Tag Archives: women

Brides for a Cause

Brides for a Cause

If you have ever gone shopping for a wedding dress, you know that it is a very expensive purchase for just wearing one day.  Many preserve their dress while others “trash” their dress.  Another option is to donate your dress and today’s organization gives you that opportunity.

In July 2012, Brides for a Cause partnered with the Wish Upon a Wedding organization.  In October of 2012, they opened a retail storefront to sell dresses to benefit the Wish Upon a Wedding organization.  In less than a year, they have collected over 1,000 wedding dresses from all across the country with more arriving each week.

Brides for a Cause is a charitable wedding dress organization that resells donated wedding dresses to support charity.  Half of their proceeds go directly to Wish Upon a Wedding to help them fulfill their mission of granting weddings and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness and other serious life threatening circumstances.  All the dresses sold by Brides for a Cause have been donated by individuals and bridal stores around the country who are interested in helping those in need have their dream wedding.  Their bridal store is in Portland, Oregon, but they also take their inventory on the road to offer local brides an opportunity to find a great dress at a great price while helping a great cause.

Erin Scharf, founder and owner of Brides for a Cause, told me that many of their dresses are new and they are discounted up to 75% off.  They want to help brides who visit their store or their road shows to find their dream dress within their budget.  She also wanted to thank all the donors and brides who have support them.  “We can’t exist without their support.”  She encourages past brides with a dress sitting in their closet to donate it for a good cause and to allow another bride to wear it.

How can you help?

  • You can donate your dress if it is from 2005 or more recent.  You can either mail or drop off your dress.  Read the details of dress donation on their website.
  • Visit their store or one of their traveling events to shop for and purchase your own wedding gown.  Visit their website to find a list of upcoming road shows or sign up to be notified of a road show near you.
  • Volunteer to work at an upcoming road show.  Local volunteers are needed to help with these dress sales.  You can visit their website to sign up as a volunteer.

You can learn more about Brides for a Cause on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.

Related posts: Wish Upon a Wedding and Cinderella Project.


Leave a comment

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


Tags: , , , , ,

Liz’s Daughter

Liz’s Daughter

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.  Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

Marie Garza was inspired to make a difference.  It wasn’t just one thing that inspired her.  When she was a young girl, she witnessed her father hold a knife to her mother’s throat and has memories of her mother’s screams.  She witnessed her aunt being dragged into the street by her hair and her face beat into the concrete.  Marie then entered into a verbally abusive relationship of her own.  The final inspiration came when she watched the story about Gladys Ricart, a woman who was shot and killed in her wedding gown by an abusive ex-boyfriend just hours before wedding another man.

In 2010, Marie Garza started the Twin Cities Brides March Against Domestic Violence, an event where participants (many dressed in wedding apparel) march through the streets of Saint Paul, Minnesota to raise awareness and honor those who have lost their lives to domestic violence.  The event is inspired by a Brides March in New York that has been held in honor of Gladys Ricart.

Marie also founded Liz’s Daughter, an organization to help those battered in domestic violence named after her mother, Elizabeth Garza.  They are not a shelter.  Marie wants to get in front of domestic violence to work on prevention rather than reaction.  Education and awareness is the only way to stop the generational cycle of abuse in families.

Most domestic violence organizations are not run by survivors of domestic violence and abuse, but Liz’s Daughter is different because Marie is a survivor turned advocate who wants to gather the strength of other survivors who are no longer in abusive relationships.  Marie believes there are new solutions that can be implemented to solve this old problem of domestic violence and abuse.  One such solution is Girlz Take ‘N Action, an after-school program in her old neighborhood on the west side of St. Paul that shows young girls how abusive relationships impact women.

How can you help?

  • For those near Saint Paul, Minnesota, you can sign up to participate in the Twin Cities Brides March Against Domestic Violence held this year on Friday, June 21, 2013.  Please visit for more information!
  • They are also looking for event sponsors.  You can learn more about sponsorship opportunities on the event’s website.
  • Other opportunities include help with their marketing, fundraising, photography, videography, social media, website updates, grant writing, graphic design, and more!
  • They are looking for people with a background in politics or legislation to assist them with the passage of bills to protect women.
  • In addition, they are seeking help from future and current law enforcement officers to start changing the police academy curriculum to increase the number of training hours for handling domestic calls.  These additional training hours can help officers to be educated about the cultural and social issues involved in domestic abuse situations.
  • If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact Liz’s Daughter at

Learn more about Liz’s Daughter on their website,  You can also connect with them on Twitter, Facebook or via e-mail.


Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


Tags: , , , , ,

Women With Drive

Women With Drive

I have been lucky to have a vehicle since I was old enough to drive.  There have been a few times when I had car troubles and it was difficult to make due while the car was being repaired.  But, some people do not have a car.  While public transportation can get you some places, it can’t get you everywhere and not all cities have great public transportation systems.  Today’s organization is working to make a difference.

There is research that links a number of factors suggesting that inadequate transportation hinders a welfare recipients’ ability to seek and keep employment.  The Surface Transportation Policy Project cites the following findings: the Welfare to Work Partnership found the most significant barrier to employment for their employees was transportation; a study by the Volpe Institute revealed that three of every five jobs suitable for welfare-to-work participants are not accessible by public transportation; and most metropolitan areas typically do not offer adequate services during second and third shift hours.

The Women with Drive Foundation was founded in 2010 by Molly Cantrell-Kraig to help fill that gap.  Molly knew what it was like to struggle as a single mother.  She spent twenty years learning the lessons of autonomy and self-sufficiency.  She found many organizations that help women develop skills to be self-sufficient, but she only found a few organizations that provided reliable transportation to facilitate a woman’s independence.  Molly had a vision for something bigger.  She wanted to incorporate a two-year developmental journey alongside the distribution of a car to help empower women.

Women with Drive wishes to provide women with the literal and figurative vehicle to enable her to change her life.  They do this by collaborating with private and public organizations that help them identify and strategically invest in women who have taken ownership of their choices and wish to transition off a life of welfare to a life of self-sufficiency.  The organization currently is limited to the state of Iowa, but they do have plans to scale nationwide.  They have already received requests to start chapters in the states of Washington, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, and Oklahoma.

The organization taps existing resources within the community to help the participants access higher education, gain financial planning skills, learn interviewing and other life skills designed to empower her, her children and give her a new perspective about her capabilities.  By removing the pressure of owning and maintaining a vehicle, the women helped by the organization have the energy to focus on elevating and empowering themselves.  Molly stated, “Our goal is to ‘inoculate’ women against poverty. The mission of our organization will affect not only the primary participant (the woman who applies and receives a car), but her children will have witnessed their mother taking ownership and accountability of her choices. These children’s lives will have a different trajectory. Our goal is to contribute a very pragmatic and vital part of the capacity building process so that women can gain dignity, independence and live a meaningful life.”

How can you help?

  • Women with Drive has several volunteer opportunities include social media administration, database management, newsletter composition, and general awareness building.  They are also recruiting board members for 2013.  You can contact them to learn more about specific opportunities.
  • They are also seeking to partner with a university or college to provide a measurement model to track the return on the investments in their program.
  • Donations of cash and cars are always welcome to continue their mission.  You can learn more about making a donation on their website.
  • You can also support them by making a purchase in their online store.

You can learn more about the Women with Drive Foundation on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.


Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


Tags: , , , ,

Loved Twice

Loved Twice

Kids grow fast!  Babies grow even faster.  In the first year of a baby’s life, they go through so many clothes that they sometimes barely wear an outfit before it no longer fits.  I was lucky to have several hand-me-downs to keep up with the many new sizes they needed.  Once my kids outgrew their clothes, I made sure they went to good homes.  Some went to friends with younger kids, others went to a charity garage sale, and a lot of baby clothes went to the local chapter of today’s organization.

Loved Twice started in 2005 when Lisa Klein responded to an online community appeal for donations of baby clothing after Hurricane Katrina.  Lisa had just had her first child and was deeply moved to contribute.  She rallied together with other San Francisco Bay Area mothers to collect 200 pounds of clothing for babies in Louisiana in just four days!  While she was mailing the collected onesies, swaddling blankets, and other donated newborn clothing, she realized that this simple process of recycling gently used baby clothing could be spread nationwide to help provide for infants in need. 

The mission of Loved Twice is to clothe America’s Newborns-in-need with quality recycled baby clothing for the first year of life.  They are based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they have “mail to” locations across the Unites States to help spread their donations. 

