The 2014 B3 “Speed Limit” Extravaganza Tour

One just couldn’t have a “speed limit” birthday without pulling out the backwards birthday bus for a spin!  If you’re new to the B3, here’s how it works.  You get a seat on the bus by contributing a bit of good work to make the world a better place.  Those contributions can come as donations of money or time, as pointers for others towards cool new ways to give back to our communities and our world.  Drop me an e-mail, send me a link, make a donation, volunteer some time. Get your ticket to the 2014 B3 “speed limit” tour punched!

First on the bus this year is Stephanie M, Cuz once removed, for her girl scout cookies/food pantry combo in which she takes orders for cookies that are then delivered to her local food pantry!  Welcome aboard Steph and take a front seat!

If you’re casting about for way to climb aboard, the sponsored charity of the 2014 B3 “Speed Limit” Extravaganza Tour is Habitat for Humanity.  Browse on over and drop a Lincoln, a Jackson, or even a Big Ben on them or take a look at their volunteering guide for other ways to pitch in.  As always, the tour won’t go on forever so don’t wait to get your ticket!

Last Call for the Birthday Bus!!!!!

Well, the ’10 bus tour is almost over. We’ll be pulling the dusty traveler back into its garage on Thursday after a good trip around the country and even around the world.

Mom upgraded her seat on the bus to first class with this note.

I just this week finished a coverlet, and two little hats(one for preemie that wouldn’t even fit your cats!) for the NICU at Baptist Hospital–church project that I’ve gotten involved with, and enjoy. I have so much scrap yarn that I’m doing little hats–all babies now wear hats when they leave the hospital–I’m sorry I so neglected you in that!! Also doing little sweaters for Guideposts to send to needy children anywhere. Love to knit so this is not even a chore!

Keeping it in the family, Lucy G. my sister-in-law gets seats for her and her family with the idea of Scrip for supporting your favorite school. From their website:

Scrip is fundraising while you shop®. Our program allows your non-profit organization members to purchase scrip for everyday expenses like food, clothing, and entertainment while earning a percentage of each dollar of scrip purchased back in revenue. Scrip is “no-selling” fundraising.

Learn more >

Profit from the Scrip program is split 50/50 between the Scrip Fund and you, the purchaser. The 50% that stays in the Scrip Fund is used for unbudgeted needs within the school. Your 50% can be distributed to one of three funds within the school you support: 1.) Apply toward Tuition for your family 2.) Apply to School Student Assistance Fund for families needing assistance with tuition 3.) General School Operating Fund. If you’d like to get involved, let me know and I’ll connect you with Lucy for more info.

Closer to home our last house party raised $240 for MCC Earthquake Relief. So it’s been a good run this year! Thanks for all the donations to the birthday cause and all the other good work you all are doing out there. See you next year!

On-line pointers!

The birthday bus continues to wind its way toward March 25. New notes from folks climbing on the bus keep coming in.

Fran N gets a seat on the bus for her note on turning shopping into a work of charity. There are a number of venues that either affiliate with merchants directly and have the merchants share a slice of their profits with the charity you designate. and are both examples. There are also sites directly related to charitable giving such as or where you can pick a charity or setup your own page to collect money for a cause. If you want to filter through all the options, a site like gives reviews and ranking information on various charitable causes on-line and otherwise.

Brooke G has a seat on the bus for her idea I’m stealing for my next house party. Every time she has a party at her place, she has a box at the front door and collects non-perishables for the local food pantry. A very direct and low admin overhead way of doing good!

Getting your seat on the bus is really easy. Just send me a note on your favorite mode of doing good, be it volunteering, donating, or perhaps even full-time work!

Riders Report in From Around the Globe!

Kate H joins the on-bus crowd with a donation to MCC which was graciously matched by her company, Merck. Besty D who was already on the bus danced her way to a seat of special honor! Turns out she was participant in a local edition of Dancing with the Stars which raises money for charities in her town. David R checks in from the deep South with multiple efforts both in his own neck of the woods and for water transport in Micronesia! And just to round things out with another Hatian effort, my Aunt-in-law, Patricia, who’s been doing missionary work in Haiti for years reports in on her contributions to the recovery efforts.

Nepotism on the Bus? It’s TRUE!!!!!!!

My cuz Carol reports in with donations to a special collection at her church for the Mennonite Central Committee efforts in Haiti. Might have to get a second bus for all the good parishioners, but that’s a good thing. And just to make sure the family theme is complete, Mom called to report in on a monthly donation to MCC in general!

As our friends and bus partners from the Mississippi Gulf Coast know, the work and recovery needs remain a long time after the media frenzy begins to fade. The Haitian people will need our love and support for quite a while. Please consider giving to MCC or any other outreach that helps make the world a better place. It’s a fun trip and we’ll be on the road for another couple of months so plenty of time to get your ticket punched! All it takes is an e-mail calling out a donation of money, time, goods or some other creative contribution.

Take the Bus to Work!!!!

Dale O from Iowa jumped on board the bus and brought with him a wonderful suggestion. Don’t forget to check out your company’s policy on matching donations. Dale’s company matched his Haiti related donation and based on his experience I checked and my company is doing a special matching program for Haiti as well. So check it out!

Andy C from Wisconsin got his bus ticket punched with the donation of time he and his wife used to create and run a successful local food pantry called The Rivers. Their mission statement from the website is:

To bring a message of mercy and hope to those in need by providing nutritional basics and encouragement; to be a unifying, servant hearted and community building expression of Jesus Christ in Madison.

Betsy D from Virginia took a seat on the bus again this year with a Haiti donation through From their website:

We’re committed to making the world a better place by using simple online ways to protect the health and well-being of people, animals and the planet.™ partners with and funds leading nonprofit organizations around the world in order to alleviate poverty and hunger, promote peace, address cancer and other widespread health problems, foster literacy and provide education, preserve vital habitats in peril, and provide protection and care to vulnerable animals.

Time to Do More than Polish the Fenders

Earlier this year I was considering getting the bus ready for another run sometime in March, but responding to the earthquake in Haiti didn’t seem to be something to be patient about. So the bus is warmed up and rolling. Please jump aboard. The only ticket is to give of your time or money or any other creative way you can think to give.

This year’s focus is Haiti, but as you read the various entries you see there are lots of way to participate. Pick one that suits you! Drop me an e-mail and I’ll give your charity some e-airtime!

It seems like we can’t talk about donating without talking about fraud. Each of the links here has been provided by folks I know and I trust they’re not scammers… at least not this way :-).

So to kick off this year’s round, I’m calling out the good folks at the Mennonite Central Committee. The Mennonite Church has a long history of showing up early and staying late at disasters around the globe and providing effective relief and support. Their work in Haiti is my birthday spotlight cause. From their website:

Haiti Earthquake
Your financial gift today will help meet the immediate and long term needs of people who have been affected by the earthquake.

MCC released an initial $100,000 (U.S.) or $103,420 (Cdn.) on Wednesday for immediate relief. Ron Flaming, director of International Programs, anticipates a multimillion dollar response over a number of years, focusing on rebuilding.

MCC is sending 1,000 water filters as soon as possible and will provide short- and long-term trauma care for Haitians and MCC staff.

“I’m sure water will be a significant problem,” said Yoder-Bontrager. “Most people in Haiti are self-sufficient with water collection systems, but at this point those systems are leaking water and not working.”

The need for trauma care is a given, considering the overwhelming loss of life and the experience of being in a large earthquake, he said. MCC has experience providing trauma care in many places around the world, including Haiti, as recently as 2008 when the island was hit by four hurricanes in one year.

It’s Not Just a Human Thing

Dan, one of our riders from Illinois, reports in that good works aren’t just limited to helping out our brothers and sisters in need. He and his wife are active volunteers in the “As Good as Gold” organization which rescues Golden Retrievers in the Northern Illinois area. As Dan says, “I can attest to the joys of helping animals find “forever homes.”

Midwest Bus Tour!

The bus rolls on though not running too far from home this week going just across Lake Michigan and then back to Madison.

Cousin Stan turned me on (via facebook) to the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation, a group that is looking to improve cognitive abilities on those with Downs Syndrome. His funny, lovely daughter, my, lessee here, second cousin (?) is in that group so dollars directed this way have a personal impact as well.

My lovely bride turned up another grass roots effort right here in Madison. There’s a group that gets together with a fantastic twist on the old networking party. It is all of that, but every gathering also has a designated charitable focus. At their most recent meeting, they raised almost $600 for the Breast Cancer Recover Fund. The target for the next meeting is picked out of a hat from the suggestions offered by the group. Already this year, they’ve raise almost $1,500 for local charities. They call it Fun, Food and Philanthropy, with this particular group led by Melanie Schmidt of the Timpano Group

Springtime and the Return of the Charity Run, Walk or Ride

So today’s news flash comes from two backwards bus veterns.

First, Suz P in New Hamsphire has laced up her tennies and is doing a 5k run for Girls Inc. of New Hampshire, an organization who’s mission states “Our mission and passion is to help girls achieve their personal best through one-on-one attention, leadership development, a talented staff and volunteers, a wide range of enrichment programs, and a caring family environment.”

Second, Adonica G reports that her original KIVA loan is heading out for a second round of good works. The Kiva thing is so much fun that I’ve just put $25/month in budget to throw their way. It’s cool to put money into something and then see the results and have it keep on giving!