Today is #GivingTuesday 2018!

Today is #GivingTuesday, a national holiday that comes after Thanksgiving to encourage us to become the philanthropist we all are meant to be! The leftovers have been eaten, and we’re already looking towards the next holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just enjoy a few days off, we can agree that this is the season of giving. Before you fret over decorations or fill the stockings with care, let’s think about those in our community that needs our help.

What is #GivingTuesday? 

This event was created by Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact. “#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations around the world… to celebrate and encourage giving.”

#GivingTuesday is in its seventh year and is a social media movement. In this day and age, social media is vital to getting the word out to our communities and beyond. It’s easy now to learn more about causes that you care about, and it’s even easier to donate what you can.

Thanks to giving platforms like DoTopia, giving is now trending across the globe. People want to help by donating money, time, or resources to causes that they care about. The goal is to spread the joy that is giving, not to mention helping those in need. It’s easy to get caught up in your own bubble. #GivingTuesday is a reminder that we can all create the hope and change that bring all of us together. Be a part of the movement and give today!

How Do I Choose the “Right” Cause?DoDollars are a philanthropic digital currency for giving.

This part can be overwhelming. On DoTopia alone, there are over 1.6 million charities to choose from. Luckily we make it easy to narrow down choices so that you can feel good about your giving. Simply enter your zip code, choose the causes you are interested in, and DoTopia will show you non-profits in your community. You can find more about ways to give here. Additionally, if you want to register your non-profit, you can do that here. Now let’s get out there and make this the best #GivingTuesday yet!

Personal Giving

DoTopia Has Big News… a Kickstarter campaign!

Fellow DoTopians, we have some very exciting news… we will be launching a huge Kickstarter campaign! That’s right, at the end of October DoTopia will be asking for your help to raise money for us to develop a brand new app.

Why are we doing this, you ask?

DoTopia wants to create the world’s largest giving platform by building a user-friendly app that allows people to donate to non-profits as easily and quickly as possible. At DoTopia, we have 1.7 million non-profits across the US supporting countless global initiatives all in one place: your phone!

Kickstarter to develop a DoTopia appHave you ever been to the grocery store and been asked to “round up” to donate to something you know nothing about, resulting in an unclear transaction? Ever noticed that corporations claim a portion of your money spent there is going to “good causes”? Where is that money going? We no longer want to be guilted into giving. DoTopia is giving the power back to the people by allowing each individual to donate what they feel comfortable to the non-profit of their choice.

Where to Give

This Kickstarter campaign will help you give to the causes that you care about.

With the DoTopia app, you can enter your zip code, which will then provide you with non-profits that are nearby. This way you are able to localize and personalize your giving story. Finding all of the non-profits that you care about in one convenient place allows you to become the giver you were meant to be!

Our goal is to raise $250,000, which would allow DoTopia to build and launch this groundbreaking app. We will be releasing this Kickstarter campaign at Lead with Love in Aspen, Colorado, which DoTopia is proudly sponsoring.

Give a little or give a lot, you’ll be contributing to starting the world’s biggest and most intuitive giving platform. Stay tuned for more information and exciting offers within this Kickstarter campaign!

 

Lead With Love Leadership Summit 2018

 

DoTopia is elated to be a sponsor at this years Lead With Love 2018 Summit held in Aspen, Colorado. Lead With Love is a four day event where people all over the world gather to discuss social impact, wellness in the community, and much more.

 

What is the Lead With Love Summit?

We’re glad you asked!  Lead With Love is a once a year summit held in Aspen, Colorado that started in 2016. All proceeds to this event go to Project Wellbeing (formerly known as Aspen City of Wellbeing) which is a non-profit that promotes wellbeing throughout the city of Aspen through programs, retreats, consulting, online resources, and of course their biggest event of the year, the Lead With Love Summit. This summit is a gathering for leaders in well-being, conscious communication, social impact, and the opening of the heart, body, and mind. Feature presenters include John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods, and Lynne Twist, founder of the Soul of Money Institute.

Other activities include yoga classes, sound healing, meditation, music, any many other spiritual experiences to help immerse yourself in the power of healing and wellness.

When is the summit?

Lead With Love is Thursday, October 25- Sunday, October 28

How is DoTopia involved?

Not only is DoTopia a proud sponsor for this years summit, but our founder, Billy Weisman, will be a presenter! He will be on a panel with three other presenters, discussing the Tipping Point Founders Story on Sunday afternoon. If you want to look at the full schedule of presenters, you can click here.

How do I get tickets?

Great question! You can get tickets here. As a bonus for supporting Lead With Love and DoTopia, you can get 100$ off your ticket using the code DOTOPIALOVE at checkout, awesome!

 

 

Nonprofit Spotlight: Beyond Differences

For this week’s nonprofit spotlight, we are thrilled to introduce Beyond Differences.

How did your organization get formed and what does it stand for?

Beyond Differences was founded in memory of Lili Rachel Smith, a high school freshman who experienced social isolation because she looked different due to a rare cranial-facial anomaly called Apert Syndrome. Lili passed away in her sleep from medical complications in 2009, and teens who knew her approached her family at her memorial with the desire to honor her life in a profound way. They had no idea at the time that they would touch a nerve in middle schools all over the country and develop programs to combat social isolation in youth, a problem that has reached epidemic proportions. Studies have shown that social isolation has a serious impact on not just self-esteem and academic performance, but also contributes to serious health consequences such as depression, loss of sleep, eating disorders and cardiovascular health.

Beyond Differences is the only student-led nonprofit organization and social justice movement dedicated to ending social isolation. The nonprofit organization believes that all teens should feel included, valued and accepted by their peers. Exclusion no longer needs to be an accepted part of middle culture and students can lead the way to make meaningful change in their community.

Where has your organization made the most impact?

Beyond Differences has had an enormous impact in middle schools through a combination of our curriculum, programs and national awareness days – our Positive Prevention Initiatives.

In 2018, more than 5,000 schools in all 50 states have used one or more of our Initiatives!

There are also three, soon to be four, cities in the United States who have local Beyond Differences professional staff and a volunteer high school Teen Board of Directors.  These teens (more than 100 in total) provide in-school presentations to local middle schools and teachers are able to participate in professional development to increase their skills to utilize our curriculum.

Beyond Differences’ goal is to be in every middle school in the country, so while we are proud of our impact so far, we still have plenty of work ahead of us.

What is your organization most excited about?

We are so excited about our continued growth to accomplish our goal “to change the culture of middle school.”  

In 2012, we rolled out our first No One Eats Alone™ in just a handful of schools to encourage students to sit with classmates they don’t know and spot students sitting alone and include them. We send schools a free backpack filled with everything they need to hold No One Eats Alone Day — curriculum for in-class exercises and discussions around social isolation, armbands, posters, balloons, conversation starters and a collaborative art project.

To combat negative rhetoric around cultural and religious differences, we launched Know Your Classmates™. We developed a unique curriculum and an Activity Kit to teach students about their identity and appreciate differences in others to increase acceptance and build strong communities within schools. Know Your Classmates focuses on breaking down barriers around cultural backgrounds, faith, family traditions, gender identity, immigration status and many more facets that make us who we are.

And, to nurture healthy relationships and combat social isolation online, we developed a Be Kind Online™.  Students learn how to spot social isolation in the online environment, how to respond to digital gossip, and how to be authentic and true to themselves online.

In 2018, more than 5,000 schools in all 50 states have used one or more of our positive prevention initiative.

Can you share a story about your organization?

Watch Cierra’s story to learn about the power of Beyond Differences!

How can one get involved and support your organization?

Sign up your school for one of our free programs, volunteer or get involved in another way! Visit beyonddifferences.org.

Donate through DoTopia.

Follow us on Social Media!

Twitter: @BeyondDiff

Instagram: @BeyondDifferences

Facebook: Facebook.com/BeyondDifferences.org/

LinkedIn: Linkedin.com/company/beyond-differences/

Nonprofit Spotlight: Appetite for Change

We are thrilled to introduce you to Appetite For Change, one of our amazing nonprofit partners. Learn more about Appetite For Change, the work they do, and support them today!

How did your organization get formed and what does it stand for?

Appetite For Change (AFC) uses food as a tool to build health, wealth and social change in North Minneapolis. Our organization is community driven, food justice minded and committed to sustainability. Established in 2011, our programs and services are built directly on the needs and interests expressed by community members at our first shared meal events. Early dialogues around the table became the framework for Community Cooks, a flagship AFC program. Our founders Michelle Horovitz, Latasha Powell and Princess Titus share a commitment to AFC’s community driven organizational model. Together they envision Appetite For Change as the catalyst for a North Minneapolis movement toward racial, economic and health equity.

Where has your organization made the most impact?

​Our organization has made the most impact in North Minneapolis, increasing access to real, healthy foods and improving the overall food system. ​After youth in our programs realized there were 37 fast food, convenience store, and gas station food options in the area, they wanted real for real people right in their community. This led to the opening of Breaking Bread, the first and still only, full service, sit down restaurant on Broadway Avenue. Serving healthy global comfort foods, the cafe has become not only a breakfast and lunch destination for the delicious food, but has truly become a gathering place for the community. Fresh produce locally grown in our urban gardens are featured on the menu, as well as sold at the West Broadway Farmers Market. It’s a full circle operation.

What is your organization most excited about?

