Friday, October 29, 2010

I Love My Hair: Have Fun, Do Good Friday Video

This week's Have Fun, Do Good Friday Video is the I Love My Hair song from Sesame Street.  According to NPR's story about the song's origins, 'I Love My Hair': A Father's Tribute to His Daughter, Joey Mazzarino wrote the song for his 5-year-old daughter, who he and his wife adopted from Ethiopia, when they noticed, "She wanted to have long blond hair and straight hair, and she wanted to be able to bounce it around."

As of this writing, the video has been viewed on YouTube 1,040,810 times!  Although it of course has special meaning for African American women, I think it also resonates with all women who learned as girls that how they looked was not OK.  As someone who was teased a lot for having weird/frizzy/big/Roseannadanna/didyoustickyourfingerinalightsocket hair as a little girl, I wish I'd had this song to sing.

Yay to Sesame Street for creating this empowering message for girls.

You can see more Have Fun, Do Good Friday videos here.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer: How I Have Fun, Do Good

 World Go Vegan Week (October 24-31, 2010) seems like a perfect time to highlight the sixth contributor to my series of guest posts by bloggers talking about how they have fun and do good.

Elisa Camahort Page is the co-founder and COO of BlogHer Inc, the largest community of women who blog, and the future of women's lifestyle programming...where women actively participate and can integrate their perspectives on everything from parenting to politics, food to finance. Elisa has seven (sorely neglected) blogs of her own, including Veggie Goes Vegan. The best ways to follow her are via Twitter (@ElisaC) and by all the headline feeds found in her BlogHer profile.

Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer: How I Have Fun, Do Good

Vegan meal from Candle 79 in New York City
The single most important way I have fun and do good is all about what I don’t do: I don’t consume animal products. Starting in 1989 I became a vegetarian. No fish, no escargot, no chocolate covered ants. Then I became what I liked to call “vegan outside my body” meaning: no wool, no silk, no leather or suede. And finally, 17 years after going vegetarian, I finally lived up to my own ideals and became a vegan.

When people ask why, as they inevitably do while we're eating a meal, and they're eating a big hunk of meat, I always tell this story:

It started with a donation to the ASPCA in NYC. That got me on every animal organization mailing list. (We're talking snail mail here...the Dark Ages.) I started getting lots of information about animal right issues. And I became galvanized. I’ve always been a voter, but you vote most often with your wallet. As I learned more, I realized I didn’t want my hard-earned money going certain places or supporting certain industries.

One day, as I walked through my neighborhood, I started looking at the butcher shops. They typically hung the animals in the window, with slits up their bellies. Not pretty. Then I walked by one unloading a delivery, and there were buckets of some kind of gross, meat-oriented stuff on the sidewalk and they were literally hosing off the blood running down the sidewalk.

It seemed like a sign, and I thought: "I haven't eaten meat today...let's see how it goes. If I can't keep it up? Well, at least I tried." That was 21 years ago. It turned out to be not that difficult.

Of course now conscious eating is much more in vogue. We’ve all heard a lot about why veg*nism is better for your health and for the planet, let alone for the animals. But back in 1989 people weren’t talking about it very much. So my goal has always been to just be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted and non-deprivation oriented veg*n role model for people flirting with the idea.

I’m a believer in starting with a step. The more you take, the better, but no one takes every step. You do what you can, until you can do better. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of better. Even the Dalai Lama probably gets annoyed at drivers who don’t use turn signals, no?

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creativity in Education (and Life) Can Change the World

Some of my best childhood memories are from going to public grade school.  Making friends was hard, but learning was fun.  When I think of school, I think of:
  • Creating a paper mâché Loch Ness monster and painting it red, white and blue to be the USS Nessie.
  • Writing and illustrating stories about my gerbils, Floppsey and Moppsey, and reading them to the class.
  • Writing a report on wolves and taking a picture with a Polaroid of a wolf in a book so it would look like the wolf was in my backyard (:
  • Being the lead in the school play, Really Rose.
  • Reading a chapter of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase dramatically (OK, overly dramatically) into a tape recorder.
  • Working on a 50-page handwritten report (with illustrations) at the end of the school year so I could go on a class field trip to Boston, and visit one of my favorite places, the Mapparium.
  • Receiving my weekly mimeographed schedule of to-dos (homework, meeting days for certain subjects, project due dates etc.), and figuring out how I would get it done on my own time.
We live in a time when we need creativity more than ever to find innovative solutions to the world's problems. Unfortunately, America's creativity scores are declining.   In their July 2010 Newsweek article, The Creativity Crisis, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman reported:
"Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William and Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward."
Bronson and Merryman also reported that, "A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 'leadership competency' of the future."

One of the reasons I stopped working as the program director for an arts education nonprofit five years ago was because I was so frustrated with the public school system we worked in.  I can't bear to see Waiting for Superman.  My only connection with education at the moment is as a "reading partner" volunteer with two girls for an hour each week at my local public school.  If you know of an effective movement to integrate creativity back into education, I'd love to know about it.

In the meantime, I just signed up for Art Every Day Month, happening in November, after interviewing its founder, Leah Piken Kolidas, for the Arts and Healing Network Podcast.   I figure the least I can do is try to raise my own "creativity scores."  As Gloria Anzaldúa wrote, "I change myself, I change the world." If I had children, I'd sign them up too.

Wish by me (:

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jennifer Moore, Monaluna Designs: How I Have Fun, Do Good

I hope you've been enjoying my series of guest posts by bloggers talking about how they have fun and do good. Today's guest blogger is Jennifer Moore.  Jennifer is a textile and surface designer, and owner of  Monaluna, a small business specializing in organic cotton fabrics.  You can follow her blog at

Jennifer Moore, Monaluna Designs: How I Have Fun, Do Good

I find my joy from making things. Especially beautiful, useful things. Over the years I’ve worked in many different media, and made all kinds of things (some more beautiful and useful than others), but several years ago I found myself deeply in love with fabric. In my pursuit of the perfect fabric for one project or another, I began designing patterns that I wished I could have, and eventually began licensing those prints to a large fabric manufacturer.

Although the work was fun for me, it was also very fulfilling to see others respond happily to the fabrics, and to watch the prints fuel creativity in others. I feel that exercising the creative aspects of ourselves is vitally important, and I love being able to offer the tools that people can use to unleash that vision and joy.

The more I learned about the manufacturing of fabrics, though, the more I realized how significant the negative impacts are on the environment, and on the farmers who grow the cottons. Cotton uses vast amounts of pesticide, more than any other crop globally, and the health implications have been dire for cotton farmers in India, where my fabric is made, and also for the environment. As a result, I became committed to using my prints on organic cotton.

When the company I was working with wasn’t ready to take that step, I decided to do it myself, and started importing my own line of organic cotton fabric. Now, my business has grown to include several lines of organic cotton prints, and I try to keep it as green as I can, recycling, composting, minimizing waste and energy use and reducing transportation whenever possible.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Amy Sample Ward, Community Builder and Nptechie: How I Have Fun and Do Good

 Happy Monday, Have Fun, Do Gooders!  

The fourth guest post in my have fun, do good blogger series is by Amy Sample Ward.  Amy is a blogger and trainer focused on supporting and educating organizations and changemakers in the use of evolving technologies that cultivate and engage communities. 

She is also the CDI Community Development Manager for TechSoup Global where her work focuses on developing new programs and opportunities to strengthen and grow the global networks for changemakers, innovators and nonprofit organizations making our world a better place.  You can read her blog and learn more about her work at, and you can follow her on Twitter at @amyrsward

Amy Sample Ward, Community Builder and Nptechie: How I Have Fun and Do Good

For me, there are lots of ways of having fun and doing good. I have two rules of thumb I use almost always:

#1 Make it interesting

Because there are so many ways to "have fun and do good" I can fall victim to the option paralysis syndrome. So, to help myself narrow down the options, I look for the ones that aren't just fun and enjoyable but are also interesting, will use my brain, keep me engaged and even help me learn something new. Those are the things that are most fun to me, anyway! Often this means combining passions, so opportunities that use technology know-how, community or local people (especially new ones to meet), as well as real objectives and goals.

#2 Make it shareable

I also believe that a lot of what we do could be shared, repeated, and even improved upon, but often isn't because we don't really share with the world or even our neighbors information about just what we are doing to "do good." I like to find ways either in real-time, or after a project, to share. This can mean posting photos of our work and ideas, creating a short video interview with those I'm working with, or writing a blog post that documents our process and strategy while also including documents or resources. Sharing is caring, so they say!

