Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bicycle Race (Queen)

Queen's classic. And they have so many.

Check out what the guys at are doing. Here's their mission: Quantum Shift TV is a 21st Century storyteller renewing the cultural values of community, care and interconnectedness through the use of leading edge technology and citizen journalism. Here's the kind of stories you'll see there - ones of:
  • Human cooperation and survival

  • Solutions to combat global warming
  • The positive impact of aid workers around the world

  • Perspectives and contributions of philanthropists
  • Corporate social responsibility progress

  • Environmental improvements and breakthroughs

  • And all other stories about those making a positive difference on this planet.
A great companion to what we are trying to do at GlobalGiving...and in the spirit of full disclosure, I just found them today when my Google Alerts let me know that they had posted this cool video about GlobalGiving gift cards as an alternative to "stuff:"

The second part of the video is about Google + Specialized's "Innovate or Die" contest. Also very cool. They are giving away money and bikes to pedal-generated ideas for good.

Here's a cool GG project that links the two pieces of this story together:
Pedal-Generated Light in Nepal

If only Freddie were around for this twist on the bicycle...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Traffic Jam (James Taylor)

"Well I left my job about five o'clock
It took 15 minutes to go three blocks
Just in time to stand in line
With the freeway lookin like a parking lot" - JT

They say that Washington DC has the 3rd worst traffic in the US, behind LA and SF. A recent trip to LA convinced me that this is one of those cases where the gap between first and second place is something like the gap in ideology between George Bush and Dennis Kucinich. The chart to the left sort of supports that. This takes the "winner takes all" concept to a new level. Great thing to win, eh? We humans can be bloody idiots.

Here's how it played out during this ~36 hr trip to LA:
Sleeping: 11 hours in two nights
PSA'ing: 8 hours in one night (I'll explain)
Driving: 5.5 hrs in four sessions, 98% on the freeways

That's 330 minutes of driving.
To go about 110 miles.
This equates to an average speed of 20 MPH.
And I summon my college math and stats classes to point out that the average, in this case, is not the truly relevant measure - as it was either 5-10 MPH or 65 MPH. Some distribution curve that would be.

Was it worth it? YES.

1. Because I got to spend a little bit of time with my goddaughters. AND I had the chance to see my friend Kate Bean's five year dream-turned-into-reality in action at the Aveson Charter School. What a site.


2. Because I had the unique experience of watching the filming of a TV commercial. So Hollywood. :) Our (GlobalGiving's) pro-bono ad agency Leo Burnett has made a minor miracle happen, and we are creating a super high production-value 30 second PSA....which is being directed by an award winning director named Jim Gartner. So there I was with my colleague Joan, and our Burnett team, as the filming took place between 6pm and 2am Friday night. It's gonna be very cool.

But Lord that traffic sucked.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)

This song came out in 1983, when I was in my final year of college. I wouldn't dare post a picture of what I looked like then. My goodness.

But the song was an immediate anthem to the free spiritedness of girls and young women everywhere. Cyndi Lauper was such a quirky thing herself, but the song just made you want to sing along.

I was reminded of this song today when I received the following note from my friend Eli who runs the Maine's Women's Fund:
"Your donation to our Evening to Honor Maine Women and Girls enabled 5 girls -- who wouldn’t otherwise be able – to attend the event. These girls are participants in A Company of Girls – an after school program for disadvantaged girls in the greater Portland area that uses theatre and the arts to explore self-identity and promote healthy development and self-esteem, a grantee of MWF.
Our photographer managed to
get these two shots which I thought you would get a kick out of."

Eli is shaking things up at the Maine Women's Fund, and her board seems psyched about it. I had the honor of meeting with them earlier this fall. Maine is often viewed as a place "up there" where everyone is squeaky and healthy and white and doing just fine. But it's a complicated place. It's big and it's geographically, racially and ethnically diverse, and women there - just like in virtually every state or major metropolitan area - struggle disproportionately. Eli and her team - and other great people in Maine - are hell-bent to change that.

These girls are the future of Maine. Right now they need a decent education, a safe place to call home, good role models and guidance about how to make good choices. In a few years they will want to have decent jobs, even safer places to live, affordable health care, and maybe a few bucks in their pockets.
Oh, and they will still just wanna have fun.

Cindy Lauper - Gir...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Independent Woman (Destiny's Child)

Hit play to listen/watch:

I spent a few hours yesterday in Prince George's County Maryland, helping to facilitate a "Voice and Vision" session for the Washington Area Women's Foundation. Although I've been on the Board for 7 years, I have been focused on pretty much everything except our programmatic work in an intense way. Don't get me wrong, I can recite the stats and progress and impact and all that good stuff. DC Metro is a "tale of two cities:"

- Highest paid women in America, most highly educated women in America, 4th fastest growing city for women entrepreneurs, and for God's sake we've got a woman likely to be a presidential candidate who lives in our midst.

BUT, we've also got

- The highest rate in the country of new incidences of HIV in women, and 1 in 3 kids lives in poverty - more than 75% with single women headed households.

See, I didn't even have to check my notes to lay that out.

But yesterday, instead of talking about it conceptually, I was with some women in Prince George's County who, themselves, have come through the fire and are now doing amazing work to help lift struggling women out of poverty, away from destructive behaviors and relationships, and to independence.

Deborah Avens runs a non-profit called Virtuous Enterprises. Kim Rhim runs one called Training Source. These women are doing God's work for sure - against a fair number of odds and in an area that is somewhat forgotten in a Metropolitan area where many people don't really know the geography and demographics of their hometown. Prince George's County is the ultimate tale of two counties. While folks there don't like to hear it said this way, these women - and others who were there - most definitely framed up the "inside the beltway" vs. "outside the beltway" dynamics of this county - which is the most affluent minority-majority (aka majority black) "municipality" in the world.

I fell lucky and proud to work with the Women's Foundation and with women like Deborah and Kim - they inspire me to keep investing in the future of independence - financial and otherwise - for women in our community.