Do Good

A Heroic Pup and a Lesson in Friendship

March 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm , by

This week, we’re taking a break from our regular  Can This Marriage Be Saved? posts to bring you a little something about relationships of the animal kind. I have been somewhat-obsessively watching video after video of the events in Japan, but this show of loyalty and tenderness between two animals got to me more than any other clip. (Maybe that’s weird.) I’ll let the video speak for itself, but a word of caution: When the brown dog puts his paw lovingly on the injured dog’s head around 2:03, prepare to sob. Maybe we could all learn a lesson from this little brown guy about devotion in the face of horrible tragedy.

I’m sure you’re wondering, as I did, about the fate of these pups: They’re okay! If you’re moved to help the animal victims of the crisis in Japan, or any other, you can donate to the American Humane Association. (See a list of other ways to help from editor Amanda here.)

Tell us about your love for your pets! How have they helped you when you were down on your luck? Does this video surprise you? On a related but much less serious note, check out our Can This Marriage Be Saved? video, “She Loves the Dog More Than Me.”


Ladies We Love: Diem Brown

March 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm , by

Diem BrownWhen you hear of a 23-year old girl starting a gift registry, most would assume she must be getting married, right? Well for Diem Brown (of MTV fame), who founded MedGift at 23 while battling the effects of ovarian cancer, a registry was her answer to her loved ones’ ever-present question: “What can I do to help?” From there Medgift was born and is not only a registry, but also a resource and social networking site for anyone going through medical hardship. It’s difficult to ask someone for help with medical bills, or for a wheelchair or for a ride to treatment, so Diem’s site makes it easy for patients to create a profile of needs, and sponsors can look-up patients by name to help out. “No matter what the medical misfortune, the stress can be debilitating,” says Diem echoing the premise of her site. Beyond her vision for this growing support network, read on to see why Diem Brown is a Lady We Love.

1.  What makes you a lady? My mom was Australian and being a lady was the most important thing to her, including even having tea time for us girls to teach us manners like always saying “pardon” instead of “what.” I think being a lady is about being strong, having integrity and never being the straw that breaks someone’s back (but rather the hand that pulls them up).

2.  What is your favorite guilty pleasure? Salt and artificial sweetener. I know both are so bad for you but I can’t seem to kick the bad (yet tasty) habit!

3.  What are 3 things on your Life List?
1. To meet Oprah 2. To become a mom 3.To get my passion, MedGift into every hospital around the United States (so if you are a hospital employee or know someone who is, let them know about Medgift and help your community benefit from this resource).

4.  If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Being able to teleport! I could go from my house, to work, or even to India in the blink of an eye — No traffic, no crowds, and no airport security. Plus, how cool was Quantum Leap?!

5.  Who are ladies you admire?
I admire ladies who have changed the way we see the world! Oprah, for telling us it’s okay to express, understand and explore our feelings. Barbara Walters, for showing us you can work in a “man’s world” being strong, confident and intelligent while maintaining your femininity and elegance. And Laura Ziskin, for the work she’s done for cancer research through Stand Up To Cancer (all while undergoing her own cancer treatment).


Do Good: Celebrate International Women’s Day!

March 7, 2011 at 9:33 am , by

IWDTomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The first IWD honored suffragettes—the women who campaigned for our right to vote. Now the day is celebrated around the world with events that raise money and awareness for hundreds of issues affecting women and girls. It’s a powerful way to celebrate how far we’ve come—and keep pushing for much-needed change, especially for our sisters across the globe who have less opportunities than we do. Want to celebrate with us? Here’s how!

* Find an event near you at InternationalWomensDay.com. There are literally thousands of events going on around the world—everything from major conferences and marches to movie nights, concerts and makeovers. Air India will even be flying all-female crews tomorrow to honor the day.

* Attend the CARE National Conference in Washington, D.C. Okay it’s probably a little late but if you’re in the D.C. area, it’s an amazing 3-day event where you can hear from and be inspired by amazing women like Melinda Gates, Laura Bush, Judy Woodruff and our very own editor-in-chief Sally Lee. Follow CARE on Twitter to keep up with all the action from afar.

* Can’t find an event close by? Do something yourself to honor the day. We are loving the cupcake party toolkit from our friends at Vivanista and Sprinkles cupcakes to benefit CARE (and help eliminate global poverty). When you sign up to throw your own Party With a Purpose, they’ll give you a free toolkit with cupcake recipes, IWD trivia and more. Sweet! You can also watch broadcasts from events around the world on YouTube.

* Are you already planning to celebrate and champion a cause that’s close to your heart? Share your IWD activities with us in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!


One Last Christmas: Video Raises Money For St. Jude

December 17, 2010 at 9:50 am , by

Grab a box of Kleenex and watch one of the most powerful (and popular—it’s gotten almost 550,000 views on YouTube!) music videos of the Christmas season. The song is called “One Last Christmas,” by Grammy nominee Matthew West, and is inspired by the true story of Dax Locke, a 2-year-old boy from Washington, Illinois. At 13 months, Dax was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. His doctors told his parents he wouldn’t live to see Christmas. Their town heard Dax’s story, and put up their holiday lights early. While Dax did have his Christmas, he died five days later, on Dec. 30, 2009.

In honor of Dax, the Locke family is trying to raise $1.6 million to run St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (where Dax was treated) for a day. No patient ever sees a bill at St. Jude, and no patient is ever turned away. All of the proceeds from “One Last Christmas” go to St. Jude in Dax’s name. “You see the video and think, ‘That could have been my child,’” says West, who is a father of two. “But there’s also amazing redemption to this story, how the family and a community came together.” To make a donation, go to MatthewWest.com. —Susan Pocharski


Do Good: Cheering Up Sick Kids

December 13, 2010 at 11:35 am , by

Our photo director, Clare, has been going to the Big Apple Circus with her kids for the last 12 years. She and her daughter, Lily, caught a show recently (that’s Lily and a friend, at right). But as much fun as going to the circus is for Clare and her kids, the Big Apple Circus is special for another reason: their Clown Care program, which brings a little bit of the circus to sick kids who can’t go see it themselves. When Clare told us about the program, we loved it. The Clown Care team has 80 performers who visit 16 different pediatric hospitals across the U.S. Together they make nearly 225,000 hospital visits every year, cheering up young patients and providing some much-needed comic relief.

Learn more about the Clown Care program and how you can help!


Buy Art for a Good Cause

December 8, 2010 at 10:46 am , by

I’m always thrilled to find gifts that treat friends and family to something special while giving back during the holidays (’tis the season, after all). This year I’m inspired by three sites that provide the perfect solution: original, affordable art that supports various charities.

1. The Working Proof

Founded with the goal of promoting art and social responsibility, The Working Proof donates 15% of every sale to a charity of the artist’s choice. With a new print released every Tuesday (and prices ranging from $25–100), there’s a ton of great options to choose from. Charities include Doctors Without Borders, The Jane Goodall Institute, and Smile Train.

2. Tiny Showcase

Tiny Showcase has a fitting name: Every week (also on Tuesday), founders Jon Buonaccorsi and Shea’la Finch pick a small piece of artwork to feature, turning it into a limited-run print edition that is sold on their website. They made donations a part of the site in 2005, and now a portion of each sale goes to a group chosen by the artists. Charities include St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Youth Pride Inc., and Oxfam International.

3. Creativity Explored

Based in San Francisco, Creativity Explored is a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art. If you live in the area, check out the studio—they welcome visitors. If not, you can buy the works online here. Creativity Explored splits the profits evenly with their artists, using their half of the proceeds to pay for local, regional, and national exhibitions of work produced in their studios.


Do Good: Give Back This Thanksgiving

November 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm , by

ss_101625444_wFor most people, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where being thankful for our abundance (and sitting down to a table overflowing with holiday bounty, like the ridiculously good-looking truffle butter bird at right) goes hand-in-hand with being mindful of those who are less fortunate, and whose bellies are less full. Does your family volunteer or give back during the Thanksgiving season? It’s a wonderful tradition to start, and great a way to make Thanksgiving about more than just food and football (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things…). Here are a few ways to give back.

- Does your family go around the table and say what you’re thankful for? (Love that tradition.) Put each family member in charge of coming up with a group volunteer idea for the upcoming year based on their “thankful” thing. That way you’ve got volunteer ideas for the year, not just the season. Kids count too! For instance, is your little niece Addie thankful for her pet kitty? Take everyone to the animal shelter to help out for a day.

- Take the pledge and donate to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. No child in America should have to go hungry on any day (not just a holiday), and Share Our Strength’s goal is to end childhood hunger by 2015. That’s a mission we can all get behind.

- It’s a cliche but if you’ve never actually volunteered at your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter, now is the time. But before you package up all your leftovers to bring along, call the shelter to ask about their food donation policy. Even better, sign up to volunteer on a monthly basis so your holiday spirit keeps on giving.

- I think we’re all thankful for our service men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our country. Operation Gratitude is a great organization that sends thank-you care packages to our troops, and they’d love your help all holiday season (and year!) long.

-  To find specific Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities in your area, do a quick search with our friends at Volunteer Match. Just type in your zip code and “Thanksgiving” as the keyword.

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