Our Nonprofits

Our Nonprofits & the Teachers that Support Them

All of our nonprofits are changing lives, and you can help to be a part of that change and impact the world in a positive way. Read more about our nonprofits and the teachers that support them below.

All donations are 100% tax deductible as allowed by law.

Noah's Story & Burn Pits 360

Supported by Laura Maynard

Our Founder, Laura Maynard’s cousin Noah Feehan is fighting terminal brain cancer that he got from burn pits* while deployed in the military. After serving this country for 18 years, the Department of Defense is effectively denying him his pension/military benefits. She can’t get rid of Noah’s cancer, nor can she make the DOD do the right thing. What she can do is tell Noah’s story and raise awareness about burn pits and funding for Burn Pits 360 through Giving Hearts. You can join her by either sharing Noah’s story or supporting an organization that is protecting the rights of service men and women whose lives have been destroyed due to toxic exposure – making a donation of any amount makes a difference.

Noah's Story

Noah is a Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard and has served this country for the last 18 years. He’s served 3 tours overseas, 2 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like many soldiers deployed in the Middle East, Noah was exposed to toxic fumes 24/7 from burn pits located just outside his base where in some places, the military was burning up to 227 metric tons of hazardous waste a day. The EPA outlawed use of burn pits on U.S. soil in 1980, however the U.S. military continues this practice abroad. Burn pits contained batteries, weapons and ammunition, human feces, oil, gas, electronics, whole vehicles, human body parts…you name it, they threw jet fuel on it and burned it.

Due to this toxic exposure*, Noah has developed Glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of terminal brain cancer. 3 other young service men on his base that he was deployed with have also developed brain cancer. Noah is only 39 years old and has no family history of cancer. He is a family man and the father to 3 young boys. This diagnosis has been devastating to all who know and love him.

Due to his condition, the DOD is terminating Noah’s contract before he is eligible to receive his pension. The DOD is also refusing to grant him an early/medical retirement, claiming his condition is not “service connected” despite the VA 100% service connecting his cancer to his burn pit exposure while deployed. As such, Noah is not eligible for any of his military benefits/pension until he is 60. Due to the aggressive nature of Glioblastoma, it is highly unlikely that he will make it to 60. Further, based on my reading of the Air Force Survivor Benefit Plan, Noah’s wife Jenny and their kids are not eligible for ANY survivor military benefits.

The DOD denying Noah (and his family) the pension/benefits he worked 18 years to earn after developing a terminal illness that the VA has connected to his burn pit exposure while serving this country is both shocking and appalling. To top it off, the DOD is STILL using burn pits at military bases abroad, continuing to expose our soldiers to toxic fumes while denying responsibility, pensions, and military benefits.

The men and women who serve our country deserve better. Noah deserves better.

*The VA has 100% service connected Noah’s cancer to his exposure to burn pits while deployed in the military

Burn Pits 360

For over a decade, Burn Pits 360 has been working tirelessly to improve the outcome for current and former military personnel suffering from post-deployment health conditions related to toxic exposure. They maintain the first and only independent burn pit registry, created 3 years before there was a national registry. To date, 325,000 soldiers have reported toxic exposure. Through research, outreach, and advocacy, they have supported our veterans and their families for years and were a driving force behind the PACT Act (the only reason Noah is getting any benefits at all). The work they have done has been so influential that their co-founders have been recommended for the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the contributions they have made for bettering veteran health care.

The work Burn Pits 360 does is beyond important. Our soldiers risk their lives to protect us. It’s our duty to protect them. There is still more work that needs to be done to ensure that what has happened to countless military families and what IS happening to Noah does not happen to other men and women who serve our country.

Donate & Learn More

If you have the ability to join Laura either by sharing Noah’s story or by making a donation of any amount to the fundraiser she created to help support the work Burn Pits 360 is doing for our troops by clicking the button below, it would mean more to her than words can describe.

Chicago Rush Soccer Foundation

Supported by Courtney Marincsin

Courtney has chosen to dedicated her Power Yoga series to Chicago Rush Soccer Foundation, an incredible organization that provides soccer scholarships to talented underprivileged children who deserve high level coaching and access to youth soccer programs who might not otherwise have the opportunity to receive them.

If you would like to join Courtney in helping talented underprivileged children gain access to high level youth soccer programs that they might not otherwise have access to, consider making a donation by clicking the button below and selecting “Courtney- Chicago Rush Soccer Foundation” from the PayPal dropdown menu.

Plenitud PR

Supported by Sarah Wirth

Plenitud Puerto Rico is a non-profit educational farm dedicated to service and sustainability. They provide people with the skills and knowledge needed to encourage inner growth and to live in harmony with themselves, each other, and the natural world. They are currently on the ground helping Santa Maria recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Fiona by providing food and water, controlling landslides, installing rainwater cisterns and filters, and helping rebuild local farms so that they are both sustainable and resistant to severe weather.

Sarah’s visit to Plenitud PR in December 2019 transformed her in a way she never expected, by awakening her heart to a life that her soul was desperately craving – one of devotional, loving service in everything she does. She now strives to support Plenitud PR in any way she can, both by living a life inspired by loving service, and by spreading the mission of Plenitud with those who also feel called to live a life in accordance with the soul’s true nature.

