December 27, 2011

Resolve to Do Good in 2012

MDG is not a big believer in the whole New Year’s resolutions concept, but perhaps if I had to make one small change next year, it might be adhering to 52X52.org’s “giving plan.” The super simple site suggests one different charity each and every week for you donate to directly (i.e. they don’t collect any cash themselves).

It doesn’t matter how much you give - $50, $25, or even $5 – the most important thing is that you pledge to keep giving it each week. This week’s spotlight is on The ASPCA; past recommendations have included Nothing but Nets and charity:water.

December 23, 2011

Smarter Than Your Average Card

Who wouldn’t want to receive a cute, cuddly Bloomingdale’s bear e-card, especially when they know that for each one sent, the upscale retailer will donate $1 to the Child Mind Institute? Just drag and drop a background (Happy Chanukah, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, etc.), drag and drop a bear (I like the one on its head!), then write a few words of cheer to complete your card.

Oh, and for each e-card sent you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $500 Bloomie’s gift card. Click here to create your furry own card.

December 20, 2011

Self Awareness

If you or someone you know happens to be a chick dedicated to doing good - an inspirational kind of gal whose selfless works would be furthered by a bit of publicity - you might want to drop SELF magazine a line.

The popular women's monthly is teaming up with L’Oreal to offer three philanthropic heroines a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice, plus an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City for a swanky ceremony and a profile in its September issue.

You’ve got oodles of time to enter: this one's open until March 19, 2012.

December 15, 2011

Big Cheese

Cheese lovers rejoice! Stonyfield and Organic Valley have teamed up for a dairylicous holiday contest to benefit Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit that creates partnership-based programs that provide fresh, healthy, locally-grown foods to underserved communities.

Feel free to enter once each week at www.celebratewithorganic.com for a chance to win a year’s worth of Stonyfield or Organic Valley products, with one lucky grand prize winner taking home all the dairy he or she can consume in a year, plus a $1,000 gift certificate to Cooking.com. That’s a heck of a lot of lattes.

Both companies are kindly donating 10 cents each to Wholesome Wave for every person who enters (minimum donation is $30,000; maximum is $50,000). There’s no real rush here; you’ve got until the end of January 2012 to milk this one.

December 13, 2011

In Dogs We Trust

If you’ve got an active four-legged friend, you’ll be pleased to hear that off-leash dog parks are the fastest-growing category of park in the U.S. - a rather surprising but very welcome fact brought to us by the enduringly awesome Trust for Public Land (TPL).

To celebrate this happy news, TPL is rewarding dog owners who can sit, roll over, and submit a snap of their furry friend at the park on command with some cool TPL swag. The fact that TPL is just about the coolest organization you will ever come across is guaranteed to make the swag even cooler.

Click here to submit your favorite photo by December 24 and show your support for a trusty nonprofit that has, since 1972, gone to ingenious lengths to conserve land for ordinary folk (and sometimes their pets) to enjoy as parks, gardens, rural lands and other natural environments.

December 9, 2011

Pretty Trashy

Once you’ve twisted, rolled and squeezed the last bit of toothpaste, soap, shampoo and/or lipstick from its container, you can now “trash it” – in an environmentally-friendly fashion - thanks to TerraCycle’s new Beauty Brigade.

Just collect enough cosmetics/personal care containers to fill a shipping bag or box, print out a prepaid mailing label (or request one by mail) and drop it off at any UPS location. Your waste will then be repurposed or melted down into usable raw materials, rather than taking up space in your local landfill.

But, the best part is that for each and every item you send, you'll be credited two TerraCycle points, which can be redeemed for donations to a charity of your choosing. They accept almost every beauty bottle, jar, case, tube and dispenser you can think of, with the exception of hair spray, nail polish and nail polish remover containers. Those things are just plain hazardous.

Click here to join the Beauty Brigade. P.s. It’s free!

December 8, 2011

New Music as a Cause

If your interest in music only extends to predictable, corporate-friendly recording artists, chances are you’re not going to spend much time on the new music-for-charity Web site Cause.fm. But the site is probably just what you're looking for if you get a thrill from being among the first to discover something new - under-exposed acts like, for example, Good Luck Jane, Modern Groove Assembly, Minus Ned and the Bad Cactus Brass Band.

