Category Archives: nonprofits

IKEA Foundation Grants $53 Million to Support Children’s Right to Play

War and conflict. Poverty. Gender discrimination. Growing up too fast. These are just some of the reasons children in some of the poorest countries around the world are not allowed to play. Play makes children healthier and more resilient. It heals some of their greatest wounds and helps them remain kids without growing up too soon. Additionally, play is every child’s fundamental right according to Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately, millions of children around the world aren’t allowed to play.

IKEA is a global leader in the power of play not only in their stores but also in countries where children are routinely denied the right to play. That’s why the IKEA Foundation has granted $53 million to six leading global organizations that work with children and promote play including Handicap International, Save the Children, Special Olympics, Room to Read, UNICEF and War Child for its good cause campaign, Let’s Play for Change.

These six organizations will focus their efforts on helping children in Asia and Africa in countries such as Kenya, Bangladesh, Jordan, and Ethiopia. “Every child has the right to play. Stimulation through play is a critical part of a young child’s brain development and emotional well-being,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation.

“Sadly, there are too many places around the world where devastating circumstances prevent children from simply being ‘kids’. Through the Let’s Play for Change campaign, we want to alleviate challenges to play and development in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Learn more at ikeafoundation.org.

One World Play Project

Haiti.Jacmel.GoalsBeyondtheNet-667x500Another business that promotes play is the One World Play Project, a mission-driven company based in Berkeley, CA that makes resilient toys designed for rough terrain—fields scattered with rocks, thorns, and broken glass—where most of the world plays.

When you buy a One World Futbol ($39.50-$44.50 depending on the color), One World Play Project gives a Futbol to a community in need. The One World Futbol never needs a pump and never goes flat. If you just want to give a Futbol, the price is $25.

After seeing impoverished communities around the world where kids have made balls out of anything they can find, I know how important a simple ball can be for kids and their overall mental and physical health.

Learn more at oneworldplayproject.com.

Microloans Are Not Charity

Today’s guest post is from Seeds, a tech startup with a female founder working to build social good through microlending into every app that exists.

Most of us know what microloans are, right? They’re small loans — say $5 or $25 — given to people in need. These people can use the loans to buy livestock or supplies for their small businesses, and then pay back the loans with their proceeds.

What usually comes to everyone’s mind when they think about microloans is Kiva, the highly successful microlending nonprofit. (Fun fact: Bill Draper, one of Kiva’s investors, and Sam Birney, Kiva’s former Director of Engineering are investors in Seeds!) Kiva is awesome, but there’s actually a lot more to the world of microfinance than just what they do. We wanted to shed some light on this broader landscape today.

1. Microloans are not a type of nonprofit.

Because Kiva is a nonprofit, what seems to be a big misconception has propagated: that microlending is a category of nonprofit. In fact, it’s a type of lending and finance that happens to do a lot of social good. We think the “social good” part is what confuses people. People often don’t realize that social good doesn’t just come from nonprofits — it can also come from financial institutions, businesses and startups (like Seeds!)

Continue reading Microloans Are Not Charity

Double Your Donation Today By Giving to World Vision #GivingTuesday

When I travel to low-income countries I am most interested in learning about and reporting on maternal and newborn health. As a mother of two daughters it is my biggest passion.

Today on Giving Tuesday I am proud to work with one of my favorite international nonprofit organizations: World Vision USA. I had the distinct opportunity to travel with them to the Philippines a few years ago and saw their programs for women and newborns at a local clinic that had been rebuilt after seeing major structural damage by Typhoon Haiyan. I am always grateful to see up close the amazing work done by organizations I admire.

This year for Giving Tuesday I am happy to say that your charitable donation to World Vision’s lifesaving work with mothers and newborns will be generously matched in product by Thirty-One Gifts. Products like totes (such as the one seen below), blankets, apparel, and thermals will be matched up to $2,000,000 and will be given to help mothers and infants around the world where World Vision works. That’s a lot of giving in one day!

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My daughter wearing a World Vision tote by Thirty-One Gifts. You can choose any item to donate through World Vision today, but if you want to make a direct donation to support new mothers and their infants, I recommend the New Mother and Baby Kit!

Today in the spirit of giving you can give any gift to World Vision you’d like, but can specifically give a gift to help new mothers and newborns (my personal recommendation) in countries where they need it most.

Happy Giving Tuesday! 

Book Review: To Fool the Rain: Haiti’s Poor and Their Pathway to a Better Life

To Fool the Rain: Haiti's Poor and Their Pathway to a Better LifeTo Fool the Rain: Haiti’s Poor and Their Pathway to a Better Life by Steven Werlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Helping families lift themselves out of poverty means helping them build income and wealth, but it is a social phenomenon as well,” wrote Steve Werlin, the author of To Fool the Rain: Haiti’s Poor and Their Pathway to a Better Life. “And one of the social change we try to effect involves working on the way members look at themselves.”

It is quite impressive how someone’s mind and attitude can alter and reset the course of one’s life. However, in order to eventually arrive at that mind reset some people require a substantive hand out, constant observation and follow-up; not simply a prescriptive hand up. When looking at the lowest income countries in the world like Haiti a vast array of NGOs work to alleviate some of its inherent problems with programs that address the root of poverty. Some provide work programs, educational programs, health care, or even microloan programs. But some of Haiti’s families are so extremely poor they cannot dream of qualifying for many of these programs because they have virtually nothing. In fact, they live in such cyclical poverty they cannot feed themselves on a daily basis, or even every other day. In Haiti’s deepest far reaches and unfathomable rural areas are families who live in abject poverty far away from roads and towns. They require the most cumulative social programs designed by worldwide NGOs that specialize in the nuances of poverty reduction and eradication.

In Haiti, for example, one of those social programs is called “Chemen lavi miyo (CLM)” in Creole or a Pathway to a Better Life that is run by Fonkoze, Haiti’s largest microfinance organization. Even as a microfinance enterprise Fonkoze realized that to reach the poorest Haitian families means to provide overarching programs that teach rural women who qualify for their CLM program financial and entrepreneurial skills as well as life and relationship skills.

Continue reading Book Review: To Fool the Rain: Haiti’s Poor and Their Pathway to a Better Life