Category: Doing Good

Election Day! Everything you need to know, and everything you need to know that you didn’t know you need to know.

You might have heard, but there’s this election coming up in the US on Tuesday, November 8 and it’s kind of a big deal. Here are just a few links we’ve been reading to help you, enlighten you, stress you out, or de-stress you completely.   Above: Vote street art via StreetArt SF Visit Vote.org to confirm your registration, polling place, and everything else. Iwillvote.com is a fast way to look up your polling place. And it goes without saying that NO, YOU CANNOT VOTE VIA TEXT. It’s a suppression tactic being disseminated by trolls to try and disenfranchise...

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How to donate to Haiti relief from Hurricane Matthew: The best relief organizations on the ground right now

It was just 6 years ago that we were describing all the wonderful organizations and fundraisers that came together to support Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake, and now we’re so heartbroken to be revisiting those resources once again. As of now, 877 people are reported dead and that number is sure to grow. 877 mothers, fathers, children, partners, friends. 877 people. According to UNICEF, that includes half a million children who live in the affected areas. They state that up to 80% of homes in the south are damaged with nearly 16,0000 people in various shelters including at least...

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Share your own hometown hero and they could win $5000 for charity and a big celebration | Sponsored Message

This is a sponsored message from Mrs. Fields It’s always a good time for the heroes in your community to get the recognition they deserve. And here, that recognition also comes with a $5000 donation to their favorite charity and a local hometown hero event, all courtesy of Mrs. Fields. Nominating your own hero in your life is easy! Is it your child’s teacher? A volunteer fireman? A neighbor who’s always looking out for everyone else? Your own grandmother? Whoever it is, share their name at the Share Your Hero website, with a brief explanation of why they deserve this award. One worthy hero will be...

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How L.A. families in need can get free infant car seats this week: Spread the word

We’re all huge fans of The Good+ Foundation, which was started 15 years ago by Jessica Seinfeld — and you may know it by its original name, Baby Buggy. (In fact, our Editor-in-Chief Liz is so committed, she’s a member of the Friends of Good+ Foundation board of ambassadors.) In less than two decades the organization has worked to provide more than 20 million essential baby supplies to low-income families. And now, I’m so happy to learn that in time for this week’s National Child Passenger Safety Week, they’ve teamed up with another brand we love, Britax, to provide families in need with free car seats, along with tips for buckling up safely. Because...

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The Favela Art Project: bettering the lives of kids in Rio through art

During this summer’s Olympic coverage, we all enjoyed seeing beautiful images of fun, lively Rio, and its gorgeous beaches, but there was one major aspect of the city that wasn’t broadcast — the favelas, or slums, which populate Rio and rarely sees electricity, proper sanitation, or a reliable police force. But one woman has been working to transform the favelas for a very long time. Artist, TED talk speaker, and former favela inhabitant Mariluce María has launched the Favela Art Project to provide art education to children living in poverty and make tangible changes in their day to day lives. The group has been painting over violent symbols and graffiti,...

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13 organizations helping Louisiana flood victims: Even if you can only give a little.

Oh, our hearts have been heavy watching the devastation from the flooding across Louisiana this week. More than 100,000 homes and buildings have been affected by these rising waters with reports of 30,000 people affected, and as many as 11,000 who have spent time in shelters. It’s devastating. Take a look at these before and after photos of the affected areas in Louisiana which really bring it to life. (Above: Danielle Blount feeding her three-month old baby; photo Max Becherer for the AP via the NY Times) In my own quest to see what I could do to help, I’ve put together...

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Why I’m emotional about 19th Amendment Day this year, and links to help kids understand the importance.

I am finding myself a little choked up today, on the anniversary of the 19th amendment, in a way I can’t recall ever feeling before. Maybe it’s because this is the first August 18 in which we have a female presidential nominee from a major party. Maybe it’s because this is the first presidential campaign year in which my daughters are old enough to be interested and following along, and I can start to see their own paths as educated and engaged voters of the future. Or maybe it’s just because I’m hitting the age myself where I have enough life behind me to be...

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Support the National Parks Foundation with these cool Camelbak water bottles

A new water bottle is one of our back to school staples, and we’ve always been big Camelbak fans in my house. So how cool that they’ve teamed up with the National Parks for this new collection of water bottles that actually give back when you buy them. Related: The Bottlerocket water bottle from PlanetBox. Is it worth the price?  Each of these BPA-free water bottles feature a National Park, including big names like Yellowstone and Yosemite, and perhaps not as well-known parks like Arches and Olympic (at least, not as known to me). There are also a couple of...

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After Nice: Advice for talking to kids about terrorism and tragedy, and where to donate

In light of the Nice, France Bastille Day celebration attack last night, our hearts are heavy  — again — as they have been far too many times lately. When we look for advice about talking to our own children about tragedies like these, it becomes clear that parents face our own unique set of challenges; while we are trying to process the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack and seek out news, we are balancing our own fear, horror, outrage and despondency along with what to say to our children, how to behave, what to expose them to, and just how much. So...

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She’s the First: A charity by girls, for girls, and a total inspiration to us all.

Like many of the world’s greatest ideas, She’s the First began with a cupcake bake sale (okay, maybe not many great ideas begin with a bake sale, but I say it’s never a bad place to start) and from there it’s grown to become an organization doing exceptional, impactful work creating educational opportunities for girls most in need. Let’s just say after reading up on it, I’m left feeling not just impressed, but inspired. Co-founded by 23-year-old Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt, She’s the First grants scholarships to girls in low-income countries to help them become first-generation graduates, knowing this leads to a host of other benefits for the girls and...

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C.O.P.S: A great organization to help support fallen police officers and their families

We are running out of words for the unbelievably tragic week America has had, with the latest loss of American lives being the devastating sniper attack on Dallas law enforcement officials last night, after an otherwise peaceful protest. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the fallen officers, who by all accounts, were unimaginably heroic and protective of their community even in the face of overwhelming horror. While I’m nowhere near Dallas, as someone who lived through 9/11 just blocks from the World Trade Center, it brings back so much of the heartache we all witnessed in the ensuing...

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Important links we’re reading on a somber week. Because #blacklivesmatter.

Each Friday we offer up web coolness, a collection of our favorite links, videos and articles we’re liking around the web that week. But this week, in light of the horrific murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile that are weighing so heavily on our hearts right now, we wanted to share some links specifically around the subject of these tragedies. You’ll find an array of diverse voices and points-of-view that have resonated with us, personally, in various ways. You may not relate to all of them. That’s okay. We think it’s important to hear lots of perspectives. If you are hurting so much you can’t...

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Our new favorite stuffed animals from To The Market

We’re already big fans of To The Market: Survivor-Made Goods, which produces the most gorgeous accessories, home goods, and toys. A couple of years ago, our editor Liz featured the store and its mission to support causes such as the fight against abuse, poverty, and genocide. And it’s all too easy to get lost in this online store filled with beautiful handcrafted jewelry, cashmere scarves, and hand-stitched sari throws, especially knowing every item is economically empowering these survivors and amazing artisans. Now, To The Market has partnered with MULXIPLY to create a new line I can’t stop cooing over: these adorable stuffed elephants, dogs, and giraffes, all hand-felted by female artisans...

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These 5 charities are doing amazing things for dads this Father’s Day

If you’ve been following our 2016 Father’s Day Gift Guide (go! Hurry!) we’ve been putting together all the coolest Father’s Day gifts for all types of dads. But for a dad who’s already got all the gear, gifts, and grill equipment he needs, we’ve always been fans of making a charitable donation in his name to a worthy cause. Especially one that supports other fathers and families. After doing some research, I landed on five organizations with big, heartwarming missions. From celebrating and de-stigmatizing at-home fatherhood to providing housing for wounded soldiers’ families, here are some amazing causes to add to the ones...

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The best resources to help you talk to your children about tragedy, like the Orlando shooting.

This is an update of a previously published post   It’s been somber mood around here over the past 24 hours, as our hearts go out to the loved ones of the 100+ innocent people tragically murdered or wounded at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando on Sunday morning. My own 10-year-old daughter Thalia drew the broken rainbow heart image above in response, which I think captures so much of what we’re all feeling about this despicable and senseless act. (I shared my story of how it came about with Cosmopolitan, and you can read more about it there.) There are far too...

