Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Habitat for Families: Think Inside the Box

 Louisville, KY, which is actually the beautiful, thriving and well heeled 16th largest city in America, sadly has over 11,000 homeless school children that live in the streets, parks and cars in blistering summer heat and freezing winter ice and snow.  Worse, we're not the only community with this problem. There are over a million homeless children in America. No child should live like this. 

My sixteen year old daughter Natalie and I have been discussing this issue for a few years now. Not much has changed, except a few years ago the figure was 9000. These are real kids, not just a digit in that 11,000 figure. Some arrive at school dirty, disheveled, and depressed. The saddest are the little kids who stare blankly at the school bus floor and don't interact with anyone. 

Closer to home, some of my daughter's friends are homeless. She recently asked me if there really were no smart adults who could solve this problem. 

Maybe it takes a fed up teenager to snap us to attention. I don't know, but I'm the adult willing to step up to the plate. 

I've gone to bed every night for a few years now thinking about these kids sleeping in cars and in parks, and I feel ashamed to be crawling into a clean feather laden bed. As a society we should be ashamed. All I could think to do was bring them all to my house. That's not a solution, but at least I recognized the problem and wanted to take an action. 

Few of us are immune to homelessness. It’s a fear we live with pretty regularly even at our own house. As a society, we can do better. We need to take better care of each other. 

THE GOAL: So together we started looking at actually solving the problem. The goal became to develop a different kind of community where homeless children and their parents can immediately stop being homeless, and stop being labeled as homeless. A place where they can get off the streets and out of scary open cot filled shelters. A place not just for shelter, but for families to gain a real foothold. A place where they can overcome the hurdles they are facing and acquire the skills they need to succeed in school, work and in a community. All things critical to getting a leg back into society.  

THE INSPIRATION: The idea came from two sources: Our love of tiny houses and a trip to Costco where a tiny playhouse set on one of the warehouses aisles provided the catalyst. 

While tiny houses seem like the perfect solution for homeless people, they aren't easily built in communities due to a dizzying array of roadblocks: appropriate building lots, zoning restrictions, building codes, permit costs & prohibitive utility set up and connect fees. 

One family we know, who is actually living in a dwelling but without water, was told they'd need to pay $10,000 upfront to have just the water pipe installed from the street to the house by the city after THEY dug the ditch. Absolutely insurmountable bureaucratic excess at its finest. 

With nowhere to feasibly put tiny houses, particularly in any meaningful quantity, we needed a better plan. We actually needed to think INSIDE THE BOX, and this is where Costco came in. 

THE PLAN: To combine a large, clean, well lit warehouse (think Costco style) with a form of tiny houses arranged inside that would give each family a safe, private and secure place to sleep, read, laugh, do homework and bathe. Set up as a small working community for families with school children, the focus is on families, their children's education and their parents advancement back into society.  

THE HOUSING: The non-smoking community (see PDF) is comprised of 2 sizes of steel framed modular dwellings, including handicapped accessible units, which provide a strong, secure sleeping space for 3 to 6 family members, a bathroom, storage for clothing & necessities, a desk, a chair and lighting. The temperature controlled warehouse means no need for individual A/C or heaters in each unit. Smoke alarms and sprinklers would be installed in the houses and in the warehouse.

                                                                     Photo credit: Moduflex™ 

The plan houses 240 families as drawn; a maximum capacity of 1152 total people. However, families aren't always 3 people or 6 people - they could be a family of 2 or 4, so that number would most likely always be a bit less. It also might make sense to intersperse a few grandmother or grandfather single person units on each street and designate them as full-time respected community mentors. 

   If we could stack the steel containers, it would house twice as many families. There would have to be space planned for exterior steel staircases, appropriate emergency exits. Larger community service areas, such as dining, laundry, study areas and so forth, would be needed to meet the needs of more residents.

                                                                       Photo credit: Moduflex™ 

UTILITIES: Individual porta-potties and porta-showers (including handicapped accessible units) are plugged into the back of each small dwelling. These are maintained from the closed service-only back streets (marked in blue on the plan) for easy maintenance. This also makes it possible to swap out aging or broken equipment quickly and easily.  Fresh water supplies can be run overhead and down to the homes. Hot water can be provided by on-demand water heaters. 

                                                                             Photo credit: Armal

Individual dwelling with shower and toilet plugged into the back

ENERGY USE: If the community were housed in a zero-net energy warehouse with geothermal heating and cooling, as well as the possibility of solar, the facility could energize itself as well as potentially produce more energy than it used. This could be sold or traded back to the city, further supporting the micro-community. 

STUDENT SUPPORT: The community incorporates a Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) library, computer lab, study halls and a music practice room. Additionally, there could be E-School on site for those students needing to catch up. Bicycles are available to ride up and down the indoor 'streets', as well as outdoor recreation areas not yet shown in the drawing. There would be a designated bus loading hub and students would leave from here each morning via their school buses to attend their regular JCPS school. 

PARENT SUPPORT:  There are already so many programs available to support parents in going back to school themselves, finding jobs, learning new skills and overcoming bad habits. Healthy parenting programs and programs to address the issues that create homelessness to begin with are also needed, and all would be plugged into the center. 

FOOD: A main kitchen keeps food prep (a fire and vector hazard...) out of the dwellings and places it in a controlled community dining facility. Teaching families about cooking and healthy food choices is an important part of community education. Addressing long term health is important as it presents a future drain on society. This is the perfect opportunity to help families understand healthy food choices, learn to make new foods and put it all together along with meal planning and budgeting. A large community garden with lots of fresh foods provide further education on multiple levels.  

MULTI-MEDIA: One or two large gathering rooms for news, movies, events and activities. Getting back into society means catching up on the world around you as well as partaking in some of the more enjoyable parts of life. 

FEATURES: Cool new types of artificial grass from companies such as Synlawn creates realistic, soft lawns that kids can sit and play on and around the front of the dwellings.  Pictured below is how nice it looks. Being maintenance free means it would make the community look fabulous. We we're trying to get a sample of this stuff but it's proving difficult. 


                                                  Photo credit: Synlawn


A rubber (recycled!) sidewalk provides walking paths, keeping pedestrians off the 'streets' where kids can ride bikes and electric service cars can travel. 


                                                 Photo credit: Terrecon


Indoor basketball and volleyball courts are possible, as well as outside sports fields, grassy park areas and the community garden to supplement the kitchen. 

Overall warehouse lighting keeps the space lit and safe, but the lighting can be controlled in sectors and in colors and shades with Hue lighting. It can be changed for sunrise effects and dimmed at bed times. Hue lighting can also be used in study and other work areas for better concentration.  


                                                                   Photo credit: Philips

High transom windows and skylights in the warehouse further provide for the visual effect of real night and day, with traditional street lights at 'lights out'. 
       
                                                                   Photo credit: FreeLite

LOGISTICS, TRANSPORTATION & SAFETY: Golf cart sized electric vehicles provide the various transportation needed to run, service, transport people, and maintain the community, including internal medic and fire safety services. Fork lifts provide the moving power for everything from arranging housing units to moving supplies. 

                                                Photo Credit: Cushman

NEW IN TOWN?: The reception and intake areas provide the space to assess new residents needs, process them and assign them into the community. For security, sanitation and public health for the entire community, each family gets themselves, their health and their belongings sorted out and cleaned up before heading to their little house and their new lives. Stop smoking help via the clinic and fresh haircuts, too. 

Cat and dog kennels and runs are in the facility so that families don't have to surrender their family pet to a kill shelter while they work toward returning to traditional housing in the future. 


EVERYONE WORKS: The community provides plenty of work for its residents, besides actively seeking work outside the community, and all residents are assigned jobs and tasks within the community. 

There is kitchen, dishwashing and dining room work, laundry room work, supply stocking, security, keeping the community clean, trash collection, gardening, yard work, kennel cleaning, library, music hall and study hall monitors, building maintenance, and more - and all of these equate to job skills that can be transferred into jobs in the real community. 

An onsite mail center sorts out incoming mail to residents. Residents now have a real address which they can use when applying for jobs outside of the habitat - working towards self sufficiency and finally moving their family out into the real community.

WHAT ELSE DOES IT DO? It brings jobs to our city. Construction, steel, cement, electrical, landscaping, building services, maintenance services, technology, hard goods, soft goods, appliances, food and more - and key staff to manage and run the facility. The facility's resident work force also has the ability to produce a product, perform a service or otherwise further contribute to its own support. 

WHAT’S IN A NAME? We named it: HABITAT FOR FAMILIES.  I ♥ it. 


THE COSTS:  Each homeless individual costs the public upwards of $3000 a month, and this doesn't include the life-long effects and costs on children forced to live under such circumstances. 

                                     Graph and info via Where We Sleep 

Public costs go down when individuals are no longer homeless. Stopping homelessness, not just through housing, but through better family education and support for our youths and their parents can only further reduce the short and long term societal costs.  Plus it's just the right thing to do. God help us should we turn a blind eye to a child sleeping in the streets. 

While the cost for the entire project will need to be determined, initial building costs spread over the number of people served over time should make it an attractive option. Factoring in the social education opportunity, the ability to generate energy and making use of the resident workforce, can make this a very smart, cost effective option. 

Any roof can provide shelter. Give a family a community and you teach them how to live. 

GETTING IT GOING:  We'd like to use Indiegogo to help us raise money to get the idea furthered and correctly developed. We need an architect to determine the occupancy thresholds, implement all the proper building and safety codes, and flesh out the floor plan. We need mentoring on multiple levels. We need experts to help us gain state and federal funding, including what HUD and other agencies can bring to the table for development as well as on an ongoing basis. 

We need to create either a real or virtual 3D scale model of a home, and of at least a portion of the community to show to various councils, trusts and sponsors here in Louisville and beyond. Later we'll do fund raising and crowd funding to bring things the community needs. Everything from can you donate a lightbulb to can an individual or corporation sponsor a housing unit? This is the part where as individuals we make a conscious decision to improve our communities by taking better care of each other.

ABOUT THE DRAWING: I have an interior design (UCLA) and construction background, so I draw the rough example plans. In the PDF  you can zoom in and scroll down and see the housing detail and other aspects. The dining and multi-purpose rooms are not correctly sized or placed. Those have to be determined by how they will be used and how many will use them at a time. The houses are drawn to scale and to code, however, there is some code I can't find or I don't know. There may need to be more corridors to emergency exits between the houses, as exits placed at either end of the streets may not provide the correct fire and safety configuration. It's fixable. This is just a sample plan. 

See sample plan here
  There may need to be an egress window on each house if the 3' front door that swings out alone doesn't meet egress code. I can't find info on that since there aren't many any communities built inside warehouses to compare it with.

Square footage per person may also come into play. Dorms are as close as I can get, but it's still not the same. So, in that case, dwellings may need to be resized, grouped in twos with windows on either side, and space given between the houses. That takes up more space, but if that's the code, we'll have to allot for it. All to be determined later. 

I'm really proud of all the work, planning and thinking Natalie has done on this project to help put it into action. Both of us saw ourselves riding bicycles up and down the streets, jumping on the bunk beds (shh!) and giggling on the fake grass. Life is good at Habitat for Families :)  

                                             Photo Credit: Anni Bricca

LINK TO THE FLOOR PLAN DRAWING:

The larger tiny house floor plan: 3' entry door with a 2' window on the right at the end of the 6' writing desk/counter space. Six linear feet of storage cabinets are above the desk. Six linear feet of floor to ceiling cabinet storage is adjacent to the desk. Twin sized bunks for four family members and pull out floor trundle for two more. Plug in wash/toilet facilities, a sink and room to dress.

