Welcome! I'm the Founder and President of Care2. In this blog I share my thoughts and updates on Care2, and welcome your feedback. Feel free to add me as a friend,subscribe to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter so you can get the latest updates. Thank you for being part of Care2!
"The only people for me are the mad ones. The ones who are mad to love, mad to talk, mad to be saved; the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars." - Jack Kerouac
Many of you probably remember way back to the days of those "email petition" chain letters from well-intentioned friends that used to inundate our inboxes. They never reached their target and they never had any impact.
My mother used to send me those all the time, and it would drive me crazy... so one day we threw together a little service called ThePetitionSite.com to let any individual or nonprofit start a petition, collect all the signatures in one place, and make sure they got delivered to their intended target.
About 3 weeks later, a woman from Alaska named Dorothy Keeler started a petition on the site to protect the wolves in Denali National park. The wolves didn't realize there were park boundaries, so if they wandered outside they'd get shot. A week later, Dorothy's petition had over 1,000 signatures, so she printed them out and delivered the stack in person to the Alaska Game Bureau - helping to convince them to create a buffer zone around the park to protect the wolves. At that point we knew we were on to something big – and since then thousands of individuals have created petitions on the site, we’ve worked with over 700 nonprofit organizations, collected over 60 million signatures, resulting in countless victories.
I tell that story to illustrate just how much has changed in the past 12 years. The world of online advocacy and fundraising has gone from ineffective chain letter petitions to helping elect President Obama, raising millions of dollars through mobile fundraising for Haiti and Japan, and even now bringing down entire governments in the Middle East. It's been an incredible time full of innovation.
To honor those individuals using online tools to advance their causes, we created the Care2 Impact Prize, which I was privileged to be able to present this past weekend at the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C.
The prize recognizes someone who has made an outstanding impact on the profession of online advocacy, online fundraising or both. In winnowing down the pool of candidates to just five exceptional finalists, a panel of judges looked for individual contributions that were both measurable and influential, creating ripple effects to benefit the entire nonprofit sector. The nonprofit tech community then voted to determine who should receive the prize, which is a $1,000 cash award and an additional $1,000 donation to their favorite charity.
The winner of the 2011 Care2 Impact Prize is Phil Aroneanu, U.S. Campaign Director, 350.org.
Phil helped build 350.org into an international online organization to fight global warming. The organization helped launch over 7,000 rallies across the globe on 10/10/10 - CNN called it "the largest day of political action in the planet's history."
Congratulations to Phil!
Here's a video we did with Phil shortly after he received the prize:
Today’s Shine a Light (where we take a simple action to help someone in need) is focused on our friends in Japan.
As you know, on Friday afternoon Japan suffered an 8.9 earthquake, which was followed by a devastating tsunami. Several thousand have been reported dead, tens of thousands are missing and the threat continues as at least one nuclear power plant is in danger of a meltdown.
53,000 Care2 members live in Japan.
For today's Daily Action, please take a moment to send your thoughts and good wishes to our friends in Japan by leaving a comment below. We’ll then send these on to Care2 members in Japan to let them know how much we care.
Spring conference season is in full swing, and I'll be at several conferences in March:
Harvard Social Enterprise Conference -- Presented by the students of the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School, I'll be speaking on Sunday, March 6th in the "Technology & Design" track called "The Social Network". I'll be presenting with DonorsChoose, Blue State Digital, and GlobalGiving. We'll be focusing on what's next in social networking and how it will affect social entrepreneurs, activists, politicians and supporters in the United States and around the world. Tickets are still available for Sunday and you can register here.
SxSW -- I'm looking forward to being in Austin at the SxSW Interactive conference for a number of meetings and to hear how people are using the social web in innovative ways. I will be at the Good Capitalist event on Saturday evening and the Network For Good event on Sunday evening, and I hope to see many of you there.
On Friday, I will be presenting the Care2 Impact Prize at the plenary session. A great group of finalists has been selected by our judging panel, and we hope you'll vote for who you think should win.
Jocelyn Harmon, Director of Business Development at Care2, will be speaking on Friday afternoon with Ivan Boothe, Allyson Kapin and Shireen Mitchell about Building Community and Movements
!deation Conference-- Charles Lee has put together an amazing conference in Long Beach, California on March 28-29. The conference will bring together a mix of non-profit and for-profit "thinkers and practitoners" to discuss how each can make an impact on social change. I'll be sharing what motivated me to start Care2 and why each day we demonstrate that business can be a powerful force for good.
If you're going to be at any of these events and would like to get together, please let me know.
