Friday, October 31, 2008

No on 8

POTA cofounder Jenn Mahoney wrote and edited this video. She also stars in it. She conceived the idea on Wednesday and it was completed and live on YouTube by Sunday! Go Jenn --You creative, activist! Lets keep equal rights for ALL people.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two Wolves - A Cherokee Parable

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life and the battle that goes on inside people. He said: My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: Which wolf wins? The old Cherokee chief simply replied: The one you feed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

POTA Progress

I'm happy to announce that Patron of the Arts is officially a company in the state of California! We got our Articles of Incorporation back from the Secretary of State dated October 16th,2008! Today Jenn and I sent in forms 3500 and 1023, which is the application for tax exemption status in the Untied States, as well as California. It took us weeks to fill out all the paperwork. Now I just hope we've done it all flawlessly! Yay POTA!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Worst Nightmare

This made me laugh out loud! Let's not let this happen. Send your own customized video to friends!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm looking for Magic

I have a main theory in life: what you focus on expands.  2007 was a truly magical year for me, and it was also my intention.  There is so much that is "right" with my life.  I'm not sure why I let life's little problems get to me.  It's a choice and I'm ready for a change.  I am going to change me.  I am ready for magic again.  BIG magic. I am ready to reach my highest potential.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Women Should Vote

Below is the content of an anonymous email I received, forwarded by my Grandfather's Cousin. It was a story worth repeating, and so I am sharing it with you. 

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote. These women were innocent and defenseless, but were jailed for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote. 

Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.' They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

Some women won't vote this year because-why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.  All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie. What would those women think of the way I use , or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now.

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.  It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.

We need to vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote demo cratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

History is being made.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Disney for free on your B-day

Get free admission to Disney theme parks on your birthday for 2009.  This is good for either Disneyland or Disney World. Have fun!

Monday, October 20, 2008

SAG Requests Mediation

Yesterday the Screen Actor's Guild National Board of Directors passed the following resolution at its quarterly plenary in Los Angeles: “In hopes of moving the Theatrical and TV negotiations forward, the National Board hereby takes the following actions: SAG will formally request a federal mediator be brought into the negotiations. The Board adds four new members to the National Negotiating Committee, two from the Hollywood Division, one from the New York Division and one from the Regional Branch Division. The Board authorizes a referendum and accompanying educational information be sent to the members requesting their authorization for the National Board to call a strike in the Theatrical and TV Contract, at such time as the Negotiating Committee determines in its sole discretion that the mediation process has failed.” Adopted: 96.72% to 3.28% Approval of the strike authorization would require 75 percent approval of members who vote.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Well, today is my last day here in Salt Lake City. It's  been 11 days, but I'm not ready to go home tomorrow! I've had a great time hanging out on the set of  WAITING FOR FOREVER, and watching my talented husband (cinematographer Matt Irving) at work.  It was very fun to be here for some of the visual effects shots, and for the big finale of the film.  Last night we ate a delicious dinner at Cucina Toscana, and had a blast hanging out with the main gang which included Producer Trevor Albert and his beautiful family, Director James Keach, Line Producer Nick Hippisley, Production Designer Chris Demuri and the actors Rachel Bilson, Scott Mechlowicz and Tom Sturridge.  Matt still has about a week left to shoot.  See you in L.A.! In photo: Matthew Irving, Tom Sturridge, Trevor Albert, Lindsay Albert, Avery and Quinn Albert, Scott Mechlowicz, Rachel Bilson, Chris Demuri 

Palin Disappoints on SNL

Saturday Night Live made out like a bandit with it's highest ratings in years as they dragged Sarah Palin over the coals. One has to wonder what she was thinking by agreeing to appear on the show, with nothing to say, no witty skit planned, nothing...  She just stood there as SNL cast regulars and Alec Baldwin made fun of her.  Matt and I watched the NBC Internet playback with out jaws dropped to the ground when Palin appeared on "Weekend Update" and instead of actually participating in the sketch, Amy Poehlar took center stage and performed a solo political rap instead. Palin sat there and bounced her head to Amy's rap, which was a roast that Palin did not seem to understand was at her expense.  How could McCain's camp let this happen?  We sat there dumbstruck as a person dressed in a moose costume was shot and killed in front of her.  As an Obama supporter, I truly feared that if Sarah showed any charisma she would help the McCain campaign.  (I have to admit McCain was pretty spectacular at the Charity Dinner only a few days earlier.)  Had she pulled off something similar, it could have made a difference.  But never did I expect she would just sit there doing NOTHING as the cast made fun of her. I almost (almost) felt bad for her.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

