Saturday, April 28, 2007

Interesting Nonprofit Concept -

Crate & Barrel sent me a letter about a month ago saying that they wanted to thank me for being a customer and that they were doing a program where customers can select where a $25 donation will go. Thinking the site would be some portal to non profits, I checked it out and also of course figuring if I can get $25 sent to another worthy cause, great. actually is a very specific site where they have accounts related to education and requests by educators to fund their specific projects. They don't always tell you where they are, but the options are quite extensive.

I chose the SF Bay Area because I have a sense of local issues here and then I selected arts & music - there were several options for different types of projects - technology based, reading based, by subject, region, etc. but that one interested me since the arts are so generally neglected in schools here. Finding thousands of proposals just for the arts, having a toddler at home who is very musical and going through the preschool selection process where I am seeking a school with a good music program that my daughter will love, I decided to search for 'preschool music' and the first one that came up said something about creating an environment for dance and music at a preschool and helping by purchasing a cd player and instruments for the classroom so I put my $25 gift card toward that.

You can fund the whole project yourself, of course, or add to the personal donations. What I didn't find out is what happens if these programs are only partly funded - do they get any money? do they get some money? do they go through another process? I'll check that out another time, but I wanted to mention it as an interesting way to be really specific about where your money goes rather than just having a blanket $25 donation going to the Red Cross and not knowing where that money will actually end up. I'm in favor of both kinds of systems, of course. Organizations need to manage their own funds in order to operate properly, but I think this is an interesting business model that provides a more local feel to contributing in the education space.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fall Presidential Debates To Be Exclusively Online

A lot of news services covered this today - in the fall, two debates (one Republican-only and one Democrat-only) will take place online. Yahoo, Huffington Post, Slate and PBS's Charlie Rose are putting together the debates. Many of the articles are yawning at the prospect, thinking the debates will be boring, but this article looks at the angle of how this opens up the process to be more democratic in obtaining questions from all over the country (and I'm assuming the world, although one of the articles mentioned "voters" being able to ask questions so I'm guessing they will be screened so expats would be the only Americans able to question from abroad). Dean will be introducing the Democratic debate. It will be interesting to see how the traffic stats come out.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

SF Opera Fete & SF Bay Style

I'm not publicizing this too much yet because it's still a work in progress (no top bar design, no metrics, no feeds as of yet) but a few friends and I are putting together a new web site - SF Bay Style - - that will encompass all aspects of stylish living in the Bay Area. This means we'll write about topics like eco fashion, stylish events, fabulous interiors and luxury hotels but we'll also cover stylish but inexpensive places to dine, where to get great deals on clothes locally, how to put together great looks without much time, and anything else that the market defines. We're trying to have fun with it and we're still learning and deciding how to frame i, so we're open to ideas and feedback.

I've put up a few posts on the site that are republished from here and SVMoms just to get the flavor going, but the first post that's new is one I wrote about Tuesday's San Francisco Opera Designer Fete - a fashion show put together annually by the San Francisco Opera Guild. I also included a couple of fun photos from the event. Let me know what you think.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Save the Environment This Week & Wildlife Next Week

I didn't intend for my blog to turn into a chronicle of non profit events, but since that's one of the things I spend the most time on, I hear about a lot of wonderful opportunities to give to organizations in need so for now, until I move philanthropic activities to another site, here's another great event:

In Palo Alto, Wildlife Rescue, Inc. is having a "Wildlife Rescue Day" at Mitchell Park at 3800 Middlefield Rd. on May 5th from 11am-4pm. They'll take cash donations, gift cards (great idea), unscented paper towels and tp, cottonballs & q-tips, wheat germ, unopened jars of baby food, liquid hand soap, plastic garbage bags and pet carriers. Check out - they will be receiving a lot of orphans as spring gets into full gear with all of the new baby animals. Non-locals can contribute too.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What I Learned Last Night From Bill Clinton

Last night in San Francisco was the Clinton Foundation Millennium Network Launch Reception - an event which intended to attract philanthropic leaders under 40 to get involved with the Clinton Foundation. The pre-event organization and mobilization effort online was impressive and it was a great opportunity to see Bill Clinton live locally, a great cause, and a fabulous group of people.

