Philanthropy Friday (rewind): Celebrating 100 School Days with Kindness

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 100th day of school is right around the corner (assuming the polar vortex doesn’t mess with your school schedule too much). While this post from 2012 is particularly popular right now, I wanted to share a Philanthropy Friday post from last year about how my son’s elementary school is celebrating with 400 acts of kindness. I just got the notice that they are doing the same thing this year. This year, G gets to donate to the organization where we’ve been volunteering.

The school does a lot to get the kids involved with giving back and helping others. I share this post with the hope that it will inspire others to initiate similar projects in their schools. You can never start incorporating philanthropy into a child’s life too early.

The following post was originally published on FEBRUARY 1, 2013.


G’s 100 stickers project from kindergarten

If you have children in school, you are probably aware of the celebrations and projects that pop up around this time of year to commemorate the 100th day of school.

I still don’t quite get why the 100th day is such a big deal, but it seems like most elementary schools around the country do something. I know this from my Facebook newsfeed and the fact that my 100 School Days Project Ideas post from last year is the most popular on the blog right now.

In the past, G has had to collect 100 items and put them on a poster board and in a bag. This year, there’s a philanthropic twist to his 100th day of school, because they are celebrating the 100th day of school with 400 acts of kindness.

This year, G’s school is challenging its 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to come up with at least 100 donations for a specific local nonprofit. G and his fellow second graders were assigned the Coastal Humane Society, where we adopted Kona 11 years ago. The third graders are collecting items for the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program. The fourth graders have Tedford Housing, and the fifth graders are taking care of the Brunswick Teen Center.

The school sent home a flyer describing their goal of collecting 100 items from each class for the designated nonprofits.They have students working on charts to keep track of their donations and show how close they are to their goal. The flyer also listed the items each nonprofit was most in need of to make shopping easy.

G had fun picking out dog toys and treats to bring in to school. In fact, he bugged us from the moment he brought the flyer home about making the trip to the pet store. He was the same way when the school was rallying together to collect food items during the holiday season.

Considering some of the kids at school might benefit directly from these donations, I think it’s a wonderful twist on the usual 100 school days projects. It gets kids giving early and excited to do so.

Is your child participating in a 100 schools days project? Is there a way to incorporate giving into it?

Philanthropy Friday: Top 10 Most Engaging Philanthropy Posts of 2013

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.

Since this is the last Philanthropy Friday of the year, I thought it would be fun to reflect on the top philanthropy-related posts on this blog in 2013. When I searched for the posts with the most comments, it wasn’t surprising that some of my good friends and most favorite nonprofits came up. If you missed a few of these, I hope you will go back and read. They are some of my favorite posts as well!

top philanthropy posts

Following are the top 10 most engaging philanthropy posts on in 2013 (with #1 being the most engaging of all):

