Archive for 2014

Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Friday, March 14th, 2014

This Philanthropic Friday is all about Nancy Rabinowitz Friedman and with very good reason. Nancy is a person who makes things grow. She does so in a way that not only leaves you in awe of her contribution, but also keeps the laughter alive. She is generous – giving everything’s she has got to the causes she feels so strongly about. Nancy does so simply in the name of supporting what she believes in. Fame, notoriety and legacy are not on her radar – seeing progress and doing the right thing are. There is something so honest and so endless about the way Nancy gives. The list of where she shines her amazing light is quite extensive. She focuses her philanthropic passion on a wide range organizations and issues – ranging from the arts to kids and much more. Still, it seems there is always something more that Nancy is up to – lending her amazing energy and time. And when asked, Nancy says “yes” and then goes on to ask, “What else could we do?”.  And then she does.

Nancy applies her standard of care and energy to all the areas of her life. She sees all she does as an opportunity to help others. Be it her remarkable business success with Kidzvuz, where there is always a philanthropic tie-in or an opportunity to inspire a child – or her children’s school (where she is active and engaged) – she is there in reliable, authentic ways. When I was honored by the R Baby Foundation a few year ago, Nancy jumped right in and helped in remarkable ways. As for Nancy’s friendship – that is a gift too. She brings humor, wit and yes, that same amazing care to the mix. When I see, talk to or even think about Nancy, I leave smiling – it is that simple. So today, meet our philanthropic mom, Nancy Rabinowitz Friedman and let the sunshine in!

Nancy Rabinowitz Friedman

From Hip to Housewife & KidzVuz

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

I think “Philanthropic Mom” is kind of a fancy word for saying “A Mom Who Does Good.”  And I try to be someone who “does good” in all kinds of ways throughout my life, whether it’s  when I’m being Vice Chair of The Transport Group Theatre Company board, or being a tour guide at my kids’ school, taking my kids to visit homebound elderly people in the neighborhood on Jewish Holidays, or even helping a women with a double stroller make it across a slushy NYC street. All of that is doing good work.  It’s not some organized thing I do, or some label. It’s how I try — emphasis on try – to live my life.

What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world? 

When I first graduated from college I did  a six-week training to become a Rape Crisis Counselor at a downtown hospital. Being a rape counselor was intense work.  I met women at their most vulnerable.  As a total stranger, I had to advocate for them and comfort them.  I never saw or heard from any of them again.  But each of the women I counseled stayed with me — changed me.  That experience – of intense closeness with women from all walks of life – hookers, college coeds, corporate execs, made me more able to see beyond people’s circumstances to who they really are.

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

What really inspires me are the small acts of kindness I see every day:  the woman who stops to help someone who has tripped; the teenager who gives up his seat on the bus; the guy who walks out of Zabars with a bag of groceries, and pulls out a sandwich to hand to the homeless man on the sidewalk.

Of course the Malala’s of the world are amazing, and inspiring – but everyday grace…that’s what gets me.

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud? 

I’m proud when Transport wins an award.  I’m proud that every major event we have at KidzVuz has a Philanthropic component.  But mostly, I don’t really think of good works as something to be proud of.  Doing Good is what you’re supposed to do.  If you don’t do good, if all you do is for yourself, that’s notable. (in a bad way)  But if you do good, well, that’s just how it’s supposed to be.  Nothing to be proud of there.

What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?  

Legacy is way too big!  I just want people to remember me as someone who was good to others.  That’s good enough for me.

What would your children say about all of this?

They always complain when we drag them to the elder visits…but then they always like them. They feel good about going and making someone’s day.  So I think they’d grudgingly admit they’re proud of themselves and of me, for taking the time to not just write a check, but to check in with others, to see that they’re OK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forty Weeks Curates Babymoon at W Hotels NYC + Giveaway

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

There is something extraordinary about that last moment of “we” before baby arrives. The four W Hotels of New York: Times Square, Union Square, Downtown and New York have partnered with our founder and pregnancy/baby go-to guru Julia Beck to offer expecting mothers the Best of the Bump– a unique babymoon experience curated as a cravings-worthy way to mark the moment and allow families to revel in the pregnancy.

 

We want you to enjoy all the goodies that our Fairy Godmother has chosen for W Hotels in NYC.  You have a chance to win a Best of the Bump Swag Bag, which includes all the goodies our moms will get if they have a babymoon at the W Hotels in NYC.

 

Babymoon Package

What’s in it for you?

- An expert fitting by Yummy Mummy, including bras by Bravado Designs and Medela accessories

- A Skip Hop Chelsea Diaper Bag

- bliss’ New Mommy Kit, a Colette chemise and gift card from Belabumbum

- A cravings pack from Keep it Sweet

- $100 shopping credit to Belly Dance Maternity

- A gift card to Empire Biscuits to curb your hunger cravings

 Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to book your babymoon, go to http://www.whotelsnewyork.com/. This runs through October. 

Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Denise Albert reminds me of one of my favorite French pastries – the mille-feuille. So many layers to enjoy! With Denise, there is a lot to know and you need time to really have the perspective for the whole, beautiful picture of who she is. Denise is candid, honest and built to love. She sees clearly and moves with incredibly clarity and force when her soul sends it’s marching orders. And many follow suit – showing up, lending a hand; making the hard work of caring for the world is just part of the fun. She is a listener who also happens to have a talent for making a lot of noise when needed! She uses her podium for good over and again. Open, eager and in for“really” – when I think of Denise I think of boundless energy and a natural talent for generating excitement and results. Not bad!

But the part that moves me the most is each layer, each conversation, each e-mail exchange, each interview..  shares another sweet bit of something (a plan, a piece of personal history, a POV) that makes me feel so fortunate to call Denise Albert my friend.

Say hello to our latest Philanthropic Mom:

 Denise Albert

The Moms 

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

We try to connect different philanthropies to everything we do.   There’s nothing better than doing our part to help others.  And we can do so in many ways – whether we incorporate a charity into every one of our Mamarazzi events or on our Sirius XM Radio Show by featuring moms and dads doing interesting and extraordinary things.  We also co-created Strut, The Fashionable Mom Show. Strut is a fashion show for women that has been presented three times at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Every mom walks to raise awareness for a cause that’s important to her.  We have worked with Unicef, BOKS, Kangu.Org and I “strutted” for The Peter C. Alderman Foundation.  There are so many ways to get involved and I find that because we have a voice, a media platform and are active in social media we can do so much to spread messages that need to be shared.

What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?

I remember working in a soup kitchen with my mom vividly.  I also remember my mom buying food for homeless people many times, when we would take the train into NYC city.  It was a small gesture but I never forgot the message of how important it is to help people less fortunate.  Being able to help one person by buying them a sandwich goes a long way for a kid.  I also remember being an elementary school student and taking part every year in a jump-a-thon.  We had to jump rope for hours and we each raised money for the American Heart Association. Those are both memories that sort of define my childhood. When I think about being a kid, those experiences stand out.

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

My mom as a child and my cousin Casey now.  Casey started an organization called Kangu.Org which is a crowd funding website that raises money for pregnant women around the world to enable them to have healthy births.  It’s so hard to start any business.  She could have done anything but she chose to start something to make a change for others.

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud? 

I have always felt that it was important to include my kids in almost all aspects of what I do and I’m lucky, having a company called The MOMS, that I’m able to do so.  Including my kids in my philanthropic works is a life lesson that I don’t have to teach because my kids will have it instilled in them by just doing it.  My kids are interested in helping others.  We recently hosted a Mamarazzi event with Laura Posada and the new Broadway show “Bronx Bombers”.  The Posadas are involved with MyFace.Org. My son saw their calendar and was very concerned about the kids. He’s now saving all of this money and figuring out ways to make money so he can help a child have surgery.

What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?  

That anything is possible.  If you have a dream, go for it.  If you can help others, do it.

What would your kids say about all of this?

I’m hoping it’s what they do with it, not what they say.  I hope they just continue to be curious and concerned about others and grow up to do their part to help others.  To me, everything is passion.  I hope they find things they are passionate about that makes them be the best versions of themselves…and to me that includes helping others.  So far, they’re off to a great start and they have one proud, passionate mama!

 

Suite!

Monday, February 17th, 2014

There is news buzzing about. And the prizing too…Without giving too much away, Forty Weeks has entered into a partnership with W Hotels to bring my Fairy Godmother POV to the whole of the New York Pregnancy experience. Think Better than Best Baby Moon at the W Hotels, NYC along with city-centric must-haves, super-luxe amenities and the perfect plan for a little pre-baby celebration. Want to know more? Stay tuned….

strategy me

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Turning the tables, playing client and WOW! Deeply grateful for all who showed up for our Public Health and Social Responsibility group’s deep dive into back to work and breastfeeding. I suggest you all stay tuned!

Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Like many of the most remarkable women in my life – Rebecca Levey’s presence in my life seems to have to real beginning and hopefully, no end. And the range of where we go and what we accomplish together is infinite – it feels like the most remarkable version of  “ OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO”  – with the very best of company!

I have never been let down by Rebecca’s boundless energy, keen intellect or her ability to get the job done. She steps up in a way that is genuine – with complete passion and focus.  Rebecca always gets the job done and she does it exceptionally well at that. Her commitment is different from others in that she sees no barriers.  If Rebecca says she is in  – she in – mind, body and soul. There is no such thing as lip service – when Rebecca commits she rolls up her sleeves and makes magic. Her dedication and her accomplishments run deep. I will never really be able to thank her enough for the way in which she stepped up for me and the R Baby Foundation in 2011. That is just one example, of many. The list goes on and on….

And it is not only what she does. It is also how she views the world. Just this week there was yet another day in which NYC city schools were open in the midst of a freezing, messy snowstorm. There was a bitch-fest gong on over on FB. But one voice of clarity, perspective and reason stood out, it was Rebecca Levey:

“There are definitely different considerations for public school. more than 70% of NYC public school students receive free or reduced lunch. there are over 1 million kids in the school system. not having school means not getting a meal for many kids. not to mention parents who don’t have child care or the ability to stay home with a kid out of school.”

And that is Rebecca – smart, caring and determined to bring us all along as she makes good on her commitment to making the world a better place. Meet my dear friend, Rebecca Levey:

Rebecca Levey

Beccarama & KidzVuz

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

Funny, I would not think of myself as “philanthropic.”  The work I’ve done in education and for other causes is more about volunteering time, sweat and sometimes tears, to get things done that need getting done.  Philanthropy seems very lofty and more about money – but the spirit of it – the sense that you can make a difference and see change through giving and doing is very much at the core of my being.

What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world? 

I think being the New York State Representative to the Mom Congress on Education and Learning in D.C. a few years ago really brought home the power and energy of what can happen when women all over the country stand up in their local area and fight for different education causes.  Having 51 women come together and exchange ideas, formulate plans and really coalesce all of their individual fights into one larger effort for education reform was incredibly inspiring and made me realize that no matter what else I do professionally, my heart and soul are with the education movement.

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

I am consistently influenced and inspired by so many women doing amazing work every day.  Jennifer James and the Moms for Social Good network she has built, in addition to her advocacy work, awe me on a daily basis.  Julia Beck has been a major force in my life as an example of a woman who weaves philanthropy and passion into everything she does.  And, Melissa Bilash whose tireless work on behalf of gifted kids, and passage of the TALENT Act,  keeps me hopeful that advocacy can see real results.

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud? 

I am most proud of the real changes my co-president and I made at my daughters’ school – as well as the conversations we spurred and continued discussions that needed to had.  It’s great when you can see tangible results from your work.

What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?  

I really just want parents to feel empowered and know that they should always have a seat at the table.  And more importantly, I want my kids to know that if they want something to change they have to step up and do the work to make it happen.  It may not come to fruition, or it may look different from what you envisioned, but if you don’t step up nothing will ever change.

What would your girls say about all of this?

They would say it took up too much time!  Honestly, they are very proud, and I think it gives them a sense that you should invest in your community, keep connecting and talking to everyone you can, and not be a passive wallflower.  They learned early on that the best thing you can be is a Do-er!

 

The Grammys Baby – Ciara Gets it All Kinds of Right

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Singing loud and proud  - the breathtakingly beautiful Ciara had something to say about the beauty of dressing a bump for the red carpet:

“Let it be. The bigger the bump, the better.”
—pregnant Ciara on not having to stress about what she eats

And her stunning confidence was not limited to  awards night– look at this glowing beauty at the annual MusiCares party earlier in the week. Talk about a picture-pefect Philanthropic Mom to be!

Ciara, A Glowing Philanthropic Mom (to be)

I say we pass it along – because Ciara’s brand of  self-care and comfort is as good as it gets!

 

Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Friday, January 24th, 2014

As I sit to write about Holly Rosen Fink, I feel as though I am perhaps about to expose a secret (a very good secret!!!). This is because this week’s Philanthropic Mom – Holly Rosen Fink is at once incredibly generous and productive and, at the same time, so very low–key about the remarkable and regular contribution she makes  - it just “is”. Still, as I stop and consider the history and the quality of Holly’s commitment, I am humbled. I am also inspired. Holly  is tireless  in her quiet strength and  endlessly creative in her on-going effort to make the world a better place. There is no one size fits all in the way Holly gives – she pays careful attention to where the need exists and meets it head on with just the right solution. She casts her net wide, and makes sure that anyone who can join the effort to help does. From clients to kids and everyone in-between – Holly’s army is a sizable and enthusiastic one — all recruited with grace by Holly herself.

When I consider how lucky I am to share Holly and her incredible optimism with you, I am immediately reminded of a quote that seems to really speak to Holly’s remarkable point of view.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

— Anne Frank

This week, get out of the cold and get warm getting to know the wonderful Holly Rosen Fink.

