Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vacation Break

C. Coimbra Photo

It's summer here in California.

The Daily Prism will savor some off-time.

Back soon.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ten Tips For Peaceful Coexistence

C. Coimbra photos
"Whether we assume a high position in human society or are very simple people, we all long for peace of mind and a peaceful coexistence with others," says the Dalai Lama.  

  1. Seek to love, not control others.
  2. Moderate convictions, release absolutes.
  3. Develop tolerance.
  4. Gratefulness.
  5. Accept peace, decline violence.
  6. Reflection.
  7. Be forgiving, not revengeful.
  8. Celebrate the joy in the world's wonders.
  9. Quiet meditation time.
  10. Be the change you want to see.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Donations for Central American Kids at US Border Pour In

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The growing immigration problem plaguing the nation’s southern border has left thousands of children seeking a better life awaiting deportation.
It has people across the metro pitching in, hoping to make a difference while those children wait.
“Children are our future wherever they come from,” Sylvia Ramos said.
For the thousands of children, some as young as 5, and many fleeing Central America, the waiting game is on as they prepare to be sent back to wherever it is they were running from.
“It’s quickly become apparent that this is a humanitarian crisis and that the children are refugees,” said Anita Amstutz, the pastor at Albuquerque Mennonite Church.
It’s a crisis that Amstutz is taking personally. Over the weekend, she asked parishioners to donate items to help those kids at the border.
“How we care for one another is absolutely of upmost importance as human beings,” Amstutz said.
Donations of diapers, canned food and clothing have been showing up.
…Those pitching in say “grown-up politics” and problems at the border shouldn’t be taken out on the children.
So everyone here is coming together, stuffing two cars full of items, to send to the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces which has been taking in some of those children awaiting the next step.
…Working alongside “Project Oak Tree,” which helps out refugees, the goal is to simply do good – even if it’s just temporary – knowing that ultimately, much more needs to happen.
…Donations are also pouring in from a church in Rio Rancho.

Volunteers will pick up goods Monday, too, at the Quaker Church at 6th and Bellamah. They are looking for things like rice, beans, tortillas, milk and toiletries.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

U.S. Faith-Based Groups Come to Aid Immigrant Children

As thousands of Central American children, some in family units, many with a mother, others completely alone seek refuge in the United States, a crisis has ensued. 

“In fiscal year 2014, an estimated 70,500 children are expected to get apprehended at the border — including 52,000 children from Central America,” reports Vox.  That’s up 92 percent from this time last year.
It is true that there are Americans who protest against these children, but, there are thousands who recognize the circumstance as a humanitarian crisis and work to provide basic human needs and legal aid.
Think Progress writes, “An unlikely coalition of faith groups are coming to the aid of unaccompanied children currently stranded along the U.S. border, with evangelicals, Catholics, mainline Christians, and even Glenn Beck setting aside some political and theological differences to call for increased assistance for minors ensnared in the growing immigration crisis.”
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) “… was founded by Angelina Jolie and the Microsoft Corporation to create a pro bono movement of law firms, corporations, nongovernmental organizations, universities and volunteers to provide quality and compassionate legal counsel to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children in the United States.
“KIND serves as the leading organization for the protection of unaccompanied children who enter the US immigration system alone and strives to ensure that no such child appears in immigration court without representation. We achieve fundamental fairness through high-quality legal representation and by advancing the child's best interests, safety, and well-being,” explains the nonprofit’s website.
According to Giving City Austin, Catholic Charities of Dallas "are currently accepting monetary donations, seeking attorney volunteers and other types of volunteers. The Catholic Charities of Central Texas likely will aid these unaccompanied children, too.”
Other faith-based groups, like Texas Baptist Men, are already providing laundry and shower facilities at a Brownsville immigrant youth camp.

Friday, July 11, 2014

"Bringing Healing to Hurting Humanity"

We strive to not only teach women and men how to recover through the classes we offer, but also to prepare them to become mentally, physically, and partially financially stable for their future through our educational program.
Our Mission
Our mission is “Bringing Healing to Hurting Humanity.” We are dedicated to providing practical and spiritual training to rehabilitate broken men and women. Our goal is to prepare these individuals to return to their families and communities, healed from the chains of addiction.
Our Goal

By “Bringing Healing to Hurting Humanity“, those we counsel and mentor can realize their dreams as they move into their destiny, learning how to recover, how to break free from their addictions, anger and grief, and how to set boundaries in their lives–tools they will need once they enter back into society.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Daily Giving"--A Generous Idea Outside of Nonprofits

C. Coimbra photo
On July 9, 2014, Philanthropy Today published an opinion piece by Mark Rosenman, professor emeritus at Union Institute and University, that reviewed a recent Pew Research report Political Polarization in the American Public:  How Increasing Ideological Uniformity and Partisan Antipathy Affect Politics, Compromise and Everyday Life.
Rosenman's concern, "Whatever little remained of the 1980s’ 'compassionate conservatism' has evaporated in the heat of today’s Republican extremism. More than three quarters of American conservatives now think that the poor 'have it easy,' according to a two-part study released by the Pew Research Center last month.
"... Such politically motivated blindness should be the source of profound distress for the nation’s nonprofits, even if their missions deal with problems other than poverty. Blaming the victim does not bode well for any nonprofit effort.
"After all, most problems charities try to solve are the result of major shortcomings in the economy and in society’s institutions. Putting the onus on those who suffer is uncharitable but it also undermines public willingness to support government programs or to act philanthropically.
"There is evidence of such a phenomenon when well more than half of conservatives believe that someone is poor because of a 'lack of effort' on his or her part while fewer than 30 percent of them believe that poverty results from 'circumstances beyond [people’s] control.' "
While the Daily Prism is not a political format, it is a format for compassion, care, and generosity.  With the above review of a reduced giving to those in need, we are sharing here, The Pollination Project's Daily Giving program.

How to Create Your Own Daily Giving Practice
> First, ask yourself:  how much money do you feel comfortable giving away every day?
> Now add more to that number – just enough that you are a little uncomfortable.  (We usually tell people to just double the amount they are comfortable giving).   This is the amount you should commit to give every day.
> Create a ritual or prayer around the daily practice- make it intentional.
> See what it takes to put that money in your daily giving bank when you feel broke one day.  Notice what you do when you skip a few days.
> When you are ready to give the money away, make a commitment to connect authentically with whomever you give it to.  Don’t just make a donation online and wipe your hands clean of it.  Connect with a human being who is in need and give money to that person. Give it to a nonprofit or group that you love, and tell them WHY you picked them and why you are investing your generosity money in their work.  Go outside your comfort zone!

To help you with the practice, we’d like to offer you a daily giving bank to support your daily giving practice in 2014. The banks were made by the children of Earn and Learn in Ahmedabad, India (one of our grantees). The children have collected and decorated reused plastic water bottles and turned them into beautiful daily giving banks.

Just email us to order one and consider paying it forward if you are inspired (but this is not required). Our goal is to spread the daily practice of generosity and giving. Email us at: to order yours.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tragedy Creates a Foundation for Good

Cahterine's Peace Team.  Photo from CVHF website.
HARTFORD, Conn. - Before she was killed in the Newtown school massacre, 6-year-old Catherine Violet Hubbard raised money from returnable bottles and cans to buy bones for dogs at the pound and designed business cards for an imaginary animal shelter, listing herself as "caretaker."

Her pretend animal shelter is now on track to become a reality as the state prepares to transfer 34 acres of a former psychiatric facility to a foundation raising money to build an animal sanctuary to honor the life of the little girl who was one of 20 first-graders killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

…Plans for the sanctuary in her name include a shelter and adoption center for cats and dogs, a refuge for farm and work animals, and a rescue and release program for injured, native wildlife. Plans also include a state-of-the-art veterinarian clinic and a welcome center where educational programs will be held. The goal is to open the main building in Newtown in 2016.

…For Jenny Hubbard and her husband, Matt, who each have business backgrounds and wrote the sanctuary's business plan, the project has been both a healing and humbling experience. They've been amazed by the outpouring of support. To date, $800,000 has been donated, even though formal fundraising efforts have not yet begun. Various professionals, from veterinarians to a Newtown architectural firm PH Architects, have donated their services.

From Newsday

Monday, July 7, 2014

Serving the Story--A Blog About Volunteers

C. Coimbra Photo
While volunteering recently I met a person who writes a blog about volunteers.  Imagine that! 

I often wonder if people who serve have a slightly different color of red that colors their blood.  It's a generous passion that crosses every single culture on the planet, from my Nepali friend, a sherpa,  who seeks world peace, to the generous 1% gazillionaires who promise at least half of their net worth to charity.  

 Serving the Story is the subject blog. As defined by its author, "...a blog dedicated to narratives of service to others, ranging from the inspirational and the heartbreaking to the philosophical and even humorous. This allows me, as its creator, to fuse two sides of my own story – that of a lifelong writer in journalistic and creative forms and, at the same time, someone who, like all the readers of this blog, find meaning through acts of service, large or small."

I will probably, from time to time, visit Serving the Story and share the good works that others do--that giant, but quiet army of people who serve the greater good.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Devoted to Orphaned Rhinos and Elephants

Founded in 1977…in honour of… naturalist and founding Warden of Tsavo East National Park, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the  David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) claims a rich and deeply rooted family history in wildlife and conservation.
Mission statement
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.

At the heart of the DSWT’s conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. The Orphans’ Project exists to offer hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Case for Cash for the Poor

In the wake of Chinese tycoon Chen Guangbiao’s failed attempt last week to hand out $300 each to hundreds of homeless people in New York, a Columbia University political scientist speaks up in The New York Times for the growing practice of fighting poverty by giving cash to the poor.
Mr. Chen had publicly promised to give money to poor New Yorkers at a free lunch in Manhattan last week. The philanthropist asked the New York City Rescue Mission to supply guests for the event, but the charity agreed to cooperate only if he withheld cash handouts, which mission officials feared recipients would spend on drugs and alcohol.
“This pessimism (and paternalism) is common and understandable. But evidence from other countries suggests we should be more optimistic,” Christopher Blattman of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs writes.

Mr. Blattman says his work with nonprofits and government agencies in Africa and other research on cash-transfer programs indicate that the poor “do not waste grants” but instead most often use the money to address immediate food and housing needs and to start small businesses.

Foundation Gifts Homes, Livestock to Needy Vietnamese

From Forbes

"Vietnam’s only billionaire, Pham Nhat Vuong, set up a foundation named Kind Heart in 2006, and it has spent more than $50 million so far. Aside from giving money to needy people and contributing to community programs, Kind Heart has provided 15,700 houses for poor families across the country. It also gives buffaloes and cows to farm families; in return, the families turn over to the program the first calf produced, so other families can benefit. So far 15,000 calves have been handed out."