I am thrilled to be co-producing “The Official 25th Anniversary Staged Reading of Steel Magnolias” to benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  Please join me for drinks, food, and a wonderful night to celebrate Robert Harling’s beloved play, “Steel Magnolias”,  while raising funds and awareness for JDRF. Tickets are on sale now and this cast is simply amazing.

For info and tickets:  www.steelmagnolias-25years.org
Direct Ticket link:  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/248409

Mama, please. I need your support. 
I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful
than a life-time of nothing special.

No child should have to face a life filled with limitations as Shelby does in Steel Magnolias.  Each year, more than 30,000 people, half of them young children (~80 per day) are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S.  With your support, we can change this sobering statistic which is growing at a rate of over 4% a year.

Hope to see you on September 9th!

Our New York reading will be held on Sunday, December 3, at the Lucille Lortel Theatre where the play originated 25 years ago!

Warm regards,



“The theater is so endlessly fascinating because it’s so accidental.
It’s so much like life.”    ~ Arthur Miller

I am excited to be performing in a play of my dreams at The Production Company, a not-for-profit theater company that I am a proud member of located in Hollywood, CA.  In the past few years, several of LA’s finest small theaters and theater companies have brought down their proverbial curtains and closed their doors.  We are committed to not let that happen. If you enjoy the magic of live theater, please consider making a pledge today.  If you do not live in Los Angeles, please consider seeing a play in your community and make a pledge of support.  The arts need you to thrive and we hope you thrive experiencing the arts!

Watch our short promo video: The Production Company Promo

I wanted to share the following blog I wrote for my theater company about my experience with “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”.  It truly has been a dream come true

Luck Be A Lady
I remember being exhausted – the kind of exhaustion that makes your bones ache and your head fuzzy. I had worked a half day, and then dashed to LAX to catch a flight to NY to attend a two day meeting with my firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers. I was on a national task force developing a new scheduling system and we were working hard to meet the launch date. I was the socal representative and was with good cheer referred to as “our resident actor” by the team.  I was always delighted to travel to New York for it offers what no other city in the world can, the opportunity to see one or more Broadway shows if Lady Luck is on my side.

Having done theater most of my life, I tend to kick into gear when most are winding down from the day.  This proves to be a challenge when traveling to the east coast.   Hard as I tried, I did not go to sleep till 3:00am EST and groaned when I received a “wake-up” call at 6:30am. The work day was intense and I consumed many a cup of coffee.  At 5:00pm, it was announced that we were being taken to a nice dinner and had tickets to see a Tony nominated Broadway play.  Normally, I would have been ecstatic but, all I wanted to do was go back to my hotel room and go to sleep.  I pasted on a grin and off we went for a night out on the town.

After dinner, we briskly walked through Times Square and made our way to the Walter Kerr Theatre. We had great seats and seated to my right was Don, a technical brainiac and wonderful mentor who I adored, and to my left, three colleagues working on the project with us.  The theatre was standing room only and there was electricity in the air. The play began and all I could think of was how exhausted I was and how much I disliked all the characters and quite honestly, hated the play.  At intermission, I told Don that I was appalled that this play was being nominated for best of the year.  I remember being very agitated and seriously considered leaving but, I knew they had chosen this play for me, their resident actor so, with a heavy sigh, I sat down to endure Act II wondering how on earth I would be able to stay awake!

Within a few short moments of the lights coming up, I was entranced.

The Act opened with a beautiful monologue presented very simply with each word painting an extraordinary portrait of hope amidst this dark and biting story.  I remained entranced and was breathless when the lights came down at the end of the play.  I was in a state of shock and there were tears in my eyes which I quickly brushed away lest anyone see.  The audience roared at the curtain call and I leapt to my feet clapping as hard as I could.  “Oh My God!” I exclaimed to Don, that is why I love the theater! As we walked back to our hotel, I prattled on and on about the play and the performances and the writing and what it all meant.  They were kind to not remind me of my bad behavior at intermission and when they invited me to join them for a night cap in the hotel  bar, I replied “Absolutely, I’m wide awake!”   I shared while sipping a glass of crème de mint and soda that it would be a dream to have the opportunity to play a role as textured and challenging as the daughter to which Don replied,  “I have faith in you!”,  and with glasses raised, we toasted my dream.

