One day a year to give to the causes you care about most

Archive for April, 2012

WGD Video Challenge Has Begun!

Our WGD Video Challenge for all GiveForward users began at 2PM today!

Tune in to our Youtube Playlist to watch all submissions. Remember, the video with the most views from now til 2PM, Friday May 4th wins a $250 contribution to their fundraiser, courtesy of GiveForward.

Happy viewing, and good luck to all contestants!

Raising A Generation Of Givers

Check out this passionate post by our friend Kelly Garman on teaching children to give back. We love the message!

Raising A Generation Of Givers


In a world where personal pleasure and instant gratification are the norm – and expected – the greatest thing we can teach our children is how to give. I truly believe that. In fact, I couldn’t get to my computer fast enough this morning; I felt so compelled to process this thought with you.

We live in a world where many feel entitled to “the good life,” whatever that might mean to them. We want happiness, success, the right clothes, car and career.

And yet, many don’t live “that good life.”  We have disease, poverty, a weak job market, and sometimes down-right bad luck.

It’s awful.

But what if we raised our children to look beyond their own little world? What if we taught them to supplement their personal desires with the desire to use their resources to help others (in both small and large ways)? Might we then shift culture in a dramatic way? Might this next generation be the one to cure cancer, eradicate homelessness and crawl out from under the shell of a rather selfish society?

When I raised money for Feed My Starving Children while training for a marathon, my kids took part in the effort. We saved our change together. We passed out soup can labels together. We talked about where in the world the food we were buying for children less fortunate would end up. We looked at maps and talked about different countries.

When I heard of grandparents who took emergency custody of their three grandchildren, whose ages were very close to that of my kids, I cleaned out our toy closet. I talked with my kids about giving to others. My kids helped choose what toys and clothes we were going to pass along to this new family in need.

I sponsor a child through Compassion International. I’ve encouraged my son to write letters to the boy in Brazil. My son and I have talked about what his life might be like and again, have gone to the map to learn more and open our eyes to that outside of California.

There are many ways to give. And giving is one of the most rewarding things in life. Whether you donate food to a pantry during the holidays, save your change to help build a well in Africa, help someone like Brady orChris reach their personal goal, or hand off your used baby items to a mother in need, just don’t forget that the next generation is watching.

Together, we can teach them to be givers.

This post is part of a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward.  To find other posts in this series please visit or follow us on twitter @worldgiveday.

The (Gift) That Took The Place Of A Mountain

We loved this eloquent post by our friend Stacy Ratner about the huge impact a book made on her life.

The (Gift) That Took The Place Of A Mountain

“Small gift, big impact. Tell us about a time when you saw a small act of giving create lots of unexpected joy.”

Physically, it was small: eight inches long and six across by less than an inch thick, trim enough to fit easily into the padded envelope my father used instead of wrapping it. “A book!” I said, feeling the corners through the bubble-pop paper. A minute later, it slid out into my hands and hit me squarely in the heart. It was his treasured early edition of our favorite poet’s first collection, and it contained not only all the familiar verses, but all the memories firmly twined into them. In high school, when I was a misfit senior hiding in the library, these were the poems I used for my thesis paper. When I went to college, the note my father left on my dresser began with a quote from one of them. In the celebrations associated with every significant achievement and special day since then, one stanza or another from this collection has made an appearance. I majored in literature because of the poems printed in this book. Eventually, after a long and twisting path through poetry-less careers, they gave me the courage to found a literacy organization (whose creative writing field trips for high school students, appropriately enough, include an excerpt). And here, as the poet himself would have said, it was — not ideas about the thing, but the thing itself.

The book is small enough that its spine does not even have room enough for the title. A description of its impact on my life, though, would fill more pages than I have years left to write them in. That glittering, transcendent, heartfelt promise lies between every set of covers — the potential to show a different way, create a new world, and change the life of the reader forever — and so to give someone the gift of a printed version, to be held, read, turned to, flicked through, written in, reached for, loved, and shared, is to give them a densely packed, prettily presented, permanently flowering opportunity for wonderment. During the last six years at Open Books, I have had the delight of watching books light a fire of joy, pride, and excitement in thousands of readers of all ages, from toddlers picking out picture books to grandparents finding special copies of their favorite novels from generations ago. The specifics may be unexpected, but the ramifications ripple down the generations: for, as has been rightly observed, a book is a present you can open again and again.

