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Singer Susan Boyle Tackles Poverty for LentSusan Boyle, the singer who gained international attention for her appearance on the TV singing competition “Britain’s Got Talent”, is spearheading a charitable drive for Lent that aims at eradicating global poverty. Paralympic gold medalist David Smith, along with Boyle, will participate in the Lent campaign called Wee Box, Big Change, which is supported by the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF).

In keeping with Lent traditions, participants are asked to give something up and then donate the funds they would have spent buying something to the charity, who last year raised 830,000 GBP that went towards impoverished people in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi. This year, the money raised through Wee Box, Big Change will benefit communities throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America where SCIAF is active.

Susan Boyle has participated in the campaign for the last three years, and said that she will be giving up “sweets, chocolate, and crisps” for the people throughout the world who “dream of peace, good health and having enough food to eat.”

The charity uses the funds raised through Lent to provide services to poverty-stricken communities by providing “agricultural training, seeds and tools,” said David Smith, after remarking on his visit to Burundi with SCIAF, and said he witnessed the “amazing work” that the campaign and SCIAF does.

Christina Kindlon

Source: Christian Today

Capitol Hill
Non-profit charitable organizations all over the United States have been preparing to take their case to Congress to defend the ability of taxpayers to deduct their donations and charitable giving while filing their annual federal taxes.

As Congress looks to increase tax revenue by inspecting every possible option given to taxpayers, their gaze has fallen upon the deductions of citizens’ donations, about $40 billion in 2012. Brent Christopher of the Communities Foundation of Texas was one of the representatives of more than 42 non-profits that brought their testimonies to Congress.

Christopher called the deductions an “encouragement” to citizens to give more than they may have given otherwise. Many organizations fear that by eliminating the deductions, even if they were replaced with a tax credit, there could be a serious drop in the donations that keep many organizations afloat. The possible revisions could later affect the taxes on non-monetary gifts such as land.

The tax deductions apply to American money going toward both local and international charities, from the local food shelter to the largest programs. Talks about the issue will continue in an attempt to dissuade Congress from eliminating the deductions or finding another way to possibly encourage donations.

– Kevin Sullivan

Source: Dallas News
Photo: White House

FreedomProject
It was in 2010 when Emmy-award winning TV producer Kimba Langas partnered up with pastor and social entrepreneur Dave Terpstra to make a difference.

Dave had moved to Mozambique with his family to help rehabilitate women who were survivors of sex trafficking. He wanted to help the women find jobs in order to ensure themselves a sustainable income, thereby lessening their vulnerability. Trafficking is all about vulnerability, he explains; people who are desperate to work and make money are taken advantage of.

“He found his answer in the bustling used clothing markets of Mozambique,” writes CNN producer Lisa Cohen.

Selling bras seems like a unique, new and interesting idea, but it wasn’t based on a random decision. Dave noticed that these women could make a profit that was higher than the minimum wage by selling second-hand clothing, and bras are well-demanded. He went on to team up with Kimba Langas to address this idea, and they created the Free the Girls charity, which collected bra donations from all over the U.S.

Langas created a Facebook page to publicize the start-up fundraiser, and the bras started pouring in. She explains that a majority of women have a large collection of bras that don’t fit well anymore or bras that are not being used anymore. However, after a few months, Langas ran into a new issue concerning the 20,000+ bras she had been sent – the shipping alone would have cost her $6,500, well outside her budget for the project.

“That’s when the story was featured on CNN, and everything changed.”

Paul Jarzombek, Director of Operations at LR International, reached out to Langas since he has a shipping company in Chicago. A domino effect of kindness then occurred as a truck driver, Rick Youngquist, offered to deliver the bras from Denver to Chicago.

Rick had recently joined an organization called Truckers Against Trafficking where truck drivers learn about how to spot and respond to signs of human trafficking on the road. Although it took three months, the bras did eventually reach Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.

According to Lisa Cohen, the success of this bra charity led the Free the Girls organization to target other places within Africa and beyond. For now, women survivors in Mozambique express their gratitude. One survivor has said, “I just want to tell the people in America, they’ve given us the strength we needed. Thank you very much.”

And that is how bras helped human trafficking survivors; anything is possible.

– Leen Abdallah

Source: CNN Freedom Project

Kids in war-torn Darfur playing soccer with a ball made from crumpled trash bags, encircled with twine was the catalyst for Tim Jahnigen’s invention of the indestructible soccer ball.  His compassion for these kids who had suffered so much, but still had the spirit to play and thrive, compelled him to create a ball that would never wear out, never deflate, and never need a pump. His idea remained in the concept stage until Sting provided the support necessary to start the One World Futbol Project.

With Sting promoting the indestructible soccer ball, soon Chevrolet came on as the founding financial sponsor for the project, and now these supper soccer balls are distributed around the world. Through the group’s  “Buy One, Give One” program, for every ball purchased they will donate another to an organization working with disadvantaged communities, including refugee camps, conflict zones, disaster areas, and inner cities. Overall, 100 organizations help to distribute balls in 120 countries – a symbol for kindness, caring, and compassion that does make us all One World.

– Mary Purcell

Source: You Tube

It’s always encouraging when those who have so much, give to those who have so little. David Beckham, an international celebrity and professional footballer, made a unique announcement upon signing with a new football league. He will give all of his salary to charity.

Beckham recently left the LA Galaxy team and has now signed a five-month contract with France’s Paris St. Germain (PSG) league. One of the special conditions that he and the team decided on was that all his earnings would go to a local charity in Paris, helping children. He has said the choice has made him very excited and proud to make the move to France, and it is one of the reasons he chose PSG, as many different teams were trying to sign him. No details have been given to the exact dollar amount, but Beckham said it would be a “huge sum.”

Every time an example is given of the super wealthy giving away money to charity, it gives precedent and pressure to all others in the same unique position, to take action and make real change in the world.

– Mary Purcell

Source: Sky News
Video: You Tube


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

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