NGO Spotlight-Let Kids Be Kids

Speak for those without a voice!

Along with “advocating for those that are sick, homeless, displaced or looking for assistance with making their lives slightly better” Let Kids Be Kids uses their voice to support animals who cannot speak. Michael Barrett Miller, Co-Founder of Let Kids Be Kids writes about a cause he is passionate about!

Support “Endangered Species” across the globe! 

Let Kids Be Kids, Inc. financially supports, volunteers, and advocates to protect endangered and threatened species across the globe. We were very involved with the passage of Washington State Initiative 1401, which passed with a greater than 70% margin in every county. It is now a crime in Washington to sell or trade elephant ivory, shark fins, parts of elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, marine turtles, sharks, rays, and pangolins.

Our involvement with organizations like the Woodland Park Zoo, Audubon, Earthwatch, Save the Elephants, and others in the United States, Australia, and various countries around the world allow us to advocate for animal protection and animal rights at different venues. We stress conservation, preservation, and education in an attempt to build empathy for our fellow creatures, who are often in dire situations. Depending on the geographical location, the Gray Wolf and Arctic Fox are considered threatened or endangered. The Lowland Gorilla is severely endangered with the realistic potential of ceasing to exist in the wild.

screenshot-2017-01-24-19-00-20Another way we promote empathy for endangered species is through the photographs and videos that we distribute on many social media sites, articles, and blog posts. By June I will have completed a collection of photographs that will be included in a book entitled “Friends.” This will be our fourth book on the work of Let Kids Be Kids, Inc., “Advocacy for those Seeking a Voice” as described on our website.

We are extremely thankful for the wonderful work many people do to ensure these amazing animals are allowed to continue to share the planet with us.

Support Let Kids Be Kids! 


Awaken the Love


At UniversalGiving, our shared vision of what the world should be unites our team. This week, one of our amazing executive assistants, Angel Sun, shares why she was attracted to work for UniversalGiving.

“I chose UniversalGiving because we have the same vision and believe. I wish to awaken the love in people’s heart, so we can all be more loving and willing to share. We can all truly contribute whatever we can to help the needy, and make the world how it is supposed to be.”

-Angel Sun, Executive Assistant

NGO Spotlight: Helen Keller International

“Saving the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged worldwide.”

There are 285 million people who are blind or visually impaired worldwide. Did you know that about 80% of those cases were preventable with proper treatment?

Malnutrition and a lack of vitamin A is the leading cause of preventable vision loss for children. Vision is also plagued by preventable infectious diseases (referred to as diseases of poverty). We rarely hear about these diseases in the US, but they affect 1 in 6 people worldwide.

To reduce these preventable causes of vision loss, Helen Keller International (HKI) was co-founded in 1915 by Helen Keller, a great deaf-blind crusader, and George Kessler, a WWI veteran who wanted to assist allied soldiers who were blinded in service.

Today HKI designs programs in 22 countries around the world to combat the causes and consequences of blindness, poor health, and malnutrition. Their medicine, health, and nutrition programs are all based on strong evidence and research. HKI believes that all people should have the opportunity to be an agent of positive change in their own life!

HKI works to prevent blindness and vision loss through providing surgeries, vision correction, vitamin A supplements, and screening and treatment for neglected diseases. Additionally, they fight malnutrition by promoting practices that improve nutrition such as maternal and child nutrition education. HKI even works directly with families to help them grow nutritious foods!

To support HKI check out their page on UniversalGiving’s website.

“They do not want charity, they want the kind of help that will give their lives a goal, their frustrated selves a purpose around which to integrate their personalities and regain their inner health.”  — Helen Keller

Read more about Helen Keller International!


Inspiring Change Through Photography

By: Kristine Morales

How can art impact social change?  As the desire for a better world becomes a more imaginable future, artists are realizing that creativity can inspire and educate people around the globe.