Tackle It!
“What’s the name of that play I love so much?  The Beauty Queen of… what?” I would ask my dear friend, Kelly Jean Clair, time and again.  She would patiently remind me “… Leenane!”  “Oh that’s right… Leenane…” and then I would forget again!  I finally bought the script and would read it from time to time leaving it front and center on my book shelf that contained all my scripts.

A few years ago, after seeing yet another wonderful play at The Production Company,  I asked August Viverito and TL Koman, Co-Artistic Directors,  if they had ever considered producing “Beauty Queen” to which they replied that an exceptional production had recently been done at the The Celtic Arts Center and consequently, they did not anticipate producing it any time soon, if at all.  I remember thinking at that moment that I would never get the chance to do the show.  I was getting too old to play the role, I was too large for the “slight” description of the character in the script, was not even sure I could do an Irish dialect, and who was I to think I would be cast anyway?!  It would no doubt be a highly coveted and sought after role.  Also, I doubted if I even had what it would take to play a role such as Maureen. (Ah yes… an actor’s insecurities can be such an ordeal!) The role was certainly different from anything I had done in the past as I had gravitated to light, romantic and stylized comedies for most of my career.

Photo by: JenKL.com

Early last year to break me from my comfort zone, my acting coach, Michael Laskin, challenged me to do a role that would allow me to work on anger.  I had the perfect role in mind and I went home that night and pulled the “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” script down from the shelf and began to work.  First I had to tackle the dialect.  I knew I sounded like a British leprechaun so this was going to take some work!  I spent several hours listening to online dialect lessons, watching YouTube videos and movies with Irish actors and asked Kelly for some tips.  Kelly, being true to her Irish heritage, has an excellent dialect and gave me some valuable pointers.  I worked on a monologue in the second Act and brought it to class and it felt good to finally get Maureen up on my feet.

Lucky Number Thirteen
Then one Thursday afternoon last summer…out of the blue… it happened…  Lady Luck made her appearance.  I received an email from August asking if I would participate in a staged reading of a play that he was considering for our 2012 season and that play was “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”!  I would be doing the reading with three amazing actors, Judy Nazemetz, Skip Pipo and Rob HerringWhen I read the email, I let out a ridiculous squeal and my dogs came running.  With tears in my eyes, we did the happy dance around my home studio.  The staged readings were a su ccess and it was determined that we would request the rights to produce the play as the first production of our new season.   In mid-November, August confirmed that the rights were acquired and the actors would remain as originally cast!   (Skip was later cast in the west coast premiere of “Dissonance” at the Falcon Theatre and was replaced by the marvelous Alex Egan) As an added bonus, Kelly jean Clair was coming on board to be our dialect coach.

Thirteen years after toasting my dream in a hotel bar in NY, it came true!  And on January 13 (fitting, yes?) of 2012, I opened in Martin McDonagh’s Tony Award-winning play “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” at The Production Company! Our production has  received the much coveted “Critics Choice” in the LA Times as well as several other wonderful reviews.  Sadly, my dear friend Don lost his battle with cancer two years after that memorable night at the theater, but, I know he would have been excited and proud of me and would gleefully tease me about how much I had disliked the play and wanted to leave so I could go to sleep… to sleep, perchance to dream (oh wait, that’s another play!)

Well Worth The Wait!
Playing the role of Maureen Folan has been one of the hardest journeys of my acting career and one of the most rewarding.  I have been blessed to work with an extraordinary cast,  a tremendous producer, TL Kolman, whose calm and quiet leadership kept our energy focused on telling the story and the artful, rich and nurturing direction of August Viverito, who gently and sternly guided us to embrace the ugly… the grit… the anger… the humor… and the beauty of McDonagh’s masterpiece.  I find myself exhausted again but, in a good way.  The role takes all I have to offer yet gives me more in return.   In the play, Maureen tells her mother that “Sometimes I dream… of anything… of anything other than this!”   I however, could not have dreamed of anything better!  “Well worth the wait, it was.  Well worth the wait!”