  1. Flush for Good: Celebrating World Toilet Day with Awareness and a Giveaway! Clean water for drinking and bathing is a very limited resource that we need to protect. I partnered with American Standard to celebrate World Toilet Day and gave away a $200 Lowe’s giftcard while American Standard donated 20 sanitary toilet pans to a community in need via BRAC USA and WaterAid.
  2. Saying Goodbye Saying goodbye to my first dog, Kona, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My October Giving Pledge donation was to the shelter from which we adopted him.
  3. Philanthropy Friday: Fresh Air: Open Your Heart and Your Home As my guest blogger for the day, Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life noted, “In the end, Fresh Air is so much more than a summer experience. If our Fresh Air child is ‘lucky’ for having this opportunity, then we are ‘lucky’ too.”
  4. Philanthropy Friday: Hello…Goodbye: Fostering Shelter Dogs Ilene from The Fierce Diva Guide to Life gives back through fostering dogs. “We are the bridge between the shelter and the permanent home for a dog, most of them narrowly escaping being euthanized at high kill facilities.”
  5. Philanthropy Friday: Harnessing the Power of Social Good Moms Founded by the amazing Jennifer James, Mom Bloggers for Social Good and the Global Team of 200 is an all volunteer effort, and its voices are being heard all around the world. (And I’m proud to be a member of both.)
  6. Wordless Wednesday: A Child’s Perspective Sometimes a photo is all you need to tell the story. This one is from View Finder, an organization created to help disadvantaged children discover self-expression, self-confidence and self-worth through photography. (You can read my post about View Finder on
  7. Philanthropy Friday: World Moms Blog World Moms Blog is a collaborative website that writes from over 20 countries on 6 continents about motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Plus Jen Burden is pretty awesome.
  8. Philanthropy Friday: Empowered By You Empowered By You is a new luxury lingerie brand created by the Seven Bar Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower women throughout the globe via microfinance. This is also the first Philanthropy Friday post that made me blush.
  9. The Power of Dance I’d hate to live in a world where music, dance, art and creativity isn’t a regular part of my life. For my Giving Pledge in June, I tried to give a little back to this community.
  10. Philanthropy Friday: Feeding Our Kids 7 Day a Week Feeding America’s BackPack Program helps children get nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to keep them fed on the weekends. G and I have a great time volunteering for our local backpack program.

As a bonus, I wanted to share two of my best pieces from 2013 not on this website:

Thanks for being along for the ride in 2013!

Philanthropy Friday: Simple Giving Lab

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.

A past blog post from Seth Godin has stuck in my head. Since it’s short, I included it below.

The lab or the factory (from Seth Godin’s blog – 6.22.13)

You work at one, or the other.

At the lab, the pressure is to keep searching for a breakthrough, a new way to do things. And it’s accepted that the cost of this insight is failure, finding out what doesn’t work on your way to figuring out what does. The lab doesn’t worry so much about exploiting all the value of what it produces–they’re too busy working on the next thing.

To work in the lab is to embrace the idea that what you’re working on might not work. Not to merely tolerate this feeling, but to seek it out.

The factory, on the other hand, prizes reliability and productivity. The factory wants no surprises, it wants what it did yesterday, but faster and cheaper.

Some charities are labs, in search of the new thing, while others are factories, grinding out what’s needed today. AT&T is a billing factory, in search of lower costs, while Bell Labs was the classic lab, in search of the insight that could change everything.

Hard, really hard, to do both simultaneously. Anyone who says failure is not an option has also ruled out innovation.

I work in the lab.

I chose the name Writing Lab for my business because I knew I wanted to focus on writing, but I wasn’t sure where it would take me. I enjoy the journey, whether I am writing websites, articles or consulting with nonprofits and entrepreneurs.

Before heading to the Social Good Summit, I created a new lab. It’s called the Simple Giving Lab.


I started Simple Giving Lab because I felt the need for a bigger platform for my philanthropy work. The more I write about philanthropy, what it means to give back and how simple it is to make a difference, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I want to share.

I am continually thankful and encouraged by all of the comments and shares I get from my posts relating to giving back. I want to inspire more action.

Today I invite you to take a look at my new creation, Simple Giving Lab. My mission is simple: To inspire others to give back every single day. 

For now, Simple Giving Lab is a Tumblr blog where I share inspiration for everyday giving – quotes, photos, links to articles, videos and more. But Simple Giving Lab isn’t just about me sharing inspiring stories about giving back. It’s also a platform for you to share your own inspiration. Take a the post that Alexa at No Holding Back submitted or the one from TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles.

I continually see blog posts, videos and other work from social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, NGOs, bloggers and others that deserve to be shared. I want you to share your gems with me and the Simple Giving Lab community that I hope to create and grow.

In the future, I suspect this creation will be much more than just a website. I’ve got some things I’m working on in the lab. We’ll see where those things take me.

Will come along for the ride and experiment with me?

Join the Simple Giving Lab Community:

this post was also published on

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