Daily Archives: December 28, 2011

Giving Back

This week is one of the busiest in terms of charitable giving.  If you are planning your charitable giving this week, I hope we can offer a few suggestions from organizations we’ve worked with.

First off, if you want to support a great cause and don’t care about the tax write off, consider buying a calendar from the Muskoka Foundation — it includes photos taken by youth who we taught in Pincher Creek and Chinle.

Muskoka calendar


1. You need to buy a 2012 Calendar anyway, buy one that makes a difference!  Our beautiful $12 Nature Calendar for 2012 is entirely made up of photos that are taken by at-risk youth from 9-17 years old.  It is truly amazing to see how talented these young artists are, for example, 9 year Citlali from Guanajuato, Mexico is a great photographer, eloquent and very photogenic herself.

“When I was taking my nature photos, it was like everything I saw, the camera captured.  I would love to take more photographs, and the next time I will take photos of people, statues, and stuffed animals.  When I get older, I want to be a photographer and a teacher.”  Citlali, Age 9, Mexico (Buen Pastor, Guanajuato, Mexico)

2.  You chose the photos!  The images in the 2012 calendar were all chosen based on an online photo competition!  We received hundreds of votes (many from you!) on our Facebook page and the winners are now in our 2012 calendar.

3. The images are actually quite beautiful and now becoming famous!  We know that you would not mind staring at these images for a whole year, let alone just a month!  We have stunning Nature Photos that have been in gallery shows and are currently on display at Starbucks!

“This project helped me discover my talent and creativity that I was not aware of. I feel that the most rewarding part of this opportunity is to receive such positive comments and to see other people appreciating my work.”
Erik, age 17. Mexico (Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots, Oaxaca, Mexico)

4. “A Hand Up, Not  Hand Out!”  We believe that the best way to make a difference in the world is to empower people to help themselves.  We focus on skill transfer and market access for at-risk youth, giving youth the tools and means to discover their talents and share them with the rest of the world.  You are not giving a donation, you are paying for high quality professional work that encourages the youth to hope and to apply themselves to a career!

“This photography workshop has boosted the confidence of the youth participants, they [actually] continue to volunteer to take pictures, a change attributed to The Muskoka Foundation photography course.  This is my reward to see the happiness in the faces of youth who have made accomplishments through Aboriginal Youth Programs.” Earlene, Canada (Napi Friendship Association, Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada)

 5. Nothing kept for golden faucets, all proceeds go directly back to the community!
There are

so many stories of organizations that keep a large part of sales and donations for their own operating costs and fund-raising campaigns.
The Muskoka Foundation passes through 100% of the $12 calendar proceeds: after the $3.50 printing cost and $0.88 of the
transaction on costs (if applicable), the remaining $7.62 goes to the communities directly.  We have committed to keep nothing and are fully transparent with the use of these funds.  All the youth’s hard work is fully rewarded!
So what are you waiting for, click to buy a calendar today!
Other organizations that we know personally and can recommend supporting with a donation:
Special Love / Camp Fantastic – a camp for kids with cancer
Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation – a wilderness conservation organization in Montana
COPMOBA – a bicycle advocacy and trail building organization in Colorado
Grand Canyon Trust – a conservation organization protecting the Colorado plateau
Riordan Mansion – a historic house preserving the history of northern Arizona
SAME Cafe – a gathering place where people pay what they can for a meal in Denver
There are many great organizations out there that will do good with your support.  Please take time to give and give thoughtfully.