9 TEN 11


Today, we gather to be reassured that God hears the lamenting and bitter weeping of Mother America because so many of her children are no more. Let us now seek that assurance in prayer for the healing of our grief stricken hearts, for the souls and sacred memory of those who have been lost.
~Rev. Nathan Baxter, Dean of Washington National, September 14, 2001

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was up very early which for a non morning person always proved a challenge.  It was 5:50 A.M. PST, half dressed and with wet hair, I turned on Good Morning America and heard Charlie Gibson reporting that a plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  I paused and thought how tragic but, the clock was ticking so, I dashed around making coffee, feeding the dog, pressing my blouse when at 6:03 A.M. PST the second plane hit.  I sat down on the couch and was transfixed for the remainder of day and for many days and weeks to follow. Our world would never be the same.

I know each of us intensely remembers where we were when this tragedy occurred and the emotions run deep.  Today is for remembering and honoring those lost in this tragic event that is so vividly told through numbers:

Total time of attacks:  102 minutes
Total number killed in attacks:  2 985 people (including the 19 terrorists)
Number of children who died:  8, the youngest child was only 2 years old, and the oldest child was 11
Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20
Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343
Number of NYPD officers: 23
Number of Port Authority police officers: 37
Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60
Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402
Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614
Number of people who died on Flight 93:  44
Number of people who died at the Pentagon:  184
Number of days international flights were banned:  3
Number of days NY Stock Exchange was closed:  6
Number of days fires continued to burn after the attack:  99
Number of months it took to clear debris at WTC:  9
Tons of debris removed from WTC site: 1,506,124
Jobs lost in New York owing to the attacks: 146,100
Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion
Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000
Sources:  New York Magazine; 9/11 Memorial Site; wave3.com


VISIT the National 9/11 Memorial website or the actual site which opens to the public on September 12.  My husband, George, and I will be in NY next month and plan to visit the site to honor two friends that he lost ten years ago today:  Jude Moussa, 35, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and Raymond Metz, 37, who worked for Euro Brokers.  Both were vibrant men that died far too young.

POST A PRAYER at Prayers for Peace.org: On the memorial wall, you are invited to post memories, prayers, and words of encouragement on a special page created for each person.

TAKE PART in the 9/11 Video Quilt hosted by PBS NewsHour: you are invited to submit a 90-second video of how the events on Sept. 11, 2001 impacted your life.

GIVE $11 to help build VOICES of September 11th’s Living Memorial.  This online interactive tribute commemorates the lives and stories of 9/11 and will preserve them in perpetuity for future generations of Americans.

LIGHT A VIRTUAL CANDLE at Gratefulness.org to honor the families and friends of those lost

WRITE A TRIBUTE at Project 2996 blog

LIKE THE FACEBOOK APP at  Remembering 9/11:  Where Were You?

A friend recently shared that one of the vivid memories she holds on that fateful day was all the paper fluttering about.  Out of context, the image is quite beautiful…confetti dancing against a blue sky…so light and carefree….then reality shakes you and the millions of pieces of paper becomes overwhelming and heart breaking knowing that we can never put the pieces back together again.  Our hearts will never forget.

Today, I wanted to share a recent blog post about an outstanding organization, Kidsave, dedicated “to create change – so forgotten orphanage and foster kids grow up in families and connected to caring adults.” The blog was written by two talented and inspiring women, Nancy Nyman and Heather McNama, “two chicks just trying to build a family.”  They have been on a journey to foster/adopt a child/children and have chronicled this emotionally difficult process sprinkling it with gentle and side splitting humor.  My heart races with each post and I marvel at how their hope and humor remain strongly in tact within the bureaucracy of the process. You can read their remarkable blog at TwoGirls Unleashed.

Kidsave  – Posted June 28, 2011 by TwoGirls Unleashed

Note: the names/identities/details of the foster children, foster parents and social workers have been changed to protect their identities

Emilio was getting close to aging out of the foster care system.  Having been taken from his family at 10 months old, he’d lived in over 25 foster homes.  Some treated him like family, some merely met his basic needs, and none wanted to adopt him.  Six months before his 18th birthday, he sat down with his social worker and learned about the grim realities confronting him.  Once 18, he’d be on his own (Note:  the age for termination of foster care services has since been changed to 21).

Having moved so many times and with no steady help from an adult, Emilio had fallen behind in school.  So college wasn’t really in the cards.  He would need to find a job and a place to live.  He’d have to rely on the staff of his current group home to help him coordinate after-school rides to Social Services in order to take advantage of the meager resources available to him, to work on his resume, and to fill out job and housing applications.

The irony:  society expected Emilio to create permanency for himself, despite the fact that the system had failed to provide him with any semblance of permanency in 17+ years.

Emilio had seen plenty of his foster brothers and sisters age out.  He’d witnessed the anxiety and stress and worry of having no place to go.  Upwards of 40% of foster children will end up homeless, which means former foster children have now overtaken veterans as the single largest population in our state’s homeless shelters.

Emilio could see his future.  He’d  heard about how groups of former foster kids would huddle up in the dried-up bed of the L.A. River to sleep, taking turns keeping watch; how many of them turned to crime and prostitution for money; and how some of them just disappeared.

Photo courtesy of Alejandra Reyes @ http://www.fillingtheframe.com

The foster care system, originally built on good intentions, removes children from their biological families in situations of abuse and neglect.  But so often the solution – the foster experience – is just as bad (and sometimes worse) than the original problem.

Statistics show that once a child turns six, his chances of getting adopted drop dramatically.  At 12 or 13, adoption is nearly impossible.  When a child reaches 16, who cares? 

These are the forgotten children.  They live in foster and group homes, and they attend school.   But their journey from foster care to the streets is hidden from view:  an exit paycheck from the state; a list of housing they may or may not be able to afford; a draft of a resume.  But no home base, other than a shelter.  No place to go at Thanksgiving or Christmas.  No social worker to call.  And no one to celebrate their birthday.

Enter Kidsave.  Specializing in ages 9 and up, Kidsave serves to create connections for older children in the foster care system.  With adoption as the ultimate goal, the organization strives to match each child in its program with a caring adult who will provide mentorship and advocacy and a steady relationship.

It works like this…  We start attending Kidsave monthly events (next one is July 10th) and meet the Kidsave kids (and maybe make a connection).  We go through a brief training that includes mentorship and advocacy, and when we are ready, Kidsave will work to match us with a child.

But wait!  This is different than the agency we worked with before in that Kidsave is NOT a foster/adoptive agency.  They are a nonprofit org that works to create long-lasting connections for kids.  So when we’re matched, we’ll hang out with our Kidsave kid twice a month – help with homework, introduce her/him to our peeps (all of you!), advocate for permanency, and basically serve as a strong, consistent, hopefully-lifelong connection.  If there’s a prospective family interested in adopting our Kidsave kid, we’ll help wherever needed.    But the point is to be a connection.  If WE’RE interested in adopting our Kidsave kid, and if our Kidsave kid is interested in being adopted by us (older kids actually have a say), we’ll get our foster/adoptive license through the county and adopt the child.

So…  We don’t typically include a call to action in our blog as this is a journey we’ve chosen to take.  But if you’re looking for a way make your personal difference in the world, please consider getting involved with Kidsave – whether it’s a donation or sharing their link or volunteering for an event, this org is crazy-awesome.

Sadly, Emilio’s social worker never referred him to Kidsave.  Instead, he aged out of the system without an adult role model, without a positive connection, without a mentor.  Determined to create a life for himself despite his circumstances, he applied to job after job after job, but with no experience and poor grades, he never made the final cut.  Unable to afford a place to live, and with shelters full, Emilio began to sleep on the street.  He had no place to shower, no way to keep his interview clothes clean, thus his dream of creating permanency for himself faded away.

Desperate to survive, Emilio took the only job he could get – he became a runner for a local drug dealer.  Emilio is currently serving time for possession with intent to sell. 

When I woke early last Monday morning, the sunshine streaming into the bedroom promised that the day was filled with possibility.  Still nestled under the covers, I sat up to high five my husband, George, and kiss him goodbye as he left for his second week at his new job after being unemployed for an entire year.  It had been a difficult year as we were both among the unemployed with only sporadic work for me.  During this time, we tried hard not to lose hope and to keep our spirits up.  Fortunately, we were surrounded by amazing family and friends who generously and continuously gave us their love and support.  We have been in a state of giddiness since learning George had secured a good job and feel truly blessed that we were able to weather this difficult storm without losing our home, which was our biggest fear. Yet, a home, without warning can be lost in a moment… 

I turned on the TV to catch the beginning of Good Morning America, sipped my coffee, checked my blackberry as my foot rubbed the tummy of German Shepherd I heard that a horrible tornado had hit Joplin, Missouri on Sunday night. This hit home because I knew that one of my dearest friends, Cindy Yantis, has family living in this charming community.  I called her and was happy to learn that her family was safe however, the impact of the storm has been truly devastating to all who live and work in Joplin.  Images on my TV screen illustrated her words. She was breathless as she shared that her beloved 98 year old grandmother had just two days prior been in the St. John’s Regional Medical Center hospital in a room on the sixth floor…a floor that no longer exists.

