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December 2011

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Upward Bound House an alternative for homeless children

Did you happen to visit Peet’s Coffee on Christmas Eve?  If you did, you received a gift that truly spread the Christmas spirit. After ordering your drink (regardless of the size) the barista said,”Merry Christmas! Your drink is on the house. If you want to support Upward Bound House, we would be so grateful.”

What was Upward Bound House? I thought I would find out while waiting for my now donated latte. It turns out Upward Bound house is a non-profit that provides transitional housing to keep families together and off the streets.

Upward Bound House has a 95% success rate of getting families back on their feet and independently living on their own again. So, a little post holiday good will and cheer and a big hats off to Peet’s Coffee for showing us all that Charity Matters a latte!

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Attention K Mart Shoppers!

“Attention, K Mart Shoppers! It’s almost here! We are just two days til Christmas.” Whats really happening at K Mart? It is much more than holiday chaos, it’s giving.

Hundreds of stories of holiday giving  have been spreading across our country the past few weeks at K Mart stores. K Mart shoppers who have been putting their children’s Christmas gifts on lay away, due to these difficult economic times, have been showing up to find their accounts have been paid in full by anonymous donors.

The executives at K Mart said it appears that this mystery giving began in Michigan and has now spread across 7 states according to the retail chain. Salima Yala, the Vice President of the company’s lay away division said, “It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of year.” These “Secret Santa’s” have been targeting lay away items that are specifically toys or children’s clothing.

So as you stop and drop money in the red buckets to ringing bells,  send a little something extra to your favorite cause or even buy a sweater for that relative you rarely speak to, remember that giving is a wonderful feeling.

“So attention K Mart Shoppers, be on the look out for generous souls trying to spread holiday cheer. They could be in line behind you or the person in the parking lot. Goodness is everywhere and beware, its contagious too!”

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you for making Charity Matter!

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


My Two Front Teeth. Org

When I heard the name of this great organization, My Two Front Teeth.Org I was so excited to share it with you all this holiday season. This Bay Area non-profit organization reached out to needy children during the holidays to fulfill Christmas wishes. However, I received a present and a true symbol of the season when I discovered that this small non-profit merged with a bigger non-profit called The Family Giving Tree.  The selfless reason, is that by merging and combining resources they would be able to reach even more children in need during the holidays.

The Family Giving Tree began in 1990 as a San Jose State University MBA class project. Jennifer Cullenbine and Todd Yoshida were asked to “create a program that adds value to someone else’s life.” They created the Family Giving Tree with the hope of providing holiday gifts to 300 children in East Palo Alto. Encouraged by the success of the first year, Jennifer decided to continue and expand the organization. In the 20th year of the program’s existence, the total number of gifts and backpacks donated had grown to over 700,000, making the Family Giving Tree the largest gift and backpack donation program in California.

So, whether its your two front teeth or a giving tree this holiday, it all gives to the magic of the season. Smiles on children’s faces is Charity that Matters!

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


The Seeds of Compassion

Its not very often that I share about my own philanthropy or that of my children but as a proud mother I think its time. No, I promise this isn’t one of those painful maternal bragging moments. This is about my first born son, who like most first borns (myself included) likes to think that the sun sets only on him….that was until he went to Watts.

A few years back he was having a rough summer getting ready to go to high school.  Getting tired of the pity party I called a friend down at a non-profit in South Central Los Angeles, called Urban Compass and asked if they could use some extra help. Urban Compass  is a non-profit that works to combat poverty and violence and make a difference in the lives of children in Watts. My son had never left his bubble, let alone ventured to the housing projects in the most dangerous neighborhood in LA.

At 14, my redhead walked into Urban Compass and was embraced by these huge smiles and hugs, That was it, he was hooked. He spent that summer taking children to places like the beach, which they had never seen. He held children’s hands as he walked them back into the housing projects and they begged him not to take him home. He came back at vacations and Christmas time asking our family to adopt one of “his families”.

Now my son is 16, he is a part of a new junior board at Urban Compass and asked me if he could do something else for his required service hours. “Why, would you do that?” I asked. The response, “Because service hours are something you have to do and this is something I love to do.”

The miracle of Christmas has touched our home this season as I hope it touches yours. That seed of compassion was in there and it has sprouted and grown. True charity of the heart that matters!

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

“The good you do for others is good you do for yourself”

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself…”

~Norman Wesley Brooks, “Let Every Day Be Christmas,” 1976

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

A Little Christmas Cheer

I love that everyone is in the spirit of giving this time of year. I thought I would share with you Jack Johnson’s latest Christmas Album, This Warm December. 

Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from this album benefit Little Kids Rock.Org which is a national nonprofit that transforms children’s lives by restoring and revitalizing music education in disadvantaged public schools.