                                            Photo Credit: Anni Bricca


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Ridiculously Simple Holiday Gift Guide - $25 and up


Part 2: $25 and up - The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Once again, most of us are struggling, in one fashion or another, to buy the perfect gift for a variety of people on our shopping list. As always, some people are harder to buy for than others. 

Cost: $25 and up. Effort: Practically zero. Impact: Huge. 

So, for the 2nd part of The Ridiculously Simple Holiday Gift Guide, my suggestion is Kiva. As I said in my first part, studies show that consumerism (buying stuff) doesn't really bring happiness. What does bring us happiness, however, is being grateful for what we already have, and selfless acts such as helping someone else. 

  If you've not heard about Kiva, it's a micro-lending organization that enriches entrepreneurs in third world countries. By securing micro-loans from individuals, it gives hard working people the means to start or grow their small businesses and become more successful and self-reliant. It also positively affects the quality of life for their families. 

This may be the perfect gift for the person who really has it all, or for the boss, client or colleague you're not comfortable buying a personal gift for, but would like to do something lovely or appropriate, just the same. Nothing says, "I've arrived", more nicely than doing something great in the name of someone else. 

Keeping it real on the flip side, nothing is more sly, smart or satisfying than circumventing a gift you feel obligated to give, than by giving the gift to someone else, in the name of your required recipient. Unsavory relative, client or co-worker? The Secret Santa nightmare? It's the perfect solution, and someone really deserving benefits, too. 

 Regardless of who, how or why you're gifting, in nearly every case where you and the recipient live an industrialized nation, you are light years ahead of the poverty and hardships that the Kiva recipients face, many of which live below one or two dollars a day. We all have so much living here in these advanced societies, sharing with someone who doesn't is very meaningful to everyone involved, and subsequently, may also increase your happiness quotient when you realize how much you truly do have. 

For any of the gifting scenarios, $25 in their name to a worthy recipient through Kiva, which is actually a LOAN that is repaid, is a wonderful way to give and make a real difference. When the loan is repaid, the recipient can choose to reinvest in another worthy entrepreneur, in a country of their choice. Or, they may take the dollars you originally gifted back into their own pocket and waste spend it on a round of Starbucks or something equally fleeting overpriced desirable. Karma is their choice. At least your gift can't be rebuffed or misconstrued, doesn't start out as a reindeer sweater that they're going return, or worse surreptitiously re-gifted. Problems upon problems solved! 

 But there's more. You also have a Kiva gift for waiting for me, and this one won't cost you a thing. Follow my invite to Kiva. Simply for registering to have a look around, a benevolent donor at Kiva will give me $25 to invest in a worthy person to enrich their lives - for free. When these donor loan are repaid, it stays within Kiva to help yet another person - which is perfect. I always pick women entrepreneurs and generally those who are working in healthy food enterprises. 

The site is inspiring, which will also increase your happiness & gratitude quotient. Now tell me, when was the last time a holiday gift guide gave you so much? 

Please join me in checking out Kiva and jot down three things you're grateful for today!

There are, of course, many worthy organizations that may better match those on your gift list. There are a multitude of world wide children's organization,  Animal foundations, such as one of my favorites, The Elephant Sanctuary or home to so many of us here, BreastHealthOnline. There are many, many more worthy places, including your own local civic organizations. All of which are in need of our help and would make inspiring choices for your gift recipients. 

I'd love to hear how micro-lending at Kiva or gifting through to any organization made a difference in your holiday giving and changed someone's life, including yours!

Here's wishing you a happier holiday and more prosperous New Year to everyone on your holiday list, and beyond. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Ridiculously Simple Holiday Gift Guide $0-$25


In light of Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday this holiday season, in a two part article, I'd like to give you two very different ideas for gifts that you might not have previously considered.

