Tag Archives: Charity

Poverty's Answer : LOVE

15 Oct

For one minute I want you to stop and think about the word poverty.  What comes to your mind as you say the word out loud?  What comes to mind as you close your eyes and think about poverty?

Today, October 15th, bloggers everywhere will publish posts that discuss poverty in some way, www.blogactionday.org.  By all posting on the same day,we aim to change the conversation today–to raise awareness, to start a global discussion and to add momentum to an important cause.

Last night I went through my phone and sent a simple text to several friends.  Those friends included businessmen, actors, actresses, rappers, beauty pageant winners, fashion designers, childhood friends and reality television stars.  My question to each of them was “When I say the word poverty, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Using just a few words, can you text me back your thoughts.” 

Here are a few of the responses:

Destitution & despair

Lack of education

Pain and sadness and desperation” 

Absolute despair. Unlivable conditions. Hopelessness.”

The SAG Strike” (I am glad I have friends in Hollywood)

I think of a family living in a home made of adobe or straw–fighting each day to buy bread on the street, to keep clean, to stay healthy, and using water stored in buckets.”

I think of the winner of Survivor: Micronesia.” (The winner’s first name was Parvati)

I think of scanty shacks in Peru and people I have seen living under tarps on sidewalks in India

Poverty – a mindset, a thought pattern of lack & limitation

A struggle to find food to eat and clothes to wear

We all laugh; we all cry; we all love; we all need.  We all need the basics of life, we need friends and we need each other.  Today, if nothing more, let us all focus on one thing we all have regardless of econmonic standing, location, language, belief or ethnicity: LOVE.  For love is the only real answer to poverty.

“To love abundantly is to live abundantly”, were the wise words of the poet, Henry Drummond.

A friend shared with me this story that illustrates this point perfectly, ” Love has been an easy thing to notice during our travels.  One of my favorite memories was in a small village called Tokabangou, in Burkina Faso, West Africa.  Every late afternoon just before sunset, I saw a girl carrying a dinner of millet on a big plate to her grandfather, who was living outside the village.  She stayed and talked with her grandfather until he finished supper.  The scene was heartwarming and filled with love and devotion between two generations.”

Even though the meal shared was scanty according to the standards of the first world, the love present provided the feeling of abundance. Poverty is the lack of material needs or comfort; love is the antithesis of poverty. Love fulfills–it warms, it nurtures, it gives energy and life, it sustains. Love gives one the impetus to rise above one’s station in life. Without love, there is no desire to be better, to do better, to help others. Love is really the only way to achieve sustainability.

Love yourself, love your family, love your friends and then we can begin to lift those throughout the world out of poverty with love.  Love is the answer.

“And I say to you, I have also decided to stick to love. For I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go”, said Martin Luther King Jr. 

Let me know what you have done today to alleviate poverty… and remember “love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems.”

Rising Above Poverty in Haiti with Love

Rising Above Poverty in Haiti with Love

The Interface Foundation — My Life's Work

8 Oct

As a child I always saw myself helping countless people.  Serving is truly the essence of who I am & for most of my life this has been a double-edged sword.  The words of Henry Van Dyke in his short story The Mansion resonate in my soul daily, ” What could I have done better?  What is it that counts?  ‘Only that which is truly given,” answered the voice.  Only that good which is done for the love of doing it.  Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought.  Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward.  Only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself.”  So this double-edged sword of my souls ultimate desire to serve has finally become my ultimate blessing & my life’s work.  For years I would bang my head against the wall as I was not born with a trust fund, I was not educated at an Ivy league school, I was not blessed with “fame” however these supposed “hurdles” in my life are my actual blessings.  My unquenchable desire to be a force for good is a flame that will never be extinguished because I don’t have a trust fund, I didn’t go to an Ivy League school & because I can’t carry a tune & didn’t win American Idol & end up touring the world.  It is that simple!  What I do have is the ultimate desire to serve humanity and after 12 years of working professionally in the non-profit world the Interface Foundation was born.

As most of you know last year Interface came to life.  The Interface Foundation is a 501(c)3 private foundation whose mission is to leverage the power of business and celebrity to bring attention to high impact organizations working to accomplish one of the eight Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2000.

There is no greater peace than knowing your life’s mission!  With Interface I work 24/7 in doing all in my power to get humanity to help humanity!  Each and everyone of us can contribute in some way & I am here to guide the philanthropic ship of Interface to the ultimate destinations where high impact philanthropic initiatives will change countless lives.  Eradicating extreme poverty & hunger (850 million people suffer fromt the tragedy of hunger).  Allowing every child in the world to receive primary education (presently 125 million children don’t go to primary school).  Promoting gender equality & empowering women.  Reducing child mortality.  Improving maternal health.  Combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases.  Ensuring environmental sustainability.

In a very short time we have seen hundreds, thousands of people come together to learn about Interface partner organizations, we have seen donations of time, money & products, and equally as big we have seen people spread the Interface mission!  It is a testament to the power of Interface.  Choose your goal & we will help you support it!!!

I have to give huge thanks to the business community and it’s true philanthropic leaders like Steve Luczo from Seagate, Brent Bishop, Josh James of Omniture, the famed music video director Hype Williams, Randy Blosil of Xango, Alex Hoffmann of Nu Skin, Brandon Fugal of Coldwell Utah, Bernadette Turner of QVC, Darren Dixon, Charlie Walk President of Epic Records, Brent Bolthouse of SBE, Bryan Ferre of Cultivate Ideas, Andrea Donsky, Jim Evans of Xactware,  Jason Deere, Maggie Biggar of Fortis Films, Lisa Spackman, Joel Sybrowski, Jeron Paul of V Spring, Bernadette Hill, Lisette Sand-Freedman of Shadow PR, Jessica Weitz, Dee Murthy of Five Four Clothing, famed music producer Harvey Mason JR, Lisa Nelson of ICAP, Joe “3H” Weinberger, Cynthia Garrett, Kirk Lee of Intuit. 

And I have to set the record straight here after being asked a million times if celebrities are truly engaged in causes because of their own heart or is it a PR move?  Well after being involved with some of the biggest names in the world, I have to say regardless of the celebrity’s initial reason for getting involved I have text message, emails, voice messages, & hand-written thank you notes that show they can’t wait for the next opportunity to serve humanity.  With that I want to thank a few now by giving them a “shout out” — Jeremy Piven of Entourage, Vanessa Williams, Eric Mabius of Ugly Betty, Jesse Metcalfe, Lance Bass,  Sheila E,  Sandra Bullock, Shannon Elizabeth, Tom Higginson of the Plain White T’s, Terri Seymour of Extra, Edison Chen, Paul Wall, Paris Hilton, Marla Maples, Patrick Muldoon, Blake Lewis from American Idol, Michael Moloney from Extreme Makeover:Home Edition, Laura Harring, artist Paul Rusconi, Miss USA Rachel Smith, and Billy Bush from Access Hollywood to name a few.

Paris Hilton Using Her Voice For Philanthropic Good

Paris Hilton Using Her Voice For Philanthropic Good

Let’s continue to come together to change the world.  The goals are simple.  The mission is pure.  Remember what the poet June Jordan taught us: We are the ones we have been waiting for.