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December 2012

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New Years Eve

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

  Ellen Goodman

New-Years-Eve

As we close out 2012, I want to thank you for making this year such a remarkable one. You continue to inspire me with your comments, encouragement and compassion for one another. I hope that 2013 brings us all of our potential.

Happy New Year!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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 Charitable Deduction

taxesNow that the holidays are winding down, it’s the time of year for those last-minute donations.  All so that we can get charitable deductions for our taxes. Yikes, that dreaded word, taxes!

Of course we give for so many more reasons than deductions, but it is an additional perk of helping out a cause that you care about. However, that perk is becoming endangered.

As you may already know, some of our congressional leaders are calling for limitations of tax deductions for charitable giving. Charitable donations are the lifeblood of hundreds of thousands of amazing non-profit organizations.

A group of 600 charitable organizations, called The Independent Sector, has been leading the nonprofit communities on this and for more information on the charitable deduction you can click here.

If this is something that you care about, you can email your congressman and senators via their websites or call their offices directly.  The same group has put together a letter that you can personalize and sign, and they will deliver it to your representatives and President Obama. Click the link if you would like to Send a letter to Congress

Please join in working to preserve the charitable deduction. Regardless of why you give, these deductions help support our countries educational system, expand access to health and human services, enrich an appreciation of our cultural heritage, advance  medical research, and support so many programs vital to the health of our country and communities around the world.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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 Day After

used wrapping paper

I hope this finds you still in your slippers and comfy cozy at home enjoying the remains of Christmas leftovers. Today is a day when we look at the excess of all that we have. We question, why did we give so much? Work so hard? Use soo much wrapping paper?

The reason is because we all love to give and it simply never gets old. Today, we are tired, we are full and we are grateful for all that we have……and so now its time to reflect, remember and sadly pick up all that paper.

I hope your holiday was fantastic.

 Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

Merry Christmas!

“May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.”
Author Unknown

Its a wonderful life

 Thank you for all you have done this season to touch so many lives. You inspire me and fill my heart with joy. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

 

What 20 angels taught us in 7 days

newtown lessons

Its only been seven days and yet our world is forever altered by the events in Newtown, CT last week. As we begin these last days until Christmas, let us remember the lessons that these little angels have taught us all.

Life is precious

Cherish each moment

Look out for one another.

Trust your instincts

Life is unexpected.

People are innately good.

Our strength is in our unity.

Hug your children just a little bit tighter.

Be grateful for all you have because you never know when it will be gone.

Pray.

Charity Matters

Copyright © 2012 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.

What to give?

“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”

Oren Arnold

Christmas giftsWith gifts like these you simply can’t go wrong!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

In remembrance

candle-light1The second sunday in December is an international day of remembrance for children who have died.  All around the globe families, parents, siblings and friends light candles in memory of a child who has passed away. This year’s candle lighting came a week too early.

As I write this, tears stream down my face and my heart breaks for all of those families in Connecticut who lost their beloved children last friday.  Those 12 beautiful girls and 8 little boys are God’s newest angels. There really are not words.

Nine years ago when we started the Spiritual Care Guild at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, the department head asked us if we could provide a candle lighting ceremony for the parents at CHLA.  And so we did.

Hundreds of parents arrived with their deceased child’s picture in a frame or printed on their shirts, they enter an auditorium where other grieving parents share their story. Meanwhile the siblings, write love letters to their deceased brother or sister on cut out dragonflies. When the parents leave the auditorium they are given a candle that is lit and they walk outside under a beautiful tree filled with the dragon-fly love letters. The parents will not leave until their candle has gone out.

Some talk to other parents, some cry, some sit in silence but the power of unity and the comfort of the shared loss is palpable. It is here where the tiniest piece of healing begins. Nine years later we still provide this ceremony and many families come back year after year to remember their beloved child.

Every year I leave that ceremony with a renewed sense of purpose, gratitude for my own children and compassion for these families. So this holiday season, when you light a candle, think of these precious 20 children…. our unity and love will overcome.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

Tis the season….

“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.”  Janice Maeditere

rockwell family xmas

Since we are in the throws of the holidays, remember to stop, listen and enjoy the moments of the season. Have a wonderful and festive weekend!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

 

Be an Elf. Org

letter_15_amyOn monday , I talked about the US Post offices 100-year-old program called Operation Santa. Well one volunteer “elf”, Patrick Reynolds, was so inspired by his experience with the program that he decided to help promote the cause with Be An Elf. Org.

On Christmas Eve, 2004, Patrick delivered gifts through Operation Santa to needy families.  He was so moved by the experience that he set up Be An Elf.Org to bring more attention to the post offices program. Patrick wondered why he not heard of the USPS program? So he decided to use his time and talent to bring more attention to a cause he cared about.

