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March 2012

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Girls with Sole

I might have mentioned before that I am married to a tri-athlete. There is something incredibly unique about this group of people. Their minds are laser focused on impossible goals and they seem to be able to push their bodies to whatever their mind dictates.

Well, this type of focus is nothing new for Liz Ferro, a dedicated tri-athlete and founder of the non-profit Girls with Sole.  Liz believes that sports gave her the personal strength to overcome her childhood abuse in foster care and wanted to share that strength with other girls going through the same challenges. So in 2009 she had an idea.

This quote is on the Girls With Sole website and I think it really says it all.

“Sport has the power to change the world.
It has the power to inspire.
It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.
Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.”
Nelson Mandela

Liz Ferro has done just that, awakened hope for so many girls. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Charity Matters Quote

“Sport has the power to change the world.
It has the power to inspire.
It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.
Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.”
Nelson Mandela

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Tory Burch Foundation

Its Spring! With newly bursting blooms, spring break and spring fashion well, it makes me think of endless opportunities. Spring is just that, it’s about beginnings.

Tory Burch’s story is one of new beginnings as well. Yes, she is a mother of three, an entrepreneur, the CEO and CCO of her famous fashion line but she is also the founder of the Tory Burch Foundation, a non-profit that she launched in 2009.

When creating her business plan she incorporated a plan to give back and to empower other women entrepreneurs through micro finance loans. Her own experiences as a working parent, created a belief that one of the most powerful ways to create change is to economically empower women.

Women are the majority of poor citizens in the United States, with 13 million women living in what the Census Bureau calls “deep poverty”. Single mothers are at the highest risk of poverty and are the most likely to be self-employed entrepreneurs.

 (click link to see CBS news feature on Tory & her non-profit)?id=6160701n&tag=api

The Tory Burch Foundation’s partnered with, ACCION USA, to provide the loans and financial services small business people need to succeed. ACCION USA is a microlender in the United States, that provides loans from $500 to $50,000 to more than 11,000 small businesses nationwide. ACCION USA serves low-to-moderate income clients; 40% are women.

The next time you see the infamous T label, realize that it’s so much more than a shoe or a belt, it is providing thousands of new beginnings to women all over the country. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Why I give

Here in LA, its benefit season. The days are now brighter, longer, the invitations and donation letters begin to pile up in the mail box. With all of the fun and fundraising comes the hours of work and volunteering. Each charity benefit takes hundreds of hours of volunteers to raise funds for the causes that mean so much.

With days spent stuffing envelopes, coordinating logistics from garden tours to fashion shows and everything in between I recently found myself saying why am I doing this? Why do I volunteer? Why do I give?

The answer came to me unexpectedly the other night after a long day of meetings. I was heading to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles for the launch of the Junior Ambassador program, that I am Co-Chairing. I was tired and questioning myself until I heard Manny Hernandez speak.

His story reminded me. Why.

 (click here) video?id=8257849

Manny spoke about his 10-year-old son, Manny III and how he had been a patient at CHLA off and on most of his life. He spoke of his excitement in being able to actually build the new hospital building (he is a construction worker) where his son spent so much time. His pride in both the building and his son were evident. Manny talked about little Manny wanting to be a nurse since he had always been a patient.

When he told us that little Manny died this past December, that his dream of being a nurse wasn’t going to happen but his sisters were studying to carry on that dream well, we all fell apart. This brave and loving Dad sharing his story and love for the hospital and all it had done for his family. It was so real, so beautiful, so brave and so exactly why it is …. we do what we do.

At the end of the day whether it is a stuffed envelope, a phone call, an invitation, a donation, it is all about the people’s lives that we touch. It is those moments when brave men like Manny Hernandez share their pride in giving that makes you realize that everything we do matters. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Beginnings

                “All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.”

                                                  Albert Camus

Loved this quote as Charity Matters is all about the beginnings of non-profits and how one person created goodness. Happy Spring everyone and wishing you all a season of endless new beginnings. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Charity Matters Quote

“The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.”

Francis Maitland Balfour

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

As a child I was always told that I was, “Irish as Paddy’s pig.” So what Irish girl doesn’t love some great Irish proverbs? So in honor of tomorrow here are a few I thought you might enjoy.

A little kinship is better than a lot of charity.

A word is more enduring than worldy wealth.

He who comes with a story to you brings two away from you.

People live in each other’s shelter.

What fills the eye fills the heart.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Wishing you a very Happy St. Patricks Day and blessings on you all.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

People say that there are angels among us and when you hear Laura Herzog’s story you will believe she is one of them.

Laura Herzog’s first day of work as a public affairs officer, at the Joint Forces Training Base was on Nov.10, 2009. That was the day her life was changed forever. The reason;  a 21-year-old Marine named Lance Cpl. Justin Swanson, from Camp Pendleton, that was killed in Afghanistan when a bomb exploded underneath his Humvee. Laura learned that  she would be assisting in a dignified transfer of remains.

This was her first soldier that was coming home and she was determined to ensure that she did everything in her power to help his grieving family.  She went to his family’s home to meet his family, to listen to the kind of person he was and then she arranged a heroes return with an honor precession with hundreds of people lining the street to honor him.

Lance Cpl. Justin Swanson was sadly the first of many fallen soldiers that Laura helped to honor, until the military cutbacks resulted in her losing her job. Rather than giving up in what she had started, she founded a non-profit called, Honoring Our Fallen Heroes.

