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Help 30 local Zambian women create their own business!

2011 November 20

Click to see women tell their stories.

I recently came across a project of the Imagine Rural Development Initiative that embodies nearly all the principles in my book, “Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World.” Imagine Zambia is providing training to 30 Zambian female heads of households so they can become moringa farmers. Moringa is a high value multi-purpose crop that is hardy (i.e., drought resistant), fast-growing and full of nutrients.

Over and over, this type of model has successfully enabled families living in extreme poverty to dramatically improve their lives through access to income, reliable food sources, education, medical care and better housing among many other things.

More than 50% of women in developing nations work in agriculture, but too often they are unsuccessful due to the vagaries of rainfall; their own health and the health of their children, which can prevent them from working their plots; and access to markets to sell their harvests. Projects like Imagine Zambia’s help women overcome these barriers to develop long-term successful profitable and thriving farming businesses.

For fiscal year 2011, the” total foreign assistance (USAID and State) budget request [was] just 1.4% of the budget for the entire Federal government.” Most Americans believe that the U.S. provides many times that much of the federal budget in aid to developing nations.

The 2011 U.S. federal budget was $3.834 trillion; 1.4% amounted to $53.76 billion.

In 2010, non-wealthy Americans gave $100 billion to charity, nearly twice the entire federal allocation to foreign aid for 2011.

Imagine the potential and power of additional affordable donations to projects like Imagine Zambia’s. Many millions of female-headed households could move permanently out of the inhumanity of extreme poverty and safely into a middle class standard of living.

YOU can afford to make that happen. Make an affordable donation today and start the rippling of positive returns on that investment!

We’re aiming for $3,ooo by November 24, Thanksgiving day in the U.S. That’s the total investment needed now to help launch 30 women’s lives forward to better futures.

Click here today and GIVE A LITTLE!


Open Letter to Everyday Donors

2011 November 15

National Philanthropy Day is November 15, and I think it’s high time the true philanthropic heroes of our times get the recognition they deserve!

Dear Everyday Donor,

Do you fear that your affordable donations to nonprofits are but a drop in the bucket, a pittance in the effort to address our most pressing social challenges, meaningless to charities and to society?

Oh ye of little faith believe in the power of your small donations! I am here to tell you that your perceptions are wrong, and I have the evidence to prove it.

Unfortunately, most of us believe that only the wealthy, celebrities and huge foundations can truly generate change. This is a myth perpetuated by the lopsided media attention these philanthropists receive.

If magnitude, power and potential of donors equaled amount of media coverage, the focus would be on the millions of Americans of modest means who give with incredible generosity year after year.

In a quick and dirty online search of the New York Times, I found 99 references to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the past year. I’m not quibbling with the Times’ decision to cover the Foundation’s work; however, I do have a problem with the paper’s lack of coverage of giving by everyday donors and the enormous amount of social good that results. The Times is not alone in this oversight. Most media sources cover primarily the largest donors. The numbers are big and the possible impact equally impressive. Pair a hot young celebrity with a social cause and you’ve got a sexy story!

The trap here is that the real story is not sexy, but it is the truth, and it holds at least as much promise for creating social change as the one-time enormous gifts that get press.

In order to create some balance and a new perspective about philanthropy in the U.S., here are some facts you should know:

In 2010, non-wealthy individuals gave approximately $100 billion to charitable causes.

That amount was 42 times the $2.5 billion in grants made by the Gates Foundation that year.

It was 62 times the $1.6 billion Warren Buffett donated to the Gates Foundation.

It was twice the total amount donated by ALL foundations and corporations combined in 2010.

You’ve probably heard about the Giving Pledge being pursued by the Gates’ and Warren Buffett that enlists billionaires to pledge to give away at least half of their wealth during their lifetimes or at the time of their deaths. If successful, the Giving Pledge would generate a total of $600 billion in donations over time.

Non-wealthy donors give that amount approximately every six years.

Perhaps the most notable (and noble) reason the philanthropy of everyday donors deserves more attention is that it is the only source of giving that has remained steady or increased over the past 3 years since the recession began.

With passion and ingenuity, you are creating new ways to aggregate your affordable donations to do amazing work in the U.S. and around the world. In just one example, many of you are giving online through websites that use the “crowdfunding” concept, which allows donors to contribute to projects featured on their sites, thus leveling the playing field for smaller, start-up projects and everyday donors who want to make a clear and immediate impact. It’s an exciting development in the philanthropic world of the 21st century!

So, donors of modest means rejoice! Your giving is the bedrock of the nonprofit sector. You are already doing a lot. Keep it up.

In the meantime, imagine the additional impact you could have by making just a few more affordable donations over the upcoming year. A few skipped cups of designer coffee, a packed lunch rather than the daily restaurant run, an at-home movie rental rather than the theater and you could do even more serious good.


Join the movement to spread the truth about giving!






Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Addresses Urgent Need

2011 October 25

Image from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

While researching “Give a Little,” one of the most shocking things I learned was how many people suffer severe health effects and injuries related to the ways they cook, heat and light their living space.  As with water in so many areas, children and women in developing countries spend countless hours collecting fuel sources such as wood, dung, charcoal and kerosene, which are toxic to breath, particularly when used in poorly ventilated areas, and harmful to the environment through their emissions and the deforestation caused by the use of wood for fuel.

The link below leads to an excellent article explaining this problem that affects about half of the world’s population. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is working to address clean cooking and offers ways for you to get involved.

