Categories
Donation News The Power of Giving

Anonymous Edmonton ‘Santa’ Gives Out Poem and $250 Gift Card

It’s become trite and overplayed to point out that 2020 was hard on everyone, but it was. It was catastrophically hard on many, whether they lost lives close to them or the livelihoods that support their families. When Christmas came, many found the holiday more burden than celebration.

Edmonton, Alberta in December was looking at nearly 12 percent unemployment, after losing between 11,000 and 21,000 jobs per month from March onwards, making it one of the hardest-hit cities, economically, in Canada. So many felt very far distanced from the season of giving.

For almost 400 families, though, Santa Claus visited in the night over Christmas. Scores of households woke up to an envelope on their doorsteps. Inside was a poem, and a $250 gift card to Walmart.

“the whole world ain’t as dark as it sometimes seems / there’s light if you look for it, if you know what I mean,” says the poem, and it ends with a message exhorting that the generosity continue. “don’t need this? Please pass the baton / for that is the way, hope carries on.”

The poem were unsigned, though an email address was included. So far, the owner has not reached back to any attempts at contact, except to answer a query about why:

“I decided to do it because I know that lots of people have had a really touch year and I had the means to help out,” “Santa” answered CBC news. “I hope the gifts give people a sense that the world is good and there is a brighter future not far ahead.”

There can’t be many people capable of casually donating $100,000 to their fellow citizens. And fewer who would do so. 

“To have something like this, I mean, that’s a month of groceries for us,” said Elisha Tennant, one recipient of an envelope. Tennant was laid off in 2020 due to the pandemic. “It was just very heartwarming and touching that someone would do that.”

Source: Good News Network

Categories
Donation News The Power of Giving

Man Raises $30,000 from Beer Made in Honor of Wife who Died of Cancer

Darcel Fahy was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2010. She was young, just a few years out of high school. With her diagnosis, her doctor gave her odds just under 40 percent of making it five years. But she chased heroic measures and squeezed 7 and a half years out of that before she passed away at home in 2017.

“I always feel one of the big injustices was that I knew her longer with cancer than without it, you know, and that’s a shame,” said Mike Fahy, Darcel’s husband. They married just two years before her diagnosis.

Mike was at Darcel’s side as she pursued aggressive treatment, including a medical trial of a new chemotherapy protocol at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

“It was pretty tough on her physically, but she always found a will and a way to do it. She never complained, no matter what, no matter what they threw at her, she didn’t complain,” said Mike.

Due to that trial and Darcel, that protocol has become the standard of care for ovarian cancer care at Magee. It has helped other women live past their odds as she did. And Mike chose to honor her by helping those women in another way.

With the help of his former place of work, Whitehouse Brewery, Mike raised $30,000 by selling a signature beer brewed in Darcel’s honor. They donated the proceeds to ovarian cancer research at Magee, the same research that helped her.

“It’s monies like these that allow us to do that initial work that engages the interest of the funder, and without these funds, we wouldn’t have successful grants,” said Dr. Robert Edwards, OB/GYN Chair at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. This way, the money donated in Darcel’s name can generate much more money, extending the reach of her memory to potentially thousands of patients.

Source: CBS Pittsburgh

Categories
Donation News The Power of Giving

Walmart to Give $14.3 Million in Grants to Address Systemic Racism

In June, while the firestorm of protests sparked by the extra-judicial police killing of George Floyd was burning across the United States, Walmart was one of many companies who spoke out against the general weight of racism that still holds this country down. In an interview with CNBC at the time, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company would look for ways they could use their resources to address racial inequality, including a promise that Walmart would invest $100 million in the cause of racial justice.

Walmart is the largest employer in the United States and by a large margin, with an estimated 1.5 million employees in the States (and 700,000 more worldwide). They’re also a major employer of black Americans, who make up more than one-fifth of their workforce. According to their own reporting, however, that percentage decreases significantly in higher positions – about 12 percent of management positions are filled by back employees, and fewer than 7 percent of company officers, the highest tier. According to Kirstie Sims, leader of Walmart’s Center for Racial Equality, the company is making tangible efforts within their own walls to improve those numbers.

McMillon had no details on that $100 million pledge in June, and they’ve been sparse in the months since, but on Monday, February 1, the Walmart Foundation announced that they would be disbursing $14.3 million to 16 nonprofits around the country, in the form of grants. Those grants are being given to groups who are addressing race and class inequality in a variety of ways, including health education for communities of color, debt relief for students at historically black colleges, and improving internet and technology access to children who are still attending school remotely.

“Progress sometimes is slow, but with the work and the power and the commitment behind it, we’re going to make change,” said Sims, who originally went to work herself at Walmart to pay off student debt, over twenty years ago.

