The Guy Who Has Everything

My Dad has everything.

A tie (one).  It has The Beatles on it, naturally. He wears it anytime he needs to wear a tie, which isn’t often due to a carefully planned career of self-employment, entrepreneurism and a California lifestyle.

Geeky Dad sandals that he appropriately pairs with socks and a Hawaiian shirt.  “It’s special,” he says, “because it is the same shirt Lieutenant Dan wore in Forrest Gump”.

*Caveat: The shirt in this photo is not THE shirt, but you get the gist.

The coolest, most brag-worthy and up-to-the-minute technology.  Literally, his watch pulls the accurate-to-the-second time from the Atomic Clock in Colorado and glows when he flicks his wrist (powered of course by a built-in solar panel which collects its energy from the sun).  Over the years, I have learned to expect no less from this savviest of Dads.

Three stupendous daughters, if I might say so myself, who make him proud with their education and do-gooding and to which he always repeats “don’t get me anything, I have everything I need.”  Sometimes when mom says this, it not-so-secretly means “you better get me my favorite flowers and a spa package,” but with my Dad, we comply and settle for a breakfast on the town and a cheesy card he’ll soon misplace in a pile of WIRED magazines.

Maybe this year we can get him something that’s not a “thing”…

One of the reasons we moved to northern California in my youth was for the unparalleled scenic beauty and the fact that there are “more trees than people” as my Dad always says. And one of the products my Dad developed in his long technology career is a programming language for kids that teachers are using in schools to get students learning, for instance, to develop and build games – not just play them.

Just by being himself, my Dad both appreciates the finer things in life like music, technology, and the environment, and he inspires me (and others) to do the same.

So I’m planning a unique tribute to him this Father’s Day – JustGive style – a charity Gift Collection that donates to the causes that embody what is best about my Dad. Like a Plant Trees  or Inspire Children & Change Their Lives gift collection that spreads support to four charities working to make a difference.

My sisters can upload a special photo of us and personalize a GiveNow charity gift card that lets him choose to benefit a special charity, like Bay Area Community Resources where he does IT work. We’re excited to celebrate the day with him in a special and unique way. Giving him something that means so much more than any “thing” we could ever find – that he would probably lose!  🙂

How are you celebrating with your Dad? Share your story on Facebook and let’s keep the great ideas flowing because our Dads deserve it.

Author: Michelle Koffler

Rethinking holiday gifts

Tonight, I’ll tell my one-month-old baby that I’m giving him a baseball stadium for Christmas. I figured this out at 3:30 in the morning when his cries made me appreciate the small conveniences of life. Take our bottle warmer: The process to heat a baby’s bottle is not really difficult, but in the early hours of sleepless nights, a bottle warmer can give a new father some semblance of ease.

Convenience is something we often take for granted: easy access to food, shelter, and, at this time of year, presents. I recently saw a commercial for Burger King, touting its “Dollar Holidays” card promotion–sending a holiday gift card containing a dollar bill to “casual friends.” According to BrandWeek, more than 8,000 of these gift cards were sold on the program’s first day alone. There’s something in the magnitude of that number that disturbs me. Perhaps it’s the new baby making me ask questions, but is this really what the season of giving has become?

Don’t get me wrong. I like presents. I like giving. I like getting. Some of my fondest memories are of avoiding creaking floorboards on Christmas morning to see our tree lit up, presents arranged underneath, the cookies and milk left for Santa Claus gone. When it comes to Christmas presents this year, Gallup’s first look at 2009 spending found that Americans plan to spend an average of $740 on gifts this year. That’s starkly down from two years ago – and 65 percent of Americans return holiday gifts every holiday season. We are a country that likes to give and get, and return.

Starting a giving tradition that generates many happy returns . . .

As a recent addition to the JustGive family, I’ve decided to start a new tradition this year and give a gift that that keeps on giving: A donation to a cause I believe in.

Imagine if the 8,000 people who jumped at the chance to give their friends a BK cheeseburger did the same and gave to the Capital Area Food Bank For that same $1, the food bank can provide three meals to someone in need. But what personally interests me is the Capital Area Food Bank is leading the DC-area Farms to School movement: remaking school lunches into nutritious and delicious meals while supporting local farmers. In a culture beset with Dollar Holidays, that’s something a whole lot better I’d choose to support.

