Friday, December 18, 2009

170,000 Yards of Yarn

Lion Brand Yarns recently did a project with Partnership for the Homeless and provided hundreds and scarves and hats to those in need.

Go check out how awesome they are!

Here are some other craft philanthropy groups that I love:

Craft Hope
Afghans for Afghans
Newborns in Need

And for many others try: Crafting for Charity

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Send Love Today

Send Love Today is a nonprofit organization that provides emotional support to brain tumor patients and their families in the form of cards and small gifts.

Do you have a little bit of time on your hands to commit to jotting a few notes to people who could use some encouragement and uplifting? Go to the site and read more about this great organization and see if you can do something to help.

And if you can't right now, do pass it on!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dove Builds Self-Esteem

Did you know that 7 out of 10 girls believe they are not good enough in some way? And 75% of girls with low self-esteem participate in negative activities such as disordered eating, bullying, cutting, etc?

If 70% of our girls feel like this, how are they going to feel when they are grown up women?

As I was coupon surfing this morning I ran across Dove's web site and notice they are doing a "click to donate" program. Their campaign is all about building self-esteem in girls.

If you go to the site it asks for a UPC code from a Dove product, but it will also let you choose a product from a list so you don't have to enter your code. My selection donated $1 to the program and I was able to choose from three organizations to which to donate.

Awesome program. Go do your free donation!

And while you're at it, what can you do to help build up a lovely young lady's self-esteem? If you have a daughter or granddaughter, look further at the site and you will find some workbooks and other tools that you can use with that girl in your life to help build her self-esteem.

If you don't have a girl in your life, at least read the key findings in the self-esteem study and help educate others and influence them to make a difference, too!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Museum Day

Saturday, September 26th is Museum Day, sponsored by The Smithsonian. Their web site has a place you can click to print yourself a free admission pass for two to any participating museum.

Tomorrow is a great opportunity to practice some budget philanthropy by taking a guest to a museum. Not only do museums rock (and are sometimes expensive!) but by going you can learn one new thing about history and culture that might expand your horizons. Knowledge gives us the opportunity and desire to show more compassion and tolerance for our fellow roomies on this planet we call our home.

Take the kids or borrow some kids if you don't have any of your own. Personally, my family are "treating" the grandparents to an outing. Tomorrow we're piling in a van and headed out to a discovery museum a couple hours from our home where we'll look at cool bugs and all sorts of other weird things.

Whose horizons can you broaden tomorrow?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Free Chocolate Friday!

It's Free Chocolate Friday! Spread some happiness by signing yourself or a friend or loved one up for some TOTALLY FREE CHOCOLATE.

It's good. So good!

Hurry over to:  Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sharing Backyards

I live in a small town surrounded by rural countryside. Even here in town most folks have enough space around them to have a little garden, often a generous garden.

In the cities people aren't so lucky. They are surrounded by pavement or have little tiny postage stamp sized yards. Sometimes in the city you can get creative and have a rooftop garden or use your flowerbeds for vegetables. Some cities offer neighborhood parks and community gardens.

But there's another way... how about sharing a backyard? The Sharing Backyards web site has a database where you can enter a request for a backyard to share or offer your unused space to a local gardener. You post what you have or what you want and you can contact each other online and work out a deal.

I had a great time browsing the site to see what people were looking for in other cities.  If you've got a grand backyard to share, why not see if someone in your area is looking? And if not, please pass the word and maybe you will make a gardener happy somewhere!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Collecting Little Things

Recently a friend of mine sent me a link to a young woman, Katie Davis, who has amazing energy, compassion and a zest for life. She works with kids in Uganda and has a web site where she documents her work at Amazima Ministries International.

While I was there reading about Katie, I noticed that on her blog she has a list on her sidebar of things that they happen to need at the moment, just little things like gummie vitamins, deflated soccer balls and packets of dry soup. They live a life that is simply in survival mode. They are not asking for better Internet connection, more TV channel choices, MP3 downloads, chicken parmesan, a car with better gas mileage or the latest designer sneakers. No, they're asking for packets of dry soup and some underwear.

So why not get some friends together and see if you can make a care package for Amazima? Go check out the list she has on her blog and see if you can pull some of that stuff together to send. Want to do it cheaper? Print out this article and take it to several stores around town and see if they will donate some products to you. Also, if you do need to buy some of the items, be sure to check online and see if you can find coupons for some of the products. Frequently, stores who have their own brand names (like Kroger, Walgreens, etc) offer 2-for-1 sales on vitamins. And if a store won't donate, see if you can negotiate a deal where you can purchase items at cost or near-cost since it's for a worthy cause.

The little things make a big difference!

(By the way, I'm guest posting over at A Year of Living Charitably while Jen is on vacation. Go over and show some love!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Goody Bags

Tabitha over at is spreading goody bag madness. Would you like to join her?

The basic idea of her group designed to spread kindness is to make or collect a lot of little "goodies" that are donated to different hospitals or wherever. She gives a lot of hints on what types of things to give, where and how to give them, etc. She's full of life and enthusiasm and is very inspiring.

Please go check it out. Who can you make a goody bag for today? Or can you do a drive to collect goodies that can be handed out to those who need them? What have you done to promote kindness today?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Helping Others

I was reading over at The Prudent Homemaker and ran across a page of hers that talks about how to help others when you're having your own difficulty.

She has a ton of great budget philanthropy ideas, some really creative ways to help others. The key point is to look deep within yourself -- at your strengths and your talents -- and find ways to use these to benefit others.

What are your strengths and talents? Check out Prudent Homemakers Helping Others page to see if any of yours are listed there.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Craft Hope

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time I am thrilled to have recently learned about a web site called Craft Hope.

It's a faith-based program in which people from all over join up to hand-craft items for a certain cause, such as making sock monkeys for kids at a burn camp, dolls for needy children, blankets and pillowcases, etc.

The response to the projects is fabulous and so touching. If you are crafty or know someone who is, I hope you will spread the word about this site. It's really wonderful.

I wish I knew how to sew! I'm waiting for a new project to come up that hopefully involves crocheting so I can participate. (A couple of years ago our local children's hospital had a crochet and knitted hat project that I joined -- so much fun and really gratifying. I highly recommend it!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

3/50 Project

I read about this project over at Thinking Out Loud.

The 3/50 Project is about saving your local economy. It's frequently tempting to shop online because it's easy to check for the absolute best prices and see a greater variety than a local store might have. But only shopping online has a significant impact on your local economy, the number of jobs available in your community and spreads out like ripples in the water.

The project is very simple... it proposes that you pick your three favorite stores that you want to support and be sure you spend a small amount of money each month in those stores. The site shows some statistics on how just a small amount spent with consistent effort can have an impact.

If you love your city and your neighborhood, check out the 3/50 Project and pass the word!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kellogg Feeds America

I ran across a site where you can donate $5 for free. Sort of.

At the Kellogg web site if you donate $5 for the Feeding America program, Kellogg will give you back $5 in coupons. Effectively, that means you've made your donation for free!

So, go check it out and help Kellogg feed America!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Share the Comfort

Click to donate 10 boxes of Kraft macaroni. Totally free. Help them meet their goal of one million boxes!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Kindness of Children

Not long ago I saw a really touching story about the kindness of children. CBS News has been doing a series about "children of the recession", how the economy is affecting children.

