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Talk about Charity - Res 19


The New Year had me thinking a lot about goals, values, ambitions, motivations, life, and how excited I was to wear my new fuzzy socks. With all the talk of “look how far you’ve come in a year” and “can you believe that was only 1 year ago” I found myself even more reflective and nearly bubbling over with blog ideas – two of which involved writing about goals and values.

At my old job, we had a list of working norms – kind of like guiding values – and each day at our morning huddle, we would say what working norm we were focusing on that day. I loved that idea. I mean, obviously, in theory, you were living into every positive attribute every day you walked into the office, but how nice it was to really put your heart and soul behind one guiding value each week.

For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a new series of “Res” posts to my own kind of working norms – my own mini-resolutions. You don’t have to buy into any of these. You don’t have to make your own. But maybe at some point, it’ll make you think about what it would look like to radically change your life one week at a time.

Res 19: - Talk about Charity

Yesterday, I turned 23 and posted this album on The Smile Project Facebook page. My goal was to raise $23 for 23 charities:

To celebrate turning 23, I wanted to give back - it's kind of a tradition. When I was younger, I would ask for donations to the local animal shelter in lieu of presents. I also was the only 8-year-old using "in lieu of" in sentences. As I grew older, I encouraged friends to do Random Acts of Kindness for my birthday. Last year, I hit peak creativity, spending my day marching through Manhattan, sharing all the free birthday giveaways with strangers. #BirthdayGiveBack was officially born.

This year, I want to do something different. For my 23rd birthday, I am sharing 23 seemingly unrelated photos that I have taken at some point in my life. Each photo is representing one nonprofit organization that I am passionate about or have some special connection to. My goal is to raise $23 for each of the 23 charities. Those who donate at least $12 to a cause will receive a print of the corresponding photo and a thank you from yours truly.

I know it's a big ask this year and I know not everyone is at a place where they can comfortably give any amount. That's okay. I still ask that you take a few moments to read through this album and learn something new about a charity you might not have heard of before. Maybe go as far as to find a way to volunteer in the future. Thank you for reading and participating.

Some people liked the photo album or the photos or commented on one or the other or both. The thing that meant the most, though? The album was shared 17 times.

Resolution #19: Talk about Charity

I live in the world of nonprofits. Volunteering is my ‘free time’ activity. Giving back has been engrained in my heart from a very young age. All that said, budgeting is hard. Work life balance is hard. Finding time and energy for yourself is hard. We all want to give back and make a difference, but sometimes based on financial situation or other factors, it’s just not possible.

However, each and every one of us does have a voice. When I was getting my logistics in place for #BirthdayGiveBack23, I outlined my goals. 1. Raise money. 2. Raise awareness. Then I crossed out the numbers and drew an arrow, placing “awareness” above money.

The goal behind #BirthdayGiveBack23 was yes, to raise money, but more important than that was to draw attention to 23 causes that are really important to me. Moreover, it gave me a chance to do some research and dig into some of the organizations I support.

I think sometimes we don’t talk about charities we support either monetarily or with our time because it is sometimes perceived as doing good for the attention of doing good. I say no. I say talk about the causes you are passionate about. Share the link that says you just donated to your favorite charity. Talk to your friends about how you spent Saturday morning volunteering. Encourage them to come with you. Better yet, encourage them to find their own cause that they can tirelessly advocate for. We all have things that matter to us. Let’s talk about them.

Love always,


Below is a list of the charities I wrote about for #BirthdayGiveBack23. For a comprehensive explanation of what the organization does and stories about why they matter to me, check out the photo album here:

Alzheimer’s Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, International Justice Mission, Travis Manion Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, GrowNYC, International Rescue Committee, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York Public Library, World Wide Fund for Nature (previously World Wildlife Fund), Donors Choose, RAINN, Cubs for Coping, Drawn to Help, Starts with Soap, Butler County Humane Society, ASPCA, Girls on the Run, Human Rights

Campaign, Sierra Club, ACLU, and Lighthouse Relief.

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