Celebrating a Year’s Worth of “Charities of The Week”

As 2018 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on all the wonderful things that have happened over the past year. Honestly, it has been an amazing year for me personally, despite the stress and difficulties we are facing worldwide.

This has been a year of tremendous growth for me personally, my family, my friends, and my amazing clients.

One new thing that entered my life in 2018 was The Brave Files Podcast. As I was creating the show I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to share with the world and how I could be part of making the world a more loving, beautiful and joyful place.

Do all things with great care.

One of my favorite things over the span of the past several months has been learning about The Brave Files Podcast’s “Charities of the Week”. Each week on the podcast, our guest tells us about their favorite charitable organization. Some of these organizations are big, well-known, national organizations. Some are smaller, local nonprofits. Many of the charities were founded by our guests themselves!

Deep in my soul, I believe in the importance of giving and supporting causes and organizations that improve the lives of people in our communities and the world at large. It has just been so wonderful to learn about various charities out there making a difference in our world and it has been such a pleasure sharing them with all of the listeners.

Deeply motivated to do more.

To wrap up 2018, The Brave Files Podcast team reached out to all of our Charities of The Week to see how their year has unfolded and what they have on the horizon for 2019.

I encourage you to take some time to either learn about or refresh your memory on these amazing organizations. There are many ways to get involved and support these nonprofits so, if you feel called to be more active, please do so! Each organization does something truly needed in our communities, so let’s show them some love!.

The world needs your positive energy and support. Let’s all work together to leave a lasting imprint on the world around us!

We invited all of our Charities of The Week to share what they are most grateful for from the past year and what their next big initiative was. Special thanks to the charities who responded – – we are excited to help you achieve your 2019 goals!

The Brave Files Podcast’s Charities of the Week

Episode 1 with Brian Johnson“Building Fireproof Houses”

Charity of the Week: Equality Illinois

Equality Illinois is grateful for the thousands of LGBTQ Equality voters who showed up at the polls in 2018. They worked to identify thousands of LGBTQ Equality voters who don’t normally vote in elections and turned them out to vote this year. Every vote for LGBTQ Equality makes the lives of LGBTQ Illinoisans better!

The organization hopes to see the Inclusive Curriculum Bill pass in Springfield this year. This bill would make Illinois only the second state in the country that would require the teaching of LGBTQ history in US schools.

Episode 2 with Jenny Buttaccio“Give It One Last Shot”

Charities of the Week: Project Lyme and Rescue + Freedom Project



Episode 3 with Dr. Toscha Dickerson “Face Everything and Rise”

Charities of the Week: S.T.R.E.S.S.O.U.T. and 2nd Chance

S.T.R.E.S.S.O.U.T is most grateful for the lives they have influenced. They are grateful for the ability to be able to give not just monetarily but to give their time towards so many community programs.

The organization’s next big initiative will be to open a home for women and their children as a safe haven where both the women and children will learn and grow. They will be campaigning for donations, sponsorship's, and funding in the Houston, Texas area.


Episode 4 with Khim Baggett“Proof of Life”

Charity of the Week: Hope for Two

Hope for Two is grateful for growth. They have greatly increased their social media presence, which has resulted in more patients contacting their organization in search of assistance. Since their founding 21 years ago, their number one goal has been to assist as many women in need as possible.

The organization intends to further their outreach on many different platforms to reach more women in need as well as health care providers. By reaching more health care providers, they would love the opportunity to share more survivor stories, to highlight survivors’ courage, and show how these amazing women want to support others once they are out of treatment.


Episode 5 with Karen Kitto“Their Buns, My Oven”

Charity of the Week: International Rescue Committee and Planned Parenthood


Episode 6 with Alex Foley“Can’t Keep Me Down”

Charity of the Week: The Seeing Eye

The Seeing Eye is most thankful for the support of their many donors, volunteers, and puppy raisers. So many people play a role in creating every match at The Seeing Eye. People from across the United States and Canada come to their facility to be matched with and trained in the use and care of these amazing guide dogs, and the organization is truly grateful for their dedication, their generosity, and their kindness. They believe their dogs are amazing because their people are amazing.

The organization’s next big initiative is that they are celebrating their 90th anniversary in 2019! They are having a year-long celebration that will include a reunion of Seeing Eye graduates. The Seeing Eye will also be dedicating an expanded kennel facility on their campus. It promises to be a very exciting year!


Episode 7 & 8 with Omar Yamini“The Theory of Accountability”

Charity of the Week: Determined To Be UpRight

Determined To Be UpRight is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with the middle school students at the same school where Omar Yamini, his brothers, and sisters all went to school.

After completing his Master's degree in Youth Development May 2019, Omar’s plans are to take my Comprehending Consequences curriculum and make it available to school districts who can use additional supports to help young people who are at risk manage the harmful influences they will encounter so that they don’t end up in prison.


