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Organizations

Showing Up for Racial Justice

“We envision a society where we struggle together with love, for justice, human dignity and a sustainable world.” That’s the vision as quoted from civil rights organization Showing Up for Racial Justice. As the last decade in the United States has shown, this country still has a long way to go before achieving social equality. That’s why we need organizations like Showing Up for Racial Justice.

Founded in 2009, Showing Up for Racial Justice has grown to become a national network of activism groups across the country. The goal of this specific organization is to help get white people involved the fight for racial equality.

The organization operates on the belief that those who are privileged can use their position of power to be an advocate for the disadvantaged. By creating this large scale network of multi-racial people with a passion for equality, citizens can band together to improve the country “through community organizing, mobilizing, and education.” The advantage of having a network like this is being able to unify and orchestrate protests when injustices do happen. As the old saying goes, “There is strength in numbers.”

The organization wants to make it very clear that white people don’t have to be the enemy; they can be allies. The organization seeks to lead by example by being inclusive, not divisive. Put in their own words, they want to “call people in, not call people out.”

It’s inspiring that the leadership of Showing Up for Racial Justice has taken several steps to ensure that they are held accountable for their actions. They work closely with other organizations to make sure that their activities and endorsements are in line with the values and beliefs of their mission. Their transparency is a leading example of what honesty and integrity looks like in the nonprofit sector.

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News Organizations

Goodwill Omaha Proves Communication is Key

Recently, it came out that Goodwill Omaha is paying a number of its board members over $100,000 a year and that CEO Frank McGree is making $250,000 a year. It’s a $30-million-dollar organization that has over 600 employees, so those salaries aren’t too crazy, considering. But there is also evidence that they pay many of their employees, namely those with disabilities, less than minimum wage.

The World-Herald report that brought all of this to light makes Goodwill Omaha sound like an organization that borrows too much inspiration from the for-profit world. And the responses from both the CEO and the board have made it look like nobody in the organization knows what anyone else is doing. In short, they weren’t able to answer tough questions from the press.

The big mistake that Goodwill Omaha made is that they didn’t answer questions asked from the World-Herald. As Nonprofit Quarterly points out, investigative reports that get stonewalled tend to turn mean. The whole thing is an abject lesson in the importance of communication.

People who read the report are justifiably upset with what seems like some pretty shady practices by Goodwill Omaha. Whether these allegations prove to be true or not, it’s going to hurt the organization. But it’s their own fault because even if they’re not doing anything wrong, they still failed to communicate with the press. The lesson to be learned is that you have to be able to communicate with reporters and others outside of your organization if you want to put forth a good public image.

The other lesson is that you need to have clear communication within your organization as well. It really does seem like, regardless of the truth of the allegations, Goodwill Omaha didn’t have good enough internal communication to either prevent unethical actions or to simply respond to allegations of them. Neither of these scenarios is good, especially in nonprofits, where public trust is an absolute necessity.

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Organizations

The Nonprofit That Raises Service Monkeys

Helping Hands is a very special nonprofit; it’s the only organization of its kind to provide service monkeys to the disabled. Founded in 1979, the organization trains capuchin monkeys to assist with everything from opening doors to fetching items.

The monkeys themselves are pretty small. According to BioExpedition.com, the average capuchin monkey is anywhere from 12 to 22 inches tall and weighs between 2-3 pounds. They’re cute, they’re small, they’re helpful, and they’re also highly intelligent.

Helping Hands chose to train monkeys because of their dexterous hands and remarkable fine motor skills. Monkeys are able to perform a lot of tasks that traditional service dogs can’t; they can turn pages, insert straws into cups, open containers, turn on buttons and switches, and even reposition limbs on a wheel chair.

Also of note is that the monkeys can live anywhere from 30-40 years. They’re also hypoallergenic, since they have human-like hair instead of fur.

The reason monkeys make such great service animals is because they have a natural hierarchy within their species, meaning that they have a strong desire to take care of their leader. But the relationship is a two-way street; monkeys also love to be cuddled and nurtured. Therefore, those who want a monkey assistant must be willing to provide them with the type of environment they need.

For those who want to apply for a monkey, be aware that the process can take anywhere from 3-6 months. Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements, which include being at least one year post-injury or post-diagnosis.

Eligible applicants also cannot have any young children living at home. Helping Hands states that children under the age of 12 can be “unpredictable and make it difficult to maintain the structure that monkeys need.”

Before being given a monkey, a representative from Helping Hands will visit the applicant’s home to go over roles and responsibilities. The organization takes great care to ensure both the monkey and the applicant are good matches for one another.

Helping Hands is based out of Boston, MA and can be reached at (617) 787-4419.

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Organizations

Meet the Nonprofit that Serves 74,000 Meals a Year

The Los Angeles LGBT Center is one of the top queer nonprofit centers in the worldit offers almost every service anyone could ever need: medical and psychiatric care, affordable and homeless housing, legal services, employment services, a charter high school, advocacy services, and cultural events. It even has seven locations across the city. Additionally, they also feed the public. Everything from soup kitchens for homeless youth to food pantries and meals on wheels for seniors.

They feed the needy of Los Angeles to the tune of 74,000 meals a year. More than 200 meals a day. And they want to double that.

One of their centers to be, the planned Anita May Rosenstein Center, will have as many as 200 units of affordable housing for senior citizens and homeless youth, and central to the whole thing will be a professional-grade commercial kitchen. It will feed the residents and also serve as a fundraising space, a place to host charity dinners with rooftop dining.

Central to these plans is Susan Feniger, a board member of the LGBT Center and a well-known chef. She founded Border Grill and had a run on the TV show Too Hot Tamales as well as Top Chef.

Another key player is Arlita Miller, the center’s dietary coordinator. She works in the long term transitional living program, giving LGBT free housing and training in her kitchen. That training is at the level of budgeting kitchens and cooking for themselves, things many homeless youth never had an opportunity to learn. With the new kitchen, she hopes to ramp it up to serious culinary training, preparing them for high-value jobs in the restaurant industry.

The new center and kitchen are expected to open in early 2019, giving plenty of time for preparations to be made for the new programs.

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Organizations

Support for Blind, Visually Impaired, and Dyslexic Students

Learning Ally is a nonprofit that provides educational support for blind, visually impaired, and dyslexic students. Learning Ally was established in 1948 in the New York Public Library and was originally known as Recording for the Blind. The organization produced audio-recorded books for blinded veterans returning from WWII. Nearly 70 years later, and Learning Ally now has the world’s largest anthology of audio-recorded books.

The organization focuses primarily on K-12 education, but they do provide advanced mobile and desktop software for adults and college students. But perhaps most impressive is the organization’s comprehensive approach to alternative modes of learning. Learning Ally provides not only resources for students, but for teachers and parents as well.

For teachers, Learning Ally provides the tools and information needed to identify and understand specific learning disabilities. Learning Ally also has a weekly blog as well as webinars and even a community chat room for educators.

For parents, Learning Ally provides unlimited access to their digital library of over 80,000 audiobooks. Additionally, the organization hosts tons of webinars and events for parents whose children have learning disabilities. There is also an online community that parents can lean on for emotional support and advice.

Recently, Learning Ally has been in the news for the support its received from New England Patriots wide receiver Malcom Mitchell. Mitchell has his own educational foundation that he established called Read with Malcom. He even wrote his own children’s book called The Magician’s Hat. Mitchell recorded the book in his own voice in support of Learning Ally’s educational initiative.

“For me, to be able to record an audiobook that will hopefully encourage kids to read is something I will forever cherish. Hopefully I can always be part of the Learning Ally family!” Malcom exclaimed.

