Friday, December 31, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Fresh Start Women's Foundation

It’s the last Feel Good Friday of 2021 and time to reflect on the new year ahead. What a great opportunity to talk about Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.


Founded in 1992 by sisters Pat Petznick and Beverly Stewart and based in Phoenix, Arizona, the mission of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation is “to provide education, resources and support for women to positively transform their lives and strengthen our community.”


Over 500,000 women in Arizona are living in poverty. The programs of Fresh Start are open to women 18 and up, and meant to fill gaps in the services already offered. Topics of classes and workshop range from life skills to career development. Examples of support services include access to legal professionals who help with family law issues, and mentors who work with clients one-on-one to set goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Career resources include small business startup training as well as computer literacy classes. If you’re not sure where to start, there is a team of social workers who can help you.


Success stories include a woman who worked with a mentor until she reached her goal of opening a bakery, and another who left an abusive marriage and now publicly speaks on the topic of domestic violence. You can read more stories of women who transformed their lives at this link.


If you’d like to support Fresh Start Women’s Foundation to help women build their self-confidence and get a fresh start, there are several ways to do so. Arizona locals can volunteer or attend next year’s Fresh Start Gala. The rest of us can make a donation and share the work of Fresh Start on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @FreshStartWomen and Instagram @freshstartwomen. 


Here’s to a happy new year and all of our fresh starts!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Feel Good Friday - NORAD Tracks Santa

Not only is today Feel Good Friday, it’s also Christmas Eve. So, let’s talk about an organization that has been tracking Santa for the last 66 years, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD

NORAD is “a United States and Canada bi-national organization which defends the homeland through aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America.” Given that the people of NORAD are always watching the skies, it makes sense that they are tracking Santa, but the tradition of reporting his progress around the globe on Christmas Eve started because of mistake.

As they explain on their non-Santa website, “tracking Santa has been a tradition since 1955 when a local newspaper advertisement informed children they could call Santa directly – only the contact number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty, U.S. Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, the predecessor to NORAD. Col. Shoup was quick to realize a mistake had been made, and assured the child he was Santa. Shoup then assigned a duty officer to continue answering calls.” Today, volunteers at the NORAD headquarters in Colorado still staff a hotline to provide updates on Santa, but this year there will be 500 people answering phones instead of one.


The increase in volunteers isn’t the only upgrade that’s happened in the last 66 years. The NORAD Tracks Santa website includes musicbooks, computer games and a section full of Santa facts. Did you know Santa experiences time differently than we do, he is at least 16 centuries old, and he gains 1,000 pounds from eating all the cookies? Well, now you do.


You can follow his journey around the world tonight by visiting NORAD Tracks Santa, calling 877-HI-NORAD, or downloading the app on your iPhone or Android. Told you they’ve made a lot of improvements since 1955. You can also keep up with Santa and NORAD year-round by following them on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @NoradSanta and Instagram @noradtrackssanta_official. #NoradTracksSanta


Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Feel Good Friday - One Simple Wish

In today’s Feel Good Friday, we’re profiling an organization that grants wishes to children in foster care, One Simple Wish.  

Founded in 2008 by foster parent Danielle Gletow, One Simple Wish (OSW) “grants wishes for foster children, children who have aged out of foster care and under-served children and families throughout the United States through a vast network of hundreds of Community Partner agencies in nearly every state.” To hear Danielle explain what inspired her to start OSW, you can watch her 2014 TEDx talk at this link.
With over 500,000 children spending time in foster care each year and more than 22,000 of them aging out without stable, permanent connections, there are plenty of young people with wishes ranging from Barbie dolls and cameras to jackets and household essentials.
The process for connecting the wishers and wish granters is simple. Agencies that work with children in foster care join the OSW Community Partner Network and submit wishes on behalf of children they are helping. Those wishes are posted on the website, people like you search through them and choose one or more to fund, then the wish is granted. At the time of writing this blog (ahem, last night) there were 371 active wishes to choose from.
The latest impact information on the website shows that in 2019, OSW worked with 782 community partners in 48 states to reach over 20,000 children by granting wishes, giving experiences and providing essential items to children in crisis.

