All posts in Philanthropy

Party With A Purpose

Party With a Purpose 1

What a weekend it was! I took off Friday to help my sweet Bear as he had his wisdom teeth taken out. Poor guy, he’s still on the mend…hopefully he’ll be back in action in the next few days! And while most of my weekend was devoted to playing nurse, Saturday I took on another role, that of hostess along with three of my girlfriends and we hosted a Party with a Purpose to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Corporate Hero Circle.

It was a great afternoon and, aside from a short 10 minute rain shower, it was a beautiful day and so much fun! We had a fun band, Lager and the Fatties, who kept the crowd entertained and dancing, lots of yard games, and a pretty amazing raffle. All told, we raised over $1600 for the American Cancer Society! Not to shabby for an afternoon backyard party! If you would like to take part in our fight against cancer, I would be so honored to have your support with a donation to my Corporate Hero Circle fundraising efforts. To donate, simply click here. You have until June 15th to donate, should you choose to. Many thanks in advance for your support!

Here are a few snaps from the party! Thanks to everyone who came out to support the American Cancer Society!

Tabitha, Meredith, Lacey and I...the hostesses!

Tabitha, Meredith, Lacey and me…the hostesses!

Two Stock the Bar Raffle Packages

Two Stock the Bar Raffle Packages

PWAP Crowd

Yard Games

Lovely Ladies

Lovely Ladies

 

Thanks again to everyone who came out! And if you, too, would like to donate to support the American Cancer Society, click here to be taken to my donation page. Happy Monday!

My Oklahoma-Shaped Heart

Oklahoma

I’ve tried to start this post some 10 or 15 times but never really know what to say. I am heartbroken by the tragedy the struck Moore, Oklahoma in the form of a monstrous tornado yesterday afternoon, just one day after another significant tornado in Shawnee, Oklahoma…and less than a week after the tornadoes that ripped through Granbury, Cleburne and other parts of North Texas.  I can’t remember a tornado season like this in these parts.

After spending four of my best years of life in Oklahoma for college, the state, and particularly the Norman area (just south of Moore) will forever hold a special place in my heart. It’s where I learned to live on my own, and to loosen up and enjoy myself more, and where I made the best friends I will EVER have…my forever friends. And because of that, I still have a lot of ties to the area. I guess what made yesterday’s tornado seem even bigger to me was realizing just how many people I love and hold dear were directly the path of that tornado’s destruction. My youngest sister, Caroline, is in school at the OU Health Sciences Center in OKC and she lives in Norman, her boyfriend’s parents and grandmother live in Moore, one of best friends, Ashley, lives on the Norman/Moore borderline…and that’s just to name a few of the many.

I was texting Caroline like a crazy, overprotective mother yesterday making sure she was safe and out of harm’s way. I was praying over Ashley’s storm cellar doors on Facebook….I was totally consumed by the enormity of this thing.  The photos of the devastation are almost mind-numbing. It doesn’t really seem possible. And then the children. Oh the children, Lord. I got home and just sort of dissolved into tears. I couldn’t help it.

OklahomaLRG

But just like good ol Toby Keith said, Moore (and really Oklahoma as a whole) is “strong and will persevere.” There is work to be done and rebuilding to start. What has happened cannot be changed. We can only learn from it and get on with it. We now have a duty to lift this community up in prayer, and to get down and dirty helping them rebuild and repair however we can. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • American Red Cross: Make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999,  donate online or over the phone at 1-800-RED-CROSS
  • Salvation Army: Make a $10 donation by texting STORM to 80888, donate online or over the phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
  • Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief Volunteers: Make a donation online .
  • Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: Text FOOD to 32333 or donate online.

I know there are many more and I absolutely encourage you to share resources if you have them! I know sometimes it’s hard to know how to help when something like this happens. Take it from me, with my non-profit experience, if you have any money to give I PROMISE that is the best thing right now. That way they can get the items they most need, and the people who are trained in recovery and cleanup can do the work they are made to do.

