Monday, February 29, 2016

Sir Elton John Stages Free Concert, Thanks West Hollywood for Support of His AIDS Foundation

The crowds across the street from the free Sir Elton John concert. C. Coimbra photo.
Sometimes you and I are lucky to stumble right into a delightful, feel good, and everyone is smiling event. On Saturday, Feb. 27, Sir Elton John staged a free pop-up concert on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. Because, as he states on his Facebook page, "Thank you beautiful West Hollywood for your unwavering support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. ‪#‎EJAFOscars‬ ‪#‎WeHo‬ ‪#‎ThisIsAOL‬‪#‎LiveBright‬"

Joining Sir Elton John was Lady Gaga.  Take a moment to watch these video and enjoy your week

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Stretching Art to the City Rooftops

Downtown Los Angeles . C. Coimbra photo
By Nicole Wallace
for Philanthropy Today

Great art transports audiences and helps them see the world in new ways. The Industry, a nonprofit, experimental opera company in Los Angeles, took that mandate literally in its most recent production, Hopscotch, which was performed in some unusual places.

Operagoers boarded limousines in groups of four, along with singers and musicians. Each group experienced eight of 24 chapters of the nonlinear performance, which chronicles the life, loves, and shifting identity of a woman named Lucha. Scenes took place in the vehicles, in parks, along the Los Angeles River, and in other locations.

"It was very transformative for people to experience music and theater outside of a traditional space," says Elizabeth Cline, executive director of The Industry. "With the city as a backdrop, all of a sudden the work really expanded for people."

The production presented technical challenges. In one scene, a singer and musicians performed on a downtown rooftop, with a trumpet player on a nearby water tower and a trombone player on another roof. The Industry had to figure out how to capture and amplify the performers so the audience members could hear them together.

The organization aims to both expand the boundaries of opera and make it more accessible to the public. So it streamed the far-flung performances to a central hub in Los Angeles’s arts district, where people could watch and listen for free. For the last performance each day, all the artists and audience members converged on the hub for a live finale.

Says Ms. Cline: "When you reduce the barriers to participation — whether that means making something free or doing something in public — you immediately are getting a different audience."

Friday, February 26, 2016

25,000 Kettles Collect $150 Million

By Timothy Sandoval
for Philanthropy Today
The Salvation Army’s 125th Red Kettle Campaign raised nearly $150 million across the nation in 2015 despite a slow start during the crucial holiday season.

The nonprofit’s signature drive this year was buoyed by various old and new corporate partnerships and celebrities who touted the campaign.

Drives outside nearly 5,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores collected $44.3 million, or about 30 percent of the total, according to a statement from the charity.

The total for 2015, which Salvation Army officials said was a record for the organization, was up about 3 percent over 2014.

The total is remarkable given that the Salvation Army reported that giving was down for the campaign in mid-December.

"Although the retail landscape continues to shift, we’re encouraged to see that Americans are still willing to give at our 25,000 kettles stationed across the country," Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, the group’s national spokesman, said in a statement. "The 2015 campaign was the largest year we’ve ever had for kettles, helping us lay the groundwork for a strong year of service in 2016."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Deepak Chopra Offers Free Meditation Workshop Online

Deepak Chopra is inviting you (at no charge!) to "The Modern Meditator: How to Quiet Your Busy Mind and Discover Who You Really Are", a Chopra Center online event featuring Deepak and his long-time friend, Roger Gabriel, who has spent the past 40 years teaching more than 10,000 people to successfully meditate.

Deepak and Roger will dispel myths, shatter common misconceptions and provide you with expert insights derived from years of personal practice and teaching . . . so you gain the confidence and know-how you need to successfully integrate meditation into your life and use it as a powerful pathway to discover who you are and why you’re really here.

In one hour on Wednesday, March 2nd, Deepak and Roger will show you:

  • The simplest way to start a dedicated meditation practice that thrives – with even the most hectic of schedules. 
  • The number-one way to know if you’re doing it right – and how to instantly get back on track when thoughts intrude.
  • How to break through the top barrier that blocks most people from sustaining a meditation practice once they begin it.
  • The fastest way to quiet the noise of your busy life – and become connected to the true essence of your inner self, the place from which all things are possible.

---excerpted and edited from an email from the Chopra Center

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Walk In Nature is Good For the Mood

Thoreau extolled (and extolled and extolled—the piece was more than 12,000 words long) the virtues of walking in untamed environments. In the decades since, psychologists have proved him right. Exposure to nature has been shown repeatedly to reduce stress and boost well-being.

But scientists haven’t been sure why. Does it have to do with the air? The sunshine? Some sort of evolutionary proclivity toward green-ness?

