Hello, Neighbor

07/18/2017 10:26 am ET

Summertime has arrived to my home in Southern California, and it’s got me thinking more than ever about my neighbors. Perhaps it’s because I see them more – after all, it is bike-riding, beach-going, BBQ-ing season. But perhaps it’s also because the acrimony in our world isn’t going away – and the care and compassion we should be showing our neighbors is beginning to.

In my job, I hear a lot of stories; stories from our nonprofit partners who are on the front lines of change-making. Sometimes these stories are upbeat and joyful, but often these stories are filled with hurt and injustice.

We Have to Change the Narrative

The way I see it, the only way we can change the narrative is by designing opportunity. And here’s how we do it: we rely on our creativity, on our drive and on the power of collaboration, and we take action to change something.

Just like Ted Gonder. Ted is working to change the narrative as CEO and co-founder of Moneythink, a movement of young people working to restore the economic health of the U.S. through preventative, transformative, and evidence-driven financial education.

Or Alfa Demmellash, CEO and co-founder of Rising Tide Capital, who is changing the narrative by encouraging economic empowerment for low-income women and minority entrepreneurs.

And at Mercado Global, co-founder and executive director Ruth DeGolia is changing the narrative by helping rural indigenous Mayan women break the cycle of poverty by connecting them to international markets.

If you think you can’t design opportunity, think again. Everyone can do something, from mentoring a child to supporting a social enterprise to helping the vulnerable in your local community. Small actions can have a huge collective impact.

Looking Ahead to 2030

PIMCO recently committed to be a Founding Partner of IMPACT 2030, a newly launched initiative that supports the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals through volunteerism. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are part of a wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and I find it incredible that in September 2015, after three years of negotiation, 193 countries agreed to the SDGs and their 169 targets.

The SDGs tackle a range of issues, from hunger to gender equality to climate change. Above all, the unifying theme spread throughout the goals is the pledge to ending poverty.

I’m particularly excited about IMPACT 2030 because this idea of ‘designing opportunity’ is embedded deep within it. Harnessing the collective efforts of volunteers, from multiple sectors, geographies and industries, is a small step but one with tremendous potential to effect change. Volunteering has always been powerful, but with the collective effort of IMPACT 2030, it just got that much more powerful.

Taking It Back to the Neighborhood

I don’t know about you, but I could do with more hope and optimism in my daily news feeds. I could do with less despair and more joy. And I could definitely do with more somethings being made out of nothings.

We can do this. We can tack a copy of the SDGs to our cubicles or stick them on our refrigerators; we can work toward them with our families, our neighbors and our colleagues.

We can bring care and compassion back to our neighborhoods, and we can create a better world in which we want to live; we just have to take that first small step.

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