This particular segment had a reporter going around seeing what ideas children had to help with the recession. During the segment it came up that several of the children had money they had been saving and they'd given it to their parents to purchase groceries or other needed items for the family.

What a testimony to the spirit and consideration of these children. Heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time.

If you'd like to see the news segment, check it out at the CBS site.

Budget philanthropy idea for the day: Do you have anything extra in your pantry or cabinets? Consider filling up a grocery sack with a few items and taking it in to the food bank or a halfway house or shelter.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I've mentioned charity search engines before, like Good Search. The upside is you can specify your charity. The downside is that I love the Google search engine and that's not the one it uses.

I recently found one that donates money to charity AND uses the Google search engine, so it's the best of everything. The search engine is called Givoogle. (Unfortunately, you cannot specify which charity you want the money to go to.)

Here's a hint: If you set the web page as your homepage it will earn $74 dollars per year proceeds that go toward charity!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Restore Your Faith

Do you find it hard to be upbeat some days? While I consider myself generally optimistic, I still have days where I fall prey to doubt and discouragment and during those moments it's easy to fall into the "wow, the world really sucks" mentality.

If you have one of those days, I have a prescription for you! The site is called Gives Me Hope and it has blurb after blurb of people telling about beautiful moments in life they have experienced. Many of them are simple and sweet, but even those are deeply profound.

There is no possible way that you can go to this site and read a page of these "moments" and NOT leave in a better mood and ready to go out and do something for your fellow human.

Why not record some of your own moments while you're there? And spread the word!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Frugal Philanthropy Gifts

There are days I wish I were loaded with dough just so I can give it away or buy lots of cool stuff for people -- things they need or just plain old luxuries they don't give themselves permission to buy.

But on the other hand, after watching The Story of Stuff I feel really weird about buying STUFF that may or may not be useful or that might just end up in a landfill one day.

So, today's post is a triple whammy... it's a craft project, it's a "green" recycling project AND if you give it to someone when you're done with it it can also be a good deed!

Go check out this great homemade chalkboard. All you need is an old picture frame, some chalkboard paint and some spray paint. And if you don't want to use the traditional color of chalkboard paint, you can see a recipe for custom colored paint from Martha Stewart's web site.

Let's get out and exercise our generosity muscles!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Operation Beautiful

This is one of my FAVORITE projects on the Internet. Caitlin's crusade is to end toxic "Fat Talk". Operation Beautiful is a movement of posting anonymous messages in public -- messages of positive and upbeat messages of encouragement such as a simple "you are beautiful" to the more specific messages on a scale that says "This number doesn't matter. You are gorgeous right now..." or on a dressing room mirror, "Beauty has nothing to do with the size of your clothes."

This is a totally free way to spread change! All you need is a pen and a piece of paper and a public place to put a note. Are you ready to inspire total strangers? Get out there and get to writing, get to inspiring!

Oh and by the way, you're beautiful today. Everyday, really. I'm serious.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Help a Family

Can you give your coffee money to Ellie just for today? Just one day...

I generally try to provide information about how you can do good deeds on a budget or how acts of kindness can change a life. However, I'd like to do something a little bit selfish today and ask for your attention for a friend of mine.

My friend Savannah and her husband are in Ethiopia as I write this and are bring back their new daughter that they've just been granted a visa for. Right before they left for Africa they were notified that they could receive a grant of $2,000 if they are able to raise matching funds by August 14th.

An international adoption like they are doing ranges from $25,000 and up. They have done much of the work themselves, but friends and family are trying to get the word out about this $2,000 that they have to match to see what we can do to help.

Matching grants are the frugal philanthropist's dream... whatever we give is doubled! How can you NOT love that? And how can you not admire and spread the word about a loving family who is trying to make a better life for a little girl from an African orphanage?

If you want to follow little Ellie's journey back to American with her new parents, check out their blog: Hubbard Ethiopian Adoption Adventure

If you feel like you can donate a little (or a lot of) money, you can find out where to do that on the ChipIn widget on my sidebar or at: Wish Upon a Hero

IF YOU CANNOT DONATE: Please, please, please pass this on to someone you think can or knows someone who can. We spread change not only by what we do, but how we influence others.

Other ideas:

Have a "Dinner for Ellie". Make a spaghetti supper and invite 10 friends over and have them bring five bucks each. That's $50 that turns into $100!

Do you have a business? Make a bucket for Ellie! Put a donation bucket on your counter where you work and have people toss in extra coins.

Are you creative? Sing a song for Ellie! Offer to do singing telegrams for a day and give the proceeds toward Ellie's homecoming. Or dancing. Or juggling. Or doing mime. Or go to the town square or a busy streetcorner with a donation jar and stand on your head for Ellie!

Go to church? Can you do a bake sale for Ellie?

Have kids? Can your kids to a lemonade stand for Ellie? If you have boys, have them dig worms for Ellie and sell the bait to local fisherman!

The creative possibilities are endless. At the very minimum, please pass this on to friends and tweet it and blog about it. Your karma will thank you later!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Acts of Kindness Retold

Today I wrote about an experience of an "accidental act of kindness" I committed as a teenager. It was never intended as such, but made an impact on someone and I found out about it MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS LATER.

You may want to go read about (the link is below). But when you do, try to make yourself aware that the smallest of things can make a difference. And even if you don't TRY to make a difference in someone's life, just being kind cane make all the difference in the world. And, in my case, it wasn't about being kind as much as it was "don't make a crappy situation worse than it is." I can't take any credit for being kind and that's why this is a perfect example.

I always tell my kids that the goal is to make the world better when you leave it than when you come into it, but if you CAN'T do that, at least leave it as good. Or if you want to be succint, "Do no harm." That's the minimum we can all manage, surely.

Okay, now off with you... go read How to Deal with a Bully.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Backyard Campout

The Great American Backyard Campout is June 27 this year. What on earth can this possibly have to do with good deeds and spreading change?

Well, there have been numerous articles in the last couple of years about children and getting them outdoors. Many of the articles talk about childhood obesity, but the importance of children communing with nature goes way, WAY beyond getting more exercise.

There has been a study about childhood myopia. It is proven that children SEE BETTER when they spend less time indoors.

There has been a study about the alleviation of ADHD symptoms.

There has been a study about how children learn about their physical world better when they do it while outdoors.

There has been a lot of writing about how children relate to the environment and show concern about the environment when they've spent more time in nature.

As adults many of us are entrenched in our various ways of living. Sure, I agree it would be great to use less gasoline, but I haven't done anything to change my driving habits. It is difficult for most humans to make the large-scale changes in our daily lives that are needed to benefit the environment.

So, one thing we can do is use our influence to help the next generation do better than we are and we can start by getting kids outside.

And here we circle back to camping in the backyard. Mark your calendars. Do you have kids? Grandkids? Nephews and nieces? Why not plan to camp out in your backyard this year? The site even has a map that shows people all around the U.S. who have made the commitment to camp out this year.

Don't have kids and don't know any kids? Consider making a kid-friendly cache and registering it at That will provide one more place in this small world of ours where kids can go to explore nature.

If you want to read more about this topic, check out the article at APA Online. Also, the wiki on "nature deficit disorder" has more info and some interesting links.

