Lady Gaga to fund classroom projects in cities impacted by mass shootings
Instagram / Lady Gaga

We've had three mass shootings in an eight-day period, spurring the ongoing debate about gun violence and why it doesn't seem like anyone is doing anything about it. One person who is taking action is Lady Gaga, who announced she will be fully funding classroom projects in Dayton, Ohio, El Paso, Texas, and Gilroy, California as a way to be proactive about what's happening in the world.

"In this moment, I want to channel my confusion, frustration, and fury into hope. Hope that we are there for each other and for ourselves," she said.

Working through her Born This Way Foundation, the singer is partnering with DonorsChoose.org, an organization that allows teachers to fundraise for classroom projects. Some of the projects had been partially funded through crowdfunding, but thanks to Lady Gaga's donations, the projects are now fully funded in 14 classrooms in Dayton, 125 classrooms in El Paso, and 23 classrooms in Gilroy have received the support they needed.

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"My heart goes out to those who were taken from us too soon and to their families, loved ones, and communities who are left to grieve. Everyone has the right to laws that make them feel safe in their communities," Lady Gaga said in a Facebook post announcing the donations.

While the donations might not directly address the problem of gun violence, it's still a way to provide some comfort to the communities that were affected by the tragedies. The students "will now have access to the support they need to inspire their students to work together and bring their dreams to life," as Lady Gaga put it.

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However, Lady Gaga's donation does directly address the fact that many schools are underfunded and turn to crowdfunding or Amazon registries in order to collect resources for classrooms. Charles Best, the founder and CEO of Donors Choose, estimated that the website would raise $140 million in donations during the 2018 school year alone, with 70% of projects receiving funding. In other words, you don't need to be Lady Gaga in order to help out a classroom in need.

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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

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The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

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Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

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