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April 2013

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Make A Wish Day

Chris make a wishWelcome to the new look of Charity Matters! We have been working hard behind the scenes to create a fresh, exciting and engaging new platform that we hope continues to inspire you.

As I mentioned on friday, I made a promise or a wish that this day would come and I find it particularly exciting that our new web-site is launching on International Make A Wish Day.

World Wish Day is organized by Make-A-Wish to commemorate the anniversary of the wish that inspired the creation of what is now one of the world’s leading children’s charities. Seven-year-old Chris Greicius’ wish to be a police officer was granted in Phoenix, Arizona by volunteers on April 29, 1980.

Since Chris’ wish in 1980, more than 300,000 children around the world have had their fondest wishes fulfilled by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Every 23 minutes, Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition somewhere in the world.  Make A Wish Foundation’s mission is to “enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”

My wish has already come true because you are here with me on this journey and I am so grateful to all of who continue to share Charity Matters on Facebook, like us, tweet, follow on Linkedin and everything in between. I am humbled and grateful for each you. Thank you for continuing to be a part of making my wishes come true.

What’s your wish?

 Charity Matters. 

Copyright © 2013 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.

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes….

“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.”

 Pauline R. Kezer

changeiStock_000020172498Small

Change, something that is inevitable. Some of us thrive on it and others are terrified but regardless of your feelings, it is a fact of life. The one constant we can count on and that is change.

I fall somewhere in the middle on the topic. There are some things that would devastate me if they ever changed (Reeses Peanut Butter Cups come to mind) and other things like moving furniture that exhilarate me. Change is growth, whether you run towards it or away from it, you will grow from it.

Back in January, I made a New Year’s Resolution to you, with plans to update my web-site.  I have been working hard the past few months to keep my promise. So come Monday, April 29th Charity Matters will launch our new web-site.

My hope is that this facelift gives you the same great content, inspiration and excitement with a fresh new look. Thank you for growing with me on this journey.

Now that’s change that’s exciting!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Are you hungry?

LA food bank tonyimageThe power of one is a concept that always intrigues me. How can one person create so much change? How can one idea create something that feeds one million people a year? The thought is humbling, empowering and pure inspiration.

The “one” I am talking about is a man named Tony Collier. He was a cook who saw leftovers going to waste and decided to do something about it. Sound simple enough? As a cook, for a Los Angeles based non-profit, Tony received more donations than he needed.  So, he decided he needed to share his leftovers with other charities that were trying to feed the hungry as well.  Tony had heard about a food bank in Phoenix that had done something similar and decided to bring that model to Los Angeles and founded Los Angeles Regional Food Bank in 1973.

From the very beginning the 200 square foot garage quickly filled up and soon had to move into a converted 2,600 square foot dry cleaning facility in Pasadena. By the early 1980’s Tony’s simple idea was distributing more than 3.5 million pounds of food to over 70 different agencies in LA.

Today, The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distributes 51 million pounds of food or the equivalent of 42.4 million meals. The LA Food Bank served over 1 million people last year with the help of 32,000 volunteers.

One man’s simple idea is no longer housed in a garage but now resides in a 96,000 square foot facility that distributes the food to over 653 different agencies throughout the LA area. One man, one idea and a legacy of compassion that continues to inspire.

Charity Matters.

  Copyright © 2013 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.

Crowdtilt

crowdtilt-cofoundersI may not be the most tech savvy person out there but every once in a while a great new idea or platform comes along that is so simple, its brilliant. Crowdtilt is just that. So obviously, I had to share.

Crowdtilt is a new online platform that allows you to set up a campaign (whether it’s for a great cause or an office collection for a retirement gift). Once you enter the goal amount and campaign you simply tell your friends via email, Facebook, however you choose too. Once the campaign “tilts” everyone’s credit cards are charged and the money is deposited into your account.

Crowdtilt founders, James Beshara and Khaled Hussein, hope that Crowdtilt will eventually be used to change the world for the better, but until then they’re fine if you simply use it to go in for a group gift.

So the next time you are trying to rally a crew to support your cause, give Crowdtilt a try. An easy way to make a difference.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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 Matters?

“Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.”

Viktor E. Frankl

dachau-liberation

To being more human.

Charity Matters.

 Copyright © 2013 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.

Boston

boston attackI had another post prepared for today but in light of what happened in Boston on monday, it somehow no longer felt relevant. On monday I said, “We should care for each other more and tax each other less.” Never was that more true than in Boston moments after the bombings. The sight of people running towards the injured renewed my faith in humanity as  much as the evil behind the terror made me  question it.