States' Film Production Incentives Cause Jitters

I'm saddened by the New York Times report of this story which inaccurately ties state film tax credits to Section 181 of the Jobs Creation Act.  I guess it makes for a more dramatic story. Let's be clear: the Bailout Bill includes legislature regarding Section 181 only and NOT tax credits and rebates for film production offered by individual states, as implied by this article. Regardless, in addressing the issue of tax credits and rebates, my personal opinion is that state film tax incentives should be limmitted to films with total budgets of less than $20M. That would solve the problem completely, and give money to the smaller film productions who may not exist if these incentives were removed.

New York Times Article 10/12/08 By MICHAEL CIEPLY
LOS ANGELES — Already on the hook for billions to bail out Wall Street, taxpayers are also finding themselves stuck with a growing tab for state programs intended to increase local film production.

One of the most shocking bills has come due in Louisiana, where residents are financing a hefty share of Brad Pitt's next movie  -$27,117,737, to be exact, which the producers will receive by cashing or selling off valuable tax credits.  As the number of movies made under these plans multiplied in recent years, the state money turned into a welcome rescue plan for Hollywood at a time when private investors were fleeing the movies. But the glamour business has not always been kind to those who pick up the costs, and states are moving to rein in their largess that has allowed producers to be reimbursed for all manner of expenditures, whether the salaries of stars, the rental of studio space or meals for the crew.

Louisiana, one of the most assertive players in the subsidy game, wound up covering that outsize piece of the nearly $167 million budget of Mr. Pitt's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" — the state's biggest movie payout to date — when producers for Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers qualified the coming movie, a special-effects drama, under an incentive that has since been tightened. Separately, Louisiana's former film commissioner is set to be sentenced in January to as much as 15 years in federal prison for taking bribes to inflate film budgets (though not that of "Button") and, hence, pay higher subsidies.

Michigan, its own budget sagging, is in the middle of a hot political fight over a generous 40 percent rebate on expenditures to filmmakers that was carried out, with little opposition, only last April. Producers of films for studios like Warner Brothers and the Weinstein Company rushed to cash in, just as homegrown businesses were squeezed by a new business tax and surcharge. Rebellious legislators from both parties are now looking to put a cap on the state's annual film spending, which some have estimated could quickly hit $200 million a year.

In Rhode Island, meanwhile, the rules have toughened considerably. That happened after The Providence Journal reported in March that producers of a straight-to-DVD picture called "Hard Luck," which starred Wesley Snipes and Cybill Shepherd, had picked up $2.65 million in state tax credits on a budget of $11 million, even though it had reported paying only $1.9 million of the total to Rhode Islanders.

"With this much money involved, there's going to be a temptation to hype budgets," said Peter Dekom, a veteran entertainment business lawyer who is an adviser to New Mexico's incentive program.

The vogue for state film subsidies appears to have started in Colorado early this decade, with a briefly financed Defense Against Canada law that was devised to win production back from Vancouver and Toronto. Louisiana and New Mexico soon came on board.

By this year, about 40 states were offering significant subsidies, turning the United States into what the Incentives Office, a consulting firm in Santa Monica, Calif., has called the New Bulgaria. It is a reference to what was once the film industry's favorite low-cost production site.

Virtually all of the programs use a state tax system to reimburse producers for money spent on movies or TV shows shot in the state. Some, like Michigan's, simply refund a percentage of expenditures to the producer. Others, like Louisiana's, issue a tax credit that can reduce the taxes a production pays or be sold to someone else. Either way, the state gives up revenue that otherwise would be collected to put money in the producer's pockets.

Advocates, of course, argue that these programs create jobs.

One of the country's most successful programs is in New Mexico, which has backed movies like the Oscar-winning "No Country for Old Men" and next year's "Terminator Salvation," the latest sequel in the action series, with a reported budget of $200 million.

New Mexico officials boast of having used a 25 percent production cost rebate to build a local film industry that has attracted more than $600 million in direct spending since 2003, and an estimated $1.8 billion in total financial impact, as of last June. And in fiscal year 2008, the productions in the state generated 142,577 days of employment, up from 25,293 in 2004.

Elsewhere, however, critics have sharply challenged the notion that state subsidies for the film business can ever buy more than momentary glitter. "There's no evidence yet that this is a particularly efficient or effective way to create jobs," said Noah Berger, executive director of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

The nonprofit center reviews budget and tax policies in Massachusetts, which is spending about $60 million a year on producer credits. Arecent study by Mr. Berger's center pointed out that the state's film credit, at 25 percent, is five times higher than that offered to those who build in designated economic opportunity areas, and more than eight times the state's standard investment tax credit.