We've got an important Shine a Light action to share with you today, but first a quick update and a big thank you for participating on our last action:
In December, we asked you to Shine a Light on Ann P. and your response was overwhelming. Close to 1,000 people left messages of hope and encouragement for Ann as she continues to battle against cancer and overcome the challenges of M.S. Ann wanted to share this with all of you:
When Randy Paynter implemented his idea to "shine one glorious sunbeam of collective love" on an individual, he knew that a few simple words, when spoken or written with a full heart, can make all the difference in the world to the recipient. Imagine the effect when multiplied hundreds of times!
As the recipient of one such glorious sunbeam of collective love, I am deeply moved by the kind words and love flowing in my direction.
It is every bit as glorious to be part of the sunbeam as it is to receive it. Shine on!
Today's Shine a Light is a message of love and gratitude. Hugh MacDougall has been a member of Care2 for the past several years and a long-time protector of nature and the Earth. Hugh passed away on January 28th leaving behind two children -- Ellen and Peter -- and many friends.
Hugh was a lover of travel and finding "people-free" places to explore. He grew up in Scotland, lived for several years in Australia and spent time in China, New Zealand and many other countries. In addition to his poetry, his images from these trips will be a lasting memory of his life and what he enjoyed most.
Please take a moment to post a comment of gratitude for Hugh’s kind devotion to the Earth, and we will make sure that these messages are shared with his family. Hugh will be greatly missed by his family, friends -- especially those that shared his commitment to Good, and all those that had an opportunity to be touched by his passion for Nature. Your words can mean so much to them during this difficult time. Thank you.
Earlier this week, Care2 created a new service, Care2 Daily Deals, to help our members dicover great deals (up to 70% off!) on products and services that are helping to make a the world a better place. You can read my blog post on Trailblazers from yesterday.
We're excited about the first group of products and know that the power of Care2's 15 million members can make a positive impact for Good.
The collective power of Care2 members is awesome. Together, we've moved legislation, saved lives and protected endangered species. So imagine what we can do if we direct all that Goodness on a single individual.
Every once in a while we hear a story of a good person who is going through a really tough time. For whatever unknown reason, Life just seems to be giving this person the raw end of the deal. Today, we're going to shine one glorious sunbeam of collective love on one such individual to bring a little bit of karmic balance back to the world.
Our target today is Ann Pietrangelo. Ann has a wonderful heart, and many of you probably know her as a frequent contributor to our Healthy & Green Living channel (and the health reform channel on Causes). Unfortunately, Ann was hit with MS, a debilitating disease that causes fatigue, muscle weakness and chronic pain when she was in her mid-40s. She didn't let that get in her way, and chose instead to channel her energy into writing to help others with MS and other chronic illnesses. However, in late October, Ann was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer and is currently undergoing brutal rounds of treatment. It's unfair, it's wrong, and it just doesn't make sense. But love is a powerful force, so together, we're going to send her a collective bolt of sunshine to brighten her day and hopefully fight off some of that badness.
Please take a moment to send Ann some good thoughts via a brief message in the comments area below. Your words will make a difference, and together we’ll show that love is the most powerful force of all.
p.s. We’ll be doing more of these type of collective actions in the future. We'd like to hear your thoughts as well as nominations for other individuals who could use such a boost in the future.
Since 2004, Care2 members have sponsored 16 children in 9 countries through our Click to Help Children in Need free click-to-donate site. It’s been wonderful for all of us in the community to support these children and hear through their letters how well they’re doing.
About a month ago, several Care2 members asked us if there was a way they could do more for the children during the holidays. You asked, we responded and you stepped up. Members donated over $900, which means an additional $57 will go to each child -- just in time for the holidays. For a child like Fridah in Zambia, this donation will have a huge impact. Her family's average monthly income is only $38 per month. Your donation will provide over a month's worth of income for her family. What an amazing gift!
Your clicks make a difference in the lives of these kids and for our other programs on a daily basis. For the clicks made to the Children we sponsor through Children International, you are helping with medical and dental care, educational assistance, clothing and more. Your clicks are also helping with other programs - including the fight against breast cancer, protecting a big cat habitat and fighting cholera -- just to name a few. All these clicks are funded through the support of our advertising sponsors.
Please continue to share your ideas with us for more ways we can help empower our members to make a difference. Whenever possible, we will try to find a way to make it happen. I hope that you'll continue to click on these links and also share them with your friends on other social networks. What you're doing really is making a difference in the world.
Almost two years ago, Care2 became a B Corporation, joining a handful of other companies with the distinguished "B" certification.
Today, there are over 300 B Corporations - all have committed to a better way to do business. Each certified B Corporation has had to meet high standards of social and environmental performance and all are making a difference every day by strengthening local communities and protecting the environment.
