Project History of the Happiness Alliance home of The Happiness Initiative and Gross National Happiness Index

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Project history of the Happiness Alliance, home of The Happiness Initiative and The Gross National Happiness Index.

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Project History of the Happiness Alliance home of The Happiness Initiative and Gross National Happiness Index

  1. 1. Project History Happiness Alliance The Happiness Initiative & Seattle Area Happiness Initiative
  2. 2. You may find our organization called Happiness Alliance, Happiness Initiative, Seattle Area Happiness Initiative, Happy Counts (our URL address) and or other names people make up! This document explains the reason for the confusion. We are willing to live with this kind of brand blurring as we feel it most important that we provide tools and resources to areas so they can conduct their Happiness Initiatives and use the GNH index. We do ask people to refer to us as Happiness Alliance.
  3. 3. Timeline 2010: project began as Sustainable Seattle’s fifth iteration of regional sustainability indicators. 2011 (early): issued the Seattle Area Happiness Report to the Seattle City Council. Gross National Happiness indicator borrowed from Victoria Happiness Index Project by permission of Pennock. 2013: Name change to Happiness Alliance to support other areas and reduce confusion as so many communities calling their projects “Happiness Initiative.” 2011 (late): Happiness Initiative as a project within Sustainable Seattle began working with communities in the US and abroad. 2012: IRS recognizes Happiness Initiative as a 502(c)3 not-for-profit entity Gross National Happiness Indicator developed by Happiness Alliance and San Francisco State University, based on Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness philosophy. See the “For Researchers” page at www.happycounts.org for full methodology. Indicator history:
  4. 4. Happiness Alliance’s projects include the Happiness Initiative and the Gross National Happiness Index survey. The survey was inspired by Bhutan’s work to measure Gross National Happiness (GNH) and a global movement to superseded merely economic metrics (such as wealth, profit and gross domestic product) with well-being, happiness and sustainability metrics. The Happiness Initiative (HI) began as Sustainable Seattle’s (S2) fifth set of regional sustainability indicators. The project was a departure from S2’s 20-year history of objective sustainability indicators. S2 was the first organization to develop local indicators of well-being as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and is widely acknowledged as the first “community sustainability organization” in the United States (Holden 2004). In 1996, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements awarded S2 the “Excellence in Indicators Best Performance” Award. In 2011, it became apparent the Happiness Initiative was a national organization, and so it was spun off as its own entity. The Happiness Initiative gained 501(c)3 status in March of 2012.
  5. 5. The Happiness Initiative began by offering a subjective indicator of well-being anyone could use, called the Gross National Happiness Index. The Gross National Happiness Index is a survey that allows an individual to gain their own assessment of their wellbeing and insight into their own happiness. It can also be used by a group or region to discover out where the community perceives itself to be hurting or thriving. The survey was first offered online in January of 2011, and has been available since then. The first version of the survey was a replication of the survey used by the Greater Victoria Happiness project with permission granted by M. Pennock. Mid-2011, permission was revoked and the Happiness Initiative hired the San Francisco State University to develop a survey based on Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness model and philosophy. Late in 2011, the survey was re-issued and offered online for anyone to take and any group to use.
  6. 6. Between January and June of 2011, data was gathered from survey takers in the Seattle Area, nationally and internationally. The Seattle Area Happiness Report was issued mid-2011 to the Seattle City Council and Seattle-Area community. It provided an analysis based on approximately 2,500 survey takers and comparisons to the larger sample of approximately 7,000 survey takes. The report was used that year by the Seattle City Council to inform budgeting decisions. In 2012, the Happiness Initiatives worked with immigrant and refugee communities* in Seattle. The data gathered told us there is great social inequity in than expected in the Seattle Area The immigrant and refugee communities that used the Gross National Happiness index were provided help in analyzing the well-being of their populations and a small amount of funding to take action based on the results. These are early examples of how happiness data helped policy makers and the community establish a baseline, use data for decision making and venture on the path for a better future for all.
  7. 7. In 2013, the directors of the board decided to change our name to the Happiness Alliance and keep the Happiness Initiative as a program offering tools, resources and inspiration for cities, campuses, communities. We changed our name because so many areas were calling their projects “Happiness Initiative” and using the Happiness Initiative logo. We wanted to support that. We also wanted to clear up confusion between areas using our tools and resources (including the Gross National Happiness Index) and our organization offering those tools and resources. The work of the Happiness Alliance (and our projects, the Happiness Initiative and Gross National Happiness Index survey) is rooted in collaboration. The tools are online and free. Areas all over the US and abroad are conducting their own happiness initiatives. Each project has its own history.
  8. 8. You can see some examples of areas using the Gross National Happiness Index and our other tools and resources on the “Happy Cities, Campuses and Communities” page at www.happycounts.org or here, on the OECD wiki progress site: http://wikiprogress.org/data/organization/happiness -alliance
  9. 9. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead The Happiness Alliance is and always has been a volunteer-run grassroots not-for-profit project.
  10. 10. Your happiness counts. Use the Gross National Happiness Index in your community. Join the Happiness Revolution
  11. 11. Tools, Resources and Knowledge,Tools, Resources and Knowledge, including the Gross National Happinessincluding the Gross National Happiness Index, for a new economic paradigm andIndex, for a new economic paradigm and your happiness.your happiness. www.happycounts.orgwww.happycounts.org

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