It’s always a great thing when you can teach children from a young age about charity and giving back. And that’s just what happened at the 12th annual American Girl Fashion Show that took place at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Oneida County, New York recently. The event featured a doll salon where you could get your American Girl doll polished and looking pretty. It had a photo booth, a raffle and other activities.
All money raised at the event helped to fund programs and services offered by Upstate Cerebral Palsy.
As Kathy Hartnett, Upstate Cerebral Palsy Community Development Vice President said, “It really is about accepting children with special needs and that no matter how young you are, a lot of young girls are here with us today, you can still do something to help someone else.”
Taya Kyle, widow of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has certainly gotten a lot of press in the last few years. She co-authored “American Sniper” with her late husband and then wrote “American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith, and Renewal” after he was murdered in 2013. This past week, more than 1100 people gathered to raise money for Home Front Cares, a Colorado Springs military charity that has given cash assistance to nearly 400 military families in 2015 alone.
As she said at the event, “I’m preaching to the choir tonight.” When discussing her marriage she said, “God sent me the nicest person I ever met, in the form of a sniper.”
Describing Home Front, she said, “It’s those little acts of kindness that are a beacon of light. There are a lot of patriotic people out there who care.”
This was their 11th annual fundraiser for Home Front Cares, founded in Colorado Springs in 2003 by two Vietnam Veterans. Charity executive director April Speake said, “We’ve already brought in so much,” Speake said. “I think it is going to be a record-breaking night.”
We all know that there are people in need around the world – but doing something about it is an entirely different thing. The Lunchbox Fund is one example of an organization started for just this reason. Created in 2005 by Topaz Page-Green, the fund identifies schools or forms partnerships with locally based NGOs or community organizations to evaluate schools. They then set up a situation where the food is being distributed with a community partner that buys and delivers the food and a project manager that reports to the fund.
While feeding children, the fund is actively employing locals. They recruit local Gogos (grandmothers) and Mothers to prepare the food and they pay them for their work. As explained on their Wikipedia page, “Thus the Program becomes a ‘for the community by the community’ solution rather than an imposed, one-size fits all, imposed intervention. Quarterly on-site inspections by Lunchbox Fund personnel further ensure the local partners are fulfilling their brief accurately.”
Their most recent addition was in August 2013, when they introduced the Feedie idea. This is the first ever philanthropy app thought up by Topaz Page-Green and the way that it works is that existing foodies post their latest and greatest meal. Every time that a Feedie posts, the restaurant donates $.25 to the Lunchbox Fund, which is the estimated cost of a meal for a child. This is the first time that someone has thought to utilize the sub-culture of foodies to create good and to help feed people.
You may never have heard of Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), but it’s time that you have. It’s a painful and often fatal rare genetic disease that affects 1 out of every 20,000 births in the US. People born with EB are often called “Butterfly Children” because of their extremely fragile skin.
Next month, the 17th annual debra of America Benefit will take place from 6:30pm to 9:30pm on Monday, November 16th at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The evening will include a performance by former American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Julie Kent. It will also include a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception, a silent auction and a DJ set by platinum-selling singer Kate Nash.
All proceeds from the event will support people living with EB. Learn more and get involved.
Since 1983, when Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein founded the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, this organization has been providing humanitarian aid to some of the world’s poorest Jews. IFCJ reaches out to millions of people in Israel and around the world, offering substantial help in the form of food, medicine, blankets, and more, to whoever is in need. Through a vibrant communications network which includes television and radio programs, teaching and an active online presence, IFCJ connects with many millions more, in over 100 countries, every single day.
The approximately $140 million raised each year by IFCJ comes mostly from about two million Christian supporters who wish to show their solidarity and support for the worldwide Jewish community, especially those in need. The 1.4 million people helped each year are elderly, survivors of the Holocaust, victims of terror, needy people in Israel and around the globe, and children at risk. Many of the Jews that IFCJ helps live in the countries of the former Soviet Union and small communities all over the world.
One of IFCJ’s programs is “On Wings of Eagles.” As its name implies, this program helps people to relocate from their countries of origin to the Holy Land of Israel, helping to fulfill the ancient prophecy from which the name of the program was borrowed. So far, “On Wings of Eagles” has helped almost a quarter of a million Jews to resettle in Israel.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein founded the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews to promote understanding, cooperation, and brotherhood between the people of these sister religions. Today, over thirty years later, IFCJ has become the largest charitable organization in Israel and the largest in the world supporting Israel and Jews around the world.
Losing your four year old in a freak accident isn’t something that any family expects. Finding a way to deal with that grief through creativity is certainly inspiring. Hilary and Zac Cheney lost their son in 2012, when a 100 year old gravestone fell on him. At the time of his death, he loved playing with toy cars and he even had one in his hand when he died.
On the first anniversary of their son’s death, Hilary Cheney thought of a way to keep Carson’s memory alive. She and her husbands started hiding toy cars in their packaging around their hometown of Lehi, Utah with a card that honors Carson’s memory. The card said, “Finders keepers. Please enjoy this gift in honor of Carson Cheney, July 31, 2007-July 5, 2012.”
It also directs the finder to the Carson Courage Cars Facebook page where they can share their feelings about their discovery. The idea has really taken off and Carson Courage Cars have been showing up all over the world. Facebook posts point to Japan, Germany, Sweden, Italy and more. Every Sunday, as reported by a store owner in Wisconsin, he hides 100 more cars in memory of Carson
They feel like they are able to continue taking care of their son in this way.
If you love games, then you’ll want to check out the Humble Store where 10% of all profits go to support charities. This means that buying games helps out charities. So far, the company has donated more than $3 million since it launched in November of 2013. Until today, however, you were only able to select a few charities. Humble Bundle just announced a new “choose your own charity” choice that will now let you direct your money to thousands of different organizations in the US and the UK.
To select your own charity, you simply go to the Humble Store and click “select a new one” in the charity window. You can then browse the list of available charities. They have many options like Doctors Without Borders, Greenpeace, and the American Red Cross.
As co-founder of Humble Bundle, John Graham, explained “There are a wealth of amazing charities out there. We don’t ever like saying no to great causes but in curating things ourselves, we find ourselves mainly picking larger nonprofits that have awesome established global brands that we think will resonate with our community as a whole. With this new feature, if parts of our community want to give aid to homeless shelters in San Francisco and others wish to provide fresh drinking water to Ethiopia, they can choose as they please.”
With the 4th of July just behind us, it’s a great time to think about those who might be in need. And this is particularly true if it’s soldiers – people who have defended our country in time of need. Here, at http://www.business2community.com, they list 8 military charities that need assistance. Here is an overview of four of them:
The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund: This fund offers financial aid and quality of life solutions for marines and sailors. It also supports members of the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard who served in support of Marines, and their families.
National Military Family Association: As the website explains, “National Military Family Association is the only national organization that for more than 40 years has represented officer and enlisted families of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Public Health Service. The organization helps those seeking resources for: themselves and combat-weary service members returning home from war with fragile mental health, for optimistic-but-anxious children separated from parents during deployments, for spouses forging ahead with educations to build better lives for their families or to prepare for the unthinkable, for widows seeking information about benefits available to them as they cope with their losses, and for proud parents of single service members.”
The Navy SEAL Foundation: Their mission is to provide educational and motivational support and to promote health and welfare programs for the Naval Special Warfare Community.
Operation Homefront: They provide emergency assistance and morale to the troops and the families they leave behind. It also supports the soldiers when they return home.
Allowing everyone – regardless of financial status – to be treated equally before the law has long been in issue, even in the free world, such as America. Historically, it was from the late 1800s until the beginning of the twentieth century that the US legal profession started showing a true sense of commitment to the idea of free legal assistance for the poor, via legal aid. Beginning in 1964, the government put this idea in practice providing federal funding for civil legal assistance to these individuals. Each state however, remains different with a variety of provisions in place, which are not the same everywhere.
We take New Jersey as our example here. David Bershad is the Principal of the Volunteer Lawyers for Justice. He is also on the 2015 Board of Trustees. The VLJNJ seeks to: “improve the lives of economically-disadvantaged adults, children, and families in New Jersey by empowering them with tools, advice and pro bono representation with the goal of securing fair and equal treatment within the legal system.” It was in 2011 that David Bershad became a member of the VLJ Board of Trustees.
Then there is the Officers of the Courts Corporation, also based in New Jersey. The goal of this body is to “provide veterans with legal representation.” What this means in practice is that it seeks to fight for healthcare and disability benefits in particular, also offering counsel on re-employment, family law and other issues specific to wounded veterans.
The LSNJ is another body working for similar ideals. This body “coordinates the statewide legal services system, which provides free legal assistance to low-income New Jerseyans for their civil legal problems. Through its work, LSNJ strives to secure substantive and procedural justice for those living in poverty.
There is still much to be done for America to get to the point of everyone being treated equally before the courts. But as one can see from the New Jersey case discussed above – and people such as David Bershad who are trying to navigate the system for the less financially stable members of society – that it has come a long way since the 1800s.