New Site!

Please go to the new site, This site is no longer going to be updated or kept current. All posts and information will be on the new site.

Come join us on the new site!

Hey all. Just so you know this will now be the only place for these blog posts.

As we transition Change You Can Afford into a charity, that site will be dedicated to the charity and no longer host the blogging archives.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Wealth: A Matter of Relativity

Looking around my house as we decorated and prepared for Christmas, I was constantly realizing how much wealth and comforts we have. I think as a culture we tend to underestimate how much we have and just compare ourselves to the Joneses. Our thinking is that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence so we don't take the time to appreciate what we have. And really appreciate how much we all have and how much we can afford to help others.

I know how lucky i am that I can live with my parents while I search for work, I am a recent college graduate who is struggling to find work in this economy. That is a luxury that many people just don't have, and my parents can afford this without me being a burden on them. My safety net, my family, is something which I know I am extremely lucky to have.

However, we are not rich by American standards. My parents both work, but we are not extremely rich. They own a house, but it is a fixer-upper which we are fixing up ourselves to save money. We can afford a house, but we can't afford to pay for people to do the work for us. Just so you understand where we fit in our society.

But as we know, on a global scale we are extremely, extremely wealthy. According to Global Rich List, I am in the top 12 percent of the world's richest people. And this is with me only working part time retail positions while attending university. I am not working full time and make less than $10 an hour in retail....

How do you feel about that? A bit richer we hope. Richer and ready to give some of your newly found wealth to those who need it most. It not hard - just slip your hand in your pocket and pull out something special. Something that can help redress the balance - and also make you feel uncommonly good. Many peoples lives could be happier if you donated just one hour's salary (approx $9.83 - UK estimate).
All you have to do is make a choice.
$8 could buy you 15 organic apples OR 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras to grow and sell fruit at their local market.
$30 could buy you an ER DVD Boxset OR a First Aid kit for a village in Haiti.
$73 could buy you a new mobile phone OR a new mobile health clinic to care for AIDS orphans in Uganda.
$2400 could buy you a second generation High Definition TV OR schooling for an entire generation of school children in an Angolan village."

So I guess its a question of what we want to do without wealth. Do we want to spend it on presents and more stuff for our houses? 

Or do we want to get together and recognize what we do or do we want to use our wealth, and if you are in a developed country you are extremely wealthy on a global scale, to create the change we want to see in the world (Gandhi paraphrased)?

Personally, I think I want to try my best to be the change I want to see in the world...

I would love it if you would join me in this.

A Christmas reflection...

Hello and happy holidays to everyone,

Throughout this holiday season I have been reflecting on wealth and the value of presents. I am currently unemployed, so I used fabric scraps, yarn I already had, and supplies from thrift stores to make presents for people, I also made jelly from my parents fruit tree's to give out. I also purchased Christmas cards from a thrift store; fifty cents for a package of twenty. All in all, I sent out Christmas cards to 15 people and made presents for another 15 or so and spent under twenty dollars. It was very satisfying to figure out presents for everyone that I care about without spending money that I just can't afford to spend.

But the societal pressures of the holiday here in the United States still made me feel as if I needed to go to the store and buy brand new fancy presents for everyone. The commercialization of the various holidays has created a system in which we must go out and shop for our family and friends to prove that we care about them. Consider for instance, jewelry commercial's imply that the only appropriat way to show love for a significant other is through the purchasing of diamond and gold.

My homemade jelly, which I made from fruit trees in my parents backyard, seems to me to be a better and more personal gift than a CD. But as I was giving them out I continually felt a bit inadequate. As if my time was not as a good a present as a present bought with my money would be. Which is ironic because I spent more time making gifts than I would have had to spend earning money to buy Christmas gifts.

And then as we got closer to Christmas, I was surprised - as I am every year - by the sheer number of presents under our tree. By U.S. standards, we are not a rich family. We cannot afford vacations in far off distance lands, we do not have multiple houses, nor could I afford college without taking more loans than I would have liked. So in that regard we are not well off, on the other hand we have multiple boxes of Christmas ornaments to choose from and we can afford a nice tree and presents for our family and friends (excepting my handmade presents).

After Christmas people often ask what you got? They do not ask what you did or who you spent your holiday celebrations with. Because the apparent meaning of Christmas is getting presents, not about spending time with family... I mean, opening presents is wonderful and I truly enjoy it, I think everyone does honestly. But sometimes instead of another necklace, I think it would be nice to know that money did something beyond purchasing me more jewelry that was made in China, or the equivalent, by an underpaid and mistreated worker.

Sometimes, I look at presents and think about the person who made it and what their life must be like. I wonder if they could afford something like that for themselves or their family for their own celebrations. I imagine their closet, which is likely much smaller than my own. I watched a documentary on the Tuva in an anthropology class a few years back and a daughter was visiting her family for a two week holiday, she brought with her a small shopping bag. A shopping bag held all she needed for two weeks. Her luggage was smaller than my bag of Christmas presents.