Nuru Project is an organization that utilizes photography as a way  to create a difference  in developing nations.  Through photography auctions, the organization creates opportunities for socially involved photographers to become agents of change.  Donated works are auctioned and 100% of the proceeds are distributed to a charity featuring the show’s theme usually related to the devastating poverty in developing countries. The concept is an innovative take on philanthropy. Interrelating modern art and altruism represents a new way for artists to not only express their creativity but also influence its viewers about the hardships of the rest of the world.

Curiously glancing into each photograph creates a sudden invitation into an unvisited life,  whether it’s pain, despair, or the genuine happiness seen through the graceful stance of a ballerina. Amidst the mishap of the world, it’s inspiring to view the unique culture and genuine story told within a piece of work. They are beautiful photographs that captivate. I feel touched and suddenly realize that it is a view from these photographers’ lenses that affirm how beautiful work resonates in every people.

Check out their Facebook page here.

Applying the Business Model to Nonprofits


We are so lucky to have interns and employees who think critically about the world and the interconnections that exist. Below is a quote from Ted about why he decided to join UniversalGiving!

“I’ve been interested in social entrepreneurship  for several years. The idea of using business principles to achieve social good was instantly appealing to me. When I heard Pamela Hawley speak at Duke University, I could tell that’s what she was all about—running a nonprofit like a business to make an impact. I especially appreciated UniversalGiving’s hybrid business model. UniversalGiving is a nonprofit website funded via donations and earned income from UniversalGiving Corporate. As a socially minded, tech savvy individual, UG seemed like a place I’d want to be.”
Ted Yavuzkurt, Technology Committee

NGO Spotlight: Osa Conservation



Have you ever been to Costa Rica? You might know this tiny country in Central America by its breathtaking forests and its abundant and varied wildlife. In 2015, these natural wonders attracted over 2.6 million tourists! However, Costa Rica will not continue to be the beautiful attraction that it is today without conscious, driven organizations like Osa Conservation, who are striving to protect these delicate ecosystems.

Founded in 2003, Osa Conservation aims to conserve and restore the biological diversity of the Osa Peninsula. Located in the southwest corner of Costa Rica, this location has been deemed by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth.” In this small area of land, there are various species of birds, mammals, plants, trees and insects, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Osa Conservation’s goal is not only to protect such diversity but also those who directly benefit from this ecosystem. For example, the people in the area are dependent upon clean air, drinking water, food, jobs, cultural resources, and climate to survive. If any part of the peninsula were to disappear, this could lead to disaster for local inhabitants.

Here are three volunteer opportunities on our site that can help Osa Conservation reach their goals!

  1. Volunteer to help restore the forest ecosystems of the Osa Peninsula – participate in reforestation efforts from planting seeds to analyzing success rates
  2. Protect Costa Rican sea turtles – patrolling the beaches and moving vulnerable nests to Osa Conservation’s hatchery drastically increases the survival rate of this vulnerable species
  3. Help research jaguars and other big cats  – by studying these important animals, Osa Conservation is better able to protect their homes now and in the future.


Cambodia: An Inspiring Story of Survival with Thoughts from Beth Kanter

by Anis Salvesen

Imagine that between 1863 and 1980, colonization – becoming an exploitable source of riches for an overseas power that viewed your race as inferior –  would turn out to be the least of your country’s worries.   Worse than colonization was when another overseas power decided, about a century later, that it was okay to drop bombs on your people in order to get to enemy forces waging guerilla warfare from your soil.  The result? A couple million people became refugees. The number of dead as a result of the bombings ?  The number will be forever contested.

The bombings occurred in 1969. Six years later, in 1975, something even worse happened.   The Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, took over the capital Phnom Penh and forced most of its 2 million inhabitants out of the city.  An article from May of that year which appeared in Time gives some disquieting details:

“Perhaps as many as half of Cambodia’s 7.6 million people have become victims of a massive dislocation, a forced march of city dwellers who have been ordered by the Khmer Rouge government to take to the roads and paths and become rice growers in the countryside.  Even hospitals have been evacuated, and doctors stopped in mid-surgery, so that the patients, some limping, some crawling, could take their part in the newly proclaimed ‘peasant revolution.'”

