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Tag Archives: Causes

  • Maker Update: Lifestraw.

    Every time you make a purchase or share the story behind a product on The Grommet, your support helps our Makers grow.  We often hear about the exciting things that come after their launch day and we plan to share these stories with you as well. After all, it is your support making such a big impact on their businesses and lives. We recently heard from our friends at Lifestraw about life since Grommet launch —here's what's new. 

    Lifestraw

    Since launching on The Grommet, sales took off and last October Lifestraw donated $300,000 worth of water purifiers to Kenyan schools. Thanks to you, 157,000 schoolchildren will have clean drinking water for the next five years. And Lifestraw is setting its sights on helping communities in Asia and Latin America.

    When you purchase a Lifestraw, you become a real lifesaver. That’s the impact of Buying Differently.

    To learn more about Lifestraw, watch our video here.

  • Today’s Launch: Philanthropies Providing Digital Literacy for All

    Every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we here at The Grommet take a break from launching products. Instead, we spotlight organizations we feel adhere to our idea of giving differently. If you have one last gift to give, let it be to those who aim to help others.

     CodeWP

    Code.org - “Forming the next pillar of America’s education system.”

    Kids Thrive with Coding and Computer Science

    Throughout the United States there has been a visible decrease in the availability of computer science courses for young students. Meanwhile, computers increasingly integrate into our daily existence. The disconnect leaves the U.S. education system behind one of the fastest growing career opportunities in the world. Code.org aims to remedy that.

    Hadi and Ali Partovi, who grew up in post-revolutionary Iran, founded Code.org in 2013. The twins were of the lucky few with access to a Commodore 64 in their youth. Upon moving to America as teenagers, they used their self-taught programming skills to pay their college tuition, found separate startups and eventually create Code.org.

    A donation to Code.org provides in-person computer science training for teachers and helps build computer science curriculums for schools around the country. Code.org’s goal is improving education for 100 million students. You can give the next generation the necessary tools to thrive in our tech driven society.

    Donate: www.code.org/donate

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  • The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur

    Social Entrepreneur ----------------------------A child studying next to a Waka Waka solar powered light.

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    Business and philanthropy are two words that haven’t always been seen together, and some might argue they're polar opposites. Things like corporate social responsibility have always existed, but often in silos, unrelated to the core mission of an organization. Here at The Grommet, we've noticed a growing trend recently where these lines are crossing and companies are existing to do good and watch their bottom line at the same time. More and more companies are popping up that combine a social change aspect such as donating their products, or a portion of their proceeds to a charitable organization.

    So is the business world shifting to be more conscious overall?

    We think the answer is yes. Looking at the world holistically, we see a far different place than even 20 years ago. Technology has allowed us to operate on a global scale and the internet has created a whole new way to create change, which people are finding new ways to do every day (think crowdfunding platforms which is a fairly new business).  The line between business and good has blurred as more companies realize their obligation and potential to help their customers, community and other stakeholders.

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  • 5 Ways our Grommet Partners Make Extraordinary Products

     

    1) They go natural.

    organic skincare S.W. Basics Organic Skincare Lip Balms

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    Sometimes you need to strip down to the basics. So many products these days are pumped, loaded and infused with more additives to make the product bigger, better and last longer. Too often this means that our goods are less natural and often less healthy for us and our environment. Many of our Grommet partners believe in making a more natural world void of harsh chemicals and additives. The founder of S. W. Basics, Adina Grigore , found herself having bad reactions to most skin care lines. She knew there had to be a better way and when she realized that she could create real skin care with less than 5 natural ingredients, she knew she was on to something. The press noticed too. Check out this article  in the New York Daily News.

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  • Dreaming of pink lobsters

    Once a Grommet partner has successfully launched on Daily Grommet, it doesn't mean that our relationship ends there. In fact, it's quite the opposite. We work with our partners every day to amplify their story, we bump into them in the wild, and we're eager to hear about new stuff they're up to.

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  • Scarves with quite a story

    We liked Open Arms as soon as we heard about it. Leslie Beasley’s Austin-based social enterprise is committed to creating awareness that everyday choices can change the world. And that’s something that really rings true for all of us here at Daily Grommet where we focus on increasing the power of Citizen Commerce

    Open Arms employs refugees from around the world who make beautiful scarves from 100% recycled materials such as old t-shirts. The organization is focused on breaking the cycle of poverty and on providing enrichment opportunities as well as language skills training to its employees. Scarf-makers at Open Arms enjoy the freedom that comes from earning a reasonable wage (typically $3-7 higher per hour than the federal minimum wage).

    The entire Open Arms effort represents triumph and hope to refugee women everywhere. You can support this amazing work in three ways:

     1 – Learn more about refugees  in your own community. Find out about the ways in which you might be able to assist them as they resettle in our country (here).

     2 – Keep your old t-shirts out of landfills and donate them  to Open Arms where they will find their way right into the production line.

     3 – Enjoy one of Open Arms’ scarves! And if scarves aren’t your thing, these talented women also make dog toys and pillows

    In the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  • Pack for a Purpose when traveling abroad

    After reading a bit about Pack for a Purpose, it's clear that this organization is making a difference in the lives of children around the world. Their idea of using  extra space in your luggage to bring needed supplies to areas you are already traveling to seems simple, yet very powerful.  I recently had a chance to ask Rebecca Rothney, Chairperson for Pack for a Purpose some questions about their organization and how others can get involved when traveling abroad.

    Can you tell us how you got started doing this and how Pack for a Purpose came to be?

    During our first trip to Africa, my husband Scott and I learned that while we were limited to 40 pounds (18.14 kgs) of luggage on safari, the airline had an allowance of 100 pounds (45 kgs) of checked luggage plus a 40 pound (18.14 kg) carry-on. In making plans for a second trip, we looked into visiting a school near the lodge we would visit in Botswana. We contacted our safari company, Wilderness Safaris, to see if we could determine any specific needs of that school. Armed with that information, we were able to deliver 140 pounds (64 kgs) of school supplies, including soccer balls, to the school. It was enormously rewarding to be able to help the people in the community that had given us such a life-changing experience. Since then, we and a few of our fellow-travelers have made several trips to other countries in Africa and have been able to deliver an estimated 1,000 pounds (453 kgs) in donations of clothing, school and medical supplies. I asked a travel agent why other travelers did not use their luggage allowances this way. "Because nobody thinks about it," he said. That was our "aha" moment.

    Scott and I knew from our experiences that taking large amounts of supplies required a great deal of time and close logistical cooperation with the touring company. We felt we needed to come up with a simpler and more direct way for travelers to take supplies where they were going.

    By asking travelers to pack 5 lbs (2.27 kgs) of supplies, we felt we would be able to involve everyone who wanted to add value to his or her trip by participating. By delivering the supplies directly to the traveler's accommodation, it would be possible for every traveler to contribute and require no logistical support. That amount would take only a small space, require little effort and still make a big impact.

    So, say I am traveling -- tell me, what exactly do I need to do to help support Pack for a Purpose?

    If you are going to a destination on our website, you simply look at the supplies they have requested and select which ones you would like to take. Then you drop them at the “front desk” when you arrive. It is as simple as that. If you are not staying at a destination on our website, you can contact us and we will try to find a way to make an appropriate connection for you. The last way you can help is to let us know of any destination you find that are doing community based projects that should be listed on our website.

    What would you like others to know about your organization or mission?

    We are an all volunteer organization which has been fortunate to have many wonderful people with expertise, creativity and dedication come together to make Pack for a Purpose® a reality. They are listed on our website under About Us and on our Partners Page. I owe them a large debt of gratitude. We are just a year old, and while we have grown from 25 to 97 destinations, we will not be content until we have every appropriate destination on the planet supporting a community based project listed on our website. I absolutely believe most people fortunate enough to travel are more than happy to make a contribution to the communities they visit. I just wanted to provide and easy, one stop informational website to provide travelers with the information they needed to do that.

    Has there been any part of your journey with Pack for a Purpose that has surprised you?

    The thing that has surprised me most is how long it takes to add appropriate destinations to our website. It only taking 5 minutes to upload the information and the website is free of charge. In my naiveté, I thought we would have hundreds of destinations, which I know are out there, the first year. We constantly search for appropriate places to add and I know that we will eventually feature all of them.

    I would say the other thing which has not surprised me but continues to delight me are the wonderful contacts I have made around the world. All over the planet there are people working hard and effectively to benefit the communities they live in, and travelers looking to assist in their worthy endeavors. With all the negative stories that make the headlines every day, my days are filled with joy as I make contact with the goodness and generosity that spans the planet.

     For more information visit http://www.packforapurpose.org/

  • Healing Threads, a cure for the common hospital gown

    Sometimes a product is invented out of necessity, sometimes it's born out of  passion and determination -- rarely, it's a combination of all three. That's precisely the case with Healing Threads, a company founded by three sisters, Peg, Patty and Claire.

    When Peg reached out to tell us their story, we knew it was one worth sharing. The sisters were very close and shared a passion for creativity -- they were also determined to come up with a business that would allow them to spend more time together while creating something unique. But as the years passed, their lives grew busier and busier, and their dream remained unfulfilled.

    Then, in August of 2002, Peg was diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma. Just six months later,  Claire was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer and given 6-12 months to live. These two events brought them closer than ever to each other's minds, bodies and spirits. They knew their dream could not wait and they set out to do something big.

    They would call their business Healing Threads. Driven by the emotional impact of their diagnosis and treatment plans, they were determined to help people, particularly women, who were suffering through the same mental stress and physical treatments they were experiencing. Uncomfortable hours spent in hospital waiting rooms had shown the sisters -- Peg and Claire first hand, Patty as their champion and support system -- that the most odious and visible sign of illness was the dreaded hospital gown. And so, they developed a cure for the common hospital gown: four hospital gowns that restored dignity, modesty, style and personality to these otherwise impersonal garment.

    Healing ThreadsThe hospital gowns from Healing Threads have an ingenious arrangement of soft closures that allow the body parts that need to be exposed, to be exposed, while other parts remain covered to restore the patient's dignity, modesty, and sense of empowerment. It allows people to feel more like themselves and more comfortable. They offer 2 different pant styles as well making it feel like a designer hospital gown.

    Peg has been cancer-free since her surgery in 2002, and she is grateful for each and every day. Unfortunately, despite 35 months of chemotherapy, holistic remedies and prayer, Claire lost her battle on January 31, 2006. She is missed by many, many people, especially her sisters and her daughter, Lilly, for whom one of the gowns is named.

    Thank you, Peg, for sharing your story with us. We hope it will inspire others, just as Healing Threads provides comfort to so many.

  • Do Fun Stuff

    Angella Dykstra

    I first "met" Ryan after BlogHer 2009. I saw hundreds of hits to my personal blog from a blog called Pacing The Panic Room and clicked over to see who was sending so much traffic my way. He had taken a photo of me laughing with my hand by my face and, well, click on over if you want to see why it was so funny. We became Twitter/blog friends and I admire his photography and writing immensely. I finally met him at this year's BlogHer in New York and he's just as engaging in person as he is online. When I heard about this album that he had put together to raise funds for SMS (Smith-Magenis Syndrome) I wanted to highlight it here on the Daily Grommet blog. We're not the only ones to back the cause - both Dooce and The Pioneer Woman have done their part (as have others) to send traffic love his way and keep the album at the top of the charts. Let's learn more about Ryan and his cause.

    1.Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? Who you are, what you do, how you got to be so Internet famous? (*I* know it's because you're a brilliant photographer and ridiculously awesome, but maybe link to some of your fun stuff and that sweet series of Cole when she was pregnant. Or maybe it's for a whole 'nother reason altogether?)

