All Articles Tagged "charity"

Do You Give With The Right Intentions?

January 7th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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When folks preach about how it is better to give than to receive, I always thought they were mainly talking about the joy of giving.

But apparently what they meant was that it is better to give than receive because those who receive will have to endure a lifetime of the giver asking them, “Why haven’t you changed yet?”

What I’m talking about is a story from my hometown involving a formerly homeless couple who are in danger of being evicted from their new home all because they failed to change their lives in 11 weeks.

As reported by Philadelphia’s NBC affiliate:

Last October Mike Jones’ and Angelique Roland’s 2-year-old son Jeremiah was found wandering alone and barefoot in LOVE Park. Jones and Roland told police they had been kicked out of a home and had spent the night in a cardboard box near LOVE Park’s visitor’s center and Jeremiah had wandered off while they were sleeping. Jeremiah as well as his 4-year-old sister were then placed in DHS custody.

After an outpouring of support from the public, CHOSEN 300, an inter-denominational Christian ministry that helps the homeless, launched a campaign to raise $12,000 to secure housing for the couple for one year. Yet barely 11 weeks into the lease, the group announced they had to end the commitment and evict the couple.

Initially we were very optimistic to help the couple move ahead, however they rejected services and failed to comply with the judge’s orders in which the children have not been returned,” CHOSEN 300 wrote in a press release. “Due to the uncooperative nature of the couple, but primarily due to the children not returning to the home, CHOSEN 300 ended the lease with the landlord on Jan 5, 2016 in which a 30 day notice was given to both the landlord as well as the couple. Mike and Angelique are now refusing to leave the property putting the landlord in a difficult situation.”

Jenkins told NBC10 the couple ran up a $600 room service charge at a hotel before they got the house, missed a child custody hearing, resisted counseling and failed multiple drug tests.

Jones and Roland told NBC10 they attended court-ordered counseling but claimed 11 weeks wasn’t enough time for them to completely leave their life on the street behind.

“He doesn’t realize there are steps people have to take,” Jones said. “Sometimes people bend a little bit. And you have to give a person time to right himself back up!”

Clearly this couple has some issues. But that was obvious from the jump right?

I mean, they were kicked out of one residency (for reasons not mentioned in the article), and between the two of them, couldn’t find anyone else who was willing to take them and their children in. While not passing judgment, it does sound like the lives of these people are pretty complicated – to say the least.

And with that complication in mind, how much time should one be given to turn their life around? And more philosophically, do we give to people because we see they are in need or is our choice to give wrapped up in the expectation that they owe us something in return?

What I mean is that individuals heard about the story and were inspired to help. That is a good thing. But it also sounds like the help that was offered came with strings attached, and people did not adequately take into consideration the capacity of folks to live up to the goals that were set for them. That includes the courts, the service agencies and perhaps some of the people who donated.

And instead of looking internally at ourselves (that includes all of those entities as mentioned above) to question what we hope to accomplish through our gifts and second chances, we blame the recipient of our generosity for not feeding our egos by being the perfect inspirational story we needed them to be in a certain time frame.

In a perfect world, what we give to provide for a person’s immediate needs, including food and shelter, would be enough to change someone’s life around. But we don’t live in a perfect world. If we did, we would see a person’s immediate needs, like food and shelter, as an inalienable right, as opposed to a matter of merit and character.

Therefore, as inhabitants of this imperfect planet, we need to realize that like everything else, real change is contradictory, full of backward steps and most importantly, it takes time. Real change doesn’t begin with moving into a new home or losing children or even almost dying. But rather, real change comes through an intensive process of looking inwards and finding out what it is that you are really hiding from while out in the streets.

And I don’t know about the rest of you, but 11 weeks does not seem like a good enough span of time to unravel what might be a lifetime of mental and emotional issues. And it certainly isn’t enough time to do that when you weren’t mentally and emotionally in the place to want to actively do so to begin with.

After all, the couple didn’t go looking for the help. We kind of just thrust it on them. It’s almost like a person with bad money management skills winning the lottery. What else do you expect them to do?

Meanwhile, families who are patiently waiting through the system for the specific help we gave to these folks are still sitting somewhere on someone’s waiting list…

I say this not as a way to let the couple off of the hook or as a way to shame (or even discourage) those who give. And that includes the service agency who stepped up to help this family out of a bind – although I do feel that if money were raised to provide the couple a year of housing, then they should honor that year at least. (It should be noted that the remainder of the money, which had been raised for the couple’s housing will be put be into an “educational account” for the children.) But rather, I want us all to think about the unfair power dynamic we create when we attach personal benchmarks and agendas to the basic “help” we give to people who are in desperate need of what we are dangling in front of their faces.