And, better yet, each time you download a song/album from the site, a portion of the sale is donated to the charity of the artist’s choice (they also choose the amount).

The site is brand new, so let’s just say that there aren’t quite as many choices as you'll find on iTunes or Amazon. But if there were, an edgy music lover like you wouldn't be interested, would you?

December 7, 2011

I'm a Believer

If you still believe in a plump, jolly, white-bearded man who makes lists and checks them twice, figures out who’s been naughty and nice, works with elves at the North Pole and delivers gifts via reindeer on Christmas Eve – well...anyway - just a reminder that you can post your special letters at Macy’s locations across the country to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Each letter mailed using Macy’s certified Santa Mail Letterboxes raises $1 for this magical children’s charity.

And, if you mail your letter in store this Friday, December 9 (National Believe Day), Macy’s will double the donation for each and every letter received. Find out more about making wishes come true here.

December 2, 2011

Toy With Feeling

It looks like Toys for Tots is in it to win it this holiday season. Not only have they partnered with Kohl’s for a contest (see MDG's previous post), they’ve also teamed up with eBay for the Give-a-Toy Store.

If you’re lucky enough to live in either New York or San Francisco (and you ARE lucky if you do), you can visit this outpost in person and purchase (i.e. donate) gifts simply by scanning items in the window using eBay’s mobile app. Prices range from $2 to $25 and will provide items such as books, toys, games and sports equipment to disadvantaged kids across the country.

If you happen to live elsewhere (sorry), you can still donate a toy - or two - at eBay’s virtual window shop. Click here to spread some joy – and a few toys – for children in need.

December 1, 2011

Do or Tie

I’ve long been a supporter of Dress for Success, but until now I had no idea there was a version (for lack of a better word) for guys. Well, it looks like Career Gear has been providing suitable clothing – and counseling - for disadvantaged men looking for employment for a number of years.

In fact, this is the third straight it has hosted a Celebrity Tie Auction to help raise funds for its job retention services. In collaboration with Charity Buzz, they’re auctioning off an impressive list of autographed ties from celebrities including Kevin Spacey, Zach Galifianakis, Jay Leno, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Al Roker, Tim Gunn and David Duchovny.

You’ve got until December 6 to buy a tie for a guy looking for that much needed big break.

November 30, 2011

A Big Lump of Kohl

On the face of it, Kohl’s “Love to Give, Happy to Save” holiday promotion is all pretty straightforward. Submit a photo – along with 500 words or less of your most persuasive prose - that shows the positive things that inspire you to give this holiday season (no extra points if you credit your generosity to charity promotions by giant retailers).

Then choose which charity, Toys for Tots or Feeding America, you’d like to support. Keep in mind that your vote will determine which one takes homes a bigger share of a $500,000 pot, courtesy of Kohl’s.

The rules after that become a bit involved, but the gist of it is that 600 winners (200 in each of three rounds) will receive a $100 Kohl’s gift card and a $500 donation to Toys for Tots or Feeding America. Then, one grand prize winner will receive a $2,500 gift card and $25,000 for either charity. The first-place winner (first in a sort of second-place kind of way, apparently) will receive a $1,500 gift card and $15,000 for charity; and the second-place winner (who actually comes in third if you take a moment to really think ... ah, whatever) takes home a $1,000 gift card and $10,000 for charity.

You’ve got until December 23 to figure out who wins what and submit as many inspirational stories and photos as you’d like.

November 23, 2011

Hip + Shopping + Charity = Happy Holidays!

How could a blog so consumed by the marriage of social good and retail therapy ignore a new daily deal site called Social Goodies? And what, you might ask, could possibly set this shopping site apart from the rest?

Well, it’s got fresh, new brands that other sites probably haven’t heard of yet, handy gift vouchers called Goodie Bucks, and a cute, funky character called Aunt Goodie (who among us has never yearned for a funky aunt, for crying out loud?). Auntie G, it turns out, is credited on the site as being “the Godmother of good deeds and deals.”

Sign up here to get your own good daily deals (up to 70 percent off retail) that give back 20 percent of every purchase to charities including Children’s Health Fund, Surfrider Foundation and Fisher House. So far their good deals have raised more than $32,000 for great causes.

November 22, 2011

If This Grosses You Out - Good

I was going to warn readers that this is an R-rated post, but unfortunately teenagers – and even younger kids - can benefit from the information the most. The Meth Project, a non-profit organization that warns and educates teens about the danger of meth use, has created a highly interactive Web site that pretty much answers every question you’d ever want to know about this evil drug, and a ton more that you wouldn’t. What is meth mouth? What are crank bugs? What is tweaking? How gross can this stuff get before you figure out you shouldn’t go within a hundred miles of it?

You can also watch some awfully alarming but informative videos – three of which are directed by Academy Award nominee Darren Aronofsky - that show teens reflecting on the questions they might have asked before ever trying the drug. Click here to support The Meth Project and help kids stay away from this pitiful crap.

November 21, 2011

Best Buy for Boys and Girls

If you’re familiar with what a “Facebook Check-in” is, you might want to give it a whirl at your local Best Buy store between now and November 27. Your visit will result in a $2 contribution to a great charity: Boys & Girls Club of America.

Personally, I think Best Buy should double – or even triple - the donation for each and every brave shopper who checks in on Black Friday, but that’s just me. Click here to find a store near you.

November 17, 2011

Flip side

MDG doesn’t get many opportunities to write about wine (or any alcoholic beverages for that matter), so I’m delighted to get a chance to tell you about a fun – and very fitting - promotion between Flipflop Wines and Soles4Souls. Get it?

The curiously named winemaker is partnering with the hugely successful shoe charity for its “Flipflop Wines Give the Gift of Giving"contest.

One lucky winner will win a trip for four to a top-secret international destination to hand out shoes for those in need. And, hopefully, sample lots of wine while doing it.

Entry for this one is easy; all that’s required is for you to provide a bit of info on Flipflop’s Facebook page, Web site or Twitter account. And, of course, you’ll need a valid U.S. passport.

November 16, 2011

Kropaholic

If you’ve got children who enjoy digging in the dirt, you might want to let them know about a new grant opportunity (i.e. not a contest) from Katie’s Krops. Green-thumbed kids aged 9 to 16 are invited to send in their most innovative ideas – including ones involving containers and/or rooftops - for starting a vegetable garden to feed people in their community.

The recipient of the grant (i.e. not contest winner) will be awarded a gift card to a garden center in their area (up to $400), support from Katie’s Krops, and a digital camera to document their garden creation and its ensuing harvest. Apparently, it can’t just look good; it has to produce.

Dig into more delicious details here.

November 15, 2011

Shop Small

This isn’t technically charity-related, but it’s a great way to support small businesses in your community. Click here take the pledge to shop at local businesses in your area on Saturday, November 26, the day that happens to follow that other big shopping day.

Do your part to help financial minnow American Express make small business BIG business on Small Business Saturday.

November 11, 2011

Yes, We Can

The 32,000 members of the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) - widely considered the world's most emotionally positive trade group until the formation of the Will Manufacturers Association - are readying to launch their second annual Great American Can Roundup School Challenge this Tuesday, November 15, in honor of America Recycles Day. And it seems that hundreds of K-12 schools are preparing to test their mettle and compete for the title of “Best Recycler.”

Well, I’m not sure if there’s an official title given to the top school recycler. But the CMI will award $1,000 per state to the school recycling the most beverage cans per capita, and an additional $5,000 to the national champion school.

Schools have to register online to take part in the challenge – which runs from November 15 through Earth Day, 2012 (April 22) – before December 15.

November 10, 2011

The Cute, The Proud, The Creative

Here’s yet another idea for crafty kids to put their artistic talents to good use this holiday season. The National Museum of the Marine Corps is looking for a few good pieces of children’s art to be displayed at hospitals and rehabilitations centers throughout the world by the Wounded Warrior Regiment.

Artwork should be drawn, colored or painted on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper with your name, hometown and grade level printed proudly on the back. All entries need to be postmarked by December 10 and mailed in a flat, rigid envelope to:

National Museum of the Marine Corps
Attn: Teacher in Residence
18900 Jefferson Davis Highway
Triangle, Virginia 22172

The prize for this one is the big smile you’ll be bringing to the face of someone who was wounded serving our country.