And one last cool thing... nature is free!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Operation Nice

I love watching movies from the 50's because it seems like things were calmer and more idyllic back then. Don't get me wrong. I love technology, I love my modern life, but certainly there is a lot more hubbub and stress. More than I need, definitely.

Does it seem to you like people aren't as nice as they used to be? I got into restaurants or to pay a bill or to get something from the store and it seems like most people hate their jobs and don't care a hoot to give you good service even though that's what they are there for. I mean, if you're not helping me you're just gonna go off and help some other random person that you resent, so what's the hurry?

It boils down to the fact that there's just not enough NICE to go around. And I bet that's exactly how Melissa felt when she started up Operation Nice.

Operation Nice is a web site that promotes kindness in a creative way. After all, every act of loving care, compassion and courtesy all stem from a place of niceness. Essentially she is gently bringing us back to our roots so that from there we may flourish in our various nice ways.

I think it's nice. Better than nice, really. I'd say it's awesome. Please go give Melissa some love and then head out and find someone to nice-up. You can start with me by leaving a nice comment. Hee hee. :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Seed a Need

Have you ever done a good deed for someone and wondered if it ever impacted their life or if they paid it forward? Wouldn't it be cool to track the influence you have by being kind and doing things for others.

Now you can!

Here's a great idea... Go to the Seed a Need web site and register to receive a free good deed card. It's a plastic card with a number on it. You write the number down in a safe place where you won't lose it. Then you watch for the opportunity to do a good deed.

When you do your good deed you leave your card or give it to the good deed recipient. On the card are the instructions for the Seed a Need project and how to register good deeds. Eventually if things work out the way they are intended you will be able to go to the site, type in the number of the card you were sent and you'll be able to see the chain of good deeds as your card travels around the countryside or maybe even the world!

Rush over there now and request your card. Celebrate this terrific idea!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

U Made My Day

We all know how addictive it is to do good deeds and random acts of kindness for strangers. A coffee customer and the owner of a coffee shop where frequent RAKs occur have teamed up to trying to get 1,000 acts of kindness done in 30 days.

They're hoping it will catch on and spread like wildfire. And, as you know, spreading change is what we're all about here!

Check out the news story and also the web site that evolved from this idea. Now go out and do something nice for someone!

Monday, May 18, 2009

It Must Be Save the Animals Day!

I recently watched this story from ABC News and loved it. A banker stood all day beneath a balcony trying to talk down some baby ducklings who were stuck. What a guy.

Coincidentally, I got this email from a friend of mine today:
We were over at the new acreage and discovered this tiny little guy lying in the grass right next to the concrete hanger pad. Normally, you're not supposed to bother a baby deer because his mama taught him to hold real still and will be back for him as long as you don't get your scent all over the baby. But this poor baby was obviously an orphan. You could tell he had been lying in the same spot for a long time and he was covered with ticks. Deer mommies do a great job of keeping ticks off their babies. And he was so weak he could barely lift his little head.

So after many phone calls to Fish & Game and other agencies, we finally found a wildlife rehabilitator in a town about 1-1/2 hours away. We bought a baby bottle and formula at the store and managed to get several swallows of formula down his little throat. Within minutes of hydration he started feeling a little better and had enough energy to kick his little feet and cry. He was quite a handful at this point and we determined that 1-1/2 hours in the car with him was not going to be fun. So we decided to fly him over!

The flight was less than 15 minutes and he settled down contentedly in a big blanket for the ride. The wildlife rehabilitator met us at the airport and will nurse him back to health and then take him to a wildlife refuge. She described some of the many rescues she's helped with over the years but said this was definately the first rescue baby to get an airplane ride.

Have you done anything for an animal today? (I'm catsitting!)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Great Sunflower Project

My dad was a beekeeper, so I have a fondness for bees. I've always thought it was a shame that they are highly misunderstood and feared for being such gentle, industrious creatures.

Bees are highly important to our ecosystem and they are frequently threatened by sicknesses and pests in their hives and also more aggressive varieties of bees. It's urgent and important that we all become educated about the value bees add to our world and how much trouble we'd be in without them.

I ran across this wonderful project called The Great Sunflower Project. The goal of the project is to gather data on bees that might be helpful to scientists and environmentalists. They will send out free seeds to anyone who wants to participate in the project. All you need to do is sign up, plant a particular type of sunflower and, once per week, track how long it takes five bees to find your flower. Simple and fun!

Do you think you can help? Head on over and check it out if you think you can spare a little time. Who knows what your bee-tracking will do for the world. Count a bee, save a species!

(Incidentally, this is a GREAT project to do with kids!)

[photo credit: thai jasmine]

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Lemon Lady

Hanna Rion said, "The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses."

I think The Lemon Lady would disagree. Probably she would say the greatest gift of the garden is that it enables you to give generously to others.

Anna's basic philosophy is simple. First, it's the strong belief that no one should go hungry (and we can all agree to that) and second, why not plant an extra row in your garden for hungry people and then take all that produce to a local food bank?

I'm not sure how it is in larger areas, but in my rural area the food banks don't keep fresh foods -- just boxed, bottled, jarred and canned. Summer is a great time when the bounty of our gardens are overflowing -- this is a time when it's easy to be generous.

Are you keeping a garden this year? Why not start by planting a row for the hungry. Then go check out Anna's blog and see how far you can take it. Can you top her 4,500 pounds of harvested produce for the hungry? Can you try? Because just trying means you're doing more than if you did nothing.

What about starting a community garden in your town or neighborhood? What are the benefits there? Share the labor, share the love, share the bounty.

At our place we're doing "double duty". I wanted my kids to understand about how vegetables grow, where they come from, and how to take care of them. Combined with this we also learn how to save money by growing our own food, and how to share our "wealth" with others by giving extra produce to my mom and her friends who are on fixed incomes.

We're not saving the world, but we ARE making a difference. Do you have any grand plans for this fertile spring and summer?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Handmade Card Giveaway

I'm having a giveaway over at one of my other blogs, A Passion for Letter Writing. It's a gorgeous set of blank greeting cards. Really lovely.

Go check out the giveaway. Who knows, maybe the winner will be YOU!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Women for Women

Do you think your life is chaotic? Do you feel like sometimes it's hard to get anywhere and accomplish anything because of all the challenges you face?

Here's a recipe for cultural enlightenment: Take a cross-section of your life, add one part war complete with flying bombs, destroy part of your town, go without food for four days, alot yourself a few cups of water per day and then imagine accomplishing the things you're expected to do on a daily basis. Can you do it?

A year ago we had a devastating tornado that went through our town and wiped out a big swath of "civilization" diagonally across the place I have known and loved my whole life. I was out of sorts of days, weeks. I was distracted and sad. I was surrounded by people who were distracted and sad, some were distressed and now homeless. And this was just from a tornado, not from a war. Imagine feeling that way and wondering if someone was going to come and drag you out of your house and do something horrible to you.

These are the challenges faced by women in conflict and post-conflict regions of the world. Fortunately, Women for Women International has a program that enables women in these areas to change their lives through a "holistic approach", turning women from victims into leaders and active citizens in their villages and communities.

The key component to Women for Women's program is their Sponsorship Program wherein women are sponsored by other women. This provides the women in the program to be provided with basic survival needs (food, water, etc) while they are getting back on their feet. Once they are in a stabilized environment they can then move on to the next phase of the program which is learning life skills -- technical and vocational skills, leadership education and rights awareness. The organization also offers more advanced business services for the time when the women are ready to become more independent. They offer micro-lending and many other business fostering services.

