New Yorkers For Children Hosts Fall Gala, Raises $1.25 Million Blog: Philanthropy Times

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

New Yorkers For Children hosted its 16th Annual Fall Gala on Wednesday, September 16 and raised $1.25 million to benefit youth in foster care. Co-chairs, honorary chairs, and committee members attended the event, along with a number of other notable guests including Marcus Samuelsson and his wife Maya Haile, Wes Gordon, Leandra Medine, Georgina Bloomberg, Indre Rockefeller, and Lauren Remington Platt.

New Yorkers For Children focuses on improving the lives of those under the child welfare system by providing scholarships and programs to assist in the transition to stable adulthood. These programs include the Back to School Program, Guardian Scholars Program, Youth Advisory Board, and Futures in Motion Program.

The fundraiser, sponsored by Chloé, marked the first occasion of the season for New York’s charitable community to come out for a good cause. The event consisted of dinner, cocktail hour, casino games, and a live auction.

“The work that New Yorkers For Children does for kids in foster care is unparalleled,” said Lise Evans, who chaired the event. “They support these kids with any issue they have. It could be school issues, it could be emotional issues, but no matter what, the organization really follows through. They act like a second parent. I’ve been on the board for a few years, and I’m in awe of what New Yorkers For Children accomplishes for these kids that so often lack the support to finish college. They give each and every child that’s involved hands-on attention.”

“The core of NYFC is taking children that are age-out appropriate, which is 12 years old, latching on to them and helping to encourage them to pursue their dreams and their goals,” said model Selita Ebanks. “What happens when you’re twenty years old, and you’re still dealing with the B.S. of society? That’s why I’m here tonight, to hear more success stories than sad stories.”

Target Shifts Charity Focus on Wellness

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Retail giant Target is ending a trademark giving program through which it has helped raise $432 million to over 100,000 schools across the country. The company will shift its philanthropic focus to health and wellness efforts, which includes promoting active lifestyles and good nutrition.

The “Take Charge of Education” charitable program, which began nearly two decades ago, will end in May of 2016.

Why the change?

Laysha Ward, who manages Target’s corporate responsibility efforts, said the change is dictated by their customers. Ten years ago, customers agreed that education was their top social concern. Today, Target’s customers say health is their No. 1 issue.

The change will be a disappointment to many schools that currently receive funds from the program. These funds cover budget gaps that include everything from school supplies to after-school programs. Typically, schools received an average of $370 a year from the program, though there are some schools who received thousands of dollars a year.

“If they are stepping back from education, I think that’s a mistake,” said Amy Koo, an analyst at Kantar Retail, noting that there are a number of grocers and drugstore chains that already focus on health and hunger charities.

“Take Charge of Education” was incredibly innovative, but Target strives to do more.

“There was nothing else like it out there. We just want to continue to innovate,” said Ward. The company’s commitment to donate 5 percent of its profits to community programs won’t change, but what will is how they express and reimagine their social responsibility commitment.

Target will focus on areas of healthy eating, active living, and cleaner food labels. In addition, it will closely integrate its business and social programs, tweaking its product assortment to include more natural, healthy products.

Coca-Cola also believes in living a healthy lifestyle. Check out this past blog!

Is this the right move for Target? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below!

From Hedge Funds to Philanthropy: Dan Loeb and the Fight to Cure Alzheimer’s Disease

Image of a brain and firing synapses

The Loebs’ generous donation is leading the way to new Alzheimer’s research.
Image: Shutterstock

Dan Loeb may be best known for being a tough hedge fund manager, but he’s also the co-founder of the Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer’s Disease, which he established with his wife Margaret Munzer Loeb in honor of his father, who died of Alzheimer’s in 2012. The Center now focuses on research and treatment, as well as supporting families whose members are struggling with the disease.

The Loeb Center has become a vital part of the Mount Sinai Health System, which covers a multisite network treating more than 3,000 patients every year. Though its research programs have received more than $200 million from the National Institutes of Health–in fact, the NIH designated it as one of the first five Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers in the country–the Loebs’ donation is different.

