Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brussel Sprouts and TisBest

The August 2012 issue of ‘Wired’ magazine has a fascinating article about a new restaurant in Palo Alto, California. It’s called Lyfe Kitchen. Lyfe is actually an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday. The restaurant is committed to healthy, organic ingredients and sustainable farming and restaurant practices.  Lyfe Kitchen will have no butter, no cream, no white flour, no white sugar, no GMOs, no high fructose corn syrup, no additives, no trans fats. And yet somehow, there will be plenty of burgers and beer. And lots and lots of Brussels sprouts.

It’s not unusual to find a trendy restaurant in Palo Alto that’s committed to healthy, organic ingredients and sustainability. What’s unusual is to find a fast food restaurant committed to those things.

And that’s what makes Lyfe Kitchen unique. It’s owned and operated by ex-McDonald’s executives, including Mike Roberts, McDonald’s former president and CEO. He’s the guy who brought Apple Dippers to Happy Meals.  (According to the article, McDonald’s is now the nation’s largest seller of apples.)

His goal for Lyfe Kitchen is merely to revolutionize fast food. “There are 80 million people who have become much more aware of the food they eat,” Roberts said. “And that’s going to continue as far out as we can see.”
Green drink from Lyfe Restaurant
He wants to open hundreds of locations in the next five years. It’s a huge task, but Roberts is a big dreamer.

So why am I so excited about healthy fast food? I’m not, particularly. What I am excited about is Roberts’ dream to stimulate change that helps make a better world. What I get excited about is getting people to think and act just a little differently that results in more “good.” That’s what I believe we’re doing here at TisBest.  Our Charity Gift Cards are a fairly radical approach to gift-giving. But they require only a minor change in behavior to create a significant change in the world around us.

A growing number of individuals and businesses seem to agree.  Like Roberts, TisBest is just seeing the beginning and it’s going to continue as far out as we can see. That’s pretty exciting. And I think it’s good for everybody.

Friday, December 2, 2011

TisBest Profiles: Kristie Tanner of HSUS

TisBest Profiles: Kristie Tanner, Account Manager of Business Development and Corporate Relations at The Humane Society of the United States

Relationship to TisBest: The Humane Society of the United States is one of the organizations that TisBest represents and to date they have received more than $24,000 as a result of our partnership.

If you had to describe the core of your organization in a Tweet what would it say?
Here at The HSUS (@HumaneSociety) we’re celebrating animals and confronting cruelty… all day, every day!

What anecdote do you draw on when you need inspiration on a particularly difficult day?
Recently I was in Gainesville, Florida helping our Animal Rescue Team care for approximately 700 cats that were rescued from an alleged cruelty case. The days were long and exhausting and at times I felt a bit overwhelmed thinking about each of them needing a forever home, but knowing that I was helping change their lives gave me the energy to keep on going. That week I kept thinking about ‘the starfish story.’ A boy was walking along the beach throwing starfish back into the ocean before they died. A man came along and said to the little boy, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference.” The boy picked another one up and threw it into the water and said, “but I made a difference for that one.” Our work for animals matters and the bigger our voice, the more we can save.

One quote - famous or not - that you think of frequently?
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.” – Rev. Dr. Albert Schweitzer  At times, it’s hard not to want to turn a blind eye to the egregious cruelty animals suffer around the world, but we do nothing to help the cause when we don’t educate ourselves and take a stand for animals.

If you were given one superpower AND one wish to help your organization, what would they be and why?
If I were given a superpower to help The Humane Society of the United States, I would arm every person with behind-the-scenes knowledge of what truly goes on in factory farms, puppy mills, the fur trade, and animal research facilities. I truly believe if everyone knew the way animals are treated for food, clothing, research, or before they become a family pet, their buying decisions would be very different. I don’t think people purposely support these practices; I think they’re just unaware of the cruelty behind-the-scenes. My wish would be that more people would get involved with The Humane Society of the United States. Purchasing TisBest gift cards to benefit The Humane Society of the United States is just one easy way people can help. Every little bit counts. It adds up and allows us to accomplish more of our goals. Without your support, we can’t do as much as we need to do to celebrate all animals and confront cruelty. In addition to monetary support, we’re always looking for volunteers to help us in the field.

Learn more here:
The Humane Society of the United States is America’s mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation and neglect, as well as the most trusted voice extolling the human-animal bond.
A short video about HSUS
A summary of animal welfare issues

Friday, November 25, 2011

TisBest Profiles: Susan Messina of NHF

TisBest Profiles: Susan Messina, Director of Communications and Special
Projects at National Hospice Foundation

Relationship to TisBest: National Hospice Foundation is one of the organizations that TisBest represents and to date they have received more than $7,000 as a result of our partnership. 

If you had to describe the core of your organization in a Tweet what would it say?
Hospice helps people live fully until the end and then die at peace and in comfort. NHF works nationally to support that mission.

What anecdote do you draw on when you need inspiration on a particularly difficult day?
Lots of people leave money to charity in their wills but there was something extra special about the legacy that one woman left to the National Hospice Foundation. You see, while she was facing the end of her life with the support of her local hospice she knew she wanted to give something back in honor of the incredible care she was receiving from her hospice team. She changed her will to include hospice. She knew, as she was making that change, that she had only a small time left to live. To think that she spent part of her last months on the administrative details necessary to leave a bequest speaks volumes about how important her hospice care was to her.  I contrast that with another woman. She is still very much alive; she is a member of our Legacy Society, which means she has put us in her will. Her explanation for her bequest is very different. She doesn’t even know anyone who has had hospice care! But she knows what it is and looking ahead, as a single woman with no children, she is very glad to know hospice will be there for her when she needs care at the end of her life. She wanted to make sure to make one last donation to NHF after she passes away.  These two women for me embody what we are about: creating opportunities for people across the country to support hospice care, the best quality care at the end of life.

One quote - famous or not - that you  think of frequently and why you
like it?
“There’s a world of pain out there.”  This is a quote I once I heard from a funeral director at a funeral director’s conference. That sounds depressing, but to me it’s just true. There’s a lot of pain out there in the world, and it’s our job as humans to try to diminish it, or give others the tools to cope with it. Hospice does both.

If you were given one superpower AND one wish to help your organization, what would they be and why?
My superpower would be super speed. With the ability to zoom on my own two feet from city to city, I would become an icon for runners. My goal would be to encourage runners to participate in our athletic fundraising program, Run to Remember. Through this program people can raise money for hospice while memorializing someone they loved. Right now Run to Remember is relatively small; we don’t yet have the brand recognition of some other major fundraising efforts. However, with my superpower I would be easily able to draw attention to it and encourage hundreds of thousands of hospice supporters to participate and raise millions of dollars for our work to make high-quality hospice care accessible to all who need it.  I wish that I could shatter myths about hospice as easily as I could shatter a pane of glass. One myth is that hospice means "giving up" and so patients and families are sometimes reluctant to participate, even though hospice care could improve their lives a great deal. Another myth is that hospice is only for the person with the illness, which is not true; family members also benefit tremendously from having the hospice team join in the care. Hospice is about living life as fully as possible until the end and relieving the burdens on family caregivers so they can be as emotionally present as possible to the dying person. NHF works to educate people about the power of hospice care to transform the end-of-life experience.

Learn more here:
National Hospice Foundation
Run to Remember
“Why I give”

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Giving Back to the World by TisBest Intern, Travis Woo

Hi, my name is Travis and I’m interning with TisBest Philanthropy to help make the world a better place. Let me introduce myself by telling you about what giving means to me.

In my experience I’ve found that many people give to what is close to them. I’ve seen parents support causes that help children, pet owners give to causes that help animals, and those near to someone who suffers from a disease support disease research and prevention. I believe that everyone, young or old, rich or poor has a cause that is close to them.

Right now I give time through interning at TisBest, and I try my hardest to give by first and foremost being a role model.

I believe that if I dream, work hard, and achieve, I can use my voice to inspire others. I can inspire them to follow me, to see what is possible, and to follow their own dreams. You don’t need to be rich or over a certain age to give- you can give with time or money.

I’ve thought about what I would do if I woke up tomorrow with a billion dollars. What would you do? I wouldn’t abandon my own dreams or stop working hard or stop achieving. But I would donate what money I could to help stop problems before they start: keep teenagers in school by reaching and teaching them when they are children. Community centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, and so on, keep children focused on school, music, and team sports. These causes are close to me right now and need financial support and the help of volunteers.

People can use our help both on the other side of the world and right in front of us. What is close to you?

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Day of Service at YouthCare

On Tuesday, the TisBest staff participated in a day of service.  We planned, purchased, and prepared lunch at the Orion Center.  The Orion Center is run by YouthCare, a Seattle organization that helps transition homeless kids off the streets and into school, jobs, and success.  YouthCare is our newest charity partner, and the more we learn about them the more we admire their work.  

