Philanthropic journeys come in different forms. I participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure in Philadelphia this past weekend. It was a journey of 60 miles through the streets of the city and surrounding neighborhoods. Over 2200 walkers and volunteer crew accompanied me on this journey.
FUCK CANCER! Save 2nd Base! Cancer Sucks! Save a Life, Grope your Wife! were the sentiments of the weekend. Never before have I seen so many boob, breast, ta ta references! Women and men of all ages came to walk together with hope, with remembrance and with joy for the people loved impacted by breast cancer.
As much as it is a fundraiser (and fundraise they did with Philadelphia bringing in $5.7 million), the event also raises awareness. Outrageous outfits, a sea of pink and plenty of cheering are what you witness when Komen 3-Day takes to the streets.
The volunteers are wonderful. They were out there everyday clapping, directing traffic, smiling, cracking jokes and motivating the walkers. Such kind hearts extended with the words, "thank you for doing what you're doing."
There was an older gentlemen who came to every cheering station everyday. He stuck his hand out for a high five and looked each walker in the eye saying "thank you so much for doing this." It was so heartfelt. He was there at the end with the same blue sad eyes and the same sentiment as we completed 60 miles.
There was a young woman two months away from her cancer treatment. Her hair was starting to grow back and with a wonderful smile she spoke hopefully about the prospect of getting her life back despite a Stage 3 diagnosis.
While a cure has not been found, the simple fact that a woman can be hopeful is something. We are far from over with this fight. Each 3-Day has a Remembrance Tent. The tent includes pictures of previous participants who have lost their fights. It also includes an empty white tent for people to write on with their deep thoughts on breast cancer and intimate messages to those loved ones lost.
It is not often that you get to take time out from everyday lives to focus on an issue that is important to you. I am thankful for the opportunity to experience this journey. Thank you to my supporters and thank you to my husband for taking such good care of our children.
I'll leave with this: high five! woo! hooray!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Kiva is a nonprofit I have long admired. Started by Michael Flannery, Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva allows donors to make online loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries through their website - Kiva.org.
They are looking to leverage their structure - technology, donors, relationships - to address other social problems. The idea is that their approach can be applied in other ways. The organization has taken its first step to expand its offerings by adding student loans.
Calling this approach education microcredit, Kiva is utilizing its resources and is figuring out ways to capture information on what works in this space. They are not alone. Last year a Seattle-based nonprofit called Vittana set-up a website to enable donors to make small loans to students in emerging countries. They have seen consistent growth in the number of loans month to month.
I think this continues to support the notion that people are interested in different approaches to philanthropy. There is increased interest in learning about social investments and microcredit. I think what will be fascinating to watch is how much these approaches become normal, longstanding commitments in people's individual philanthropic portfolios. If these organizations can continue to innovate and to measure the results, no doubt more donors will be drawn.