If you’d like help One Simple Wish make an impact in 2021 and beyond, you can do that by granting a wish, making a general donation and amplifying their message on social medial. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @OneSimpleWish and Instagram @onesimplewish.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Pay Away the Layaway

The countdown to Christmas is on so in today’s Feel Good Friday, we’re going to highlight an organization that helps gets presents to children, Pay Away the Layaway

Founded in 2011 by Lee Karchawer, and headquartered in New York, the mission of Pay Away the Layaway is “to inspire hope and spread kindness.” They do this by raising money and using it to pay off layaway balances for families during the holiday season. 
Geared towards shoppers with lower incomes, layaway programs allow people to make a down payment on an item, which the store then holds for them while they pay the remainder of the price in installments. It is a popular way to make sure the item you want will be there for you when you finish paying for it.
Lee was inspired to create Pay Away the Layaway after seeing a news story about a donor who paid off $25,000 in layaway balances right before Christmas. This allowed people to collect the gifts they had on layaway for their children. Lee had just spent months putting effort in to winning a year’s supply of burritos and realized his ability to rally people around a cause could be put to better use. Watch him tell his story in this TedX link.
In their first year, Pay Away the Layaway raised just over $1,000 which Lee used to pay layaway balances for people at a K-Mart store in the Bronx. Since then, the organization has expanded across the United States and includes both major retailers like Walmart and Burlington Stores and also Army, Air Force and Navy Exchange stores. In a recent promotion with Good Morning America, Pay Away the Layaway raised $328,565 in the 3 days before Christmas!
You can watch videos at this link to see people’s reactions to having their balance paid, or click here to watch donor testimonials. If that inspires you to get involved you can become a Layaway Angel. When there is a payoff event in your city, you’ll arrive on-site and help greet families, deliver the surprise news, and help the partner store associates with day-of logistics. 
Other ways you can support Pay Away the Layaway are by making a donation and sharing their story on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @PayAwayLayaway and Instagram @payawaythelayaway.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Masbia Soup Kitchen Network

Today’s Feel Good Friday falls during Hanukkah, so we’re highlighting a group that’s raising money to feed 3,000 families in need this Hanukkah season, the Masbia Soup Kitchen Network

Founded in 2005, Masbia is a nonprofit soup kitchen network and food pantry located in New York. It’s Brooklyn’s first and only kosher soup kitchen! 
The vision of the founders was “a clean, well-lit and attractive place where poor men, women, and children could eat nourishing kosher meals daily for free.” The first location was a restaurant-style environment with volunteer waiters serving people their meals. 
Since then, Masbia has expanded beyond the original soup kitchen to include three additional locations with both a dine-in option and a food pantry. Here, through their weekend take-home package program, they give out bags of much-needed groceries every week to those with not enough food at home.
The team at Masbia has seen a 500% increase in demand since the start of the pandemic. They are now distributing food to 1,500 families each day, which comes to 2 million meals a year! You can watch a recent news story about Masbia providing food for Thanksgiving at this link.
If you live in New York and want to support the work of Masbia you can volunteer. The rest of us can make a donation and amplify their work on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter@Masbia.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Giving Tuesday

Happy day after Thanksgiving! I don’t often repeat posts but it’s been 7 years since I first posted about this organization so it’s time for an update on Giving Tuesday.

Although many people know today as "Black Friday" and spend their morning running from store to store shopping for bargains, I consider this a Feel Good Friday because it’s almost time for 
Giving Tuesday!
Giving Tuesday is “global movement unleashing the power of radical generosity to transform communities and the world.” It was created in 2012 when the 92nd Street Y in New York (92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association) joined forces with the United Nations Foundation. They were "inspired by the core Jewish value of tikkun olam, 'repairing the world'."

The day is held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is meant to counterbalance Black Friday’s focus on consuming and celebrate the holiday season by giving instead. Non-profits create unique goals for the date, corporations double employee matches, and individuals find ways to give what they have whether that's money or time.
When I first posted about this, there were 10,000 organizations worldwide participating. Now there are Giving Tuesday movements in 80 countries and “in 2020, at least $2.47 billion were donated in twenty-four hours in the U.S. alone.” More details can be found in the 2020 impact report. There’s also a program called #GivingEveryTuesday, “a series of weekly opportunities to come together to give, volunteer, and show kindness in shared moments with communities, causes and countries around the world.”

Want to participate but can’t decide how best to get involved? There's a tool kit for givers with ideas, graphics and sample social media messages to use. You've got the whole weekend to figure something out!
Start by showing your support on social media. Like the Giving Tuesday Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @GivingTuesday and Instagram @givingtuesday. Once you come up with your Giving Tuesday goal, let the world know by using #GivingTuesday in your posts. The best part of this is you don't have to get up early or stand in line to participate. Now that's a tradition I can support!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Meals on Wheels America

With Thanksgiving coming up next Thursday, food and family is on my mind. That’s why I want to spend today’s Feel Good Friday talking about an organization that delivers food to senior citizens, Meals on Wheels America.

