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.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Bicycles for Humanity

As I considered charities to include in A Year of Centuries, I wanted to include one that deals with bicycles.  That’s because bicycles have been such an important part of my life, allowing me to see so many wonderful places close-up, have fun with my husband, make a lot of good friends, and stretch myself through competition.  Also, having a bicycle charity seems to be a rather direct way to make a positive out of the negative from my crash.

I Googled bicycle charities and decided almost immediately that I wanted to work with one that provides bicycles to people who need them for transportation.  A bicycle – something that is primarily an instrument of fun for me – can provide a huge improvement in quality of life to someone in a developing country.  I tried to check out a few of these charities through Charity Navigator and a few other groups that rate charities.  However, there are literally thousands of charities out there, and these cycling charities generally are too small to be on the radar screens of charity watchdogs.  Next, I started asking some of my cycling friends if they could recommend any bicycle charities, but no one had any connections.

At last I found Bicycles for Humanity (B4H) – thanks to Twitter!  I’m not on Twitter myself, but my husband is.  He follows professional cycling announcer Paul Sherwen, who tweeted about B4H one day.  B4H works in several African countries, including Uganda, which is Paul’s native country.  I’m not one to go for a product just because of a celebrity endorsement, but in this case Paul Sherwen provided the vetting I was looking for.  B4H collects unwanted yet still usable bicycles, primarily in the United States, and ships them to people who can really use them in other countries.  The bicycles are delivered in 40-foot shipping containers that become Bicycle Empowerment Centers.  People ride the bicycles to collect water, go to school or work, or deliver goods to market.  Bicycles greatly reduce the time that people would need to walk to these places, and they allow people to carry much more weight.  In addition, local people are trained in mechanics and business so that they can use the shipping containers as local bike shops, improving the local economy.  Not to mention, the bicycles get new life rather than being dumped in a landfill here in the U.S.

B4H operates at the grassroots level through local chapters, like the one in Atlanta.  I contacted Mary Fortson Harwell with B4H Georgia, and she enthusiastically welcomed my support through A Year of Centuries.  B4H Georgia will be shipping a container of bicycles to Namibia, Africa in May, and so now is a perfect time to make a donation to help make this happen.  You can do so by visiting  Thank you for your help!

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