Philanthropy Friday: Talking #Inequality for #BAD2014

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.

Note: Yes, I realize I am publishing my Philanthropy Friday post on a Thursday. But it’s Blog Action Day, so I moved Friday up. If only we could do that in real life.
bad2014Blog Action Day is an online global event that has taken place on October 16 since 2007. Each year, bloggers around the world unite by posting about one issue on the same day in order to raise awareness and trigger a positive global discussion. The issue is different each year. Last year the topic was Human Rights. I participated in #BAD2013 and shared human rights stories from a great nonprofit partner, Opportunity International.

Blogs from 111 countries are taking part in Blog Action Day this year with the topic of Inequality.

I suspect the term inequality brings up different things for different people depending on age, gender, race. ethnicity, background and other defining qualities we have as human beings on this planet. For me, the word inequality brings to mind the wage gap between men and women in the United States. While I am certainly thankful to have the opportunity to work for myself and lead a comfortable life on my own terms, it boggles my mind that women in this country still don’t earn equal pay.

Oxfam International, a Blog Action Day partner, tweeted this eye-opening graph that shows women won’t see equal pay until the year 2075. (I wish that were a typo.)

Looking on Twitter, there is a lot of discussion around income inequality in general. The wealth gap exists in the United States and around the globe. From Oxfam International’s website:

Earlier this year, Oxfam revealed that 85 people have as much wealth as half of the people on the planet combined. This growing gap between the rich and the rest is preventing millions of people from lifting themselves out of poverty. But extreme inequality is not inevitable – it is the result of years of deliberate policies and rules that have been rigged in favour of the few. We know that these rules can be changed to benefit everyone, and that together, we can tackle inequality.

In my travels to education myself on the topic of inequality I also found the following clip from the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver show. John Oliver discusses America’s growing wealth gap and why it may be a problem in the future. It’s a longer video to watch, but I found it informative and humorous.

I believe one of the simplest ways to give back is to engage in conversations like this and use our voice to share our unique ideas, thoughts and beliefs. Or at least share information that can help us form opinions and solutions.

What does inequality mean to you? How should it be addressed locally and/or globally?

Philanthropy Friday: Help Edesia #Nourishthefuture

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.


Navyn Salem, a mother of four in Rhode Island, has a deep and unwavering commitment to a lofty goal of ending childhood malnutritionThis story, as reported by Anderson Cooper, was Navyn’s inspiration to take action back in 2008. She saw the need to increase access to Ready-to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs) like Plumpy’Nut® in developing countries, while building on the success of these peanut-based solutions to reach more of the under-served, malnourished populations.

After building a factory in Tanzania and working with the Tanzanian government to help develop national guidelines for the use and distribution of RUTFs, Navyn saw an opportunity to focus her efforts in Rhode Island, where she could create jobs in her home state and also produce ready-to-use food (RUF) for countries that did not have the capacity. With the ease of access to suppliers and transportation in the United States, Navyn could also more readily broaden product offerings beyond treatment for children with acute malnutrition to prevention of stunting, which affects four times as many children around the world.

Edesia, a nonprofit organization based in Providence, was started by Navyn in 2009. The first sachet of Plumpy’Nut® came off the line in 2010. Edesia has reached over 2 million malnourished children in 40 countries since March of 2010. You can read Navyn’s full story on Edesia’s website.


More on the problem of malnutrition:

  • According to UNICEF, there are at least 51 million children in our world under the age of five suffering from acute malnutrition, a condition directly responsible for at least 1 million young child deaths each year.
  • Stunting occurs in children who have access to food but for whom nutrition and hygiene are inadequate; 165 million children are stunted and will experience lifelong cognitive and physical deficits that cannot be overcome. The irreversible stunting that occurs in children as a result of prolonged under nutrition, causes children to underperform in school and have lifelong health problems, furthering perpetuating economic loss and the cycle of poverty for families, communities, and countries.
  • Malnutrition contributes to an estimated 45% of all child deaths as it makes a child more susceptible to other life threatening diseases and illnesses. Malnourished children are 9 times more likely to die from diarrhea and 6 times more likely to die from pneumonia.
  • Malnutrition is called the silent killer because often it goes unnoticed until it is too late.
  • The economic toll of malnutrition costs countries millions of dollars each year.
  • Proper nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life – from conception to two years of age – is critical to a child’s healthy development and future productivity in society.

Edesia’s products help treat and prevent various forms of malnutrition. Due to increased extreme weather patterns and a rise in conflict zones around the world, the demand for Plumpy’Nut has risen dramatically over the past few years. They are now are in the process of building a larger factory to expand their ability to treat malnourished children in crisis scenarios, from 600,000 a year to 2,000,000 a year.

Edesia needs the support of the community to help raise the final $3 million dollars that it needs to complete the new facility and reach more malnourished children who need their help to survive and thrive. It costs just $50 for a case of Plumpy’Nut or full treatment to save the life of a child. You can make a donation here. Every bit helps.

You can also help spread the word via Twitter. Here are some suggested Tweets:

  • With your help @edesiaglobal can treat more children for #malnutrition #Nourishthefuture
  • Babies go from #malnourished to health in just 7 weeks w/ Plumpy’Nut. Help @edesiaglobal #Nourishthefuture
  • #malnutrition contributes to the death of approx. 3.1 million children yearly. Let’s change that. #Nourishthefuture
  • The #RhodeIsland #Non-Profit @edesiaglobal has global impact. Help us #Nourishthefuture of even more children.

Will you join the movement to #Nourishthefuture?

Philanthropy Friday: Happy World Smile Day!

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.


Happy World Smile Day to you!

World Smile Day is a holiday started by the creator of the smiley face, Harvey Ball. Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts came up with the iconic symbol of happiness in 1963. Out of concern for the over-commercialization of his creation, he wanted to have one day where the smiley face “knows no politics, no geography and no religion.”

Today is the big day.

So how can you celebrate? It’s easy. Simply do an act of kindness and help one person smile. I think we all know how powerful a simple smile from a stranger can be.

Have you ever purposely smiled at everyone you have come across while walking down the road? I have. It’s fun to see people’s reactions. (And kind of sad that people don’t expect smiles from random people on the street.)

A smile can go a long way. It can lift someone up that may be having a bad day. It can show someone they are not alone. It can restore humanity back into our everyday lives. (Perhaps you’ll even become a part of someone’s storyline because of a smile at the right moment.)

If you are looking for a little inspiration, check out these simple acts of giving that will make people smile, read about what happened when I smiled for 30 days straight, or watch this Smiley Face Song video.

How will you celebrate World Smile Day?

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