This holiday season Thrive Global employees received a special gift from our founder and CEO, Arianna Huffington: a TisBest charity gift card, so we can make a donation to any cause or charity close to our hearts. It’s a wonderful tradition Arianna began last year that we all find so meaningful. I’m excited to share how members of our Thrive Challenge team are choosing to give back.
As a proud part of #TeamWalmart, my own donation is going to the United Way of South Hampton Roads’ Hope & Healing Fund, which will support those impacted by the tragic shooting in November when a Walmart associate opened fire in Walmart Store #1841’s break room, resulting in the deaths of six amazing, irreplaceable members of the Walmart family. We extend our deepest condolences and support to those who lost a loved one and to the broader Chesapeake community. The Walmart Foundation intends to contribute $1 million to this fund, and Walmart will provide a 2:1 match for associate donations as part of their Season of Giving Back campaign.
The 6 members of the Walmart family who lost their lives: Randy Blevins, Fernando “Jesus” Chavez-Barron, Lorenzo Gamble, Tyneka Johnson, Brian Pendleton, and Kellie Pyle.
Aaron backpacking this summer at Okanogan Forest, Lake Ingalls in Washington
“The great outdoors is one of my favorite places to spend time. For me, being in nature, hiking, camping, or fishing at a lake is the best place to spend family and personal time. So my donation is going to the Sierra Club Foundation, a wonderful organization which has a mission to educate and empower people to protect and improve the natural environment. The focus is on encouraging everyone to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth, while practicing responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources.”
Rachel (top left) with her Girls on the Run team at their Spring 5K celebration
“This year I chose to donate to Girls on the Run, an organization I have had the privilege of volunteering with as a coach over the past year. Girls on the Run is an after-school program that inspires girls in 3rd to 5th grade to recognize their individual strengths while building a connection with their team. As a coach, I help facilitate lessons that mix physical activity and running with life skill development, helping the girls to become more resilient. At the end of the season, there’s a city-wide 5K that all the teams participate in together to celebrate the girls’ hard work and what they have accomplished throughout the season. This organization is meaningful to me because I grew up running cross-country and track, and it was through those experiences that I made really meaningful and supportive friendships with teammates, gained confidence as a team leader, and learned a lot about both physical and mental endurance. It’s amazing to play a role in providing similar experiences to the girls on my team at such an important time in their lives!”
Emma and her sibling, Sarah, at Christmas in 2016
“I donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality, an organization dedicated to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people across the country. Trans rights are a cause near and dear to my heart: both my best friend and my oldest sibling are trans, as well as many other friends and members of my community. It’s an unfortunate fact that trans people in our country face many obstacles to a life that is safe, dignified, and free. A recent study conducted in Canada found that transgender teenagers are more than seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers, and transgender people are four times more likely to be victims of violent crime. I am proud to donate to an organization that fights to change those horrifying numbers and ensure that people like my best friend and my sibling are able to lead long, full, happy lives as their true selves.”
Elaine and Stephen at home in their garden.
“On October 8th 2021, my beloved husband, Stephen Beech, died after a three-and-a-half year battle with brain stem cancer. We’d been together for 29 wonderful years and receiving that initial diagnosis, as families everywhere will relate, was devastating. Stephen spent the last year of his life in a hospital bed at our home, unable to speak, eat, see properly, or move a muscle. He had a feeding tube and was hooked up to oxygen. Our grown daughters, Chace and Ava-Rose, helped me take care of Stephen, along with our devoted caregiver, Ana. As we navigate life without him, we are forever grateful to our brilliant neuro oncology team who did everything in their power to try and make him better. Brain cancer research is under-funded and my donation is going to Saint John’s Health Center Foundation in Santa Monica, specifically directed to Dr. Santosh Kesari’s Research at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute, where Stephen was treated. In many ways since his death, the simple act of giving back has been extraordinarily (and unexpectedly) helpful, taking me out of my own grief.”
In Arianna Huffington’s words, “Giving is one of our most powerful well-being tools. Going beyond ourselves and stepping out of our daily worries and struggles to give to someone else is one of the most effective and proven ways to boost our well-being and gain perspective on our challenges. When we give to others, we’re able to transform our own lives as much as the recipient’s.”