7 Online Resources for Executive Moms on Career, Family, and Fabulousness

Get a little help from your fellow female workplace champions.  They are out there.
Sometimes you just need someone to relate to how hard you work.  Or you needsome pointers on finding a good babysitter.  Whatever it is you are seeking as a busymom, you likely don’t have time to do endless research.  And somehow, that’s notthe kind of research you want to assign to your assistant.Well, don’t despair.   We’ve cobbled together a fantastic list of blogs, directories, chatrooms, and other goodies into one convenient, mom-centered list.  You’re welcome!
What you will find there:It’s Working Project by Forty Weeks is committed to helping the private sector successfully bring new parents back to work with ease, as a matter of course and with a sense of pride.”
Why it’s great: This site has a ton of information on why private sector companies should be more welcoming to new families.  The project is designed to help parentstransition into the workplace with easily implemented practices that benefit bothemployees and companies.
What you’ll find there: This is beautiful lifestyle site that covers fashion, travel love, health, and current events.  
Why it’s great: Claudia Cevenini (camparigirl) and Sue Wildish (sofagirl) are consummate New York mommies on fire.  They write witty, up-to-the-momentpersonal reflections that are so relatable to modern parents.
What you’ll find there: This is a member-based support group for professional moms, focused on business development.  
Why it’s great: The organization nurtures and empowers women in business and parenting with an extensive understanding of the challenges boss moms face.
4. Excelle
What you’ll find there: Great opportunities for career-minded women.  This site has job listings, articles, a salary calculator, and a leaderboard.
Why it’s great: Excelle has a great reputation for real-talk, a range of voices, and great writing on many subjects that are important to professional women.  
What you’ll find there: Cofounders Katharine Zaleski and Milena Berry join up moms with special skills and remote contracts, part-time, or full time telecommute positions. 
Why it’s great: The requests are all vetted and pay competitively, the site is easy to navigate, and you can set up notifications for when specific kinds of jobs get posted.
What you’ll find there: this site has a really broad range of content types: style,family, career, feature articles on moms, research, and conferences.  
Why it’s great: the organization has done a solid job of propagating best practices for executive women and has some very fun quizzes and giveaways as well.
What you’ll find there: This one is the go-to spot on the web for women to network and explore career opportunities.  
Why it’s Great: Because it’s a national organization, you will find so many women around you.  Network and reboot your career by joining and attending a local meet-up.
By taking advantage of even a few of these groups, you will be tapping into a wholecommunity of savvy, smart, ambitious women who are committed to helping eachother succeed.  This is, after all, one of the things that women do best.  

7 Quick Ways Executive Moms Can Keep Their Blood (and their Brain) Moving

As a busy working mom, it’s often near impossible to put yourself first.  But it’s important to remember that if your health suffers, it affects everything around you –your family, your job, and all else that comes into play with your daily activities.  You should keep in mind that even small things that aren’t necessarily time-consuming can make a big difference.  Healthy habits will keep the decision-making brain optimal, and your body stronger.Let’s take a look at some of the helpful, healthful tips that you can quickly implement into your busy day:

