Archive for Philanthropy

When you don’t know what to get someone


When you don’t know what to get someone, they probably don’t need anything. But there are people that do need things, some very badly.

Case in point:

Read All She Wants for Christmas is a New Jaw — and The Braces Cookbook Try to Help

You can help to make a difference in the life of 19-year-old Jalyn Jones. It will give her something that each of us simply takes for granted.

Before you buy one more gift to put under the tree, perhaps you and even the recipient of your gift, will feel better about giving to someone else.

One of the most beautiful compensations of this life is that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Merry Christmas!


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So You Want to Save the World?


One of the most beautiful compensations of this life is that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

There’s a story you may have heard about David & Goliath. In case you’re unfamiliar, the story is set in biblical times where a giant one eyed-giant Cyclops named Goliath terrorizes a small town. All the warriors in the town tried to fight him and were quickly defeated. A young boy named David, armed only with a slingshot, volunteered to fight the giant. The townspeople looked at the brave young boy and said, “Look at the size of the giant and look at you, how could you possibly win?” David had a very different point of view. He said, “Yes, look at him. How could I possibly miss?”

That story is a myth. A myth by definition is an invented story, idea, or concept. But in reality mythical situations happen all the time. A single person can make a significant difference. What a wonderful lesson for our children, and a great time to discuss it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 is Make a Difference Day, the largest national day of helping others – a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Everyone can participate in this USA Today sponsored event.

The good news is that our kids want to help. Toddlers, according to Psychology researcher Felix Warneken proved the capacity for altruism emerges as early as 18 months of age with a simple experiment. 61% of 13- to 25-year-olds feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world suggests a survey of 1,800 young people. It says 81% have volunteered in the past year; 69% consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop, and 83% will trust a company more if it is socially/environmentally responsible. The online study — by two Boston-based companies, Cone Inc. and AMP Insights — suggests these millennials are “the most socially conscious consumers to date.”

What great news. Need an idea?

Here are two:

The Idea Generator

The Future of Life Organzation

Talk about family fun!

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Teachers’ Wish List


I just visited Staples today, completely forgetting about the frenzy of back to school shoppers. Lines snaking down the aisles, parents holding baskets filled with notebooks, loose leaf paper, pencils, pens and other assorted paraphernalia that speaks to the promise of the start of a new school year.

But missing were the teachers who dutifully shopped early and mid August, no doubt spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of their own dollars on preparing classrooms for their students. The first three years, a teacher spends a lot of money building their libraries and supplies.

As you attend your school’s open house, look around at the eye catching laminated art and rest assured the teacher paid for it. Thinking ahead to Christmas, resist the urge to buy yet another apple anything, and consider some of the websites that help teachers with the expense of supplies and classroom decorations. Teachers can even create wish lists.

Check out these sites:

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Waiting on the World to Change

I imagine many of us have a vision of a perfect world.

In my vision, everyone would take care of their own families, and then do a little bit more to help someone else. In this perfect world there would be a series of concentric circles where the whole world would be covered by a caring, concerned community.

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.
Mother Teresa

Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York I know a little bit about diversity. The life lessons I learned there could never be duplicated by a corporate diversity training program. Since my children were growing up in a nice little safe New Jersey town, I couldn’t help but wonder if they would be ready for the real world? Will they understand that everyone doesn’t look like them and doesn’t have the same opportunities they do?

The decisive point came a few years ago while attending a local school meeting. A Board of Education election was coming up, and those running for office talked about how we need to be careful that the money earmarked for education be spent in our town and not in the neighboring poor community. That told me all I needed to know. I realized they were asking the wrong question. The right series of questions might have been:

1. Do all children deserve a good education?
2. If a child has a good education does that offer that child a brighter future?
3. Would a brighter future provide greater opportunity and a potentially better life?
4. Is it possible that a child with a bright future and better life will contribute to society, rather than be a drain on society?
5. Will a child with such a future less likely to be led astray and commit a crime? A crime that could affect your child?

When I heard the approach taken by leaders in this nice little community, I realized that my children were going to school with the children of parents who saw nothing wrong with that question. At that point, my husband and I joined the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization for two reasons. One, so our children could better understand that everyone doesn’t have the same opportunities, and secondly, so that in some small way we could help and mentor children who were not living in a nice little safe town.

But something wonderful happened along the way; we met an amazing family, and two children and their mom became part of our family. So although our intention was to give, we ended up getting a lot more than we expected.

Last night ABC aired Diane Sawyer’s program Waiting on the World to Change could only be described as haunting. I would hope that everyone has a chance to view and understand that there are things we can do now to impact the life of a single child. We often wonder how we can change the world; one person can – you can.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

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Oprah’s Dreamgirls

It’s absurd that an incredible act of generosity must be defended, as in the case of the Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls. People are asking why $40 million dollars was spent in Africa, and not on urban schools in America.

Bravo Oprah for making a dramatic and significant change to the lives of 150 young girls who could not possibly have a chance to make anything out of their lives.

If the critics feel so strongly about caring for children in the U.S. here is a way they can help. The Warren Featherbone Foundation has conceived the 401P or Personal Philanthropy Accounts. Much like a 401K which is a pre-tax, employer matched retirement savings program, the 401P is a pre-tax, employer matched method of Democratizing Philanthropy.

Your family gets to choose which non-profit organizations will get your donation. Congress is now considering legislation to amend the tax code to allow the creation of Personal Philanthropy Accounts. Learn more about bill HR 2534 introduced by Congressman Nathan Deal of Georgia, and encourage your elected officials to pass this important legislation.

More importantly, think how beneficial this could be to your family. No longer are foundations, and charitable giving tax deductions limited to the wealthy. Your children can learn how to give to charities, causes and non-profit organizations that you and your family believe in, where ever they are.

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Congratulations – Person of the Year!

Congratulations! You are the Time Magazine Person of the Year 2006

Why you? According to Time Magazine, you now control the information age. To show you how important you are a mirror graces the cover of Time, December 25, 2006.

We could change the nature of the question to be more (pardon the pun) reflective. What have you done to become the Person of the Year?
The start of the New Year is often about looking back, while at the same time, looking ahead. One might ask, are you proud of your accomplishments? Have you made a difference?

This poem might help us to think about the opinion that counts more than others.

The Guy in the Glass By: Dale Wimbrow
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass

In the end, your life is about the dash which separates the beginning and end of your life. What you do in the time the dash spans is entirely up to you.

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