To learn more about Learning Ally, visit https://www.learningally.org/About-Us

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Organizations

Waging War on Portland’s Sex Trafficking

Most Americans associate sex trafficking with foreign countries. But sex trafficking, worse yet, child sex trafficking, is actually a huge problem within the U.S. In fact, Portland, Oregon has the highest amount of child sex trafficking in the entire country. Part of this is due to the fact that Portland has the highest amount of strip clubs per capita, as Sgt. Charles Lovell of the Portland Police Bureau explains:

“Strip clubs serve as fertile ground for the problem to fester. Generally speaking, you have guys there, with money, already looking for sex. If you are a pimp or a sex trafficker, it’s a good place to peddle your services.”

That’s exactly precisely what happened in August 2014 when a 15-year-old girl was forced to dance at a nude strip club just outside of Portland. The young girl was reported missing for over a month after she fled from a drug rehab center. Her pimp, Anthony Curry, not only forced her to dance at several clubs, but he raped her and advertised her body on multiple escort websites.

Sgt. Mike Geiger, head of Portland’s sexual assault detail, weighed in on the issue:

“I just believe with my whole heart that people across the community would be appalled if they knew what was going on,” Geiger stated.

But people don’t know what’s going on, and part of that is because many Americans don’t want to believe that sex trafficking is happening right here, at home, in the U.S. But for those who are willing to take a proactive role in waging war on Portland’s sex trafficking problem, Youth Ending Slavery (YES) is the organization to support. YES is a student-led nonprofit based in Portland whose mission is to “combat modern-day slavery by raising awareness about its prevalence in our world.” The organization has taken a proactive role in fighting human exploitation.

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Organizations

$20 a Month Funds a Girl’s Education for a Year

On Tuesday, we spotlighted Let Girls Learn—an organization launched by the Obamas to increase access to education for disadvantaged girls. Today, we’re showcasing Camfed, an organization supported by Emma Watson and Gloria Steinem. Camfed also supports marginalized girls in their educational pursuits, but perhaps most impressive is the breakdown of what a single donation can fund.

$15 can provide a girl with essential school supplies
$40 can purchase a girl’s school uniform
$240 ($20 a month) can fund a girl’s education for an entire year

Poverty is the number one barrier that prevents young girls from obtaining an education. With over 90% of every dollar donated going directly towards supporting female education, it’s no wonder that Camfed has received numerous recognitions and awards. Past awards include: the Ahimsa Award (2015), the WISE Prize for Education Award (2014), Goldman Sachs-Fortune Global Women Leaders Award (2009), and the Order of the British Empire Award (2006). Camfed was also named the Cambridge University Charity of the Year in 2009.

219,156. That’s the number of girls that Camfed has supported through scholarships. But the impact of their cause extends far beyond that. For example, Camfed reports that an educated girl is three times less likely to become HIV-positive. Statistically, an educated girl will also marry later in life and have fewer children, resulting in a smaller, healthier family. Additionally, an educated girl on averages earns 25% more per year in secondary school. She’ll also reinvest 90% of her total earnings into her family.

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, an estimated 28 million girls are not in school. This makes up over a quarter of the estimated 62 million girls worldwide who aren’t in school. Camfed is tackling the issue head-on by supporting girls who reside in some of sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest, most rural regions. The organization supports 5,306 government partner schools in Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

To donate to Camfed, click here.

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Organizations

Educating Underprivileged Girls

On March 3, 2015, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let Girls Learn, a global initiative to increase girls’ access to education. Let Girls Learn reports that worldwide, more than 62 million girls are not in school. Meanwhile, millions more are fighting just to stay in school.

“As I’ve traveled the world, I have met so many of these girls, and they are so bright, so determined, and so eager to learn,” Michelle Obama wrote in an email. “I see myself in these girls. I see my daughters in these girls. These girls are our girls, and I simply cannot walk away from them.”

Over two-dozen celebrities have harnessed their support for the organization, including: Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Steep, Denise Richards, Kelly Osbourne, Nick Cannon, DeAndre Jordan, and Rita Wilson. Michelle Obama even launched a song titled “This is for My Girls” written by Diane Warren, featuring Lea Michele, Kelly Clarkson, Missy Elliott, Zendaya, Janelle Monáe, Kelly Rowland, Jadagrace, and Chloe x Halle. All of the songs proceeds were donated towards the Let Girls Learn fund.