Founded in 1974, the mission of Meals on Wheels America is “to empower local community programs to improve the health and quality of life of the seniors they serve so that no one is left hungry or isolated.” It is the oldest and largest national organization supporting over 5,000 community-based, senior nutrition programs across the country. Meals on Wheels America provides these local organizations with funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support.

The problem Meals on Wheels America is addressing is explained on their website. “Nearly 7.4 million seniors have incomes below the poverty line” and “nearly 9.7 million seniors were threatened by hunger.” That’s why millions of volunteers deliver 221 million meals to 2.4 million seniors every year! Locally supported programs also manage what are called congregate nutrition sites – think senior centers. That allows more mobile seniors the opportunity to socialize during their meal.

You can find additional statistics and impacts of the meal deliveries on this page. One that I found eye-opening is the fact that “2 out of 3 recipients report the meals make up half or more of all food eaten that day”.

In addition to delivering meals, and helping combat social isolation, volunteers conduct safety checks around the house when they visit. They also look for changes in their clients’ physical or mental health that might impact future medical needs so they can be addressed before they become catastrophic and costly health issues.

If you know of someone who would benefit by participating in the program you can use this link to find a provider. If you’d like to volunteer, go to this link to learn more. There you can watch videos of volunteers with their seniors and sign up to volunteer.

You can also support Meals on Wheels America with a donation and by amplifying their work on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @_MealsOnWheels and Instagram@mealsonwheelsamerica.
Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Native American Rights Fund

In another Feel Good Friday celebrating National American Indian Heritage Month, we profile the work of the Native American Rights Fund. 

Founded in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is “the oldest and largest nonprofit legal organization asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide.” They do this through litigation, legal advocacy and expertise.

NARF’s legal resources are concentrated in the following five areas:

Current efforts include protecting Native voting rights, creating space for communities to heal from boarding school policies that removed children from their homes and placed them in government run boarding schools from the mid 1800’s to 1950’s, and fighting for fair districting in Indian country.

To get involved with any of these efforts, click the links above. You can also support the Native American Rights Fund with a donation and by amplifying their message on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @NDNrights and Instagram @nativeamericanrightsfund.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Native American Health Center

November is National American Indian Heritage Month and we’re kicking it off with the story of an organization I see on my daily walks, the Native American Health Center. 

Founded in 1972 and located in Oakland, California, the Native American Health Center (NAHC) is “a community health center serving the California Bay Area Native Population and other under-served populations in the Bay Area.” As their website explains, their mission is “to provide comprehensive services to improve the health and wellbeing of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and residents of the surrounding communities with respect to cultural and linguistic differences.” All are welcome, regardless of tribal affiliations, ethnicity, or ability to pay.
Services include medical, dental, and behavioral health and follow a holistic model of care that responds to people’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and social service needs. NAHC serves over 14,000 members each year in these departments.
The Community Wellness Department provides services and events such as cultural groups (beading, sewing, drumming, Aztec Dance, etc.), traditional healing activities, and workforce development. They also run programs for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and School-Based Health Centers located in eight campuses around the East Bay. In addition to all of this, the NAHC is a both community testing site and vaccination center for Covid-19.
If you want to help ensure that the Native American Health Center can offer culturally informed programming to the American Indian community in the Bay Area, support them with a donation. You can also raise awareness of their work by amplifying them on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @7Gen1D.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Spirit of Children

Tis the season when Spirit Halloween stores pop up in empty storefronts across the country. Yes, but why are we talking about them on Feel Good Friday? To learn about their Spirit of Children program, of course. 

Created in 2006, the mission of Spirit of Children (SoC) is “to make hospital stays less scary for kids and their families”. In the first year, SoC hosted Halloween parties at 11 hospitals. Today these celebrations happen in 147 partner hospitals around the United States and Canada.


In addition to Halloween parties, Spirit of Children has raised over $77 million in cash and merchandise donations to support Child Life departments in their partner hospitals. These are departments that provide developmental, educational and therapeutic support for children undergoing medical treatment.

Donations are collected from customers in the 1400+ Spirit Halloween stores and 100% of the money goes to partner hospitals in communities local to the stores. As they explain on the website, the money raised provides, “salaries for Child Life Specialists and Fellows, a full-time Child Life presence in the Emergency Department, creation of dedicated playrooms, teen lounges and family space, and the ability for our hospitals to purchase sensory and educational equipment, computers, iPads and distraction toys for use during procedures as well as toys created specifically for physical and developmental limitations.