Let's start with the stats. The event raised $200,000. That means the Clinton Foundation now has $200,000 more to use in their efforts in saving lives around the world - particularly in their efforts working with those suffering with AIDS and from terrible poverty. It sounds like they have had some real success in places like Rwanda from what former President Clinton said in his short speech.

As to the event itself encompassed 1500 people standing room only in a mid-sized ballroom in SF. Before that, I was in a room for the host reception with about 75 people. Having heard how charismatic and impressive he can be in person, I expected to be wowed by being in the same room with him and I expected a grand entrance, but there was no fanfare - he just came in to take photographs and shake hands before going down and speaking to the main reception. In the main ballroom, people were waiting patiently for the speech - many of them who had never seen President Clinton (like me).

Once Clinton entered the main ballroom, he was greeted by an excited crowd and his speech included a lot of wonderful information about the work of the Clinton Foundation. Although I have worked in online fundraising and online marketing for campaigns for many non profits, I learned from Bill Clinton's speech. He said that online fundraising does make a difference and he cited examples as to how small donations with the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina made a huge impact. I hadn't heard that angle before. And the event itself proved that point very clearly. We all learned in 2004 how online fundraising can make an impact in elections, but this really showed the grassroots, ground level impact. More importantly, I was impressed that he was up there emphasizing this fact. Many politicians give it lip service, but when Clinton gives his stats, people listen.

I learned after the fact that the Clinton Foundation hopes to expand the Millennium Network to several cities around the country and get people under 40-45 involved globally. I know a lot of people who attended the event are looking forward to hearing more about how we can be active not just in fundraising but in ground level work, grassroots organizing, etc. so when I find out more about that, I will post about it and let people know. They will be holding more events - starting with New York City - soon and this is the beginning of a lasting effort to get a more active, young professional membership for the Foundation and to continue fighting big problems like AIDS, poverty, global warming and childhood obesity.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Buzzfeed Likes My Anorak

Buzzfeed picked-up one of my fashion posts recently from the SVMoms Blog. Anoraks are one of the items that are supposedly in fashion this spring (and they were last spring as well, which means they most likely won't be next spring) and they caught what I wrote about that. (Buzzfeed listed my post as one of their top 3.) Some of the other posts on the topic are pretty good too. What would we do without web links?

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Silicon Valley Moms No Longer In Infancy

In addition to blogging here and a couple of other places, I contribute to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog. The founders of the blog, Jill Asher, Pamela Hornik, Beth Blecherman & Tekla Nee started the blog April 4th, 2006, so yesterday they celebrated their anniversary with a plethora of posts. I wrote one as did many other contributors. (I've been writing for them since early last fall.)

Continuing on with the Silicon Valley theme, I posted another today about The Official Silicon Valley Guy Handbook that I read way back when... very funny book. Anyway, if you haven't yet checked out the Silicon Valley Moms Blog - even if you're not a parent but if you're curious about Silicon Valley life at all, check it out.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Help Save Berkeley Landmark Ice Rink!

If you're a figure skating fan, could you picture figure skating history without Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano, Rudy Galindo, and even Sonja Henie? Of course not, that's absurd! Well, the Berkeley Iceland (in Berkeley, CA) was home to all of these skaters at one time or another - some only on occasion but it has been around for 65 years. It's now closed - land to be sold to the highest bidder and demolished for whatever purposes they choose.

Berkeley Iceland is one of the largest, most beautiful rinks I've ever seen. Tucked in a hidden pocket close to campus, the rink spans Olympic size 200'x100' and includes grand stands for viewing hockey games and performances. The family who own it ran into financial troubles (rinks are expensive to maintain) after having some cooling equipment issues. So now a nonprofit group has banned together to Save Berkeley Iceland. Let's hope they can be as successful as saving Kepler's Bookstore here in Menlo Park has been so far.

Yes, there are rinks in Oakland, San Francisco and Dublin now that aren't too far away for skaters, but none of them is quite like this one. It truly is a historical building. This Thursday, a group meets in the City of Berkeley to determine whether the building can become an official landmark. Whether that has much bearing on its fate remains to be seen, but if you love figure skating, please consider helping Save Berkeley Iceland turn it into an environmentally sustainable rink that will last another 65+ years.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,