This post is part of a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward. To find other posts in this series please visit or follow us on Twitter: @worldgiveday.

Start Some Good Celebrates World Give Day: Part 2

Yep, they did it again! Check out Start Some Good‘s second part of their two-part blog series for WGD. Get ready to be inspired.

In preparation for World Give Day on May 4, 2012, we asked ten inspiring entrepreneurs who have run or are currently running campaigns on StartSomeGood to respond to the following statement:

Small gift, big impact: tell us about a time when you saw a small act of giving create lots of unexpected joy.

The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and we’re so glad to be able to share these truly amazing stories with all of you. Last week, we shared the experiences of Ehon, Tom, Jack, Gina, and Christina. This time around, we’re excited to share a few more inspiring stories of giving from Daniel, Yanti, Micah, Aimi, and Leo. Read, enjoy, and get ready to be inspired.

Daniel Nettles Four Teachers Project $5,358 raised for Help Us Build The Desk

As a teacher, I see small gifts make a big impact all the time. That’s what we live for, the small moments that inspire change in a student’s mind, heart, or soul. In my five years teaching I have seen many of these, but there is one time of year that always sticks out: our Annual Adopt-A-Kid Christmas party.

The High School I teach at is a Title I school with a lot of low-income students. I have had homeless students, students in gangs, students with foster parents, and many other “at-risk” kids. Every year, just before our Winter Break, we have an Adopt-A-Kid party. On this day, each class adopts a needy kindergarten student and gets a wish list. All the students in the class pitch in a little money or food and we purchase gifts and throw a Christmas party for the student.

On the day of the party, “Santa” and his “helpers” (other students dressed up in costume) come by and get their picture taken with the little kid, who is getting more and more excited. Then it’s time for presents. All the high schoolers gather around and assist in opening, inching their present closer and saying, “Open this one!” Then, in the midst of little kids riding bikes through the halls and having story books read to them while finishing off a piece of cake, the announcement is made that it is time for the kids to return to the elementary school. We all help them pack up their gifts and say our goodbyes and Merry Christmases. The little guys and girls leave with great big smiles on their faces, almost as big as the ones on the big kids’ faces who got to experience the joy of giving.

Yanti Turang Learn to Live $6,925 raised to Get Learn to Live Off the Ground

When I was in Indonesia in 2008, I was visiting with my family in North Sulawesi. My family lives in a compound in a small town called Tomohon. The compound is made up of three houses all where my father and his siblings grew up also. My cousin was one amongst 15 cousins living there, all wanting and trying to make their lives different, however often having to compromise their dreams to earn money and make a living for the family. My cousin Harke had dreams to play music, play in a rock n roll band, but could never afford to buy a guitar. That year I gave Harke enough money to buy an electric guitar and encouraged him to play. Five years later Harke now lives in Jakarta and plays in a touring rock n roll band. Everyday I see his shows or see that he is recording, it makes me smile and realize how one act of giving can create such a life of joy and help fulfill his dreams.

Micah List TOK $1,421 raised for The TOK Project

I spent a month in Gulu, Uganda summer of 2009. It was an experience that I could never forget if I tried. One experience that sits in my mind like it took place yesterday, happened early on the morning after our first night in the country. A few friends and I came out of our hotel to explore the town for a few hours that morning when we stumbled on three young children sitting outside of their shack of a house. We had brought a frisbee with us for some reason, so we took it out and motioned to them to see if they wanted to play. At first they looked confused about the weird round object that I held in my hand. Then we started playing frisbee with each other to show them what it was all about. Slowly their faces started to light up. We included them and started what turned into a half hour session of throwing, or in the majority of cases, dropping the frisbee. For a half hour I watched three small children who had nothing, yet their faces showed that they had everything. The joy that radiated from their smiles accompanied by the shrieks of laughter that came from their mouths was such hopeful thing. A small round object and thirty minutes of our time was all it took. So simple, so profound.

Aimi Duong Oimei Company $5,660 raised to Promote Peace Building in Developing Countries

One of my favorite memories of when I experienced a small act of sharing create an abundance of joy and laughter was when five of my friends and I visited a small school in rural Vietnam (near the border of China). We were on our way to visit another province and in getting lost we  found ourselves at a small school with adorable vietnamese children curiously gazing at us westerners and we had to stop to say hello. We wanted to snap some photos of the charismatic children and as we pulled out our cameras they all stood back in awe. As we began to snap some photos of them, we’d turn the camera around to replay the images and each time they bursted in laughter and excitement. We began gathering them closer and briefly showed them how to use the camera to take photos of each other and each time they got to take a photo and see the result, they were overjoyed and had a blast capturing photos of one another. Their laughter and pure excitement was completely unexpected but truly humbling and reminds us how having excitement for the simple things and memories in life is key to creating lots of unexpected joy.

