Information and news about philanthropy

fashion_project
Raising money for charity is a mission that many organizations and movements have, but it is their techniques what makes them different.

Fashion Project has the mission to raise as much money as possible in order to donate it to charity and humanitarian causes. They achieve this through the creation of a community that donates and shops for clothing pieces to support causes these donors and buyers care about.

According to Fashion Project’s official website, this technique has placed them as the industry leader in online clothing donation.

The designer brands that the Fashion Project sells and accepts for donation are Fendi, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Chanel, Dolce Vita, Elie Saab, Free People, Gucci, Hermes, Lanvin, Prada, Michael Kors and Valentino, among others.

Once donors select the cause they want to support, they can donate their gently used or new designer clothes, shoes and accessories. Fashion Project covers shipping and they also photograph the donated clothing pieces in order to sell them in their online boutique for buyers. In addition, clothing and accessories donors will get a tax receipt.

While their online shop offers sale prices in designer brand items, buyers can take advantage of the savings these items offer and, at the same time, their purchase provides a donation to charity.

Up to 55 percent of the sells of Fashion Project’s online shop are directed to support different charity programs.

As of today, Fashion Project has raised around $700,000 for charity, and is supporting 2,016 charities and organizations.

Some of the charity partners that Fashion Project supports are She’s The First (sponsors girl’s education in developing countries), Neads (dogs to help the deaf and disabled people), Apne Aap Women Worldwide (empowers women to gain independence) and Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (produces programs that reduce poverty and the marginalization of women and their families), among others.

On the other hand, people can also create their own “Fashion Project” as a fundraising campaign.
Fashion Project gives fundraisers the necessary tools to create their fundraising personalized site so they can invite people to donate or shop fashion items for a good cause. Once the fundraiser reaches his goal, Fashion Project will direct their raise to its destination.

This project has been growing with the years to a point in where Fashion Project has partnered with Neiman Marcus, and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The project has also launched donation programs with Nordstrom, Joie and Elie Tahari, among others.

According to an article published by Forbes, partnerships with retailers have been an important aspect to spread Fashion Project’s mission.

The most popular designer brands on the online shop are Coach, Theory, Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Tory Burch. Most of the donors and buyers are from the United States but they have had donations from Europe countries interested in donating to the cause and supporting the mission of Fashion Project.

Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: Forbes, Fashion Project 1, Fashion Project 2, Fashion Project 3
Photo: Boston.com

literacy

New data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics states that global literacy rates for youths and adults have been on the rise. Sixty percent of all countries that provided data in 2012 reported overall literacy rates of 95% or higher.

Still, there is a great need for a solution in this regard. The report also said that “An estimated 250 million children around the world cannot read, write, or demonstrate basic arithmetic skills. Many of these children are in developing countries without regular access to quality schools or teachers.”

These statistics ultimately became a project for a nonprofit called XPrize. XPrize runs competitions that aim to produce technology to benefit humankind. An ongoing competition that began in 2014 requires that teams develop an open source software that enables children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic.

XPrize launched a 6-month registration period and all teams have 18 months to develop their own solution. Currently, there are 198 registered teams. The top five finalists with the best results will receive one million dollars. The ultimate grand prizewinner will receive 10 million dollars as the top performing team solution.

Click here for more information on how to get involved and remain updated on the progress of the competition.

XPrize believes that children are a solution to global poverty, and that many of the world’s greatest minds are untapped due to a lack of basic education. “By enabling a child to learn how to learn, that child has opportunity–to live a healthy and productive life, to provide for their family and their community, as well as to contribute toward a peaceful, prosperous and abundant world.”

For the competition’s promotional video, several children  were asked what their ultimate life goals were. So many of those goals have seemed unrealistic due to their location and state of living. However, with support from XPrize, those dreams can become a reality.

Anna Brailow

Sources: Xprize 1, Xprize 2, Tech Crunch, UIS, YouTube
Photo: CNN

 David-Bowie-and-Iman-Philanthropy
Having been married for two decades, supermodel Iman and heavy-rocker David Bowie have walked a consistent pathway in relieving several communities of hardships pertaining to third-world threats such as the harrowing HIV/AIDS threat.