Our staff fixed burritos and brownies for 40-60 teenagers.  It was a big job for a group that usually spends their work days on computers or in meetings, but the challenge was incredibly rewarding!  Here are some photos of us hard at work in the kitchen.
AeJung, Social Media & Marketing Intern,
creates a brownie plan-of-attack.

Janice, Social Media & Marketing Intern,
displaying brownie follow-through.
Executive Director Jon and Charity Relations Director Chad
in some fine-looking aprons.
Special Projects Manager Tegan, in her temporary capacity
as Manager of Kitchen Shouting.
We felt great about spending an afternoon for such
an amazing cause, and a truly worthy organization!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Five Ways to Teach Children About Giving

Teaching children about giving is essential to the well-being of society.  After all, they’re not going to be kids forever!  Here are five ways you can teach children how important, fun and easy philanthropy can be.

Volunteering.  You don’t have to go through a charity to volunteer your time.  Encourage your children to imagine: who in your town could use a cheerful visit? What problems can they identify that you can find something small to do to help?  This can be as simple as planting a tree, picking up litter, or making pictures and crafts to bring to folks at a retirement home.

Most kids adore animals, and animal shelters generally need a lot of help. Unfortunately, many animal shelters require volunteers to be at least 18 years of age, so playing with the cats and dogs might not be an option.  But there are other ways to help.  When your child’s birthday approaches, have a conversation with them about their love for animals.  Discuss whether they would be willing to share birthday presents with the animals at the shelter.  If they like the idea, they can request that their friends bring supplies to donate to the local animal shelter instead of or addition to birthday gifts.  Up for a challenge?  Consider becoming an animal rescue foster parent.  Many animal shelters have litters of kittens and puppies that need temporary homes until they’re old enough to be adopted.  This is a great way for your kids to experience the joy and excitement of living with baby animals, without contributing to pet overpopulation.

Fundraising is FUN!  Ah, the old lemonade stand! Kids love doing it, so why not harness their enthusiasm and help others? Talk to your children about what charities and issues interest them and agree to donate the proceeds. Not only will children learn how good it feels to give, but they might gain some valuable business skills as well. There are dozens of other kid-friendly fundraising ideas.  

Read On.  Reading is a great way to spend quality time with your child as well as teach them valuable lessons. Pick out some stories that emphasize the invaluable rewards of giving, or read about a cause that you and your child are interested in. Some classic books about giving include The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.  If your little one is a green kid, here’s a big list of story books about the environment.

Look and Learn.  Learning doesn’t always have to be limited to books – the internet is a great resource! Talk to your child about what interests them and browse through various charities and organizations together to see what organization he or she would like to help. This is also a great time to give your child a Charity Gift Card “just for fun”—you can spend the time with them comparing charities and causes, and they get to pick who gets the donation.

Donate!  Donations don’t always have to be money—gently-used toys, books, and clothing can be meaningful donations.  If your children are like most kids, they might not like it at first. But getting children used to donating items that they no longer use will become a life-long practice that benefits all. “Spring Cleaning” is a good time to have your kids sort through their things to see if there are any they can give to others in need. But don’t stop at the toybox: help them go through the pantry for cans or packages of food items to donate, as well.

Modeling philanthropy for children doesn’t have to mean writing a check.  It can be as simple as having a conversation about how other people live, and ways that we can help others.  Giving is easy and helps children become socially-conscious, compassionate adults.

Thanks for reading!
-AeJung Yoon, TisBest Marketing Intern

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Philanthropy Fit for a Prince (and Princess-to-Be)

You're probably getting a little tired of hearing about the Royal Wedding (if not--nevermind! read on!), but we can't help mentioning how wonderful we think it is that the Prince William and his bride-to-be are requesting gifts of charity in lieu of the elaborate (and extravagant) gifts that were seen at previous royal nuptials.

Even better, one of the selected charities Earthwatch Institute, is a TisBest partner!  We're happy to see recognition given to this sterling organization.

Since everybody else in the entire universe is using this wedding as an opportunity to sell commemorative plates and coffee (or tea, I guess) mugs, we're going to join in.  But all we're selling is the excellent idea that William and Kate had: using this special day as a chance to give back!  

If there's a wedding in your future, think of ways you can incorporate philanthropy into the day.  Charity Gift Cards are a great way to do just that, hint hint!  They make an elegant and ethical wedding gift for a conscientious couple.  Or, if you’re the happy duo planning a wedding, giving Charity Gift Cards to your wedding party or guests reminds them that you appreciate their compassionate, giving nature as well as their friendship. 

Giving is important to you, and charitable wedding gifts are a great way to incorporate that passion into one of the most memorable events of your life.  Will you live up to Will and Kate's challenge?