Inspired by Betty Londergan's What Gives 365 and the Bible (not necessarily in that order!), I'm giving away $250 a week in 2011.

This is where I'm recording that journey, and I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Away Christmas

Yesterday was just too full to blog, so this morning I'm catching up on two weeks' worth, combining both inspiring people and suggestions made by others. I knew you all wouldn't let me draw a blank two weeks in a row!

One donation is going to my 15-year-old friend Cassidy. I'm bending the rules a bit, because I don't usually repeat gifts, but we haven't given to WV's Gift Catalogue here before (I love this amazingly successful vehicle to engage people in international giving!) and I absolutely want to support this kind of initiative and compassion in a teenager. Here's some of what Cassidy wrote to me:

For the Christmas season World Vision organizes an extra program where you can buy chickens, goats and other essentials needed in the developing world. Contaminated water is one of the leading killers of children in impoverished villages . For 15,000 dollars we can dig a well producing clean water to cook, drink and bathe in. We can be a hero to hundreds.

Using a program on the World Vision web page I have made a section directly connected to the main page where supporters can donate online. I have contacted a radio station called Shine fm and I am currently waiting for a reply to see if it is possible for them to publicize it more in the city of Calgary.

I am planning on going out to canvas Redwood Meadows several times before December 31st (which is the deadline for supporters to donate)  to raise awareness and to see who is interested to donate either at the door or online.

I sincerely hope you will support this idea

The second donation is going to my long-time friend Paul and his family. They are "Giving Christmas Away" this year, travelling with eight other families to Guadalajara, Mexico, as Paul says, "to take a step back from commercialism...serve the poor and learn from either other."

I rather guiltily spent a lot of money on Christmas gifts at Canadian Black Friday sales yesterday. It feels very very good for me to support these folks and to be inspired by them this morning.

As my friend Jennifer often says, "Be blessed and be a blessing!"

Monday, November 21, 2011

I haven't forgotten...

...I just haven't been inspired. So I didn't blog. First time that's happened. There you have it.

This past Friday was to have been the day to donate to an inspiring individual. All year, that's been the hardest week for me. I didn't expect it to be like that. To all of you I know and love, please don't take this personally. I am quite sure that each and every one of you has inspiring qualities and could put $250 to some necessary and/or noble use. But your name just didn't come to mind. Perhaps I just don't know enough people. Or maybe I haven't been doing my homework. Or maybe I'm just in a November funk. It's depressing not to be able to find someone inspiring to give money to. Whatever the reason, I felt like I was "scrounging" to find someone this week, so I didn't do it. (So much for telling my friend Shelley that something or someone always drops into my lap on Fridays. Not this week!) I'll catch up at a later date, I promise.

In the meantime, I did hear from my beloved friend Caroline about a book and a blog called Giving 2.0 that I'm looking forward to exploring. And I heard about a story where people came home to find their house literally strung with cash -- the storyteller referred to it as 'reverse robbery' and as a direct answer to prayer. Very cool.

Feel free to inspire me! And in the meantime, you have my permission to be a reverse robber.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 - Movember

It's local donation day, and this week it's being combined with a cause suggested by one of you. In fact, by my cousin Mack. He's growing a moustache in support of prostate cancer research as part of Movember.

I bet many of you have received requests to donate to this cause recently. I bet even more of you have seen men in your life sporting 'staches. A few of you may even be counting the days until your beloved shaves his off.

I can't grow a mo, but I can be supportive in this way. Way to grow, Mack!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tony Blair and Faithful Philanthropy

Faithful philanthropy. Say that 10 times fast!

I was just catching up on reading the Globe and Mail's most recent articles on philanthropy, having just written today's blog post on malaria eradication. It's an excellent series, and one article entitled "I put my faith in creative philanthropy" caught my eye. Interestingly, it turned out to be written by former British PM Tony Blair, highlighting his faith-based foundation and commitment to malaria eradication. He refers to himself as a "practical optimist." Sounds good to me. Do have a look.

Mosquitoes and Needles

Two of my girls had vaccines lately. Both were freaking out ahead of time, and both said it wasn't nearly as painful as they'd expected.

As I begin preparations for a 2012 trip to Africa with one of them, I sure wish we could get a vaccine against malaria. Mosquitoes are a big nuisance, to be sure, but ever since spending time in Africa, mosquitoes here in Canada really don't bother me. After all, you can't die from them! In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa though, mosquitoes can be deadly. I've lost a colleague to malaria. Malaria caused almost 800,000 deaths in 2009, mostly among African children, accounting for almost 20% of childhood deaths there. That's one child dying every 45 seconds. Horrifying, and preventable.

For now, insecticides and netting are the best defence, especially for those of us with no natural immunity. A vaccine is being tested courtesy of a clinical trial in 7 African countries. It won't be ready for us by next summer, but it's showing some promising initial results.

So this week our international donation is going towards an organization involved in an antimalarial vaccine initiative. I've given the money to PATH. This organization caught my eye for two reasons: it explicitly invites people to give to innovation, and it has the support of the Gates Foundation. (Tempting to think my little $250 won't make a difference when measured against Gates' dollars, but I'm persevering with the contribution nonetheless).

PS -- For those interested in exploring philanthropy and community engagement a bit further, have a look at the free sample chapter from Do More Than Give. I've just ordered the full book (one click on my iPad -- love it!) and am inspired by the work on high-impact collaborations coming out of the Tamarack Institute's Learning Centre. Thanks for the referral, Brenda!