In late 1990, the dynamic pair participated in a fundraising event, 7th on Sale, for the enhanced medical research in treating and curing AIDS. The pair would go on to serve as recurring donors and participants in foundations that conducted deep, thorough studies of the then-unknown sexual catastrophe throughout the remainder of the 90’s.

But even with impactful collaboration in donor work as a married couple, the pair has never ceased in aiding disadvantaging areas on a separate, individual basis.

In 1998, Iman partnered with fellow philanthropist Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott in a charitable cosmetic line, Misdemeanor Lipstick, where proceeds collected from each item sold were issued to the nonprofit Break the Cycle, an organization that works to minimize domestic hardships and abuse to help young children and teenagers to live safely.

Around this time, other philanthropic measures taken by the supermodel included her support for organizations alleviating the mistreatment against Somali native women, world hunger and HIV/AIDS-related crises. A majority of Iman’s charitable endorsements were further supported through her organization IMAN Cosmetics, which supports the “Raise Hope for Congo Campaign,” an initiative aimed at protecting and empowering Congolese women and girls.

With his spouse generating similar awareness, David Bowie has headlined global concert tours that assist in the betterment of drastic illnesses that take a toll on developing nations. Along with his famous contributions was his feature in the 1985 Live Aid concert, which generated funds to minimize threats of climatic and AIDS-related dangers.

Moreover, Bowie went on to utilize his live performing skills through another charitable opportunity, this time in loose hand-in-hand with wife Iman. In 2006, the groundbreaking rock musician collaborated with Grammy-winning R&B musician Alicia Keys. The two artists sung and performed live at a New York concert as part of Keys’ nonprofit Keep a Child Alive, an organization that works to rid African children of AIDS and poverty-induced restraints.

Iman was also involved in the lively event, as she and comedian Wanda Sykes served as hosts of the event’s black-tie dinner in celebration of the initiative’s planning and success.

It would not be long until Keys and fellow organizers appointed Iman as the initiative’s Global Ambassador for Keep a Child Alive after noting the model’s sincere elements in raising awareness for multiple pandemics across the globe. With a newly designated role, Iman launched not only additional fundraisers to support a variety of causes but also programs like “I am African,” a tool utilized to build awareness of the AIDS pandemic greatly affecting her native Somalian homeland.

As years have progressed, nothing has stopped this power couple’s path to giving back to those in need. With social media tools redefining the nature of networking for a passionate cause, Iman and David Bowie still remain fixated and up-to-date on endorsing as many foundations as they possibly can to improve the world.

Jeff Varner

Sources: Philly.com, Billboard, CNN, Slice, Iman Cosmetics, Getty Images
Photo: ENCA

AIDS_activism

It is pretty hard to miss Rosie Perez these days, considering the fact that the outspoken actress currently serves as a regular on ABC talk program “The View.” Yet, prior to daytime work, when she was stealing eyes with impeccable dance moves with Spike Lee in the renowned classic “Do the Right Thing,” the Puerto Rican entertainer frequently made a cherishing landmark in HIV/AIDS activism.

Like so many in the late 1980s, Rosie Perez was unaware of the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Her knowledge of the crisis would soon be redefined after noting personal acquaintances contracting the disease and the “[once-undivided] sexual lives” within New York City “slowly but surely” separating.

As early as 1991, Perez ventured as an AIDS activist, when she first lectured in local inner-New York City high schools about alarming statistics concerning the treacherous sexual disease and educated youths on safe-sex protection.

It would not be until mid-April 1993, following her feature in the theatrical “Untamed Heart,” that Perez would move more into the philanthropic scene by taking part in events like a 5-hour fundraiser AIDS Dance-a-thon, where proceeds would benefit several AIDS foundations, especially AIDS Project Los Angeles. Perez would go on to become a recurring donor for the event years to come, including a high-profiled 2004 feature with fellow philanthropist Lil’ Kim.

