The Midsters Podcast

The Importance of Giving Back with Lisa May

November 23, 2022 Season 1 Episode 28
The Midsters Podcast
The Importance of Giving Back with Lisa May
Show Notes Transcript

As we head into the holidays, Ellen and Tish reflect on the importance of giving back. In midlife, we may have more time or the ability to give more to causes we are passionate about and to sprinkle a little science in, research has found that at midlife and beyond when you are purposeful around giving back you experience more joy and happiness. Whether it's volunteering, philanthropy, or mentorship - we can all give back.
 
We welcome Lisa May to this episode to share her charitable journey -  from annual checks to charities around the holidays to her decision to be more hands-on resulting in wide-ranging and innovative programs to help women and children in Malawi.   Lisa shares the three pillars that drive the work that she and her husband Nigel do with the May Foundation and how amounts as small as $25, $100, or $400 dollars can have BIG impacts and life-changing results.   And Tish, Ellen, and Lisa talk about how to make giving a family purpose when children are young and carry it into adulthood.

Be sure to follow the podcast on Instagram @themidsterspodcast

Things we talked about in this episode: Renaissance Fairs, game nights with friends, Mexican Train,  Centerpoint, Hives Save Lives Africa, Every Child, Find Your Feet, Water Aid

Obsessions:
Tish: Renaissance Fairs - Tish encourages everyone to check out a Renaissance Faire! See the photos on our Facebook page. 
Ellen: Mexican Train Dominos This game is so much fun.  Why not plan a holiday game night with friends or with family? 

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Ellen Gustafson:

As we head into the holiday season, we are going to talk about giving back in midlife is a great time to take a look at maybe what you've been doing around giving back, or to start giving back if you haven't, whether it's volunteering, philanthropy or mentorship, we can all give back at midlife. And today, our guest, Lisa May, is going to share her personal story of giving back to checks to charities around the holidays, when she and her husband were just starting out, establishing a charity in Malawi, and innovative sustainable programs for women. I think Lisa's story really reminds us that you can make meaningful contributions in difference with any size donation, Tish.

Tish Woods:

You know, Ellen, what I think makes our guests Lisa's story about her charity work so unique is when she went from those typical acts of charity that we all do, you know, things like donating or attending benefits and fundraisers? Well, Lisa and her husband as their, you know, entering retirement type years, you know, wanted to find ways to get more directly involved. They wanted to get hands on, on the things that they were doing that and make sure that they had a deep meaningful impact in communities, and that it's all focused on self sustaining programs. You know, Elon, haven't, you always found that when you go and support charities, you go and do this type of work, you know, it just makes you feel so Enlai so alive. And so invigorating stuff, it's such a feel good thing. You know, a lot of people when they're donating their their times, to charities, they're really concerned about, they want to make sure that the money is actually going to the people who need it, and don't get like eaten up by, you know, all all the paperwork and all, you know, all the red tape of everything, right? They want to make sure that that what they're doing is making an impact to somebody else. And I think what makes this story so special is instead of just you know, again, they went from a time of, you know, just helping, like we all do, to creating this very special charity. And I think Lisa and Nigel just got hands on and feet to the ground. And they just wanted to seek out how to make that bigger impact. And I think this is really going to inspire some people.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, I agree. Tish, and the part I really like is that they went with this start small, figure out what was meaningful to them, and really committing to doing more over time, and they didn't wait. So we've talked so much about how many of us that midlife are really looking for a renewed purpose and not to give science again. But researchers have found that in midlife and beyond those who had purpose beyond themselves, their lives were filled with more joy and happiness. And gosh, we all need that. So even more reason for us to look at how we can give back and create a sense of purpose. But before we get into our podcast today and introduce our guests, Lisa, let's talk about her week's obsessions. You know, I love this part. Tish. What do you got for me this week? Well, this week,

Tish Woods:

I have more of a thing to do than like a product or anything like that. Okay, so this past weekend, I went to a Renaissance Festival, and I haven't done that in for forever. My daughter is very into costuming and to doing cosplay in, you know, a lot of things like that. So, you know, her and I decided to go and we went with she went with her boyfriend and a friend of mine came with me as well. But we got there and I wasn't sure I was going to do the whole costume thing. And I thought why not like Jay, I'm going I'm going all in on this. You know, and it was just so much fun. It you feel like you become somebody else. And I would say 30 to 40% of the people attending. were dressed up. Wow. And the guys did not dress up. And both of them said next year, we'll dress and they really got into it. I think it was one of these. They weren't sure if everyone was if they were going to seem unusual. And yeah, so it was so fun. The jousting the everything it was so fun. So the next year you go to something like that, you know what, go all in, just go all in do the cost. You do the whole thing. It was so fun. So that was my obsession for this week.