To get a sense of the work and the impact, watch the 5-minute video on this page. You’ll hear from children and their parents and see the Halloween parties in full swing.


If you’d like to support Spirit of Children, the best way to do so is by making a donation when you’re in a store tomorrow buying your last minute sexy fill-in-the-blank costume. To stay informed year-round, follow Sprit Halloween on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @SpiritHalloween and Instagram @apirithalloween.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Save Our Water

I’ve been enjoying the recent rain in the Bay Area, but we’re still expecting drier than normal conditions in California this winter, which is why today’s Feel Good Friday is focusing on Save our Water.

Created in 2009 by the Association of California Water Agencies and the California Department of Water Resources, Save Our Water is “a statewide program aimed at helping Californians to reduce everyday water use through conservation ideas, inspiration and tips.”


According to this article, “the California Department of Water Resources estimates we need 140 percent of average precipitation to get our reservoir storage back to where it needs to be.” That’s why taking steps to conserve water is so important. Luckily, the Save Our Water website is full of resources.


Tips are divided into three categories: around the housearound the yard and save our trees. You won’t be surprised to read that fixing leaks, installing high-efficiency toilets, and taking shorter showers can save water, but did you know turning off the water when you’re brushing your teeth can save 10 gallons per person per day??

For those of you with yards, planting water-wise, California-native plants and drought resistant trees can help. Using a broom instead of a hose to clean outdoor areas can save 8-18 gallons of water every minute! And if your yard has trees, keep watering them. “It will take more water, time, and money to replace a mature tree lost to drought than to keep it alive.”


In addition to the tips you can find at the above links, there is also a resource page with more links to useful water-related resources, partnering agencies, and supporting organizations. If you’re feeling especially inspired, you can visit the toolkit and download social media posts, logos and videos to share.


The best way for you to support Save Our Water is to help spread the word about the site and their resources so more people can learn how to up their water conservation game. Like the Save Our Water Facebook pageand follow them on Twitter and Instagram @saveourwater.




Friday, October 15, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Bat Conservation International

October is Bat Appreciation Month so we’re celebrating with Bat Conservation International.

Founded in Texas in 1982, the mission of Bat Conservation International (aka Bat Con) is “conserving the world's bats and their ecosystems to ensure a healthy planet.”

Why bats? As the team at Bat Con explains, “with more than 1,400 species located all around the globe, bats play a substantial ecological role that is vital to the health of our natural ecosystem and human economies.” That includes pollinating valuable cash crops, dispersing seeds that are critical to restoring cleared or damaged rainforests and providing natural fertilizer courtesy of bat poop. “Loss of even one bat species affects ecosystems, communities, and economies.”

You can see why the team of scientists and conservationists at Bat Con is focused on ending bat extinctions worldwide. To accomplish this, they divide their work into four missions:

1.   Implement endangered species interventions – examples include creating a bat sanctuary for endangered Fijian Free-tailed Bats, protecting the critically endangered Hill’s Horseshoe Bat in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park, and saving the rarest bat in the United States — the federally endangered Florida Bonneted Bat.

2.   Protect and restore landscapes – this is done by assessing and documenting bat roosting sites and seeing that those sites are preserved to sustain healthy bat populations. 

3.   Conduct high-priority research and develop scalable solutions – including collecting information through the North American Bat Monitoring Program, applying science to address bat loss, sharing their research, and developing a global capacity to save bats worldwide. 

4.   Inspire through experience – welcoming visitors to Bracken Cave Preserve near San Antonio to witness bats in flight and educating them about the importance of bats and bat conservation. Bat Con also trains volunteer ambassadors, organizes Bat Walks, and runs an annual week of bat-promoting events because experiencing the wonder of bats fosters stewardship. 

If you’re near San Antonio in 2022, you visit Bracken Cave Preserve and see the bats for yourself! No matter where you are, you can support Bat Con with a donation and by amplifying their work on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @BatConIntl and Instagram @batconservationinternational. 

Friday, October 8, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Today’s Feel Good Friday post was inspired by National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15. That means we’ve still got time to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

Founded by the White House in 1987, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) is “a national nonprofit focused on education, workforce, innovative leadership, and culture to meet America’s priorities.” Or as they explain on Twitter, “We identify, inspire, prepare & promote Latino leaders.”


