If you know me in real life you know working for change in underserved communities and social justice issues are things I am hugely passionate about. Before I was a photographer (and still when I can!), I worked and volunteered at non-profit organizations that strove to make the world a better place. As I’ve mentioned before, when I started my own creative business, I wanted to be sure to find a way to keep these values. Each year I’ve made a commitment to give back a portion of my profits those in need. I’ve picked three causes each year, one global, one national, and one local; and this past year I did the same. To read more about causes I’ve supported previously, click here. This past year’s causes are outlined below.
Happy New Year!
The Malala Fund: A solid education is the foundation of a bright future. Around the world, basic education is hard to come by for many young girls, the Malala Fund hopes to change that. From their website:
“There are 600 million adolescent girls in the developing world. They are an undeniable force for social and economic impact. But only if given the opportunity. Around the world, girls are denied a formal education because of social, economic, legal and political factors. And in being denied an education, society loses one of its greatest and most powerful resources. The Malala Fund aims to change that. Education empowers girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change. The Malala Fund’s solutions are grounded in inspired innovation: they are girl-centric approaches to education that support the Fund’s goal of creating a world where every girl reaches her true potential.”
Freedom to Marry: As a wedding and elopement photographer in New York, I have been so grateful to work with such an incredibly diverse group of couples and have been so proud to feature couples from every background and orientation. I would love for this freedom to be extended to all states, we’ve come so far, but still have so far to go. Freedom to Marry is an advocacy organization that has been working tirelessly since 2003 to change the laws.
Minnesota Literacy Council: Many of you ask where I got my start as a photographer. While I’ve had a camera in my hand as long as I can remember, learned the art of film and darkroom in high school and college, my first digital gear actually came from a completely un-wedding related place. The organization I was working for, the MLC, was creating a curriculum for preliterate learners using photos of the students and their communities. It was a fantastic project, and the stipend from working on it funded my first digital Nikon. Additionally, one of the volunteers from where I worked was the bride at the first wedding I photographed, that happened to get published on Offbeat Bride!
They also do amazing work! The MLC offers free English and literacy programs to immigrants and refugees in Minneapolis and St. Paul, in addition to GED classes and early childhood education programs. They are dedicated to working with the most underserved populations, and these learning centers are a HUGE asset to the communities they are a part of.