January 29, 2010

Flower Power

If your special someone is going to be on the receiving end of a bunch of roses this Valentine's Day - and they'd better be - you might want to consider a rather neat promotion from Teleflora that's going to send a little love in the direction of our furry friends.

Twenty percent of every purchase you make with Teleflora between now and February 14 goes to the ASPCA. Make sure you use this link when ordering, and you can help some love-starved little sucker get a second chance.

January 28, 2010

Sweet Deal

For all you Chicago do-gooders out there, Wendy’s has a sweet promotion to help raise money for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (he’s the company's founder, in case you didn’t know). For just one buck, you can buy an “all-access” pass to a year’s worth of “Frostys,” and the net proceeds will go to the “Wendy's Wonderful Kids” program, which funds the work of adoption professionals in North America.

Now, a year's worth of Frostys might not sound so great in Chicago in January, but come July when the mosquitos are biting and there's nary a breeze coming off the lake, you'll be glad you did.

Here's how it works: through February 28, you can purchase a $1 Frosty key card that will grant you a free Jr. Frosty at participating Chicago Wendy’s on subsequent visits until December 31 (with a purchase, which I suppose is the catch, but when did you ever get something for nothing?). Click here to find a Wendy’s in your neighborhood.

January 27, 2010

All That Jazz

If your music collection is anything like mine, it could benefit from the addition of little more cool jazz (don’t worry, this doesn’t involve Kenny G) and a little less 80s pop. Nordstrom – with the help of a few musical legends - has just what you need.

In celebration of February’s Black History month, Nordstrom has put together a cool new compilation CD entitled Big Swing: African-American Legends of the Big Band Era. It’s got all the great swing performers of decades past including Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday.

The CD – which retails for $18.95 – will be available on February 1 at all Nordstrom stores in the U.S. and online at www.nordstrom.com/blackhistorymonth.

Proceeds from the sale of Big Swing will be donated to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), an acclaimed modern dance company based in New York that inspires, entertains and educates through performances, training and educational programs across the country and around the globe.

January 26, 2010

May Contain Nuts

This post does not contain a charity element per se, but your participation (e.g. vote) can help the next Gordon Ramsay or Julia Child earn a college scholarship, which is a pretty tasty idea. Ten aspiring junior chefs from around the country are competing in Jif’s “Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest,” and they need you to narrow it down to five.

The top sandwich maker will win a $25,000 scholarship grand prize. Four runners-up will each receive a $2,500 scholarship fund.

You’ve got until February 12 to vote for your favorite recipe – which include More Rockin' Moroccan Peanutty Pitas, Nutty Texas Panini with a Hula, the Big Sassy Chicken Satay, and PB & Fruity Says "Let Us Rap.” Go to http://www.jif.com/ to place your vote and help send a kid to college - or maybe become the next Top Chef.

January 25, 2010

Game On

This one is strictly for the girls. Sony Online Entertainment and Scholarship America are looking for a female, college-aged recipient for this year’s G.I.R.L. (Gamers in Real Life) scholarship. Or in their words “to be eligible to participate, entrants must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program related to video games, including video game art, design, animation, production, programming or visual effects, must not graduate before the end of the 2011 spring term and must comply with the program's official rules.”

If you’re got what it takes (fierce gamer skills), you could win up to $10,000 to be applied toward tuition and other educational expenses at your current school, plus an optional internship of up to 10 weeks at one of Sony Online Entertainment's studios (room, board, transportation and living expenses not included).

Applications are due by February 15. For more information, go to http://www.station.sony.com/girl/.

January 22, 2010

Charity Chase

Today is the last day to vote for your favorite nonprofit on Facebook as part of the Chase Community Giving contest. You’ve got until 11:59 PM EST to help one of 100 charities win $1 million. And for five runners-up to win $100,000 each.

There are charities from just about every field including healthcare, housing, the environment, hunger, arts & culture, human services and animal welfare. Some big, some small. Some recognizable, some maybe not so much (Feel Your Boobies Foundation, currently at #8).