By 1995, Ms. Perez used her star power to educate national audiences of the AIDS epidemic through various media outlets, from radio guest spots on Hot 97 to televised co-hosting slots on ABC’s “In a New Light: Sex Unplugged.” The latter would prove essential with praise boasting from “POZ” magazine, of which the publication cited Perez’s contribution as the “most effective sex-ed […] ever aired by [prime time] commercial grids.”

But what would soon be even more significant came in May 1996 when the Latina megastar delivered an outspoken speech during the charitable event Central AIDS Walk. Throughout her oration, Perez achingly recollected a close friend dying of AIDS and went on to urge New York politicians to increase attention of the crisis.

With Perez’s address attracting headlines like “The New York Daily News,” the annual AIDS Walk would accumulate a staggering $5 million for the nonprofit Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC).

Three years following the success, Perez created even more buzz with her bold statement to “MTV,” in which the Nuyorican star denounced pop stars like Britney Spears for not using their “star power” as an advantage to voice greater awareness of the AIDS crisis, instead “wast[ing]” it upon meaningless nonsense.

As Rosie Perez’s philanthropic routines continued to grant her access within the multimedia stream, Perez’s estranged mother, Lydia, contacted “The New York Daily News” in July 2000, alleging that her daughter was not “returning her phone calls,” in the wake of her decreasing health caused by AIDS. The ignored phone call allegation was immediately shot down when Perez and her publicist confirmed that financial assistance offered to Lydia was accepted, yet strangely, assistance from Perez’s philanthropic allies was declined.

Despite her mother’s proposed claims, Rosie Perez attended the bedside of dying Lydia shortly before her passing.

From the aftermath of her mother’s death to a backfire of her April 2006 protest outside the United Nations building, the vibrant “In Loving Color” choreographer never steered away from her activism, instead, embarking further in enhancing her charitable causes.

A December 1, 2006 visual showcased such, where Rosie Perez served as a director and feature in the Spanish PSA “Join the Fight,” an advert aimed at the Latino community that disclosed a statistically increased rate of AIDS within men, specifically closeted gays who “hide” due to difficulty of acceptance. Six days following the televised release, Perez elaborated further on the growing matter during the annual Voices of Color Lecture at Hamilton College.

The tireless efforts yielded by Perez may have been at once “minimally news-covered,” but the AIDS activist would earn her dues beyond unpredictable measures.

Immense recognition occurred when President Barack Obama appointed Perez to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). On February 1, 2010, Perez was officially sworn into office, securing her title to transmit information and tips to the president, alongside providing input for the National HIV/AIDS strategy.

Since her astounding honorific title, the hard-working Perez has never stopped raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, regardless of recent-age medical treatment and a showering of accolades (among them an annual Cielo Latino Award named after her). Utilizing her power on “The View” as the perfect platform to remind audiences of the dangers triggered by AIDS, Rosie Perez is among the brave working to put an end to an epidemic that holds 33 million global lives infected and that adds a new victim every 9.5 minutes within American grounds.

– Jefferson Varner IV

Sources: NY Daily News 1, POZ, Kismet Films, White House, Hamilton College, blackfilm.com, MTV, ‘Latin American’ Rhythm Magazine Spokesman, PR NewsWire, Los Angeles Times, NY Daily News 2
Photo: Inquisitr

corporate_philanthropy
There is overwhelming kindness in this world despite the cynics who doubt its existence. Kindness admires charitable work, but many people are unaware of the job opportunities afforded to them for pursuing that line of work. There is a strong drive for schools to support charitable organizations and give students a taste for it through volunteering.

Volunteering through schools is a wonderful way for students to network. More often than not, they learn a great deal about themselves by doing so. Maybe this is the kind of work that those great minds will want.

But, in order to get those kinds of jobs after volunteering, one must be adaptable. Change is the only way to make a positive difference, and to be open to change is to be open to new ideas. The job will always be a learning experience.