1. Drink water.
Even mild dehydration can affect your body before you realize you’re thirsty, and may leave you with headaches, fatigue, and a general lack of energy.  Drinking a bottle of water can provide a fast pick-me-up, and it’s a great idea to bring one to work with you to have at your desk to refill as needed.  If you drink water throughout the day, you’re less likely to get to a point of feeling sluggish.
2. Never skip breakfast.
That old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day just may be true.You’re probably already vigilant about making sure your kids get a healthy meal before school, but what about you?  Studies have shown that people feel more satisfied by food eaten in the morning, and that feeling can translate into better energy for your entire day.  Incorporate protein in your breakfast – a peanut butter banana smoothie, a fruit and yogurt parfait, or an egg white/avocado sandwich on wheat toast.  This will keep you full and alert all morning long.
3. Make sure you have a bedtime too.
Sleep deprivation causes decreased performance and alertness, not to mention memory and cognitive impairment, among other less-than-desirable consequences.1 This hurts not only your work performance, but also has a negative effect on the quality time you do get to spend with your family.  Therefore, just as your children have bedtimes, you will benefit from having one as well.  Consider easing your brain into sleep; turn down the lights, read, and light some candles – make de-stressing part of your nighttime ritual.  
4. Work short bursts of exercise into your schedule.
If the time just isn’t there for a full exercise session, you can instead include small acts of fitness throughout the course of your day, as these do add up.  Take a quick walk around the block with your child in the stroller after work, or just stand up from your desk periodically to do some stretches.  Take the steps instead of the elevator.  You can also take advantage of your work lunch break, even if it’s a short one; on a nice day, you can take a brisk walk outside.  Once you develop a routine that includes exercise, it’ll become second nature and you will reap the benefits.
5. Prepare healthy foods ahead of time.
Planning and also shopping for lunch and snacks in advance ensure you’re not grabbing something quick and last minute that may not be the best for you.  For example, cut up some carrots, red peppers, or cucumbers at home to take to work inZiplock bags for that mid-afternoon hunger.  Vegetables are also full of H20, which helps you out with number one on this list as well.  Fast food and junk food can leave you feeling bloated and lethargic, so if you put in a little time and thought to your meals in advance, you can set yourself up for nutritious success each day.
6. Keep your blood sugar steady.
Wild fluctuations in your blood sugar can be detrimental to your energy level and affect your decision-making abilities.  If you grab a candy bar or a soda for a fast sugar rush, the energy burst lasts just for a short time and then you crash, feeling more tired than before.  To prevent this, eat regular small snacks to keep an even keel.  Greek yogurt, fruits, or hummus are great suggestions.
7. Get into the groove.
Music can ease anxiety while sharpening mental focus, and one recent study involving information technology specialists found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly, and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t, because the music improved their mood.2  So load up your iPod with favorite tunes, or create your own radio station on Pandora.  YouTube is also chalk-full of meditation and focus music that facilitates concentration.Each of these ideas can be incorporated into your daily routine in no time.  They just require a bit of thought and initial effort, but the results can be life-changing and lasting, and this goes for both your work life and your home life.  Balance is possible;you just have to remember to take care of yourself first.

Companies that Support Breast Cancer Awareness: Part 2


JCPenney has joined other retailers who are looking to raise money towards breast cancer awareness. Their most recent campaign called “Give Breast Cancer the Boot” has them partnering with the National Breast Cancer Foundation where the department store donated $2 to the organization from every boot purchased between October 4 through October 14. In addition, throughout the month of October, JCPenney also spent time encouraging customers to round up their purchases to the nearest whole dollar donating the difference to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. Customer contributions donated to JCPenney Cares will directly fund programs focused on breast cancer education, research, prevention and early detection.

“Many of us have had our lives touched in some way by breast cancer, which is why we felt it was important to connect with our customers on this issue by showcasing the real faces of breast cancer,” said Debra Berman, chief marketing officer for JCPenney. “We’re focused on showing customers that by rounding up their purchases at JCPenney, they can help in providing critical support in the fight against breast cancer. Through their donations, they are making a difference for someone’s mother, sister, wife, daughter.and possibly for themselves.”

National Football League (NFL)

The National Football League (NFL) breast cancer awareness campaign, A Crucial Catch, supports the American Cancer Society’s efforts to save lives and finish the fight against breast cancer. Efforts include awareness activities, team participation, player public service announcements, merchandise sales, and an online auction.

A portion of all NFL net proceeds during the month of October benefit the Society’s CHANGE Grant program to increase breast cancer screening rates within communities experiencing cancer disparities.

The NFL and the Society extend A Crucial Catch to the youth and high school level by encouraging thousands of youth and high school football coaches across the country to join the NFL as they “go pink” to raise lifesaving funds that help create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays.