With all the ways to have fun and do good, and option paralysis such a real thing in our information-overload-world, I'd love to hear any guidelines others use to help narrow down the choices and concentrate efforts for making the world a better place!

Image Credit: This is Michaela Hackner at the 2008 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) participating in the Day of Service - a great way to have fun and do good with technology, and even an example of sharing!

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Free Hugs: Have Fun, Do Good Friday Video

Last Friday I shared an inspiring video with you for Blog Action Day about Women's Earth Alliance's Global Women's Water Initiative (GWWI) in Africa.

Today's Have Fun, Do Good Friday video is by my friend, Gabriela Masala, and her project, the One Love Alliance.  She and members of the One Love Alliance gave away "free hugs" at their local farmers market in Tucson on the International Day of Peace (Sept 21):

For more information about Gabriela, and The One Love Alliance, check out:

Twitter: @onelovealliance
Gabriela's intuitive consultations:

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Amy Potthast, How I Have Fun and Do Good

The third guest post in my have fun, do good blogger series is by Amy Potthast.  Amy is the Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs at, and lives in Oregon with her husband and two sons.  You can follow her on Twitter, @amypotthast

How do I have fun and do good? — Amy Potthast,

This year, this question is easier to answer than ever.

With a group of mom-friends in St. Johns — my North Portland, Oregon, neighborhood — I've been working this year on a new, all-volunteer mentoring program for local teen parents.

The St. Johns Village Project is a moms-and-tots playgroup that brings together teen moms and adult moms, with all our kids. The idea is for the moms to build friendships that outlast the teen parents's teen years.

We strive to support all moms to succeed in life and parenting, and to build the 40 developmental assets of teen parents and all our kids.

Moms and kids in planning mode
We're hosted by swapnplay, an innovative neighborhood community play space. We're working on becoming a member program of Oregon Mentors.

We’re launching with a Halloween party on Oct. 30th — inviting the teen moms to a pancake breakfast where they can also pick out Halloween costumes for their children to bring home with them.

In the spring, we plan to launch a garden plot in the St. Johns Community Garden where teen dads and other neighborhood dads can have fun growing vegetables together with their kids.

As an intentional by-product of the project, the moms (and dads) involved with planning have grown closer as a community and we only envision having more fun together as we get to know each other, and our kids better during regular playgroup gatherings in the coming year.

If you like this post, you might also like:

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Leonie Allan of Goddess Guidebook Shares How She Has Fun, Does Good

I hope you all enjoyed the guest post by Marianne Elliott on Tuesday. She shared how she has fun and does good by making over gardens for busy young families. 

Leonie Allan of Goddess Guidebook will be the next guest blogger to share how she has fun and does good.  Goddess Leonie helps you see the goddess inside you.  You can download her latest little offering (for free) here: A Printable Pocket Goddess Gratitude Diary.  Follow her on Twitter at @GoddessLeonie and on Facebook at

The Life is Fun and Good Checklist Leonie Style

I nurture my daughter as lovingly, joyfully and spiritfully as I can.

I create whatever needs to come through me.

I stay inside my own energy and don't bother comparing myself.

I make things with my babe in my lap or in the night as inspiration strikes: meditations, little hand painted soul workbooks + spirit-infused e-courses.

I photograph women as goddesses all around the world

I hold women's circles and sacred retreats where miracles work their way up to the surface of life until it becomes infused and glimmering with them.

I rest when I need to. I visit the cave often.

I make ridiculous gatherings: fairy picnics in abandoned parks, silly soirees in pancake galleries, pink hatted outings to Thai resturants.

I hold The Cheese Awards

And I make joy a transmittable disease.


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zen Peacekeeper, Marianne Elliott, Shares How She Has Fun, Does Good

We write and teach what we want to learn, at least, I do.  One of the reasons I keep this blog is to help me figure out how to have fun, and do good, and one of the ways I learn is by example, so I've asked a handful of bloggers from my Have Fun, Do Good blogroll to share how they have fun and do good. 

The first guest post is by Marianne Elliott.  Marianne is a change-maker, a human rights advocate, a yoga teacher and a writer. She is the creator of 30 days of yoga: an online course to establish a regular home practice of yoga and build a kinder relationship with your own body. She is currently writing a memoir about her life as a UN peacekeeper in Afghanistan.  You can follow her on Twitter at @zenpeacekeeper.