I just have been thinking of all that I have even while I am an unemployed recent college graduate and am very grateful for all that I have, so I need to remember that on a daily basis.

And I hope my reflections have made you think as well...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Great NYT article on giving...

Hey all,

I just read a great article the other day and thought I would share it with y'all . Its called "The Gifts of Hope" by Nicholas D. Kristof. And I thought it was a great little rundown on some amazing charities that I haven't heard of before but wish I had so I could have been supporting them...

The author asks "So what would your aunt prefer as a holiday gift — another Mariah Carey CD, or the knowledge that she’s sending a little girl in Haiti to school for a year?" And unless your aunt was in financial trouble and needed more material help or other types of support, I think many people would love being given a gift that positively impacts other lives as these organizations do.

One of the charities is Partners in Health which has done and is continuing to do amazing work in Haiti, so always a good choice to support. My favorite on his list is the Panzi Hospital which "treats victims of sexual violence in eastern Congo, rape capital of the world. It’s run by Dr. Denis Mukwege, who should be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. A $10 donation pays for transport to the hospital for a rape survivor; $100 pays for counseling and literacy and skill training for a survivor for a month"

However, I was also very interested in The Somaly Mam Foundation, which fight sex trafficking and slavery, and the Edna Hospital, a maternity hospital in Somalia which has the highest rates of maternal mortality. All three of these wonderful charities are something that I will make a point of supporting in the upcoming year and I hope you will to. Or donate to them for someones Christmas or Kwanzaa gift, I know I would love that personally.... :-)

Have a great holiday season with family or friends and always remember we can all afford to help others through time of money...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do you use Google Chrome?

If you do, then you need to download Chrome for a Cause add-on. For a short time, Dec 15 to Dec 19, google is going to donate to a few different charities based on your Internet usage. The five different charities are The Nature Conservancy, charity: water, Doctors Without Borders, Un Techo para mi Pais, and Room to Read. Which are all wonderful organizations, if you aren't familiar with them you should read more about them. Every day you get to decide who to donate to out of the five and I have to say, it would be really hard for me to choose one, but thankfully you can do it everyday as you surf the Internet.

Unfortunately, my comp is one version too old for me to be able to use Chrome... So I cannot do this, which means you have to do it for me. So download Chrome and go about your daily life as usual while getting Google to donate to wonderful charities. It takes absolutely no extra effort on your part, except for the tough choice of who to donate to, I say choose a different one every day, cycle through them all.

According to a TechCrunch article here is "how much you have to browse to donate to the various charities: 10 tabs = 1 tree planted, 10 tabs = 1 book published and donated, 25 tabs = 1 vaccination treatment provided, 100 tabs = 1 square foot of shelter built, 200 tabs = 1 person’s clean water for a year." So like the article says "just browse the web, and donate to charity."

So here is the add-on go and download it now!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Save Darfur Store.

Today I want to talk about an issue which has yet to come up on the blog and that is the devastating war, genocide, and human rights violations occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan. This is one of the areas on the globe where life is extremely difficult and as many as hundreds of thousands have been affected by the strife.

There is no simple way to explain the current situation in Darfur quickly, for more info here is the wikipedia article on the Darfur conflict and some background from Save Darfur on the crisis. Here I learned about this conflict many years ago when I started learning about human trafficking and modern day slavery. The United Human Rights council considers it a genocide, which is a monumental accusation but one that many agree with. The president has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and for "directing a campaign of mass killing, rape, and pillage against civilians in Darfur."

Basically this is a region in extreme upheaval that is very dangerous for those who live their. And helping support those working for them would be a wonderful Christmas present to those affected by this war. One way of this is just through donating to Save Darfur and other organization that do this kind of work.

Another way is to purchase some of your Christmas present through their store. I think I want to purchase the decal that says "Stop the Genocide," because it is important for me to that people use that word and acknowledge the reality of the desperate situation of the people in Sudan.

So think about buy merchandise for people as another way to support your favorite charities while doing your Christmas shopping. Have a wonderful day everyone and remember all the good things in your life.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Work Gift Exchanges

One of our readers shared a way in which they donated to charity with absolutely no effort on there part. I thought I would share it with y'all.

Many offices and workplaces do some sort of a gift exchange. When it happens at your work and people are wondering what is on your wish list, just ask them to donate to your favorite charity in your name. this is a great way to avoid that extra chocolate or sweets that pile up around the holidays and impact a great cause at the same time. And you can choose whatever charity is your favorite; whether you are passionate about human rights, food justice, HIV/AIDS care, access to safe water, women's rights, or any other cause.

The reader who sent me this story asked for her coworker to donate to Heifer International. I've written about them before, they are a great organization in which you "purchase" animals which are donated to families globally which gives those families a livelihood instead of just aid. They really are an amazing organizations which focus on helping entire communities to become self-sufficient. I have loved their work for years.

