Thinking of Dad

Today would have been my dad’s 67th birthday.  Here’s missing you today and always!

Seriously, he’s quite the cutie, no?

St. Patty’s Day Parade in Chicago!

I attended my first ever St. Patty’s Day parade in Chicago last weekend.  It was cold, drizzly, and windy, but I moseyed up to an empty spot on the fence and ended up meeting a Seattle-Local and an Italian tourist.  Despite the miserable weather, I had a blast!  Harold and Fransescu (sp?) were quite lovely companions and Fransescu got a lot of great shots–much better photographer than I am.  We shared our loot so I ended up with a plastic hat, green beads, and a bunch of candy.  After the parade, I wandered around downtown, found and followed the green river to Lake Michigan and then wandered back to the train station.  It was fun despite the chilly weather.  If I’m ever in the Midwest in March again, I’ll make a special trip for this!

Chicago March 2010

Enjoy!

Free Hugs for the Holidays

I don’t think I’ve posted this video before, yet I love it!  And now, just in time for your Holiday Season: More FREE HUGS!

Who wants to volunteer for free hugs?  I can’t wait to return to a country where people HUG!

Holiday Giving–to those who really NEED

After earlier posts about Social Actions, and The Girl Effect, and proposing to my family that we give charitable donations rather than gifts this season, it looks like I’m not the only one thinking this way this year…

From funtasticblog at microgiving.com:

“So the answer to the question that we’ve all been asking: What happens to charitable giving when times go financially sour?

The Center of Philanthropy recently announced that charitable giving has remained steadfast during times of recession.

Furthermore—

World Vision released their results from a telephone survey that was conducted in October— which suggested that 2008 looked quite promising for charitable and non-profit organizations.

Say what?!”

Read the rest at http://www.microgiving.com/blog/?p=244

Simplify the Holidays

Spreading the good word I heard on Olin Lagon’s  Social Actions blog.  Check out the Simplify the Holidays campaign–hey I can DO this stuff: potted christmas trees, edible gifts, cleaning up the streets!  What a great way to celebrate!

Social Actions makes making a difference easier

I earlier posted a video and post about The Girl Effect.  I found out about it through socialactions.com, an incredible organization which makes online philanpthropy easy.  The Girl Effect is supported by one of a multitude of incredible online philanthropy sites.  This one is called globalgiving.com.  At sites like this, you can chose specific projects covering a huge range of issues.  Many of the projects support one specific individual or one small community–guaranteeing that your dollars go to the people whose pictures you see, whose stories you learn, and whose lives you can change.  I know this works, because my friend Christine Egger put together a project last year to help put a homeless Nepali boy in school (http://www.givemeaning.com/project/yubaraj).  I went with her to Nepal to meet the boy and the adults who were helping him and I have seen the dedication and responsibility that one-to-one giving generates.  I am a true convert to this type of online helping.

From this experience, Christine partnered in the development of a google-like search engine that compiles projects from over thirty websites like globalgiving.com called socialactions.com.  This website serves as the portal to accessing thousands, if not more, ways to make the world a better place and is funded completly independently of donations to the websites.  The projects can be searched and sorted according to your personal preferences, and you can put notices about them on websites, blogs, in e-mails, etc.  Again, your money goes directly to the people and organizations listed in the proposal, no middle-men, no skimming off the top.

But Social Actions is more than the database, it’s an online community for microphilanthropy (also called peer-to-peer giving).  The blog site is designed to be a completely open and transparent community–anyone can join and have a profile, write blogs, etc.  They are also developing ways for both “experts” and “lay people” to rank or rate individual projects on a variety of criteria.  They have used Twitter to compile updates around specific actions (like the poverty and water actions list I have in my side bar on the left) and ANYONE can create their own twitter group using their tool!  Plus, they are expanding every day, building on ideas from members and making the site more responsive, more interactive, and more exciting.

I have been watching the development of socialactions.com for almost a year now and I am no longer content to sit on the sidelines.  This is an INCREDIBLE tool!!!  As the economy struggles, rather than listing more consumer crap you don’t need on your holiday gift list, why not list the social actions you’d like your friends and family to support in your name?  Just a thought.