It’s the new year, and our instinct to start drinking green smoothies and hitting the gym is kicking in. It’s the time of planning for the year ahead and thinking through how we want to invest our time, energy and money. Enter: New Year’s resolutions.
Most of our resolutions tend to face inward and are centered on the self. How can I take better care of myself? How can I move more? How can I cut back on or add something to my life?
These are all important questions to ask, and I commend anyone who is committing to healthy and happy lifestyle habits for 2022. I also invite you to add resolutions that face outwardly this year. Ask yourself – how can I support my community? How can I give back to the well-being of others and the planet? How can I invest my time and dollars where they’re needed most?
To help you start the year off on a good note, we found some great resolution ideas for you to add to your list. Global Impact is celebrating economic development as the featured cause this month, and there are so many ways to integrate this cause into your goals for the year.
We’re starting off the year with economic development – and asking you to do the same – because it’s foundational to addressing all of the major global challenges. Ending poverty, tackling climate change and reducing conflict all rely on us improving the conditions and expanding the opportunities for people everywhere.
Join us in supporting these organizations to celebrate this month’s cause, economic development. All of these organizations show us that the smallest investments in job opportunities and businesses can make a powerful impact in the lives of many. May they inspire some unique New Year’s resolutions for you in 2022!
Resolve to invest in lasting change
1. Resolution for those involved in corporate social responsibility: Work with your company to explore a partnership with Accion in 2022.
Accion is building a financially inclusive world, with access to economic opportunity for all, by giving everyone the financial tools they need to improve their lives.
Take, for example, Rosina. Rosina runs a small grocery shop in her village in eastern India. She and her husband own a small lot of land, but their crops don’t bring in enough money for them to provide for their two children and meet their household needs. Rosina needed another way to support her family, so she converted a small room in her house into a grocery store and became a small business owner. Her business quickly took off since there weren’t many other stores in her village. Once Rosina opened her doors, she gave families in her community the ability to purchase fresh food and other essentials that they weren’t able to buy before.
Rosina received a loan from a microfinance institution and Accion partner in India two years ago to grow her small business even further. As her household income increased, her family was able to break their pattern of dependence on seasonal agriculture. When financial services providers consider the unique challenges that their clients face, they can play a critical role in helping entrepreneurs use well-designed tools to help build their local economies.
2. Resolution if you are a natural fundraiser: Schedule a fundraiser launch with Anera this year.
Anera provides humanitarian assistance and sustainable development to advance the well-being of refugees and other vulnerable communities in the Middle East.
In 2020, Anera’s education team switched to offer work-based education programs that address urgent community needs like food security and COVID-19 protection. They now organize specialized courses in cooking, food preservation and canning, as well as basic literacy and math. One of these courses is in Bint Jbeil, a town in the south of Lebanon.
Fayrouz Nimr Hijazi, a student of an Anera course, says preserved foods are in high demand, as people want to purchase goods that can last for a long time in their fridge. This creates an opportunity for students in the class to sell what they make and eventually generate enough money to launch their own small businesses. "We have many clients in Lebanon, but we also ship products abroad,” Hijazi says. “We thank Anera for selecting us as a local partner and supporting the creation of this course. It helps both the young ladies and the families receiving the produce.” Dalal Moussa, the local Anera field coordinator, is thrilled to see these young women thriving. Moussa says “through this course, we are able to create a safe environment and strengthen relationships between women from different nationalities and religions. The course has boosted the confidence of the students.”
3. Resolution if you have skills to share (which is everyone!): Volunteer with Ashoka on their LinkedIn volunteer hub.
Ashoka works to advance an Everyone a Changemaker world, where anyone can apply the skills of changemaking to solve complex social problems.
Joshua Williams, 17, is an Ashoka Young Changemaker from Miami Beach, Florida. He realized that the homeless population in the U.S. doesn’t have access to the same resources he grew up with and wanted to change that. With the help of Ashoka, he launched Joshua’s Heart Foundation to support homeless people in his community. He shares his experience working with Ashoka and the lessons he’s learned along the way:
4. Resolution for those with executive leadership experience: Commit to joining FINCA’s advisory council.
FINCA International (FINCA) works to alleviate poverty through lasting solutions that help people build assets, create jobs and raise their standard of living.
For many women in the highlands of Guatemala, weaving represents much more than just a job. For Paula it represents both artistic beauty and a means to improve the livelihood of her daughters. Paula learned to weave from her grandmother and mother, and now she is teaching her daughters to weave themselves. With a FINCA loan, she was able to cover her expenses and expand her business.
Today, Paula maintains an impressive business overseeing eight employees who do piece work from their own homes. FINCA has made it possible for Paula’s specially embroidered products to be found around the country’s tourist markets of Antigua, Panajachel and Coban. She also has lucrative opportunities through bulk sales by exporters in Mexico and the United States because of the size of her business. Due to her impressive financial track record – she never misses a payment – Paula knows that other banks would want her business, but she remains loyal to her partnership with FINCA. As her daughter Sara said, “You don’t forget about your friends.”
5. Resolution for those who are looking for a quick and easy way to make a difference: Pick one of International Orthodox Christian Charities' (IOCC) 25 Ways to Give to accomplish in 2022.
With programs in the U.S., Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, IOCC provides humanitarian and development assistance to people who have been devastated by man-made and natural disasters.
Sometimes life as we know it can change quickly — a devastating storm, wildfire, or in this case war. What caused our life to change isn’t as important as how we react to it and how we rebuild.
Before the Balkan wars, Miroslav, his wife, and children lived with his parents on their farm in Bosnia’s Una River valley. They worked in a metal factory to provide for their family. After the war, they were unable to find salaried employment. Miroslav began farming full time to support his family. With IOCC’s support, Miroslav was able to get a new 3,200 square-foot greenhouse, where he grew seedlings in the rich valley soil. In time, he did so well that the family added a second greenhouse to grow flowers. Out of the depths of prolonged conflict, this family never gave up hope. Instead, they rebuilt their lives and the agriculture industry in their region through hard work, determination and faith. Thanks to your generosity, today, Miroslav also produces and sells rakia, a brandy made from pears and plums — a clear example of how the right kind of help has lasting impacts.
Now is the perfect time to think about the impact you want to have in 2022. Let’s make this a year of wins and progress – for all.
Maybe you want to take me up on some of these volunteer ideas, or maybe you want to get more involved in your employee giving campaign this year. In addition to any of these resolutions, supporting charities that address economic development (like Accion, Anera, Ashoka, FINCA International and IOCC) in your employee giving campaign is an easy way to further this critical cause. And if you want tips for involving co-workers, friends and family, sign up to be a Global Champion with Global Impact. Together, we can inspire greater giving to make a difference in the world.
However you choose to get involved, thank you for making a commitment to a better world this year! Contact us any time for more ideas or help connecting your company with any of our amazing charities included here.