For twenty dollars you can purchase a flock of chicks, ducks or geese for a family. And $120 purchases a Christmas Basket that will "renew hope and start fresh for a family in need when you give a Christmas Basket. Sheep provide valuable wool and are a vital source of income in impoverished communities. Wool can provide warmth in chilly temperatures and can be sold at market for additional income." And all families that receive a Heifer gift pass on some of their offspring to their community, so a single purchase becomes part of a cycle helping more and more families. 

So choose your favorite charity and know that your Christmas gifts is helping to impact lives.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Salvation Army collect thousands of toys every year to redistribute to children in low socioeconomic groups, which is a wonderful thing. Every kid should get the joy of getting a present on Christmas. I was already a bit wary of the organization because of their extremist anti-gay policies. They are an evangelical organization that will not employ gay people, supports and lobbies against gay protections and rights, and proselytizing to those who they are helping including their anti-gay rhetoric. Even so, I often still gave some change at Christmas time, because it is winter time and people often need extra help during the winter months.

However, the latest story of their far right policies has pushed me over the edge and I do not think I will be supporting them any longer. A volunteer in a warehouse discovered that the organization often trashes, and sometimes gives to other charities, toys from Harry Potter and Twilight as they contradict the organization's christian values.

"But he questioned why the charity would be sifting out Harry Potter and Twilight toys, which involve sorcery and vampire themes, respectively. "I was told to withhold a six-inch Harry Potter figure, but when I picked up a plastic M-16, I was told, 'That's for the 10-year-olds,'" he said. "I was shocked...war-themed toys and toys from TV shows and movies with far more violence than Harry Potter and these were considered appropriate toys?""

This seems a bit ludicrous to me, but it is their policy. The article notes that policy dictates passing these toys on to another charity and not accepting violent weapons. However, that policy was not the same one the volunteer saw in effect at the warehouse he was volunteering at.

As an alternative to Salvation army, I suggest looking for smaller local organizations that organize toy drives. Instead of shopping at the salvation army thrift stores look for a thrift store run by a local charity, I used to shop at one that supported an organization that cared for invalid AIDS patients. And instead of giving them your spare change, make a donation to a local homeless shelter, think about how hard it is to be homeless in the winter and remember to give during the cold winter months.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Charity Promotion Time!

Hey all,

I want everyone to tell me about their favorite charity and why they think I should highlight them/ donate to them. If you make a good case I will feature them in a blog post soon. This is a great chance to promote your favorite charity without doing a lot of work, so please join in!!!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday consumerism...

Hey all,

Its almost Christmas time, so I am sure many of you are frantically running around purchasing presents for your family and friends. Giving gifts is a great way for showing people that you care and that they are important to you. But i think we should extend that a bit and show people around the world in desperate situation that we care about them as well. While we do not know them, our gifts to help others can impact a life much more than the scarf, chocolate, or  that you purchase for a friend. And personally, giving gifts to charity in the name of someone can be a lovely present, especially for that hard to shop for person or the person who can afford whatever they want already.

The gift I am talking about today is the gift of Winter Child Survival Pack from UNICEF USA. This is a great idea as a gift and can help protect a child from many of the dangers of a winter. And judging by the weather in Europe it is going to be a very rough winter for many people. So with some of our Christmas giving, why not help save someones life and purchase a survival pack.

The packs come with "Micronutrient powders that help a child on the brink of malnutrition get the vitamins and minerals that are most essential for them to grow up healthy. Immunizations from measles and polio that will save a child from two of the most common and painful diseases in the developing world. Water purification tablets to filter out dirt and bacteria from water so that children can drink without fear of getting sick. Your pack contains enough tablets to clean 50,000 liters of water!"

Access to safe water is one of the largest humanitarian issues of our decade and these tablets are a way to protect children who lack access to clean water. This alone could save a child's life, but with the micronutrient powder and immunizations it could really make a difference in a child's life.

This Christmas please consider donating as a gift. My family often donates in each others name to Heifer International, Doctors Sans Borders, and other organizations and those gifts often mean more to me than the scarf's and DVDs I get. A DVD is wonderful, but saving someones life is another thing entirely.

Please help others this holiday season and change someone' life! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Homelessness and Puppets?

Today I am writing a post inspired by puppets. While that may sound odd, it is true. A performer created a video to raise awareness about the homelessness issues and inspire people to help. And he has, so I am helping. But first, here is his video that went viral and helped to raise awareness.

The sign and bedding he borrowed from an actual homeless individual. On the youtube video's description he has two links which give ideas about how to help those affected with homelessness. The first is a great list of suggestions on volunteering and how to help without necessarily donating money. The article is "How You Can Help the Homeless Without Spending a Dime" hosted on Squidoo.It has some great suggestions, such as help them apply for jobs and volunteer somewhere that provides childcare for the children of homeless people so that they can go look for work. He also links to a great list of non-profits that work on the issue on

I prefer to find charities by checking their charity navigator ratings and then choosing a charity that way. But in this case, my chosen charity is both highly rated on charity navigator (four stars!) and included on the list of suggestions from the performer.

