Get involved in the fight for Alzheimer’s disease

blog_title_image_alzheimersTwo of my good friends have lost their mothers to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a heartbreaking experience. I watched as the women I knew disappeared into themselves and blankly became someone who didn’t recognize their own child.

One friend described it as losing her mother twice – once to Alzheimer’s and once to death. And it’s the ultimate role reversal: The parent who taught you how to tie your shoes now needs you to do it. That’s true for so many simple, everyday actions.

The sixth leading cause of death in the United States, flickr_ann_gordon_mom_handsAlzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Every 67 seconds, someone in the US develops the disease. Today, more than 5.2 million Americans are living with it.

Recent studies found low Vitamin D can double the risk of Alzheimer’s but didn’t show a direct cause and effect link. Why it strikes older adults is still a mystery, and scientists don’t yet understand what causes the disease. It’s most likely a mix of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors.

As the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s continues to soar (tripling to 16 million by 2050), it’s maddening there are no clear ways to slow or stop the progression of this life-robbing disease. It’s the only cause of death among the top 10 in America that can’t be cured.

What can we do?

Fund research and advocacy.

Here are three organizations making a difference through research and policy changes:

The Alzheimer’s Association, started in 1980, is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Committed to accelerating the progress of new treatments, preventions and ultimately, finding a cure, the association reaches millions of people affected by the disease across the globe. If you’d like to support Alzheimer’s Association and get some exercise at the same time, join one of the Fall Walks to End Alzheimer’s. Find one in your area here.

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BrightFocus Foundation supports research and provides public education to eradicate brain and eye diseases, including Alzheimer’s. The foundation awards research money annually to fund highly innovative, experimental ideas it believes will lead to revolutionary therapies.

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The Alliance for Aging Research advances scientific and medical discoveries that can maximize healthy aging, independence and quality of life for older Americans. Founded in 1986 in Washington D.C., it has become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers. The Alliance believes that research helps people live longer, happier, more productive lives, and reduces health care costs, long term.

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Give to organizations that support caregivers.

Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) is one of those organizations. Founded in the late 1970s, FCA was the first community-based nonprofit organization in the country to address the needs of families and friends providing long-term care for loved ones at home. The alliance raises awareness about caregivers’ daily challenges, provides the assistance they need and deserve, and helps improve the quality of life for them and those they care for through education, services, research and advocacy.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 15.5 million caregivers provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia in 2013.

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Be there for friends who are caregivers.

Don’t shy away or do nothing when you learn a friend has a family member with Alzheimer’s. Instead of asking them to let you know if they need something–just step in and help: Tell them you’re bringing over dinner on a given night. Or when flickr_Susumu_Komatsu_ALZ_TYyou’re stopping by with groceries. Send them cards of encouragement in the mail.  Call or visit when it’s convenient, and listen while they vent. On any given day, you have no idea how much it can mean to them!

While there is no single answer for tackling Alzheimer’s disease, I know the care I’ve shown and donations I make can help . . . until a cure is found. I challenge you to do the same. Join the fight today.

-Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant

A fond adieu to Kelly after 7 years at JustGive

We have a great crew here at JustGive and many of our team members have been working here for over 5 years.

Today, we said a bittersweet farewell to Kelly, who has worked at JustGive for 7 years. In those 7 years, Kelly has worked or helped out in pretty much every area of the company whether it be marketing, customer service or tech. And she’s always done it with a smile and as we know here in the office, a snazzy ‘do.

Like many JustGive team members, Kelly has a charity registry on our website to help support the organizations that matter most to her.

“I care deeply about bringing awareness to the issue of violence against women —particularly providing services and advocacy for survivors of domestic violence. Check out the inspiring video below and then help me raise money to provide services and advocate for survivors. ”

Kelly, we’ll not only miss your great style, but also your laugh, your big heart, your willingness to help out with anything, your penchant for purple, your inclusion in “dance breaks” and most of all, your dedication to JustGive and what we do.

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

The JustGive team

Help Save Animals—Channel Your Care and Passion into Action.

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We have a 2-year old goldendoodle affectionately known as “Sir Riley Flannigan.” Flannigan for his apricot color, Riley’s a mix of poodle and golden retriever that’s taken a place in my life and heart I could never have imagined.

My family had outside cats and dogs when I was growing up on the farm, but until Riley (who doesn’t shed), my allergies kept me from owning an animal as an adult. Now, sharing every day with such a loving, sensitive, energetic, and smart dog that has comforted me through sadness and sickness– I can’t imagine what kind of person could harm or hurt any companion animal.

We know animals love and remember us, and feel pain and fear. Their eyes and expressions tell us what they can’t say. They’re companions who watch over and protect us. Dogs, in particular, give many humans a new “leash” on life—they guide the blind and visually impaired, improve the lives of autistic children, save diabetics, and give independence to people with disabilities and veterans.

There’s no question our pets miss us when we’re gone—watch Bugaboo show and tell his owner, Lieutenant Gary Daughtery, how happy he is to see him after six months overseas:

http://on.aol.com/video/soldier-comes-home-to-warm-welcome-from-dog-517865377

 

Honestly, the many types of animal abuse and cruelty—what we know, see, read and hear about—can be overwhelming. I sometimes turn away from TV ads and scroll quickly past Facebook posts because they get to me. And I feel pretty helpless to stop all the abuse. There are a lot of issues to tackle.

How do we move past anger and overwhelm about how animals are treated to help save them? We can start with what we see every day and be their voice—using our passion to take action.

Learn and Recognize Signs of Pet Abuse

Pay attention to the animals around you. Are there any dogs you’ve seen chained up for hours on end? Have you ever walked your dog and witnessed another aggressive, out of control one? Or gone by a house where there are so many animals you worry about their care? These could be signs of neglect or violence.

  • Neglect is denying an animal adequate food, water, shelter (a dog house), medical care (injuries left untreaDogted), clean area, socialization (is the animal aggressive or timid when approached by owner), or chained up in a yard.
  • Violence is deliberately torturing, beating, or mutilating an animal.

Speak Up: Report Abuse

Almost all acts of animal violence or neglect are punishable by law. While animal cruelty laws vary from state to state, 49 states have laws that contain felony provisions. (South Dakota is the only one that doesn’t). Be prepared: Search online at Pets911 or PetFinder’s database to find a local animal control department, animal shelter or humane society in your area—and program the number into your cell phone.

If you suspect abuse or neglect of any animal, report it to your local police department or area animal control agency. If you’re traveling, call the local police department (911).

If you know of dog or cock fighting, call The Humane Society hotline at 1-877-TIP-HSUS and report it.

Donate—Support Organizations Working to Stop the Abuse

According to the ASPCA, every 60 seconds an animal is abused. Put your money where your heart is, and give for the education, protection, and care Stray Kittenof animals. (Consider an ongoing monthly gift.) If you don’t know where to start:

While animal issues may seem staggering and even depressing, you and I can take action to make life better for them—to end suffering and save these amazing creatures, one by one.  And the next time I sit with Riley or get a doggie kiss, I’ll feel good knowing I’m doing something to help precious creatures like him.

-Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant

 

One Million Donations and Counting!

blog_title_image_millionWe reached a major milestone in the history of JustGive last week when we processed the one-millionth donation on our website.

Who was behind this auspicious donation? His name is Al Danish, and he hails from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.

Al made his donation to PathWays PA, a nonprofit dedicated to helping to keep low-income, vulnerable women together with their children by offering programs and services that help families stabilize their lives.

“If my donation can help in a small way, then that makes me feel good,” Al said about helping PathWays.

Al said his role as a grandfather of two makes PathWays’ mission even more relevant to him. “I liked the idea of making a donation for something specific like a case of diapers for a baby,” Al said.

Pathways PA is also a JustGive nonprofit affiliate. Since 2008, they’ve used our nonprofit services to accept donations through their website.

With just a few clicks, PathWays created a customized donation page, allowing their donors to select from a list of suggested gifts like $25 to “provide basic toiletries to a mom in need,” or to enter in any desired donation amount.

