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Live to Give: Autism Awareness & Support

In today’s addition of Live to Give I’m encouraging you all to become more invested in two causes that are great advocates for Autism awareness and support for families affected. The first, Autism Speaks, I easily recognize because of the blue puzzle piece used as its logo. The second, The HollyRod Foundation, is the result of a famous couple being instantly connected to the cause when their son received his diagnosis. 

Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Their longtime friend Bernie Marcus donated $25 million to help financially launch the organization. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and look forward to continued successes in the years ahead.

Donate to Autism Speaks here. Learn more about the organization here.


The HollyRod Foundation

Inspired by a father and a son, HollyRod Foundation was formed in 1997 by actress, Holly Robinson Peete and her husband former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete. The HollyRod Foundation is dedicated to providing compassionate care to those living with autism and Parkinson’s disease. Efforts of the HollyRod Foundation are providing a better quality of life for individuals and their families.

Donate to The HollyRod Foundation here. Learn more about the foundation here.

More about Autism:

What is Autism? 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. [According to Autism Speaks]

How Common is Autism?

Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. [According to Autism Speaks]


Live to Give: What Causes do You Support?

Tomorrow I’ll be posting another addition to my Live to Give series, so get ready to be inspired to give to others. As for today, I want to hear what causes you support.

Here are the causes that I’ve shared so far:

I’m looking forward to sharing my post tomorrow, but I want to get your feedback on the type of causes you support. If you have an organization or non profit of your own that you want featured please let me know. 

Feel free to leave a comment below or contact me here

We all should Live to Give. Let’s make the world a better place. 

Live to Give: Somaly Mam Foundation – Ending Modern Day Slavery

I’ve been a supporter of this weeks Live to Give for years. I have to continue spreading the word about the existence of modern day slavery in the year 2013. That’s why I thought it was time for me to share the Somaly Mam Foundation with you all. 

The Somaly Mam Foundation is an organization that raises awareness, money and support to end modern day slavery. Modern day slavery includes human trafficking and sex slavery. There are hundreds of girls and boys who are either kidnapped or sold into a form of slavery every minute. These children are then subject to a life of servitude and sexual abuse and/or prostitution. 

I learned of Somaly Mam and her organization about five or six years ago, when she was a guest on The Tyra Banks Show. Somaly was sold into slavery by her family because they were poor and in exchange they were given money.  Here’s a little about the foundation and Somaly Mam.

The Somaly Mam Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to ending modern slavery and empowering its survivors as part of the solution. Human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar industry, is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. With an estimated two million women and children sold into sexual slavery each year, it is a global crisis that must be stopped.

Co-founded by sex slavery survivor Somaly Mam, the Foundation works to eradicate sex slavery, liberate its victims, and empower survivors to create and sustain lives of dignity and as agents of next-generation change. The Foundation supports rescue operations, shelter services, and rehabilitation programs in Southeast Asia, where the trafficking of women and young girls is widespread.

The Somaly Mam Foundation also runs awareness and advocacy campaigns that shed light on the crime of human trafficking, spotlight its brave survivors as living examples of change, and engage the public, business sectors, and governments in the fight to abolish modern slavery.

This is an important cause and I’m asking you to spread the word and donate to the cause.  



Live to Give: Keep a Child Alive

This edition of Live to Give was inspired by a documentary I watched recently about an organizations that gives support to those suffering from HIV/AIDS in Africa. The documentary followed the talented Alicia Keys and her charitable organization on a life changing trip to Africa that allowed five lucky winners to experience it all up close. The organization being featured this week is… Keep a Child Alive.

Back to the documentary (on Showtime now) for a second. It was only an hour long, but it really took you into the homes of those living with the disease or those who are now living after losing a loved one to HIV and/or AIDS.

The group also visited several charitable organizations that Keep a Child Alive helps fund. For me, the documentary inspired me to hold on to the goal of starting my own charitable organization and to continue giving back to others. I want to live my life in a space of service to others in order to have a positive impact in the world.  

Keep a Child Alive provides treatment, love & support to families affected by HIV/AIDS. Here’s its mission:

Keep a Child Alive believes that every person has the right to health care and that all children deserve a future. We support innovative, community-led responses that increase access to life-saving HIV treatment and care, nutritious food, and loving support for children and families living with and affected by HIV in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and India.

There are many ways to donate to this organization:

  • One time donation
  • Monthly donation
  • Shop its store
  • Start a fundraising campaign
  • Text “Alive” to 90999
  • Shop on eBay
  • Sell on eBay
  • Matching gift programs
  • Automatic payroll deduction
  • Donate air miles
  • Donate Amex points
  • Donate your car, truck, RV, Jet Ski, boat or snowmobile

The important thing to remember about giving money to worthy causes; all donations will help make a difference.


I support this organization and I hope that you will too. Learn more here and be sure to give what you can. 

Live to Give: End Puppy Mills

With so many dog lovers in San Francisco it made me begin to wonder; where were these dogs obtained – A puppy mill, breeder or shelter? I personally don’t have a dog, but I’m a “dog person” for sure. I’ve always said that when I get my first puppy, it will come from a shelter. This brings me to this weeks Live to Give featuring causes that fight against Puppy Mills.

I first became familiar with the dangers of Puppy Mills after it was the topic on an episode of Oprah. After that I always told myself that when I adopt my first puppy it will come from a shelter. The conditions in these puppy mills are terrible and because dog owners purchase dogs from puppy mill owners they are able to stay in business. 

Here are the two causes that I support:

The Humane Society:

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization. We help animals by advocating for better laws to protect animals; conducting campaigns to reform industries; providing animal rescue and emergency response; investigating cases of animal cruelty; and caring for animals through our sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, emergency shelters and clinics.


Founded in 1866, the ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Our mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” While there are ASPCAs and humane societies all over the country, the ASPCA is not directly affiliated with them. However, the ASPCA works nationally to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with many shelters across the country.

If you’re still not convinced to join the fight; maybe these two videos will: