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Worthy Causes


November 15th: National Philanthropy Day

OPFToday, November 15th, is National Philanthropy Day.

When people hear the the word “philanthropist”, I’m guessing that the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Angelina Jolie come to mind. You know, very wealthy people who regularly do incredible philanthropic work on a global level. People who donate on a large-scale should absolutely be commended for their hugely generous hearts and wallets.

But then there are regular folks with middle-class means who donate their money or time to worthy causes as well. I believe that people who generously donate, despite a limited budget or average means, are the best kind of philanthropists. These are the people who are teaching the next generation an important lesson – it’s always good to give back, no matter your circumstances, because there are always people less fortunate than you.

I want to use National Philanthropy Day to highlight one outstanding non-profit organization that is all about regular people working together to make a difference. The One Percent Foundation (OPF) is an organization created by young philanthropists who believe that, despite income and resources, everyone can make a difference in the world. One of the best ways to make a difference on a limited budget is to pool money together with other philanthropists. Members of OPF nominate, evaluate, and vote for excellent organizations to donate their combined resources. The goal of OPF is for members to donate 1% of their income and many members have done so through the 1% Pledge. In the past year, OPF will have given 4 grants to 4 different organizations for at least $8,000 each. They truly are doing incredible work and making a huge impact for many well-deserving organizations. Please take a few minutes to click on the OPF website to learn more about this wonderful non-profit philanthropic group. (continues…)

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October 11th is National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out Day

(logo courtesy of

October 11th is National Coming Out Day, an internationally recognized day to celebrate and support the LBGT community. It’s a day to give support to those that need guidance on how to come out to family, friends, and co-workers. It’s also a day for awareness and discussion.

In the wake of the recent tragic suicides of several students who were bullied to death by their peers, the arrest of 8 men in New York charged with hate crimes against several gay men, and the disturbing remarks recently made by New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, making strides to stop the homophobic hate, fear, and intolerance against the LBGT community has never been more important.

Speaking as a mother, I also want today to be a call to action for all parents. It doesn’t matter if one of your own children is gay or not. It doesn’t matter if your children are far too young to even know their sexual orientation. What does matter is that you live your life as a positive example to your children. Parents who demonstrate fear and hate towards others tend to raise children who do the same and, as we know, hate and fear is the foundation for bullying. By speaking positively about the gay community, advocating for equal rights, and modeling tolerance and respect towards others no matter their sexual orientation, you are teaching your children an incredibly valuable and important lesson. Your child might be gay. My child might be gay. It really doesn’t matter. Let’s work together to make it easier for all children who may need the love and support to come out one day.

Coming out is not easy. For some, it can be a painful process with the possibility of losing family and friends while others may not come out at all because of the homophobic attitudes of the people around them. Whether you need support coming out or want to find more information about gay rights, the Human Rights Campaign has excellent resources and information. Please check out their website at

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EKS Day: Join Joe Jonas to Help Raise Awareness for the Special Olympics

On September 25, 2010, Special Olympics and Best Buddies will lead the world in a celebration of the inspiration, impact and unrelenting spirit of Eunice Kennedy Shriver.  The first annual “Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day” (EKS Day) will promote a global call for people to commit acts of inclusion, acceptance and unity for individuals with intellectual disabilities (EKS Acts).

Join Joe Jonas and others around the world in helping spread the word about acceptance and unity for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The goal of EKS Day is to share Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s story, inspire young people to commit EKS Acts of Unity, and reach 100,000 EKS Acts by the first annual global Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day on September 25, 2010.

How can you participate in EKS Day? (continues…)

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Preparing for an Emergency: Ready NYC & Giveaway!

On September 2nd, New York City is kicking off National Preparedness Month.  If any city has learned how to be prepared for the unimaginable, it’s New York City. But you don’t have to live in New York to learn how to prepare your family and home in the event of an emergency or crisis situation.  As someone who has always lived in areas prone to earthquakes, I know how incredibly important it is to have an emergency kit and a strategy plan to help keep my family as safe as possible.  No matter where we live, no one is ever completely safe from the possibility of a disaster or emergency situation. From fires, earthquakes, and floods to terrorist attacks each and every one of us is vulnerable. And, as parents, we must be especially responsible in ensuring that our family is as safe as possible should the unthinkable happen. Believing that your family can just “wing it” in an emergency is irresponsible and potentially life-threatening.

The Ad Council and the New York Office of Emergency Management (OEM) have joined forces to create Ready NYC , an excellent website devoted to helping people prepare for any type of emergency. Check out the Ready NYC website and, if you’re on Facebook, make sure to “like”  the New York Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Facebook page.  Both of these sites are excellent resources and will help parents and families everywhere prepare for any type of emergency in three steps:

  1. Make a family emergency plan
  2. Make an emergency supply kit/Go Bag
  3. Be informed about different emergencies and how to plan your response to them (continues…)
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The Consumer Conscience

When I recently learned that the Target and Best Buy corporations donated large sums of money to the political group MN Forward, an organization that is supporting an extreme anti-gay political candidate, I included them in my growing list of businesses that no longer hear the ka-ching sound from my wallet. Despite the “apology” from Target CEO Greg Steinhafel, Target will not be getting any business from me until they make a contribution of an equal amount or greater to a pro-LGBT candidate or organization. Considering that Steinhafel and his wife have donated $5,000 each to Rep. Michele Bachmann, I have a feeling that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

I believe being a smart shopper goes beyond clipping coupons, looking for good deals, and avoiding paying full retail. A smart shopper also shops with their conscience. We all have our own ethical beliefs and values, neither of which should be compromised because of a good deal.

There are issues we all care about, whether it be equal rights for gays, environmental concerns, sweatshop and child labor, animal testing, war funding, white-collar crime, etc… I believe that giving money to a business that goes against our ethical values is like directly contributing to the very issues we object. We would never do that, so why do it when we shop or eat? As consumers, we’re a powerful group. We have our voice and we have our wallets. When we voice our objections to bad business practices and close our wallets, we’re making a powerful statement.

I’m not urging my readers to take up the same causes that I believe in, but I am urging everyone who reads this to listen to your conscience before you buy. Educate yourself about companies that you regularly buy from and how your purchases were manufactured or produced. Learn about their political contributions and donations. We’re not always going to be aware of bad business, but we should all be doing our best to know as much as possible. That’s what makes us a smart shopper.

Are there businesses you don’t support for one reason or another? Would love to hear about your own story.


Interested in knowing more about the businesses that I currently boycott? See below: (continues…)

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