Monthly Archives: January 2011

Hope Phones

500,000 mobile phones are discarded per day in the United States!  Instead of filling up landfills or taking up space in your junk drawer, you can send it in – for free – to support today’s organization, Hope Phones.  

The mission of the Hope Phones campaign is to support mobile health projects around the world, helping create connected, coordinated health systems that save more lives while reducing e-waste caused by improperly discarded phones.

Hope Phones was created by Medic Moblie (formerly FrontlineSMS:Medic), a nonprofit organization that develops and implements open-source mobile health tools.  After hearing how many mobile phones were being discarded each day, Medic Moble partnered with a recycling company to give those phones a new life on the frontline of global health.  Any cell phone can be recycled, whether they work or not! 

To really understand the project, watch a five minute video presentation by Josh Nesbit, co-founder of Medic Mobile.

How can you help?
• First, dig those old cell phones out of your junk drawer or your kid’s toy bin and send them in.  You can even print a free shipping label at  It couldn’t be easier!  If you wish, you can also delete your data from your phone prior to donating by following this link.
• Groups can also sponsor larger phone collection campaigns.  Request collection materials at
• Spread the word!  If just one percent of the cell phones discarded in the United States in one year were recycled via Hope Phones, they could provide cell phones to one million community health care workers.  Tweet this post or suggest the Facebook page to your friends!

Old phones are worth $20 on average, and smart phones are worth $60-80; one old donated Blackberry provides funds to equip six community health workers with new mobile phones, improving medical care for 300 families.

Learn more about Hope Phones at their website  You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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Overnight Website Challenge

Typically The Blogunteer profiles non-profit organizations and volunteers…well, this post is a bit different because it profiles a great volunteer event: The Overnight Website Challenge.

The Overnight Website Challenge is the brainchild of The Nerdery’s Vice President of Marketing, Mark Hurlburt.  In October 2007, the company started planning for their first Overnight Website Challenge.  Now the volunteer driven event benefits nonprofit organizations in Minnesota annually.  

Numerous nonprofit organizations lack the financial and human resources to create an online presence that can successfully further their mission.  In today’s Internet age, a nonprofit without a good web presence probably won’t be as successful as they could be.  Technology can do so much for non-profits…build a community, raise funds, recruit, organize volunteers, communicate, and more!  Technology can also help a nonprofit be more efficient with their work, allowing more time in the day for doing what they do best – serving the community!

Through the Overnight Web Challenge event, The Nerdery also wanted a way to meet other web developers in the community who would serve as volunteers.  According to The Nerdery’s Communication Manager, Mark Malmberg, “More than anything, the Challenge gives Nerdery staff a meaningful way to give something back to their community, and when we consider all the collective good these organizations do in our community, losing some sleep to help them seems worthwhile.”

Volunteers arrive about an hour early to set up their workstations, and a few minutes before the 24-hour countdown clock begins, the event organizers inform the volunteer teams of their assigned, designated nonprofits.  During the first hour or so, web developers and designers learn more about their designated nonprofit’s mission and objectives and begin planning a course of action.

Nonprofits are instructed to expand upon the website-wish-list they created in their event application and to come to the event with a clear vision of what they want, and an open mind to what their development team can offer.  The challenge is now occuring in Minneapolis and Chicago each year!  

Just two of the 16 nonprofit organizations that received new websites in 2010 are Homeward Bound and Kinship

How can you help?

  • Volunteer to serve on a team.  Volunteers with talents in website development, project management, copy editing, graphic design, or other useful skills can learn more and apply online.
  • You can also help by spread the word about the Overnight Web Challenge.  You can even click here to tweet this post!

Learn more about the Overnight Web Challenge on their website or by following the web challenge on Twitter.  You can also follow The Nerdery on Twitter or Facebook.

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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Volunteer Profile


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Donors Choose

Today’s public schools often lack resources for students to thrive.  Teachers and parents try to make a difference through donations and fundraisers, but many times that isn’t enough.  Today’s organization works to make it easy for any individual to make a big difference in education, one classroom at a time.

The mission at is to improve public education by empowering every teacher to be a change-maker and enabling any citizen to be a philanthropist.  Their vision is a nation where students in every community have the resources they need to learn.

On the organization’s online marketplace, “citizen philanthropists” fund projects that move them, whether it’s books or beakers, for second graders or sophomores, in New York or Nashville.  Donors choose which classroom projects to help and they can also hear back from the classroom with photos and thank you notes. grew out of a Bronx high school where teachers experienced first-hand the scarcity of learning materials in public schools.  Charles Best, then a social studies teacher, sensed that many people would like to help distressed public schools, but were frustrated by a lack of influence over their donations.  He created in 2000 so that individuals could connect directly with classrooms in need.

Since its beginning, over $73 million dollars have been raised and over 4.4 million students have been helped by the projects funded through this unique philanthropic experience.  Some recently completed projects include books for a kindergarten class in Rhode Island, real world math learning sets for elementary students in Florida, and new chairs for a second grade classroom in New York City. 

How can you help?

  • I would encourage every reader of this blog to search for a project and donate just $5.  Skip your latte today and make a difference.  Click here to search for a project.  You can search by type or location of the project.
  • Share this story with a teacher using this flyer provided by Donors Choose.  They may have a project in their classroom or school that could use some funding. 
  • If you live in New York City, you can volunteer with them in person to assemble thank you packages. 
  • Create a giving page to celebrate your birthday, wedding, or any other reason. 
  • Spread the word about Donors Choose!  Click here to spread the word by tweeting this post!
  • Visit to find additional ways to help.

Learn more about Donors Choose on their website.   You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter.


Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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The Baby Effect

At a typical baby shower, an expectant mother gets more blankets and onsies than she will probably ever need.  Then there are the adorable outfits that the baby only wears once or twice because they grow so fast in those first months.  Now, imagine all those children who are born into the word with nothing.  Today’s organization gives new and expectant mothers the opportunity to help others through the birth of her child. 

The Baby Effect encourages us to celebrate new births by making donations to invaluable child-related charities at home and around the world.  New parents are encouraged to spread the word using a Baby Effect enclosure card in their birth announcement.  This offers friends and family the option to donate to The Baby Effect charities in honor of their child’s birth. 

The Baby Effect organization came to life after three moms watched the Girl Effect video and knew they had to get involved.  Cynthia Pillsbury, who was eight months pregnant with her third child, knew her unborn daughter could make a positive footprint in the world by just being born and knew she needed to spread that message to other like-minded mothers. Luckily Cynthia had two friends who were just as passionate about the idea that every birth can spark a world of change. The three joined forces to create The Baby Effect. 

The Baby Effect’s mission is to provide and improve the basic health rights of new mothers and their babies.  The organization champions a select set of charities through Global Giving.  Global Giving undertakes all pre-screening of the charities and distribution of donated funds.  According to The Baby Effect co-founder Pillsbury, “We act as a filter, we comb the web to find charities that share our goal of improving the lives of babies and mothers both nationally and globally. We do not take any donations to The Baby Effect but instead act as an ambassador of other charities that share our objective.” 

How can you help? 

  • Individuals can visit the organization’s website and choose a charity that is supported by Global Giving and make a donation.
  • You can also host a virtual baby shower and offer The Baby Effect donation opportunity to attendees. 
  • Expectant mothers can download an enclosure card to send along with their baby’s birth announcement.  It is a simple way to communicate your desire to share your good fortune with others less fortunate. Every birth can spark a world of change.
  • If you have a mommy or baby related blog, tell your readers how they can join The Baby Effect movement
  • You can also spread the word about The Baby Effect on Facebook and TwitterClick here to spread the word by tweeting this post!

Learn more about The Baby Effect on their website,  You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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Detroit Area Diaper Bank

I hate diapers!  They are expensive, smelly, and gross.  Apparently “safety net” programs such as WIC, Food Stamps, and Medicare hate diapers too, because these programs do not cover the cost of diapers. 