Holly Rosen Fink

The Culture Mom

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

As an entrepreneur, I try to associate myself with like-minded organizations and businesses. The majority of my clients have been non-profits or companies out to make a difference (Mothers2Mothers, Every Mother Counts, to name a few). When a client is a for-profit business, I often steer their efforts into the advocacy arena (Ruckus Media Group, She Speaks). As a mom, I am doing my best to raise altruistic children who see the world through the eyes of the less fortunate and make sure they know that their old coats are going to those who need them and that it’s important to take out to think of others and volunteer in various capacities. When they were infants, I took them to the old age home in the area to play with me while the elderly watched along with enjoyment. They have worked in the local pantry and distributed meals at the homeless shelter with me. During the holidays, we often deliver meals to the elderly. As a philanthropist, I try to donate as much money to causes that I care about as possible and I am one of those people who puts my hand in my pocket every time I am asked on the street.

What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?

When I was a young girl of about 12, we were shown a film about the Holocaust and I was deeply impacted. Living in Israel years later, I volunteered with an organization for the elderly and went once a week to do crafts and spend time with them. They were all Holocaust survivors and the stories I heard were unlike any I had ever heard. The experience solidified an effort to never let the Holocaust be forgotten, also spending time volunteering at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum that year. Back in New York, I later interviewed survivors for the Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation which was another commitment that I have always been proud of. Just a few months ago, I led a Holocaust film series at my synagogue which attracted and educated hundreds of our members. This is a cause I feel very strongly about and will continue to make sure no one ever forgets the 6 million needlessly killed less than 60 years ago.

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

My mother is the best role model I could ever ask for. She has always given to other people first and has a heart of gold. If I can leave a legacy with my own children and give them a quarter of the heart she has, I will have done something right.

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?

I’m very low key about my philanthropic efforts. I don’t really talk about them as much as I could anywhere, including social media. I’ve driven gently used toys and clothes into the city to donate to Room to Grow; I took a packed van of clothing, medical supplies, toys and more countless times during Hurricane Sandy. The important thing is not to talk about it, but just to do it and include my children in my efforts. I want them to watch and be a part of what I do so that they become philanthropic as they get older.

What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?  

My daughter is 10 and is saying that she wants to become a human rights lawyer. I know she’s young and this could change, but the idea profoundly warms my heart. I am part of the Shot at Life campaign and ONE Organization initiatives, and my kids have witnessed my work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I talk about my work with these organizations and hope that they are listening and they will go into helping professions that will help change the world.

What would your kids say about all of this?

Hopefully, they are proud of their mother, but at their ages, I’m not sure they know exactly what it all means.

Say Hello!

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Now you know, so say hello to our new Public Health Initiatives Group. More excitement to follow….

Mommy Wars Day 18,250+

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Diego Rivera, Motherhood – 1928

If you read much these days you know we are deep in year FOREVER (plus or minus a few decades) of the Mommy Wars. As the war continues on, new innocents join the battle fields (the whole pregnancy glow is a great recruitment technique, IMO) and bold new voices emerge to draw and defend the latest line between good and bad, savvy and simple, evolved and remedial. And, if you spend much time with me, you  likely know that I have a theory. It goes something like this:

The Mommy Wars begin as early as that first glance at a positive pregnancy test. That first glimpse into the reality of one’s own maternity causes an immediate whiplash that forces the mom-to-be to quickly examine her workplace. And when one’s mind wanders to the big, bad question of “what now” — the answer and the trap lies firmly in the lap of the workplace.

The once passionate, loyal and coveted employee is suddenly forced make rapid-fire decisions about who she will be, and as such- which side of the Mommy Wars she will play for.  All this because here in the proserpus United States of America we neiter have an active legistlative mandate nor private sector support for keeping our best and brightest women in the workplace.

And so women chose. But only because here in the United States we have chosen to ignore the truth about women and work. Women have babies. Women need to noursih and care for these babies. Here in the United States, our national culture in which we urge (read as pressure) one thing and legistale another, there is no winning.We have chosen to be the only industrialized nation not to mandate paid leave for mothers of newborns.

Here is an infographic from Huffington Post sure to turn your stomach.

So when Jessica Grose writes and publishes in New York Magazine she is ulitmatey attacked  (we are at war people!) for her views of how women are turning to other cultures for cues as to how to take-on the daily challenges of motherhood, even childbirth and pregnancy,  I have to blow my ref’s whistle (wars have referees and whistles, no?). Not because the techniques are shocking and extreme. That is another issue for another day. I demand we stop and pay attention. These cultures are ones in which women are mothers, that is what they do. These are not cultures where the juggle, balance and ultimate failure to do two incredibly difficult things well at once is the accepted standard. These mothers are proudly working in the home, supported by their villages and revered in their community as mothers. And if they are working outside of the home, it is with the proper support of their community and an understanding of the value of both roles. These are places where there is space made for being a mother. These are cultures where this is the job at hand – and it is honored as such. There is so much positive to take away,  appreciate and consider. But let’s be honest with each other — we are not set up to succeed here at home. And until we are — trying on another culture’s techniques while living in DC or Brooklyn  is much like playing dress-up in a closet full of beautiful Saris. It sure looks good…