Indoor Cooking Stoves Kill 2 Million Yearly: Study


Voting Nonprofits off the Island

2011 September 28

Here’s a question: Why must corporations pit equally worthy nonprofits against one another in online social media-driven competitions for votes in order to receive a generous donation?

True, the nonprofits would be competing for grants if they submitted proposals – you know, the old-fashioned way, and I do not judge them for going for it and entering such contests!

Still, I find something distinctly distasteful when a corporation or other funder asks voters to post their choices, often publicly, for one charity over another. Not to mention the many wonderful organizations like Potters for Peace that have smaller networks of people from which they can hustle up votes, yet the transformational power of their work dwarfs the size of their “contacts” list.

I’m not naive. I’m sure the social media platforms call a great deal more attention to the corporate/funders’ good deeds.

But I still can’t bring myself to vote for one great organization over another (unless one of my absolute faves is in the game). If it were my money to give away, I’d acknowledge all the charities’ great works and give some to all. But that’s just me.



Extreme Generosity!

2011 September 26
by admin

Non-wealthy donors are the only giving source that has increased their charitable giving every year since the economic downturn in 2008.


Free Hugs on International Peace Day!

2011 September 21

C’mon folks, we’re overwhelmingly good people at heart!

Let’s get our acts together and do something that’s


Check this out and just try not to believe in humanity!  Free Hugs


Horn of Africa has a True Friend in KickStart International

2011 August 17

If you drank a glass of water today, made lunch for your child, took a shower or looked out the window and saw green trees or gardens or the blue of a pond or lake, then express your gratitude for these everyday luxuries we take for granted by thinking about those who cannot.

Your collective affordable donations will go a very long way toward helping those trapped by hunger and poverty and held hostage by unreliable rains.


The very first organization profiled in Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World is KickStart International.  KickStart innovates technologies that poor people living in developing countries can use to earn a reliable wage and access.

Over the past 12 years, KickStart’s micro-irrigation pumps have lifted 570,000 people out of poverty and created 114,000 new businesses that generate $115 million in wages and profits annually.

The following is an appeal by KickStart, which I believe provides one of the most effective, efficient and affordable methods out of hunger and poverty for families and entire communities.  If you want to help ease the suffering in Africa’s drought and famine stricken areas, consider a donation to KickStart.






August 8, 2011

Dear Friends of KickStart,
We are reaching out to you because as a friend of KickStart you are a friend of Africa. We know

you are aware of the dreadful famine in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Thousands have already

died, and more are dying every day.


But millions more are desperate, teetering on the brink. They need your help now!

So please donate today and help KickStart help them survive.


Droughts and famine result from climate change. When farmers can no longer predict rainfall,

their crops fail, their pastures dry up and their animals die. Whole families are left destitute,

with no food to eat and not even enough water to drink.


For the past 12 years KickStart’s MoneyMaker pumps have been helping poor farmers in Africa

to access water. Over 120,000 farmers are already using them to pull water from ponds, rivers

and shallow wells to irrigate crops and water livestock. Even when the rains fail they grow high

value crops, make money and escape poverty.


In Eastern Kenya, which suffered a terrible drought a few years ago, thousands of families are now using MoneyMaker pumps to irrigate from shallow wells and water catchments, and can grow food – even in this dry season.

KickStart is now ready to launch a major effort to help the drought victims in Kenya.

We will:

    1.    Visit stricken regions where disaster can still be averted if people get water and grow food2.    Identify the sites where farmers can use our pumps 

    3.    Distribute pumps to farmers and train them to water animals and irrigate fast

    growing crops


In addition, KickStart will partner with relief agencies working in the  whole drought-affected region to help reach more families in need, and train local shops to sell pumps and 
spare parts in the stricken areas.

This effort will bring water to thousands of people and their animals and quickly get hundreds of acres under cultivation. It will enable families to survive not only this drought, but also to be prepared for and survive future droughts that will inevitably strike again.

KickStart can’t do this alone. We urgently need your help! We need funds to pay for transport, pumps and staff to bring water to those in desperate need. Your gift at this time will save families who are teetering on the edge – enabling them to stay in their communities and survive.


We hope you will join us in making this a reality!


Please help us help the hungry and starving in the Horn of Africa. Make a donation today via our website here, by calling our offices at 415-346-4820,

or by mailing a check to 2435 Polk Street, Suite 21, San Francisco, CA 94109.

Please add the code FAM in the comments/memo section of your online donation or check.


With deepest thanks.



Check Out One Million Lights’ Latest Good Deeds!

2011 May 19

Read their most recent newsletter!

I LOVE One Million Lights‘ work and  affordable giving that makes a real, immediate difference, so, I love the idea below!

One Million Lights is a fantastic choice for your charitable dollar. The rippling returns on your investment are quite literally, immeasurable.

So Give the Gift of Light!


The Global Rich List Proves We Can Afford to Give More!

2011 May 18
by admin

This is a very cool tool that allows you to see
just how prosperous you are relative to the rest of the world!

Click to go to site


Room to Read founder John Wood Tweets!

2011 May 17

May 17, 2011 6:08 pm CST

John Wood, founder of Room to Read and author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, tweets the following:

#Oprah producer called Room to Read’s largest donors. Gave them 2 tickets to final show to salute their generous support of our cause. 🙂

May 17, 2011 6:16 pm CST

@givealittlenow replies to John Wood:

@johnwoodRTR Plz don’t 4get evryday donors r proportionately just as generous & worthy of thanx! Maybe a lil’ sumthin’ from OPRAH 4 each?

Everyday donors are the nonprofit sector’s bread and butter – to the tune of $110 billion in 2009! Please appreciate as graciously as those who are wealthy!