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I have a dream or two

“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

On Monday, we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service. It was a rainy day here in LA so not one that I spent volunteering, in full disclosure. Instead I spent the day thinking about dreams, vision, goals and service. All of these things are constants in my life but as the New Year starts how can I create a vision for myself and my work that continues to serve others?

These are some of the questions I have been asking myself since the New Year. I do feel incredibly grateful that I have a regular outlet to serve with Charity Matters and with my day job running a youth leadership organization.  At TACSC we talk all year to our students about being a servant leader. We teach our students that they can not lead unless they serve. When we ask these middle school students to give us examples of true servant leaders, Martin Luther King is always at the top of their list. We teach that we are never too old or too young to serve, there is always someone in need of a little help.

Most importantly, we teach our students that before they begin anything they must have a goal, vision or a dream. It sounds so simple when we are teaching this and yet, the reality is that these take time. I dream of being a messenger of service but how do I break that dream down into manageable realistic goals? How do these goals and dreams work within my life?

I think when most of us think about service, we wonder where will we find the time? Many of us think charity and we think that people are coming for our wallets. There is nothing wrong with these thoughts but how can we all shift our perspective? When I ask myself, “What things make me feel great?” The answers usually include service, helping others, being with my friends. This year, I am going to try and organize a way for my friends to join me for some sort of service. I’m not sure what that is just yet, but I promise to report back.

At 56, I’m past the halfway point of my time on this planet. There is still so much I want to accomplish with the time I have remaining. I believe the greatest gift we can give the world is a life well lived. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s time on this earth was not long but the life he lived left a legacy of love and compassion. As I work on my dreams, I am thinking of his and asking myself, ” What are you doing in service for others?”

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please connect with us:

Copyright © 2023 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.

Chasing the Insights

If the past twelve days are any indication of what 2023 is going to be like then I think its time to buckle up! Our 2022 ended on New Year’s Eve with our TCU Horned Frogs beating Michigan at the Fiesta Bowl. It was an unexpected win and crazy game that brought our small school from Fort Worth onto a National Stage. The game and experience brought so much more than football.

Our New Year began with a crew of our youngest son’s fellow TCU students as house guests. Each counting the days until the National championship game, that was earlier this week. The odds of TCU even getting to this place were 250 to one. So to say that the journey has been a crazy one would be an understatement. It had all of the making of a Hollywood movie with small town boy as quarterback at small Texas school making it to the National Championship. Except perhaps the ending. It wasn’t the big Hollywood finish but the opposite.

Life isn’t Hollywood. Nor is life about a singular destination, it is about the insights and lessons learned along the way. Life is about the journey and not the destination. The journey in these past two weeks has been a brilliant reminder that we are all here to learn and enjoy the ride. We are here to chase the insights and gather lessons from each experience in order to grow and evolve as the best versions of ourselves.

You may remember that last week I wrote about New Year’s goals, about being open to receiving, asking for help and promoting the message of goodness that is Charity Matters. Well, ask and you shall receive. My plea to the universe was answered from across the globe. An extremely popular podcaster, Vince Warnock invited me to be a guest on his show, Chasing the Insights. Vince has a huge international audience and it’s pretty obvious why.

He is bursting with positive energy, kindness and goodness on his quest to help entrepreneurs launch their business. We talked about ways to bring good and philanthropy into everything you do. His message is that we are all here to learn from each other and help one another.  Our conversation, which you can listen to below, was a terrific reminder of just that.

So as we wrap up the second week of 2023, I hear the universe speaking loud and clearly. Life  isn’t about the destination but the journey. TCU had an incredible journey and took all of us on it. We didn’t win but we met so many incredible people along the way and learned so much. Thank you Vince Warnock for reminding us that this is what matters. Chase the insights and leave a path of kindness along the way.

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please connect with us:

Copyright © 2023 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.

New Year, New Dreams and Goals

Happy New Year! It’s that time of year when we catch our breath and begin to really think about what we want in 2023. I’m guessing that you have been pondering this, consciously or subconsciously, for the past week or so. I know I have. Honestly, just getting through the holidays feels like a victory. For some of us we are too tired to think about what we are eating for lunch let alone what we want for the year ahead. If there is one thing I have learned over the years is that those list and intentions become real and it all starts with the dream.

