“Weddings are a celebration of a couple’s love – and we think charity is the perfect way to share that love with the world and make the day more meaningful.”
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to chat with Candy Culver of the I Do Foundation. The I Do Foundation partners with couples looking to give back. In the midst of doing things for you, it can be a breath of fresh air to step back, give thanks and help someone else. And it’s easier than you think.
Tell us a little about the I Do Foundation, and how it has evolved.
I Do Foundation helps engaged couples celebrate generously™. It was started on Valentine’s Day 2002 so couples would have a simple way to make charity a part of their wedding. In 2009, to better serve the wedding sector, I Do Foundation became a part of JustGive, the destination for online charitable giving®.
I Do Foundation was the country’s first wedding-focused nonprofit, created not only to help couples raise money for the charity of their choice, but also to change the culture of the bridal industry. In the past 12 years, we’ve become the source for couples who want to bring a charitable and socially conscious focus to their special day.
Couples who come to I Do Foundation are looking for ways to give more meaning to their celebration. Many of them tell us they want to feel good about the wedding they’re having and not get caught up in the wedding frenzy. By giving back to charity, they can make their everyday personal values a part of one of the most special days of their life.
Through I Do, couples can raise money for charity in several eco-friendly and no-cost ways:
Charity Registry – They select charities they care about and encourage guests to make a donation as their wedding gift.
Charity Favors – Their donation to a meaningful cause in lieu of traditional favors can do a world of good.
Charity Gift Cards – They can thank their attendants or vendors with GiveNow charity gift cards. The couple chooses the gift amount; the recipient spends it to support a charity of their choice (more than 1.8 million charities online).
What is the I Do Foundation philosophy?
We want to help change the wedding industry so charity becomes an accepted and expected part of weddings. Weddings are a celebration of a couple’s love – and we think charity is the perfect way to share that love with the world and make the day more meaningful.
The reason we exist is to help couples celebrate generously and give back through their special day. To do that, we share valuable information through our Tips & Ideas and provide easy-to-use ways to include charity in their celebration. This gives them a chance to make their wedding uniquely personal and memorable—one that reflects who they are as a couple and makes an impact on their guests and the world.
What are some of the most popular charitable causes that brides and grooms choose to work with?
Brides and grooms choose causes that are closest to their heart and have special meaning for them. Their causes and charities vary widely. Often, they want to give to a charity because they have lost someone they love to a disease that doesn’t receive enough funding. Others are touched by a recent disaster and want to send help. Many want to give children and families the basics of life, here in the US and around the world: health care, food, water, and shelter. And some want to honor military service and support our troops.
The top 10 charities that have received donations from couples through I Do in the past 12 years are: American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project International, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Oxfam America, Save The Children, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
What is your favorite part about working at the I Do Foundation?
I feel proud that through I Do Foundation and its partners, more than 75,000 couples have sent over $6.5 million to charity. Our work is making a real difference!
At the end of the day, it’s great to know we’ve helped connect couples to causes they care about and given them a way to make their special day more meaningful. They share their love—and charities get more help to provide services and programs that make the world better. While I’m only one member of the passionate team at I Do Foundation, I’m a part of creating a bigger giving circle, and that makes me really happy about what we do.