Name: Ana Rita Ramos
Role: Co-organizer of the event
Date: 25-26 June 2011 
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

How the event came about: We wanted to organize a volunteer event that had related to what we stand for Ginkgo, the magazine where I work, particularly in this European Year of Volunteering.

How many people served: 65

Highlight from the day: 65 people have gone through a transformation process to realize human potential. 40 volunteers, including hairdressers, makeup artists, photographers and journalists, dedicated to corpor and soul of the event. The results were extraordinary!

What you learned: The pictures that came out of this initiative have endless stories, stories of hardship and hope, we all can review.

What you’d do differently next time: Next I think will be best to do the event only one day, but in a larger physical space, involving even more people!

Are there plans for a future event? Yes, Joining to Help-Portrait on the 10th of December!

Photographer Ahmad Kavousian was one of the few photographers invited by Gingko to participate in Help-Portrait: Libson. He also shared his experience with us:

“I have an ongoing visual research about street people’s life in north America that started in 2004 in Vancouver British Columbia, and now I expand it farther to Europe after moving to Portugal in 2010.

“The location [of the event] was in Lisbon, Portugal, in a poor neighborhood with many social residences. Many street people were attending, probably 20-30 – I have to say we don’t have a big population of homeless here :) that explains why 20-30 is a big number. There were many makeup artists, hair dressers, photographers and journalists for doing the work, lots of food and drink also available for them.

“Sponsors prepared lots of dresses and shoes for them to put on for the photoshoot and take it with them afterward. They were so happy, cheerful and so funny. There was a huge difference in their behavior before and after makeup, that’s how many bystanders realized that the big difference between us and them is nothing more than a clean look. I am sure when they were walking back in street with their new look, nobody could say if they are a homeless or an engineer. They’ve planned to do it again soon.”

Have you recently held a Help-Portrait event? Share the behind-the-scenes with us.

Posted on Jun 30, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments
Refugees in Tanzania

Refugee children in Tanzania at a facility run by the International Rescue Committee; Photo by Donna Morris for the IRC

There are 36 million refugees who live in camps worldwide. Half of them are children.

Today is World Refugee Day, and we stand in solidarity, but also in action.

Here are a variety of ways you make a difference in the lives of those who are forced to flee their homelands due to persecution, conflict or violence: “12 Actions for World Refugee Day.”

Posted on Jun 20, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

Emma is a relatively new email marketing company with a team committed to giving back, sustainability and innovation. Inc. magazine recently named Emma one of the 50 best small company workplaces, and it’s no surprise. Here’s a look at some of the causes they support.

  • Planting five trees for every new customer. (That’s 20,000 trees a year.)
  • Good Works” accounts. (They set up every agency with a free account that can be used for whatever deserving charity they choose.)
  • Funding loans to small businesses through Kiva. (Each month, a revolving group of Emma staffers peruses the Kiva site and decides how to distribute Emma’s monthly contribution. )
  • Funding classroom projects through (Emma staffers pick a handful of projects each month. They’ve helped more than 10,000 students in 27 states.)
  • Giving away 25 Emma accounts every year (through the annual Emma 25 initiative awards, benefitting small, deserving nonprofits that our customers nominate).

Help-Portrait is the beneficiary of one of those awards this year, and we’re honored to be chosen and named among 24 other amazing nonprofits. Help-Portrait was given a free account and we were able to work directly with one of Emma’s designers, Taylor Schena, to develop a custom email stationery.


Interested in signing up for our newsletter? Fill out the form below be signed up to receive our communications.

Thanks for your work, Taylor, and to Emma for the honor. We appreciate what you’ve done for us, but also your commitment to give back and make a positive difference while doing business.

Posted on Jun 14, 2011  |  Category: H-P Tips  |  No Comments

From the just-for-fun department, here is a photo gallery featuring Brooklyn, N.Y., in the summer of 1974. It’s a collection of beautiful and nostalgic vintage photos by photographer Danny Lyon, who spent two months snapping pictures of the everyday life in the borough.

brooklyn summer 1974
Three boys and ” A Train” graffiti in Brooklyn’s Lynch Park. Image by Danny Lyon / National Archives and Records Administration

See all 42 images:

Posted on Jun 12, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

TOMS announced this week they are no longer a shoe company, but a one-for-one company as they unveiled their newest product offering: sunglasses.

But they’re not the only ones. Warby Parker Eyewear is also launching a line of sunglasses this summer with the one-for-one model.

TOMS is also working with Seva Foundation to provide medical treatment and sight-restoring surgery. Warby Parker is working with VisionSpring to help low-income women launch self-sustaining businesses in their community.

We’re thrilled that these companies, and others like them, are challenging for-profit companies to build giving back into their business models.

Interested in how the different sunglasses lines compare? Our friends at have extensive coverage, including this comparison infographic (click to enlarge).

What are your favorite brands and companies that give back?

Posted on Jun 10, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

H-P founder Jeremy Cowart is doing a series of videos showing how he creates a piece of fine art. Last week he created “Reaching Down,” a piece in response to the Joplin disaster.

Prints are available for purchase at the Jeremy Cowart Store and all proceeds benefit the First Response Team of America, who responded to the Joplin disaster as well as many of the recent storms and flooding in the South and Eastern United States.

The Joplin photos and video footage in this video are by Cale Glendening, and the music was donated by Sleeping At Last.

Posted on Jun 07, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

After hitting several thrift shops while on vacation last week, this TED talk was a delight to watch. Brooklyn designer Jessi Arrington packed nothing for TED but 7 pairs of undies, buying the rest of her clothes in thrift stores around LA. She shares the outfits with the TED audience and reminds us that “fitting in is way overrated,” and that we can rock any outfit we want to. Enjoy!

Which was your favorite outfit or piece from the talk?

Posted on Jun 06, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

If you tuned into the live broadcast of Help-Portrait on Dec. 4, 2010, you probably caught a glimpse of the sweet emceeing skills of Annie Downs, Help-Portrait’s events coordinator. Annie also works for a nonprofit in Franklin, TN, called Mocha Club and we wanted to share about it with you here on the blog. Elayna Martine is interning at Mocha Club and gives us a glimpse into their fresh approach to nonprofits and one of their fashionable initiatives that supports sustainable business for women in Africa. The line of scarves, called fashionABLE, has garnered support from music group Lady Antebellum and actress Minka Kelly.

Fashion Fuels Change

By Elayna Martine

Scarves and mochas. Who knew two of America’s popular vices could change the world?

fashionABLEfashionABLE reinvents the practice of making a bold fashion statement by creating a link between the drastically different communities of the economically privileged West and impoverished Africa. Fashion may be the art of self-indulgence, but fashionABLE uses the demand of trendsetting scarf-sporting Americans to tackle the issue of women at risk in African countries, namely Ethiopia.

African women who have previously resorted to dehumanizing practices such as prostitution to collect income and financially support their families are offered a new chance and a different opportunity. Through the fabrication of unique, handmade scarves, Ethiopian women reclaim their dignity by means of sustainable development. Each scarf carries the meaning of fashionABLE’s mission with a personal note from the Ethiopian woman who crafted the scarf and is an integral part in the cycle of the transformation and restoration of these women.

Channeling the material world and harnessing the power of trends to provide better lives, fashionABLE is a branch of the greater non-profit organization called Mocha Club. Founded in Nashville in 2005, Mocha Club uses the power of social networking to gather members and advocates for its mission to build a better Africa. Mocha Club’s fresh approach within the realm of non-profits is based on empowering its members to make a big change in a small way. How small? “$7 a month” small, or the cost equivalent of two mochas.

When the need of a continent is so daunting, Mocha Club offers a means to make realistic impact by practical sacrifice. Members personally choose which one of Mocha Club’s five mission projects their donation will benefit between Child Mothers and Women at Risk, Clean Water, Education, HIV/AIDS and Health Care, or Orphan Care and Vulnerable Children. Pick a project, start a team, and invite friends. Members have the means to track the impact of their donations through regular email and news updates.

Check out the overview video and get inspired in the “Make Your Fashion Statement” section of the site, where users upload a photo and description of how they rock their fashionABLE scarf.

Posted on Jun 02, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments