Entries from February 2006

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

First female elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Effa Manley became the first female elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

A special committee voted yesterday on the election of Manley and 17 others to the Hall. Reliever, Bruce Sutter, was the only one in this class of 18 that was not part of the negro or pre-negro league.

Manley was a co-owner of the Eagles, a New Jersey based franchise. She was a white woman who married a black man and passed most of her life as a black woman.

Manley used her position in the baseball world to help advance several civil rights causes, most notably anti-lynching efforts.

(It’s crazy to think that anti-lynching was once a cause that needed to be advanced. Mind-boggling. And this was only fifty or so years ago.)

Manley also lobbied hard in her later years to get several negro league players into Cooperstown. The beauty of her election yesterday is that several of players from her own team were included in this class, including catcher Biz Mackey and slugger Mule Suttles (who once hit a ball 589 feet).

Manley died at the age of 84 in 1981.

The group of 17 will join the 18 negro and pre-negro leaguers already enshrined in the Hall, including such legends as Satchel Paige.

The induction ceremony will take place on July 30 in Cooperstown, NY.

Read more:

Newark Star Ledger
Southeast Missourian

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Happy Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras celebrants across the country this year will all have Katrina on their minds.

It’s hard to believe that just six months ago we were all in shock over the devastation and ruin that came over the LA and MS coastlines on August 29. I won’t go into the myriad feelings and thoughts that came out of that experience, but it’s safe to say that they were significant and, for some of us, still not resolved.

Let’s just keep in mind while we are out partying tonight that there are still a million things to get done down in the Gulf Coast, and just about 1000 times that in cold hard cash and resources needed to finish the job. The levees still need to be built-up before the 2006 hurricane season begins in a few months. People are still homeless. In fact, in the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations there are some locals that are only now returning to their old neighborhoods for the first time in six months.

I found a couple of intriguing Katrina feel good stories for you to scan, but just keep with you that disaster relief is far from over and there are still thousands of people that need to be made whole again.

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Interfaith Katrina

This article from the Houston Chronicle talks about the extreme generosity that a synagogue paid to one of its Christian employees and her family. In return, a wholesome meal was prepared for the members of the synagogue by the grateful Katrina survivors.

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Virginia pros help fill the Katrina void

The Richmond Times-Dispatch tells the story of lacking professional services in the Katrina disaster zone and how bevies of Virginians are flying in to fill the void.

Beginning with a great need for dentists, the Virginia Dental Association has mobilized an effort to send its best and brightest down to LA and fix some teeth. Virginia doctors are also making the trip and even people with agricultural know how are going down there from Richmond.

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Hard generosity

This article from the Providence Journal does a great job of reminding us how hard being generous can sometimes be.

We all love those stories of how a penny pinching, loyal nine-to-fiver making no more than a median wage for 40 years on the job passes away leaving millions to their local church or mushroom picking club. I remember back in Hawai’i a few years back when an elderly woman, having lived alone in a one bedroom apartment and having worked as a seamstress all her life, left more than a million dollars to charity in her will. Out of no where this money materialized and because the woman had not any next of kin, she decided to donate her assets to the greater good. Noble and amazing and seemingly simple.

Then again, there is this story about the estate of William Taft Sullivan of Cranston, RI. His is a similar story of a man who held down the same job for nearly half a century, of modest means who simply saved the heck out of his monthly paychecks. In fact, he saved to the tune of $1.5 million when it was all said and done. The story is made even more intriguing by the fact that his will allotted some $800,000 to go toward his local PBS station, this after being an individual level donor for years ($25 to $35 annually). So, he was a diligent saver who was a small donor to his favorite charity. By all practical measures, he probably did not show up on the philanthropy radar in his living years as a big or major player. And yet, his final gift was quite a large one.

But the story gets muddied by incompetent trustee, courts, law suits with even the local PBS station getting legal in an effort to get what’s theirs. Doesn’t this all sound horrible? In fact, the $800,000 donation is only now being executed. Sullivan passed in 2000. This just all seems wrong. How can a sweet story have such ugly bookends?

I think there is a good lesson in Philanthropy 101 here: First, save, save, save so that you can eventually give, give, give; Second, if you’re on the nonprofit side of the fence, never, ever underestimate either the intent or capacity or donors; and finally, draw up a will as soon as you can and appoint a damn good trustee to oversee your final wishes. You don’t want you legacy to be strung out and defined in the courts.

Monday, February 27th, 2006

USOC matches Cheeks’ gift

The United State Olympic Committee has chosen to match the $40,000 gift that Joey Cheek decided to donate to the international nonprofit, Right to Play.

On another Cheek note, he was awarded with the DHL 2006 U.S. Olympic Spirit Award.

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Three thank yous in Pittsburgh

Three thank yous were printed in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Citizens come to the rescue of a heart attack victim at the Pittsburgh International Airport; anonymous person often brings morning newspaper in; and, stranger helps fallen man make his way home.

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Anonymous donor replaces stolen adult tricycle

According to the Albany Times Union, an anonymous donor replaced an adult tricycle stolen from a disabled 61-year old woman. The gift apparently came out of nowhere and filled the woman joy. Although she had to go through the ordeal of having lost her most needed transporter, this apparently random and extremely nice act by the anonymous donor has made everyone’s day.

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Thanks: Sheboygan , WI

From the Sheboygan Press:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the young man who helped me during the snowstorm on Thursday, Feb. 16.

I was attempting to leave work and got stuck in our parking area. He came from nowhere and stayed until he got my car going. He is my hero.

This week happens to be “Random Acts of Kindness” week, he unselfishly braved the elements to help me. What a terrific act of kindness.

When I asked him if he worked in the area (the riverfront) he said, “no, I’m from Plymouth and I’m just out helping people.”

I didn’t get his name but I consider him my angel. Thank you again, my angel from Plymouth.

Barbara Gruenke — Sheboygan, WI

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.