We can’t really blame them when they fail us. As we didn’t have the right intentions from the beginning.


Donating Where It Does The Most Good: A Look At Effective Altruism

June 16th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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 Efficient Altruism


Effective altruism has recently been on the rise due to the increase of nonprofit organizations that focus every type of cause. Recently, we’ve heard of seeming waste happening at one of the world’s most well-known charities, the Red Cross. It’s so that many people want to do good, but don’t know where their donations will be put to best use. How is one to choose what type of organization or cause to donate to?

In his think piece for The Atlantic, journalist Derek Thompson defines effective altruism in American society in terms of evolution and the notion that gene pools should be rewarded for relatives helping one another to survive and pass along their genes to their future descendants. Thinking in global terms, he looks at the three criteria for effective altruism: “ (1) You can make a truly enormous difference in the world if you live in a rich country; (2) you can ‘do good better’ by thinking scientifically rather than sentimentally; and (3) you can do good even better by trying to find the greatest need for the next marginal dollar.”

So, for instance, when you give to the Red Cross for disaster relief, the general assumption is that the money will be used for things like food, clean water and shelter. In the immediate term, those items are necessary. But in the long term, to alleviate poverty in a country and help its people to thrive long after the immediate disaster has passed, you sometimes have to think in more creative terms. How do you create jobs? Improve the ability to farm? Improve infrastructure so that medicine, goods and people can get from one place to another?

In an experiment used by academics Michael Kremer and Rachel Glennerster, they learned students in Kenya did not improve academically because of donations that went towards textbooks, smaller class room sizes or classroom materials. Students’ skills and school attendance improved when people from other parts of the world spent $100 in treating intestinal worms that the same students were battling. That led to the launch of Kremer’s and Glennerster’s medical charity, DeWorm The World, an organization noted for being the most cost-effective charity in the world. It might not seem logical, but ultimately, it lives up to the goal of being effective.

Other theories are based on outweighing and comparing needs, as in, should someone donate to a leading university such as Harvard for research or donate to a charity that directly helps people, especially in a crisis? Ultimately, the answer comes from your personal research, weighing the options, and searching yourself for what you’d like your money to achieve.

The article (which is a #longread, but definitely worth the time) is also a step-by-step journey with the author, who wants to give thousands of dollars inherited after the death of his mother to a worthy cause. The choice he makes comes after speaking with experts and doing the legwork of examining the backgrounds of a number of different causes. In the end, the gift is also an emotional one, and he had to choose the cause that would be meaningful to him and his family. Taken together, he’s sure his money will be put to good use.

What are your tips for giving?

CROSS Pens Supports Cancer Patient, Super Girl Jadyn

June 1st, 2015 - By Kay Hudson
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Mommynoire readers, your support is truly needed for cancer patient Super Girl Jayden!

The cast of Legends of Tomorrow has donated the first memorabilia signed by the cast in hopes to raise funding for Super Girl Jadyn, and other kids with life threatening diseases, to experience the slumber party of a life time.

Jadyn is 12 years old and has been living with a recurring brain tumor since the age of 5. She has undergone 6 surgeries, each time removing vital parts of her brain, and has exceeded the maximum amount of radiation- having been treated with more than 123 doses.

For Jadyn, cancer isn’t a death sentence and she’s not a victim. It’s life.

With the generous donation of the CROSS Limited Edition Peerless 125 Fountain Pen worth $3,900, they are hoping to create a memorable experience for Jadyn, her family, friends, and other children with life threatening diseases.

Please visit Charitybuzz to help support this cause!


*Poster signed by Arthur Darvill, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Ciara Renee, Grant Gustin, Stephen Amell, Victor Garber, and Wentworth Miller.

The Foundation:

Jadyn was the inspiration behind the Creative Horizon Foundation. A new non-profit that is dedicated to curating experiences for families and individuals with life-threatening diseases through science, technology, and art.

Other Celebrities Behind the Cause:

Jason Winston George from Grey’s Anatomy, Kim Coates from Sons of Anarchy, Billy Baldwin, Kim Coates, Mark Rhino Smith, Selena Gomez and Calum Worthy

CROSS Pens Supports Cancer Patient, Super Girl Jadyn

Heart Of Coal: Family Raised $187 Million For Cancer Charities, Spent It on Themselves

May 21st, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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A Tennessee family raised $187 million under the guise of “supporting” cancer patients. The Federal Trade Commission caught ’em red handed spending the donated money on cars, gym memberships, luxury cruise vacations, college tuition, and more, Yahoo! Finance reports.

James T. Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife, and son collected the donations through their own charities: The Cancer Fund of America, The Breast Cancer Society , and the Children’s Cancer Fund of America. The organizations hired telemarketers to solicit $20 donations from people across the country.

Donors were led to believe that the charities generously supported cancer patients who are in need of pain medication, transportation to chemotherapy sessions, and hospice care.

But according to the FTC, not much of the money actually reached cancer patients. The  charity organizations operated  as “personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest, and excessive insider compensation.”

And for those who are looking for a refund, tough luck. “The money is mostly gone,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The litigation against the Reynolds is still on-going, but as part of a settlement agreement, they are currently barred running these charities.

The Breast Cancer Society, one of the shuttered charity organizations ran under Reynolds II, blamed increased government scrutiny for their downfall:

“While the organization, its officers and directors have not been found guilty of any allegations of wrongdoing, and the government has not proven otherwise, our board of directors has decided that it does not help those who we seek to serve, and those who remain in need, for us to engage in a highly publicized, expensive, and distracting legal battle around our fundraising practices,” according to the statement.

The organizations hid their high administration costs from benefactors and regulators, according to the complaint. The groups filed financial documents stating that they collected about $223 million “gifts in kind.” But, allegedly, that is all poppycock.

“Investigators say that number was inflated and helped to create the illusion that the groups were being more efficient with donated money than they actually were,” Yahoo! Finance said.

As per the FTC, 36 states claim that the defendants filed “false and misleading” financial statements with state charities.

The settlement agreement imposed heavy judgments on the family. Reynolds II, for instance, faced a $65.5 million judgment, which may be forgiven after paying $60,000.

“I hope it serves as a strong warning for anyone trying to exploit the kindness and generosity of others,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said of the investigation.

The Washington Post lays out five reasons why it took so long for the government to catch on to the scam, including an overwhelming number of charities to oversee, the aggressive telemarketers that these charities used and people’s desire to help a good cause.

Terrence J Donates $100K To NC A&T

April 25th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

If there’s one thing you can say about Terrence J, it’s that he is a stand up guy.

The E! News correspondent donated a $100,000 endowment fund to his alma mater North Carolina A&T State University.  The beautiful gesture took place Friday morning on campus as he celebrated “Terrence J Day.” The day celebrates the journalism and mass communication department. The day featured a mentor’s breakfast and a “Let’s Talk” networking session.

In addition to his donation, NBCUniversal has established a partnership with the university. The partnership will help develop initiatives to assist future graduates of HBCUs with careers in entertainment.

Terrence stated, “I am truly humbled to return to my alma mater and be in a position to give back to the same department and University that helped steer me on this incredibly rewarding career path. I’m inspired by the great work that NBCUniversal has contributed to N.C. A&T State and I am thankful to be able to work together with them on these important programs.”

We are absolutely squealing in our seats! It’s beautiful to see a celebrity give back so generously to the community. We’re sure that partnership with NBCUniversal and the $100K donation will change the lives of many. And it comes at a time when HBCUs are struggling to remain financially viable. Here are six other notable names who are helping the nation’s HBCUs.


Why James Robertson Might Want to Consider Not Taking the Money

February 4th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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World News Videos | ABC World News

If you haven’t heard, there is a Black man in Detroit who walks 21 miles to-and-from work because he needs the money.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press, 56- year-old James Robertson works at a factory, which is located 23 miles away from his home. There is a bus line but it only covers half of his trip. The other half he must travel by way of dusty Timberland boots. He travels 23 miles, Monday through Friday, for a job that pays him a little over 10 bucks an hour.

According to the story, Robertson has been making this 21-mile journey ever since his 1988 Honda Accord broke down over a decade ago. For whatever reason, Bill Laitner of the Detroit paper sees something dignified in this. And highlights it in the most flowery of prose:

Every trip is an ordeal of mental and physical toughness for this soft-spoken man with a perfect attendance record at work. And every day is a tribute to how much he cares about his job, his boss and his coworkers. Robertson’s daunting walks and bus rides, in all kinds of weather, also reflect the challenges some metro Detroiters face in getting to work in a region of limited bus service, and where car ownership is priced beyond the reach of many.”

But you won’t hear Robertson complain — nor his boss.

Um, perhaps Robertson should complain a bit more?

And I’m being serious here when I say that perhaps Robertson needs to engage in a little Black Lives Matter-protesting on the job? You know, raise a stink about that long-overdue raise? Or at the very least, maybe he should be putting those resumes out for a new gig, that requires less travel time? Take it from a person who had to learn the hard way: if you want something in life you better speak up and say something. As Zora Neale Hurston once said, “if you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

Or you can stay ridiculously humble to the point of being self-sacrificial and wait for a nice reporter to come around and do an equally nice human interest story about you, which eventually inspires enough donations to buy you a new car. Whatever works.

And as USA Today reports:

After the Detroit Free Press told of Robertson’s arduous 21-mile trek to and from his suburban factory job, the story inspired thousands of donations from across the nation. A day later, the soft-spoken machine operator got to meet the computer student from Wayne State University who launched an Internet crowd-funding site to gather more than $230,000 — a figure expected to continue to climb today.

At Mr. B’s Food & Spirits bar in downtown Rochester, the two hugged and were interviewed Monday night for national television shows and People magazine.”

What’s wrong with it? On the surface, absolutely nothing. In fact, it is quite generous of the global community to chip in a couple of dollars each to help Robertson, at the very least, get a car to transport him back and forth to work. However, if I was Robertson, I would be totally cautious of accepting those unsolicited funds from strangers.

What I mean is that folks can get real paternalistic over poor people. And some charity can come along with inflated expectations of the kind of impact this supposed act of kindness will have on an individual’s life. We identify the alleged hurdles in an individual’s life and then become inspired by them. And we decide to help these people fix or overcome that hurdle. Usually, this help comes with expectations that they will miraculously turn their lives around. However, when they fail to meet our expectations, we are disappointed in them, turn our backs on them and in some instances, want the return of our charity from them.

I see lots of this being played out in Robertson’s story. His savior is a banker, who first brought Robertson’s story to the Detroit Free Press and is overseeing a “board of advisors,” who will not only monitor the funds, but “set much of Robertson’s windfall aside for future expenses, including auto insurance, gasoline, maintenance, and some of the cash likely will help him with medical and dental care.” In other words, Robertson is a project.

In a sense, charity becomes an exercise in meritocracy as opposed to a matter of addressing someone’s alleged immediate need(s). And it also tends to ignore what is the larger concern here, which is income inequality. The crime here is that Robertson has to travel 46 miles round trip from home to a township, in which he probably can’t even afford to live, just to work a job that only pays him $10 an hour. The secondary crime here is that in 2015, public transportation in some parts of America is virtually non-existent. The secondary and primary crimes here often work in cahoots at keeping poor people, poor. And in lots of instances, it is by design. But instead of thinking about why there are jobs targeted to grown men and women in places that they can’t afford to live, which pay less than livable wages (and trying to fix that), we blame the people for not crawling low enough.

Now, I’m not saying Robertson shouldn’t take the money if he really needs it. If he really needs it, heck yeah, take the money. However, I really hope that those who donated won’t start trippin’ if six months down the line, we find out that homeboy is still walking to work because he decided to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Vegas instead of buying himself a new car. Hell, after taxes, gas, insurance and upkeep,

I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he decided to take that car money and bet it all on black.

As a former organizer, the one thing I learned was that you have to let folks be the captain of the change in their lives. And the best that you, as a help-mate, could do is support and provide guidance. Ironically, I noticed that nowhere in the story, or in the follow-up story, did anyone bother to ask Robertson if he was cool with his predicament. Everyone just kind of assumes that he needs charity to begin with.

For The Sake Of Charity: Co-Founders Of Facebook Giving Most Of Their Fortune Away

January 4th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Charity donation


After toiling away to make a new company a success, many entrepreneurs would want to hang on to as much of the fortune they amounted as possible. But that was not the thinking of Cari Tuna and her future husband, Dustin Moskovitz, a Facebook co-founder, in 2010, when they both were in their mid-20s. They decided they would give away most of their multibillion-dollar fortune to charity.

In 2010, Tuna and Moskovitz became the youngest couple ever to sign on to the Giving Pledge, the campaign started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to encourage the world’s billionaires to commit to giving away most of their wealth, reports The Chicago Tribune.

The pair believed that most of the money Moskovitz had made, which was estimated at $8.1 billion according to Forbes, should be returned to society in their lifetimes. But first they had to figure out how and where to give it away.

