Thursday, January 31, 2013

$1,000 A Day Awarded To Change Makers

From Philanthropy Today

Ariel Nessel makes a lot of money, and he wants to give away as much of it as he can. So late last year, the 39-year-old Dallas real-estate developer decided to provide a $1,000 grant every day of 2013 and beyond to support individuals’ small, grass-roots efforts.

Mr. Nessel has long been making regular gifts to charities that focused on social justice, animal rights, and promoting plant-based diets. Over the past five years, he says, he gave more than $700,000 in total...

400_300_stringing_out_bedsThe resulting promise is called The Pollination Project. The mission statement reads, "The Pollination Project believes in the power of ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We make grants to individual change-makers with an idea and a plan to make their community and their world a better place.
Starting January 1, 2013, we give $1,000 seed grants to individual change makers, every day, 365 days a year.

Issues we fund include:
  • compassion towards all life (people, planet, animals)
  • environmental sustainability
  • justice in all of its forms
  • community health and wellness
  • putting consciousness into action
  • social change-oriented arts and culture
The Daily Prism will feature some of these recipients through the year.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Seal Sitters Save Seattle's Seals

Seal Sitters is an all volunteer group who do exactly as the name suggests:  they "babysit" seals--harbor seals, to be exact--and the harbor seal rookery near the city of Seattle, WA.

In 2007 when harbor seals began hauling out on urban beaches around Puget Sound, overly zealous people and sometimes with their dogs couldn't resist getting a closer look at the spotted pinnipeds.  Sadly, if a harbor seal pup has much intervention with us, it could be abandoned by its mother.  That's a death sentence.

This is when Seal Sitters formed to create a safe zone for the seals when hauling out in urban areas.  They also educate the public about the seals.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Don't Shave! Shave Water Use Instead

charity: water's goal is to not only provide clean and safe water to those in need, but to do so through
long-lasting projects implemented by excellent local partners in the countries where they work. "We're not offering grand solutions and billion dollar schemes, but instead, simple things that work. Things like freshwater wells, rainwater catchments and sand filters. For about $20 a person, we know how to help millions," notes the mission statement.

The nonprofit's website tracks every dollar raised .

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sustainable Education

From the Finding the Good website:  

Finding the Good is a multi-faceted 16-week traveling semester program dedicated to the research, study, documentation, and sharing of working models of sustainability..learning is different here…classrooms are fields and farms, rivers and roads, gardens and green buildings, and so many more...We’re here to study what it means to sustain life on this planet and to give you the opportunity to experience the positive, possibility-filled side of environmental awareness and sustainable living...learning community and service, leadership, connection to nature, transdisciplinary learning and youth in action: documentary media making and presenting.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Citizen Science For Ocean Health

A Massachusetts based nonprofit, the Ocean River Institute (ORI) was established to "... lend a hand to environmental specific, meaningful ways. The Ocean River Institute serves as a link between people who want to help and organizations that need their help," explains the website.

A recent Blue Frontier newsletter writes, "...ORI with its 3 person staff works like a blue SWAT team facilitating grassroots efforts, aiding local groups by providing them needed expertise, services, resources, and information around Ecosystem-based ocean management, river science, environmental justice and projects in Florida, the British Virgin Islands and its home state of Massachusetts."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Waiter Serves Tolerance, Defends Special Needs Child

This story brought tears to my eyes.  Yes, there I go showcasing that sensitivity again.  But the story demonstrates, as the mother of the special needs child explains to NBC News, “I was impressed that somebody would step out of their own comfort level and put their job on the line as well as to stand up for somebody else,” she said. “I know Michael did it from his heart, and from reacting to the situation. I don’t think he stopped and thought about what he was doing.”

Photo by Kim Castillo
The story is, a couple entered and was seated at a local restaurant with their Downs Syndrome child.  Customers near them asked the waiter if they could be moved from the family.  The waiter, explains,
“I heard the man say, ‘Special needs children need to be special somewhere else,’” Garcia told NBC affiliate KPRC-TV in. “My personal feelings took over, and I told him, ‘I’m not going to be able to serve you, Sir.’”

“‘How could you say that?’” Garcia said he asked the man before he left the restaurant with his party. “‘How could you say that about a beautiful 5-year-old angel?’”

 The report continues:  As news of Garcia’s action spread across the Internet, with praise for him on the restaurant’s Facebook page and elsewhere, customers have been seeking out Garcia... (The child's mother)  hopes that the story of Garcia’s kindness will lead to greater tolerance for others, especially for those like Milo, who look different than other kids.

“It’s just impressive to see the outpouring of love and support,” she said, adding that she hopes the story encourages “people to stand up for other people who can’t stand up for themselves and that it's worth taking the risk.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Teeth Cleaning Supports Boys & Girls Clubs

From  the Ventura County Star:

To support the programs of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, Channel Islands Family Dental Office is donating 100 percent of every new patient’s regular cleaning in 2013 to the Club.

“It’s great to have the support of community businesses helping to provide a better future for our youth,” said Tim Blaylock, BGCOP Chief Professional Officer. “In this type of endeavor, community members can help the Club while receiving necessary dental care. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Training Pooches To Help Disabled People

It's a good day for the good news about our canine friends.  Canines for Service is a nonprofit that serves persons with disabilities from Virginia to Florida and east of the Mississippi River.

Volunteer foster trainers:
  • Provide indoor shelter, food, water, grooming, care and humane treatment to meet the basic needs of the puppy
  • Attend training classes and socialization outing with the puppy as scheduled and follow CFS training guidelines and protocol
  • Promote the mission of CFS by providing community education regarding disability awareness and service dog information as the opportunities arise when out in public with their service dog puppy
  • Financial responsibility for any and all food, supplies and veterinary care the puppy requires while in their care; they may seek sponsors for this support.
  • Understand that the puppy belongs to CFS and the requirement to relinquish the puppy and any equipment or supplies belonging to the program immediately upon notice.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Website Offers Useful Energy Saving Tips

A non-profit communications website offers useful tips on how to save energy, water, food, and more to the website's visitors.

How to Save Water:
Energy Efficiency in Your Home:
The Sustainable Kitchen:

GRACE Communications Foundation builds partnerships and develops innovative media strategies that increase public awareness of the relationships among food, water and energy systems. By mobilizing philanthropic resources and collaborating with like-minded non-profits and academic institutions, we educate consumers and advocate for policies that:
  • address the environmental and public health effects of industrial food systems
  • support the development of sustainable food distribution networks
  • result in common sense use of water resources for energy and food production
  • provide clean energy alternatives to conventional power systems
  • create and promote prevention techniques individuals and communities can use to improve their health

Monday, January 21, 2013

One Voice for Israel-Palestine Peace

From One Voice InternationalThe Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a global issue of tremendous importance to many in the international community at both the political and grassroots level. However, it is often plagued by oversimplifications and rarely informed by the voices of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, who live the conflict in different ways every day and seek a lasting and just solution that respects each side’s unique rights and guarantees a future of peace and security.

OneVoice recognizes the reality of the occupation creates unequal parties to the conflict. The movement also understands that Israelis and Palestinians equally share the role and responsibility to propel their leaders toward the two-state solution that resolves all final status issues and establishes an independent Palestinian state, based on the borders of 1967, at peace with Israel. This can only be achieved if the international community embraces its role, helping realize the vision of the movement through constructive engagement and action.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Hundreds of thousands" Gave A Day of Service

More on yesterday's MLK Day of Service:
"...nearly 10,000 volunteers at the D.C. Armory yesterday to put together 100,000 care kits for U.S. military personnel, disabled veterans and civilian first responders...It was an amazing day in Washington, DC and across the nation, as millions of volunteers honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a National Day of Service. Points of Light mobilized hundreds of thousands of people, including volunteers who mucked out homes devastated by Hurricane Sandy in New York, transformed veterans' homes in Phoenix, and completed school makeovers in Los Angeles."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

250,000 Volunteer for Day of Service

Michelle Nunn, the CEO for Points of Light writes: 

This weekend, more than 250,000 individuals will honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through hands-on volunteer projects in hundreds of communities nationwide, thanks to the combined efforts of Points of Light and its affiliates, Target and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

On January 19, a day designated by President Barack Obama as a National Day of Service, 10,000 of those volunteers will convene in Washington, D.C. for UNITE America in Service, an event endorsed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Teen's Birthday Benefits Food Bank

community services,food,food banks,groceries,people,special occasions,volunteersToday's local paper announced the donation of 120 pounds of canned goods to a local food bank after a young person celebrated her 14th birthday by organizing a food drive.  Donors were also entered into a raffle to win prizes as opposed to birthday gifts for the birthday girl.

Source: San Luis Obispo Tribune, January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Divers Disentangle Dophin

Divers in Hawaii encountered a wild Bottlenose Dolphin that was entangled with derelict fishing line that impeded its ability to swim.  The divers, on a dive to observe manta rays, were approached by the cetacean that seemed to ask them to remove the fishing hook and line from it. The divers removed the fishing line that was entangled from the dolphin's mouth and pectoral fin. 

This video, filmed last week (Jan. 11, 2013) depicts the compassion, care and communication between humans and marine mammals like this Bottlenose Dolphins.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Group Supports Childhood Well-Being

From Greater Good seeks to prevent and treat childhood illness and disease, and address other issues related to children's health and well-being, including poverty and malnutrition. Existing programs being funded include:
  • Distribution of Vitamin A to strengthen young immune systems and improve resistance to common childhood diseases. Vitamin A supplementation also prevents as many as 400,000 cases of childhood blindness each year.
  • Administration of oral re-hydration formula to children with severe dehydration, a serious killer of children under five worldwide, with 1.5 billion episodes of diarrhea and four million associated deaths each year.
  • Provision of prosthesis to enable child amputees to walk and lead active childhoods. According to The No More Landmines Trust, each year at least 20,000 civilians are killed or injured by exploding landmines. It is estimated that 30 to 40 percent of all landmine victims are under age 15.
  • Restoration of lost eyesight through simple surgeries that reverse blindness caused by cataracts and trachoma. Approximately 500,000 children become blind each year. VISION 20/20 states that once becoming blind, up to 60 percent of children in low income countries are likely to die within one year.
  • Testing of pregnant mothers for HIV as a step toward preventing mother-to-child transmission of the AIDS virus. Every day, 1,500 children are infected with HIV worldwide.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

First Million Dollars For Gun-Control Advocacy

"Steve and Amber Mostyn, wealthy Texas trial attorneys, said today that they are giving $1 million to help start the gun-control advocacy group formed by former Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly," reports Bloomberg news

A coalition of concerned groups are working to enlist religious leaders, mayors, police chiefs and other influential constituents to lobby lawmakers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Proactive Anti-Racism Action


"Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head on and stamped out," wrote the late Pierre Berton, a Canadian broadcaster, journalist and author.  The quote is one of the headers for the website  Artists Against Racism.

Based in Ontario Canada, the non profit formed in the mid-1990s when a rash of racist behavior within Canada and the United States caught the attention of several Canadian journalists, authors, musicians, and artists.

The group's founder writes, "(It) was my time to take action, to also teach the youth, to prevent further racism and to combat what was happening. So I created Artists Against Racism to produce campaigns which would bring the messages of well-known musicians and other artists right into the schools."

The website lists books, movies, and other anti-racism resources for teachers and families, plus actively works within media to spread their message.


Friday, January 11, 2013

"Moral Elevation" from Watching Good Deeds

Editor's Note:  The Daily Prism usually forgoes long articles about the good that dwells around our planet.  But this 2011 piece by Carmen Sobczak for the Greater Good website is worth the repeat.

In a world where “no news is good news” and good news is not news, the media often skim over stories of altruistic behavior, sensationalizing conflict instead. However, a new study suggests that good news can actually inspire good deeds.

The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, examines the warm, uplifting feeling we get from watching someone act with courage or compassion—a feeling psychologists refer to as “moral elevation.” Researchers have found that elevation induces positive emotions, makes people believe in the goodness of humanity, and inspires them to act more altruistically.
Vernon Wiley

In the study, researchers explored whether people are inspired to do good by simply thinking about acts of goodwill without witnessing them firsthand. They also attempted to determine whether common acts of kindness would be enough to elicit feelings of moral elevation, or whether the deeds had to be extraordinary.
Participants read articles and watched videos depicting acts of common or uncommon kindness. Some read about an organization that establishes neighborhood gardens, while others saw a music video illustrating how the singer’s entire budget was used to aid impoverished communities around the world. Participants then had the opportunity to give money to others or keep it for themselves.

The results show that hearing about these good deeds made the participants more likely to give away their money—but only if they had been exposed to an extraordinary good deed, not just an everyday act of kindness. What’s more, participants who saw themselves as highly moral people tended to give money more often than those who did not.

This study has important implications for the news media, which tend to report negative events more often than positive ones. The results suggest that even a subtle shift by the media could have profound effects.

“We have reason to believe that even a seemingly weak stimulus, like a story of moral goodness, can evoke moral elevation responses in nonexperimental settings,” write the authors. Therefore, if the news were to report on impressive good deeds more frequently, perhaps we would see a far-reaching ripple effect among readers.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

International Community Rallies to Save Trapped Orcas

Photo from TheKayuk

An international community is presently at work to rescue a pod of 12 or more killer whales (orcas)  trapped in the frozen Arctic waters in Hudson Bay.

New York Daily News reports, "Inukjuak Mayor Petah Inukpuk said late Wednesday the village will do everything it can to prolong the whales’ lives as national and international efforts mobilize to try and find a way to save the killer whales, also known as orcas.
"We have decided to give aid as much as possible so that those killer whales have a better chance of surviving," Inukpuk said, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
"The local people will be taking out the blocks of ice around the whales (on Thursday). They will also be cutting the ice into blocks to enlarge the (open) water."

Visit Ocean of Freedom for updates on the efforts to rescue the whales:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Turkish Donors Supply Half of Syrian Aid

Over a half-million Syrians seek refuge from their embattled homeland, according to the Syria Regional Refugee Response.

"Over 580,000 winterization items, as well as World Food Programme (WFP) food vouchers & other relief items have been distributed to refugees in Lebanon to date," the website reports one example.

A recent McClatchy Newspapers report writes that there is a desperate plea by neighboring countries and cities that have taken in the refugees, for flour and other basic needs, as well as for Syrians remaining within the beleaguered borders.

The reports concludes with "One surprising aspect of the cross-border aid program is that about half the money or goods for the transports is paid by private Turkish donors, with the rest coming from foreign donors."

Read more here:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Proof of Goodness



Letter to the Editor

Proof of goodness

Published: January 6, 2013 

If you ever doubt the innate goodness of mankind, visit the annual Christmas Party for the Homeless. You will not only witness unprecedented human warmth and generosity, but you will also discover that the SLO community is unquestionably like no other. This year, each of our guests received a decadent meal, music/dancing entertainment and care packages with new winter jackets, sweatshirts, sleeping bags and more.

Tremendous thanks go to: the Odd Fellows, United Way of SLO, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, SLO Camp-n-Pack, Congregation Beth David, Temples Ner Shalom and Ohr Tzafon, JCC of SLO, Mountainbrook Church, Roman Bukachevsky, William Miller, Talley Farms, San Luis Sourdough, Doc Burnstein’s, U-Haul, PG&E, Ride-On, San Luis Garbage, Apple Farm Inn, Marie Callender’s and our fabulous musicians: Billy and Charlie Foppiano, Fran-kie Parades, Jerome Taylor and Paul Rinzler.
We are also grateful to the nearly 100 volunteers who brought us home-cooked food and worked tirelessly throughout the day and the numerous altruistic members of the SLO community who give selflessly year after year in order to make life a little easier for those less fortunate.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Congo 'Hero Women' Seize Internet Control

Maman Shujaa (‘Hero Women’) of the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Enough Project,
a partner of the media group,World Pulse based in Oregon, "...200+ grassroots women leaders who have been using their own homegrown Internet cafĂ© to report out about life in their war-torn region (of the Congo). For the past two weeks, they have been flooding the wires with their signals of distress. 'Please pray for us,' they cried.Enough is enough'...They call themselves 'Maman Shujaa' or 'Hero Women.' From Bukavu—just across Lake Kivu from Goma—they tease each other and fight over 12 computers that take ten minutes to load one page...Despite cramped quarters and outdated technology, these hero women are using the World Pulse platform to organize, to strategize, to share their messages with the world. Recently, they started to dialogue with the women of Liberia who staged their own revolution and managed to elect a woman president. They are forming connections that have the potential to transform their homeland."

Their efforts recently included a petition that urges  t women leaders in the White House—Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, and Michelle Obama, specifically—to take immediate action and end the violence against women in their region.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

" Developing World...too Big for Charity..."


The water and sanitation problem in the developing world is far too big for charity alone. We are driving the water sector for new solutions, new financing models, greater transparency, and real partnerships to create lasting change. Our vision: the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water.

Co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, is a nonprofit organization that has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by providing access to safe water and sanitation. traces its roots back to the founding of WaterPartners International in 1990. In July 2009, WaterPartners merged with H2O Africa, resulting in the launch of works with local partners to deliver innovative solutions for long-term success. Its microfinance-based WaterCredit Initiative is pioneering sustainable giving in the sector.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Town Votes For Environment Over Plastic

Plastic lasts nearly forever and is the most abundant man made product on the planet.  Plastics have changed the world.  And while it is not plastic's fault that much of it winds up in the ocean and/or landfills or on roadsides, pathways and parking lots, this is when it turns nuisance versus convenient. 

The pervasive plastic water drinking bottle is one of the poster children for plastic nuisance.  In Concord, Massachusetts, however, a woman in her 80s took to the campaign trail to ban the sale of single serving water in plastic bottles. At a town meeting the ban was approved and enacted.

While the law is imperfect, the woman who kick-started this campaign said, "What I'm trying to do with this Bylaw is to increase the barriers to buying single-serve bottled water because in order to help people change, you need to put policies in place that steer them away from buying bottled water and toward considering the many other good alternatives... I hope that other towns will consider taking action too."


Fashionistas Strut To End HIV/AIDS

Dominique Auxilly
The Reality of FASHION, The Reality of AIDS is a first-time fundraising event to benefit AIDS United, a nonprofit dedicated to ending HIV/AIDS in the United States.

Celebrity reality stars will strut their stuff down the runway this coming February, with the goal of raising $300,000 to benefit  the "...300,000 people within the U.S., that are infected with HIV/AIDS, and do not know it," according to the event's planners.

Reality TV stars from popular shows like The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, Real Housewives and Glam Fairy will showcase fashions by cutting-edge  rising design star Dominique Auxilly.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Supporting Children Whose Parents Have Cancer

Imagine that you are a child and your parent has been diagnosed with cancer. Your fears easily grow into imagined nightmare scenarios.  

Imagine that you are a parent and you have a cancer diagnosis.  How do you talk with your children to alleviate their fears?

In fact,  The need for emotional support for children whose parents have cancer is greater than ever before, according to The Children's Treehouse Foundation, in Denver, Co.
  •  In the United States, the American Cancer Society estimates that more than 367,000 parents with children under 18 will be diagnosed with invasive cancer each year.
  • For the children, more than 700,000, this permanently changes the family dynamics, evoking in the children many fears, doubts and questions about their future and that of their parents. 
The foundation's mission is  "To ensure that every child whose parent is diagnosed with cancer is given the early tools and emotional support to cope."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"Trust that there is more light just around the corner"

Might we recommend this thoughtful post about our new year:  Every Day is New Year's Day?

"Trust yourself to create the continuing path of beauty, happiness, peace, love, and trust that you want for yourself. Follow your path. Trust it." Seawriter, Jan. 1, 2013