Archive for the ‘Philanthropy / Non-Profit’ Category

I love reading about dragons…

December 29, 2011

This phrase, “I love reading about dragons…” starts off a letter to me from a little boy “Toni” in Indonesia who reads books in the school library built by The World Is Just a Book Away (aka WIJABA).  This is an organization I’ve done pro bono PR work for the last 3+ years.

The organization’s blog, which I edit, is chock full of fantastic contributions, but today I finally contributed a post, and thought it might be a nice end-of-year blog to share w. you all as well!

So, if ya got about 5 min., hope you check this out…and in the process, learn about WIJABA!  Who knows, maybe you’ll find an occasion to travel in 2012 and help build school libraries wherever they go next!

http://www.justabookaway.org/blog/?p=511

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Julie

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Make Your Own Experience…a New Year’s Promise

December 21, 2011

2011 was, for me, a year of much volunteerism, all of which I greatly value and appreciate.  The people I’ve met, the groups I’ve learned about…all of it.  And it came from being open to invitations and trusting people, but then carefully selecting.  As we near the eve of 2012, a fresh year, with fresh perspective, I thought I’d share something about being involved in something greater than ourselves.  And yes, it always take a bit of effort.  But that’s what also makes it worthwhile…

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I believe that you make your own experience….and your own community.

So I admit it would annoy me when some high school friends would come home from college for their breaks and say to me, “How can you really get anything out of such a big school?”  You see, many of them were attending Ivy League universities (smaller classes, smaller campus) and I was attending UCLA (with a mere 35,000 students).

My response?  “Do you go visit your professors’ office hours and get to know them? Have you sought out an activity that you can embrace that gives you satisfaction in return?”  Often the answer to the first question was “uh, no”, but I had, and that made the school ‘smaller’ to me.  Some had done the latter.  For me, the latter was what made my college experience and played a major role in forming my approach to life.

My major was fantastic and I use every day what I learned.  But as it was more theoretical, I found the perfect practical complement, the college radio station at UCLA, where I became an on-air personality, head of the mobile DJ unit, and most importantly, the Director of Operations.  I ingrained myself, learning how things ran, how we worked with the administration to get funding, hiring/firing, and creating an alumni fundraiser…and I made a handful of lifelong friends.  Also key to my life (and to this discussion):  we were the underdog media outlet on campus, and we all banded together with a determination that everyone else should know about and respect what we offered.

Fast forward to today…

Those of us involved in the world of sustainability like to think that everyone around us is, too, and that everyone in the country is at least aware of the concept or the importance.  Of course, that is so not true, and we are certainly ‘the underdog’.  Just walk to your local convenience store, or go to a school meeting or art show, and see what the level of awareness is in displays or in talking to fellow attendees.

So become an active underdog and find a community that resonates with YOU (not your friends, not your spouse, but YOU first) and ingrain yourself.

My special focus happens to be green building.  I discovered that the Los Angeles Chapter of the US Green Building Council was opening a Westside branch (where I live) by wandering into a presentation.  I then offered to come and help where I can.  Now, not only am I fully ingrained in our branch and help create programming and support our team, but I’m more active in the overall Chapter and have met some of the smartest and nicest people I know.

A+D Museum


I attend events through Green Drinks or Women of the Green Generation, and support Global Green, Rock the Boat film and Pipe Dreams film, but committing myself to one group solidly that resonates with me daily has served me (and hopefully them) well.  This has lead me also to involvement with the great A+D Museum, and even aligns with some of my clients.

Find a group that resonates with you to walk in to or go online and get involved with?  Some ideas…

  • Get involved with the Charlotte Green Team – go-to source on sustainability efforts within the Charlotte, NC, community.  What’s your town’s equivalent?
  • Help toward expanding the green workforce through Green for All.
  • Fight the Tar Sands.  Here is a link with a wonderful list of resources from Burbank Green Alliance and Wilder Utopia.
  • Do a search in your community for green organizations and pick one.  Detroit, MI, has Greening Detroit, for instance.
  • Help a person or community rebuild with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Engage kids in learning and advocating for a sustainable economy and education: Teens Turning Green or Green Works in Kansas City.
  • Industry specific?  The furnishings industry has formed the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
  • Get active on your school’s PTA and if remodeling is being done, help guide it sustainably; or help initiate an organic garden on campus.  Become the green voice for your kids.
  • Understand and learn to work with native flora at the Theodore Payne Foundation; start with a class, and you might find you do more!
  • Help organize locally worldwide through 350.org.  

