Philanthropy Friday (rewind): Charity Miles

Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.

charity-runnerI’m sharing an old Philanthropy Friday post featuring one of my favorite apps, Charity Miles, today. I had the opportunity to meet founder Gene Gurkoff at last year’s Social Good Summit in New York. He’s a great guy, and I thought it would be a good one to bring back. Admittedly, I could use the reminder to use this app more often!

The following post (slightly edited) was originally published on FEBRUARY 22, 2013.

We’ve all heard of charity events that involve running, walking or biking. You may have participated in a few. But did you know that you can participate in your own run / walk / bike for charity in your neighborhood?

Charity Miles is a free iPhone/Android social good fitness app that allows you to become a sponsored athlete and earn money for a cause. All you have to do is download the app, choose a charity to support, press “start” and then go on your run, walk or bike ride as usual.

The app tracks your distance and money earned. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile. When you are done exercising, you accept your sponsorship, spread the word via social media and Charity Miles sends you a note confirming your “good work.”

Great excuse / inspiration to get out and get moving, right?

You can donate your distance to a variety of United Nations Foundation campaigns including Girl Up, where your miles will help a teen girl in a developing country safely attend school, Nothing but Nets, where you will help protect a family from malaria, and Shot@Life, where your miles will help to provide life-saving vaccines to children around the world.

Charity Miles makes giving easy and rewards you (and your chosen cause) for getting out and moving. There’s really no reason not to download this app. As far as impact goes (and where the money comes from), I found this quote from Gene Gurkoff, the founder of Charity Miles, on the UN Foundation’ s blog:

“We launched Charity Miles last June with the belief that a few committed people, by working together, can change the world. Since then, more than 55,000 people have covered more than 600,000 miles to earn more than $130,000 for our charity partners, all courtesy of Charity Miles and our corporate sponsors. We are inspired every day by their enthusiasm, commitment and stories.”

While I am not a runner, I do live in a downtown area and walk a lot. Now that I know my walking can actually earn money for charity, I will be tracking my distances through Charity Miles.

Here’s a quick video that explains how Charity Miles works.

Download for Android:

Will you download the app? Are you a runner, walker or biker?

I originally wrote this post as part of the Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of Mom Bloggers for Social Good members who focus on maternal health, children, hunger, and women and girls.

Philanthropy Friday: O is for Opportunity

Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.

Disclosure: I received four bottles of wine to aid in the writing of this post. I may or may not have done a happy dance with the UPS man when they arrived. As per usual, all words and opinions expressed are my own.

o wines

Stacy Lill and her brother were the first of their family to go to college. When she graduated from University of Washington, she worked in corporate sales and marketing for 20 years. During that time, she was also heavily involved with philanthropy work through the Junior League.

As the wife of the owner of a top winery in Washington, DeLille Cellars, Stacy observed how charities would often ask for donations of wine. She would also throw client appreciation events with high end wines in the corporate world. She came up with the idea of creating a wine that gave back to the community. But she didn’t want it to be just another label at her husband’s winery that donated proceeds to charity. She wanted to create her own brand.

Stacy researched what it would take to create her wine that would also give back. She learned that 72% of wine is purchased by women and that the most popular wine women bought was chardonnay. From her research, she decided to create wine for women that also helped women. Working with so many causes over the years, Stacy chose to support education because she felt it is the foundation for everything. If she could provide education to young women who might not otherwise have the chance to go to college, what could they do?

O Wines was established in 2006 with a mission to fund college scholarships for low income, capable young women so they can achieve their greatest potential through education. Each purchase helps send young women to college through the O Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship program.

Since the introduction of the wines to the Pacific Northwest in 2008 followed by a nationwide launch in 2013, more than $300,000 has been raised to support 52 college scholarships. Beginning in 2013 each scholarship is $20,000 given in $5,000 increments annually over 4 years.  Most of the scholarship recipients are the first members of their families to attend college.

Over the phone, Stacy told me about Angel, the first recipient in the scholarship program. Angel had a very tough life and, like many of the scholarship recipients, had low income but high potential. Angel graduated with academic and leadership honors and is getting her master’s degree.

As for the wine, I can tell you it’s quite good. I’m a red wine drinker. I tend to prefer a nice full-bodied, dry wine. The red varietal didn’t disappoint. Stacy shared with me that her goal was to not only create a wine that gives back but that also has a flavor profile. I’d say she accomplished this goal. The wine is also quite affordable at $12 – $16 per bottle.

More on the red and white varietals:

OWN_Chard_NV_RGBOWN_Red_NV_RGBO Wines Chardonnay

  • O Wines 2011 Columbia Valley Chardonnay is a fresh and lively, lightly oaked style; its aromas of pear and baking spice pair well with grilled fish and mango salsa, and kale salad

O Wines Red Wine

  • O Wines 2010 Columbia Valley Red Blend is a delicious Washington fruit forward blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah; its aromas and flavors of blueberry jam, baking spice, cocoa and cherry, pair well with pizza, grilled burgers, or meat and veggie skewers

O Wines can be purchased at You can also request O Wines wherever you purchase your wine.

Are you a wine drinker? Red or white?

Philanthropy Friday: Pioneers for Change

Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.

This following article is a guest post from Alanna Ford


The world is full of pressing challenges that increasingly demand our attention.

From global hunger, to climate change, to inequitable education, there are so many places and ways in which to direct our efforts, it is hard to know where to begin.

If we are to create significant and sustainable change in our increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent global society, how do we nurture a culture of open-minded, pioneering ideas and innovation as a necessary means to bridging the gap?

How can we select the issues where our experience and skill sets will create the biggest impact? How do we know that the charities we support are the most effective with our money? How can we engage with the causes we care about beyond simply writing a check? And what are the new, innovative ways of approaching these age-old problems?

These are the questions the team and I from Adessy Associates were grappling with when we decided to launch a new fellowship program for world-changers. Pioneers for Change has been born out of a desire to gather together an international cohort of remarkable people to examine how they can create and progress their social impact; to creatively explore, problem solve and harness their energy and influence to make the world a better place.

Pioneers for Change is a 6-month fellowship that will kick off in November with a 2-day residential in London followed by 6 months of individual, virtual executive coaching and mentoring. The highly interactive program combines the latest thinking, dynamic dialogue, and storytelling from renowned expert contributors. The small cohort of selected fellows will gain new perspective; a network of brilliant, likeminded people; tangible tools; and insight from international leaders on the forefront of their fields. In essence, Pioneers for Change will act as a catalyst for change, by inspiring and empowering those who want to do more than just write a check, to help address the greatest issues of our time.

Pioneers for Change is currently accepting applications for fellows. If it sounds like a program you would like to be apart of, please reach out to me at to arrange a chat or request an application.


Alanna Ford works at the intersection of women’s empowerment, international development and social entrepreneurship. She’s lived in three countries in the last three years. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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