According to Kenneth L. Davis, the president and chief executive of Mount Sinai, the Loeb Center allows researchers to work on a new approach to drug development. Instead of looking at genes that could be considered risk factors, scientists will be able to learn more about protective genes that provide disease resistance. This research isn’t normally federally funded, so Mount Sinai hasn’t been able to do it before.

Alzheimer’s can be catastrophic for those suffering from it, not to mention their families. Loeb explained his family’s fervor behind the $14 million donation that got the Center started by remembering his father, who died from a heart attack at age 79. Ronald Loeb had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for eight years, during which time, his son remembers, he withdrew from his favorite activities, including travel, meditation, and yoga. The elder Loeb had been a Korean War veteran who graduated from the University of California Los Angeles and Harvard Law School before pursuing a successful career as a corporate lawyer.

“We saw immediately, from the diagnosis on, his life was effectively over,” Loeb said. “He was like a dead man walking. I got a chance to see the ravages of this disease firsthand.”

The pain of having had to witness his father’s decline may lead to some good yet, though: Loeb knows how important it is to move Alzheimer’s research forward. “It is an honor to establish this center in my father’s memory to support groundbreaking work in Alzheimer’s disease research,” Loeb said. “When my father was sick, I learned how painful this illness is for those afflicted and their families. I also recognized that there is little hope for patients today beyond slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s. We urgently need more resources to find a cure of effective prevention.”

L.A .to Declare “State of Emergency” on Homelessness

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

If you’ve visited Los Angeles, you’ve probably noticed that the streets are filled with homeless people.

The homeless population has increased 12% since 2013. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who took office in 2014, stated last month that his administration was constructing a plan to address this increase. The city will free up $13 million in the coming months to help house people living in sidewalk campsites.

According to the Los Angeles Times, city leaders declared the homeless population a “state of emergency” and will devote up to $100 million to help eradicate the issue. Although the emergency declaration and funding will require action by the full City Council, elected officials offered few details on how the money would be spent or where it would come from. Council President Herb Wesson promised it would be found “somehow, some way.”

“These are our fellow Angelinos,” said Garcetti. “They are those who have no other place to go, and they are literally here where we work, a symbol of our city’s intense crisis.”

Just how bad is the homelessness crisis? The problem’s reach can be seen in the clusters of tents, cardboard shelters, and shopping carts that have spread far beyond downtown’s infamous Skid Row, expanding through the neighborhoods from Studio City to Highland Park.

“The proposal is more than just words. It calls for the fast-tracking of and a special, streamlined process for affordable housing. It also makes it easier for nonprofits and faith institutions to operate shelters and safe parking programs, and opens up the possibility for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to use city facilities for the same purpose,” said Council member Mike Bonin.

The emergency declaration is still under review by the City Council.

“If we can lift up those in need, and pick up those left behind, then we can live up to the best of our ideals,” Garcetti said.

The Internet Changed Philanthropy


Image: Shutterstock

Say goodbye to the days when charities and organizations needed to rely on paper pleas for donations.

There’s no doubt that the web and social media are quickly revolutionizing charity, transforming the way we support great causes in the world. Non-profits have turned to social media to raise awareness, encouraging fun, viral philanthropy through crowd funding sites such as Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and more.

Philanthropy has changed from a world of transactions to a world of relationship building. “Social media and crowd funding can change the way that people connect with the causes or the passions they believe in,” states Slava Rubin, founder and CEO of Indiegogo.

According to a recent study from M+R and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), since 2013, people on the web have donated more than ever before. Online giving increased 14% since 2012, with more than 5.5 million total gifts and nearly $325 million raised.

The Internet is changing philanthropy.

Just to give you an example, the ALS ice bucket challenge raised more than $100 million in a single month, with the help of more than three million people around the world.

According to the ALS Association, that represents a 3,500% increase from the $2.8 million the organization raised during the same time of the previous year. Stumbling upon ice bucket challenge videos online was unavoidable. As social media sensations go, this one was a huge success, as it was filled with fun, emotion, inspiration, silliness, and money. Not only did it involve our entire social networks, but celebrities, professional athletes, and even a former president participated in the cause.

