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How Go Jane Give Was Born: A Confession

February 28, 2016


Have you ever watched a film or read a book about a social problem and felt a pit in your stomach and tears in your eyes? Have you ever been so moved by someone’s story of hope and change that you swear to yourself you’ll do something to support their cause? 

Me too. Then on the way to the fridge to refill my juice, tears still fresh on my cheeks, I step on a Lego.

Ouch! I thought I told Sadie to pick up the Lego before bed. Oh yeah, that reminds me, I need to order that new Heartlake Cafe set for her birthday. Better put it in my calendar. Oooh glad I checked the calendar: conference call at 9 am tomorrow. I need to look over those documents and find my phone charger. Where did I put my phone charger? Must be in the car. Car…that’s right. I need to get the brake pads replaced. Better put that in my calendar. Is tomorrow Friday already? Is this the week of the swim meet? Put the goggles in the bag. [Open the fridge door and stand in the cold glow.] Why did I come into the kitchen? [Long pause. Blank stare.] Oh look! Leftover cookie dough!

That’s it. The end. Game over. My heart-felt, tear-stained sense of purpose is lost forever on the way to the fridge. Well, most of it anyway. What’s left is drowned in a cookie dough-induced sense of powerlessness in the face of the world’s problems.

I know I’m not alone here. Over and over again I meet women like me—women with “brains in our heads and feet in our shoes,” as Dr. Seuss says, who want to contribute to causes bigger than ourselves. But we lose the thread somewhere in our daily lives, often on the ever-changing path to the fridge or the boardroom or the carpool or the dentist. Even if we manage to move in the direction of purposeful action, it’s tough to know where to start.

You know that scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade? The one where Harrison Ford is on the edge of a cliff that appears to drop off into oblivion, and he has to reach the cliff on the opposite side of the chasm? There are no bridges to cross or grappling hooks to throw or high-powered vehicles to make the jump. It looks impossible. For much of my life, this is how I imagined AWARENESS and ACTION to be—two diametrically facing cliffs separated by a seemingly uncrossable chasm. From my perch on the CLIFF of AWARENESS, I could see Bill and Melinda Gates and a few Nobel laureates on the other side where the ACTION was. But apparently to get there you had to be superhuman or well-resourced enough to charter a flight. Most of us are neither. We’re stuck.

Shrug. Sigh. Bring on the cookie dough, right?

Actually, yes.

“Wait, what?” you say. “You’re supposed to say something empowering.”

Well it turns out cookie dough is the answer, and it’s empowering. Here’s the thing: I make cookie dough once a week as a matter of course, usually on a Thursday afternoon to appease my kids and get a late-week sugar buzz. It takes no superhuman powers or philanthropic dollars to do this. It’s fun, easy and quite frankly, I’m good at it. My cookie dough rocks. So why can’t I quadruple the recipe and get my friends and colleagues to donate to a cause I care about for the chance to win my rockin’ cookies? They would love to do it.

And what about my friend Emily? She’s a rock climber. Why can’t she offer climbing lessons to the kids in her neighborhood that raise the most money doing chores for charity? (She did, by the way, and raised nearly $2500 to help refugees). Or take Saydi. She has to coerce her kids into doing their music practice anyway. Why not help them do a benefit concert once a year for their friends and family? (They did and raised $2500 to support child health in Kenya). What about Brittany who raised $6000 making fudge to help rescue children from the sex trade? Or Tesera who raised $750 for refugees by selling cookies on her front porch? Or Anna who hosted a backyard dinner party and raised $3500 for children in Gaza? Or Amy who made snow cones with her kids and raised $300 for earthquake victims? Or Lindsey who raised $300 for maternal healthcare making waffles with her friends. You get what I’m saying. COOKIE DOUGH (or fudge or rock climbing or music practice or waffles or walking or tax preparation or origami boats or whatever it is you do) IS THE ANSWER!

Enter Go Jane Give. We’ve made it easy to turn your talents and interests into a fundraiser for a cause you care about. Using our platform, you can create and share a personalized fundraising page where friends and family can donate directly to any registered charity you choose. Don’t have a charity in mind? We’ve carefully curated a set of highly-effective ones that are solving the world’s most urgent problems (we’re really picky). Don’t know what to do to fundraise? We’ve got a simple tool to help you find ways to fundraise that match your unique interests and lifestyle. Meanwhile, there are satellites in space (holy moley!) relaying texts and status updates and photos instantly anywhere on the planet. Sharing a fundraiser couldn’t be simpler or more fun.

Remember when Indiana Jones finally figures out how to cross to the other side? He takes a handful of sand and tosses it into the chasm. Instead of plummeting down, some of the sand lands on a hidden road—one he couldn’t see from where he was standing. Glimpsing the path, he takes a step off the cliff edge (biting my nails!). And lands on solid ground. With his foot planted, he goes bounding across to the other side.

You know where I’m going with this. This can be you! Channel your inner Indiana Jones and take that step. Once you create your first fundraiser, you’ll be cartwheeling across the path from AWARENESS to ACTION. You will feel sooooo good. Choose a cause that matters to you and use your talents to fundraise for it at least once a year. Can you imagine the impact if we all bring our unique talents to bear on the world’s toughest problems? Let’s see what those brains in our heads and feet in our shoes can really do.

So here’s to your talents. And here’s to Harrison Ford (swoon). And cookie dough. And holding tight to your purpose on the way to the fridge. Welcome to the movement.


Josie Lauritsen Lee, Founder, Go Jane Give

P.S. Here is my highly-guarded, proprietary chocolate chip cookie dough recipe. Care for it as if it were your own. You’re welcome.

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