Click here to place your vote. And help Chase give away some its cash (or it is ours?).

January 21, 2010

Pound for Pound

The Pound for Pound Challenge is back and bigger than ever in its second year. Since January 5 more than 1 million Americans have pledged to lose more than 3 million pounds to help fight the nation's hunger crisis.

The premise is brilliant. And simple. For every pound you pledge to lose (through June 30), the Pound for Pound Challenge will donate one pound of groceries to a local food bank (up to an $800,000 maximum donation.)

Just go to http://www.pfpchallenge.com/ or http://www.biggestloser.com/ (one of their partners) and enter your weight-loss goals. You’ll automatically be matched with a Feeding America food bank in your area, and donations will be delivered to that bank when the Challenge ends. If you’d like to pledge to benefit another area of the country, just let them know when you enter.

California is currently in the lead with 277,819 pounds pledged so far. Keep up the good work! Vermont - home of the beloved Ben & Jerry (and their delicious Chunky Monkey) is in 49th place with 8,252 pounds, edging out Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Follow your state’s real time progress here.

January 20, 2010

No Sweat

Kudos to the PR team over at Degree for coming up with this brilliant promotion just in time for the Hollywood awards season. The antiperspirant/deodorant giant has teamed up with gorgeous "Mad Men" actress Christina Hendricks and the terrific charity “Clothes off Our Back” to allow you, dear reader, to pick one of three dresses for Hendricks to wear to this year’s SAG awards.

You’ve got until January 22 to place your vote (the show is on January 23). My favorite is the beautiful Grecian Goddess gown by David Meister.

Just log onto DegreeRedDress.com and pick your favorite. Each vote goes to support Degree Women Ultra Clear in Red Satin’s (whew!) donation of $50,000 to "Clothes off Our Back", an organization that hosts charity auctions showcasing celebrity attire and raises money to help improve the lives of women and children across the globe. After the ceremony, Hendrick’s gown will be auctioned off at Clothesoffourback.org, raising even more money.

If voting alone isn’t enough to get you to their website, maybe the promise of a product coupon and the chance to win some stylish Tinseltown swag will!

January 19, 2010

The New Pepsi Challenge

If you’ve got a project that’s innovative AND optimistic (pessimists need not apply), then Pepsi may just have the cash to help you get it off the ground. The Pepsi Refresh Project has $20 million to award in 2010 – to people, businesses and non-profits with ideas that will help move communities forward. Grants range in amounts from $5K all the way up to $250K.

There are six different categories to choose from: health, arts & culture, food & shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education. Just make sure it’s something refreshing!

You’ve got until January 24 to submit your idea (or until they receive 1,000 ideas, whichever comes first) at http://www.refresheverything.com/. Website visitors will vote for their favorite concept from February 1-28). If your idea didn’t make the cut in January, you can try again on February 1.

Winning ideas will be announced at the end of February. Then the whole process starts over - each month - for the rest of the year.

January 18, 2010

Truthiness and Goodliness Walk Hand in Hand

Today you have a chance to take home a little piece of Stephen Colbert, courtesy of his “Own a Piece of Histor-Me: A Colbert Nation Liquidation” event. Papa’s got a brand new set and he’s auctioning off three awesome items to make room. I assume the old set was bigger, and he bought furniture for it that won't fit in his new place. And he hasn't heard of Craigslist.

Tune into
tonight’s show (January 18) and listen for the big announcement. Then log on to ColbertNation.com and place your bids. Colbert's “C” desk, interview table and portrait are all up for grabs (the desk tonight, the other two on January 25th and February 1st, respectively.)

Proceeds benefit three different charities: The James W. Colbert Endowment, U.S. Speedskating (Really? Are these genuine charities? If I were diligent I'd check, but I'm not so I haven't) and the
Yellow Ribbon Fund (which at least sounds legit.). The winning bid for each item will be announced on ColbertNation.com. So tune in and bid large - your nation will thank you for it. The Colbert Report airs at 11:30pm/10:30pm CST on Comedy Central.