As such, Sarah has dedicated her series to her friends at Plenitud PR to help them with their ongoing hurricane relief efforts and to further their overarching mission of taking care of the community by demonstrating love through service and providing education about sustainability. If you are inspired by Sarah and would like to join in helping Plenitud PR carry out its important work, consider making a donation to the fundraiser she sweetly created in support of her friends at Plenitud PR by clicking the button below.

National Network of Abortion Funds' Crisis Relief Fund

Supported by Stephanie Sandleben

The right to choose an abortion is no longer federally protected with the Supreme Court’s decision this past June reversing Roe vs. Wade. This ruling has differing consequences depending on your state and personal access to resources. Even when Roe vs. Wade was still intact many states had passed legislation limiting access to abortion based on earlier time-markers (like Texas’s heart-beat Act) than viability.

Our feature teacher Stephanie Sandleben specializes in pelvic floor health and has seen first hand the uneven care one receives depending on gender, race, and socioeconomic status in the United States. The reversal of Roe vs. Wade has been a wake-up call to the importance of bodily sovereignty and the importance of creating equity in our healthcare system, especially now that many people will be experiencing compromised care due to the fear of criminal repercussions.

She has chosen the National Network of Abortion Funds’ Crisis Relief Fund because of their decades long work of supporting and providing any person with the non-negotiable human right to determine whether, when, and how to create family. They achieve this through a network of organizations that remove the logistical and financial barriers that are a reality for many. The National Network of Abortion Funds values intersectionality, autonomy, collective power, and compassion.

Click the button below to find out more about the National Network of Abortion Funds along with how to become a member or to make a donation towards their incredible cause.

Girls 4 Science

Supported by Bhavya Kohli

Bhavya volunteers for a Chicago based non profit, Girls for Science, and mostly works with the founder. G4S focuses on providing STEM exposure to girls, ages 10-18, conducts classes on Saturdays, and has started with a mentor – mentee program this year. As an engineer herself she loves the idea of more girls in stem, challenging the status quo. As such, she is dedicating her series in support of Girls 4 Science.

If you would like to join Bhavya in exposing girls to science who might not otherwise have the opportunity, consider making a donation by clicking the button below and selecting “Bhavya Kohli- Girls 4 Science” from the PayPal dropdown menu.

Farm Sanctuary

Supported by Masako Miyakawa

Feature Teacher Masako Miyakawa practices Ahimisa (non-harming) both on and off the mat. She not only loves and cares for her students and those around her, but she also is a lover of animals. As such, she has dedicated her 3 week Yin Yoga series to and created a fundraiser in support of Farm Sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary has been rescuing and helping factory farm animals since 1986. Masako has been always in awe of the work they do and she loves to continue support this amazing organization.

Farm Sanctuary is a non-profit rescue and educational organization that helps as many farm animals as they possibly can. They not only rescue mistreated farm animals, but they also help enact legislation to encourage transparency and prevent unnecessary cruelty in their handling.

Having been a vegetarian for many years, Masako watched a documentary called Vegucated when she realized that animals who are kept alive just to provide humans food are JUST like her beloved Taku, a rescued cat that she had been in love with for over 10 years. Until then, she had been trained to think farm animals are food, and not a living, sentient beings who are capable of love and bonding.

She found that cows are forcibly artificially inseminated, impregnated, their babies being taken away immediately to save their milk for human consumption. Male babies are sent to the slaughterhouses while females, once fertile, are confined to small spaces and hooked up to pumping apparatuses. This is just one example she discovered of the inhumane treatment of factory farm animals.

As many people feel horrible for their beloved cats and/or dogs to be abused, or magnificent wild animals like a lion to be poached, she feels strongly about protecting farm animals like cows. She became a vegan for the love of all animals, and for the fundamental yogic teaching of Ahimsa, non-harming.

All proceeds from donations dedicated to Masako will go towards helping further Farm Sanctuary’s mission of rescuing factory farm animals. If you share Masako’s love for animals, consider joining her by making a donation to the fundraiser she lovingly created in support of this important cause by clicking the button below.

Innocence Project

Supported by Sammy Conrad

There is no graver miscarriage of justice than for an innocent person to be imprisoned for a crime that they did not commit. The Innocence Project’s mission is to free innocent people who remain incarcerated through DNA testing, and they do not stop at exonerating the wrongfully convicted, they tackle injustice from every angle.

In addition to freeing innocent people, the Innocence Project also seeks to secure justice for future generations. Their Litigation department works to improve existing case law through the Courts by targeted legal works so that it can help prevent wrongful convictions in the future, while their Policy department works with Congress, state legislatures, and local leaders to pass laws that prevent wrongful convictions and future miscarriages of justice. Their Science and Research team uses data to understand the patterns in wrongful conviction cases and conducts comprehensive reviews of research to help aid the Innocence Project’s reform efforts. The team provides resources to researchers, lawyers, and others, including statistics, data sources, literature and critical analysis and ideas for future research.

That’s amazing you say? There’s more. Once the wrongfully convicted are released, they must completely reinvent their lives and identities after years of incarceration. This is often a huge struggle, one that they never deserved to have to face. The Innocence Project’s Social Work department supports them in any way that they need, from locating birth certificates, to securing housing and arranging for critical medical and psychological treatment.

The Innocence Project not only frees innocent people, but they also seek to fix the cracks in our legal system that wrongfully convicted them in the first place. If you have a strong sense of justice and want to be a part of ensuring that these wrongful convictions are a thing of the past, this is the charity for you. Learn more about the Innocence Project below or make a donation in honor of Sammy. by clicking the button below and selecting “Sammy- IP” from the PayPal dropdown menu.

Connections for Abused Women and Their Children (CAWC)

Supported by Rachel Hessen Connelly

Having to stay at home during these difficult times has been hard on all of us, but it is especially hard for victims of domestic violence If you want to understand the severity of this situation, visit CAWC’s website here. The first thing that pops up is directions on how to use the “Escape Button” should your abuser walk into the room. Think about how scary your situation would be if you had to be thinking about using an Escape Button. Countless women and children are hurting and living their lives in fear, and CAWC seeks to help them find a way out.

Mothers do not have to choose between finding safety and protecting their children because CAWC provides emergency shelter for mothers and their children. Often, victims of domestic violence are cut off from their friends and family by their abuser, so that they feel like they have nowhere else to go, no option but to endure the abuse. CAWC offers these women and their children a safe place to escape. The Greenhouse Shelter is the oldest domestic violence shelter in Chicago. Also, CAWC does not discriminate, their shelter is multilingual and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Additionally, CAWC provides a 24 hour domestic violence hotline to support victims of domestic violence (1-773-278-4566) and offers programs to train healthcare providers, schools, and police officers to identify the signs of domestic abuse. They also provide legal advocates to help survivors obtain immediate and long-term legal protection.

On top of helping survivors of domestic violence escape the abuse, CAWC also has programs in place to help to heal the women and their children emotionally. The emotional effects of domestic violence can be significant and can continue to harm the survivors for years, it can even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder or long-term substance abuse. CAWC seeks to prevent all of this from happening. Through their outreach program, they provide individual and group counseling to the survivors and their children so that they are given the long-term tools that they need to live the violence-free, happy life that they deserve.

CAWC not only provides immediate safety to women and children who are victims of domestic violence, they also seek to assist the survivors as they begin to build a better, safer future for themselves and their children. If the thought of anyone being physically violent to women and children breaks your heart, or makes your blood boil, this is the nonprofit for you.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

Supported by Laura Maynard

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Thoughts of suicide know no age, race, gender, or religion. It does not matter if you are rich or if you are poor, chances are, you or someone you love has experienced suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. When times get hard, these suicidal thoughts can become deafening. Times are harder than ever, and suicide is a preventable public health issue. The AFSP is doing everything that they can to prevent the loss of life from suicide.

Since 1987, the AFSP has been paving the way for suicide prevention. They shed light on suicide and mental health issues that have historically been brushed under the rug, because you cannot prevent something that you are not aware of. On top of bringing awareness to this leading cause of death, they fund scientific research and have shaped legislation and public policy at the federal, state, and local levels all with the goal of preventing suicide.

The AFSP understands the significance of community and has established local chapters in all 50 states. They provide mental health education, community programs, research, advocacy, and support not only for those experiencing suicidal thoughts, but also for the friends and family of those whose lives have been lost due to suicide. Whether you have lost someone, are experiencing suicidal thoughts yourself, or are worried about a loved one, the AFSP is there to support you. You are not alone. The work that they are doing is not only incredible, but it is essential, especially during these uncertain times. Find your local AFSP chapter here.

If you want to have a part in actually saving someone’s life, the AFSP is the charity for you. Learn more about the AFSP here.

If you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide, please, talk to someone. Reach out to a loved one, call (1-800-273-8255), or text (text TALK to 741741). You are special. You are valuable, and this world would not be the same without you.

Previous Nonprofit and Teacher Spotlight

CARE- Ukrainian Crisis Fund

Supported by Kristin Schleich

CARE works to save lives, fight poverty, and achieve social justice around the globe. They focus on aiding women and girls because they believe poverty cannot be overcome until all people have equal rights and opportunities. In Ukraine they are providing immediate aid and recovery, food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and cash assistance — prioritizing women and girls, families, and the elderly.

One weekend, Kristin was rocking her sweet baby to sleep in her quiet, peaceful home and realized how there are many mothers there were rocking their sweet babies to sleep with an uncertain, violent future in Ukraine. She kept asking herself: “What can I do?”

On CARE’s website they stated their mission was to “save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice.” But with a focus on women and girls because “we know that we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities.” She thought: “Yes. This resonates. This is what I can do to help.”

Kristin generously dedicated her series, her paycheck, and created a fundraiser in support of the CARE Ukrainian Refugee Fund. Between donations made via her fundraiser, our website, and the generous donation match provided by MathWorks, Kristin raised over $5,000 for this Fund.