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.