We are in the process of launching our Adult training program where we provide culinary arts and food service management training that builds transferable skills for any career. The training program creates jobs, builds wealth and provides career pathways for North Minneapolis residents, many of whom face multiple barriers to employment. We are excited about how this training program will impact not only Northside residents but the Twin Cities restaurant industry as a whole.

​H​ow can one get involved and support your organization?

​Eat at Breaking Bread. Use Breaking Bread Catering for your next event. Visit the West Broadway Farmers Market (where you can purchase produce grown at our urban gardens). Donate through DoTopia.

Can you share a story about your organization?

​​Our youth interns (ages 14-24) really provide the foundation for all of our programming. They help facilitate Community Cooks, tend to our nine urban garden plots, and staff the weekly West Broadway Farmers Market. Each year the youth complete a final project, and in 2016 they wrote and starred in the music video, Grow Food. A viral hit, Grow Food was an unexpected way to spread the message of healthy eating and equitable food systems. ​

Thank you for joining the 31 Days of Giving challenge!

In June, hundreds of you have donated over $16,000 to more than 350 nonprofits. WOW! It was an amazing month of giving and our team can’t thank you enough for joining the 31 Days of Giving challenge.

We have been so inspired by all of the videos our giving heroes shared throughout the month of giving. Hearing why people give, why they support their favorite nonprofits and the impact each individual can make has always been one of our favorite parts at DoTopia. After all, that is why we were created.

 

 

 

 

 

A major thank you to all of our giving heroes, those who joined the challenge and Deepak Chopra for leading the charge.

We’re just getting started,

The Team @ DoTopia

 

Nonprofit Spotlight | The Birthday Party Project

Nothing brings us more joy then highlighting the amazing work nonprofits do. This week, we are partnering with The Birthday Party Project.

The Birthday Party Project’s mission is to bring JOY to homeless children through the Magic of Birthdays. With the help of birthday enthusiasts (volunteers), they host larger than life birthday parties for kids staying at homeless and transitional living facilities.

Every month, birthday enthusiasts gather to celebrate all the kids that have a birthday that month, and invite all residents of the shelter to participate in the party! The Birthday Party Project believes that JOY changes lives, and a JOYful community can change the world.

The Birthday Party Project hosts 44 parties a month in 13 cities across the country.  To date, they have celebrated over 6,500 birthdays with 40,000 kids in attendance!

How did your organization get formed and what does it stand for?
The Birthday Party Project started when our founder, Paige Chenault, realized that she could use her skills as an event planner to celebrate children that might not otherwise feel celebrated. Excited to turn her passion into purpose, The Birthday Party Project was born.  
TBPP stands for JOY.  We believe that JOY changes lives and a JOYful community can change the world. We believe in connectedness through celebrations.  We believe that people matter most. We believe that children, regardless of their circumstances, are worth celebrating.
 
Where has your organization made the most impact?
The Birthday Party Project brings people together at the community level. Our parties break down socioeconomic barriers between people by offering approachable ways for people to interact. We believe that when we celebrate together, it’s a chance for people to connect, and that when we connect, we learn more about one another, and that understanding can lead to lasting change. 
 
What is your organization most excited about?
We just launched our newest initiative, Birthday in a Box, that allows us to celebrate kids in hard to reach places. These boxes are filled with everything needed to throw an on-the-spot celebration! The boxes are given to case managers, police officers and foster parents to help celebrate kids birthdays in the moment! We believe this can bring JOY to children experiencing great uncertainty – and our hope is that it provides special memories for the kids we celebrate.
 
How can one get involved and support The Birthday Party Project?
Whether it’s volunteering at a party, sharing your birthday, or sponsoring a Birthday in a Box, it takes a village to bring JOY to kids around the country!
You can also support The Birthday Party Project using the DoTopia platform!
 
Can you share a story about your organization?
At one of our recent parties, a mom of one of the birthday kiddos realized, after the cakes had been brought out, that she forgot her phone to take pictures of her son.  She asked us if we could take a few pictures of her family and email them to her, so of course we did on the spot! The mom then began to cry and told us how terrible she felt that she forgot her phone. She said she had been so overwhelmed the last three months that they had been living in the shelter. They recently got approval for housing and would be leaving the shelter in a month. She was excited about moving out but she was happy that they were still at the shelter that night so that her son could have a birthday party! This was something she said she had never been able to give him, and that tonight was more than she could have imagined for him.
We told her that that’s why we are here! She responded, ” I just believe that people should be good and I wish that there were more kind people in the world and that there was more joy in everyone, that could make the world a better place.” We told her that our belief is that Joy Changes Lives and now SHE wants to come back and volunteer for parties to give back. We love it when joy comes full circle!