My sons call me Dharma, like the old TV show Dharma and Greg. You know the one, where the kooky Dharma is all about manifesting and the universe. I have to admit that I do have a solid Dharma side to me. The reason isn’t just faith, although that is a part of it. The main reason is that I set goals and that I can begin to see myself making that happen. Some people think this is odd, some call it manifesting, I like to make plans and make them happen. Call it what you want.

Here is a small example, last year one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2022 was to learn to play pickle ball. I talked about it all year and even was sad that most of my friends had already formed groups. Yet, all year I didn’t do anything about it. Nothing. For Christmas my husband gave me a racquet and a membership to a pickle ball place. I played with my son the day after Christmas and am still smiling. Definitely cutting that 2022 New Year’s resolution a little close but I made it just under the wire. It took a nudge to pull the trigger and now that I am setting 2023’s goals, becoming better at pickle ball is definitely on there.

While pickle ball is one tiny example of moving something forward in my life, it gives me such joy and a sense of accomplishment. Those are the feelings that I want to bring into the New Year, joy and accomplishment. So this year, I am taking a little extra time with the 2023 goals. I am breaking them down again this year into categories. Goals for health, relationships, career, our home and travel. Will I achieve them all? Absolutely not. Looking at my 2022 goals, Christmas in Bali so didn’t happen. Not even close. Will it get pushed ahead to 2023, absolutely!

The goals for Charity Matters are also something I am really thinking about. Charity Matters, each of you and the people we  interview fill me with joy, always! What is challenging is the expectation I place on myself and our team to create content each week. More often than not, amazing nonprofit founders cross my path and it is an organic process, which I love. There’s the Dharma again:) Tracking people down, scheduling interviews, and all the time that goes into each episode is a huge commitment. Finding the right balance of posting/creating every other week or every week is challenging. I look to each of you for guidance so please let me know your thoughts?

This year I am really thinking hard on the best way to be messenger for good. We spend so much time creating but we don’t do any PR or self promotion. Trying to find a smart and authentic balance to that this year is definitely one of our goals at Charity Matters. Finding a path for good news and good stories is challenging in the negative news that our media seems to like to churn out. If any of you have suggestions, I am open to any and all ideas. Or if you have any media connections, let me know. This is not my area of expertise so I can use all the help I can get. Another 2022 resolution, ask for help more often. People are always happy to help, we just have to ask.

Thank you all for helping by being beacons of light and believing in goodness. you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t. Each of you sharing these posts, subscribing to our podcast, and sharing our work on social media validates Charity Matters mission of connecting people and causes. So thank you for cheering us on and joining in this quest to be a messenger of goodness. I am running into 2023 with my heart wide open and full of optimism, ready to serve and receive.  Wishing you a magical year ahead filled with love, joy, abundance, fun and much goodness. I know your going to achieve all of this and more with your goals!

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please connect with us:

Copyright © 2023 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.

Merry Merry 2022

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly Merry Christmas. “

Peg Bracken

As we round the home stretch until Christmas, I wanted to take a moment to pause. A deep breath of stillness amongst the noise. My gift to you is one I hope you can give to yourself right now. Stop and think of all of those you love. See their faces, hear their voices and feel your heart swell with joy. That is Christmas. The love we have for one another and the way we share that love.

As we try to get all of those last minute details wrapped up, remember what matters. Those you love and the time spent with them . Treasure that because it is all that matters.

Wishing you all of the love and joy the season brings.

Merry Merry Christmas everyone…

 

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.

Copyright © 2022 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.

 We would love to hear from you and stay connected:
  • www.Charity-Matters.com
  • On IG @Charitymatters 
  • Post a screenshot & key takeaway on your IG story and tag me @heidijohnsonoffical and @Charitymatters so we can repost you.
  • Leave a positive review on Apple Podcasts and don’t forget to subscribe to get new episodes 

Be my guest, be my guest, put your service to the test

It is always nice when the tables are turned and rather than ask the questions we get to answer them. So when I received an outreach from across the pond, from Global Comment, I was excited to chat about Charity Matters.  It was fun to sit in the passenger seat for a change. Today, I thought rather than ask the questions I would share some of our answers.

Who is your ideal listener? Who loves your show?

Heidi Johnson: Our ideal listener is someone who is tired of negative noise and looking to hear about all the amazing good happening everyday in our world. It is a person who cares about making their community / our world better and is inspired by those who do just that, everyday.

If you love stories where the good guy is the hero then you will love and be inspired by Charity Matters.

