Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Start Something That Matters

Have you heard of TOMS shoes?  They are cute and very comfortable, coming in several styles and lots of colors and patterns.  Check out my latest pair – math shoes!

What I like best about TOMS, however, is that for every pair of shoes you buy today, TOMS donates a pair of shoes tomorrow to a child who needs them.  (The company name comes from TOMorrow’s Shoes = TOMS.)  Children in developing countries can contract diseases through cuts in their feet when they have to go barefoot, and so a simple pair of shoes can keep a child healthy.  TOMS isn’t in it just for the profit; they are socially responsible at the same time.  What a great business model!

I started buying TOMS several years ago when I read about them in Heifer International’s magazine.  Last month when I wanted to buy some more TOMS, they were having a special promotion.  With a minimum purchase, you could get a free copy of Start Something That Matters (SSTM).  In this book, entrepreneur and TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie explains how he started the company and encourages the rest of us to start something that matters, whether it’s a business or other endeavor.  It sounded like this would be the perfect inspiration as I kick off A Year of Centuries.  I was right!

SSTM focuses on businesses, but it also emphasizes that all of us can do good things.  I’m becoming more and more aware that we can incorporate service and giving into all aspects of our lives, even hobbies.  I love riding my bicycle; how much better that I have figured out a way to help others at the same time.  It doesn’t even have to be that big.  If you need to buy yourself a pair of shoes anyway, why not help a child at the same time?  Or if you’re going through the checkout at the grocery store and they are collecting for the Special Olympics, why not donate a dollar or two?  The opportunities abound.  My challenge to you is to look for ways to give of yourself every day, maybe by just slightly reshaping something you’re already doing.

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