Programs are divided into four categories: leadershipeducationworkforce development and public awareness. Examples of specific programs include: Latinas on Fast Track (LOFT) bringing together Latina professionals and college students for leadership trainings, workforce development, networking, community outreach and access to mentors; Code as a Second Language, a national initiative that has taught tens of thousands of students computer programming and connected them to mentors; the #WeDreamAmerica campaign, which urges Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act; and Youth Awards which recognize hundreds of high-achieving Latinx high school students across the country and provides them with grants for their education or in support of an idea for social impact. In the last 22 years, more than 5 million dollars have been awarded to students.


The culmination of HHF’s year round efforts are celebrated during the Hispanic Heritage Awards ceremony. This is the 34th year of the show and it happen to be airing on PBS tonight! You can check out the trailer here and tune in on your local PBS station.


If you’d like to support the work of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, you can do so by making a donation and amplifying their message on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter@HHFoundation and Instagram @hispanicheritage.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Random Acts

Usually, I try to tie my Feel Good Friday posts to current events or holidays but sometimes the connection is random. That thought is what led me to today’s organization, Random Acts. 

Random Acts is “conquering the world one random act of kindness at a time”. Founded in 2010 by actor Misha Collins, the first random act was raising over $30,000 for the UNICEF disaster relief program in response to an earthquake in Haiti.


From those beginnings, Random Acts has grown into an organization with offices in 18 countries and an all-volunteer staff of over 150 people. Together, they encourage and fund people of all ages to “perform their own acts of kindness wherever, and whenever, possible.” 


Big projects completed by Random Acts include the 2013 construction of an orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti that houses 80 children and the 2015 construction of an unconventional high school in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Designed for people not able to attend a traditional school, like those over 18 or women with children, the high school is free and includes an onsite daycare center. A current project, Change a Life, is a partnership with a scavenger hunt organization that identifies individuals, families and communities where a substantial positive impact can be made.


Random Acts is now focusing on food equity, “the concept that all people have the right to equal access to or the ability to grow and consume healthful, affordable, and culturally significant foods.” They are funding initiatives such as urban farming operations, community gardens and food redistribution projects.


What has the impact been? Since their founding, Random Acts has raised over $5,300,000 for acts across the globe. You can read their kindness stories here or watch this 2-min video


Inspired to get involved? Why not start by performing an act of kindness? First time applicants can request up to $499 to fund their idea and you can find details and an application form here. You can also support Random Acts with a traditional donation and by amplifying their message on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @RandomActsOrg and

Instagram @randomactsorg. #GetKind

Friday, September 24, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Earlier this week I was telling someone about the Imagination Library and was surprised to see it has not already been a Feel Good Friday post. Time to find out more about it. 

Founded in 1995 by the singer/actress/icon Dolly Parton, the Imagination Library is “a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income.” Dolly’s vision is “to create a lifelong love of reading, prepare children for school and inspire them to dream.” Watch this short video and Dolly will tell you all about it.

When the program first started, books were only distributed to children living in Sevier County, Tennessee where Dolly grew up. After expanding across the United States, the program launched in Canada (2006), United Kingdom (2007), Australia (2013), and the Republic of Ireland (2019). It is now one of the largest children’s literacy programs in the world. Use this link to check for availability in your community.


How many books are we talking about? In 2020 the Imagination Library gifted 19,326,219 million books for a total of 150,606,052 million books gifted since the program started! You can go to the 2020 year in review page for more details on book distribution by country. 


In addition to the monthly books that are mailed out, the website has resources for parents. They include short videos that describe activities to do when reading specific books and more general reading tips based on the age of your child.


If you want more information about this program and its founder, check out the documentary film, The Library That Dolly Built. And if you like what you see, help spread the word on social media. Like their Facebook pageand follow them on Twitter @dollyslibrary and Instagram @imaginationlibrary.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Feel Good Friday - The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equality

Today’s Feel Good Friday is highlighting The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equality, aka Lilith Fund. Here’s why.

Earlier this month, a law went into effect in Texas that bans abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy and allows citizens to sue anyone involved from doctors to Uber drivers. While the Department of Justice is suing the state of Texas and seeking an injunction to temporarily block enforcement of the law, abortion clinics in Colorado and New Mexico are seeing a surge in patients from Texas. Abortion is healthcare and should be accessible without having to travel outside your state. Enter Lilith Fund.