    Internet famous? When did that happen? I thought you had to have like over a million views on “you tube” and have someone “auto tune” you to be considered internet famous. I’m just a jerk with a blog. I started Pacing the Panic Room when I got married and quit bar tending, and put my night life behind me. I wanted a way to make all my friends feel okay about married life, so they would want to quit partying every night of the week, get married, and have babies...That way we could all still hangout together. Pacing the Panic Room truly began as a way to let my friends know what I was doing, and how I was feeling about it, as I was one of the first to break away from that pack of Peter Pans. I was so excited and terrified to be starting this new life, and I had made a choice early on that I wouldn’t let being a husband and a new father mean that I had to lose my identity, and the big one for me, not letting go of my dreams. So the blog has been the building of my family, not just the wife and kids story, but both Cole and I were just starting our careers when the blog started. So there has been a strong emphasis on my photo jobs. As it turns out, it hasn’t been my professional work that gets much attention, rather the personal at home projects I do. Mainly the maternity series I did documenting Cole’s pregnancy. I can’t believe the reaction to it http://pacingthepanicroom.blogspot.com/search/label/the%20belly%20pictures%20series

    2. Your son has been diagnosed with SMS (Smith-Magenis Syndrome). Can you tell us what that is, and what that means for him and for your family in the long run?

    The Littlest Buddy is my step-son and when I first met him he was this adorable, silent, little 3 yr old boy. He was so tiny for his age. He is six now and still only weighs 30lbs. The only words he could actually say were “apple” and “mama.” Cole had him in all kinds of therapy: speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. She had no diagnosis for him (despite years of trying), and had been down so many paths of various Doctors scratching their heads baffled. Then, it was March of '09, and Cole was 23 weeks pregnant with Tessa (our baby girl) when she got the call that LB had a genetic disorder called Smith Magenis Syndrome. The developmental pediatrician called her and told her at her job. Who does that? This Doctor muttered some clinical cold definition that she was reading out of a book, and said she was not familiar with SMS, and that Cole should just call a geneticist to schedule an appointment to find out more. The only geneticist we could get an appointment with didn’t have any openings for months. So, we had to turn to the internet to find out what this all meant for us, and for LB. It was a shock, don’t get me wrong, not because of the list of symptoms and characteristics, but it was truly the first time that the reality set in that this wasn’t something that LB was going to eventually grow out of. Nothing else really changed at all. He was already in all kinds of therapy, and we had been working hard on all of his delays-- only now, we knew this was going to be a life long challenge for all of us. So what became our priority was to separate the boy from the symptoms, to be sure that we knew who LB truly was inside of all of these delays and characteristics and profiles being dumped on us. The benefit of having the diagnosis is that we can fine tune his therapy, and we found a small community of parents and researchers at a site called PRISMS that we could gain insight and perspective from and learn about Smith Magenis.

    3. You rallied people together to make an album to raise funds for SMS. I love this idea. Who is involved in the project and who has helped to promote the cause?

    A web storm :) I had heard someone say this once. “Web Storm.” I can’t remember where, but I loved the idea of getting SO many people to simultaneously make enough noise about something, that it would thunder across the web. I knew that trying to get a bunch of people to care about a rare genetic disorder wasn’t going to go far, so the first thing I had to do was make something to attach to this cause to champion. The kids album “Do Fun Stuff” was born. It made sense to make a kids record since I had so many parents reading my blog. I had worked in the music industry for awhile in one of my past lives, and I was still buddies with some great bands. So I begged them to please make me songs that were easy on the parents, but that kids would respond to. I had to make something parents would want. So I came up with the idea to make “A kids record for parents.” I knew that if I could just get people excited about this music, they would take a second to see what it was attached to, in this case SMS. Everyone’s always like: “What’s that?!” and as soon as that happens, the info is right there. So in the end a bunch of people got educated about SMS, and at the same time I made it really easy for them to help, they just had to buy this album of really great tunes, and all the proceeds went to a fellowship to create more research with PRISMS. (Parents & Researchers Interested in Smith Magenis Syndrome)