Let Girls Learn is partnered with the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Peace Corps, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Just recently, the USAID donated $25 million in support of the teacher apprenticeship program for adolescent girls in Afghanistan. The donation kicked off a new partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) Girls Education Challenge.

Other major financial contributors include CARE, American Airlines, AOL, and World Bank Group.

Let Girls Learn is active in over 35 countries. The organization strives to tackle gender inequality on an individual, community, and global scale. Studies show that empowering women through education decreases poverty as well as maternal mortality rates, child marriages, and AIDS infections.

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News Organizations

Earthquake in Italy: How to Help

On August 24, 2016, Italy was hit with a devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 250 people. In addition to the tragic fatalities, hundreds of civilians have lost their homes, leaving a huge demand for housing, food, water, and clothing. The following organizations are reputable charities that are dedicated to helping the victims of Italy’s recent earthquake.

All Hands Volunteers

Based in the U.S., All Hands Volunteers is one of the world’s largest disaster relief programs. Their vision is to “demonstrate the power and value of volunteer service through the tangible work done, the hope it brings to suffering communities and the transformative experiences it provides for volunteers.” With over 35,000 volunteers, the organization is estimated to have impacted at least 500,000 people from all over the world. NGO Advisor ranked All Hands Volunteers as one of the top NGOs of the year. Just this past May, the Traveler’s Institute awarded All Hands Volunteers with its 2016 Community Resilience Award. To make a donation to All Hands Volunteers, click here.

GlobalGiving

Established in 2002, Global Giving leaves its mark as the world’s first and largest crowd funding organization for nonprofits. Since its inception, GlobalGiving has raised an impressive $229,446,593 from over 500,000 donors. 85% of every donation goes directly towards supporting causes. The remaining 15% is reserved for servicing charges, including administrative costs and credit card transaction fees. To donate to GlobalGiving, click here.

The National Italian American Foundation

With a mission to “serve as a resource for the Italian American community,” the National Italian American Foundation funds scholarships, mentorship programs, and travel grants. Commenced in 1975, the organization is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that seeks to improve relations between America and Italy. Due to Italy’s recent earthquake, the organization is currently accepting donations to help with disaster relief efforts. To donate to the National Italian American Foundation, click here.

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Donation Organizations

For Animal Lovers: A List of Organizations Worth Giving To

There’s an animal lover in all of us. And yet, there are simply too many organizations, too many causes, and too many scams to make a person feel hesitant about giving to one. That’s why we did the research for you. Each charity listed has been given a 4-star rating (the highest rating possible) by industry watchdog Charity Navigator.

WildAid

“When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.” WildAid’s famous conservation slogan has captured the attention of celebrity supporters, including Jackie Chan, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kate Hudson. The organization tops the charts with an unbeatable 99.15 out of 100 score.

Animal Welfare Association

With an overall rating of 96.66 out of 100, the Animal Welfare Association’s (AWA) total revenue for 2015 was $3,073,759. 81% of the total revenue ($2,672,676) was spent on program-related expenses including spay and neuter programs, no-kill housing, and onsite veterinary care.

St. Hubert’s Animal Center

Located in New Jersey, this animal shelter received an overall rating of 96.25 out of 100 for their outstanding accountability and transparency efforts. St. Hubert’s has received national recognition for their 24/7 animal care services that are available 363 days a year.

Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals

With 86.7% of all money going towards program-related expenses, there’s no doubt that this organization is dedicated to the services it provides. The organization’s number one goal is to prevent the euthanasia of animals by providing free spay/neuter services to low and middle-income families.

Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever concentrates their efforts on habitat restoration, wetland preservation, and the protection of prairies. Instead of working against hunters, Pheasants Forever works alongside hunters, farmers, and ranchers to conserve natural habitats.

Detroit Zoological Society

This dedicated team of zookeepers, veterinarians, and ambassadors travel around the world to rescue endangered species. For every dollar donated, 86 cents will go towards animal care. With a total revenue of $44 million, there’s no doubt this organization has, and will continue, to make a huge impact.