Monthly Archives: May 2011

HavenHouse St Louis

When someone in your family needs to spend time in a hospital away from home, the last thing you want to worry about is where to sleep or how to afford living away from home during medical treatments.  Today’s organization offers help families who have a loved one undergoing medical care in St Louis. 

The mission of HavenHouse St Louis is to provide the comfort of home and a community of support to patients and families that travel to St. Louis for medical care.  St Louis is a hub of technological advances in medicine and draws people from all around the world for medical care.  HavenHouse has also earned an international reputation for service and care. 

The HavenHouse facility is 25,000 square feet.  It contains 32 spacious bedrooms, all with private baths and operates year round, 24 hours daily.  This allows families to check in any time of the day or night. 

According to Paula Kinney, the Director of Family Services at HavenHouse, “The concept of a hospitality house was developed because there were no options for patients in families in the West County area.”

HavenHouse opened their doors in 2004. Families staying at HavenHouse typically do not have the resources to pay for hotel rooms and restaurant meals in addition to significant medical expenses.  HavenHouse eases the burdens of trying to make ends meet while away from home by providing a relaxing home-like environment where patients and their families can retreat, be nourished and comforted by home-cooked meals.  HavenHouse also provides around-the-clock emotional support.

On the HavenHouse website you can read testimonials from the families who have stayed at their facility.  One testimonial is from Avery Lansdown’s family.  Avery was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of two and referred to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for treatment.  The stress and terrifying fear of having a child with a life-threatening illness was almost crippling for Avery’s parents, but one worry – where to stay – vanished when they were referred to HavenHouse.

There are many ways that you can help HavenHouse.

  • They are always looking for volunteers to help with cleaning.
  • Groups or individuals can collect supplies such as laundry detergent, sheets, towels, and anything else that would be used in a traditional home.
  • On weekends HavenHouse has groups of volunteers donate and prepare meals.  Two complimentary meals are provided each day.  You can learn more about the weekend meal program on their website.
  • HavenHouse also frequently has projects for photographers, graphic designers, web designers, handymen, and more!  You can find a list of current volunteer opportunities on their website
  • HavenHouse also keeps a current wish list of items they need on their website.
  • You can also make a donation directly through the HavenHouse website

You can learn more about HavenHouse St Louis on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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More than half of American families across all income brackets do not feel they could meet their basic financial needs if their income was disrupted for three or more months.  Over 40% state they would dip into a retirement savings if they had an interruption in their income.  Today’s organization is helping to give low-income working families the power to create prosperity for generations through financial education. 

EARN is the nation’s leading microsavings provider.  They provide families the tools to build wealth and achieve life-changing goals such as saving for college, buying a first home, or starting a small business.  Since 2001, they have helped tens of thousands of low-wage families in the San Francisco Bay Area through innovative financial products including matched savings accounts, checking accounts for the unbanked, and financial coaching.

EARN program savers receive 8 hours of financial management training, covering budgeting, spending, credit repair, and long-term planning.  Savers also complete at least two asset-specific workshops per year, covering topics such as starting a small business, budgeting and credit, managing debt, intro to finance, financial aid for education, and first-time home purchase. 

Perhaps the best way to explain EARN’s impact is to share a story from a recent Saver, La Tanya.  After years of drug addiction, La Tanya got clean and sober for her children.  She and her husband struggled to build a better future for their family, but when he got laid off, they almost lost everything – even the kids’ dreams of college.  “EARN saved us,” she says. “EARN taught us to make the most of our money… and the kids learned to save, too.”  Today, La Tanya is a business owner and homeowner, and her son is in college.  Learn more about La Tanya and other success stories here.

EARN also offers some financial information on their website that anyone can take advantage of.  Some of the resources available include the Money Mindfulness Expense Tracking Spreadsheet, a variety of short financial seminar videos, and links to many other resources and financial tools. 

EARN’s ultimate vision is that millions of well-informed, low-wage American families will achieve financial success through proven strategies, fair public policy, and their own hard work.