What made you start this podcast?

Heidi Johnson: After starting a nonprofit almost twenty years ago, I became fascinated by who does this work? It is always hard to start any business, let alone a business that relies on the kindness of others to survive.

About twelve years I began interviewing non-profit founders for my blog, also called Charity Matters, to share these modern-day heroes with the world. I realized that we were having these incredible conversations and our thousands of blog subscribers didn’t get to hear them, only read them…which just isn’t the same.

I wanted them to know these unbelievable humans better by hearing their stories first hand. We decided to create the podcast and as a result, have garnered an entire new audience, which has been fantastic!

What have you learned about your subject thanks to this podcast?

Heidi Johnson: Every week I am inspired by the human spirit’s resilience. Each guest has undergone incredible loss or adversity. Rather than be angry, they decide to use their situation as fuel for good. They want to be a part of a solution to whatever happened to them or their loved one.

Each founder’s tenacity and passion is simply the best of humanity.

What has your experience of podcasting been? What do you love / hate about the process?

Heidi Johnson: My experience in podcasting has been overall great. I love being able to share these conversations and podcasting has been such a great platform to do that.

To be honest, technology and equipment is never something that I enjoy. It is the people that make podcasting magical for me, our incredible guests and our amazing listeners.

If someone wants to start listening to your podcast, which episode would you recommend they start with? Why?

Heidi Johnson: Hmm. I should say the first episode because that really explains my why and personal story to service. I shouldn’t – and don’t – have favorites. However, I will say Episode 36 with Miracle Messages was a really inspirational and eye-opening conversation about the homeless.

Anytime someone makes me look at a problem in a different light and solves a problem in a unique way as Kevin Adler is doing, reuniting the homeless with their families. it is pure sunshine.

Which other podcasts do you love listening to?

Heidi Johnson: I really enjoy NPR’s How I built that because, like Charity Matters, it tells the struggles of entrepreneurs building incredible organizations. The only difference is that Charity Matters tells the stories of entrepreneurs who want to solve humanities biggest challenges rather than make a profit.

I have to confess love a good Super Soul Sunday, who doesn’t love Oprah?

 

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.

Copyright © 2022 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.

 We would love to hear from you and stay connected:
  • www.Charity-Matters.com
  • On IG @Charitymatters 
  • Post a screenshot & key takeaway on your IG story and tag me @heidijohnsonoffical and @Charitymatters so we can repost you.
  • Leave a positive review on Apple Podcasts and don’t forget to subscribe to get new episodes 

#GivingTuesday

giving-tuesday-2016

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, a successful Black Friday and enjoyed your cyber Monday. Now it’s time to get ready for the most important day of all, #GivingTuesday. What is #GivingTuesday? 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 unites over 70 countries around the world by sharing our human capacity to care for and empower one another. Today more than ever we need to be doing a little bit more of that…

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

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. Today it is because what started as an idea raised over 2.7 billion dollars in the United States alone last year for charities. When we come together in unity, we can make beautiful things happen. I can’t wait to hear what you are doing for #GivingTuesday.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2022 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.

Be thankful

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” 

GK Chesterton

Today is Thanksgiving and a national day of gratitude but why is being grateful something that only happens once a year? There has been a slew of scientific research and studies on the topic of gratitude and happiness. One that I read recently called, Eight Ways Gratitude Boost Happiness by Lyubomirsky which stated that there is a direct link between happiness and gratitude. Expressing gratitude brings about happiness for the one giving thanks. The more thankful someone is the less room there is for negative thoughts. Really who has time for negatively?  With that, I wanted to share a little poem I came across about being thankful and my Thanksgiving wish for you is that you find gratitude and joy today and every day.

 

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for health, family, friends and all of you. This community who believes in goodness and the power we all have to make our world better each moment. Wishing all of you a most joyous Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Charity Matters

 

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Time to build some bridges

As I write this the Sunday before the election, I have no clue what Wednesday, November 9th will look like…the day you will be reading this. If I had a crystal ball I don’t think I would even want to look. What I see from my Sunday view is a country that has been pulled apart like a tug of war. Honestly, it breaks my heart. Our friends, families, schools districts, small towns, communities and our country has never been so torn apart. Our bridges are down. Those roads that connect us. I know that today, of all days, the media and the noise will be loud. It will be coming at us from all sides. Regardless of the outcome, there will be a lot of emotions, fear, anger, confusion, to name a few.  The only thing we can control is our reaction.