Part 1 of The Ridiculously Simple Holiday Gift Guide:

Cost: $0-$25. Effort: Minimal to simple. Impact: Huge. 

It's that time of year again. We're all scrambling, often times without enough dollars or daylight, to buy the perfect gift for the people we love, care about and respect. Most gifts are really an expression of how we feel about another person. With the gift representing and conveying our feelings for us, no wonder it's so hard to pick the right one!

 At the same time, we're also wishing people a happy New Year, while contemplating another year passing, and our own future. But what if you could stop wishing and actually bring about a happier New Year for yourself and others through your gift? 

If you only had between $0 and $25, what truly meaningful gift could you give to your loved ones that would make a measurable difference in their lives in the next year? If there was any way that even a zero dollar investment could change your lives, this first idea would be my number one pick. It also happens to be my gift for you:  A Gratitude Journal. Don't scoff, and keep reading - remember this is my gift to you, so at least take a minute to 'open it' and pretend to be overcome with joy. Who knows, it might actually work!  



What will you and yours receive from this ridiculously simple gift? Well, the benefits are literally priceless: With it, you can exponentially change the happiness quotient this coming year for yourself, and others. What would you give if you could be a whole lot happier? Exactly. Quite a lot. Except you can't buy happiness. Fortunately, it doesn't need to cost a thing, and it's actually quite simple. 

Studies show that consumerism (buying stuff) doesn't really bring happiness. One thing that really does bring us happiness, however, is being grateful for what we already have. If you lost everything and you only had the ability to breathe and blink, you'd start there. But, fortunately, most of us aren't anywhere near this dire of circumstances. 

By simply by writing down as few as three things you're grateful for each day, you can change your life and the lives of your loved ones by helping them on this truly simple path.



At ActionForHappiness.org, they recommend writing down three things you're grateful for each day. They state, "People who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. Being grateful can help people cope with stress and can even have a beneficial effect on heart rate. This action is easy to do yet its benefits have been scientifically proven. In tests, people who tried it each night for just one week were happier and less depressed one month, three months and six months later."

So, your task is to buy, make or otherwise create a Gratitude Journal. One for yourself and as many journal gifts as you plan to give. Traditional, hands-on journals can be simple or elaborate, large or small, store bought, or handmade, or they can easily be free. You can buy any notebook or a handmade Gratitude Journal off of Etsy from $3 and up. You can handcraft a little notebook out of scraps of paper, dedicate a sticky-note pad, or up-cycle an unused notebook yourself. You could even just create a little tutorial gift card to share the idea of a gratitude journal with someone. Then make a pact with yourself and your loved ones to follow through on your version of choice. 



On the net, via sites like Instagram, anyone can create a visual gratitude journal, with text and representative or random photos. You could post your gratitude as your Facebook status once a day. Using your Twitter account, or create a dedicated one to tweet to gratitude to your heart's content. There are also Gratitude Journal sites such as http://happyrambles.com. Apps abound; Sixteen of them exist for the iPhone alone, ranging from free to $1.99. You could even create a personal youtube tutorial on the idea and options involved and electronically share your gift with one or many. 

Whichever mode you choose, being regularly cognizant of what you're grateful for will change your life. 

There are also some fun things you can do with your journal. On a pen and paper book, you can use the left side of an entry page to write down what you're grateful for today, and then use the facing right hand side of the page to jot down what you want to be grateful for tomorrow. Example, on Monday night you could write on the right hand side, "I'm grateful for all the people who are kind to me on Tuesday".  Do it, and some really unusual things will start happening to you. 

I did a silly experiment with this. On my 'grateful for tomorrow page' I wrote down how grateful I was that everyone I encountered in my day was kind to me. It works best if you don't 'ask for stuff', ahem. It's wild, because every time I do it, it's like being on  Candid Camera. I think, seriously, this must be a joke. It's as if some friend of mine had read my journal from 2 am and set out to tell each random person I encounter the day ahead to be ridiculously nice to me, all of which is extremely unlikely, if not impossible. 

