Project Tzedakah - Still time to vote for January's nominees

For my Project Tzedakah 2015 experiment, I nominated 3 worthy organizations to which one, I will make a donation of at least $25.00. Which one? Your vote tells me. #MitzvahBowl is in the lead, #SmileSquared is in second place, and #Cooking Matters rounds out the pack. If you haven't voted please do.

Why Project Tzedakah 2015? I want to introduce people to some of the many organizations and social entrepreneurs that are doing good things to help others. Click here to read my Social Entrepreneurship article. So, if you haven't voted please do.

Project Tzedakah 2015 - Nonprofit and Social Entrepreneurship Candidates for January

In my Project Tzedakah 2015 post, I pledged that I would make a minimum donation of $25.00 to a different nonprofit or social entrepreneurship-based business for each month throughout 2015. Each month I will list 3 nonprofits or social entrepreneurship-based businesses from suggestions from readers of this blog and those that I find. Here are my selections for January.

Cooking Matters teaches low income families about nutrition and how to cook. Their efforts are part of the No Kid Hungry Campaign to end childhood hunger in America.

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are the entry for a Jewish child into Jewish adulthood. Some celebrate this event with an extravaganza. Others however, complement this event with a mitzvah project, a project based in community service. The Mitzvah Bowl shares ideas for these community service-based projects.

Basic dental health is a simple act that prevents other health concerns. Brushing your teeth is a simple start, but what if you can't afford a toothbrush? SmileSquared uses the buy one, donate one model to provide toothbrushes to those in need in the United States and throughout the world.

There are many nonprofits and social entrepreneurs. I considered 2 others, By Your Side and SharingSmall. Both will be reconsidered throughout 2015.

Click here to determine who I should donate to.

Email and Paper - Let's communicate more, not less

Twitter, Facebook updates, texting, Google+, instant messaging - we have so many ways to communicate. These are great ways; I am an avid tweeter. At work, instant messaging is a popular method for my team to communicate with each other.

However, when these tools are used to substitute a quick message when a longer message is better, I think the relationship between those involved becomes less meaningful. A Happy Chanukah or Merry Christmas text message is nice but a card is better. This year I sent my friends Chanukah and Christmas cards with messages appropriate to our relationships. My friends and family appreciated it.

Email is a great tool. Some say it is old technology but it is a great way to share a message with someone. Taking the time to write, not a one-liner, but a message is thoughtful and reflects positively on the writer. Anyone can type a one-liner. My dad always said, "Put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion." Writing a longer message gives you time to put your brain in gear.

This is especially true when you use that age-old technology, pen and paper. No backspace key or cut and paste for those that proof before clicking on the Send button. Pen and paper makes communication very personal and thoughtful.

Tweeting, texting, status updates are all fine. Just don't substitute a short message when a longer one is more appropriate. And, there is nothing wrong with handwriting. It's a great way to send a personal message.

Project Tzedakah 2015

I've decided that I am going to make a donation to one charity or nonprofit each month throughout 2015. I'm not rich so I'll make manageable donations with a minimum of $25.00 each month. The idea of doing good is something that interests me. This concept first caught my interest through social entrepreneurship - using business practices to solve social problems. I've written an article about this on LinkedIn

In Judaism there is the concept of Tzedakah which is:

"'Tzedakah' is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call "charity" in English: giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy causes. However, the nature of tzedakah is very different from the idea of charity. The word "charity" suggests benevolence and generosity, a magnanimous act by the wealthy and powerful for the benefit of the poor and needy. The word "tzedakah" is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness. In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is simply an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty, giving the poor their due."

So who will I donate to? I am going to research three nonprofits each month. I will write about them in this blog. After I make my donation, I'll write about why I chose that nonprofit.

Nonprofits do not have to be related to a Jewish cause. If there is a religious nonprofit that you support, please share it with me. The nonprofit does not have to be religious-based or related to religion. It does not have to be national; local nonprofits are fine. If there is one that you support, please share it with me.

I'll research and seriously consider all nonprofits that are suggested. I have no agenda; If the cause captures my interest, I'll make a donation.

I'm looking forward to the new year and this project. I'm also looking forward to your suggestions.