Information and news about philanthropy

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

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

On June 12, a knighthood was announced for comedian and co-founder of Comic Relief, Lenny Henry, in Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Honors for his services to drama and charity.

Henry has been involved in several causes to benefit AIDS & HIV research, disaster relief, poverty, human rights and health. In addition, he has worked with Red Nose Day for Comic Relief for almost thirty years. He is also noted as a Comic Relief Trustee and earned a CBE from the Queen in 1999.

The comedian has helped break Comic Relief fundraising records with his campaigns for greater diversity in the United Kingdom. Henry said that he wanted to dedicate this honor to the people who have donated to Comic Relief since he has been involved.

“Every person who has helped us raise one billion euros, and for everyone who works at Comic Relief, this is for you, too,” Henry said.

According to Comic Relief, Henry is admired greatly by the British population and has helped decrease racism in the United Kingdom.

“Lenny is one of Britain’s best known and best loved personalities who has had a crucial influence on the creation of black-centered comedy and characters,” Comic Relief said.

The charity added that he is seen as a figurehead for Comic Relief, claiming that the success of the charity would not be possible without the support of celebrity friends like Henry. The Chief Executive of Comic Relief, Kevin Cahill, said that Henry is very closely associated with Comic Relief. He said that Henry seems determined to raise money and create change to end extreme poverty.

“You can’t think of Comic Relief without thinking of Lenny Henry,” Cahill said. “Everyone at Comic Relief is incredibly proud that Lenny’s work as an entertainer and passionate worker for charity [is] being recognized, and we congratulate him on his knighthood.”

Comic Relief is an organization that seeks to improve disease, mental health stigmas, sexual trafficking and exploitation, domestic violence, education and more. With Comic Relief’s help, more than one million children in developing countries have an education. Additionally, three million people who were affected with HIV in Africa have received aid from Comic Relief, and more than six million African people were protected from Malaria.

Henry has helped organize many of the life-saving tactics provided by Comic Relief, henceforth receiving the great honor from the Queen. Henry said that this accomplishment is an incredible achievement.

“It is a wonderful thing. My family [is] absolutely chuffed and my friends have not stopped congratulating me. I’d like the thank everyone for being so generous and so kind. It is an extraordinary thing, and I am absolutely thrilled,” Henry said.

The Queen’s Birthday Honors are given to those who have achieved prestigious and amazing success for the betterment of the country. Many of this year’s Knighthoods have been given to doctors of science, medicine and education, and Henry is one of 29 Knights Bachelor recipients.

Henry is very devoted to Comic Relief and thanks everyone who has helped.

“This is not just for me, this is for everyone who has done something for Comic Relief,” he said.

For more information about Henry’s work with Comic Relief, visit the charity’s website. For additional information about The Queen’s Birthday Honors, visit

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Comic Relief, Comic Relief, Comic Relief, Comic Relief, Look to the Stars, UK Government 1, UK Government 2
Photo: Mirror

worlds_biggest_philanthropistsWe all know how great giving back feels. Donating, whether it’s time, money or other assets, puts a spring in our step and breeze through our hair. But who are the most philanthropic people in the world? Let’s take a look:

1. Warren Buffet: One of the world’s richest people says he views his money as “claim checks” on society that he can turn into consumption to improve the gross domestic product. In 2006, Buffet pledged stocks worth about $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest charitable contribution of all time. He often auctions himself off for dinner on eBay, raising close to $1 million dollars per meal. He plans to donate his fortune once he dies because he believes great wealth should not pass from one generation to the next but instead should move out into the world to make a more lasting, widespread impact.

2. Bill and Melinda Gates: The founder of Microsoft and grandfather of the tech start-up world, Bill Gates is the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the wealthiest charity in the world with assets estimated at $34.6 billion. Gates has cited David Rockefeller as a major influence on his philanthropic work and has extensively studied the Rockefeller Family’s charitable pursuits. Gates and his wife Melinda have donated over $28 billion to charity and plan on donating 95% of their fortune when they die.