Today I will be helping The National Alliance to End Homelessness - "a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. By improving policy, building capacity, and educating opinion leaders, the Alliance has become a leading voice on this issue." They aim high their goal is to end homelessness, and I appreciate it when people aim high, thats better than sitting around thinking we can't change the world. Here is their charity navigator page, with their four star rating!

Here is a little video interview of the performer talking about his motivations and all. Thought y'all might enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A good individual.

I had read a story about this person before, but I noticed another story about him and the awards he has received and I decided to share them with y'all. I am talking about an Australian man named Don Ritchie. He and his wife moved into a home near the Gap, which are some rugged cliffs with views of the Sydney Harbor.

This is one of those places, like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, that is a well known suicide spot. "Australians have been committing suicide at this spot since at least 1863, when a local woman, Anne Harrison, leapt to her death. An estimated 50 people kill themselves there every year."

Don Ritchie began talking to people who he thought might be committing suicide and then inviting them over for a cup of tea and has managed to convince many people change their mind. "Gordon Parker, executive director of the Black Dog Institute, a clinical facility that treats people with depression, says: "People go to places like the Gap in a state of perturbation. They pace up and down, and in that period of time there's a window of opportunity. Don has saved lives because he has gone up to people and chatted to them.""

For his efforts he has been awarded the "medal for bravery and an Order of Australia (the nation’s second highest honor) for averting hundreds of would-be suicides by approaching people and offering them a cup of tea. ‘I used to sell kitchen scales and bacon cutters,’ he says. Now, ‘I’m trying to sell people life.’"

I hope that throughout my life I can do as much good as him and stay as modest and self-effacing as he does. Truly inspiring individual!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ending Gay Bullying....

Even in this day and age, queer youth face the risk of bullying, tormenting, and even attacks. There have been numerous, at least eight, suicides of teens who were gay or were bullied and harassed on the assumption that they were gay.

These stories break my heart for multiple reasons. First of all, the loss of people as young as 13 is just heart wrenching. A 13 year old has not experienced so many of life's joys and the experiences they have missed out on is so sad. At 13, there were so many things to live for that I didn't even know about and had not yet experienced. Everyone deserves the chance to experience life's up and downs and the things that make life worth living for.

Also, for those who were queer, they never got to be okay with who they are. They bullying and teasing made them feel so ashamed of who they are that they would rather commit suicide than have their family know they were gay or acknowledge their true selves in public. They never got to find people and family that love and accept them for themselves, no matter who they love.

And the fact that gayness is still being used as a pejorative label. Bullies use queerness to belittle and make one the other. To show their difference and make it a weakness. To say you are weird and that weirdness makes you a bad person. That kids and full grown adults still use these identities as an insult and consider them to be bad and a threat to our society is just ludicrous. But as insults they have the power to make children contemplate and attempt suicide.

And the reason it is so important to talk about this is because gay teens attempt suicide four times more often than their straight peers. Not being accepted and considered weird your whole life definitely impacts queer teens through bullying and teasing...

So today, I am donating to GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. They do some really great work at trying to stop bullying in our schools and to create safe space for diversity. They are "the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community."

I first heard about this organization through participating in the Day of Silence event held in April across the nation. It is a nationally student organized event in which participants are silent throughout the day in order to raise awareness of the silence around the issue of LGBT bullying. It is a symbolic event to show the helplessness and inability to voice their true feelings that many youth experience.  LGBT and allies, raise awareness through not speaking of the issues facing our youth.

I found it to be a very powerful and moving event and thus think that GLSEN is a great organization for me to support on this blog.

And to any queer LGBT youth, I care about and accept you, please don't think about giving up on life so early. If you or anyone you know is thinking about suicide because of their sexuality please call the Trevor Project - 866- 4 U TREVOR.

Thanks all, and please spread the word that in this day and age we should all support our queer friends, family, and everyone else!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Today is a day in which the queer community supports others through national coming out events and is also a great chance for all people to support their LGBT families, friends, employees, and other peoples. So I am supporting the Human Rights Campaign today, because they organize many of the events today.

Additionally, this year's day is especially important in regards to the recent teen LGBT suicides which I have written about previously. From the Human Rights Campaign website, here is some info on the events: "This year’s National Coming Out Day takes on increased importance after at least eight teenagers have taken their own lives as a result of anti-gay bullying and harassment, including four in one Minnesota school district alone. “The more we as LGBT people tell our stories and engage others, the closer we are to achieving equality,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.  “The recent tragedies involving young gay Americans, and those perceived to be gay, increase the urgency for all people of good conscious to Come Out for Equality. Our youth need to have ‘out’ role models and see the visible support of non-gay Americans.”

