It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
We’ve filled out our Q4 Family Activities Template in our Asana boards (if you know, you know…) + we’re gearing up for our favorite family traditions that largely include GIVING.
Charity has always been a big part of our relationship. Even before we were dating, we started an inclusive sports charity for children with autism. Giving is a big part of who we are + why we show up in this business the way we do.
We understand what it takes to start + scale a true grassroots organization. We’ve observed first-hand that some nonprofits are simply not as well-built on integrity + moral standards. We know how many more layers of challenges come with trying to do really good business because we’ve had to work through them ourselves.
(Fun fact + humble brag: according to Katy Perry, Deion Branch + Kate Winslet, we’re really good at it!)
That’s why we will always have a strong charitable giving plan — to support those rolling up their sleeves to do the real work, putting dollars where they actually say they’re going + creating a ripple effect of positive change in the community.
We’re sharing where we plan to dedicate our time, talent + money this holiday season + in the year ahead as part of our annual family giving plan.
When you make any purchase from our online shop — family management or business management — we’ll donate a percentage of profits to the following organizations:
Safe From Online Sex Abuse (SOSA)
We happened upon the documentary show “Undercover Underage” on the Discovery+ App, where we were instantly drawn to the mission + effort of this non-profit organization.
From their website, SOSA “rejects the notion that online sex abuse + exploitation is an inevitable result of widespread internet use. [Their] work supports abuse survivors, spearheads child abuse prevention initiatives, advocates for better internet, supports Internet Crimes Against Children task forces + signal boosts the work of other organizations who strive to make a difference for kids all over the world.”
What’s outstanding to us is that the founder — a mom of 3 based out of New Haven, CT — goes undercover as an underage 15-year-old to uncover online predators by responding to their inquiries to one of her many “characters” + building a case file with law enforcement.
The trauma she subjects herself to in order to stay undercover is astonishing. The talent her visual graphics lead has is beyond impressive. Her social media lead is a wizard at character development + psychology. And the research + support crew asks all the right questions.
Check out the show series to learn more about this extremely powerful purpose + effort. We definitely look forward to supporting this organization for years to come.
The Animal Protection Center of Southern Massachusetts (APCSM)
Court stepping in here to share this one:
This animal shelter was home to my very first volunteering opportunity ever. Before I was obsessed with becoming a family doctor + then an entrepreneur, I was hellbent on becoming a vet.
Then, I somehow heard that I’d have to take care of snakes + stick my whole arm up a cow’s butt + well, that was the end of that.
But my love for most animals (sorry, snakes… can’t do it!) has never ever wavered. I was obsessed with animal rescue when I learned that some people abandon animals whether by choice or force. I would think “I’m going to save all of them.”
And in some future version of this charity plan, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll have created a retirement animal sanctuary somewhere + I will save as many as I freaking can. It’s happening.
Anyways, I went to this animal shelter every Saturday with my dad as a child, so that I could show some love to the animals that needed it so badly. And every week, I’d ask my dad to rescue a dog, knowing that I’d realistically not actually get the YES, but also knowing that if I never asked, I risked never getting.
I remember clinging to the possibility + creating PowerPoint presentations about how I could handle rescue dog ownership between my school schedule, allowance + leveraging every future Santa Claus, Easter Bunny + Tooth Fairy visit.
One day, that changed. My dad (who had gotten approval from my mom to bring home a rescued BUNNY) told me that I could take home a dog that day.
I picked the ugliest, goofiest, most behaviorally-challenged dog in the bunch: Buddy the Coonhound.
And the animal shelter wouldn’t let me bring him home because he would’ve eaten my younger siblings. [Would that have been the worst? Just kidding, love you guys.]
Long story longer, an abandoned dog who was left blind + deaf on the shelter doorstep had just birthed puppies + we were encouraged to adopt from this litter. Buddy got adopted the next weekend, while I picked the cutest, funniest, most dominant puppy in the bunch. I named him GUS.
(You should’ve seen the look on my mom’s face when we walked through the door. My dad is still alive, in case you’re wondering…)
Gus was the LOVE of my life. He taught me so much about responsibility, he snuggled me through some of the worst times + celebrated with me during some of the best. I was the love of his life, too.
After living 13 awesome years with my best friend, losing him was the most devastating event in my life. I swore I’d never not have a rescue dog in my life after he passed away + that’s been true. We have 3 rescue dogs with us right now.
I share that FULL story because so many people consider what having a puppy under the Christmas tree would be like. The surprise is unreal, I’m sure. But I want to stress that that single surprise moment then likely has a real life attached for ~12+ more years.
They could be the most meaningful 12 years of your life as Gus’ years were for mine…
But they could also be 1, 2, a handful, or 12+ years of the most challenging + expensive years of your life.
