Wednesday, December 8, 2010


You know how sometimes you feel like something is too good to be true, only it isn't? That's sorta what is all about. It's a website founded by the winner of Oprah's Big Give from 2008 Stephen Paletta. He had $1 million to give away, and he did so. The experience made him realize the power of giving back to our communities.

He recently launched where anyone can set up a foundation - with just a few clicks of a mouse - and direct funds to charities of their choosing. Unlike some charitable middlemen (a certain one a former company of mine pressured us to donate to comes to mind), 100% of the donation goes directly to the charity with no overhead costs taken away because site sponsors cover the administrative costs. Phew!

You can add money yourself by making a donation from your credit card that is tax deductible. Other friends or corporations can add to your foundation. Or - bonus! - you can simply use their shopping portal to earn up to 15% of your spending toward your foundation. Stores range from Target (yep, Target) to The Container Store to Oriental Trading and more. I was surprised to see some of the companies signed up, but so many that I shop at already.

Once you have money in your account, you direct it where you want it to go. Pretty much any charity you can think of is included from major national ones like the Humane Society and American Cancer Society to tiny local charities I never knew existed and all between. It's easy to find one or ten to add to your foundation to support then direct your funds there now or later. If a 501(c)3 you like isn't listed, they will add it once they verify it.

Are you intrigued yet? I signed up, and it was so easy to do. You simply visit the site, click to create a foundation, providing just a username and your email, and ta da $5 is credited to your foundation for you to use as you choose.

I put in zip codes to find charities nearby, and there were tons. I tried searching by name, but that was difficult for smaller charities as their search function definitely needs improving. I love that you can also search by type of charity (e.g., special needs) and a list will come up there. It's impossible to not find something you like!

Personally, I'm still debating where to spend my $5, but I think I'll let it grow through my online shopping first. Hey, I might win $1,000 for my foundation for sharing my story about how a charity I'm involved in gives back to the community. Steve Nash and Serena Williams are supporting this initiative and the weekly prize. How fun to try to figure out what to do with $1,000!

So go - sign up! Support causes you care about and feel good about giving back.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been entered to win a Blissdom conference package or conference ticket. I received no compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

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