The importance of this year’s event will be heightened by the recent news of teen suicides precipitated by anti-LGBT bullying and/or harassment.  National Coming Out Day encourages people that are or may be LGBT to live open and honest lives. Similarly, the yearly observance is also an opportunity for all fair-minded Americans, friends and family members to support LGBT people they know."

So, as all fair minded Americans should support LGBT individuals and support children's right to go to school without experiencing bullying. Today I come out in support of LGBT right and support everyone who is coming out or reaffirming their sexuality. I hope you do too!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Be proud of who you are!

Being a teenager is hard for everyone, now imagine what it might feel like if you you were also an atypical teenager. There have been multiple teen suicides in the last week by students who were outed, tormented, bullied, and harassed for their sexuality.

Multiple studies have shown that LGBT teens are at a higher risk to attempt suicide. "A controversial U.S. government study, titled Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, published in 1989, found that LGBT youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people." And "for every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made (2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey)."

So, while suicide is tragic for every community, it is especially tragic for the queer community because it affects so many of our youth. And in this day and age it is absolutely ludicrous that people discriminate and tease other youths to the extent that they feel hopeless. And it is EVERYONE'S responsibility to change our society. Today, I am going to support The Trevor Project whose focus is on helping end teen suicide among LGBT youth. They "advocate acceptance and help prevent teen suicide by promoting mental health and positive self-esteem through a premiere on line destination, nationwide 24/7 call centers, and empowering social activities."

They are an amazing group, don't believe me, here is Daniel Radcliff's PSA for The Trevor Project.

For more information, here are a few links.
Suicide among LGBT youth - Wikipedia.
Gay And Lesbian Teen Suicide: The Trevor Project Helpline - NowPublic.
The Trevor Project.

The Girl Effect.

Thanks to a professor of mine for this link, I found it to be very provocative and thoughtful. And it has a great point. So, today we are helping Girl Effect in order to help them grow into powerful women.

According to their site, merely 2 cents of every aid dollar is given to girls. They want to change that math, lets help them. According to their website: "there are 600 million adolescent girls living in poverty in the developing world. By giving one of these girls a chance, you start the girl effect. When girls have safe places to meet, education, legal protection, health care, and access to training and job skills, they can thrive. And if they thrive, everyone around them thrives, too."

I love it when i find the sites to be interesting and thought provoking, its worth it to explore their website to learn more about the plight facing young girls globally.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sites that donate while you shop...

Now, if you are a shopper, I have some help for you on how to donate online while you are shopping. Here are a few options iGive, and Charity Mall.

iGive work by donating for every search and up to 26% of your purchases at over 700 participating stores; such as, eBay, Staples, JCPenney, Barnes & Noble,,, Office Depot, QVC, Expedia, Home Depot, HSN, Best Buy, Drs. Foster & Smith, Gap,, & NORDSTROM. Lots of options and you get to choose your favorite charity to donate too. There are more than  34,367 organizations listed already at, and more get added every day.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Hunger Site and associated sites...

Another great site, which I often forget about is The Hunger Site. This is a great site, they have partners who donate money every time a person clicks a button on their home page. You can only click once a day and it REALLY only takes a few seconds to do. A great way to utilize this is to have it set as your homepage, then you can help the world every morning before you even check your email. For the hunger site the money goes to Mercy Corps, Feeding America, and Millennium Promise.

At the top of the website, there are tabs to show the other projects similar to the Hunger Site. There is The Breast Cancer Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, The Rainforest Site, and The Animal Rescue Site. These all function like the Hunger Site, in that their partners donate money for every click on the button on their home page. All you have to do, is take that two seconds to click a button, let it load the thank you page, with the ads.... and you have helped a great cause. In all it takes less than  twenty seconds to go through all six pages and make a positive impact on the world for the day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Help charities while searching the web!!

Hey all,

Here is a blog post listing some great ways to do good while searching the internet. Which is really great, because I know I spend a lot of time online, so here is another painless way to help others in our daily lives. I want to talk about a few of the search engines from the blog post.

The first one I want to mention is MagicTaxi, it is a UK based engine which donates 50% of its daily advertising directly to various UK charities. I like this one cause it reminds me of my blog, except it functions differently. Here is a Metro article about the company for more info.

The next is Search Kindly which uses the money they raise to build mobile libraries for underserved schools, as an avid reader I really like the goal of this site. They way they function is to "take something that you'd be doing anyway, like surfing the Internet, and turn it into a meaningful action." Every time you visit their page, they get roughly 1/3 of a cent for the advertising costs, which they then use for the libraries. You can also set it for your homepage as an easy way to help or add it your search bar to use every time you search the web.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Art for a Better World.