“The conventional wisdom is to say, ‘What am I passionate about?’ and go for something in that area,” Tuna said. “That can be a great way to do things, but at the same time, I think that by just going with that, you’re leaving a lot of opportunity for impact on the table.”

Tuna and Moskovitz, now 29 and 30, respectively, spent three years researching what to do with the money. Finally, after hundreds of interviews and trips that took them from Washington think tanks such as the Brookings Institution to health clinics in Myanmar and villages in Kenya, they have honed in on four major “buckets”: U.S. policy, global catastrophic risks, international aid and science. And in early 2015, they will announce their first major gifts.

“I came to this work without a really fixed worldview as most philanthropists do that are coming to this after highly successful careers in other fields,” said Tuna, who serves as president of Good Ventures, the couple’s foundation. “I have a blank slate, and I’m trying to use that as an advantage.”

Holiday Giving: 8 Ways To Give Back This Season

December 7th, 2014 - By Rich
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If your goal is to raise compassionate, loving children then the best way to ground them is to teach them about the importance of holiday giving. It’s an invaluable lesson when children can see their parents in action helping people who need it the most plus it’s a great way for family bonding. This is a busy season, but if you can find the time and are interested in giving back here are 8 Ways To Give Back This Season:

Tell your kids that around the holidays there are some children that don’t get any presents because they can’t afford it. Make sure they understand that taking toys they don’t play with anymore could make another child really happy during the holidays. Once you help them sort out the toys you can take them to a Good Will or a local family shelter.

There are many non-profits and churches that can help you find a family to adopt for the holidays. You can pair regular gifts with a few handmade gifts if your budget is tight. You may want to start saving a little monthly all year long so that you will have a solid budget for the next holiday. If you want, you can also stay in touch with the family throughout the year to see how they are doing.

Food banks need non-perishable food all year long but especially during the holiday season when they may be the busiest.

You can invest in a bulk size pack of tote bags at your local craft store. You can fill it with gloves, a few non-perishable items, hand warmers, bottled water and anything else you think might come in handy. You could even have a print out of local shelters and non-profits along with their address that help the homeless during the holidays.

Have your kids make holiday cards and cookies. Call your local nursing home and ask if it is ok to come and visit. You and the kids can hand out the holiday cards and have conversations with the elderly there. That quality time probably means the world to them especially this season.

There are a ton of organizations that give out hot meals all throughout the year. You can reach out to them to find out what is their process for volunteering and are kids allowed to help too. Fill it out and show up to help distribute food and do whatever else needs to be done. This is a great on going thing to do a few times a year as a family.

Do you know a busy mom that needs a mommy moment? You can offer to babysit or treat her to an outing. Do you have know a family  that just moved to the neighborhood? Maybe they need help navigating around town. You can bring some cookies and pay them a visit letting them know they can come to you if they need advice for the area on schools, stores etc.

The Power of Pink: 15 Chic Ways to Support Breast Cancer Research

October 16th, 2014 - By Kweli Wright
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This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, use the power of your pocketbook to show your support for breast cancer research. When one in eight women face breast cancer, chances are, this is an issue that hits close to home. We rounded up products that look good while doing good.

The Power of Pink: 15 Chic Ways to Support Breast Cancer Research

Toddler Development: The 10 Best Things You Can Do To Raise Kind Kids

July 28th, 2014 - By Rich
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A couple of months ago my 3-year-old was at a birthday party, and I noticed that one of his classmates was being rougher with the kids than I thought was appropriate. Sure, little boys tend to roughhouse, but this was more than that. The kid seemed to be kind of mean. The next day my son had another party to attend, and that same kid was there. Unfortunately, he displayed the same behavior.  I gave that kid what I call “the look,” and he walked away from my son (I didn’t know where his parents were).  My son didn’t get angry and he never pushed the kid back. He was pretty calm about things. But, in that moment, I wondered what I could do as a parent to ensure that he is always kind (without being a doormat).

Children learn how to be kind at home.  If they are in an environment that is hostile and filled with negative energy, chances are it will seep into their being. Mean kids rarely just happen.  They are usually mean for one of two reasons. They either didn’t see kindness modeled enough in their home, or they are being mean to deal with some kind of emotional stress they don’t know how to manage. Are some kids mean despite their parents’ best efforts?  Sure. However, we still have to try our very best to really teach them how to be kind.  Here are some things you can do to raise kind people.

Toddler Development: The 10 Best Things You Can Do to Raise Kind Kids