3. Sir Ka-shing Li: Hong Kong business magnate Ka-Shing Li is the richest man in Asia, with his companies comprising 15% of the market cap on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. However, Li is best known for leading a no-frills lifestyle and donating about $1.3 billion of his wealth to charity. Most of his donations go to universities around the world, such as Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the University of California, Berkley, Stanford University and the University of Alberta. He also founded Shantou University near his hometown of Chaozhou. Li’s charitable work has earned him the Grand Bauhinia Medal, the highest honor in Hong Kong, the Order of the British Empire and the Legion of Honor.

4. Chuck Feeney: Baseball executive and businessman, Feeney founded The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest foundations in the world. Atlantic has donated more than $6.2 billion since 1982 to social projects in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam. The foundation is the largest funder of aging and immigration reform in the United States and has given numerous gifts to Feeney’s alma mater, Cornell University. Feeney’s philosophy is “Giving While Living.”

5. George Soros: Hungarian-born business magnate and investor, Soros gave away $8 billion between 1979 and 2011, mainly to peaceful political movements and educational institutions. In the 1970s, Soros funded black students in South Africa to attend university under apartheid and worked to promote democracy in post-Soviet states. His foundation, Open Society Foundations, helped assist the transition to capitalism in his native Hungary and gave large funds to Central European University in Budapest. Soros also donated $100 million toward increased Internet access in rural Russian universities and $50 million toward the Millennium Promise. Soros’s political activism has long spurred his charitable work.

These philanthropists have dedicated their lives and fortunes to humanitarian causes throughout the world and can serve as an inspiration to all of us to give back and fuel the causes and institutions in which we most steadfastly believe.

– Jenny Wheeler

Sources:, Forbes
Photo: BBC News

save_the_childrenThrough fame, celebrities have the power to influence and gather others in support of a cause.

Victoria Beckham, singer and wife of soccer player, David Beckham, participated in the ‘Fashion Saves Lives’ Sale, which gave one-hundred percent of its profit to the program Save the Children.

In 1919, Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton started a fund for Save the Children, which would assist children in areas of conflict. Today, the organization acts in 120 countries, providing basic care for children, such as education, health care, protection, food and water. The ultimate goal of the organization is to end child deaths from preventable diseases by 2030.

Recently, Victoria Beckham donated 25 of her daughter’s outfits to the cause. Three-year-old Harper’s donated clothes consisted of iconic brands such as Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Charlotte Olympia, Chloe, Roksanda Ilincic, and Marc Jacobs.

Hours before the sale began, bargain shoppers lined up outside of a London shop hoping to be the first to purchase one of the toddler’s outfits.

Only five minutes into the sale on June 18, one of the 25 outfits was purchased. The prices per outfit ranged from approximately 393 to 786 U.S. dollars.

One of Harper’s designer dresses was even placed on an online eBay auction, which ran from June 18-28.

At the auction, Victoria Beckham said, “As a mother, I passionately believe that all children, wherever they live, have the right to a happy, healthy life.”

Fifteen other celebrities, including fellow Spice Girl, Melanie C and actor, Stanley Tucci, donated clothing to the 10 day sale.

Victoria Beckham and the other celebrities who participated are advocates for Save the Children and they all campaign for world leaders to protect and save children worldwide.

Declaring that anyone can make a difference, Victoria Beckham says, “Everyone out there can do their part by purchasing or donating, ensuring children all around the world have the opportunity of a brighter future.”

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Express, Save the Children 1, Save the Children 2
Photo: Mirror

A handful of celebrity actors have donated their skills for the creation of a children’s education project, GivingTales, which features Hans Christian Andersen stories, and aims to benefit UNICEF U.K.

Sir Roger Moore, a twenty-year UNICEF ambassador, heads the venture that animated several of Andersen’s tales. Moore implored the help of Ewan McGregor, Stephen Fry, Joan Collins and more, to perform voice-over work to narrate the stories.

Fry is also a UNICEF ambassador, and he posted on Twitter about his involvement with the app. “Fairy tales for [UNICEF]—read by [Ewan McGregor], Joan Collins, [Sir Roger Moore] and me,” Fry said, adding the link to download the app to end of his tweet.

In addition, Collins said she was excited to participate in the cause. “When [the creators of GivingTales] told me about the UNICEF project in which I was going to read a fairy tale to help the children, I thought it would be wonderful,” Collins said.

UNICEF is very keen on keeping up with children in the digital age. According to the UNICEF publication, “Children’s Rights in the Digital Age,” there is an ever-growing presence of children using digital devices in third world areas. “Some two-thirds of the world’s almost three billion internet users are from the developing world, with the numbers growing every day. Many of these new users are children and young people,” the UNICEF publication said.

However, UNICEF also mentioned that with this spurt of internet usage comes introduction to violence, the ability to view unsuitable content and the possibility of internet addiction.

Klaus Lovgreen, the Chairman of GivingTales, said that he wanted to create digital learning material that involved fairy tales that teach positive and valuable lessons. “[Fairy stories] have proven their worth over many years and are sort of mandatory in nature for children,” Lovgreen said.
UNICEF said that a safe online presence for children can be formed by creating easily-accessible content that promotes digital literacy, internet safety education and cyber savviness. The organization, with several other foundations, co-hosted the very first Digitally Connected seminar on children, youth and digital media. Philip Chan, a UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador, said that the technology empowers children because they may not need an adult to supervise them.

The app allows for interactive learning that goads the reader into participating in the story. According to the GivingTales website, the app offers multiple sounds, music, and narrators, granting children the power to customize their experience. According to Lovegreen, underprivileged children will benefit from the GivingTales app that offers “education from these incredible tales and the learnings that come with them by donating 30 percent of the revenue to UNICEF U.K.”

The voice-overs for UNICEF are available on the App Store, the Google Play store, and the Windows Phone store. GivingTales is free on each app store, and it comes with “The Princess and the Pea.” Each additional story is available for four dollars, so that the app can give a portion of their revenue to UNICEF.

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Digital Trends, Giving Tales, Look to the Stars, UNICEF
Photo: BBC

What does it mean to be Philanthropic? Philanthropy is a noun that the Oxford English Dictionary defines as the “love of mankind” and “the disposition or active effort to promote the happiness and well being of others.” In our current society, the word philanthropic tends to be an interchangeable term with entrepreneurial. As those who are seen as philanthropic tend to be those individuals who are financially involved with an organization promoting effort to help those in need.

This current view on philanthropy by society is harmful in the way that it seems to prevent, or even stigmatize, philanthropic efforts on the small scale. These small-scale efforts can be seen as insignificant and unrealistic by a public assuming that only grandiose donations from entrepreneurial individuals can make a difference, which is a major factor for why many people do not get involved with social problems.

Philanthropy at its core is having a love for humanity, and there are many ways for people to become involved. Individual efforts over long periods of time can be as effective, if not more so, as a grand one-time financial gesture. While an entrepreneurial spirit can help with the sustainability of a philanthropic organization, they should not rely solely on financial gain. This would defeat the purpose of trying to make positive change.

Other than participating financially, volunteering time and effort to a philanthropic cause can make a difference in helping create positive change.

So as philanthropy exists to benefit others, it should be no surprise that participating in these efforts can help create a personal benefit and fulfillment within the individual. In recent studies regarding volunteer work and its physical benefits, the results showed a 22 percent reduction in mortality of the volunteer work participants. It has been proven that when an individual is involved with the helping of their fellow man, the reward center in the brain that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine creates a feeling of fulfillment and greater happiness, or a “helper’s high.” In addition, there are many other benefits to an individual volunteering within philanthropic organizations, such as better pain management and lower blood pressure.

To be philanthropic is to express love for all of mankind and to help in any way. While the majority of individuals choose to participate financially, it is important to realize that not all philanthropic ventures need this. Choosing to volunteer can help these philanthropic organizations continue to make a positive change within our society.

– Alysha Biemolt

Sources: Oxford English Dictionary, Inc., Huffington Post
Photo: Blake Rubin

Corporate_Philanthropy_AwardsWhen businesses promote the welfare of others by donating some of their profits or resources, they are participating in corporate philanthropy. This philanthropy can be in the form of financial contributions, use of facilities, services, time or advertising support. Corporations often also set up employee volunteer groups and create matching programs. Some companies manage their own philanthropy, while others organize theirs through company foundations.

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) is an international group of business executives focusing on increasing levels of corporate philanthropy. The committee is comprised of over 150 CEOS from large-scale companies across industries that account for almost half of the reported corporate philanthropy in the United States.

Since 2000, CECP has honored two companies annually that stand out most in their Corporate Philanthropy Awards, according to its four Standards of Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy: CEO leadership, innovation, dedication to measurement and partnership. The committee identifies winners for the Chairman’s Award for companies with revenues of $20 billion and more and the President’s Award for companies under that threshold. These Excellence Awards are the widely-recognized form of honor for corporate giving. Every year, the committee collects an independent jury from various disciplines to decide the recipients of the awards. The jurors base their discussions off of companies’ applications.

The Washington Business Journal, Nashville Business Journal and Philadelphia Business Journal also hold annual Corporate Giving Awards Ceremonies on a smaller scale.

At the CECP Board of Boards CEO event in February in New York City, the committee announced that the winners of the 2015 Excellence Awards are PepsiCo and PwC US.

PepsiCo received the Chairman’s Award for its prioritization of providing clean water in alleviating global poverty. CECP presented the award for the company’s support for The Water Cellars for Mothers project, which provides residents of the Guangxi Province of China with access to safe water. PepsiCo has committed to providing over 6 million people with access to clean water this year.

PwC was awarded the President’s Award for its $160 million “Earn Your Future” commitment to promote fiscally responsible behavior to students across the United States in order to better prepare students for the future. In its third year of implementation, this multi-year commitment has reached over 1.2 million students and educators and has provided more than 530,000 hours of service.

CECP announced that after 15 years of presenting Excellence Awards, it is changing the award system. The committee hopes to expand its reach in the coming year to be able to honor more corporations for their dedication and success in promoting philanthropy across the globe.

– Arin Kerstein

Sources: 3BL Media, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, Double the Donation
Photo: SmugMug

which charitable organization should i donate toBefore you think about participating in a charitable organization, you should do your research. Due to the many charitable organizations that exist within our philanthropic community, some organizations have come to be that do not have charity in mind. In order to understand which organization is beneficial or harmful, it is important to pay attention to the impact of the organization. While numbers on their website may be important, they aren’t everything within the giving equation.

Some organizations have claimed to be nonprofit and have thus exploited a system based on charity. While a contribution may make its way to the intended individual, along the way the amount is decreased for a variety of reasons leaving the final amount received significantly less than the original contribution.

While it is important to realize the many pitfalls of philanthropic donation, it is essential to realize that not all organizations are like this. In some cases, it can mean life or death to those individuals who are on the receiving end of a donation.

For individual giving, it is important to give to a cause that is important to you. While there are many great organizations that help with global hunger like the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and Action Against Hunger, or global poverty like Innovations for Poverty Action, ultimately where your donation goes is up to you.

Before donating to that major philanthropic organization that says they have used the money to provide x, y and z, look deeper into their numbers and statistics and decide if your donation will really be making a difference.

A good place to get started with general philanthropic organizations can be found here.

In addition, it is important to know which organizations to generally avoid here.

– Alysha Biemolt

Sources: Marketplace, The Life You Can Save 1Tampa Bay Times, The Life You Can Save 2The Life You Can Save 3, Love to Know