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Day 163: The Birthday Give

Hilary and her two sons

Do you have any siblings? I do, many in fact – 3 sisters and two brothers. It took two marriages to mix us all together. I have learned over the years their is no better way to find out about yourself than through your siblings. There is an interesting connection or almost chemical reaction in our case, that brings out the best and the worst in us. Today would be one of those “best” days.

Yesterday was my birthday and I got a call from my sister Hilary, who lives in Toronto, suggesting she writes a “give” for me for this blog. It was her “give” to me so I could take a day off. Talk about a great gift. As much as I love doing 365give everyday it’s a lot of work so to take a day of rest from this project is a big deal. The great thing about this particular sister (as I mentioned I have a number of them) is she has been the leader in our family for truly giving back. For me her example of giving started with the environment. We used to make jokes about all the ways we had to “save the environment” in her house when we came to visit. This was a decade before it became “vogue” to be a tree hugger.

Her giving has been an influence on my life for as long as I can remember. I actually got my first “goat” as a Christmas gift from her many years ago. Who knew about Heifer International 10 years ago. So a special thank you to my sister who not only wrote a give for me today on ethical giving but who has set the example by being a leader in her community as well as in our family.

Check out her website (  as she does amazing things with environmental art and education.

Day 163: Give 163

I am honoured to be given a guest ‘post’ spot on 365give, and even more so today, as I am writing this on March 10th.  Today is Jacqueline’s birthday, and so part of my gift to her this year was to write a post to give her a day off!  Her dedication to the 365give project is inspiring, as is her commitment to making the act of giving a daily occurrence.

A number of years ago, we made the decision informally as a family to move to a culture of intangible giving; we felt that we had enough stuff in our lives, and wanted to share our good fortune with others.  We started sending each other goats for Christmas – easier done through Heifer International than by putting one in a box (have you ever tried to wrap a live goat?!)  Since that time, I have received presents coming through SEVA (who help restore eyesight to people around the world), the Trans Canada Trail, and KIVA (an amazing micro-finance group lending to individual entrepreneurs in developing nations.)  I have sent gifts to others via Doctors Without Borders, the Nature Conservancy, the David Suzuki Foundation, Eco-justice and War Child, all non-profits that do incredible work.

These gifts, both given and received, have left my house uncluttered with things I don’t need (less dusting is a good thing), and my life full of positive energy and hope for the future.   They have made me feel like I’m connected to people all over the world, and I haven’t even left my house.  Most importantly, they have modeled for my sons a different way to share our good fortune, not by buying more stuff, but by sharing with others to make the world a better place.

Giving in the digital age is so easy to do… what’s holding you back?  Join 365 Give, and make giving a regular part of your life.

Hilary Inwood is a university educator and proud big sister of Jacqueline.

Time Commitment: Life time of giving

Cost: A donation rather than a gift

If you would like to be a guest “giver” please send us a note and we would be happy to share your story of giving.

What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)