Portillo’s is stepping up to the plate with their charitable work. They have just launched their donation program Portillo’s For Good. With this non-profit, organizations can partner with them to assist in fundraising and support of charitable causes. As its first initiative, Portillo’s For Good is teaming up with the American Red Cross on the program Cake for a Cause. Portillo’s is offering a heart-shaped chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day. They will be available from February 10-14 and a portion of the proceeds (up to $25,000) will be donated to the relief organization.
They will also take pre-orders by calling 866-YUM-BEEF or ordering online at www.portillos.com.
As the CEO Keith Kinsey said,
“Portillo’s has always valued the importance of belonging to the local community and finding ways to support charitable endeavors. As a Marine, our founder Dick Portillo has supported charitable giving to support our service men and women. It was a natural fit to partner with the American Red Cross in launching our Cake for a Cause and Portillo’s for Good programs.”
It is always heartwarming to hear stories of people who have helped others in their time of need. Most of us don’t expect to have to come to the rescue as we go about our daily lives, but it’s possible that if we do, we could actually save someone.
This was the case in August, when financial executive Jeff Feig suffered a cardiac arrest while vacationing in Pine Lake Park in Cortlandt Manor, New York. When he collapsed, rather than watching helplessly, his neighbors jumped into action. One person called for an ambulance while another started doing chest compressions. Someone else did mouth-to-mouth ventilation and a fourth person ran to get the defibrillator.
Jeff Feig would probably not have survived had it not been for their help. The ambulance took ten minutes to arrive. As Jeff Feig told Jane E. Brody for her New York Times article entitled “Increasing CPR Training to Save Lives”
“I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life and I’m not going to waste it. My goal is to spread the word to increase the level of CPR training in the population and get every institution to have a defibrillator on hand and people trained to use it.”
The American Heart Association runs programs around the country training people in CPR and in the use of defibrillators. Certainly, the Red Cross does as well. And there are many people like Jeff Feig who are giving their time and their money educated others about heart health and about CPR.
One such person is Bob Schon who suffered a heart attack at the age of 51. He started to volunteer for the Minneapolis North Memorial Medical Center’s Mended Hearts, which is an affiliated organization of the American Heart Association. He then created the Heart Center Volunteer Program which has grown to include 60 members in the last 13 years. He also helped to form a “Heart Club” which is a monthly, one-hour program that focuses on health issues.
These are examples of people who have taken their health issues seriously and have worked to help others in similar situations.
It’s always nice to see when green spaces are being valued and preserved. Recently, two state grants in Illinois were announced that will extend the construction of the Kickapoo Rail Trail through a part of St. Joseph. It will also allow for the development of trail amenities at the Kolb Park nearby. Officials from the Champaign County Forest Preserve District have also reported that they have almost closed a funding gap of $380,000 for the construction of the first part of the 24.5 mile recreation trail that links the Urbana and Kickapoo State Park in Vermilion County.
Certainly, this is in no smart part due to the generosity of people like Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, and his wife, Leslie. This year, they contributed $150,000 towards the first phase of the trail and its completion. Donations from Jimmy John Liautaud and others who care about nature and about the area have enabled the plans to move ahead.
As Mary Ellen Wuellner, the deputy director of the forest preserve district said,
“We’re within $8,000 of closing that gap. The (Forest Preserve Friends Foundation) and our partners in the cycling community and the running community have done a great job fundraising on our behalf, and my hope is that by the end of the calendar year, we will have closed that gap completely.”
The two grants included a $200,000 grant that was awarded to the Champaign County Forest Preserve District to construct asphalt pavement through St. Joseph’s business district up near Seventh Street. The other grant was for $198,300 to the village of St. Joseph to pay for developing the trail head and a trail spur.
Green spaces and the addition of biking paths can only help to make America more beautiful and healthier. Certainly, the assistance of many people including Jimmy John Liautaud has helped to make this possible.
Here is a great idea. While most people feel their charitable giving, since it comes out of their pocketbook, there are ways to give that you don’t really feel. There are credit cards that allow you to redeem your points and miles towards charitable organizations. Here are three cards that let you donate your points.
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard: Here you can donate your miles. They have ways for you to partner with organizations that can help those in need. For instance, with the Miles for Kids in Need you can give your miles so that a sick child can take a vacation. Or you can partner with Miles for All Who Serve which supports military families.
- Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express: They have also partnered with some places to offer you a way to donate to others. The Clean the World organization is a recycler of hotel soaps and amenities. Check Out for Children, another organization, has raised $30 million to help improve the lives of children.
- JetBlue Card: Another idea is the JetBlue Card that also lets you donate your points to many organizations and cardholders get three times the points on Jet Blue purchases, two times the points at restaurants and grocery stores and one time the purchase on all other items.
Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C has a new exhibit, “Giving in America.” Museum curator Bonnie Lilienfeld explains that the exhibit shows the history of giving and how many of the fundraising operations have come about.
For instance, the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge started with a blue plastic bucket that belonged to a New York woman, Jeanette Senerchia. With a husband who had ALS, Senerchia was challenged to dump ice on her head to raise awareness about ALS.
There is a silver plate at the museum from 1764, for instance, that was given by Thomas Hancock to his church in Boston.
Lilienfeld explained that charity isn’t always just about money. As she said pointing to a blood donation kit, “That’s really sort of the ultimate gift of really giving of yourself. We included that story here to get people to understand, sometimes the smallest act really is an act of philanthropy.”
