Category Archives: Blog

Remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today By Donating to His Historic Sites In Atlanta and Montgomery

A few years ago I traveled through Alabama on its Civil Rights trail with the Alabama Tourism Board. I am so glad I went on that trip. I learned so much about the Civil Rights movement that I didn’t know and visited poignant historic sites that really brought the movement to life.

Today on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day I want to share some of the places I visited and the ways you can give back to these historic sites so others can learn from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

The King Center (Atlanta, GA)

The King Center prepares global citizens to create a more just, humane and peaceful world using Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology. Donate to The King Center.

Ebenezer Baptist Church (Atlanta, GA)

Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral was held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where his father preached as did he. He remained co-pastor until his death in 1968. The National Park Foundation restored the church and gives tours to those who want to see part of MLK’s early history. Donate to Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home (Atlanta, GA)

Martin Luther King and his siblings were all born in this home. After his death in 1968, this home was turned into a museum. It has been restored with original furniture as well as with toys and linens from the children. National Park Service rangers lead free tours of the home. Donate to the National Park Service.

Dexter Parsonage Museum (Montgomery, AL)

Martin Luther King and his family lived in the Dexter parsonage from 1954 – 1960 . Often bombed, the home still stands and was turned into a museum in 1982. Fortunately no one was hurt during the height of the Civil Rights movement in this home. You can donate to the tourism ministry in order for tours to continue.

Jewelry That Gives Back to Oceans

I have been a bit obsessed lately with two Instagram accounts that I absolutely love: @paulnicklen and @Mitty. Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier respectively are prolific underwater photographers and founders of Seal Legacy, an organization committed to creating healthy and abundant oceans for us and the planet. Some of my favorite Instagram posts of theirs are:

It’s funny: As much as I love the oceans I don’t really visit them often. Sure, I fly over them often and at long stretches and I take photos of the ocean from a distance like the one above that I took in the Philippines, but I never get up close and personal to the ocean. I would like to change that one day. In the meantime I live vicariously through Nicklen and Mittermeier. Also, as I sat looking at their work I wondered how I can help the oceans in my own little way and you can, too. Here are jewelry companies that have beautiful bling while also giving back to oceans, ocean clean-ups, reefs, and ocean life.

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[Reviews] 2 Social Good Books For Your Bookshelf

I recently received two books about philanthropy: Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give (now in paperback) and The Rotary Book of Readings: Inspiration to Change the World both published by Hatherleigh Press. They are quick reads that promote inspiration and encouragement for those who give.

Successful PhilanthropySuccessful Philanthropy by Jean Shafiroff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Starting the year off with the intention of increasing your giving is a noble resolution to home in on. If you don’t know where to start in your giving journey, Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give is a decent place to start. An extremely quick read, Successful Philanthropy provides a broad look at philanthropy as a whole from adding donations and volunteering into your giving efforts to knowing what to expect when you join a nonprofit board.

Jean Shafiroff, a member of many philanthropic boards and a socialite in New York City, lays out the foundation of philanthropy in Successful Philanthropy now out in paperback. She begins by reiterating time and again that you don’t have to give large donations in order to become a philanthropist. In fact, anyone can be a philanthropist. It involves only three tenets: giving of monetary donations (no matter the amount), giving your time, and lending your expertise to people in need. Historically, we think of philanthropists like powerful people who are able to give their wealth away to charities for generation. Today, the definition of philanthropy has evolved. Philanthropy is available to everyone.

Shafiroff also talks about the importance of choosing the right charity for you. That entails doing your research and due diligence about the charities you want to work with, especially if you decide to give a large donation or dedicate entire swaths of time to volunteering for an organization. She provides the best websites to visit to look up the facts about nonprofits from their financials to whether they are even registered as a legitimate nonprofit.

For those who want to become a part of local charities in a big way by chairing galas, becoming a part of a board, and accepting awards for the work you do with nonprofits, Successful Philanthropy lays out what this all means. Shafiroff is known throughout New York City and the Hamptons about the amount of money she is able to raise for the charities she cares about like the New York City Mission Society and Southampton Hospital Association. She discusses how to network on behalf of the charities for other donations. She mentions that this also means knowing when to ask for donations and push for larger gifts to building relationships with people that may take years to cultivate in order to get a “yes” for donations. She also lets her readers know what it means to chair a gala. Hint: it’s not easy as well as what generational giving means.

The most important aspect of Successful Philanthropy is Shafiroff discusses how imperative it is to teach children about giving from a young age. It will give them greater meaning beyond their education, jobs, and relationships. It is the biggest lesson in the book by far.

If you are looking for a deep dive into philanthropy and giving, Successful Philanthropy may not be the book for you. But for those who are just starting out it will give inspiration about doing good in your life by simply giving.

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9 Maternal Health Stories Worth Reading This Weekend

Now that 2020 is in full swing I decided to catch up on the many maternal health and mortality articles that were published during the holiday season. There has been a lot of stellar reporting that you might have missed. I did. Here is a compilation of some of the articles I found the most compelling starting with a wrap-up post, 7 things I learned from spending a year reporting on mothers in Alabama,  by Anna Claire Volle about the excellent year-long reporting she did on mothers in Alabama.  I particularly liked 

Black Maternal Health

[Self] Congresswoman Alma Adams on Why She Co-Founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus: Alma Adams is the congresswoman for my district. I am proud of the bi-partisan work she has been doing to help curb black maternal mortality. In this interview in Self’s Black Maternal Health series, Adams talks about the reasons why she is a co-founder of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

[NBC News] Extremely alarming’: New report addresses maternal mortality in the U.S.: Taraneh Shirazian, director of Global Women’s Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health and president of Saving Mothers discusses on Morning Joe how maternal mortality has decreased globally, but in the United States maternal deaths have increased particularly for black moms.

[The Hill] Reproductive revolution: Ending black maternal health inequities in 2020: Tracey Lewis-Elligan, an associate professor & chair of Sociology at DePaul University, details the ways in which black mortality can be decreased starting this year. She highlights some of the work of doulas and midwives in the fight against black maternal mortality.

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Donate Blood This Month, Save a Life, Plus Win a Great Trip

When I was in high school I was a volunteer at my local Red Cross donation center. I did a variety of things like give donors cookies and juice after they donated blood, separated the vials (sans any blood) between autologous, directed, and regular blood donations, and also registered donors into the system. I loved every bit of that volunteer work and am always happy to talk about the lifesaving work the American Red Cross does all year long.

Every January since 1970 the American Red Cross has celebrated National Blood Donor Month. This time of year there is always a heightened need for blood donations due to the increase in communicable diseases and also because it is after the holidays when most people put off giving blood. Additionally, inclement weather keeps many away from donation centers. The American Red Cross is asking the public to donate blood, platelets, and plasma. In order to sustain the blood supply for 2600 hospitals, clinics, and cancer centers, 13,000 donations are needed per day during National Blood Donor Month.

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