Fans can visit NFL.com/pink to learn more about A Crucial Catch and the youth and high school football initiative, as well as important breast cancer detection information, prevention tips, and how to participate in their local American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer® events. The NFL has a national Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team Web page where clubs and fans can create teams to participate in their local Making Strides event.


Ann Taylor and sister company Ann Taylor LOFT have been committed to breast cancer research through their various programs and efforts. Throughout the month of October, Ann Taylor hosts a series of shopping events for breast cancer survivors (Salute to Survivors Shopping Event) that feature in-store discounts with five percent of the proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen. Customers can also show their support of breast cancer awareness by  purchasing an Ann Cares card both in stores and online where 90 percent of the purchase prices of every card sold is donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Companies that Support Breast Cancer Awareness: Part 1

1. Delta Airlines “Pink Plane”


“In 2010, we painted one of our Boeing 767-400s pink to help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research in conjunction with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. In 2012, we added Evelyn Lauder’s signature on the aircraft in memory of her dedication to help find a cure for breast cancer.”

Since the day the aircraft was first given it’s glossy coat of pink paint, Delta’s “pink plane” has carried nearly 266,753 customers on about 1,300 trips around the world, according to menafn.com. Passengers this year can expect even more ways to get “Perks for Pink” as outlined on Delta’s Facebook page which has promised that 50,000 likes for Delta means $50,000 for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.



The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign was founded in 1992 by the late Evelyn H. Lauder with the launch of the Pink Ribbon, the universal symbol for breast health. Devoted to the mission to defeat breast cancer through education and medical research and currently active in more than 70 countries, The BCA Campaign has raised more than $58 million to support global research, education and medical services; with nearly $46 million funding 185 Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) research projects worldwide over the past 21 years. In addition to private donations, funds are raised through employee activities and donations, Pink Ribbon Product sales and contributions from many of The Estée Lauder Companies’ iconic brands.

Beginning in October 2015, the global BCA Campaign will:

  • Bring awareness to the importance of early detection and breast health globally by distributing educational brochures and millions of Pink Ribbons at The Estée Lauder Companies’ brand counters worldwide, as well as through BCAcampaign.com and social media @BCAcampaign
  • Convene The Estée Lauder Companies employees around the world to participate in walks, fundraisers, auctions, concerts and other events to benefit BCRF and local breast cancer charities
  • Host a variety of workshops, seminars and trainings to raise awareness of breast cancer and early prevention
  • Illuminate buildings, monuments and landmarks worldwide in glowing pink lights to raise awareness of breast health and empower people worldwide to take action to defeat breast cancer; in New York, the iconic Pink Ribbon will scroll across the mast of the Empire State Building, which will be lit in brilliant pink; additional illuminations include The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Some Sevit in Seoul and Shanghai Symphony Hall in Shanghai, and The Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai and Las Condes City Center in Santiago, among others

Making Philanthropy Part of a Successful Business Strategy with The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John D. Mann

The cut-throat corporate culture is giving way to a new attitude of altruism that lays the foundation for commercial and individual achievement.

In introducing a new approach to business Burg and Mann present the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success: Value, Compensation, Influence, Authenticity, and Receptivity. Each of these concepts defines worth personally and professionally by a metric of generosity, rather than net gains. Philanthropy, they argue, can be a central part of a successful business, and use these principles to explain how.

The beauty of this book is that it is told in an entertaining, allegorical style so that the real magic of turning from a go-getter to a go-giver is especially resonant.  The hero of the story steps into a larger circle of reciprocity with some surprising and satisfying twists of fate.

What sets the Go-giver aside from other popular business self-help is that it moves beyond the “worker-friendly” mindset, shifting the business objectives toward ongoing, sustainable contribution that actually lifts the business up at all levels.  A fascinating read and 360 from the standard talk about corporate culture, the Go-Giver is authentic without being dogmatic, offering another definition of success that deserves to be heard.