Leo Gorman Grow Dat Youth Farm  $5,965 raised for Grow the Green Campaign

Twenty-five bucks may not seem like a big deal, but for Carnisha, a first-year Grow Dat Youth Farm Crew Member, it amounted to one afternoon’s stipend earnings at her first real job. She beamed with enthusiasm when she opened her first pay check, funded in part from multiple $25 donations received through our Grow the Green campaign on StartSomeGood. Carnisha and twenty of her Grow Dat peers are honing their leadership potential through the meaningful work of growing food this spring and summer thanks to small gifts with big payoffs.

This post is part of a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward. To find other posts in this series please visit or follow us on twitter @worldgiveday.

This World Give Day, Change a Life With a Loan

Kiva joined our WGD blog series and wrote this amazing post about how a loan can change a life. Read it. Love it.

This World Give Day, change a life with a loan

Posted by Brigitte Bradford on Apr 25, 2012

With the swift, savage cut of a knife, Yenku Sesay’s life was changed forever.

On May 6, 1998 Yenku had the misfortune of being home when soldiers from the rebel army, Revolutionary United Front, invaded his village in northern Sierra Leone and cut off his hands as punishment for voting for the country’s current leader.

With the closest hospital hours away, Yenku had to wait three days before a motorbike was available to take him. While doctors were able to heal his physical wounds, finding treatment for the emotional scars was more challenging.

For eight years, he struggled because his handicap disqualified him from many opportunities — but he never gave up hope. In 2006, Kiva Field Partner Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT) looked beyond his amputation and recognized his natural business acumen and drive.

Yenku joined four neighboring borrowers and was approved for a loan equivalent to approximately USD$100 through Kiva. Yenku used this portion to begin selling goods on the street. After two years spent reinvesting the profits and building credit with SMT, he was able to grow his business into a shop, and eventually expand into livestock and agriculture.

Coupling hope and hard work, Yenku was able to convert this small loan into a means for self-reliance. He’s now able to support his family, send his children to school and even pay for his younger brother’s education.

Stories like this remind me of how small gifts can have a big impact. And when you make a loan on Kiva, you get your money back to give all over again. World Give Day is May 4. What will you give this year?

This post is Kiva’s contribution to a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward. To find other posts in this series, visit or follow them on Twitter @worldgiveday.

Calling all GF users: WGD Video Challenge!

Though there are already ample ways to participate in World Give Day, we’re launching a new fundraising contest for GiveForward users to satisfy those with competitive tendencies.

During the week leading up to World Give Day, fundraisers can participate in the World Give Day Video Challenge, where users post videos on YouTube explaining their cause.  The fundraiser whose video has the most views will win a $250 contribution from GiveForward. The winning entry also will be featured on GiveForward’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and displayed at the very top of our Facebook page for one week.

There are a few rules to be eligible to win the World Give Day Video Challenge:

  • Must have a public fundraiser on
  • Must have or create a youtube account to post video
  • Video must be 1-3 minutes in length
  • Include “WGD Video Challenge” in video title
  • All entries must be sent to no later than 2pm Friday April 27th.
  • Number of views are not counted if they are not within the contest run time April 27th-May 4th (regardless of when they were initially uploaded)

This is a great opportunity to both promote your fundraiser through video and support World Give Day.  Your video should briefly describe your fundraiser and share your thoughts on giving.  Remember, the video with the most views will win, so get those creative juices flowing to catch everyone’s eye!

To participate, send your Youtube video link, as well as a link to your fundraiser to no later than 2pm on Friday, April 27th. We will add your video to the World Give Day Video Challenge playlist, and keep track of the number views.  We will count the views from Friday, April 27th to Friday, May 4th at 2pm and present the victorious video on World Give Day!

This contest is a great way to integrate video into your fundraiser and cool way to see other fundraisers on the GiveForward website.  So grab your camera, boot up your webcam, and get ready for your close up! Enter GiveForward’s World Give Day Video Challenge!!