Episode 9 with Morgaine Trine“The Road to Everywhere”

Charity of the Week: Ekone Ranch

Ekone ranch is grateful for the outpouring of support from their extended community this year.  On the brink of huge changes with high stakes, they feel affirmed knowing the Ekone Ranch community says “Yes! This place and its work should continue long into the future!”

The organization’s next big initiative is a $2.5 million, 5-year upgrade of their entire campus.  After operating for 33 years in unpermitted, aging, undersized buildings, it is time for the thriving, effective organization to rise to modern codes and create facilities that will serve their work safely and gracefully for generations to come.

Episode 10 with Mason Aid“Queer Recovering Homophobe”

Charity of the Week: The Trevor Project


Episode 11 with Alexa Bigwarfe “From Grieving To Giving”

Charity of the Week: Sunshine After The Storm

Sunshine After the Storm is most grateful to really generous people and relationships that make doing what they do possible. Alexa, at Sunshine After the Storm, wants to give a huge shout out to Cindy Tyler and the Vervante company. Cindy is a colleague and saw Alexa’s call-out for a need for donations so that she can continue to donate copies of her book Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother to mothers who have recently lost babies or children. She owns a printing and publishing company and she answered Alexa’s call by giving her cases upon cases of her book for FREE. It's generosity like that that allows Sunshine After the Storm to continue bringing light and encouragement to mothers in their darkest hours.

The organization plans on moving beyond donating copies of Alexa’s book to local hospitals and sending bereavement packages. They are planning on running seminars to help teach grieving mothers how to write to heal – and the power of sharing their own stories. They are also planning a grief retreat and a new book for parents who lose older children. The organization could really use donations to help with the packages and to help keep the cost of the retreat down as much as possible while still spoiling these mamas.


Episode 12 with Dale Spencer“Embrace the Fear”

Charity of the Week: Think First National Injury Prevention Foundation

The ThinkFirst Foundation is most thankful for the people who are the heart of their

youth and teen programs: their VIP speakers (Voices for Injury Prevention). VIPs have sustained a brain or spinal cord injury and share their story during ThinkFirst school presentations. The organization is also thankful for their donors whose generous support ensures that ThinkFirst programs are up-to-date and effectively presented thousands of times each year to hundreds of thousands of attendees.

ThinkFirst’s next big initiatives include the development of new VIP videos, programs, and continued outreach through the expansion of ThinkFirst chapters. Your donation directly supports their mission to help people realize the importance of making safe choices to lower their risk for injuries through ThinkFirst for babies, youth, teens, and concussion and fall prevention programs.


Episode 13 with Kimberly Richards “Brave Out of Necessity”

Charity of the Week: Habitat for Humanity


Episode 14 with Dana Gerrits“Life Wide Open”

Charity of the Week: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)


Episode 15 with Kirsten Palladino“Two Different Worlds”

Charities of the Week: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) and Georgia Equality


Episode 16 with Anthony Clark“An Ally in Verb Form”

Charities of the Week: Suburban Unity Alliance,  Neighbors United LLC, and Black Lives Matter

Suburban Unity Alliance is most grateful for the continued belief and support of much of the commUNITY in our efforts to rebuke statue quo for systemic change that leads to the access of opportunity and ownership for all.

They are looking forward to continuing the fight and ensuring the Racial Equity Policy is passed in the New Year.

Neighbors United is also grateful for the continued belief and support of the local commUNITY. This has led to sustained job opportunities for hardworking employees. NU looks forward to continued growth in the New Year as well as employees continuing to gain the ability to utilize the experience for greater opportunities.


Episode 17 with Cassandra Bumpus“Girl Seeking Joy”

Charity of the Week: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation


Episode 18 with Chad Husar and Ernie Berlin“Socially Conscious Living”

Charity of the Week: La Casa Norte

La Casa Norte is grateful to be able to provide services and opportunities that youth and families would not otherwise have access to resources. They are grateful to be able to go to work with like-minded individuals who are passionate and demonstrate empathy for their clients. Their work may be different across programs and departments, they are all there to achieve the same goal – to help end homelessness for youth and families in Chicago and the surrounding areas.

The organization is moving into their brand new community center located in Humboldt Park! It’s been a project they’ve been working on for almost seven years and in January they’ll open a center that will include a nutrition center (food pantry, community café that will serve hot meals, and cooking demonstrations and nutrition education workshops), a medical clinic in partnership with Howard Brown Health, and youth drop-in center and the Pierce House, 25 units of supportive and affordable housing.


