June 30, 2010

Pockets for Change


I thought Hot Pockets had done its part for mankind when it provided Jim Gaffigan with some of the funniest material you'll ever have the joy of hearing. (Click here to see – or rather hear - what I’m talking about.)

But then the purveyors of fine microwavable fare upped the ante and are teaming up with Feeding America to donate 1 million meals (well, the monetary equivalent of 1 million meals) to help fight hunger. I’m not sure if those meals consist solely of Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets or their new Breakfast Pockets (now with delicious Applewood bacon!) but either way, they’re supporting a noble cause.

Click
here to learn the “Ten Key Facts You Should Know About Hunger” via their interactive hunger fact map or have a chuckle at the “Herbie Chronicles” – the adventures of two interns touring the country wearing a gigantic Hot Pockets costume whilst trying to conduct serious interviews about hunger.

That alone is worth a trip to the site.

June 29, 2010

Let's Hear It For The Boys

GQ magazine is on the lookout for a few good lads for its 3rd annual “Better Men Better World Search.” If you know a man who possesses a rare inner beauty, and who makes the world a better place by volunteering, raising money for charity, getting involved in his community, and saving damsels in distress (sorry, got a bit distracted there for a moment), you’ve got until July 8 to nominate him for GQ’s Better Man contest.

All you have to do is put together a short video (no longer than three minutes) or essay (500 words or less) and fill out a few questions about yourself and your studley nominee. Shouldn’t take you more than a few giddy hours, give or take.

GQ will select five finalists, and the winner will be determined by popular vote (to be held August 5 through September 30). The best “Better Man” will be honored at
The Gentlemen’s Ball in NYC in October, receive $10,000 for his charity of choice, be the star attraction of a GQ feature, earn $2,000 in cash, bag a Movado watch, and be revealed as His Heavenly Father's representative here on Earth (I made that last one up). Not sure any man is worth quite that much swag, but there you go.

Finalists will enjoy a trip to the ball, $2,500 for their chosen charity, and an LCD Movado watch and calculator (made that one up too; they do get a rather swish Movado timepiece). The winning nominator gets a video camera, which will perhaps allow them to catch this mythical beast and prove his existence to a doubting humanity.

Visit
www.thegentlemensfund.com to nominate your favorite better man!

June 25, 2010

Book Smarts

This could be the best charity you've never heard of. If you’re an old-fashioned “I like to feel the weight of a book in my hand” type of person, you have to check out BetterWorldBooks.com. This online bookstore with more than 6 million titles in stock collects and sells books to fund literacy projects in the United States and around the world.

Since setting up shop in 2003, they’ve raised more than $8 million for various literacy and education groups including Room to Read, Books for Africa, Worldfund, Invisible Children, and the National Center for Family Literacy. They've also saved almost 34 million books from going to landfills, supporting book drives and collecting used books from a network of over 1,800 college campuses and through partnerships with over 2,000 libraries across the country.

As if that weren’t enough, shipping is free to any location in the United States (and is just $3.97 worldwide). And if you’re worried about your eco-footprint, rest assured that every order is shipped carbon neutral with offsets from
Carbonfund.org.

Why would you buy your books anywhere else? Click
here to create a better world, one book at a time.

June 24, 2010

Fair For All

There’s a new Web site in town (well, London actually) called Fairsharemusic.com where you can download music (legally) and give back to charity while doing it. Most singles cost around $1 (or 79p if you live across the pond) and albums can be found for as low as $6.

Fairsharemusic promises to donate half of the net profit from each and every track downloaded to charities such as the World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam International, the British Red Cross and Amnesty International. You can choose whether your donation goes to a single cause or is split between two or more charities.

There are over 8.5 million individual tracks to choose from plus a number of tailor-made playlists and charts compiled by industry experts.

Click
here for more information and to get your fair share of the music.

June 23, 2010

Teens to the Rescue

High school senior Matt Pierce is hoping he can get 10,000 teens to donate ten bucks (that’s $100,000 for all you math flunkies) to his new non-profit called TeenagersCare.org. All donations will go to grassroots organizations in the Gulf that are helping to clean up wetlands and beaches, rescue and save animals and help the people who are in need of assistance.

