January 01, 2010 — Photolanthropy
(noun. the desire to promote the welfare of others through photography)
Charity: Mothering Across Continents (MAC), www.motheringacrosscontinents.org. Their slogan is ''Adopting dreams. Raising tomorrow's leaders.''
About the Photographer: Mimika Cooney (owner of Photo Lyrical Photography) www.photolyrical.com, 1-888-344-0894. Mimika will be teaching a MasterClass at the UK SWPP (Society of Wedding & Portraits Professionals, England) in London in January called ''From Budget to Brand: Building a Designer Label Studio." She has been a member of the British society since she started her photography business in England back in 2003, and she is one of their qualified Licentiate members. Since moving to the United States in 2006, she has re-established her studio in Charlotte, NC.
For more information about Photo Lyrical & Mothering Across Continents, visit http://www.photolyrical.com/charity.htm.
How did you get involved?
I was invited by a fellow South African to be part of their initial launch in Charlotte, NC in 2007. As a South African, the charity's focus of assisting children and orphans affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa was a plea close to my heart. Having grown up in South Africa I was well aware of underprivileged children and families who were living in poverty and adversely affected by the disease. I personally believe that when we've been blessed with talents that can be used to benefit others that it's our human duty to help.
How can other photographers get involved?
Other photographers who are interested in setting up their own Charity Calendar project can get in touch with me. I've developed a system, marketing and promotion tools, templates and a step-by-step guide. Since the charity focuses on mothering it suits a family-oriented portrait business well, but there are no restrictions to anyone making use of the system. Supporters are welcome to designate MAC as their chosen charity for any fundraising efforts such as organizing an in-company raffle. Donations to the charity can be made online through their website.
What has this project given back to you?
As a mother myself, I have gained an appreciation of how much I'm blessed with and how many of us take so much for granted living in a first world country. I'm proud to leave a legacy that my children can be proud of. I've had to challenge myself and reprioritize my life and my business and ask why I do what I do. I firmly believe that as artists if we only focus on building our own bank balances, we miss out on life's most rewarding challenges. Follow your heart and give of yourself and the blessings will find you. I've benefited from the tremendous amount of positive feedback from my local community (with five front page newspaper press releases that has cemented my brand in my community), so I've increased my client base substantially. I look forward to making it an annual project and using my talents to give back where it's most needed.