A group of researchers from Stanford University thought the nature effect might have something to do with reducing rumination, or as they describe it, “a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought that is associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses.” Rumination is what happens when you get really sad, and you can’t stop thinking about your glumness and what’s causing it: the breakup, the layoff, that biting remark. Rumination shows up as increased activity in a brain region called the subgenual prefrontal cortex, a narrow band in the lower part of the brain that regulates negative emotions. If rumination continues for too long unabated, depression can set it.

After some preliminary tests, half the participants walked for 90 minutes through a grassland dotted with oak trees and shrubs (“views include neighboring, scenic hills, and distant views of the San Francisco Bay”). The other half took a jaunt along El Camino Real, a four-lane, traffic-logged street in Palo Alto. The nature walkers showed decreases in rumination and in activity in their subgenual prefrontal cortices. The urban walkers showed no such improvements.

Read more at: How Walking in Nature Help Reduce Depression

Monday, February 22, 2016

"Pop-Up" Health Clinics

Public Domain Photo

The Wall Street Journal reports:  

Nicole Lamoureux needs about 1,200 volunteers to help complete her mission: transforming a Dallas convention center into what she calls “the largest doctor’s office in the world—for the one day it’s open.”

This temporary mega-doctor’s office—a pop-up clinic, if you will—is part of a growing trend representing an increasingly important piece of the medical safety net in the U.S. Such clinics, staged by nonprofits and funded mostly by individual donors, are an opportunity for doctors to care for patients without worrying about insurance, and for those patients to see a doctor they wouldn’t otherwise get to see. At the biggest events, some of which are held over several days, thousands of patients can be seen by doctors, free of charge.

These clinics show that, “for many people, the safety net is more hole than webbing,” says Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a nonprofit that advocates for affordable health care for all. The most requested service at many of these clinics is tooth extraction, he says, which points to the need to expand dental insurance.

 Read more at Pop-Up Health Clinics Fill a Void in Care

Friday, February 19, 2016

$20 Million in Grants to Benefit A Variety of Needs

NoVo Foundation and New York Women’s Foundation

A combined $10 million commitment for programs for minority girls, young women, and transgender youths in New York City. The grant will match a $10 million donation from the New York City Council to the city’s Young Women’s Initiative announced Friday. The foundation will work closely with the city’s program, experts, and girls and young women to find opportunities for collaboration.

A total of $5 million over three years to two organizations to launch a new program designed to improve the lives of children born with rare diseases and to improve the future of rare-disease care. Funding from the biopharmaceutical company will go to SeriousFun Children’s Network, a community of camps and programs serving children with serious illnesses and their families founded by actor Paul Newman, and the ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine.

Nearly $5 million to 43 organizations with a focus on groups serving communities of color and Native Indian and immigrant communities. Grantees include the Hmong American Farmers Association, based in St. Paul, Minn., which received $150,000 over two years to support its programs that allow Hmong-American farmers to polish their business skills, learn about sustainable farming practices, gain long-term land leases, and create new jobs.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Free Workshop with a Multidimensional Vision of Aging

C. Coimbra photo

In some cultures, elders are honored as sages whose counsel is sought for the wider vision of the world they possess. Unfortunately, this model — one where seeking wisdom that can only be gained through rich life experience — is far less common.

Instead, the mainstream media bombards us with the message that we must do all we can to fight “the sands of time.” If we only paid attention to that, we might falsely believe that lack of energy, fading beauty and health woes are all that we get to look forward to in our later years. And, that in between retirement and death, our only option is to live in some sort of passive holding pattern.

In our mainstream culture, there’s an underlying message that after you reach a certain age, you don’t have a meaningful role. And that perhaps the best you can hope for is to spend your days playing golf or spending time with your grandchildren... while letting younger folks step in to make their contributions to our world.

The Transforming Aging Summit is here to change all that! It’s a groundbreaking virtual gathering to truly empower you as you age by creating a new paradigm of conscious and positive aging. This multidimensional perspective focuses on the potential for purpose and continual growth, and helps you tap into reservoirs of joy and vitality.

The event is online and free of charge.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Six Best Uplifting Songs

"Happy" will bring a smile to even the saddest face.  Try it.

A personal favorite, "Defying Gravity"

"The Greatest Love" by Whitney Houston reminds us of the beauty inside each of us.

"When You Wish Upon a Star" is a classic that keeps on giving.

"Climb Every Mountain" is another Broadway hit that inspires.

Last, but certainly not the least, "Don't Stop Believing," a pop hit with legs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

More Tunes To Help You Smile

Music by Sabine Sauermaul

More selections of music nominated by Facebook friends as uplifting. Note the variety of genres.


"I Can See Clearly Now" by Jimmy Cliff 

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" 

"I Believe I Can Fly"

Monday, February 15, 2016

Smile. It's Uplifting Music Time

C. Coimbra photo

For the next few days The Daily Prism will play music. Just music -- music nominated by Facebook friends as tunes that are uplifting, positive, or make them smile.  

It was surprising the varying genres that were nominated.

With that, the first is "Smile" -- a classic.

A contemporary by independent artists, Kajeesa and Heidi D, "One World."

And, "What a Wonderful World"--a song nominated several times.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Super-Bowl Cities Collect a Million-Plus Food Items for Charity

C. Coimbra photo

The Carolina Panthers may have lost Sunday to the Denver Broncos, but Charlotte took home the bacon (and beans) thanks to a wager over whether Denver or Charlotte could collect the most food for charity by the end of Super Bowl 50.

Final score: Carolinas 636,891 food items, Denver 360,664.

In addition, 177,000 pounds of potatoes were donated for the cause, most through the Society of St. Andrew’s North Carolina Gleaning Network.

Much of the food will benefit Loaves & Fishes food pantries.

The local food drive – coordinated by the United Methodist Church – coincided with the city’s annual Scouting for Food drive, which also benefits Loaves & Fishes. As a result, scout units associated with Methodist churches were allowed to count their food collections toward the Super Bowl contest.
--From the Charlotte Observer

Friday, February 12, 2016

After Worldwide Meditation, Syrian Ceasefire Plan Begins

Ten days after millions of people gather for a worldwide synchronized meditation, an agreement is signed in Munich to end the violence in Syria.

Many will think it was just a coincidence, but consider this: After nearly every worldwide synchronized meditation focused on an area of the world experiencing extreme violence and war, a peaceful solution was achieved within two weeks.

Are we taking credit for what happened today? Of course not. What we are doing is using this to illustrate what could happen if we continue this movement of peaceful, prayerful activism. My goal is to have an "Army of Light" ready to respond at a moment's notice whenever a situation arises that needs our focus - at least a million people from around the world we can contact days or even hours before we gather to shower our energy on a given crisis. We hope you will continue to support this movement. You are not powerless, and this is the way you can help change the world!

--From James Twyman

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Learn More About Being Happy

The Science of Happiness is a free online course that explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. The course is divided into eight one-week segments, with an additional week in the middle for a midterm and an extra week at the end for a final exam. For this run of the course, students will have six months to complete the material at their own pace.

Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course zeroes in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social ties and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.

What’s more, The Science of Happiness will offer students practical strategies for nurturing their own happiness. Research suggests that up to 40 percent of happiness depends on our habits and activities. So each week, students will learn a new research-tested practice that fosters social and emotional well-being—and the course will help them track their progress along the way.

The course will include:
Short videos featuring the co-instructors and guest lectures from top experts on the science of happiness;

Articles and other readings that make the science accessible and understandable to non-academics;

Weekly “happiness practices”—real-world exercises that students can try on their own, all based on research linking these practices to greater happiness; and

Tests, quizzes, polls, and a weekly “emotion check-in” that help students gauge their happiness and track their progress over time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Treehouse that Peyton Built

Public Doman photo by Ariadne Ariadnerb

With Super Bowl 50 now in the books, here's something we learned about the star quarterback, Peyton Manning from Times Free Press:

His name was Tyler Frenzel. When he was 7 years old he was diagnosed with leukemia. He spent the next two years of his fragile life moving in and out of Indiana hospitals, fighting a brave fight he could not win.

One of those hospital visits led him to Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent in Indianpolis. He soon became friends with Manning, the Indianapolis Colts' quarterback in those days.

"For two or three months after that, Peyton would invite him to charity events," recalled University of Tennessee associate athletic director for communications Ryan Robinson, who was Manning's personal assistant at that time. "Or he'd have Tyler sit in a suite at Colts games."

Along with former major league baseball player Scott Rolen, Manning soon became fascinated with young Frenzel's goal to build a giant treehouse where children with leukemia could go to, in Tyler's words, "feel normal."

Then Tyler Frenzel died at the age of 9 on Dec. 11, 2004, his treehouse still nothing more than a kid's touching dream.

"Peyton called me the next day," Robinson recalled. "He said, 'We've got to honor Tyler. We've got to raise money to build that treehouse. We've got to do it now.'"

Ten days later, on Dec. 21, 2004, Manning, Rolen and Indy's Bob and Tom Show staged a charity auction that raised more than $150,000 in a couple of hours. More than 11 years later, Tyler's Treehouse stands at Camp Emma Lou, a family camp Rolen runs near Bloomington, Ind., on Lake Monroe. The camp and the treehouse opened the year after Frenzel died.

Click this link to read more about Peyton Manning's philanthropic interests:  The Treehouse that Peyton Built 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

1 Billion Rise to End Violence Against Women

1 Billion Rising photo

One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history. The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. 

We are rising to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable. In 2016, the theme of Revolution continues with a call to focus on marginalised women and to bring national and international focus to their issues; to bring in new artistic energy; to amplify Revolution as a call for system change to end violence against women and girls; to call on people to rise for others, and not just for ourselves.

On 14 February 2013, people across the world came together to express their outrage, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.

On 14 February 2014, One Billion Rising for Justice focused on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence, and highlighted the impunity that lives at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. For the third year of the campaign, One Billion Rising’s global coordinators chose the theme of “Revolution” as an escalation of the demand for justice, and to build upon the massive efforts of communities worldwide that also looked at the roots and causes of violence as part of their call for justice. 

On (or around) 14 February 2015, millions of activists in over 200 countries gathered to Rise for REVOLUTION, to change the paradigm, demand accountability, justice and systematic CHANGE. 

--Excerpted from the One Billion Rising website

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Teens Send Positive Message Through Dance

What room does fear have? These high school dancers have caught the attention of over 1,600,000 viewers in just a few days. Their artful way of showcasing the folly of fear and the strength of conviction is pretty cool. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Great Idea! Sustainable Saturdays

They're back! The first #SustainableSaturdays of the year is this weekend! This Saturday's class is all about #hearthealth. If you have extra fruits and vegetables, bring them and swap them for some other yummy, healthy goods. #CD7LA #healthyliving
Pacoima Beautiful MEND Poverty

Friday, February 5, 2016

Plumbers Voluntarily Change Faucets, Add Filters in Flint

Due to the inaction of state and federal officials, thousands of people in Flint have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead in their water...

... On Saturday, 300 plumbers from unions across the country descended on Flint, MI to install new faucets and water filters for free.

Many Flint residents needed new faucets because their existing faucets were so old they could not accommodate water filters provided by the state.

The effort was coordinated by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry, known as the United Association. The fixtures were donated by the Plumbing Manufacturers International.

For some in Flint, however, even new faucets with modern water filters won’t be enough to fully abate the lead contamination. New tests released recently revealed that, in some Flint homes, the levels of lead “exceed the ability of filtration systems handed.” The filters can safely remove up to 150 parts per billion of lead. Some Flint homes were found to have lead levels of more than 4,000 parts per billion.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Today: "A Plastic Ocean" Film Trailer to Share

--From Dianna Cohen, The Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plastic Pollution Coalition is proud to be a supporter of Plastic Oceans, a global nonprofit that seeks "to change the world's attitude towards plastic within a generation." The organization's biggest project has been to assemble a team of the world’s top scientists and leading filmmakers to produce A PLASTIC OCEAN, a powerful documentary in high definition, that will play a key role in sending out the message to stop plastic pollution to the world. The trailer (below) is being released Feb. 4.

Today, Thursday, Feb. 4, people around the world are working together to promote a trailer for A PLASTIC OCEAN, an extraordinary new adventure documentary that illuminates our human impact on oceans and our food chain due to plastic pollution.

The film has been four years in the making, and as shooting wraps, its producers are looking for a major global distributor so that as many people on the planet as possible will have the opportunity to see A PLASTIC OCEAN.

"We've treated the ocean as a place to throw things—dispose of things—that we did not want close to where we thought we lived. Actually, the whole planet is where we live."
—Dr. Sylvia Earle, ocean scientist, PPC Scientific Advisory Board member

Monday, February 1, 2016

Positive Action to Stop Social Media Bullying

Art by Dawn Hudson

The Inspiring Project is an international and global movement where being yourself and promoting positive thinking is all we do. We believe that no person in the world should be upset with who they are and should never have to go on the internet and be subject to bullying and or commit suicide as a result.

How it started:

I was sitting at home on a December evening when I was just scrolling through my Instagram feed and trying to find more inspirational and photos to post. I had received a message in a direct message from a girl who explained to me that she was having a bad day. She needed some advise and asked me if I had any for her. I talked to her for awhile and then soon, the conversation ended with her thanking me and respecting my time and effort that I took to talk to her. Soon afterwards about 2 weeks later, another person messaged me and asked me the same questions. That is where the idea came to me. "I need to do something" "I need to stop or at least prevent this harsh thought of bullying and make these people out there on social media have a better day." I created "The Inspiring Project" in which is intended to eliminate suicide and bullying in teens and adults in today's world of life and socialism. Soon, the idea of having people post to #THEINSPIRINGPROJECT and make people spread inspiration to their medias and show their community and followers that it is okay to be different and express themselves freely. The project is intended to be a chain reaction in which it can spiral out by more and more people. The project began with multiple people messaging me, and now I want to save people's lives and make them feel better.

The project continues to grow each day and the more people involved, the better the world and social media gets!