Episode 19 with Casee Marie Clow“Holding Up The Light”

Charities of the Week: Furry Friends Foster and Rescue and Saving Paws


Episode 20 with Silva Mirzoian “The Genie Inside”

Charities of the Week: Aviva and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


Episode 21 with Kendra DeLarge “Breaking Down Barriers”

Charity of the Week: Hope Cottage

Hope Cottage is most grateful to have celebrated their centennial. They are immensely grateful that after 100 years of serving the Dallas area they continue to have such strong support from their community. They look forward to the next 100 years of service!

The organization’s next big initiative is to further strengthen and significantly grow their Youth Education and Healthy Mother/Healthy Baby services.  Hope Cottages goal is to develop more strategic partnerships with clinics, shelters, schools, and other social service agencies serving similar populations.

The best way Hope Cottage can be supported is through the generosity of individual or corporate donors who have an interest in their work. They also ask you to support them on Facebook. Share their blogs and hyperlink their website on your media outlets. Non-profits generally have very limited budgets for marketing and advertising so free marketing and publicity helps them get their name out and bring awareness to what the organization can offer.


Episode 22 with Emily Ann Peterson “The Ingredients of Bravery”

Charity of the Week: Speak Up for the Poor

Speak Up for the Poor is most grateful for their field staff and teachers who are tackling difficult odds to keep more than 1300 girls in school. Many teachers go beyond the call of duty to serve the girls. The organization is especially grateful for some of their young female staff who are breaking out of expectations for women in Bangladesh and modeling to younger women and girls what educated and empowered women are capable of. 

Speak Up for the Poor’s biggest initiative in 2019 will be to add another 175 girls to their Girls Education Program. Most of these girls will be starting the 6th grade in January, and they plan to keep them in their GEP through their high-school years and then help as many as possible get into college, nursing school, or other programs to help them pursue their dreams. Their goal is to take vulnerable girls, protect them from abuse and child marriage, and to help them to pursue their dreams.

The help Speak Up for the Poor could use is to publicize their efforts to get $35 monthly sponsors for these new girls. Their funding model relies heavily on individual monthly sponsors empowering one girl.  


Episode 23 with Jennifer Grosshandler – “What Happens If I’m A Girl?”

Charity of the Week: Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation

Bear Necessities is most grateful for their donors and volunteers without whose support they could not fulfill their mission. The organization is getting ready for their 2019 event season. The date for their Annual “A Walk for the Bear” for a Pediatric Cancer Research will be announced shortly after the first of the year.


Episode 24 with Sarah Humes “Living Intentionally On Purpose”

Charity of the Week: National Stroke Association

Episode 25 with David Jensen “The Struggle Keeps Me Honest”

Charities of the Week: The Gray Matter Experience and Hope For The Day

The Gray Matter Experience is grateful for the community's continued support of their programming and mission. They've had so many great volunteers, mentors, sponsors and partners that continually step up to the plate to ensure that their students are well supported. They are so grateful for them.

The organization will start their 3rd cohort on March 2, 2019. At this time they'll take another 30 students through a 12-week entrepreneurship boot camp. At the end of the 12 weeks, they'll be launching more teen businesses! Where The Gray Matter Experience could currently use the most help: business mentors/volunteers for the program. If you have business experience and want to help advise students on their business, please email britney@graymatterexperience.com. Also, if you know a teen interested in starting their own business, send them to apply on their website! If you'd like to donate to help fund the cause, you can do so here.


Episode 26 with Shelly Bell“Made By A Black Woman”

Charity of the Week: Black Girl Ventures Foundation

Black Girl Ventures Foundation is grateful for all of the Black/Brown women founders they were able to grant access to social and financial capital this past year. These women are outstanding and we are honored to be part of their journey.

In 2019 they plan to host Black Girl Venture Pitch Competitions in 10 cities across the United States.


Episode 27 with Erin Stephens-North“Seeing Signs”

Charity of the Week: Your Local Candidates and Elected Officials

Erin supports US Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut


Episode 28 with Donnie Boivin“Unleash Your Inner Badass”

Charity of the Week: Cancer Care Services

Cancer Care Services is grateful to have a growing number of advocates in the community – like Donnie Boivin! – spreading the word to people across Tarrant County to make sure everyone knows Cancer Care Services is there to help their neighbors living with a cancer diagnosis. They are also proud of their program staff: their team of social workers, counselors, and more.

In 2019, the organization will continue to work hard to raise the resources needed to meet this growing need by doing the following:

  1. Providing more comprehensive services to survivors in the community, recognizing the fact that even when a patient achieves remission, their cancer journey is not over. They are developing care plans and hope to get funding for a partnership with Workforce Solutions to help survivors re-entering the workplace.
  2. Launching a new initiative: the Hope Deposit, a program designed to educate the community on the potential financial toxicity of a cancer diagnosis and address it by raising funds specifically to meet this need.