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New from babyGap + Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation: a sweet collection with a big mission

It’s summertime, and lemons are everywhere. I’m making pie. Beyoncé’s making music. And now babyGap is partnering with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), an organization dedicated to curing childhood cancer, with an exclusive collection of baby and toddler summer essentials. ALSF was named after Alexandra Scott, who lost her battle with cancer in 2004 at the age of 8. The foundation, which has evolved into a nationwide non-profit, sprung from a front yard lemonade stand and her mission to raise money to find a cure for all children with cancer, like herself. Related: The absolutely remarkable things you don’t know about St. Jude’s hospital, but should. This babyGap...

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The new TOMS shoes let you dip a toe into the political process

You may be vaguely aware that another US presidential election season is upon us, unless of course you’ve been sequestered in a Himalayan yurt somewhere, totally unplugged until just this very second. (In which case, hey! Thanks for making a visit to Cool Mom Picks one of your first stops!) While we can all agree that the next several months should be…interesting, to say the least, leave it to TOMS Shoes to turn our civic responsibilities into some generous do-gooding with the new election edition TOMS shoes. You’ve got your choice of two styles, featuring a patriotic pattern of either Democratic Donkeys or Republican Elephants....

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The absolutely remarkable things you don’t know about St. Jude’s hospital, but should.

You’re probably familiar with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — you’ve seen the ads with the adorably sweet, brave children, featuring Marlo Thomas, daughter of actor and St. Jude’s founder Danny Thomas. You may have caught some of our suggestions to support them with a benevolent gift in our various gift guides. You might even know their reputation as the world’s leading cancer research hospital for kids. This hospital alone has helped raise cancer survival rates from 20% to 80%, and leukemia survival rates from 4% to 94% since they opened in 1962. Basically if, heaven forbid, your kid gets sick, St. Jude is the place...

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Mother’s Day flowers that come in a vase that’s even more special

We love Mother’s Day gifts that give back and so I was happy to learn about ProFlowers’s collaboration with All Across Africa, an organization that handcrafts the most beautiful woven vases and baskets in crisp, colorful patterns. Every one is locally sourced and handmade in East Africa, where weaving is providing sustainable employment and income to the women artisans. It’s the perfect way to add a little extra joy to a Mother’s Day bouquet, especially knowing she’ll have something special long after the flowers are gone. Related: Presenting our 2016 Mother’s Day Gift Guide! What I love even more is that for every two baskets that are sold,...

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Give an orphan the gift of a birthday, through the charity With My Own Two Hands

We’re entering birthday party season in my house, and as my kids’ party requests are growing more and more over-the-top (rein it in, kiddos), I’m feeling emotional about an amazing charity we discovered just this week, which provides birthday gifts for orphans who otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to celebrate their big day. Such a brilliant idea; we’re really excited to get behind it! With My Own Two Hands is a small non-profit founded by yoga instructor Lindsey Pluimer. They are doing some very cool work in Africa — from teaching yoga to kids as a way to heal to giving girls an education. But...

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Happy birthday Jane Goodall! 5 fun, easy ways to introduce her to your kids

Is there one kid in the world who isn’t fascinated by animals? (Answer: no.) So today, Jane Goodall’s birthday, is a perfect opportunity to cozy around your tablet or computer together and dig into her life just a bit. Especially if you think her legacy is limited to her work with Chimpanzees. Here are five places to start.   1.  Read a quick bio of her on the wonderful The Reconstructionists site, an homage to amazing women through history. Their Jane Goodall page includes a fantastic illustration and Goodall quote from Lisa Congdon, that would happen to make a nifty screensaver for...

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One good thing you can do in one minute today to change the world.

If you’ve been reading Cool Mom Picks for a while now, you know we’re strong advocates of increasing opportunity for women and girls across the globe in all kinds of ways. Sometimes it’s promoting businesses that support women in need, like FashionABLE, Raven & Lily, or To the Market. Sometimes it’s sharing organizations like Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls or simply seeking out smart toys for girls that defy the pink aisle and open up opportunities. And sometimes it’s finding ways to collectively raise our voices constructively to make substantial change in the world. In honor of today’s International Women’s Day, we ask you to spend one minute and click over...

