New Year’s Resolution: Give Back!

Design Expert: You!

ten_logo_ copyYou Can Make an Impact

Today we bring home our conversation about fantastic New Year’s Resolutions with what may be the most important of all—to Give Back. My partner in putting together ten, Sonu (from Living in Color with Sonu) and I talked about how giving back can mean giving of your time, your talents, or your money. Later, we’ll share what we are doing to give back this year, and how you can win a donation for a worthy cause.

Giving back is a personal thing; we all have good reasons to support the charitable organizations that we do. But we thought you might appreciate some ideas, so we are featuring ten great organizations below. Many are national or international in scope, a few are local. Being involved in the design industry, we sought out organizations that we feel make a difference in the places people call home—in all its definitions.

Habitat for Humanity Logo1. Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. To accomplish these goals, it invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.

Today, Habitat has built over 350,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1.75 million people in 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter. Habitat also helps in the event of natural disasters (like this week’s Haiti Earthquake).

Habitat for Humanity 51 Frames BuildHabitat’s Operation Home Delivery’s “America Builds on the National Mall” constructed 51 home frames, representing each state and the District of Columbia, then containerized and shipped them to the Gulf Coast. Photograph courtesy of HFHI/Holly Eaton.

RMHCLogo2. Ronald McDonald House Charities

Many families travel far from home to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children. The treatment may last a day, a month, or even longer. It’s a long time to be away from home, or to divide a family. Ronald McDonald Houses around the world offer families a way to stay together, in proximity to the treatment hospital, and be comfortable and cared for during their stay.

Ronald McDonald House is just one part of Ronald McDonald House Charities, that include other important programs like its Family Rooms, featured in this video.

3. Homes for Our Troops

HFOTLogoHomes for Our Troops builds specially adapted homes for severely injured U.S. Servicemen and Servicewomen. This organization is committed to helping those who have selflessly given to their country and have returned home with serious disabilities and injuries since September 11, 2001.

It assists severely injured Servicemen and Servicewomen and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor, and by coordinating the process of building a home that provides maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently. The homes provided by Homes for Our Troops are given at NO COST to the Veterans it serves.

I was touched by this video of the Build Brigade project for Marine Corporal
Visnu Gonzalez.

SB Logo RGB 4. ShelterBox

ShelterBox was founded by a Rotarian and former UK Royal Navy search and rescue diver. He saw that the aid response to most disasters was in the form of food and medicine to help people survive the immediate aftermath. Little or no assistance was given in terms of proper shelter to help them through the first few days, weeks and months as they tried to rebuild their lives. ShelterBox was launched to fill that void.

ShelterBox in BangladeshImage courtesy ShelterBox Trust.

ShelterBox responds instantly to natural and manmade disasters (like this week’s devastating Haiti Earthquake) by delivering boxes of aid to those who are most in need. Each box supplies an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless.

To understand the importance of its efforts, take a look at what’s in each box.

5. National Coalition for the Homeless

NCHLogoThe National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission—to end homelessness.

The Coalition is committed to creating the systemic and attitudinal changes necessary to prevent and end homelessness. At the same time, it works to meet the immediate needs of people who are currently experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of doing so. It takes as its first principle of practice that people who are currently experiencing homelessness or have formerly experienced homelessness must be actively involved in all of its work.

6. National Trust for Historic Preservation

NTHP LogoNational Trust for Historic Preservation helps people protect, enhance, and enjoy the places that matter to them. The Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to save America’s diverse historic places and revitalize its communities.

The need for the National Trust for Historic Preservation has grown since its inception. It believes that, “when historic buildings and neighborhoods are torn down or allowed to deteriorate, a part of our past disappears forever. When that happens, we lose history that helps us know who we are, and we lose opportunities to live and work in the kinds of interesting and attractive surroundings that older buildings can provide.”

Galveston Art Center_2007Shown before Hurricane Ike, The Galveston Arts Center’s cast-iron architecture is now endangered. Photographer: Brian M. Davis, Galveston Historical Foundation; © National Trust for Historic Preservation

Each year the Trust highlights what it considers America’s 11 most endangered places. Here’s a video that the History Channel produced about the Trust’s 2009 11 most endangered places; I found the diversity of places striking.

7. DIFFA—Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS

DIFFA logoDIFFA is one of the country’s largest supporters of direct care for people living with HIV/AIDS and preventive education for those at risk. Supporters of DIFFA come from all fields of fine design and the visual arts, including architecture, fashion design, interior design, photography and consumer product design.

With fundraising efforts bolstered by strategic partnerships and unique events showcasing innovation and creativity, DIFFA has mobilized the immense resources of the design communities and granted over $38 million to hundreds of AIDS service organizations nationwide.

Sonu wrote a great post about Dining by Design, the premiere annual fundraising event for DIFFA. Check out the photos of the fantastic, themed tables created by incredible designers and sponsors, including the experience of dining inside a gigantic Natura paint can by famed designer David Stark for Benjamin Moore.

KBBGC logo8. Kips Bay Boys and Girls Clubs

The Kips Bay Boys and Girls Clubs are a Bronx, New York institution, and a home away from home for 6 to 18 year old boys and girls. Responding to community needs, the services provided at the Lucile Palmaro Clubhouse and ten outreach locations are based on the principles of behavioral guidance and are intended to promote the general health, educational advancement, character development and leadership potential of its members.

Kips Bay exists to assist as many young people as possible to realize and achieve their potential for growth and development and to attain the skills necessary to live and succeed in a complex world.

Pariscope Design from 2008 Show House“Pariscope Design,” room from 2008 Show House, by Ellen Ward Scarborough and Madeline Ward Roth

An extremely popular fundraiser for Kips Bay—involving talented design professionals from the greater NYC area—is its annual Decorator Show House that this year celebrates its thirty-eighth year.

9. The Family Place

FP logoThe Family Place is the largest family violence service provider in the Dallas, Texas area, reaching out to thousands of victims of family violence each year with award-winning programs that keep women and children safe.

Every year domestic violence results in almost 100,000 days of hospitalization, almost 30,000 emergency room visits and almost 40,000 visits to a physician according to WomenKind, Inc

For 30 years, The Family Place’s mission to end the epidemic of family violence has remained constant. It believes that intervention, emergency shelter, and crisis counseling for all victims—women, children and men—will save lives and that transitional housing and case management will transform lives for
the better.

SFFB logo10. San Francisco Food Bank

A home cannot nurture its residents with little food in the pantry or the fridge. The San Francisco Food Bank provides healthy food to help alleviate hunger. The Food Bank collects millions of pounds of food from growers, packers, processors, manufacturers, the USDA and grocery stores, and food drives.

It delivers food to over 400 local non-profit organizations. This includes over 200 neighborhood pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, homeless shelters and youth programs. Visitors to its neighborhood pantries select food at weekly farmers’ market-style distributions to cook at home. It also provides relief in the event of a citywide disaster or individual crisis. In all, the Food Bank serves over 147,000 people each year.

This video created on behalf of the Food Bank’s Outreach program, encourages people that find themselves hungry (maybe for the first time during the Recession) to dial 2-1-1.
 

Our give back:

We promised to share how we plan to Give Back this year. Here’s what Sonu had to say:

sonu_mathew“I’m lucky enough to have a friend who is a good person—a very good person. Sarah is the founder of Love Bug Bundles (www.lovebugbundles.blogspot.com) whose mission it is to “build a movement to support mothers in need and make each newborn’s introduction to the world one complete with basic necessities that promote safety and well-being.” Since March 2008, Love Bug Bundles has connected with local mothers and children in need through service and arranging donations of over 1000 items.

With 794,000 children who are victims of abuse and neglect in the US alone each year, there’s a lot of work to be done. I started helping in a small way by offering my ideas. For me, design is critical and color is queen. Environments can be crucial to experiences and especially the first environment for a mother and child, so we’re talking about how to bring these elements into the lives of newborns and moms in need. Also, I’m offering my professional color consulting services for auction at our charity events.

Last fall, I joined the group’s Board of Directors and, along with other members, we hosted our first fundraiser…at a sports pub. Not a likely place for a charity focused on newborns, I suppose, but it worked beautifully. I was touched by the number of people who came to support and to donate both items and funds. In 2010, we plan to work with community centers to continue to offer classes on everything from how to sooth a crying baby to breastfeeding basics, to host baby showers for women who struggle to find reasons to celebrate, and to take on creative projects to improve the physical environments these women and children experience.

Each of us has the opportunity to look at our talents and skills and use them to lift others in a time of need. Love Bug Bundles is a fledgling organization. And I’m just starting to get involved in it all. But, as Sarah says, “Beginnings are so important. They set the tone. Orient us toward a goal. Serve as a reference point for everything going forward.” So, here’s to a good beginning for all of us.” Here’s the Video.

As for me (Kathy), here’s how I’ll give back:

Chief_Design_Junkie_KathyMy daughter is a Junior Girl Scout. I was a Scout as were my sisters and I believe it is wonderful for kids, in the camaraderie it fosters and character it can help build. I have arranged for the troop to do a service project for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northern California.

We will be providing and filling as many Easter Eggs as we can for the RMH’s annual Egg Hunt. Our troop leader is excited, and the girls will enjoy giving the RMH children something to smile about, at a time when they can use a respite from their medical issues.

I am also researching through the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the California State Parks, a cause that is dear to me. I want to do what I can to help save the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. It’s an incredibly beautiful landmark, one that I am sure you have seen in photos over the years. My best friend and I started visiting there when we were young and single, staying on the property at the Youth Hostel. We had such fun and when I think back, I can still feel the mist of the fog under the towering light.

My family visited the lighthouse not long ago. It was heartbreaking to see it had been roped off to visitors and had obvious, visible deterioration and damage. If something is not done soon, the lighthouse won’t last long in earthquake country. I’ve contacted the State Parks person who is in charge of the restoration. Ideally, I’d like to start a fund/giving button on this site to help with the restoration efforts.

Lastly, watch our Challenges here at HomeWorkshop.com. I’m cooking up our inaugural Community Service Challenge that we can all participate in soon. We’ll get to use our design skills and do some good at the same time. Excellent!

As I mentioned at the top of this post, today is meant to be a conversation about giving back, and that’s where you come in. Share with us all the ways you have, or plan to give back to causes that are important to you. Tell us how you’ve worked giving into your lives and what it has done for you. We can’t wait to hear your ideas!
 

Jan 15 Keep VotingAnd good news! Arlene has won Prize 2, the $100 for her choice of the organizations. Excellent trivia research Arlene, and everyone else keep spreading the word to vote for what organization should win Prize 1 (the $500 donation from Benjamin Moore). Voting for that continues through late Sunday night; one vote per person. Thanks to all.

Jan 15 Trivia Answer

BONUS: Visit Living In Color With Sonu to Download Your Copy of Our Ten Tips for Giving Back through Volunteering.

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79 Comments for “New Year’s Resolution: Give Back!”

What a great way to wrap up the series! My vote is for Shelter Box to receive the donation. As you mentioned above, there are so many who need this now in Haiti.

I recently went to a coffee for a new organization, Chicago Furniture Recycling Center. Its mission is to provide gently used furniture to people in need. With plans to begin in July, it will deliver couches, bed, tables and chairs to low income families and help make their house into a home.

How cool, Diana! I hope others will learn about this Furniture Recycling Center, too!!

These are all very worthy organizations but today with talk of devastation impacting so many peoples lives I’ll give a vote for Shelter Box.

I have many organizations I find deserving of my time and/or $ but one of my newer found favorites is International Child Art Foundation.

ICAF provides children’s arts programs that champion the cause of developing children’s creativity and empathy – preconditions for a more just, peaceful world.

That cause sounds so perfect for you, Diana! I can’t wait to hear more about how it goes. And thanks for starting off today’s voting.

Kate, I am so glad to learn about ICAF. This sharing of our causes is just what we hoped would happen today, and we were looking for an organization with goals like you mention for ICAF. Will you share a link with us?? I believe fostering creativity is vital.

