The Inaugural New Year’s List Spotlights People and Organizations Who Are Using the Web to Make Their Communities, and the World, a Better Place
A coffee co-op owned by its farmers, a sewing community empowering people of all body shapes and sizes, and a 12-year-old journalist are among those named in WordPress.com‘s first-ever “Anything Is Possible” list for 2019, celebrating 14 extraordinary people and organizations who are using the web to make the world a better place.
This year’s inaugural Anything Is Possible list features nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs, and writers who will be featured in a series of profiles at WordPress.com throughout January.
The New Year is a particularly popular time for starting new websites — up to 20% more sites are created in January than the average — with millions of people making good on plans to build a business, start a blog, or share a big idea. WordPress, now celebrating 15 years, powers more than 32% of all sites on the web.
In conjunction with the Anything Is Possible list, WordPress.com is kicking off its new “Do Anything” brand campaign, with TV, print, and digital spots debuting in January. With ads appearing in print and digital publications and on national TV, Do Anything is the first large-scale national brand campaign for WordPress.com since its launch more than a decade ago. Ads will appear in publications such as The New Yorker, on national TV networks including The History Channel, CNN, National Geographic, and Bloomberg TV, and on various podcasts including The Daily and NPR. The new TV spot, “SmallWorld,” was conceived by New York-based agency Interesting Development.
Here are WordPress.com’s picks for sites that offer inspiration for 2019, where Anything Is Possible:
- NappStar: Congolese-American sisters Melissa and Annette Roche started NappStar, an innovative hair salon specializing in loc hairstyles, after growing up watching their mother work on people’s hair in their community in Maryland. They now operate a thriving business in NYC.
- It Gets Better Project: It Gets Better was launched in 2010 to help LGBTQ+ youth feel supported and connected in the face of bullying and intolerance; over the years, the organization has collected a massive archive of over 60,000 stories all sharing the same theme of empowerment.
- Orange Street News: Hilde Lysiak started her small town’s only newspaper at the age of 9. She’s been serving her community nonstop since then, reporting on everything from snow days to the local drug crisis.
- The Sewcialists: An online global community that brings together sewing and knitting fans committed to celebrating their craft, making it accessible to people of all body shapes and sizes, and focusing on sustainability and empowerment.
- Beer&Body Craft Beer Girls: In an often male-dominated industry and cultural niche, Kate Christensen decided women who enjoy craft beer need to have a safe community space in which to connect, educate one another, and discuss responsible consumption, health, and wellness.
- Stephanie Land: A blog-to-book success story — Stephanie was a single mother facing homelessness when she started blogging about her experiences living with poverty and working as a house cleaner. After going viral a couple of years ago, she now has a new memoir, MAID, coming out in January.
- The Spelling Champ: High-school senior Cole Shafer-Ray finished third at Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2015; after coming so close to winning, he decided to channel his talent and energy into empowering others to excel at competitive spelling bees, starting a successful consulting business.
- Pachamama Coffee: Based in Sacramento, Pachamama Coffee has a powerful story of social entrepreneurship: it’s a grower-owned cooperative through which coffee farmers from Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala, and Perusell their fair-trade beans across farmers’ markets, co-ops, and retailers around the US.
- Ideas Beyond Borders: A nonprofit aiming to correct misinformation and fight against extremist narratives, Ideas Beyond Borders was founded by Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, who arrived in the US as an Iraqi refugee in 2013. The organization focuses on educating and bridge-building via translation, bringing English texts on human rights and adjacent topics to Arabic-speaking communities in the Middle East.
- Rebrand Cities: Founder Hajj Flemings identified a major obstacle for small businesses in American communities, including many owned by people of color: they are still on the analog side of the digital divide. Rebrand Cities works to bridge that gap by bringing small businesses online and opening up new opportunities for small business owners across the country.
- Kelsey Montague: Street artist Kelsey Montague explores the interaction between public art and the human experience, having created street murals in cities including Cape Town, Galway, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Manchester, and New York City. She will be painting a new mural in collaboration with WordPress.com in January, to be featured in Los Angeles.
- Maeband: While pregnant with her fourth child, Holly Kjar was frustrated by the lack of affordable maternity wear. So she teamed up with her mother to create a brand new belly band, and launched a new online business on WordPress.com that allows women to keep wearing their favorite clothes during pregnancy and empowers them to stay active while saving money.
- Faces of Auschwitz: Faced with growing ignorance about the Holocaust among younger people, master photo colorist Marina Amaral decided to bring victims’ stories and humanity to life by colorizing photos from the Auschwitz Museum archives. They can now be explored on the website of the organization she leads, Faces of Auschwitz.
- Corvid Research: Seattle-based wildlife scientist Kaeli Swift launched a WordPress.com blog as a grad student to share the knowledge she’s collected through her research on urban crows. Her site has become a thriving online community for others who share her passion for these fascinating birds — and an entry point into the study of nature for people all over the world.