Offer your donors an additional way to give: Loyalty rewards points

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A look at how two of our corporate partners, PointWorthy and American Express, can help your donors turn loyalty rewards points into cash donations for your cause.

These days nearly every consumer earns rewards points through loyalty programs with their preferred credit card carriers, retailers, or hotel chains. If they’re anything like me, the majority of their points earned go to waste because the points go forgotten (oops) or expire before there’s a reason to redeem them. Luckily, PointWorthy and American Express offer charitable redemption options to make sure loyalty points never go unused again.

What is PointWorthy?pw-logo

PointWorthy’s website enables participants of select loyalty programs to redeem their rewards points for cash donations to charity. According to co-founder Mario Margolis, “PointWorthy was born from simple frustration: We’re successful technology entrepreneurs who had accumulated a lot of loyalty points and wanted to use the loyalty points we had stored to help fund different causes we believed in, but we couldn’t! Turns out there are $50 Billion worth of loyalty points distributed every year. Yet, even though close to 30% go unredeemed, there was no easy way to convert them to cash for any of the charities that we wanted to contribute to. Combining our social entrepreneurial zeal and the fact that consumers like to partner with socially responsible companies, we saw an opportunity to create a great business and to make the world better at the same time!”

How can this program benefit my organization?
Since 2014, over 4,000 nonprofits have benefited from donations through PointWorthy. By covering the processing costs with their loyalty provider partners, Citibank and Hilton, PointWorthy ensures 100% of each donation reaches the intended charity. This means that like the Fordney Foundation, who has received $4,000.00 in Citibank ThankYou points donations though the program, and Smile Train, who has raised $3,011.00, your organization can benefit from a new source of funding at no cost to you or your donors.

How do I get my organization involved?
If you’re an IRS approved 501(c)(3) organization that has maintained good standing for over 12 months, you’re already eligible to receive donations through PointWorthy. Simply follow the steps below to get started:

  1. Visit PointWorthy and use the search box at the top of the home page to find your organization
  2. Click on your organization’s name in the search results to view your donation page
    1. Note: Learn how you can update your page with custom text or images by contacting Poinworthy support
  3. Share the link to your donation page on your website and in donor communications to let them know they can use their Citibank ThankYou or Hilton HHonors points to donate to your organization

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Once a points donation is made to your organization, PointWorthy converts those points into dollars that are then disbursed by JustGive in the following month.

What is Members Give?

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Developed by American Express, Members Give provides American Express Cardmembers a convenient way to donate dollars or Membership Rewards Points to charity while providing nonprofits with a low-cost solution for accepting donations online. In partnership with GuideStar, Members Give offers donors a comprehensive charity list of over one million 501(c)(3) organizations in the United States to select from.

How can this program benefit my organization?
Similar to PointWorthy, there are no transaction fees on Membership Rewards points redemptions through Members Give providing the opportunity for an additional, cost-effective source of funding for your organization. Since signing up with Members Give and sharing their donation page with supporters, Food for the Poor has received 141 Membership Rewards points donations totaling $13,015.00.food-for-the-poor

Young Adult Institute, promoting their donation page with a Members Give banner, has received 2,000,000 points or $20,000.00 in donations since signing up.

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How do I get my organization involved?

Members Give uses the same nonprofit database that is maintained by GuideStar. If your 501(c)(3) organization is already listed in GuideStar, you are likely already in the Members Give database as well. To start collecting donations:

  1. Create an account on Members Give using your organization’s Employer Identification Number
  2. Once your account is created click “Collect Donations Online” in the Manage Nonprofit Account box on the right-hand side of the page
  3. Follow the steps listed to retrieve your donation page url and add a donation banner to your website, email campaigns, and other communications to make it easy for your supporters to donate

For a donation of Membership Rewards points there is a waiting period of 6-8 weeks, as the points are processed and converted into a dollar amount, before a check is mailed to your organization.

Offering easy implementation and proven results, PointWorthy and Members Give programs are a simple and cost-effective way to bring in additional funding to your organization. Visit PointWorthy and Members Give to sign up and start receiving loyalty rewards points donations today.

