me

Yes, it’s ME

(A short history of the genesis of this blog — but before you ask, I am no longer giving away $100 a day … sorry!)

Just because you decide to give away money, everybody assumes you must be totally loaded (in both ways) or just a philanthropic show-off. Hopefully, I’m neither. It just happened. In 2009, I went to see Julie & Julia, came home, and thought, “Gee, if I decided to blog for a year, what would I write about?” And the answer that came to me was, “Hey, I think I’ll give money away!”

I’d been looking for a way to do some good in the world for awhile but could never figure out exactly what to do – so I settled on a random shotgun approach of giving to anything that rang my chimes –which hopefully inspired other people to pry open their wallets and give as well. I used the money my dad left me to fund the venture – and since he and my mom were thrifty savers who were also passionate givers, it’s poetic justice that those hard-earned dimes and nickels were passed along to good causes. Dorothy Mae would have loved that—and say that it was about time I stopped buying so many darn shoes and did something for others.

Me & Liz Meitus, my amazing design guru on this project!

I’m a writer with a long history of self-absorption, so I had lots to make up for. For 30 years, I lived the high life of a Creative Director in advertising– producing TV, radio, print and internet annoyances for some of America’s largest corporations: AT&T, Tylenol, Clorox, and many, many more. I’d also written two tragi-comic books on motherhood: I’m Too Sexy for my Volvo: A mom’s guide to staying fabulous (featured in a column by Liesl Schillinger in the New York Times and as one of the best self-help books in Oprah magazine); and The Agony and The Agony: Raising your teenager without losing your mind. That entailed TV appearances on Good Morning America Online, Fox News, and a slew of syndicated radio interviews with Lisa Belkin and Dr.Drew. among others.  So, I’m a bit of a show-off, which served me well in this venture… and my next.

In 2012, I took my blogging passion to Heifer International and created Heifer 12 x 12 — visiting 12 countries (actually 14) in 12 months in 2012 as volunteer Global Blogging Ambassador. And now I’m just sitting around pondering other mysteries of the universe (and my navel).
Welcome aboard!

87 thoughts on “me

  1. Thanks so much for finding my blog and subscribing! This is the very first piece of internet I’ve read after waking up today, and what an inspirational, optimistic way to start off my day!

    What a kind, touching (not to mention uber-noble) idea for a blog — it’s what they’d call “très classe” here in Paris 🙂 I’m gladly heading over to your subscribe button right now. Take care.

  2. I like what you are doing. If you have yet to run out of funds… USAID rep Karla Menendez has a student that will lose funding this year and therefore education in Xela, Guatemala. The amount of money is very little… I would hope if you have funds left over you would consider sponsoring this student. I know this is a lot to ask but the amount is not. 🙂

  3. Many blessings to you Betty, for such a big sacrifice you are making to better the life of that human being you are reaching out to. i love the support you are getting from Lulu, towards the WHAT GIVES 365 Concept and the rest of your family.

    i will be very glad meeting and hearing from your heart, when you come to Uganda soon.
    Go on, you are on the right track ..!!!!..

    Kind regards and Peace to you Betty.

    Jane Ekayu

    • Jane — I sure hope I get to meet you there and learn more about your Children Of Peace work with the former child soldiers! Thank you so much for writing – and I will be in touch in Uganda!!

  4. As I know you have heard 5000 times, this blog is a fantastically inspiring idea. Congratulations for your ingenuity and generosity. Also, I want to figure out how to have a tenth of the sophistication and beauty you have in those photographs. -kate

    • Thanks so much, Kathleen!! I am really grateful for your comment, and I have to say, it’s been a total gift to me to do this blog! I get my photographs mostly from the causes and people I write about, so I’m completely living off their grace in sharing — and sometimes I take my own photos, which I love to do. Because I really do try hard to make the blog beautiful, I am so happy you noticed and liked everything!