“I was moved by the surprise and delight on children’s faces. I thought more people should know about the Letters to Santa / Operation Santa program,”  Patrick said. Within a few days, he got the idea to form a new group, which became Be An Elf.

I love this story because it is a true reflection of what Christmas is all about. We all have causes that we care about, but the Christmas spirit inspired Patrick to action.  He in turn inspires each of us to reach out to help a child in need and reminds us what the season is all about.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

Operation Santa

letters-to-santaOne hundred years ago the United States postal service quietly began Operation Santa. Thousands of heartbreaking letters from needy children were read and answered by volunteers. Today, that extraordinary experience is still happening at post offices all over the country.

Since 1912, the U.S. Post Office, has gathered volunteer “elves” to read tens of thousands of letters written to Santa. They are then sorted based on need, such as food or a pair of shoes and then matched with a donor to help fulfill their Christmas wish.

Due to Hurricane Sandy, this year is expected to be especially difficult.  Operation Santa is expecting more than 10,000 letters, just in one New York City Post Office. The combination of the economy and this natural disaster has made the need for help even greater this holiday season.

If you would like to be an elf this year, simply click the USPS link here to find out ways you can help Santa and the kids this holiday season. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Charity Matters.

Maybe Christmas means a little bit more

“It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!  It came without packages, boxes or bags!”… 

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!  “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!” 

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

all the whos down in whovilleLets all remember the magic of the season, the smiles of our children and the joy we receive from simply being together.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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 Force of Giving

Max PageOn monday we discussed how to raise philanthropic children and  I thought today I would share with you one of the best examples I know. His name is Max Page.

I met Max because he and my son are both Junior Ambassadors for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.  Max has been a patient at CHLA many times in his short 7 years of life for multiple heart surgeries. The world knows Max as little Darth Vadar but what everyone doesn’t know is how huge that little heart really is.

http://

Max Page, Recipient of the Special Award for Charitable Works for Children’s Hospitals from American Advertising Federation on Vimeo.

Max’s parents Jennifer and Buck have guided Max and his little brother, Els, in doing things big and small for others. They have donated their birthday gifts every year, they participate in walks and runs for causes they care about and the entire family uses their voice to bring attention to causes they care about.

The Page family has taught by example the ripple effect of giving. They realized that the force comes from combining caring with action and that we all possess it. I hope the force is with you and your families throughout this holiday season.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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 in 2012

Raising Philanthropic kidsAs parents today we have many challenges, especially during the holidays. We all walk the fine line of asking our children what they want, realizing that they don’t really need anything and all while trying to explain to them the real meaning of the season.

So the question becomes, how do we raise philanthropic children? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Start young, the earlier the better. For little ones (4 or 5), keep it simple, perhaps canned food for a local shelter or blankets for Hurricane Sandy relief. Something that they understand.

2. Be age appropriate. Don’t overwhelm young children with world hunger but rather something relatable to them, perhaps something local in your community.

3. Engage your children in the process, especially the older they get. Find out what they care about? Perhaps they love animals and want to support a local shelter? Have them use their passion to make a difference. I have one son who loves football and threw touchdowns for a local Children’s Hospital to raise funds.

4. Research together and suggests a few choices. With 1.9 million non-profits it can be overwhelming for all of us. Our family usually picks 3 or 4 ideas and then we vote on a holiday philanthropy project. We have adopted soldiers, fed homeless, adopted inner city families for Christmas. Ultimately it is the kids vote that decides.

5.  Be intentional with your own giving. Teach by example. Discuss what causes you care about. Let your children hear and see your volunteer efforts or participate in them if possible.

6.  Make giving habitual by being consistent. Whether its part of your allowance structure, a holiday tradition or something you do at birthdays, be consistent and establish giving as a tradition and habit. It’s no different from any sport, the more you participate the easier and more fun it becomes. Ultimately it becomes a part of who they are.

7.  Emphasize the joy and the experience of giving rather than money. Philanthropy is about being a part of something bigger than yourself. Giving is so much more fun than receiving. Make it a joyful experience for your family and something you share in together. Perhaps, start with entering a 5k walk or charity run or volunteering together.

The benefits of philanthropic children: These from Julie Nesbit of Whittier Trust

  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

Like everything we do with raising our children, it takes time , patience, consistency and love.  Chances are you already do most of these things and don’t even realize it and your children do too. This holiday season, enjoy the process of giving in whatever way you decide to participate. You and your children will experience the real joy of the holidays….together.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.