caught you caring

The Philanthropic Moms Challenge

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Friday found me shivering over a steaming cup of latte with my IRL friend and on-line power-house Joanne Bamberger (aka PunditMom). We covered all the important topics – kids, home, restaurants and wardrobe (are we really dressing for the Mad Men party at Mom 2.0?!?!) and eventually settled into one of the very stimulating conversations that really is the cornerstone of our friendship. We were talking about mothers and activism, politics and causes. And I shared with her what I consider to be secret to all of this amazing female power (you will need to wait for her book to find out what that is!). I shared anecdotes of how mothers have rallied to support causes that feel both personal and profoundly important to them – engaging their friends, families and on-line communities for the greater good.

This morning I got an email from Brian Boyd telling me that we needed to bump R Baby Foundation’s Facebook friends to 100 ( at 10 am and before I got busy there were 25 friends) by Monday. And I took this as an outstanding opportunity to present my friend Joanne with hard evidence of the power of which I speak. And now, if you are reading this before Monday, you are part of a grand experiment. Can I do it? Can I harness the power of my twitter, FB, and IRL communities to help RBF reach their goal?

On twitter I have reached out to some passionate, engaged women who I feel certainly qualify as Philanthropic Moms;  strong, community-minded, well-regarded women with a clear voice and passion. This is simply a random cross section. I actually think most of the women who I follow and engage with on twitter are just that (and exactly why I follow them) and for the sake of this live case-study/experiment this is the list:

 @elissapr @karamat @jennihogan @that_danielle @jennawrites @chivetalker @NYCitymama @JenRab @imnotobsessed @rolemommy @Mytotsy @jenniferperillo @Madijack @momfluential @sandyabrams @KatjaPresnal @resourcefulmom @jodifur @scarymommy @selfishmommy @twincident @wendyscherer

And for you — if you are reading this, you are invited, encouraged and asked nicely to please go to RBF’s Facebook page and be a friend! Help me show Joanne the power of Philanthropic Moms.

Please forward along and keep checking back for the tally! If I can get us there by Monday one of the Moms listed above will will a pedicure on me (with me if you like!!!)!

As of 2pm on 1/30 FB friends = 27

As of 2:30 on 1/30 FB friends = 33

As of 3pm on 1/30 FB friends = 35

As of 10:30 on 1/30 FB friends = 49

As of 9am on 1/31 FB friends = 57

As of 1pm on 1/31 FB friends = 62

As of 3pm on 1/31 FB friends = 63

As of 8pm on 1/31 FB friends = 66

As of 9am on 2/1 FB friends = 76

As of 6am on 2/3 FB friends = 93

Some Great Fun for Some Serious Good…

Friday, January 29th, 2010

 You all know about my commitment to connecting consumers, causes, celebrities and corporations. It is the cornerstone of Philanthropic Moms. I live it, I breathe it – and all who work with me help me build from that essential foundation.  Here is what you don’t know:

A few months ago my friend Kara Matuszewski ,  introduced me to one of her on-air pals , the newly pregnant Jenni Hogan via twitter. Jenni and I began to follow-each other (on twitter) and over the course of the subsequent weeks cultivated a wonderful relationship built around her super sassy smarts, interest in pregnancy fashion and our mutual desire to make good things happen.

And happen they have…

Jenni and KIRO Seattle are a supporters of the American Heart Association. As part of their GO RED DAY they asked her to please wear red on Friday, February 5, 2010. Jenni asked me to style her and I agreed. But Jenni and I have a tendency to get excited by the infinite possibilities and then we, like super-cute super heroes spring into immediate action (no traffic jam here!!).  True to form,  Jenni and I got our heads together and gave birth to this:

*Rocking the Red, Fashion Frienemies Face off, with Heart!

(*this is my totally typical and unapproved title, look for a better one from Jenni and Brooke soon!)

One very adorable Jenni Hogan will model three haute maternity looks from Belly Dance, Due and Pickles & Ice Cream. Viewers can log in and vote on KIRO’s website with a dollar per donation going to AHA – donated by Macy’s. All three retailers have generously offered to donate partial proceeds from any purchase using code “AHA” to American Heart. All good, and you know, we were pretty pleased…

What happened next? Well, Jenni’s fashion frienemy Brooke Fox heard about Jenni rocking the red for AHA and wanted in. So she grabbed her gaggle of female listeners from The Ladies Room on Seattle’s MOVin 92.5  and joined in as well. And you guessed it – each vote triggers a $1 donation to AHA. Macy’s agreed to suit her up in red (and you know she will look adorable but nothing like our Jenni from the Bump) for Friday as well. It is a fashion frienemy face off with heart – LOVE IT!

As of yesterday additional sponsors were lined up to donate funds and support the AHA. On Monday, consumers (YOU!) will be invited in to start picking, clicking and donating to raise more money. How much will we raise? Well, I will keep you posted on the dollar proceeds. And beyond that,  what we raise in good-will and awareness – I would say will be priceless…

What We Do for Those Who Need it Done the Most.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Some people call it my soft spot – I would not agree. I would say that rallying the Forty Weeks troops to benefit those in need is an act of strength and an amazingly powerful and appropriate use of our skills, connections and know-how. This is a part of the Forty Weeks DNA, and I do this on a very regular basis.

There are those whose talents (yes Lisa Bernstein, I am speaking of you) far eclipse mine – whose unwavering commitment to making the world a better place, to building programs and initiatives for women, in specific mothers (and expectant mothers) is unparalleled. Lisa’s work as the Executive Director of the What to Expect Foundation is just one shining example of the potential for progress when left in the right hands.

Me, I am the one who steps in not to advance the public heath conversation as much as I am the one called in to move the conversation to the consumer (the supporter of the foundation). I am the call that is made when the idea is there but perhaps the funds and awareness are not (or not at the level where they should be). I am the call when the foundation is not acting like a brand (yes, non-profits can and should function like for profits, really!) and when it is time to synch up the vision and the metrics – in other words, when it is time to soar.

When I am introduced to organizations with incredible potential to change the conversation I ask a lot of questions. Because another thing that Lisa Bernstein, Bob Burkett and my other talented friends and mentors have taught me is that intention is only one marker of a foundation’s potential for success. The real list is much longer. I spend a great deal of time teasing information out of groups who come to me – looking for signs that they are in fact ready to “go there”.

This morning I will donate my time and that of my team to BabyLove, DC.  This is Ali Wentworth’s answer to the overwhelming disparity between middle-class mothers and babies in DC and those with at risk in some of the city’s most challenged neighborhoods. This is her attempt to help level the playing field by collecting gently used items and corporate donated goods with the goal of putting them in the hands of those in need. It is my sincere hope that today’s strategy and planning session with Ali and her amazing team will create a roadmap for real success for BabyLove now and moving forward.

So keep your eyes out for more on this. Expect to see more BabyLove, DC on your radar screen in the very near future. Because Babylove, DC is ready and Forty Weeks is prepared to make it so!

Get Giving!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

There is a great deal of chatter out there about finding the perfect gift for each and every person on your list. And I agree – there is great satisfaction to be had by wrapping your loved ones in the softest cashmere or fortifying your kids with a big stack of books. It is all good.  And before your gift giving is though, please consider how you might be able to help those well outside of your inner-circle.

Yesterday I sat in on Jewish Women International’s (JWI) Women to Watch symposium. This featured the 2009 Women to Watch nominees including: JJ Ramberg (the adorably pregnant co-founder of GoodShop.com), Laurie Ann Goldman (the steel magolia CEO of Spanx), Ruth Marcus (the warm and prolific  Washington Post columnist) and Estee Portnoy (the tireless marketing and business manager for Michael Jordan) among others. The list read like a who’s who of philanthropically minded, accomplished and frankly, inspiring women (they were all quite beautiful as well). The room was filled not only with JWI supporters but also the family and friends of the ten dynamic women who were being honored (at a luncheon emceed by Blossom herself, Mayim Bailik).

One topic that came up was how to best teach our kids the Jewish value of tzedakah (giving, though interestingly enough has its roots in the word for justice).  As well was how philanthropy becomes a way of life, passed down from generation to generation. And certainly this is not a uniquely Jewish concept – we can and should all find ways to share our commitment to caring for others with our children. Many thoughts were shared – dedicating one holiday night to giving outside of the family (we already do this in our home) was one that is easy to implement and quite rewarding. In fact, I tweeted about it yesterday, and got a lot of positive feedback.

That said, the possibilities are endless, and not at all limited to this time of year. I suggest you take a look at some of the causes nearest and dearest to my heart as you begin to open yours up – for good!

The What to Expect Foundation– Heidi Murkoff’s What to Expect When You’re Expectinghas been called “America’s Pregnancy Bible.”  But many expectant moms cannot afford to buy a book or do not have the literacy skills they need to read it. The What to Expect Foundation was conceived to provide empowering information, support, and literacy skills to underserved, at-risk parents so they too can expect healthier pregnancies, safer deliveries, and happier babies.

 R Baby Foundation R Baby Foundation® is the first and only not-for-profit foundation uniquely focused on saving babies lives through improving pediatric emergency care.  R Baby Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that babies, including those in the first month of life suffering from viral infections and other infectious diseases, receive the highest quality of care and service through supporting life-saving pediatric training, education, research, treatment and equipment.

JWI Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls – through economic literacy; community training; healthy relationships education; and the proliferation of women’s leadership. Our innovative programs, advocacy and philanthropic initiatives protect the fundamental rights of all girls and women to live in safe homes, thrive in healthy relationships, and realize the full potential of their personal strength.

 

Children’s Institute, Inc.Los Angleles  (CII) serves more than 17,000 children and their families in the city’s most challenged neighborhoods, and trains more than 9,000 professionals in the realm of child development, mental health and welfare. CII provides healing so traumatized children can recover and lead healthy lives, while working to shape the field of children’s services through innovative research, demonstration projects, and professionally accredited training programs.

Breastcancer.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete, and up-to-date information about breast cancer. BCO’s mission is to help women and their loved ones make sense of the complex medical and personal information about breast cancer, so they can make the best decisions for their lives.

So give, give, give — teach your children well by example and do all you can to keep the holiday glow alive and well in your home by giving outside of it!

Remarkable Moms — My RBaby Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

CONENT ALERT: The following post contains highly effusive and otherwise gushy praise for the Mothers with whom I shared my Mother’s Day Sunday!

 This Sunday I saw the fruits of more than seven months of planning and dreaming come together as the RBabyRun Walk took place in Central Park. Our goal:  to raise much needed funds and awareness for the Pediatric Emergency Medical Care Crisis in the US. Mothers, families (so many beautiful kids) and a supportive host of sponsors joined together and met the challenge — it was remarkable!

Phyllis Rabinowitz and her husband and RBaby foundation co-founder Andrew trusted me with their Foundation and their mission. I was given the task of designing building strategic partnerships and alliances within the parenting community in New York and of course, Nationally as well. For their trust and the opporutnity to make a difference in the lives of so many,  I am grateful.

With this directive, I set out to pull together the greatest group of sponsors, partners and allies out there. It has been an amazing journey – thanks (and more) to all of you loyal and loving industry/media friends of mine who always rally when I ask. All of you who consistently over-deliver and exceed expectation (oh and mine are so damn high!!!) - thank you for always stepping up with me for the causes that mean so very much to me! Once again you have not let me down! I am deeply aware of your loyalty and care and thank you for your continued commitment to the causes that touch me. In this case, RBaby has been given the great gift of your focused attention and care — they will thrive for it. And we will all be better for our work together.

As for the day itself…well, that was something! I had the privilege of spending the morning with Peg Moline(do I say enough how much I adore Peg Moline) as well as her friend Julie whose conversation and company I really enjoyed! Also in the park teutonia – Marta, Nicolette and Laura  – the fieriest, finest team out there — your energy and comitment are remarkable and irreplaceable. Some Moms de force – Lyss Stern, Danielle Friedland, Kimberly Seals Allers, Nicole Feliciano and Risa Goldberg and so many others came out with their gangs and gaggles to add to the already magnificent day. The Beginning team of Homi and Dessi — your pampering was just the thing and your booth was a magnificent respite!  Andrea and the BRU team, Tricia and Jeff and the Fit Pregnancyteam – where would I be without you? Amanda– you  goddess — thank you for your focus and care. Gina my trusted partner in crime (home with two sick girls) – you were missed all around. The list goes on and on…again, lucky!

Look for more on the event and the impact of our day on this blog and certainly in the media. Our work as PhilanthropicMoms continues on….

Caught Caring — the Art of Giving it Away!

Monday, May 11th, 2009

I recently shared with Celebrity Baby Founder Danielle an idea I had for Celebrity Baby Blog…and it was pure Forty Weeks. D had asked if I had any thoughts as to what would be an interesting regular feature for the site (as you will recall I used to regularly contribute to their fashion coverage via my exclusive Blog –  STEAL THAT LOOK FORTY WEEKS STYLE).

Well, much like the times – we are all a changin’.  I have just spent the past six months on an intensive philanthropic (pro bono I might add) project for RBaby . I have also lent a hand to CII and Sophies Voice to name a few.  As many of you already know, my real passion and my real focus is on Philanthropic Moms. I am very excited about all of the action on the street, on Twitter, Facebook, etc.  – look at all of us using our power to help others. I am grateful for all of the media companies, manufacturers and celebrities who are always eager and generous in their help.

Philanthropic Moms! I am placing myself on the front-lines of this movement – making sure that all who contribute to making this important paradigm shift stick – corporations, celebrities, and clients (mom) - are recognized and celebrated for their work on so many important charitable organizations and causes.

So, when D came looking for ideas – I was happy to give away my latest -CAUGHT CARING (credit due to DD Lila who came up with the catchy name!). My thought was that we catch celebrities caring rather than the usual  “just like us”  ie –  pushing a grocery cart or getting a pedi. Because really – we all do BOTH. Better to catch celebrities caring and giving back – better to call out the good work and better to make a big deal out of even the little deeds. Better to show where we can really look for inspiration. So, Danielle with begin with Caught Caring on CBB and here too we will Catch You Caring — we will cover the full spectrum – so stay tuned…

And, if you want to share someone caught caring drop me a line, join www.twibes.com/philanthropicmoms or pass on the good on Twitter via  #philanthropicFridays — and please, keep caring (we’re watching you)!