A Twitter Success Story


I am not a huge fan of twitter. I am a little embarrassed to say, I don’t really get it.


That being said, whenever my co-worker let’s me take over our twitter account for an event (and sadly, this has only happened twice) I start to appreciate it a little more. But how knows if that is twitter, or the sense that I am wearing a super hero’s uniform (yes, for this blog’s purposes, Robin Hood is a super hero).

But I did have a success lately with twitter.  And I must give my sister Abby credit for encouraging me to go to the twitter-verse for help in the first place.

To hear the story, please visit Robin Hood’s tumblr page for my latest post.

From Scratch

Matt and I have been working out a lot lately, trying to get in tip-top shape for the various triathlons and running races we having this year. We have been spending most of our evenings at the gym which has pushed back our dinner time to 9 or 10pm. As a result, I’ve found myself becoming a little lazy and have been making lots of smoothies for dinner. While they are quick and delicious, they probably aren’t getting us enough nutrients and certainly aren’t helping me to win “wife of the year.” And clearly I want to win that award. This week, I tried to step up my game with some home cooked meals.

A month or so ago I purchased some lentils at Whole Foods. I wasn’t sure what I could make with them but they looked healthy. I let them sit for a long time in my cupboard until finally I researched a recipe (on pinterest) that called for lentils. There were a lot of options but I settled on this recipe for thai coconut curry lentil soup.

It was pretty easy to make and very tasty. I used 3 big teaspoons of the red curry paste so there was certainly a kick to it. but Matt and I like to keep things spicy (terrible pun intended) so it worked for us.

Normally, I am a fan of blended soups, but I decided to keep this one “rustic” with chunks of sweet potato and lentils. However, for round 2 (aka today’s lunch) I broke out my trusty immersion blender.

On my way to work this morning, I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket and picked up a whole wheat roll to go with my soup from the Hot Breat Kitchen booth. With more than five different bread booths at the market, you may be wondering what made me pick this one. Well, Hot Bread Kitchen is a Robin Hood grantee (meaning we fund them)! I spent the last 4 weeks researching, writing, editing and rewriting all about them for an article that will be featured in our e-newletter. It has been a very long writing/reviewing/approval process, so it was nice to see them in action and support their incredible work.

I haven’t tasted the roll yet, but I already know that my 50 cents is going to something great!

Hiring Our Heroes

I watch the today show religiously. Every morning from around 8am until 8:45/9:00 I spend my morning with Matt, Ann, Al and Natalie. They provide just the right amount of news, weather and of course, gossip. It is a great way to start my day and is many times, where I get ideas for blog posts. One of my life goals, along with riding on a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, is to be on the Today Show.

Back in June, and then again in September, when we (Robin Hood) were hosting the massive 60,000 person Black Eyed Peas concert in Central Park, we was getting a lot of press. I thought for sure that one morning I would turn on the tv and see my friends chatting about the concert and the incredible poverty-fighting work that Robin Hood supports. Sadly it never came.

But the past few weeks, I could feel something brewing…

For the past few weeks, Ann has been highlighting  “Hiring Our Heroes” a nationwide initiative to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment.  By partnering with a network of 1600 state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Hiring Our Heroes hopes to create a movement across America in hundreds of local communities where veterans and military families return every day.

This morning the show broadcasted aboard New York City’s USS Intrepid, which is hosting a Hiring Our Heroes job fair today. During the broadcast, Ann interviewed both Mayor Bloomberg and Dr. Jill Biden about their involvement in this mission. During the interview, Mayor Bloomberg gave Robin Hood a shout out for all the work we’ve done over the past year, specifically geared toward helping New York City veterans (at 2:45)

Vodpod videos no longer available.
It is pretty incredible to hear the Mayor of New York City mention your work on national television,  especially when you are part of the communications team! Of course, it just so happened to be on the ONE day when I actually didn’t watch the Today Show. Oh well – more fuel to make it happen again.

Fighting Poverty with Cookies

A huge part of what makes my job so awesome is the incredible people who work here. It is inspiring to be part of an orgnaization that is full of intelligent, high achieving people, who have left fields like consulting, banking, and real estate management to come and work at a non-profit. The need to do something “meaningful” became greater than the desire to make a lot of money or “prestigious” career. And while Robin Hood is certainly “best-in-class” when it comes to fundraising and grant making, few people outside of the New York financial community have ever heard of it. But trust me, it is an awesome place to work.

If you don’t believe me, just read the email exchange I just had with my colleague. If this doesn’t show you just how incredible this place is, I don’t know what will.


From: Molly
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 1:55 PM
To: Laura  

Want to get a chocolate chip cookie at paradise :)

From: Laura
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 1:56 PM
To: Molly
Subject: RE:

 Of course I do.  I was going to leave for my meeting at 2:30, want to go down in 15 and I’ll just leave from there?