Information courtesy of Amazon.com.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

The CEO of Zappos doles out some refreshing ideas about running a successful business by first making your employees happy.

There is no doubt that corporate culture is changing, and maybe one of the reasons it is changing is because people like Tony Hsieh are turning the old conventions upside down.  Unlike many other leaders, he describes happiness as the core value around which all business decisions revolve and makes the strong argument that this approach allows workers to invest their energies in an ongoing way, bringing profitability and satisfaction to the work.

Hseih tells his coming of age story from young peddler of lemonade and car washing to the top of the online retail world as a graphic novel, a charming and unusually entertaining method for relaying his ideas.  Driven by the notion that a company can be profitable by establishing the wellbeing of the customer as well as the employee, Hseih takes the reader on an inspiring and uplifting adventure.

Information courtesy of Amazon.com.

Top 10 Children’s Charities

1. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


Susie Almaneih St. JudesSt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: Leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats life-threatening childhood diseases

It can be all too easy to take for granted the healthy children in our lives.  But anyone who’s ever had a sick child knows how scary it can be, and the finances to pay for the best care possible is the last thing that should be worried about in such a scenario.

The kids who come to St. Jude are suffering from life-threatening childhood illnesses such as cancer and sickle cell disease, and many of the treatment protocols require care that can last for years.  St. Jude needs to be at the cutting-edge of the latest medicine and research in fighting life-threatening pediatric diseases, all while freeing families from the biggest burden in getting life-saving healthcare: the cost.  Unlike other hospitals, the majority of funding for St. Jude comes from generous donors.  It costs $2 million per day to operate St. Jude, and public contributions provide 75% of the necessary funds.  Families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing, or food.  While the organization does accept insurance, many services provided by St. Jude have never been covered by insurance, and will not be in the future.

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from 20% when the hospital opened in 1962, to more than 80% today.  In addition, St. Jude has achieved a 94% survival rate for ALL, up from 4% in 1962, and the survival rate for medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumor, increased from 10 percent to 85% today.  St. Jude was the first institution to develop a cure for sickle cell disease with a bone marrow transplant and has one of the largest pediatric sickle cell programs in the country.  One child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists in communities everywhere can use that knowledge to save more children.

2. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America


Big Brothers Big Sisters of America: Here to Start Something

For many of us, we can clearly recall growing up and having that role model we could look up to, and in many cases interact with, to understand and develop into our full potentials.  Sadly, for various reasons, many children do not have this same privilege, and one person can really make that difference we appreciated in our own lives.

For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life.  The organization’s core mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported, one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country.  The group strives to develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on young people.

National research has shown that positive relationships between Littles and their Bigs have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives.  By participating in programs, Little Brothers and Sisters are 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27% less likely to begin using alcohol, and 52% less likely to skip school.  Big Brothers and Sisters has strived to start something, and the proof is in the numbers that the organization certainly has.

3. Canines for Disabled Kids


Canines for Disabled Kids: The Healing Power of Dogs

At Canines for Disabled Kids (CDK), there is one guiding mission – to support the creation of child-canine service teams to promote independence and social awareness.  The group assists children by pairing them with dogs to assist with a variety of medical needs, including guide dogs, hearing dogs, therapy dogs, seizure alert dogs, and walker/balance dogs.

The organization offers various ways to help educate the public about service dogs, including educational presentations, booth event participation, and Americans with Disability (ADA) consulting.  Members of the CDK staff and volunteers travel all over the country for these opportunities, talking to students of all grade levels, civic groups, religious groups, and businesses about the importance of assistance dogs.

CDK relies completely on private individual and corporate donations.  Without these, the organization could not offer the services that have helped so many.

4. CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates For Children


CASA: Ensuring the Safety of Foster Children

Every day in this country, 1,900 children become victims of abuse or neglect, and four of them will die.  Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of 949 community-based programs that recruit, train, and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities.

Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care.  For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.

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 inappropriate group or foster homes.  Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.