November 9, 2011

Have a Good Trip

If you’d like to add a bit charity cheer to your Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa celebration this year, you might want to check out one of the six inspirational volunteer vacations offered by Hands Up Holidays. The company gets rave reviews for its perfect pairing of luxury travel with a “taste” of philanthropy, and sends do-gooders off to some pretty amazing places.

A few of their holiday itineraries include rescuing animals in Costa Rica, conserving the kiwis in New Zealand, building playgrounds in Morocco and teaching children in India. If you can’t get away this holiday season, don’t despair; they’ve got dozens of other volunteer trips of various lengths, activity and comfort levels.

So, whether you’ve flying solo or with family, are young or young-at heart, or prefer surf over snow, Hands Up will help provide you with an adventure that counts.

November 8, 2011

Picture Perfect

You’ve only got a few days left to vote for your favorite ASPCA dog or cat. There are 23 awfully adorable animals to choose from including Summer and Harley from Austin, TX; Kelly and Keiko from Washington, D.C.; Melissa and Mia from Orlando, FL and Jeannine and Puppet from Philadelphia, PA (this might be my favorite!).

The top 15 photos and/or videos will win a $1,000 grant for their corresponding shelters. Cast your vote here before November 11.

November 4, 2011

Free Bird

I know that I mentioned Farm Sanctuary not too long ago, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to fill you in on its new holiday promotion with Ellen DeGeneres. The comedienne/talk show host/vegan is teaming up with the now famous animal organization for its Adopt-a-Turkey Project, urging fans to go cold turkey on the turkey this Thanksgiving and instead adopt a bird for charity.

For a $30 donation you can choose from a flock of birds with names like “Skip,” “Antoinette,” “Amelinda,” "Anne Boleyn" (just kidding) and “Raphael.” Don’t worry, you’re not going to get an actual bird in the mail - much as a hoot that would be - but you will receive a color photo and fun facts about your rescued turkey, all of whom currently live very nice lives at one of Farm Sanctuary’s shelters.

Join Ellen in her new tradition of adopting a turkey instead of eating one. Visit www.adoptaturkey.org or call the Turkey Adoption Hotline at 1-888-SPONSOR.

November 3, 2011

All in a Day's Work

Three cheers for the team behind DailyFeats, a new site and app where you can earn points simply by completing easy, everyday tasks that, quite frankly, you should probably already be doing. Simple things like eating a salad, getting a good night’s sleep or cutting down on junk food.

Not only can you earn rewards (i.e. gift cards) from companies like Starbucks, Home Depot and Fandango, you can also share your accomplishments with friends, and help others – including those same friends - celebrate their own daily feats. Over time, these small positive actions will hopefully create a circle of momentum and motivation to help create even more positive change. And, if not, there’s always the reward thing.

Like the Web site says, “Go do good!”

November 1, 2011

Greetings, Young Artists

If you’re an aspiring artist aged 14 and under, now’s your chance (the operative word being NOW) to show off your creative chops and help less fortunate kids around the world. An annual tradition since 1992, Pier 1 Import is again teaming up with UNICEF for the granddaddy of all greeting card contests.

All budding artists need to submit their original artwork - inspired by the theme “Peace on Earth” – by MAIL, and the deadline for entries is this FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4. You can download an entry form here or pick one up from your local Pier 1 store.

Once you’ve completed your masterpiece, mail it (don’t forget postage) to:

Pier 1/ UNICEF Greeting Card Contest
Pier 1 Imports
100 Pier 1 Place
Fort Worth, TX 76102

The winning design will be printed as an official UNICEF holiday card - sold at Pier 1 Imports' stores nationwide - with 100 percent of all proceeds going to the US Fund for UNICEF. The winning artist will receive a $5,000 scholarship and his or her school will pocket $500 worth of art supplies.

Don't just sit there - get on with it!

October 27, 2011

Yours Truly

It may not be the flashiest Web site on the block, but iTrulyCare is a handy new platform where charities can post events, sell tickets, fundraise and gather volunteers all in one place. It’s also a great spot to search for events happening in your hood.