A friend of mine, sent me a link for a website where you can buy artwork, in which a percentage of the proceeds are then donated to a charity chosen by the author. The Working Proof "seeks to promote art and social responsibility. Each print is paired with a charity of the artist's choice, to which we are donating 15% of the sale of each print - creating what we believe to be a product with not just aesthetic, but social value. Besides showcasing emerging artists and great artwork, the intent of the Working Proof is to promote a variety of charities and to expose them to new supporters through the appreciation of art and creativity."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

V-Day supports Pakistan

I just logged in to check my old school email address, I don't get much email to that address anymore. However, there was an email from the V-Day organization talking about their involvement in Pakistan and asking for donations. V-Day is an organization dedicated to ending violence and abuse against women worldwide. They are most well known for their grassroots performances of The Vagina Monologues, which are always performed for local charities and global issues that affect women's safety. I have helped organize and been in the play multiple times and I found it very empowering, and loved my experiences and the friends I made from the performances. I appreciate the global outlook of their spotlight every year, from Katrina victims to the widespread violence women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo face they try to raise awareness of the problems women face globally and I think that is very important.

Angelina Jolie on the Pakistan flooding.

I was reading more about the Pakistan flooding and it just moved me so much. Its difficult to convey the true scope of the catastrophe or the urgent needs of the people affected. So I am going to let Angelina Jolie express her thoughts on it and hope they touch as they did me.

And here's another one, where she hopes people will start giving and helping and not give in to donor fatigue.  While not all of us can afford to give the $100,000 that she has, we can afford to give something. The numbers for Pakistan are very low considering the scope of the tragedy. "While 3 million people were affected in Haiti the number affected in Pakistan is 7 times as much and climbing. As the flood waters recede, human misery is escalating."I will be donating to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as Angelina Jolie suggests, because they are working with the people directly affected and they are already there on the ground.

Please join me in helping those affected Pakistan flood, and if you know of any good organizations doing good work their, please do no hesitate to recommend them. Thanks and enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pakistani Flood Relief

Yesterday, I was reading one of my favorite blogs Racailicious - which focuses on the intersection of race and pop culture. I always find it informative and helps me to look at issues from a different context. If you haven't read it, its a great blog to talk about how race interacts with our culture, I highly recommend it. From there I was directed to some information about the Pakistani Flood Relief effort and was underwhelmed by the US response. First I want to really reinforce the scope of the flooding; here is a link to a map (from the BBC) with a visual overlay of the flooding on top of the US, so you can see the size of the affected area. I think it helps to have that kind of a visual to really understand the extent of the disaster.

Racialicious had a link to an article from the Atlantic - 4 Reason Why American's Aren't Giving for Pakistani Flood Relief by Max Fisher. This article is discussing the dismal response for this natural emergency, in comparison to other's such as the Haiti earthquake. "The figures for the Haiti earthquake, tsunami, and Kashmir earthquake were $1087.33, $1249.80, and $388.33 respectively. For the Pakistan floods, the world has given only $16.36 per victim. These shortfalls have led many to ask a macabre question. Why did the world, particularly U.S. individual donors, give so much for Haiti but show so little concern for Pakistan?" Here's an article in WIRED discussing the difference in response from the US compared to the Haiti earthquake, and the differences are startling." According to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, a month after the flooding started, the United States has provided an aggregated $200 million for Pakistan. That’s less than half of what it gave Haiti’s much, much smaller population."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How I Choose.


A friend of mine asked me this week "how do you choose your charities?" Which is a great question, so I thought I would make a post explaining my process. Its a very detailed and exacting process...

Actually, I mostly go with my gut and then do some research. Currently the format is having themes for the week. While I often know of one or two good charities already, I rarely know more than that. So, I look for other charities. I will Google the theme looking for good charities or use Charity Navigator to search for related topics.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Childhood cancer.

Hey all,

Today I have discovered a charity which sounds really great to me, hope you agree. It's CURE Childhood Cancer. They focus on "improving the care, quality of life, and survival rate of children with cancer. The founders, parents and a dedicated pediatric oncologist, joined forces to support laboratory research that would translate into immediate care for children with cancer. Since that time, CURE has raised millions of dollars to fund cutting edge research at the Aflac Cancer Center Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine. Through innovative programming, CURE also provides support for stricken families, providing them comfort and support during their time of devastating need" ~CURE site

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Think Before You Pink!

Today's cancer organization, is a bit of a shift from yesterday's. However I think it is a very important one because it forces us to really think critically when we buy something in which the proceeds go to a charity. Think Before You Pink is an action group focused on raising awareness and stopping the "pink-washing" of products.