Their "plan" looks really amazing and the sponsorship program seems like it would be gratifying to participate in. You get to write letters to the women you are sponsoring and keep updated on their progress adding an additional emotional component to the healing of these women as they try to get back on their feet and make their lives better. The additional focus of the holistic approach means women extend their new leadership skills into their community which just ripples out to change their villages and subsequently their world.

This organization has high marks from Charity Navigator. Go check out their sponsorship program and if you feel like you can't afford to sponsor someone, do you think you can find someone who can?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Helping Hands Project

The kind-hearted lady over at Thistles and Maple Leaves has a great little thing going on. It's called The Helping Hands Project.

It's a self-assigned award designed to get the word out and encourage or inspire others to do a good deed. It's Thistle's personal challenge to everyone out there to do a good deed so they can get the badge. It doesn't have to be huge. It doesn't have to be costly. The point is to just GIVE BACK. And if you give back (and she gives a list of great examples at the site) you can nab a little badge for yourself and hopefully get someone else to do the same.

Go on over to the Project's web page and post a story about how you've given back, how you've got helping hands!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Update on Kelaya

photo credit: tangobaby

The other day I made a plea for everyone to get the word out about Tangobaby and a woman named Kelaya who she is trying to help.

Please go read the story with these links: original story and the latest update

They've managed to mobilize some help for her but are asking for people to do what they can to help in the way of donations, job opportunities, resources and moral support. You can find her requests on the update page.

If you're a budget philanthropist and just can't spare a dime now, there IS something you can do for FREE. Tangobaby has posted an email address and requested that people send email to Kelaya through her -- words of encouragement or any messages that will uplift Kelaya's spirit as she makes her way back into the land of the "homeful".

Let's all do what we can!

[photo credit: tangobaby]

Monday, April 20, 2009


Have you ever printed something and when you went to the printer to retrieve the document you had one line or one word printed on the last page? What a waste of paper.

I'm really good about looking over my word processing documents to make sure those little orphan pages aren't hanging out there, but when during the times I print pages off the Web I don't always see what is coming out. And sometimes there's a lot of wasted space due to ads that you don't really need. Not all web sites offer a "print friendly version" of their articles online.

Well, this is where GreenPrint comes in. It's a free program that intercepts your document job before it actually gets to the printer and it then recommends ways you can reduce the amount of pages you're about to print -- for example, deleting the useless end pages or graphics or parts of the text that you don't need. It also has a PDF maker so you can print an electronic version that you can email if you want to do that. Handy dandy!

I've not actually used the program myself, but I just watched a video review of it and it looks really handy. So, if you're looking for a good deed to do, go check out the review of GreenPrint and see if it's something you can use to make our environment better.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Help Tangobaby Help Kelaya

Today I'd like you to read a post by Tangobaby over at her blog. Do you know anyone in that neck of the woods who can help? Please pass it on.

Kelaya is today's project. To spread the word is to spread change! Ready, set, GO.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Send a Rock

Here's a light one. I don't think you'll save anyone. You won't cure cancer or fight hunger or establish world peace. Actually, I don't know that anything at all will happen if you do this.

However, I read on this blog that if you send this woman in Australia a rock she will send you something back.

So, go over to Transcript of a Significant Life and get Lisa's address from the sidebar and send her a rock, because it will make her happy. And we're all about happiness over here, aren't we?

Get moving! :D

[photo credit: bemep]

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dine In to Fight Childhood Hunger

Stouffer's is running a great campaign to build awareness of childhood hunger. If you visit the site between now and the end of April, Stouffer's will donate $5 to Feeding America to provide meals for children and their families struggling with hunger.

All you have to do is pledge to have dinner at home with a group of family and friends and discuss hunger. They even have free tools to help you. You can download them from the site.

Easy, peasy! You have to eat dinner, so why not dine in with friends and talk about what you can do to help fight childhood hunger. Who knows, maybe you will come up with some brilliant plan. The absolute worst you'll do is get Stouffer's to raise an extra five bucks on your behalf and from there the sky's the limit!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Send a Card to Charlotte!

I have a new friend named Erin whose friend was in a recent accident and is just coming out of a coma.

Can you spare some time to write a note and get a few friends to write notes too? She will be in the hospital for a while probably and could use some mail to keep her busy.

Read the whole story about Charlotte Lewis at Erin's site.

Mail can be addressed to:

Charlotte Lewis
C/O Erin L. Delaney
R. 1220 South Prospect Street
Nanticoke PA 18634

Also, please repost if you can. This is a great way to do an act of kindness for a stranger. Just a little bit of time and a postage stamp. It will go a long, long way!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Intelligent Kindness

I don't often get a chance to listen to the radio because I'm always either working or busy with kids. However, on occasion for work I will find myself in the car on a Saturday morning and when I am I love tuning into John Tesh.

Yesterday happened to be one of those days and while I was listening and driving I heard about one of his projects called Intelligent Kindness. What a great web site! It's a social community of people sharing methods and experiences of how they use their time to spread kindness, to make change, to give of themselves to make the lives of others better.

As I drove I was giddy at the thought and couldn't wait to get back home to share this discovery with you. The site is loaded with people who are writing of their experiences of being out there in the world and doing good. You can even make your own personalized page and hook up with others in your community who are doing what you like to do.

Please do go check it out and sign up. And if you feel like doing a good deed for John Tesh, either post a note to him or send a message to him on Twitter or jot him a note and tell him how much he rocks for helping make the world a better place. His contact info is below. (And if you want to do something nice for yourself or someone else, you can enter yourself or a friend to win the "stimulus package" he's offering.)

Twitter: @johntesh

Email: use this form

Snail mail:
John Tesh
13245 Riverside Dr
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Adopt a Word

I CAN is an organization in the UK that helps children with speech, language and communication difficulties. As someone who just went through months of speech therapy with a little person I know it can be time-consuming and expensive (and frustrating).

The Adopt a Word program is a clever means of fundraising for I CAN. For a SMALL donation you can adopt one word for an entire year. You get a certificate and everything. I'm not sure if you can collect royalties on the usage of the word, but you can certainly ask. The worst they can do is tell you no. (Actually, the worst they could do is laugh in your face and say your crazy.) But still it's worth a try.

Wouldn't you love to be the official adopter of cool words like "love" or "money" or "supercalifragalisticexpialidocious"? I'm thinking of adopting two words so I can have my own phrase. Something like "skinny booty" or "winning smile" or, heck, why not "spread change" cause that's what we're doing around here. (Way more than skinny booty, that's for sure.)

And for today's "free" kindness: Why not give someone a word of their own? Write a word on an index card and doodle around it. Make it a word that really embodies the personality of a friend of family member. Write them a note to go with it that says, "This word reminds me of you." What a nice gift that will make someone smile.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Secret Deeds

I can't remember where I saw this done... there have been a couple of blogs I've seen it done on lately. Ironically, I'm about to post something cool as a "good deed" and not give either of them credit, so that makes me feel crummy. Hopefully me just saying a BIG THANK YOU WHOEVER YOU ARE will make up for it. If they stumble down this blind alley (which is unlikely) they will know who they are.