There is a tool belt on display, as well, that a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity used to build a house.
The exhibit is now on permanent display at the museum.
University alumni often make generous donations to their colleges. At Princeton for example, seek it was found that approximately 60% of graduates donate back to the university. According to Kaitlin Mulhere, in 2015 the numbers for charitable donations to colleges peaked at $40.3 billion (resulting in an increase of 7.6 from the 2014 fiscal year).
Sometimes universities are privy to an extremely large donation from just one individual. That was the case in 2010 with alumni Zhang Lei who pledged $8,888,888 to the Yale School of Management. Lei – who graduated with an MBA and an MA in International Relations from the educational institute in 2002 – donated this money to help with the construction of the school’s new campus. Zhang Lei’s donation is the largest single sum Yale ever received from an alumni. Other ways the money from Lei was used was to fund China-related activities at the University and to support an international relations scholarship.
With Lei’s donation to Yale, according to University President Richard Levin, “a significant step toward the realization of SOM’s new campus” was taken. Levin also called the donation a “truly extraordinary and auspicious gift [which] reflects the deep commitment to Yale that Lei Zhang shares with so many fellow graduates of the School of Management.”
Those who become successful in business seem to want to give back to their colleges. Matt Schifrin in an article he wrote in Forbes a few months ago, said that “The best colleges produce crop after crop of successful graduates that show their appreciation by giving back in the form of donations to their beloved Alma mater.”
It seems that people don’t forget their college years, no matter how much time has passed. For example, 1953 CSU College of Engineering graduate Walter Scott Jr. just donated $53.3 million. According to university president, Tony Frank, this donation – the largest in the school’s history – will allow the College of Engineering (which will be renamed the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering) to “attract and support the finest faculty and students for years to come.”
And then earlier this month Alumni Grove hosted its 2nd annual Day of Giving, during which it received $132,225 from 1,044 donors, again indicating that university graduates like to give back to their educational institutions.
A recent survey from RBC Wealth Management-US and City National Bank shows some surprising, and disheartening, statistics about charity in America. While 82% of American say that it’s important to them to give charity, most people don’t actually give throughout the year.
47% of respondents said that they give to charity sporadically without any specific plan. This can have consequences, say experts at RBC Wealth Management-US.
As Van Pate, Wealth Strategies Consultant at RBC Wealth Management – U.S , explained “A well-planned program of lifetime gifts to family, friends and charities can provide income and estate tax benefits and help preserve more assets for heirs. Taking a deliberate approach to giving can help you make well-informed decisions and increase the benefits to both you and the recipients of your good will.”
When Americans do give, do they do so to just a few causes? No. 53% give to three or more charities and 10% give to 6-10 charities. 4% even admitted that they support 11 charities or more.
Malia Haskins, Wealth Strategies Consultant at RBC Wealth Management – U.S., explained why dividing up the money may not be a good idea. As she explained,
“There is a strong argument that, if you’re interested in doing the most good, you should concentrate your giving on one, maybe two organizations.”
And who gives more in the country? Midwesterners give more than Southerners, the West and the Northeast.
The Birmingham Fire & Rescue members are heating things up, and that’s not just about the fires they put out. And in the process, they are working to benefit the American Cancer Society. In a special charity calendar that they’ve just created, they have posed in order to help raise money. As Nikki Seaborn, communications manager with the Birmingham chapter of the American Cancer Society, said “Not only are these guys handsome, but more importantly, they are community heroes with generous hearts who believe in and support the vision of the American Cancer Society and our Hope Lodge.”
And the firefighters didn’t only take their time to pose. They are serving dinner at the Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge Tuesday night to focus on the lodge’s great work and on the new calendar. The lodge is an amazing location that provides free, overnight accommodations for cancer patients and their families who need to travel for treatment.
Most people don’t think of Minnesota as a technology hot spot, cialis but apparently ChangeX is trying to change that. The Dublin-based social enterprise startup has just tagged Minnesota as the destination for its first foray into the American market. And, to mark their international launch, they held a gala on September 12th at the Pillsbury A-Mill Artist Lofts in St. Anthony Main.
As CEO Paul O’Hara explained, “It’s crazy to think that barely a year ago, we were just getting started, and now we’re getting ready to launch in another country.”
So, of course, one must ask, Why Minnesota? As O’Hara explained, “We chose Minnesota for a combination of reasons…a vibrant civic society, a thriving nonprofit sector and a variety of social issues.” As part of ChangeX’s “humble” goal they want to improve the lives of 1 billion people in the next 10 years.
As O’Hara said at the gala to the crowd from Minnesota, “This whole thing is pointless without you all. So please share your ideas, join other initiatives and spread the word about ChangeX.”
It’s always nice to see the rich and famous doing well by others. And that’s why it’s heart-warming to see that Bon Jovi is being honored in New York on September 19th at the 10th Annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards. He’ll perform and enjoy being honored for the 10th anniversary of his Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation. The Foundation offers aid for housing and hunger issues in the US. He’ll be honored along with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, Dr. Haw Abdi and social activist Adi Godrej.
Bon Jovi is joining a long list of truly worthy people in receiving the Clinton award. Past recipients include Sting and Trudie Styler, Quincy Jones and Leonardo DiCaprio. And, if you’re lucky enough to be in attendance, you’ll also see a performance by opera tenor Andrea Bocelli.