As wonderful as it is to unwrap gifts during the holidays, it’s even more wonderful to give gifts that can’t be wrapped in the first place. Especially this one–because it will also be appreciated for a lifetime. Cool Mom Picks has always loved the mission of charity:water: to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. And its holiday campaign is one I can totally get behind: the organization is suggesting we “give up the gifts” and instead help fund 100 new wells in Ethiopia. Just $10,000 fully funds a shallow borehole well in northern Ethiopia–a region...Read More
Category: Causes + General Do-Gooding
It feels like the world is in a very give-back kind of mood this year, doesn’t it? And while we have quite a few gifts that give back on our holiday gift guide, there’s something particularly special about ornaments that support a great charity or cause. Every year, you (or the lucky recipient) gets to be reminded of the do-gooding aspect of the season, which I think is my very favorite part. Here, a few favorites which support an incredibly diverse range of causes, some for as little as $5 an ornament. –Liz Ornaments that support children in South Africa...Read More
In honor of World AIDS Day today, there’s a lot you can do. It can be as simple as signing a petition to keep funding for AIDS treatment and prevention going to save the lives of moms and babies. It can be talking to your kids about AIDS and how far we’ve come with treatment and research. And it can be making a generous contribution through the simple act of shopping. The Project (RED) shop offers a lot of great products that help support AIDS research and treatment to various degrees. But what I particularly love is this FEED (RED) Love 30...Read More
We bet you know a pint-sized superhero or two. You might even have one battling baddies in your living room at this very moment. So maybe it’s time for some new superhero threads for your fave good guys (and good girls). One of our favorite indie imaginative play companies, Pip and Bean, has been turning out handmade kid capes on Etsy since 2009. This holiday season, this mom-and-pop shop are offering an awesome promotion that will not only have your little superheroes rockin’ their very own capes, but will also help them put smiles on the faces of other kids...Read More
As some of you know, I recently spent a week in Ethiopia with the amazing organization ONE, specifically to see the tangible good that foreign aid is doing for mothers and families around the globe. The amazing thing about ONE is that they never ask for your money–only your voice. And that voice matters indeed. I’d love if you can take 30 seconds (really!) out of your day to do one little thing for them–and for all mothers–in honor of Giving Tuesday. And it won’t cost you a dime. Only about 30 seconds. My small request: Please sign this...Read More
While Cool Mom Picks is known for finding the coolest stuff out there for our readers to buy, we’ve also got a big soft spot for causes and charities, and generally just making the world a better place. (Bonus points if it also involves shopping for cool stuff.) So it’s no surprise that when we heard about #GivingTuesday, we couldn’t wait to learn more–and we knew our readers would dig it too. #GivingTuesday is a collaborative effort, spearheaded by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, to promote generosity and giving during the holiday season. We’ve devoted recent...Read More
I love children’s books with messages that support our values, but a lot of those books seem to put the messages ahead of the storytelling. In other words, I’d like to own more books that are as engaging as Eloise but maybe aren’t how-to’s in achieving bratdom status before fifth grade? So I’m thrilled to have found a small publisher that does a beautiful job with kids’ books about topics like the environment, global citizenship, health and imagination–but your kids will just think they’re just good books. Little Pickle Press is a small publisher with big ideas. I’ve recently...Read More
Today we are feeling so thankful to be home, safe, and with family, taking it all for granted that we can make fun of our aunt’s terrible stuffing and bitch about the football game that just happens to be “very important,” right when the dishes have to be done. But the truth is, we’re not all so fortunate. Hurricane Sandy is hardly behind us, where I live in New York City. So many families on the East Coast are still struggling without jobs to go back to, without homes to return to–one of our own writers and her family...Read More
I couldn’t help but giggle out loud when I caught wind of these awesome trucker hats. Available at Barnabas Clothing in four colors, the COOLio trucker hat is kind of more coolio than sticking Pabst Blue Ribbon up there which, you know…so Williamsburg circa 2004. But what’s really cool to me is that this small company donates a portion of all sales to The Living Room International, to care for HIV/AIDS patients in Kenya. –Liz Find a mix of cool accessories and clothing that gives back online at Barnabas...Read More
As a daughter of a veteran and a military spouse, Veterans Day isn’t just another Monday off from school. It’s when we take a moment to honor our own family members and others who have sacrificed so much for our safety and freedom. If you’re looking to provide support to our troops and their families in honor of Veteran’s Day, here are 5 ways you can help today and on any day of the year. -Kristen [vintage flag: rusty lantern] 1. Support a worthy cause Your monetary donation, no matter the size, can help provide services and support...Read More