You can help EARN as a volunteer.  They have a wide range of volunteer needs from routine tasks to teaching Saver Workshops.  You can learn more about the current volunteer opportunities here.  Financial donations are also accepted through the EARN website

Learn more about EARN at their website,  You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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1000 Prayers for Japan

In March we profiled Love & Water Designs – a company giving back one t-shirt at a time.  They recently launched a special relief project for Japan called “1000 Prayers for Japan” in response to the earthquake in Japan on March 11th.  Love & Water Designs has joined with the Nagagutsu charity, an on the ground group helping with immediate relief efforts in Japan by bringing rubber boots and cotton gloves to the workers and victims of the earthquake and tsunami.  Their work has helped refugees return to their homes and sift through the rubble to locate personal belongings.

An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.  To honor this legend, Love & Water Designs is producing 1000 limited edition t-shirts created by artists – 200 each of five different designs – with 100% of the profits going to the Nagagutsu Foundation.  Attached to each shirt will be a postcard prayer to allow you to send a message back to Japan through Love & Water Designs. 

Nagagutsu’s “Delivering Boots Project” is helping earthquake victims who have lost families, property, homes, and belongings by giving them protection they need – boots and gloves – to dig through the debris. 

You can learn more about Love & Water Designs and order a 1000 Prayers for Japan shirt at their website.

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Posted by on May 14, 2011 in Philanthropy


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The Bridge for Youth

High school is tough!  Kids can be mean, there is homework, and your social calendar is quite difficult to manage.  Some kids have it even harder – they are homeless.  In a recent year, the Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Schools counted 5,500 homeless children in the district.  Some of those kids are lucky to find a home with today’s organization.

Bridge for Youth is a 24-hour runaway and homeless youth program in a residential setting in the Minneapolis, Minnesota metropolitan region.  Their mission is helping youth in crisis and their vision is to be the premier resource for youth and families in crisis.  They ensure a continuum of care to provide shelter and support, to reunite families whenever possible, and when it is not, to build independent living skills in young people.  The Bridge for Youth is a community leader in the development of approaches for youth and their families to resolve problems and develop healthier relationships.

The Bridge for Youth was founded by Sister Rita Steinhagen in 1970 as one of the first runaway youth shelters in the nation.  Sister Rita was a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph Catholic order.  She and her fellow sisters noticed that homeless youth were increasingly vulnerable to exploitation, prostitution, violence, and illness and felt the need to act. 

Each year The Bridge serves over a thousand youth between the ages of 10 and 20 years old.  The families are also helped when applicable.  A continuum of services is offered, from street outreach to homeless youth, short-term emergency shelter, housing skills and career development, and transitional and permanent supportive housing.  Their services are available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If there is a young person in crisis or a parent of a young person in crisis they can call or come in and someone will be available for them.

The Bridge has some amazing results.  Here are just a few of their impressive statistics: 

  • 70% of youth served in the reunification program were safely reunited with parents or extended family.
  • 60% of youth participants in their transitional living program moved to stable living.
  • 100% of youth in transitional living were working and/or going to school.
  • 97% of youth in scattered site supportive housing retained their housing for six months.

The personal stories are also amazing.  One of the many success stories is Valencia McMurray, a young woman who has been on her own since 10th grade.  She spent time living with siblings until they were no longer able to pay rent. Then she did some couch hopping with friends until a school social worker found her a space at The Bridge.  She spent some time in the emergency shelter and then in the transitional housing program.  She was able to graduate high school and earn a four year scholarship to Augsburg College.  You can read her full story here.  There is also a video about six young adults who were impacted my homelessness.

If you live in the Minneapolis area, there are many volunteer opportunities available, including cleaning, yard work, and more.  Volunteers are always needed to do a variety of things depending on their interests and skills.  Groups and organizations are always welcome to hold donation drives or collections.  Individuals can also help with cooking, mock interviews, and more.  You can learn more about current volunteer needs at The Bridge on their website.  

The Bridge also accepts cash and in-kind donations.  You can find donation options as well as their current wish list on their website

Learn more about The Bridge for Youth on their website,

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Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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