Causes and Community


Sustainable Harvest International (SHI)

SHI’s mission is to “provide farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve our planet’s tropical forests while overcoming poverty.”

Sayariy Warmi

“Rise Up Women” in Quechua, Sayariy Warmi is a scholarship fund for Bolivian women. My friend Amy Westbrook started this grassroots organization just over a year ago and I am honored to serve among the first members of Saryariy Warmi’s all volunteer Board of Directors. Sayariy Warmi’s mission is to financially assist young Bolivian women in attending post-secondary education. We are well on our way to launching our first young woman on her educational pathway, thanks to the generosity of a number of donors who have contributed lead gifts. 2014 promises to be an exciting year!


My love affair with the lorena stove (in my Peace Corps days) was recently tainted upon learning that these rammed-earth creations are not as efficient as they are cracked up to be. Sigh. But visit Aprovecho’s website to learn more about appropriate technology options, such as next generation stoves, for developing nations. In their own words: “Aprovecho is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to living, learning, organizing, and educating, to inspire a sustainable culture. Aprovecho specializes in hands-on, experiential education programs for youth and adults.” These days, groups like Sustainable Harvest International have progressed to using new designs, such as Justa stoves, that are better insulated.


Story Corps

I’ve been a huge fan of Story Corps from the start. Imagine how it felt when my friend Laurie invited me to do an interview with her when we were both home for our 25th high school reunion! We met at WABE in Atlanta. I’m so pleased to have taken part in this amazing project (70,000 participants and counting!) Story Corps is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year!

Smooch Project

This project reminds me of Story Corps, although it is just getting off the ground: “It’s about love. It’s about community. It’s about healing.” The goal is to create a collection of 10,000 photographs of “affectionately inclined people.” My husband, our then-4-year old, and I smooched at the Duluth Art Institute on Father’s Day. It was a trip.


Many Rivers Montessori is a learning environment that fosters independent, academically prepared, and socially responsible citizens who will be lifelong learners and problem solvers. Our focus on the whole child provides an ideal learning environment for each stage of development from toddlerhood through adolescence — the benefits of which last a lifetime. As a member of the launch board for this vibrant new school, I’m awe-struck by the most talented, cohesive, organized groups of parents and teachers I’ve ever associated with. As a Montessori kid myself, it’s thrilling to be working toward making a high quality, nurturing, community-based Montessori education available to Duluth’s kids, including my daughter!

Hartley Nature Center

Sugarloaf: North Shore Stewardship Association