How and why I give to Solar Cookers International
SCI's Development Manager Morgan Stonefelt virtually met with SCI's Vice President Ruth Holton-Hodson to discuss why she got involved with Solar Cookers International and explains the different ways of giving. To see the interview, click on the video below. A full transcript of the discussion is also provided.
Hello everyone my name is Morgan Stonefelt, I am the Development Manager here at Solar Cookers International. I’m here with Ruth Holton-Hodson and we are going to chat a little bit about her involvement with SCI. Ruth, tell us a little bit about you and your role here.
As Morgan said I'm Ruth Holton-Hodson, I’m now the Vice-Chair of Solar Cookers International, I’ve been on the board for, this is my fourth year, and I know it is a small but mighty organization. I spent my childhood living overseas so I thought I would really love to get involved in some international volunteer work and guess what, right here in Sacramento was an amazing opportunity. So, for those of you that don’t know about solar cookers, solar cookers are, really, I think, remarkable. And that’s, in fact, why I love Solar Cookers International. So, solar cookers address a multitude of really critical issues. They improve the health of women who no longer have to cook over a fire, so they’re no longer breathing that smoke, they prevent deforestation because those fires are fueled with wood or they’re fired with dung and so when people are taking dung off of the soil, then that depletes the soil for nutrients for agriculture so right there, two terrific things.
Then of course, if you’re not burning wood, you’re not burning dung then you're not contributing to CO2 in the atmosphere which of course is a critical piece of fighting climate change. Then finally you can use solar cookers to pasteurize water which is terrific. And they're easy to construct where the person lives and I think this is critical. This is not about the western world giving people in poor countries a tool that they can't maintain but rather, they can build it themselves which of course then leads to terrific entrepreneurial opportunities for the women that are using them. I can go on and on. Best of all, of course, is the energy is free. It’s the sun, so that frees up income that many people don’t really have to spend on fuel so free energy. Incredible benefits. How could you not love solar cookers? They’re just, they’re really just amazing.
I’ve been an advocate all my life fighting for health care and consumer rights and so I know what it takes to do really good advocacy to push an agenda and it takes exactly what Solar Cookers (International) is doing. Solar Cookers International is building the capacity, of all the organizations around the world that are using and promoting solar cookers in their country. It is doing research to make solar cookers better and more efficient, and finally, it's advocating in international forums like the United Nations to make sure that countries are incorporating the use of solar cookers in their climate change plan. A remarkably small staff and a huge impact.
Thank you so much for that we, appreciate it. Solar Cookers International of course is a non-profit and the way that we are able to do the work that we do is through our donors and our supporters. So, I wanted to know a little bit about how you give and why and how that's set up.
So, I started off giving very traditionally actually writing a check from my checkbook and I wrote one big check and then I upped my contribution and I thought, “Oh that's a big check to write once a year.” So I spread it out over 12 very manageable pieces, and then I heard a talk about how we actually could give a lot more if we didn't think about our checkbook. In other words, what we can give out of our cash on hand if you like, but rather, if we have stocks you can give and I thought, “Well let me try that.” And the stock market this year, it did so well, in fact, I went one step further and I took some stock and I used it to open up a fund at the Sacramento Regional Foundation. And by selling my stock and giving it to the Sacramento Regional Foundation, I avoided all my capital gains tax on that stock which was really helpful.
And so now I'll be having a check written out of my fund from the from the Sacramento Regional Foundation and the benefit of that is that I can give more to causes that I care about and it’s not coming out of my checkbook. So, I actually feel like I have more, which means I can give more to the organizations. So, really, it’s a win-win for everybody.
Thank you so much for sharing that it's really important that donors know that there are multiple options and ways to give. I definitely want to invite anyone watching this video to reach out to us if you're interested in other ways to give or more information. You can reach out to me directly. As I said my name is Morgan, you can email me at email@example.com or you can call the office directly at 916-455-4499. Is there anything else you would like to add before we sign off?
I would say, you know, it doesn't take much to advance the use of solar cookers around the world. It doesn't take much at all.
Thank you so much, we appreciate it.