Posts Tagged ‘Philanthropic Friday’

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!

 

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!

 

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.

Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Years ago, Jessica Shyba burst into my life like a beautiful ray of spring sunshine. When we first met, she was a young mother of two  – later she would glow her way through a third pregnancy with Beau, and oh the fun we had! Jessica and I cultivated an amazing friendship – one that literally weathered serious storms (that would be Sandy to be specific) and one in which we had each other’s backs in the most certain of ways.  Jessica won such a big place in my heart through her spirit and her radiance. Jessica has a remarkable eye – not just for what is visually powerful but for people as well. When she finds beauty she shares it. And this has been the case most recently.

Jessica’s photography has always been something I have admired. She documents her way through the world using her lens of compassion and pure love. She is able to capture moments that feel at once private and universal. This is a rare gift. Recently, Jess shared images of her baby (maybe not, Beau just turned two!!!) and puppy Theo sharing their naptime and bond. These images, now known as #TheoandBeau went viral. The images and Jessica herself have been featured in a wide array of national and international outlets. The best part of this burst of ackowledgement? Jessica has used it to flex her muscle as a Philanthropic Mom.

Through the much deserved attention around #TheoandBeau Jessica has directed donations back to the local SPCA where Theo was adopted. Thus far, she has been able to raise both much-needed funds and awareness for the The Santa Cruz SPCA which  is in desperate need of a new facility. Thanks to Jessica’s amazing images and effort, over $1,800 has been donated (to date).

Meet my beautiful friend and our latest Philanthropic Mom:

 Jessica Shyba

Mommas Gone City

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

I think becoming a mother brought philanthropy to the forefront of my mind. It’s impossible not to be empathetic or sympathetic to things once you become a parent, for me anyway. I feel like I’m sort of putting positivity back into the world in an effort to attempt to show my own gratitude for our blessings.

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 in elementary school, we went to Sea World for the first time and I distinctly remember wondering why the whale’s dorsal fins were flopped over. Once I researched and found out the awful truth, I began my quest to become a marine biologist. That’s the first time I remember feeling like I wanted to make a difference in the world.

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

I would say, as cheesy as it sounds, that Angelina Jolie was an early influencer of mine. It struck me as remarkable what she had done with her celebrity status within her own family and as a philanthropist. Truly, though, my greatest influences are always my closest friends. I have some incredible people in my circle.

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?

I am most proud that my children are, even at their age, sensitive to those struggling in this world that we live in. When I went to Guatemala with World Vision, their questions, curiosity and caring about the children I was spending time with there made my heart nearly burst.

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

I would like to leave an impression of empathy, and hopefully instill a level of caring and compassion for everyone, as well as the knowledge that all acts of kindness are extraordinary and important.

What would your kids say about all of this?

Their feeling is that they are happy that I’m doing things to help others, but they don’t want me to leave again. Ever!