January 30, 2014

Doggone Hero

All dogs are heroes in my opinion, but some definitely go above and beyond the call (or bark) of duty. And that’s where the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards comes in. Each year it accepts nominations for dogs that protect, comfort, serve and sometimes even save us in some pretty spectacular ways.

You’ve got until February 28 to nominate your courageous canine in one of eight categories: Law Enforcement Dogs, Military Dogs, Arson Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs and Emerging Hero Dogs (for ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things). Beginning in March, the general public will narrow the field down to 24 semifinalists (the top 3 in each category) and in June it will be whittled down to eight inspiring dogs by celebrities including Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Joey Lawrence, Miranda Lambert and Kristin Chenoweth.

All eight furry finalists will be flown to Hollywood with two of their human friends to the AHA Hero Dog Award gala this summer where they’ll stroll the red carpet, conduct VIP interviews and sit front and center at the awards show where the winning 2014 American Hero Dog will be announced. Each of the eight finalists will win $1,500 for their chosen charity and the top winner will receive an additional $5,000 for their favorite cause. 

Vote for your favorite hairy hero here.

January 28, 2014

Grow Some Hope

Launched on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, msnbc’s new initiative Growing Hope shines a light on Americans across the country who are making a real difference in their communities through volunteerism and service. It also highlights how some of its hosts are helping grow some hope of their own: Chris Jansing shares her passion for Bottomless Closet, Lawrence O’Donnell gives back through K.I.N.D., Krystal Ball supports FAIR Girls and Andrea Mitchell grows hope through America's Promise Alliance.
Share your own ideas for growing hope at msnbc.com/growing-hope.

January 24, 2014

You Go Girls

Miss Do-Gooder is definitely happiest when she’s eating healthy and being active – yoga, hiking, running, body pump classes, walking the dog – each makes me feel strong, confident and ready to conquer the world. 
So when I read about Activyst, a company that creates bright, bold, functional athletic bags and apparel to support girls’ sports worldwide, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. Founded by Leigh Orne, Katie Rock and Blair Warner, Activyst’s mission is simple: to catalyze change in the world by helping more girls play sports.

I recently ordered one of their adorable blue tees ($32), boldly proclaiming that I’m now an “activist.” I can’t wait to wear it in support of getting more girls to get out there and be more active. Become a girls’ activyst here and show how strong girls will help create a strong world.

January 22, 2014

Salute to Seniors

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about contests for kids and women. Now I’m really pleased to share one that’s strictly for senior citizens.

The Salute to Senior Service program recognizes the remarkable contributions of adults age 65 and older who give at least 15 hours a month to their favorite causes. From now through March 1 you can nominate yourself or vote for one of dozens of featured volunteers who pack “to go” backpacks for low income school children, write thank you cards for donors, raise funds for walkathons, refill bird feeders/mow lawns, lead fitness classes for fellow seniors and deliver food to families in need. It’s really quite a list.

One national winner will take home $5,000 for their favorite nonprofit; state winners will receive $500 for a charity of their choice, all courtesy of Home Instead, Inc. Click here to support a senior or to send a salute of your own.

January 20, 2014

Highly Rated

I recently got an email from Charity Navigator asking if I knew that they were a charity. No, was my response (in my head); I had no clue. Although in retrospect, its .org status should've tipped me off.
After skimming through the email – and learning that less than 1% of its users support its work - I promptly clicked the “donate” button at the bottom of the screen and gave them some Miss Do-Gooder love.

If you’re one of the 4.2 million people who visited Charity Navigator last year, you already know how truly valuable the site is when it comes to rating which charities are doing the best work out there and which ones could frankly do a little bit better. If you haven’t, click here to view CN’s Top 10 Lists, Hot Topics and some great Tips for Donors.

Then you can decide for yourself whether they deserve a donation of their own.

January 16, 2014

Market for Good

If you’re in the market for handmade goods that give back, TOMS has you got you covered. Each and every carefully curated product (from cool, up-and-coming companies) featured in its new “Marketplace" supports a specific cause: children, education, health, job creation, nutrition and/or water. You’ll find unique and unusual bags, home goods, apparel, accessories and tech items, all easily sortable by cause, region or brand.
Miss Do-Gooder really likes the look of the Herero Headdress Bracelet benefitting The Base Project as well as the Spring Floya Wristlet supporting Joyn. Because as you all know, one can never have too many bags.

Check out TOM'S new Marketplace here.