Ellen Gustafson:

Well,I did see a few pictures you posted on Facebook and we You can surely post some of those on the Midsters, Facebook and Instagram accounts. And you have to say years ago I went to, to Renaissance Fair and all I remember were people eating big giant turkey and

Tish Woods:

they're still eating the turkey legs. Here when I said I can't eat a whole turkey leg, but you just need a bite you have to have, yeah, walking around with the turkey. I don't know.

Ellen Gustafson:

It's just silly. But I would here in San Francisco, they have a Dickens fair every year during Christmas holidays. And I would always take my kids when they were younger. And I'd always say, Oh, I'm gonna scour thrift shops next year, and I'm gonna have my costume and they were like, We won't go with you. I never got around to it, but I think they wouldn't feel that way.

Tish Woods:

I was blown away by how many people were costuming. Some people weren't even in the theme. They just there were some Star Trek people there. I was like, Oh, okay. But everyone was just embracing the costume. So what can I say? But what is your obsession this week? Alan?

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, I think you know this about me that I love board games. And I've tortured my children over many, many years, playing board games, and these range from summary to this great Scrabble board. And I also have in color Brumby Q, which is an Israeli game that they've loved. It's a math game. But I listen to another podcast called The backhand call. And she mentioned a game called Mexican train dominoes. So of course, I was intrigued. I bought the game. I learned how to play it from YouTube. And I played it for the first time and I am. So Oh, my kids have been born for warned that there will be drinks and Mexican dominoes this week. But shout out to everybody to try a new game over the holidays.

Tish Woods:

I like that I think a lot of people are getting back into gaming and stuff like that. And as opposed to just sitting around and eating and drinking and talking. It really can live in a get together. And I planned this week to go spend time with friends after Thanksgiving. And I said let's have a game night. And I thought what should I bring? But I might have to look this Domino's. So we'll see.

Ellen Gustafson:

You can get it overnight on Amazon if you're really interested. But we want to welcome our next guest, Lisa May and share her unique charitable journey. And as we said it started out small and really culminated in building a family charity foundation. And truth be told Lisa is another one of our amazing college friends. She didn't attend Trinity, but she attended Catholic University, which was right across. We virtually went to college together. Our friend groups spent a lot of time. So welcome to the podcast. Lisa.

Lisa May:

Hi, Ellen. And Tish, thank you for having me. Just a quick background on myself after college. After college, I went to law school in San Francisco. And then I moved to England with my husband for 25 years and raised our family there I have now three grown children I have twin boys and and an older daughter. And when when I was there as the I was raising the children, as the kids grew older, I started a property investment company. And now my husband and I are retired and we live in the Cayman Islands. So we kind of moved all over the place. But during well basically my whole life, it's always been a priority for me and for my husband as well to help others who are less fortunate than less fortunate than us. Because no matter how little we had, there was always someone who had less. So we have been committed to helping other people in our own communities and abroad. No matter what our financial situation was at the time. We just helped us we could. So today I'm kind of here to tell you about that journey. And to tell you how things evolved.

Tish Woods:

Well, let's start at the beginning of your giving back. So you and your husband were raising three children, amazing children, by the way in 12, oaks, England. And of course, you had a very busy active family. So in those years, how did you start off giving back to your community?

Lisa May:

It was very small. I'm actually I have to say because I'm going to my friends from Seven Oaks, England gundula are gonna watch this podcast so I have to say it's Eleven Oaks I

Tish Woods:

Soory, I have 12 I gave him a couple of extra oaks in there.

Lisa May:

But anyway, so our initial involvement was small. We were raising Family, we were trying to buy a house, buy a car and save for school fees. So, you know, we, you know, just getting what we could, we started off with Christmas checks to various charities. And we didn't really focus on a type of charity, we did, you know, some medical charities, some some child based charity, some homeless based charities. And then also, I always wanted to do the sponsoring a child abroad, you know, when you see the ads on TV, so we started doing that and giving $15 a month, initially for a child in Romania. And then also we had another child in Malawi that we sponsored. And so we just did that casually. But the one important thing that we did is we looked into the backgrounds of the charities that we were going to work with, we want to make sure they were legitimate and registered. But also we wanted to make sure that we chose charities that kept their overhead low. They didn't spend, you know, a huge proportion of their money on marketing and have very little get to the end users. So we we chose some smaller charities to do that with. And we felt like that worked for us. So our initial involvement.

Tish Woods:

Yeah, so your so your business and careers, were going really well. The children are getting older, and you had more time and resources. How did that impact the type of charity involvement that you did?

Lisa May:

Well, that was interesting, I got to a point where the kids were, you know, doing more activities. After school, I had more time on my hands. And I'm just, you know, my husband and I talked about it, we wanted to make a bigger difference. And we thought, also financially, things got easier. So we just thought, you know, what, what are our priorities in giving? And what do we want to achieve? So this is when we kind of got a bit professional about it, we Nigel and I sat down and discussed our priorities. And we came up with kind of our three points that we wanted to focus on. So one is that we decided to focus on helping people break an endless cycle of reliance on charity. And this is, this is one of the things I mean, they're amazing, incredible charities out there that achieve a lot. But we then decided to although we kept our smaller charities on, we decided to make a more of a focus on charities that were maybe less medical based or more like constant donations. Like there was some homeless charities we had supported, but they they didn't try to extricate people from homelessness, they just gave them a bed. So we decided to look into charities that would kind of break the reliance. And then our second priority was that created a sustainable, productive future for the people we were helping. So um, and then also our priority was on children. So those were kind of our three priorities. And we found one, one charity that did this very well located in the UK, which is where we lived at the time called center point. And they focused on homeless young people between the age of 18 and 26. And they gave them housing in a hostel counseling and things like job training, if they if they had young people childcare, so that they could go back to work and things like that. And they basically they taught people skills, so that when they left these hospitals, they had jobs, they had productive lives. They had education. So that was great. And then another one is we we found a charity called every child, which is who we had originally sponsored the children in Romania and Africa with and we started getting mailing mail outs and brochures from them. And we started looking into what they did. And we decided to focus on them because they, they helped children's rights, very various issues, but they wanted to lift children out of poverty and protect them from things like slavery and things like that. So we focused on them. And now currently, in the Cayman Islands, we focus on a lot of local charities. Still, with children in mind, and then also things like a breast cancer society or the Cayman Islands. So things like that, but our two big ones are sent center point and now what has evolved into the May family Charitable Trust, which runs a project in Malawi, so that that was our journey.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, we thought of your journey and I do remember you being involved in Centrepoint, that was the first time I remember us talking about the the charity work you were doing. And I love that you and Nigel sat down and really thought long and hard about what was important to you here. And I like breaking the cycle and sustainability and a focus on children as well as all of the other things you're doing like You know, supporting breast cancer and many, many other charities I see all the time, you guys are giving back in lots of different ways. I'm really interested in why you guys chose Africa and Malawi in particular?

Lisa May:

That's a good question. A lot of people ask us that because they say, you know, why don't you focus at home? Well, and the answer is we were focusing at home, we were already focusing on centerpoint, which we were, we felt very involved in. But we felt like and, and now currently in the Cayman Islands, but we felt and we still do, that some of the challenges in Africa, we're very extreme. And we also felt like we could make more of an impact with our money there and achieve a little bit more. So although we didn't give up local charities, we very much continued to support them. We wanted to, we wanted to then make a difference abroad as well, because it was our view, children, our children, people or people didn't matter where they are, we want to help. And we felt like we can do something substantial there.

Tish Woods:

Now, I know you ended up traveling to Africa, kind of really this feet on the ground that we were talking about. Did you ever feel unsafe when you went over?

Lisa May:

No, actually, it was really funny because I was worried about that. I didn't know what we were about to encounter. So we went with hold on something on my computer. We went with I'm having a bit of a malfunction. Can you still hear me?

Tish Woods:

Yeah, we can hear you. Yeah.

