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Archive for the ‘Charity’ Category

Red Cross Red Crescent in Chad. Photo by Daniel Cima/International Federation.

“‘I’m going to go to the big city,'” sounded familiar to actor Matt Damon. He was in Zambia walking with a young girl from a village as she collected the day’s supply of water a mile away. He had asked her what her hopes and dreams were and where she wanted to be. Damon told ABC News those are the same words he and Ben Affleck shared before their fame when they decided to take a risk and shoot for the stars.

So in 2009, Damon teamed up with environmentalist Gary White in an attempt to combine the efforts of non-profits to end water shortages and increase access to clean water. Their banner? Water.org.

A 2010 research report by the Society for Technology and Action for Rural Development said:

Only 2.53 % of earth’s water is fresh, and some two-thirds of that is locked up in glaciers and permanent snow cover. Nearly one billion people – one in eight persons in the world – lack access to safe water supply. Over 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease; 84 % are children. 98 % occur in the developing world.

Similar alarming statistics pushed Damon to do something about it. The Zambian girl who inspired him would not have had any sort of access to her dreams without her basic needs being met. Instead of going to school, she would be too preoccupied with hunting for water. Without the proper combination of education and nutrition, she, and nearly 1 billion others will remain in absolute poverty.

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It’s a puzzling dilemma when veterans end up homeless. After service overseas, some veterans never fully integrate back into the community they sought to protect. Some fall through the cracks and don’t know about the benefits available to them. Some have troubles holding a stable job because of the emotional stress. Welcome Home Inc. strives to provide veterans with basic needs of food and shelter so they can focus on taking care of their mental health. Their adjustment coming from combat back to the U.S. can be emotionally draining. This story from the Columbia Missourian about Anesia Mattox and her vision behind serving veterans, is one of many inspiring stories from this nonprofit.

Anesia Mattox, executive director of Welcome Home Incorporated, speaks with the veterans living in the shelter, during a weekly group meeting. Photo by Breden Neville. Read the story and watch the audio slideshow: http://bit.ly/arOhXZ

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You may remember a post I wrote in August about the Stay Classy Awards. Stay Classy is an online social fundraising tool that allows individuals to track how much money they are raising for a particular charity and connect with other nonprofits and fundraisers.

Well, the 2011 winners have been announced and I’m also happy to say that RestoreNYC’s Faith Huckel received the award for Young Nonprofit Leader of the Year.

Check out the other winners and see what you learn!

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Deidre and her son, Ayden in the days after his birth, August, 14, 2010. Photo courtesy of Deidre Johnson.

One of the hardest things for any family to face is the death of a child. It goes against all concepts we have on the natural flow of life. Children burying their parents can be just as heart-wrenching, but when parents bury their children, the concept throws us off. On August 26, 2010, Ayden Christopher Boyd, son of a family friend Deidre Johnson, died after 12 days of complications from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).

Deidre has since pioneered Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week in her town as part of the international coalition to increase early diagnosis, educate communities and connect parents to support resources. Congenital heart defects are the most frequent birth defect, 1 in 100 births, worldwide.

She has also started a non-profit “The Ayden Christopher Foundation” in honor of her “heart angel” to raise awareness for CHD and help families in their medical, travel and food expenses while their newborns are in the hospital with HLHS or HRHS. She has hosted a memorial blood drive to match the blood donation used to aid Ayden during his short life and networked with many parents in the same situation.

Deidre Johnson with the mayor of Culpeper, VA, Chip Coleman as he signs an announcement for Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week, February 7, 2011. Photo courtesy of Deidre Johnson.

On August, 26, 2011, one year after Ayden’s death, Deidre’s Facebook wall was covered with encouragement from friends and family including:

“Heart hugs Deidre. Happy Angelversary. Fly Ayden fly.”
“Thinking of you today friend. You inspire so many!”
“Thinking of you today. Hugs! ♥ Ayden ♥”
“I love you …. Happy angelversary Ayden ♥”
“You and your family are in my thoughts today. Hold your memories and your babies close. I am very proud of you and your accomplishments this year. Take care.”

Her hope, drive and motivation are truly inspiring in the midst of trying to grapple with the incomprehensible grief associated with losing a child. Deidre is a shining example of turning inspiration into action and I hope this blog has challenged you to do the same.

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I would like to use today’s post to say happy birthday to Charity Water. After five years, Charity Water has helped more than two million people in 19 countries get clean drinking water. To celebrate, Charity Water is using their YouTube channel to say ‘thank you’ 250 times.

In honor of Charity Water’s five years, this post is going to be all about their organization. First, some facts about the worldwide water situation from Charity Water’s website.

  • 30,000 people die every week from unclean water.
  • 90 percent of those deaths are children under the age of five.
  • In Africa alone, 40 billion hours a year are spent carrying water from safe water locations to homes.
  • $28 billion is lost every year in Africa due to lack of safe water and sanitation.
  • According to the UN, one tenth of the global disease burden can be lifted with clean drinking water.

Now some quick facts about what Charity Water is doing with donations to alleviate these problems.

  • $20 can give one person clean drinking water and 100 percent of donations go directly to the field.
  • Charity Water has raised more than $40 million and funded more than 4,000 water projects around the world.
  • Charity Water projects create water options that are convenient for communities.
  • This leads to households and families being able to have water for gardens and become self-sufficient.
  • Community members are appointed as Water Committee members and are in charge of the oversight of the water.
  • Every $1 donated can return $12 in economic gains.

Charity Water is truly an organization that is making changes for people around the world. They provide great opportunities to get involved and make a difference in the world. They truly grasp and get that on the service people may be different but in reality, people are the same, same.

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What do you get when you get six girls with one boat, one ocean, and one unified mission to combat modern day slavery?

Row for Freedom.

Julia Immonen is one young woman set out to make her life count. The 31-year-old anti-trafficking activist has honed her passion and PR skills to found Sport Against Trafficking — an organization devoted to using athletics to raise awareness and much needed funds for anti-trafficking charities and victims. Sport Against Trafficking is the parent organization that gave birth to the Row for Freedom, mentioned above.

Watch the video below to learn a bit about Sport Against Trafficking:

So, what’s Row for Freedom all about?

Basically, it’s the first female crew of six that plans to row across the Atlantic, unaided. The women set off this December from La Gomera in the Canary Islands and LITERALLY row across this not-so-little pond, to Barbados. According to the website, the journey should take approximately 35-40 days — this means no bathroom, minimal ability to cook, one sleeping space that is smaller than a single bed and winds that could whip into storms.

Here’s Julia giving a sneak peak into the excursion and sharing her heart behind the vision:

Some of the people on board with the vision are Bear Grylls from the adventure-reality show, “Man vs. Wild,” five-time Olympic gold medalist rower Sir Steve Redgrave, Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, rugby player Ugo Monye and Beijing Olympic gold medalist rower Susan Francia.

To join these women on their adventure, go ahead and donate to the charities Row for Freedom supports here.

Be a part of the change you wish to see in the world.

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Ever wonder where the money goes when you donate to various charities? If you are like me, you have. Are those organizations taking a certain percentage of the money? Are they spending it wisely, efficiently and to the best of their abilities? With the natural disasters that have taken place over the past few years (Japan tsunami, Katrina, Joplin, Irene, East Africa drought and many others) there have been multiple opportunities to donate.

One organization that you can absolutely trust to spend your money wisely is World Vision. A recent blog post from World Vision reveals a little into where donated money goes. A good round number to start with is $100. According to the post, $100 can help a tanker truck bring fresh water to a family of six for a month. For $110, a family of six will be provided with grains, beans and oil for a month. Or for $110, a family will be provided a survival kit made up of items such as a mosquito net, tarp, three blankets, two buckets, 100 water purification tablets, one kitchen set and one hygiene kit.

If you are like me (on a budget), $10 can also make a difference. According to this World Vision link, because of multiple government grants, a donation can be multiplied five times. If you and a friend donate $10 each, after the multiplication you have given a family of six a month of fresh drinking water.  For $25 you can give a family two chickens.

For more ideas an opportunities to help East Africa, go here.

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