Category: Causes + General Do-Gooding

Got donations? Here’s how to help Haiti

We know that moms are, by definition, givers. But after something like Tuesday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, it can be hard to know how to best help. If you’re wanting to donate to relief efforts but unsure of where your money will do the most good, we have some suggestions: Chris Sacca shares six excellent charity suggestions, including ways you can donate via texting to both the Red Cross and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti. There are plenty of other suggestions in the comments on his post, too. MercyCorps is sending an emergency response team in to assist those in...

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Breaking News: Toy Manufacturers Replace Toxic Lead with Toxic Cadmium

In 2007, a rash of recalls of mass-produced children’s toys, clothes, and jewelry, many containing lead, most of which had been cheaply manufactured in China, inspired us to create our first-ever Cool Mom Picks Safer Toy Guide. Since then, we’ve been pleased to note, United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (the CPSC) has increased its scrutiny of both imported and domestically manufactured children’s products, focusing on reducing the threat of lead in particular. Hooray for small (or really big) victories! However, the government’s initial response to the Year of the Really Scary Recalls — the Consumer Product Safety Improvement...

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Big brands doing cool things – Disney pays it forward

I’m dusting off my tiara and heading to the Big Mouse’s House this year for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Whoo! But the prerequisite for my family tagging along is that we all have to participate in their new Give a Day, Get a Disney Day program in order for us (well, the adults, in our case) to earn our tickets. This is a super simple and worthwhile volunteer program, even beyond the free pass. Just pre-register up to eight family members over age 6, then search for a local charity on their site, pick a date and time...

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The handbag that makes the world a better place

I love handbags. I mean, really, I love handbags — they’re the perfect accessory, because they’re beautiful and practical. Your stuff has to go somewhere, after all. And right now, I am extra super in love with the Tabitha bag from HelpingHandbags, because it’s pretty and useful — and because this bag will make the world a better place. When you buy a Tabitha bag, HelpingHandbags donates 100% of the net profits to help abandoned and institutionalized children in Bulgaria. The money provides one child with 60 hours of time with a “Baba,” or grandmother, through the Give a...

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Charitable giving makes great last minute gifts and yeah, tax deductions

It’s been a tough year, mamas. We all know it. But we also know how absolutely incredible and giving and generous this here community of parents always is for those in need. While our holiday gift guide has a whole category of terrific charitable gift ideas, we thought we’d ask our editors and contributors for their own favorite charitable orgs that could maybe use a little extra push this year.  Liz: White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood This year I discovered the remarkable work of the White Ribbon Alliance and am, from here on forward, an evangelical fan. Mostly...

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Shop for Anissa, today!

A few days ago we told you about our friend and fellow blogger, Anissa Mayhew, who suffered a severe stroke in late November. We are so pleased that today is Shop For Anissa Day in which more than 60 businesses have agreed to donate a portion of today’s sales to the Help 4 Anissa fund to stem her growing medical costs, and help support her three kids and husband, who has taken a leave from his job to care for them. Not only is this a great cause, there are some fabulous shops represented here that will definitely help...

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Shop for Anissa

We were dismayed when we learned that our friend, fellow blogger, and all around cool mom of three, Anissa Mayhew, suffered a severe stroke a few weeks ago which has left her hospitalized–but increasingly responsive every day. Known for her lively tweets and honest blogging, particularly about her struggles parenting a daughter with leukemia, we want to do what we can to help, especially for someone who does so much for our own community. Thanks to Shop for Anissa Day, we can do what we do best! On December 10th, her friends and colleagues are hosting a shopping day,...

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GLAD to give this season. More like ecstatic.

December is here, and around my house that means the official start of cookie season. If you, like me, end up with piles of snickerdoodles and gingerbread men that you end up off to friends and neighbors (or eating yourself), perhaps you’ll consider hosting a GLAD to Give bake sale instead. Now, this is not your average bake sale, but rather one that supports Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a charity started by two parents determined to find better treatments for pediatric cancer after their son (the cute guy seen here) was diagnosed in 2007. Since you’re already slaving over the greased cookie...

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World AIDS Day is today, and every day

The biggest health chatter in my town may be about swine flu, but we can’t forget that AIDS is still a force to be reckoned with, especially among women and children who make up more than half of the people living with HIV worldwide. Today being  World AIDS Day, we thought we’d point out a few of the companies we’ve featured here, who regularly donate money to AIDS organizations and help those who really need it now. –Christina BUGABOO (PRODUCT)RED is a new initiative by the fabulous stroller company who recently announced they’ll dedicate 1% of all proceeds to...

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Charity starts at home – 15 of our readers’ favorite dot-orgs

The nicest thing about our recent XBox 360 giveaway was seeing all the fabulous local children’s charities that you wanted your second XBox donated to should you win. The lucky winner was reader Marcela W (Go Marcela!) along with her charity, Ann Arbor’s Ele’s Place which helps grieving children coping with death or life-threatening illnesses of family and friends. (We kind of get a catch in our throats just thinking about it.) But we thought there were winners in all the lesser-known organizations who got a little recognition on our Facebook Fan Page. So we wanted to give a...

