March 30, 2012

Young Artists Go Gaga

Lady Gaga is on the lookout for talented young artists to create a brave new identity for her recently launched Born This Way Foundation (BTWF). Entrants have until Wednesday, April 11 to paint, design, sketch, graffiti or even collage their 11 X 17 poster. Just make sure your masterpiece includes the foundation’s name (see above) and an explanation of what bravery means to you.

Ms. Gaga - and her mum/BTWF co-founder Cynthia Germanotta - will select the top 10 designs, which will then go online – and undoubtedly viral – for public vote. You’ll have to stay tuned for what the winner actually wins, but I’m sure it’ll be something fabulous.

March 28, 2012

Adopting in Joplin

MDG is happy to announce that she’s the proud new sponsor of Sunny, an adorable 10-month old Labrador/Shepherd mix waiting to be adopted, rescued or fostered from the Joplin Humane Society (in Joplin, MO). Sunny is just one of dozens of dogs and cats who are available for sponsorship, many of which were left homeless after last year’s devastating tornado.

For a $60 donation, you can sponsor any of the shelter’s dogs or cats including “Chicken Nugget,” a Labrador/Retriever puppy; “Dude,” an adult Weimaraner/Australian Shepherd; “Earl,” a domestic short hair senior cat or “Harlequin,” a camera-shy domestic short hair kitten (*information current at time of post.) Or, if you prefer, you can have them choose a dog or cat that needs your help the most.

Sponsoring a pet helps in many wonderful ways including upping the odds that he or she will be chosen by a rescue group, having the adoption fee waived when he or she is adopted by an approved family and, of course, helping the shelter provide food and medical care for your sponsored animal. And you can do this from hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

March 23, 2012

Bossy Pants

Habitat for Humanity is building on its six-year partnership with Nissan, launching a fun new Facebook app that allows players to get downright bossy with volunteer builders. Take control of the virtual build by typing instructions like “hammer the nail,” “pick up the pipe” or “open the window.”

Or, feel free to challenge the builder – and score additional points – by using more creative commands such as “smash the damn window” or “graffiti the wall.” Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFo-U6CVTYE to watch a fun, informative video of a volunteer literally throwing a pipe and having it returned - very oddly enough - by a gigantic penguin.

The builders with the top 100 scores - submitted by April 12 - will receive a Nissan T-shirt and be honored with a nailing, hammering or drilling during an upcoming build in Nashville, TN. Your virtual participation will help Habitat for Humanity build affordable, sustainable homes for families in need.

March 21, 2012

Sounds a Bit Fishy

In an admirably tenuous promotion, Nordic Naturals – America’s favorite (Scandinavian?) fish oil company – is inviting fans to submit a personal story of no more than 200 words about the thing that is most essential (geddit?) in their lives. Is it strolling through the park, spending quality time with family, cuddling up with the cat, reading a great book, or perhaps taking the recommended daily dose of pure, sustainable omega-3 oil?

You’ve got until April 30 to submit your story – and a photo - to earn a shot at a trip for two to sunny Santa Cruz*, Calif. Go to www.whatsessential.com for more essential information.

*Winners are advised to Google "Santa Cruz," "marine layer" and "average summer temperature" before packing their suitcase.

March 20, 2012

Keep America Beautiful

This may come as a shock, but our rivers, roads, parks and lands don’t clean - or green – themselves. So thank goodness for organizations like Keep America Beautiful (KAB). For this year’s Great American Cleanup on Saturday, April 28, KAB hopes to recruit 4 million volunteers to collect trash, recycle cans and bottles, and plant trees and flowers across the country.

This “National Day of Action” will be marked by cleanup events in almost every state. Landmark volunteer efforts are planned for Los Angeles; Oakland, CA.; Cocoa, FL; Indianapolis, IN; Cobb County, GA; Hampton Roads, VA; Houston, TX; Shreveport, LA; Philadelphia, PA and Nashville, TN.

Click on kab.org to help keep America beautiful.

March 16, 2012

Two Degrees of Deliciousness

Full disclaimer: I haven’t personally tasted the product I’m about to recommend, but feel quite comfortable doing so because a) it was endorsed by Alicia Silverstone on Open Sky, both highly reputable sources who rarely put a foot wrong, and b) proceeds from the product go to the well-respected charity Partners in Health.