The Internet has given us an opportunity and ability to provide support for those in need. With social media, news, and crowd funding websites, this phenomenon has helped raise millions of dollars for causes across the world. Who will we help next?

Are you a business looking for creative ways to give back? Check out this article!

Fun and Unique Ways to Give Back to the Community

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Giving back to the community usually involves thoughts of donating tons of money to local charities. The act of giving back is timeless, but it’s multi-dimensional and no longer means writing a check.

Money is just one of the ways we can offer our heart or help to other people, animals, and causes in the world. No matter how you do it, giving back to your community will touch many people’s lives. Whether it’s volunteering at a local event, helping a neighbor out, or making a donation, the smallest gesture can make a big difference in the world!

Be inspired to spread some goodness within your own community – it’s not as hard as it sounds! I’ve put together a list of creative ways of how you can make a difference:

Donate clothes

Fashionistas, it’s time to do some fall cleaning in your closet. If you’ve got a love of fashion, you may want to consider donating some clothes before you run out of room in your apartment! Encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to donate new or gently used clothing, accessories, and shoes to a local charity.

Volunteer at a school

There are many places looking for volunteers to help with activities – this includes schools, care programs, day cares, camps, church groups, community centers, mentorship programs, and much more. Give back to the community by “donating” the skills you already have. Help a child read, write, paint, play basketball, ride a bike, fold origami, and more.

Participate in food drives

Many businesses encourage employees to bring in unopened non-perishable canned and boxed foods during the busy holiday season. Donating to local food banks is a great way to help your community.

Share your pet!

Our pets make us smile, so maybe they can put a smile on someone else’s face. Rather than leaving your dog at home while you’re at work, consider bringing them to a local senior center, veteran’s club, or hospital to bring joy to the residents.
Remember, money isn’t the only way to support your community. Offering your time and expertise is a fantastic way to help others. Find the best way to include charity into your life!

Do you have other fun, creative ways to give back? Comment below!

Facebook Teams Up With Charter Group on Software

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Free and low cost programs in schools are a great way for kids to explore new interests, get extra support, and supplement what is being taught during the school day.

While we all know that Facebook helped transform communication with its awesome online social network, the company now wants to make a similar impact on education.

Last week, Facebook announced a partnership with a nonprofit charter-school network, Summit Public Schools, to build educational software that will be offered to public schools for free. As an effort to develop and offer students a “personalized learning plan”, the program is used to help students learn at their own pace.

Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says the partnership with Summer is “an example of how educators and engineers can team up to unlock more potential than we could have otherwise.”

This isn’t the first time Mark Zuckerberg expressed interest in school transformation; education is a passion of his. Four years ago, he gave $100 million to turn the Newark’s failing public schools into a “symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” In addition, Mark and his wife committed to giving $120 million over five years to school districts in the San Francisco Bay Area.

According to mock up screenshots offered by Facebook, the software appears to allow teachers to craft curriculums for students and for students to track their learning progress. The technology also gives teachers more time to work one-on-one with students in each classroom.

This year, Facebook will support Summit as it partners with various public schools that want to explore personalized learning through a small pilot program. Feedback from the program will be used for improvements with the goal of eventually offering it for free to any school in the United States.

Disney Star Gabe Eggerling Committed To Giving Back


Disney star Gabe Eggerling. Image: Shutterstock

Whether in acting, modeling, music, or sports, the world is full of children in the pursuit of stardom. Among those few children who actually make it, people often make the assumption that stardom will negatively affect a child’s emotional growth and development.

Growing out of child stardom seems like a hard task. Using Disney channel actors as an example, it’s common to find negative articles floating around in Google. On the other hand, there are an impressive few who have made it into adulthood relatively unharmed, and seen as great representations and role models for our children.

Gabe Eggerling is on the path to be one of them.

Gabe is a star in Disney’s upcoming TV movie “The Kicks”. At just 11 years old, he often felt concerned about other kids’ potential lack of food, housing and education – and he decided to step up to do something about it. On behalf of National Volunteer Week, a program that encourages people to engage with their communities, Eggerling joined HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarresssy Tehrani to discuss the story behind his motivation to help other young people to learn to read through volunteering.