We want to help get the word out, so starting this week we're launching our participation in a new marketing campaign with B Lab, the good folks behind the B Corporation certification. You can read about some great fellow B Corps on our Trailblazers for Good blog and you'll be seeing some new ads on the Care2 site featuring B Corps we think you'll like.
I believe business is one of the most powerful forces on the planet - and business that truly do good can be some of the most powerful forces to help create a more sustainable, just and healthy world. Companies that carry the B Corp logo are working to achieve this same vision.
Here are a few B Corporations working to make a difference:
Barkwheatswants to change the way people think about dog biscuits and kibble. They are not only a B Corp, but also Fair Trade certified. 95% of the ingredients they use comes from local sources and the other 5% comes from other Fair Trade sources. The packaging they use is also 100% compostable.
The team at Recyclebankhas built a business on rewarding people for doing good. By placing microchips in recycle bins, they are able to track and reward points to households that recycle. The points can be used at over 2,000 different businesses.
Give Something Backis an office supply company that we use at Care2 since they offer green and recycled products and also believe in giving back to the community.
A few weeks ago, I spent some time with John Shegerian and Mike Brady, hosts of Green is Good. We talked about Care2.com and how its 14 million members are focused on living green and making a difference in the areas of human rights and animal welfare. You can listen to the interview on the Green is Good website.
The second half of the show is a great interview with Shari Arron, co-author of Climb the Green Ladder.
For those that don't know John Shegerian, he is the Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International. They specialize in the safe and socially responsible dismantling and disposal of electronic items (computers, televisions, monitors, etc.) His work has earned him many awards, including the 2008 Ernst & Young Clean Tech Entrepreneur of the Year, and he also serves on the California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth along with the California Governor. He's a man who truly believes that Green is Good.
Did you know that more than 70 bloggers from around the world contribute to Care2's Healthy & Green Living and Causes areas? They're a wonderfully talented and important part of our team, but I suspect many Care2 members know little about what inspires them. So, I'll be shining the spotlight on some of our bloggers. First up is Ann Pietrangelo. Ann is a freelance writer and contributes to health policy and several other Care2 Cause channels.
How long have you been blogging? My husband, Jim, and I decided to indulge our writing bug with a personal blog back in 2007. It was only a matter of weeks until a freelance writing career was born.
When did you start blogging for Care2? I started writing for Causes in January, 2009 and ventured into Healthy & Green Living that summer. What topics do you blog about on Care2? Why do you blog about those topics? I've weighed in on just about every topic, but my main focus in Causes is health care policy. It's something I've always been interested in, but after my 2004 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS,) the problems with our health care system became crystallized and intensely personal.
My eyes were opened to the inequity of it all and the realization that any of "us" can become "them" in the blink of an eye. That holds true of health care, hunger, poverty, and just about any facet of human existence.
In Healthy & Green Living, I write about healthy lifestyle, and living with MS, disability, and chronic illness. We have a personal responsibility to take care of ourselves – physically and spiritually – as much as possible, and to lend a helping hand to others.
Besides what you blog about, has anything on Care2 changed how you think about your world and the way you do things? In more ways than I can count. Before becoming involved with Care2, I had little knowledge about the power of internet activism, or the energy that comes from a group of people sharing the common goal of making the world a better place.
Here we've got Care2 staff, writers, and members from all over the world coming together to exchange ideas and formulate action plans. Whether or not we agree with each other, we have the platform to debate the issues openly and with honesty.
We are individuals, but we do not live in isolation. The decisions we individually make each day have an impact on other people and on the world around us. That is why you sometimes get a sense of awe when reading the latest civil rights post or environmental piece.
Why do you spend your time blogging? I've always felt comfortable with the written word and began writing as a form of personal expression. But blogging on Care2 has turned out to be much more than that. Words matter and I learned that my words could make a difference. If I can pass along important information... if I can open one person's mind to a different point of view... if I can simply get a conversation started... then I feel that I've done something worthwhile.
When I receive an email from someone who says I've captured feelings they were unable to express, or if they're writing just to say "thank you," I get a feeling inside that you wouldn't believe.
Do you have a favorite "must read" blogger or blog -- either on Care2 or another site? Why are they important to you? I have more than a few "must reads" and would be hard pressed to choose favorites. I am amazed by the talent and enthusiasm of the writers at Care2, not to mention the energy. Being part of this eclectic group is an honor and a privilege.
If someone was interested in blogging about healthy & green living or on causes, what would you tell them? You are in for an interesting ride! Keep an open mind and be prepared to learn as much as you teach.
I've been featured on The Health Central Network's Multiple Sclerosis Central and MSFocus Magazine. I also do various web writing through WebCamp One and just completed a memoir that I hope to publish.
How can people connect with you? I love feedback, so please visit me on AnnPietrangelo.com.
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