This is going to be a good day.

Love Bug Bundles!

Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club! Sonu thank you for including us.

Knowing there are so many people in need, it’s sometimes hard to select a charity. But for this purpose, my vote is for The Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club. I’ve been the Special Events Manager with this organization for only one year, but I’ve seen them truly make significant differences in the lives of the kids. Thanks to fundraisers such as the Show House, Kips Bay is exposing our kids to opportunities they may have never thought possible and that’s extremly important…building our future generations.

shelterbox.
obviously these people are in need, especially if it can help the people of haiti

Happy to cast my vote for DIFFA: Design Industries Foundationtion Fighting AIDS. Our mission is sometimes forgotten about and yet still so very important.

All the charities listed are winners and doing great work – and I know we all value every dollar.

Many Many thanks for including us and for your interesting blog!

Peggy Bellar
Director of Special Events, DIFFA

shelterbox

DIFFA is my charity of choice and gets my vote. I’ve experienced DIFFA’s events and charitable efforts for over 15 years now and they truly do put the fun back in fundraising. The cause of HIV/AIDS is the U.S. is on that is near and dear to my heart.

I vote for The Family Place. I do work there now, but I volunteered for 15 years at TFP prior to joining the organization on a part time basis. The support they give to women and children escaping from the demoralizing brutality of domestic violence is immeasurable.

Thank you ladies for recognizing the need to give back to our community, it’s important anytime of year.

All of these organizations have very important and much needed missions. Given the recent events, my vote goes to shelterbox.

I have been a long time fan of DIFFA! an amazing and creative organization!

Happy to cast my vote for DIFFA; Design industry foundation Fighting Aids.

DiFFA, DiFFA, DiFFA!!! Oh how I love this organization. They inspire, challenge and give back 1000 fold. Please crown them the winners. They deserve every bit of recognition they can get, as they give so much to so many! – Andy Paluselli/Designer

My vote is for the San Francisco Food Bank. It’s shocking that there are people in America going hungry.

Kips Bay Boys and Girls, Hands down the best organization at providing day in and day out resources to children. They make the world a better place.

Very generous! I vote for Habitat for Humanity. I participated in college and really enjoyed the experience. I should get involved again!

What a terrific blog! A great way to kick off the New Year!

All of these organizations do amazing work, and I have supported many of them by donating time and money in the past. However, as an Interior Designer, I must cast my vote for DIFFA.

DIFFA believes in the power of art and design to transform lives. They inspire us to create and think outside of the box. And the work they do in the community is unparalleled!

SF Food Bank of course!

DIFFA gets my vote today although I wish I could vote for all.

My vote goes to Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.

Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club gets my vote.

The Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club gets our vote. The number of children that are supported by this organization is staggering. The Kips Bay Showhouse in NYC is the best in the world and helps so many children, through peoples appreciation for Interior Design. What a terrific combination.

Shelterbox!

DIFFA!

Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club!

These are all amazing charities who are making a difference in the world and I would love to see them all win, but since I only have 1 vote, I’d like it to go to DIFFA.

What a great range of worthy causes! I’m supporting DIFFA this time!

All of the charities are very worthy and all make a difference in many lives, but my vote goes to the Shelter Box if they can donate to the Haiti survivors.

DIFFA

Love Bug Bundles!

We vote for DIFFA!
It is a wonderful and deserving organization.

I proudly vote for DIFFA. They do really great work in an area that not many organizations are working in any more.

I definitely vote for DIFFA. They’re great!

I vote for DIFFA ;-)
Cheers to beautiful living

I vote for DIFFA too!!!

DIFFA, of course!!

Thanks to all of you for voting so far!! I can’t believe we don’t have a winner yet on the $100! This is getting good… Keep The Giving Going, Everyone!

i vote diffa!!!

I vote diffa, too!

It is touching to see the passionate support for the organizations. There are so many needs to fill, aren’t there? Thanks to everyone who has voted so far; spread the word!

And OH BY THE WAY did anyone notice the $100 donation up for grabs with prize number 2??? Be the first to answer the two-part trivia question correctly and win the donation for your choice of the charities highlighted here today.