Laura’s non-profit work isn’t just about funerals and processions, it can be anything from connecting a family to grief counseling services, delivering toys during the holidays, driving to deliver a son’s belongings to his parents, cleaning a gravestone or reaching out on a birthday. They pick up where the military ends.

As Laura said, “In my mind, it was more like, ‘How could I not start this?’ Not why. Every situation is different and every Family is different — but they are all Heroes — and deserve proper respect during the most difficult time of their lives.”

Laura Herzog is an angel that makes Charity Matter.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Give and Take Tees

As you all know by now there is nothing I love more than that moment, that spark that inspires someone to turn passion into action. Its always unexpected and inspiring and Shea Mullen of Give and Take Tees moment is no different.

Shea’s moment didn’t turn into a non-profit but an incredibly cool way to support them.

In Shea’s words:  “It started out about my story. I had been designing t-shirts for about 15 years and was looking to do something more authentic and positive. I have multiple sclerosis, I have a nephew with epilepsy, and my mom died of cancer, but my parents always taught me to turn my challenges into something positive, so I thought, what can I do with that? I was thinking and then one day I saw a college-aged kid wearing a t-shirt that said “1979 Dance-a-thon for Leukemia” and I went up to him and said, “Where did you get your shirt? It fits great, it’s a perfect wash, great graphic…” and he said, “Oh, I got it at Goodwill.” So it was a real shirt, it had been a real event and I thought these charities, these domestic American charities, are being sort of forgotten about – like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy or the American Heart Association –

So why don’t I contact these organizations and see if I can recreate events they did or make up some fictitious ones that would have been events to raise money and create t-shirts around it and donate money back. I’d bring them to the stores that I’ve sold to, great department stores and boutiques that will raise awareness and get a whole new demographic talking about autism and talking about these challenges.

So I just started calling them and working with them and now what started out with my story has become about other people’s stories, which is my favorite part of the whole business. I get emails from people every day saying, “I bought your shirt because…” Some just say “It’s a cool shirt, I love how it fits,” but most people say they bought it because of their relationship to one of the causes or their boyfriend’s niece has epilepsy or their mom had cancer, and I love that. I love that it’s become other people’s stories. Then, we started reaching out more globally.”

Give and Take Tees gives 20 percent of the proceeds of each shirt going to the respective organization.  Shea’s moment turned her job into a passion and makes a difference for so many.

As Shea said, “I think there’s something for everyone and there’s a cause for everyone, too.”

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Good Shepherd Center

One of the greatest joys of Charity Matters has been the realization that everyone has a cause they care about and want to share. There is nothing I love more than a friend telling me that I have to hear about their favorite organization and this one is no exception. The Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children found me through a friend and now it has found you.

In 1984, at age 60, Sister Julia Mary Farley and Catholic Charities responded to an increasing number of homeless on the streets of downtown Los Angeles.  She suggested using a former convent as an emergency shelter for the most vulnerable of the homeless population, women and children. These women and children became her focus.

Sister Julia’s mission was to offer shelter and hope for these women. She wanted them to rebuild their lives so they could experience a brighter future for their children. Her dream was to create a “Women’s Village” that would provide housing, job training, employment and other supportive services, to achieve independence.

Today, 27 years later Sister Julia’s dream has become a reality for over 1,000 homeless women and children each year. Every night 93 women and 40 children are off the streets because of her. The work she started has been carried on by Sister Rosaline and the staff at the center.  Good Shepherd Center has impacted the lives of over 25,000 homeless women and children by giving them the support they need to achieve self-sufficient lives.

Sister Julia said it best, “I think, to use whatever God has given you to help other people. We’ve got to make the world a better place, got to keep working at it.”

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Birthdays for Charity

Since today is one of my sons’s birthdays (all 3 have birthdays this month) it seemed only fitting, that rather than receiving something that he doesn’t need, I explore some charitable ideas. Thats when I found Good Card.

The Good Card is a gift card with stored value ( from $10 and up) that can be redeemed as a donation to any of more than 1.2 million charities.  You can send it via email or print it at home. Super easy and meaningful.

So, this year in addition to a little something for him he will get a little something to make a difference for someone else. That is a Happy Birthday! Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Reading Partners

Last week, I had the great fortune to be introduced to an amazing non-profit called Reading Partners. If you are reading this post right now, you are blessed. There are thousands of young children across our country that are not so lucky.

However, it just takes a few people to care about something enough to take action. In 1999, Mary Wright Shaw, Molly McCrory and Jean Bacigalupi saw their neighborhood school in need and launched a reading  program at Belle Haven Elementary School in Menlo Park.  These women saw children that needed help and decided to make a difference. They took their skills as teachers, mothers and entrepreneurs and mobilized a community to join them.

Today, many states count prison beds based on illiteracy numbers. That is just so wrong.  Rather than being reactive Reading Partners is proactive to get in there and simply:

  • Focus on children from low-income communities.
  • Give one-on-one instruction at the student’s reading level.
  • Recruit and train community volunteers to work with children.
  • Partner with high-need elementary schools to offer an effective program on campus.
  • Provide a way for volunteers to give a small amount of their time to make a huge difference in a child’s life.

Their goal is to help children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction and get results. These three women started out with one school and today Reading Partners has over 3,000 volunteers in 65 schools in 5 states…all because a few women cared about their community and committed to making it better.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.