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Operation Photo Rescue

Operation Rescue Mission

With the rain pouring down this past week in LA, I have been thinking about something that has literally NEVER occurred to me…a flood. I know, crazy isn’t it? However, floods are reality in many parts of the country and when a flood or natural disaster strikes, the first concern is safety, housing and food. Once those needs are met victims begin the process of recovering their possessions, most especially trying to find and repair their families photos. This is when Operation Photo Rescue steps in to literally rescue a families memories.

In 2006, photojournalists Dave Ellis and Becky Sell launched Operation Photo Rescue after they witnessed victims throwing out treasured family photos that had been destroyed. Their mission became, “Insurance doesn’t restore memories but we do.”

A few weeks after a natural disaster or flood, OPR‘s team of volunteers set up a location where people can begin to bring in the photos they have found to see if they can be saved and restored. The damaged photos are digitally copied and a host of volunteers from around the globe use Photoshop and give hours of time to restore the images.

Over 12,000 photos have been restored thanks to more than 2,000 volunteers around the world. For many of these volunteers the work behind the scenes becomes personal and being able to give families their memories back is a gift.

It seems fitting to end the week where we began, with Aaron Siskind’s quote, “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever…It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

 

Charity Matters.

 

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#GivingTuesday 2016

giving-tuesday-2016

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, a successful black friday, are enjoying your cyber monday and are now ready for the most important day of all…tomorrow’s #GivingTuesday. What is #GivingTuesday, you ask? It is a movement that began in 2012 to celebrate and support giving and philanthropy.

More than that, #GivingTuesday has become a global movement that last year united over 70 countries around the world by sharing our human capacity to care for and empower one another. And today more than ever we need to be doing a little bit more of that…

What I think is even more fantastic, is the volunteering efforts that go along with the day.  If you are not sure where to start then merely go to the #GivingTuesday link here and you will find a list of local volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood. Last year alone over 700,000 people volunteered for clothing drives, tutoring projects and a wide range of activities aimed at helping local non-profits across the country. Almost 40,000 charities, corporate and civic partners registered to officially be a part of Giving Tuesday this year.

Sheila Herring from the Case Foundation was quoted as saying,”The biggest thing for us is that Giving Tuesday directly challenges Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where you have analysts lining up to look at the numbers as a gauge of the health of our economy. What if, as a nation, we focused that kind of attention on giving and we wanted that to be our identity?”

What if? Our world would be a better place. And it already is because what started as an idea, just five years ago, raised over $116,000,000 last year for charities and causes around the world. When we come together in unity, we can make beautiful things happen. I can’t wait to hear what you are doing tomorrow on #GivingTuesday.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

Being an influencer or just being real

influencer

I recently watched a segment on 60 Minutes about “influencers.” Yes, Kim Kardashian and a host of other people I have never heard of all trying to gain favor amongst advertisers for surprise…guess what….our attention…which of course equates to dollars.  I get it, I do.

I don’t write for myself, well kind of, I do… but truth be told I write to inspire people to want to help others. Sounds crazy I know…but the more people who are inspired the more that are helped..it is just that simple. So, in watching the 60 Minutes piece, I probably should have been inspired myself but somehow I felt the exact opposite. The reason being, is influencing others from their vantage point, does not feel authentic, but rather feels sad.

Of course people want to be entertained, they want to watch others glamorous lives, none of this is new. Yet, the need to win over others for something external, is where I am having an internal struggle. How can I judge the Kim Kardashians of the world, when in reality the more people I “influence” the more people I help. That makes me as much a part of this ugly system as the people featured on the show….and for whatever crazy reason, I am having a hard time with that.

No, I am not better or worse than the Kardashians, the youtube makeup artist, the international sensation who does the splits around the globe or a funny guy who cranks out 6 second Vine videos…each person brings their own talent to the world and each of us vie for the same thing…attention. Honestly, a painful truth to admit.

I must confess, for me, it’s not about your “eyeballs” it’s about your heart and your soul. If one person is inspired to do a kind thing for another because of what they have read here…well then my heart is full and my job is done….influencer or not…that is the real deal.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

TED

photo credit: Forbes
photo credit: Forbes

Last weekend, I attended my first TED talk. While I have listened to an occasional talk here and there, I am one of the rare people on the planet who is not addicted or really even familiar with TED. I was even more surprised when I learned that TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a non-profit organization….but isn’t everything these days?

The TED concept was created in 1984 from Richard Wurman’s observation of three amazing fields converging, technology, entertainment and design. The very first TED talks included demos from revolutionary new products, the compact disc and the e-book. However, even with such a wow factor the conference and idea lost money and six years later, in 1990 Richard Wurman tried again and this time it worked.

A decade later, media entrepreneur, Chris Anderson met with Wurman and in 2001 Anderson’s non-profit, the Sapling Foundation acquired TED. Anderson believed in the concepts that make TED great and was determined to seek out the most interesting people on the planet and let them communicate their passion.

 

So as I sat in an auditorium and listened to speakers talk on such topics as, The Future of Women in Science, Troubled Water on water conservation, Transforming Prisons from the Inside, Out, Accepting my transgender daughter, and the list goes on….I was inspired. Each speaker and topic more unique than the previous, and yet they were all the same.

What was it that made this very different group the same? Their passion. Each speaker was passionate about their topic and their passion and insight was real, it was human and the hundreds of us in the audience became one…..and that is the magic of TED.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

 

Friends with Causes

alzheimers-fwc

Last week I was invited to my friend, Alexandra Dwek’s home for another amazing and inspirational evening in support of Friends with Causes. Not book club or bunko but girl’s night with a wonderful speaker, cause and philanthropic goal. We are always surprised by the non-profit, the speaker and are completely engaged and last week’s dinner was no exception.

The first speaker was Kate Edelman Johnson, who shared the journey of her loving husband’s slow deterioration with Alzheimer’s. Kate reached out to her friend’s daughter for guidance, Patti Davis, who been through the journey with her father, Ronald Reagan. Kate spoke about what caregivers and loved ones of Alzheimer’s patients endure with this disease.

Kate began attending Patti’s Beyond Alzheimer’s support group and soon realized that she was in the position to not only support Patti’s amazing work but also the bigger problem of funding Alzheimer’s research. So Kate founded the Deane F. Johnson Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. She told us that without the discovery of new treatments, the number of Alzheimer’s victims will grow from 35.6 million to 65.7 million in 2030.

As we listened to Kate share her journey and then Patti Davis sharing hers, both as a daughter and as someone who has spent the last six years with these families in her work. Patti told us, “You need to be with other people who know what you’re going through, who won’t judge you or dismiss you. Several group members have told me that, before coming to this support group, no one had ever asked them how they were doing.”

These family members become patients too with this disease and it is people like Kate and Patti who take their suffering and turn into hope for others, that continue to inspire.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

Not the only dreamer

earvolution-dream

As we wrap up our week on dreaming big, I can’t let the moment go by unnoticed, that I am not the only dreamer in my family. While my husband and sons enjoy reading Charity Matters, they have been pretty clear that they do not much enjoy being written about.  However, when you are married to an entrepreneur who has spent the last two years dreaming of a product and that dream becomes a reality….well I had to make the exception….whether he likes it or not.

As I have mentioned before, I am married to a tri-athele who loves to spend time outside, running and cycling. A few years back, when he was riding with a buddy using ear buds, he watched as his friend was almost hit by a car because he didn’t hear it coming.

That moment got him thinking, dreaming and trying to find a way to eliminate ear buds. Well, my dreamer has not given up and has given everything to see his dream become a reality. Last week he officially gave birth to his dream, AudioNoggin. Wireless surround sound blue tooth speakers that mount on your helmet or hat and produces amazing sound. He is creating an Earvolution and a new way to hear your music.

Like all dreams, whether starting a non-profit, a blog, writing a television show or dreaming of a product….they all take a community of people to become a reality. Since you are my community, I had to share this moment with you.

Christopher Reeve said it so well, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” 

Making dreams into reality is a dream come true.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

Drops.la

drops la

All of you who know me, know that I am technically challenged. From the TV remote and beyond, technology and I continue to struggle to work together. And yet, every once and awhile, something comes along that inspires me to take on my tech challenges.

This past week, a friend of mine, a USC student, reached out to share a new app called drops.la Not being much of an app person, I was a bit unsure. However, I love what they are doing. They are dropping the change into a non-profit/charity/cause of your choice every time you shop.

