Happy New Year - A Little Reflection & Big Gratitude

Happy New Year!! Here we are, 52 weeks later. 52 charities in 52 weeks. A little experiment in weekly generosity - and you all made it incredible.

This all started as a simple effort to bring attention and support to organizations bringing about positive change in 2017, but it has turned into so much more. 


It is hard to even begin this letter and to decide what to say about this project and the tremendous impact it has had on me over the last year. It was a hectic time, for sure, but having a weekly ritual of searching for the positive - to research, report, give and reflect with you all.. it’s been magic. 

It is hard sometimes not to become pessimistic and hardened by the world. Learning about these organizations, meeting some of the remarkable individuals behind them, and rallying together with such an optimistic and energetic community to contribute what we can, has made me realize that while we may not be able to control our circumstances, we can control our reaction to them. 

This year, I watched you all take action. Some of you donated to every suggested organization, some simply made a large donation in the beginning of the year to a single charity, another decided hours were more valuable and offered her services to small nonprofits, and others decided to forge their own path and research and give to local organizations all on their own. However many times you gave, and in which ever way you decided to go about it: may I humbly say: thank you! You have inspired me more than words can say. 

I am so grateful to each and every one of you for making this project so wonderful. I am so in awe of this group of people, all committed to helping others and to spreading positivity. Hearing your stories, sharing ideas, and discussing what each cause has meant to you has been an absolute honor and a massive privilege. I am walking into 2018 with a huge gust of wind in my sails, and that is because of you all. 

I can write for hours on end about everything I’ve learned. About how I still have no idea what the right way is to give. About complicated thoughts on public vs. anonymous, local vs. global, cost-effective vs. visionary, personal vs. utilitarian, time vs. money, and how much is really enough? Instead, for now, I thought a simple letter of gratitude felt more right. Right for this group, with whom I’ve spent hours grappling with some of these big questions, and right for this time - welcoming the fresh, shining, bright empty page that is 2018. So for now, know that I am grateful. Great. Full. 

I hope we can keep in touch and that you will continue to carry the spirit of this little experiment in weekly generosity with you, as I will. 

Sending you so much love, my heart may burst.


The 5 Gyres Institute

Week 49: The 5 Gyres Institute

5 Gyres empowers action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, art, education, and adventure. 

So, first things first. A gyre is a “large-scale system of wind-driven surface currents in the ocean”. There is a large accumulation of plastic that form in the five subtropical gyres as a result of the diminished winds and currents. “Basically, plastic is trapped within these currents, taking at least 10 years to cycle back out—if it doesn’t first get eaten by marine life or sink to the bottom.”

Plastic was first introduced in the 1950s as a miraculous substance that was cheap, lightweight and could be thrown away after use. But we quickly realized that there is no “away.” Most plastic never really biodegrades—it remains in our environment for hundreds of years.

The The 5 Gyres Institute’s vision is a world free of plastic pollution. They are members of Break Free From Plastic, an “international group of NGOs that joined together in 2016 to fight plastic pollution, sharing the common values of environmental protection and social justice”, are founding members of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, “a global alliance of organizations, businesses, and thought leaders working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, and the environment”, and are part of the Plastic Pollution Policy Project, “a collaborative group of non-profits focused on design change for global solutions”. In 2017 they received special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

This week was a huge education for me, and I am stepping up my game. I realize that I have the opportunity to be a lot more conscious of my plastic consumption moving forward.

We only have one earth, and each individual choice adds up. 

Cheers from my re-useable mug!

Happy Monday,


Project Healthy Children

Week 48: Project Healthy Children

This week, we are focusing on nutrients. Project Healthy Children’s mission is to end malnutrition in our lifetime.

PHC photo 1.jpg
There are over 2 billion people lacking access to vital nutrients.

These deficiencies can lead to maternal death, preventable blindness, and intellectual disability in children. PHC aims to solve this issue through food fortification, a common practice in developed countries. 

If you look at your milk, salt, or cereal, you will find that more often than not, it has been fortified with important nutrients. It is easy to take these added nutrients for granted, and they only cost about 10 cents per person per year, but many people in developing countries don’t get these benefits.

“PHC works with national governments and manufacturers to fortify staple foods with essential micronutrients such as iron, folic acid and iodine, protecting populations from debilitating conditions caused by malnutrition. PHC works with both large-scale and small-scale producers of staple food products in order to reach even the most vulnerable populations with essential micronutrients, at an average cost of 25 cents per person per year. Worldwide, PHC’s food fortification programs benefit more than 55 million people.” 

When researching organizations for GIVE52, I have learned a lot about measures of efectiveness. How can we know that these interventions are working? And how do we invest each dollar to do the most good? One measure is cost effectiveness.

“It’s more cost effective than vaccinations in preventing or fighting disease. Micronutrient deficiency materially compromises the immune system of over 40% of the children in the developing world. It increases their chances of dying from curable diseases like measles, malaria, and diarrhea by about 35%.” PHC’s initiatives are based on evidence from economic- and science-backed results. These studies are important and confirm that food fortification prevents harm.

Another thing that I admire is that part of PHC’s mission is to ensure that they do not become a permanent part of a country's food distribution and health systems. Instead of staying forever, they are working to make themselves obsolete by finding sustainable ways for the governments to continue successful programs without a permanent presence. 

The goal is to end malnutrition in our lifetime and, this week, I am happy we get to play a small part in that.
Have a terrific Monday!