Taking Stock of Priorities & Tuesdays

One week from today, on November 27th, scores of nonprofits and other fund-seekers will bombard each of us with #GivingTuesday solicitations. I love the idea of the entire world participating in philanthropy, I’ve just questioned the implementation of the annual event. For me, it typically undercuts all that’s really beautiful about philanthropy – The building of relationships, the matchmaking between donor prospect and mission and the “what’s in it for me,” and of course, long range thoughtful planning regarding organizational sustainability.

I have been pretty cranky about the implementation of #GivingTuesday, since its launch in 2012. If you’re interested, feel free to revel in a few curmudgeonly #GivingTuesday articles:

Still, each year since the launch of #GivingTuesday, I have had to either create campaigns or at the very least, raise funds for them.

There’s no question that my most “favorite” #GivingTuesday concept is something that looks very different from the barrage of campaigns hitting us left and right. I like a campaign where an entire staff gives of themselves out in the community, as a literal, external-facing depiction of philanthropic behavior. I also like to focus on giving education about a nonprofit’s mission and vision and even adding a day of volunteerism where it’s tracked via social media streams throughout the day.

No matter how #GivingTuesday is marketed or pitched, I always have to find the love in a campaign or I won’t be able to succeed.

This year, I moaned and groaned quietly, about collaborating on mapping a #GivingTuesday campaign for ORT America. Then, I made an intentional decision to take a fresh approach. I started thinking about all of the Tuesdays that have passed since ORT’s founding in 1880. While my math isn’t great, I figured out that ORT has been GIVING access to education, thus changing lives, AROUND THE WORLD, for a minimum of 7200 Tuesdays.

7200+ Tuesdays.

The least I could do was learn everything I possibly could about the micro:bit. Our organizational goal is to get as many micro:bits into the hands of ORT students, so they can easily learn to code, think creatively and have a ton of fun diving into STEM education. (science, technology, education and math.) FYI, ORT is a global leader in STEM education, so to state I have buy-in to the mission and vision of ORT’s Global Education Network is a no brainer. I’m passionate as hell about it.

Raising funds for the micro:bit was a fantastic choice, because they aren’t particularly expensive, but their impact on each student (and teacher) is immense. I am grateful to my staff partners for choosing the micro:bit. It has been easy to embrace.microbit-front

Basically, kids find the micro:bit easy, fun and almost immediately understand that all kids can code. Right there, I see these kids succeeding and that’s all I need to know.

GT FB 2018I am also a super fan of ORT America’s new branding. #GivingTuesday is a good place to educate the public on ORT’s global impact and strengthen our public organizational face.

So this year, I am far less cranky about #GivingTuesday, but have also made a choice to implement this year’s campaign differently than we have in previous years. We aren’t going to bombard you on November 27th as we have other simultaneous fundraising ventures AND, we just don’t want to bombard you. We’d prefer to gracefully shepherd you into ORT.

I do ask you to consider how the micro:bit can change kids lives and their upcoming trajectories. How will this one hand-held computer impact their career path? Who will they be in the world?

Sure, maybe I think and feel too deeply and I take my job far too seriously. This is something I have tried to change but have been unsuccessful.

When I think about or meet ORT students, I see with clarity that there’s hope and optimism in our future leaders. This one thought, makes any day, even #GivingTuesday, more than a worthwhile investment.

If you want to get micro:bits in the hands of ORT students around the world, please support Team ORT Chicago!

Of course I appreciate every “bit” that comes into ORT and a micro:bit makes a macro impact.

You do too.

XOXO, Pam

Safe

How can we feel safe when no one is safe?

The past several weeks have been rough. Without going into detail on what’s happening in my little family, I’d rather focus on what this time period has evoked:

FEELINGS: FEAR. 

FACTS: SAFE.

Are we safe?


My daughters and I have openly discussed safety, identifying safe and unsafe scenarios and spaces, not compromising our safety, so that someone will like or accept us, and finally, how we practice self-soothing when we are afraid. Like any parent, my daughters’ safety and empowering them to know how to get/stay safe, are of the utmost importance.

While in the midst of walking through private issues over the past several weeks, epic mass shootings, scores of hate crimes and the disastrous fires in California, also plagued our country.

After the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, PA, like so many of us, I was shocked. No matter how many times I hear about or experience anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc, the shock value never, ever lessens.

My daughter and I discussed the Pittsburgh tragedy after a few days had passed. I couldn’t believe how matter of fact she was about it.

I fervently exclaimed,

I absolutely refuse to let this be the new normal!

She responded to me very calmly,

Mom, we’ve been having lockdown drills for as long as I can remember. At first, when I was little, they were really scary, but now, this IS our normal.

My mouth was agape. I felt like I couldn’t breathe…

I had the “aha” moment I have never wanted to have.

I went on to validate what she’d said to me. I told her that her response made me sad and then, she said,

It is sad, but it just is. Mom, we have to live with what is.

A part of me wanted to argue against what she was saying, but I didn’t. The truth is, I was in awe of my daughter’s composure and graceful example of how to live life on life’s terms.

Just this past week, I came home from work and as I prepped dinner, I shared with my daughters that ORT’s Kfar Silver Youth Village had to be evacuated because there weren’t enough (or close enough) shelters, for the kids to be safe.

Kfar Silver Youth Village is located just outside of Ashkelon, Israel. Hundreds of rockets were launched from Gaza and it was a terrifyingly unsafe situation for these kids and all who live there.

At dinner, my daughters were wide-eyed and glued to everything about Kfar Silver. They wanted to learn more about the “really cool” place the Kfar Silver Youth Village is.

My daughters asked so many questions:

How can these kids ever feel safe with rockets being launched nearby? How can they not have enough shelters? Do adults help them feel safe? Who helps the adults feel safe? How can the world be this scary?

And then, the same daughter who told me about needing to “live with what is” said,

WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!

My (amazing) daughters just finished raising funds for ORT America, for its #GivingTuesday campaign. (Yep, they raised their funds well before #GivingTuesday!)

Jand c GT GOAL
Of course I’m proud of them!

Next, my eldest daughter has expressed interest in helping the kids at Kfar Silver Youth Village to get safe, feel safe and stay safe.

So, the moral of this story is,

we can live with what is, but we can must also take action.

We may feel afraid, but in this very moment, in the here and now,

we are safe.

Thou shalt not

Doing What I Loathe Out of Love

I hate to even mention this, but since I’ve written a few articles about it and I sort of never shut up, there has been A LOT I haven’t liked about #GivingTuesday.

I don’t mean to be the cranky Jewish “Scrooge” of philanthropy, (Scrooge-stein?), but for me, unless #GivingTuesday is implemented in a uniquely creative manner that sets an organization apart, most nonprofits appear like they’re standing in line, waiting for a #GivingTuesday number at a busy deli, I kind of can’t stand it.  Continue reading “Doing What I Loathe Out of Love”

Prepare for MAJOR Rant & #MunificenceMonday. #MissionMonday?

WARNING: ENORMOUS rant up ahead. Proceed with caution.

get-off-my-lawn
Is this what almost 50 looks like?

Let me start with the fact that I am being a curmudgeon. While I am not remotely the “Get off my lawn!” type, each year for the past several years, (since #GivingTuesday’s worldwide launch), I have sometimes been less than ecstatic about this ONE particular day. I have my reasons and I’m so happy you inquired:

  1. Numerous nonprofit organizations put far too many resources into a day that much of the time has a nominal return on investment. (If any.)
  2. One day? Really? One day where the whole world collaborates to give? Don’t we need to set some higher standards here?
  3. How does #GivingTuesday impact the state of:
    1. our fractured world?
    2. our psyches?
    3. our collective consciousness?
    4. nonprofit organizations?
    5.  band-aids healing a major fracture?
      1. They do help minor cuts, so if a nonprofit does a decent #GivingTuesday SWOT analysis, and they’re trying to raise a goal that is accessible and won’t drain the organization, I’m fully on board with that and even enthusiastic.
  4. Why does this day follow #CyberMonday? So, let me get this straight… We might spend our money on a bunch of stuff we likely don’t need, just because the sales are so spectacular, and then, if we have a few shekels left, we throw a dime or two into #GivingTuesday? This kind of change, won’t really impact lasting change, will it? There, I said it.
  5. Did I mention I’m cranky?

Okay, okay. I’m breathing now.

Continue reading “Prepare for MAJOR Rant & #MunificenceMonday. #MissionMonday?”

Turkey/Carb Overload & #GivingTuesday

I have had a few days to overindulge and reflect on a whole bunch of things I’m grateful for. I try to practice reflecting on the good stuff each day, even when I’m not eating turkey or 18,000 net carbs. (per bite.)

funny-thanksgiving-quotes-one-liners-2015

And speaking of 18,000, my “CHAI to PAM at 50” fundraising campaign is hovering at 31% to our $18,000 goal, which is really excellent. There are still several weeks until my 50th birthday, so I’m confident we’ll get to $18,000. Making this goal, or even better, exceeding it, would be the absolute best 50th birthday gift, EVER! Continue reading “Turkey/Carb Overload & #GivingTuesday”