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

Celebrity and Everyday Giving

Last December, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds played for a sold out crowd at McCaw Hall in Seattle, WA. What made this concert different? For each ticket purchased, fans received a $150 “credit” to give to the charity of their choice—and could select one and conveniently donate to any of nearly 1.8 million charities on JustGive.

Over two nights, the concerts raised one million dollars for charity. In this Seattle Times article, Matthews said “The point is the act of giving and making the process available. I think it may make people feel a certain amount of power to see the ease of how you can give.”

Where did the money go? St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital was the top charity, receiving nearly $15,000 from 55 fans. University Cooperative School ($13,777) and Humane Society of King County ($13,024) were also popular choices.

Charities focused on health, education and animals made up the largest percentage. Local organizations were a big focus with donations to Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, Pacific Northwest Ballet Association and many, many more—with more than 1,500 charities receiving gifts from Dave and Tim fans.

This new twist on giving was designed to inspire musical fans to give—and it came from a commitment to help others. While Dave Matthews has raised money for particular tragedies and causes in the past (Haiti, Hurricane Katrina), this was a creative way to engage donors for broader social benefit. Matthews commented about the impact even a few donations can make, saying, “If $1,000 goes to a small SPCA that makes a big difference.”


Other celebrities in the spotlight for giving back:

–         Paul Newman became a household name as an award-winning actor, and is well known for created a legacy with his commitment to philanthropy. In the early 80’s he founded Newman’s Own, one of the first food companies to use only natural products. Net profits and royalties from the company—over $300 million to date—have been donated to charities in all 50 states and 31 countries.

–         Barbara Streisand recently endowed $5 million for The Barbra Streisand Women’s Cardiovascular Research and Education Program at Cedars-Sinai. At the dedication ceremony she remarked, “Many people still think heart disease is just a man’s disease, but in fact, it’s the number one killer of women in America.  That’s why it’s so important that women empower themselves and get educated about female cardiovascular disease.”

While many celebrities give back, Matthews approach was the first of its kind allowing fans to determine the charities to receive money. This is our hallmark at JustGive—to make it as easy as possible for you to find, select and support your charities of choice (whether you’re making a donation or purchasing a GiveNow charity gift card).


Everyday Philanthropy

Even without the celebrity-sized bank account, we can all become everyday philanthropists. JustGive staff member, Marina, shared her niece’s recent inspiring story. For her Bat Mitzvah, 12-year-old Augusta created the Pillow Project. She recruited crafty people to create ring pillows, then auctioned them off online for charity. She raised nearly $3,000 for American Foundation for Equal Rights, to fight same-sex couple’s right to marry.

That’s just one creative, everyday way to give … What’s yours? We’d love to hear! A charitable registry for your wedding? A donation for your Mom’s birthday to a charity that holds special meaning? Requesting donations for your birthday as gifts? A monthly donation made to help a needy charity in your community? Share your story with us on Facebook and Twitter. Together, we’ll inspire others.

Then help us spread the word about everyday philanthropy. And let’s get the giving going!

Philanthropy for a new generation

In the wake of National Philanthropy Day, and with the holidays right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to inspire the giving spirit in a new generation. As the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Being involved in your community is a powerful way to teach children about caring for others, and finding their own passion for giving.

Need some ideas?

Learning To Give understands the importance of teaching philanthropy to new generations. They offer over 1,200 K-12 lessons and educational resources for teachers, parents, youth workers, religious instructors, and community leaders free of charge. Lessons focus on educating youth about the importance of philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and civic engagement.

Technology raises awareness and makes giving easier.

New research and nonprofit experts credit technology with the rising trend in philanthropy among the nation’s youth. “Technology is democratizing philanthropy so giving is not only easier for people of all ages and means, but also trendier. And children are starting to organize at the grass-roots level to give” says Phillip Rucker, a staff writer for the Washington Post. Adds Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children, “The next step is to help kids move from that awareness to action.”

Young people as agents of change

With a passionately active and philanthropic new generation, it’s no surprise young adults are inspired to get involved beyond the usual annual donation. JustGive is proud to feature stories about how Jean and Brandon, as children, thought about giving and made a difference for years to come:

Jean Beale, at age 7 – “When I was a baby, my mom and dad would push me in a baby jogger. We would pick up soda cans while my mom and dad ran. We store the cans until we get a lot of them, then we take them on our friend’s big truck to the recycling place. One time, I sold 410 pounds at once. I help the world by making the roads, the lakes, and the trails prettier, and because all my cans are recycled.”

Brandon Keefe, at age 8 – One afternoon at a parent-teacher meeting to discuss the building of a library for a children’s home, Brandon heard how difficult it was to get books and thought “everybody had books on their shelves that they’d outgrown, why not give the ones we’ve already read to kids who need them?” What began in 1998 as a community service project for his class is now the grassroots nonprofit organization BookEnds. To date, over 170,000 student volunteers have filled 499 barren libraries throughout the Greater Los Angeles area, delivering more than 1.4 million books into the hands of over 401,000 at-rish students.

Want to spread the word? Tell a friend.