All I’ve ever wanted from my life was to do good. As a small child I was profoundly affected by the glimpses I got into the injustices in the world so I became a human rights lawyer and spent a decade working in places like the Gaza Strip, Timor-Leste and Afghanistan.

When you are working on serious human rights issues it can be easy to think that having fun might be incompatible with doing good. But my experience has always been that I do the most good when I am doing what I love with people I love.

One of my favorite ways to do good and have fun is to get together a group of friends to do a garden make-over for a busy young family. In one day a group of five or six people can transform an over-grown yard or roof-top into a functioning vegetable garden.

I love this because it does good on so many levels. A vegetable garden reduces the expenses of a young family by providing them with fresh, organic healthy food. Vegetable gardens also have positive environmental impacts, especially if they are planted using biodynamic principles to promote, for example, regeneration of healthy insect life.

A day working in the garden is good for the mental and physical health of everyone who takes part, and working together to do good is a great way to deepen friendships and strengthen group bonds. Finally, in my experience, the sight of a freshly planted vegetable garden gives everyone who took part in the day a profound sense of satisfaction.

If you like this post, you might also like, How to Find Your Have Fun, Do Good.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Inspiring Video for Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event held every October 15th that unites the world’s bloggers to post about the same issue on the same day. As of this writing, 4,700 + bloggers will be writing about this year's topic, water.  If you're a blogger, and would like to participate, it's not too late too sign up.

Keeping with this year's topic, I wanted to share with you an inspiring video about Women's Earth Alliance's Global Women's Water Initiative (GWWI) in Africa. GWWI is a partnership between A Single Drop, Crabgrass, and Women's Earth Alliance that provides local African women leaders with technology training, business skills, networking support, and seed funding to launch income-generating water service projects across Africa.

I figure Friday is a good day to take a little break and watch a video, right?

If you enjoy the video, you might also like my interview with Women's Earth Alliance co-Directors, Melinda Kramer and Amira Diamond.

2010 West African Women & Water Training Program from Unseen Pictures on Vimeo.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Find Your Have Fun, Do Good

Your Have Fun
What do you find fun, amusing and joyful?  How you like to play?


Your Do Good
What do you feel makes the world, and individual's lives better, and does good? 


Your Have Fun, Do Good

A combination of ideas from your Have Fun list and your Do Good list

I've been playing around with this equation, and posted some of my ideas below.  I'd love it if you tried it, and shared your ways to have fun and do good.

My Have Fun
 What I find fun, amusing and joyful.  How I like to play.
  • Cooking (especially new recipes)
  • Baking (especially cupcakes!)
  • Feeding people
  • Reading
  • Sewing and embroidery
  • Gardening
  • Journal writing
  • Blogging
  • Collage
  • Having adventures with the hubs
  • Eating
  • Funny TV shows
  • Funny movies and action movies
  • Doing yoga
  • Dancing
  • Walking
  • Spending time with groups of women friends
  • Connecting people/networking
  • Interviewing people
  • Listening to Latin music
  • Helping people find and create work they love
  • Trying new restaurants
  • Playing with our cat

My Do Good
What I feel makes the world and individual's lives better, and does good.
  • Volunteering my skills
  • Donating money and goods
  • Doing work I enjoy
  • Raising awareness about an organization, or a cause
  • Really listening to people
  • Highlighting solutions to problems
  • Helping people find and create work they love
  • Being a conscious consumer
  • Supporting my local economy
  • Knowing my neighbors
  • Adopting animals
  • Being compassionate
  • Appreciating what I have, rather than focusing on what I don't have
  • Being a loving daughter, wife and friend
  • Being involved in my neighborhood/community

If I combine some of the ideas from both lists, I get a bunch of ways I can have fun and go good.

My Have Fun, Do Good 
  • Volunteer as a Reading Partner at my local public school.
  • Join, or start a Dining for Women group, or something equivalent.
  • Host a cupcake fundraiser or friendraiser for an organization I believe in, like the East Bay Vegan Bakesale does.
  • Join a read-a-thon, or blog-a-thon for a cause I care about (anyone know of one?).
  • Keep a gratitude journal, or make monthly gratitude collages
  • Participate in a fundraising walk for a cause I care about, like Women for Women International's Run for Congo Women.
  • Sew something that people need, like pillowcases for the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge .
  • Create a funny TV show, movie, or YouTube video list/gift package for someone who is feeling blue.
  • Adopt another pet.
  • Help people create work they love and express themselves as a blog and creative career coach.
  • Host a podcast that features interviews with people who have big visions for a better world.
  • Write a blog about having fun and doing good!

