December 30, 2010

A Tail of Biodegredation

Time for the pooch to clean up its act, ditch the plastic and go biodegradable.

We're talking, of course, about poop bags. If my calculations are correct, in just one year -- depending on your dog's ...
prolificacy -- you could prevent anywhere from 365 to more than a thousand plastic bags from ending up in landfills.

I’ve done a bit of nosing around (ick) and tracked down a few companies that have the scoop on poop.

Olive Super Poop Bags (olivegreendog.com) are certified 100-percent biodegradable, available in two sizes, Unisex (small) and Super Poop (large), cost $12 for 50 bags, and best of all come in super adorable art canisters (refill bags available).

Poopbags.com offers 100-percent biodegradable, made in the USA, 8” wide X 12” long bags ranging in price from $20 for 100 bags up to $68 for 600 bags.

BioBag is the big daddy of biodegradable poop bags, not to mention lawn and leaf bags, kitchen bags, compost bags, shopping bags - everything but a colostomy bag (R&D needs to get on that - though they have come up with a "Toilet System" developed in conjunction with, I kid you not, the Norwegian military).

These 100-percent biodegradable bags are available in various sizes, forms (by the box, roll and even case) and prices, depending on where you purchase them (i.e. Amazon, Drugstore.com, ColeHardware.com). On average the bags cost around $17 for a pack of four, 50-count boxes (200 bags). Click here for a full list of BioBag retailers.

December 29, 2010

It Takes a Village

General Mills and leading humanitarian organization CARE want you to join their village - at JoinMyVillage.com - to help educate and empower women and girls in Malawi. Their goal is to raise $500,000 by May 2011, but they need your help (or rather clicks) to do it.

You don’t have to click to “like” anyone or anything; you just have to “click to commit.” Each click is worth a different amount every month; this month it’s $1 for every click. So far they’ve raised more than $4,600 (4,664 clicks to be exact), so they’ve got a long way to go in reaching the big 5-0-0-0-0-0-0!

Click here to commit to help fight global poverty and to empower Malawi girls and women through education and economic stability.

December 16, 2010

Who's Your Favorite Tree Hugger?

Miss Do-Gooder has done exactly zero polls (I actually fact-checked this one) since her humble launch back in August 2009. Call it laziness or lack of technical ability, there really is no reasonable explanation or excuse for my lack of poll skills. I promise to do better in 2011.

For the time being, I’m bringing you a cool poll from one of my favorite Web sites TreeHugger.com. You may have heard of them.

Click here to cast your vote for their 2010 TreeHugger Person of the Year. They’ve narrowed the search to just nine contenders ranging from mega heavy weight Jane Goodall to medium weights Michelle Obama and Jon Stewart (huh?) to newcomer Josh Fox, director of “Gasland.”

Who do you think did the most for trees and who would you most like to hug? Only you can answer that question.

And you must do so before December 17. Click here for more information and to see a full list of the challengers.

December 15, 2010

Old Gray Lady Seeking College Students, Seniors Interested in Current Affairs, Long Walks on Beach

I really, really liked the idea of entering this contest, but then I discovered that I'm both too young (yay!) and too old (hiss!).

The
New York Times is inviting citizens of two disparate age groups – students currently enrolled in college or graduate school, and people over the age of 60 – to submit entries for the paper's fifth annual “2011 Win a Trip with Nick” contest. If you’re wondering who this Nick fellow is, it’s none other than Nicholas D. Kristof, the estimable Times op-ed columnist, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author.

Exactly when and where you’ll be going is a bit of a mystery, but the trip will definitely involve reporting, will probably be somewhere far, far away from the U.S., and will most likely involve “increasing awareness and understanding about the many complex issues and opportunities for the developing world.”

The trip will last up to two weeks. (I have to admit that at first I thought the goal was to win two weeks with conservative columnist William Kristol. My second thought was: What's the second prize, three weeks?)