The cost for a healthy change of diapers can cost $100 or more per month.  Daycare centers require parents to leave disposable diapers with their child, so parents who can’t afford diapers can’t go to work or school, causing the vicious cycle of poverty to continue.  Nonprofits working with individuals and families in crisis list diapers as an ongoing and top need.

Marybeth Levine lived in Tucson, Arizona, when the Southern Arizona Community Diaper Bank, the nation’s first diaper bank, came into formal existence.  Levine was very affected by their work and became passionate about the diaper issue.   In 2003 she moved to Michigan and knew she wanted to start a diaper bank to serve the Detroit area.  In the spring of 2009, with the economy in the state it was, she knew she needed to get started.  The Detroit Area Diaper Bank was launched in April of 2009.

Their mission is to build a network to help meet the unmet need for diapers in their community’s most vulnerable populations – babies from low-income households, the elderly, and people with disabilities.  They are located in Canton, Michigan, but they serve all of Southeast Michigan (Metro Detroit).

According to Levine, “We strive to engage as many individuals and groups all over Southeast Michigan as possible to conduct diaper drives and/or fundraisers to support us and help us build a true Community Diaper Bank. We are always providing suggestions and ideas how an individual or group can help make sure we have resources on hand to help our neighbors in need.”

Since their founding, the Detroit Area Diaper bank has distributed over 320,000 diapers, pull ups, and incontinence supplies!  In fall of 2010, the organization held a diaper drive that exceeded their goal by collecting over 150,000 diapers! 

How can you help?

  • The organization accepts any size, any brand of diaper or pull-up, baby through adult.  Please check their website for drop off locations.
  • They also happily accept financial donations.  Levine states, “with our tax-exempt status, we can make a dollar stretch further and get more diapers per dollar [with financial donations].”   All donations are tax-deductible and all donated funds go directly toward purchasing diapers and incontinence supplies.
  • Individuals and community groups can also run diaper drives and fundraisers.  They even have resources available on their website to assist you with your diaper drive!
  • You can also make a purchase from their online store.  They have bumper stickers, shirts, and more available!

You can learn more about the Detroit Area Diaper Bank on their website:  You can also follow them on Twitter or on Facebook.

For those who aren’t in the Detroit Area, you can also find other diaper banks to support or learn how to start a diaper bank in your community at the Diaper Banks of America website.


Posted by on January 13, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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One More Generation

My daughter loves animals.  She reads about them, has animal toys, and enjoys visits to the zoo.  But like most young kids, that is as far as it goes.  The organization we profile today was started by two young kids that took their passion about animals to another level.

Carter (age 9.5) and his sister Olivia (age 8) are so passionate about wanting to make a difference that they started their own organization called One More Generation (OMG).

The two students have been adopting Cheetahs through the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre in South Africa for years.  In the fall of 2009, the kids asked why some animals needed adopting, and they learned that there might not be any Cheetahs left in the wild by the time they had their own kids.  Well that was all it took for these two kids to spring into action.  They started the One More Generation organization in late 2009.

Since starting OMG, Carter and Olivia have been involved in numerous initiatives both locally and globally. 

  • The pair took a trip to the Gulf where they delivered badly needed Animal Rescue Supplies to the Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Rescue Center in New Orleans.  You can read all about the trip and even watch a video on their website
  • They are working with the State Legislature of Georgia to change the legislative language in current law to help stop Rattlesnake Roundups in their state.  
  • They are working to raise $50,000 for a Cheetah Rescue program in South Africa run by the Ann Van Dyke Cheetah Center. 
  •  They are working with various organizations to help raise awareness to the plight of the many endangered species around the globe including an educational program that they present to the visitors of the Atlanta Zoo, The Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, The Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the Cochran Mill Nature Center.
  • They recently hosted a “water event” where they discussed the importance of water on all living things.  They also partnered with the Ryan’s Well, an organization that helps build water wells for poor villages around the world to ensure everyone has access to clean drinking water.   