    So many people have helped out with this album - the list of people to thank is enormous and overwhelming. When I first made the plea on my blog to pretty please help out, I ended up with about 300 emails of people who signed up to post about the album on the release date. By the time the album actually was finished being made and launched, I had collected about 100 more emails. So on August 30th we all posted about the album on the same day, at the same time, and with the same message, and we linked to the album to buy. In just a few hours, so many people had tweeted the #dofunstuff hashtag, and posted the album widget that I had made, that the album debuted at #1 on iTunes in the Childrens Music charts. It was incredible. Such a huge accomplishment and I was so proud of everyone that got involved. I mean a bunch of personal bloggers totally crushed big music labels, we beat everything from Disney, to KidZ Bop, to Yo Gabba Gabba. Since then we have dropped and fluctuated in the charts from day to day, and I have been extremely fortunate after the initial big buzz had died to get some HUGE boosts from: Dooce, Pioneer Woman, Ohdeedoh, Cup of Joe, Design Mom, Mama Pop, the list goes on. It seems like every time the album starts to drop in the charts someone will come along and put some light on the album and shoot it back to the top. I mean to have help like this after Cole and I spent the first months of the diagnosis feeling helpless is really beautiful. I really haven’t been able to wrap my head around the response. It was so important to Cole and I to physically do something to help. We wanted to create a chance for more research to be possible. The more case studies there are the more info is available, and so the goal has been to raise enough the first year that a new case study is done.

    We decided early on that this would be a yearly project for us. Do Fun Stuff vol. 2 is already being worked on.

    4. We're excited to share your story with our readers and help spread the word about SMS. Is there an official website where people can go to to learn more information?

    Check out our Monster widget: http://www.dofunstuff.net there is good basic info when you click the tab “our cause” and within this space there are links to take you to PRISMS where you can really learn a bunch more about SMS and the charity.

    5. Last (and most definitely not least), where can people buy the album to help support PRISMS with SMS and research?

    The album is available on iTunes and if you click on the monster widget on the iTunes link, you are juts a click away from purchasing the album. There is also a donate button at the bottom of the monster widget if you would like to make a bigger donation than just an album purchase, feel free to unburden yourself from all that heavy money in your pockets. 100% of the proceeds go to this charity, none of the musicians, or artists, or graphic designers, or any of the people that helped “Do Fun Stuff” come to life are making money on this. They have all donated their time and talent and made a really superb album for you.

    When we made this widget, we wanted it to have everything you needed in one little adorable micro site. I hope it came in handy for this post :) He even has a little share button for any of you who would totally love to post this monster on your blog. I know what you’re thinking... You’re thinking: “that’s a great idea Ryan.” So please go and share that widget. Get yourself “Do Fun Stuff” and then, stop by my blog and tell me about your post here: http://pacingthepanicroom.blogspot.com/2010/09/love-letters-from-us.html

  • Do Witches Make Fishes?

     

    Angella Dykstra

    Angella Dykstra

    I have a pretty varied group of Internet friends, all of whom are interesting and dynamic and unique. Jason Mayo is one of them. He's got a great wit, a great perspective on women (he has a house full of them) and a big heart. It's that heart that led him to write a book for which all proceeds go to charity. I sent Jason a Q&A about his book, "Do Witches Make Fishes?"

    Do Witches Make Fishes1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself. Who are you and why exactly are you on the Internet? (I jest. Who isn't on the Internet, other than my Grandma?) Where can our readers find you if they want to get to know you better?

    Well, my name is Jason and I'm gonna be 40 years old in a couple of months. This means that I'm too young to retire and too old for chicks to think I'm hot anymore. I'm losing the hair on my head but it's growing back on my ears, my back and the top of my shoulders. Luckily I have a wife that still thinks I'm handsome and two daughters that are too young to know any better. I also write a Dad blog called Out-Numbered where I make some pretty bad decisions a couple of times a week and my first children's book just came out about a month ago. I need a nap.

