[6 min read]

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If you follow me over on facebook, you might have seen a recent post about my daughter dealing with consequences. She was having some trouble taking care of and putting away some of her toys, so I took them away from her. I let her know that until she can prove she is able to take better care of these things, she wouldn’t be able to play with them. Her response? Excitement. A couple months back we participated in Operation Shoebox, putting together gift boxes for a boy and girl in Uganda. And shortly after Christmas, we went through her toys and packed up a lot of stuffed animals and toys that she doesn’t use to give away to others. So, in her mind, when I told her I was taking away these things, she thought we were in turn going to give it to kids who are less fortunate than us. And that got her excited.

It’s one of those parenting situations where you are sort of upset because your attempt at training seemingly failed miserably, but at the same time you realize that some values you’ve reiterated over and over seem to have started taking root. I’m thankful that her immediate reaction to giving things to others is joy. And she challenges me to continuously have a mindset of generosity in every and all situations.

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” -Edmund Burke

It’s easy to think you’ll do more when your situation gets better. When you feel more comfortable financially, you’ll give more. Once you get a little bit more time back, you’ll serve more. When you sharpen your skills to the next level, you’ll use your talents for others. Heck, I’ve delayed making this post because I wanted to build a separate site first that had all the details (…still hasn’t happened yet). But that’s such a terrible mindset. Because if you really step back and think about it, our giving and serving and doing should not be about us, but ‘them’.

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we give not because we have plenty, but because they don’t have enough.

When I bought my first camera back in 2007, I started with 2 things in mind. One, I was going to start a business (there was no way my soon to be wife would allow my to spend so much money on gear before our wedding without any return ;)). And secondly, my primary focus would be on serving others. So in addition to my photography, I always gave a portion of my earnings away. I’m not sure why it took me almost 8 years, but I finally thought to let my clients in on it to, and I’m calling it “Project 15”. Starting this year with all my 2015 sessions, 15% of the profit from each booking will go to those in need, and my clients will help direct where those funds will go.

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There are so many great organizations and charities out there, and I narrowed it down to give my clients 3 options to choose from. We are on this earth for only a limited time, and matters of life and death are of utmost importance to me. That’s why I’ve chosen the following 3 charities to support this year.

Bombay Teen Challenge
When my daughter is outside playing, my biggest worry at the moment might be that she will trip and fall and hurt herself (she has terrible balance). A concern that is far from my mind? That she will get caught up in a human trafficking ring. Yet this is a huge issue for many girls around the world. Bombay Teen Challenge and Set Beautiful Free work to rescue and care for those caught in slavery and addiction in the Red Light District of Mumbai, India, and to encourage and empower them to succeed outside of the walls.
More than 70% of the world is covered by water, and it is a necessity of life. Which makes it even more mind boggling that almost 750 million people around the world do not have easy access to clean and safe drinking water. Charity:water uses 100% of the donations given to build and maintain filters and rigs in these areas to help in this area of need.
The Innocence Project
I used to watch COPS growing up (and I’ll occasionally watch it nowadays…don’t judge me). One thing that they always state is that everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. And as comforting as those words are to hear, it’s becoming more and more clear that those words don’t always ring true. The Innocence Project’s mission is nothing less than to free the staggering numbers of innocent people who remain incarcerated and to bring substantive reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.

I’m so excited to get my clients to join me in my giving process going forward. In general, not much will change from a photography standpoint. If you feel a connection to the type of work I provide, contact me and book a session. When we finalize the details, you’ll let me know which charity you’d like to support. We get together and make beautiful imagery, and enjoy. At the end of the year, I’ll compile all session distributions, and send out the donation off the the respective charities. Really, the only difference is that all of you get to take part in this alongside of me.

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As we celebrate the new beginnings and important events in our lives, I’m thankful to play a part in helping those less fortunate all while doing something I love.