Source: CNBC

Editorial credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Categories
Donation News The Power of Giving

Bernie Sanders Turns Viral Moment into $1.5M for Charity

The inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20th was a chilly affair. There weren’t many present, but those in attendance endured a windy 35° Fahrenheit (1.7° Celsius). Senator Bernie Sanders is from Vermont and used to the cold, but he’s also 79 years old. So no one can blame him for bundling up to watch the event in a warm coat, and handmade woolen mittens. He should have had a hat too, honestly. 

Brendan Smialowski, a freelance photojournalist, captured the image of Sanders sitting in a folding chair waiting for the inauguration to start, arms and legs crossed and a gritty expression in his eyes above his properly-worn mask. He posted it immediately to his photo feed and before the inauguration was even over, the image went viral. Something about the combination of expression, the oversized and very cozy-looking gloves, and Sander’s isolation at the center of the shot caught the collective imagination of the internet. Everyone and their brother immediately began cropping Sanders into every imaginable context – film scenes, classic paintings, sports events, you name it.

Bernie Sanders, who knows full well how the internet works, didn’t sleep on his fifteen minutes of spare fame. Immediately, he acquired the rights to the photograph and had his image put on a black, USA-made sweatshirt, and sold them for $45. All proceeds, every cent, went to Vermont’s Meals on Wheels programs, a collection of programs which support nutrition and outreach to low-income senior citizens. T-shirts were $27. Both sold out in a just five days, and his quick thinking raised $1.8 million.

“Jane (Sander’s wife) and I were amazed by all the creativity shown by so many people over the last week, and we’re glad we can use my internet fame to help Vermonters in need,” said Sanders, who finds the popularity of the frankly grumpy image hilarious. He says he was just trying to keep warm.

“But even this amount of money is no substitute for action by Congress,” Sanders pointedly added. He is a staunch advocate for government safety nets over personal charity.

The famous mittens, it should be noted, were made specifically for Sanders by Vermont school teacher Jen Ellis from repurposed wool and fleece.

Source: CNBC

Editorial credit: Kari Bjorn / Shutterstock.com

Categories
News The Power of Giving

Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical Raises Funds With Disney’s Blessing

With very little advertising, a new live musical was staged on Friday, January 1. Yes, right in the middle of the latest pandemic spike. But don’t worry, it didn’t pack any theatre halls. No, Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical was performed entirely on TikTok’s TodayTix live platform. Approximately 350,000 people bought tickets to the digital event, and all proceeds went to benefit the Actors Fund.

The Actors Fund, founded in 1882, is a human services organization targeted to support entertainers, providing emergency financial and housing assistance, health care, and career development. Never has it been more needed than now, with the entire entertainment industry derailed by rolling bans on in-person gathering.

Performed by actors, singers, musicians and TikTokers under the unusually permissive blessing of Disney Theatrics, the musical is an assemblage of dozens of short video clips based on the 2007 animated film under a fan-sung score and the performances of the Broadway Sinfonietta orchestra.

“When Greg Nobile first approached us with the idea to produce a benefit event surrounding Ratatouille, never did we imagine that it would blossom into such an amazing outpouring of love and support for The Actors Fund,” said Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions. “What we all saw New Year’s day was a celebration of art and craft that was as charming as it was moving. It’s thrilling to see how the theatre-makers on TikTok and the Broadway community came together to provide aid to so many in need during this unprecedented time.”

The Disney Corporation is not known for giving their permission to fan-run projects involving their intellectual property like this, even for fundraising purposes, so perhaps this is a new leaf for them. It’s certainly a good look. The Ratatouille: TikTok Musical took less than a month to put together, starred Tituss Burgess as Remy and André De Shields as Ego, and raised just over $2 million for the Actors Fund.

Source: Digital Music News

Editorial credit: XanderSt / Shutterstock.com

Categories
Donation News Organizations The Power of Giving Uncategorized

Jack Dorsey Donates Another $15M to Mayors for a Guaranteed Income

“I’m now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” – Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Inspired directly by the words of MLK, and by the struggles of his own youth and community, Mayor Michael D Tubbs of Stockton, California worked with the Economic Security Project to found Mayors for a Guaranteed Income in June, 2020. During the first crush of the pandemic, while 10 million Americans were suddenly without income or safety net, 30 mayors from all over the country began working together to establish guaranteed income programs in their cities.

“So many of our constituents were in food lines for Thanksgiving,” said Tubbs.

“Covid-19 has made it very, very clear to build back better we have to make sure everyone has an income floor,” he said. “We’re all taking considerable political risk in doing this, but we understand that the biggest risk is nothing changes.”

For Tubbs, the risk was almost certainly a factor in his defeat this November by Republican opponent Kevin Lincoln. However, leaving the mayoral office in January will not stop his participation in this program or his platform of guaranteed income.

At the debut of the program, Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and Square, donated $3 million to help launch its efforts. Now as the program gains structure and momentum, he has donated another $15 million, to be divided evenly among the 30 pilot cities ($500,000 each.) Each city will then decide how to allocate those funds. For instance, Stockton will be providing $500 per month to participants. Dorsey’s donation will cover a thousand of those payments.