I met a recent college graduate a few months ago at a LOHAS event and he was overwhelmed with the green group choices in Los Angeles alone.  I bet you can imagine my response…

Would love to here from everyone about your local opportunities, YOUR interests…please share!  What will YOU get involved in and try out for 2012?

2011 Begins…and fare thee well to 2010

January 4, 2011

Well, we’ve had a pretty nice beginning to 2011 today, folks.  And happy to be in the new year.  I don’t usually wish a year to be gone, but I think I was pretty done with 2010.

Rang in the new year with an evening of close friends, good food and maybe my best bowling score ever (177, thank you very much!) after a very special trip for Christmas to Paris and the outskirts, spending most valued time with my sister and my niece and 2 nephews.  And…I was highly fortunate to miss any travel weather issues.  

I got to play with my new iPad on the trip, but plan to delve into the world of apps and iPad possibilities strongly in 2011.  And after seeing “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech”, I’m re-inspired to create and push through any potential obstacles.

And now we lunged today headfirst into 2011 with our current projects which we are proud of and excited about:

Also we continue to actively lend our services to the West Los Angeles branch of the U.S. Green Building Council, where we’ve met an incredible group of people.

More to come, but let’s go with that for now.  We also are pleased to see several wonderful pieces just published today on former beloved client DedeMed, especially  http://www.coastmagazine.com/articles/denisehazime-1522–.html.  Reading that, you’ll start cooking Mediterranean tomorrow, and what a fun 2011 that would launch!

And one other item:  I hope to start writing, blogging, whatever you want to call it, more this year…encouraged by a dear friend.  It’s something I always put off, but am hopeful to meet that challenge this year, and as client Pamela (Pamela’s Products) says in her campaign for 2011:  BE MORE!  Don’t ya just love it?

CHEERS, everyone!

Entt. Biz Leader Emilio Diez Barroso is New Chair for Global NonProf that Supplies Books, Libraries, Schools

November 4, 2009

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NON-PROFIT ‘THE WORLD IS JUST A BOOK AWAY’ APPOINTS LEADING BUSINESSMAN EMILIO DIEZ BARROSO AS NEW CHAIR

TWIJABA WILL END INAUGURAL YEAR PROVIDING OVER 10,000 CHILDREN WITH BOOKS AND LIBRARIES

Los Angeles, CA, USA (November 2009) – Non-profit organization The World Is Just A Book Away (TWIJABA)—which supplies books, and builds libraries and schools for children in developing countries—is honored to announce Emilio Diez Barroso as its new Chairman.  Overseeing an impressive Board gathered over the organization’s successful inaugural year and a half by Founder James J. Owens, Diez Barroso’s impressive resume, business acumen and contacts make him a premiere choice to lead the next phase. Chairman and Founder of NALA Investments, LLC, Diez Barroso is recognized as one of the most powerful Latinos by Poder Magazine (2009) and The Hollywood Reporter (2007).

“It is an honor and pleasure to be involved with The World is Just a Book Away,” says Diez Barroso, who is also an avid reader. “I believe in the vision of its founder, James Owens, and what the organization stands for. This is an opportunity to leverage my resources and collaborate with a great group of people with the intention of bringing value through books to the lives of children.”

