The Desai Foundation’s #PledgeYourPeriod was a Bloody Success!

#PledgeYourPeriod was a Bloody Success!

Throughout the month of May 2019, the Desai Foundation organized its second #PledgeYourPeriod campaign, a fundraiser and awareness initiative focused around menstrual health hygiene. Participants from around the world ‘pledged’ their periods on social media either by uploading a video of themselves or posting an infographic calling attention to the stigma surrounding periods, denouncing the cultural taboos associated with menstruation, and advocating for the improvement of menstrual health awareness and resources for girls in India.

The proceeds of the campaign were directed to the Desai Foundation’s Asani Sanitary Napkin Program, which trains women in rural Western India to manufacture and distribute sanitary products. Due to the inaccessibility of sanitary napkins and health facilities in many rural communities, there remains a lack of information regarding menstrual hygiene—in fact, 71% of girls do not know what periods are before they experience them for the first time, and many are obliged to manage their periods with an unsanitary rag instead of with pads. Not only does this program empower women through an opportunity for employment, but the increased access to menstrual products also provides them with the means to pursue higher education and livelihood prospects while menstruating, as 23% of girls would otherwise drop out of school after starting their periods. Moreover, the Desai Foundation ensures that girls are given the necessary information and resources to manage their periods through regular educational programming such as health and hygiene classes, focused group discussions, and community awareness programs.

To commemorate Menstrual Hygiene Day, the #PledgeYourPeriod campaign concluded with a ‘Period Party’ on May 29th co-hosted by Brown Girl Magazine in New York City.  This party, a nod to the rite of passage experienced by many girls across South Asia, brought together women and allies to discuss their shared experiences of facing stigma regarding menstruation and the need to improve the dialogue surrounding menstrual health hygiene for women around the world. This event was also an opportunity to celebrate the success of the #PledgeYourPeriod fundraising campaign and highlight the work done by the Asani Sanitary Napkin campaign last year, which resulted in the production of 75,000 pads overseen by 125 women working as distribution specialists across 500 villages in Western India, impacting a total of 12,000 women.

 

June is National Cat Adoption Month

We can’t believe 2019 is already halfway over! June is a special month for many reasons. It’s the start of summer, it’s Pride month, school is out, and of course… it’s National Cat Adoption Month!

There are countless shelters across the country with cats looking for their forever homes. Check out these shelters that are located in all different parts of the country that are helping cats (and other animals!) find a family.

St. Paul, MNFeline Rescue St. Paul

“Feline Rescue, Inc. is a Minnesota based no-kill companion cat rescue organization. Our founders established Feline Rescue in 1997 in Minneapolis, MN as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are a volunteer-based organization. Feline Rescue, Inc. is funded exclusively through donations and grants. We receive no municipal, state, or federal funding. We provide rescue and relief to the homeless and endangered cats in our community through programs that offer shelter, foster, social and medical rehabilitation, feral and stray management, spay/neuter subsidy, and community education.”

Denver, CO– Cat Care Society

“The shelter provides a temporary refuge for more than 75 cats until an appropriate and permanent home can be found for each. Veterinary care, premium diet, and human interaction are lovingly provided. Cat Care Society is supported by a number of loyal members and contributors, without whom we could not operate. We receive no government funding. In addition, our volunteers assist with many fundraising activities each year such as our Tails of the Painted Cats Gala Dinner & Auction, Meow Mart, Paws On The Green Charity Golf Tournament, Santa Paws Festival, Colorado Gives Day, and much more.”

Portland, OR–Cat Adoption Team

“CAT is a limited-admission, adoption guarantee shelter. That means we only take in cats that we have the space and resources for, and that we commit to giving every cat we take in all the time and care they need to find a loving home. We offer enrichment, behavior modification, excellent veterinary care, and a variety of housing options to meet the individual needs of the cats and kittens in our charge.”

Atlanta, GA– Atlanta Humane Society

“All of the wonderful, loving kittens and cats at the Atlanta Humane Society are waiting for their forever homes and would love to meet you! Our trained cat adoption counselors will help you choose the right friend to complete your family or just be your constant companion. There are lots of adorable kittens and cats the choose from at AHS—evaluated for temperament and ready to meet you! For a limited time only, cats 6 months and up have $0 adoption fees! Adopt any cat six months or older today and your adoption fees will be waived. Learn more.”

