Monday, April 30, 2012

Laughing in Africa

From Philanthropy Today:
Nyla Rodgers is one charity official who is fed up with the way nonprofits represent Africa. Too often she sees depictions of AIDS, warfare, famine, hopelessness, desperation, and dependence on a Western hero... her charity, Mama,  started working to create new perceptions of Africa and to show that it is full of capable people with the potential to support themselves. Her nonprofit has released three videos over the past year as part of its “Stop the Pity” campaign, using humor to create a new conversation about the continent and humanize the people who live there.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Venture Capital to Charities

(Reuters) - In an effort to kickstart more charitable giving around Silicon Valley, the six general partners at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz are pledging to give half of their lifetime income from venture capital activities to charity.

In addition, the partners plan to donate $1 million immediately to six Silicon Valley nonprofits, ranging from food to youth programs....Individuals ranging from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to filmmaker George Lucas have signed on. The group includes venture capitalists John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ending An Urban Food Desert

Another food desert (urban region with little or no fresh fruits or vegetables available to the surrounding community) and empty lots wasting away with weeds, sick children--possibly from unhealthy environmental conditions, and a single mother reliant on food stamps, created an activist who busted locks on gates to the empty lots so that the neighborhood could grow fresh produce.

The BLK ProjecK was the result of what the founder defines as, "... to address food justice, public & mental health issues as they specifically relate to under-served women of color through culturally relevant education, beautification of public spaces, urban gardening and community programming," as told to Grist.

Besides urban gardening, the program introduced "Holistic Hood.. a program that utilizes yoga, meditative breathing, chanting and other homeopathic practices or programming as coping mechanisms for women in under served neighborhoods. Many women of color in these types of communities have no control over the amount of stress that they encounter in their day to day lives such as single parent or single income homes, working while continuing their schooling, relationship issues and incarcerated family members. These are just a few of the issues women in the South Bronx and neighbors like it across the country deal with."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bringing Sight To the Poor

I read a piece in today's news about a local student now attending Princeton University who seeks donations to help prevent blindness in Honduras.  His goal is to actively volunteer in Honduras for Unite For Sight.

The website explains, "Unite For Sight supports eye clinics worldwide by investing human and financial resources in their social ventures to eliminate patient barriers to eye care. Unite For Sight applies best practices in eye care, public health, volunteerism, and social entrepreneurship to achieve our goal of high quality eye care for all...To date, we have provided eye care services to...the world's poorest... more than 1,300,000 people worldwide, including more than 49,000 sight-restoring North America, Africa and Asia."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Restoring Family for Youth at Risk

The prospect of succeeding once aged out of foster care is small.  A non-profit stared in Tennessee has reversed likely social failure into success for young people who have grown up in foster care.  Youth Villages  addresses critical needs of some of the most vulnerable young people – those who are leaving state custody because they have “aged out” at 18 years old without family and other supports to rely on.

Twelve states now offer the program where  transitional living specialists work one-on-one with young adults and are available to them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They meet with each young person a minimum of twice each week at the youth’s home, job, or wherever is most convenient for the young person. They work intensively with the young adults to set and reach goals to find affordable and safe housing, find jobs, access health care, continue their education, and develop relationships with positive adults who can support them in the future.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Students Help Students

Summer Search North Bay, Petaluma, Calif.Fifty-five youth from Summer Search North Bay, which strives to develop leadership potential of promising low-income high school students, constructed a fence around a community garden, planned children's activities, cleaned the grounds of an area high school and restored trails at a local forest preserve.

"The mission of Summer Search is to find resilient low-income high school students and inspire them to become responsible and altruistic leaders by providing year- round mentoring, life-changing summer experiences, college advising, and a lasting support network," reads the website.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Waste Busting Students Clean Up

An elementary school science teacher brought her class to a site where a community affair recently took place so that the students could understand how waste affects the nearby ocean. This year's 6th grade class, according to an essay recently submitted to a Friends of the Elephant Seal essay contest,  "was so...disgusted by the things that ocean debris has done, that we took it up a step more."  They founded Waste Busters, cleaned up in front of local stores, showed the shopkeepers how much trash they collected, then created a slide show and presented it to both the Chamber of Commerce and the sanitary district.

