Friday, June 22, 2018

Nonprofit Addresses Suicide in America

This week’s Business of Giving features Tyler Norris, CEO of the Well Being Trust, the largest national foundation focusing on mental health. Following recent high-profile suicides, Norris says, it’s important to make it normal and safe to discuss anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts the same way people discuss diabetes or knee injuries.

American lives are shorter on average than those in other wealthy nations, and the gap is growing ever wider according to the latest data released by the Center for Disease Control. In fact, it appears that in 2017, US life expectancy will drop for a third year in a row, an event that hasn’t occurred in over a hundred years. As Americans, we are not faring well. But there’s a young organization that is dedicated to advancing the mental, social, and spiritual health of the nation. It’s called Well Being Trust.

Listen to the podcast, which is hosted by Denver Frederick, or read the transcript here: Transcript

Here's the link:  Well Being Trust podcast 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Food Pantries Established on College Campuses

SCHENECTADY, N.Y.—Free food pantries are becoming nearly as common as the campus bookstore at a growing number of colleges.

More than 570 campus food pantries nationwide are registered with the College and University Food Bank Alliance, which formed in 2012 and helps colleges set up food pantries and other hunger programs. New York recently required that they be established at all institutions in its state university system.

"You can't concentrate when you're hungry; you're irritable, you're not focusing. I did not perform well on some exams," said Manhattan Community College student Melanie Aucello, who is working on a college degree in hopes of improving her family's quality of life.

A report published this month by a lab at the University of Wisconsin found 36 percent of 43,000 students attending two- and four-year colleges who were surveyed in 20 states had trouble getting enough to eat, threatening the academic success that's key to overcoming poverty.

Among community college students alone, 42 percent struggled to pay for balanced meals.

"We see food-insecure students devote as much time to school and homework as other students, but they also work longer hours and get less sleep," said Sara Goldrick-Rab, a Temple University sociologist and founder of the HOPE (Harvesting Opportunities for Postsecondary Education) Lab at Wisconsin.

Studies, she said, have shown such students are likely to have lower grades and graduation rates.

For young students from well-to-do families, spending time as a starving student scarfing ramen noodles is often written off as a humorous rite of passage. But the demographics of typical college students are changing, and for many, hunger is a serious reality, Dr. Goldrick-Rab said.

Food insecurity is related to soaring college costs, stagnant family incomes, a poor labor market for part-time workers, and employment requirements that make food stamps inaccessible, Goldrick-Rab said. There are also more low-income students, sometimes with children of their own, she said.

"There is no typical student who's food insecure; it can impact any type of student," said Clare Cady, a Temple University official who is co-founder of the College and University Food Bank Alliance.

Food pantries cost little to colleges because they're typically run by volunteer students and faculty and are supported by donations of food and money.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

$4,000/Minute Now Being Raised to Help Reunite Immigrant Families

(CNN)In less than four days, a California couple has raised more than $4 million -- and counting -- through Facebook to help reunite undocumented families that have been separated at the border.

Charlotte and Dave Willner were inspired to start the campaign when they saw the viral image showing a frightened, crying 2-year-old girl looking up to the adults around her after crossing the border. The girl, who was with her mother and others, had rafted across the Rio Grande and the group was stopped in Texas by US Border Patrol agents.

...The Willners originally started their fund-raising campaign named "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child" on Saturday morning with the goal of $1,500. But soon their efforts went viral.
The couple chose to raise money for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a nonprofit located in Texas that offers free and low-cost legal services to immigrants and refugees. The original goal of $1,500 was the minimum amount to cover bond fees for one person, according to RAICES.

By Tuesday morning, the campaign surpassed $4 million, with more than 96,000 people donating. Its new goal is $5 million.

"The run rate over the last 3 hours was nearly $4k every minute," posted Dave Willner on Facebook.
RAICES confirmed to CNN that the organization has been in contact with the couple since Saturday.
"We do not have the words to thank Charlotte and Dave Willner," RAICES posted on Facebook. "We've been occasionally crying around the office all day when we check the fundraising totals. There are terrible things happening in the world. And there are many people who are deciding not to look away but to do something."

Monday, June 18, 2018

Seeing the Divine in Others

The voices for justice and compassion are reaching a fevered pitch in America. As we each learn of the unprecedented separation and incarceration of immigrant families, spiritual and social leaders are speaking out and challenging a power base that appears to lack empathy for those who have nothing. The Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM has a week-long series "An Unequivocal Call to Justice." The following is an brief excerpt from this series:


Let’s first call justice giving everything its full due. Thus, it must begin with somehow seeing the divine (ultimate value) in the other. If we really see someone in their fullness, we cannot help but treat them with kindness and compassion.

Even as we know that every human’s being is inherently and equally good, dignified, and worthy of respect, we cannot ignore our very real differences. The problem is that the ego likes to assign lesser and greater value based on differences. Until all people everywhere are treated with dignity and respect, we must continue calling attention to imbalances of privilege and power. Arbitrary, artificial hierarchies and discrimination are based on a variety of differences: for example, gender, sexuality, class, skin color, education, physical or mental ability, attractiveness, accent, language, religion, and so on...

...We must work to dismantle systems of oppression while at the same time honoring our differences and celebrating our oneness! This takes a great deal of spiritual maturity. Unity, in fact, is the reconciliation of differences, not the denial of them. Our differences must first be maintained—and then overcome by the power of love (exactly as in the three persons of the Trinity). We must distinguish and separate things before we can spiritually unite them, usually at cost to ourselves, especially if we are privileged (see Ephesians 2:14-16).

God is a mystery of relationship, and the truest relationship is love. Infinite Love preserves unique truths, protecting boundaries while simultaneously bridging them.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Marin County Encourages All Electric, Solar Powered Buildings

Governments looking for ways to slash fossil fuel use and meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals are turning to their increasingly carbon-free grids to decarbonize buildings.

The Board of Supervisors in Marin County, California recently approved energy-efficiency updates to its green building requirements that include provisions providing a compliance pathway for all-electric buildings. The updated standards apply to new buildings in unincorporated areas of the county.

In an interview, Alice Zanmiller, sustainability planner with Marin County’s Community Development Agency, said the move to encourage all-electric buildings is directly connected to the increased availability of renewable electricity in the county.

The baseline electricity mix offered by MCE, the community-choice aggregator that supplies electricity to Marin County and more than a dozen other San Francisco Bay Area jurisdictions, is 50 percent renewable. Customers can opt for the 100 percent renewable energy “Deep Green” option for a slight premium.

With a much cleaner grid, said Zanmiller, the county “recogniz[ed] that these new buildings are really opportunities to reduce our ongoing natural-gas use.”

Read the complete report at Green TechMedia

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Craigslist Founder Donate $20 Million to Journalism School

NEW YORK (AP) — Craigslist founder Craig Newmark is donating $20 million to the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism .

The institution will be renamed the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

Newmark says it's important to build a sustainable future for trustworthy journalism.

The New York Times says Craigslist put a dent in newspaper classified ads and is often blamed, in part, for the industry's revenue decline.

Newmark says newspapers started losing circulation and revenue "long before Craigslist."

He's also made major donations to other institutions devoted to journalism.

Newmark, who's making the donation through Craig Newmark Philanthropies, says he especially admires CUNY's (KYOO'-neez) commitment to diversity and scholarship support.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

FREE Workshop "Overcoming Chaos" Starts 6/14/18

Tomorrow is the BIG day! (June 14)

The free 4-part “Overcoming Chaos” online video workshop with Deepak is kicking off at 7 AM PT!

If you haven’t registered… now is the time!

The first session is all about resolving conflicting from within.

Here’s just a few of the things Deepak’s getting ready to show you tomorrow:

  • Why internal conflict arises
  • Crucial questions to ask yourself when confronted with conflict
  • 7 key steps to resolve conflict with others
  • Why meditation significantly reduces the negative effects of conflict

Whatever obstacles and challenges you are currently facing... this workshop is here to help you move past life’s adversities and experience your full potential.

  • Anxiety about the future
  • Overwhelm from work
  • Disconnect from retiring
  • Stress from running a household
  • A past trauma that is holding them back from happiness
  • A lack of energy and motivation
  • Or simply looking to enhance their lives.

Whatever obstacles and challenges you are currently facing... this workshop is here to help you move past life’s adversities and experience your full potential.

You’ll also receive a very special guided meditation and workbook to help you work through the internal struggles that you’re currently facing.

But you’ll have to be quick, as it all starts TOMORROW!

The Chopra Center