Very similar to – or, some might say, inspired by - TOM’S One For One business model, Two Degrees Foods gives away one meal (to a hungry child) for every all natural, gluten-free, quinoa-enhanced nutrition bar it sells. What’s more, you’ve got three healthy, delicious flavors to choose from: apple pecan, cherry almond and chocolate peanut. Yum and done.

Click here to help feed 200 million hungry children who are just Two Degrees of separation away. Yep, I stole that from their Web site.

March 14, 2012

d'Eau!

Next week, MDG is looking forward to raising a glass or two (of water!) to toast UNICEF's Tap Project, an annual partnership with the hospitality industry that helps to provide children around the world with clean, fresh drinking water. From March 19-25, thousands of restaurants across the country will charge $1 for a glass of tap water, and donate all of the week’s proceeds to UNICEF.

It’s a great tradition that everyone can tap into. Go find your local Tap Project participants here. Salut!

March 12, 2012

A March March

Who needs March Madness? Why let that sporting yawn spoil such a lovely month, a stretch of the calendar during which we express our gratitude for clocks going forward, flowers in bloom, warmer days and the always terrific “March into Literacy”?

In honor of this momentous month-long celebration, the UPS Store network -- including its retail locations and Mail Boxes Etc. -- will collect coins for the Toys for Tots Literacy Program. Not to be confused with the better-known TFT holiday season initiative, this springtime program delivers books - not toys - to less fortunate kids in the U.S. In fact, it’s delivered more than a million of them since 2008.

Click here and join this awesome March march.

March 8, 2012

Cute Kate Collaboration

You don’t need to feel guilty about shopping Gilt’s new collaboration with Kate Spade and Women for Women International. You will, however need $198 for the Circle Tote, $228 for the Fringe Convertible Clutch (so cute), $28 for the Cord Wrapped Bangle and $48 for the Call to Action Bracelet. You’ll also need to act fast; the sale only lasts a couple of days.

Rest assured, each of your purchases – which FYI are crafted by female artisans in war-town countries - provides training, fair wages and sustainable employment to women all over he world. Click here for Kate’s cool new collaboration.

March 7, 2012

Teach Off

First came Survivor. Then American Idol, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, The Osbournes, The Amazing Race, The Real World, The Bachelor, Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, repeat to fade. The list could go on forever, and your blogger couldn't be less interested in making it chronologically accurate.

Now, thanks to University of Phoenix and GOOD (an altruistic organization/magazine/community/media platform), the popular online reality contest “The Great American Teach-Off" is with us again. From now through April 2 you can vote for one of the country’s 10 most innovative educators as they compete for a $10,000 classroom grant.


Each of the finalists has a special gift for bringing to life a particular subject, from woodworking and English to social studies and math. Click here to view videos from the top 10 teachers in California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut and New York. You just might learn something.

March 6, 2012

Village Voice

You may be familiar with the Join My Village initiative (mentioned here back in December 2010), but what you might not know is that the program recently expanded into India. With big name supporters General Mills and The Merck Company, CARE is now able to give disadvantaged women and girls in Malawi and India a fighting chance for better education and economic empowerment. Fingers crossed, the program will spread to even more communities soon.

In the meantime, you can help unlock the $1.5 million in donations guaranteed by these two generous corporations by “liking” the Join My Village Facebook page.

March 2, 2012

Go Forth And Prosper

It’s been awhile since I’ve heard the word “microcredit” bandied about in the media, but that may be about to change thanks to Whole Food Planet Foundation’s 2012 Prosperity Campaign. In a partnership with Grameen America (watch your back, Kiva!) the foundation hopes to raise more than $4 million to fund poverty alleviation in U.S. communities that supply its stores with products.

Between now and March 31, the popular neighborhood market will host hundreds of in-store fundraising events including wine tastings, fashion shows and silent auctions. If none of those float your boat, you can – literally - pitch in your small change for big change at the checkout register.

WPF is also hosting a contest – via Facebook - in which shoppers can submit a 25-350 word essay on how their small actions are making a big impact, and have a chance to win a trip for two to India courtesy of Intrepid Travel. The seven-day adventure promises up-close and personal time with actual loan recipients who live and work in this vibrant, stunning and extremely poverty-stricken part of the world.

To enter, go to facebook.com/wholeplanetfoundation and click on the “Whole Planet Foundation: Small Change for Big Change” tab before March 18.