Nonprofit Life & Style

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Feng Shui Your Cubicle

Feng shui consultant Alison Marks wants you to be happier at work:

Work at a nonprofit? When's the last time you gave some love to your work space?

We in nonprofits often suffer from the misconception that just because we don't have a lot of money and time, we have to make do with so-so -- or even junky -- offices. It's not true!

Our environments are mirrors for us, reflecting back to us the intentions we put into them. The "style" of nonprofit offices tells the world and ourselves whether what goes on within our walls is important enough to deserve a little attention.

Enhance the energy

Here are a few quick feng shui tips that will help you feel better -- and perform better -- while at work . . .

Life on Planet 501c: Contest Winners

To mark our first year of chronicling the ups and downs of nonprofit life, we asked readers to enter our competition for the a wacky nonprofit moment. Congratulations to Toronto fundraiser and AIDS educator Ann Rosenfield, for her story "Personal Use." Ann would have received a box of tasty avocados, but tells us that they can't be shipped to Canada from the U.S., so graciously suggested we give the crate to a local nonprofit. We have two runners up, as well: Davina Grace Hill's "Purse to Hip" and Paul Danicic's "First Week Blues." Here's Ann's story of Life on Planet 501c3:

Winner: Personal Use

In the 1980s, I was on the board of an international human rights and health education charity. Our executive director was going on a trip to the Soviet Union to do HIV prevention education work. She was bringing 30,000 World Health Organization condoms with her . . .

Sizzlin'! A Nonprofit Guy's Top Ten Music Picks from 2008

You know those holiday letters you get from friends and family? Just opening them is stressful as one anticipate news that is too self-congratulatory ("and it was hard to choose between seven lucrative job offers") or just plain boring ("on page 18 there's more about our trip to the Shakespeare Festival").

Well, longtime funder, nonprofit guy and music lover Tom David instead sends out an annual list of music from the year to explore, and he's nicely allowed us to reprint his 2008 list here (we've chosen links that allow you to hear samples for free):

TD's Top Ten for 2008

The music industry may be melting down, but there's more good stuff out there to listen to than ever before. My favorite album of the year was Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs. Primal. Electrifying. Cleansing. But they've gotten too much attention to make my official list, which celebrates my favorite, somewhat more obscure releases of the year.

1. Ersi Arvizu - Friend for Life (Anti-) Legendary 1960's El Chicano vocalist paints a vivid portrait of her life in music and boxing and her East L.A. roots in a series of story songs in English and Spanish, backed by family members and a superb group of local musicians recruited and produced by Ry Cooder. Unforgettable.

2. Chiwoniso - Rebel Woman (Cumbancha). Pictured top left and from the troubled land of Zimbabwe, Chiwoniso Maraire combines powerful vocals with lyrical mbira playing and an all-star backing band of some of South Africa's most respected musicians. Her songs deal with the healing power of elders, the struggles of the people, the natural beauty of . . .

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