I heard recently that the endorphins released when we give to a cause we care about are the same ones released when we’re with our loved ones. How cool is that? It explains why I just love #givingtuesday every year – almost more than holidays themselves!

This year, I’d like to invite you to join me in supporting either of two causes that have struck my heart this year: the K.I.N.D. Fund and IAVA. I’ve been saving up for a while to be able to give BIG today—and you can help me spend the money I’ve saved up! Read on for more about the projects, why I care – and how you can make a donation to one of these orgs today and have it matched!

Kids in Need of Desks Fund – K.I.N.D. Fund

cx-zf_1xcaqqi0w70% of school children in Malawi don’t have a desk or a chair. Can you fathom how hard that would be? I picture sitting next to my friends – and the poking that would happen. “She kicked me!” “Teacher, somebody stuck a pencil in my back!” Oy. Kids are kids wherever they are, right?

And how do kids learn when they’re sitting on a concrete floor, or in the dirt outside? (I’d have been distracted by bugs! *freakout*) Just look at all the kids in this photo – they *are* in school, but how much is being learned when they’re sitting on a hard concrete floor?

Well, the K.I.N.D. Fund, a program promoted by Lawrence O’Donnell and administered by UNICEF, gives desks to these kids who have been sitting on the floor. Desks and benches to sit on where they can sit up and pay attention, and have a hard surface to write on and lay a book flat. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll do a little drawing in their notebooks too. I’m pretty sure they can’t resist doodling.

Lawrence O’Donnell just got back days ago from a trip to Malawi to see the distribution in action, and the photos here are from his twitter feed. I was overjoyed to see the change from the kids seated on the floor – to the smiles with their new desks!


cx6isdywqaaobolOne of the other things I just love about this program is that the desks are made locally. Right there in Malawi. That creates jobs for local people, supports a local business, all at the same times as the kids are getting help! This is a photo of Dave Thomas (he doesn’t look related to the Wendy’s guy!), who makes the desks. Just look at his happy smile too! His family is supported by this work. And the families of everyone who works with him to make the desks. One gift of a desk ripples out through the community!

So now that you know all about the K.I.N.D. Fund, maybe you’re jazzed about it like I am. (If not, scroll up and look at those smiling faces again!) I’d like to see if we can get a whole bunch of desks for kids in Malawi….whatcha think? Are you game to get a desk? Maybe two? You can even give an ecard when you give one – make it a Christmas gift in someone’s honor. Perfect for that person who’s already got all they need!

Here’s what your gift can buy:

  • $27.50: one desk and bench
  • $55: two desks and bench
  • $110: four desks and bench
  • $1,300: Furnish a class of 40 with desks!


So here’s the deal for this charity: I will match, desk for desk, your giving, up to a full classroom! That means between you and me, we could tackle TWO classrooms. I’m picturing the wide eyes when the big truck arrives with those shiny new desks and the excitement of not having to sit on the floor. Yeah!! Release those endorphins! If you give a desk, or two, or four….to let me know without shouting to the world about it, you can fill out the form to let me know how much I’m matching. (You can leave a comment on this post as well to encourage others to give!) To give a desk, click right HERE. 🙂


IAVA: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America


For those more domestically-inclined, another charity I am 100% behind is IAVA, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. IAVA is the #1 post-9/11 veteran organization; they don’t just support veterans, they empower them! You may have seen the Commander In Chief Forum earlier this year – that was spearheaded by IAVA, and I was so proud of their work in putting that important event together.

Their leader, Paul Rieckhoff, is the smartest, most passionate advocate for veterans. When any vet issues arise, you’ll see him being interviewed and not taking a partisan side. IAVA’s side is the veterans’ side. If you’re ever wondering which of any number of candidates is “right” on a veteran issue, see what Paul is saying. I trust him far more than politicians as far as what policies will best support our veterans. He and all of IAVA will go to the mat fighting for our service men and women, and I stand with them.

Here’s just a taste of the impact they’ve had – and this doesn’t even include their advocacy work:

To get involved with IAVA, you can become a member, make a donation, or get some gear  – the last two would also be great gifts for veterans in your life!


I’ll be matching my readers’ donations to IAVA today – up to the same $1,300 as I’m doing for the desks for kids! To let me know without shouting to the world about it, you can fill out the form below to let me know how much I’m matching. (You can leave a comment on this post as well to encourage others to give!) To give to IAVA, click right HERE. 🙂


THANK YOU for making an impact in Malawi – and across the USA!