Instilling philanthropy in two kids who have never really wanted for anything has proven difficult. Emi and Isaac have always had enough to eat, belongings to call their own, and a strong and active support group. Poverty, malnourishment, and chronic illness are abstract concepts to them still, thank goodness, but now that they are 5 and 8, I am wondering how to show that we are indeed one of the lucky families, and it is our duty to give back to the communities who support us and to other communities who do not have the resources we do.
One obvious strategy is to lead by example. I do give a regular amount to charity every month, but have yet to include the kids in doing so. Letting the kids in on that would at least remind them to think about others on a regular basis, but ideally, I would like Emi and Isaac to figure out the causes that are important to them.
To this end, I joined a community called Members Unite, where every month, each member donates $5 and votes for their favorite philanthropic projects, American Idol style. Right now, the initial 9 contenders have been announced for March, and the winning project will receive $5,000! Each family gives the equivalent of a drop in the bucket, but when united, we can make a real impact. True democracy in action, no?
I showed Emi and Isaac the site today, and much to my surprise, they really caught on to the concept very quickly. It really helped that the projects were very well-curated, offering a variety of different causes: mental health, education, housing, and the environment, to name a few, as well as choices between domestic and international organizations.
Right now, Emi is leaning towards a project called "Give Infants a Lease on Life," which will provide formula to malnourished infants in Guatamala. If this project wins, they will provide 20 infants with milk for 500 days - over a year’s worth of sustenance.
Isaac really likes "Help Plant 5,000 Trees," which will help the Nature Conservancy plant 1 BILLION trees back into the Brazilian rainforest. If this project is selected, they will purchase 5,000 native trees for the Atlantic Forest in Brazil.
Isn't that really neat to know? My heart, it seriously is fit to burst.
Even though our $5 this month is subsidized by Members Unite, we are definitely going to continue this in the months and years to come, and will post about this more in the future. I totally encourage you to join, so we can make an impact on people's lives together!
For a limited time, Members Unite is offering my community a 50% off discount on the annual membership fee of $25! Use code “WELOVEMOMS” when you sign up!