The Lopsided World of Charitable Giving

In a fascinating new study, Chattanoogans came out as extremely generous. The study of tax filings released Monday showed that Chattanoogans on average donated at least 50% more of their disposable income to charities and religious groups than did the typical American.

Those in Chattanooga think there are easy explanations, but it’s still a bit of a mystery why these numbers are what they are. As Pete Cooper, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga said, “Chattanooga is a generous town and continues with a culture of giving from people of all income levels. Among the wealthy, there has long been a philosophy of charitable giving which helped establish some of the state’s biggest foundations here decades ago. But among low- and middle-income families there is also a commitment to giving because I think our citizens recognize the needs around them and they understand where their gifts go and help out.”

As Eva Dillard, president of the Chattanooga United Way said, “Obviously, during the recession, we had some struggles but Chattanooga has always been known for its philanthropy. Even people that don’t have a lot of money here are willing to give what they can to help others who have less or are in some need. We’ve found as we grow the engagement of people with our work, our giving goes up.”

In general, the highest share of income is donated in Utah and in the South. The least charitable states were New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. The Chronicle report, that looked at IRS returns, found that Americans who earn $200,000 or more actually reduced their giving by 4.6% from 2006 to 2012. Those earning less than $100,000, however, increased their charitable giving by 4.5% in the same period.

Pushups for Charity

Pushups for Charity

barnes-bob-365Some people really put their money where their mouth is, and others put their bodies there as well. Bob Barnes, who is VP and head of special assets for DeLand, Florida bank, decided to to 20,000 push-ups last month to raise money for the Neighborhood Center of West Volusia. This center provides food and shelter for people in need. He called it “Big Bad Bob’s Push-up Challenge” and he helped to raise $7300 for the community center.

He had more than 100 contributors and he did 645 pushups a day, every day, for a month.

Of course, he didn’t tell his doctor what his plans were when he was diagnosed with pneumonia on the first day of his challenge. As he said, “I didn’t tell my doctor what I was planning, because she would have said no. So I started, and I just knocked it in the dirt.”

Barnes kept a log as he did the pushups and he updated his supporters on his progress. He did not accept any cheating from himself, as he said, “no cheating — all the way down and all the way to the top.”

58 and clearly in amazing shape, Barnes is not planning a repeat of this next year. He hopes next year to reminisce about his accomplishment from this year. And he explains that he really ended up doing a bit more than 20,000. As he said,

“I did a little more because I wanted to make sure my math was right. Being a banker, my calculations don’t always add up.”

Ping Pong for Charity with the Dodgers

Ping Pong for Charity with the Dodgers


If you love ping pong, then this just might be the event for you. Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw and his wife Ellen will be hosting the 2nd annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose celebrity charity even on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. Donations will benefit the Kershaw’s Challenge, a non-profit that works with at-risk communities in Los Angeles, Dallas and Zambia.

The event includes a single elimination ping pong tournament with a silent auction and live entertainment by DJ Skee. The emcee will be Chris Harrison from ABC’s “Bachelor/Bachelorette” and Uberpong is the table tennis sponsor and the tournament manager for the event.

As Clayton Kershaw said, “We are excited to host our 2nd Annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose event on the field at Dodger Stadium. Ellen and I are thrilled this event provides a way to combine our passion for making a difference in the lives of children with an activity that has become such a favorite of the Dodgers clubhouse. We’re looking forward to a great night for a great cause.”

Clayton was awarded the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award for his tireless charity work. He is the youngest recipient ever of the award which honors the player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions both on and off the field.

WebThriftStore & Red Cross Create Partnership

WebThriftStore & Red Cross Create Partnership


webthrifstoreIn recent news, WebThriftStore just announced a partnership with American Red Cross. WebThriftStore is a leading online fundraising platform and the partnership will now allow the Red Cross to raise money through a customized, free online thrift store. Supporters will donate all sorts of items and then the items will be listed into the general marketplace and sold with the proceeds going to the Red Cross.

As Jennifer Elwood, the Vice President of Consumer Marketing at the Red Cross, said “We are not typically able to accept small quantities of individual donations for emergency relief purposes. Partnering with WebThriftStore will now enable donors to sell their items while supporting the Red Cross and allow us to use the proceeds to provide relief to those who need it most.”

As Doug Krugman, the WebThriftStore founder and CEO said, “We are thrilled to support the Red Cross in raising money to assist their life-saving mission. This relationship is a milestone for our organization that reinforces our mission of helping others do good by getting rid of excess stuff in order to assist others.”

Fishing for Gifts

In Sioux City, one local fisherman is doing amazing things for those around him. Just this year he has managed to donate $300,000 to charities from his profits. James Haworth, the owner of the Tackle Industries, has given money to children’s causes and veterans outreach programs.

He originally started the company to add to their material possessions and to make money. But, when his daughter, Julia, who is now 8, was born with craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which a baby’s skull fuses before the brain is fully formed, he started to see things differently.

Seeing how many children were suffering, he decided that they needed to start to help others. So, in 2005 he started producing handmade fishing lures in his garage. And Tackle Industries was born.

He has given money to Gillette, the Ronald McDonald House, Take a Vet Fishing and Operation Muskie. Now, his mail-order company has 1200 products, where it started with 50.

“The more we give away now, it seems the more we get,” he said.

Chideo Makes Inroads with a Clever Platform

Chideo Makes Inroads with a Clever Platform


Chideo (charity+video) is about to upload its mobile footprint with its Android app launch. Founded in 2013 by billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Todd Wagner, the company takes a 20% cut of proceeds. Overall, however, he says that “this company is about helping charities.”

The platform has about 100 celebrities with over 70 charities. These charities include American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Feeding America, Heifer International, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Starlight Children’s Foundation, the Trevor Project, and more. They are also a disaster relief partner with the Red Cross.

The way the platform works is that users can watch exclusive videos of their favorite celebrities in exchange for donations to their causes. Users can suggest future content and can also vote on other users’ suggestions for content.

As Wagner said, “We want to entertain you into giving, not guilt you into it. The key is to intertwine entertainment with the fact that its solely to help charities raise money. Folks can do good, just by watching the content.”

As Flo Rida said in a statement to VatorNews, “Chideo is exactly what my fans and I have been looking for. It gives us a place to connect, to share ideas and to get a window into what it means to live my dream. And the best part is that together, we have a chance to make the world a better place for lots of deserving kids.”

Magic Johnson Honored with First Staubach Award

Magic Johnson Honored with First Staubach Award

Emmitt Smith, Pat Smith, Roger and Marianne Staubach, Cookie and Magic Johnson
Emmitt Smith, Pat Smith, Roger and Marianne Staubach, Cookie and Magic Johnson
On May 9th, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his wife, Cookie, received the first-ever Roger Staubach Award in the packed room at the Omni Dallas Hotel. They were part of the Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational presented by SoftLayer, which managed, by the end of the weekend, to raise $1 million for the Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities.

These charities funds unique educational opportunities and enrichment programs for underserved children. The Staubach Award, named for the Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, was established “to recognize individuals who have brought together the world of sports/entertainment and business to make an extraordinary impact on the lives of children and youth.” It will be given out to recipients who exemplify personal, professional and philanthropic excellence.

While accepting the sterling trophy created to Tiffany & Co., Magic Johnson said that, as he neared the end of his NBA career, he looked for a sports figure to emulate. As he said, “I decided that’s who I want to be like – Roger Staubach. I’ve been chasing this man for years like a big defensive lineman.”

As Pat Smith said, “I can’t think of a better way to kick off our fifth year than with a new award named after our good friend and hero, Roger Staubach. And it’s such a thrill to give the first award to Cookie and Magic, an incredible power couple who have set the bar very high and been a true inspiration to Emmitt and me.”

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