As you know, it’s already been a big year for the HPA. And it’s nowhere near over. I’m extremely excited to share with you a series of three more epically awesome updates.
I was just named an Ashoka Fellow!
“Ashoka Fellows are leading social entrepreneurs who we recognize to have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society. They demonstrate unrivaled commitment to bold new ideas and prove that compassion, creativity, and collaboration are tremendous forces for change. Ashoka Fellows work in over 70 countries around the globe in every area of human need.”
This fellowship offers three years of funding and support, but beyond that, for the rest of my life I will have deep connections to a network of thousands of proven innovators and social entrepreneurs, and that network should open up fundraising, partnership, and expansion opportunities that will be unprecedented and gamechanging for the HPA. See this video interview Ashoka did with me to learn more.
The HPA is expanding from an organization to a movement – which brings me to the next exciting announcement.
I am now HPA President and Director of the Imagine Better Network
As the founder of the Harry Potter Alliance, it is my baby and I treasure it deeply. But when I thought of the idea for the HPA in 2005, it was mainly a way to get to the dream I came up with around 1999: to build what we now call the Imagine Better Network, a larger movement based on the notion that fantasy is not an escape from our world, but an invitation to go deeper into it.
The power of story extends beyond the walls of Hogwarts into all of our most treasured books, TV shows, and movies. It is my role to take the HPA’s methodology of harnessing the power of popular stories and spread it to nonprofits and schools, activist organizations, philanthropists, and Hollywood. In short, I will put forward an Imagination Stimulus Package to expand our civic imagination, so that we can envision and work for a world beyond the injustices in our status quo.
Paul DeGeorge is the new Executive Director of the Harry Potter Alliance
I received the Ashoka fellowship in large part based on my work this year as a Nathan Cummings fellow in social justice innovation. During this time, it became increasingly clear to both Paul and me that his job has evolved more and more to lead the HPA as an organization, while mine was focused on leading the HPA as a movement.
As one of the HPA’s co-founders, a creator of wizard rock, half of Harry and the Potters, and a founder of 21st century fan activism, Paul is an innovative big vision thinker while excelling in the day-to-day skills needed to steward ideas to completion, manage finances, and inspire staff and volunteers to rally around him as a leader.
Please join me in congratulating him as our new forward-thinking captain. Paul is truly one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever met, and one of the most creative human beings on the planet.
As President of the HPA, I will continue to work closely with Paul as we continue to turn fans into heroes and change the world. And while Paul leads the HPA, I will ensure that all of the work the HPA does gets amplified 10,000 times over – when the HPA does something amazing, I will take it to other nonprofits, activists, Hollywood, you name it, and make it 10,000 times more spreadable and amazing.
This is only the beginning of our movement, and I’m honored that you’re part of the journey with me.
The Weapon We Have Is Love!