We know how busy you mamas are these days, do we ever, but we really hope you’ll take a break from playing super woman today and vote! Whichever button you decide to push (or hole you decide to punch), please take a moment today and hit your local voting booth. Pack some snacks, load up the iPhone with some fun apps, and make a difference. And better, celebrate the end to the campaign ads and phone calls that seem to be timed exactly when your kids have fallen asleep. And if you need a little help finding your voting...Read More
Recently we told you about the Inspiring Mom Awards, sponsored by Tea Collection, and now I’m so thrilled to let you know that after much (much!) deliberation it’s been narrowed down from 100 nominees to 9 finalists in 3 categories. And your vote can help 3 of them win $1000 toward charities of their choice–something we know a lot of mamas are thinking about these days. Just read their brief stories–you’ll be inspired, trust me. Congrats to the finalists of the Mompreneur category, which I judged with Giggle’s Ali Wing: Jackie Majerus of Connecticut, Amy Sue Nathan of Illinois, and...Read More
Like many of you, we’ve been overwhelmed by the photos and stories of Hurricane Sandy. Some of us have even lived through it (but we’re all safe, thank goodness!) so have been grateful that so many of you have asked how to help those in need after this devastating storm. With so many bogus charities popping up (arghhhh), we wanted to share a list of some of the many wonderful, legitimate causes that are doing good work in the midst of Hurricane Sandy that could all kinds of support–whether it’s money, foods and supplies, or even your volunteer time...Read More
My kids are getting to an age when they’re understanding that there are big differences between the way we live and how families around the world live.It’s pretty tough these days, though, for a kid to feel like they can make any kind of impact in a faraway country. Because, frankly, when you only have a couple of dollars a week at your disposal, it’s going to take a long time for it to add up to much. The beautiful Global Compassion poster from Children Inspire Design might be just the answer our family is looking for. Purchasing a signed, limited-edition poster for...Read More
No matter how hard we try, there will be times when our kids will be scared or sad and we won’t be right there with hugs. From overnight trips to hospital stays, we found a great, snuggly friend to help keep a kid’s heart warm when they need it most. And as a bonus, 20% of proceeds will go toward breast cancer research during the month of October! The Huggalos were invented by mom Donna Broder to help her son transition to preschool, but the idea has blossomed into a wonderful way to help kids with family members overseas,...Read More
Every square mile of our oceans has an average of 46,000 pieces of plastic swirling around there. It’s killing nearly one million sea birds a year that swallow it, and another 100,000 turtles, dolphins, whales and sharks. I don’t know how to say it any other way, but that’s disgusting. So I’m so delighted to see that none other than Method is doing something good about it. For more than a year, Method has worked with volunteers from Hawaiian environmental groups to scour local beaches and collect (by hand, no less) more than a ton of plastic. With help...Read More
Today is the UN’s official World Food Day, the kind of thing that often leaves well-meaning people thinking geez, what can I possibly do that will make any difference at all for hungry kids? Well here’s one thing: Sign a really simple petition from a really effective organization. The ONE.org World Food Day Petition was put together by ONE, the advocacy organization I recently traveled with to Ethiopia. (You know…Bono’s thing?) The goal is to get 175,000 signatures and I know the amazing readers of Cool Mom Picks can help. It’s a simple message: Dear World Leaders, Please make...Read More
October 11 is an exciting day at Cool Mom Picks, because what’s more amazing than girls? Initiated by the United Nations, today is the very first International Day of the Girl Child, a day highlighting the challenges and injustices that girls all over the globe continue to battle. So today, along with sharing our favorite girl-related charities, we celebrate the amazing young women of the world by sharing our favorite “strong girl” picks. Artist Amanda Visell’s gorgeous strong girls prints (above) remind us: sometimes the knight in shining armor a girl needs most is herself. Want your smart little...Read More
At Cool Mom Picks, we’ve long been champions of causes and advocacy programs that benefit moms, kids, and families. So we’re thrilled to tell our readers that today is the very first annual International Day of the Girl Child, created by the United Nations to inspire greater awareness of the adversity and abuse faced by young women across the globe. Here are a few of the terrific organizations that are taking action to protect, honor and celebrate girls–not just today, but every day. In November 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 to be the International Day of the...Read More
When I survey my children’s toys, I have two thoughts: 1. I should have purchased stock in Duracell. 2. How can one household amass so much plastic? So I was thrilled to come across a world of handmade toys, interactive ideas, and three oh-so-beautiful words: “no plastic parts.” If you’re seriously nostalgic for simpler toys like I am, you’re going to adore the online toy store Once Upon a Treehouse. Once Upon a Treehouse is the charming brainchild of two mamas, Lori and Tara, who are sisters. The background story of their business is as sweet as their creations....Read More
