Help Make a Difference Today!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Last week I wrote about Giving Tuesday, which is TODAY, Tuesday, November 28, 2017, and asked members of the Zenspirations® community what charities they support.

20+ people left comments on the blog, and many others commented on Facebook. My friend Jennifer Kupper was kind enough to help me vet the organizations which were recommended. We left a few off because they weren’t non-profits, and I’m sure we missed some that weren’t submitted as a comment on the blog– but here is a PDF of the 75+ charities our community supports. The list is divided into categories– everything from humanitarian and faith-based charities to international and disaster relief efforts, to military, animals, education, grief support, domestic violence,  and more.

Zenspirations®_2017_Giving_Tuesday_Recommended_Charities Final

One of the beautiful things about #GivingTuesday is that funds donated via Facebook between 8:00 am east coast time and midnight will be matched (up to $2,000,000) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as by Facebook. Giving Tuesday is a worldwide movement to make a difference for those in need. When you give on #GivingTuesday, you’ll be practicing philanthropy in its finest form. I encourage everyone to not only give to the organizations you usually support, but to investigate the ones other people in our community believe in. Please check them out, and feel free to share the list as a way of shining a light on these worthwhile organizations, and inspiring more people to make a difference in the world.

As individuals we tend to give to organizations which have touched our lives on a personal level. For example, knowing how challenging it is to move on with your life when you lose someone you love, I am motivated to try to change the culture of grief support and contribute my time, artwork and money to organizations in the bereavement world. My sister-in-law, Sheila Greenlaw Fink, is passionate about creating affordable housing for working class and low-income families, wrote, “Thx for reminding folks to think about “giving back” during the holidays–to share, in many cases, their kindness with strangers. It is all too easy to focus on our inner circle of family and friends, our own needs and passions, when so many in our communities (around the world) are struggling just to survive. My own favorite groups revolve around stable housing–the base for everything else in life–and I would encourage your followers to reach out in their own community to see who is sheltering those without homes, and who is helping to ensure that homes are available to those who need them. There are Habitat for Humanity chapters in most communities, homeless shelters, and nonprofit community development corporations. I’ll be giving to some of my favorites: Community Partners for Affordable Housing, Inc. (CPAH) and Community Action ( and encourage others in the Portland, Oregon area to do the same! To promote this work nationally, consider the National Low Income Housing Coalition ( Everyone deserves a safe place to call home!”

I have looked at all of the organizations, read all the comments, and wanted to share a few which I found especially moving:

I have personally served as a volunteer in Kenya, Africa with OWI, “Outreach To The World, Inc.”. I’m passionate about helping out any way I can. A smaller charitable organization, OWI was started by one courageous woman, Marjaana Seilonen, nearly 20 years ago and supports 100 orphans in the rural town of Kiminini, Kenya. The orphans live in families, often with a widowed grandmother or other relative, who without our help would not be able to support the child. We provide our orphans with school fees, uniforms, school supplies, health care, supplemental nutrition and support by our compassionate social workers through a sponsorship program at $50/month. To sponsor a child, contact us at [email protected].

Toni Popkin says:

For #GivingTuesday I’m supporting Canine Partners for Life, the organization that raised, trained and partnered Bud my Service Dog with me. Since we have been together in June of 2013, my quality of life has improved so much. Bud is actually a finalist in the CPL 2018 calendar contest. Voting will be on #GivingTuesday by making a donation of $10 or more and saying it’s for him. To me paying it forward by educating people, advocating for those unable to, and help to fundraise for a non-profit that charges a very nominal part of the $30,000+ each Service Dog costs to raise, fully train, place and follow up has been my purpose since sustaining my multiple Traumatic Brain Injuries. There’s a quote by Helen Keller that I love, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” That to me is what giving back and #ZenspiredGiving is about.”

Allison Goodwin Weiner says:
The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter was founded by mom in 1977 after my grandmother died of ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease. My mom lost her own battle with ALS in June, 2016. ALS is a neuromuscular disease with no known cure at the present. 
(I have a cousin with ALS, so I share Allison’s interest in finding a cure.)

Julie Ager says:

Thanks for getting the word out. Three charities that have impacted our lives directly – Shriners Hospital (providing medical care free of charge for children with birth defects and other extreme medical needs), Bethany (providing support for adoptive and birth families in crisis), and Habitat for Humanity (providing a hand up for homeless families and those living in unsafe and overcrowded situations).

Dianne West says:

Thank you very much, Joanne. I volunteer for Soaring Spirits International, an inclusive, non-denominational 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Simi Valley, California that provides peer-based programs to support the widowed community. We hold three Camp Widow events each year (Tampa, San Diego and Toronto); host Widowed Village, a 24/7 online community; publish Widows Voice, a daily blog written by 8 different widowed people; provide same gender Widowed Pen Pal matches; support regional social groups throughout the US and Canada that meet twice each month in their local communities; and provide You Are Not Alone cards and Newly Widowed Packets upon request. All of our programs are offered at no cost except for the Camp Widow events, thanks to the fund-raising of our Board of Directors.

Barbara Pedowitz says:
I work with Kids of Love…a group started by a middle school boy who wanted kids to help sick children. It’s now a large non-profit org that has year round toy carts in hospitals and sends seriously ill children to camp (@5k a week). PS our group gives service credit to those who volunteer, a needed component for graduation.

My grandson Jacob is 3 1/2 and was born with a seizure disorder called tuberous sclerosis. He is a happy boy who attends a school program. Early intervention has helped him achieve many milestones but he has to be monitored carefully every day. My family contributes to the organization  for research and many programs that help the families. Thank you Joanne for highlighting Tuesday as a day of giving!

In honor of my nephew’s niece: “At 9 years old, Gabriella Miller was diagnosed with DIPG – Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma – an inoperable brain tumor, which is terminal upon diagnosis.  Her tumor was the size of a walnut. Childhood Brain Cancer is THE Most Deadly Cancer in kids under 18, and is one of the Least Funded for Research. ( She founded the Smashing Walnuts Foundation to change that. Less than a year after her diagnosis, Gabriella passed away surrounded by family and friends who promised to continue her work. Today our organization provides funding, lobbying and directed resources to develop better treatment protocols and a cure. We partner with government organizations, lawmakers, businesses, nonprofits, communities and children who share our goal.”

Bev Jones says:
Thank you for encouraging us all to Give More on Giving Tuesday!
I am a volunteer for the North County Community Food Bank in Battle Ground WA. Through them, I am working on my personal mission of NO Kid Hungry in our community! It is a small but mighty organization, doing wonders with what they have! Thank your for considering my fav!!

I’d love to know if you decide to make a contribution to one of these organizations, or any of the other charities on this list. Please leave a comment on the blog letting me know what inspires you to give.

Speaking of giving, since it is the last week in November, here is the Zenspirations® calendar page for December:


Click the link below for your FREE DOWNLOADABLE 


Before closing tonight I want to let you know that I’m still working on My Prayer Journal, and thought I’d share a couple pages in progress:

Remember to use the hashtags #ZenspiredGiving on #GivingTuesday if you’ll be sharing on social media. Thanks for reaching out in kindness and making a difference!

Stay Zenspired,


3 thoughts on “Help Make a Difference Today!”

  1. Thank you so very much Joanne for mentioning Canine Partners for Life as one of #GivingTuesday possiblities. Their goal is $30,000 which is the cost of one service dog. My wish is they surpass that! I woke up this morning to find that over $5,000 has been raised already!
    #ZenspiredGiving is giving back today from the heart. No matter which organization people choose I hope everyone will consider giving whatever they are able, large or small, to someone to help make a difference!
    Toni and BUD

  2. As soon as your prayer journal is finished, please let us know. I could really use it!!! Thank you so much for your creativity. You make a great contribution to my life!!! Thank you so much!!!

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