"Think Before You Pink, a project of Breast Cancer Action, launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the number of pink ribbon products on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions." ~Think Before You Pink

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure

An amazing woman, that I was involved in a charitable play with, is participating in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for Cure. As a crew member, who is working on logistics and such, she is not required to fund raise.  However as she says: "i think it's important that the only impact i have on this event is a positive one. it costs around $300 to host one person on event (food, lodging, transportation, etc), and the money to cover me comes from the funds the walkers raise. well, i don't want someone else to have to pay for my part, so i set out a goal to cover my costs, and the costs of a few others on crew, while we're on event. the walker's dollars have a greater use elsewhere." And she makes a great point, all those organizational crew have to be fed and taken care of, by raising money she is guaranteeing that more of the money raised makes it to the vital research needed if we are going to beat cancer. Here is my friends page, if you want to join me in supporting her as she supports the amazing people participating in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cancer Research/Prevention/Treatment Week

Hey all,

Thanks to those of you who made suggestions for this and future weeks topics. The winning topic came from Duderussi; "Cancer research/prevention/treatment. And there are a lot of rarely hear of kinds that probably get a lot less attention than they deserve." His mother is recovering from her own bout with cancer, so lets all send some good thought her way and hope her recovery goes well.

I decided that today I would donate a dollar to a world-class biomedical research, treatment and education institution - The City of Hope. Here is a description of their work from their website:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Next Week's Theme?

Hey all,

Hows is everyone doing? Hope everyone had a great weekend so far. I have decided that I enjoy doing a theme for the week, so I will be doing that for the foreseeable future. I hope you all enjoy the format as much as I do. However, I cannot decide what I want the focus for this upcoming week to be, there are so many options.

I have decided to make it a a bit of a contest to encourage my readers to comment on my blog. I will focus this week's blogs on the topic suggested by the first comment left on this post, by someone following my blog. That comment is the winner, but there are also runner up prizes. I will choose my favorite out of the remaining topics and focus on that the following week.

So, I would appreciate many comments and suggestions for the next two weeks. Please comment and tell me what issues you are passionate about. Thanks and have a great day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Youth issues.

I really like the work of this group. They are working with at risk youth and those in crisis to create long term solutions and help for homeless youths and their families. They do more than just provide shelter or food, they want to help youths and their families to become self-sufficient. The majority of their work is done with runaway, abused, or at risk youths in San Diego. The services they offer are broad and support the diverse youth's that need their help.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Small Business Growth

Today's local organization is ACCION San Diego. I had not heard of this charity before, but I like their idea's. Their focus is on micro-lending to small business in order to help grow the economy, because small business and entrepreneurs often lack access to more traditional forms of capital. ACCION is providing an opportunity for people to achieve their dreams of owning their own business.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


When one is ill or down on their luck, one of the biggest worries in their lives is eating. So today I am donating to Mama's Kitchen, a local charity who provides food for those affected by AIDS or cancer. I like this organization because they may be local, but they are not a small organization, they have over 600 volunteers. Their effort touch thousands of people throughout the year. I also like that they worry about providing good quality homemade nutritious food for the ill. Not having to worry about what they are going to eat must be a huge relief for those who are so sick.

Howdy y'all!

Today, I have decided to donate to Shaun Traver's, an old boss and friend, in a charitable walk for AIDS. Every year he walks with the UCSD contingent in the AIDS Walk San Diego. Events such as these are a great way to raise money for events. Almost everyone can contribute through donations or by participating in a local walk in your own community. There are walks organized for many different causes, so no matter you interest there will be an opportunity for you to be involved.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Break

Hey all,

The perceptive among you will have noticed that I did not post over the weekends. I have decided that while this blog is new and I am still getting used to the daily responsibility I will give myself the weekends off from blogging, unless I come across something that I want to share with y'all.

So please forgive this new blogger for taking two days off a week. Take this time to find organizations that you want to support and leave a comment below telling us about it.

Thanks and hope y'all had a great weekend. :-)

We are the World!

Just a video reminder that it is up t each and every one of us to create the change we wish to se in the world. If we don't do it, no one will. So please remember to help your fellow man.

Friday, August 13, 2010

And now for something different!

Often times when Stumbling around the web, I am amazed by the wasted bandwidth on things such as cats. Now don't get me wrong, I love cats (crazy cat lady in training!) it amazes how much of the Internet is those sites instead of sites dedicated to trying to better ourselves or create change. Although, there are days where my mental capacity is not much beyond lolcat jokes, so I do understand the appeal.

However, today I stumbled to a site called One Day's Wages, whose site is premised of donating a day's wages to various charities and I was so impressed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rebuild lives through animals!

Today, the focus is going to be on Heifer International. This is an organization I am very passionate about. I have been donating to them since middle school. Instead of purchasing gifts one Christmas, our family bought each other chicks, rabbits, and trees. that was my first experience giving for charity and it felt really great. My grandparents are farmers and there have been farmers in our family for generations. To give someone a gift that can support them and their family, it was a measurable amazing concept to me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

St. Boniface Haiti Foundation

The St. Boniface Haiti Foundation was started through the outreach of one church and has grown into a hospital providing medical services and now education and food services as well. The reason I want to support this organization is that it has been on the ground for so long in Haiti. I feel that their commitment and continued work in the face of the difficulties of the earthquake and the aftermath to be inspiring. They are currently working on rehabilitating patients who are still recovering from their injuries during the earthquake. The hospital offered a place to recover and rejuvenate for over thirty seriously wounded patients; over half of these have recovered and returned to their family and friends. If their doctors and nurses can work and save patients in such conditions, then the least I can do is recognize their efforts and give them my dollar for the day.