October is here, which means Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In other words, prepare for the influx of pink ribbons on everything and loads of Facebook “awareness” memes on your wall. In the past, we’ve been happy to support great companies with their hearts in the right places who are donating a percentage to a reputable charity. But as this month has become more and more commercial (BCA fried chicken? Really?) and talk of “pinkwashing” abounds, here are a few things to keep in mind when you consider how to do some real good for a really important cause. 1....Read More
I panic whenever it’s time for teacher gifts. How many apple mugs does one person need? Does she have food allergies? Will the collection of Starbucks gift cards send him spiraling into caffeine-induced madness? But here’s one gift that’s beautiful, useful, and gives directly back to something dear to any teacher’s heart: other teachers. We’re always excited about new offerings from the Leakey Collection, and we’re extra pleased to find these affordable and do-good-able Beads for Learning bracelets. Each one is handmade of Zulugrass remnants by Maasai artisans, which means that each 26″-inch wrapped bracelet is different and striking. ...Read More
I remember sitting down at my very first PTA meeting, excited for my daughter to enter kindergarten at a wonderful public school, until I heard these words: It looks like we’ll have to cancel the dance program this year. I felt the tears well up in my eyes. As a former dancer myself, knowing there was a full-time dance instructor on staff, as well as a visiting program with a notable professional dance company, was one of the key reasons I was excited about the school. With enough fundraising we knew we could bring them back. But it wasn’t...Read More
As we moms know, when your belly and butt are often times growing and shrinking thanks to your kiddos (not just me, right?), handbags and purses are the one thing that will always fit. Well, at least that’s the rationale I’m using to snatch up one of these gorgeous custom totes. I’m not generally one to wear my name or initials, but for the Letters for Literacy tote by Jana Feifer I will make an exception. Known for her gorgeous color-blocked leather totes and hobo bags that even scored a place on Oprah’s Favorite Things List, Jana took a hiatus from...Read More
I’m a huge fan of FEED. If you’re not familiar with this amazing company run by Lauren Bush, let me give you the CliffsNotes version: you buy a funky bag, shirt or more, and you are directly helping to feed a school child through partnerships with organizations like the UN World Food Programme, UNICEF, Room to Read, Donors Choose. Different from other retail organizations that promise to give a portion of proceeds to charity, the FEED donation is built directly into the cost of the bag. A bag with the number ten stenciled on it will feed ten children–it’s...Read More
Even if you’re nowhere near New York’s Fashion Week, let alone teetering in a pair of too-high stilettos over New York’s cobblestones this week (always good for a few giggles), you can help support one of my favorite organizations, Baby Buggy, the same way the glitterati did last week–with a gorgeous limited edition bracelet from a top designer Last week, at a special Fashion Week fundraising event at the Carolina Herrera store (swanky!) the Carolina Herrera CH line unveiled this bracelet made exclusively to support Baby Buggy and their mission to help the neediest families. The bracelet is a...Read More
For many of us, this is a sobering and painful day, one that we will always remember. Whether we lived through the darkness in NYC and DC 11 years ago, or we watched the terrible events unfold from our homes and offices far away, 9/11 will never be far from our memories. Today, to remember, we’ve highlighted a number of extraordinary opportunities for all of us to honor and care for those most affected by the tragedy. Let’s reunite, remember, and above all, make a positive difference today. 911DayofService.org is a website that was created to give people a place...Read More
During this back-to-school season, it can be kind of easy to forget that there are some kids in the world who don’t go to school at all. But you can help–all with the purchase of a super-cool bookbag or backpack from an amazing company. After a trip to rural Central America, ESPEROS founder Oliver Shuttlesworth was struck by how few children were able to attend school because their parents just couldn’t afford the $20 a year tuition. The philosophy behind ESPEROS was born: buy a bag, help send a kid to school. The process is blessedly simple: ESPEROS subtracts...Read More
We love small businesses, and we love Martha Stewart. And now they’re coming together in a marvelous opportunity for one lucky entrepreneur or crafter. Could that be you? Second question: could you use $10,000? Martha Stewart’s American Made competition is searching for the next generation of creative entrepreneurs launching their own small businesses, just as Martha herself once did. Although Martha and her editors are currently selecting their top ten entries, you can nominate yourself (or someone else, of course) for the 11th spot, the Audience Choice Award. Simply go to the nomination form and provide all the necessary...Read More
As a mother, here’s a program I’m so happy to be able to tell you about: for the next few hours only, you can help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in a significant way by barely lifting a finger. In fact, you will quite literally save lives. And saving lives is at the heart of the Sub-Saharan NGO Mothers 2 Mothers whose mission is to prevent transmission of HIV from mothers to their unborn children, and to improve the health of all mothers suffering from HIV. I’m heartened to hear that LGT Venture Philanthropy has chosen Mothers 2 Mothers as their featured charity of the...Read More
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