The Big Give

For those of you following along, I’m having my major fundraising event this Sunday, May 12. It’s from 3:00-7:00 pm at the WhipIn, which is one of my favorite places in Austin, and owner Dipak Topiwala has very generously donated the space for the event. (Thanks, Dipak!)

There will be a raffle, a small silent auction, and an action-packed live auction. Ethan Azarian will be playing, Beaty Wilson & Tom Pearson will be playing a short set of songs from my favorite bands, there will be face painting and a (fake) tattoo booth, and there will be excellent food and beer for sale. All proceeds are going directly to HAAM, St. Louise House, ImaginArt, and of course, COHI. What a fantastic way to celebrate Mother’s Day!

Sounds super fun, right? Right! And it gets BETTER.

Thanks to an anonymous donor, all funds raised (up to $8,000) will be matched, and then triple matched. One measly dollar becomes FIVE dollars. Are you doing the math here, people? All we have to do is raise $8,000 at this shindig and it magically becomes $40,000. 40Large in a day!  I’m squeeing all over myself.

If you live out of town, or you have fancy plans with your mother-in-law, or you hate fantastic parties but you still want to contribute, fear not. You can donate online to any of these organizations and your gift will still count for the total. Just be sure to specify that your donation is in honor of 40Large. You can do that now, even. Why wait? Go ahead and donate now.

Follow me on Facebook for up-to-the-minute lists of raffle and auction items, party news, and fundraising totals.

It’s happening, people! It’s really happening! But you didn’t doubt it for a minute, did you?

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Back to It!

So I fell off track. Waaaay off track. I kept coming up against obstacles to my fundraising plans. For instance, after much work, I finally had a venue pinned down for a couple of fundraising events I was planning. Hurray!  Then the venue suddenly closed. Booo. That took the wind out of my sails for sure. That and just being busy with my kids all summer. And not being able to reach people. I kept thinking I would start getting more responses from people I was reaching out to once the summer ended and every one was back from vacation. I didn’t, though, and still haven’t, and it’s time to MOVE.

I only have five more months, and I am feeling it. SO. No more inertia. And no more taking no for an answer.

I am having a fundraising event on December 8 at The Knitting Nest in south Austin. From 6:00-9:00, there will be wine, sweets, and holiday crafting. I’ll teach you to knit if you want, or guide you in making any number of crafts for decorating or gift-giving. Other super makers will be there to help, too. If you don’t care about the crafting, come for the company. It’ll be really swell, I promise. And we’ll be raising funds for a birth center in Kabul through COHI and the Afghan Midwives Association. How great is that?

I dream of raising at least $2,000 at this event, so bring some cash. All donations will be joyfully accepted, no matter the amount.

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You WISH you were 40 like these guys are 40

Three  amazing people I love just celebrated turning 40 with a fantastic party a couple of days ago. They all have birthdays right around now (happy birthday today, Kathie!) and decided to combine their superpowers to throw one giant pachanga. There was Wii dancing, karaoke, a dj, fancy food, and loads of pretty people. There was an army of teenage babysitters to watch the kids late into the night at a house right across the street. There was a pool that evoked Hugh Hefner’s grotto. It just doesn’t get any better. Except, IT DID. These three gorgeous, talented, clever, hilarious, inspiring and generous friends asked their party guests to donate to 40 Large instead of bringing gifts. And they didn’t tell me until I got to the party. When I walked in, I saw this:


It was propped up against a jar that, by the end of the night, was stuffed with $145. Isn’t that fantastic?! (And how about that new logo?)

THANK YOU to Kathie, Marcela, and Matt. You are tops. You are the boss of turning 40. And throwing parties. And being all kinds of awesome.

p.s. $39,655 to go!

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I have narrowed down my list of local non-profits to support. It wasn’t easy – there are so many worthy causes, and each one needs lots of cash to do the good work they do. I don’t know that one is any more deserving than another, and I don’t feel the need to make that judgment. Rather, I am looking at the ones that resonate most with me right now, at this place in my life. It’s pretty subjective. I bet your list would be completely different. That’s cool.

That being said, help me decide! Should I choose St. Louise House or SIMS Foundation to be my local recipient?

St. Louise House helps homeless women with children by providing housing and connects them with services to stay off the streets.It really helps re-launch these families, and I love that.

SIMS Foundation provides access to mental health for Austin musicians. So many of my friends are Austin musicians, and with my background in mental health, I feel connected to this one.

Please read a bit about these organizations and let me know what you think. I really can’t decide. Of course, you are free to donate to ANY organization you want and if you are moved to do so by me and my efforts with 40large, let me know. Make the donation in honor of 40large and it will count towards my goal.

I am eager to hear your thoughts.

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$200 down! ($39,800 to go)

It’s on! A kind and generous and gorgeous friend donated the first $200 to 40large. It’s really happening! Time to do a happy dance!

Here’s a wish list from COHI that we’re going to start chipping away at:

1. Birth kits — $50
2. A monthly salary for an Afghan midwife
3. Educational scholarship for a midwife in training — $1000
4. The construction of a birth center in Kabul (would be a pilot site for others that would be rurally focused) — $250,000USD

Alright then. Let’s keep it moving. Friends, if you would like to donate via the interwebs, you can give here and use paypal. In the “Description” field, just specify that you are donating for 40large and it counts towards my goal. Easy peasy!

