Life Is Good is a New England based company that spreads optimism and helps children in need through their products and their non-profit work. They originally just sold t-shirts and as the company expanded so did their wardrobe. Now, they sell everything from skirts to mugs all in support of positivity and helping kids feel that positivity. Every year Life is good celebrates this optimism at their festivals. At their 2012 festival, they raised over a million dollars for children in need not including the products they've sold as well as the other fundraisers that has helped them raise over 8 million dollars to date.
The Life is good Playmakers mission is to help kids overcome illness, poverty and violence. They use the power of joyful play to heal. Playmakers include teachers, counselors, healthcare professionals and child care providers who have dedicated their lives to helping children reach their full healthy, happy, joyful potential. They use play to help children explore, learn, and connect to reach this potential.
Bert Jacobs started The Life is good company with his brother John in 1994 after many years of working as a pizza delivery guy and trying to sell t-shirts out of the back of their van. They were almost ready to give up when the brothers came up with Jake; A stick-figure man who's power is positivity and suddenly, a company was born. The company now sells a variety of apparel in 30 countries and over 3000 retailers in the United States. Even after creating a 100 million dollar company, Jacobs stays humble and will continue to spread the positive energy as long as he can.
Michael Franti is a musician and poet from California who is the lead singer of the band Michael Franti & Spearhead. The band has released 8 albums since it came together in 1994. Their latest album is called The Sound of Sunshine, an inspiring album created to bring all types of people a little bit of joy during rough times. Franti joined John Mayer on tour in 2010 and played three different events to celebrate President Barack Obama's Inauguration. Franti has also released two children's books; What I Be and Where In The World Is Away.
Introduction By Meg Zrini
Courtesy of Life is Good
Jacobs shares his joy with all the kids involved with Life is Good.
Interviews Conducted Via Email By Giacinta Pace
Q: Tell us about your Charity?
Bert: Life is good's mission is to spread the power of optimism. We do that with every tee-shirt we make, but the biggest way we do this is through our 501(c)(3) public charity, The Life is good Playmakers. The mission of The Life is good Playmakers is to help kids overcome poverty, violence and illness. The Playmakers train and support frontline professionals such as teachers, social workers and Child Life Specialists, who dedicate their lives to caring for our nation's most vulnerable children. The Life is good Playmakers use the power of play to heal and build strong, healthy relationships. To date we have certified over 3,500 Playmakers who care for over 209,000 children each year.
When you do business with Life is good, you help kids in need. To date, we've raised over $8 million to help kids in need.
The Life is good Festival is taking place this weekend at Prowse Farm in Canton, MA and our goal will be to raise over $1 million for the Playmakers. Dave Matthews, Michael Franti and Sara Bareilles will be headlining, and there will be arts and activities for all ages. It is a 2-day celebration focused on what is right with the world, rather than what's wrong with it.
Q: How did you get involved?
Bert: Children are the ultimate optimists and the ultimate inspiration at Life is good. As a result, Life is good has always given back to kids-focused charities. The work of Steve Gross, who founded a non-profit called Project Joy, really stood out to us. We were both working towards the same goal of spreading optimism and helping kids, so we integrated his nonprofit into The Life is good Company and it became the Life is good Playmakers. Now, everything Life is good does as a company helps Life is good Playmakers in some way.
Q: What is the most moving moment you have had working with the organization?
Bert: In 2000, my brother John and I read an article about an 11 year old named Lindsay Beggan. She was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer and given less than one year to live. Lindsay showed us amazing courage and embraced those three simple words "Life is good" in a way we hadn't even considered. Fortunately Lindsey beat cancer and is healthy today. She inspired us and taught us that the people who face the greatest adversity in life are the ones who appreciate life's simple joys the most.
Q: Anything else to add?
Bert: Help us help kids in need. On Lifeisgood.com, we've created a customizable fundraising platform that provides our community of optimists with tools to create their own fundraisers around activities they already love to do, like having a backyard BBQ or birthday party. It’s as easy as going to Lifeisgood.com/fundraise and setting up your personal page. We want our community of optimists to feel empowered by doing the things that they love to do, all while giving back.
James Minchin III
Franti's joyous and uplifting new album The Sound of Sunshine brings hope to listeners who are having a rough time.
Q: What does being involved with this charity and music festival mean to you?
Michael: Life Is Good Festival benefits Playmakers, a Boston area charity that does "Play Therapy" for youth who have experienced trauma. Most festivals I play at don't benefit any specific cause (except the promoter's bank account) so it's exciting to be involved in an event that has a great intention as it's center piece. Over the past several years I've met many of the kids who are involved in the program and have seen first hand how Playmakers is transforming lives. Another cool part of the Life Is Good festival is that it is dedicated to promoting positivity. I believe that the greatest hurdle the world needs to overcome is not the differences between Left and Right, Republican or Democrat, Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Jew, not even the difference between rich and poor, but rather the battle we all face between optimism and cynicism. Do we sit back, give up and complain about the world's problems or do we believe that it's possible to make a difference? To build bridges where there once were fences. To be part of the politics of answers, not just the politics of anger. That's what I take away from Life Is Good.
Q: Why is it important for celebs to support charities?
Michael: I think it's important that all of us not just those in the limelight are a part of serving the greater good. To be the best we can be as individuals, as a nation, as a planet, we all need to give. Take for example climate change and climate adaptation. The President and a few high profile celebs aren't going to solve the problem. It is going to take the best that science has to offer, the wisdom of indigenous peoples, the resources of the corporate world, the spending power and common sense of everyday folks, the cooperation of governments and the communication power of social and big media. Celebs can help raise money and also may be able to shine a little light on issues that are important to pay attention to, or help make them cool and sexy to care about. But we need everybody.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Michael: This is an election year and it's crucial that all of us who are eligible, register and vote! Hopefully that's obvious to most people, but it's not enough just to be a voter, we need to be INFORMED VOTERS. Seek out the issues and candidates, do some digging and also realize that the President of the USA is a powerful position but not THE ONLY PROBLEM SOLVER. There are 1,461 days between presidential elections that we all have to either sit back and complain or get involved making our own neighborhoods rock!