5. KaBOOM!


KaBOOM!: Play Matters

America’s kids are playing less than any previous generation.  In part, this is because kids ages eight to 18 now spend almost half of their days in front of screens instead of engaging in active play.  Only one in four children gets 60 minutes of physical activity or active play every day.  As play has decreased, obesity rates and behavioral and cognitive disorders have increased.

Founded in 1996, KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve, filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive.  KaBOOM! works to bring play into the daily lives of all children, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.  The group does this by creating great places to play, inspiring communities to promote and support play, and driving the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives.

To achieve its vision, KaBOOM! works to catalyze and create great places to play, empower advocates to promote and protect play, and elevate public discourse around the importance of play.  KaBOOM! believes play matters for all kids, because science affirms that play is critical to a child’s overall health, development, and well-being. Moreover, play can help tackle a number of urgent issues plaguing our society — especially those endemic among low-income communities.   Kids who have play as part of their school day do better in school, become better team players, and develop into more creative thinkers — and they are much more likely to carry these skills into adulthood.

6. Make-A-Wish Foundation


Susie Almaneih Make a WishMake-A-Wish Foundation: A Wish Experience is a Game-Changer

The philosophy may sound simple, but its impact is anything but.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation believes that wishes make life better for kids with life-threatening medical conditions.  Tens of thousands of volunteers, donors, and supporters believe a wish experience can be a game-changer, and this serves as the inspiration to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids served.

The wish process begins with a referral – medical professionals, parents, and the children themselves.  Kids from the age of 2 ½ through 18 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition are eligible.  A wish team is then assigned to learn the child’s one true wish, creating an unforgettable experience personalized to match the wish kid’s idea of a perfect day.

7. March of Dimes


March of Dimes: An Organization with a Long, Rich History

President Franklin Roosevelt’s own personal struggle with polio led him to create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis at a time when polio was on the rise.  Now better known as the March of Dimes, the foundation established a polio patient aid program and funded research for vaccines developed by Jonas Salk, MD and Albert Sabin, MD.  These vaccines effectively ended epidemic polio in the United States.

With its original mission accomplished, the foundation turned its focus to preventing birth defects and infant mortality.  The March of Dimes has led the way to discover the genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancies.  The organization has supported research for surfactant therapy to treat respiratory distress and helped initiate the system of regional neonatal intensive care for premature and sick babies.  The recent Folic Acid Campaign achieved a dramatic reduction in the incidence of neural tube defects, birth defects of the brain and spine.

Since 2003, the March of Dimes’ fight to save babies has been strongly characterized by the Prematurity Campaign.  The rising incidence of premature birth has demanded action, and the March of Dimes has responded by initiating an intensive, multi-year campaign to raise awareness and find the causes of prematurity.

8. Toys for Tots


Toys for Tots: A Holiday for All

The holiday season brings to mind many cherished times, but the sight of children excitedly opening their presents may be one of the most heart-warming and memorable.  It’s devastating to think that there are many children who don’t know this joy.

The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November, and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaigns are conducted.  This toy serves as a message of hope that will assist recipients in becoming responsible, productive, and patriotic citizens.

Toys for Tots takes an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children.  The organization unites all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign.  However, Toys for Tots Campaign Coordinators conduct an array of activities throughout the year, which include golf tournaments, foot races, bicycle races, and other voluntary events designed to increase interest, concurrently generating toys and monetary donations.

9. Special Olympics


Special Olympics: Supporting Everyone to go for the Gold

Special Olympics transforms lives through the joy of sport, every day, everywhere.  It is the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities, with more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries – and millions more volunteers and supporters.

Through the power of sports, the participants discover new strengths and abilities, skills, and success.  The athletes find joy, confidence, and fulfillment — on the playing field and in life.  They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.  The Special Olympics offers the highest quality Olympic-style sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities all around the world.  This changes attitudes, and changes lives.