Convenient, meaningful gifts

JustGive makes it easy to give back – the type of convenience I appreciate. Three thoughtful e-gifts they offer can make a difference, starting with as little as $10:

    • Donate to charity in your friend, family member or colleague’s name.

      Make the gift personal and donate online, in a few short minutes. You don’t even need to know the name of a charity. Use convenient search tools to quickly find one that supports the cause your recipient cares about.

          This holiday season, you can select from a wider variety of charity gift cards. More than 12 available images make it easy to find one that expresses your sentiment best. Designed for every need, the cards fit Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Years, and represent many charitable causes, including education, children, and peace on Earth.  It’s the perfect gift of choice for your recipient, who redeems the card to support their favorite charity.

          A few of the gift card images available

            • Give a Gift Collection—A “gift basket” of four charities supporting a specific cause.

              A dozen already-packaged gift collections focus on feeding the hungry, creating homes and jobs, mentoring children, protecting animals, respecting elders, planting trees, saving the earth, promoting human rights, pursuing peace . . . and more. Gift Collections start at $40 and are available for any amount.

              My choice

              A small donation to a grassroots organization like City Green, an organization that promotes environmental equality through inner city gardens and education, can make a big impact in the life of a community. City Green supports the Cougars Go Green student club, which is now in its second year. These young students – with the help of donors such as my family – are working to restore the crumbling Hinchcliffe Stadium in their backyard to the thriving city asset it once was when the New York Black Yankees played the Philadelphia Stars in 1933.

              That means that tonight, during my next 3:30 a.m. feeding, I’ll have more than a warm bottle to give my son. I’ll be able to share the joy of giving back.

              Now there’s an idea to share with your friends!

              – Grant La Rouche

              Honoring the Legacy. Fulfilling the Dream.

              Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks. Harriett Tubman. Jackie Robinson. We recognize their names and contributions to history quickly. During Black History Month we celebrate the progress they made possible for so many. This year, the inauguration of the first African American U.S. president, reminds us that progress doesn’t live in the past, but in our actions today.

              Get inspired by milestones in African American history featured on The History Channel. JustGive makes it easy to continue the legacy of black leaders and support African American dreams.

              1909 – Beginning in Chicago, and growing to over 400 chapters by 1921, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has fought to abolish forced segregation, enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments, secure equal education for blacks and whites, and led a crusade against the widespread practice of lynching.

              Find your local NAACP chapter and make a dedicated donation to provide undergraduate scholarships and legal assistance to advance civil and human rights.

              1947 – Jackie Robinson became the first African–American to play on a major league sports team. He led the National League in stolen bases that season, earning Rookie of the Year. Robinson led the Brooklyn Dodgers to six league championships and one World Series victory. As his success and fame grew, Robinson spoke out publicly for black equality, becoming a source of pride, inspiration and hope.

              Search the JustGive Guide for charities that inspire confidence and success through sports and recreation.

              1963 – Over 250,000 people—both black and white—participated in the largest demonstration in the history of the nation’s capital. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His speech served as a defining moment for the civil rights movement.

              Give a friend, colleague or loved one a JustGive Gift Collection and celebrate Dr. King’s dream by supporting a group of charities that create peace and promote human rights.

              1986 – Born in rural Mississippi, Oprah Winfrey got her start in television news before launching what is now a nationally syndicated and the highest-rated talk show in TV history. Winfrey spun her talk–show success into a one–woman empire—including acting, film and television production, and publishing. The first black female billionaire, Winfrey is also an active and enthusiastic philanthropist.

              Live by Oprah’s spirit of generosity and social responsibility. Give a GiveNow charity Gift Card and let your loved one donate to any of nearly 1.5 million organizations working throughout the world.

              2009 – Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, the first African American to hold that office. Obama discovered his civic calling in Chicago, where he worked for several years as a community organizer on the city’s largely black South Side. After studying at Harvard Law School, he began his political career in 1996 in the Illinois State Senate. Obama’s message of hope and change—inspired thousands of new voters, many young and black, to cast their vote for the first time in the historic election.

              Get inspired by stories of hope and change.

              Even small actions create change. JustGive helps you make a difference with as little as $10.  Share these ideas with others and together we light the way for more progress. Celebrating Black History Month has never felt better.