Posts with Category Giving Back

My next book adventure… Where Am I Giving?!

 

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Sometimes  when we see the harsh realities of the world, we can feel guilty, ashamed, and powerless to do anything. That’s how I felt standing in a dump in Cambodia, watching adults and children picking through a trash heap.

I wanted to do something to help, but what could I do? I was just one man, researching my first book, traveling on my second mortgage. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I hadn’t done anything and that felt wrong.

This feeling of helplessness is what I’m taking on in my new book adventure…

Where Am I Giving? A Global Adventure Exploring How to Use Your Time, Money, and Energy to Make a Better World will explore this distance between the hopelessness of guilt and the…

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Is the Pope wrong about beggars?

Pope Francis

This week Pope Francis offered what to do when we pass beggars on the street: We should give to them without a thought. We should look them in the eye and maybe shake their hand. To give without engaging is robbing them of their human dignity.

The Catholic News Service reported on the Pope’s comments:

People who don’t give money to the homeless because they think it will be spent on alcohol and not food should ask themselves what guilty pleasures they are secretly spending money on, Pope Francis said.

“There are many excuses” to justify why one doesn’t lend a hand when asked by a person begging on the street, he said in an interview published the day before the beginning of Lent.

But giving something to someone in need “is always right,” and it should be done with respect and compassion because “tossing money and not looking in (their) eyes is not a Christian” way of behaving, he said.

Is he right?

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All Because a Girl Loved to Read

IMG_0392 The Rubini family

Ten-year-old Claire Rubini loved to read. After she suddenly died from a previously unknown heart condition at summer camp in 2000, her parents, Brad and Julie, wanted to spread her love of reading. And boy have they.

Last week I had the chance to see how Claire’s love of reading has led to thousands of kids in the Toledo-area receiving free books and reading awards.

Brad and Julie started a children’s book festival they called Claire’s Day with the purpose “to honor [Claire] in a special tribute to her love of reading, storytelling, music, encouraging others to read and simply having fun with friends.”

The Claire’s Day staff, a team of volunteers…

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Come with me on a tour of the Midwest Writers Workshop’s new location

The Midwest Writers Workshop helped launch my writing career. I went to the conference in the summer of 2007 and by the end of the year the agent I met there had sold my first book (WHERE AM I WEARING?) to a publisher.

You should REGISTER NOW for the conference this summer if you’d like to reach the world with your words. We’re well on our way to another sell-out.

I’ve been a proud member of the nonprofit’s planning committee for the last 6 years or so. We’re growing the number of opportunities we offer writers along with the number of faculty we bring in, including agents, editors, authors, and publishing experts. We outgrew our old location at Ball State’s Alumni Center and this summer…

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Should firefighters stand in the street and ask for money? (Criticizing the Fill the Boot Campaign)

First, before you start hating me, let me say that I’m amazed by the risk firefighters face and the courage with which they face it. Even Grizzly bears and great whites are afraid of fire. That makes firefighters, who jump into a blazing building, braver than grizzlies and great whites!

(Photo: I took this photo of a firefighter in the street “filling the boot” in my hometown.)

A woman who has an office in the same building I have an office would not be with us any longer if not for the action and courage of local firefighters. Firefighters miraculously rescued her and her husband from a horrible home fire in the middle of the…

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Where I’m Giving. How to support the children of Nepal.

(I took this shot outside of Katmandu in 2001)

A second earthquake has hit Nepal. The first on April 25th killed 8,000, injured many more, and directly affected 1.7 million kids. I’ve been to Nepal and have had a heart for the country ever since. Several friends have reached out to me asking where they should give to support Nepal.

This is my answer . . .

I signed up for a recurring donation to Next Generation Nepal. Please join me in giving to an organization working to help support Nepal and not exploit it.

When disasters happen, images like the one to the right…

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I Took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in my Anti-Fart Underwear

Harper is totally going to need therapy!

I’ve never known someone who died from ALS, nor was I fully aware of how scary the disease was until the challenge. So as silly as this challenge seems, it raised my awareness.

Is it a sustainable way to raise funds or even replicable? Probably not. But it’s fun and important, and even my own parents accepted the challenge. OnPoint explored the viral campaign on a show titled “Stunt Philanthropy in the Age of Social Media.” If you’ve criticized or defended the Ice Bucket Challenge, you should listen to this show:

And of course, I hope you’ll join Harper and me in donating to the ALS Association at www.alsa.org….

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“Social Good” campaigns aren’t always good

This week I appeared on HuffPo Live alongside Dr. Mara Einstein, author of Compassion Inc, and Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive who spoke out against the industry’s deception of the American public and author of Deadly Spin.

I talked about Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices program that I witnessed (or in many cases did not witness) in Colombia while researching EATING. And I also talked about TOMS. My main point was that we are just served up a pill of “do gooding” and we swallow it whole without asking questions about who or how much such ideas benefit the people they are meant to serve.

Dr. Einstein shared a mind blowing example. McDonald’s had a campaign playing up the fact that a portion of all…

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“Injustice must be confronted”

One of the most talked about parts of WHERE AM I EATING? is when I freed a slave in Ivory Coast. This was the subject of an editorial in James Hallmark’s recent column in the Amarillo Globe-News titled Injustice must be confronted.

James writes:

“We have made helping easy in America, perhaps too easy. When a tornado strikes Oklahoma, we text “Red Cross” to 90999 and we have “helped.” We are asked to “like” a Facebook page and told doing so will help free little girls from sex trafficking. These small actions may indeed help and even be essential, but someone has to get their hands dirty to free slaves, liberate little girls from prostitution, or clean up a tornado’s damage.”

James says that my decision to hatch a plan to free…

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What has aid ever done for anyone?

Somewhere along the line aid has become less cool.

Everyone is all about teaching a man to fish, not giving him a fish. Everyone is all like trade and not aid. I’m guilty of this too. (See my give a man a job making shoes not a free pair of shoes argument regarding TOMS.) In response to this, Save the Children UK made a Monty Python inspired video about the not-so minor things aid has accomplished.

It’s hilarious and gets the point across.

Want to support smart aid? Be a smart giver. Learn how here – here….

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