There was a time when concerns about the future of communities arose when changing preferences shifted people’s activities. When the lanes were no longer booked on Thursday evenings for leagues and bowling balls were being sold at garage sales, predictions of cultural decline became fodder for those who watch such things.
But about the same time, church basements were seeing a lot less of the ladies who know how to fill the fifty-cup aluminum coffee maker. As new generations come through communities, their preferences change. The inclinations to be supportive of a community or devote time to causes or charitable endeavors do go up in smoke in some sort of generational existential crisis. They simply find new marletplaces.
The volunteer firefighter model is on its way out. Half a century ago perhaps as much as a third of the firefighters were volunteers. Becoming part of the force was a competitive process. It was a position that held prestige. The men would hang out at the station house in shifts waiting for the next deadly blaze. Now most firehouses are staffed by paid employees or transitioning to such an arrangement.
One could speculate that why men don’t want to pile in and hang out in the cramped quarters of an aging firehouse. But I think it is a mistake to assume the men of today lack an impulse for civic duty. They are most probably exerting efforts elsewhere in their family or work structures. Many workplaces now offer opportunities to partner with non-profits. Many non-profits offer opportunities to become involved.
Environmental Initiative is an intermediary which is driven by a desire to improve the environment.
Currently, it is estimated that 25% of passenger vehicles cause 90% of vehicle air pollution. Older cars often have outdated or broken emission controls and exhaust equipment. By partnering with garages to repair broken emissions systems, Environmental Initiative is cleaning up some of the highest polluting cars on the road while reducing barriers to reliable transportation.
Partner garages provide low- or no-cost repairs to emission control systems. This allows car owners to reduce their car’s emissions and prioritize paying for other repairs necessary for the safety and drivability of their car.
This type of interface between people who have skilled labor, and most probably some idle time, and those who voluntarily support a cause, like pollution control, is an excellent matching game. There is an arbitrage opportunity between the former group which loses little by helping and the latter group which will be vigilant to the appropriate disbursement of reimbursements.