From: Molly
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 1:57 PM
To: Laura
Subject: RE:

Perfect. I love that I can always count on you to partake in a mid-afternoon cookie break. It is really a big part of what makes you so great.

From: Laura
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 1:58 PM
To: Molly
Subject: RE:

A really big part of what makes you so great is that you request mid-afternoon cookie breaks.


I am so happy that I have finally found a place of employment where people really “get” me. It took a few years, but I am here. And there are cookies!


Girls Night with Jennifer Love Hewitt

Two weeks ago one of my co-workers invited us over to her apartment for a girls only movie night. We were all exited because Lindsay is on the events team at Robin Hood. Anyone who can put together this:


is certainly going to put together a good girls night! And we were not disappointed. Lindsay’s apartment was impeccably decorated – I felt like we walked into a West Elm store. And she appropriately applied the “movie night” theme to the evening with fresh popcorn in red and white stripped boxes and large boxes of movie theater candy.


We spent the evening chatting, snacking of delicious treats, drinking blood orange mimosas and sharing in the heartache of Jennifer Love Hewitt in Can’t Hardly Wait. It is pretty incredible to have such a fun evening with your co-workers!

Thanks Lindsay – you certainly have set the bar high! In fact, I was all geared up to host the next girls night, but I am now rethinking that idea… at least until after I see what you have in store for this year’s benefit!

Everyone Counts

During the week I set a pretty strict bedtime of 11pm. This is extremely frustrating to Matt, who likes to spend some time “winding down” after work and doesn’t like being held to a strict schedule. So, what in the world could keep me awake on a Monday night until 4:30am when Matt was fast asleep?

HOPE, that’s what. And I’m not talking about the Hope that Obama served up during the 2008 election – I am talking about the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate.


HOPE is an annual survey used to assess the number of individuals living in New York City’s public spaces. In a way, it is a census for folks who don’t have mailboxes or permanent addresses. It is accounting for the thousands of folks who sleep on the street each and every night in New York City.

Last night thousands of volunteers, including 20 Robin Hood Staff and 20 Robin Hood supporters, teamed up and set out to survey New York’s streets, subways and parks. Conducted by the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), HOPE is a point-in-time estimate of unsheltered individuals that helps the City evaluate its outreach programs and providers and measure its progress.

To increase public accountability and continually evaluate and improve the programming designed to help street homeless New Yorkers, DHS began surveying parts of the City in 2003, and has conducted the count citywide every year since 2005.

HOPE is an integral part of New York City’s approach to ending homelessness. The annual survey aims to achieve the following:

  • Provide a consistent year-to-year measure of the city’s programs to help those living on the streets move off the streets and into permanent housing.
  • Provide the city with a way to measure its outreach providers. In September 2007, New York City created Street to Home outreach services, which established a single accountable provider of services in each borough. HOPE highlights areas where outreach providers are successfully moving people off the streets, and where there is room for improvement.
  • Provide thousands of New Yorkers with an opportunity to help New York’s homeless residents, and contribute to New York City’s fight against homelessness.

Does walking around in the freezing cold on random NYC streets at 2am sound crazy? Trust me, it’s worth it! It’s an forgettable, eye-opening experience. Please read below to see just how moving this experience can be:

“A Recounting of the Street Count”
as told by a Robin Hood Staff Member

 As Team 21 was going around our counting route, we went into the 23rd street subway station (A/C line) and saw two people underneath a blanket on a few cardboard pieces in the area outside the turnstiles.  There were a few backpacks and scattered personal items, but it seemed at first like the two people were asleep.  Then one of our team members heard some Spanish and he used his skills to start a conversation.  At first hesitant, the man under the blanket started speaking English.  We learned that the couple had been together for a very long time and that the woman, Veronica, was pregnant.  After being told about the possibility of staying in a shelter last night, he was nervous that they would be separated.  We made some calls and figured out that they could and would be taken to a family shelter across town at 33rd and 1st at which they would stay together since they were a family and Veronica was expecting.  We called the van service and began waiting.

After hearing that we were 99% sure that they would stay together, the man asked about that 1% chance and began getting a little guarded.  His expression soured as we explained the possible consequences of being separated.  After talking about some of the benefits to staying in a shelter and reminding them of all the potential positive impacts, we gave them some private time to talk it over, and when we returned, he had started to pack up their things.  It was around this time that the woman started speaking to us as well, first joking to her partner in Spanish – luckily he explained the jokes to us – and then beginning to open up and speak English. While 2 team members went back above ground to wait for the van to come pick up this couple, another team member and myself sat down and talked with Veronica and her partner.  We showed them on a subway map where they would be going, and they showed up where they had been staying for the past week.  The man said that the subway was a far better option that sleeping by the River in East Harlem as they had been doing for some time.  The van arrived 20 minutes after we first called, and the driver confirmed that Veronica, her partner, and her baby to be would all be staying together and going to the family shelter.  We shook hands, hugged, wished them well, and kept on counting.


