The Big Easy

Remember this guest post from a few months back? Well everyone’s favorite guest blogger, Dan, and Aid Still Required are hosting an incredible event. If you are in the LA area I strongly encourage you to attend.

Tickets are $150 each, or you can buy a table for $2,000 (that’s a heck of a lot better than the $3,000 and $5,000  tickets to the Robin Hood benefit!) BUY TICKETS HERE

All tickets give you access to 3 open bars, a musical performance by Overstreets’ New Orleans Jazz Band and a chance to party with Mr. Big from Sex and the City. And the best part – all of the proceeds go to deserving programs in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward.

Who doesn’t like to party when it is for a good cause?

Two Years Later in Haiti; Aid Still Required

I am excited to announce that my favorite guest blogger has returned to “Focus on the Little Things.” Recently, Dan Parziale began working for a nonprofit in LA called Aid Still Required (ASR). This organization focuses on sustainable development in places that have been hit by disasters. The idea is that right after a big event, like the tsunami in Indonesia, international organizations and aid money pours into the country. A lot of this attention tends to move elsewhere when other disasters take place. What happens in these cases is that a secondary disaster takes place–recovery has not yet taken place, but the support has left.

Hunter and Andrea Herz Payne started Aid Still Required about 7 years ago with the goal of helping to “fill the gap” so to speak, and to shine the spotlight back on places that had left the headlines and oftentimes the public consciousness. Aid Still Required does not generally do most “first responder” work like emergency healthcare, providing water, food, and shelter. Instead, ASR is more focused on doing the things that should have a long-term impact on the ability of people in the country to support themselves. For example, the earthquake in Haiti led to hundreds of thousands of people still living in tent camps with very little government oversight. Over 100 rapes per day are reported in Cite Soleil, one of the largest encampments just outside of Port-au-Prince.

ASR partnered with the We Advance Women’s Clinic to provide free gynecological care to women and with Nouvelle Vie to support ongoing PTSD and rape victim therapy. At the same time, ASR is helping to reforest one of the most deforested countries in the world. Aside from the environmental impact of reforestation, it also has an immediate impact as it leads to greater flood control while reinvigorating the soil for farming and providing jobs.

If you would like to learn more about the work they are doing in places like Indonesia, Sudan, Haiti, and New Orleans, please visit their website at

Please Dan’s message below to find out what YOU can do to help.

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti and we are doing a massive social media campaign to raise money for the projects we are doing there and to shine the spotlight back on a country that has still not recovered from the earthquake.

We have roughly 50 celebrities (actors, athletes, musicians, authors, TV personalities) with a combined Facebook and Twitter following of about 150 million people. We have recorded PSAs from Maroon 5 and the LA Kings.


This campaign has the potential to raise an incredible amount of money and would allow us to expand the programs that have been incredibly successful in Haiti so far.

There are several things that you can do to get involved and I urge you to pass this along to others you think might be interested:

1) Post the tweets and Facebook updates (sample text included below) throughout the day. These are the same Tweets and Updates we are asking all of our celebrities to post so the more eyes on these the better.
2) Follow Aid Still Required on Twitter @aidstillreqd
3) Like Aid Still Required on Facebook by searching “Aid Still Required”
4) Go to any of the celebrities’ Facebook and Twitter pages listed below and either retweet or “like” their Haiti post
4) E-mail all of your contacts and ask them to do the same–a short explanation of what ASR is and what we are doing would be awesome. Include the Tweets and Updates listed below for them to put up as well
5) If you feel able to do so, go to and make a donation. Just as importantly, explore the site, learn about what we are doing and sign up to be on our mailing list.

Thank you so much and if you have any questions about what to do or you want to know more about Aid Still Required, let me know.

Here is a list of all of the celebrities we have signed up to Tweet and Facebook for us today:
Adam Schefter, Alicia Keys, Blake Griffin, Bonnie Raitt, Chelsea Handler, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Deepak Chopra, Don Cheadle, Dustin Brown, Hans Zimmer, Hilary Duff, Hugh Jackman, Jackson Browne, Janet Jackson, Jarius Wynn, Jason Mraz, Jordin Sparks, Kathy Ireland, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Kimberly Cole, Lady Antebellum, Maroon 5, Martha Stewart, Mike Richards, My Chemical Romance, Nina Dobrev, Pamela Anderson, Paul Pierce, Rob Kardashian, Seth Green, Sheryl Crow, Slash, Solange Knowles, Stephen Collins, Sting, Thalia, The Killers, Tim McGraw, Tyson Chandler, Usher, Victoria Justice, Will Smith, William Shatner…

