Information and news about philanthropy

Springsteen Joins Academy of Arts and SciencesAdd a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to Bruce Springsteen’s already impressive resume. The rock star/philanthropist was elected to the prestigious and selective honorary society for his philanthropic efforts towards social causes, and now joins the likes of actor Robert De Niro, actress Sally Field, fellow singer-songwriter Pete Seeger and Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Annie Dillard and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences boasts the membership of some of the most accomplished individuals in the fields of arts, science, academics, writing, and civil, corporate, and philanthropic leadership. “Election to the Academy honors individual accomplishment and calls upon members to serve the public good,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

In January, Springsteen was named MusiCares, Person of the Year. The nonprofit organization was set up in the ’80s by the same entity that gives out the Grammys — the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science.

The new class will be inducted at an October 12 ceremony at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Katie Brockman

Source NJ

Kellogg Commits to Create Brighter Futures

Breakfast giant Kellogg is committed to creating brighter futures for global citizens and outlines plans to accomplish that goal in its 5th Annual Global Corporate Responsibility Report.  W.K. Kellogg aspired to not only create breakfast cereal but to improve people’s lives through food and philanthropy.  Each year, Kellogg highlights their efforts at creating brighter futures through their Global Corporate Responsibility report. This report outlines Kellogg’s efforts aimed at the marketplace, workplace, environment, and community, as well as their global efforts to fight world hunger.

Breakfasts for Better Days is Kellogg’s global hunger initiative. According to the report, 1 in 8 people around the world face food insecurity each day.  Through Kellogg and Kellogg’s Corporate Citizenship Fund, the company has committed to donating 1 billion servings of cereal and snacks to children and families in need by 2016.  Breakfast is what they do best and by providing servings of breakfast to children around the world, Kellogg is playing a role in fighting global hunger worldwide.

In addition to the work being done to fight global hunger, Kellogg is also committed to reducing water use and waste to landfill in their plants. The UK plant was able to reduce its water use by 26% in 2012. They have launched new products with higher fiber, protein, and nutritional content and will continue to create food that is healthy to improve the health of all citizens.  Lastly, to further promote breakfast and hunger relief programs, Kellogg’ has donated $52+ million in cash and products to organizations worldwide.

Kellogg is committed to being socially and fiscally responsible in the world of business and it is striving to use its platform as a breakfast manufacturer to fight global hunger and improve the lives of global citizens. The full report is available here. Kellogg will make a one-time donation of up to $10,000 to the Global FoodBanking Network for every person who provides feedback on the report. Simply send an email by Nov 1, 2013, to [email protected]

Check out the report and send an email. It’s an easy way to contribute to the cause through advocacy and involvement and encourage businesses to continue to fight global hunger.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: Wall Street Journal
Photo: Kellogg

International Women Development Champion AwardThe International Women Development Champion Award honors exemplary women who have dedicated their lives and have committed their efforts to the economic development of Africa and African women. On 24th March, the President of UN Women National Committee Canada, Almas Jiwani, was awarded the International Women Development Champion Award in Paris. She is the first Canadian and the first UN Woman representative to receive this award. The initiatives she took in trying to connect the gaps between the corporate world and the humanitarian world made her a new face for humanitarianism. She has put tremendous efforts into establishing change through excellence and dedication to philanthropy.

Almas Jiwani expressed how this award promotes equality, “We must continue investing in African women and increase their involvement in the political structures in place and in everyday life.” Furo Giami, the Executive Director of the Center for Economic and Leadership Development said that it’s an honor to present Almas Jiwani with this award to recognize her efforts and achievements at contributing to the end of global poverty and “all forms of vices militating the development of African women.”

Some of the women who have received this award in the past include President Joyce Banda of Malawi, Vice President Joice Mujuru of Zimbabwe, Business Leader Wendy Luhabe of South Africa, Ida Odinga (wife of the Prime Minister of Kenya), Rt. Hon. Anne Makinda (the Speaker of Parliament in Tanzania) and others.

– Leen Abdallah

Source: Market Wire

Crowdfunding Pushes Philanthropy and Development

Crowdfunding is an approach to raising money for new projects and businesses by soliciting contributions from large numbers of ordinary people – online. In 2011 alone, this industry raised $1.5 billion dollars, both in for-profit and non-profit ventures. Due to new regulations, some estimate the trend could grow to $500 billion annually. This could mean huge changes and development through social-venture enterprises; more start-ups and funding for projects that have a beneficial social impact.

The money raised through crowdfunding falls into three different categories: 1. Philanthropy, where there is no expected return for the donation, 2. Lending, where the money is paid back, or some other gift (usually the business product) is given as a reward, or 3. Investment, in exchange for profit or revenue sharing (equity).

Much to industry surprise, the category that received the most funding was philanthropic which equaled 49 percent of all funds raised; despite the fact that most funding sites are for lending or investing.  A few sites, like Crowdrise.com and Causes.com, are exclusively for 501 registered charities. North America is the largest contributor, $837.2 million, over half of the global total, and also the fastest-growing region.

The dramatic news is that earlier this year new legislation was submitted to the SEC, allowing for even greater investment to be made through crowdfunding. So, if the current trends prevail, projects benefiting social causes could start to receive massive amounts of capital. The average equity-based campaign is aiming to raise about $85,000, compared to just $700 for donations. When the new regulations are approved, more funding is expected to flood into “impact investing.”

Jonathan Blanchard, founder of WeSparkt a crowdfunding platform focusing on social-entrepreneurship, believes investing will start to focus on a “double bottom line – profit and social good – to raise equity.” Blanchard sites a Monitor study suggesting that crowdfunding will reach $500 billion annually.  His site will target impact investors hoping to create social change.

You can participate right now, get in with the crowd – fund a project for the global poor!

– Mary Purcell

Source: Forbes, Forbes
Photo: Hong Kiat

 

 

Clooney Tequila_opt
Well known philanthropist, humanitarian, and actor George Clooney has recently launched a line of high quality tequila whose profits will be entirely donated as aid for Sudan.

The tequila, know as Cosamigos, is unique in regards to the long distillation process and copper pot fermentation process that helps set it apart from many of the other premium brands. Cosamigos – aged in refurbished whiskey barrels – has garnered rave reviews thus far, which along with George Clooney’s celebrity status, has helped boost sales and will no doubt help to generate some much needed aid for Sudan.

For the past several years, George Clooney has been personally funding a satellite imagery project over South Sudan to serve as a pair of eyes watching over the current President Omar Al- Bashir and hopefully preventing any further ethnic violence. Recently, Clooney made headlines with a testimony he gave to the US Senate outlining the severity of the humanitarian crisis he himself witnessed in a trip he made back in 2012, further highlighting the immediate need of aid for Sudan.

Unlike many other high priced spirits, the value of Cosamigos goes well beyond smooth taste – available as both Blanco and Reposado – but instead in the intended humanitarian mission as a source for greater aid for Sudan. In regards to his charitable donations, Clooney remarked, “I have a satellite over South Sudan that I’m trying to keep some people alive with. It costs me a lot of money every year so now I’m getting it paid for.”

Brian Turner

Source: Snuff
Photo: USA Today

Will Capping Charity Deductions Hurt?
Despite Congress’ efforts in January to increase the tax savings for charitable donations, Obama’s newest proposal will lower it from the current 39.6% to 28%.  A cap on itemized deductions basically means that when someone makes a charitable donation, the amount that they can claim on their itemized tax deduction is now about 10.8% less than before. For example, say a person who earns about $450,000 a year makes a donation of $1000 to UNICEF. Originally, they would be able to write off $396 but with the change in charity deductions, can only write off $280.

This change, however, will only affect those in the top 35% tax bracket (those who make more than $335,000). For Obama, this is a major source of money that he would use to help pay for the $447 billion job plan he introduced a few years ago. It is also a way to make sure that the rich are paying a higher share of taxes and eliminating the loophole of writing-off thousands and thousands of dollars.

But what does this mean for nonprofits? And aside from them, what does the fact that this is even an issue mean about society and giving in general? To tackle the first question, Philanthropy.com referred to a study by economists John Bakija and Bradley Heim that concludes that for every 1% decrease in savings (in this case, about 10.8%), there is an equal 1% decrease in the amount given. They do, however, mention that there are many other factors that affect how much donors give and that this change will affect each charity in a different way.

The second question seems to be the elephant in the room. It is not naive to assume that people choose to give from the heart. Yes, we live in a country that allows those who donate to receive some sort of benefit for doing so, but at a time where our passions for a cause should be the driving cause of our actions and charity, why would receiving only 11% less on a donation make the wealthy hesitate when giving to a cause?

Perhaps the charted out reductions in total donations is frightening to some charities. They should still remain hopeful that there are those in the 35% tax bracket who will continue to donate at the rates they have previously, regardless of this new change in policy. Obama’s intent to bridge the income gap and require the wealthy to pay more taxes is understandable; but so is the fear of many nonprofit organizations.

– Deena Dulgerian

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Photo: Times Union

Red Nose Day Turns 25March 15 will mark the 25th anniversary of the charity organization Comic Relief’s Biannual Red Nose Day. The event, which began in the UK in 1988, is an all-day affair that showcases British comedians performing telethon-style with the ultimate goal of raising money for poverty reduction in Africa. Since the first event, the organization has raised 660 million pounds for the cause.

What now appears to the public as a well-rehearsed and professional telethon was once a much more amateur affair with the most earnest of the organizers and performers of Red Nose Day holding it together. British talk show host and comedian Jonathan Ross recalls one mix-up from the early years when Welsh comedian Griff Rhys Jones began a comedic bit with his trademark enthusiasm only to realize that he was supposed to be presenting a tragic event. Despite moments of confusion, the event was a wild success and continues to be an important national event to this day.

The organization does not simply raise money to be passed on to indiscriminate sources. Walking through the halls of a Comic Relief-assisted school in Accra, Ross was impressed by the real-world impact that a little money collected from thousands of people can make. He recognized the importance of the school to the community in helping the children gain a solid education to escape poverty.  When faced with the reality of the effect that the charity money makes, it is obvious that the school is more than just a place to collect impressive donation statistics or take riveting photos for a catalog. It is an institution that means a great deal to the community.

Ross admits that the idea of using comedy to highlight the tragedy, as in the staggering poverty in Africa, is a risky way to raise awareness. Regardless, the performers and the organization have built a large following in the early years that has only grown since then. At the least, Red Nose Day is a bright and cheery way to bring awareness to global poverty on the international stage.

Sean Morales

Source: The Guardian


The Bazaar Stars Charity Night (BSCN) is the first charity auction party in China and also goes far in illustrating a new model of charity in China, which integrates fashion, charity, celebrities and the media while doing fundraising in the form of auctions.

Many national celebrities, including famous singers, actors, entrepreneurs and artists, attend the auction party and bid on luxury items each year, the funds of which go to those in need. The media and merchandise brand names are also very supportive.

Over the last 10 years, BSCN has collected about $25 million, sponsored 13 charity organizations and supported people and families in need. Moreover, in 2007, this event was the only charity event awarded with National Charity Award in China.

As more and more celebrities join the event, BSCN has become the biggest and most influential, non-governmental charity event in China.

Mang Su, the executive publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, initiated the event in 2003 and organizes it every year. In fact, Su is a leader in Chinese fashion and one of the top philanthropists in China. Her idea, “Making Charity Fashion,” has, moreover, created a new approach to philanthropy.

Su explained that philanthropy is not about living frugally and saving money for others, but about creating a more valuable society as a whole. “I want to contribute to charity in an innovative and fashionable way,” Su said. “Just like pursuing fashion, such as a gorgeous hairstyle or a beautiful lipstick. Everyone asks, ‘have you given to charity?’”

The purpose of the BSCN event is to help people to understand the importance of advancing society while creating their fortunes. “Not everyone can help others at the cost of his (or her) career, but everyone has a kind heart,” Su stated. “I hope this event can encourage people to express their kindness while fighting for their career and dreams.”

Xinyu Zhao, an investor of Gold Palm Club, bought a Dior sweet-smelling perfume for about $7,246.38. “I would never buy perfume for this amount normally, but this time it is for the charity. I feel very happy,” Zhao said.

Furthermore, Bingbing Li, a Chinese actress and singer, explained that the ten-year persistence of philanthropy is also a form of attitude.

At present, BSCN is not only an auction but also includes in its bag of delights, an evening banquet with dancing, which make the event even more fashionable. “With the development of society, more rich people are emerging. They have their own lifestyle,” Su said. She considers charity activities an elegant lifestyle and exclusive entertainment for the wealthy.

As more and more fashionable activities are related to some form of charity, Su believes charity events similar to the BSCN can bring wealthy celebrities closer to the idea of charity and bring them a deeper understanding of it.

“Some day, behind the rich lifestyle, people will find that it’s only by offering their love and generosity that they can realize their true class,” Su said.

Compared to China’s past charity activities, which were low key and mainly held by private individuals, current charity activities, such as the BSCN, have allowed the rich and famous of the Chinese nation to personally get involved to give back some of their fortunes openly and freely. More and more Chinese philanthropists are emerging, thus representing a new class of Chinese citizens who are on the way to understanding the concept of sharing.

Liying Qian

Sources: Harper’s Bazaar, SINA, Trends, Women of China