You’ve got until January 18, 2011, to submit a video entry (three minutes or less) to Mr. Kristof’s YouTube channel at
www.youtube.com/nicholaskristof; or put your “Why I Should Win” argument in writing - keep it under 700 words, please - and submit it to WinaTrip@nytimes.com. It's not clear from the announcement here whether Nick's looking for signs of a burning curiosity about the causes of, and solutions for, the major problems that confront our global community. But "sparkling prose" and "excellent communication skills" would be great.

One winner from each age category will be chosen. To enter you must be at least 18 years of age and a student enrolled in full-time education, and/or (bonus points for "and"!) over 60.

Click
here for all of the info.

December 14, 2010

'Tis the Best Gift

First the bad news. If you’re one of the top 400 biggest charities, you’ve seen an astonishing 11 percent drop in donations over the past year, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Full disclosure here: Miss Do-Gooder is a) not considered a charity, b) not on any top 400 lists that she’s aware of, and c) not in the habit of fact-checking statistics from the press releases she receives.

Now for the good news. The top four charity gift card providers –
TisBest.org, CharityGiftCertificates.org, JustGive.org and NetworkForGood.org - are challenging Americans to spend $51 (a measly 10 percent of what the average Joe is expected to spend on holiday “stuff” this year) on charity gift cards instead of conventional gifts. According to Jon Siegel, Executive Director for TisBest.org, “
If one in a thousand American holiday shoppers redirect $51 of their holiday gift purchases to buying a charity gift card for friends, family, clients, siblings or children, new charitable giving will top $10 million this year.” Are you up for the challenge?

Once you've signed up and spent and purchased $51 on charity gift cards, you’ll be allowed to invite all of your friends on Facebook to do the same.

There’s no monetary reward for this one, dear readers, just the joy of knowing you've done something extremely worthwhile this holiday season.

For more information on the challenge, visit
TisBest.org, CharityGiftCertificates.org, JustGive.org, or NetworkforGood.org.

December 13, 2010

Stamp-Ede For the Troops

Here's a riddle: How much does it cost to mail a stamp?

Time's up. It costs 88 cents. First you have to buy the stamp, then you have to buy a stamp to mail said stamp. That will be 88 cents, please.

Sounds like something Charles Ponzi might dream up, but this holiday mindbender actually makes complete sense.

You see, sending stamps to
Operation Care Package helps to make sure that our troops don’t go without mail this holiday season. Your stamps are effectively pre-paid airfare for the cards, letters and care packages that Americans send to the men and women serving overseas in our military.

All you’ve got to do is send a first class stamp (or as many as you’d like) to STAMPS, c/o Operation Care Package, 611 Wilcox Street, Joliet, IL 60435. Click here for more information about Operation Care Package or call 815-723-6960.

If you’d rather send cookies to the troops – without having to bake and/or ship them yourself – you can join The Food Network’s Sunny Anderson (a former airwoman in the US Air Force) and Kenmore (the appliance people) for their “Baking for the Troops” promotion.

Not to sound like a broken record, but all you’ve got to do is “like” Kenmore on Facebook – specifically the
Cookies4Troops tab – and they’ll send 250,00 cookies overseas to our troops. Once that goal is achieved, Kenmore will donate $50,000 to Heroes At Home Gift Registry, a non-profit organization that takes care of military family members in need.

Click
here to join the cookie crusade.

December 10, 2010

The Goats of Christmas Present

Save the Children is offering an eclectic range of gift ideas for the holidays, from giving goats to gifting funds for girls’ education. Every donation benefits children in the U.S. and more than 120 countries on seven continents.

Let’s start with the goats. For $40, the gift of a goat will provide a struggling family with much-needed food and dairy as well as a valuable source of income for the future. Save the Children is even offering a too-quirky-to-resist holiday
special: “Buy one goat, get a second goat free.” Go find that at Wal-Mart.

Moving on to girls’
education. A gift of $65 provides books, educational materials and teacher training to help a young girl attend – and stay – in school for an entire year. According to the Web site - which I’m going to trust because I don’t have a calculator handy – that’s just 20 cents a day.