Diez Barroso’s company is a private investment holding company with operations across various industries including communications, transportation, energy, consumer products, real estate, IT infrastructure, media and entertainment. He has held senior level positions and sat on the board of most NALA owned businesses including most recently NALA Films, a production company that produces and finances feature films, television content, and new media.  Diez Barroso was raised in a highly successful business world:  his family created the two largest Spanish-language media companies in the world, Televisa (NYSE:TV) and Univision (NYSE:UVN),

He has been recognized with multiple awards in Latin America and currently sits on the board of directors of Summit Entertainment, a worldwide theatrical motion picture production and distribution studio; of MLA Partner Schools, a non-profit organization working to improve schools and empower neighborhoods in some of the most disenfranchised communities in Los Angeles; and Affinity Mobile, LLC, a telecommunications solutions provider, to name a few.

The continued mission of The World Is Just A Book Away (www.JustABookAway.com) is to bring hope—in the form of books, libraries, and schools—to thousands of children in developing countries. The program was launched in Sidoarjo, Indonesia, site of the mudflow disaster that displaced more than 60,000 people and destroyed many schools.  By the end of 2009, TWIJABA’s first year: 10,000-plus children will have access to books, 20,000-plus books will be provided, 22 school libraries will be built, and one Mobile library will serve an additional 28 schools.

Diez Barroso, who reads two to four books each month and calls The Alchemist “one of the most impactful books for me”, is looking forward to picking up on Owens’ momentum and accomplishments. “I want to have a positive impact in everything we do, from our internal meetings to our outreach to the communities we touch. I want to help grow the organization into a self-sustained entity with a qualified team executing on every front and secure stable funding sources that allow us to implement long term strategies.”

TWIJABA has attracted a strong and varied list of supporters across business, entertainment and academia. Advisory Board members include Jenny Ming, former President of Old Navy and one of Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in American Business”; Jim Ellis, Dean of the USC Marshall School of Business; and Tim Monich, highly-respected dialect coach of Hollywood.  Prominent non-Board supporters include Queen Noor Al-Hussein, Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, Lois and Buzz Aldrin, Shirin Ebadi (2003 Nobel Peace Prize), Yo-Yo Ma, Muhammad Yunus, and the late Natasha Richardson.

The non-profit also enjoys the enthusiastic support of students and young professionals, dispelling the idea that being on a Board is restricted to the over 40 age group.  TWIJABA’s Board has members in their 30s, and Owens created the “Ambassadors” program as a stepping stone for the younger participants.

With Diez Barroso taking on the day-to-day Chairmanship, Owens is able to focus on the overriding mission of TWIJABA and attend significant events where he is invited to participate, and spread the word about his organization. The first weekend in November, he will attend “Festival of Thinkers” in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which brings thinkers together from across the world to share ideas, foster thinking, and inspire college-age men and women in the region.  In March, he attended Education Without Borders 2009 Conference in Dubai, UAE, as a Distinguished Guest and Mentor. Owens, who is assistant professor of clinical management communication at the USC Marshall School of Business Center for Management Communication, is also focused on the completion of his book featuring submissions from more than 70 of the world’s most prominent people about their love of reading and books that inspired them.  He plans to donate all the profits from the future book sales to non-profits, including TWIJABA.

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American Clay’s Earth Plasters Used in “Lorax Lodge” Green Environmental Center at Girl Scout Camp in Texas

September 28, 2009

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AC Lorax Lodge 1

AC L0rax Lodge 2

AC Lorx Lodge 3

AC Lorax Lodge 4

GIRL SCOUT SARAH JO LAMBERT MAKES TEACHING CHILDREN TO “GO GREEN” THE FOCUS OF HER GOLD AWARD PROJECT

Albuquerque, NM (September 2009) – American Clay Enterprises, Inc. is proud to be one of the sponsors for the Lorax Lodge, a “green” environmental center created by 16-year old Girl Scout turned environmental activist Sarah Jo Lambert. Her goal is to help save the environment by creating a space where children can be educated about green practices and inspired to make a difference. Sarah’s efforts will earn her a Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement for a member of the organization. Lorax Lodge—with interior walls covered in American Clay’s earth plaster–is located at Girl Scout’s Camp Rio Blanco in Crosbyton, Texas, and will be available for use by Girl Scouts, for school field trips and other visitors. The dedication will take place on October 11, 2009.