Anyway, I was doing a "secret deed" tonight -- a good deed done in a way that is never told and, in the case of mine, probably will not even be noticed. After I did it I was thinking, this would be cool to blog about and then realized it would sound like I was tooting my own horn. In fact, all I really wanted to do is convey another way we can "distribute kindness" that we easily minimize in our own minds but that can be very touching to another person. Never underestimate the power of a good deed, no matter how tiny it seems to you.

All that said, here is what I'd like us to do. Leave a comment ANONYMOUSLY and tell me a secret deed you have done or if you've had one done for you, tell that. Please do it anonymously. This is a way to confess your nifty secret good deed without actually getting any credit for it whatsoever, therefore it's not actually bragging. Make sense??

Any comments made on this post, even if not secret (like a response to another comment) should be done ANONYMOUSLY. Let's just all pretend we are sitting in a dark room talking. And please... keep your hands to yourself. :D

(If you have fun with this one, let me know. Maybe we can do it as a regular feature. Also, my secret deed may or may not be in there. You'll just have to wonder!)

[photo credit: Katie Tegtmeyer]

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Humane Society of West Texas

My friend Ginny recently started a blog on behalf of the Humane Society of West Texas.

Most of you reading this will have your own local causes to support, but if you don't mind taking one small minute to go visit the blog and at least leave a comment to say hi or to tell her to keep up the good work or just any little thing to inspire her to keep moving... what a good deed for you to do today!

In general, humane societies do fabulous work on behalf of animals who cannot advocate for themselves. In my area in particular we do not have a humane society nearby and only got an animal shelter a few years ago. We're a small rural community with not a lot of dollars to utilize and so many, many animals are euthenized.

This is why people are such strong proponents of spay and neuter programs.

So, if you don't mind taking a moment, go give my pal Ginny a little love over at the blog for the Humane Society of West Texas. And if you know any West Texans, pass the word!

And if you want to do something local -- why not call your local shelter and ask what they need. Did you know $5 will buy a bag of cat food? Did you know it costs about $35 to spay or neuter a pet? An hour of your time per day to wash or feed animals is priceless!

[photo credit: terry bain]

Friday, April 3, 2009


Cluttercast - Connecting through Clutter!

I ran across this really wonderful blog called Cluttercast. Have you seen it? Oh, you really must check it out.

Darryle Pollack runs the site and she decided some time ago to declutter her life. But instead of doing it the usual way (garage sales, donating locally, throwing stuff in the trash, burning the pile and dancing around it yelling, "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I'M FREE") she decides she will take her sentimental stuff and make a personal connection with people on the Internet.

So, she offers up each item with a lovely story and then people post a comment saying why they want it for themselves or for someone else. What a great way to make sure something you love is loved all over again. And at the same time, she's doing something nice for total strangers.

Have you done anything nice for a total stranger today?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grow Your Own Air

Don't be alarmed. You've not fallen accidentally into an environmental blog! This is still the same old good deed blog you know and love, but today I ran across this awesome video over at Reduce Footprints and just had to share it.

I love plants (when I manage not to kill them) and was so fascinated by the idea that you can actually create your own air. I live in an area that has very, very good air (small country town) but not everyone is so lucky. I used to live 100 miles from Los Angeles and every time I'd drive to the city my tension level would rise because as one drives into the city you see this blanket of yellow-brown haze sitting over the city like a cat waiting to lay on your face. It seemed oppressive and unsettling.

So, today I'm calling this one an environmental good deed, be it for your own environment or the environment in general. Watch the video and then see my comments below for additional thoughts.

How am I working this in as a good deed? Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Get this video into the hands of people who can make a difference... hospital administrators, CEOs of large companies, managers or owners of small companies, school teachers, health care professionals. Even if you can't do the thousands of plants required in this video, maybe just doing 1/2 or 1/4 or 1/8 will help.
  • Give plants to friends and family members.
  • Make your own environment better. This blog has never been about changing the world. It's been about making a change in yourself and ONE OTHER PERSON so that the change will spread like ripples in a pool. Go buy yourself some plants and see how it makes you feel.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Responsibility Project

I'm a sucker for a good commercial. They can be inspiring and funny, make you laugh, make you cry, motivate you.

Two of my favorites are those created by Liberty Mutual. The illustrate the power of the simple good deed of kindness and how it can inspire others to pay it forward. You can see them spreading change right before your very eyes! Watch these and be inspired to continue to do those little kindnesses for your fellow humans, your roommates of this house we call Earth. I say "continue", 'cause I KNOW you're already doing it!

While you're at it, check out Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good Deeds are GOOD for you!

Everyone knows that good deeds make you feel good. Did you ever think about WHY?

There are the obvious reasons -- that we spread joy, spread goodness, spread change. It's gratifying. But there's also a physiological reason that has been studied. It's an effect called "helper's high".

Studies have shown that volunteering can help your stress levels, help you sleep better, make improvements in certain health conditions and improve your immune system.

Go check out the overview of the study. It's really fascinating. Go out and create some good health for yourself by doing good for others.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Teens Fight Hunger in Arkansas

Here is a story from my neck of the woods. Imagine a group of teenagers who raise money to buy food for 400 families and give up their spring break to do it!

You can read the story at Channel 11 News.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spirit Jump

Some time ago I did a post about Chemo Angels (and Senior Angels) on another blog of mine called A Passion for Letter Writing.

Recently I ran across a similar organization called Spirit Jump that has a slightly broader recipient base and looser format. With Chemo Angels there is some level of extended commitment that is difficult for me, personally, to participate in. I love the idea and when I read about it I realized with my lifestyle there was just no possible way to keep up with something on a weekly basis without completely messing it up at some point. (I think I've finally learned to be realistic about my capabilities.)

Now, a one-time mailing? THAT I can do! And that is one of the great things about Spirit Jump. From what I read you can do as little or as much as you like.

I hope that you will head over to Spirit Jump and learn about their program of supporting cancer victims by lifting their spirits through care, kindness, letter writing and gift-giving.

Get ready for some instant feel good!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


When I'm not writing here, I also blog about letter writing over at A Passion for Letter Writing. In my spare time I cruise around the Internet looking for awesome letter writing stuff.

Recently I was over at Lunalux trying to find some interesting paper. While I was there I happened to see they had something on their sidebar called "Good Deeds". Well, of course, I had to click on that!

This post is to showcase Lunalux as a business who cares about making a difference one good deed at a time. If you check out their good deed page you will see they have donated time and talented, among other things. I hope I have more occasions to highlight commercial ventures who go out of their way to spread care and kindness.

So, if you're in the market for some great stationery, head over to Lunalux and support their efforts to make the world a better place. And if you don't buy, at least leave a comment on their good deeds page to tell them what great human beings they are.

Do you have any talents to offer as your good deed? Can you make art for a fundraising auction? Make something for a bake sale? Design a brochure or flyer for a good cause? Print tickets for a raffle? Donate yourself for a bachelor auction? Sewing? Writing? Photography? Work pro bono?

One person at a time. One kindness at a time. Go! :D

Friday, March 20, 2009


Cheryl Mahoney over at UniversalGiving left a comment on my post. I was going to write a post about the place where she worked then realized she said it just fine without me having to add anything to it.