My heart is with you, Oklahoma!

Get Up And Give

 

North Texas Giving Day

 

As most of you know, in my day job (that’s really more like a day, night, weekend and while I’m sleeping job) I have the tremendous honor of raising money for the American Cancer Society, and have done the same for several other outstanding nonprofits.  I normally try to keep this space clear of too much work stuff because if I didn’t it would become overrun with me promoting all of the really amazing things we are doing (really amazing!). But that said, today is a special day.  Today, you have the opportunity to make your dollars go farther, and make a bigger impact on the causes close to your heart, because today is North Texas Giving Day!

We are all feeling the strain of a tighter economy–dollars are harder to come by and the ones we have don’t seem to go as far as they used to–and our area nonprofits are feeling the pinch as well.  This is your chance to make a difference in your community and make your gift even bigger.

Every $25+ donation given today between 7 a.m. and midnight through DonorBridgeTx.org, will receive a percentage of $1 Million in matching funds from the Communities Foundation of Texas. Plus there are various cash prizes and incentives awarded throughout the day based on the giving activity to each organization. Last year’s giving day raised $10.7 Million, in ONE DAY, for over 600 local nonprofits. Incredible.

With over 1000 area organizations to choose from this year (full list here), I promise you there is an organization that does great work in an area that matches up with your heart and passions, and would love your support today.  Honestly, looking through the list, there are SO MANY organizations I would love to support if I could.

Not to play favorites, because I truly believe any and all of these organizations are deserving of your support, but a few I hope you will consider giving to include:

  • The American Cancer Society — We are the largest non-government funder of cancer research in the country and our research program was recently named the number one research program in the country by an independent body.
  • Child Study Center — I had the great privilege of working here for several years and I believe in the great work they are doing for children with developmental disabilities and their families. It’s unbelievable how dedicated the doctors and clinicians and teachers and tutors are to helping these special children out.
  • Dallas Black Dance Theater and TITAS — The arts have been such an important part of my life for as long as I can remember and helped shape the person I am today. There are so many incredible arts organizations to choose from–really, I can’t even believe I narrowed it down to two–but these two really taught me the tremendous respect and deep love I have for dance. I will never forget the first time I saw Dallas Black Dance Theater perform at the Dallas Dance Festival, way back in the day (like, 15 or 16 years ago), and how differently I looked at dance from that point on. And then the truly world-renowned talent that TITAS brings to our area every year–seeing Rasta Thomas dance in the TITAS Command Performance is one of the great moments in dance I’ve seen. The arts are so important to our community and so often the organizations that see their donations most heavily impacted in times of economic downturns. Please, support an arts organization.
  • The Writer’s Garret — I just recently discovered this gem of an organization and am looking forward to getting involved with in their programs. The Writer’s Garret promotes literacy and writing through workshops, readings, and school literacy programs and gives like-minded writers and readers a community for thought and learning and exploration.
  • Friends of the Dallas Public Library — Because books are cool and everyone should have access to them. Plus they are partnering with D Magazine for a great program called The Big Read through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in which the whole city is going to read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and your gift of $25 can buy the book and enrichment materials for five Dallas ISD students. That is awesome.

So yeah, do what you can, give what you can, and help make a difference. We have the power to make our community, our world, a better place. And if you don’t have spare change to give, that’s okay! Find an organization you are passionate about and  consider giving a little of your time.

Do it. Not only will it help others who need it, it’ll help you too. Because we are all in this thing called life together.

 

 

April 5th: One Day Without Shoes

It’s amazing how one person, one company, one organization with a mission can create such a tremendous movement in such little time, if they are truly passionate about their cause, and have a strategy to make it happen. 

Toms is one of those companies.