A quick search of the site showed dozens of interesting events including Dine with Diego at Zoo Miami (Miami, FL,) Wine, Wit and Lit (Maryland Hts., MO,) Seats for Seizures…and All That Jazz (Baton Rouge, LA) and Strolling Supper With Blues and News (New York, NY).

There truly is something for everyone here.

October 26, 2011

A Good Match

What do you get when you couple high-end designer duds with respected charities? A brand new e-commerce site called Community Collection.

This almost unspeakably cool new Web site pairs some of the world's leading fashion brands with select non-profits, helping customers turn "conspicuous consumption into compassionate consumption." (Those are Community Collection's words, not mine - I love alliteration, but even I would have thought twice about that one.)

You may feel a little bit better about the $208 you spent on that adorable Equipment pink silk shirt when you remember that 20 percent of the sale goes to Girl’s Inc. Or that you’ve supported Operation Homefront with a pair of $330 Alexander Wang gold zip sunglasses.

Community Collection will showcase six new designer-charity combos every week, and spread the love across a mix of established and emerging brands. The site's current line up includes Current/Elliot and Goods for Good, Clare Vivier for Surfrider Foundation, Alexis Bittar for Flying Kites, Inhabit for World Wildlife Fund, Whetherly for Operation USA, and LNA for Partners in Health.

Click here to do as good as you look.

October 24, 2011

Tiny Tony Prints

With Halloween almost here and Thanksgiving just a little further around the corner, it’s about time to start thinking about holiday cards. One pretty cool new option this year comes from online stationer Tiny Prints, which has partnered with the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation (EBMRF) to create hip holiday cards designed by A-list celebs including Jennifer Aniston, Eva Longoria, Catherine Bell, Zoe Saldana and Bridget Moynahan.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, proceeds from the limited-edition collection – which costs under $30 for a pack of ten cards - will benefit children and adults suffering from this painful skin disease.

Click here to choose between Zoe Saldana's candy canes, Jennifer Aniston's snowflakes or Catherine Bell's polka dots; then make it personal with your choice of text, fonts and images. Sort of a neat and different way to spread some holiday cheer, right?

October 21, 2011

Chasing the Dream

MDG is on top of things this week, bringing you news of a charity campaign BEFORE it actually happens. Novel idea, huh.

You’ll want to mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 8, as the first day to vote for how Chase Community Giving should divvy up $3 million amongst 100 small*, local charities across the nation (*501(c)(3) public charities with operating expenses under $1 million). It also happens to be the day many of you get to exercise your right to vote for government officials in your local and state elections. Always a good time.

Anyway, once you “Like” Chase Giving on Facebook, you’ll be given a total of ten votes. According to the official rules, you can only use one vote per charity, but I’m sure you’ll find dozens of charities that are worthy of your choice.

The top vote getter will take home $250,000, the next four will receive $100,000, and the remaining 95 will get $25,000.

October 20, 2011

Go With the Flow

Move over kickball and monkey in the middle: yoga might be rolling onto a playground (mat) near you. With the recent launch of its Yoga-Recess campaign, The Yoga Health Foundation is working hard to bring yoga out of the studio and into schools across the nation.

If you’re a teacher who likes the idea of integrating more balance - via Downward Dog and Dolphin pose - into your classroom, you could win a $500-$1,000 grant for explaining how you’d go about doing it (in 250 words or less.)

You should also include your name, phone number and e-mail, plus a few other details such as school name and address; grade or subject you teach; number of students you wish to reach; principal or administrator’s name, phone number and e-mail address; and finally, a little about your yoga background (if you’ve got one) in 100 words or less.

Now take a deep breath and be sure to send your submission to essay@yoga-recess.org before December 4. Namaste.

October 18, 2011

Phone It In

There's quite a lot to like about Nokia. In addition to making chic phones loved by chic Europeans (at least before the iPhone came along), the quirky Finnish phone giant's core values are just clunky enough to suggest that it used Google Translate for its English-language Web sites. I give you this: “Passion for Innovation, Very Human, Achieving Together and Engaging You.”

How adorable is that?

Anyway, Nokia is searching for charities that embody those values for its Nokia Care US Contest (clunk!). If you know of a nonprofit that fits the bill, you’ve got until November 2 to nominate them, and give them a shot at winning $2,500.