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XBox 360 giveaway for charity – last call!

Final shot mamas – today is the last day to get your entries in for the big XBox 360 giveaway, in which we’re giving away one whole console to (maybe) you – and one for your favorite local children’s charity. Find all the details on the original post. If for some reason you don’t want to enter (um, what?) just click over to our Facebook Fan Page and see what so many of our big-hearted readers have to say about their local charities and children’s hospitals. Winner aside, we’re just so pleased that the spirit of giving is alive and well in the Cool Mom Picks...

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Celebrate Veteran’s Day at the park

Now that my husband has just returned (yay! he’s back!) from his two month long deployment as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Veteran’s Day holds a lot more personal meaning. But even if you don’t have a Veteran in your family, you can still enjoy the day in remembrance thanks to an amazing offer from the National Parks. All day today they’re waiving the fees to all National Parks, so you and your family can enjoy a little bit of history for free, including the famous Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown Battle units, as well as my personal favorite spot,...

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Surviving deforestation is one thing. Try surviving juice box mishaps.

I’ve always been a fan of cause-related marketing, or in human terms, charitable efforts for brands. Especially when the company really seems dedicated to the cause, and that’s what I’ve found to be the case with Timi and Leslie and their new endangered species strollers designed in a partnership with BabyPlanet. Each of the four, brand new strollers goes to raise awareness of four endangered species (to whatever degree that’s possible with a stroller), but what’s better is that a big ol’ check goes to the Wildlife Conservation Society each year, along with an additional $5 from each purchase....

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Saving moms and babies. Because too many of them need saving.

I recently learned that one woman dies every minute from childbirth on this planet. One every minute. And that just about knocked me out of my seat. Because most of it is avoidable. There were all kinds of stats and figures and info about maternal mortality that I learned recently at a dinner to support the Mothers Day Every Day campaign, put on by CARE and the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. But the one that was most encouraging is learning that there is an entire force of influential women around the world committed to doing what they...

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Great schools deserve free money

It’s music to any educator’s ears: The chance for big bucks for the school, just because it’s great. GreatSchools.net and Care2.com have partnered up to create the America’s Favorite School Contest, and they’re giving away everyone’s favorite recession prize — cash. And while I’m happy to send in Kleenex and wipes and extra pencils, and even to write a check to the PTA now and then, I’m certainly not going to turn my nose up at the opportunity to help my kids’ school win the $20,000 grand prize. There’s another $11,000 to be split amongst four runner-up schools, and...

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Clean up takes on a whole new meaning with Cleanup Soap

The first thing that struck me when I saw Cleanup Soap was how cool the shape was – graphic, and symmetrical and…wait a minute. Is that a…land mine? Indeed, these naturally scented, paraben-free soaps were created by Parsons design student Hideaki Matsui both to raise awareness of land mine clean up, and to support it directly, since 25% of the purchase price (or what’s probably 50% of the profits) go right towards landmine removal and survivor assistance in Cambodia.  While this isn’t the charitable effort that gets the most press or seems the sexiest, I know first-hand what it’s...

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Go play outside!

While I wholeheartedly support the idea of grandparents getting outside to play with the grandkids, don’t let the fact that this downloadable Go Play Outside guide is being offered through Grandparents.com dissuade you from checking it out yourself, mamas. It’s packed with 97 different suggestions for outdoor fun for just about anyone. And it’s totally free. As are plenty of the suggestions. Of course if you can con, er, convince a grandparent to hang out with the kids in the great outdoors and log their hours on the site, Grandparents.com and KaBOOM! will donate up to $10,000 towards building...

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Pregnant military mamas, we salute you!

As a wife of a former active duty Air Force officer now turned National Guardsman, I know how challenging military life can be, especially for expecting mamas. So in honor of Armed Forces Day (yep, that’s today!), we’re happy to spread the word about Operation Shower, a mom-run charity that produces and coordinates baby showers for military mamas, specifically those with deployed spouses. You can make a general monetary donation, or purchase specific items that will be included in the shower boxes, many of which are from Cool Mom Picks faves, like Vincent Shoes and Scandinavian Child. Either way,...

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Repurposed frames that look as good as they make you feel

When I stumbled upon the Second Line Frames etsy shop, I went wow – those are cool. And that’s before I knew the backstory. Turns out this Tampa-based cooperative salvages wood siding from homes destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, and turns them into beautiful, artful, rustic picture frames. It’s their way of preserving New Orleans in more ways than one; 20% of profits now go to The Phoenix of New Orleans which continues to help out the residents who are still rebuilding. So you’ll have a beautiful frame that tells its own story, without ever detracting from the story of...

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Cancer with a happy ending

We here at Cool Mom Picks love our sponsors (love them!), but some we have to admit we love just a bit more than others. So when we found out that The American Cancer Society would be a part of our site over the coming weeks, we immediately asked what we could do to help them out on our end. I’m betting that most, if not all, families have been affected by cancer in one form or another, my own being one of the many millions. In fact, my mother-in-law will join the 11 million or so cancer survivors...

