Philanthropy Friday: Running for Boston

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.

The following article is a guest post from Lauren Pedigo. Lauren and I connected via Being from the Boston area and having written about and donated to The One Fund in the past, I welcomed her post and her fundraising efforts. Good luck, Lauren!

Boston has given me my first job, my first apartment, my first blizzard, new friends, my first lobstah roll and more New England adventures than I can count. As a Midwest transplant, I’ve come to love to this city and the people who bring it life.

Here I am after surviving my first blizzard!

Here I am after surviving my first blizzard!

I’m the kind of person who finds something I love and then really “dig in” for the long haul. I’ve worn the same brand of running shoes since seventh grade. I avoided applying for college because I couldn’t imagine college being better than high school. I chose a major before freshman year and four years later graduated with that degree.

Upon graduation from Butler University in Indianapolis, I set my sights on a new adventure in Boston. In the fifteenth months, I’ve met people who will be lifelong friends and mentors. It’s taken me by surprise how quickly this vibrant city found its way into my heart.

Erica was one of my first friends I met after I moved here and she ran the Boston Marathon last year.

Erica and I at the Somerville Jingle Bell Run in December 2012.

Erica and I at the Somerville Jingle Bell Run in December 2012.

Erica, her parents, my roommate and a handful of friends were on Boylston Street cheering for the thousands of people accomplishing their dreams.

Sitting behind a computer screen at work, I watched the tragic events unfold on Twitter. Fear and helplessness inundated my mind immediately. In a sleepy Midwestern town like my own tragedies happen on television, not in real life. My co-workers and I split a cab home and the longer we drove, the more nauseous I felt. I hadn’t heard from any of them. Phone lines were jammed and news outlets had no verified information. Forty-five minutes later, my roommate’s text finally came and I learned they were all safe. Unfortunately, that wasn’t reality for so many others.

In the days and weeks following, I received an outpouring of love from family and friends, just for living here. It opened my heart to feeling loved even from thousands of miles away. I attended vigils, prayer nights and fundraisers to support the victims. I felt something unexplainably strong for the people of this beautiful city that welcomed me with open arms just months before.

I attended a candlelight vigil for the victims in Boston Common.

I attended a candlelight vigil for the victims in Boston Common.

I’m truly honored to spend the next few months giving generously to the people whose lives were changed forever on April 15, 2013.  I hope to bring a glimmer of hope and love to the people of this city. I’m raising $10,000 for One Fund Boston, the nonprofit that raises money for the victims and families of the 2013 Boston Marathon. This project will be funded by the generosity of people just like you. You can join me in making a difference here.

Lauren Pedigo


Lauren Pedigo is a Midwest transplant working, living and exploring in Boston. She’s a long-time journal keeper, runner and adventurer. In 2014, she’s running the Boston Marathon and raising $10,000 for The One Fund. You can find her blogging here.


Trick-or-Treat Like You Care

trick-or-treat for unicefI am elated to announce that I am part of the just launched Global Team of 200! The Global Team of 200 is a highly specialized group of Mom Bloggers for Social Good members who focus on maternal health, children, hunger, and women and girls. Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

This is my first post for the Global Team of 200. You’ll see about 2 posts per month on the above topics. FMI, visit the website, follow on Twitter or like on Facebook.

Do you remember hearing about trick-or-treating for UNICEF when you were little? Maybe you took the collection boxes around when you went door to door on Halloween night.

I never participated, but I definitely heard about the program.

Did you know that the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program is still going strong in its 62nd year?

Crazy, right? But kids and adults can raise money to provide children in 190 countries and territories with much-needed health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

More than $167 million has been raised since Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF was started.

Today, UNICEF offers 6 fun choices of collection boxes. There’s a pumpkin, witch, black cat and more. And they’re even hosting their first-ever Create-a-Character contest. A winning design from each age category (children ages 4-8, 9-12, and 13 years and older) will be chosen and announced on Halloween. (You have until the 26th to submit your winning design.)

I love the idea of adding a philanthropic piece to Halloween. At my house, we always end up with way too much candy that we never eat. We’re not all that big on candy in the first place, and I end up throwing a lot of it in the trash. (It always amazes me the kind of crap that people actually hand out on Halloween.)

Why not request a collection box or two and help kids in developing countries who don’t get to go trick-or-treating?

Philanthropy Friday: The Power of Ellie

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.

About a month ago, I received a Facebook message from a friend asking me to take a look at a flyer for an event she was coordinating. It was a fundraiser in memory of a little girl named Ellie who lost her battle with cancer far too early. Sandy, my friend, was looking for some feedback on the flyer.

In her message, she mentioned how excited she was about the generosity of the local businesses she was contacting about donating goods and services for the event and the willingness of her fellow moms who offered to help.

Sandy tells me that she has wanted to do something for Ellie’s Charitable Fund for a while but wasn’t quite sure what to do. Ellie and Sandy’s daughter, Laina, were best friends since they were two. They played together and danced together and did all the things that little girls that age did together.

When Ellie got sick, Laina never questioned anything or even noticed anything different about her friend. She didn’t ask why Ellie lost her hair, why she had tubes coming out of her chest, or why she got so tired during dance that she often had to be carried by her teachers.

It wasn’t until Ellie died that Laina even comprehended her best friend had been sick. And how do you even explain something like that to a child so young?

Ellie was 5 when she died.

Sandy decided to put together a fundraiser for two reasons – out of sheer compassion for Ellie’s mom, Beth, and so that Laina will never forget Ellie.

The event is an age-appropriate “dolly and me” tea party and will benefit the Power of Elle. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their fancy tea party clothes and bring a favorite doll. There are some pretty cool raffle items up for grabs as well.

Oh, about that flyer. Sandy didn’t even need it. The event sold out in less than a day through the Facebook event she created. It’s not until September, and she filled up the 60 person seating capacity and even has a waiting list in case people have to cancel last minute. If it’s a success – and I can’t imagine it won’t be with Sandy running it – she’s hoping it will be an annual event.

Generosity. Community. Support. Love. Compassion. Honor. Whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty darn great.

Ellie is certainly smiling down upon us all.

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