 It was so effective, however, that I just started laughing at one point after about 16 ridiculously positive interactions. In fact, it worked so well I found myself delayed due to in depth conversations from the kindest people imaginable. Be careful what you wish for! Truth is: it works. and clearly, if I can stand in the middle of a crowded store full of strangers and laugh, I'm already happier. DO IT. 



Some interesting things will start to happen, besides being happier. With the 'grateful for tomorrow page', you'll start to notice that what you wrote on your 'grateful for tomorrow' page will actually start appearing on your 'grateful for today' page. It effectively brings what you were looking for into your life. So, when I did this experiment, I ended up being grateful for all the people who were actually kind to me that day.  

 It's fun to play with it, and if you're playing with this, you've already brought some intrigue and joy into your own life by doing so. 

Here's to a beautiful season ahead and a happier New Year for you and your friends and family. I hope that you will put this gift to work for yourself and others in your life. 

I'd love to hear how your gratitude journal (either new from this post, or if you're already journaling) has changed your life.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Breast Health: Is a Pink or Gray Barrier Affecting Your Quality of Life?

Originally Published in 


Breast Health: 
Is a Pink or Gray Barrier 
Affecting Your Quality of Life? 
Ten years ago my then-72-year-old mom came to me for help and shared that she had spent years concealing a painful breast condition. Fortunately, she did not have breast cancer. Unfortunately, no equivalent pink-ribboned industry exists for education and funding for the non-cancerous breast conditions that she and many other women face.


When we sat down to talk, however, she had a new advantage going for her. The previous year, my group founded BreastHealthOnline.org, a non-profit to help women address the breast conditions that are not supported by “pink funding.” 


My mom admitted that she had stabbing back pain, numbness and tingling down her arms and hands, crushing bruises over her collar bones and painful, sticky rashes beneath her breasts. Her disproportionately large breasts were causing her physical and psychological pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, no doctor, including her gynecologist, ever addressed this over all the decades in which she suffered.

Many conditions like this are not age-specific, but for women age 50 and older it usually means they’ve suffered longer and have endured further damage along the way. With no major funding for patient education, many women will live out their lives without any relief.

My mom is not alone. Many women don’t realize there is medical help available. If they are aware of the procedures that could help them, some may be affected by the “gray barrier”, thinking they’re too old or that it’s too late. Worse, health-care providers are often reluctant to broach the topic, despite the fact that disproportionately large breasts are medically recognized and covered. What women age 50 and older and of reasonably good health need to know is that these procedures are available, safe and appropriate within their age group. The benefits are improved health and self-esteem, resulting in an increased quality of life after so many years of suffering.

Statistics were not available from the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, but in the United States last year, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that more than half of the 85,000 breast reductions performed were for women 40 and older. A third of those were for women 55 and older.

While medical care for these conditions does exist, proper information and knowledgeable self care is imperative if a woman is to experience a successful surgery, recovery and outcome. BreastHealthOnline.org has proven invaluable to women, including many in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

One of the most frequently asked questions from women age 50 and older is how well they will heal in relation to their age. Our experience in the last decade has echoed what top plastic surgeon Dr. Grant Stevens of Marina del Rey, California, taught us in our early days. Recoveries for patients between the ages of 20 and the late 70s remain stable and consistent across the board. We’ve also discovered that more mature patients have far less scarring and healing problems than their younger counterparts.

My mom, now 82, experienced a flawless recovery and has enjoyed the last ten years without the pain and encumbrances she struggled with for so many decades in the past. These conditions are clearly worth looking into for the life-changing benefits that can be achieved. It’s not too late to greatly improve your life.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Update on Our Mangled Paypal Account

Paypal effectively mangled our operating funds for pretty much an entire month between August and September. Unlike their agreement, which specifies exactly how and in what time frame they are bound to resolve issues, the circumstances that they hoisted upon us weren't outlined in their own rules of engagement. You see, there was actually nothing wrong with our account. They had requested updated information, of which we produced immediately and fully. But, despite meeting all requirements, our account remained locked.


  Unfortunately, there were no rules for what they were doing to us. They gave no indication as to what to expect or when to expect resolution. We were basically just shut out. As one of their supervisors said, "Even I can't access the people who deal with this". Wow, pretty scary.


  So, with tons of conflicting messages from the various Paypal people we spoke to, basically one hand not knowing what the other hand was doing, there was no end in sight or controls in place to make them accountable. We were simply adrift indefinitely, unable to pay our bills for the first time in the history of our organization. 


  Due to the considerable horror stories we've heard about Paypal seizing accounts, we count ourselves extremely lucky now, however, to have been allowed back into our account where we could retrieve what was rightfully ours.


  But getting our funds back was just half the equation. Having our account locked down also prevented us from our normal monthly business transactions that raises money for the months ahead. August and September are typically good months for us and those efforts have pretty much been lost.


 The emergency fundraising we did via the awesome Amazon payment buttons on the the right of blog here have raised about $700, for which we are grateful. We covered our immediate needs but failed our normal momentum during our down time.


  We are continuing our emergency fundraising via the Amazon payment buttons on the right while we catch up. If you can pay some breast health forward, the person you help may be yourself or someone you love.  ♥


  I am working on the email receipts to the 32 donors who gave last week, please don't think you've been forgotten. Thank you again for your help and support.


Anni Bricca
Founder Breast Health Foundation
www.BreastHealthOnline.org


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We're Having a Little Emergency!

  Despite a lot of hardships, nothing has stopped us from successfully funding and running our organization for the last 10 years. In fact, we’re proud of the fact that we’re completely virtual, run on a bit of a shoe-string, yet have done so much to help others.


   But in 4 short days, Paypal has taken us out.  After 7 years of being ‘a very good customer’, they requested our non-profit documentation as part of the new IRS compliance. This was no problem. We’re a bonafide 501(c)(3) non-profit since 2001. I went about providing the necessary information the very first day we received notice. We had 4 days to fully comply or our account would be ‘limited’.


  After providing every document imaginable, they asked us to click a series of buttons to change to a different type of account. Not a problem.


 But we were unable to complete the request because of a glitch in their system. It continually took us to the wrong screen.  Many, many calls later only ended in our account being ‘limited’ as the 4 days ran out, which in effect means they have hold of our entire operating expenses for the month of September and beyond. Limited really means seized. OH we can take donations - we just can’t access the funds.


Like maybe - ever.


  I’ve never had to do this, but as the Breast Health Foundation’s founder, I’m putting out an emergency call for our non-profit to mitigate our losses and save our site.


 We are in need of emergency donations due to the actions of Paypal. We opened a non-profit Amazon Pay account to accept these. They had everything ready to go for us in less than 10 hours. I wish I’d known about this sooner - many thanks to Jonathan Leissler. 


  Our new Amazon donation buttons are located in the right sidebar  --->


 Please give if you can. Can you donate a couple ‘Starbucks coffees’ to us?  No, we won’t drink the coffee, we’ll put the money to use running the site! Please give. Our services are greatly needed. The breast care we provide receives no pink funding.
 
There is more than one breast disease and condition that affects women. We are mainly member supported. These are women who are supported by no one else but themselves, which I think is a crime in itself. Many of these woman are facing surgery today, tomorrow, this week, and depend on us to be here.  Please help if you can.


  Those who know me know I rarely ask for anything - am generally on the other end offering my help. Please hear my plea today and help us bridge the gap.


  Donations are tax deductible. I will manually email out all receipts to donors. Since Amazon payments are new to us, let me know if you need any help or encounter any problems. You can leave a comment here or find me under the same name on Twitter, Facebook, G+ and Gmail: AnniBricca.


Thank you,


Anni Bricca
Founder & CEO
Breast Health Foundation
BreastHealthOnline.org