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Sustaining sites and search engines: Mary Anne Bennick clicks her way to websites that have everyone's well-being in mind.

When I think of the words "wellness" or "well-being," I immediately hear my rather s steady, graceful voice and become a six-year-old me again at a church bake-off for charity desperately clutching a double fudge brownie. "Honey, listen carefully," a held smile behind his eyes preparing me for an invaluable life lesson. "It's better to give than receive. So enjoy your brownie, but remember to share, because others are hungry, too." Wise words followed up with a wink!

Many things contribute to our well-being--from delicious, local food with friends, to vitamin supplements, to unabashed laughter, to yoga classes. But above all, well-being is a state that contributes to our health and the health of our environment. Being green and living sustainably means living consciously and choosing to make this world, not just our own lives, healthier. That's why my father's proverb has stayed with me even after his lifetime. So, this month, I set out to focus outside the box of what well-being generally brings to mind and look at products, or companies, that do the same. I turned to charity-based websites. In today's world, we have the power to turn an ordinary event, such as searching the Internet, into something profound--giving back to communities and people in need around the globe.

Using the Web to donate to charities of your choice is a great way to be philanthropic, and you don't even have to leave your living room! For example, is a simple, user-friendly search engine that donates money to a charity or foundation of your choice by virtue of clicking the search button after typing in your inquiry. donates money immediately to that charity and even tracks the amount raised annually! Another great website is It's a game-based site that donates 10 rice grains to the United Nations World Food Program for every answer you get correct. They offer quiz games on topics such as vocabulary building, geography and more. Wish you could Brush up on Spanish, French or German? They even have a foreign language quiz. Want to test your art history skills? Try my favorite: matching paintings with _famous artists from Van Gogh to John Singer Sargent. You're sure to move quickly through their quiz games, which means more rice donated!


Another website making the most of their product is a personal favorite, a site that hosts personalized templates for weddings. Websites such as these are garnering demand amongst couples these days, but only a few are distinguishing themselves from the flock by being charitable. What better way to celebrate a lifetime of love than to begin that life by benefiting others? is the perfect way to cohesively distribute information about dates, RSVP guidelines, directions to events and registries while being able to personalize the look and feel of your wedding. In fact, guest donations to the couple's charity of choice can be made directly or through affiliate registries, such as Target or the coo-friendly Gaiam. For example, when my husband and I recently used IDoFoundation as our wedding website, we chose Doctors Without Borders as one of our charities. Some of our guests made donations in our name, while others decided to visit Bed, Bath and Beyond and Gaiam to select an item from our registry. With each purchase, our registries donated a percentage of their proceed to our charities! Either way, our guests helped us raise money and awareness for a good cause.

With websites such as these, it's never Been easier to give! So make a difference everyday and share the love with philanthropic websites. After all, well-being is about living holistically, so let's make this world the best we can for everyone. Check out, a great place to start researching the "how-to" and "to-whom" of online giving.

Mary Anne Bennick has been successfully shopping for over two decades. Upon completing her B.A. in literature from UNC Asheville, she spent some time abroad teaching and learning how to haggle internationally. She's currently avoiding therapy for being a self-professed organic product junkie.
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Author:Bennick, Mary Anne
Publication:New Life Journal
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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