Save the Children has even partnered with Swedish furniture icon
IKEA to offer adorable stuffed toys for under $10 (no word yet on whether assembly is required, or if changing the cuddly critter's name from Koeshgenfertt is permitted). For every toy sold, $1.35 will go to Save the Children and UNICEF to extend and start new children's educational programs in 22 countries.

Last but not least, if you’ve got a little more money to spend on bling ($370 to be exact), Save the Children can get you a beautiful sterling silver and ceramic ring courtesy of its partnership with luxury jeweler
Bulgari. For each ring sold, Bulgari will donate $75 to Save the Children’s unique Healing and Education through ART program, which helps emotionally distressed children cope by helping them discover their own, unique artistic voices.

Click
here to Save the Children this holiday season.

December 8, 2010

Do You Believe?

It’s been an awfully long time since I communicated with Mr. Claus via letter or lap visit (get your minds out of the gutter!), but Macy’s might just change all that this year. The retail giant has teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for its annual holiday “Believe” campaign to encourage folks of all ages to write a letter to Santa and help make children’s wishes come true.

For every stamped letter Macy’s receives in its “
Santa Mailbox,” it will donate $1 (up to $1 million) to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So far the retailer has received more than 544,000 letters to Old St. Nick, enough to grant a whole lot of wishes.

Click
here to create your letter online – complete with dozens of different decorations - or print out a template to make it at home. Make sure to address it to The North Pole, add a stamp and click here to find a special Santa mailbox in your area. Macy's will make sure each and every letter makes it to Santa before Christmas.

November 23, 2010

Talkin' 'Bout My...

GenerationOn – the new youth division of Points of Light Institute - is calling on kids K-12 to make their mark in the world through volunteerism and service. With a $5 million investment by Hasbro Children’s Fund in their pocket, they’re able to offer some pretty cool resources including a rather dashing new website, a national youth leadership program, recognition programs, their very own Kids Care Week, youth service grants, and more 1,400 lesson plans on topics including the environment, hunger, literacy, health, nutrition and animal welfare.

It also includes 1,800 Kids Care Clubs and thousands of schools that reach more than two million young people in all 50 states. By connecting teachers, parents, schools, and local organizations, GenerationOn hopes to teach kids about important issues in their communities and help them find hands-on ways to become mini problem solvers on a local level.

Click here to help this great organization create a whole new generation of civic-minded citizens.

November 22, 2010

Six Degrees of Doing Good (or Everybody Loves Bacon)

Kevin Bacon wants to inject a little goodness into our world, and he’s teaming up with Change.org to do it. His organization, Sixdegrees.org, is giving out $10 gift cards, known as “Good Cards,” to everyone who signs a pledge on Change.org to do good.

You don’t have to “like” anything on Facebook, invite your friends to join in, or give away any personal information. All you have to do is promise to do good. No strings attached.

Quite a refreshing approach at a time when so many philanthropic endeavors come with a built-in marketing component.

You can redeem your $10 Good Card to help one of more than a million charities on Bacon’s website – ranging from organizations that promote animal welfare to women’s rights advocates, homeless charities and environmental groups. There’s literally a cause for anyone and everyone. Click here to sign the pledge and get your very own Kevin Bacon-approved Good Card.

November 18, 2010

Help the Big Guy Help the Little Guy

With the click of your mouse you can help Wal-Mart decide where to spend $1.5 million, a small (ish) portion of the $2 billion commitment they made last May to help fight hunger over the next five years.

You’ve got until January 5 to cast your vote on
Facebook (under the End Hunger tab) for one of 100 communities where hunger rates are the highest. The city with the most votes will receive $1 million in grants and five runners-up will receive $100,000 each. So far Ft. Meyers, FL is in the lead with 132 supporters with York, PA in last place with just 1 vote.

If you’d like to get with the vote, go to
www.facebook.com/walmart.

