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

Archive for the ‘World Give Day Blog Series’ Category

Philanthropy Friday: The Gift of Telling a Story (for World Give Day)

This moving post is by our friend Jennifer Barbour. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give is to tell your story.

Philanthropy Friday: The Gift of Telling a Story (for World Give Day)

GiveForward is hosting a blog series in honor of World Give Day, which happens annually on May 4th.

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

I’ve worked within the nonprofit sector, specifically in the mental health and substance abuse treatment field, since 2004. Though not a therapist, I have worked with women in treatment who have stories to tell. Being on the public communications side, it’s always a difficult journey to travel to tell these stories. Not everyone is ready to tell them, and not everyone is ready to hear them.

I’ve heard stories from women who have been through hell and back more than once in their lives. They’ve endured the kind of physical and mental abuse and pain that no human being should have to experience. The kind of stuff that you just can’t imagine. As a result of the decisions they made to deal with that pain, they’ve lost their children to the state, ruined their careers, gone to jail, and damaged every meaningful relationship.

Yet, somehow, they’ve made it to the other side.

What is always awe-inspiring to me is the strength that it takes to even get to the point of thinking about telling these stories.

Walking through the door of a treatment facility is one of the most courageous things a person might do in their entire life. Yet, so many people never get through that door.

Stigma and shame are a horrible, yet very real part of dealing with a mental health or addiction problem. The stories that these women have shared with me were shared because they wanted those that hadn’t walked through the door yet to find the courage. They wanted to be an inspiration. Whether it was sharing their story for a blog post or a news story, they knew that they could save a person’s life by showing that it is possible to get to the other side. Someone, somewhere, did it for them.

The small gift of encouragement that empowers a person to make a turn in the right direction. A story to give them hope for a future.

That’s one powerful gift.

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.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

World Give Day – Food for Thought

Here is a post by writer Imogen Reed as part of our WGD blog series. Follow her footsteps this WGD and talk to a stranger — it may make more of a difference than you realize!

World Give Day – Food for Thought

I like to think of myself as a rather giving person. Of course, my friends and family are the ones who tend to get the best deals. I’m always the one who picks up the bar tab or pays the restaurant bill and I give regularly to local charities, supporting the RSPCA as well as a local animal shelter. I was going to write about some of these wonderful causes, but then I started thinking – It’s often the gifts you don’t expect that make the biggest impact.

An Unexpected Give

A few months ago, I was out with some friends for one of their birthdays. It was a night of the usual shenanigans – drinks at a local bar, head off to a nightclub, then stumble to a taxi in the early hours of the morning and head home for a few hours’ sleep before work. It was a great evening and it’s always good to catch up with friends, but eventually the night ended and we went our separate ways.

Now usually, I would flag down a taxi right outside the club and head straight home, but by this point, I was absolutely starving. Chips, I thought. I’ll go and get some chips.

There’s a great little chip shop that we always go to in Cardiff, but it was on the other side of town. Not a problem, I thought. It’s not that far. And it really isn’t – especially if you take a shortcut through the lanes at the back of the club.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t recommend stumbling into a dark alley in the middle of the night just so you can get some chips. It was cold and miserable and to be honest, a bit scary. But it was alright. There definitely wasn’t anyone there.

You’re Never Alone in the City

“Excuse me…” The voice behind me sounded aggressive, menacing even. I put my head down and quickened my pace, but he called out again. “Oi, mate…” I paused, not sure whether I should turn to face him. I was alone in a dark alley with someone I could only assume was a murderer. I slowly tilted my head over my shoulder and saw a black silhouette stagger towards me. He stepped forward into the flickering glow of a street light and then I could see his face. It turned out he wasn’t very threatening at all. He was pale and thin and to be honest, a bit scruffy. “Have you got any spare change?”

After the initial relief of not being stabbed, I recalled some random ‘facts’ I’d been told about homeless people. Don’t give them any money they’ll only spend it on booze. Drugs and alcohol, that’s all they want. And as I thought about it, he sighed and his shoulders slumped. “Look, I’m not going to lie… I’m desperate. I haven’t eaten today and I just want some money for food. Can you help me out?”

“Tell you what,” I replied. “I’m quite hungry too. Let’s go and grab something.”

He looked surprised. Truly surprised.

A Small Price to Pay

There was a Burger King just around the corner, and by the time we got there and ordered some food, I found out why he was so taken aback. His name was Paul and he’d been living on the streets for several months. In that time, only a handful of people had even bothered to look him in the eyes. It was heart-breaking to hear, but he told me all about his time on the streets, about people who were too scared to pay attention to him, or too repulsed to care. And this was a man who used to own his own business – something to do with finance that I could barely understand. He was intelligent and charming… not at all what I’d come to expect of a homeless person. He wasn’t drunk or looking for drugs. He was just someone who’d been unlucky. Someone who had lost everything and had no-one to turn to.

As we sat there, eating our burgers and talking like old friends, I realised something. It wasn’t the gift of a hot meal that had meant so much to Paul. It was the chance to talk to someone, to be treated like a human being again.

So I urge you – This World Give Day, talk to someone who might need it.

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.

Sweat For A Cause celebrates WGD

Ready for a fitness challenge? Here’s a WGD post by Sweat For A Cause for all workout enthusiasts– how to give back while getting in shape!

Tomorrow, Friday May 4 is being celebrated as “World Give Day” –One day a year to give to the causes you care about the most.  In the spirit of the day, we urge all our users to give to a cause that they’re most passionate about. Your “giving” could be in various different forms:

  • a cash donation
  • donating goods using services such as
  • a simple tweet or FB post to spread awareness about a cause
  • a commitment to volunteer for a cause

In a world where our lives revolve around our busy daily routines, a day like tomorrow allows us to pay some attention to the needs of those who aren’t as lucky as us. So do your bit to support this great initative. You’ll be happier for it!

As always, you could choose to give by participating in our featured challenge next week:

Wanna get your abs in shape? 50 pushups a day for a whole week might help! Try our Situps for Afica Challenge to support the MicroLoan Foundation – A unique nonprofit which provides women in sub-Saharan Africa with the means to work themselves out of poverty.

Your $5 will give a Malawian woman the opportunity to start a simple trading business, set up food stalls, buy a new sewing machine or breed goats. Sign up now – and don’t forget to get your friends involved in the fun!

Thank you once again!

Team Sweat For A Cause

A World Give Day Surprise For Fatima

Surprise! Our Co-Founder at GiveForward, Ethan Austin, put together this post in honor of WGD. Find out how to get in touch with Ethan and give back while getting advice for your own startup!

A World Give Day Surprise For Fatima

May 4th is World Give Day.  It’s the one day a year where people around the world come together to support the causes that they care about most, whether that means giving money, giving their time, or perhaps just giving free hugs.

For this year’s World Give Day, I am holding a mentor-thon and  giving all the money I raise to a little girl named Fatima. Fatima is 4 years old and battling leukemia in Los Angeles.  Friends of the family started this GiveForward fundraising page to relieve some of the financial burden as they cope with the high medical bills.  Fatima’s family doesn’t know we are helping and I think it would be awesome to surprise them with a big donation on World Give Day representing the collective generosity of all the awesome people on the Interwebz! My goal is to help make Fatima’s page rock!  I’d love your help!

So how’s a Mentor-thon work?  Good question!  For the next 24 Hours, I will be using Clarity.FM to take as many phone calls as possible  from anyone who wants startup advice.  Whether your question is about business plans, raising seed capital, finding a co-founder, hiring your first employee. marketing, customer acquisition strategy, blogging, you name it. I’ll answer it.

The goal is to raise $500 for the Ortega family.   All you have to do to help is go to my Clarity.FM page and click the button that says “call me now”.  It’s $2 per minute and all the money is being donated to Fatima through the family’s GiveForward Page.

So that’s it.  Give me a call!!!!  Like ASAP!!!  And if you don’t have any startup questions, ask me about burritos.  And if you don’t have any startup or burrito questions, pay it forward this World Give Day by sharing this on Facebook or sending this along to someone who might.  Let’s make this happen for Fatima!

Click here to talk turkey with me! —>

Alternatively, if you think talking to me will be a real snoozer and you’d rather just give directly to Fatima, you can donate on her GiveForward fundraising page here —>

As an extra incentive to give, I’ll match up to $100 (in total) on donations that use the hashtag #WorldGiveDay in the donation comments.  Let’s go Internet.  Let’s make something amazing happen!

Thanks for your support and happy giving!

– ethan

PS – I hope this post inspires you to do something meaningful on World Give Day.  Feel free to share your plans or idea in the comment section.

PPS – If you haven’t used before it’s a super-cool website started by Canadian entrepreneur extraordinaire Dan Martell (sorry, no relation to the Model, Rick Martell of WWF lore).  Basically, Clarity allows startup founders (or anyone really) to call up successful entrepreneurs to get advice.  For instance, you want to call up Mark Cuban for advice?  Boom! Here’s his profile. Give him a call.