Eggerling visited various schools around southern California and started to read to kids. One time, he met a girl who told him that she didn’t have any books. “That really started me trying to give books to all the kids that I could find…I was really sad…I thought that everyone had books, that everyone could read. It was really shocking to me.” Gabe decided to do something about it and started his organization “Mission: HERO” (Helping Everyone Read Out Loud).

Tracy Hoover, chief executive of Points of Light, thinks it’s inspiring to watch young people like Eggerling step up for causes they’re passionate about. It encourages adults to spend their time in similar ways.

“I think what you see with the young celebrities and the community action heroes is that each of us, whether you’re younger or older, have things that you really care about…and a unique sphere of influence and assets that you can apply to those causes, and that’s the sweet spot,” says Hoover.

Today, Gabe hosts events, reads to schools, and donates thousands of new books to disadvantaged kids. It’s great to see young people recognizing a problem and doing something about it. To learn more about Gabe Eggerling and his volunteering, click here.

Blind Painter Raises More Than $1 Million Through His Masterpieces


Image: Shutterstock

Painter Jeff Hanson is a young artist that uses his artistic talent to help raise money for local charities, and has managed to raise more than $1 million.

A philanthropic artist from Overland Park, Kansas, Jeff is visually impaired from an optic nerve tumor (he nick-named it “Clod”) associated with a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis. The disorder caused a brain tumor that eventually left him legally blind in 2005. Despite his lack of vision, Jeff sees well enough to continue creating visually stunning artwork – a “sight for sore eyes,” he calls it.

Jeff chose to focus on what he can do rather than what he can’t. He might not be capable of doing many everyday things, but what he can do is effortlessly apply strokes of vibrant colors to an open canvas. At just 21 years old, he’s become an accomplished artist with about 1,400 paintings. What’s even more amazing is that he has donated more than $1 million worth of paintings to charity, including organizations like Make-a-Wish-Foundation and the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

“I thought it would be good to give back to the world and not use it for myself,” Hanson told USA Today back in 2013. “My art makes people happy.”

Jeff’s mother, Julie, was the first person to introduce him to art. Art was used as a distraction from the chemotherapy treatments he had when he was younger. This hobby eventually turned into a very successful business – original Jeff Hanson pieces sell for about $4,000 each.

Jeff’s business continues to diversify and grow; his vibrant artwork finds new ways to make a difference in the world, one painting at a time. On top of winning multiple awards, his artwork has even been translated to couture fashion, with models dressed in hand-painted garments displayed on fashion runways.

To learn more about Jeff Hanson and his artwork, visit his website here.

Irish Homeless Charities in Row with Labor TD

Woman sitting on ground against wall

Several Irish charities dealing with the homeless are facing government funding problems.
Image: Shutterstock

Two Irish charities focused on homelessness have come under fire by a representative of the Labour party for not doing enough to combat homelessness. The charities have responded that they aren’t surprised that the TD (an Irish member of the lower house of parliament) would choose to attack them instead of attacking the problem of homelessness itself.

According to Joanna Tuffy, the charities in question, Focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust, should be borrowing money from the Housing and Finance Agency in order to build or purchase homes to house people. The two charities already receive about 60% of their funds from the government, and Tuffy maintains that for this reason, they should be taking loans from the government.

The charities responded that it’s easier and cheaper for them to get loans from commercial banks for their projects, which seems to be the basis of their not being surprised at the criticism. In short, the government isn’t willing to do the work of making money available to help homeless people, but wants to criticize the charities that do help those people.

Tuffy replied that she wasn’t criticizing the charities for the work they do but wanted to start asking questions about publically-funded organizations that have a duty to be transparent about their expenditures. In defense of the McVerry Trust, they have applied for a loan form the Housing and Finance Agency, but they’re still waiting on the lengthy process to acquire those funds. In the meantime, an estimated 5,000 people are homeless at any given time in Ireland, while only 556 families, including 1,185 children, are living in emergency housing in Dublin at the moment.

Perhaps now that everyone knows why the charities aren’t borrowing money from the government, the government can find some way to fix the situation.


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