Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars!

Exciting news, everyone.

The Harry Potter Alliance, an innovative non-profit run by Brandeis alum Andrew Slack, recently won a $250,000 grant from the Chase Community Giving challenge on Facebook.

Woah dude. Congratulations are in order.

Let me tell you just a bit about the Harry Potter Alliance, and why it’s so great. First off, this what they have to say about themselves:

Did you ever wish that Harry Potter was real? Well it kind of is.

Harry and his friends start a student activist group called Dumbledore’s Army when the adults and politicians of their world fail to address the concerns of the day. The Harry Potter Alliance is a Dumbledore’s Army for the real world.

Just as Dumbledore’s Army wakes the world up to Voldemort’s return, works for equal rights of house elves and werewolves, and empowers its members, we:

  • Work with partner NGOs in alerting the world to the dangers of global warming, poverty, and genocide.
  • Work with our partners for equal rights regardless of race, gender, and sexuality.
  • Encourage our members to hone the magic of their creativity in endeavoring to make the world a better place.

Exciting, huh?

Here’s a more specific example: They might say something like “Hey! Weren’t you weirded out in the books where the Daily Prophet was the only newspaper around? What was up with that? That was Voldemedia – and it’s happening in the real world. That’s why we’ve partnered with the good folks at Free Press to stop it. Here’s how…”

It works really well. They join up with wizard rock and fan communities. (What’s Wizard Rock? Harry and the Potters. Draco and the Malfoys. Remus and the Lupins. All these are actual bands!)

Whereas many groups take existing activists and try to marshal them more effectively or just try to get them to do more (I call it the MoveOn model of online organizing), HPA is different. It grows the pie. It takes people who are passionate about making the world a better place and shows them how.

HPA is impressive. Their model works. They’re one of the most innovative and creative online organizers in the business, and their audience is totally different from all others. They have tons of volunteer staff, and very engaged members. I could go on. Maybe I will. But for now, let me just say this:

Andrew Slack is the man. He just got $250,000. Congrats!