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June 2013

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Wish Upon a Wedding

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”

 Rabindranath Tagore

wish upon a wedding military

June brides, oh the fun and love of a glorious summer wedding! There is truly nothing better than celebrating love with a great June wedding. However, for many people the reality of a wedding day is simply not an option due to unforeseen circumstances such as health, terminal illness or other serious life altering events.

While we have all heard of the Make a Wish Organization that grants wishes for terminally ill children, who has ever heard of Wish Upon a Wedding? A brilliant idea founded in 2010 by Sacha Souza, a wedding coordinator who saw the need to grant these special memories to people who needed them most.

Sacha wanted to create the world’s first wish granting organization that would celebrate the courage, determination and spirit of couples facing hardships by granting their wedding wishes. Wish Upon a Wedding takes care of all the details, once a wish has been granted. These couples get to enjoy their day being surrounded by the love of close family and friends.

Now that is something to celebrate!

Charity Matters.

 

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HopeMob

HopeMobWhile I am not the most tech savvy girl around, I do love ways that technology can make a difference in someone’s life. When I come across inspiring ideas, I simply need to share. Since I can’t save the world, but rather make a little difference everyday where I can, I thought this might be something you might enjoy as well.

This new technology is called HopeMob and its  exactly what it sounds like – a mob of people bringing hope.

Just as Flash Mobs dance and bring spontaneous joy and laughter, HopeMob will bring caring strangers together to create sudden, yet organized relief and hope all over the world! HopeMob’s mission is to see a need and swarm it.

The founders are two young guys named Shawn King and Brad Kellough and they are some of the most respected social entrepreneurs and humanitarians in the world. Their social media and web projects have raised over $5,000,000 for charity, received over 100 million web hits, and recently won the Mashable Award for Most Creative Social Good Campaign.

Who knew a mob could be such a great thing? I guess anything that brings hope, is always great.

Charity Matters.

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And the survey says….

giving away moneyThe other day I read an amazing article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy by Holly Hall. Her article broke down the results from a recent survey done by U.S. Bank,  that interviewed  seven hundred millionaires and billionaires. The results were shocking and wonderful.

The big shocker was that giving money away to good causes is the most satisfying part of life, for at least half of America’s millionaires and billionaires.  It seems that philanthropy ranked as more important than possessions and lifestyle. Wait, this gets even better, the youngest in this category (18-32) ranked philanthropy as the number one thing they most enjoyed. More than half of these young donors said that they learned the value of giving from their families.

The reasons these wealthy donors give does not appear to be any different from any other donor.

  • About 80 percent cited “creating a positive impact on issues or causes while still alive.”
  • About 76 percent said “supporting charities has a positive impact on society.”
  • About 54 percent listed “setting an example for family members.”
  • About 25 percent cited “the ability to define their legacy.”

The reason I loved this survey so much is that it goes against what the media continues to portray about wealth to our youth. Our teenagers watch the Kardashians and NBA players driving Bentleys and want to be like these stars. When the reality is these young donors are getting more pleasure from sharing than from anything else. Who knew?

It seems that sharing and giving makes us all feel good, rich or poor.

Charity Matters.

 

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The Lulu and Leo Fund

LuluandLeoFundI am forever inspired by people’s ability to funnel their pain into good. It’s like being an alchemist, someone who can turn metal to gold. This story is just that. Turning pain into joy.

The Krim family were a happy family  with three young children when tragedy took two of their children away. Lulu (6) and Leo (20 months) were killed by their nanny while their parents were at work. A loss so huge, violent and beyond any comprehension, it seemed beyond unbearable for any parent to survive.

Yet, rather than turn to the sadness, the Krim family has decided to turn towards the light and honor the beautiful lives of their son and daughter by creating the LuluandLeoFund. Their children loved their art classes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and when the Krim’s realized that many children didn’t have access to such programs they decided to act.

“We created the Lulu & Leo Fund to help more children benefit from these education experiences in art and science. ”

May 28th would have been Lulu’s 7th birthday and the Krim family has just announced that they are expecting a baby boy in the fall. It is pure alchemy. Metal to gold and pain into joy.

Charity Matters.

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Summertime!

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

summertime lakeTo new beginnings and memories for a wonderful summer!

Charity Matters.

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Happy Father’s Day

McNif036I may have mentioned before that my Dad has died, more than a few times, and is still here to talk about it. Yes, its true. My Dad has seen the light, twice after a horrible car accident and then more recently, he died in spin class and was resuscitated.  Today, he still sits behind me in spin class (no longer on the same bike) and is healthy, happy and alive.

Sometimes, Dad’s get taken for granted. They are the guys in the back round who are silently making things happen.  For me, it may have taken these 3 near death experiences to truly appreciate what a remarkable guy my dad is.  What makes him remarkable is probably the same things that make you remarkable. His dedication to his family, his faith and his ability to simply keep going.

I asked him once, shortly after my parents car accident, how was he coping with all the loss? His answer, “Just like everyone else, I put one foot in front of the other and simply keep going.” That may sound simple but in fact it’s not. We all have obstacles, road blocks in our way. My dad, in this moment, had lost his wife, his best friends and almost his own life and yet he just kept going.