  5. Betty I live in such a small town and choose to miss out on the news, which usually makes me feel helpless. I am so sorry I missed out on your blog this past year. I am a huge giver [much to my husbands dismay at times], but my middle daughter has traveled as a volunteer to Tanzania, Guatemala and Viet Nam. She has learned so much and has problems with organizations that try to change people with their donations, so she is constantly supervising where my money goes. I just love what you have done with your time and money!! So proud to say I knew you growing up!!

    • Deborah — I am so happy we reconnected at the reunion — and I love the story of your daughter who has volunteered with so many organizations! I would love to talk or email with her sometime about her experiences with NGOs doing work over there! Can you connect us?? (And yes! we were such great friends in sixth grade … what a joy to see you again!)

  6. Do you ever give money away to just regular people, or only to charities? A great concept is the “Christmas Jar”. We’re saving up all our loose change to leave on an unsuspecting families doorstep on Christmas. Pretty cool.

  7. You have no idea how something tiny like a soccer ball can make a child so very happy. I’m a humanitarian volunteer in Uganda, and I was just in the war-torn North. I brought a few soccer balls for some of the orphans. They were so thrilled! I know how appreciated any little effort made is for most people. Thank you for what you do, keep it up! If you’d like to see a few pics of the trip, it’s on my blog under Uganda. 🙂
    God Bless You, Betty!! xxx

  8. I miss your blogging. thank you for the inspiration and the opinions 🙂 Hope your next venture is starting out well and proceeds beyond your expectations!

  9. Hello, I googled your website and wanted to introduced myself. My name is Robby Long, I’m an Ambassador with a company called Visalus Sciences. We work with alot of churches and Non Profits around the country promoting our Community Challenge. In these tough economic times we know that donations are down. We have a program that raises money for your church and feeds hungry kids with our meal replacement shake. Last year we donated over 500K meals to kids in need. Our program is very simple. The reason I’m contacting you is we are looking to partner with a few more local churches and organizations. The great thing about our program is 100% of the money donated is given to the kids. Our company sends your organization a separate check for you to buy books, clothes or whatever you like. Please visit our website at http://www.robbylong.visalusgiving.com
    I look forward to hearing from you to schedule a time to meet.

    Thanks,

    Robby Long
    Ambassador
    504-338-7819
    robbylongllc@gmail.com

  10. And furthermore, what the flying FUCK do The Fugees need money for? And what are 2,000 Nigerian girls going to do with $100? Everybody gets a new pair of socks? I shan’t need read the rest of your list, God knows there’s only so much repugnance one can take.

    • If you had bothered to read the post, you would see the Fugees are a soccer team of refugee boys from various nations who now live in Atlanta and are being coached by a Jordanian woman with a very big heart and spirit. And the money to educate 2000 Nigerian girls is being raised by an amazing Nigerian guy called Nnaemeka who has an agricultural radio station that has increased the productivity of farmers living on about $1/day by something like 50%. So — yeah, I think he was worth supporting and writing about. And I have never pretended that $100 is going to solve the world’s problems — or even $36,500. But again… giving just feels better than not giving. And I’m not at all convinced that it’s pointless.

    • I think this person’s response does not deserve the dignity of a response & should be deleted. There is no reason for profanity when it’s not his business how you spend YOUR money. I think you choosing to use this money to give to others is such a noble, unselfish thing. What charitable organizations does HE give to? I am guessing none. He sounds like a miserable soul to feel nothing for, except pity. Don’t let people like him make you doubt yourself. You are helping & changing SO many lives by giving people HOPE:) Thank you for what you do:)

  11. While some may see your plight as something to be commended for, I find you are repulsively self-righteous. You still drive a car every day that runs on the Earth’s blood, you still pay taxes that further our oppression and vote for the reptilians enslaving our free human spirits. And you think you’re doing good by giving African refugee camps a fucking soccer ball? How about you stop paying taxes, which go straight to the crown in England, who divided, conquered, raped, defiled the beautiful continent of Africa. There would be no refugees if it weren’t for the Queen! If you were truly concerned with humanitarian justice, you wouldn’t step foot near CNN’s studio, much less talk to them. What a horrific display of disregard for your brothers and sisters.

    I hope handing away your father’s money somehow justifies in your mind the evils you commit every waking moment, so when you go to bed at night, you can feel good about sleeping safe and sound on your Temperpedic while the rest of humanity is fed to the reptiles.

    • Wow, you are one angry person. I’m hardly feeling righteous — but I think it’s okay to send a soccer ball to a refugee camp. Would it be better not to? I’m not claiming to be changing the world dynamic, I’m just trying to do what I can –and I pay taxes to the United States, not England. I don’t have a Tempurpedic mattress (i just cheaped out and bought the $200 foam mattress topper if you must know) and I still have trouble sleeping when I think of people living in misery or suffering. Happy New Year!

      • Whatever you try to do there will be haters.You are a good person(and a beautiful woman, I must say) doing good things and I commend you for it.I just stumbled on your site while trying to find information on Moringa.I just started growing it at my home in SW Florida and its growth rate is amazing.Im trying to find a definitive answer to the question” does Moringa increase estrogen levels in Men” I read it’s estrogenic and anti estrogenic so I’m confused.Anyway I will check back on you, brilliant ray of light that you are. God Bless. Bob

  12. Thanks for this inspiring idea, simple and very effective, with the potential to be an action to follow for thousands people. Here we are working in a Mundo sin Dinero (World without Money) initiative, but to achieve a world based in solidarity people need to discover first, like you did, that to give is very much better than to receive. Thanks a lot again.

    Juan E. Drault
    Mundo Sin Dinero
    http://www.mundosindinero.org

  13. Betty,
    Because of your CNN “last stab at glory”, I feel fortunate to have been exposed to your incredible 2010 project. Your wit, your ability to reach so many people and share their stories, and your creativity in doing something to make a difference….love it! Looking forward to looking back at your past blogs while brainstorming my own innovative quest to do something for 2011. I’m sure you’ve inspired many….you are a true gem!
    Karen Chaney-Peltin
    Director of Philanthropy, Tignum

  14. I am amazed that this site was sent to me from an unrelated source during a social website debate on individual social responsibility.
    I agree that we as individuals CAN and DO make a difference in the world.
    It is one thing to sit and bemoan the state of the ‘union’, it is another to get off our duffs and do something about that state.
    This is a classic example of the 80/20 rule. We can reverse that statistic if we each take responsibility for our brothers and sisters on this journey.

    Kudo’s for a brilliant idea, and the courage (& tenacity) to see it through to fruition.

    God Bless.

  15. I’ve been reading your comments on bronxboy55. And have been enjoying them. Today had to be the day to see your blog and I am glad I did. It makes me feel supremely miserable to know there are people doing some good that makes a difference, and I am not. Best of everything to you.

  16. Pingback: Two wheels of fortune « Bicycles Africa's Blog

  17. GREAT! Enjoy your 365 — It’s my hope that the 365 is so inspiring, you simply must extend. Too often, we don’t think about ways that we can help someone else. I really do love that your response to Julie/Julia was to blog — and on this topic. Enjoy your year!

  18. It’s clear to me, if you are going around only one time, make the best of it…for someone else. Looks like you’re doing it, with grace and humor. Thanks.

  19. Thank you for being such a generous giver, especially considering others who only wish to receive but never to give.

    A little bit of something, anything–whatever it is–definitely goes a long way.

    Keep up your noble goals!

  20. I am totally inspired. Thank you for sharing your journey. I found you through Freshly Pressed and am adding you to my blogroll.

    You have made me realise that we can all make a difference and that every little bit counts. Am going to go home and think about making a donation to a charity.

  21. Interesting! I am so glad that you were Freshly Pressed, otherwise I may have missed out on your…hmmm…Giving Adventure. 🙂

    Best Of Luck and that Your Entire Family may GROW EXPONENTIALLY from this Good-willed Endeavor 🙂

  22. Dear Betty,
    I found your intriguing site this evening and just wanted to say “well done”!! Your gifts are inspiring, and I know this project must be bringing the greatest joy to you personally!

    I too started a daily blog just this past July 4,2010. My husband and I are doing a year long fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

    We will begin our climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro on July 4, 2011. We will spend our 7th wedding anniversary on the climb and we will reach the summit at 19,340 ft. on my husband’s 57th birthday, he will be 51/2 years into his diagnosis of PD.

    I have enjoyed finding you and I hope you will also check out our site at: http://www.parkersclimb.com

    Happy Writing and Best of Luck in changing the world, one day at a time.

    Pamela Parker

  23. My passion this week is Rotaplast.org, the plastic surgery arm of Rotary International, who gather volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, operating room nurses, recovery room nurses, and non-medical volunteers to keep records, maintain sterilization, etc. and take them to children born with cleft palates and cleft lips … all over the world. Clefts are caused by malnutrition in the early stages of child development and are often a stigma (sign of the devil) that keep children from having friends, marriage potential, etc. A mission to Cebu City, Philippines in October needs additional funding. An anonymous donor has promised to match up to $9K in donations, and I’m doing my best to help Rotaplast achieve that goal. I give to Rotaplast, Books4Africa, and to my own adopted school in Rwanda, FriendsofButare.org. If you can help keep the October mission on schedule, I/we and the future patients will be eternally grateful. Maybe even a mention in your daily blog might generate additional donations?!?

    • Only of my favorite people, Dr. Roland Minami, is a plastic surgeon who regularly volunteers with Rotoplast — and I wrote a blog about the organization on February 1 — it’s a GREAT organization, I agree, and completely worthy of support! Good luck with fundraising!!!

  24. I Just want to say I love what u r doing and hope someday I can do the same thing people have helped me out in my life I was in a really bad car accident in December 08 and was in a coma for 2 months I was in bad shape and I’m working hard still to get myself back ( I had a brain injury ) but if not for the support and love of other people I doubt I’d be here today so if I get the opportunity to pay a little back I will but I Just wanted to say bravo: )

  25. Thank you for sharing your. You bring to life of all those quotes that I read to the right of your page. The motivation and inspiration that is manifested by your work here is exponitial and I love it. You are lifting up the hearts of many, told and untold; and I know that you heard all that before, but its true. Keep up the good work Betty. Star LA

  26. Betty, I came to your blog by way of an editor at Grit. This is fabulous! My husband and I are partial to a charity called SmileTrain (Changing the World One Smile at a Time) that provides surgery for very poor children with cleft lips and palates.

  27. Dearest,
    I can see why this takes so much of your time.
    What a fabulous endeavor you’ve gotten yourself into!
    Your Mom is so proud of you!
    I love you.
    Joy

  28. Wow, it’s great what your doing here. You’ve just brought inspiration and a ray of sunshine to my otherwise very mundane day. Thank you & God bless.

  29. This is a great idea! I look forward to reading more of your blog posts. One of the charities I donate to is Kiva. Read about them here: http://www.kiva.org/about. They facilitate microloans to people in impoverished countries. You can read about the person-in-need on the Kiva website and decide who you want to help. When they repay the loan the money goes back into your account for you to re-lend to someone else. You can also donate directly to the Kiva organization to help with administrative things. Wishing you all the best! Take care, A.

  30. I found your blog through The Power of Half recommendation and I just love what you are doing. The story from yesterday about the boy who killed someone when he fell asleep at the wheel so touched me as I am suffering from sleep deprivation (but working on curing that as we speak) and cars put me to sleep whether I am the passenger or the driver. Keep up the great work and I look forward to reading all your posts.
    PS – I love your writing style!! So honest and from the heart!

  31. I read the article in AJC about you today and did an internet search to find your blog. I was blown away. I have spent the morning reading all of your older blog entries. You are an asset to Atlanta.

    thanks for the bright spot

  32. Pingback: Un blog, una mujer y un año de donaciones « Novedades en Clarín Blogs

  33. As a writer with a history of self absorption and 15 years as an art director in advertising, I salute you! What a wonderful idea and what a great blog! I feel so fortunate to have found you and look forward to all that you will give to the world and your readers. Many thanks!

  34. In the process of working on my own 365 day experiment, which is to make a choice for peace each day and blog about it, I discovered your gem of a blog. It has been such an encouragement to me, the concept is fabulous, and you are finding all of these amazing people and organizations that are doing beautiful, powerful things in the world and shining a light on them which is reflecting back into all of our lives. I love the way you write in a humble, down to earth style which makes me feel like we are chatting down at the local coffee shop every morning. What we focus on grows, thank you for reminding me daily of all the love happening all over the world. Blessings!

  35. Well done. Love it! Just read Julia’s post on HuffPo and had to see what she was raving about. Can hardly wait to start getting your morning mood enhancers. You New Radical you…

  36. Hey I am a yoga teacher who teaches in the public schools in Ardmore PA. I would love to get involved in what you are doing.
    What can I do? Id love to talk more to you.
    Sincerely,
    Lisie

  37. This is incredible. Really. Thank you so much for hope, for investing in others, and for being yet another reminder about how good it is to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

  38. Wow – this is incredibly refreshing and a joy to see the meaning behind your gesture. thank you for your generosity, in spirit and in teaching us all a lesson.

    much love,
    ishita

  39. Betty:

    Why am I not surprised? You have been fabulous. You continue to be fabulous. A spark of light. Always shining, always spreading goodness and intelligent light and humanity. You should learn about Nipun Mehta, however. You’d be blown away by what he has been doing. Very resonant with you. Check him out. He has many sites, but one way to check him out is to go to Charity Focus.org I think.

    I AM NOT GOING TO WAIT 11 MONTHS TO TALK TO YOU, especially since it’s been so many years! But congrats on a wonderful beautiful mission!
    Gary Malkin

  40. You are awesome. I’m a friend of Mimi Kaupe- she just turned me onto your blog. I’m inspired! I’m starting a blog soon too (on wordpress!) …. and now, more that ever, I want it to be ….inspiring! Carry on with your fabulousness. Megan

  41. WOW! – You have just restored my faith in humanity… My life is about to change for the better but, before that, I know it’s going to get worse. Your attitude is my new paradigm model and, although I’m not a religious man, I truly believe that you are a saint 🙂

    • I can tell you with complete assurance, I am ANYTHING but a saint. Ask anyone who lives with/knows me. I’m trying to do good,
      but it’s mostly to make up for all the ways in which I’m a really crappy person … SO … I’m hoping that your life will absolutely change for the better, and I would just encourage you to never assume it’s going to get worse first. Keep the faith! And best of everything in 2010, Adam!!

  42. Betty – how totally cool and wonderful of you to cook up this adventure!!
    Look out as I will soon be bugging you for money for one of my favs Chimp Haven, (http://chimphaven.org) and especially for my main squeeze there, Merv. (oh look I already have)

    Chimp Haven is a sanctuary for chimps that are retired from medical research, the entertainment industry, or no longer wanted as pets. You can adopt your own special dude or dudette and even visit – they are just over there in Louisiana. (OMG – I just inspired myself to give AGAIN while I was writing this.) Anyway, love you tons and no pressure!@# d

  43. This is AWESOME!!! I have saved this blog to my “favorites” and I am excited to see all the wonderful giving that is going on! Go girl!

  44. Am I a stand-in for Lulu?! This picture is so dear to my heart. A single tear formed in my eye when I saw this pic of us. Thank you for all the fabulous years of great ad work, but better yet, thank you for all the generous years of friendship and thoughtfulness. This blog inspires me to no end… and I’ve already sent it to my masses of contacts. 🙂 (man, I wish I was that skinny again!)

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