The Commons

the newsmagazine of

The Commons is a free collaborative online newsmagazine about Silicon Valley nonprofits, the people behind them, and the communities they serve. It is written, edited, and produced by students and other volunteers in the valley.


There are hundreds of organizations and thousands of people engaged in good work in the Valley. They feed our hungry, shelter our homeless, heal our sick, teach our children, protect our communities, and give strength to the powerless. Most of all, they provide hope to those who have little or none. Their stories are extraordinary, but are often left untold. The principal mission of this project is to tell these stories.

We live in the age of information, and the future belongs to those who harness the power of knowledge and modern communication. Our schools are nurturing a new breed of leaders in these fields. Our second mission is to give these leaders a platform upon which to practice what they’ve learned in the disciplines of journalism and mass communication, including research, interviewing, writing, editing, photography, illustration, audio/video production, and internet publication.


The Commons uses wiki technology provided by Wikia. Its mission is to enable the world to collaborate on building sources of knowledge that are free for the world to use. Wikia was founded by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, and endorses this project as part of that mission.

Wiki technology is ideal for our purposes, as it enables collaboration in the preparation and publication of our articles. Our editorial staff plans and assigns articles, conducts research and interviews, and assists in editing and publishing the stories. Unlike most online communities, this virtual community is also a real one. Our narrow geographic focus allows us to meet face-to-face, as often as needed.


The success of this community depends upon how well it serves the interests of its members. Nonprofits will gain from exposure. In addition to being published here, their stories may be picked up by major media, through the network of Wikia and other participants. Nonprofit staff and volunteers will get the recognition they deserve, encouraging others to also serve. Students and other contributors will have opportunities to meet and work with people from other schools, nonprofits, government, and media, building their resumes and connections as they practice their craft. The Commons will provide all contributors a venue for personal development, as they engage in a social good. For those of us whose interest is purely philanthropic, participation is its own reward.

About the Editor

Leo Romero was a staff writer and editor of opposition newspapers in the Philippines during the Marcos administration, when press freedom was under fire. He has also been a Red Cross volunteer, an evangelist, a student leader, a union organizer, an organizer of farming cooperatives, an activist for mountain tribes, an environmentalist, and a corporate lobbyist. Leo has worked for the same technology company since 1995. He moved to the valley in 2000, lives in San Jose with his wife of fourteen years, and is the father of five.

How You Can Help
Start writing
Share your thoughts on the discussion page or via email.
For more information on how to advertise your non-profit organization through Human Directionals visit this Sign Directionals website.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.