– Amanda Chun
Account Development Manager

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.

National Adoption Month. #FlipTheScript

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Honoring and listening to the most underserved  voices in adoption and foster care.

About the author: Katie Stickles-Wynen, MSW, a Colombian adoptee, has a Masters in Social Work. After college, Katie worked at Hyde School in CT where she helped design a program for adopted youth and parents. Katie studied under Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao in Boston before moving to California and joining the Pact staff where she leads groups, works with tweens and teens and provides psycho-educational counseling to pre-adoptive parents.

adoption_month1November is National Adoption Awareness Month. This month originally started as a week in the state of Massachusetts to promote the need of adoptive families for children in foster care and was eventually expanded to a month by President Bill Clinton. The month now recognizes all adoptions, but does continue with a focus on children in the foster care system.

The adoption narrative/discussion is often lead by adoptive parents; the triad member most directly served in the adoption process. The voices of birth/first parents and adoptees is ignored; the triad members most directly affected by the adoption process. Fed up with the shiny, happy, lucky, narrative of adoption, The Lost Daughters began a movement in November 2014 called “Flip The Script.” This movement features the voices of adult adoptees who have lived experience. They share the struggles, complications, loss and trauma of adoption and their personal journeys.

While adoptee voices are becoming louder, the voices of birth/first parents are still being silenced. Birth/first parents are often painted in a negative light as parents who “threw away” their children. If birth/first parent voices were honored as much as adoptive parent voices, the public would know that each journey is different, that the media representation of birth family is not accurate and that the voices of birth/first parents are essential to understanding the adoption process and supporting adoptees.

Adoption is complicated. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. All voices of the adoption constellation need to be heard and honored, especially those of adoptees, foster care youth/alums and birth/first parents.

Check out these 3 non-profit organizations that support the underserved members of the adoption and foster care communities and learn how you can help:

slm-for-web-e1432840609939Silver Linings Mentoring is a non-profit in Massachusetts that empowers youth in foster care to flourish through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. If you live in MA learn how you can become a mentor. If you live out-of-state your donation will help provide services for foster youth. Donate Now »

On Your Feet Foundation empowers, unites, and supports women who have placed a child for adoption.oyff-logo OYFF provides critical services to support and empower birth parents who currently live in California or who have placed a child for adoption in California. Academic and counseling grants are offered to birth parents in addition to Birth Mother Retreats three times a year to provide birth mothers with a unique opportunity to share common experiences, participate in therapeutic workshops and build community. Donate Now »

pact-logoPact, An Adoption Alliance serves adopted children of color by providing not only adoptive placement, but lifelong education, support and community for adoptees and their families on matters of adoption and race. Pact’s adoption placement program serves families of color seeking to adopt, as parents of color are greatly underserved in adoption. Pact also leads support groups for adult adoptees and foster alum of color, birth/first parents of color and hosts two, week long camps that provide support, community, education and empowerment to adopted youth of color and their families. Donate Now »

#FlipTheScript, get involved and donate to these and other organizations whose mission is to serve the underserved in the adoption community.

Katie Stickles-Wynen, MSW
Pact, An Adoption Alliance

5 Easy Ways to Help the Homeless

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Many of us could be steps away from homelessness. The loss of a job, sudden illness, or family death could be the route to total despair. People on the streets and in shelters across America have lost their homes and been deserted by family and friends. Here are 5 super easy ways to make a difference that you can incorporate into everyday:

