Volunteering and Mindfulness

Wanderlust is a mindfulness triathlon. It includes yoga, meditation, and running. Angel Sun represented UniversalGiving and volunteered at Wanderlust’s 5K on Sunday. Here is Angel’s take on the experience.
“It was cold and windy.  I was preparing the water station at the halfway mark for the runners.
It felt great to have morning air and light exercise️ And I was moved by the runners’ spirit. Getting up early in the morning and run the marathon together. Definitely, want to do it again in the future!”
“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; They have the heart”
-Elizabeth Andrew
Volunteering is a great way to practice mindfulness. Working for a cause alongside others helps keep us in the moment. It is psychologically shown that when we focus our attention outward and remain present we are much happier. Volunteering is a great way to clear our minds and simultaneously practice compassion and awareness.

Fight malaria with tech

Over the last five years, global cases of malaria dropped by 21%, but there is still a lot of work to do. About 429,000 people lost their lives to malaria in 2015, and 90% of those malaria deaths were in sub-image (3)Saharan Africa. This region is disproportionately affected by malaria and One Mobile Projector per Trainer (OMPT) has created an innovative strategy for fighting the disease Gambia.

OMPT teaches each community how to organize and spread valuable knowledge about malaria and prevention through video technology. Cameras, projectors and other important equipment are provided. OMPT runs 4-day video education workshops to teach the local organizations and community members how to use this equipment. Through the use of video technology, rural communities in Gambia can mobilize and share innovative information.

OMPT has deployed 1,989 projectors to underserved communities, giving them access to knowledge about malaria that is life-saving.

Donate to OMPT’s malaria prevention projects here.

Mosquito Nets Save Lives

By Develop Africa

For World Malaria Day (Tuesday) here is a blog post from our NGO partner Develop Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa has faced health related challenges for many years, including Ebola, which gained worldwide attention a few years ago when it spread beyond the continent of Africa and threatened lives abroad. Thankfully, the 2014-2015 Ebola Outbreak has been contained, but as much of the world starts to relax, Africa continues its ongoing fight against malaria.

In 2015, Sub-Saharan Africa suffered the largest number of malaria infections in comparison to any other region or country in the world, claiming 90% of malaria infections and 92% of malaria-caused deaths worldwide [1]. Sadly, over 300,000 children under the age of five died in 2015 in Africa because of malaria [1]. Although these statistics are staggering, they represent a dramatic reduction of malaria infections since 2010, proving that prevention and treatment methods are making a positive impact [1].

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), insecticide-treated mosquito nets are an effective prevention tool that can be used to protect those who are at high risk of malaria infection [1]. People with suppressed immune systems are at particular risk of malaria infection, including pregnant women and HIV-infected individuals [2].

Develop Africa wants to provide people in Sub-Saharan Africa with the resources needed to fight against malaria. With volunteers already in place in the region, Develop Africa is in a position to make effective contributions to this fight in countries like Sierra Leone, Cameroon, and The Gambia. You can join our fight by making a donation here; we will use the money for life-saving mosquito nets. We also have an active fundraising campaign on Facebook where you can donate and share this fundraiser with your friends.

The world will never be free from the risk of malaria until we defeat the problem at the epicenter. It is our hope that by raising additional funds for malaria prevention we can help make a difference and save lives together.

Donate to Develop Africa hereand view Develop Africa’s blog here.


[1] World Health Organization. 10 facts on malaria. Retrieved March 19, 2017 from http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/en/

[2] World Health Organization. Malaria: Fact sheet. Retrieved March 19, 2017 from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/

Authors of Develop Africa’s Blog

Take Action for Earth Week

Earth Day is celebrated in over 192 countries.  Here are just a few ways the UniversalGiving team has contributed.

Volunteering for the SPCA, and saving sea turtles in Mexico.

Cleaning Ocean Beach with Surfrider Foundation!

Picture01Day of service at the park!

You can take action by donating to UniversalGiving’s amazing environmental NGO partners.

  1. Help reduce CO2 emissions by providing energy efficient lights for people in Sierra Leone.
  2. Help save endangered species.

Or volunteer your time to save the planet.

