Exit the Terrarium: Why Your Community Needs You!

IMG_20160613_191409.jpgI’m not going to lie, since the tragedy in Orlando, I’ve been having trouble mustering up the emotional energy to write a blog post. Instead, I found  myself furiously Googling and making plans to build a terrarium. It’s not TOO strange when you consider that I am a proud lizard owner (see Dandy, pictured above), but it is a weird thing for my mind to be mysteriously fixating on in the wake of this tragedy. However, I think the feeling mirrored my desire to close myself off in my own social ecosystem. In times like these, it is very easy for us to choose one thing to focus on, and huddle up with like-minded friends in a miniature version of the “real” world. Continue reading

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Does Activism Mean Never Being Satisfied?

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Activists have done so much to bring important issues to light and create real social change, despite the fact that change often comes much slower than we would like. There is no doubt that there is a lot of work left to be done, but how do we balance our own happiness with the happiness of others, and where do we draw the line between being comfortable and being complacent? Continue reading

How Do We Value Activism?

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We all know that different levels of activism will naturally have different levels of social impact. Activism that is well-researched and informed will have a greater social impact that activism that isn’t, and giving $2 to a cause will not have as great an impact as giving $2 million. That said, not all of us have $2 million that we can afford to give away, and not all of us have the time to thoroughly research a 30 page position paper on the issues that affect our world. Being an activist means that you are doing something – even something small – to make the world a better place. While many detractors would pick on people who make low-stakes investments in a cause (such as social media sharing), shouldn’t we instead be directing our energy toward a positive impact?

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Why and How to Forgive

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No matter who you are, chances are you have some kind of emotional baggage weighing you down. Maybe it makes you nervous and upset whenever you think about a bridge you’ve burned with someone you care about, maybe fear of losing face and admitting wrongdoing is preventing you from reviving relationships or partnerships that could otherwise improve your life, or maybe you still haven’t forgiven yourself enough to pick up where you left off. Whatever is holding you back, the fall season is a great time to make peace with others and yourself, and start afresh. Continue reading

Forward-Thinking vs. Backward Philanthropy

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Philanthropy comes from the Greek term meaning “love of humanity,” but when you take a realistic look at the way we view charity today, much of it stems from Puritan ideas about penance and making up for wrongdoing or selfishness in other aspects of one’s life. A more forward-thinking philanthropist, instead would take a practical look at how they can integrate philanthropy into all aspects of their life, and achieve the greatest good overall, not just enough that they break even. Today, I’m going to take some time to explore what forward thinking philanthropists are doing, compared against old-school styles of philanthropy.
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More than a Warrior: The Social Justice Hero

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I will be honest, I have some difficulty wrapping my head around how “social justice warrior” became an insult. After all, doesn’t our society typically reserve some respect for warriors, particularly when they are fighting for a noble cause such as justice? That said, there’s a big difference between fighting for justice, and winning that fight. Today’s post will center on what it means to be a social justice “hero” as opposed to a “warrior.” Continue reading

No More Excuses: Striving to be a Better Person

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“I don’t give to charity, because too many of them are scams,” “I didn’t give to that homeless person because she will just spend it on drugs anyway,” “I didn’t comfort that crying person because he should toughen up!” Too often, we make excuses for not doing the most we can to help others. As human beings, we are not always able to help everyone who needs help, but much of the time, making excuses like this do even more harm that doing nothing at all. Today, I am exploring these different excuses, their effect, and what you can do instead. Continue reading

Give to Charity, Not Scams

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News broke this week that four cancer charities were charged with fraud for raising over $187 million in donations through deceptive means. This is awful news for the nonprofit sector, which already struggles with debunking myths and misperceptions (including the much talked about Overhead Myth). Many would-be donors struggle with how to give to charity without worrying about their donations falling into the wrong hands. My advice: don’t let a few bad apples stand between you and the causes you care about, but do learn your lesson about checking a charity’s legitimacy before you give. Here’s how: Continue reading

How stigma hurts (and how to fight it!)

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Stigmatizing members of our community who are already at risk is, sadly, extremely common. When you see someone in need, sometimes it is easier to suppress your compassion than to offer help. You might even think that this will help to make them more resilient or encourage them to work harder or become more independent, but in truth, perpetuating stigma against marginalized groups makes life worse for them and for the health of our community. This week I am going to explore how stigma hurts and how you can help fight it. Continue reading

Businesses with Standards: What is The B Impact Assessment?

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I’ve recently discussed the way that social good is quickly becoming far more measurable, but many of us (myself included) are still trying to wrap our heads around what it means for a business to be truly ethical, and how that can be measured. Today I had the chance to talk to Dan Osusky, Standards Development Manager at B Lab, who gave me some insight into what the B Impact Assessment can tell us, not only about a company’s values, but about the real, measurable impact that they are having on our community and environment.

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