November 16, 2010

Fair Play

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) is rallying support for its new campaign “Rally for Girls’ Sports: She’ll Win More than a Game." By signing the NWLC petition, you’ll be helping girls get a fair (well, fairer) shot at playing sports. That is, after all, what Title IX - the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs – has been about for the past 40 years.

According to data from the NWLC website, schools nationwide provide girls with 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play sports than boys. The numbers make the disparity clear: girls make up half of all high school students nationwide, but only 41 percent of school athletes. Miss Do-Gooder thinks that’s a losing game. Here’s why.

Recent statistics (that MDG found on the Internets, and which are therefore indisputably true), show that playing sports not only makes you healthier, more confident, stronger, more competitive (in a good way), and probably less-prone to watch endless hours of TV; it also keeps you off drugs, stops you from being knocked up and makes you way smarter than the average non-playing sports bear. And nobody's rooting for us to develop more unhealthily pregnant drug-abusing couch potatoes with low IQs.

All you’ve gotta do is click
here to give girls a chance to, um, level the playing field a little.

November 15, 2010

Online Angel

This year you’ll have a new way to support the Salvation Army in their efforts to help families this holiday season. In addition to the iconic red buckets, the historic organization is launching an online version of its popular "Angel Giving Tree" program.

Joining forces with JCPenney's, the Salvation Army is allowing customers to adopt an angel (a child or senior in need) online and provide him or her with a holiday gift this season. Simply visit www.jcp.com/angel, select your angel, and you´ll receive a "wish list" and details about where to ship your care package.

Shipping is FREE from anywhere in the world, courtesy of UPS (as long as the items are purchased from JCP.com). You´ve got until December 10 to adopt and shop for your angel. Click
here for more information or call 1-800-544-1305.

November 12, 2010

Hero Worship

There’s less than two weeks to go before most of America will celebrate Thanksgiving by filling their faces with food, watching endless hours of sports, and being thankful for all the things one should be thankful for (e.g. having a job where you get four days off in each year - or having a job, period).

Anyway,
Anderson Cooper likes to celebrate this most American of holidays with a TV special called “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” that honors everyday individuals who are changing the world. And Anderson needs your help.

A Blue Ribbon Panel – consisting of humanitarians, activists and philanthropists including Muhammad Ali, Sir Richard Branson and Yo-Yo Ma - has already narrowed the selection down to just ten candidates from a pool of more than 10,000 nominations in 100 countries.

Now it’s your turn. Click
here to vote for your favorite “hero” - including A Scotsman providing free daily meals to 400,000 children, a Mexican woman who founded a nonprofit health care center in Juarez, a former child soldier clearing land mines in Cambodia and a Texas builder giving injured vets mortgage-free homes. The hero with the most votes (the most heroic?) will win a $100,000 prize.

Voting ends November 18 at 6:00 a.m. EST. Watch the celebrity-studded tribute show (with Halle Berry, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria Parker, LL Cool J, Bon Jovi, and Renee Zellweger) at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PT on Thanksgiving evening on CNN.

November 11, 2010

Annie, Get Your Yam

Annie´s Homegrown, makers of tasty, organic comfort foods for more than 20 years, has partnered with the National Farm to School Network on a cool new campaign to teach kids to "dig" or learn about new veggies this fall and plant them next spring. With a bit of help from teachers and parents, the "Root 4 Kids" promotion hopes to get one million kids on the veggie bandwagon by harvest time 2011.

You can join the "Root 4 Kids" movement by pledging to do just that (I Root 4 Kids) on their new kid-friendly, parent-approved website. You can also plant a virtual veggie in their community garden, find local farmers' markets, seed growers and garden resources, or test your veggie knowledge with one of their games or quizzes.

They´ve also got a contest (of course!) to stir up a bit of friendly competition amongst the kids. The school with the most Root 4 Kids pledges by December 31, 2010, will win their choice of a garden, a new Farm to School program or gardening supplies for one year. In addition, for every 1,000 Root 4 Kids pledges Annie's receives, it will contribute funds toward a garden or Farm to School program in an underprivileged school (TBA).

Click here to help root 4 a kid and help bring more farms to schools and vice versa.

November 10, 2010

Toy Time

The ballots have been counted and the results are in. Pier 1 is this year’s official drop-off location for Toys for Tots, the Marine Corps Reserve’s annual charitable drive that distributes toys to children in need at Christmas.

There are three ways to help a less fortunate child in your neighborhood: 1) drop off a new, unwrapped toy to any Pier 1 store in the U.S. before December 5, 2) make a cash donation in store before December 24, or 3) “Like” Pier 1 on Facebook during the month of November and they’ll donate $1 per fan, up to $100,000.

Click here to bring loads of joy this holiday season and give those tots some toys.

November 9, 2010

Canine Clean

Ditch the dog groomer this month and do it yourself to help support the National Canine Cancer Foundation (NCCF). During November the NCCF is hosting is National Dog Wash: Wash Away Canine Cancer fundraiser.

Simply donate $5 (minimum) to the cause and you´ll receive two dog shampoos from John Paul Pet (the pet care line from human hair care guru Paul Mitchell), a can of Halo, Purely for Pets Spot´s Stew, 30 days of free pet health insurance through Trupanian, and a pink paw magnet from the NCCF. You´ll also provide a free meal for a shelter dog in need, courtesy of Freekibble.com. Pretty good for a fiver, right?

Click here to pamper your pooch and help support the one out of every three dogs that will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime.

November 5, 2010

Crème de Koons

Kiehl’s is getting into the holiday spirit with a new charitable collaboration with celebrated contemporary artist Jeff Koons.

100% of Kiehl’s worldwide profits from the sale of the 2010 Jeff Koons Limited Edition
Crème de Corps Holiday Collection will benefit the Koons Family Institute, an initiative for the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.

The four-product collection – each decked out with a cool, colorful Koon’s label – ranges in price from $27-$70. Choose from 3 sizes of body lotion (1 liter, 16.9 oz and 8.4 oz) as well as their new Crème de Corps Whipped Body Butter.

Click here to help
Kiehl’s and Koons create safer, more sustainable environments for children around the world.

November 4, 2010

Hot off the Presses

With backing from The Clinton Foundation and celebrity support from numerous stars including Pactricia Arquette, Donna Karan and Rachel Bilson, CHOOSE HAITI will hopefully have no problem reaching its goal of selling one million "Choose Haiti" bracelets.

Made in Haiti by local artisans, the new bracelets are made from bottles bought in bulk from tent camp residents (after they've been sanitized, cut and then covered with recycled newspaper). The eco-friendly, one-of-a-kind bracelets - priced at just $5.00 each - will hopefully create jobs for thousands of unemployed Haitian workers today, and help create a more sustainable future (not to mention cleaning up loads of litter) for this determined and courageous nation.

Bracelets are currently available at Forever 21, Footlocker, Anna´s Linens, QVC and Beyond the Rack, or click here to order online.

November 2, 2010

'Tash for Cash

Following in the footsteps of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), comes "Movember," the annual mustache-growing charity event that raises money during Prostate Awareness Month (which is in November, in case you hadn´t figured that out).

The mustache movement - now going strong in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and Finland - has raised mucho millions since its launch in 2003. Just last year it raised over $42 million globally. That's a heck of a lot of (some might say too much) facial hair.

All funds raised here in the U.S. benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG. Click here to learn more about Movember and to sign up to grown one of your own for this awesome annual hair-raising event.

**Stashes courtesy of flashyoursstash.wordpress.com

November 1, 2010

Ron Ron's Raffle

The talented (and hilariously befuddled) LA Laker Ron Artest is raffling off his brand new 2010 NBA championship ring to help raise money for mental health counseling in schools, a cause near and dear to his heart. The ring really is quite something, featuring 16 diamonds, a scrap of basketball leather from last season's Lakers-Celtics finals, even a 3D rendering of Ron Ron himself. Classy? No. Awesome? Uh, yeah (unless you're a Celtics fan).

Tickets for the “Ron Artest’s Win My Bling” raffle cost just $2.00 each (minimum purchase of five tickets) and will put you in the running to win not only the sensational sparkler, but also an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Los Angeles, where Mr. Artest will personally present you with the ring. You’ll also get to stay and watch the Lakers crush whatever team they happen to be playing that day from your premium seats, and receive $1,000 pocket money to pay for bevies and hot dogs.

Artest hopes to raise $1 million before the raffle wraps up on December 25. Click here for more information and to help Ron Ron raise tons of money for mental health charities.

October 29, 2010

Sweet Deal

If you like your daily deals served up with a bit of social consciousness, you might want to check out Roozt.com. Like popular daily deal sites Groupon, Woot, and LivingSocial, Roozt delivers one unique discounted deal (50-80% off retail price) to your inbox every day.

What differentiates this newbie from the pack is that all of the products and services it features come from companies that are certified socially and environmentally responsible. That means no sweatshops, no animal testing, and definitely no unfair trade.

To sweeten the deal even more,
Roozt will donate 1% of the total sale to the non-profit of the customer’s choice.

Click here to sign up for your daily deal alert (it’s free) or go to www.Roozt.com to buy directly from the site. Just remember that deals come in limited quantities for 24 hours only. Hence the term “daily deal.”

October 28, 2010

Trick-or-Treaters on a Mission

Every Halloween, MDG's parents would send her around the neighborhood, box in hand, asking for donations for UNICEF. At the time, she had no idea what UNICEF was or did, of course. She just dutifully knocked on doors, showed them the box, and hopefully got some spare change for her efforts along with armfuls of candy.

If you’ve got ghouls or goblins who are still of trick-or-treat age, why not outfit them with an iconic orange box to go with their Halloween costume? It’s a great way to teach them about social responsibility and an easy way to raise money for an excellent cause. You can pick up UNICEF collection boxes at your local Toys "R" Us (R) or Babies "R" Us stores. Click here for locations.

Over the past 60 years, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has raised more than $160 million, providing children around the world with immunizations, health care, clean water, nutrition and education in more than 150 countries around the world. It’s pretty amazing what a bit of spare change can do.

October 27, 2010

Cheerios Has a Heart

Cheerios' “Love your heart so you can do what you love” sweepstakes is a little corny and has a slightly tenuous link to do-gooding, but it does offer you a chance to win five grand for your favorite charity so I'm going to suck it up and write about it.

Here's what you have to do. Pick your favorite interest - travel, outdoor, home & garden, volunteer, sports, cooking, family, arts, entertainment or music – and then click on this
link (you also have to pledge to be good to your heart by eating more Cheerios, natch; I'm assuming they have no way of knowing if you're staying true to your word or living off of cheeseburgers, though, so don't worry about it too much).

Clicking on the "
volunteer" link gives you a chance to win $5,000 for your favorite charity, plus an all-expenses paid trip for you and a guest to the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in New Orleans. If travelling sets your heart aflutter, you could win a 7-day vacation for two anywhere in the United States. Music? Five fun-filled days at Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp. Cooking … well, you get the idea.

There’s no real rush for this one; you’ve got until August 31, 2011 to enter. Click here for more information.

October 22, 2010

Have You Been Carded Recently?

For those of you who a) live in California and b) have a Safeway or Von’s store nearby and c) are gift-buying challenged, you can now find gift cards that give more than just generic cash. From the folks who brought you Causes, the Facebook application, come Causes, the charity gift card.

Like the super-popular app, the gift cards allow people to donate online to their favorite charity. Simply buy a $25 or $50 card (purchase is tax-deductible), give it to a friend, family member or co-worker and they can choose to donate to a charitable cause of their choice (there are thousands to choose from).

So, if you can’t figure out what to get Aunt Lucy or cousin John, consider the
gift card that keeps on giving.

Click here to learn more about this great Idea.