In 1996, an elementary school teacher, David Wish, grew frustrated with the lack of funding for music education at his school. Realizing that he would have to take it upon himself to make sure his kids got a chance to explore music, David began offering an after-school guitar class to interested students. The classes became wildly popular, and as more kids sought to enroll, he decided to take the program national.

In 2002, with initial support from musical luminaries BB King and John Lee Hooker, Little Kids Rock was born. What began as an informal project led by a single school teacher and a handful of volunteers has since evolved into a nationally recognized not-for-profit organization that has served tens of thousands of students across the country.

So buy a little Christmas cheer and in the process make Charity Matter for thousands of children across this country with the gift of music.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Holiday Goodspotting

The Case Foundation is asking people who witness random acts of kindness this holiday season to capture those moments in photos and post them on their favorite social network.  They may get a nice reward for that good deed: up to $500 for themselves and up to $5,000 for their favorite charity.

So do some good, spot others doing good and spread some good, its all good Charity that  Matters!

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Raising Philanthropic Children

I recently attended a great talk entitled “Raising Philanthropic Kids” given by Julie Lytle Nesbit of Whittier Trust.

It was so fantastic that I wanted to share some of it with you here.  As the holidays are quickly approaching I thought this message of teaching our children how to give was especially timely.

The benefits of philanthropic children are according to Julie:

  1. Opens children’s eyes to the fact that others are not as fortunate as they are
  2. Develops empathetic thinking
  3. Fosters an appreciation for what they have
  4. Enhances self-esteem
  5. Correlates to improved performance in school

Six Tips for Raising Philanthropic Children:

  1. Start early, as early as 4 or 5 years old. Giving becomes a habit.
  2. Set an example by showing your children that Charity Matters.
  3. Be intentional by involving your children in your own charity endeavors.
  4. Use online tools to research organizations to involve your children
  5. Be consistent. Make charity a part of your traditions, the holidays and birthdays.
  6. Emphasize the joy because giving feels great.

So enjoy this season of giving and make sure to show your children all the good you do. Nothing feels better than to give and make a difference, especially in the lives of your own children. That is Charity that Matters!

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Charitable Ideas for the Holidays

Since starting Charity Matters a few months back, I have had a number of requests for charitable ideas for the holidays.

It’s never too early to show and share and power of giving and isn’t that what the season is all about?

Here are some ideas that matter:

  • For The Art Connoisseur- Give them the gift of their favorite museum membership for the year. All are non-profits that survive by donations so a great gift. Here are a few; Moca, The Huntington Library, and The Getty.
  • The Animal Lover- Giving an animal lover a gift that takes care of animals like The American Humane Society is a gift that keeps giving.
  • The Finance Guy- Kiva is a non-profit that connects people worldwide through small micro finance loans. You select who you want to loan money too in order to change a life. They pay you back in ways bigger than money.
  • The Teen Activist-The Hole in the Wall Camps where terminally ill and very ill children get a chance to “be normal” and have a real camp experience. Teach your teens how to give and be grateful for their health.
  • The Reading Enthusiast- First Books is a non-profit that has distributed more than 85 million books and educational resources to schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States.
  • The Adventurer- Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization and expedition school that serves people of all ages and backgrounds through learning expeditions that inspire character development, self-discovery and service both in and out of the classroom.
  • The Person With Everything- We all know that person that is impossible to buy for and here is the solution. Charity Gift Certificates. Org this website will give you a list of over 250 non-profit organizations and one is sure to fit your person with everything. You donate an amount and they can select who to give it too.

So whoever you may find on your list this season, share with them the true meaning of the holidays….giving.  Know that your Charity Matters! Happy Shopping.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Holiday Charity

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

Washington Irving

 

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Hoops of Hope

It is an amazing gift when someone reaches out to touch someone else’s life, its even more incredible when its a child helping other children a continent away.

That is exactly what a young boy named Austin Gutwein did in the spring of 2004 after seeing a video of children whose parents had died from AIDS.

Austin felt a calling to do something to help these children. On World Aids Day, he decided to shoot free throws and he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the 2,057 kids who would be orphaned during his day at school.  Austin had friends and family sponsor him and was able to raise almost $3,000.

From that year forward, thousands of people have joined Austin in a basketball shoot-a-thon called Hoops of Hope. By doing something as simple as shooting free throws, Hoops of Hope participants have raised over $2 million. The children left behind by AIDS now have access to food, clothing, shelter, a new school, four dormitories,  and two medical testing facilities which he was told would save an entire generation. A second school is now under construction.

As Austin said, “Given the opportunity, kids will blow you away.”

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.