public that is actively pushing for the network’s solutions to take root.”