  1. Develop lists of shelters. Figure out where your local shelters are and what services they offer, you can find shelters through the Homeless Shelters Directory. Print them on some cards or papers and hand them out to homeless people that want that information.
  2. Carry extras. Keep stuff in your car or a few items in your bag and hand them out to people that need them.
    • Things like hats, gloves, socks, heat packs and blankets can go a long way in the winter. (Knit some stuff for fun instead of buying it!)knitting_unsplash_small
    • Feminine hygiene products are SUPER important, and can be difficult for homeless women and girls to get a hold of.
    • Walgreens or Starbucks gift cards, so they can decide what they need.
    • Keep some food items with you, try to be aware of common food allergies when you decide what to carry. When you pass someone who asks for change, offer them something to eat.
  3. Give them money. You never know a someone’s life situation just because they are on the street. Something you can give to anyone that is useful, lightweight, and portable is MONEY. That money can be used by a number of things. For more information on why money is important check out Lily A Rayne’s response to blessing bags which features a great response from a homeless person about what they really need.
  4. Volunteer. food_line_unsplash_smallThere are so many ways you can volunteer, pick what feels best to you: Shelters, follow-up programs and soup kitchens, can almost always take more help. Find out where you can provide your professional services or your hobbies (no matter what you are good at, you can find ways help the homeless with your talents and skills).
  5. Donate to nonprofits. One of the most direct ways to aid the homeless is to give money. Donations to nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless go a long way.

No matter what, don’t judge people you see on the street, you don’t know why they are there. A little compassion and kindness goes a long way…especially in winter. Go help someone today!

Are People in Your Neighborhood Going Hungry?

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43 million Americans are going hungry. Can you tell who in your neighborhood is going without food? 1 in every 8 people you pass by on the street could be missing meals.

The latest statistics on hunger from Feeding America tell us:

  • 1 in 8 Americans go hungry every day.
  • 1 in 6 children in the United States don’t have enough to eat.
  • 1 in 12 seniors in the U.S. struggle to access enough food.

Feeding America provides an interactive map of food insecurity in the United States. Check out your district to see how you compare to others. Is your neighborhood hungry? What can you to do change that? How can we make this better?

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Easy Ways to Make a Difference for Hunger

Donate Food. Find a local food bank that’s collecting food. Check their website or call and ask what food items they need, but them and deliver them to the food bank. Make sure to check their hours for accepting donations.

Start a Food Drive. Move for Hunger has great information on how to set up a food drive in your area. Check out their tops, find a great location and get your community involved.

Fundraise. Create an online fundraiser and get others involved in raising money for charities solving hunger issues. You can set one up in minutes on JustGive and post your appeal on social media to get your friends and family involved. When someone asks what’s on your holiday gift list, tell them gifts of charity for the hungry would mean the most to you.

Volunteer. Find a local food banks, soup kitchen or rescue mission serving meals and collecting food.  Find a few and call around to see who can use the help and set up a time to go. Their need is ongoing; offer to help as often as you can.

Give.  There are a lot of nonprofits doing great work to fight hunger, and your donation gives them the ability to do more. It doesn’t take much to make a big impact. We have a short list of recommended hunger charities on the JustGive site, and here are a few examples of what your gift can do:

Let’s take action today and do something for the more than 43 million Americans who don’t have enough food to eat . . . so no one goes hungry.

 

#GivingTuesday Tips for Success

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Less than 4 weeks to go until #GivingTuesday. Here’s what you need to know.

GivingTuesday, the global day of giving, is November 29th. It offers a huge opportunity to increase awareness for your cause and support for your organization while reaching out to new and current donors. There are many ways to get your staff and the community involved in your #GivingTuesday. The three areas of focus we’re highlighting are fundraising, collaboration and communication.
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Launching a #GivingTuesday campaign helps kick off your year-end fundraising campaign and creates awareness within your community. Customize your donation page and take advantage of our free Donate Now button features. Add a #GivingTuesday top graphic and message on your page, customize your donation amounts and descriptions, and include a special program designation for #GivingTuesday.

The more your donors feel connected to the #GivingTuesday theme and tie-in, the more likely they are to participate in the movement.

Join our webinar: “An introduction to JustGive’s Donate Now button” on Wednesday, November 9 at 2pm ET. We’ll show you how to customize your Donate Now button so you can raise more donations and reduce fundraising fees.

Collaborate
Rally your community and get others involved. Reach out to local businesses for support or collaborate with other local nonprofits and present a united front to the local merchants association. Offering a good word may be enough for a local business to invest in a community board announcing #GivingTuesday and give 10% of net proceeds from sales on the day or offer a matching gift.

Set a goal and ask a board member or corporate sponsor to match donations for the day. You can use this to incentivize new or larger donations during your campaign.

Communicate
Social media is the key to making sure your message is received and shared to new audiences. Build momentum with your supporters in advance and communicate a consistent message across several channels, including email. Starting with your email list, get the word out about #GivingTuesday and don’t forget to encourage your #GivingTuesdayaudience to share.

Make your posts compelling and share-worthy. Give donors a clear message and encourage them to tweet, post, snap and share.

For more tips and tools, #GivingTuesday offers free toolkits, sample messages, promos, and more.

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.

Andrea Lloyd
Business Development Director

Get ready for #GivingTuesday 2016

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With six weeks to go until #GivingTuesday, here’s what you need to know.

What is #GivingTuesday?

11-29-2016#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that takes place on November 29th. Created in 2012, #GivingTuesday was started by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact team at the 92nd Street Y to celebrate and support giving during the holidays. In contrast to the commercial shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday that immediately precede it, #GivingTuesday encourages individuals to participate in a charitable act.

Entering its fifth year, #GivingTuesday has become a global movement. Last year, 700,000 donors across 71 countries joined forces to raise $116.7M in online donations.

What’s in it for my charity?

As a global day of giving, #GivingTuesday offers a huge opportunity to increase awareness of your cause and support for your organization while reaching out to new and current donors.

How do I get started?

Form a plan – Start preparations early to ensure your #GivingTuesday goes off without a hitch. Set your fundraising goals, train your employees and volunteers, prepare your donor outreach list, and schedule promotional communications leading up to the big day.  giving-tuesday-with-heartTake advantage of ready-to-use materials from the #GivingTuesday website that include a free toolkits, sample messages, logos, and more.

Set up your online donation pageLog in to your free JustGive nonprofit account to customize your existing donation page. Add #GivingTuesday as a program designation option, incorporate a #GivingTuesday graphic and messaging, custom donation amounts and special descriptions to remind your donors of the impact of their participation on this global giving day. (Check out 5 ways to customize your Donation Page.)

Tip: Once your page is customized, add our Donate Now button to your website, email signature, campaign emails and social media to link donors directly to your custom page.

Reach out to your network – Spread the word about your campaign through email communications and social media posts in the weeks leading up to #GivingTuesday – be sure to use the #GivingTuesday hashtag in all your online communication! Raising awareness early will give you momentum heading into the big day. (See our 10 Nonprofit Tips & Strategies to make your outreach as effective as possible)

97ddcf2f4b6125e3f1c7fe834ec12830On #GivingTuesday, share your page with your donors in the morning and keep them updated on your progress via social media and email throughout the day. You can even encourage your most engaged supporters to share these updates with their networks to drive donations!

Follow up with donors – While many of your #GivingTuesday donations may come from your regular donors, it’s also a likely that you’ll see new donors showing their support. Once #GivingTuesday is done, take the time to thank your donors, share the final total raised, and communicate the impact their donations will have. This is a great opportunity to engage regular supporters and turn new donors who are passionate about your cause into long-term supporters.

Amanda Chun
Account Development Manager

JustGive’s corporate giving solutions

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As we approach year-end many companies are planning for 2017 by reviewing their sustainability strategy and how that relates to corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals. Many times this includes Human Resources working with Marketing to determine the best way to enhance customer acquisition, corporate branding, customer loyalty and employee retention.

JustGive’s corporate giving solutions can help you move these initiatives forward. Since 2002, JustGive has been helping companies like American Express, Cisco, DigitasLBi, Hallmark and Pointworthy give back to their communities. Together, we’ve donated over $450 million to tens of thousands of charities.

Our corporate program solutions
Corporate philanthropy can be achieved through grant making to the community but it can also actively engage customers and motivate employees.

  • Fundraising campaigns—Fall is a great time to encourage a fundraising drive to support food insecurity by matching employee donations to their local food bank bringing charitable giving directly to the communities where your employees work and live.
  • Employee giving—Matching donations speaks volumes for a company’s commitment to social good and directly connects to a company’s CSR goals. Employees are committed to the charities and causes they give to and appreciate when a company matches their donations. It provides job satisfaction, connection to the company and results in higher productivity.
  • Charity gift cards—JustGive’s charity gift cards can be used as a thank you for a referral, a birthday, or the holidays, or an employee reward. Gift cards actively engage customers and employees in the conversation about charitable giving.
An example of a corporate charity fundraiser hosted on JustGive

An example of a corporate charity fundraiser hosted on JustGive

Key features of JustGive’s corporate programs
Our e-donate platform is the core of JustGive’s corporate program offering and serves the needs of CSR initiatives for companies across the nation. The key features include:

  • Branding—An essential hallmark of any corporate program, branding creates awareness and loyalty. JustGive easily brands our microsites to uniquely represent our partner’s logo and message.
  • Charity Choice—Whether you prefer the GuideStar database of charities or a selection of local charities, JustGive believes in charity choice. Our JustGive Guide offers national based charities representing important causes. Or create your own list of organizations important to your employees.
  • Flexibility—Our different types of programs give you the flexibility to decide which type of giving program works best for your social impact goals. We can support multiple programs, each one focused on a different audience. Employees could have a matching program on the company’s intranet while a marketing initiative could demonstrate your CSR efforts to customers with charity gift cards.
  • reportingReporting—Data is key to communication results and making informed decisions we’ve focused a lot of attention on providing useful reporting within our programs. Corporate partners can connect with their donors, evaluate where the donations are going and learn how to grow the program. We also have accountability reporting so you know when and where the donations were distributed.

Contact us to talk about what you’d like to do with your giving program, and we’ll provide you with specific information about cost. Need it fast? Once you’ve signed off on the program, we can be live within 24 hours.

To keep up on the latest CSR insights, subscribe to our Blog and follow JustGive on LinkedIn.

Andrea Lloyd
Business Development Director

High Magnitude Earthquakes Hit Ecuador and Japan

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It’s Monday morning and rescuers are searching for survivors and missing people in Ecuador and Japan. Over the last few days both countries have experienced high magnitude earthquakes resulting destruction, death and injury.

The island of Kyushu, Japan has been experiencing powerful earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks since April 14, 2016 when a 6.2-magnitude quake struck the island. The worst the island has felt was a 7.0-magnitude quake on April 16th.  Rescuers in Southern Japan are working to help injured and displaced people while hoping the death toll doesn’t rise higher than its current 42.

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The coast of Ecuador was also hit Saturday, April 16, 2016, with a major 7.8-magnitude quake along the coast. With nearly 300 dead in Ecuador and more than 2,500 injured, rescuers are rushing to find survivors.

It is devastating to see these quakes happening at the same time. Rescue forces are in place.  Please make a donation to support the relief efforts for Ecuador and Japan:

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-Julia Hughes
Product Manager

Nonprofit Spotlight: Rainbow House

Title Image Nonprofit Spotlight Rainbow House

It’s the mission of the Columbia, Missouri Rainbow House to keep children safe and support families in crisis through prevention, assessment, and intervention in child abuse and neglect.

A wall of handprints greets children, young people and their families who come in the door. They’re encouraged to find a hand that fits theirs, to let them know they’re not alone: another person their size has been here. Rainbow House puts children first and takes a team approach to helping them, focusing not on what they’ve been through, but where they’re going. Kids

“We’re constantly working on awareness,” says Development Director Chad McMinn. “People think abuse and neglect are something they see on a Dateline program, and not something happening here. It’s the same for teen homelessness.”

In Mid-Missouri, the Rainbow House is the only organization of its kind. It’s a local nonprofit that helps any child in the area who is at risk with programs and services that change their lives.

