Advice & Inspiration

Thank You Thursday: 72,000 Books and Counting

The passion and gusto of young people can be astounding, but Canadian sisters, Emma and Julia Mogus, have so much enthusiasm for making a difference that it is nothing short of inspirational. The teenage girls founded an organisation called Books with no Bounds, in 2011 and have been helping Aboriginal Canadians ever since.

Fish Community Solutions Thank you Thursday

Later this month, on April 23rd, it is World Book Day so we thought it would be a great time to share this story about their passion for helping Canadian children living in remote reserves who are in need of reading material and education resources. An initiative organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), to promote reading, and publishing, World Book Day is in its 20th year.  One of the reasons UNESCO decided upon this date for the annual event was because it was the date that William Shakespeare died in 1616.

Books With No Bounds believes that every child deserves the opportunity to read and should have access to an enormous supply of books. By providing reading material and other learning tools, the organisation refreshes the shelves of Aboriginal school libraries, community groups and organisations, ensuring children and teens have access to good books, regardless of where they live.

Now in its fourth year, the organisation has distributed 72,000 books to communities in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia and even as far away as the Philippines, India, Ghana and Uganda, Africa.

Books are donated by publishers, authors, schools, individuals and other organisations. They’ve been getting some great publicity for their tiresome work including this feature on CBC News:

This Thank You Thursday, we give a big shout out to Emma and Julia and their incredible work with their charity Books with no Bounds. Keep up the fabulous work!

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

Hanging with Royalty

Last month Bianca, aka The Fish Chick, was fortunate to be a participant of the 2014 Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) along with about 100 other individuals from across the Pacific region.

As the Australian Study Tour’s Liaison Officer, Bianca spent one week visiting businesses, community groups and Government operations across Sydney, Canberra and Alice Springs with ten team members from across various Pacific Island countries, including New Zealand.

Thank You Thursday: The Keys of Change

What if you could do something that helped create employment for someone that desperately needed it, whilst also giving a gift of inspiration and positivity to both yourself and others? Perhaps it’s time you took a look at The Giving Keys?

A social enterprise born out of the simple idea of providing people with confidence and belief when they needed it most, The Giving Keys was established in Los Angeles. Inspirational words are engraved on old, recycled keys and used as pendants on necklaces, made into bracelets and rings.

The work is undertaken by disadvantaged people who are transitioning out of homelessness. People for whom often this job was their only chance at making a better life for themselves. Over the past few years, as the business started to grow, The Giving Keys partnered with local community organisations including United Way, PATH and Chrysalis, to help find more employees, ensuring that those employed were truly in need and looking for a way to recreate their lives.

As if that doesn’t create enough of a feel-good product, The Giving Keys encourage all wearers of their keys to pay it forward and once they meet someone who needs that message more than them, they pass the pendant on. Here is a short video about the concept:

The brains behind The Giving Keys is Caitlin Crosby, a young woman who grew up in a world of narcissism, glamour and craziness; she grew up in Hollywood. The daughter of an entertainment manager and a model, she rebelled against the world of vanity and started producing items and writing songs and music with the motto ‘Love your flaws’.

One day she had had an idea and got that motto engraved on an old hotel key she had, and the rest, as they say, was history.

Caitlin was destined for big things and it’s such a delight that a lot of the ripples she is making are about empowering others. She is someone who genuinely wants to make a difference in the world, having recently said in a TED talk, “I think it is our responsibility as humans to take care of each other.

The concept of The Giving Keys, and Caitlin herself, are a shining example of Mother Teresa’s quote about helping others ourselves.

This Thank You Thursday, we acknowledge the creativity and kindness of Caitlin Crosby for coming up with The Giving Keys initiative; giving not only confidence and love to key-wearers, but the opportunity for change to key-makers.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

Effective Altruism

TED talk ‘The why and how of effective altruism’ by Australian ethicist Peter Singer focuses on the ways to be most effective in making a difference in the world – and how everyone can do something.

While some people may find parts of the video a little controversial this makes it even more important to watch as it challenges our own thinking so we can grow and expand.

Singer looks at different ways to be for us all to be philanthropists.  You don’t need to give up your day job and become an aid worker in Africa (although you can if you like).

Just by giving up a few luxuries and living a more modest, but still ample, life you can make a big difference in the world.


Our Expenditure Challenge

If you haven’t seen the TED Talk – The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong, then it’s about time you did.  In this 19 minute presentation Dan Pallotta speaks about the double standards we have for the profit and non profit business structures.  The community has been led to believe that charities can provide for their causes without paying for overheads including marketing and wages.  To make money non profits need to fundraise and this costs money.

It is essential for non profit organisations to invest in advertising and marketing.  They need to be allowed time to gain success from their innovations and experiments.

Charities need the support from their donors, and other stakeholders, to create a sustainable business model. This video is a great resource to be shared with Board Members when hoping to get an understanding of why your organisation needs to invest in fundraising.

As Pallotta says, “Let’s change the way we think about changing the world.”