Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Running Wild.

My post today was (and partly still is) going to be about my little fundraiser that I put together for a local food pantry and outreach center using FirstGiving.org. This is a great fundraising tool so click on my fundraising page at: http://www.firstgiving.com/swfloutreach or my FirstGiving.org button on the left and check it out. If you feel like making a donation to a wonderful cause, that's cool too. The Southwest Florida Outreach Center provides emergency help in the form of food, clothing, rent, utility, & medical bill assistance to hundreds of people each week. They also operate an addiction recovery program called the House of Hope. This is a small, faith-based operation that works diligently and deals with individuals and families in crisis on a daily basis in Fort Myers, Fl, an area hit especially hard with the housing and economic downturn. I have partnered this great cause of fighting hunger, homelessness, & substance abuse with my recent challenge to myself of running the Tampa Bay Gasparilla Marathon on March 1st. So far we have raised $315 on the way to a goal of $500 that will be spent on food for the food pantry. Check out their good works at http://southwestfloridaoutreachministry.blogspot.com/.

Well, I came up with this idea and now I'm a little embarrassed. Yesterday I saw the headline for another marathon. This marathon is called The Sahara Marathon. Yeah, A MARATHON ACROSS THE SAHARA DESERT! Suddenly, jogging through the beautiful city of Tampa along gulf coast beaches, savoring the nice ocean breeze doesn't sound quite as challenging as it used too...

This Sahara Marathon is an extraordinary event. Not just because it is a 26.2 mile run across the desert either. Insane people-I mean runners-from around the world participate. The event is organized within the saharwi refugee camps. These people have been touched by tragedy and unfair treatment for 30 years as victims of brutal repression and little acknowledgement from the international community. The event aims to bring solidarity to the people in hopes that freedom and sovereignty will follow. Capturing the world's attention and focusing it not just on a crazy race, but on the oppression of the sahawari people and their desire to decide their future through a free democratic referendum is a central goal of this running event. Several improvement projects within the refugee camps are also supported through this marathon. So this isn't a bad little fundraiser either. Definitely adding it to my to-do list. This way I can feel less embarrassed. Learn more at http://www.saharamarathon.org/.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Evolve or Die.

Evolve or Die. Ah yes, this quote-which of course I can take no credit for-touches many aspects of life and none more than my blog. After a year of working as a freelance grant writer and non-profit consultant during one of the worst years of economic turmoil the United States has ever encountered, I learned a few things. For instance, finding a forgotten, crumpled up $1 bill in an old jean's pocket can really put a smile on a girl's face. I digress. As a result, my work took many twists and turns and ups and downs too. I learned once and for all that many working together is the key to lasting success. Lao Tzu knew this a long time ago, "Succeeding is the coming together of all that is beautiful. Furtherance is the agreement of all that is just." He must be astounded that something so full of common sense is still so often overlooked.

Fortunately, the opportunities for partnership and collaboration through social networking are more abundant than ever increasing a collective strength and optimism. So part of my evolution is making technology more useful to my clients. I will continue to provide grant writing and all the other non-profit assistance services as before but with an additional focus on connecting and marketing their organizations through means such as blogs, websites, twitter, and other social networking sites. My blog will still provide non-profit information but also emphasize making connections and establishing collaborations. I believe the coming together of individuals and organizations all over the world to address a common cause can be quite effective-and beautiful.