Since their founding, they have grown into an effective organization embraced by the communities they serve.  According to a 2010 report by the Children’s Defense Fund, 2,962 babies are born into poverty each day in the United States.  Since 2005, Loved Twice has clothed 5,759 newborns with over 430,000 garments at an estimated retail value of almost $1.3 million.  Loved Twice is making a difference to those babies by providing them with clothing.  At the same time, they are reducing waste by encouraging people to reuse and recycle baby clothing and supplies.  They have kept over 57,000 pounds of clothing out of landfills.  You can watch the video below watch them in action:

Loved Twice collects and distributes baby clothes in sizes up to 12 months.  Blankets, hats, socks, bibs and board books are welcome too.  However clothing for older children as well as other baby supplies are not collected.  The clothing is distributed through social service agencies to ensure it gets to those who need it most. 

How can you help?

  • Tax deductible donations are accepted via their website to help clothe more babies.
  • Their website provides all the details for running a baby clothing drive to help newborns-in-need in your local community. 
  • You can also mail clothes to one of the Loved Twice partners throughout the United States.  You can find an updated list on their website.
  • In addition, you can join other supporters of Loved Twice by signing up to be a campaigner in the Grand Baby Campaign where volunteers each raise $1000.  The organization provides the support with over 100 fundraising ideas and the materials you need to be successful. 

You can learn more about Loved Twice on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Blessing Basket Project

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”  ~Scott Adams

A tough situation can either lift a person up or break them down.  The founder of today’s organization had some rough times in her life, but she did not let them bring her down.  In fact, she found blessings in the kindness of others and turned that into a ripple of kindness that has become The Blessing Basket Project. 

The Blessing Basket Project Logo

The Blessing Basket Project works to reduce poverty in developing countries by paying Prosperity Wages® for products created by artisans in those countries. The unique financial model they have implemented allows the artisan to earn significantly higher than fair trade wages for a given period of time.  This creates a cycle of entrepreneur driven growth resulting in permanent financial independence for the artisan. 

The Blessing Basket Project was founded by Theresa Wilson.  She considers herself an ordinary person, who decided to ripple kindness out to ensure that good things really can come from a bad situation.  Theresa was born with fetal alcohol syndrome to an imprisoned mother and went through childhood only knowing a life of abuse and deprivation.  She was taken into state custody then grew up to get married and have two children.  Then after 13 years of marriage, her husband left her for another woman.  It was at this time that the acts of kindness started to pour in.  Groceries would appear on their doorstep, cash would arrive in the mail, and the lawn would get mowed while Theresa was at work.  Theresa kept each note, card, and picture in a basket as a visual reminder that she and her children were loved and life goes on.  By early 2000 Theresa began speaking at women’s organizations about overcoming trial using her “Blessing Basket” as a prop.  Women began requesting their own blessing basket and Theresa started selling them.  In 2004, this evolved into the Blessing Basket Project when Theresa started paying the basket artisans directly to help lift them out of poverty.  You can read a more detailed version of Theresa’s story here.

Since the start of The Blessing Basket Project, they have paid over $2,000,000 USD directly into the hands of artisans.  They work with approximately 1,500 weavers across the six countries of Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda.  They do not plan any expansion until at least 80% of their original weavers have achieved permanent financial independence from the project or sales allow expansion without impacting any of the current artisans.

How can you help?

  • If you live near their St Louis, Missouri location, you can volunteer to assist in the warehouse, prep baskets to be sold, or assist with special project in their office.
  • Monetary donations can be made through The Blessing Basket website.  All donations will go directly to the project of your choice, including general operations, travel, education, or more. 
  • You can also shop their online store or find retail locations to purchase baskets, bags, and other products. 
  • You could also host your own Seeds of Blessing party to view and purchase baskets or become a Seeds of Blessing consultant.  Learn more about Seeds of Blessing at

You can learn more about The Blessing Basket Project on their website,  You can also connect with them on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Related post: Bead for Life

1 Comment

Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


Tags: , , , , ,

Handmade Especially for You

I have written posts about using your passion to give back (Refresh Your Resolutions and Give Back).  Today’s organization was founded by a woman who found herself with extra gifts to give.