Episode 29 with Linda Smith “The Meanest Woman Alive”

Charity of the Week: UNICEF


Episode 30 with Jazzmin Jackson“Trust Your Gut, Mama”

Charity of the Week: GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services)


Episode 31 with Alyssa Hogan“Stand Your Ground”

Charity of the Week: Harbor House of Central Florida


Episode 32 with Anne Hinze“Inside the Devastation – Hurricane Michael”

Charity of the Week: CrowdSource Rescue

CrowdSource Rescue is most grateful for their volunteers and civilian responders.

Episode 33 with Janet Bernstein“Quitting the Cult”

Charity of the Week: Single Parent Advocate

Episode 34 with Dana Pharant “The Inner Dominatrix”

Charity of the Week: kiva

Episode 35 with Kisa Marx“Stop Profiling My Son”

Charity of the Week: Working Bikes

Working Bikes is grateful for their wealth of community connections — connections both local and global. This past year, they continued to strengthen their partnerships with surrounding neighborhoods. Bikes repaired by their dedicated crew of Working Bikes volunteers find new life in the hands of community partners and their clients.

They also strengthened and grew their international community in 2018. Early in the year, the organization welcomed home a full-time mechanic who spent two months working with a team of mechanics in Uganda to lay the foundation for a successful bike shop. Those mechanics (all women!) will turn bikes donated to their Chicago-based nonprofit into vital transportation tools for years to come. They also expanded their community to include a new part of the globe. Thanks to a Working-Bikes-volunteer-turned-Peace-Corp-volunteer and Fiji's Ministry of Youth and Sport. Together, they allowed the organization to complete their first bike shipment to the South Pacific this fall

Working Bikes is excited to build on the strengths of their Cycle of Peace and Cycle of Power local donation programs and better serve the folks who can benefit from a donated bike. The bicycle is not only a means of transportation and recreation; it also empowers youth (the Cycle of Peace recipients) and adults (Cycle of Power) to take advantage of community resources and opportunities. These recipients often receive a helmet, lock, and set of lights through the programs. The majority of donated bikes are refurbished by Working Bikes volunteers.  They strive to eliminate barriers to accessing reliable, sustainable transportation. They keep the low-barrier mindset for getting involved with Working Bikes — there are plenty of ways to support this critical work! 

Episode 36 with Elizabeth Clamon“Beautifully Broken”

Charity of the Week: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Episode 37 with Featured Listeners and Guests“Gratitude Special”

Charity of the Week: The Birthday Party Project

The Birthday Party Project is grateful for growth in 2018. They grew to new cities and added more parties, and their community of birthday enthusiasts stepped up to make sure that every child was celebrated!

The organization is committed to making their mission better and stronger than ever.  They will continue to refine their processes, build their communities, and host amazing parties!  The organization’s birthday in a box initiative has been a fantastic way to reach kids in hard to reach places. They plan to continue to grow this initiative.  People can give to birthday in a box to ensure that kids in foster care, CPS custody, and other transitional facilities feel loved and celebrated on their special day!

Episode 38 with Tom Mitchell – “Still Brave”

Charity of the Week: Stillbrave

Stillbrave is most grateful for being a small part in the lives of the breathtakingly beautiful children whom they serve. The organization’s biggest event next year is Tom Mitchell’s 206-mile race up Mount St. Helens volcano.

Episode 39 with Paula Creed-Smith“Failing Up The System”

Charity of the Week: Brevard Family Partnership

Episode 40 with Alua Arthur“Death Brought Me Back To Life”

Charity of the Week: Little Angels Trust

Episode 41 with Santa Claus (a.k.a. Danny Jones) “Here Comes Santa Claus”

Charity of the Week: Bartow County Shop with a Hero

Episode 42 with Parijat Deshpande“Pregnancy Brain Is No Joke!”

Charity of the Week: MySahana

MySahana is most grateful for all those that support their mission, especially their generous donors. Without them, MySahana wouldn’t be able to work towards ending the stigma around mental health in the Asian community.

The organization’s next big initiative is geared toward increasing invisibility:

  • Increase visibility, especially on their online platform.
  • Improve their website so that it is more user inviting and friendly.
  • Attend conferences and workshops to help spread information about their website and about possible trainings they can offer individuals and organizations around working with the South Asian Community.
  • Buy some swag (pens, t-shirts, bags, etc.) as well as be able to create print media that is culturally and linguistically appropriate to share with the community during outreach events.
  • To hire some staff to manage the administrative tasks that are associated with running a non-profit so that the board members can feel supported in their efforts.

Do your part!

We, at Vickery and Co and The Brave Files Podcast, firmly believe in supporting efforts throughout our communities. Please, take some time to find a charitable organization that aligns with your life. Start supporting them in any way you can. Together, we can make a difference. There is always a way to choose bravely!

Cheers to all of our outstanding Charities of the Week for 2018!

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About the Author

Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.