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Betty Londergan

Tell us about the What Gives 365 Project.

What Gives 365 is my “pay it forward” to the world. Every day in 2010 I am giving away $100 to a person, cause or organization that I think is making the world a better place.

What was the impetus behind your project?

I went to see Julie and Julia and I thought if I were to blog every day for a year what would I do? Standing in my kitchen I thought, “I’m going to give away money.”

How did you decide on the amount of $100 a day?

It was completely random. I had some money that my dad had left me, my dad passed away about five years ago, and they were very philanthropic.
It’s actually turned into this amazing and incredible journey. It’s taken a completely different direction than anything I would have envisioned when I started it and it’s so exciting because people write to me and I hear about the projects and work people are doing around the world. It’s so inspiring.

How are you selecting the people or organizations to give $100 to everyday?

There is an invitation on my blog called Vicarious Giving. If you write to me about something that you love and you’re really passionate about and it’s something that grabs me then I’ll support your cause.
I’m looking for compassion and commitment and something where I can feel the person’s heart. It can be a small thing and it’s about helping other people and the planet.

Tell me about the ripple effect your project has created.

I love to write and wanted to help these causes and put some positive energy out there because there is so much negative news all the time. I wanted to create something that would make people feel good.
I published this story about a man in Nigeria who created a farmer’s radio station. He started with $300 and had to raise $6,500. Another person who read the blog gave him the money. He already has 225,000 listeners and has helped raise their agricultural productivity by 40%. If I do nothing but get him to the Unreasonable Institute in Colorado so people can invest in him and he is able to reach four million people as a result, that would be my most phenomenal goal ever.
Another example is a nurse who wrote to me from North Carolina who has AIDS. She wanted to advocate on behalf of the other women in her community who have AIDS. So, she was raising money to buy a computer. Another person read the blog and sent her a computer and a printer.
Your project ends December 31st, 2010. What do you think you’ll do after wards?
I think next year I want to go to some of the places I’ve written about. I want to go to this orphanage in Nepal and see the African Library project.

Do you think women have a different connection with money than men?

I think so. I’ve noticed this movement with women helping women. I think it’s the new thing, women in groups who are helping and advocating for other women around the world. I think to women money represents freedom and security.

What is your message to women about the importance of utilizing their purchase power?

We are the decision makers. I think that gives us more power than we could possibly imagine and it’s so critical that we start making those decisions in a more intelligent and intentional way. That goes for the food we eat. We could change agri-business in our country if we chose to. If women said “we’re not buying anything that’s packed with pesticides that’s dangerous for our kids”, we could change it.

How can everyday women support the work you’re doing?

If you read my blog long enough I don’t think you could resist at least one of the causes I’ve blogged about. Just give, even if it’s $10. And if you can’t give, just to know about it and tell people about the things you’re reading, I think that’s really powerful. Sometimes it’s not about money, sometimes it’s just about awareness or volunteering. To be part of something that is bigger than yourself is part of the solution and feel the connectedness between us all.

Five things you can do today to get involved:

  1. Find one cause on www.whatgives365.wordpress.com you could support or share with your friends.
  2. Post a cause or a personal story about someone who is making a difference on your blog or Facebook page.
  3. Visit the Women’s Economic Security Campaign (WESC) site and learn how you can advocate for and support women’s economic security.
  4. Support the Women’s Funding Network and invest in women-led programs.
  5. Utilize your purchase power

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