I had the pleasure of seeing the company’s founder, the oh-so-endearing Blake Mycoskie, speak at a fundraising conference several weeks ago and what he had to say has had such a huge impact on me in the time since. You’ve heard of Toms by now, right? I ask because sitting there in a room full of thousands of fundraisers, I was astonished at how many of them had not.  The thing is, this guy operates his business, and understands the unending nature of the needs he works to meet, in a way that so many non-profits miss the mark on.

It’s funny how some things happen.

As he tells it, Mycoskie was on a sort of soul-searching trip in South America, feeling burnt out with his current business venture and needing some time away. While enjoying an afternoon at one of the wineries in Argentina, he overheard a small group of people talking about the shoe drive they were coordinating for the next day and struck up conversation with them. Blake joined them for their shoe drive and, after a day of asking for shoe donations and delivering them to those in need, he felt good and was ready to move on with his trip, feeling like he’d accomplished something, helped someone less fortunate.  

As they were wrapping up, one of the shoe drive coordinators said, this is good, but what happens when the kids grow out of these shoes, or they get holes and are unwearable?  And therein lies the million dollar question—the question that would shape the future company.

“Did we actually do good, or did we just make ourselves feel good?”

And thus, Toms was born. As Blake will tell you, giving feels good, and that’s a good thing. It’s also good for business. Seeing an issue with actually meeting the needs of these shoeless children in Argentina, and knowing there were/will be many more throughout the world, Blake knew a one-time shoe drive really wasn’t doing much good. To affect change, there had to be a sustainable business model. One that could produce results for years to come, without depending on the deep pockets of a few wealthy individuals or corporations to keep the doors open and the charity flowing.

By building a for-profit company, with a heart for creating change, Toms operates on a one for one model which allows the company to generate enough revenue to sustain company production, and further spur growth, while allowing them to donate shoes at the same level. For every pair of shoes purchased, a pair of shoes is donated. The purchasers essentially become the benefactors. And what’s not to love about that?

Still not convinced? Within just five months of selling its first pair of shoes out of Blake’s apartment, they had sold 10,000 and completed their first shoe drop in Argentina.  By September of 2010, just four years later, Toms had sold 1 Million pairs of shoes, and donated as many throughout the world.

Tomorrow, April 5th, is Toms’ annual One Day Without Shoes. The company has an army of believers who have signed on to go without shoes for the day, or at least part of it, in order to spur conversation about the issues that come with not wearing shoes. This conversation, in turn, will hopefully cause more to spring to action which, therefore, results in change.  

 It’s so easy for us to feel like such small fish in the gigantic pond of life, and that we as individuals just can’t affect change on a major scale. But then someone comes along to prove us wrong by showing us that they did it, and maybe, just maybe, we can too.

 Will you be wearing shoes tomorrow?

all photos courtesy of Toms.

Bloggers Day of Silence

I posted earlier in the week about the tragedy in Japan and found many of you were feeling the same helplessness that I was. With each day, it seems the news just continues to get worse. The devastation is astounding and the threat of a nuclear meltdown is looming.

As I’m sure many of you have heard by now, the ladies over at Ever Ours and Utterly Engaged have teamed up to launch an initiative called For Japan With Love to support an amazing organization called ShelterBox.

Shelter Box is among the valiant first responders when international natural disaster tragedies strike. According to their website, “Each large, green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items.” We often forget that these most basic essential items are hard to come by when disaster strikes. ShelterBox makes survival possible for those who have lost everything.  

In addition to raising funds for this great organization, Ever Ours and Utterly Engaged have organized a Bloggers Day of Silence to raise awareness and allow us all time to give back and reflect. I will be taking part, along with HUNDREDS of other bloggers, and as such, will not be posting tomorrow. I strongly encourage you to use Friday to do some research and find out how you would best support Japan. Of course, I think Shelter Box would be a wonderful choice, and I’ve also mentioned the Red Cross, but there are many other deserving organizations who might fit your taste better. Whatever you decide, extend a helping hand to those most in need.

And now…shhhhhhhhh…..

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