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Michelle Javian Headshot

Heart-Full Ways to Give

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The constant outpour of support we receive at Harboring Hearts truly touches us and makes our mission possible. In just two years since co-founding Harboring Hearts as a non-profit in 2009, we have seen contributions to the cause in many different forms: support has come from the donated time of friends, family, and volunteers, and the advisory expertise and pro bono services from the corporate world. And, of course, financial support always plays a major role.

As Spring kicks off, and we celebrate this rejuvenating season, I want to share some ideas of how anyone can help a non-profit, charity, or foundation that they care about -- and in ways they may not have considered before:

1-Friends' weddings and wedding registries: over the past several months, friends requested donations to a charity rather than traditional wedding gifts. In many of those instances, Harboring Hearts has been listed next to other amazing charities and causes. This choice gives the guests an opportunity to support an organization close to their own heart.

2-Although flowers can be a way to respect the memory of a person dear to you, there are other ways to celebrate life. When my father, Ronald Javian, passed away -- our family requested that, in lieu of flowers, our family and friends donate to charities in New York and Long Island. This avenue for charitable giving can be pursued in other times as well: Recently, a friend and Harboring Hearts supporter underwent treatment for heart complications. Rather than have flowers sent to the hospital, he asked his friends and family to consider sending Harboring Hearts a donation in his honor. From that selfless and thoughtful gesture, Harboring Hearts received nearly $4,000.

3-School charities. I attended Friends Academy in Long Island for twelve years. Last spring, Yuki Kotani and I returned to my alma mater and we were inspired by the support coming from the lower-school children who mustered their focus and creativity to make heart-shaped cards to sell to friends and family. These budding artists donated all of the proceeds to Harboring Hearts.

4-Corporate Collaborations: Recently, Cyrus Massoumi, the CEO of ZocDoc created a community-focused program that rewards a charity (of the referrer's choice) with a financial donation after successful employment referral to ZocDoc. It's sort of like headhunting with a heart. This has not only opened up a new avenue of financial contributions, but Mr. Massoumi has now taken a position on Harboring Hearts' Advisory Board to help us with our organizational development.

These four simple ideas show some of the creative, caring, and unexpected alternatives one might explore when considering how and where to give back. Even if it is just a small amount of time or money, a lot of these can go a long way when added up and joined together.

Thinking outside of the box when finding the perfect gift can be hard, but it doesn't have to be: just try to remember all of the ways you can fill that box, and all of the ways to wrap it. And remember that helping your favorite charity in whatever way you can, whenever you can, is most welcome and most appreciated.