Baal Dan

Tanya Pinto, whose desk is right next to mine at The Richards Group, started this amazing charity called Baal Dan. Whoever reads this blog ought to check out the website and read about this a little bit. 100% of the money goes to children in need. And we're not talking about kids without video games and the coolest toys… these are kids who don't have enough clothes to wear or enough food to eat. Many kids don't even have sturdy roofs over their heads. Baal Dan is an organized way to be sure that 100% of all money donated goes to children who need it in India and Africa (later to be expanded into other countries as well).


I think this is so awesome, obviously for the tremendous need it serves, but also because it's living proof that contrary to popular belief, being in advertising does not mean you don't have a heart and don't have time to immerse yourself in a variety of other interests and issues. If anything, my short time here at The Richards Group has showed me the opposite. There's even a whole volunteering section of the agency's main intranet page, and emails and phone calls with upcoming volunteer opportunities happen frequently.

What's really exciting to me, though, is when you can mix these meaningful interests and charitable opportunities with the power you have as an advertising professional. Seeing as all the tools of the communications industry are essentially at our fingertips, it's nice to know that work is being done for a real variety of reasons. In many cases, the definition of success isn't increased sales or a higher profit percentage. It really raises the question of how we measure our success, in whose eyes is success most vividly reflected, and is there really such thing as an accurate, objective measure of how well we've achieved our goals and surpassed our intentions.

For an example of using these tools to do charitable work, take a look at Tiger Porter's website, Tiger is an art director who sits a few desks away from me. She came to The Richards Group a few weeks ago from Fallon. On her website, click where it says "Reel" and you can see the work she's done for the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. I told her how much these ads made me think, and I meant it. It brings me back to the rough times in my life where I just step back and really look at what I have and how blessed I've been. Despite many struggles, I have more to be thankful for than I could possibly ever list. I've learned that often, we never know what we have until one day, it's gone. These spots reminded me of that. And isn't that what this field is all about- to put things in perspective, to make us think not only as consumers, but as citizens of the world, actively participating in a changing global economy and society. And if this thinking gets us to change our behavior in a way that was intended, I can't imagine a better way to define success in this field.

(For more information about the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, visit

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