We hear over and over to teach our children by example. My dad isn’t one to talk a lot, but teach us by example he has. He has never missed an important anything in our lives or his grandchildren’s lives. He has never missed a sunday mass or anything that has to do with family. He doesn’t talk about it he just “simply keeps going.”

So this Father’s Day, I wanted to give a special shout out to my dad and thank him for always showing us what is important. I love you Dad and hope you “simply keep going” for a very long time and until then, I’ll catch you in spin class.

Happy Father’s Day!

Charity Matters.

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Just one more..

malibu class of 2011Trust me, I know graduation week is a long one. So many speeches, so many ceremonies and so much celebration. So when a friend of mine sent this to me…I thought I can’t do it..not one more speech…..but then when I heard this little boy speak, he opened my heart with his words.

A week ago I asked each of you to give yourself the gift of listening to Steve Job’s speech and thousands of you did. So  today, I will ask you to do the same….just one more. His message is a gift.

 

In the wise words of young Winston Churchill, what have you learned today? More importantly, who have you helped?

Charity Matters.

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Ahhh…. birthdays!

hmj making a wishTomorrow is just another day like any other except that it is the marking of another year passing. I have so many friends that dread these days which justify the wrinkles and sadly few left that embrace their birthday. When we were little, we loved the cone-shaped hats, the friends, the candles. When and why did that change?

Well for me, it hasn’t. I am still a birthday girl. I love everything about them. First and foremost it is the friends and family that reach out, people I love, I miss or I just simply really enjoy. How fantastic to have one day a year when all those people simply say hello? Honestly, that is my favorite part of birthdays.

The other thing that birthdays have brought in the past few years is a time of reflection and gratitude.  I am so grateful that I am alive, I am healthy and that I get to celebrate another magical year of living. That is a beautiful gift and one that I never take for granted.

Birthdays are also a time to see where I am. What have I accomplished this year? Being born in June, it’s a nice half-year assessment mark. Looking back and acknowledging any goal accomplished and looking ahead with all of the new ones I can’t wait to tackle.

I am in my late forties now and to me I’m just getting going. I have a whole second half of life beginning. How exciting is that? So tomorrow, I will be soaking up the calls, the friends, the love and the moments. Something we should all do everyday, even if it’s not our birthday.

I might pass on the cone-shaped hat this year but I will enjoy blowing out all those candles, even the extra one!

Charity Matters.

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Congratulations graduates, yes, you old ones too!

Graduation is only a concept.  In real life every day you graduate.  Graduation is a process that goes on  until the last day of your life.  If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference. 

Arie Pencovici

graduation blk and whiteWith that I challenge all you graduates, new and old, to ask your selves. Are you graduating everyday? If so, are you making a difference?

Charity Matters.

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Girls Write Now

Girls write nowThe echo of Steve Job’s graduation speech is still in my ears, “connect the dots of your life.” Somedays, I stare at the blank page before me and simply do not see the dots. Today is not one of those days. The dots begin to connect.

My head swirls with the multiple graduation ceremonies I will attend this week, some for friends, others for schools I am involved with. These thoughts of graduation bring so many dots to the forefront. How did these young men and women get from freshman year to this moment of graduation? How did they connect their dots?

Chances are they had mentor to guide them. A teacher, parents, a counselor or perhaps even a volunteer who showed them the way.

As I stared at my blank page looking for a story to share, the dots began to come together when I came upon the story of Girls Write Now. A non-profit that does just that, mentors inner city girls by connecting them with television writers, Pulitzer prize winners, school principals and other women writers.  These connections provide the singular purpose to guide these girls through the four years of high school, to find their voice and to get into college.

In 1998, Maya Nussbaum set out to create an organization where girls could have ” A real live role model.” Her mission was to provide guidance, support, and opportunities for at-risk and underserved girls from New York City’s public high schools to develop their creative, independent voices, explore careers in professional writing, and learn how to make healthy school, career and life choices.        

Today, fifteen years later, Maya has done that and so much more. Girls Write Now has served over 4,500 girls and 100% have gone onto college. Which brings it all back to graduation and the dots. As a woman, a writer, a non-profit founder and someone who believes that education changes lives, this spoke to me. My dots came together today on this page for you, just as I will proudly sit and watch all those dots come together in that singular moment for all those graduates this week.

Steve Jobs was write 🙂 …… Connect the dots of your life.

Charity Matters.

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A message from the grave

steve-jobs-stanfordIn the spirit of the season, with graduations everywhere, I decided to take a stroll through some epic commencement addresses, a journey longer than most graduation ceremonies I might add. Of all the speeches I listened to the one that I simply could not walk away from, fast forward or forget was Steve Job’s speech at Stanford.

I have written and delivered many speeches in my lifetime but never a graduation speech. Steve Job’s words, ideas and stories spoke to me from the grave. So, I know it isn’t short but if you give your self a gift today, a small moment. Make it this.

 

As Steve Jobs said, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” Using your time to do what you love and make a difference for the world is a choice and a gift.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.