This was only the beginning of nightmares to come. Initially, the inhabitants of Phnom Penh actually ran into the streets and cheered the arrival of the first Khmer Rouge troops.  In the Times article quoted above, the author wondered about the extent of the “vengeful reprisals,” adding, “The foreign evacuees saw a few bodies on the roads and highways last week, but these could have been “accidental” victims of the forced march to the countryside.” The many deaths resulting from the 1975 famine (yes, a famine too) may have been “accidental,” but the extermination of hundreds of thousands of educated Cambodians was anything but. Approximately 1.7 million people died in Cambodia during the three-year rule of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Of course, I had heard of the horrors in Cambodia, of the Killing Fields, but it was not until recently that the country came to the forefront of my thoughts.  Within a space of a few weeks, references to Cambodia popped up everywhere.  It was like in the movies, where the protagonist has a bad breakup and then literally everywhere they go there are happy couples; everywhere I went, someone mentioned Cambodia.  One of these “Cambodia Connections” was Beth Kanter.

Who is Beth Kanter? For the few of you who don’t know, I’ll share a bit from her website and from Wikispaces.  “Beth is the author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofits. In 2009, she was named by Fast Company Magazine as one of the most influential women in technology and one of Business Week’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media.” “In March, 2009, she [did] serve as the 2009 Scholar in Residence for Social Media and Nonprofits for the Packard Foundation.  She was recently named one of the top fifty most influential female bloggers (#29 on the list and the only one focused on the nonprofit sector) and appears on a top ten list of female thought leaders in social media.”

You can imagine how nervous I was to approach Beth when I met her at an event not too long ago.  She was incredibly nice, but I was so nervous, I don’t think I managed to do much more than swap cards.  All the way home I just kept thinking Wow!  I have Beth Kanter’s card! It was not until about 5 days later that I was actually composed enough to write her an e-mail asking her if she would please respond to a few questions about her involvement in Cambodia.

Here is the amazing part.   She actually shared her thoughts with me!  I don’t know how she found the time, but I am incredibly grateful and would like to share what Beth wrote with all of you.

  • How did you first become interested in Cambodia? I know for sure it had nothing to do with Brad and Angelina.

My husband and I adopted our son Harry in 2000 from Cambodia – a couple of years before Angelina discovered Cambodia!

You read about our adoption journey here.

As part of our preparation, I started to research CambodiaCulture.  I started a blog and web site called Cambodia4Kids.

That’s how I connected with Cambodia bloggers.

My son and daughter were living orphanages supported by The Sharing Foundation – and I’ve been a board member for ten years – that’s why I do a lot of fundraising for them online.

So, I got interested in Cambodia because my children are Cambodian – and I felt it was important to give back.

  • If you had 30 seconds in an elevator with someone and wanted to engage them in helping people in Cambodia, what would you say?

Cambodia is country facing devastating poverty – a little bit of money and work goes a long way — especially when I donate to the Sharing Foundation for their work

  • Talking about how badly people in a certain country need help can be
    less than uplifting.  Do you have a story of an inspiring, positive
    experience you could perhaps share with us?

Yes, Leng Sopharath. She is an orphan who lived in the orphanage that my daughter lived in for two years. Our family has sponsored her for college and she will graduate.  That means she will have a better life because of her education.  Here’s a story about her and the first fundraising I ran to send her off to her freshman year.

Education is lever in Cambodia – and I raise money to support The Sharing Foundation’s education program – they educate 1500 kids year

  • This last question is not so focused on Cambodia.  Who was the greatest
    role model in your life?

Dr. Hendrie who is the founder of the Sharing Foundation.

A special thanks to Beth for sharing her thoughts.  In addition to The Sharing Foundation, you can also find great ways to help Cambodians on UniversalGiving.

Sources :  BBCYale Cambodia Genocide Project; Wikipedia;  Time Magazine; Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University

[Blog Post Updated Jan 2017 by Sarah Scott]