The tornado that struck Joplin was the single deadliest to strike our country in over 60 years.  The twister was a mile wide, traveled 190-mph for six miles destroying one-third of the city and leaving 132 dead and hundreds of search parties seeking the missing. Joplin’s population is 49,024 which bustles to 270,000 during the work day.  I am struck with the city motto: “Proud of our Past…Shaping our Future.”  The pride and resilience of this community shines in all the survivors.  Hope is ever present. “It’s only a house. We will get through this and we will rebuild.”  It’s only a house. I wish upon them all the wonderful support George and I received this past year.

After the Joplin tornado, a man grabbed his video camera to capture a rare site.  A double rainbow could be seen above the crumbled community – a beautiful sign that with love, support and determination, this community and others will have brighter days in the future.

Helping A Community

Below are some sites and information on how you can help.  I know it can seem overwhelming as with each hour more reports of tornadoes and destruction are being reported.  One small action, be it posting words of support on the Joplin Facebook page or texting a $10 donation and sharing with your friends the action you have taken to help this community rebuild, WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

As always in times of tragedy in our nation and around the world, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way and World Vision among hundreds of other community and grassroot agencies are on the ground providing shelter, delivering emergency kits, food, water and medical care/supplies and hugs to those that have experienced loss. What would we do without these extraordinary organizations?!




This site shares info about how you can help the victims by text, by phone, by internet and by mail.  Numerous other information as well including emergency shelters, hotlines, FEMA, etc




Lost Pets

The City of Joplin in partnership with Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri has established a Joplin Tornado First Response Fund.You can donate online (click here). Be sure to note “Joplin Tornado First Response Fund” in the fund/program box.You can also send a check to: Joplin Tornado First Response Fund c/o Community Foundation of the Ozarks, P.O. Box 8960, Springfield, MO 65801.


Relief Spark – a non-profit’s whose mission is to remodel schools, has turned their Twitter into a feed of valuable information for tornado survivors. Tweets are directing first responders to meeting places and posting when shelters have opened their doors to victims.

Mercy Joplin – serving and supporting patients, co-workers and community affected by the
Joplin MO tornado


American Red Cross

Call: 1-800-RED-CROSS

Text:”REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation

Mail: American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243
Washington, D.C. 20013

State of Missouri
Joplin Tornado Information

The Salvation Army
Text: “JOPLIN” to 80888 to make a $10 donationCall: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Online:  http://www.donate.salvatoinarmyusa.org

Mail: Joplin Tornado Relief,
The Salvation Army, 3637 Broadway,
Kansas City, Mo. 64111


World Vision

Call:  888-56-CHILD

Text:  “TORNADO” to 20222



The Heart of Missouri United Way

Call:  573-443-4523

Text: JOPLIN to 864833



Feeding America

Helping the hungry in this tornado-striken region.





Over the last two decades, I have had the pleasure of working closely with corporations, not-for-profit agencies and hundreds of donors and volunteers in finding unique ways in which to connect them for the benefit of all.  I have worked on several sides of this equation – as a Community Relations Leader at one of the world’s largest professional services firms, as the Vice President of Major Gifts at one of the largest and oldest not-for-profit organizations in Los Angeles and as a member of the board of directors of an agency dedicated to mobilizing volunteers in my community.  I am also proud to call myself an actor and have spent many an hour over the years raising funds for several theatre companies.  In my experience, I have learned that there are four key elements that bring extraordinary results when inspired to help:


1.       identify your passion

2.       keep focused

3.       keep it simple and

4.       have fun!

With that said, I am really excited to share with you a new website that has captured this winning formula!

Recently, a gift arrived in my email in the form of a message from Stefani Beckerman.  Although I had not met her in person, we both belong to the same networking group.  The group is comprised of amazing woman and we often reach out to each other to ask for support and to share and celebrate successes.  The message Stefani sent was an announcement of a website that she and her two partners, Bryan Edwards and Ben Scharlin, were launching.  My interest was piqued and I wanted to learn more so, she arranged a meeting for us to get together.  We met early one evening at a popular coffee shop on the Westside.  I was greeted with warm handshakes and after we got comfortable on the patio with the traffic serenading us, they shared their story.