Not being a big fan of extra change myself, I am the first person to add my quarters to the tip jar at the coffee counter. Well, that’s what drops does by rounding up your purchase and giving the change to a cause. It is all done with your credit or debit card. You pick the causes, you can give your drops for a few  days, weeks or more….and stop when you want.

A simple, brilliant and easy way to create change for others, one drop at a time. Now that is a tech challenge worth taking.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

Billions in change

Billions in change

Over and over we hear it said that one person can change the world, a phrase I do believe in. Anyone who inspires change, knows it takes a village to do so. It is a global village that billionaire Manoj Bhargava is creating to deliver products that can directly impact humanity and he is seriously the real deal.

Manoj has taken his fortune, created from 5 hour Energy, to focus on three areas to improve the world;water, energy and health. His approach is to, ” make a difference in other people’s lives, not just talk about it.” A new documentary called Billions in Change, follows his journey. Take a small peak here at what one man can do to improve the lives of seven billion people.

As our world becomes increasingly smaller and the global village a reality. It is people like Manoj Bhargava, who will not only change our world but inspire each of us to do the same.

 

Charity Matters. 

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

Catch a Fire

rachael chong, catch a fire

Since this week is all about love, it seems only fitting to talk about the newest matchmaker in town.  This isn’t your average speed dating site, but rather a brilliant concept that connects volunteers with non-profits who need help on specific task and its called CatchAFire.

So often when we think about volunteering, we think about stuffing envelopes, collecting trash or the most mundane activities. In 2009, Rachael Chong had an idea to connect professionals and their skill set to non-profit organizations. Rachael had a vision to “forward a cause you believe in” by using your professional skills to help a non-profit organization. So if you are a graphic artist, who is passionate about the environment….Catch a Fire would connect you to an environmental  non-profit that is working on a new logo. You get the idea….

Rachael’s platform CatchAFire.Org is an amazing way to make a difference. She is changing the face of the non-profit workplace, creating a pro-bono movement and making our world better by inspiring people to share their gifts and talents for a greater purpose. I think her bio best sums her up by saying, “Rachael wants to leave this earth known as a leader who empowers others to be better than her.

This Valentines week, I would say Catch A Fire is a match made in heaven and definitely something to love.

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2015 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.

Gratitude made simple

Gratitude app

I am constantly being reminded by my teenage sons that I struggle with technology and change. Sadly, both observations are true. It takes something really inspiring for me to turn to technology for the solution. That is exactly what I felt, inspired, when a girlfriend introduced me to the Gratitude App.

For me, being happy begins with the simple act of being grateful. Whenever, I begin to feel self-pity or find myself turning slightly green with envy…I turn to gratitude. The shift is profound, every time. Sometimes, I write it down, sometimes I merely think to myself what makes me grateful? Now, on my phone is a way to simply log it, reflect, review and be reminded of all of life’s blessings.

I downloaded the Gratitude Journal, The Happy Tapper, and the first thing I see is the quote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  I quickly list what I am grateful for and am instantly rewarded with a quote….and you know I love quotes. Every time you log your gratitude you receive a new quote, like this.

Gratitude app quote

 

So the next time you are playing with your phone or feeling grumpy, go to the Gratitude app and give your self the best gift you can, feeling grateful and happy. Once you feel great, so does everyone around you.

Charity Matters.

 

 

Copyright © 2014 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.

LinkedIn and Volunteering, a perfect match

LinkedIn Volunteer

Everyday it seems there is a new technological way to get involved and it looks like today is no exception. Last week LinkedIn announced their latest tool, called Volunteer.linkedin.com, as a platform for volunteers to search for a volunteer fit by a variety of keywords such as; non-profits name, location,field of interest, etc…..For those of you not familiar with LinkedIn, it is best known as a corporate job networking site. In the past few years, I have to say it has become so much more and this is a perfect example.

I went to take a peak at some of the opportunities on LinkedIn and I immediately saw something for my husband. A non-profit organization called Bike and Build is looking for a board member who can help them 5-10 hours a month with marketing. My husband is a triathlete, avid cyclist, MBA and has been a VP of Marketing and is currently launching a product for the cycling/athletic market….so this seemed like a great fit.

What makes LinkedIn’s platform different from others is that LinkedIn realizes that your volunteering enhances your employment in a multitude of ways and that by volunteering in an industry that you area already involved with, such as cycling….you only enhance your resume, contacts and do the same for the organization that you are trying to help.

