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They spent billions of hours a year caring for loved ones. She thought they could use a vacation.

She could do anything she wanted with a half a million dollars in prize money. This is what she chose.

They spent billions of hours a year caring for loved ones. She thought they could use a vacation.
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Ad Council + AARP

Imagine you won half a million dollars for being a genius.

Heather did.


Image by Macarthur Foundation.

Heather McHugh is a poet from Seattle. She is also a genius.

The MacArthur Foundation gave her over $600,000 in unrestricted grant money for her poetry, which the foundation calls "intellectually challenging, yet emotionally engaging verse that balances gravity with humor."

Winners of this "genius grant" can do whatever they want with the cash.

I give you ... awesomeness.

No regulations on the cash. No nothin'. That's what makes the MacArthur genius grant so exceptional.

Some winners have started businesses, funded films, taken off on a passion project the grant allowed them to focus on, or just continued their vocations with a really nice nest egg. Heather chose something a little different.

Heather gave away all her $600k genius grant money to strangers.

But not just any strangers.

You see, Heather was kinda freaked out by the prospect of spending over $600,000 on herself alone. So she looked around her life for people who might also be in need of funding.

She didn't need to look far.

Reflecting on the massive efforts of her godson and his wife as they raised a baby with severe disabilities, she decided what to do with her grant money.

As told to KPLU. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

She started the nonprofit Caregifted, which gives vacations to people who have spent a decade or more taking care of a family member full time.

Speaking of her personal experience in watching her godson and his wife care for their daughter, who were told she would never be able to walk, talk, or feed herself, she said, “It was obvious to me when that baby was born that in 10 years, they were going to need a break."

To put this in perspective, consider this example: In 2014, friend and family caregivers of folks with Alzheimer's and other dementias spent an estimated 17.9 billion hours on unpaid care. There's no paid vacation (or even just vacation) for this more-common-than-you-think job.

In steps Caregifted. They have already given vacations to 30 caregivers.

Says one recipient, “It was the first time in many, many years that I only had to worry about myself."

So selfless. I'm sharing this so that more people recognize the work of our caregivers. You matter. <3

Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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