February 2008 Posts

29 Ways to Make the Most of the Extra Day

It’s Leap Day – the extra day that comes around once every four years to catch us up on time lost, or as Monica Hesse from the Washington Post describes it: “in all its quadrennial springiness, like a cartoon Slinky boinging into the wall calendar.” Preposterous, according to some.

“It’s like a prolonged version of the languidness found on daylight savings days,” Hesse says, “where no one really knows what time it is and everyone uses that to their advantage…Leap Days are like this, but longer, and grander in their utter lack of ambition.  Nobody makes plans for Feb. 29, because nobody remembers when there is a Feb. 29.  And so the day arrives like a snow day, an empty calendar slot with no obligations and no expectations.”

We’re not entirely sure about the whole “nobody makes plans” part of that at the GlobalGiving office, where in a twist of events, we’re about 1/3 in-house staffed today – but the point is well made, nonetheless.  In honor of this “extra day”, we’re offering a list of 29 ways to make the most of your day.

  1. Understand the history and science behind Leap Years
  2. Tell your family you love them
  3. Go to the library and come home with a book (or bring back delinquent overdue books)
  4. Update your music collection
  5. Get in touch with old friends
  6. Find out how the candidates stand on the issues
  7. Play an extra Set Game
  8. Make dinner reservations to benefit the Tap Project
  9. Take a walk (and bring your dog!)
  10. Indulge your guilty pleasure
  11. Send yourself an email on next Leap Day (February 29, 2012) to remind yourself how great things were this year
  12. Replace your toothbrush (you know you’re overdue!)
  13. Twitter
  14. Eat that piece of cheesecake
  15. Wear the skinny jeans (maybe do this one before #14)
  16. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors
  17. Play Chain Factor
  18. Join a Facebook group about Leap Day, only to leave it tomorrow.
  19. Find out where the candidates stand on issues important to you
  20. Learn a new word
  21. Finish a puzzle (that isn’t on the computer)
  22. Throw out all those old pens that don’t have any more ink but get put back in the drawer/pencil cup anyway
  23. Buy Girl Scout Cookies from your local Girl Scout troop.
  24. Clean out the Goldfish crackers from under the car seats
  25. Take a road trip
  26. Clear your calendar.  Hoo Boy!
  27. Leave a comment on your favorite blog (not necessarily shameless self-promotion) 
  28. Start your own Giving Circle
  29. Add to this list

Taking Over the World

For those of you interested in taking over the world (heads up, Dr. Evil, Lex Luthor, Joker, Lord Voldemort), things just got a little bit easier.  Forget the millitant game of Risk, we want real estate.  Monopoly is creating an international version of the classic game with favorite cities from around the world vying for space on the game board.

I only first heard about this on The Colbert Report last night, and I realize there are only a few hours left in the competition, but I was interested in the featured cities.  Many that you would expect: New York, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Boston (Go Red Sox!).  However, I found that there were a handful of cities in the competition that are home to GlobalGiving projects: Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai and Bogotá, just to name a few.

 In addition to the places you might expect, Monopoly is leaving room for user nominated cities; among the leaders are other GlobalGiving locales: Johannesburg, San Francisco, Chennai.

 Go vote for some of your favorite cities, or the GlobalGiving locations before the polls close.  If you miss the opportunity, follow along to see who will be represented on this international stage.

It’s Not Easy Being Green (Or offsetting carbon emissions)

Our fearless leader (Dennis, not Dixon) often talks about how energized he feels after trips to California.  The GlobalGiving team makes it out to the left coast fairly often due to many funding and partner relationships, and this week it was my turn to spend a few days in the Bay area.

Maybe it’s all this mid-February California sunshine getting to my head (such a welcome break from the icy east coast!), but I’ve found myself agreeing with Dennis on the California vibe-full of energy, optimism, inspiration, and a sense of what’s possible.

I’m here in San Francisco attending the Carbon Forum America conference-one of the largest gatherings in North America related to climate change and carbon markets.  You don’t have to be Al Gore to know that climate change is one of the largest and most serious problems facing society today, and without a similarly large and serious response to turn this ship around we could find ourselves in a heap of trouble.

But when faced with such a daunting threat looming over our shoulders, how can any one of us know what to do, or if any actions we could take will have an effect on such a huge problem?  Can CFL light bulbs, driving a Prius, purchasing carbon offsets, or calling Congress actually dig us out of this global warming hole we find ourselves in?

I stayed with a good friend in Berkeley on Sunday night before the conference and I asked him about what it was like living there.  “It makes it easy – to ride my bike, buy local food, carpool to work, or use alternative energy sources – because these things are available and supported by the community.”

And while GlobalGiving isn’t exactly available at your local farmer’s market, I connected his point to the work we’re doing with supporting international projects.  By making solutions available, and easy to find and support, it can drive people to take action that they might not otherwise feel empowered or inspired to take.

Although the prospect of climate change is scary, a speaker today pointed out that one benefit of needing to address climate change is the power to force new levels of cooperation between people across national or international boundaries.  And finding these collective solutions will drive new levels of business creativity, entrepreneurship, problem solving, and empathy.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers about the climate change monkey on our back, but I am excited that-like health care, education, technology, and women’s rights – it is a global issue that uniquely impacts developing countries, and GlobalGiving is hoping to provide donors with even more impactful ways of addressing climate change in the coming months.  By providing climate change solutions that our community can support, we just might uncover some powerful new strategies for change.

Stay tuned…

Let’s kick some ball……

“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life. Sports are a microcosm of society.” — Billie Jean King

Her comment cuts through to the true nature of all sport. Sports brings out everything that is the worst and the best in us. It brings out our true spirit – grit, courage, grace, empathy and so much more – hidden by the many layers of our personality. But it’s about who we are and what we can do; no matter your ethnicity, gender, caste. It’s about achieving something exclusively on merit. It’s about walking the talk.

For GlobalGiving Project Leader Tommy Clarke, it’s a way to create incredible social change in Zimbabwe. A former pro football player Tommy Clarke came up with an extraordinary idea – he was going to turn around the tide on AIDS amongst youth in Africa, beginning with Zimbabwe. And he was going to do it by getting them to play soccer – a ubiquitous passion even in the most impoverished areas. Today, nearly 23% more youth now understand the importance of using condoms than they did before. “Now we know we can cure HIV/AIDS with our knowledge and power.” Susan Bulaya, 15 year old recipient of Tommy’s program.

Tommy Clarke isn’t the lone visionary to understand the power of sports as a way to influence and alter behavior, establish new ways to communicate, to empower and heal. Click here to read about another outstanding social entrepreneur who is using sports to provide solutions to challenges like women’s right and HIV/AIDS, youth unemployment.

And guess what? You can support these amazing social entrepreneurs win the Ashoka Changemakers competition! Click here to vote for GlobalGiving Project Leaders Tommy (Grassroots Soccer), Matt (Partners of the Americas), Sarah (Kilifi) and Trevor (Kids League).

The Latest GlobalGiver

It  is my pleasure to introduce the latest GlobalGiver, Zoë Finette Conroy. Thanks to John for the very nice post  and kind words. My wife and I are thrilled and couldn’t be happier. I’m breaking the radio silence of paternity leave to share some pictures of our little angel. Much thanks to everyone for all of the warm wishes. Now, back to diaper duty…