Posts with Category Where Am I Giving?

Dear friend who doesn’t like to get political

Dear friend who doesn’t like to “get political,”

Farm bill. Food stamps. Farm subsidies. Food safety. Poisoned.

Eating is a political act.

Car emissions. Smog warning. Ozone action. Factory exhaust. Suffocation.

Breathing is a political act.

No music. Test teaching. Politician’s curriculum. Slashed budgets. Dumbed.

Education is a political act.

High premium. Expensive meds. Uninsured bankruptcy. Untreated. Preexisting until you unexist.

Health is a political act.

Farm runoff. Waste treatment. Lead water. Depleted aquifers. Parched.

Drinking is a political act.

Bears Ears. Natural parks. Algal blooms. Dying reefs. Homeless.

Recreation is a political act.

Trade laws. Labor rights. Underpaid. Overtime. Destitute.

Working is a political act.

Neighborhood watch. Stand your ground. Speed limits. Slow . . . at risk children at play.

Safety is a political act.

Unemployment. Social security. Disability. Promised entitlements. Uncertainty.

The future is a political act.

Museums. Public works. Heart appreciation. Examined…

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The gift of a teacher

Mrs Marshall

Before I turn in a book manuscript to my editor, I turn it in to my high school English teacher, Dixie Marshall. She’s my best and most trusted editor. And also, I suppose, I’m trying to make up for all the assignments I didn’t turn in as a high school student.

There was the group project on King Arthur where we turned in our “notes” and it became apparent that none of us were taking the assignment seriously.

There was the summer reading group. Mrs. Marshall selected me and a few other students for a group she hosted at her house . . . in the summer! Did I mention this was during…

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Do you tip the barista when they aren’t looking?

Has this happened to you?

You place your coffee order and by the time you find a buck or two for the tip, the barista has their back to you. You look at the hand-decorated, ornamented tip jar and pause. Do you drop in the tip while no one is looking, or do you wait to get “credit”– a “thank you” for your “thank you.”

What did you do?

Does a tip fall into a jar if there is no one in the cafe to see it? Does it count? Of course it is counted at the end of the day. But in that moment, it’s not counted as your act of gratitude.

But are we tipping to enhance our own status or tipping to support someone else? Is tipping about us or…

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I cut Steven Seagal from my book, Putin pasted him into US-Russian relations

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Vladimir Putin named Steven Seagal as the Russian Special Envoy to the United States. While writing Where Am I Giving I went on a Steven Seagal tangent I thought was worth sharing. As a kid I watched a few of his movies, but until I went down the Steven Seagal rabbit hole to research the tangent I never realized how deplorable of a person he seems to be.

To set things up… the tangent came in the first chapter of the book when I write about my first post-college trip. I had been taken in by a monk, Sange, who had stayed at Steven Seagal’s house. We were prepping for a celebration in honor of Sange’s teacher Penor Rinpoche.

Here’s…

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Want to make the world a more generous place? Help launch my next book

Kelsey at APSU

 

My new book Where Am I Giving? comes out on July 25th, or 15th, or who knows? I’m not JK Rowling. However, I do I believe there is magic in this book that can make each of our lives and the world better.

I need your help! The world’s a noisy place and marketing budgets are limited.

So far I’ve received some great endorsements from world renowned philosophers, bestselling authors, and Gandhi’s grandson, but none of them meant as much as what my high school English teacher, Dixie Marshall, wrote to me after reading an early version of the book:

“I believe this is the most important book you have written and may ever write. It’s really an impressive book, a valuable book,…

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Happy Red Nose Day?

photo by Bryan Ledgard Flickr Creative Commons

If you’ve shopped at Walgreens recently, no doubt you’ve seen red clown noses for sale. They fight poverty or something, whatever that means.

“60 percent didn’t quite understand what we did,” says Janet Scardino, CEO of  Comic Relief USA  that partners with Walgreens to sell the noses.

Between the US and the UK, the campaign has raised more than $1.4 billion, which goes to organizations like Save the Children, Feeding America, and the Boys & Girls Club to help children in need.

NPR’s Goats & Soda reported on the campaign: “But how does buying a red foam nose at a drugstore for a buck help the cause? And does this charity with the silly name really do good work? We…

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What the “elephant whisperer” teaches us about listening

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When Lawrence Anthony died, elephants he had rescued and released years ago, showed up to mourn at his graveside.

Here’s what his wife wrote:

“Tonight at Thula Thula, the whole herd arrived at the main house home to Lawrence and I. We had not seen them here for a very long time. Extraordinary proof of animal sensitivity and awareness that only a few humans can perceive. And Lawrence was one of them. Thank you for your wonderful messages. Lawrence’s legacy will be with us forever at Thula Thula.”

They stayed for two days and two nights and then left. Some share this story as proof that animals mourn. But anyone who has had animals knows this already. There is a bigger…

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A war criminal & humanitarian

Anne Spoerry

Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers ever, but the last decade has revealed a series of affairs, transgressions, and DUI’s. He’ll play in the Masters this weekend. Is Tiger back? I’m not much of a golf fan, but I’ll keep tabs on him as he makes his way through Augusta National.

Mother Teresa is a saint and a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. She’s also criticized for not giving patients in her clinic adequate medical attention despite pulling in huge sums of money. She had dubious political connections and held dogmatic views on abortion, divorce, and contraception.

Can we accept the good works of people while acknowledging their mistakes and flaws?

While researching WHERE AM I GIVING? I came across…

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An opportunity to Give to The Legend of Kenya


(Rozy Mbone shares her dream of having a safe place for those in her community to escape a life of crime)

I was in Kenya researching WHERE AM I GIVING and I met a young woman named Rozy in the Korogocho slum of Nairobi.

Rozy and her friends were all former gang members. There were few opportunities to make a living in their community, so they lived a life of crime surrounded by death, violence, prostitution, and robbery.

A woman named Selline Korir visited Korogocho and talked about peace and encouraged Rozy to leave her old life behind. Rozy did and soon the others followed and now they promote peace and dialogue in a community where death and violence are everyday life.

We often think our lives have…

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4 Questions one of the most effective NGOs asks before giving

 

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Benter showing me her greenhouse in Kenya

I visited GiveDirectly in Kenya this summer and write about them in Where Am I Giving? GiveWell ranks GD as one of the most effective nonprofits in the world. GD gives direct cash payments to extremely poor families and allows them to make their own decisions on how to spend that money.

I don’t think all giving can be measured, but GD’s impact can, and they measure it better than almost any other NGO. So when it comes to asking question about how to give and whom to give to it’s worth listening to their advice.

GD’s 4 questions to ask before giving:

1. Can I tell where my dollar (or pound, mark, etc.) will go? This…

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