January 15, 2010

My Dog's Cuter Than Your Dog

Think your furry friend has what it takes to be named “America’s Most Photogenic”? Of course you do. So do I.

Well, now’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. BISSELL (and its Pet Hair Eraser vacuum cleaner) is looking for a few good pets (well, actually just one) to be featured on the product’s box. This is going to be so freakin' popular, you hope they've got the phone lines fully staffed and several fully redundant Web servers standing by.

If your pet has what it takes to be “BISSELL’S Most Valuable Pet,” you’ll receive a $10,000 donation to your favorite animal charity, a “Perfect for You and Your Pet” $500 shopping spree, and of course, a vacuum or deep cleaner designed specifically for pets.

You’ve got until March 25th to submit your entry, so give it your best shot (get it?) Click here for more information.

January 14, 2010

Early Entrant for Most Random Contest of 2010

Organic Valley has created as random a competition as you'll find this side of a Nigerian skiing convention. The idea is simple: if you don't win a bicycle, you can still win sausages. Does it get any more loveable?

If one of your resolutions this year is to eat more organic food, or if you just want to win some cool stuff (like ... free food), look no further. Organic Valley, the farmer-owned cooperative of 1404 farms (or thereabouts), has announced a promotion in which you can win a year’s worth of free breakfast products, a Trek bicycle and/or a free subscription to Organic Gardening magazine.

Just go to OrganicRising.com and enter a few details about yourself. Name, address, phone and email is all they ask. In return… the possibility of free sausage links for an entire year (or a bike, or a magazine, natch). See how that works? Brilliant.

You must be at least 13 to enter and you can only enter once, but for that entry Organic Valley will donate $1 to the Rodale Institute (a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people and the planet through organic farming.)

The contest runs though March 31st and winners will be announced in April. Can you really not enter? Really?

January 13, 2010

When Librarians Attack!

Librarians, sharpen your pencils. You’ve got until this Friday, January 15 (midnight EST sharp, otherwise you'll be charged late fees) to submit your very best idea to help kids get excited about reading. One that’s good enough to make them put down the DJ Hero and pick up a good Danielle Steel. (It didn't suggest Danielle Steel in the press release, btw; that was my idea. "Charlotte’s Web” or “James and the Giant Peach” would also be OK.)

You’ll be competing for a grand prize of $2,500, courtesy of bestselling adult (and young adult) author James Patterson and his website ReadKiddoRead. Send your top idea, along with all of the pertinent details listed below, to info@earlyword.com.

1) Your name, address, name of your library and your job title

2) The name of your program (extra points here for creativity)

3) An outline of your plans (please be specific) for a program to instill a passion for reading in young adults in your community. The program should run between February 1 and May 30, 2010. Include the number of kids you expect to reach and which other community organizations, if any, you plan to work with.

Now for even more fine print. The top 10 proposals will be chosen by a panel of judges on or before February 12, 2010. Each of the top 10 semi-finalists will receive a video camera (thanks to Kodak) so that they can document the results of their plans, to be submitted by May 30, 2010.

One grand winner will be selected from the top 10 and will win $2,500 for their library. Last but not least, the winner will be announced on June 15, 2010.

Whew. I thought my college entrance exam was hard! May the best librarian win.

January 11, 2010

Yogis Unite

Save the date, mark your calendars, set up your iPhone alerts and/or do whatever else it takes to remind you to take advantage of free yoga classes on Saturday, January 23rd – cleverly referred to as Yoga Day USA. The karmic brainchild of
Yoga Alliance, this wallet- and waist-friendly annual event is held in yoga studios, gyms, parks and beaches throughout the United States (well, unless you happen to live in Oklahoma or Mississippi; sorry no classes listed last time I checked).

So whether you’re looking to stretch your mind, body, or spirit (or just try something different, dammit), go to http://www.yogadayusa.org/ and search for a class (did I mention it’s free!) in your neck of the woods. Your downward dog will thank you.