Clarity is still in private beta, but there are already some really awesome entrepreneurs in the network like Dave McClure and Micah Baldwin.  Holy crap, right?  Imagine not having to deal intro emails and LinkedIn nonsense.  Imagine actually using your phone for (gasp!) talking and not just emails and text messaging. eliminates all the gatekeepers, and gives people direct access to the most bad-ass, nerd-celebrity entrepreneurs in the universe.  I love the fact that it is democratizing mentorship and bringing back the phone call like it’s 1996. I only wish this service existed when we were first starting GiveForward.


Small Gift, Big Impact: A Mitten Tree

Here’s our newest addition to our WGD blog series, written by Linda Cohen. A true definition of a giving spirit! Read on and be inspired.

Small Gift, Big Impact: A Mitten Tree

Friday May, 4th is World Give Day sponsored by GiveForward. In response to this simple question, please tell us about a time when a small act of giving created lots of unexpected joy I wanted to share one of my favorite stories from my book, 1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire and Change Your Life.

“In October, I had an idea to participate in some Christmas giving. I shared it with my then nine year-old-daughter, who loves the Christmas holiday and finds it difficult that we don’t have a tree, stockings, or Christmas decorations like other kids. I decided it would be fun to create a mitten tree for the clients of the Dress for Success program I volunteer for. We’d find out what clients needed or wanted for Christmas, and then we’d work with my networking group of approximately fifty women to try to gather the money and gifts. I hoped my daughter would help me make the one-dimensional paper tree with paper mittens on a bulletin board that I could carry to my meeting for the women to choose from.

I gathered the art supplies for our project. Immediately, my daughter began to complain. “I didn’t volunteer for this, how soon will we be done?” she whined. We continued working despite her complaints. I distracted her by reading some of the requested items, which included dance pants for a thirteen-year-old girl. “How does someone who needs our gifts pay for dance lessons for their child?” she asked. “Maybe a scholarship,” I told her. Another woman wanted a Burger King gift cer- tificate so she and her husband could go out to dinner. My daughter commented that she didn’t think Burger King was a very special place to go out to dinner. Another woman requested a gift card for gas. My daughter continued cutting mittens and a few minutes later said, “Wow, Mommy, I am really lucky. We have a house, we have food to eat, we aren’t worried about paying our bills or buying gas. I am glad we are doing this together.” Then she chose a mitten for a grandmother raising her grandson who’d requested a winter snowsuit for the boy.

In December, a thank-you note arrived from the volunteer coordinator at Dress for Success. She told me that seventy-two women had received gifts through the mitten project. To this day, this is one of my favorite and most memorable mitzvahs.


Being a catalyst to make something happen is incredibly rewarding. It requires seeing an opportunity and taking initiative. This mitzvah was gratifying on two levels: first, knowing that seventy-two women received a special gift for the holidays, and second, that my actions taught my daughter a valuable lesson. My role in this mitzvah was being the person who got the ball rolling. The coordination meant collecting and gathering the goods, but this was relatively easy and didn’t even take that much time. The outcome from these simple actions was huge. The recipients and donors alike felt blessed by the opportunity, and I had the pleasure of knowing I’d been the catalyst and a teacher.”

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.

How Small Gives Change The World

For all the animal lovers out there — here is an amazing post by our friend Jacqueline Way on how she saved a furry life.

World Give Day: How Small Gives Change the World

My favourite day of the year is almost here: World Give Day – May 4th, 2012. After completing my own personal giving journey for 365days I had the honour of meeting people from all over the world that are doing so much to give back in their own way. I was asked by the team at World Give Day to write a story how small gift can create a big impact. It happens to be the 365give philosophy. You don’t have to be a Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey and give billions of dollars away in your lifetime but one small gift / give and make a huge impact.

My World Give Day story is based on one such women that saved one little beings life in Romania while there on business.

Meet my sister Karen Somers – animal rescuer extrodinaire and Stella – the life she saved from Romania. You will see how her one small gift has brought so much joy to a family and will now make a great impact on hundreds of dogs lives.

Little Stella is one of over 2 million street dogs that wander throughout Romania.

This one-month-old pup crossed our paths on a movie location outside Bucharest. At the end of a long, cold night shoot, during a rain storm, this sickly puppy was the last dog left, too weak to find shelter. We were in a foreign country and didn’t know what to do.

