Doing “Something”

April 27, 2010 at 6:47 pm 1 comment

My mom invited me to attend a women’s lunch featuring a speech from the founder of  “Dress for Success“, Nancy Lublin.  We don’t have many opportunities to do mother/daughter things, so of course I accepted the invitation, and my mom was able to put together a table of 4 mothers and their adult daughters.

Nancy Lublin spoke about founding Dress for Success with a $5,000 inheritance from her Poppy Max.  The speech was cute, funny, and well-suited to the audience made up of women of all ages, though perhaps lacking a little in substance.  I would have liked to know about the challenges she encountered in her first years and more importantly, how she overcame them.  And, I would have liked to hear some of the success stories of the women who have been helped by Dress for Success.

As we left the event, my mom said, “every time I leave one of these, I’m inspired to do something, but then I never get going”.  We discussed the fact that she takes care of my two DEMANDING 88 year old grandmothers, and her emotional resources are pretty much tapped out.  I suggested she start a “playgroup” for adults caring for aging parents.  I was kind of joking, but she said that the day before my dad had suggested she start a support group of the same sort.

My mom then asked me if I was inspired to do “something”.

“Yes”, I said. “As I told you before” (I said in my best daughter to mother voice), “I quit my job so I could spend more time with the kids and also devote more time to the community work that I enjoy.”  I am on the Board of Directors of Lil C’s preschool and am a volunteer for our (new) community association.

But, I want to do more, and here is what I’m thinking:

1)  I would like to give a fixed percentage of our income to charity annually.

2)  I would like to give a large chunk of that earmarked cash to one organization so I can feel a connection to it; don’t worry friends and family, I will still donate to your various causes and races and walks and ‘thons.  We’re not talking about millions of dollars here, but just a fixed percentage that might go up in good years and down in others, but that we can plan for and expect as we do our other fixed expenses.

3)  I would like to be involved in that organization beyond giving money.

But which organization?  How do we choose?  Derek and I have similar but separate criteria:

My criteria:

  • Child-focused
  • Grassroots organization with opportunity to be significantly involved

Derek’s criteria:

  • Child-focused
  • Sport-focused

Look what we found!  It fits perfectly, or so it seems.

Here are my questions to you:

1)  Do have any thoughts, experience, interest in this organization?

2)  Does your family have a strategy for charitable giving?  Do you give a percentage?  If so, what is it (if you don’t mind sharing)?

3)  Do you know of any organizations that are geared at increasing self-esteem, fitness, and health in disadvantaged children?

4)  Is there an organization that you know of or work with (even if there isn’t a chapter in my city), that you think might be of interest to us?

Note:  Dress for Success is in the process of opening an Ottawa chapter and is looking for volunteers.  Learn more here.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Melissa  |  April 28, 2010 at 2:52 am

    1. I have not heard of it, but it does sound perfect for what you are looking for.

    2. Aside from giving to “The Hole” aka L’s student debt repayment which costs us as much as a month’s rent downtown would, we give approx. 8% of our income, more in election years. Liam supports the United Way campaign at his work and to the NDP, and I donate to the Shepherds of Good Hope as well as a little bit to some organizations which provide sterile birth equipment in developing countries. Before all the kidlets, I volunteered with the Birth Companions and hope to do so again when they are older.

    3.and 4. L’s cousin Kate is really involved volunteering with Rochester Heights Community House, which I think sounds like something you would enjoy. It is grassroots, it is close by, and they involve the kids through sports (she volunteer-coaches soccer there I think). They also do hampers for holiday hampers for families of the kids in December. I can give you her information if you want to talk to her about it. Might be worth looking into.

    5. You have a really kind and generous heart.


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