I hope you'll share what your Have Fun, Do Good equation adds up to.

Next week I'll begin hosting a series of guest posts from some of the bloggers listed in, Have Fun, Do Good Blogroll: 65+ Nonprofit, Technology, Creativity, Food, Green and Pals' Blogs.  They'll be sharing how they have fun and do good.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nine Fair Trade Green Teas

I had so much fun researching Nine Fair Trade Chocolate Bars that I decided to look into which brands carry fair trade certified green tea (I've been drinking a lot of it lately).

If I've missed some yummy ones, lemme know:

Related posts:

Flickr photo credit: Morning Green Tea uploaded by Kanko.

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    Thursday, October 07, 2010

    Your Free, Fun October/November 2010 Big Vision Worksheet

    It's that time of the month again, Have Fun Do Gooders.

    Today was the new moon, a great day to set your goals, intentions, and wishes for the next lunar month (Oct. 7-Nov. 5).

    My hubs illustrated another bee-u-tee-full worksheet that you can download for free from Dropbox here

    I hope you'll take a little time for yourself tonight, on your lunch break tomorrow, or during the long weekend to think about, and jot down:

    Your Three Big Vision Goals for 2010
    What are three things you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2010?

    Your 3 Fall Goals (Sept. 23-Dec. 21)
    What are three things, related to your 2010 goals, that you'd like to accomplish this fall?

    Your 3 October/November Goals (Oct. 7-Nov. 5)
    What are three things you'd like to accomplish during this lunar month, related to your fall goals?

    For example:
    • One thing I would like to do by the end of 2010 is to have prepared our front yard so that I can plant a larger garden in the spring.  
    • By the end of this fall, I want to have cleared and weeded the whole yard of the tall grasses I've let take it over. 
    • This lunar month, I want to have at least re-weeded the part I originally cleared this summer, as well as harvest all the veggies I've grown.
    P.S. As the year winds down, the hubs and I are thinking about the 2011 worksheet series (Should we continue?  If so, how/what should we change about them?).  If you'd like us to continue offering the worksheets, or if you have any suggestions for how to design them to better meet your needs, please let us know.

    You can view and download past 2010 Big Vision worksheets here

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    Wednesday, October 06, 2010

    Girls' Night Out with a Twist: Dining for Women and the Power of Giving Circles

    "It's just like a girls' night out, but with a twist"
    - Marsha Wallace, Dining for Women, Founder

    Women + food + learning + philanthropy + fun  = Dining for Women.   Dining for Women is a seven-year-old organization that facilitates a network of 130 giving circles across the country.

    Longtime Have Fun, Do Good Readers and Big Vision Podcast listeners may remember my interview with Dining for Women's Founder, Marsha Wallace, in September 2007.

    Over the past three years, the organization has grown and added a bunch of exciting new programs, so I asked her back to the Big Vision Podcast to talk about them.  You can read the edited transcript below, or listen to the interview on the Big Vision Podcast homepage, or on iTunes.

    Our conversation began with Marsha describing how Dining for Women works.

    Marsha Wallace: Dining for Women is an international giving circle, and our mission is to support and empower self-sufficiency for women and girls who live in extreme poverty in developing countries.  We do that through educational dinner circles, which we call "chapters." It's basically just a group of friends who get together once a month to learn about our featured program, The program is different each month, and it focuses on an issue that is identified in the Millennium Development Goals as being really challenging for women and girls, like education, gender equity, economic development, maternal/child health care, and those kinds of things.

    We, "we" being the Dining for Women headquarters, prepare an educational program.  So, our chapters are sitting around at somebody's house with a potluck dinner, and they have materials that we've provided about a really cool program that supports women and girls. They eat together, have a great time, learn about a really wonderful grassroots program that's impacting the lives of women and girls, and then they make a donation. Instead of eating in a restaurant and paying a tab for a meal, they make a donation.

    All of those chapters from all over the world send in their donations to our headquarters, which we then process and give receipts for, and all that. Then, we send one check to the featured program.  It's basically the power of collective giving. Your individual donation of $20-30 is combined with thousands of other $20-30 donations.  It enables us as a group to make a large contribution to a grassroots organization that's doing high-impact work, and we get to have fun in the process.

    It's sort of a new form of philanthropy, where average people can be really engaged, make a huge, huge, huge difference, and have a lot of fun at the same time.

    Britt Bravo: How many circles are there now?  Can you give an example of, "This month the charity was this and those circles combined raised x amount?"

    We have 130 chapters that are already active and meeting, and we have 26 or 27 registrations of chapters that are still in the process of forming. We get new chapter applications every month in 39 states and three foreign countries.

    This month [September], our featured organization is Somaly Mam. The Somaly Mam organization focuses on rehabilitation for girls who are victims of sex trafficking, and that's a really, really tough issue, but really important.  Last month [August], we featured BeadforLife, which is an organization that sells paper beads made by women in Uganda. Actually, they're jewelry (e.g. necklaces and bracelets), and our chapters had BeadforLife jewelry parties and sold the jewelry.  All that money goes back to support the beaders in Uganda.

    Our combined donations range anywhere from $21,000-26,000 per month, depending on whether it's July and people are on vacation, or what's going on, and how many chapters meet.

    That's so fantastic. What an amazing impact you're making, not just financially, but also educating and inspiring all the women in these groups about all the amazing work these organizations are doing around different issues.

    The education is as important to our mission as the fundraising is. When I first started Dining for Women, I was not...I've learned as I've gone along. I didn't know all of this. And most people are not aware of all these kinds of facts, and the struggles that women face.  The education is key.

    One thing I wanted to ask you about is, I've become increasingly interested in the power of circles, whether it's for fundraising, or I just did a tele-class, which encouraged people to create circles to help them achieve their goals. 

    What do you think makes the Dining for Women circles, the successful ones, work? Not just in terms of financial impact, but also the engagement of the members, the longevity, low turnover, stuff like that. What will...especially if folks hear this, and say, "Oh, I want to start a circle" help them have a successful one?

    It's the social component. It's the connections that we make. It's the connections that we make with each other at the meetings and the dinners, and the connections that we make literally with the women that we meet through our travel programs and stuff like that. I was just in Atlanta for our leadership conference, and one of the chapters there was saying that they've all become best friends, and that really is the glue that holds them together. It's social, and the fact that that's rewarding and fulfilling and empowering for them.

    Did the circles that worked the best, were they people who already knew each other, like maybe four friends knew each other, and then they brought in a couple more friends, so that they all had these loose ties? Or were they people who just...they might not have known each other at all, but they found each other through the Dining for Women website, and then they got this connection through the work?

    It's both. There are some chapters that are old friends, and that's the way they want to keep it. It's their excuse to get together and nurture their relationships. Then there are other chapters who may start out with just a couple of friends who already know each other. They invite new people, and over a period of time they become bonded as a group. Then, there are some chapters who start for the express purpose of finding other like-minded women, and then the connections go out from there.  It really does vary.

    Since we talked awhile ago, now you have a virtual circle. Is there just one virtual circle? How is that working?

    Right now, there is one virtual circle. The three leaders are women who are really busy and didn't feel like they could do an in-person meeting every month, so they email out the Dining for Women information to their friends. They're a very high-producing chapter. They're raising about $500 a month just from their email newsletters to their friends. It's the only one we have at this point, but we're looking at trying to expand that model a little; well, not a little bit, because we have people that are interested in Dining for Women who live in areas where we don't already have chapters. They may not be able to start one, but they still want to participate. So we're looking at ways that we can expand the definition of a member.

    I thought that was really interesting. I'm glad to hear that it's working and that people are still able to have that connection, even though it's probably a different kind of connection, since it's not face-to-face. You've also added a travel program. What inspired that, and what are some favorite stories from recent trips?

    The essence of Dining for Women is connection, education, and self-empowerment. The travel program was a natural extension of those three things. We wanted to be able to travel and visit some of the programs that we've supported, because that enhances our education and connections with each other, and the women that we're trying to serve, when we're able to meet them in person.

    We have taken three trips so far. In 2007, we went to India, and we visited a program called Matrichaya, which we'll be supporting again in January of 2011. This past March, two different groups went to Africa. We had a group that went to Kenya to visit BOMA Fund, and we went to Uganda to visit the BeadforLife program.

    All three of these have been all-women's trips, and it's a unique combination of tourism and visiting programs, so it has a different quality.  We love meeting the women that our donations have impacted, and seeing their lives and the programs first-hand. I took my 14-year-old with me to Kenya this past March, and it was a life-changing experience. It was wonderful.

    Did you say where you're going in 2011?

    In 2011, we're going to Nepal.


    I can't wait. I'm so excited.

    That's totally exciting.  I know that this past weekend you were just at your Leadership Summit. What inspired that, and what happens there?

    This was our third Leadership Summit, and the purpose of that is to give chapter leaders and chapter members from all over the country a chance to get together (there's that connection thing again!), and get a sense of Dining for Women as a national organization.  A lot of times, our chapters are spread out, and they don't always have a lot of other chapters around them, like in the Midwest, for example. It's a wonderful time to learn about the programs that we've supported. We have people from the programs that we've funded come and talk to us about our impact, and we do leadership training to help our leaders become better leaders, and to get in touch with their passions, and what fuels, nurtures and sustains them.

    It's a multipurpose function, but it's always incredibly inspiring, uplifting and really neat to meet other women from all over the country who all share this one thing in common. We make friends all over the country. It's wonderful.

    As you know, I have a blog called Have Fun, Do Good. I feel like you've already answered this question, but I've been asking folks this year: how do you have fun and do good?

    How do I have fun and do good?  By getting together with other women who share a common interest in making a difference in the world through Dining for Women. I have to say that the most fun I have is with my Dining for Women friends when we're getting together, eating and learning something really new and exciting. There's something about women bonding that's really powerful. We all get together and laugh and carry on. It's just like a girls' night out, but with a twist.  That and travel are my two favorite things to do. I have fun traveling, meeting other women, and doing my work, to tell you the truth. I just love what I do.

    Is there anything else that you want to add about Dining for Women's work now, or in the future? Anything else you want folks to know?

    I want folks to know that there is so much room for expansion, and there is so much room for growth. If anybody's interested in learning more, I'd love for them to go to our website,, and they can contact me.  Our vision is to have thousands of chapters all over the world and to raise millions of dollars for women and girls.


    If you have suggestions for other people I should interview who have big visions for a better world, please email me at britt AT brittbravo DOT com, or leave a comment on my post, Who Should I Interview for the Big Vision Podcast?

    If you liked this interview, you might also like:
    Audio versions of all of these interviews are available on the  Big Vision Podcast homepage and iTunes.

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    Saturday, October 02, 2010

    Have Fun, Do Good Blogroll: 65+ Nonprofit, Technology, Creativity, Food, Green and Pals' Blogs

    What blogs do you read regularly?

    I recently updated the Have Fun, Do Good blogroll (in my sidebar) to show a greater range of some of the blogs I read.  Most of them are about nonprofits, volunteering and nonprofit technology, but I also like reading about food, creativity, and the musings of some of my personal pals. I've listed them below under a few topic headings (to help you browse them), but many of them could fit into multiple categories.

    I'd love it if you introduced me to some of your favorite blogs.  I'm always looking for new reads.  Thanks!


    Human Rights
    Nonprofits, Philanthropy, Volunteering & Social Entrepreneurship
    Nonprofit Technology and Marketing

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    Friday, October 01, 2010

    How Do You Embrace Resting?

    Are you good at resting?

    I'm not.  I have a terrible time falling asleep, and am a compulsive list-checker-offer 

    In August I had great plans to Walk Into 41 by walking for 30 minutes every day for 41 days, starting on my birthday.

    The first day went great, and then life intervened.  Lots of work and travel, plus I strained my big toe in dance class (badly). I stopped walking.

    A month later, I tried again.  I made it to day 11, and then I re-injured my toe, which started bugging my knee, and the rest of my foot.

    This week, the doctor told me to stay off my feet.  I tried to bargain with her by explaining, "I walk almost every day from my house to run errands. Is that OK?" 

    She said, "No."  In fact, this is how she wrote out my prescription (the caps are hers):
    • Aleve
    • Ice foot for 15 minutes at a time at 3 times
    • REST
    • Supportive shoes

    So, this weekend I'm sticking to my bed and couch as much as possible and hunkering down with my social change book club book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (which seems apt somehow).

    I'd love your tips for how you've moved through times in your life when you have to stay still to move forward.  How do you embrace resting?

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