There is nothing about Charity Matters that is political. Charity Matters is about people coming together to help one another. Not one person I have ever interviewed has asked me my political beliefs, nor I theirs. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. What does matter and is our human connection to one another. Our willingness to reach out and help.  Our ability to disregard political beliefs for the greater good of caring for each other. Something we all seem to lose sight of these days, myself included.

The pandemic did a lot to destroy connections and the election before that didn’t do our communities any favors either. We talk about our friends and families differently now because of their politics. Something that has never happened in my lifetime. We categorize people and listen less. Rather than coming together to discuss where we are similar, we write people off because they believe differently.

If bell curves are a real thing, and I believe they are, then we are all actually in the middle together. Somehow, the media has us all playing tug of war at the bottom of those bell curves with CNN on one side and FOX on the other. We should be working together not pulling ourselves apart, because we are more alike than different.

We are afraid. Yes, there is much to worry about gas prices, inflation, education, crime, safety, and the environment.  These are real and valid reasons. However, fear should not stop us from listening to one another.  Different ideas need to be valued, respected for their similarities and differences. Life would be oh so dull if we all thought the exact same way. Each conversation is an opportunity to learn how someone else feels and sees things. These conversations are how we begin to build a consensus and a common ground to move forward.

This country was built on helping our neighbors, it is who we are as Americans. My wish is for all of us to turn off the TV, phone a friend or a neighbor to say hello. Make a human connection. Remember, we all need to lean in little by little to get bridges built again. It starts with simply phoning a friend. We are stronger when we work with one another and not against.  It is the only way the state of things gets better when each of us becomes our best. It all starts with us.

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.

Copyright © 2022 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.

The Importance of Community

I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately. More importantly, I have been wondering what is happening to our communities? Our country was founded on taking care of your neighbor. Being an active member of our towns, schools, churches and being there for our neighbors. Our communities once were our foundations. At the core of nonprofits is community. Places where we all have a common goal that is about caring for others above ourselves. Healthy nonprofits create thriving hives of activity where all the members work very hard to support the members of their group. Healthy communities do the same. Lately, it seems that our communities seem to be suffering. As a result, our world is too.

the importance of our local tribes

In August, I spoke with Bob Dalton of the Love Your City Podcast about the importance of staying local. We discussed why the grassroots work that our local nonprofits do to help others in their community is so important. It’s not to say that huge national organizations are not important. Rather, we need to not lose sight of our local needs and care for those in front of us first.

Then last week, I spoke with Barry Braun of Happy Community Builders. Barry spoke about how we as a human species began and stayed in tribes for thousands of years. In those tribes, there wasn’t hunger or homelessness. The reason is that the tribe insured that everyone was cared for. I can’t stop thinking about that conversation. Somewhere along the way, we became more concerned with ourselves than with our tribe. In addition, we became more concerned about the global community instead of the one we live in.

The Benefits of helping your community

What would our world look like right now if each one of us took care of our own local tribe? If we were actively involved with helping those in our own communities with jobs, food, education, support? If everyone supported each other at a local level the need for global support wouldn’t exists. This may seem like an oversimplification and perhaps it is. When you think about it, which I can’t seem to stop doing, it makes sense.

Community makes us feel connected. It makes us feel safe. Our mental health is stronger because we have that feeling of belonging to a group. Community gives us that safety net that tells us someone is looking out for us. However, today people look to the government for that feeling rather than next door. We live in neighborhoods where we don’t know our neighbors. Do we know the name of the people who work at our local market? These tiny threads of kindness are what strengthens the fabric that keeps us together.

What happens when Connections erode?

When these threads are cut our connections erode. Then isolation sets in which is usually followed by fear.  Sadly, the result of fear brings the innate need to self protect rather than the need to reach out to others. We become overwhelmed and shut down. That fear can erode so much goodness. We lose faith in one another and distrust becomes a cancer that destroys connection.

As humans, we are meant to be connected, to support one another like bees in a hive. We all have a job and a role to make our communities stronger by working together. Fear robs us all of the honey and the sweetness of feeling connected. But where and how do we start to change this?

What can we do to make our world better?

