As I’ve mentioned before, using my creative powers for good is something that is super important to me as I run my own business. As the year draws to a close, and what a crazy year it was, I wanted to list the causes I selected to give back to for 2011. I initially decided I wanted to chose three each year, one local, national, and international cause to give towards.
This year I’ve kept the tradition and picked what I think are three fabulous organizations. There are so many causes I believe in, but I feel like these organizations embody many of them all wrapped up together.
Local: Hot Bread Kitchen. First off, if you need the most delicious loaf of bread or the best tortillas, these ladies are the place to go. They are at the Union Square Green Market every Wednesday and are amazing. I have worked with immigrant and refugee communities for most all of my adult life, so the heart of this organization really strikes a cord with me. I love their mission.
“Hot Bread Kitchen is a non-profit social enterprise that creates better lives for low-income women and their families. We do this by paying women while they learn the skills necessary to launch food businesses and achieve management track positions in food manufacturing.
To help offset the cost of our training and to build esteem in the contribution of immigrants, we sell delicious multi-ethnic breads that are inspired by our bakers and the many countries that they come from. We make it a priority to use local and organic ingredients.
As our staff of trainees grows, so does our product line. As part of our mission, we preserve valuable baking and culinary traditions and “br-educate” New Yorkers about the tasty and important contributions of immigrant communities.”
National: Lamda Legal As I sat in my living room and watched the live senate feed over the internet when same sex marriage became legal in NY I couldn’t have been happier. It was a momentous occasion for civil rights in this state. However, there is still so far to go in this battle. I would love to be able to say my home state of Minnesota legally recognizes the same marriages that I’m photographing in New York.
“At Lambda Legal, we imagine a world without discrimination and inequality, and we work to achieve that vision every day. We make the case for equality in the nation’s courts and in the court of public opinion. The work we do has impact on the way all of us live—we change laws, policies and ideas.
Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to safeguard and advance the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and policy work.”
International (With a hint of local too!) Blue Marble Dreams As many weekends as possible I try and drag my husband out for an ice cream cone and a walk to Blue Marble. I love everything about them. If you’ve been to visit me in Brooklyn, I’ve probably taken you by the shop. Delicious ice cream made from local, organic, grass fed dairy? I mean, you can’t ask for much more then that.
Well, the ladies at Blue Marble thought that maybe you could. And thus the adventure of Blue Marble Dreams. They’ve been featured on the Today show, if you want to hear more of their story. Basically, they’ve set out to launch an ice cream shop in Butare, Rwanda; while also providing English classes and business experience to local women. The below sentiment from Odile Gakire Katese, the Rwandan whose idea Blue Marble Dreams was, is too beautiful not to support.
She explained that while conventional development initiatives are vital to Rwanda’s physical well being, there remains a need for efforts that boost the spirit of its people. Just as much as they need nutritious food and clean water, she asserted, Rwandans need fun, joy, pleasure and laughter, as these are the ingredients of a life truly lived. And what better way to meet this need than through the sweet, symbolic magic of ice cream?
“Because we struggle most of the time, we also find ourselves aggressive against happiness, love, joy, life. When we have children, we teach them that happiness doesn’t exist, that there is no pure love and, as legacy, we give them our despair, our debts, our doubts, our tears, our failures. Rwandan women … want to reshape life in its simple and sweetest form. We want to share moments that are not embossed by despair and death… We want to create a space where poverty, disease, illiteracy… are not obstacles to happiness and barriers between human beings… We have to, for the sake of the health of our soul.”
Here’s to another fabulous year and wishing you and your families a happy holiday season!!