I have talked many times before about the way we as nonprofit organizations and changemakers set our goals. (If we focus our work on feeding the hungry, for example, do we actually create a system in which we rely on people needing our services? What would happen, instead, if organizations focused on eliminating hunger?) Going beyond, I think that we can look not just at our goals, but also at the passion we use to fuel our work.

Are you fueling with love?

Regardless of what work you are doing – campaigning for political change, providing services to your local community, educating others, or anything else – would it look different, would it feel different, would it operate differently if love was the central message?

To Mama With Love

I’m incredibly inspired to participate in this year’s To Mama With Love campaign from Epic Change. My mother taught me many things, and I feel like with every year she teaches me more – whether she knows it or not. She’s taught me a lot about love, relationships, and our interactions with the world; and she’s also taught me about things that many may not think have anything to do with love, but they do.

The biggest lesson: Everyone has something to give.

I can’t think of a lesson, an outlook on life, and a guiding principle for my work that is more about love than this one. When working with communities, trying to enable change, looking for opportunities to spark collaboration, love seems like a strange thing to think about for many people. When you approach any of those activities, any of the work we do in this sector, with the idea that truly everyone has something to contribute, the way you speak, the way you interact, and the way you lead changes – and changes into something powerful and contagious.

I see this lesson in the work of 350.org. I see this lesson in the local councils of London trying to open up their data and their leadership. I see this work in public maps like Open Green Map. I see it in so many places, and it’s working. We are starting a movement that has love at the very foundation. And that’s what gives me hope that we will be successful.

Join me in sharing the love

I’ve created a heartspace for my mother and for some of the things she’s taught me:

But To Mama With Love isn’t just about my mama, it’s about 4 special women making great impact around the world. This year, TMWL is raising funds that will support the work of 4 passionate women who truly believe that everyone has something to give:

Mama Lucy” Kamptoni sold chickens in her Tanzanian village & turned her income into a primary school that now serves over 400 children. Her students consistently score at the top of over 120 schools in the Arusha district of Tanzania. Mama Lucy is an Epic Change fellow, and has been an invited speaker at the European Summit for Global Transformation.

Recently named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people and Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Shake the World, Suraya Pakzad is an outspoken Afghan activist on behalf of the rights of women and girls. She originally founded the Voice of Women Organization (VWO) to educate girls in Kabul in secret schools under the Taliban, and has since expanded to support and assist underprivileged women and children throughout Afghanistan.

At 19, New Jersey native Maggie Doyne used her life savings from babysitting to start Kopila Valley children’s home in Nepal, which has grown to a home for over 40 children, and a school serving over 200 students. Now, at just 23 years old, Maggie’s work has been featured in the New York Times, and her remarkable story has earned her the DoSomething & CosmoGirl awards.

Renu Shah Bagaria is the founder of Koseli, a center for children in Kathmandu, Nepal, who, due to their economic circumstances and the country’s recent civil war, live in the city’s streets and slums. Koseli, which means “gift”, provides education, food and tender loving care for over 75 young students, and, in the evenings, hosts an adult education program for local women.

And now I hope you’ll join me!

To Mama With Love is an open, community campaign. There are many ways that you can contribute:

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To Mama With Love is a collaborative online art project that honors moms across the globe and raises funds to invest in remarkable women who are transforming our world. Scheduled for May 3-8, 2011, the site invites participants to create socially shareable “heartspaces” that include words, videos, photos & investments in honor of mamas they love. Learn more!

Can love change the world? I hope so!
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  • One of the cool things about participating in projects like this is coming to know folks like you a little more directly, Amy. Living in an extremely consumerist society, it’s so easy to get cynical about love. The heartspaces I’ve seen so far are absolutely terrific, and it takes a lot of courage for people to be so open about someone so close to them, I think. I love the lessons you learned from your mom, especially “animals really do know what we say” – my mom will attest to that too!

    • Thanks, Shonali! I completely agree – one of the complimentary benefits of
      community-driven campaigns are the ties created and strengthened across the
      community. Thank you so much for sharing your heart in the campaign and
      adding to the conversation here!

    • Absolutely, Shonali. The consumerist society is what really struck me upon our return from Israel in August. I think the way that Epic Change really opens itself up also helps to create the feeling of love and possibilities for To Mama With Love. This is one of the only campaigns I’ve ever seen where giving equals love and that love is genuine.

  • Mothers Day Gift Ideas Here … wow… http://tinyurl.com/MoMGiftNow

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