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)
Getting the word out about your brand takes time, drive, and ingenuity. And it doesn't come easy for many entrepreneurs. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're chatting with Selfmade alum Taylor Morgan McPherson, founder of Sustainable Sparkle Bar, about ways in which she scored press as a solo startup brand and what she learned from Selfmade to take her brand marketing up a notch.
B + C: How did you know Sustainable Sparkle Bar was your business to start?
Glitter has always been my thing, so when I started my event company I decided to make it my niche. I started telling people I threw glitter-themed parties where people would get sparkled with glitter body art and makeup. Six months after that I applied to my first festival and to work with SUR restaurant in West Hollywood.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
I honestly can't say that I've had a specific strategy that I've followed when it comes to getting my business off the ground. I have a PR background so I was just constantly pitching new business and posting on social media.
B + C: What's the biggest challenge you face as a small business owner?
I would say creating a stable income and revenue stream. With a seasonal, event-based business it can be very up and down.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
The relationships I made and the push to start an email database.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I love what I do and I believe in myself 100%. Staying motivated isn't the hard part. Pushing myself to do the work and staying accountable is the hard part.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip? Do you use any apps that help you manage your business?
I keep multiple to-do lists, hand-written and digital. I also tell clients and partners that I will have something to them by a certain time or day so I have to stick to it.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Just do it, take the leap. And don't worry about what anyone else says to thinks.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Issa Rae, I'm so inspired by everything that she's created being a creative and a black woman. It's my dream to have my own show one day based on my life and where I give advice and talk about the world. She's doing it and making people laugh and giving people joy. And it's based in LA. Watching Insecure only further cemented my dreams of wanting to live in LA.
B + C: How did you hear about the Office Depot scholarship?
One of my friends that I met through Camp No Counselors saw an IG ad for it and nominated me.
B + C: What has receiving the scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start/grow your business?
It's completely helped me level up and take my business to another level. Selfmade helped me host my first virtual event and taught me how to set up my website to sell tickets to events and get RSVPs.
B + C: How have Office Depot services or products helped you accomplish more in your business?
I got new cards to send in all of my orders with my discount code on them. I also bought a really cool 4K camera that I now use for my social media.
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