If you’re unable to commit to loving an animal like you would a child wholeheartedly — + hey, especially as busy parent entrepreneurs, we understand — then please volunteer instead. You can help network to get animals into homes that can meet the very serious physical + emotional needs these animals need. (Even Gus, rescued just weeks after birth, had his own behavioral challenges.)
And, as always, they need money to support the care of these fluff balls, too.
Join us in giving back to an incredible shelter that we’ve personally worked with, adopted Gus from + donated to for more than 20+ years.
And if you’re able, save a life by adopting over shopping for that fur ball surprise under the tree.
[Related: How to Choose a Family Dog]
Operation Underground Railroad + Children Need Families
We first learned about this first charity, Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), from Tony Robbins’ promotion of the documentary called “Operation Toussaint”.
The documentary features charity founder, Tim Ballard, who left his post as a special agent for the US Department of Homeland Security to form Operation Underground Railroad + go undercover to rescue child sex trafficking victims that he couldn’t save when bound by government restrictions.
Since their group is privately run, they are able to quickly respond to foreign government requests + institute investigative measures, develop intelligence + assist in enforcement operations + rescue efforts.
In the documentary, viewers join Tim + his special forces team as they go undercover in Haiti to bring a ring of sex traffickers — who bribed their way out of jail — to justice.
We were deeply moved by this documentary + immediately went to get our Signs of Trafficking Training Certificate → a free course you can take at their website. We have continued to follow the charity’s work, which currently supports operation + aftercare efforts in 22 countries + 34 U.S. states.
What’s doubly incredible about this organization is the creation of its sister charity, Children Need Families (CNF). While the initial rescuing that OUR does is one major hurdle, what happens after for the victims is just as critical to cover.
During the Haiti bust featured in the Operation Toussaint documentary, Tim rescues a young brother + sister pair, then ultimately adopts them into his existing family of 7 children with his wife, Katherine.
Tim + Katherine learned first-hand through their own 3-year wait about how in-waiting children + families are separated not only by distance, but by expenses, government approvals, legal fees + an abundance of paperwork.
The CNF charity helps facilitate + finance healthy adoptions for victims + other orphaned children to help minimize the emotional + financial stress of a complete adoption process.
We are in love with this wholesome mission + invite you to support Tim + Katherine’s continuous rescues.
School on Wheels of Massachusetts (SOWMA)
Courtney stepping in here again:
SOWMA is especially near to our hearts because this was started by a dear friend’s mother + this was one of the first charities I had the privilege of watching literally grow from the kitchen table.
This family was stuffing backpacks in their home basement to equip homeless + at-risk youth with school supplies + free tutoring sessions before fundraising enough to outfit their first warehouse.
They’ve since continued to scale every year — celebrating the high school + college graduations of their recipients along the way. The real deal charitable operations by real deal people.
If you have the time to be a local mentor or know of anyone looking for volunteer opportunities (think: internships, college credits, community service hours, etc.), then please consider volunteering to tutor. There’s training available (no prior experience necessary) + for a small time commitment every week, you could quite literally change the trajectory of a child or teenager’s life via education.
Our children are not in bed at consistent times, but once we’re out of the needy-nighttime season, I definitely plan to look into these mentoring opportunities. Until then, we will stuff backpacks with school supplies + tell everyone we know about this important cause. Join us!
Note: There are School on Wheels charities all across the United States, so you can support your local charity. If there isn’t one by you, then please consider joining us in donating time, talent or money to SOWMA.
Giving Takes Less Than You Think
We know how challenging 2020 + 2021 have been for our world. You may very well be the person who NEEDS the help this year + that is okay to not be the giver. We’ve all been in compromising circumstances at some point in our lives. We can promise you that they don’t last forever.
If you’re someone who is coming out the other side of that NEED + might have the bandwidth to be the giver — however big or small this year — then we encourage you, please do what you can with what you have.
“Your gift doesn’t have to be big to be meaningful.”
And for those with an abundance of wealth — in your time or money bank — what an incredible opportunity in front of you to outsource the goodness that you can make in the world by supporting the already-in-place teams doing the real work.
So, now we’d love to know: Where are you giving back this year?
We are so grateful to be in-community with generous parent entrepreneurs like you. Thank you so much for being here!
If you feel like this post put you in the giving spirit, then please share with us in the comments where you’re planning on giving next.
And if you feel like you’re in the shopping spirit, then remember to check out our OrganicFamilyCEO Shop. You can get your own Q4 Family Activities Templates (or any other templates + masterclasses) + we’ll donate an additional percentage of all profits made between now + the end of the year.
Until next time, Organic Family… happy holidays to you + yours!