“JustGive is a wonderful avenue for our online donors to give in a quick and easy way,” said Fran Franchi, Director of Development for PathWays. “We are so grateful for supporters like Al Danish. Thank you, Al for your continued support of PathWays PA’s mission and congratulations on being the one-millionth donor.”

Al was gracious about his 15 minutes of online donor fame when we first shared the news, saying, “You made me feel very good about helping out with a donation.”

JustGive was one of the first nonprofit organizations to channel the power of the Internet for online giving. Since 2000, we have sent more than $400 million to over 70,000 charities working throughout the world—and every day, we are inspired by donors like Al Danish to create new ways for people to find, learn about, and support virtually any charity, anytime.

Thank you to Al and PathWays PA for helping us reach this important milestone!

 

—Sarah Bacon, Director of Product

Mother’s Day – Musings on the Meaning of Mothering

image source: flickr: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ

image source: flickr

As a child (and an only child, at that) I was frequently jealous of the attention, love and mothering my mom would give to other children in our community.

Working individually with kids at my elementary school (and later on in her long career in the juvenile justice system), my mom focused intently on helping children with special needs. She treated them all with love, kindness and respect, which is the very best way to teach those qualities. She did everything as a volunteer—from large-scale organizing to providing childcare and tutoring, and even raising awareness about diversity and body positivity—issues that continue to be important to me to this day.

Truly a mother to anyone who needed one, my mom was a lifelong nurturer. At home, she never said no to me . . .  even when I brought in a foundling stray kitten, or once, a pair of miniature aquatic crabs we found inexplicably crawling up Fillmore Street in San Francisco. In addition to the cat I have now adopted, her social justice work and her extensive networks of friends and family, my mom left behind a large number of rather brilliant abstract paintings, a sassy assertiveness I strive to emulate every day, and a deep respect for treating all living things with kindness and care that’s instilled in me.

When my mother passed away unexpectedly on April first of this year, I created a charity registry in her name, to raise funds for animal rescue and nonprofit veterinary organizations ASPCA and Pets Unlimited, plus our local Make-a-Wish chapter. And you know something? Each heartfelt donation and sympathy message that came through my registry made me feel incredibly cared for and loved. It’s amazing that even someone who might not be related to me, or know me very well, can give me that kind of love, strength and support with a simple gesture. It’s certainly made this time a lot easier.

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Source: Alex Mechanic

I honor my mother by striving to carry on her legacy of compassion, in the warm, giving spirit remembered by all who knew her. And the best feeling lately has been having that same warmth and generosity offered to me by all the various people in my life who I know in so many different ways. They have all been caring for me like one of their own.

Anyone can nurture like a mother does. It doesn’t depend on gender. It doesn’t even have to entail raising children. Caring and compassion are universal: Every one of us can give love and nurturing to anyone else – a child, adult, plant, or animal.

My good friend Sara can’t help but rescue a dying houseplant whenever she comes across one. It doesn’t matter what type of plant it is, she revives them back to health with a little work and TLC. That’s a perfect example of someone taking time to nurture the world around us in just the way a mother might.

So while it’s in my mother’s honor that I remember to smile and say hello to my neighbors and their kids, offer a listening ear to anyone I see having a bad day, and will continue to adopt as many animals as fit in my house, my models of mothering extend beyond her personal example.

I will never have children of my own, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to be mothering, and nurture everyone I share this earth with for some finite time. We can all do it. All we need to do is care for each other.

—Alex Mechanic, Service Team Manager

Save Three Lives in One Hour: Donate Blood

image source: flickr

image source: flickr

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Giving blood is easy and saves lives. (In fact, one pint of blood can save up to three lives!)

In one hour, you could watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or you could help one of the five million real-life patients who need blood every year.

Why donate blood?

People need blood for a variety of reasons:

  • Much of today’s sophisticated medical care (for premature babies, transplants, heart surgeries and more) relies on an available blood supply.
  • Car accident and trauma victims may need as many as 50 or more transfusions.
  • Cancer patients, including children with cancer, depend on multiple blood transfusions to win their fight.
  • Bone Marrow transplant patients may require blood from more than 100 donors.

What is involved?

The process of donating blood takes about an hour, including registration. Here’s what happens:

Step 1, Registration: Fill out a donor registration form with your contact information and brief health history.

Step 2, Health Screening: A technician checks your blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, and reviews your health history. If you meet all donor requirements, you begin the donation process.

Step 3, Donation: A specially trained technician draws your blood, which takes about 10-12 minutes. You give a little less than one pint of whole blood in a standard donation. Fun fact: Your body replaces the plasma within 24 hours and the red blood? cells within 4-8 weeks.

Step 4, Refreshments: After your donation, you relax and enjoy a snack (like cookies!) in the refreshment area for 10-15 minutes.

Where do I donate?

Find a local blood bank by searching in your area. Or make an appointment with the Red Cross.

More ways to help

Not eligible to donate or want to make a bigger difference? Support your local blood banks with a monetary donation:

Donate Now

Make an exponential difference: Spread the word about giving blood! Share this post, and convince your friends and co-workers to join you in donating.

Together, we can save lives.

—Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager

5 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

Five Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

It’s already begun: it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and the holiday season is everywhere. Babies R’ Us was playing Christmas carols last week, and Target has the candy, decorations and gifts out in full force.

I find it a little bit exhausting, don’t you?

My goal for the holiday season is always the same: Simplify. This year I’ll be sharing how I do this, right here on the JustGive blog. For me, a big part of creating a simple and meaningful holiday season is about redefining the season itself—which means less stuff. With less stuff, I feel less stress.

One of the easiest and most impactful ways to bring meaning to the season is to give back instead of giving “stuff.” Here are five ways to give back this holiday season, taking the stress out of gift giving and making you (and your recipient) feel warm and fuzzy inside:

1 — Create a Charity Wishlist

Create a Charity Wishlist

I started working at JustGive earlier this year, and was thrilled to learn about Charity Wishlists for the holiday—it’s a totally new concept to me. As much as I love the thought behind gifts, I really don’t need anything. By creating a Charity Wishlist, I can raise money for my favorite charities instead of receiving gifts from my family and friends. And that makes me feel better than any piece of jewelry or retail gift card ever could. Here’s my wishlist for the season—check it out, and consider creating one of your own!

2 — Give Gifts of Charity 

Charity Holiday Gift Guide

This year at JustGive, we’ve created an exciting new Holiday Gift Guide to make giving more meaningful. It’s filled with charitable gifts that show you the impact your donation has on the world. Choose from 12 of the timeliest issues, including hunger, job support, LGBT rights, and peace—there’s a gift for every budget.

3 — Give Charity Gift Cards

Charity Gift Card for Holiday Gifts

Charity Gift Cards are perfect for someone you might not know that well (a holiday gift for a co-worker, for example), for a friend or family member who has a charitable heart, and for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list. You choose the amount for the gift card, and they choose the charity (or charities!) to receive the donation. There are email, print-at-home, and physical cards – and more than a million charities on JustGive they can donate to.

One of the coolest features (in my opinion) is the ability to buy your gift cards ahead of time, and then schedule them to be emailed whenever you’d like.

Another fun option is to upload your own photo, making for a very personal gift.

4 — Give a Charity Collection

Charity Gift Basket

If you know someone who cares about a specific cause, a charity collection is a unique and great gift. Each collection includes four charities working toward a particular cause. There are 16 causes to choose from, including Animals, Arts, Education, Homes & Jobs, and Military. Check them all out here. 

5 — Share the Message

What better way to create a more peaceful, simple holiday season than to get others involved too? After you make a commitment to help others this holiday season, spread the word to your friends and family. You can start a new tradition and include charity as part of your gift exchanges.

You can also join JustGive in the #GivingTuesday movement, which counters the consumerism and commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’ll be offering an amazing deal to help you give more generously, too—so check JustGive on November 27 or sign up for our newsletter to hear all about it.

How will you celebrate the holiday season? Do you incorporate charity or volunteering? Comment below or join the conversation on Facebook!

—Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager

Your year-end checklist: Resolve to give back starting now

I’ve noticed in recent years that resolutions have become a thing of the past. People don’t want to create unrealistic goals and feel the let down of not living up to their own expectations. Or perhaps they just find it cliché and instead resolve not to resolve.

For me, December 31st is a simple marker in the year where I can stop and reflect on what I have accomplished . . . and what else I hope to do moving forward. This year, I’ve done more writing and photography than ever, moved to a new apartment in San Francisco, and paid off a lot of my dreaded student loans.

But one of the most important things I’d like to do more of next year—especially now that I’m moving out of a “student” lifestyle and into some financial stability—is to give back. So far, I’ve managed to find ways to give here and there: buying charity gift cards, volunteering, and giving a few individual donations. But I haven’t yet made it a part of a personal giving plan.

Ring in the New Year on a positive note…

Join me and create your own giving plan. We can start now, with three steps to finish 2011 right. And we can kick off 2012 with a resolution that feels good all year long:

1. Donate by December 31 – I’m getting in my last donations for 2011 and adding to my charitable deductions for the year. Do the same: Give to your favorite charity, donate in someone’s name, or buy a charity gift card as a New Year’s gift —they choose the cause and you get the deduction.

2. Get it on the Record – JustGive creates a Giving History online for every donor with convenient access to charitable information needed for taxes. I’m able to do all my giving in one place and can easily keep track of it. Whether I’m donating or buying a charity collection, sending a gift card, or making a charity or wedding registry gift, it’s all recorded and stored for me online.

3. Plan to Plan – I want to make a bigger difference with my giving in 2012. By ticking the recurring box on any donation, I can affordably budget my charitable gifts throughout the year. JustGive automatically sends my donation each month . . . and I check ‘charity’ off my resolution list instantly!

Questions?

Still not sure about how to make charity a part of your own budget in 2012? Visit our Giving Wisely page for more info and things to consider as you develop a plan that works for you and supports the causes you care about.

P.S. Let’s get the buzz going: How do you plan to make a difference with your giving? Which charities do you support and why? Tell your story on Facebook – and we’ll spread the word about the good work being done across the country. 


– Michelle Koffler, Marketing Coordinator

A Gift from the Heart

Mother’s Day is a time when we look at the mothers in our life, appreciate all that they do for us, and try to give something back to them.

Turning 30 this year made me realize I have been giving funny little gifts to my mother and grandmother over the years. Not only is it hard to think up new gifts to buy them, but I find they no longer need or want things. They already have too much stuff as it is.  As a mother of a three year old, I also think about what I would really want from her on Mother’s Day.  Although it sounds cliché, a drawing or something that she makes for me—from her heart—would make me the happiest.

I’m older . . . and crayon masterpieces for my grandma or mom don’t quite cut it. Then there’s the flower option: Most women (including me) love receiving flowers. They brighten up your living space and are a nice treat. But for me, they’re not quite enough. So I’ve found another way to honor the special women in my life – with a gift that’s a bit more personal, from my heart.

My Grandma was a wonderful elementary school teacher for many years, so I made a donation in her name to DonorsChoose.org — a great organization that helps teachers raise money for special projects or classroom materials that they need. Since she doesn’t really like to use computers, I didn’t want her to have to go online and search for a project or an organization. So I printed the donation confirmation to enclose in a special card with the flowers I’ll give her, letting her know how I am honoring her on Mother’s Day.

I wanted to do the same thing for my mom. She supports organizations that protect the environment, and gives to local food banks and rescue missions. The arts and public education are also important to her. And I wasn’t sure which organization to donate to: What would she appreciate the most this year? So I decided to give her a charity gift card with a bouquet of flowers. Letting her make the choice. She can go to JustGive.org and find the charity (or charities) she wants to support right now…there are more than a million on the site. And I’ll know that her donation will make a difference for a cause that is both meaningful and personally close to her heart!

This Mother’s Day, consider a charity gift collection that gives back and says thank you from your heart—donating to a cause that’s special to your mother’s (or grandmothers, or wife’s, or…you get the point) heart!

If you’d like to honor all she’s done in a bigger way, all year round – make it a monthly recurring donation.

Enjoy a very special Happy Mother’s Day!

Marketing Assistant, Julia Hughes