Leslye Borden sold her business in 2007 and spent more time on her favorite hobby, knitting.  She made beautiful outfits for her granddaughters, but realized that she had gotten carried away when she found the outfits in her daughter’s giveaway box.  It was then that she decided she needed to find more needy recipients for her gifts. 

She decided to start creating scarves for women impacted by abuse.  She created an organization named Handmade Especially for You with a mission to provide comfort scarves to women who flee domestic violence by escaping to a shelter for abused women.  The organization is based in Palos Verdes, California.  In 2010, they shipped 10,000 scarves to 33 shelters.  In 2011, they donated 15,000 scarves to 57 shelters throughout California.  

Handmade Especially for You has found there is power in the scarves they provide.  Directors at the shelters who receive the scarves often say receiving such a beautiful gift from someone they do not even know is a tremendous surprise to the women that it lifts their self-esteem and makes them open up to the counseling and education provided at the shelter, which is an enabler to change their lives.  Many women who leave their abusive environments bring their children with them.  The shelter staff give the children a scarf to help them sleep and they provide them some comfort in a difficult time.  

You can read stories from shelter staff in a recent newsletter.  One comment really seemed to summarize it well.  Richard Kravetz, Executive Director of DVS for Santa Barbara County, wrote, “Thank you for your support!  Your gift of 25 comfort scarves gives women and children a promise to fulfill a dream of a home and life without violence. . . . Thank you for being part of the solution.”

The organization has volunteers all over the United States as well as scarf contributors from England, Scotland, Singapore, Germany, South Africa, Australia, and Costa Rica.  Volunteers can make knitted or crocheted scarves to donate.  They prefer the scarves to be 4 to 4 ½ inches wide and at least 60 inches long.  The organization often provides kits with premeasured yarn.  Another way you can help is to donate yarn or make a monetary donation.  Learn more about making a donation on their website.  You can also find a listing of companies that have donated yarn on their website.

Local volunteers can assemble yarn kits, tie ribbons and gift tags on the donated scarves, and ship out boxes of scarves.

You can learn more on the organization’s website,  You can also find them on Facebook or contact them via e-mail.

Thank you letters sent to Handmade Especially for You by some of the 60 shelters for abused women to which they donate comfort scarves.

1 Comment

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


Tags: , , , ,

Global Soap Project

You may have heard of organizations such as homeless or women’s shelters that collect the small unused toiletries from hotels to give to their clients.  Today’s organization takes that collection one step further by collecting used soap from hotels.

The mission of the Global Soap Project is to work with their hotel partners to divert used soap from going to the landfill and instead be reprocessed and reused by vulnerable populations around the world.  Their ultimate goal is to impact global health by promoting sanitation and hygiene.

The Global Soap Project is based in Atlanta, Georgia, but soaps are collected from participating hotels across the United States and Canada. 

In a CNN interview last year, Global Soap Project Founder Derreck Kayongo, a native of Uganda, spoke about his first hotel stay in the United States in the early 1990s.  He was surprised to see the soap replaced each day even though it was barely used.  That sparked an idea to recycle the discarded soaps into new bars for those who could not afford it.  At 25 cents a bar, soap is not a priority for those making just one dollar a day.  In 2009, Derreck was able to bring his soap recycling idea to life.  Derreck and his wife Sarah started experimenting with soap making techniques in their basement.  The organization has since grown to fill a warehouse. 

Housekeeping departments of participating hotels collect the soap and the hotels ship it to the Global Soap Project warehouse.  Volunteers clean the soap, process it into new bars, and package it for shipping.  They also verify the safety of random samples of their reprocessed soap on a regular basis using an outside lab.

The soap is shipped to vulnerable populations including orphans, refugees, and disaster victims.  Most organizations receiving soap contact the Global Soap Project and are screened and vetted as appropriate recipients.  As of February 2012, the organization has distributed over 250,000 bars to 21 countries.  In March 2012, they shipped their first container load of soap to Haiti.

How can you help?

  • If you live near Norcross, Georgia, you can volunteer to clean and re-make soap.  You can find the details of this opportunity on their website.
  • You can share the project details with a hotel that is not already participating in the project.  You can find a brochure for hotels here.
  • Monetary donations can also be made to the Global Soap Project.  You can donate online or by mail.  Learn more on their website.
  • You can also spread the word about this project by sharing this blog post using the sharing options at the end of the post.

You can learn more about the Global Soap Project on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.


Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: