Crochet Donations: Charities That Warm the Heart

What’s artistic, unique, handmade and practical as winter nears? Hats, scarves, mittens and the like, of course. So you really can’t go wrong — unless you make a really hideous hat — with crocheting these needed winter items; especially when you donate them to charity. Soldiers’ Angels makes sure “No Veteran Goes Unloved!” The VA Crochet & Craft Team makes and sends lapghans (blankets), hats, scarves, bibs, catheter bag covers, ditty bags, wheelchair/walker totes and slipper socks to Veterans Administration medical facilities around the United States.

There are many worthy organizations to donate to — use caution when donating online, and certainly keep be sure to protect your social security number and banking information with some kind of identity protection service. When you are all secure and ready to start giving, remember that outside of a plate of home-baked cookies, there might be few gifts that are more heartwarming to a Read more…

Kiva: Loans that are changing lives

Buying a Car? A house? Starting up a business? Need money for college? I could go on but whatever the reason is, you’re in a situation where you need a loan. You’re looking for a bank to lend you a helping hand and in exchange you will pay them back (in installments) the full amount, plus interest.

Seems like a pretty normal situation.

However, what if that bank was you? What if poor students and entrepreneurs from across the world told you why they needed a loan, how it would help them and were willing to pay you back (with interest)?

Seems like an interesting concept?

Well, that’s exactly what Kiva.org is – a crowd-sourced micro-lending website/platform service that allows individuals (like you and I) to lend money to extremely low income students and entrepreneurs across the globe.

Crowd-sourced micro-lending?

This is the source of how Kiva operates and it’s basically a group of people contributing Read more…

Acumen Fund: Investments not Grants, Building Business Models to Solve the World’s Problems

This story begins with Jacqueline Novogratz’s favourite blue sweater…

Jacqueline Novogratz: Founder of Acumen Fund

And so this amazing tale inspired Jacqueline’s ambitious venture into social good with her creation of Acumen Fund: an organization dedicated to investing in social entrepreneurs and enterprises focused on providing critical goods to the world’s poor.

Investing Patient Capital in Social Entrepreneurs

By using the idea of patient capital (where investors are willing to make a financial investment in a business with no expectation of turning a quick profit) and investing this into people trying to solve vital problems for the poor in their region, this essentially creates a system that combines both businesses (whose bottom line is profit) and philanthropy (a focus on creating a positive impact on society), ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty.

Since a social entrepreneur’s model is based on not one but three bottom lines – People (society), Planet (the environment) & Profit Read more…

FiveByTwenty: Coca-Cola’s Pledge to Empower Women

When I say ‘Coca-Cola’s reputation’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Coca-Cola may not have the greatest reputation for its business practices around the world, but for thousands of women in many developing countries, the Company’s business decisions aren’t looking so unjust!

When It All Started

At the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Meeting in New York City, Coca-Cola’s CEO Muhtar Kent announced the Company’s FiveByTwenty project – their pledge to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs in the developing world by 2020. The idea is to integrate profit-making with local community support, not through charity, but through innovative and inclusive business models. For women entrepreneurs around the world, this means access to the skills training, small-business loans and professional networks that are crucial to the prospect of a bright future for themselves and their families.

By 2020, The Coca-Cola Company aims to partner with civil society and other private sector actors Read more…

Recycle for a Cause: Turning Trash into Treasure

What if your plastic shopping bag or the ring pull tab from your Coke can could help pay for a child’s education?

Recycle for a Cause, a campaign launched in the UAE, allows for just that kind of wonder—turning your trash into treasure.

How so?

Plastic bags and ring pull tabs collected from the community are sent to the Philippines and used to create and sell high quality merchandise as a source of livelihood for Filipino families in poverty.

The Recycle for a Cause campaign has been launched by Abu Dhabi Cause Connect (ADCC) in support of the Philippine Community Fund (PFC), which helps to provide shelter, food and education for children who are rescued from living on dump sites. PCF is a UK registered charity that works to free Filipino children and their families from the effects of poverty. The Recycle for a Cause product line alone provides employment for over Read more…

Krochet Kids: Knitting the Fabric of a Society

Quick question: “When you buy a winter hat, where does your money go?”

Hold on to that thought and feast on the countless possibilities while you read on.

Winter is coming.

You can just tell by breathing in the morning air. And I guess I am lucky enough to be able to say that, living in St. John’s, Newfoundland, by far one of the cleanest cities in Canada. Along with winter comes the obvious shift in fashion. Out with the shorts and in with the jackets. The bandanas make way for scarves and toques.

Speaking of which…

I reached into my closet and pulled out my hat bin. You see, I’m a cap/hat/toque lover. (For those of you who think I’m talking gibberish when I keep saying the word ‘toque’, a toque is the Canadian equivalent of a knit winter hat. A beanie if you may.)

As I pulled out the storied heroes of past winters Read more…

empowHer: Hope Through Empowerment

Nigeria is often a country that creates news because of its vast oil fields.  There have been countless negative effects from being one of the world’s largest oil producers.  Few Nigerians actually reap the benefits from being such an oil rich country while limitless violence and corruption haunts the Niger delta.

Last year I met Brittany Atchison in Rwanda.  After our human rights delegation in Kigali, she was going to Nigeria for nine months. I knew that she was going to learn and gain immeasurable life experiences but I didn’t know what a powerful impact she would have on the north-eastern community of Jalingo.

Brittany and her Nigerian counterparts, Hannatu Robinson and Yusuf Jatutu, with the assistance of a 20 year partnership between the Iowa United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Church of Nigeria, started EmpowHER – a microfinance initiative that supports women to start their own businesses.

A little hope Read more…

Drishtee: Impacting Rural Societies Economically

According to several socioeconomic observations made by C.K. Prahalad and Stuart L. Hart, the real fortune for governments and companies to develop their services and products and to expand their prevalent businesses is at the bottom of the pyramid. But think about it – any big MNC would ponder twice before releasing a product for these ‘aspiring poor’, for the very reason that there is market uncertainty (because of the fluctuating wages of the poor).

Where’s the Growth?

Post-Cold War, what really happened is that the MNCs concluded through GDP, import and export trends that the emerging markets were China, India, Latin America, Soviet Union and their allies. They went ahead with the loaded idea that the middle-class consumers in these developing countries are the primary sources of business-return gold and market expansion. Of course, it was only obvious to think so, as the rich in the developed countries were only a Read more…