A team of fourteen design professionals committed to the cause and volunteered their time and expertise in green building to making Lambert’s dream a reality. The 800-square foot building will be constructed entirely of compressed earth blocks (CEB) and will be powered by solar energy. One section will be a place where visitors can watch and read about environmental issues while the other will serve as a place for students to do experiments focused on environmental topics. American Clay donated twelve bags of its patented, all natural, earth plasters in Loma with Bluefield as the chosen color for the center’s interior wall finish.

American Clay was the perfect choice for the project since their Earth Plasters are a unique combination of clays, aggregates and natural pigments which contain zero VOCs, are non-flammable, resist mold growth, absorb odors, provide temperature and humidity buffering, repair easily and come in recyclable packaging. It also has the lowest carbon footprint per pound of any commercially available wall finish.

“I am honored to have American Clay participate”, says Carol Baumgartel, VP of Marketing and Sales for American Clay. “Sarah Jo’s drive and commitment to the project was unstoppable, and I hope this encourages youths across the country to see what a difference they can make in the world they will inherit.”

Other green aspects of the center include windows made out of recycled glass, massive 18“ walls and an earthen floor made of compressed earth blocks by EarthCo Building Systems and the passive solar design, which uses heat and light from the sun as its power source instead of electricity.

As part of her project, Sarah has also written and developed a classroom curriculum with green teaching activities and has designed a new nature trail at the camp. For the final step of her project, she is including “The Green Challenge”, her personal plea to Girl Scouts around the world to incorporate green centers in their Girl Scout Councils.

“I believe in my project and know that I must personally take a stand to get things started”, says Lambert. “If we start teaching green concepts at earlier ages, all children will start living with the same green attitudes. I believe Lorax Lodge will be a positive educational experience for all who visit.”

ABOUT AMERICAN CLAY ENTERPRISES, LLC
American Clay produces patented, award-winning, all-natural interior wall finishing products.  Their Earth Plasters and the commercial ENJARRE single coat plaster are a unique combination of clays, aggregates and natural pigments that offer builders and consumers a natural and elegant option. There is no off-gassing nor inherent waste on-site.  The plasters contain zero VOCs, are non-flammable, are mold resisting (without toxic fungicides), absorb odors, provide temperature and humidity buffering, repair/clean easily and come in recyclable packaging. American Clay, with an extremely low carbon footprint, is uniquely manufactured in and made of materials found in the U.S. American Clay Enterprises, Inc., is based in Albuquerque, NM, and its products are patent pending.  The product and various workshops are available through their New Mexico office or through one of the growing number of retailers and distributors across the U.S.  The website, http://www.americanclay.com, offers information on products, ordering, technical specifications, product application and additional resources and links.
U.S. PAT No. 7,485,186 B2

ABOUT GIRL SCOUTS OF TEXAS OKLAHOMA PLAINS
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.6 million girl and adult members worldwide. The leading authority on girls’ healthy development, Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, visit http://www.gs-top.org.

LA Biz Journal: Will ‘The World Is Just a Book Away’ org create the next Andrew Carnegie?

July 6, 2009

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Non-Profit “World Is Just a Book Away” Launches 10 Libraries in Indonesia; Name for Top Celebs

July 2, 2009

LOGOWHITE

NON-PROFIT ‘THE WORLD IS JUST A BOOK AWAY’ LAUNCHES TEN NEW LIBRARIES JUNE 3RD IN SIDOARJO, IND.

LIBRARIES NAMED IN HONOR OF SUPPORTERS THAT INCLUDE QUEEN NOOR AL-HUSSEIN, JANE GOODALL, YO-YO MA, AND NATASHA RICHARDSON

ALUMNI USC CLUB OF INDONESIA RAISES OVER $25,000 FOR ORGANIZATION

 

Los Angeles, CA, USA (May 2009) – Non-profit organization The World Is Just A Book Away (TWIJABA) launched in October 2008, is already exceeding its 2009 expectations by opening ten libraries at ten schools in Sidoarjo, Indonesia, on June 3-4, 2009.  The libraries will service approximately 2,000 children in the area, grades one through six.  Founder James J. Owens is proud to announce that the libraries will be named in honor of key TWIJABA supporters, including Muhammad Yunus, Queen Noor Al-Hussein of Jordan, Desmond Tutu, Yo-Yo Ma, Miep Gies, and the late actress Natasha Richardson.

The mission of The World Is Just A Book Away (www.JustABookAway.com) is to bring hope—in the form of books, libraries, and schools—to thousands of children in developing countries. The program was launched in Sidoarjo, site of the mudflow disaster that displaced more than 60,000 people and destroyed many schools.  The ten libraries introduce the idea of loaning non-classroom books for recreational reading.  The libraries also have educational DVDs for on-site use.

The organization has accomplished early fundraising success across various platforms:  a strong online push (primarily through Facebook), an art opening fundraiser sponsored by Los Angeles Tribal, and, most significantly, both a dedicated Board, and being the beneficiary of the Alumni USC Club of Indonesia’s annual Charity Ball.  The Ball raised over $30,000 for TWIJABA, and the club plans to work with the non-profit and its local partner to distribute books to Indonesian children in impoverished areas of the country.  

With an initial goal in 2009 to open 14 libraries, Owens is grateful for the immense support, and in awe of the accelerated progress that has been achieved.  “When we launched last October, we thought it would be a stretch to launch 14 libraries in Sidoarjo in 2009,” states Owens, assistant professor of clinical management communication at the USC Marshall School of Business Center for Management Communication.  “However, due to our early success and the tremendous support of all involved, we will open ten in June and we are on target to open a total of 20 permanent libraries there this year, as well as a mobile library to serve children at an additional 23 schools.  In total, we will bring more than 15,000 books to more than 9,000 boys and girls in the region who have been most affected by the mudflow disaster in 2009, our first full year of operation.” 

TWIJABA has attracted a strong and varied list of people to its cause, from Board members to general supporters.  Owens wanted to honor a selection of early believers (not on the Board) by naming a library after them.  Confirmed library names include Queen Noor Al-Hussein, Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, Lois and Buzz Aldrin, Shirin Ebadi (2003 Nobel Peace Prize), Yo-Yo Ma, Miep Gies, Muhammad Yunus, Fess Parker, and the Natasha Richardson Memorial Library.

Behind the scenes, the first person to commit to the organization’s Board of Advisors was Jenny Ming, former President of Old Navy and one of Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in American Business.”  Rounding out the Board of Advisors are Jim Ellis, Dean of the USC Marshall School of Business, and Tim Monich, highly-respected dialect coach of Hollywood.  Prominent people in the worlds of business, entertainment and academia have signed on to the Board as well, inspired by Owens’ enthusiasm, drive, mission, and their own love of the written word. 

Owens also enlisted the help of students and young professionals for the non-profit, when he encountered their enthusiasm for the project.  As a professor, he wants to encourage the idea that being on a Board shouldn’t be restricted to the over 40 age group.  So TWIJABA’s Board has members in their 30s, and he created the “Ambassadors” program as a stepping stone for the younger participants.

Owens is also working on a book featuring submissions from more than 70 of the world’s most prominent people—across the arts and sciences, politics, business, and philanthropy—about their love of reading and books that inspired them.  He plans to donate all the profits from the future book sales to non-profits, including TWIJABA.

Images of the building or renovation progress on the libraries can be viewed online at www.justabookaway.com.

 

ADDITIONAL TWIJABA NEWS:

  • March 2009—Professor Owens attended Education Without Borders 2009 Conference in Dubai, UAE, as a Distinguished Guest and Mentor, and Panel Judge.  Participating panel: “Improving Technology’s Role in Improving Life on Earth”.
  • In November 2008, “The World is Just a Book Away 20/20 Club” launched on Facebook to garner broader support from the general public.  Each member commits to an annual minimum donation of $20 (which translates into 20 books).  In the first two months, nearly 200 signed up, and almost $10,000 was raised.

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01 - Wunut II - Fess ParkerSM04 - Gedang II - Queen NoorSM