Rainbow House was started in 1986, when long-time foster parent Kathy Hughes wanted to provide a home-like environment so siblings could stay together and continue in their home school. In the last 29 years, Rainbow House has become a nonprofit operating three major programs: a children’s emergency shelter, a regional Child Advocacy Center, and a Homeless Youth Program.

Original farmhouse location on Oakland Gravel Road

Original farmhouse location on Oakland Gravel Road

Programs and Services

The Children’s Emergency Shelter temporarily houses children who are in foster care and helps children during a family crisis (the nonprofit expanded to include crisis care in 1992). The only shelter for several counties, Rainbow House gives Kid Coloringchildren a safe place to stay while their parents—struggling with homelessness, unemployment, temporary mental instability or other issues—stabilize their lives.

The Regional Child Advocacy Center (CAC) was created in August of 1998, when the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect and nonprofit’s board of directors realized the area needed one.  Rainbow House is the only CAC for 11 counties, and has child therapists with Master’s degrees who conduct the forensic interviews to assess what needs to happen in the child’s best interests.  Serving children from birth to age 21, the center is a family-friendly environment that provides therapy for children who have been sexually abused and/or severely physically abused.

The Homeless Youth Program was started as a Teen Center in November of 2007, and is now an off-site living facility called “Sol House.” It offers temporary housing and services for homeless youth as well as an 18-month program that helps them make a meaningful and productive transition into adulthood. The year and a half program includes weekly life skill classes, and requires young people to maintain a job and be on an educational track (pursuing a trade skill or complete a GED or schooling).

Results

In a recent year, 99% of the families helped by Rainbow House were at or below the poverty level. The majority of services were provided to children 5 – 18 years old; 65% of those were girls. In one year, the nonprofit:

  • Ensured nearly 3,000 individual safe nights for children and youth
  • Provided 622 therapy sessions
  • Conducted 396 forensic interviews
  • Raised awareness of 1,026 people through community education

Good Giving Practices

Since 2009, JustGive has partnered with the Rainbow House to raise money online. The nonprofit has taken advantage of the services we offer and branded their donation experience.

Custom Donate Now ButtonMarketing Director April Barnett created a custom donation button and placed it prominently on the home page (above the fold), using the JustGive link to take website visitors straight to their online Donation Page.

Rainbow House has customized its Donation Page with its mission and lists a range of six gift sizes (from $10 to $1,000), telling donors what their donation accomplishes.  “We switch those around, showing different price points. We think about what people feel good about giving and focus on direct services for the kids,” comments Barnett.

McMinn appreciates JustGive’s donation reports. “I love being able to export it into a pdf or excel file. It’s clean and clear to use.”

Donate NowIf you’d like to help Rainbow House, donate now to help make a difference in the lives of children.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

P.S. If you’d like to be featured in the JustGive Blog, submit your nonprofit!

A fond adieu to Alex after almost 5 years at JustGive

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We have a great team here at JustGive. Today Alex, who has worked at JustGive for almost 5 years, is moving to a new opportunity in a different field. So we say a bittersweet farewell. In her time here, Alex has worked in many areas of the company, whether it be customer service, marketing, or product, with style, class and diplomacy.

Image Source: icanhas.cheezeburger.com

Like most JustGive team members, Alex is dedicated to improving the world through any action, on a large or small scale, in times of harmony or chaos. She volunteers and participates in activism for causes such as the arts, human and animal rights and social justice. She has also fundraised for her favorite causes through the use of various JustGive charity registries to support SF SPCA, Make-A-Wish Bay Area, Pets Unlimited, Animal Legal Defense Fund and The Transgender Law Center.

One of the things she enjoyed most about working at JustGive was being surrounded by people working to make a difference every day, especially in the wake of disasters near and far. We’ll not only miss her extensive experience and knowledge about the ins and outs at JustGive, but her beautiful singing in the office and most importantly her hilariously dry wordplay.

In honor of her social activism and the affinity for the arts, please enjoy this video by Playing for Change, an organization working for unity through music.

We will miss you and wish you all the best in your endeavors.

The JustGive team