You can also help him reach his goal by purchasing a “Clean Up the Spill T-Shirt” for $25. All profits go directly to organizations helping in the Gulf including “Save our Seabirds,” “the Audubon Society,” “Alabama Coastal Foundation,” and “Gulf Waterkeeper Alliance.”

Click here for more information.

June 22, 2010

Mighty Mouse

Disney is using it’s hefty roster of star power – including Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers - to help spread the word about its new environmental initiative called “Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green. The year-long program invites young people to join together to help the environment in four different areas: climate, water, waste and habitat.

You (kids) can join the movement at
disney.go.com/projectgreen. On the site, you can pledge to take simple everyday actions like turning off the lights and ditching plastic bottles for reusable ones. More importantly, you’ll learn exactly how and why these actions really matter.

There will also be quarterly events where, on a specific day, you’ll act in unison on a specific task such as reducing water usage or turning down your parent’s thermostat. These events will be tallied and tracked online as well as on air (Disney Channel and Radio Disney). According to Disney’s stats, here’s what could happen if 500,000 of you put your collective heads together and work as a team. You could:

- Prevent approximately 100,000 tons of CO2 per year from polluting the air by adjusting your home thermostats.
- Save 5 million gallons of water in a single day by reducing shower times.
- Prevent 1 million pounds of waste from entering landfills by bringing trash-free lunches for a week.
- Create new habitats for local animals by planting 500,000 trees.

Finally, you’ll get to vote on how Disney will divide $1 million betweeb environmental organizations over the course of a year to plant trees, preserve the rainforest, help endangered animals, or support alternative energy (among other cool causes).

Click here to become a Disney friend for change and help do your part to preserve the planet.

June 16, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

I’m sure all you readers out there already practice random acts of kindness each and every day. And, that, thanks to a little thing called karma, people are also doing kind things for you on a regular basis. It’s what makes the world go round.

Well, now there’s a place where you can register all of these kind acts and have a chance at winning some cool, kind cash for your favorite charity.

Just go to
www.kindmovement.com
, click on the link that says “Get a Code/Kind Card,” tell how you were “kinded,” and then link to the cause you most care about. There are over 127 to choose from including the ASPCA, Stoked Mentoring, Operation Gratitude, Common Threads, and the Luv Shack Horse Rescue.

The three causes with the greatest number of kind acts linked to them will win $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively. It's pretty inspirational reading.

You’ve got until June 30 to join the Kind Movement and add your entry to the more than 40,000 currently on the site.

June 15, 2010

Last Chance to See Lance In France


You’ve only got one day left to enter the Livestrong “See Lance in France” sweepstakes. If you’d love to see Paris in July and/or the Tour de France and/or Lance Armstrong in action, all you’ve got to do is donate $10.02 (the number that coincides with Lance’s diagnosis) and you’ll receive one entry to win round-trip airfare for two and a lovely vacation villa (thanks to HomeAway.com) for July 21-26.

Donate $20.04 for two entries, $50.10 for five entries, etc. The more you donate; the more entries you receive. You do the math.

You’ll also get to brag that you’re in France this summer with special access to “The Tour” – all while helping a terrific cause … the fight against cancer. You’d better hurry up though. This “race” finishes at 11:59 PM PST on June 16.

June 14, 2010

Power in Pink


Under Armour is looking for three women who have triumphed over breast cancer to be the faces of their 2010 Power in Pink campaign. The program celebrates women who use fitness and exercise in the fight against breast cancer.

Click here to submit your story by July 15. You can also read amazing stories of other breast cancer survivors across the country. Winners will be announced on August 15.

June 11, 2010

Target Hits the Bullseye for the Arts

You probably already know that Target gives a boatload of cash to a variety of charities (it's ranked as one of the most philanthropic companies in the country). Since 1946, it's donated 5 percent of its income (roughly $3 million per week!) to support education, the arts, social services and volunteerism. If my calculations are correct, that’s over $155 million every year. Not too shabby.

Well, in keeping with its charitable giving theme, Target also sponsors free or reduced-priced admission to tons of arts and cultural events around the country (its site says 2,200 events/performances at more than 120 venues/organizations). For instance you could check out the Boston Children’s Museum for just a buck every Friday, catch the Neighborhood Concert Series at Carnegie Hall for free, or get 2-for-1 tickets to a Saturday matinee at the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City. How cool is that?

So get out there and spend some quality time with the kids this summer doing something educational and fun. All courtesy of Target.

June 10, 2010

Shakira Serves Tees for UNICEF


The FIFA World Cup starts tomorrow (Go USA!). If you’re looking for something stylish to wear whilst supporting your favorite team, check out the cool new T-shirts Shakira has designed for UNICEF and Mango.

(In case you’re wondering about her relevance to all of this soccer stuff, she wrote the official World Cup song. She’s Columbian, you see, and the World Cup is in South Africa, so it all sort of makes sense. Because Columbia and South Africa are both, like, countries.)

The African-inspired shirts – which feature the World Cup slogans “Waka Waka” and “This time for Africa” – come in four designs, two for women and two for men.

Proceeds from the sales of the tees (priced from $23-40) benefit the Barefoot Foundation – founded by the sexy songstress - and will go directly towards early childhood education initiatives in South Africa.

Get yours in red, yellow or black at a Mango retailer near you or shop online at mangoshop.com. Either way you’ll be the coolest soccer fan on the block.

June 9, 2010

Musicians Raising Hope

Where can you find 18 cool new (unreleased) tracks from the likes of Norah Jones, Mos Def, Ozomatli, Sheryl Crow and Damien Rice all on one album, all for a great cause? On the newly released charity compilation titled RAISE Hope for Congo.

Curated by music tastemaker/expert
Nic Harcourt (KCRW DJ and Los Angeles Times Magazine contributor), the album hopes to increase the awareness of the plight of abused Congolese women.
All profits raised through the compilation will help fund critical field research and awareness-raising efforts that will work to end the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

You can buy the album digitally ($10) or wait for the CD release on June 22nd ($15-20). Either way you’re helping raise hope for the Congo, which it could seriously use.

June 8, 2010

The Cat's, Um, In the Bag


I'm a huge fan of Puma sports gear, and the apparel maker has further enshrined itself in Miss Do-Gooder's good graces by tossing aside cumbersome cardboard shoeboxes in favor of eco-friendly bags.

How's the bag better than the box? Well, we’re not talking about normal bags here; Puma came up with an eco-friendly bag-like product that’s actually in the shape of a box. It apparently considered 2,000 ideas over a 21-month period, which is fairly diligent, you know ... due diligence. (Come to think about it, isn't a bag in the shape of a box a box? This post is unexpectedly raising some fairly profound philosophical issues).

Anyway, the box-bag uses 65 percent less cardboard than standard packaging, reduces electricity use by 20 million megajoules and saves 1 million litres of water. Don’t ask me to explain what megajoules are, but I’m pretty sure they’re a legitimate unit of measurement.

Cleverly named “
The Clever Little Bag,” the new ingenious carrying mechanism is 90 percent the same (shape-wise) as a normal shoebox. I can’t explain the “how” of it, but the “why” of it is so that retailers don’t freak out about coming up with a new way to stack the boxes, or bags, or whatever these box-bag things are going to be called. I guess you can’t train an old dog… Well, you get the gist.

The miracle of the “Clever Little Bag” will be available in stores in time for the 2010 holiday season.

June 4, 2010

Cut the Bull (Fighting)

Ricky Gervais finds a lot of things funny (like extras and offices) but bullfighting is definitely NOT of them. He’s teaming up with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to try to put an end to it for good. Well, in Spain for now. You gotta start somewhere.

Help him spread the word that bullfighting is not a cultural “experience;” it’s a blood sport that has no place in a civilized society.

Click here to sign the petition and help put an end to this terrible tradition.

June 2, 2010

You Go Girls

In celebration of the pill turning 50 this year, Bayer is teaming up with Step Up Women’s Network – a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to connecting and advancing young women - to celebrate women and all they’ve accomplished in the past 50 years. There are way too many achievements to list in this blog, but suffice it to say that the invention of Spanx ranks high on the list.

In honor of our liberating little friend turning the big five-o, Bayer is also hoping to raise $50,000 for this great organization. Simply go
to www.fiftyyearsofthepill.com and sign the 50th Anniversary Pledge of Empowerment and Bayer will donate $1 to Step Up Women’s Network. Your pledge will help create opportunities for young women, giving them the resources they need to create a better future.

And to think previous generations had to burn their bras to make this kind of statement.