Until two years ago, Louisiana's program offered a 15 percent credit for virtually the entire budget of a qualified film (and more for Louisiana resident wages), including money that may have been spent out of state. Things were fast and loose enough in Louisiana that Mark Smith, who oversaw the program, pleaded guilty last year to taking $67,500 in bribes to inflate budgets for a film production company that was not named by the authorities. Kathy English, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in New Orleans, said the case remained open.

Louisiana's new rules offer a larger credit, but only on spending within the state. That made the incentive less attractive for big-budget movies, like "Button," which was done under old rules, and could recover parts of star salaries and other expenses that left Louisiana. But it has drawn a welter of smaller movies and TV shows, 70 of which have been shot so far in 2008, up from 56 the year before.

"All areas of the state have prospered as a result; everyone sees it," said Sherri McConnell, director of Louisiana's Office of Entertainment Industry Development. (Ms. McConnell said she did not expect to have a detailed picture of economic impact until the completion of a planned study, early next year.)

Others are not so sure. "There's no way you can say this makes money for the public" treasury, said Greg Albrecht, chief economist for Louisiana's legislative fiscal office.

In 2006, the last year for which it has complete figures, the state granted about $121 million in credits. Mr. Albrecht estimates that only about 18 percent of that is ever recovered in taxes on expanded economic activity. "It's an expensive way to create jobs," Mr. Albrecht said. But he noted that Louisiana, like New Mexico, can afford it, thanks to rising oil and gasoline revenue. "We're happy as larks right now to do this."

Not so happy are some folks up in Michigan, where a State Senate committee recently moved to cap the state's film rebates at an aggregate of $50 million a year. "It's just horrible right now," Mike Bishop, a Republican state senator, said of Michigan's financial condition. Mr. Bishop initially backed the film incentive. But he grew alarmed at outlays that he estimated could quickly exceed $110 million a year to subsidize movies like "Gran Torino," directed by Clint Eastwood, and "Youth in Revolt," a comedy by the filmmaker Miguel Arteta. Anthony Wenson, chief operating officer of the Michigan Film Office, said the actual amount of credits granted was only about $25 million so far. The annual number is impossible to reckon, he said, because plans for future projects are in flux.

In any case, Nancy Cassis, another Republican who was the only Michigan senator to oppose the incentives when they began last spring, said she expected to see them capped with bipartisan backing later this year. And she does not look for Hollywood to hang around when the money dries up. "These are not long-term jobs," Ms. Cassis said. "If just one state offers more, they'll be out of here before you can say 'lickety-split.' "

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Movie Deal deadline is today!

Today is the final deadline for the Movie Deal screenplay competition, which offers a production deal to the grand prize winner, including airfare and accommodations to the set of their own film.  I was honored to be selected as a final judge. Good luck everyone! Apply online at

Calculate your Obama vrs. McCain Tax Cut

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will cut taxes for 95% of working families, and provide at least 3 times as much tax relief for middle class families as John McCain and Sarah Palin. This calculator shows that Matt and I will save $1000 under Obama! Under Bush, Oops, I mean McCain we'd save $0. Calculate your own tax cut here:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Greetings from Utah

Our hotel in Salt Lake City is really cute and in a great location. My time here is going by too fast!  On Saturday I hung out with Matt on the set of his latest film WAITING FOR FOREVER, and had fun watching the special effects for the train crash being filmed, complete with stunt people.  That night it began to snow, and it continued right into Sunday. It was a downright gorgeous snowfall consisting of the largest snowflakes I've ever seen!  I swear, some of these snowflakes were the size of quarters! Driving home from set the next day we saw the most beautiful and gigantic full moon sitting just atop the mountaintop vista.  It was spectacular!  Later that night we watched the Dodgers game at a bar with the director James Keach, producer Trevor Albert, cast (Nikki Blonsky, Nelson Franklin, Tom Sturridge & Scott Mechlowicz) and some crew. Now the snow has completely cleared and it is unseasonably warm again.  (Photo left: Capital Building)

I feel helpless being far from home as two fires rage out of control in the San Fernando Valley, near where we live.  Yet I feel grateful to be here, breathing in this amazingly fresh air, and away from the thick smoke which I hear engulfed the 101 freeway.  In economic news, the DJ was up by 936 yesterday.  This (the largest single-day increase in history) was expected as the government began buying up bank shares with the $750B Tax bailout.  They say this "government regulating" of private businesses is temporary, but I'll believe it when/if our taxpayer money is ever returned. Obama made an AMAZING speech yesterday that was followed by a rather empty speech by McCain. Hearing and watching the two back-to-back reinforced my feelings yet again.  

Monday, October 13, 2008

Industry Strike Update

Here's a quick recap of last week in the film industry:  According to an email from the Screen Actor's Guild, SAG is moving forward to try to authorize a strike.  "The advisory motion recommends that the national board should send a strike authorization referendum to SAG members, support the passage of the strike authorization, and run a member education campaign in support of the measure." This email also speaks of "qualified" voters. I've heard rumors that SAG wants to no longer allow all dues paying members to vote, but rather allow only members who have earned a certain amount of money in the last year to be able to vote. I'm assuming this is only a rumor, as that would be absurd. I am also bothered by the "education campaign" since all prior literature thus far has been very one-sided. It doesn't seem like they realize that if producers have less money, then nobody works--including us SAG members.  On the other side of the coin, Variety reported good news. Hollywood Studios are moving forward in a leap of faith, with 40 new movies going into production at long last.  This would be a devastating blow for them if SAG actually did strike.  But in this awful economy, and presuming that more than 75% of SAG members do not want to strike, they feel that people need to go back to work.  

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where's Fluffy?

I'm on roll finding great movies lately!  In the past week I've seen APPALOOSA (wonderful film that was written, directed and starred the talented Ed Harris, in what I think could garner an Oscar nomination), HALF NELSON (on DVD) and now NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST.  You'll have to see NICK & NORAH for yourself to understand the reference in this blog title.  

NICK & NORAH was thoroughly enjoyable. I couldn't help but notice many similarities between it and the film GROOVE.  Both films take place in the course of one evening, focus on a search (and love) of music, depict the dawning of a new relationship, involve a party, have a minor gay side-couple, and end as the new day is dawning literally and figuratively. I'd give NICK & NORAH a solid "A", although with a few tweaks, it could have been a real classic.  If you haven't seen the film, please stop reading my review here, so you can enjoy the experience at it's fullest. Spoiler Alert:  My main criticisms: I wish the film used more effective shots to create a grander ending.  After the shot on the escalator, I wish they punched out to a WIDE establishing shot where we see them slide out of the escalator and out of frame. Then the camera could have craned back further to reveal an even WIDER shot of the band playing... Yeah baby!! One more note:  I think it would have worked better without the sex scene.  I felt this film had a somewhat innocent feel to it, and this scene was extraneous.  It's not like they put it in for nudity's sake, since there is none. I found it anticlimactic.  (No pun intended). Sex is so casual in society today, especially for kids, and this film reflects it. (And I don't think that was a conscious point).  If they had to keep it in, I wish they had a bit of dialogue about a condom or something to indicate they were using protection. Regardless, it was a great flick! 

MORBID CURIOSITY at Flyway Film Festival

My short film MORBID CURIOSITY is screening at the Flyway Film Festival in Pepin, Wisconsin today (October 12, 2008) at 3pm. Flyway is our 26th film festival, and the Wisconsin Premiere! Hope you can make it!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's Easy to Make a Difference

As you know, I'm a big supporter of what American Express is doing to help make a positive difference in the world through the Member's Project.  I received a heartfelt plea from International Media Corps (below).  Considering what I went through with Ideablob, (and considering this is for 150 TIMES the prize money and impact) how could I say no to posting a blog?  I know first-hand what's it's like to work hundreds of hours in a grant contest and lose not on the merit of my project, but because someone else had a larger online community or extra support from a huge organization or company.  I love you Kiva and, but you already have my support.  Let's spread it around.  Who wants to save the lives of malnourished children? I do!
"Dear Cindy: I wanted to reach out to you because there are only 3 days left to help. My organization, International Medical Corps, is in the final 5 of the American Express Members Projects. "Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children" is eligible to receive up to $1.5 million to help feed hungry and malnourished children, but I really need your help to let everyone know to vote for us. We are currently in 4th place and are just a couple of hundred votes out of 3rd. The difference between 3rd and 4th place is $200k. Imagine how many children we could help with that amount?"  Okay --I'm spreading the word... Please Vote

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Brighter Day Will Come!

With the 2008 presidential election, Americans face a pivotal choice between not just two candidates, but two paradigms.

Last Chance to Regsiter

Register to vote while you still can at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

22 Years Later

Thanks to the amazing internet, tonight I had dinner with my cousin Brian who I had not been in touch with since 1987!  Less than 1 week after we reconnected he had a spontaneous business trip to LA and we got to meet in person!  It's nice to have family.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Boring Debate

I was initially bummed to have to forgo watching the debate live tonight to attend cooking class.  (Although cooking class was delightful!) Little did I know how anticlimactic it would be when I later watched it back on Tivo.  Nothing new for presidential debate #2. I'm growing tired of watching McCain act so disrespectfully toward "That One". Doesn't he realize it makes him look unappealing?  He seems so angry all the time.

Vote for The Future

Monday, October 6, 2008


I dug it. I'd give it 5 out of 5 stars.  Ryan Gosling is one extremely talented actor, who absolutely deserved the 2006 oscar nomination he received for this amazing role. Ryan was also wonderful in LARS AND THE REAL GIRL. I don't know how HALF NELSON (directed and co-written by the talented Ryan Fleck) ended up in my Netflix cue, but I'm happy it did! What I loved most about this film was it's seamless feeling of being contemporary and yet classic at the same time!  It definitely felt like a modern piece with the faux documentary, hand-held-camera feel, and yet parts of the film felt like they could have been right of out the 70's.  There was a wonderful juxtaposition that kept happening with the two main characters which were skillfully crafted by little montages.  I also loved the interspersing of the kid's speeches in the classroom.  It was profound. Something about this reminded me a bit of the film GEORGE WASHINGTON, although it's completely different.  I was riveted and captivated by every moment of this film. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Indie Filmmakers Get Bailout Break

Great news for Indie Filmmakers! Somehow Section 181 of the Jobs Creation Act ended up as part of the Bailout Bill! According to Variety: "Tax incentive legislation aiding Hollywood was tucked into the mammoth $700 billion bailout plan signed into law Friday by President Bush. The legislation, originally enacted in 2004 in an effort to stem runaway production, extends and expands an existing federal domestic production tax credit that had been set to expire at the end of this year. The credit was also modified to allow the incentive to be applied as an immediate deduction of the first $15 million spent on any film or TV program produced in the United States. Previously, the incentive was only available to productions with a total cost of under $15 million. The modification is retroactive to January. The legislation also increases the single-year deduction in production costs, from $15 million to $20 million, that film and TV productions may take if the costs are incurred in designated economically depressed areas. The incentive was extended through December 2009." Read full story here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

SAG / AMPTP Negotiations Update

Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild appeared to have selected an odd day -- when media stocks were in free-fall -- to urge the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to resume negotiations. In an open letter sent to the AMPTP and the news media on Monday and published as an ad in Tuesday's Daily Variety, SAG President Alan Rosenberg and National Executive Director Doug Allen proposed that the two sides focus on three issues, one involving "force majeure" protection and the two others involving new media. The letter warned, "If your intransigence continues, however, our choices become harder and fewer."

AMPTP President Nick Counter responded, essentially tossing the "intransigence" accusation back into SAG's lap, by stating "we do not believe that it would be productive to resume negotiations at this time given SAG's continued insistence on terms which the companies have repeatedly rejected." Courtesy IMDB

Thursday, October 2, 2008

In Honor of Tonight's Debate

Imagine if this were a Disney movie: Alaskan hockey mom suddenly becomes Vice President in the wackiest family comedy of the year! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Spy Cousin Bri

Thanks to the amazing internet and facebook I have reconnected with my cousin Brian who I have not seen in over 20 years!

Making a Difference

Members Project® is down to the FINAL 5 ideas that will all make a positive impact in our world!  ALL of these amazing finalists will receive at least $100,000 in funding, with the leader receiving $1.5 Million dollars! Matt and I are already supporters of two of the fulfilling organizations-- Kiva (loans that change lives) and (help 100,000 children thrive in the classroom) which allows you to directly sponsor the wishlist of a teacher in an American classroom--so we can personally recommend them. I encourage you to look at ALL the final ideas and choose the one that touches your heart most. These 5 top ideas focus on impacting health, hunger or education.  Last year Members Project® gave $1.5M to bring clean drinking water to impoverished nations.  I've heard rumors that American Express may expand this contest to 10 winners next year! I would LOVE to see an arts organization get support. 

Alzheimer's Disease: Early Detection Matters
Feeding 1 Million Children Daily
Help 100,000 children thrive in the classroom!
Loans That Change Lives
Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children