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!