And here are the Tweets and Facebook posts that we are asking people to put up:

•  Two years after #Haiti quake the number of orphans has doubled. I’m helping through #AidStillRequired. Will you? 
•  2nd anniversary campaign for #Haiti includes you, me + 120 million others!  Chip in at   RT   #AidStillRequired
•  40% unemployment in #Haiti. Join me + #AidStillRequired – plant trees, provide jobs, homes, food, education! 
•  500,000 people in #Haiti still live under tarps and tents. I’m helping thru #AidStillRequired  Hope you will too.
•  1000s of #Haiti women sexually abused – 100 rapes/day in settlements.  I’m helping thru #AidStillRequired. Will U?
Facebook Post
Today is the second anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. Millions still have no home, no school, no job, and little food. We can help the people of Haiti.

Our support can plant trees, provide jobs, water cisterns and housing incentives. Our support can send supplies to orphanages overflowing with abandoned kids. Our support can bring trauma relief to victims of rape and PTSD. WE CAN CHANGE LIVES.

Join me and thousands of others by making sure those suffering in Haiti are not forgotten. Be the miracle in someone else’s life.

Go to Aid Still Required
FACT: Two years after the earthquake, over half a million people are still living under tarps and tents.
FACT: Half of Haiti’s children are illiterate… and most don’t finish 5th grade.
FACT: The number of orphaned and abandoned children has
doubled since the quake. …
FACT: Millions are suffering from PTSD, disease and hunger.
FACT: Haiti still needs our help and we can do something about it.
FACT: Aid Still Required has programs in Haiti which help reforest the countryside and provide jobs, which offer trauma relief and empowerment to women suffering from PTSD and rape, and which send supplies and teachers to orphanages.

Join me and thousands of others to ensure those in Haiti are not forgotten. Go to Aid Still Required:

It’s amazing how powerful we can be when we join together.

I am incredibly moved by the work that Dan and Aid Still Required are doing. Like Robin Hood, they believe everyone, everywhere, is entitled to live in dignity, safety and health. They view post-crisis situations as opportunities to do just that.

Their work is needed – probably  more than most of us are aware. While Robin Hood’s mission keeps our focus on New York City, we are so thankful that there are other non-profits out there who are helping those beyond our reach. So thank you Aid Still Required, and thank you Dan. Your passion is inspiring and I can’t wait to see all that you are destined to accomplish.

Please join me and Dan by tweeting, posting to facebook, and spreading the word. Two years have gone by and the people of Haiti still need our help.

Pan Mass Challenge – UPDATE

I would like to update you all on my progress towards my goals.

  • To date, I have raised $1,025
    Thank you to everyone who has already shown their support. I truly appreciate it! Unfortunately, I still have a long way to go! There is still plenty of time to make a donate – please click HERE to do so! Remember 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to the Jimmy Fund!
  • In 2011, I have ridden approximately 120 miles
    As a result, I am pretty confident I will finish the first day of the Pan Mass (110 miles) – not so sure how that second day is looking!
  • Matt vs. Molly
    Last year, I was able to keep pace with Matt fairly easily during the ride. So far this year, Matt has crushed me during every training ride. Last year Matt has a stress fracture in his leg that kept him on crutches right up until the Pan Mass. Apparently, that impacted his performance… and I thought he was just lazy. At least I will look better in my bike shorts!

As I have done in years past, I created a YouTube video from last year’s ride. Hopefully this helps you experience what it is like to ride 190 miles to fight cancer.

Thank you so much for your support! We are closer by the mile!

Pan Mass Challenge – 2011


On August 6th and 7th, I will ride 190 miles across the state of Massachusetts to raise money for cancer. This year I will be joined for the two-day ride with my sister Abby and my husband(!) Matt. This will be the fourth year that I have participated in the Pan Mass Challenge and every year I have become more and more passionate about the ride. 100% of the funds that are raised through the Pan Mass are donated directly to the Dana Farber Cancer Research and Treatment Institute.

 If you already want to make a donation, just click here: To be persuaded further, read on!

 Six months ago I began working for a non-profit foundation called Robin Hood. Our mission is to fight poverty in New York City by finding and funding 200 of the most successful poverty fighting organizations in the city. When I was originally offered the job, I remember thinking that the job was going be fantastic, but if nothing else, I was excited to learn the secret to fundraising from Robin Hood and apply it to my own Pan Mass fundraising efforts.

 Well, after working for Robin Hood for more than 6 months I can report that there is no secret to its success; it is straightforward. Have a mission that you believe in and hold to that mission. We believe passionately in the work that we do and our donors trust us to invest their dollars in the best poverty-fighting organizations.