Since 1968, Special Olympics has been spreading the message: people with intellectual disabilities can – and will – succeed when given the opportunity.  Sports can teach us all important lessons.  When we train and strive for a goal, it teaches us to dream.  When we struggle, it teaches us determination.  When we win, we find joy.  And if we lose, we can find the strength to try again.

The Special Olympics brings together a large and inclusive community of athletes, supporters, and families, coaches, volunteers, and many others.  The athletes are at the center of it all.  They become the heroes — to the shared joy of themselves, their families, and their communities.

10. Ronald McDonald House Charities


Susie Almaneih Ronald McDonald HouseRonald McDonald House Charities: A Most Important Home away from Home

Sometimes seeking out the best possible care for a sick child isn’t so close to home.

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) knows better than anyone that children heal better when they’re surrounded by their families.  While RMHC may not be able to make the medicine taste better or erase the pain of a much-needed treatment, since 1974, its network of local chapters has been making children happier and healthier by keeping families together – giving them a place to rest and refresh, in a place that feels like home.  These programs, tailored to meet the urgent needs of each community, can now be found in more than 60 countries and regions across the globe.

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and wellbeing of children.  This includes focusing on the critical needs of children, celebrating the diversity of the people and programs, valuing RMHC’s heritage, and operating with accountability and transparency.  As pioneers of providing family-centered care, RMHC strives to be part of the solution in improving the lives of children and their families, providing programs that strengthen families during difficult times.

In 2014, the three-year “RMHC Impact Strategy” was launched, with a goal to serve one million more children and their families per year. This strategy not only builds on the success from the last 40 years, but also allows the foundation to be stronger and more efficient than ever.

Philanthropic Philosophy

Susie Almaneih PhilanthropyPhilanthropy is more than an act of giving, it’s to encourage change. Whether personal or professional, philanthropic pursuits can be equally beneficial for the performer and the recipient. The field of philanthropy is dominated by professional companies looking to aid worthy causes, but how do you choose which to support? What is the best way to get the most out of your generous efforts?

When preparing to take on a philanthropic endeavor, it’s best to examine it from two different perspectives. First, examine what you’d like to do through a personal lense. Giving yourself to a cause is an intensely personal, and oftentimes emotionally taxing investiture of your time and money. Before dedicating yourself to such a task, don’t be afraid to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Not to devalue any philanthropic effort, but there is only so much time in our lives, and if you’re choosing to dedicate a portion of yourself to a cause, it’s necessary to fully support your subject.

The second perspective to examine is the external. While you are committing yourself to a charitable act, philanthropy does come with it’s share of benefits or returns. If a company pledges to dedicate a portion of proceeds to a charitable cause, it does so with the hope of calling attention to its brand. A mutually beneficial exercise in public relations, a chosen charitable group receives much needed aid, and a business entity receives positive attention from the public. By considering both perspectives, you can better utilize your philanthropic efforts, and assert change where it’s most necessary.

Whether for business or pleasure, when developing your philanthropic strategy, it’s best to engage others. If you’re preparing to launch a personal campaign, ask the family what they think, and be certain not to overlook conflicting opinions. In business, engage shareholders and employees. Utilize outreach programs and use your company as a platform to address community leaders. By opening yourself to opinion, you significantly increase the probability of garnering support from outside sources.

Focus your efforts rather than spread yourself thin. Many companies feel it’s best to use their massive wealth over a wide area, limiting the amount of funding any one charity is able to receive. If you’re looking to affect real change, focusing efforts into one area will better serve your dollar and their cause. Researching your intended charity is also necessary. Too often good causes are championed by those looking to profit off the pain of others. Large sums of your donation could be shunted to sources not of your choosing, and the only way to prevent that is exhaustive research into your intended recipient.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to dig deep. Too many charitable donations come posthumously, denying the generous benefactor the satisfaction of providing for those in need. Consult your financial advisor, whether professional or personal, and assess how much you can do to help. The act of giving is like working a muscle. At first, the concept seems strange and foreign, but with time you begin to feel the benefits of charitable work.

For more philanthropy ideas and the philosophy behind them – check out this article published by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

Art for Recovery: Breast Cancer Quilts

Art for Recovery, a nonprofit organization located at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, helps individuals with life-threatening illness cope with their feelings through the power of art. From writing workshops and art classes to author visits by their bedsides, Art for Recovery believes that creativity should be shared within the community in order to heal each others spirits and teach compassion.

Susie Almaneih Art-Recovery2

Art for Recovery was founded in 1988 by Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD, and has been directed by CYnthia D. Perlis since it’s beginnings. The program is designed to bring artists, poets, writers, musicians, and medical students to patients at UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center so they can share and encourage one another through artistic projects.

One of the program’s largest on-going art projects is their quilt workshops. All throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Art for Recovery holds workshops in various hospitals and event venues in Marin City, the Canal District of San Rafael, the Bay View Hunter’s Point, Potrero Hill, Visitacion Valley districts of San Francisco, and at the San Francisco County Jail.

Through expertise and encouragement, Art for Recovery helps patients dealing with life-threatening illnesses heal themselves creating unique quilt blocks. The blocks are then sewn together by professional quilters, some who have struggled with cancer themselves, resulting in a beautiful, creative design that collaborates the efforts of each individual into one cohesive item.

Susie Almaneih quilt26_TN

Though the quilts remain with Art for Recovery, they are often displayed throughout the communities they were made in and even travel throughout the U.S., giving inspiration and hope to all those who battle cancer. In addition, the quilts are on display each year at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event in San Francisco.

For more information on Art for Recovery, and to find out how to get involved with the various quilt workshops, please visit their website here.


Why Giving is Good (For You)

American cultural anthropologist known for her political passion and female perseverance, Margaret Mead, once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” People who recognize the power of action and taking a stance are the ones that actually do change the world. And that’s why it’s important to recognize the power of volunteering for charity. Plus, not only do you help those in need through volunteer work, but it is scientifically proven to have benefits toward your health and outlook on the world. Here are just a few of the many reasons why giving back is good for you generated from Babble.com’s article:

First, volunteering alleviates depression and increases life satisfaction. People who volunteer throughout their lives, even if it’s from random acts of kindness and not through a large Susie Almaneihorganization, are proven to have a more positive overall well-being than those who do not. According to Babble.com, “Kindness is good for your heart, both figuratively and literally. Older adults who volunteer have lower blood pressure than those who do not volunteer,” (Babble, 6 Reasons Why Giving Back is Good for You). Because cardiovascular disease is currently the number one cause of death, it is important you take care of your heart health from a young age. And what better way to do that than helping those in need in your local community and around the world. In addition, “Research shows that teens who volunteer even just one hour per week can have lower levels of inflammation, lower cholesterol, and lower BMIs than those who do not volunteer,” (Babble, 6 Reasons Why Giving Back is Good for You).

Next, you will be a great role model for children and influence them to be kind to others and make good choices. Children who see adults volunteering and being kind are inspired to do the same, and in doing so feel more accepted by their peers. Especially because bullying is a large problem in school districts, “Being kind to others can have a cyclical effect in that those who are kSusie Almaneihind are less likely to be bullies, and those who are kind (and therefore more accepted) are le
ss likely to be bullied,” (Babble, 6 Reasons Why Giving Back is Good for You). In essence, children who have positive mentors in their lives will want to act the same way, and in doing so generosity becomes contagious and indirectly correlates to having less bullies in schools.

Lastly, when you make a difference is somebody else’s life, especially if it is a direct donation or through an acquaintance, you feel good. Whether you have a friend who’s mother is battling cancer, or you once struggled to pay rent – making a donation or volunteering for causes that directly affect you, or that you are passionate towards, is even more rewarding than just anonymously donating to a cause you have no affiliation with.

So make a difference in the world – give back (it’s good for you).