Founded in 2001, Lilith Fund is the oldest abortion fund in Texas and serves people in the central and southern regions of the state (Houston, Austin, San Antonio). They “provide financial assistance and emotional support while building community spaces for people who need abortions in Texas—unapologetically, with compassion and conviction.” 


The main way people reach Lilith Fund is through their information hotline, which is staffed by volunteers. According to the 2020 Annual Report, last year there were 4,557 calls to the hotline and 27% of callers were funded with an average voucher of $348. That totals $452,822 offered to 1,300 clients! These clients were 72% people of color, 59% already parenting, 43% with no health insurance and 50% not working for pay.


Since their founding, Lilith Fund has provided grants to more than 10,000 people who otherwise would not have been able to afford a safe abortion. In addition to the financial assistance, they work to “foster a positive culture around abortion, strengthen people power, and fight for reproductive justice in and with our communities.”


If you want to get involved with Lilith Fund and support women in Texas you have several options. Sign up for update and action alerts, become a hotline volunteer, make a donation and amplify their work by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @lilithfund and Instagram @lilithfund.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Feel Good Friday - California Fire Foundation

Did you know September is Firefighter Appreciation Month? With firefighters in California still hard at work battling the Dixie and Caldor fires, today’s Feel Good Friday is a great time to talk about the California Fire Foundation.

Formed in 1987 by California Professional Firefighters, the California Fire Foundation “provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect.”


Their programs cover four main categories:

  • Community Improvement – public safety and educational resources are provided through the Firefighters On Your Side program. Materials include information on how to prepare for wildfires, how make a 5-minute evacuation plan and other helpful guidance.
  • Victim Assistance - firefighters throughout California distribute $250 gift cards to eligible victims of fire or other natural disaster as part of the Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program. People can then use those gift cards to purchase basic necessities such as medicine, food or clothing. In 2018, more than $2.6 million in gift cards was distributed to people affected by the Camp fire.
  • Firefighters and Their Families – the Foundation supplies emergency support to departments and families of firefighters killed in the line of duty, including college scholarships for children of fallen firefighters. They also provide grants to individuals who demonstrate financial hardship so they can take the required physical and written tests needed to become a firefighter.
  • California Firefighters Memorial -   every year, at the memorial to fallen firefighters in Sacramento, the Foundation holds a ceremony to commemorate the bravery of those who lost their lives in the line of duty.  

If you want to make sure you’re prepared in the event of a fire, check out this fire safety education page. To support the California Fire Foundation and the people they support, shop for merch, make a donation and amplify their work by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @CAFireFound and Instagram @calfirefound.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Greater New Orleans Foundation

The last few Feel Good Friday blogs have been focused on disaster and crisis relief around the world. That general theme continues today with the Greater New Orleans Foundation.


Earlier this week, Hurricane Ida caused massive destruction when it hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. Many organizations have stepped in to help with disaster response and restoration, including the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF).


What began in 1923 as the Community Chest of New Orleans, GNOF is a philanthropic institution with a mission to “drive positive impact through philanthropy, leadership, and action in the Greater New Orleans Region.” They do this by connecting “donors and fundholders with causes that they’re passionate about to affect transformational change.”


Initiatives being run by GNOF include: 

  • Give NOLA Day, a one-day online giving event that raised $8,150,891 for 910 different organizations in 2021.
  • Impact 100, a group of over 100 local women who each donate $1,100 then pool their dollars to make a single transformative grant to a different local nonprofit every year. 
  • NOLA 360, a forum that brings together local and national experts, philanthropists, nonprofits, and community leaders to discuss challenges facing communities in the greater New Orleans area and ways to get involved in the solutions.


Other areas focus for GNOF include providing nonprofits with training to increase their leadership and effectivenessenvironmental work related to water management and restoration of the Gulf Coast, and a Workforce Innovations Program in which GNOF “partners with employers to provide post-hire support to their incumbents in an effort to assist with those barriers employees face that may or may not be associated with their day to day work, but that impacts their ability to effectively do their job.” 


In 2020, over 300 organizations received leadership and effectiveness training, 126 employee clients were served in the workforce innovations program and over $70,000 was granted from the disaster response and restoration fund.


If you’d like to help the Greater New Orleans Foundation support the people of Louisiana and  provide recovery efforts in response to Hurricane Ida, the best way to do that is with a donation. You can also amplify their message by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @GNOFoundation and Instagram @gnofoundation.

If you’re looking for more organizations currently providing assistance in Louisiana, check out the Feel Good Friday blogs on World Central Kitchen and Project Hope.