Just submit a short essay (250 words maximum) that conveys what the charity means to you, along with a photo that captures the good it does, to na.ps@nokia.com.

October 13, 2011

Boxed Good

If you’re the type of person who: a) likes surprises, b) enjoys eco-friendly products and c) fancies delivery, I’ve got the perfect new service for you. Conscious Box – created by three enterprising young lads – is a monthly subscription service that delivers one box full of handpicked healthy, organic goodies right to your doorstep each month.

For $19 per month (contents are worth $30 or more) you’ll receive an assortment of unique, all natural goods ranging from fair trade food items to vegan beauty products. I spotted a few familiar brands on the site including Larabar and Glee Gum, but it looks like you have to actually order a box to see exactly what’s inside!

The suspense is killing me.

October 12, 2011

Artfully Done

Grab your camera, sketchpad, easel, or pen tablet (preferably one made by Wacom) and snap, sketch, paint or “pen” something new for Wacom’s “A Thousand Forests” contest. Although the competition is inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous line – “the creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn” – your artwork doesn’t need to be poetry, nature or nut-related, it just needs to be, um, artful.

For every entry it receives, Wacom will donate $5.00 to the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), whose mission is to integrate the arts with science, sports and technology for the development of children's innate creativity.

A few of the top entries so far include “Portrait of Sal,” “Bunnicorn,” “Guardians of Sherwood,” and “Bewbits the Cat.” You’ve got until November 30 to submit your own work of art – along with a brief description - and have a shot at winning an all-expenses paid trip to the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in gorgeous Santa Fe, New Mexico.

October 11, 2011

Just Be Cause

You’ve got a little over two weeks left to vote for your favorite charity during the “Cause Layouts Choose Your Cause” contest. Click here to pick your favorite cause – and their corresponding Facebook charity layout - including Invisible Children, Not for Sale, Petfinder.com, and National Parks Foundation.

You have until October 31 to cast your vote and be entered to win a $1,000 prepaid Visa card for your efforts. What you do with the money is completely up to you.

October 7, 2011

Streets Ahead of the Mainstream Media

Kudos to Sesame Street for creating a new Muppet who will raise awareness of the widespread, and shamefully under-reported, issue of hunger in the United States. Lily, a fuchsia-colored 7-year-old, will make her debut in a one–hour primetime special called “Growing Hope Against Hunger” on Sunday, October 9.

Cookie Monster must be feeling awful. Anyhoos, tune in on Sunday to learn how this iconic show will deal with an issue that affects 16 million children in the U.S.

October 5, 2011

Tricks and Treats

If the goody aisle of my local grocery store is any indication, Halloween must be just around the corner. Which, of course, means…it’s almost time to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.

With 61 years under its belt, the original Kids Helping Kids program has glammed things up a bit this year with an angelic new ambassador – Heidi Klum – who will serve as the official host of its first-ever Trick-or-Treat for Halloween costume party. Supporters can click here to create a cool virtual costume, plan a Halloween shindig, share spooky stories, create a fundraising page or donate cash to this great children’s cause.

The iconic orange donation boxes are also getting a makeover this year with the addition of a Microsoft tag, enabling young trick-or-treaters to collect cash and/or smartphone swipe. Not a bad trick if you ask me.

Order your tricked out boxes online at www.trickortreatforunicef.org or by phone at 1-800-FOR-KIDS while supplies last.

October 4, 2011

A Million Moms

ABC News is partnering with the United Nations Foundation for its Million Moms Challenge, a new campaign that hopes to connect at least one million Americans with millions of moms in developing nations to promote healthy pregnancies, safe births and thriving babies. You don’t have to be a mom to help a mom; you just need to add your signature to their petition.

Then, “like” them on Facebook to kick in a $1 donation from Johnson and Johnson (up to $100,000.) It only takes a minute to be one in a million.

September 30, 2011

What a Difference a Decade Makes

The clock is ticking on your chance to win VIP tickets to “A Decade of Difference” concert at The Hollywood Bowl on October 15. To have a chance of seeing Lady Gaga, Bono, the Edge and Usher up close and personal, you must “like” The Clinton Foundation on Facebook before October 6.

