Giving with Gratitude

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Giving with Gratitude

I had been looking for an avenue to “give back” some of the good fortune in my life (and there has been plenty). This had flummoxed me until a few years ago when I came across a YouTube TedTalk by Seth Godin that finally hit that nerve. It formed the basis of my giving plan.

It is a Ted Talk so it’s about 20 minutes long, but you can see it here

His message is to find what you can’t abide in the world, and lead a movement to change it. That did it for me.

Now, I frankly don’t know how to start a movement combining jewelry and uplifting the lives of economically stressed women. They don’t need earrings. And I certainly know ecology, and the scarcity of clean water aren’t improved by mining gemstones.

What I endeavored to do was find the best vehicles for giving, so my current choices are Heifer International, Charity: Water, and Kiva and the Nature Conservancy.

Find what you can’t abide in the world and lead a movement to change it.

I have been aware of Heifer for nearly 10 years, since a portrait customer of mine who was active with Heifer asked me to donate a drawing to a Heifer International fund raiser.

I learned about their programs to teach families, and whole communities, how to impact their lives by breeding animals and then sharing the offspring with their neighbors. “Gifts are passed from recipient to recipient until entire communities are transformed”. They are active in the U.S. and globally.

Charity: Water is new to me, but with the world-wide crisis with clean, plentiful drinking water it seems appropriate. And their 100% donations-to-the-field financial model is impressive. No one can live long without water.

Kiva has been on my radar for some years. It’s program of small loans from person to person has been proven over time.

This model seems insignificant in size, but its scale is surprising. Millions of dollars are lent each week to receivers in the U.S. and globally. For each borrower the impact is huge and the great majority are women.

Charity Navigator gives Kiva it’s highest rating.

The Nature Conservancy finds gravely endangered habitats that need to be saved and they purchase them. This protects the land in perpetuity. Their reach is global, scientifically sound and well managed.

Still searching for a giving plan to increase the education of women

I am still searching for an inspiring way to increase the education of women, to improve their economic status, delay premature marriage, and reduce the incidence of various physical abuses. Any suggestions would be welcome.

I’m not a very political person; not an activist, not a marcher. But I don’t want to send my step-sons or their children to fight anywhere, and I believe well-fed, productive people of any culture and religion cherish peace. So, these are my choices.

As I have for the past five years, a total of 5% of the purchase price (not profits, but the whole purchase amount less tax and shipping, if added) of all jewelry sold will be donated to these good causes.

You might ask if I’m raising my prices to cover this cost, and the answer is no. This will be coming from me. My life has been blessed, and it’s what I’ve decided to do.