We were in Boston a couple of summers ago and every time I am in that city, I am renewed with patriotism. I am proud of who we are and where we came from as a nation. I am reminded of the continued price our freedom has. Monday’s bombings tells us that we can never stop the work of our forefathers. Although, we all grumble about paying taxes, we still know how blessed we are to live in this great country.

As a nation, Americans always come together, especially in times of tragedy.  We need to continue to remember who we are, be proud and most importantly continue to care for one another.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Tax time? A little charitable advice

tax-preparationHopefully you are not like me and your taxes were done in January and you are simply waiting for the mailman to arrive with a refund. However, if you are a bit more last-minute (just signed my taxes today) than perhaps a little simple charitable deduction advice isn’t too late.

I came across this, and although it might be a bit remedial for some I thought it might be helpful for others. Disclaimer: I am not a tax expert. However, for some, charitable deductions can be perplexing. so here it is, a simple little guide.

Hopefully, this weekend won’t be spent rummaging through old receipts and donations but if it is, remember all the great deeds you did this past year and the lives that you touched. Isn’t that whats really important?

Charity Matters.

 Copyright © 2013 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.

Prom night

our promYou remember your prom don’t you? The big hair, cheap tux, taffeta and a whole lot of memories. This is my pic and memory above, both are fuzzy. Well, my oldest son has his prom this weekend and the expense of the whole  shindig got me thinking. How do families do this?

My quest lead me to many amazing organizations that help assist with prom but one in particular really spoke to me and that was Becca’s Closet. The person behind this non-profit was then 16-year-old Rebecca Kirtman. Becca, had heard about kids who had started a prom dress drive at another school and she wanted to bring it to her high school, as a freshman. By her sophomore year Becca had already provided over 250 dresses for girls less fortunate.

Then on August 20, 2003 a tragic car accident took Becca’s life at just 16.  It became clear that keeping Becca’s dream alive would become her legacy.

Today, Becca’s Closet has over 81 chapters across the country and their mission has expanded to offer additional opportunities for deserving young people. Becca’s Closet also  awards educational scholarships to young men and women who demonstrate Becca’s spirit of generosity in their own communities.

Prom season may come and go but just like our memories of those fun-filled days, Becca Kirtman’s spirit lives on in all those lives she continues to touch with her legacy of compassion.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

World Health Day, a day late.

World health day 2013Okay, so I know I am a day late on this one. Like many of you, I just got back into town from Spring break, so I am a day late. Yes, yesterday (April 7th) was World Health Day but just in case you missed it, like me, then I think it’s never too late to learn something important, even life saving.

WHO or the World Health Organization was started by diplomats from the United Nations on April 7th, 1945 and ever since we have celebrated World Health Day on that day….except today of course:)

Each year a different topic of international health is chosen and this year’s theme is blood pressure. I have to say after spring break and getting into some bad habits in a few short days, this message is more relevant than ever.

So enjoy World Health Day and remember it’s never to late to take of yourself or someone you love, even a day late!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Anne Frank

anne_frank writingI am sometimes haunted by certain things that simply stay with me. Reading about Anne Frank’s tree the other day did just that, haunted me. Perhaps, haunted is too strong of a word but stayed with me, nonetheless.

So, as a result I found myself going back to some of the amazing, beautiful and yes, haunting writings of Anne Frank. For such a young girl, she was wise beyond her years. I came across this and thought I would leave you with this thought for your weekend.

It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. 
It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more”

– July 15, 1944

I hope this weekend gives you cause to look up at the sky and feel that everything will change for the better. I know I will.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Tree of hope

Anne Frank sapling_pic-copyI read something today that moved me to tears, although anything involving the Holocaust and Anne Frank usually does. The story that I read told about the Chestnut tree which was in front of Anne Frank’s Amsterdam Annex, during her two years of hiding from the Nazis. This beloved tree which was one of Anne Frank’s few comforts, died in August of 2010.

However, the tree will live on just as Anne Frank does. Seeds from the tree have now turned into saplings and the Anne Frank Center USA, has chosen the recipients of these saplings from a pool of applicants.  These saplings will find new homes in a park in lower Manhattan honoring the victims of September 11th, as well as Little Rock’s Central High School, (a landmark for our country’s desegregation battle) and various Holocaust centers across the country.

In 1977, Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, founded the non-profit Anne Frank Center USA as a partner to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The center’s mission is to use the  spirit of Anne Frank as a unique tool to advance her legacy.  The goal is to educate young people and communities in the U.S. and Canada about the dangers of intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination, and to inspire the next generation to build a world based on equal rights and mutual respect.

I think both Anne and her father would be thrilled that her beloved tree’s legacy will continue just as theirs has. Anne said it best in her diary when she said, “The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity. As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.”

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

April fools

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”  

William Shakespeare

April youth daffodilsI hope today, has you celebrating the beauty and joy of Spring!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.