7 Worthwhile Causes to Support This Year
Looking to volunteer your time and talents or donate to a new charity as you work to become an even better human? We talked with Pamela Schein Murphy, the force behind curation site The Select 7, to score a list of the seven top causes she’s encouraging people to get involved with this year. “I’ve always believed wholeheartedly in the importance of giving back,” she says. “It’s now more important than ever, because the only way we can create any kind of change in the world is to manifest it.”
1. Joyful Heart Foundation: This cause, which was created to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse and support survivors’ healing, was inspired by Mariska Hargitay’s work playing Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Hargitay, who made the documentary film I Am Evidence (on which Schein Murphy was an associate producer) has said the experience opened her eyes to issues around sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.
How to Get Involved:The Joyful Heart Foundation is a national organization with hubs of service in New York, Los Angeles, and Honolulu. Involvement opportunities range from making a cash donation to fundraising, serving as an advocate by contacting state officials or Congress, and volunteering in person on behalf of The Joyful Heart Foundation. If you’re short on time and money but have some social media savvy, consider lending a hand as a digital advocate; opportunities to spread the word include sharing blog posts, articles, and social posts.
2. Moms Demand Action: Schein Murphy proudly supports Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement centered on gun control in America. “One of my guests, Sarah Wynter, introduced me to this cause. Right now, there are more than 350 million guns in circulation in the United States — approximately 113 guns for every 100 people. And 93 Americans are killed by guns every day,” she says.
How to Get Involved: Moms Demand Action welcomes donations, which go to the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund. They also welcome new members and host events where you can connect with like-minded women to talk about ways to take action in your local community.
3. Cookies for Kids Cancer: This cause is proof that doing huge things with small resources and a big heart is totally possible. When two-year-old son Liam Witt was diagnosed with cancer, his parents, Gretchen and Larry Witt were surprised at the lack of effective treatments for children. Gretchen decided to take matters into her own hands and kitchen, and with the help of 250 volunteers, baked and sold 96,000 cookies and raised $400,000 for research.
How to Get Involved: “What I love about this organization is that it’s an amazing one for kids to get involved with. It’s accessible and meaningful, and who can’t get behind a good bake sale?” Schein Murphy asks. Donate, host, or find a fundraiser on the website, or order cookies from the cause for your next party or event — each box supports research by providing seven annual research grants to leading pediatric cancer centers.
4. ACLU: The ACLU, or American Civil Liberties Union, works to ensure that all humans are protected and defended. Some of the organization’s noteworthy accomplishments include fighting for reproductive rights, marriage rights, and challenging the 2017 Muslim ban. The organization’s mission: “From immigration to the LGBT community to women’s right and the rights of any of our minority groups, the ACLU works tirelessly in a way that is crucial to our existence.”
How to Get Involved: You can join the ACLU with a one-time or recurring donation. The organization also has an action-focused page, where you can add your name to petitions, send messages to the Senate directly from the site, and more.
5. Share Our Strength: Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry Campaign” is working to end childhood hunger in America by ensuring all kids have access to healthy food all of the time. “This cause gives kids good breakfasts at school and food all year long. This is an organization very near to our hearts because it makes a huge impact in the lives of all of our children every day,” Schein Murphy says.
6. Planned Parenthood: “I almost feel like I don’t even have to explain myself with this one,” Schein Murphy says. “Women’s rights are human rights, and Planned Parenthood is a vital organization that ensures that all women everywhere have access to sexual education, medical care, and family planning.” She’s right: Over the past 100 years, Planned Parenthood opened America’s first birth control clinic, launched a national sex education program, and has continued to fight for reproductive rights and basic health care, among other life-changing offerings.
How to Get Involved: There are a number of ways to support Planned Parenthood, from donating to becoming vocal on a local level or social media. Contact your local Planned Parenthood for in-person volunteer opportunities.
7. City Harvest: Schein Murphy reminds us that nearly 20 percent of people in New York City live under the poverty line. “City Harvest’s mission is to help feed 1.2 million people who face hunger each year,” she explained about the last cause on her list. “By rescuing more than 150,000 pounds of food from restaurants, hotels, grocers, and farmers markets every day, City Harvest also provides food to 500 community programs. The cause runs great programs to teach people living under the poverty line how to make healthy meals, and they run incredible mobile markets in these underserved areas so that community members can ‘shop’ for fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s truly an incredible organization making a real dent in the hunger issue in New York.”
How to get involved: Live in New York City? City Harvest welcomes individual volunteers who can teach nutrition, interact with local farmers, pack food, and lend a hand at mobile markets. Group volunteer opportunities are also aplenty, which could be a great fit for a team bonding activity for you and your colleagues or friends. If you’re not local or can’t help in person, this cause also accepts donations.
Which causes are near and dear to your heart? Share them with us on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.