 My passion for the Pan Mass and the work that is being done at Dana Farber stems from my own experiences throughout my life as well as those gained during the ride these past three years.

  •  Being told in high school that my friend had leukemia and not understanding why
  • Hearing the countless “Thank You for Riding” cheers as you ride along the 190 miles.
  • Seeing a sign in someone’s yard that states “Diagnosed with cancer, age 3. Today, thanks to you, living cancer free, age 8.”
  • Seeing the pedal partners, children who are currently undergoing cancer treatment, at the water stops who are cheering US on.
  • Struggling up a hill and being passed by someone riding along with a living proof* badge *given to riders who have been diagnosed with cancer at some point – some are still fighting it
  • Seeing a friend who was battling cancer standing along the road and cheering as loud as possible, while waving her wig around her head.
  • Seeing my mother cross the finish line in Provincetown just one year after being diagnosed with cancer.
  •  Hearing my dad tell me that they had found his skin cancer early. He was going to be fine.

I know many of you have similar stories, some more tragic than mine. Cancer doesn’t discriminate; it affects us all. However, thanks to your support we are making a difference in the fight against this terrible disease. And since 100% of every dollar raised goes directly to the Dana Farber Institute you can be certain that your donation will count.

 Hopefully my passion for this ride and the battle against cancer is contagious. If you have caught the bug, please make a donation here. Thank you so much for your support.

I Love My Job

I promise, despite my posts of late, I won’t turn my blog into a complete love-fest for Robin Hood. Although, I certainly could do such a thing.

After working here for just four days, I am filled with such passion for our mission that hope that my blog can help others of you share my passion as well. David Saltzman is one of the people who started it all. Serving as the Executive Director since Robin Hood’s creation, he has seen the organization grow from a non-profit that raised just shy of $100,000 and funded two programs its first year, to its current stats: raising $1 billion raised in total and funding 200 programs in the year 2010 alone. To work with him is truly an honor and you are guaranteed to learn something every day.

Be Robin Hood

I blogged earlier 2011 is going to be an amazing year. Matt and I are getting married, I am committed to making the most out of living in New York, my sister will lead her OWN swim team during conference and the national championships, and hopefully the Patriots continue their latest string of successes with a Super Bowl win. But most importantly, in 2011, I will get to be Robin Hood.

Last week I blogged about some exciting career news that I had to share. And now I can finally announce that, as of today, I am a proud member of the Robin Hood Foundation. An opportunity presented itself for me to leave my previous position and join this amazing organization. And while this position will undoubtably come with many challenges, longer hours than I am used to and a lot of work, I believe that it will be worth it. For the past two years, I have been thirsting for a bigger challenge, a more meaningful mission, and to be part of an organization that is proud of its work. After spending one day in their office, I know I have found all of these things.

I have blogged about Robin Hood before, but for those of you that are unfamiliar with it, Robin Hood is a charitable organization that fights poverty in New York City. Currently, 1.8 million New Yorkers are living in poverty. Together, they could populate the fifth largest city in the United States–larger than Boston, Atlanta and San Francisco combined. These people struggle with the rising costs of food and housing, and fewer opportunities for adequate health care, quality education and secure employment exist.

Robin Hood is changing the fates and saving the lives of these people by applying investment principles to charitable giving. They find, fund and create the most effective programs and schools serving families in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods.

Robin Hood follows an extensive due diligence process to ensure that every dollar invested generates results. Before investing in a program, Robin Hood reviews its strategy, scrutinizes its financial statements, evaluates its management teams, and conducts multiple visits.

And the support doesn’t stop there. Robin Hood protects and leverages its charitable investments with top-notch management and technical assistance. Their in-house management experts help programs with their strategic and financial planning, recruiting and legal concerns, organizational issues and capital needs…with whatever they require. And if they don’t have the expertise in-house, they get it elsewhere. They have access to the top people and firms in New York to get the job done pro bono.

And because Robin Hood’s board of directors pays all administrative, fundraising and evaluation costs, 100% of donations goes directly to organizations helping impoverished New Yorkers build better lives.

So… for those of you wondering what it is like to work at Robin Hood… I can now tell you. I started my first day with an all staff meeting that felt more like a really interesting college seminar on business analytics coupled with a high school pep rally. The obvious intelligence in the room was almost as much as the pride and honor the employees felt for their organization and for each other. The meeting culminated with the presentation of a cake depicting a scene from the movie Robin Hood, which was created, by who other than Buddy, the Cake Boss.

Not a bad way to start the year.