Once you’re a fan, not only will you be entered into the contest, but The Clinton Foundation will donate $1 in your name to future initiatives dedicated to improving global health, protecting the environment, promoting healthier childhoods and strengthening economies around the world. Click here for more information.

September 29, 2011

It's a Gas

MDG is definitely not in the pocket of Big Oil. Or even small oil. But, I did want to spread the word about a cool new campaign – CITGOS’s Fueling Good program - that will help fuel the success (get it?) of 24 nonprofits across 27 states. The long and short of it is that the company is giving away $120,000 worth of free gas to 24 lucky organizations.

You’ve got until October 27 to place your vote for charities in four separate categories including Education and Social Investment, Energy Assistance and Conservation, Environmental Protection and Restoration, and Health and Well-Being. Click here to feel good about fueling good.

September 23, 2011

Joined Up Giving

I predict that a small Web site called The Giving Effect is going to have a BIG effect on the way Americans give. They’ve come up with an easy, efficient way for people to donate old (or new) stuff – such as clothing, books, shoes or toys – to the people who need it most.

Simply log onto the site, type in an item that you’ve got to give, pick your favorite cause, your preferred delivery method, and – bingo - the site matches you with a charity in or near your zip code. The whole process takes less than a minute or two.

There are over 1,400 unique organizations to choose from including the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp (Oakland, CA), Rumble Arts Center (Chicago, IL,) Mutt Madd-ness (Marietta, GA,) and Recycling for Food (West Bend, WI.)

Check out a new way of giving at TheGivingEffect.com.

September 22, 2011

I'll Vouch for That

Walgreen’s is using the power of social media to help provide more than $6 million in flu shot vouchers to folks who could otherwise not afford the vaccine. You can show your support – and donate the equivalent of one voucher - by “checking in” to a Walgreen’s on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Walgreens) or Foursquare.

You can also vote for which of five charities you’d like to receive the most vouchers including the American Diabetes Association, AmeriCares, Feeding America, League of United Latin American Citizens, and the National Urban League.

You’ve got until October 8 to check in or cast your vote.

September 21, 2011

More Than a Game

Gamers around the world now have a noble excuse for spending an entire day and night in their bedrooms with curtains drawn, thumbs at the ready, and the ordering and acceptance of pizza their only interaction with the outside world.

Am I falling back on a lazy stereotype? Of course!

Xbox LIVE’s annual, 24-hour Gaming and Giving for Good (G3) marathon raises funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the 170 kids' health care facilities it supports in the U.S. and Canada.

If you rally donations on a per-hour basis, the more you play, the more money you earn. The event starts at 8:00 AM sharp (local time) on Saturday, October 1.

Click here to get in on gaming for good.

September 20, 2011

Route for the Dogs

North Shore Animal League has partnered with FIDO Friendly Magazine to raise awareness of shelter pet adoptions during its third Annual “Get Your Licks on Route 66” national tour. It looks like they’ve already covered most of the Western states (sorry, I just found out about the tour today) and are now somewhere deep in the Midwest.

They’ve still got stops in Kentucky, Utah and Illinois before their final adoption event in New York City on September 25. Click here for tour updates and a full list of life-saving dog events along America’s iconic Route 66.

September 16, 2011

Little Rue

Rue La La, the stylish invitation-only flash sale site, recently added “Little Rue” to its rapidly growing retail roster. To celebrate the launch its new kid-friendly boutiques, it will donate 100 percent of the net proceeds from Little Rue sales in September to one lucky children’s charity.

Members can vote for one of four organizations listed on the site including Room to Read, Hope Lab, First Book, and The Alliance for a Healthier Generation. At the end of the month, the one with the most votes will take home the cash.

September 14, 2011

Are You Ready?

With flooding, hurricanes, power outages, earthquakes and countless other disasters testing our nation on an almost daily basis, the folks at The Points of Light Institute are encouraging Americans to learn more about the importance of emergency preparedness. To be fair it’s been doing so since August, but MDG seems to be the last to hear about its most recent Good and Ready campaign.

Points of Light has teamed up with the American Red Cross, Ready.gov and FLASH to ask individuals to take a pledge to create emergency plans, build emergency preparedness kits, and get trained as emergency response volunteers. Stat.

