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Politics and Social Thought

TakeLessons Reaching Out in Africa

By Business Philosophy, Company Culture, Politics and Social Thought No Comments

Here’s a note from one of our Product guys, Marc Wallis. I’m humbled that we’re able to do a small part to help people around the world. While we can’t do everything for everyone, it’s a good start to do something for somebody.


Hey TakeLessoner’s,

I wanted to recap and update on what TakeLessons is doing in Africa:

This past July, I was able to travel to Swaziland, Africa on a humanitarian trip. It was an amazing experience. Swaziland is tiny country the size of New Jersey at the very bottom of the continent. It is a beautiful place with incredible people. It is known in the international community for two primary reasons:

First, it is the last absolute monarchy on the continent. Ever see Coming to America with Eddie Murphy and James Earl Jones?….pretty much sums it up.

Second, it has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world – close to 45%…not really a stat you wanna be known for…

Because of the high rate of AIDS, the 20 – 40yr old demographic, who are the most likely to contract the disease, are disappearing, leaving a huge orphan population to fend for themselves. Luckily, there are many great organizations springing up to help combat the disease and the social/economic problems it creates.

Different charities run small orphanages/after school programs called “care points.” Each care point helps anywhere from 30 – 300 kids, and they are in desperate need of supplies – especially clothing for the kids who often have only one tattered shirt.

TakeLessons was able to help the care points with:

  • Shirts (many kids are cold in the winter. Our shirts will keep them warm. Maybe he’ll be one of our teachers one day. Once Online lessons go global that is)
  • Money for instruments. With the instruments we bought, they are now starting small music schools at the care points!

It is incredible to see this program growing, and to see how music is such a part of the healing process for these kids who have experienced so much loss. It really does give them hope and a way for them to express themselves.

Thank YOU!

Without you, providing instruments and hope through music to these kids would not have been possible. TakeLessons is growing because we all kick ass at our jobs everyday, and seek to be our best here. And growth/profitability for our company means we are in a better position to help with projects like this, and “inspire a new generation of artists through music.”

If anyone has questions about the work we’re doing in Swaziland or wanted to help grow the fledgling music program that we started, let me know!!


Marc Wallis
Project Manager: Product:

Steven Cox makes a fashion statement with an ascot

The Almighty Ascot – A Night at the Feeding America San Diego Charity Fundraiser

By Fashion & Design, Politics and Social Thought No Comments

I admit it.

I’m a sucker for the 1940’s Hollywood glamour look.

I love the seductive wavy hair women like Veronica Lake used to wear.

And, there’s something super cool and nostalgic about the men’s ascot (shown here worn by Cary Grant).

Cary Grant and the Ascot


Tonight, we are going to an awesome charity event for the fine folks of Feeding America. The Sunset Soirée is generously underwritten by the Meyer Family. 100% of the proceeds benefit Feeding America San Diego to create a hunger-free and healthy San Diego. The event is hosted by Larry King, with a special intimate performance by Sheryl Crowe.

Since the fundraiser is on the beach, I’m ditching the tie and going to try the almight ascot – Cary Grant style. I chose a blue suit, a Hammer Made white shirt, white pocket square, and a 60’s psychedelic ascot just to mix things up.

Why Ascot’s are Cool

1. No one else wears them.

2. They don’t choke you like a tie – better to breathe.

3. Lots of different styles to pick from.

4. Slightly nostalgic without getting weird.

5. Exudes a certain level of coolness – no matter who’s wearing it.


Steven Cox makes a fashion statement with an ascot


About Feeding America San Diego

435,700 individuals recieved Feeding America San Diego food assistance last year

Who receives emergency food assistance from FASD?

  •  46% of the members of households are children under age 18
  •  14% of the members of households are children 0-5
  •  3% of the members of households are elderly
  •  About 11% of clients are non-Hispanic white, 16% are non-Hispanic black, 68% are Hispanic, and the rest are from other racial groups
  •  62% of households include at least one employed adult
  •  76% have incomes below the federal poverty level during the previous month
  •  7% are homeless
Food Security
  •  70% of client households are food insecure
  •  41% of the clients have very low food security
  •  Among households with children, 72% are food insecure with very low food security
Choosing Between Food and Other Necessities
  •  62% of clients report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel
  •  62% had to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage
  •  34% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care
  •  48% had to choose between paying for food and paying for transportation
  •  57% had to choose between paying for food and paying for gas for a car
  •  98% of adult clients said they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the amount of food they received from their provider; 96% were satisfied with the quality of the food they received


Pictures from the 2012 Stay Classy Charity Awards, San Diego, CA.

By Politics and Social Thought No Comments

Thanks to the team at Stay Classy for their incredible work putting together a remarkable show. We had a great time hearing incredible stories from non-profits that are making a difference in the lives of millions of people. Even with all the pain, I’m encouraged by a the good that’s happening in the world!

Some of my favorites:

Girls with Sole: Using free fitness and wellness programs in order to empower the mines, bodies, and souls of girls who are at-risk or have experienced abuse of any kind.

The Trevor Project: Helping end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including a 24/7 crisis intervention hotline. Sometimes, the youth just need to hear a voice of understanding on the other end. Helped 350,000 youth last year.

Medical Teams International: Helped 2.1 million people last year by providing medical services to those people affected by disaster, conflict, and poverty.

Raven + Lily: Winner of the Philanthropic Business of the Year. They are a socially responsible brand dedicated to empowering women through design partnerships. They help women learn to make things that can be sold and now employ hundreds of women that would otherwise be ostracized.

The Stay Classy Awards recognize non-profits who have made a significant impact on the lives of people while creating sustainable business models.

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Stay Classy Awards 2012 – Are You Going?

By Fashion & Design, Politics and Social Thought No Comments

Proud to be on the Host Committee for the 2012 Stay Classy Awards with my buds and founders of Stay Classy, Scot Chisolm and Pat Walsh.

The CLASSY Awards is the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country, celebrating the greatest charitable achievements by nonprofit organizations, socially conscious businesses, and individuals worldwide. In 2011, nearly 2,000 organizations and volunteers were nominated for a CLASSY Award, and their collective efforts impacted the lives of more than 200,000,000 people in 71 countries worldwide.

If you’re in San Diego, we’d love to see you at the event.

I’m proud to be on the Host Committee for the 2012 Stay Classy Awards with my buds and founders of Stay Classy, Scot Chisolm and Pat Walsh.






















“Tuxing it Up” for the event