Also, reading and writing, no doubt, are very important skills. There are reasons why these are taught at such an early age. Those who write well and practice their writing often will be able to successfully compose reports and evaluations and better communicate with donors, grantees and colleagues. Also, analyzing proposals and interpreting data will have to be done in order to better communicate results. Communication skills as well as research skills are a must. Those who are best able to communicate their positions as well as stay informed in their field have a significant advantage.

Another qualification, of course, is the ability to comply with the law. There are laws that govern philanthropic associations specifically at all levels. The California Nonprofit Act of 2004, for example, states “Charitable corporations with assets of $2 million or more must prepare annual financial statements audited by an independent certified public accountant (CPA). The statements must use generally accepted accounting principles. The independent CPA must follow generally accepted auditing standards.” While, this particular kind of law might not be needed for every philanthropic position, it is useful to know that there are existing regulations.

There are many corporate philanthropy jobs, and people with all different skillsets are qualified for them. Here is a list of jobs that one can expect to find as an advocate for, and prospective employee of, a philanthropic association:

Grants Management: Director of Grants Management, Grant Manager

Charitable organizations receive grants as donations and give grants in return for advocacy, and it is up to these people to manage that money and keep it in check. Directors are generally more concerned with long-term planning and strategies for the future. The managers monitor grants and maintains grant reports.

Research Director, Associate, Librarian

They are in charge of researching and preparing reports pertinent to the organization that they represent. They assist all other employees in being fully informed of changes that occur within their concerns.

Director of Donor Services, Advancement Officer, Gift Planning

Donors, especially those who routinely give large sums, ideally wish for returns on their investments. Those returns can be in the form of tangible gifts or maybe a detailed report on where their money is going. This is yet another department that manages the foundation’s assets.

Human Resources: Receptionist, Office Manager, Recruitment Official, Computer Professionals, Director of Informational Services

These positions can be found in most large corporations, even nonprofits! These administrators manage the day-to-day life of the company or organization ensuring that information is distributed to other employees, donors, volunteers — anyone involved.

Communications/Public Relations

These are the people in charge of distributing information to the public regarding their cause/foundation whether they are snail-mail flyers or brochures in a hotel.

Program Director, Program Officer, Program Associate

Similar to the Grants Management personnel, they are in charge of analyzing grant proposals and managing grant making programs. They also conduct background research and help to organize and manage events put on by the foundation.

Finance

They manage assets and accounting, work with the treasurer and deal with all financial statements. So, when the foundations want to give a grant in exchange for advocacy, they go through this department.

Senior Management and Foundations Board

They oversee the inner-workings of the entire association. They have the uppermost abilities to make strategic decisions. A first-time jobseeker might not pursue this kind of position, however it is important for them to understand exactly what their position is in relation to other employees.

– Anna Brailow

Sources: California Registry of Charitable Trusts, Law Crossing, Philanthropy Network
Photo: VolunteerHub

traits_of_philanthropic_people

Philanthropic people strive to promote the welfare of others through the donation of money, property or services. They come from all sorts of socioeconomic backgrounds, but there are several common character traits of philanthropic people who have seen success in their pursuits:

1. They are altruistic.
Philanthropic people show selfless concern for the welfare of others and venture to alleviate the struggles of others without seeking anything for their own personal benefit. Truly philanthropic acts are done without expectation of compensation or recognition of one’s efforts.

2. They are empathetic.
Philanthropists tend to be empathetic toward the struggles of others. They feel an obligation to do what is in their power to combat these struggles because they view the problems and the hurt that comes with them as their own.

3. They have heightened social awareness.
Philanthropic people tend to have great awareness of their surroundings. Not only are they open to opposing views and new ideas, but they also seek to understand the motivations and obstacles of others in order to better understand their needs and how they can best best be satisfied.

4. They are far-sighted.
People who want to make positive change in the world tend to look far into the future. They want to make a lasting impact on society rather than temporarily fixing a problem, and recognize that they must direct their efforts accordingly. They realize that in order to make significant societal change, it is crucial to address underlying structural issues by investing in long-term solutions.