    2. So. You wrote a book called. "Do Witches Make Fishes?" What is the book about?

    Well, the book is about a young boy who favors candy over his Mom's healthy but really weird looking dishes. Eventually he's faced with an ultimatum from his Mother and he has to make a choice. What ensues is a series of extraordinary and fantastical events. I used to love Dr. Seuss as a kid but I'm also a huge horror buff, so it was only natural for me to try and introduce a little bit of the two into the story. I think the combination makes it pretty unique. It's like a cross between Dr. Seuss and Clive Barker. Aside from being fun to read and filled with tons of cool illustrations, it has a really important message for kids about making healthy choices and listening to your parents. That was something I really wanted to work into the story because I haven't seen that many good new children's books dealing with eating healthy and it's a real problem with kids in our country today.

    3. How was the process of creating the book? Was it as hard as we've heard, or what is easier than expected?

    I'm the kind of person that likes to have things done perfect and fast. Not one or the other. So it was a really difficult exercise in patience for me. In all honesty, the first draft of the story took me about 2 or 3 hours to write and then it took about 8 months to finish fine tuning the story and perfecting the drawings with my illustrator. I really enjoyed that collaboration. It was amazing for me to see my story come to life through the eyes of another human being. I'm just happy he didn't kill me for annoying him with my changes day in and day out. There was a lot of back and forth on multiple levels. My editor was really helpful with the story arc as well as, phrasing and what not but I think some of the most valuable feedback, came from the multitude of teachers, school administrators and parents alike that took the time to read and comment on the book. I didn't think it was going to be that arduous a process but then again, I'm usually wrong about most things.

    4. Now that you're on the other side and on the published side of things, is it what you envisioned it to be?

    The truth is, I never envisioned anything. I never even envisioned writing a blog, let alone have people that read it. I'm just really happy that I actually followed through with it because it feels good to have accomplished something. I think my wife and kids are proud of me and that's pretty much more than I could ever wish for. I think the biggest thing for me is that I don't allow myself to feel a ton of pressure. I'm not doing this to make a living. I'm lucky enough to have a full time gig that allows me to do this sort of stuff in my spare time. It's a labor of love really.

    5. Rumor has it that the book's proceeds go to charity. OK, fine. It's not a rumor - it's the truth. SO COOL. Which charity gets to benefit from all of your hard work?

    Yes, you are correct. All of the profits from the book (my royalties) go to a terrific charity called the Garden of Dreams foundation. The charity works closely with all areas of Madison Square Garden, including the New York Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, MSG Media, MSG Entertainment and Fuse to make dreams come true for kids in crisis. About a year ago, my best friend found out he had cancer and one of our sports heroes, Adam Graves of the New York Rangers, did a pretty amazing thing for us. I wrote a blog about it called, "Hockey Heals". That experience opened my eyes to a whole new world of thinking. It really was a spiritual experience that changed my life and I made a decision to make giving back a priority in my life. I originally wrote the book for my oldest daughter and her 2nd grade class but I thought it would be a cool way to raise money for The Garden Of Dreams if I could get a bunch of people to buy it. So far it's working and I'm grateful for all of the support and love I've found along the way. I'm pretty psyched because I've started to do readings at schools, libraries and local community fairs etc. I'll also be working with the Garden of Dreams and doing events, hospital readings and other great stuff to help put smiles on kids faces. I just hope the kids don't think the book sucks.

    You can find all of the info about the book, the charity, my inspiration and where to buy it at: http://www.dowitchesmakefishes.com

    Thanks so much, Jason. We're happy to be able to feature this book (and the Garden of Dreams foundation) here at  Daily Grommet. I'm sure our community members would love to buy a book that is not only a fun read for kids, but gives back to those in need.

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  • As featured in:

  • Today Show
  • Real Simple
  • The New York Times
  • Fortune
  • Inc Magazine