Lisa May:

Okay. Yeah. So we actually, I decided to go on Nigel stayed home and worked and looked after the children, but I went with every child, which was the charity we were originally involved with. And I brought my brother with me because I didn't feel safe just as a woman, and one of the other women for every child came with me. But no, I never felt unsafe. And one of the reasons is, every child had an established project over there. And they they provided and deliver. And although Malawi has a very, they have a very modern governmental structure, the local structure is tribal. And they have tribal leaders that function like a mayor, but they're called kings, and our driver was the king's brother. So So we kind of knew that nothing was going to happen to us there. But also they, they, they had people on the ground who were very highly thought of community elders with them. And the big thing is no one wanted to bite the hand that feeds them on they they're very aware that many of the programs that they're benefiting from over there come from charities, they're called nongovernmental organizations over there. So these NGOs are their lifeline. So they never wanted to damage that continual support that would be coming in. So we we were so safe, and didn't didn't feel any danger at all. I felt like our biggest danger was from salmonella, because we were in an area that had no electricity, which equals no refrigeration. So So basically, the whole week we were there we lived off Cheetos, peanuts and Carlsberg because for some reason there was a Carlsberg brewery in in Malawi. So

Ellen Gustafson:

it sounds like a great great menu for you and your breath.

Tish Woods:

Sounds like sounds like you're going back to college day.

Ellen Gustafson:

It just sounds like this trip to Africa was really a turning point you went to better understand their needs and and really to see what the charity was doing firsthand. So how did this trip change the trajectory of the giving that you and Nigel were are doing now in Malawi?

Lisa May:

Well, it off the trip itself changed my life. I had never seen anything like this abject poverty you see it on TV, but we were there with people who were living it. And but it was such a friendly warm society. And they welcomed us I'm everywhere we went, there was a parade when I when I saw the first kind of people lining the roads and clapping and singing and dancing. I said to our driver, I said, Oh, wow, what's going on? Are we coming into an event and he said, You are the event? And I thought wow. At this point I hadn't even really given I was just doing kind of reconnaissance to see but they saw us as a representative of all the people who had given to them. And I hadn't realized this So everywhere we went, we were giving speeches and thanking them and you know, for the welcome and it was lovely. But anyway, um, so the the way it changed things is I was able to while I was there, and this is where I went, I was able to identify needs. Westerns often think they know the need needs of people abroad. And they are they often think, Oh, well, we're going to send them some clothes or whatever it is. I wanted to see what the real needs were I wanted to meet with cultural leaders to see what they felt were their their most driving needs. And also every child was also operating on their ends. They they were, they were doing charity work that achieved their goals, their goals, were ending the three forms of slavery over there, which are child labor, child trafficking and early marriage. They also were providing counseling services for the children who had lost family to AIDS because at the time, Malawi had the ninth house highest AIDS related population in in the world. And they will also encouraging education for children. So I was over there, having a look to see how we could add to that, rather than just we weren't interested in funding or not. And so

Tish Woods:

Lisa, Lisa, when we were talking, I remember you were talking about one project in particular. And it really, I mean, this story really stuck with me regarding the solar panels at the hospital. Yes, exactly. So that story with us.

Lisa May:

That was one of the things that I saw that I was shocked by so I was over there to see how we could, you know, help people have sustainable lives, maybe through farming projects, maybe through, you know, micro businesses and things like that. And one of the first things I saw, one of the representatives are very child brought me over to the the hospital that was there in the bigger town called Zimba. And the hospital was a cinderblock structure. And I looked at it and it had six solar panels on the roof. I thought, right, okay, this isn't that bad. He brought me over and the solar panels, we went in, there was no electricity. And turns out the solar panels hadn't worked for four years, they had no one to maintain them, no means to, to fix them. And then they started showing me the result of that. So in the rooms, there were big black marks up the walls, because anyone who wanted to come and stay in the hospital had to bring their own candles. So the walls were stained with that, but many people just sat in the dark because they couldn't afford candles. Also, it it had an impact on the mortality rate, because anyone who came in that needed a, you know, a small operation, that's all they could do at night, or who was having a baby at night ran the risk of dying because they couldn't the the health care providers couldn't see. And another issue was the government is quite a sympathetic government in Malawi. So they provide antiretroviral drugs for HIV, and they also provide malaria tablets. But if anyone came in with those issues at night, there was often a risk that they'd be given the wrong medication. And several people died as a result, because no one could see what they were giving them. So I spoke to them. And I said, well, listen was one of the things can you just tell me? You know, because I was making a list with every child, can you get me answers on this? And this and this? And I said, Can you tell me how much it cost to replace the solar panels? Anyway, later, when I went back to England, they said to replace the solar panels, it would be $8,000. And I was thinking that would give 35,000 people access to a hospital. So we were like, fine, and then we we, so we replaced those as one of the things that we did. And then they partnered with UNICEF to have a maintenance program. So now they'll be maintained forever. So it was things like that, like such such little money in the scheme of things. $8,000 provided light and health care at night to an entire community.