The result:  "The sanitary district gave us a thousand dollars for new recycling bins."  The students are seeking additional funds for their community's clean up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bring Big Ideas To A Community

Share, Be Kind, Help Others, Be a Good Friend, Play Fair, Have Respect, Be Truthful, Believe in Yourself, Work Together and Be Responsible

So professes the childrens book character, Clifford the Big Red Dog.  For the 4th year, the character's publisher has announced its  BE BIGTrademark symbol, a  campaign that invites everyone, big and small, to take action and raise awareness for how Clifford's BIG Ideas can make the world a better place.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nurturing Chinese Orphans

About 1-million children in China are orphans or abandoned, for a variety of reasons. A non-profit called Half the Sky was established to enrich the lives of these children.

From the website:

Half the Sky’s responsive, child-centered approach focuses on nurturing the whole child. It draws from the Western Reggio Emilia approach to enhancing each individual child’s development and from the Chinese educational mandate that children learn about the arts, the sciences, language, social development and health.

The goal is to prepare children to enter society at an intellectual and social level with their peers while surrounding them with a stimulating, healthy emotional environment.

Half the Sky's approach, adapted to each developmental stage, offers continuity of nurturing care, from birth to young adulthood.

Happily, that approach is now being shared with child welfare workers across China.

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Here Comes the (Charitable) Bride...& Groom"

The wedding season nears and couples have an option:  a registry for gifts, or a registry for gifts to charity.

The I Do Foundation   offers a Charity Registry, where couples can  share the generosity of their  guests directly with their chosen charitable cause. Guests can make secure online donations in support of the organization of the couple's choice as their wedding gift .

Green options for weddings are also included on the website, which also list green honeymoons.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

200 Volunteers Tidy Up City

"More than 200 helpers, mostly members of local churches, completed service projects around Santa Maria…The work day consisted of cleaning up parks and a couple of houses…and planting 40 trees at Preisker Parks and spreading bark chip there.”
They also built handicap ramps at a local home of a family need.  The home was chosen by the city code enforcement.  The volunteers also removed trees that presented a danger to the family’s health
Sources: Santa Maria Times & KSBY News

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kiribati Meets Marine Protected Area Goal

     While free from the local stresses that degrade reefs or might cause coral bleaching, the Phoenix Islands have not been spared the threat of global warming. In late 2002 one of the hottest ever-recorded warming events that has affected any reef around the world hit the Phoenix Islands. Because of their remote and pristine nature, high levels of damage were restricted to small areas within the Phoenix Islands, with many reef areas showing greater resistance and resilience to bleaching than have been documented elsewhere in the world. Their remoteness and the guaranteed protection by the Phoenix Islands Protected Area will help the Phoenix Islands to remain as one of the least-impacted reef systems to climate change and serve as a model target for protecting and rehabilitating other reefs heavily degraded by humans.

        With a size of 408,250 km2 (157,626 sq. miles) it is the largest marine protected area in the Pacific Ocean and the largest marine conservation effort of its kind by a Least Developed Country (LDC).
        Kiribati first declared the creation of PIPA at the 2006 Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Brazil. On January 30, 2008, Kiribati adopted formal regulations for PIPA that more than doubled the original size to make it at that time the largest marine protected area on Earth. In 2010 PIPA was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is the largest and deepest World Heritage site on Earth.

Resource  :

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Private Groups Bring Blessings in Backpacks

They were named the 2012 Charity of the Year...and it's a great idea that grows.  It's called, Blessings in a Backpack.

"Blessings in a Backpack provides elementary schoolchildren who are on the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal Program with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends during the school year. Backpack food includes easy-to-prepare, ready-to-eat foods, like granola bars, juice boxes, mac and cheese, and oatmeal," the website explains.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Six Degrees Closer to Good

The popular game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the actor/musician, inspired him to create an internet fundraising site for good, called

A gift card, called a Good Card  "The Good Card®
is a gift card with stored value that can be redeemed as a donation to any of more than 1.2 million charities.  Send it via postal mail, email or print it at home today; it is quick and easy, but also meaningful...You Choose the Amount ... They Choose the Cause.  Your friends and family all have their favorite causes. By giving them a Good Card®, you can show them that their passion is your passion," explains the website.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Donkeys Rescued In Texas

Still reeling from the worst drought since 1895, some Texas ranchers are forced to unload livestock. 

"Donkeys are especially suffering as they cannot be sold when the owner is no longer able to feed and water them.  This has created a huge problem in donkey abandonment," explains the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue website.  "The solution that is being taken by more and more people across Texas is to simply abandon their unwanted and worthless donkeys along a stretch of empty road.  These donkeys are usually discovered by law enforcement and we are called.  Ranging in numbers from 3 to 16, we have made these rescues all across the Lone Star State."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Loving Touches Can Go a Long...Way"

A retired teacher sat with her hospitalized husband (who owned and operated a scrap-metal business) who lit up when a visitor brought him a teddy bear. 

A friendship developed between the three. The woman who brought the teddy bear as a gift discovered that this couple were generous, but anonymous donors to the community. The couple suggested that they would donate to the hospital. 

"Soon after that, (the husband) died. Officials invited his family to the dedication ceremony for the chapel. The relationship that gesture built helped persuade the couple  to provide a $1-million gift in December to pay for a holistic cancer-treatment center."

 “Loving touches can go a long, long way,”  a hospital representative said. And a teddy bear, for that matter.

Source:  Philanthropy Today

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bringing Sports To Less Fortunate Kids

Founded in 2002, the Wayne Gretzky Foundation’s mission is to provide less fortunate youth with the opportunity to experience the sport of hockey. This goal will be accomplished through the donation of hockey equipment and ice time, as well as providing the opportunity for young people to attend professional hockey games. The Wayne Gretzky Foundation believes that hockey instills many positive life skills and contributes to the physical, emotional and social growth of young people.

It's not just about equipping kids for hockey.
It's about equipping kids for life
Wayne Gretzky

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Shelter for Homeless Women & Children Future Secured

From the Miami Herald:

Lotus House, the innovative women and children’s shelter in Overtown founded by former real estate developer and investor Constance Collins, has received a $20 million pledge from developer Martin Z. Margulies that will ensure its survival “for generations,’’ the program’s founder said.
Since its founding six years ago in a small, formerly vacant apartment house that Collins purchased, Lotus House has expanded rapidly to several adjacent, brightly painted buildings with beds for 110 women and children and a free health clinic set around lush gardens.
The shelter, the only one in Miami-Dade focused exclusively on women and kids, has been praised for a unique therapeutic approach to helping its “guests,’’ as residents are known, that blends hard-nosed counseling and job training with art and alternative therapies.
Read more here:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Generosity Funds Historic Scientific Workshop

Spyhopping gray whale at San Ignacio Lagoon,
Baja California.  C. Coimbra photo.
Private donors funded a recent scientific workshop where scientists and researchers met in San Francisco to present current data from a variety of marine research disciplines. "The workshop will be the first comprehensive status review of the Gray Whale since 1999," notes the California Gray Whale Coalition, the non profit that recently hosted the environmental workshop for over 20 scientists and researchers.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Website Showcases Selfless Acts

Suddenly all the work one plans to accomplish during the day falls to the wayside as one sits transfixed infront of the live cam broadcasting from

The website notes that the site " a philanthropic based media to champion the selfless acts of others, create a portal into the soul of humanity and inspire lifelong learning. "

This morning the live cam on Siku, a polar bear cub now in foster care at the Scandinavian Wildlife Park in Denmark,!/live-cams/player/siku-cam-2