5. They are politically involved.
In order to make structural changes in society, it is also necessary for philanthropists to advocate for political change. That is why many successful philanthropists are known to be advocates. They tend to recognize that while it is important to invest in programs that are shown to produce tangible results, advocacy is also important because it allows progress on a broader scale.

6. They are issue-oriented.
Successful philanthropists seek specific causes to support rather than organizations. They first identify something they would like to see happen in the world and then they go out to look for organizations that can best make this vision a reality. They recognize that specific organizations may be able to tackle one aspect of the problem best and then look for other groups to work on other aspects of the issue. They maintain a holistic view of the issue and use many tools to catalyze these changes.

7. They are business-minded.
Many philanthropic people look at their contributions as investments in society and the economy. They want their money and resources to be used efficiently and in an organized-manner in order to promote self-sustaining change. Accordingly, successful philanthropists look at issues through a business-lens, treating their philanthropic work with the same work ethic as they would their business. Just as they would to promote a business goal, successful philanthropists also capitalize on their resources, drawn upon their networks and use their position in society to promote a cause. This broad view pushes them not to focus solely on contributing to nonprofit organizations, but also to expand their support to for-profit business and legislative initiatives that will propel the cause forward.

– Arin Kerstein

Sources: Academic Impressions, Forbes, Long Beach Business Journal, PC World
Photo: Smarter Finance Journal

corporate_philanthropy

Corporations have a variety of ways to contribute to poverty relief. Methods include matching employee donations, promoting employee volunteerism, providing donations in kind and simply providing grants to or partnering with charitable organizations. Some even partner with governmental institutions such as the United States Agency for International Development in hybrid public/private aid ventures.

Corporations disperse funds to a plethora of good causes, but some have a particular focus on poverty reduction, development and public health initiatives internationally. Among the most generous corporations that support poverty-reduction programs are Chevron, Johnson and Johnson, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase and General Electric.

In 2013, Chevron donated $274.3 million, or 0.6% of its pretax profits to charitable organizations. The company has an employee donation matching program that covers up to $10,000 per year and $3,000 for retirees. Being a highly globalized corporation, Chevron sponsors a variety of international development programs, such as the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative Foundation, which provides livelihood training to residents of the Niger Delta. Last year, Chevron pledged an additional $40 million to the program.

Johnson and Johnson donated $966.3 million in 2012 in cash and goods, a full 7% of its profits that year. Johnson and Johnson has a particularly robust corporate philanthropy program, doubling employee donations to eligible nonprofits. They also have a particular focus on global health issues. For example, the company partnered with the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Health Organization to support the U.N.’s Health Four+ Initiative, providing health care and obstetric training to populations in low-resource settings in Tanzania and Ethiopia.

While Microsoft’s philanthropic activities are often associated with the co-founder Bill Gates’ Foundation, the company itself has a very generous donor program that provided $948.6 million worth of in-kind donations and $112.2 million in cash donations in 2014. Microsoft’s corporate philanthropy does not have a particular focus on poverty reduction, however, they provide technology and software to about 86,000 nonprofit organizations globally.

JP Morgan Chase donates to several different kinds of philanthropic causes, contributing $210.9 million in 2013. On top of their donations, the company also provides capital for impact investment funds, supporting a wide variety of international economic development ventures. The company partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create one such project, the Global Health Investment Fund, which invests in the development of medical technologies that target diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, which disproportionately affect the developing world. Another fund that JP Morgan Chase supports is the African Agricultural Capital Fund, which invests in agribusiness in East Africa, targeting small holder farms and rural economies.

General Electric is particularly committed to corporate philanthropy, having been the first company to introduce an employee donation matching program, which now supports up to a generous $50,000 per year. In 2013, the $154.8 million that GE donated went to initiatives such as its Developing Health Globally Program, which sponsors medical training and technological assistance in Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda, Myanmar and Indonesia.

Most large corporations have fairly long-standing traditions of giving back to their communities and supporting international development through corporate philanthropy programs. Corporations typically donate anywhere from 1% to 5% of their annual profits to such programs, sometimes even partnering with government agencies such as the United Stated Agency for International Development. However, it is worth noting that state solutions to poverty reduction continue to have the greatest funding potential. For example, Official Development Assistance in the United States alone amounted to about $30 billion in 2013, or 0.18% of the budget, many billions of dollars more than the top 10 corporate donors combined that year. While corporate donations are essential to the fight against poverty, official state aid could, if properly harnessed, represent the greatest solution to poverty worldwide.

– Derek Marion

Sources: Double the Donation, Chevron, Johnson and Johnson, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, GE, OECD
Photo: Ventures

donate-to-a-nonprofit
Want to donate to a nonprofit? Here are three easy steps to donate to a nonprofit organization that may interest you:

1. Find a Worthy Cause.

With so many causes worthy of your donation, finding the right one can be intimidating. For example, is it better to cure a certain disease or to make healthcare more accessible? Is providing shelter more important than providing education?

The answer to these questions largely depends on you, the donor.

In the fight against global poverty, for example, consider the following causes: international development, humanitarian relief, global health, education, gender equality and human rights advocacy. These are all important motivations for giving and many nonprofit organizations work in these fields.

If you are strapped for cash, you can also donate your time. All campaigns need volunteers and you may be able to gain hands-on experience by giving a few hours each week.

2. Find a Reputable Organization.

Once you have found a cause worth donating to, the next step is to find an organization that will meet your needs. Typically you will want an organization that is trustworthy and effective.

Finding one is no small task: the National Center for Charitable Statistics estimates there are over 1.5 million nonprofits registered in the United States.

To find a nonprofit, it is important to use GuideStar, a leading nonprofit information service. GuideStar indexes millions of IRS Form 990, a series of important financial documents that shed light on the trustworthiness of a nonprofit.

The website also allows donors to review an organization that they care about. For example, The Borgen Project has an average rating of Five Stars. You can view the page here.

You can also find worthy causes through crowdfunding websites; Crowdrise is typically a popular choice for charitable causes.

3. Donate. (And Don’t Forget Your Receipt!)

As soon as you have found a great cause and a trustworthy organization, it is time to donate. Most nonprofits have a donate page where you can select the amount among other options. You can often donate in your own name, someone else’s or anonymously. Whatever you decide, the nonprofit will thank you!

Don’t forget your receipt. Many donations are tax deductible but often require documentation.

If you choose to donate to a nonprofit, you will be in good company. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, Americans donated $358.38 billion in 2014. About 95.4% of American households give to charity and more donors are choosing to give online.

– Kevin McLaughlin

Sources: GrantSpace, GuideStar, National Philanthropic Trust

Photo: Flickr

Corporate Philanthropy
Although much important philanthropic work is done by volunteers on the ground, it is important to remember that some of the most significant contributions to worthy causes come in the form of monetary aid. Donations from wealthy individuals and groups are the life-force for nonprofit organizations trying to help those in need. Some of the most influential benefactors are large corporations which donate to causes as small as funding local sports tournaments and as large as making a stand against human trafficking.

Companies invest billions of dollars each year in efforts to make a positive impact on the world. According to the 2012 Giving in Numbers report generated by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), corporate giving is on the rise. From the survey of 240 companies, the CECP discovered that giving in the year 2012 totaled US$20.3 billion. This sum was a substantial increase from the previous year and continues the rise in corporate donations observed in the 5 years prior. From 2007 to 2012, the CECP recorded a 42 percent increase in corporations’ giving numbers.

Matched employee donations account for a large part of these numbers for at least 181 of the 240 companies surveyed. Per company, the average total amount raised from employee payroll deductions in 2012 was $2.33 million. The efforts of employees to donate to worthy causes are beneficial to the corporations for which they work as it makes the corporations, as a whole, appear more charitable.