What are we to do when the news tells us the sky is falling? First, turn off the news! Secondly, we all need to take baby steps towards knowing our neighbors, teachers, grocers and the people in our communities. We need to strengthen our neighborhoods by getting together. Support our schools and places of worship. Get involved!  If each of us takes these tiny steps to make our own communities stronger. As a result,  we become more unified. Ultimately, we make our world a better place one community at a time. It all starts with us.

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.

Copyright © 2022 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.

Episode 45: Happy Community Builders

Over the years in all of my conversations, the story of founding a nonprofit usually involves a tragedy. Today’s conversation all began with one man who was going to become a grandparent and didn’t like the world his future grandchild would inherit. So, he got to work in trying to create a better world with kindness through his nonprofit The Happy Community Builders.

Join us today for an inspiring conversation that will confirm that one person can make a difference. Our guest, Barry Braun, shares his motivation and very clear ways that each of us can become Happy Community Builders in our own communities across the globe. His message of getting back to taking care of our local communities as the world always has is truly inspiring. You won’t want to miss this.

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

 

Charity Matters: What was the moment you knew you needed to act and start Happy community Builders?

Barry Braun: Well, it started when I was becoming a grandfather. I was reflecting on my grandchildren’s future. At that time, there was only one granddaughter, but now there’s four. The picture that was forming in my mind looked troubled to me, it didn’t look like a happy picture. So I decided I wanted to do something about that. And it has been a journey to get from there to here. I started off by thinking who’s making all the problems in the world? 

It evolved into thinking, okay, so communities are foundational to our well being, we have always been in community. And, it’s only been in the last 40 plus years or so that we started to devalue the importance of community. Where we started to place greater emphasis on self reliance, and personal gratification and that sort of stuff. We started to lose our sense of responsibility to the community.

Today, it’s more of the government that should fix all my problems and make me happy. All I need is a place to live,  a shopping center close by and everything’s good. Right?  Take care of me.  I don’t think that’s the future I want for my grandkids.

Charity Matters: Tell us a little about what Happy community Builders does?

Barry Braun: The idea of Happy Community Builders, is that community builders, connect, share and CO -create in a sandbox of ideas so that they can be more effective at what they’re actually doing now, but more importantly, empowered to take on a new vision for the future.

The research says there’s over 200 variables that affect communities but they all come down to a commonality. That commonality is that people know each other. People have a sense of belonging with each other. And they look out and care for each other. How do you rebuild that kind of community? So I had developed a process. My background is coaching and cultural change.

We enable citizens in a community to follow a prescribed process, where the shift the story of their community. So one of the things that I’ve learned is that, like you, and I, we each have our own personal story. And that personal story, pretty much defines our behavior. And we act according to our story. But community communities also have a story. So if you ask a half a dozen people where you live, tell me what’s the story of our community here? Then you’ll start seeing a commonality show up.

If you wanted to shift a community, what I learned was you have to change the story of the community. So we developed a process that was able that ordinary citizens were able to actually take this process into their community. And over an 18 month, 24 month period, the story shifted, and the community’s attitude towards themselves shifted. And wow.

Charity Matters: What are your biggest challenges?

Barry Braun: There’s a lot of blind faith that I could actually do this. And the first first couple of tries, it’s semi work, but not really worked. But as we went through more communities, we got it down pretty solid as being able to work. When COVID happened, we kind of went on a hiatus for a while.  That gave me time to sort of reflect on my goal in changing this world for the benefit of my grandchildren and my grandchildren aren’t going to live where I live.

So how’s it get scalable? And from there, that’s where Happy Community Builders started showing up.

Charity Matters: Tell us what success you have had and what your impact has been? 

Barry Braun: We have representatives from six countries at this point in time. The Happy Community Builders actually only got launched in March of this year. Our predecessor launched in 2013. So we’re making pretty good progress. 

We started off the principle of the happy community process, if you start with one, expanded to five, five grows to fifty and fifty grows to 500, etc,. It grows more or less organically and that’s what’s happening right now with Happy Community Builders. There are people joining pretty much every day. And they’re joining because other people have talked about what is going on at the Happy Community Builders and that they should be there too.

Charity Matters: So if I want to make my community better, what would I need to do?

Barry Braun: So it’s really simple, you go to Happy Community Builders.com and register. So that’s the first step. you’ll find that there’s a pile of resources that you can use today to help you with what you’re doing. Happy Community Builders is filled up with professionals like yourself who are working in community to try and make it better. And they each know things that are special. They have expertise so they share their expertise in workshops, and we record those workshops.