Houston, TX– Houston Pets Alive!

“We’re not your average rescue. We act as a safety net for our municipal shelters, to save the animals who have no other options. Every day we receive a list of animals who are at risk of euthanasia. We save as many animals as we can, between space in our shelter and in foster homes. We know that saving lives is a community effort, and we’re committed to saving the lives that others won’t- which is why we specifically take neonatal or “bottle baby” kittens, nursing moms, dogs and cats with illnesses or injuries, and those with behavior issues. We are committed to developing programs alongside our local shelters.”

Not Ready to Adopt?

That’s okay! Luckily for you, all of these amazing organizations and thousands more like it are on DoTopia’s register and you can donate any amount with just a few clicks. Don’t see the one you’re looking for? You can register your nonprofit here and become a part of the future of giving!

Earth Day 2019-How it Started and How You Can Help

earth day image

Monday, April 22 marks the internationally celebrated Earth Day. It is a time for all of us to come together to help our precious and fragile planet. There are a number of ways to recognize this day. Everyone is different, and we want to figure out the best way for you to celebrate.

Senator Gaylord Nelson

Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day in 1970.

The first official Earth Day was in 1970, created by US Senator Gaylord Nelson. Nelson was devastated by the 1969 oil spill that occurred in Santa Barbara, CA.  He was inspired by college students anti-war movements and wanted to create a movement of his own pertaining to environmental protection. The first Earth Day was a huge success, drawing tens of millions of people across the country in protest of these oil spills and other careless acts against the environment. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Act. By the 1990s, Earth Day became an international event, promoting things like recycling, deforestation, environmental literacy, and more. To this day, Earth Day is still a worldwide holiday, urgently pushing towards a cleaner environment.

What Can I Do On Earth Day 2019?

Neighborhood Trash Pickup on Earth Daytrash pick up image

The easiest place to get started is right in your own neighborhood! In fact, communities across the country (and the world) organize their own neighborhood trash pickups on Earth Day. There are most likely fliers posted in your local library, coffee shop, or book store. Do some research and see if your neighborhood has organized anything. If not, that’s okay! You can grab a trash bag, some gloves, and then get to work yourself. If you need some help with supplies or ideas, this page is a great place to start.

Get Outside on Earth Dayhiking photo

Recognizing Earth Day can be as simple as taking a walk outside and appreciating the beauty of the outdoors. If you want to take it a step further, try going on a hike at a state or national park. In fact, it will be free entry on Saturday, April 20th at all National Parks to commemorate Earth Day and the first day of National Park Week. Going on a hike might not seem like much. But, showing your support of parks helps tell our leaders what is important to us. Preserving our natural land like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone matters now more than ever.

Donate on Earth Day

We get it. Life gets in the way sometimes and you just can’t make time in your schedule right now. That’s okay. There are still ways to honor Earth Day without having to carve time out of your schedule. Donating to your favorite environmental cause is also a huge help, and it certainly doesn’t go unnoticed!

Here are a few recommended places:
  1. The Nature Conservancy: “From our historic work in land acquisition to cutting-edge research that influences global policy, The Nature Conservancy is constantly adapting to take on our planet’s biggest, most important challenges. Our vision is a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives.”
  2. Clean Water Action: “[Our mission is] to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life. Clean Water Action organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions, and campaigns to elect environmental candidates and to solve environmental and community problems.”
  3. Mongabay: “Mongabay has grown into the world’s most popular rainforest information site and a well-known source of environmental news reporting and analysis. Today Mongabay draws more than 2.5 million visitors per month and publishes stories in half a dozen languages. It is commonly used as an information source by mainstream media, including The Economist, Bloomberg, National Geographic, and the Associated Press.”
  4. National Parks Foundation: “Our national parks are a uniquely American idea, truly supported by all of us. We are inspired by the beauty that surrounds us. We seek the wild and untamed land, the places where history was made, the sites that honor our heroes, and we stand behind what really matters— protecting these sacred places.”

Of course, it’s easier now more than ever to donate to these causes through your DoTopia account. You can even send DoDollars to a loved one so that they can donate to their charity of choice.

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!

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