So without further hubbub, here's Cheryl:

Hello, I've been reading your blog posts and I love the positive stories, as well as the overall concept. As you say, not all of us have large amounts of money, but that doesn't mean we can't all do something!

I have another resource for getting involved that I thought you might be interested in. I work for Universalgiving, an online non-profit dedicated to connecting individuals to the best possible projects to donate to or volunteer with. All partner organizations pass a rigorous QualityModel to appear on our site, and we don't take any cut on donations. Many of our opportunities don't require large amounts of money--ten or fifteen dollars can make an enormous difference to someone. Check us out at if you're curious, or feel free to email me any thoughts or questions! I also write for our blog, which you can see at, where we've highlighted many simple and inexpensive ways to do good.

Wishing you all the best with your site. I love it that you're suggesting ways to get involved!

Cheryl Mahoney

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wish Upon a Hero

Did you see this recent story in the news? It's amazing! ABC's Person of the Week

Go right away to the Wish Upon a Hero web site and sign up to start making people's wishes come true. It doesn't necessarily cost money -- you can give a little or a lot. You can write cards or letters and do a lot of other amazing things. Join up as a group with some of your friends and take on a bigger wish. Or make connections... maybe you can't pay for someone's dental expenses, but maybe you know a dentist who can help!

Be creative, be proactive, be a hero!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Time Banking

Thanks to JM Donahue, I get to tell you about Time Banking!

This is such a fascinating and beautiful "budget philanthropy" concept and works on the premise that you earn one "Time Dollar" for each hour of service you provide to another person in your community. This is people helping people directly.

Here's an example below:

  • Bob earns time dollars after spending two hours grocery shopping for Daisy.
  • Bob spends his dollars having Mary tidy his house.
  • Mary spends her dollars having Lucy watch her kids while she gets a manicure.
  • Lucy spends her dollars when Bob comes over to mow her lawn.

The web site has a directory of existing Time Banks and also has information about how to start your own Time Bank if you don't have one. I looked up on the list and there are none in my state! (I live in a very rural area.)

The concept is so elegant because it doesn't depend on returning any favors or having to pay something forward. Since you work with a group of people from a database, you don't have to know a lot of people or wait a long time for a way to earn or spend dollars. And best of all it doesn't cost money. It's all about giving of yourself and spending time to make life better for someone else. And that's what we're all about here at Spread Change!

Even if you don't want to join a Time Bank, please go learn all about them so you can at least spread the word about them. This is a unique and worthy service that deserves promotion and can help change lives in small, but significant ways. And if there's no Time Bank in your area, would you consider starting one? Just think how many lives you could change by being a Time Bank leader.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pi Day!

March 14th is Pi Day! No, I didn't spell that wrong!

It's the day to celebrate the mathematical wonder that is "pi" or 3.14..... to infinity.

Have I lost my mind? What does math have to do with good deeds? NOTHING. But "pi" has a lot to do with good deeds, because "pi" sounds like "pie". Get it?

Celebrate Pi Day by donating a pie or two for a good cause. Give pie to elderly neighbors. Give pie to sick friends. Give pie to a teacher to share with her students at snack time. Give pie to your mom because she is cool and she changed your dirty diaper twelve million times.

Clear your mind and focus... who REALLY needs a pie from you?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Care Across the Cities

Sassypants Wifey has started a new good deeds blog called Care Across the Cities. She's described it sort of as a cooperative where people get together to work on the same cause, often using the principles of budget philanthropy.

I bet you'll enjoy it if you go over there and check it out. You can't have too many good deed blogs!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Charities You Can Trust

How do you know the charity you are giving to is financially solvent and responsible? It is so easy to scam and be scammed.

Charity Navigator is a highly-rated independent organization that evaluates the financial health of the largest charities in America.

Specifically, Charity Navigator's rating system examines two broad areas of a charity's financial health -- how responsibly it functions day to day as well as how well positioned it is to sustain its programs over time. Each charity is then awarded an overall rating, ranging from zero to four stars. To help donors avoid becoming victims of mailing-list appeals, each charity's commitment to keeping donors' personal information confidential is assessed. The site is easily navigable by charity name, location or type of activity and also features opinion pieces by Charity Navigator experts, donation tips, and top-10 and bottom-10 lists which rank efficient and inefficient organizations in a number of categories.

So, if you're thinking about donating to a charity, consider checking out their scorecard first.

Bear in mind, there are a million charities in the country and they haven't been able to rate them all. Just because a charity isn't listed doesn't mean it's not worth donating to. But how do you know a charity is taking good care of itself and its cause? Charity Navigator also has guidelines on how to evaluate a charity not listed on their site.

Happy Donating!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Paul Smith is trying to travel around the world in an unusual way -- in a way that nobody has tried to travel before. He's using only resources provided by users of the microblogging / networking service called Twitter.

He's utilizing various methods of technology so that people can track where he is at any given moment on the globe. He will only move if a Twitter user helps him and if nobody from Twitter gives him accommodations, I guess he's sleeping under a bridge or on a random park bench somewhere.

Along the way he is also raising money for the non-profit organization charity: water (which I've written about before).

Go check out the Twitchhiker web site to see where his location is. You can follow his progress. And if you're a Twitter user maybe you're in a location where you can help. Or donate a few bucks that he can pass on to a wonderful charity.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Alfred Edmond Strikes Again!

Wow! Remember the story I posted a few days ago about Alfred Edmond, the man who repaid a policeman $8 about 20 years after the policeman helped him out of a jam?

Well, now the cop has been so inspired by Edmond's integrity that he has decided to "pay it forward" and start his own charity initiative called "Give 8 Ask 8" to help the homeless.

The idea is you donate $8 and ask 8 of your friends to do the same. This is EXACTLY the kind of budget philanthropy we've been talking about all this time. See the power of it? See the magic of it?

I've got goosebumps. You can read the story: at this news page

What will Alfred Edmond inspire you to do today?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dress for Success

I recently learned about the non-profit organization called Dress for Success. What a cool idea!

The basic idea is to help disadvantaged women enter or re-enter the workforce. If you're in a position where you have very little resources it might be difficult to get a great job because you can't dress properly for a professional interview.

This is where Dress for Success comes in. They provide an initial interview outfit plus shoes and accessories and if you get a job you can come back and get additional clothing for a week's worth of wardrobe changes.

In addition they offer a lot of great employment counseling programs to help women achieve success. I was reading about their program and it sounds incredible! I can't believe I didn't know about this before.

The group has many affiliate offices around the world. So, here is a list of action items from minimal to community-level committment:

  1. Go through your closet to see if there is anything you can donate. (Please read their donation guidelines first!)
  2. Have a "Dress for Success" party with all your friends and co-workers. Have them all bring one outfit to the party to donate.
  3. Organized a suite drive! Work with friends and other volunteers to go through the community and get as many suits as possible. Check with your local affiliate first to make sure they are taking suit donations at this time. Alternatively you can do a shoe drive or an accessory drive. You might consider coordinating your suit drive with S.O.S. Weekend which is in February.

(Of course, you can always donate money, too! Dress for Success is a four-star charity.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good Deed Returned... 20 Years Later!

In order to counteract my previously hideous mention of good-deed-hater Ryan Sullivan, I feel the need neutralize all that bad juju by telling you about THIS awesome story.

