This story was submitted as part of the #Pledge1Gives GivingTuesday campaign, which celebrates the many ways our member companies are having an impact around the world.

Being welcomed into the  Pledge 1% global community validated  my founder’s resolve – by example – and helped us to give back to 5 non-profits fighting homelessness in San Francisco and Toronto.

Seriously having contemplated suicide on US Thanksgiving 2018, it is a miracle that I share my Pledge 1% growing mental health UNITY @work social enterprise GIVING story. We are set to officially launch March 11, 2020

In front of me, as I type these words is a well-worn magazine article ripped from the May 2014 issue of San Francisco Magazine.  I have read it many times, during hard times, and each time it validates my  childhood passion of giving back and helping unite the world with whatever gifts we are given to share, despite almost 20 years of social entrepreneurial failure.

The article? The People’s Mogul. The mogul? Marc Benioff. My inspiration and infusion of hope? The Salesforce 1:1:1 philanthropic approach.  

By example, Mr. Benioff showed/s  the world that everybody matters, and everyone should give back, of whatever they have. At the time, I had every reason to think that the upward trajectory of my  (then) kids’ creativity start-up, ( would allow me to give the 1:1:1 pledge  one day.  ( Pledge 1% was formally launched December 2014). 

I never thought then, that 5 years later: I would hit rock bottom, depressed, living in transitional housing after being homeless and finally accepting my mental health battles as very real – and STILL be applying to Pledge 1%.  When I applied, I was living in transitional housing and going to crisis counselling.  

I never *really* thought would be accepted into the 1% Pledge fold. I applied anyway, hoping against hope. When I got the welcome  e-mail on May 31, 2019 –’s  mission to grow mental health unity@work – by OPEN example™ – was validated.  Next to finding my mentor, Dr. Kevin Stolarick (or him picking me out in a job interview) nothing had validated or fueled more to  keep moving forward, no matter how impossible things seemed than that welcome e-mail ! Kevin, btw: became my Co-Founder as I could not have created the foundation of we have now,  without his guidance, patience, business savvy and generous spirit.  

To date, we were able to give back to 5 organizations (3 Bay Area and 2 Toronto) and we have not even launched yet!

A Woman’s Place –  San Francisco, CA

  • Donated: 12 boxes of new art supplies; my HEART artwork (to decorate their walls!) 
  • EVENT: Held a ShelterSALON™  WORD ART workshop and donated the supplies as well. 

Bright Horizons – Novato, CA

  • Donated 2 boxes art supplies and a brand-new easel

YWCA of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, CA

  • Donated 1 Art Supply Box

Margaret’s  – Toronto

  • Donated two pieces of art for Annual Gala auction – one piece sold for $200

St.Clare’s Multifaith Housing – Toronto 

  • Donated items:  5 boxes of almost new cookware for our community kitchen


ShelterCHEF™ Eggspirational Community Meal – catered the entire meal for 50 people by myself with Nancy – volunteer and community activist helping me serve   ( Inc.  Pledge 1% time) with funds from and Loblaws (Canada’s largest grocery chain) to augment St.Clare’s budget. Loblaws Dupont store generously donated a gift card and was a co-sponsor with 

Halloween Pumpkin Carving:  we created the flyers for the building, customizing each one by hand, shopped for the art supplies ( no more to donate!), and led the Pumpkin Carving ShelterARTSY™ party volunteering time and lots of passion and energy. 

These events may be small. There is no million dollar giving, but gave more all it had, because this whole time I was battling with depression, homelessness, financial ruin through “maxxed” credit cards and losing my credit rating and STILL facing stigma even as I try to launch a mental health initiative.  

Despite these obstacles, grew – and will be launching March 11, 2020 with a lot of giving before introducing our first product: a culture change consultancy to help organizations grow mental health unity – by OPEN example™. Thank you Pledge 1% – looking forward to sharing our growth next Giving Tuesday 2020, too!