After making your pledge you’ll be entered to win a weekly drawing for a $250 Lowe's gift card and a grand prize drawing for a $1,000 gift card from American Express. Both of which can be donated to a local emergency response organization if you so wish.

Click here to become good and ready for anything Mother Nature (or Father Incompetence) sends your way.

September 13, 2011

Last Teacher Standing

Attention students, please step aside while your teachers duke it out during the Great American Teach-Off. Online do-gooder organization GOOD is teaming up with The University of Phoenix to put teachers to the ultimate test and find America’s best teacher.

If you know of an elementary (K-6) educator who’s making a big difference in the classroom, click here to submit his or her name before September 16. The winning teacher will take home a $10,000grant and the title of best teacher in the nation. And perhaps reward you with a few extra credit points.

September 9, 2011

Sweet Deal

Krispy Kreme is taking it to the streets, searching for worthy charitable causes to join them in celebrating the launch of its new “worthy” signature coffee. They’re looking for three non-profit organizations that will each win free coffee and delicious glazed doughnuts during tour stops in October, November and December.

If you can think of a charity that loves coffee and doughnuts as much as they like doing good (one automatically leaps to mind), click here to submit your 500-word worthy description and photo before September 26

September 7, 2011

Good Carma

Show Subaru some love by casting your vote for one of four charities to be added to this year’s “Share the Love” event in November. You’ve got until September 15 to vote for the American Red Cross, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Make-A-Wish Foundation or Teach for America.

Feel free to spread the love between each of the charities by voting once every day until the contest ends. Click here to learn more about sharing the love.

September 2, 2011

Tic Tac Shake and Share

For the seventh straight year, Tic Tacs is teaming up with CancerCare for its highly successful Shake, Share & Care Campaign. To get things rolling, Tic Tacs is donating $100,000 to this terrific organization, which provides free professional support services to people affected by cancer.

It’s also urging folks to shake things up through its Tic Tac Extraordinary Caregiver Contest. From now through October 3, consumers can nominate and vote for the most deserving caregivers in their lives, ones who have shown tireless dedication in helping those touched by cancer.

The sharing part comes courtesy of the Tic Tac USA Facebook page, where you’ll obviously want to submit all of your nominations and votes. After all of the tallying is done, three extraordinary caregivers will win $2,500, and the nominators of the three winning entries will each receive a $500 gift card.

Click here to tick off your list of most extraordinary caregivers.

August 31, 2011

Caddy for a Cure

I might as well stick with this week’s sporting theme and tell you about a cool new campaign called Caddy for a Cure. The program gives ordinary folks the opportunity to caddy for a golf professional on the PGA or LPGA Tour and raises money for various children’s charities including Birdies for the Brave and the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity doesn’t come cheap (bids start at around $200), but its does allow you to get up close and personal with the likes of Tiger, Phil, Ian, Yani or whoever else you might like to take a swing at – um, I meant with.

For more information about Caddy for the Cure, please click here.

August 30, 2011

Football Friday

In anticipation of football’s big fall comeback Friday, September 9, The National Football League (NFL) is partnering with the United Way for its Back to Football Friday campaign. With dual goals of tackling childhood obesity AND promoting good old-fashioned team spirit, the promotion provides fans with numerous ways to get involved and raise money for the cause.

Here are just a few.

Schools can get in the game by organizing a Back to Football Friday bash. The schools that show the most NFL team pride and commitment to kid’s health will compete for a chance to be named one of 34 NFL PLAY 60 Super Schools, receive an NFL team celebration and a $10,000 health and wellness grant.

Companies can encourage employees to donate $5 to the United Way in exchange for permission to get pimped out in their finest NFL team gear on BTF Friday.

Employees can contribute to the cause by transforming their work cubicles into the ultimate NFL fan zone. The owner of the winning cubicle will take home tickets to Super Bowl XLVI.

Regular folks can compete for the coveted title of “United Way Super Fan” by hosting a tailgate party, organizing a fundraiser, or getting tons of friends and family members to support the cause on Twitter or Facebook. Super fans should submit their best stories and photos here for a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl XLVI.

Please visit www.backtofootball.org for more ways to support the United Way’s war on childhood obesity.

* photo courtesy of www.obesityhelp101.com