There’s a library of their workshops on how to do this and how to do that community, there’s also a library of ideas. So in a library of inspiration or, or brain food, where you can go and see what other community builders are finding in their reading lists that they find helpful. We’re just setting up a library of forms. So at Happy Community Builder you don’t have to invent it all over again, it’s going to be there.

Charity Matters: If you could dream any dream for your organization, what would that be?

Barry Braun: That our governments, our business, and our citizenry would all put community well being at the first of their list of things that are important.

Charity Matters: How has this journey changed you?

Barry Braun: Well, I have hope. But it’s probably got a pessimistic side to it. Because  I’m watching people in the United States. And I don’t see that going in a happy direction from where I can tell. I really, really hope and I believe it’s possible.  I really, really hope that the citizenry of the United States can want a different future than the way that their politicians are building for them right now.

Charity Matters: What life lessons have you learned from this experience?

Barry Braun: What I’ve learned is that it can happen at the community level. We’ve taken a community of 20,000 people and completely changed the mindset of the 20,000 people.  People now reach out to each other when they would be hesitant to reach out to somebody and now they actually look out for each other. They actually look for somebody else’s problems to see how they might help, rather than looking the other way, which is what they used to do. So if we can do that on that scale, then why can’t we do it on a much bigger scale? And that’s one of the biggest lessons I think I’ve learned.

 I’ve also learned that people actually want a different world. The only thing that’s keeping them from having that different world is their own fear. If we can tap into the people who want the world different, which is actually most people, and keep them safe, they will become a very powerful force to make our world a better place.

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

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Happy 11th Birthday Charity Matters!

It seems like yesterday…..over eleven years ago I had a dream. A dream to tell the story of my heroes, remarkable people who take their pain and turn it into incredible organizations making a difference for others by creating non-profits. That dream became Charity Matters.

Like most dreams it wasn’t crystal clear where it would lead or why it appeared. This dream was loud and clear that this was what I was supposed to do. So, the journey began. Like all journeys, there have been challenges along the way, most of them technology based. Facing fears head on is what founders do. While technology and I are certainly not a dynamic duo, we are getting along much better these days.

From the hundreds of  heroes we have met here there have been so many life lessons.  I have learned the power of love, kindness, tenacity, passion, commitment and sacrifice. Every story shared about these remarkable humans has the same common denominator and each time I am inspired all over again.

Most importantly, you have been my greatest teachers.  I am humbled by your dedication, thrilled when you suggest a favorite cause and always so touched to know that you are here on this journey and for that I am so grateful.

Birthdays are for celebrating and I am happy to continue celebrating Charity Matters birthdays  with you. So thank you for all the gifts you have given us. Receiving our weekly emails, subscribing to our podcast, leaving podcast reviews, sharing a post that touched you with friends or just telling me what action you have taken to make Charity Matter in your life. You are all remarkable and each life you touch through kindness matters.

Thank you for touching mine so profoundly.

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

 

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Where are the heroes?

Photo by Joey Nicotra on Unsplash

When I was growing up heroes were everywhere. All our movies had heroes whether they were cowboys, astronauts, war heroes or Superheroes. Our television shows were full of people doing good. The TV shows were families that were working it out whether The Brady Bunch, The Cosbys or Roseann. Even those family shows depicted parents as heroes helping their families overcome. Even sitcoms like Cheers where people supported one another at the local watering hole, the bartender was somehow the hero. Our athletes were heroes for overcoming obstacles and showing us all what happens when you perservere. Where are the heroes today?

Where are the people doing good anywhere in the media? The only place I see any good, and its not much,  is the last five minutes of the Nightly News, if I can even stomach the news. Whether the media is showing the heroes or not, I refuse to believe they went away. I actually know for a fact they didn’t because I interview them each week. Real Heroes.

What is a real hero? A real hero is someone who overcomes adversity and then decides to help others do the same. That is what every single person I have ever had the privilege of interviewing does. Real heroes are in front of us everyday as doctors, nurses, firefighters, policemen and women, teachers, parents and yes, even nonprofit founders.

When I heard last week that the new Top Gun film (which I have not seen yet) was a box office smash, I knew it was because of the hero. We love them for so many reasons. Maybe, its nice to think of being rescued from time to time but I don’t think that’s the real reason we love them. I think we love them because they sacrifice for others and ultimately they show us who we can be. Heroes are good and we always want the good guys to win. I hope Tom Cruise brings back the heroes in our films.

