The City of Boston and Down2Earth, a sustainable living expo coming to the city this April 3rd through 5th, have teamed with to help the final nine semi-finalists tell their story and get backers for their ideas as they compete for first price in the “Pitch the City” contest.

Changents is a truly innovative online platform where individuals and grass roots organizations can grow, nurture and expand their own mission for change and is uniquely suited to the task.

I first spoke with Changents co-founder Deron Triff last July for a post in called How to Be a Rock Star Agent of Change.

Not just another social networking site

Founders Deron Triff and Alex Hoffman founded Changents with a their own mission to utilize the full potential of Web 2.0 technology to empower grassroots change agents, but the idea of a basic social networking platform is just the launching pad of the site. Changents is as much an attitude as it is a technology driven web property, and the idea behind the attitude is to help connect “rock star” agents of change with a fan base of supporters.

Change agents are able to broadcast their story through a variety of channels, and fans can support their favorite change agents or causes through a number of roles, from a simple “Fan” to “Buzz Builder”, “First Responder” or “Advocate”. Depending on how a Change Agent has set up their story, supporters can choose any or all of these roles as they follow the Agent’s activity and mission.

The actions we all take in life create ripples of cause and effect, and it is those ripples of one individual action fostering another that Changents is based. Founders Triff and Hoffman believe that by empowering grassroots change from the bottom up, anything is possible.

Pitch the City finalists use Changents to promote their best ideas

The idea behind the Pitch the City contest is to engage the people in the Boston metro area and seek their input on ways to make Boston a greener city. According to Jim Hunt, Boston’s Chief of Environmental & Energy Services the response to Pitch the City showed a broad range of creative ideas and community support, “We received more than 100 entries and are enthusiastic about the wealth of creative ideas they contain. The breadth of inventive projects proposed by residents as young as age 11 is impressive.  Boston truly is a city of innovative thinkers and Pitch the City is an ideal way for anyone to help us turn Beantown into Greentown!”

And the nine finalists for Pitch the City are…

  • Shaina Glidden, Cambridge, MA: Implement “Go Car Free Day” by the end of 2009.
  • Alexander Lee, Concord, NH: Get more people to hang out (their laundry).
  • Jess Lerner, Brookline, MA: Boston minds think green – a public action and awareness campaign.
  • John McCavanagh, Boston, MA: Reduce waste using reusable water bottles instead of single serving bottled water.
  • Joseph Porcelli, Jamaica Plain, MA: Use a mug. Reduce waste. Get a discount!
  • Alexandra Reilinger, Jamaica Plain, MA: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle Mural Project.
  • Eran Segev, Cambridge, MA: Increase awareness of, and incentivize, alternatives to driving through a pedestrian-oriented “citizen’s passport” to make walking, biking, and alternative transportation more fun, educational, rewarding and good for business.
  • Mary Beth Vogel, (Back Bay), Boston, MA: Reduce air and noise pollution in Boston by using greener (less noisy) gardening methods.
  • Katherine H. Walsh, West Roxbury, MA: Increase the community involvement, efficiency and success of “Grow Boston Greener,” Boston’s tree planting initiative.

Now Bostonians (and anyone) can back their favorite semi-finalists through a special “partner” application developed by the Changents team and used for the first time with the Pitch the City contest. The Chagents platform seamlessly merges with the contest’s chosen semi-finalists, enabling them to mobilize support for their efforts and gain exposure to their particular idea or cause aimed at making their community better.

The semi-finalists all submitted a more detailed proposal last week to the Pitch the City team, who will then narrow the field of contestants down to four finalists on March 17th. The four finalists will give a 15-minute pitch to a jury including Boston mayor Thomas Menino at the Down2Earth sustainable living expo on April 5.

Are you a Change Agent?

Chances are many folks reading this post are themselves agents of change or have a particular cause they follow and support. Why not check out Changents and see how you can make a difference, what “ripple of positive change” you can make? Even bloggers like yours truly can be Change Agents, and if I can do it, so can you!

Image credit: Down2Earth