Entries Tagged as 'Nonprofits'

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

GoodSearch for charities

A very well done project by the brother / sister team of Ken and JJ Ramberg.

There are many websites out there attempting to do what GoodSearch has elegantly perfected: Allow users to use a Yahoo! powered search engine to generate funds for their favorite charities.

The homepage is clean and very user-friendly. You simply elect your favorite charity as the recipient of any funds generated from your search activities. Then search and surf as you normally would with the provided Yahoo! search tool. Fifty percent of all subsequent advertising and click-thru revenue goes to your charity. It’s an easy way to be generous. GoodSearch also offers an Internet Explorer toolbar that makes it even more convenient to be a modern day philanthropist.

Definitely check this service out and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

Bead for Life

News of this cool project comes to us from a contributor out in sunny Hawai’i.

As most effective projects tend to be, BeadforLife has a very smart and elegant model. This Boulder, CO-based group exports and sells beads made by local Ugandan women. Mostly sold in the United States, the proceeds from the beads go toward community projects and toward helping those Ugandan women to improve their living status. A full 15% of all sales goes directly to women who produce the beads.

The vast majority of the beads are sold at Bead Parties, much like the Tupperware model. In 2005, over 500 such parties took place. A smaller percentage of sales happens directly through their online store, retail outlets and craft fairs.

Check out BeadforLife the next time you need to put a little present together. It’s a great story and the products are great looking as well.

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

Giving a break during spring break

There are many of these stories that come out during spring break.

These University of Minnesota students, calling themselves Students Today Leaders Forever, formed a couple years ago and have been substituting spring break bashes in Florida and South Padre Island for their own brand of fun. They created the Operation: Pay It Forward Tour. Read this piece in the University of Minnesota News for a brief run-down of the string of nice activities they had last week.

My favorite is a demonstration they held featuring picket signs that said “Call Your Parents”, and “Smile.”

Check these sites out for other ideas on what you or your kids could do with spring break:

Volunteers for Peace
Global Service Corps
Global Vision International
EarthWatch Institute

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

March 7 is National Sportsmanship Day

According to the Institute for International Sport, March 7, 2006 is the 16th annual National Sportsmanship Day.

From its website:

National Sportsmanship Day serves as a forum for administrators, coaches, students, alumni, parents and fans to discuss the issues of ethics, fair play and sportsmanship. In addition, each year, the Institute for International Sport recognizes individuals who exemplify ethics and sportsmanship in both their professional and personal endeavors by naming them as Sports Ethics Fellows (SEF).

So get out there and play something, have a good time, and be a good sport.

Monday, March 6th, 2006

U.S. nonprofits spend enough to make it a top ten largest economy

According to, “The United States Nonprofit Sector Report,” recently published by the National Council of Nonprofit Associations, the assets of the top 1/3 of U.S. nonprofit organizations totaled $1.76 trillion in 2003, double the $866 billion total for 1993.

These nonprofits spent $945 billion in 2003, or 9% of our gross domestic product. Now that is some serious, serious money.

At this rate, only the U.S., Japan, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, China, Spain and Canada have higher economic output, this according to 2004 World Bank as well as International Monetary Fund data.

California led all states that year spending $104 billion dollars. New York was second with $100 billion.

The average itemizer claimed $3,283 in charitable deduction according to the IRS. Wyoming itemizers led the way with an average of $6,273; Vermonters were last with $2,149.

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Elder Wisdom Circle

Don’t you love the advice and wisdom imparted unto you by your grandparents? Not sure how to approach a long lost friend with an invitation to your kid’s one-year birthday party? Ask grandma. Should you ask your parents to help out with childcare? What are the rules? Ask grandpa. Should you buy or rent? You get the picture….

Now, many of us actually don’t have this luxury of grandparent wisdom at our fingertips. Mine are long gone and sometimes it’s just hard to ask your parents for advice on sensitive issues. Our elders often fill that very delicate void between family members.

If you’re in this situation, check out Elder Wisdom Circle. This Walnut Creek, CA nonprofit group formed in 2003 features free email advice to users from a stable of 250+ volunteer seniors.

What a great idea.