Until then, Charity Matters will keep bringing you stories of everyday heroes. I challenge you all to continue to look for the heroes all around you because they are there, helping, sacrificing, doing good and showing all of us who we can be.

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.

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National Volunteer Week 2022

“A volunteer is a person who can see what others cannot see; who can feel what most do not feel. Often, such gifted persons do not think of themselves as volunteers, but as citizens – citizens in the fullest sense; partners in civilization.”
President George H.W. Bush
Founder, Points of Light

It’s back and it’s here! No, not taxes, something much better…National Volunteer Week! Who knew that next week is National Volunteer Week? In case you missed the news, consider yourself informed.  We thought we would share a few days early so you can start to plan ahead.

National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 by the  Points of Light Foundation.  This special week has grown each year with thousands of volunteer projects and events scheduled for the week. The week is all about inspiring, recognizing, and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about showing that by working together, we can do anything. National Volunteer Week is about taking action and encouraging people to be at the center of social change – discovering and demonstrating their power to make a difference.

If you don’t know where to start, take a peek at one of my favorite sites, Volunteer Match.org. You just type in your zip code, what you love to do and it will match with an organization that can use your help, in your community. Another option is Project giving Kids if you are looking for opportunities for you and your children to volunteer together. Listening to the Charity Matters Podcast for great causes and ideas is another idea. Shameless plug, I couldn’t resist!  In addition, next Friday, April 22nd is Earth Day so maybe you can do an environmental volunteer project next weekend, the opportunities are endless.

Think of National Volunteer Week as an opportunity to shine a light on the people and causes that inspire us to serve. Each year twenty-five percent of Americans volunteer, which is 62.8 million people! They average about 32 hours per person, per year according to the Corporation for National Community Service, which comes to 7.9 billion hours of service or $184 billion dollars. 

I hope this week finds you inspired to be an active part in a cause you care about, in your community, helping a neighbor, or meeting new friends volunteering. It is people like you, the power of volunteers who build stronger communities and a better world for us all.

Happy Volunteering!

 

charity Matters.

 

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The state of things

I know it has been a while since I have shared my thoughts. The podcast has been so well received that I haven’t stopped in a while to reflect on the state of things. I don’t know about you but turning on the news lately scares me. The state of things does not seem terrific these days. This is not a political statement but simply how I feel.

When there is war, there is fear. That fear can erode so much goodness. We lose faith in one another and distrust becomes a cancer that destroys connection. As humans, we are meant to be connected, to support one another like bees in a hive. We all have a job and a role to make our communities stronger by working together. Fear robs us all of the honey and the sweetness of feeling connected.

The pandemic did a lot to destroy connections and break down our hives. The election before that didn’t do our communities any favors either. We talk about our friends and families differently now because of their politics. Something that has never happened in my lifetime. Rather than coming together to discuss where we are similar, we write people off because they believe differently.

If bell curves are a real thing, and I believe they are then we are all actually in the middle together. Somehow, the media has us all playing tug of war at the bottom of those bell curves with CNN on one side and FOX on the other. We should be working together not pulling ourselves apart.

We are afraid. The thought of a nuclear war is seriously scary. We are nervous about gas prices, inflation, crime,  our safety and these are real and valid reasons. These fears are reasons to lean into the hive because we need each more than ever. The fear is an opportunity for each of us to help one another not pull away.

Last week at dinner with friends, our waiter asked us if we would be open to rounding our bill up to four dollars more because the restaurant was matching up to one million dollars for a nonprofit supporting Ukraine. We were splitting our bill three ways and asked if he could add fifty dollars apiece. The waiter got on his knees at table height and looked like he was going to cry and said, “Thank you.” I asked him where he was from and he replied, “Kyiv.” He told us his father and brother were fighting and his sister and mother were trapped and trying to get out. Our waiter was so touched by our little gesture and said, “Thank you for reminding me how good people are.”

He is right, people are good. We see it in the brave Ukrainians, in the Polish people’s generous welcome, and in the generosity of so many supporting the millions of refugees. When the state of things is bad, it is our time to rise up and be good. To help another, whether a neighbor a friend, or a stranger in Ukraine. It is the only way the state of things gets better when each of us becomes our best. When we come together we can all make life sweeter in our hives.

 

CHARITY MATTERS.

 

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.

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