Haitian Water Quality & Matching Gift Opportunity

Hey all!

Today we are focusing on Oxfam America's contributions to rebuilding Haiti. Oxfam's main mission is to work towards a world without poverty, which is a noble goal. A reason I like this charity is that I feel they really recognize that many people are stuck in poverty due to systemic barriers, laws or customs or corporations, which conspire to make it harder for them to survive and have a good life. Oxfam works on a local level to alleviate and fix this problems instead of a bunch of people in the Global North telling them what to do. It works with the people and respects their voices, which is why I support this group.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rebuilding Haiti

Today's organization is a nonprofit design firm that focuses on sustainable building practices. Architects for Humanity has a network of professionals that volunteer their time and knowledge for those who could not afford high priced design work - community groups, aid organizations, housing developers, government agencies, corporate divisions, and foundations. Part of what I like about this organization is that they don't just go in and build whatever they want. They include their clients in the design process and recognize their input as necessary for good design work.

"Design is important to every aspect of our lives. It informs the places in which we live, work, learn, heal and gather. We engage all stakeholders in the design process. We believe our clients are designers in their own right.
Thoughtful, inclusive design creates lasting change in communities by:
• Alleviating poverty and providing access to water, sanitation, power and essential services
• Bringing safe shelter to communities prone to disaster and displaced populations
• Rebuilding community and creating neutral spaces for dialogue in post-conflict areas
• Mitigating the effects of rapid urbanization in unplanned settlements
• Creating spaces to meet the needs of those with disabilities and other at-risk populations
• Reducing the footprint of the built environment and addressing climate change
Design is the ultimate renewable resource. Join us in building safer, more sustainable and more innovative structures—structures that are assets to their communities and an ongoing testament to the ability of people to come together to envision a better future."

Here is a list of the many projects they are working on, in collaboration with other organizations, in Haiti to rebuild. The projects include schools, housing, building guidelines, and professional training.

So I find this organization really awesome, because it is working to rebuild Haiti and create sustainable buildings there. Hopefully you find them equally cool.

Here is the charity navigator rating for Architects for Humanity.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Haitian Inspiration

     The idea for this blog struck me soon after the devastating earthquake in Haiti earlier this year. I saw two common reactions among people I know. The first was feeling as if the little money they could give would not make a big difference, so why bother. The other was giving a small sum of money and feeling as if they had done enough.
     Both of these seem problematic to me. If everyone who could gave a small sum the total would be overwhelming, so the first reaction is silly. Twenty dollars is not huge in the face of an earthquake, but when 5,000 donate twenty dollars, it makes 100,000. Together that is a significant sum of money. The second feeling is problematic, because there are always groups and organizations worldwide everyday that need help. Only donating in the face of overwhelming disaster negates the many current issues such as poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, environmental issues, and violence against women to name a few.
     While thinking about this, I realized that I could be doing more myself. I do volunteer, but I cannot volunteer for every organization and cause that I support. So we are going to start this blog of with a week of organizations that are working in Haiti because it was my muse for this blog.

Partners in Health

     "The model of the organization is described as being one in which: clinical and community barriers to care are removed as diagnosis and treatment are declared a public good and made available free of charge to patients living in poverty. For people living in poverty stricken areas, the treatment of AIDS and multidrug resistant tuberculosis has been made possible by this model of care. This model of care provides an alternative to the conventional curative method of treatment for sick patients and instead tries to prevent diseases before they occur. This model believes that primary health care is essential because health is a right and therefore, it should be available to everyone. PIH strives to bring good medical care to the poor by establishing long-term partnerships with local sister organizations." ~Wikipedia

     Partners in health have been in Haiti for decades and when the earthquake hit they became even more involved in helping the Haitian people. They are very involved in preventing and treating health issues in Haiti and are working with the government to provide the best care they can for Haiti. The more I learn about this org, the more I like them, I hope others find them as impressive as I do.

Here is the ranking and evaluation of PIH by Charity Navigator.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Hello all!

     And welcome to my brand new blog. The purpose of this blog is to to show that everyday, through something as small as a dollar, we can create change in our world. In this current time of economic instability, charitable organizations have had their budgets greatly reduced and are frequently struggling to continue to offer their services.

     I felt overwhelmed because I wanted to donate money to all of them but could not afford to give large amounts to every organization. Which was when I realized that instead I could start a blog to raise awareness about these organizations and perhaps encourage others to also donate to them.

     Hopefully, you will enjoy hearing about these organizations and can find it in your budget to donate a dollar a day with me.

Please feel free to comment or email and questions or suggestions you may have.