LinkedIn claims that,”41% of  hiring managers consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience when evaluating candidates and unemployed people who volunteer are 27 % more likely to be hired than people who do not volunteer.”

So whether you are looking for a job or a way to use your skills to help someone else, this just might be the place to go to find that connection to make your life and someone else’s that much better.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2014 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.

 

 

One Today

GoogleOne-Today

 

Once upon a time it seemed like a little company called Microsoft was taking over the world, then one called Apple, and now it seems to be Google. As you all know, I have a love hate relationship with technology. Try, try as I do, I simply can not seem to keep up and adapt as quickly as I should. Just when I get frustrated, someone like Google comes along with a wonderful new way to use technology to help others, and that is when I simply love technology.

Google’s new app is called One Today. It is a mobile app for your phone that brings together people and nonprofits through the simple act of giving $1. This app is available only in the U.S. and lets people learn about different nonprofits every day, donate to projects that inspire them, and amplify their impact by matching their friends’ donations.

So, it is up to the non-profits you love to sign up for One Today and if they meet Gooogle’s requirements then you can share the project you care about with friends.  One Today will also learn what types of causes matter most to you based on the projects you have donated to in the past. The more projects you give to on One Today, the better the app will become at presenting you with projects that are tailored to your interests.

So think about adding One Today to your phone and you can start finding ways to make $1 go to a cause you care about. A little love can go a long way.

Charity Matters.

 

 Copyright © 2014 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 Miles, running with purpose

Charity MilesI never thought I would say this, but I love technology. Ok, I love technology that makes a difference. I also love running and today when my husband stumbled upon this amazing new app, I simply had to share. There is now a way for my run to earn money for causes I care about and its called Charity Miles.

Only a year and a half ago, Gene Gurkoff had a brilliant idea. He wanted to make a difference, more specifically to help his grandfather who suffers from Parkinson’s. Gene’s idea was to reach out to corporate sponsors and ask them to support us, the general public, every time we run, walk or ride. Making our every day workouts a charity race, that turns those miles into donations benefiting 25 amazing non-profit organizations. You can choose where each workout gets donated, with organizations that range from Autism Speaks, (Red), DoSomething.Org, Feed America, Soles 4 Souls and many more.

So, when I ran today (that’s my phone after the run above) a whopping 3 miles, I donated my run to The Wounded Warrior Project, in honor of Veterans Day. Charity Miles saying is,” Every Step Counts.” Since June 2012, runners, walkers and riders have logged enough miles from Charity Miles to go from earth to the moon and back….three times.

I think Charity Miles is onto something great. So download their app, put on your shoes and hit the road to make your life and someone else’s, that much better. They are right at Charity Miles, “Changing the world is a team sport.”  That is my kind of team.

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.

 

What’s Sevenly?

Photo credits: Sevenly.Org
Photo credits: Sevenly.Org

A few weeks back I wrote about The Tipping Point of kindness that is currently happening all around us.  The signs of great change, just continue  to grow. I recently heard about a perfect example of that change, a new organization called Sevenly.Org .  Their goal is just that, to make the world a better place.

It all began in January of 2011 when two young entrepreneurs named Dale Partridge and Adam Chavez got together with the mission of leading a “generation towards generosity.” Their belief was simply that people mattered and their goal was to create weekly cause campaigns where customers could purchase products that gave $7 to a weekly charity. They wanted to both “unlock a way to crowd-fund for causes, but to drive massive social awareness as well.” On June 13th, 2011 they began to do just that.

They refer to their model as a” funnel.” The approach begins with targeting the millions of people who have never given to charity before, they wisely asked for the gift of social influence first. Then they showcase cool products to buy, with each item purchased a $7 donation goes to the cause that is highlighted that week. Lastly, they are encouraging their customers/donors to connect on a deeper level with these causes.

The result is brilliant. In the past few years Sevenly has had millions of people donate their social influence, and hundreds of thousands buy awareness products for the causes they support. In addition, they have raised over 2 million dollars and counting for these causes. More importantly, they are living proof that the Tipping point of kindness is a reality. That Tipping point is doing exactly what they set out to do…move a generation towards generosity and make the world realize that people matter. Now that is Sevenly!

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.