Best of luck and thanks to you all again,
–Kathy

There are so many worthy options, but given the recent events I have to choose shelter box. Thank You for highlighting all of the wonderful good works being done.

1. Koinonia Farm
2. Harry Truman

My vote is for “ShelterBox@”
Many thanks, Cindi

Yippee! We have a winner for Prize number 2–the $100 donation from the “Bloggers Bootstrapped Budget!” Good research work Arlene, you got both answers correct. Please comment back and let us know which of the organizations featured here, that you would like to get the $100 donation.

AND Everyone else, keep spreading the word as the voting for Prize number 1 (the $500 donation from Benjamin Moore) goes on through late Sunday night!! One vote per person for your choice of the organizations featured here.

Great Weekend All,
–Kathy

DIFFA!!!!! Has my vote… Though all of the Charities do amazing work within their respective areas of need .. HIV/AIDS Has affected many close friends of mine and always remains very close to my heart..

DIFFA gets my vote! They do great work at a time when many have abandoned AIDS related charities

All the people who work for these 10 groups deserve deep praise!

DIFFA – thanks to all who work so hard for all these amazing groups!

DIFFA – wish everyone could win!

Having seen first hand all the wonderful things DIFFA can do, they get MY vote!
Kudos to all!

I am voting for DIFFA because my aunt works there and they do great work

Cast my vote for; Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club!

I vote for DIFFA!

DIFFA gets my vote as they’ve been pioneers in helping people living with HIV/AIDS in the design industry.

I vote for the national coalition for the homeless. It is something that is dear to my heart. My stepfather worked his retired years witht he homeless, shelters and Vietnam vets. I was blessd enough to visit the shelters and become involved myself.

I vote for DIFFA

Great choices, hard to just choose 1. But because I must, DIFFA it is. Good luck DIFFA!

I like Diffa, so I vote for them

My vote is for Shelterbox.org. Thank you for putting them on your website! :)

Great to see so many people passionate about their causes!

And remember, this forum isn’t only for voting but also to share your ideas and plans for giving back this year.

Thanks everyone,
– Kathy

DIFFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Casting my vote for DIFFA – working hard at prevention and education!!!

I love DIFFA…I love DINING BY DESIGN… I love Peggy. DIFFA gets my vote

I vote for DIFFA. Dining by Design is one of the most fabulous events filled with talent and ingenuity.

Adding a vote for the folks at DIFFA.

What a great forum for all of these charities.

Thanks for putting together such a great and timely blog post. You have really gotten a lot of response! Way to go, Kathy! Hornbeck Design Partners just sent a donation to Shelter Box. Thanks for making us aware of all of these great charities.

Nancy! That’s fantastic! Thanks so much for making that donation.

I am so impressed with what ShelterBox does; such common sense to think of it, but so glad they did. I know they are making a difference in Haiti, and have done so elsewhere.

So many good causes.
– K

Wow! Such enthusiastic support; thanks to all for making your voices heard. Voting goes on through 11:59 pm PST tonight.

And be sure to check out our tips for giving back over at Living in Color With Sonu, and please comment with your own tips to add to the list.

How have you been able to fit giving back into your life and your busy schedule?

I vote for The Family Place

Amazing list of charities. Very difficult to list myu favorite. Because I have young childern, I am voting for Ronald McDonald Charities.

Great post!!!

xo,
cristin

Happy to vote for DIFFA

Family Place rules!

I’m so amazed to see all the votes for these organizations! We all know that all of them are deserving of donations of time, service, and money, of course, but I love seeing everyone coming on and representing their passion for each group.

Just a few hours of voting left!!!!

Okay! The voting for the Cause is Closed. We’ll announe the winner of the $500 donation tomorrow. Thanks so much to all who took the time to vote, and please support all your favorite causes this year.

Keep creating and keep making a difference,
– Kathy

Voting for DIFFA all the way.

[...] our last day of ten, we highlighted some awesome organizations that are doing their part to make this world a better place. We were especially touched by your [...]

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