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A sling that helps support other babies too

Leave it to textile mavens and cmp fave Serena & Lily to come up with a sling that’s both simple and chic. And we all know how important both of those factors are in a sling. The organic cotton  market baby slings are constructed from a single piece of fabric, which means no buckles or straps to futz with or irritate your baby’s skin. And it gets even better: From now through May 31st, for every sling purchased from Serena & Lily, they’ll donate a care package to a homeless child via Project Night Night. That means you get...

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Gift baskets for Mother’s Day filled with hope

This Mother’s Day, you can honor thy mother (or a mother you love) by helping mothers in crisis. And I don’t mean “oh no, the babysitter canceled at the last minute.” More like women affected by humanitarian emergencies around the world. The wonderful International Rescue Committee has put together special “baskets” for mothers, but instead of chocolates or bubble bath, the gifts could include a carseat for an uprooted family, postpartum care for a mother with a life-threatening complication, or blankets to keep babies warm. As for you, you get a beautiful card to pass along to the woman...

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Going greener for 5k. (Not that you wouldn’t do it for free.)

Last year my son noticed that snack time at school meant 20 plastic cups thrown away every day. He suggested recycling bins for all the classrooms and made a poster encouraging other kids to go green. (I’m so proud!) That kind of hands on approach is just the kind of thing that Just Do One is all about. Just Do One is an online community whose message is simple: Doing just one little thing, like using reusable canvas bags at the store, or turning off the lights when you leave the room, can make a very big difference to...

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Breaking news – CPSIA delayed! Your amazing efforts made a difference

According to today’s most excellent release from the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the CPSC has done the only common sense thing it could have done, and granted a one year stay of testing and certification requirements until February 10, 2010. Which means… whoo! Commissioner Nancy Nord in her letter to congress calls it “a time-out.” Which is exactly the right thing to do. To quote the CPSC statement: Manufacturers and importers large and small of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits… The...

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Saving Handmade from the CPSIA: What you can do right now

A quick update on the Save Handmade from the CPSIA initiative since so many of you have been asking. If you haven’t been to our Save Handmade page, click over and see how you can help preserve the kids products and businesses we love so dearly. Some noteworthy include: -An LA Times article that details how the CPSIA also impacts resale shops, thrift stores, and charitable donations of clothing and toys. If you buy any clothes or toys second-hand, this might be a good time to write to your congressional representative and be like, um…what are you thinking? -The...

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On the Wings of Hope

In my current postpartum state, I’m as close as you might get to a charity case. But multiply the joy of shrinking yourself back into those skinny jeans times 100, and you’ll get what your donation can do for the amazing Wings of Hope charity. Started in 1962 by St. Louis business executives, this charity specializes in reducing poverty with a common denominator that involves transportation (usually an actual set of wings – not just the proverbial kind) and health care. Whether it’s airlifting a child in need of multiple surgeries to various hospitals right here in the United...

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Redefining Christmas: The gift that really keeps on giving

My extremely generous in-laws keep bugging me about what they can get me for Christmas, and quite frankly, unless it’s some magic bubble that I can place over my children so that they will healthy for longer than one week at a time, I’m really fine without receiving a holiday gift. But since they insist, I’m asking them to give to my favorite charity instead, and Redefine Christmas makes it a bit more festive than just having them send twenty bucks to the Salvation Army. Simply choose a holiday e-card like the cute snowman seen here, fill in your information, and they’ll send it...

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When a card is so much more than just a card

The idea of pediatricians formulating baby skin care products–as the MD Moms have done with the much beloved Baby Silk line–is easy to understand. But I love that they’ve outdone themselves this holiday with the brand new and extremely special Oscar Litwak Foundation Charity Notecards. I thought they were cheerful and fun even before I read about the foundation and its mission to lift the spirits of kids in hospitals. But I especially like the cards knowing that a full 100% of the proceeds goes towards the Mobile Playroom Program, which brings fun and games to bed-ridden kids. Buy...

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Let your monsters make your monster pendant

We love the Metal for Monsters pieces at Blend Creations so much, we were delighted to hear that they’ve expanded the line: Now you can design your own monsters, or–better yet–let the kids design one for you and Blend will laser-etch their design right on the pendant including a signature or inscription on the back. You could also supply a thumb print, or pretty much anything, making this a really cool personalized gift. And $16 from each pendant goes directly to UNICEF. I’m not telling you what to do, lurking dad readers…I’m just saying that some signed, wearable art...

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Expressing our thanks through acts of do-gooding

Happy Thanksgiving cool moms. In the spirit of giving thanks, we thought we’d share with you each of our favorite charitable orgs, some of whom are really getting whomped by the economy this year. Not from individual donors per se (you guys are always so great!), but from the fortune 500 companies and Wall Street firms they tend to rely on. Maybe we’ll turn you onto a new charity, maybe we’ll inspire you to give some extra love to your own. Kristen: As a military wife, I’ve been fortunate to have my husband stateside. But many families are not,...

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