January Changemaker: Dr. Gregory D.S. Anderson

Happy new year! The UN has declared 2019 as the Year of Indigenous Languages, and will kick it off tomorrow on February 1. It may seem like a small thing, but by one estimate an indigenous language disappears every 14 days. And entire language, gone every 2 weeks! When the world loses a language, not only do those who speak it lose their mother tongue, but all of us lose potentially vital local knowledge of how to combat environmental threats. We also lose another piece of the diversity that makes our earth rich and vibrant. Saving indigenous languages isn’t just a nice pet project, it’s one that can make a huge difference to all of us, no matter what language we speak. Our January changemaker, Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson, has been working to save indigenous languages for over a decade.

Dr. Anderson founded Living Tongues, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the documentation, revitalization, and maintenance of endangered languages, in 2005. Through the partnership between Living Tongues and National Geographic’s Enduring Voices project, Anderson traveled to places like Central Siberia, Bolivia and even Northern California to study, collect, and save indigenous languages. With Dr. K. David Harrison, Anderson developed a new way of looking at languages, identifying “language hotspots” around the globe. These are areas urgently in need of action to save languages.

Through Living Tongues, he has created over 100 talking dictionaries, created digital skills workshops and language technology kits in over a dozen countries, and worked tirelessly to document languages on 5 continents. No matter the language we use to say it, we owe Dr. Anderson a huge “thank you” for his work to save indigenous languages and the important knowledge the represent.

Four Things That Happen When a Language Dies

smithsonian.com 1. We lose “The expression of a unique vision of what it means to be human” Languages around the world are dying, and dying fast. Today is International Mother Language Day, started by UNESCO to promote the world’s linguistic diversity. The grimmest predictions have 90 percent of the world’s languages dying out by the end of this century.


Remembering Dora Manchado, the last speaker of Tehuelche

We received sad news today. On January 4th 2019, the last speaker of Tehuelche passed away. Her name was Dora Manchado, and she was beloved by her community and those who knew her. Tehuelche [teh], also known as Aonekko to local community members, or Patagonian to historians, is a language from the southernmost tip of South America.

Vanishing Voices

One language dies every 14 days. By the next century nearly half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will likely disappear, as communities abandon native tongues in favor of English, Mandarin, or Spanish. What is lost when a language goes silent?

Enduring Voices

By 2013, the Enduring Voices project had completed 15 expeditions, from Australia to South America to India to the California coast. Working with local communities on more than 100 languages, the project team documented the geographic dimensions of language distribution, identified links between biodiversity and linguistic diversity, and recorded and catalogued translations of words and phrases as a resource to help communities teach their native language to the next generation.

Welcome Lauren!

We started off the new year in a great way — by welcoming the fantastic Lauren Golanty to Public Good! Lauren joins us as our Director of Brand Partnerships. As we continue to grow and bring on more partners to do more good, Lauren will be responsible for client success and business development with corporate and non-profit clients.

Lauren’s extensive experience in client relations includes stints in financial services, executive search, legal and not-for-profit organizations. Most recently she spent five years with Riveron, where she grew relationships in the Midwest and lead marketing and public relations efforts nationally. She’s held similar roles at places like Houlihan Lokey (investment banking), Heidrick & Struggles (executive search), venture capital, and legal firms. Translation: she really knows her stuff!

But she’s not ALL business — Lauren’s also very active in her community through volunteering. She serves on the board of directors for Green City Market, and helped found Pilot Light Chefs, a group seeking to introduce food education as a standard component of the Chicago Public School curriculum. She’s also helping us discover some great new podcasts to dive into, and recommending the best menu items at Giant, her favorite place to eat in Chicago.

“I’m excited to join Public Good,” Lauren says. “What we’re doing allows people to make a positive impact on the world in a totally new way, and I want to extend that impact to as many people as possible.” She tells us that her favorite piece of advice has been “Don’t let Great be the opposite of Good,” the mantra of her last boss. It’s the perfect motto for us as we move forward into 2019 with Lauren on the team — doing great things by doing good!

New year, new focus!

Happy 2019! With a new year comes a new focus for Public Good that we’re excited to share with you. Since we launched our platform for nonprofits we’ve gotten to know so many mission-driven organizations doing great things in the world that inspire us daily. And we’ve grown a lot, too! A relatively simple fundraising platform has evolved into an action platform that allows people to make a difference in multiple ways on the issues important to them.

You can make a difference right from your phone as you read the news!

The capabilities of the platform and the potential to reach so many people to do more good make it an ideal tool for organizations who want to make a difference. This year we’ll focus on expanding and refining those capabilities. We’ll continue to partner with leading national and global news outlets like CNN and USA Today to tackle issues like impaired driving, natural disasters, and disease. We’ll continue to use our breakthrough machine learning and matching algorithm to give readers meaningful actions for the particular story they’re reading. And now through partnerships with large nonprofits like the Arbor Day Foundation, as well as other mission-driven brands and companies like Unilever, our innovative impact units will give readers even more ways to act on issues at the moment they’re inspired to do so.

But wait, there’s more! With our new focus comes a new website, too! Now publicgood.com better reflects our mission to make the news actionable, with information on how Public Good works with the media, nonprofits, and brands to make a difference on important issues. You’ll find everything from our whitepaper “Doing Well by Doing Good” to examples in the news to how you can get started. Take a look around and let us know what you think!

We’re thrilled to start 2019 with a renewed focus on our mission to make a difference, and we’re thankful you’re on the journey with us. We hope you’re renewed and refreshed and ready to make a difference in 2019 too!