Donations as Gifts

For mother’s day, my husband, brother, sister-in-law & I paid for the cost of a whole year of education (tuition, books, supplies) for a young refugee girl, from places like Afghanistan, Lebanon, or the Congo.

It’s not too late, if you want to donate in your mom’s name to Rescue.org, for things like a year of education, dignity kits, school clothes, training women to run small businesses, or help them get safe passage to escape a bad situation.

Check out the International Rescue Committee at rescue.org for more information.

My mom was a 35-year-long career teacher, and believes very strongly in helping the less fortunate. She is involved in an educator-specific adult sorority that she convinced to start a scholarship program for young ladies who want to go to college to become teachers.

This was the perfect gift for her, and she almost cried.


My husband and I got married in January 2016, and I knew when I started planning that I didn’t want to give out expensive little favors that most people would ignore.

Instead, my husband and I each chose a charity that we felt passionate about, and we chose to make donations to those two charities, in lieu of favors.

Geoff picked the Electronic Frontier Foundation and I chose the Brooklyn Public Library. These were really perfect for us. The EFF is the leading nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation, and BPL is home to thousands of my best friends…books!

Here are the cards we had at each person’s place:

Made through Vistaprint.com

It went over well, and has become a tradition, that we now make those same donations to those two organizations every year.


Every summer, I make my husband and I go through our closets and donate our clothing. We always take it to Salvation Army, never Goodwill.

We don’t ever donate to Susan G. Komen Foundation, and instead prefer St. Jude’s Hospital or the American Cancer Society.

It’s super important to me to donate to causes I care about, if we can afford to do so. Every bit helps, after all, even $5 is $5 more than they had before.

I passionately support causes like Planned Parenthood and the MS Society, through my brother-in-law, Keith, who is an amazing triathlete and rides in their MS Bike New York City fundraiser every year.


Researching charities is important. When the Komen debacle happened a few years ago, I didn’t even realize that only pennies on the dollar was going to research, and I learned Goodwill gives VERY little to actually helping people!

Knowing that I’m supporting worthy causes is incredibly important to me, and I am so excited to have found a new one in IRC.


I know some people may think that having a donation made “in their name” or “in their honor” is silly or not a “real” gift.

I don’t feel that way. I find it to be incredibly gratifying, knowing that someone out there is getting help they desperately need, as opposed to me, who does not need another new T-shirt right now.

I’m also so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by amazing friends and family who also want to help the less fortunate, and give to good causes who are trying to change the world.

I think that’s why we are seeing an uprising of socially conscious businesses, created by young people who are trying to change the world.

Like Dr. Seuss said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

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