Ellen Gustafson:

Um, but we've evolved Lisa.

Tish Woods:

Yeah. And again, it was another great example of that, partnering with somebody who's very established like UNICEF. So if something happens, they are going to service those panels. So they're not going to end up in a situation where none of them work again. Yeah. Amazing. Exactly. I love how you're, I love how your charity work tends to really focus on children and women and this growing awareness for slavery and human trafficking. And early marriage. I don't think people really think of that as another type of issue. But it really is when when basically young children are forced into marriage and how do you see some of these programs being able to combat these problems?

Lisa May:

Well, it was a that was interesting. I actually didn't I knew that child labor and child trafficking existed. I had no idea that early marriage was a form of slavery, and I learned that over there so the trip was very useful. But I'm a Su Su I'm the every child had counseling services and all that but I saw that the issue is more fun. demand. So when I was there because I did think, If a family is absolutely desperate and destitute, and they can't eat, and they can't get water, if they can't meet their basic needs, how can they keep their children out of the field? How can they not take a loan, which later, then you have to pay back by giving your 13 year old daughter to a 47 year old man. To to they call it a wife. But because it's a polygamous society, the youngest wives often enter a family where there's many other wives and children, they become a slave to those families, they become kind of they have to look after the other wives, children, they have to clean the house, and they're not allowed to go to school. So um, I felt like every child was always already dealing with the educational part, that these practices are not acceptable. But I felt that we needed to raise their standard of living and get them to meet their basic needs. So that when a neighbor said, Oh, your child who hasn't had three meals can come to my house and work in my field, and I'll give them three meals, so that they're not tempted to do that. So Nigel, I decided to focus on that type of thing with our charity. And we managed to partner with every child to do that. We said, We will help fund your programs, if you will be our feet on the ground to implement our programs. And that was brilliant, because they actually had the team there that could we Nigel, and I couldn't start farming projects and micro loans games on the ground from England without people to help us. And they did this. So anything we came up with, they implemented and that was essential.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know that women supporting women has been such a big part of our podcast, and you told a story about money boxes to tissue and I, when we were chatting about this earlier, and it it's so moved to me, can you share with our listeners a little bit about this project and the impact it had on on the women?

Lisa May:

Yes, that was great. So we so we started initially, with our project over there, helping them with farming techniques, education, to diversify crops and things. They were just all living off Sima, which is basically like polenta. It's just a corn meal, and they had no nutrition. So we initially started with that type of thing. And I can tell you, you know, later all the programs that we put in place, but it it evolved to kind of starting small businesses, the project became so successful, it's now been going I think we're on our ninth year, it became so sixpence successful that people kind of had this sustenance mat, and now they were looking for other things. And one of the things that we did is we provided the tools for these micro lending groups. So what they did is, it's amazing how little this cost initially was $400 that we put in and $400 created eight microlending groups, and it provided them money boxes, to keep their the money that they were going to lend them. It provided them ledger books to record the loans and the money pins because it didn't have any and also on training. So they were trained to how to manage finances and things. So it's very basic. But the the they were groups of five women in each and the most elder elders eldest woman was given the box because they have this deference to age and respect. So she would be in charge. And each member of the group basically farmed around their own house. So they would have corn or cassava or peanuts. And they would sell some of their excess crop and save money. So over a year, they would save say $10 Each, that would be the life savings, and they would give it to this woman who was in charge of the money box. And then the five of them would sit down and put forward ideas for a business that they were going to do that or that each was going to do and then whoever they voted on as having the most viable idea was given the contents of the box to start their own business. So one example that was very successful in the initial ones is a woman wanted to start a salt selling business. So she got the contents of the box which we'll say was $50. She arranged transfer port an hour and a half away to a local market. She bought a 10 pound bag of salt and a small, tiny burlap bags to to break down that bag of salt into and then came back and she broke down the smaller bags into tiny bags and sold them locally so people could season their food And eventually she was able to pay back the loan. And she had a thriving assault business. And she continued to do that with her profit. The the lender group was paid back, and then they voted on the next member to have a business. So they're thriving, we now have, I believe, I just got the latest report, I believe we have between 30 and 40 of these groups now, and men are starting to be allowed to join. They also had thought it was only for women, but it's really working nicely. They now have baking businesses, soap making business, which contributes to hygiene, candle making business, which is essential because they don't have electricity. I'm just all kinds, I can't even think of some of the other ones. But it's amazing. It's just flourishing.

Tish Woods:

That one in particular, these money box ideas, it really just absolutely fascinates me for such a little bit of money. That whole concept that you really went really went after in a big way of sustainability to be able to provide a living for themselves going on the example to their own children. In the example to peep other people in their communities, it is phenomenal. And to start basically eight businesses, a lending businesses out of $400. For some people, that is a fancy night out for a meal.

Lisa May:

Yeah, it's amazing how little, how little they need, because they want to be helped. They want better lives. So they run with themselves. We actually had a few more of those businesses that just went crazy. They've been so successful, one of them like so along the lines of ending the cycle of charity. We always brought in education, whether it's for farming or beekeeping. And we brought in the trainers. But we also made sure that anyone who received training had a commitment to train others. So we had a train the trainer scheme always in place, and we still do. So then it kind of expands. So one of the things that we did is we bought goats. And the reason we bought goats is because it contributes to sustainability. People can live off their milk on they're virtually disease resistant. They eat the scraps from the corn, so they eat the corn husks. But also we trained the locals into making fertilizer out of their droppings. And then when they have babies, they pay a baby back to the community and then another family gets help to win their goats available. So what we tried to do is create a payback system that then helped further families. And we've done that with bees, we brought bees. from Uganda, we ran into someone on a train who had a charity called hive saves lives. We met with them. And they have now brought their expertise from Uganda to Malawi. And actually there was no beekeeping culture Malawi, and also quite proud of that, that we that we started that they're in our community. But they were trained in hive making and in honey production. And then as a result of the honey production, which is essential, by the way, because honey doesn't spoil. And it's at non perishable food that doesn't need to be refrigerated is brilliant, and also funny as antiseptic. So it's a medical treatment as well. But also the ancillary products like the soap and candles from the bees, black leaves wax on, it's all it's all like just snowballed into many industries that are now thriving. And they're all small and they all require that the people who get the training, pay back the training and and help each other. So it's really been great.

Tish Woods:

Who is your partner for those type of things? Who do you partner with?

Lisa May:

For that we started with every child that was our initial partner, but every child's mandate was very different. Like I said, they they focused on the the counseling, the the education, but they now have switched to lobbying the UN and more international policy. We found another charity called Find your feet, that that whose goals are more aligned with ours, and they will already operating in parts of Africa. So we said, we met with them and we said we'd like to start this project in Bula, which is our area that we had always worked in. Can you provide the people if we provide the funding and we create the program? And they said yes, so we partner with them now and they're amazing. We we've been working with them for many, many years now. So we partner with them, but we also partner partner with water age to provide wells. Because before we were there, people would have to often walk three hours eat each way to get water every day, which meant they had to bring their kids and the kids had to help carry the water so they couldn't go to school. And we now make sure that no one has more than a two mile walk to a well. And so we partnered pi, sorry, Hive, save lives, but the, the beekeeping and we partnered with UNICEF to maintain some of the technical equipment. So yeah, we just we partner wherever we can.

Ellen Gustafson:

So please, we can put in the show notes, links to all of these. And I'm just wondering on the feet on the street, was it scary? If other people can start any kinds of these micro lending, or participate with you?

Lisa May:

Well, the thing is, we can't our we cannot have any income on our charity. But yes, you can participate in micro lending schemes just not in our area there. They're actually all over the world, believe it or not, find your feet, that is one of the things that they do everywhere they do them in. They have them in India, they have them in parts of Africa. So you can you can actually speak to charities and they do allow you to earmark your funds, sometimes to say if you're giving X it should go towards these lending schemes, or it should go towards a vaccination project. So there's that they happen to operate out of England, that's where their main office is, but they they have projects throughout the world. But I'm sure there are many in America as well. It just all it takes is just to go on Google. And the interesting thing is these charities will say what can your money get? So on their websites, they'll say $25 can feed a family for a week. $30 can vaccinate 10 children? You know $10 can buy a school uniform so that a child is allowed to go to school. So you can see how a very small donation can can make a significant change. It just takes a little research.

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, thanks for sharing ways that people can get started today, Lisa, too. And like I said, we will put all of this information in our show notes. And I know you've made this a family wide purpose too. And I think for people at midlife, just if you could give us a just a short overview of how your now adult children have been involved with you and Nigel.

Lisa May:

Yeah, that that was sweet. And when I came back from Malawi, I came back with pictures and stories and my my boys decided to do an assembly at school and show the pictures and tell everyone how, you know, the children couldn't go to school and couldn't play. And then they did some fundraisers, and my daughter did as well and the two of them. So the the two schools and my three children. They raised enough money to build a preschool part of our projects as well. We're building preschools because the preschools provided a meal a day to each of the people who attends and sometimes that was the only meal that the children had. But also a lot of them were not ready to go to school when they were old enough because they had never been in an organized setting. So these preschools were vital. And basically, they they cost 3500 pounds to build, which at the time was the equivalent of maybe $4,500 to build each preschool and my children raised money to to build their own school, which was brilliant, and then they raise extra money to build a playground, because they were very sad that the children never got a chance to play. So they Yeah, they really set their mind to it. And the three of them raise that and they have their own school now over there.

Tish Woods:

What a great example that you and Nigel set for your children about the giving back. And, you know, just, you know, I think I think this particular generation is very saddled with being a selfish generation. And when you can see past what your own needs are and what other people's needs and make you more sensitive. It's amazing. So that what an accomplishment that I think that will launch them into giving their entire lives where they saw that they had made such a huge impact on a community.

Lisa May:

I think I think it has and the interesting thing is they they were very charitable minded anyway, but they they now each are very involved in charities, but they help in their own way and are their own special charities. Alex, for example, has helped with Centerpointe that's the original charity I was telling you about in England with the homeless young people. Every year they host asleep about where they sleep, basically, under the stars in a park, whether it's rain, or you know, one year there was snow. And they sleep out in a park, and they all get sponsors, and they they raise money that way. And Alex has done that. Andrew raises money for animal charities, he loves animals. So he's raised money for the World Wildlife Fund, and for a local dog shelter. And Amanda has raised money for various things as well from food drives to, you know, helping us with, with every child and all of that, so they're all very charity minded. And Amanda's now volunteering at a soup kitchen in Boston and helping the homeless people. So yeah, I think it it kind of launches that and I think they'll do it for their lives.

Ellen Gustafson:

Lisa, thank you so much for being here with us today and sharing your journey. Your unique journey and discussion has really energized me. I know Tisch, I'm going to speak for you right now to it's energized you to put more time and effort and thought into how we're giving back here at midlife and beyond. And, you know, we can be a force for good in our community or, or other communities that really need our help. And, again, I'll post all of these links and things we talked about in our show notes today.

Tish Woods:

So Lisa, do you have any final thoughts for for our listeners,

Lisa May:

I was just gonna say one of the hardest things is just getting started and knowing how to help I find a lot of people want to help, they just don't know how. So I think you can, you know, just just see where your interests lay. I mean, you know, we became involved in cancer charities because our friends were touched by it. Some people want to give to like AIDS charities, some want to give to even you know, underprivileged football clubs. Just follow your passions, see what you like, and then start Googling and see who helps on. And it really is amazing how very small donations can make a big difference and charities. There's so many out there. They're starved for support, so you can achieve a lot just by getting involved at any level.

Tish Woods:

Well, to our listeners, we would love to hear from you on how maybe this episode has inspired you to find ways that you want to give back. We'd love to hear it. Join our Facebook page. Let us know what your thoughts are. Check our show notes. We're going to have a lot of links to things that Lisa's doing that can help you but until next time, our midlife tribe we love you

Ellen Gustafson:

till next time. Bye