v. to make radically different
n. a fresh set of clothing; money

Change t-shirts 52 times in 2010 to raise awareness and funds for 52 world changers.

What do you change for?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Yes, I am a Red Sox Fan; and Yes, I am a Jimmy Fund Fan.

What began as one child’s plea for help, culminated in the birth of The Jimmy Fund. This charity is dedicated to supporting “the fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, [by] helping to raise the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world.”

While many believe that Jimmy was the one who began The Jimmy Fund, in reality “Jimmy” does not exist.

In fact, he never existed.

In 1948, the name “Jimmy” was given as an alias to Einar Gustafson, a twelve year old boy who was suffering from cancer, to protect his privacy when he was chosen to speak from his hospital room on Ralph Edwards’ national radio show “Truth or Consequences.” Gustafson appealed to the show’s listeners to donate funds towards Dr. Sidney Farber’s, the founder of the Children’s Cancer Resaerch Foundation, (later named Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) and a pioneer in modern chemotherapy, research. Once more than $200,000 was raised towards Dr. Farber’s cancer research from Edwards’ radio show, The Jimmy Fund was created.

Although not intentional, until 1998, Gustafson’s identity as “Jimmy” was concealed. While most people imagined that the young “Jimmy” had passed away as cures for pediatric cancers were very rare at the time in which Gustafson was treated, Gustafson had returned to live anonymously at his family’s farm in Maine and later in Massachusetts after his successful bout with fame and the remission of his cancer.

On the 50th anniversary of the radio broadcast from Einar Gustafson’s hospital room, “Jimmy” was “welcomed back” to Dana-Farber and he was once again a celebrity. This time though, he ran with his fame.

From the time he “reemerged” as “Jimmy” in 1998, until he passed away from a stroke in 2001, Gustafson spread this charity’s message through the variety of fundraising events The Jimmy Fund offers and even drove a trailer across the country painted with The Jimmy Fund’s logo: "Because it takes more than courage to beat cancer.”

So what does The Jimmy Fund have to do with The Boston Red Sox?

Back in his hospital room in 1948, the Boston Braves, Boston’s baseball team at the time, joined “Jimmy” in his appeal to the millions of listeners on Ralph Edwards’ radio program. And since 1953, when “The Red Sox [Boston’s new baseball team] adopted The Jimmy Fund as its official charity,” the two have “established a deep bond —unlike any other in professional sports.”

The team’s enthusiasm and dedication to raise funds for The Jimmy Fund, which in turn funds the research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has highlighted the importance of partnering such a legendary sports team with such a celebrated charity.

The Red Sox consistently place The Jimmy Fund at the top of their priorities; from visiting sick children in the hospital to hosting the annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon
and the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (“the nation's original fundraising bike-a-thon”).

Additionally, The Jimmy Fund organizes numerous events, such as the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, and the Jimmy Fund Scooperbowl (an all you can eat ice cream festival, where funds to enter the event are donated to The Jimmy Fund).

In their mission to restore and maintain the resilience and happiness of “kids just wanting to be kids,” The Jimmy Fund has become one of the nation’s premier charities to reach such a feat.

Please visit to learn more.

(The Jimmy Fund supports the fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Ever wondered how to say “unity” or “agreement” in Swahili?

Thought so.

It's Kiva

Founded by Matt and Jessica Flannery in 2005 as the world’s first online micro-lending system, partners with microfinance institutions around the world, known as Field Partners (in Kiva language), to help finance small loans to individuals, known as entrepreneurs (in Kiva language), who need loans to sustain their businesses.

Thanks to, Kiva is now known as an “agreement” in both Swahili and in English. It is a connection. It is a community. It is a source of livelihood formed through an agreement of loans made by one individual to another. By empowering both the lender and the entrepreneur through their online lending system, Kiva has created a “global community of people connected through lending.”

Kiva has not only provided an opportunity for the poor to live in dignity and respect by pursuing their dreams through partnerships rather than “benefactor relationships,” but it has raised awareness about the importance of microfinancing institutions around the world.

Microfinance institutions fill the void of the lack of financial services available to people who have little cash or income. Since banks generally require clients to have a base amount of assets or income to qualify for a loan (which are accompanied by interest rates), poor people are generally excluded from such financial opportunities.

Enter Kiva.

Kiva uses its field partners (microfinance institutions) on the ground in various regions of the world “to disburse a microloan to an entrepreneur in their community.” A microloan is a small loan given to those living in poverty to help encourage entrepreneurship among those who lack collateral, a credit history, or other financial opportunity.

After the field partners upload an individual entrepreneur’s profile to the Kiva website, lenders on, like you and me, can search through the profiles and lend to various entrepreneurs around the world.

Usually, field partners have already made a loan to an entrepreneur by the time their profile is loaded to Therefore, the loans that lenders make on are most likely going towards “funds to backfill the loan they’ve (field partners) already disbursed to the entrepreneur.”

Once the entrepreneur repays the loan over time, the field partner repays the loans back to Kiva and through a “net billing system” (used to speed up and minimize the costs of wire transfers), Kiva credits the lender’s account on so that the lender can now relend their funds to another entrepreneurial venture.

While some may find the details a bit confusing, Kiva counts on the accountability of loans, rather “than donations where repayment is not expected.”

With a minimum payment of $25 for a loan on, one individual has the opportunity to change another’s life. Kiva uses the internet to form a virtual lending institution- to raise funds for their field partners around the world who are constantly lending to local entrepreneurs.

Through the microlending cycle “as of November 2009, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans.”

Although the 34 full-time employees at the Kiva headquarters reside in San Francisco, CA, Kiva’s loans reach the far ends of the earth.

Kiva believes that “People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way.”

$25. Whose business will you finance?

Please visit to learn more.

(Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Meet Mercy Ships — the latest trend in floating hospitals.

Marius Prinsloo, a staff member at Mercy Ships, explains that “Mercy Ships operates the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship to serve the poor free of charge. Hospital ships can sail to areas of greatest need; carry large amounts of medical, construction and agricultural supplies; accommodate large numbers of experts from around the world including surgeons, doctors, nurses, teachers, water engineers and agriculturalists.”

Not only does Mercy Ships provide immediate medical relief and support to the poor in developing countries, but the organization focuses on training locals to build and develop sustainable infrastructure “to continue the work after Mercy Ships has left.”

“Crew members [aboard Mercy Ships] are volunteers who pay fees to serve. The global charity has volunteers from over 40 nations. Professional doctors, surgeons, nurses, teachers, dentists, marine and support crew live in a community onboard the ship and provide state-of-the-art medical care.”

Marius describes the pain and anger which envelops the lives of the thousands of patients that Mercy Ships treats. Demba, a 42 year old man suffering from a cleft lip and palatte, had been shuffled from doctor to doctor his whole life to find a cure for his malaise. As a result, “Demba was never allowed to attend school as the children mercilessly mocked him and the adults accused him of being cursed.” Although his sister taught him to read and write, Demba could not find a job—forcing him to live on the streets until a compassionate hotel owner trained Demba as a baker and told him about “the big white ship that could help him.”

Demba's surgery performed on Mercy Ships transformed the “anger in his eyes, a life long hurt and distrust of people” to “eyes filled with compassion and care.”

Such stories are the norm on Mercy Ships.

Dedicated to serving the continent of Africa, the Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships’ and the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, has six operating theatres, and a 78-bed ward, intensive care, CAT scan, and isolation ward. With 15 national offices around the world, Mercy Ships has enabled the Africa Mercy to double “the annual capacity of her predecessors in terms of direct medical outcomes.”

Mercy Ships uses the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) to determine where those areas most in need of Mercy Ships’ help are located.

From February through August, “the Africa Mercy, will be delivering free world-class health care and community development services to the people of Togo. An estimated 70% of the population lives on less than $2 a day, [and] there is only one doctor for every 28,500 people -- compared to 74 physicians for every 28,500 people in the United States.”

Thanks, Marius, for bringing us on our maiden voyage with Mercy Ships!

Please visit to learn more.

(Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the world’s poor.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Israeli Solar Technology + Rural African Villages = Jewish Heart for Africa

Capitalizing on the technology that one country in the world has to offer another thousands of miles away, is exactly why Associate Executive Director Rachel Ishofsky “changes” for Jewish Heart for Africa (JHA).

Rachel has “always been a strong believer in the need for infrastructure development in the developing world, and Jewish Heart for Africa does exactly that. We bring light to schools, electricity to medical clinics, use solar power to pump clean water from underground and irrigation systems to improve local agriculture.

In adapting Israeli solar technology for use in Africa, JHA supports the Israeli economy by purchasing its solar technology models to save African lives. Having opened their offices only in 2008, JHA works with partners in Israel and in Africa to channel their resources and expertise in the most sustainable way. Their state of the art website directs visitors through an interactive explanation of how their organization operates, with 100% of donations going directly towards funding projects in Africa. As JHA continues to engage more donors and to expand its number of projects, they still manage to personalize the stories of their beneficiaries.

Rachel’s “most memorable moment working for JHA was the night I spent at Kaliro Orphanage, Uganda. It took us five hours to get there by car, driving along dirt roads in a van crowded with both bags and people. We had just gotten off the plane from Ethiopia, and were at the end of what had become a very long trip ( But suddenly we were out of the car and surrounded by children. It was nighttime--and for the first time, they had light.

Our solar panels had just been installed there the week before. The orphans were running around, playing, and groups of them were studying together in classrooms lit by our solar powered bulbs. They were doing their homework.

There was a small boy there named Allan ( Both his parents died of AIDS, and he has already been living at the orphanage for three years. For over half of his short and underprivileged life, Allan has been going to bed each night alone and in the dark.

But that night, as our team of three helped to tuck in the kids, I watched another child crawl into his bed, and together, they read a bedtime story.

It's moments like these that remind you how much a single lightbulb really can brighten a life.

In addition to projectsol, JHA’s solar power technology project, and projectagro, JHA’s initiative to use innovative Israeli agricultural practices to make agriculture sustainable even in regions of drought, JHA plans tomore than double the 70,000 African people that our work reached in 2009. We will expand to three new countries and see the completion of our first agricultural projects.

JHA has also launched the Pilot Eco Village Program--a combination of a solar powered school, medical clinic, water pumping system, and drip irrigation technologies, all in a single village. These projects will simultaneously revolutionize the education, health and wealth of an entire community. And that's all just the beginning.

Thanks, Rachel, for “enlightening” us with Jewish Heart for Africa’s innovative initiatives.

Please visit to learn more.

(Jewish Heart for Africa brings Israeli solar technology to rural African villages.)