In August 2010, Bryan and Ben were searching in earnest for alternative and inspired ways to help the community, for cool forums to connect with friends, family and like-minded strangers around common charitable goals and for websites that were aesthetically pleasing and easy to maneuver.  They were greeted with tired, apathetic sites spouting statistics that did not pique their imagination nor motivate them to get involved.  What they wanted to find were sites that made them want to stop and stay awhile, that instilled a desire to jump in, sites that offered things like after-school programs that used the sport of skateboarding as an effective and fun teaching tool or programs that connected troubled teens with troubled horses that bond and heal together or programs that taught students in the inner-city to paint beautiful murals.  They wanted to find charities they could trust that offered social networking, continuous updates, online videos and special speakers sharing the impact of their involvement.  Jokingly, Ben tossed out the question… “So what do we do, search for…fresh charities?!”  Silence. It seemed almost too simple when the answer came.  Yes!  And thus, the idea for Fresh Charities was unleashed!


FRESH: an innovative twist on a classic idea, hip, inspiring, exciting, not boring or stale, not traditional, trend setting and bold in conviction CHARITIES: not-for-profit organizations whose generous and creative actions are kicking butt in our communities

Excited, inspired and motivated they set out to create an online presence and supportive community for charities that are not considered mainstream and tend to operate “under-the-radar” yet have extraordinary impact every day.  A site that would offer everything they were looking for and more.


The passionate leaders of this endeavor, Ben, Bryan and now Stefani, bring together a graceful combination of individual experiences and strengths that nicely complement each other.  “In sync” is the phrase that comes to mind.  It’s that camaraderie and shared vision that drives the journey, a journey that I believe will inspire and motivate many others to join them.

Ben, Stefani & Bryan

“We want to change the world – here is where we start.”

Bryan Edwards, Founder & CEO
Bryan is passionate about creating a peaceful world and protecting our environment.  He is an artist, dancer and graphic designer and is the talent behind the design of this beautiful site.

Ben Scharlin, Founder & President of Marketing
Ben is inspired to promote, protect and sustain both natural and urban environments.  He is an actor and artist and is all about connection, communication and taking action.

Stefani Beckerman, President of Operations
Stefani is a fire cracker and her enthusiasm for Fresh Charities is contagious.  She brings the gifts of structure and organization to the team


In just a few short months from the spark of their idea, a mission statement was developed, a stunning site modeled after Facebook was created and in March 2011 the site went live with a “soft” launch. Official site launch will be Summer 2011.

Mission StatementFresh Charities aims to connect the charitably
curious to the world of local and global organized giving by providing a place where the two can meet, communicate, connect and take action together
for the well being and general improvement of our planet and everything that lives on it.



YOU are the key for the next phase.  Fresh Charities would like to extend an invitation for you to join them in building and expanding their online community by:

  • Identifying charities that you would like to see benefit by joining a passionate, generous and action oriented community
  • Creating your own personal profile.  It’s EASY and FUN!  You can check out my profile at: http://freshcharities.com/users/ferrellmarshall
  • Sharing this invitation with your friends and family and ask that they share with family and friends and so on and so forth… let’s get “the buzz” going


Charities Get To:


o   Create, maintain and update a charity profile

o   Post updates, videos, pictures, and events

o   Increase visibility, awareness, and activity

o   Share essential facts about the organization

o   Connect with a public excited about charitable giving

Users Get To:


o   Find, follow, and interact with fresh charities

o   Create and update a personal profile

o   Share useful tips about smart and effective giving

o   Get updates from charities that resonate

o   Learn how to help your favorite charities


At a time in our lives when ideas, tweets and videos can go viral within hours plummeting people and issues onto the world stage, a time when the power of social networking has overturned governments and hundreds of millions of dollars can be raised in minutes to help people impacted by natural disasters… I think the timing for an innovative and socially conscious website like Fresh Charities is a gift to all who want to help create a better world.

I hope to see you online at Fresh Charities soon!

Tosukete (Help!)