Carter and Olivia have also received great recognition for their work.  They recently won the Grand Prize in a Nestles Heroes Contest, they were honored as guest speakers at Kids Are Heroes Day 2010, and they were just invited to be guest speakers at the Caring for Creation 2011 Conference at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.

You can help the OMG Foundation by making a donation on the donation page of their website.  You can also support them by making a purchase of a mug or shirt from their online store.  In addition, you can help spread the word about their efforts by sharing this post (click here to tweet this post).

I have listed just some of Carter and Olivia’s recent accomplishments here, but you can learn more on the OMG Foundation website or by reading their profile on the Kids Are Heroes website.  You can also like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.


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Awata Margaret’s proud strong face gives the impression of the resilience which kept her going through years of difficulty.  Born into a very poor family she was unable to go to school.  By the time she was seven both her parents had died and she drifted from one relative to another.  She married young to an army man and together they had three children.  At 27, Margaret was widowed when her husband was killed in the war in Northern Uganda.  She and her children were left destitute.  Providing even a meal for her children was difficult.

Today’s organization offers an opportunity for do something to help eradicate poverty for women like Margaret.

BeadforLife works with women in Uganda who live on a dollar a day to leave poverty behind.  The organization began with a chance encounter between a Ugandan woman, Millie, who was rolling beads near her mud home, and the organization’s founders, Torkin Wakefield, Ginny Jordan, and Devin Hibbard.  Stopping to admire the beads, the women learned that there was no market for Millie’s jewelry, and that she worked for a dollar a day in a rock quarry crushing stones in the hot sun.  They admired her paper beads and bought a few, never realizing that their lives, and the lives of so many impoverished Ugandans, were about to change.

When friends at home admired the beads, the three women realized that there might be a market after all.  Torkin returned to Uganda, and Devin and Ginny began to develop a marketing strategy.  In Uganda, Torkin held classes to improve the quality of the beads and develop several styles of necklaces and bracelets.  Soon women in the US began to hear the stories of the beaders and buy their beautiful jewelry.

In September of 2004 the founders launched BeadforLife in the belief that they could build bridges of understanding and commerce.

The goal is for their members to be independent of BeadforLife within 18 months by being able to support themselves within the Ugandan economy.  To assist members in launching their own small businesses or in creating new revenue streams, BeadforLife provides entrepreneurial training, facilitates savings accounts, and makes business funds available.  In the rural areas the program focuses on agricultural development.

According to co-founder Torkin, “BeadforLife sponsors Community Development projects in health, vocational training for impoverished youth, affordable housing, and business development. These projects are financed with the net profits from the sale of the beads and shea butter products and support not only our members, but other impoverished people living in Uganda”

From the stories on the organization’s website, it is clear that they are making a difference.  Awata Margaret is one of those stories.  When BeadforLife met Margaret she lived in an abandoned house that was falling down. Margaret became an industrious bead maker and her life began to change. Margaret saved her money so that she could start to build a house in the BeadforLife village. Here her natural leadership began to emerge and she was elected the chairperson of the village, a respected and strong leader.  Margaret’s children are all in school.   Her garden is full of food.  She knows she will never be poor again.

How can you help?

  • You can make a tax deductible donation to BeadforLife to help them eradicate poverty.  93 cents of every dollar donated is invested in community development projects.
  • Make a purchase from the BeadforLife Store.  The store sells unique handmade items including jewelry, note cards, jewelry bags, shea products, and more!
  • Host a BeadParty and bring beads and shea butter products to your community event. BeadforLife makes it fun and easy to host a BeadParty with step-to-step guides, educational materials, and lots of beautiful beads.
  • BeadforLife also lists additional volunteer opportunities and other ways to make a difference toward the eradication of poverty on their website.

You can learn more about BeadforLife on their website, or on their blog.  You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter.


Posted by on January 6, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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