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Because Of Them, We Can: Where kids honor our Black History heroes, charmingly

To be honest, Black History Month is year round for me. As a black woman, especially one living in the U.S., I’m reminded of and inspired by the endless contributions of black people to the collective betterment of this nation on a daily basis. And now, as a mother raising a brown boy here, I’m even more grateful for Black History Month to help me educate my son about the expansive history of African Americans. One remarkable non-profit campaign that I’ve leaned on to introduce him to new, significant heroes is Because Of Them, We Can. What started as a visual project...

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Unnecessary gun violence: Don’t lose hope. Here’s how.

Kristen and I each went to bed distraught last night, and woke up no less unsettled after yesterday’s news about two mass shootings in San Bernardino and Savannah —  the 354th and 355th in the US in 2015 alone. We alternate between outrage and grief, wondering just kind of world we are raising our children in right now. Especially when 10,000 US children a year are injured or killed as a result of guns. As far as we’re concerned, even one is one too many. While this is not a site where we tend to discuss politics, we have never shied away from sharing the causes and...

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Little Loving Hands reimagines monthly craft kits for kids in the most amazing way

My kids’ holiday gift requests are coming in fast and while I’m sure Santa appreciates the early input, I want to make sure my kids don’t forget how it feels to give to others as well. That’s why Little Loving Hands is one of my favorite new gift ideas: It not only makes a wonderful monthly gift for kids who enjoy arts and crafts, but their creations become gifts for others who are going through a difficult time. Much like other monthly craft kits we love like Kiwi Crate or Green Kid Crafts, Little Loving Hands sends a boxed project...

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Saving children’s lives: A pretty amazing way to honor #GivingTuesday

There are a lot of worthy causes out there, plenty of which we feature here. And there are a lot of amazing gifts that give back to support those causes through your holiday shopping. But one cause that’s profoundly personal to us as parents is saving children’s lives, especially from preventable diseases. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been a proud ambassador to the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign for the last several years. Today, in honor of #GivingTuesday, the big-hearted folks at MAM pacifiers have agreed to double all donations to Shot@Life today only, dollar for dollar. Donate just a buck, and...

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19 beautiful gifts that give back beautifully, on #GivingTuesday or any day at all.

Each year, we love putting together some of our favorite gifts that give back in substantial and specific ways — not just some undetermined percentage of your purchase going to “charities.” While we try to share these kinds of gifts year round, it has special meaning to us today on #GivingTuesday, in which we take a moment to count our proverbial blessings, while finding ways that we can do good for others. Now we know that with Giving Tuesday coming right on the heels of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday (phew) you may be experiencing a little bit of shopping...

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A great new reason to support Friends of Maddie

If you’re a fan of great parenting blogs, you may be familiar with the difficult story of our friends Mike and Heather Spohr, of the popular site The Spohrs are Multiplying. They experienced the unimaginable after the death of their daughter Maddie in 2009, and yet they channeled their efforts with so much positivity, eventually creating a successful charity that allowed them to send numerous support packs and needed technology to Level III NICUs around the country. Over time, so many other organizations have started providing similar support, and the Spohrs spent a lot of time determining a new way to make the most difference. So  this week, in honor of would have...

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Don’t forget to trick-or-treat for UNICEF! Here’s how to do it – and to make it more fun with Peanuts themed boxes.

We’ve always been big fans of trick-or-treat for UNICEF, but this year, they’ve got limited-edition Peanuts boxes to make collecting donations extra special. This weekend, kids can collect candy and collect donations for UNICEF while they trick-or-treat which this awesome organization will use to help millions of children around the world get much needed immunizations, clean water, health care, and more. It’s really amazing what even just $5 can do to help. You’ll need to hurry though, because today is your last day to order the limited-edition Peanuts collection boxes online.   But if you miss the deadline for the Peanuts boxes, don’t worry! You...

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#62MillionGirls are not able to go to school. Here’s one easy thing you can do about it.

Today is the International Day of the Girl. And while we talk so much here about how important it is to empower and educate our girls every day, if they’re not even in school, both of those things are nearly impossible. So we thought one of the best things we could do today is share the #62MillionGirls campaign from the awesome folks at Girls Rising in partnership with Michelle Obama.  They’re using the power of social media — and some major celebs — to help get the word out about the 62 million girls in the world, half of whom are adolescent, who are denied the right...

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