Twenty years ago, a kind-hearted police officer did a good deed for a citizen. This month he was repaid for his kindness. See the full story and video at this NBC news station.

Somebody somewhere needs to declare today Alfred Edmond Day!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tsk Tsk: Ryan Sullivan

In the spirit of giving, I normally like to keep the blog light and upbeat because 1) it's my style and 2) who needs more negativity?

However, I've decided to add a new segment called "Tsk Tsk" just because every now and again you hear a story that just makes you shake your head and want to say, "Shame on you!"

The flagship "Tsk Tsk" award goes to Colorado Trooper Ryan Sullivan who gave a ticket to a man who helped two old ladies across the street AND saved them from getting hit by a car by throwing himself into the car's path.

You can read the whole story at Rocky Mountain News.

And if you just feel like raising a big ruckus, why not write a note and express yourself! In fact, express yourself here, too. Did Trooper Ryan Sullivan do the right thing or should he have let it slide this time?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do Good with LHJ

Ladies Home Journal has a "Do Good" section of their web site.

There you can join a group of other people working toward the same philanthropic goals. You can do a weekly challenge. You can also create your own "life list", goals you aspire to. It's a fun way to work on good deeds in a community type setting.

Go check it out and let it inspire you to great things! Come back and relate your stories here. What have you done lately?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cuddle Up!

February 25th is "Cuddle Up Day". I don't think I need to tell you how to celebrate or to give you ideas on how THIS good deed could work out.

Go forth and cuddle!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Micro-Lending (Kiva)

There's a popular form of philanthropy called "micro-lending" at sites such as Kiva. It's where multiple people can lend small amounts of money to one particular cause or entrepreneur such as a loan for a brickmaker so she can buy more materials for bricks or a loan for a vendor who needs to purchase more clothing to sell. The loans are small, even as low as $150. The lowest amount one person can lend is $25.

When you sign up you fund your account with a certain amount of money, let's say $100. You can lend that money to one person or to four people and help them meet their goal. Eventually, the money is paid back to you, goes back into your account and you can lend it again.

At the Kiva site you can read details about the entrepreneurs, what they want to use the money for, how it will change their lives and important financial information such as how much they are lending, how close they are to getting to their goal and what their repayment rate is (to see if they are a safe bet).

The organizations that run the micro-lending are carefully screened so as to get the best use out of the money. You want the best possible chance of being repaid so you can use your same money over and over again.

Why not check out and see if there's someone there you can help? The great thing about this money is that it works for you over and over again -- you're not giving it, you're LENDING it, so you keep doing good with your original seed money. How gratifying is that??

Sunday, February 22, 2009

February is Friendship Month

I would have notified you sooner, but better late than never!

February is International Friendship Month! Let's get to celebrating!

What can we do to honor our friends and show them our appreciation? What sort of kindness will your pals appreciate? Below are a few ideas:

  • Write a heartfelt letter expressing your love and devotion
  • Take a friend to lunch or make a special dinner
  • For every day of the rest of this month, leave your pal a special note in a place that he or she will find it
  • Send an e-card
  • Make a friendship collage showing pictures of you together through the years
  • Write a funny poem!
  • Take a picture of yourself holding a sign that says, "Thanks for being a great friend!" (or similar sentiment). What a fun photo for your pal to have as a reminder of your devotion.
  • Make a mini book and on each page write one thing you love about your friend. Make as many pages as you want!
  • Send a really embarrassing singing telegram!
  • Pamper your friend with a spa day or similar treat
  • Or even just a simple hug

Do you have any other ideas? Please add them!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Priceless Gift of Life

I just ran across a story (by columnist James Ragland) about a woman who donated bone marrow on her birthday because the need was there.

I know that for some people this is not an option for health reasons or religious reasons, but for those of you who CAN... what have you donated lately? Consider gathering with a group of friends to donate blood. I have a friend who manufactures an excess of platelets so she donates her platelets! Donate plasma! Are you brave enough to donate bone marrow? What the heck, research it and find out.

Too nervous about all that squishy stuff? How about hair? Locks of love? Not too scary.

And if you just can't bring yourself to do it for whatever reason (bald, nervous, anemic, etc) how about volunteering your time? Find out when the next blood drive is and take some jugs of juice down there. Call first and ask what you can do to help. It all counts. Fill up that karmic bank account of yours!

Youth Kindness

I ran across a blog post I wanted to share with all of you. Kathy over at This Crazy Adventure Called Life wrote a post about two incidents wherein children playing sports showed remarkable kindness.

Both stories are heartwarming, but I'll let Kathy tell the story at her post: One for the Good Guys. Go check it out if you have a minute.

By the way, this morning my son's kindergarten class had "Moms and Muffins" day. The kids made cards for all the moms and we each got a long stem rose and everyone got to gorge on muffins. Yum. Next week they are having "Dads and Donuts". Do the schools in your area have something like this that you can participate in? Consider donating some flowers or a container of glitter, a pack of paper or maybe a couple of boxes of muffin mix. Or offer to make batches of muffins for the day. Schools ALWAYS need money and help, so any little thing you can do is one less dollar they have to take out of their budget. Teachers will love you for it.

And by the way, even if you don't have kids in school there are still things you can do to help. Call the principal of the school and ask what you can do to help support your local school system.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Global Knowledge, Global Tolerance

It is said that the more experience people have with other cultures, the more they travel in other countries, the more accepting and tolerant they are of other people in the world.

And the opposite could be true -- the more we limit ourselves to a homogeneous environment, to a vanilla culture with narrow boundaries, the less we feel comfortable and open to people who are different than we are.

What does that accomplish?

My Wonderful World is running a letter writing campaign to encourage schools to put Geography education back into the curriculum. Apparently over the last few years, geography has become less and less a focus in the education of Americans with some staggeringly embarrassing statistics such as only half of young Americans can find New York on a map and only 37% can find Iraq on a map.

Head over to the web site and help send a message to schools. Keep Americans educated on the world around them. There's a lot of cool stuff going on in the world. They shouldn't miss it.

[photo: noticelj]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another 42 Cent Change for the World!

Well, this one is about to go up to 44 cents in May so you should ACT NOW and save two cents. :-)

I think most people are familiar with Amnesty International's great work for human rights via their letter writing campaigns. In America we have a long tradition of government official listening when we rise up and create a big voice for change. (Well, mostly.) But I have never been entirely convinced that this works in other countries where democracy is not at work.

Recently I ran across a great article entitled, "Does Letter Writing Really Work?" It briefly talks about the Urgent Action Network and had an inspiring video. It also has links to some of their success stories and a link where you can join to get notices on ways you can take action through letter writing.

If nothing else, just watch the video. It's moving (and technically cool). But if you can spare the time sign up for the Urgent Action Network. Even as little as one or two letters per month could make a difference. A little time and a postage stamp. And actually you can even do some campaigns by email, so really it's just carving out the time.

For a woman being beaten and thrown into a metal shipping crate for two years, I'd give up my favorite TV show or my lunch hour once a week. Will you?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

charity: water

One in six people on the planet don't have access to clean, safe drinking water.

I didn't find out about this in time to tell you for their Valentine's Day drive, however, you should check out this great site called "charity: water". They have been running a water drive where you can send an e-card for $20 to a loved one which pays for water for someone for 20 years. Your e-card recipient can then choose the country that your donation benefits.