Stella’s experience is a common one in Romania, a country that struggles to provide for its impoverished citizens on every level. Night after night, thousands of dogs go hungry, left to fend for themselves in temperatures that will eventually freeze many of them to death. The problem is not only a moral one, it also comes down to math. Every unsterilized female dog and her offspring in their lifetime and that of their puppies can produce over 67,000 dogs. Spay and neuter programs, education and shelter are in short supply to deal with this overwhelming dilemma. So USA-based 501(c)(3) non-profit, Romania Animal Rescue (RAR), was formed by American animal activist, Nancy Janes, to help where help was so sorely needed. Nancy and her team have created an effective free spay and neuter program in Romania utilizing highly skilled local veterinarians. They go town to town, doing up to 300 operations in a weekend. Their efforts are making headway on a grassroots level, slowly transforming the way a generation will help “man’s best friend”.

Stella and I were lucky that night.

She was wrapped up in a blanket and smuggled into my Romanian hotel room. After fostering with a local vet, she got her shots and flew home (20 hours on my lap) with me to California last November. Stella is an incredible dog. She wakes up with joy and goes to sleep in peace. She brings laughter and sunshine where ever she goes. Stella inspired me to help her family left in Romania.

In Stella’s name we are raising $10,000 to help Romania Animal Rescue’s spay/neuter program.

You and your dollars will make a huge difference to a homeless dog in Romania. Please donate what you can afford today to the Stella Fund.

“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.”

Gotham Give Day

 Our favorite Gotham Gal, Joanne Wilson, wrote this great post about all the causes she believes in. An inspiring post by an inspiring lady.

World Give Day

Give Forward is hosting a blog with a series of posts on World GIve Day.  One day a year to give to the causes that you care about the most.

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

Fred and I give to a variety of things but the thing that we really care about and have focused on is NYC.  We have sat or sit on the boards of NYU, the High Line, Academy for Software Engineering, Donors Choose, MOUSE and Hot Bread Kitchen.  All of these organizations impact the community we live in.  The long tail (we hope) is that these organizations will impact other places around the globe and peoples lives.

I have been fortunate to meet several women around the globe that are making an impact in peoples lives and their own communities.  I wrote about Mathylde Frontusa few weeks ago and felt great when I wrote a check out to Urban Neighborhood Services to help her organization continue the good work. I have also written about Give ForwardCatchafireDress for Success/Do Something/Crisis Text LineDeal GooderGoods4Goods and Baking for Good.  Each of these organizations have powerhouse women behind them doing social good.

Another woman I wrote about awhile ago was Sally Broom.  Sally wrote to me this past week about an organization that she is passionate about called Charity Gift Market, where every gift has a story.  This marketplace is social entrepreneurship at its best.  Each object you can purchase at this site tells a story of the person or organization that made the product from around world and how your purchase goes towards the charity that made it.  True entrepreneurs at work.  Making products for revenue that support their mission.

Here is one that Sally sent me that I thought was a great example of where to put your dollars for a gift for anyone or Mothers Day.  What is most impressive is how the Internet has changed the way we can give, purchase and make a difference in others lives.

Fatima has emerged as a mentor at Bead Amigas, a charity in rural Nicaragua, by possessing a great artistic eye and being focused. Although Fatima’s husband holds a regular job, the slim wages he earns working in the fields do not go far for a family of six. In addition to their two young sons, Fatima’s niece and grandfather also live in their two bedroom home. Since selling her jewelry with Bead Amigas, Fatima has been able to save enough money to build an addition onto her home, purchase a refrigerator and start a small store. With the help of business classes, her store is now flourishing as the only place within miles that offers cold beverages and frozen meats. Her biggest dream – and one that is now possible with Bead Amigas – is for her children to be able to continue going to school and be successful. 

Alick is an orphaned boy from the streets of Malawi, Africa. Poverty and the AIDS pandemic destroyed his family and cast him to begging in the streets for survival. Thankfully, UrbanPromise International is now providing for all of Alick’s needs. A home, hot meals, and encouragement to attend school everyday has turned Alick’s life around and has provided hope. Through the sale of bracelets and necklaces to raise additional funds for their schooling fees, the boys at the SafeHaven Orphanage have taken control of their lives and futures.

On Sunday, May 13th, mothers all over the world will be honored. Whether it is a time to hug and say ‘thank you’, or a moment of remembrance, Mother’s Day is a day we all celebrate. This year, CharityGiftMarket is where you can now shop for a beautiful gift and support a charity; a gift that can connect you and your mother to a mother like Fatima; a gift that will not only brighten your mother’s day but can provide a brighter future for a child like Alick. Visit to shop for gifts Made by Moms, for gifts that show Motherly Love, and gifts that Any Mother Would Love.  Make this Mother’s Day special!

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