  1. Fight to conserve and protect Costa Rica sea turtles.
  2. Restore the forest ecosystems of the Osa Penninsula.

Environmental Injustices Surrounding Bottled Water

By Caity Varian       

Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water and a thousand more people throw one of these bottles away, adding up to more than thirty billion bottles purchased every year and resulting in tens of billions of dollars in profits for the beverage industry. Water was first sold for emergency storm supply purposes in grocery stores in the United States and is now being marketed and sold all over the world by multinational corporations. Public water supplies are increasingly being pressured by beverage companies to privatize their services. The emphasis on profit in the bottled water industry has exacerbated existing inequalities on local, national and global scales.

In the United States, the beverage industry has capitalized on public fear of tap water, marketing bottled water as a healthy alternative and a safe solution. The imagery and rhetoric employed in bottled water marketing and advertising has worked to construct the consumption of bottled water as the solution to the global water crisis, hindering any sort of political or collective action towards improving the quality of municipal water sources and the quality of freshwater more generally.


Companies such as a Nestle, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo extract water and harness municipal water sources, damaging these sources for local communities and future generations. If the bottled water industry continues to grow and thrive, aquifers and groundwater sources will become depleted and only those that can afford to do so will be able to purchase clean drinking water. Bottled water costs 240-100,000 times more per gallon compared to tap water. If the bottled water industry continues to thrive, municipal sources will become more and more scarce and expensive, making clean drinking water more expensive and less accessible.

Bottled water does have an important role to play during emergencies when municipal water systems are temporarily disrupted and in some major cities and countries of the world, bottled water may be the only available source of safe drinking water. However, the perception of bottled water as a status symbol in the United States or as the main source of clean drinking water for the American people needs to be dismantled.

Resistance to the bottled water industry must be addressed at the level of both production and consumption. A “take back the tap” campaign needs to be employed to promote a cultural shift away from the consumption of bottled water. Creating awareness about environmental injustices that persist within the bottled water industry and establishing transparency within the industry will be crucial. Environmental Justice activists must work to persuade consumers to avoid bottled water whenever possible and to pressure public institutions and local governments to stop buying it. In terms of production, local communities need to actively oppose and protest specific instances of spring water extraction by the beverage industry, advocating for the preservation of municipal water sources. We need to think about drinking water as a cultural resource, a political resource, and as an economic resource, and deeply consider the implications of all of these perspectives.


Ecosia – Plant Trees with Every Search!

By Bronte Kass

This week, replace your search engine with Ecosia!  Ecosia, founded in 2009, is a company that plants trees with its ad revenue; you search the web, and the ads generate income for tree planting projects in Burkina Faso, Africa.  There’s a free browser extension, and you can set it as your home page or even download the Ecosia app to search on your phone!

Through planting millions of trees in West Africa, Ecosia is bringing water, plants and animals back to drought-ridden areas and reviving the land for people’s health, jobs and independence.  Based in Germany, they donate an impressive 80% of their income after expenses.

Here are some testimonials from Upworthy, Scientific American, The Guardian, and Salon.

trees planted

More than 2.5 million people use Ecosia every month.  Their next goal is planting 1 billion trees by 2020, so bookmark their page and give them support!  It’s an incredibly easy way to spend zero dollars, change one small habit, and help the Earth.

So far, I’ve planted over 2,000 trees with my searches – can’t wait to see how many you will!


Man Bakes Pies to Heal His Heart

What a lovely example.  I love people who despite any hurt– still rise above, and give.  It’s so beautiful.  What a courageous man.  He bakes pies to heal his heart, after his wife ascended.


It seems Keller couldn’t possibly have thought up a more beautiful way to honor his late wife than by baking hundreds of pies and selflessly giving them away to those in need. But one of the most touching parts of his tribute actually comes long before the final baked goods are revealed. It happens each time he opens the oven.

Read about 98-year-old Keller here.

As he explained to the station, his wife picked it out when they moved in their Hastings home 62 years ago.

“Everything I do, I do it with love,” he said. “That’s my secret ingredient, is love.”

Read full article

This article originally appeared in Foodandwine.com