It’s a Beautiful Day in the Hood

At Robin Hood, you never really know who is going to show up at our offices (since I started the following folks have walked through the doors at the hood: Christy Turlington, Admiral Mullen, the Chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all his secret service offices, Mayor Bloomberg and countless billionaire hedge fund managers), how much money we will bring in during one day (in 2011, we raised over 160 million dollars, which is over 400,000 dollars each day), or what artist has signed on to perform a concert to benefit Robin Hood (just last year we had Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas and Sting – just to name a few!) But those are the big things, and this blog is about the little things.

Well yesterday there were a couple little things to celebrate.

I received an email mid-morning letting me know that I had a delivery upstairs. I wasn’t expecting anything and my mom had just sent some cookies, so I couldn’t imagine what it could be. Well, needless to say I was SUPER excited to open the packaging to reveal this:

"The Organizing Issue"

I spent the rest of the morning looking at all of the wonderful organization solutions that Martha and her team came up with for all the various areas of your home. I LOVE having a friend “on the inside.”

Then, as the afternoon “slump” set in, we received a floor wide email alerting us of delicious baked goods someone brought in from Chelsea Market. Instantly, a herd of people (including myself) ran over to the designated table. We sampled brownies, rugelach, and sugar cookies. YUMMY. After devouring nearly every treat, we decided to use our creative artistic abilities to capture this afternoon fun. You’re welcome for that.

Clearly it was a slow day in the hood. But sometimes, that is just what you need.

Performance Review

Here at Robin Hood we are in full blown performance review efforts. People are filled out self reviews, writing new goals and having meets with their managers to discuss their performance and progress during 2011.

Thank you Mom for helping me out during this stressful time.

I can just hear my manager now… “Pro, your mom sends us delicious homemade treats. Con, you spend way too much time writing your personal blog at work.”

Hopefully the “pros” win out and I get to keep my fabulous job.

Happy Friday!

The Second Coming

Last night, the entire Robin Hood staff was invited to a private viewing of The Artist in Harvey Weinstein’s private screening room. We also used this opportunity to celebrate our Executive Director’s 50th Birthday. The evening was very fun and adds to my growing list of “once in a lifetime opportunities” that I have experienced since joining Robin Hood.

Matt spent this evening at CrossFit and then went home. He was on his own for dinner, which usually means a smoothie, heating up a lean cuisine or ordering something from seamless. When I opened the door to our apartment, I smelled something weird… I walked to the kitchen and looked to see if any of our gas burners were left on by accident (something Matt has been known to do frequently). All were in the off position. Then I realized that the oven light was on. I ducked down to peer in and I almost fell over at the sight I was beholding.

Matt is definitely not a fan of leftovers; so much so that he refuses to eat them (And you all think I am a princess?!) Typically, when I decide to make something for dinner; I need to cut the recipe down by at least a half, or be prepared to eat the meal for the next 3 days (lunch and dinner). I grew up in a household where we had a leftover smorgasbord at least once a week, so the concept of Matt absolutely refusing to eat them was one I didn’t understand, and truthfully, didn’t really appreciate.

Well, last night, not only was Matt using the oven and cooking himself dinner, but he was heating up leftovers from the meal we had the night before! I shouted outloud (just ask my mom as I was on the phone with her) “hallelujah, praise the Lord! Christ has come again – it is a miracle!”

After praising Matt for his newfound appreciation for my cooking (even in the form of leftovers) I went to bed dreaming about my now nearly perfect husband.

Unfortunately when I woke up this morning and walked into the kitchen, I returned to reality. I guess the second coming has come and gone already.

This was our sink this morning...

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 www.AidStillRequired.org.

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 www.AidStillRequired.org/donate 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?  http://bit.ly/wTtw7y 
•  2nd anniversary campaign for #Haiti includes you, me + 120 million others!  Chip in at  http://bit.ly/wTtw7y   RT   #AidStillRequired
•  40% unemployment in #Haiti. Join me + #AidStillRequired – plant trees, provide jobs, homes, food, education!   http://bit.ly/wTtw7y 
•  500,000 people in #Haiti still live under tarps and tents. I’m helping thru #AidStillRequired   http://bit.ly/wTtw7y  Hope you will too.
•  1000s of #Haiti women sexually abused – 100 rapes/day in settlements.  I’m helping thru #AidStillRequired. Will U?  http://bit.ly/wTtw7y
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  http://bit.ly/wTtw7y
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: http://www.aidstillrequired.org/home

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.