Engage for Good 2018

This was DoTopia’s second time attending Engage for Good in Chicago.  Topics this year ranged from Gun Violence, Disaster Relief, Empowerment, Impact Reporting, Cause Marketing (…obviously), Technology, and more.  Some of the themes that jumped out across many of the sessions were the need for brands to be authentic in their social good programs, the power of using technology to do good and the shared value cause marketing creates for corporations.  DoTopia was grateful to be a part of the discussions and it is very fun to meet so many of the nonprofit partners that individuals support on our platform.

Brands being authentic in doing good is the core framework for success.  

One of the first speakers, Jayme Jenkins, from the Body Shop explained that their brand was founded with doing good as a part of their DNA.  The Body Shop was unique for taking a stand against beauty products being tested on animals and this, as a core value of theirs, makes it easy for them to be successful in their efforts.  Another well known example of this is Patagonia and saving the environment. The point isn’t that it must be a part of your founding story, but it should be in-line with your brand’s core values.  Your program has a higher likelihood of backfiring if your brand isn’t genuine in it’s intentions.

Technology can help your brand do good like never before.  

It’s now the norm to see new technology applications to make the world a better place.  Asha Sharma from Facebook explained how logical it is for them to use the power of its connection to do good.  One application that everyone has benefited from is how Facebook users can mark themselves as safe after a disaster event.  When it comes to technology it’s important for brands to find the right partners. Accenture is doing some very cool projects with nonprofits and talked about aligning the RIGHT technology to your social good program.  For example, they are helping deaf people who would like to join-in on the fun of dancing by applying wearables and AI to “hear” the beat of the music by tapping their wrists. Technology is a tool and, when used the right way, it can amplify the impact of your brand’s social good programs in powerful ways.

Cause marketing and social good programs have powerful business benefits for your brand.  

Some find this topic taboo, but shared value is a good thing and, if nothing more, means more brands will be doing good.  Candace Hodder from Disney explained how they ran an incredible campaign called Dream Big Princess where they encouraged kids around the world to dream big.  Consumers drove donations to UN Foundation’s “Girl Up” campaign by posting or liking instagram content with the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess. Disney’s video has generated over 4 million views and positive discussion around their brand with major marketing and PR benefits.  

Dave’s Killer Bread, an organic sliced bread company from Oregon, was founded by an ex con and welcomes the opportunity to give people second chances for employment to those who have a criminal record. From a marketing perspective it will surprise people to learn that they have almost a million followers on facebook and over 35,000 followers on instagram… for a sliced bread company. They are not ignorant to the fact that their Second Chance program has a huge impact on this, in part because they do a great job spreading the good work about why they do this and the good it does.

When asked about the business benefits of these social good programs both Disney and Dave’s Killer Bread were honest that it’s hard to exactly quantify the ROI, but they know the return is powerful and justifies more of it moving forward.

In the ideal scenario your brand can leverage all three of these points into it’s giving program: authenticity, technology and powerful business benefits.  The perfect example of this was Timberland’s Eathkeepers Facebook Virtual Forest App. Atlanta Mcllwraith shared that consumers could plant trees on Facebook in a virtual forest.  The more trees planted on facebook equated to real trees being planted around the world, most recently in Haiti to help with recovery. The program has generated millions of trees.  If you look at Timberland, which is an outdoor brand with a tree as its logo, it was a very genuine program near and dear to their heart that leveraged facebook and an app to generate major brand awareness across social platforms.  

There was a lot more to digest from the conference and DoTopia looks forward to attending future Engage for Good conferences in the years to come!

Announcing the 31 Days of Giving!

The entire team at DoTopia is thrilled to announce our 31 Days of Giving in partnership with Deepak Chopra and Jiyo!

Our team has always turned to Deepak Chopra for inspiration and are incredibly excited to be partnering with him and his wellness platform Jiyo to spread our giving movement.

What are the 31 Days of Giving?

During the month of June, any individual who signs up for a free personal giving account on our platform will automatically receive $10 to give to a cause. With over 1.6M nonprofits on the DoTopia platform, individuals will be sure to find a cause they care about! Throughout the 31 Days, we will be featuring giving heroes on Jiyo’s website including Deepak Chopra, Jane Goodall, Adam Grant, Dan Buettner, David & Jonah Stillman, and a host of others to share the benefits of giving and the reasons why it is important for one’s overall wellbeing.

How can I join?

  • Visit 31daysofgiving.dotopia.com and create your free Personal Giving Account. From there, you will receive $10 to donate to a cause of your choice.
  • Watch the videos featuring DoTopia’s giving heroes throughout the 31 days on www.jiyo.com.
  • Follow DoTopia’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts and use the #31daysofgiving to help share the movement.
  • Spread the news by utilizing our press kit.

The 31 Days of Giving kicks of this Friday, June 1st! What cause will you support?

Join the giving movement today at 31DaysofGiving.DoTopia.com.

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