If you’re just not feeling it for COHI (why aren’t you? but okay) then hold your horses. The next beneficiary will be announced next week.

I’m so grateful for all of you (see how I am assuming that there are scores of people reading this?) and for your encouragement (that’s real! You have been very encouraging!) and I am hugging you with my brain RIGHT NOW. Feel that?

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How exactly is this going to work?

I couldn’t sleep last night. It was midnight and I was so tired and all I wanted was to be asleep, but I couldn’t quit thinking about how on earth I am going to raise $40,000. Donations here and there aren’t going to be enough. So I have been cooking up ideas, and I want to put them here for you to see. Maybe you can tell me if they’re crazy or lame or awesome and how I can make them work.

1. House parties. I am hoping I can persuade some of you to open your homes to host a small series of concerts/dinner parties. And help book the musicians – who wants to play? People will pay to come and all proceeds will go to COHI and my other beneficiary (yet-to-be-determined). I would love for these to total at least $5,000.

2. Dance parties. For kids. I am working on a venue, and would like to put together a few of these over the next several months. What would make it worth $5-10 admission for your family? Again, I’m hoping to raise at least $5,000 with these.

3. Tattoo parlor. I plan to set up a temporary tattoo stand (with donated tattoos! More on that later) and charge for tattoos. I am working on locations now. Ideas? I don’t expect this to be a huge fund generator, but it will be fun and a good way to get my kids involved, too.

4. Some sort of talent show/silent auction shebang. This will be a bigger event, maybe THE big event, and will require so much help. You have talent! Will you perform? This one has me excited! I am hoping it will generate $10,000.

So that’s only about $20K. What else can I do? I’ll keep scheming, but I sure would appreciate some of your genius ideas, too.

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When I decided to raise money this year, I posted it on facebook. Of course. Sera Bonds commented on my post, suggesting I look at Circle of Health International (COHI) as a possible recipient. Turns out, Sera started this organization and while its scope is global, I can work with her locally here in Austin. We talked and she told me about the broad reach and good works of COHI and I am so very excited to help them out as much as I can. Circle of Health International is the first non-profit beneficiary of 40large. Woo hoo!

You should certainly explore their web site, but let me tell you a bit about them. COHI is an amazing organization whose tagline is “Ensuring Safe Births During Unsafe Times”. Their primary mission is to provide quality reproductive, maternal and newborn health care in communities in the midst of crisis and disaster. COHI has projects in Louisiana (following Hurricane Katrina), Tibet, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Sudan, Israel/Palestine, Tanzania and Afghanistan. They train midwives and doctors to help women have safer pregnancies and births in places where the odds of that happening are astronomically low. COHI supports and empowers women and works not only for health and safety, but for peace and security. YES. PLEASE.

I steadfastly believe that the way a human enters the world influences the way they experience life from that very first moment and all throughout. There are babies being born in places of profound poverty, conflict, and danger. They are being born to women who have no voices. COHI is working to give those babies and their mothers a more hopeful beginning, and I know that this impacts the future of our entire existence.

I’ll be telling you more about Circle of Health International throughout this year, and there are some specific projects I’ll be focusing on with them. In the meantime, if you’d like to donate to COHI right away, you can start here.



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40 large. I mean 40 LARGE.

I woke up and just knew. I am going to raise $40k for charity by my 40th birthday. I am a little surprised about how certain and right and solid it feels, but I suppose the idea has been bubbling for a while now.

I read that story last year in several different news feeds – CNN comes to mind right now – about families in Africa walking miles and miles for days at a time in search of water. As I bathed my own kids in a full tub, it was on my mind. And when I washed dishes with water flowing easily out of the tap and right down the drain, I thought about those families. I started envisioning a Walk for Water or something to raise money to help out, and wondered if I could do it. I decided I probably couldn’t, it would be too much work and I’m too busy, and I just let it go. So easy.

Then my friend, Matt Curtis, threw a 40th birthday party for himself, except it wasn’t just a party. It was a fundraiser for Haiti. When I got the invitation on facebook, I was delighted. What a great idea! What a clever way to celebrate a big birthday! I usually struggle with celebrating my own birthday. I feel selfish and self-conscious, somehow, asking people to celebrate ME. And gifts? There truly isn’t anything I need. It feels weird trying to think of things to ask for when there are people who would give anything for a gallon of clean water. It has been on my mind, itching around somewhere in the back, behind school fundraisers and kids’ birthday parties and getting the car repaired and trying to keep up with the day to day, and now. Now.

Here I am, declaring my intention to raise some money to help some people. I’m not certain where I will focus my fundraising, and it may not be Africa at all. So many people in this world need help! It’s overwhelming. For now, I am considering possibly only giving locally (SIMS Foundation, HAAM, St. Louise House, Any Baby Can, Family Eldercare, and so many more) or splitting my fundraising between a local organization and a national or international one (Wounded Warrior Project, Heifer International, Medicins Sans Frontieres, International Red Cross) or even a local/international group, Glimmer of Hope Foundation.

I have a lot to figure out and so much money to raise by April 17, 2013. Go ahead and put that date on your calendar. It’s going to be a hell of a party!  If you have some ideas of how I can do this, let me know. And keep checking in here to see how it’s going. I’m going to need a lot of help.

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