The really super cool thing I like about charity: water is that 100% of their proceeds goes directly to the various water projects they fund.

Really awesome charity.

P.S. I like to put these things into perspective. Let's see $20 bucks for you is about... 5 trips to Starbucks for flavored coffee, 2 or 3 movie tickets (depending what part of the country you're in), or a 2-medium-pizza-deal from Pizza Hut. You could probably do without those one time to get someone water for 20 years. (The pizza, anyway, maybe not the Starbucks!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Good Search

What would you say to a search engine that gives money to your favorite charity whenever you use it? All you have to do is just use that search engine and CHA-CHING! Money goes to the charity of your choosing.

I'd say that would be one heckuva cool idea.

The good news is that it really does exist and it's called "Good Search". And the other good news is that it's really easy to set up. All you do is type in the charity of your choice and hit the "verify" button and it will tell you right away if it's one you can use or not.

I use the RRP Foundation as my charity, because it's one that supports families with children who have Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (which my son has). It's a little known non-profit organization, not anything famous like the ASPCA or Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, but still I was able to find it in there.

I hope you will try out this great little charity tool. If you're searching anyway, why NOT use Good Search? The success stories at the site are inspiring. Check those out while you're there.

And if you don't have a cause that you already feel passionate about, feel free to use the RRP Foundation! They do a lot of good for people with this rare affliction.

Lost Penny Day

Last month I wrote a post about using your found change to do good.

Well, I found out today that someone actually invented a holiday called "Lost Penny Day" (Feb 12) to go with that back in 1995.

So, today go out and "spread change". That's my favorite pun so far!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Smile Cards

Have you seen the Smile Cards? These are very cool anonymous good deed cards that you can leave behind when you do something nice for someone. The idea is for that person to then do something nice in order to pass the card on to someone else.

It's the same basic idea as paying it forward, but it has the added motivation of "gotta do something nice to get rid of this card" thing. Not that we do kindness to get rid of our card, OF COURSE NOT, but you know what I mean. It's a little tickler to keep kindness in the front of our minds.

In the hubbub of our crazy lives it's easy to be distracted by being busy, by negativity, by the everydayness of the everyday. I love Smile Cards. Get yours today. They have free downloads at the web site. Try them out and go do some guerrilla kindness!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness Week

The second week in February has been declared Random Acts of Kindess Week by the Random Acts of Kindess Foundation. WOOOOO! Time to celebrate! Time to act!!

Here are some people who have made plans for the week:

What are you doing for Random Acts of Kindess Week? If your community isn't doing anything, why not pick a few things to do on your own? Or talk to your community leaders to institute some way to celebrate the week for next year. (That's one thing I'm planning on doing!)

To get more ideas, check out what people in your state are doing.

Please post back here and tell me your experiences for the week!

[photo: Adam Foster]

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The 42 Cent Good Deed

Not all good deeds are about fighting poverty, curing cancer, saving war torn nations or other globe-changing causes. While those are all fabulous it takes a level of dedication that not everyone can afford at this time in their lives.

That's part of the idea of this site is to promote ways of changing the world and making it better one tiny little act at a time. Over the days, weeks, months, these add up and eventually change spreads in small and nearly immeasurable ways, but ways that make a lasting impact -- in the memory of a child, in the paying forward of kindness, in the satisfaction of changing one life.

You can't get much cheaper than a good deed for 42 cents. Michelle Herrmann and many other teachers like her are doing letter writing projects with their classrooms. They write to veterans or people in nursing homes or to soldiers. The letters brighten the day for the recipient and, in turn, the children enjoy doing these small good deeds by mail.

In the news story about Mrs. Herrmann's class, it is mentioned that she funded her program with $150 donated from a local philanthropic organization. That's about 18 books of stamps. Do you have 17 friends that you can join up with and collect 18 books of stamps to donate to a local teacher who has a letter writing program?

To put it into perspective... 18 books of stamps allows someone to write 360 letters which is 720 lives (sender and receiver) with the potential for change. That's a pretty big potential impact for the investment.

Why not take it up as your office or neighborhood challenge? Just 18 books of stamps. You can do it. I know you can!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The $1.39 Meal Challenge

Even before the economy began to get bad, there has been a significant poverty problem in America. Last year, 10% of Americans were considered below the poverty line (defined by the Census Bureau as making under $9,393 for an individual or $14,680 for a family of three). What would your life be like if you lived on less than $10,000 per year?

The USDA has put out their cost of food report for 2008. The foodstamp allotment for a family of four (the Thrifty Plan) is $500. This is what they say a family of four could expect to pay for food and actually live to tell about it. That's about $1.39 per meal for each person.

Have you every tried eating for $1.39? With the belt-tightening we've been doing around our house, we decided to try this as an experiment with some interesting results.

But I'd like to see what YOU manage to come up with. So, here is my challenge... try for a week or two to put your food budget at the amount allowable according to the USDA Cost of Food Chart on the Thrifty Plan. It goes by age and gender. Try it for your household and see what kind of experiences you have. It's a really fascinating change in perspective and gives you an entirely new way of looking at the world around you -- for better or for worse.

The only rules are that whatever menu plans you come up with MUST be nutritionally balanced and you have to do at least three meals per day.

Here is an added challenge if you can work this into your budget... whatever the difference is that you save while you're doing this challenge -- donate it to a local food bank. You'll feel great about the good you've done with your donation and the perspective you've gained from this experience will be priceless!

And don't forget to let me know how it goes!

[photo credit: TowerGirl]

Friday, January 30, 2009


Do you know about BookCrossing? It's a great site where you can register books by their ISBN number then leave them in a public place for someone to pick up and then you can track them on the Internet to see where they go.

One might argue that I'm stretching the definition of "good deed" by including this in my collection of posts about budget philanthropy and good deeds. However, I personally feel that anything that makes someone smile, or think or pause to consider the wonders of the world is a Good Deed! And this is what BookCrossers do. If you love to read and love to encourage others to read you'll love this site. It's appealing to the scavengers in us and will brighten someone's day!

I hope you'll try it out. Get some books you don't want, go register them and have fun leaving books for people to have or even just had them out to random strangers. I bet someone will smile and have a great story to tell about you later.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Modest Needs

This site fits right into our "budget philanthropy" or "microgiving" theme. The name "Modest Needs" describes the grants that you can fund at this site. For example, a single mom who needs to pay some auto taxes at the DMV or an elderly gentlemen needs a little extra for his electricity bill.

You donate money to the site and your dollar amount is converted to points which you can apply to any grant request on the site. It puts your dollars exactly where you want them to go.

Go check it out and read some of the stories. If you're participating in a giving circle this might be a great one to donate to as one of your causes! (This organization is non-profit and your donations are tax deductible.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Have you heard of CASA? If not, you should check it out. My sister-in-law, Pat, is a CASA volunteer.

CASA stands for "Court Appointed Special Advocate", an adult who acts as an advocate for children who are, for whatever reason, caught up in the court system and have no adult to act on their behalf.

From the CASA overview at their web site:

CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster home. They stay with each case until it is closed, and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence—the one adult who cares only for them.

I am a huge, huge fan of CASA! There are never enough volunteers and there are little boys and girls who need you right now. Can you be their advocate? Can you make sure they don't fall through the cracks?

Go learn more about CASA at these web sites: