If you haven’t heard of DonorsChoose.org, you’ll probably enjoy learning about it. Charles Best was a teacher in the New York area and a graduate of Yale who, in the year 2000, created a website where teachers could post needs that they had in the classroom and encourage donors to help them put the project together. He paid a developer a few thousand dollars and DonorsChoose.org was born. Donors can find projects that inspire them and put in as little as $1 towards the cause. When the project has its funding, the site buys the needed supplies and ships them directly to the school. Every donor also gets a thank you note from the teacher, photos from the classroom and an accounting of how the money was spent.
Today, a staggering 76% of public schools in the U.S. have a project posted on the site. Learn more about their site, and think about how one person with an out-of-the-box idea can change an industry.
Hearing stories from people who have experienced the deep and lasting impact that cancer can have on a family can really make a difference. It helps with fundraising and with allowing others to understand the pain and the real facts involved with cancer. One such story was recently shared by James Donovan, Goldman Sachs Managing Director and Board of Trustee member at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Jim Donovan recounts how he felt when he lost a good friend to prostate cancer; then, in 2013, his brother, John, was diagnosed with adrenal cancer and he lost his life at the age of 43.
As Donovan explains, “Through the years, I have learned that the “unimaginable” loss we felt is something that millions of families in the U.S. and around the world also experience. According to the American Cancer Society, 8 million people worldwide die of cancer each year and the number of new cancer cases is rising.”
He hopes that others like him will help Dana-Farber with its efforts as it continues its groundbreaking research, its clinical trials and its new treatments.
As he explained, “When my friend, and then my brother died, I felt helpless. I wanted to do something. I wanted to fight back. In part, it’s the reason I joined the Board of Trustees at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. It’s why I started a fund for Prostate Cancer Research at Dana-Farber.”
If you have followed Chuck Robinson at all (and he’s worth following!) then you’ll be happy to know that he’s back on the road. Chuck is an independent bookseller and cross-country bike-rider who rides for philanthropies. Robinson is a 69 year old former owner of Village Books and Paper Dreams in Bellingham, Washington who started his latest ride on September 1 in North Dakota. His last journey two years ago was cut short when two far dogs knocked him off of his bike and damaged five of his ribs. This time around, he started near the accident site and now plans to travel 2000 miles to Bar Harbor, Maine. He’s raising money during his journey for three nonprofits which include:
- Book Industry Charitable Foundation
- The Whatcom Community Foundation
- Whatcom Community College
Each location will get $1 per mile that he rides. During his first ride, he generated almost $30,000 for Binc, the Whatcom Community Foundation, and Robinson’s high school. As a fun addition this time, Garth Stein, the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain (Harper) will be matching Robinson’s donations to Binc.
If you happen to be in Hawaii between August 30 and September 8, you may want to check out the grand opening of Jersey Mike’s Subs in Wailuku. Located at 52 Maui Lani Parkway, they are having a free sub fundraiser with all proceeds going to support the American Cancer Society. The franchise owner Alvaro Garcia is sending out 7500 coupons and offering a free sub for a minimum $2 contribution to the American Cancer Society.
As Garcia said,
“We are very excited to be opening our second Hawaii store in Maui. At Jersey Mike’s our fundraising partnerships create a layer of sustainability for schools, youth sports leagues, and other nonprofits in and around our city. These partnerships allow us to truly become members of our community by allowing us to contribute to the success of our youth and our city. Our crew, city officials, and residents have a high level of respect for us for that reason. We honestly feel that we are changing the world one sub at a time.”
Jersey Mike’s has done an amazing job of giving back. Since 2010, their locations throughout the country have raised almost$25 million for charities and they have given away more than 1.5 million free subs to help many causes. This year alone, their 7th Annual Jersey Mike’s Month of Giving in March raised more than $5.5 million for close to 150 charities throughout the country.
It’s amazing what one child with a lot of energy can do. Brooke Dubois, a high school student from Massachusetts, collected 1500 pounds of donated clothes as part of the Lapels Dry Cleaning annual drive. The drive benefits the Big Brothers Big Sisters in the area.
As only a high school freshman, she started to get the word out to everyone she knew. Donations were either dropped at her house or she picked them up from others.
As she said, “I’m so happy we were able to get that many donations but what was really cool was how supportive friends and family were in helping this cause. In a way, it almost made me forget that I was trying to beat Josh. Almost.”
Her goal was to collect more clothes for the drive than her brother did in 2016, when he came in with 1398 pounds. And she reached her goal.
The participating stores reached a whopping 16,093 pounds of clothes collected. This is the highest amount they’ve collected in the 14 years that they’ve been doing the drive.
Now, all of the donated clothing will be sold through various channels. The money from those sales will help to fund mentoring programs for young girls and booys.
A little bit of giving really can go a long way. Bikes 4 Orphans, a nonprofit run by brothers, has given more than 250 bikes to orphans around the world. They started out while in high school at St. Francis High School, trying to raise enough money to purchase and deliver new bikes to orphans in six countries including Kenya and Armenia.
Recently, a supporter recommended to brothers Shawnt and Sebouh Bazikian that they help America’s foster youth, who often don’t have transportation. As Shawnt explained, “We thought that this was kind of a similar situation with the orphans in the other countries [that we’ve previously helped] and there is a real problem here. The more research we did, the more we wanted to help out these foster students.”
17 students at the CSU Northridge’s Resilient Scholar’s program were identified as needing transportation and they were given new bikes, helmets and locks.
After so much bad publicity for various airlines, it’s not to have something good to say. American Airlines recently raised $800,000 for Answer ALS through their second annual American Airlines Charity Gold Tournament which took place in Dallas, Texas on May 24-25.
As their chairman and CEO Doug Parker said,
“We are proud to partner with Answer ALS on behalf of all American team members, including Peter Warlick, vice president – Finance, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. Peter is a champion for all American team members fighting this disease. And we believe there is a real opportunity to bring attention to orphan diseases, like ALS, that require additional awareness and fundraising support in order to bring them to an end. It means a great deal to the American family to host this event in our hometown.”
More than 200 people came together to play golf and to raise money to help with research for ALS. These included former NFL Safety for the New Orleans Saints, Steve Gleason. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. As Gleason, who took his first commercial flight in four years to attend the event said, “We know if we are going to find solutions to ALS, a disease with no known cure, or viable treatment, we have to be bigger than the disease. But, I hear everything is bigger in Texas, so, this is right in your wheelhouse. I believe it is a pivotal time for ALS.”
In 2016, American Airlines announced that they would have a multi-year financial commitment of $1 million to the Answer ALS project through the ALS Foundation. The golf tournament funds are in addition to that commitment.
There are six clinical sites for the Answer ALS project. They include: Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Washington University, Ohio State University, Emory University and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Most people get on a plane and visit a country for a week, maybe two. They travel on buses, in cars and with taxis. But not the Roberson family. They, instead, are visiting Scotland and plan to trek 170 miles across the country to pay tribute to cancer victims. Scotland is the homeland of the family ancestor, Clan Robertson, and they set their sites on this location for this reason.
Now, Adam (40), will be going on the trek with his dad Dan (63) and his brother Donavon (43) and cousin Devon (32). They have been planning the charity trek for three years and they hope to be able to complete the journey in 10 days. Devon’s father died of the same disease nine years ago.
Now, the Robersons (the family dropped the “t” in their name centuries ago after a family fight) are raising money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. They hope to raise £5,000 to find a cure for the disease. They are starting from the Isle of Mull and ending in Pitlochry.
It’s such a great idea when people combine charitable giving with doing something healthy for themselves. That’s what the Zumbathon Charity Event in Saratoga Springs, New York will soon be doing as they open their doors to a Zumbathon to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. The event will take place on April 9th at the Saratoga Springs High School gymnasium.
There will be at least ten local Zumba instructors dancing with people to raise money. The local Zumbathon was started last year by Zumba instructor Mayumi Kato of the Saratoga Regional YMCA.
The event last spring was a hit. As Kato explained, “We were very excited to see so many participants at our very first event,” which raised $2000.
She continued, “It could not have been done without participants, instructors who donated their talent and time on the stage, many local businesses that donated their products as raffle prizes, and Kivort Steel Team to accommodate us at a great venue, the Saratoga High School Gym.”
When discussing this year’s event, Kato said, “We think that our community looks forward this type of event where we all can smile, dance, sweat together for a great cause, especially during the winter.”
Discussing the event, Nicole DeCelle, market executive director of both Albany and Central New York for the American Diabetes Association, said
“We are honored that Mayumi and the Kivort Steel Cycling team are bringing back their Zumbathon in 2017. It was a tremendous success last year, as well as a great deal of fun. We are continually amazed and grateful for the support of folks like Mayumi and the creative ways in which they help raise funds and awareness for the Tour de Cure and the fight to stop diabetes. There are more than 2 million New Yorkers living with diabetes and it’s thanks to the funds raised through events like the Zumbathon, teams like Kivort Steel and riders like Mayumi that the ADA is able to continue our work in improving the lives of those impacted by diabetes and to ultimately find a cure.”
There are many ways that we can be more thoughtful with our food and our waste. You’d be surprised to learn just how much of a difference one person or one family can make when they are being careful with their waste management. The more that we throw out, the more that the landfills fill. Here are a few ways that you can help.
Eliminate Plastic Bags: When you bring your own bags with you to the grocery store, the mall and even the pharmacy, you are saving the landfills like the West Lake landfill from having one more plastic bag (or 20) in them. This can have a huge impact. Think about it – if you take a plastic bag every time that you get a prescription filled, some people will end up with a lot of bags. If you don’t take those bags you can really make a difference.
Buy a Reusable Water Bottle: Millions of water bottles are thrown out each day. If you buy yourself a reusable water bottle, you’ll avoid filling landfills (and you’ll probably drink more since you’ll have water with you all the time!).
Recycle: Certainly, you should recycle whatever you can find. This includes glass bottles and aluminum cans. If also includes paper, metal, plastic cups, batteries and more.