Employees are more likely to contribute to causes when they have wide access to those that are important to them and are not restricted in their giving opportunities. In order to meet their corporate philanthropy objectives, some companies have begun to utilize social giving platforms that allow employees to form groups around the issues about which they are most passionate. An example of one of these platforms is Givelocity, a social network that allows people to join “giving circles” revolving around the issues users find most important. Companies that are comfortable with doing business online may find that these platforms provide a new method to get their employees involved in philanthropic activities.

These glowing facts and statistics aside, there is a dark side to corporate philanthropy. One might wonder whether companies donate to causes because they care about their impact or merely because they want to bolster their own success. Donating to the community creates a heroic image for companies both large and small, and the goodwill that corporate philanthropy generates can increase customer interest and improve consumer opinions. Although corporate donations are impactful now, one might worry that if generosity becomes bad for business, companies might choose selfishness instead.

Whether or not the motives of giving corporations are wholly admirable, it cannot be denied that the efforts of companies to give back to the community are effective in growing local economies. Corporate donations are, after all, derived from the community in the first place and are rightly used to generate income back in that community. In areas below the poverty line, companies are able to generate new markets and opportunities for people who may never have had access to certain products before. In this way corporate philanthropy benefits both the buyer and supplier. From a savvy business perspective, new consumer income is readily available to go right back to the company, but it also means a higher quality of life for those taking advantage of the growing economy.

– Katie Pickle

Sources: Houston Chronicle, The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire
Photo: Causecast

phone_app_feed_the_hungry
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, ranking behind paper, food is the second largest source of waste.

Twenty-five-year-old Komal Ahmad, who graduated from the University of California at Berkley in 2012, is solving this problem by feeding millions of people with her phone app, Feeding Forward.

In 2011, Ahmad was approached by a homeless man who asked her for money. Instead of cash, Ahmad offered to take him to lunch. As they ate, she discovered he was a returned soldier who, after some bad luck, now made his living begging on the streets.

Ahmad was overwhelmed by his situation. Determined to help others like him, she started a program at UC Berkley where cafeterias donated excess food to homeless shelters. Soon after, the program expanded to 140 colleges across the United States.

But Ahmad didn’t stop with the food recovery program.

“Imagine a football stadium filled to its brim,” Ahmad says. “That’s how much food goes wasted every single day in America.”

In 2012, Ahmad collaborated with a developer and they launched the Feeding Forward mobile app in 2013. The app originally targeted restaurant owners and event planners in San Francisco who could use the app to donate leftover food to homeless shelters. By entering their location into the app, a Feeding Forward driver picks up the leftover food and delivers it to shelters in the area.

In addition to the app, Feeding Forward has its own website.

Since Feeding Forward launched, Ahmad has recovered more than 691,896 pounds of food, which fed more than 570,000 people.

Now the CEO of her nonprofit organization, Feeding Forward, Ahmad says, “We need to figure out how to establish sustainable solutions that can distribute the food we already have faster and get it to people who need it faster and safely.”

Ahmad’s mobile app is proof that quick and successful distribution can feed the hungry.

In early June 2015, Feeding Forward partnered with the Bite Silicon Food Valley food-tech conference in Santa Clara, California. Over the course of three days, celebrity chefs prepared a wide range of meals. After the event, Feeding Forward collected 5,135 pounds of food which fed more than 4,279 people in eight different homeless shelters.

Around the world, the Feeding Forward app is praised and desired.

“I didn’t expect it to blow up,” Ahmad says. “People as far as Nairobi, Bangalore and Hong Kong have wrote us asking us to expand Feeding Forward to their cities and countries. They’re like, ‘Tell me what I can do to get it here.’”

The mobile app is currently being revamped. It will be available again in August 2015. The website, however, is still up and running.

Feeding Forward offers hope for other countries struggling with hunger and food distribution.

Ahmad says, “These are huge cities that have absurd amounts of food thrown away every day. We are trying to make the Bay Area a case study to say ‘Hey, if it works here, it can work anywhere.’”

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: CNET, Daily News, Feeding Forward, News Everyday
Photo: Architect Africa