They have spun off a syndicated advice column that is available in local newspapers across the country. A book (Elder Wisdom Circle: Letters, Guidance and Advice from America’s Elders) was even published in 2002 containing some of these letters. NPR also ran a story on Tuesday about the group. The story is available on the NPR website and is also the subject of NPR’s “Story of the Day” podcast, available on your iTunes.

Given this publication date of their book, it’s safe to assume that EWC has been around and only recently formed the nonprofit entity. Sounds like a subject for an interview.

Due to the 2003 formation of this group, no financial information is currently available.

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

The Shakedown Society

Andrea Ball of the Austin American-Statesman reports on 15 women calling themselves The Shakedown Society.

These women got together in an effort to raise money for local charities. They new that as a giving group they could only raise so much, so they decided to reach outside of the inner circle and “shakedown” their friends and family for a much heartier booty. In the end, the group raised $25,000.

Something tells me they’re not done yet, so if any of you in Austin hear of more activity from this group, please let us know.

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

Kids to the Rescue

This group got its start in the very grassroots tradition that is at the core of being NICE.

Mendota Heights, MN sixth graders, Audrey Feltz and Rachel Floeder, and their mothers were deeply disturbed by the images coming out of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and decided to take maters in their own hands. The group of four thought that they would ask everyone in their class at school to donate one dollar each toward relief efforts. Then the idea grew to all 500+ students at Convent of the Visitation School.

Why stop there, they thought. After some research, they calculated that there are some 54 million students throughout the country, and that asking everyone of them to donate just $1 would make a world of difference.

So off they went. First stop was finding a partner in the Northern division of the Salvation Army. They built a website and the fundraising began. Reportedly, the effort, now called Kids to the Rescue, has raised over $20,000 for Katrina relief.

If you sometimes think that you can’t make a lick of difference, remember these kinds of stories like the Kids to the Rescue mother / daughter crew. And, if your elementary or high school student still wants to make his or her Katrina donation, have them take the Kids to the Rescue challenge.

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

Do Something

From its website:

Do Something was founded in 1993 by Andrew Shue (Melrose Place) and Michael Sanchez, childhood friends who had a dream: what if community service was as cool as sports? Do Something strives to make this a reality. We inspire, support, and celebrate the ability of young people like you to change your world.

Our Programs
1. Monthly Challenges: Do Something provides monthly “challenges” in 3 areas: community building, health, and the environment. Challenges can be after-school activities or in-school class projects, undertaken in groups or alone, and they never require any money to execute. Over 4 million kids have tackled these challenges.
2. Do Something BRICK Awards® & Do Something Grants: Young people rock. They should have role models who rock too. Through the BRICK Awards and the grants program, Do Something celebrates young people who have dared to dream up and pursue their own community change ideas. Do Something has distributed over 1 million dollars to these amazing young people. In 1998, CNN dubbed the BRICK Awards “the Oscars for young people in service” and in 2005 President Bill Clinton attended the ceremony.
3. Build Magazine: Just as Rolling Stone helped create icons of rock-n-roll, Build Magazine is giving a face to community service. Currently distributed gratis, it is the only public service magazine distributed nationally through Sam Goody stores. Most of the articles are written by kids.

In 2004, Do Something raised $1.8 million for their programs.

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Right To Play

This Toronto-based, internantional nonprofit works to bring the joy and spirit of athletics to world’s most disadvantaged and worn-torn areas.

From its website:

Right To Play is an athlete-driven international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play as a tool for the development of children and youth in the most disadvantaged areas of the world. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Right To Play has national offices in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, USA, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Read more

To improve the lives of children in the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace.

The Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee (LOOC) conceived Olympic Aid (now Right To Play) in 1992 in preparation for the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. The focus of Right To Play during these Games was to show support for people in war-torn countries and areas of distress. A partnership was formed among the Red Cross, Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian People’s Council, the Norwegian Church Fund and Olympic Aid to raise funds for and awareness of the specific initiatives each of these organizations were implementing.

As an international organization, I do not have access to its financials. My best guess is that the organization raises anywhere from $15 to $30 million a year, the amounts rising and falling in Olympic and off years.

With strong partners, it’s clear that this is an effective and efficient organization. In 1996 they raised $13 million which went toward the vaccination of 12.2 children and 800,000 women. Now that’s efficient use of funds.