If you have any questions about rules or participation, feel free to contact a World Give Day expert at

Start Some Good Celebrates World Give Day: Part 1

Our partner Start Some Good put together this awesome post for our WGD blog series. Enjoy!

In preparation for World Give Day on May 4, 2012, we asked ten inspiring entrepreneurs who have run or are currently running campaigns on StartSomeGood to respond to the following statement:

Small gift, big impact: tell us about a time when you saw a small act of giving create lots of unexpected joy.

The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and we’re so glad to be able to share these truly amazing stories with all of you. Below are the experiences that Ehon, Tom, Jack, Gina, and Christina were so eager to share. Check back next week for five more inspiring stories of giving. 

Ehon Chan The Spur Foundation $3,175 raised for Soften the Fck Up

Back in August 2010, I gathered a group of my closest friends and we brought beanbags, camping chairs, biscuits, and some coffee and tea, set them up in the middle of a busy Square and offered “free chats” to random strangers – no judgments, no bias, no political or religious discussion, just conversations. Over the next 4 hours, almost 100 people sat down, chatted and shared their deepest worries, sorrows, joys, and happiness. From corporate executives to a homeless man, we saw humanity in action – a mutual respect for each other’s differences and a celebration of our common similarities. I often wondered what this would mean for the homeless man, or the corporate executive and how their life has changed, if they did. Often times, a conversation and an expression of genuine compassion, kindness, and empathy can change a life.

Tom Malone The Backpack Company $850 raised to date (ongoing campaign) forBring 100 Backpacks to 100 Children in Mali

When I started The Backpack Co. I thought that this would be a cool way for everyone to help out, while getting something for themselves in return. What I did not know was the profound impact that it would have on the children receiving the backpacks, and ultimately myself. It’s funny, we always say things about how we have so much and take it for granted, but it finally dawned on me in March what that actually meant. When I showed up with the bags filled with school supplies to Quelcata, Bolivia, it was like Christmas for those children. They were so excited! This town had been stricken by poverty, and apart from the organization I went with, it had no real help from the outside world in building any infrastructure (schools, hospitals, etc). The children were so excited to receive the backpacks, and it was even a little humorous. They didn’t know how to wear the backpacks, so they wore them on their chests, as opposed to wearing them on their backs. I knew the big impact The Backpack Co. and its customers would be making in terms of giving a chance for a proper education for their future. What I did not know was the impact it made on their lives in terms of giving them hope and joy for the present.

Jack McDermott Balbus Speech $3,246 raised to Help Balbus Speech Launch SpeechForGood

This past February, I volunteered at a program called Level the Field, a non-profit that uses sports and teamwork to empower low-income children. I was immediately struck by how a simple game like dodgeball or basketball can transcend even the most difficult of situations. A few kids, a couple mentors and a ball is sometimes all that’s needed to bring a new level of joy to one’s life.

Gina LaMotte EcoRise Youth Innovations $2,871 raised to date (ongoing campaign) to Inspire a New Generation of Green Leaders

One year, at our annual end-of-year Youth Solutions Showcase where students present their green design innovations, we received a donated laptop to use as a prize. It wasn’t just any donation. When a goup of employees at a local company heard about our non-profit and the showcase, they decided to collect money amongst themselves to buy and donate a laptop on their behalf. Those small donations meant providing an important resource for the lucky winner. Alejandra is a first-generation Mexican-American who is pursuing her education in Austin. The 15-year old student won the competition with her prototype for a bicycle-powered generator to use after natural disasters. The look on Alejandra’s face when she won and was handed the laptop was priceless. She now has a resource to help support her education and path to college. Alejandra wants to pursue a career in sustainable designs and social entrepreneurship. It’s moments like these that truly reflect what our organization is about – inspiring a new generation of green leaders to design an environmentally sustainable future for all. Thank you to all of our supporters.

Christina Mirando Women.Design.Build $1,225 raised to date (ongoing campaign) for Handy Women

In the summer of 2009, I helped a local Austin nonprofit design and build garden beds for a community of single mothers and their children. What inspired me about this particular project was how the coordinators were so invested in engaging the community in their garden bed initiative. That piece of community empowerment was so important because it allowed the residents to become inspired and actually participate. We built four garden beds that day, planted a handful of vegetables, and ate many delicious tamales. That experience of collaboration brought everyone so much joy.

This post is part of a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward. To find other posts in this series please visit or follow us on twitter @worldgiveday.

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