“Breaking News…two thousand bodies found in Miyagi.”… these words were read by my nephew last Sunday evening as he gave us an update from his iphone on the crisis in Japan.  We were in Albuquerque for a surprise 80th birthday party and as often occurs when vacationing, the TV had remained off for several days giving us precious time to visit with family.  So, the earthquake and the devastating aftermath was not ever present in our thoughts, but now sitting in the rental car after an evening spent with new friends cheering our cousin in a robust game of volleyball, these shocking words slam us hard… we hesitate saying something for fear it will make it all the more real.

With each day, hour and moment, news updates from Japan flash on our TVs, phones, radios and computers with stories of loss, destruction, potential nuclear meltdown as well as inspiring stories of the human spirit.  I want to help, I want to comfort, I want to make a difference as I know you do.  But how?  Seeking guidance, I have researched my favorite websites and pulled together a list of agencies and information that you may find useful in making a choice on how you can make the most positive impact with your generosity of money and kindness.


The Center for International Disaster Information offers the following advice:
“Financial contributions provide immediate assistance and allow professional relief organizations to purchase exactly what is most urgently needed by disaster victims. A cash donation helps relief organizations respond in a flexible, timely and cost-efficient manner – ultimately providing greater help to those in need. Cash contributions further enable responders to pay for the transportation necessary to distribute those critical supplies. Unlike in-kind donations such as clothing or canned foods, cash donations require no transportation or storage costs. In addition, cash donations allow relief supplies to be purchased at locations as close to the disaster site as possible.”

Charity Navigator
Charity Navigator, America’s premier independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,500 of America’s largest charities.  Click this LINK for a helpful guide on how best to help.


Red Cross
The nation’s premier emergency response organization. As part of a worldwide movement that offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war, they distinguish themselves by also aiding victims of devastating natural disasters

To aid the Red Cross efforts, you can text “REDCROSS” to 90999 and make a $10 donation to the organization. You can also keep up with Red Cross updates by following its Twitter feed and Facebook updates.  Click LINK to read “Response to Japan Earthquake Continues” article

Doctors Without Borders
DWB is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. They have a team on the ground who have visited over 30 evacuation centers.  One main issue identified is concern about chronic disease among the elderly.

Direct Relief International
Direct Relief International provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and throughout the world.

In response to the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Cost Plus World Market is supporting Direct Relief’s emergency response efforts by donating all of net proceeds of sales of products from Japan during the next six months. When shoppers purchase such brands as Kikkoman, Ramune, Sapporo, and Kirin from March 23 to the end of September 2011, Cost Plus will donate 100 percent of its net proceeds to Direct Relief. Direct Relief will in turn provide 100 percent of these funds to help the people of Japan.

International Medical Corps
IMC is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs. The corps sent a team of doctors to Sendai, where they will be delivering supplies, assessing needs and identifying communities that have not been reached. To contribute to the corps’ efforts, visit its website or text “MED” to 80888 to send the group a $10 donation.

World Vision
This humanitarian group is on the ground distributing first-relief supplies such as water, diapers, blankets and powdered milk to victims and their children.  Click LINK to read World Vision’s blog .   Text “4JAPAN” to 20222 to send a $10 donation to the group. It will show up on your next mobile phone bill.

Shelter BOX
ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide.They have close to 1,000 ShelterBoxes either in Japan or on their way and another 5,000 ready to move.


Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK)
ARK is a non-profit, non-governmental private organization with the aim of forming a network of people who love animals, believe in sharing their lives with them, and who work actively to rescue them from suffering

Ultimate Loyalty: Japanese Dog Refuses to Leave Injured Friend Behind
If you have not seen this… it’s an amazing video of a dog who beckons a film crew to come help his friend who is injured.  They were both saved and are doing fine now.  Click LINK to read New York Magazine”s coverage of the story.

Make a difference through the power of prayer by creating a virtual prayer circle.  Join with family and friends to send healing and loving thoughts to the victims of this tragedy.

Google is helping victims touch base with friends and loved ones. Its People Finder allows users to look for victims or post information about people. It works in five languages.

Click LINK to read article:  7 High Tech Ways to Help


Dare to Prepare:  An earthquake readiness campaign to raise earthquake awarness and encourage earthquake readiness in Southern California.

QuakeKare:We offer the highest quality emergency preparedness kits and supplies to prepare you for earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism or any other disaster you may need to survive.

FEMA: What to Do During an Earthquake