“Thank you Mayor [Tubbs] and to all the Mayors of @mayorsforagi for these universal basic income pilots! I hope they inform federal policy in the future,” tweeted Dorsey on Tuesday.

Source: CNBC

Categories
Donation News The Power of Giving

NFL Rookie’s Fans Donate to Hunger Relief After Torn ACL in First Game

Perhaps this year more than most, the NFL means something personal to a great many of its fans. They all have their own team that feels like a part of their community, maybe even a particular player who may as well be family. 

Joe Burrow, a rookie quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals became that player for a lot of people on Sunday November 22, when he went down on the field with a torn ACL. It’s his first pro season, and for him, it’s already over. You can’t help but have empathy for the young player.

In that spirit, Bengals fans started to show their solidarity almost instantly by donating $9 each (9, for his jersey number) to the Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund, a fundraising effort he began last year to support the Athens County Pantry. The pantry, which is 40 years old this year, provides supplemental and emergency food provisions to people in need in Athens County, where Burrow is from. He began the fund with a $350,000 donation after putting out a call for generosity to his fans during his acceptance of the 2019 Heisman Trophy, and it was matched with another $350,000 from the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, a philanthropic group.

Burrow, who grew up in a food-insecure household, has made it a personal focus of his career in football to bring the true scale of American poverty to light and to help feed those growing up as he did. The support shown for his injury on Sunday raised nearly $30,000 more for the pantry in just a few hours. His Bengals teammates were outspoken on Twitter with gratitude for the donations on his behalf.

“Thanks for all the love,” Burrows tweeted himself, following his injury. “Can’t get rid of me that easy. See ya next year.”

Source: CBS Sports

Categories
The Power of Giving

Man Turns Vans into Living Spaces for Homeless

Jason Thorwegen was homeless for most of his life, since he was eight years old. 

“Having been homeless for so long,” he said in an interview with ABC News, “I know what people need, and I know how to provide that. It’s simple, you put a roof over a man’s head.”

His story isn’t one of classically inspiring success. He lives in a van himself in Bakersfield, California, and thinks his savings account once got as high as $8,000, but he put that the same place he puts all of his energy – into building vans into living spaces for homeless veterans and the disabled homeless.

Over the past three years, since before he was secure in somewhere to live, he has converted three vans with beds and storage so that people can have comfortable, safe places to live, where they can feel free and secure.

 Thorwegen heard a news story about a veteran who had his van stolen while his wife was in hospital, along with his dog and everything the couple owned. He contacted the news studio, and donated the van he himself was living in at the time. When the stolen van (and the dog!) was recovered, Thorwegen got his own back, but he realized he had something he could give his fellow man after all.

“One person can take care of every single need that one other individual has,” he said. “They just have to put in the time, and allow that person to grow.”

Some few people have donated to help Thorwegen in his cause, but only to the tune of about $400. If you wish to donate, a page has been set up for him on GoFundMe. More importantly, please vote against measures to criminalize homelessness, such as the 2019 law which passed in San Diego and made it illegal for people like Mister Thorwegen to live in their vans inside the city.

Source: ABC 23 Bakersfield

Categories
Donation The Power of Giving

Charles Barkley Donates $1 Million to Tuskegee University

Charles Barkley was wildly successful as a basketball superstar through the eighties and nineties, setting records, winning the NBA All-Star award 11 times and MVP in every way one could be. He has arguably been more successful since his retirement, with a career as an Emmy-winning sports analyst and broadcaster, several books, and the occasional dipping of a toe into politics. Today, he’s worth an estimated $40 million.

And he’s looking to give back.

On Tuesday, November 3rd, Barkley told AL.com, an Alabama-based news-site, that he was pledging to donate $1 million to Tuskegee University, without any conditions. This is the fifth million-dollar-pledge he’s made in the past 5 years. The others have been to Alabama A&M, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College in Georgia, and Miles College, also in Alabama. All schools officially designated HBCU, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Tuskegee University, founded in 1881 as the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers was founded due to a wager between a former Confederate general (W.F. Foster) and a black leader and former slave (Lewis Adams). It is steeped literally to the bricks in the history of people of color in America. Booker T. Washington was among the first teachers there, and owned some of the original campus.

“I’ve been there a million times,” said Barkley of the college – he played college basketball nearby, in Leeds Alabama. 

Without stipulations set by Barkley, the university is free to do what they will with the donation, but the athlete hopes that they will use it for academic scholarships, to help underserved kids get a better foothold in the world. That is the driving force behind his philanthropy, as he made clear in October, when he donated 200 computers to nearby Leeds High School and free wireless internet access for a year to students in need.

“We’ve got to find a way to help these kids compete,” Barkley said “I don’t want them to be left behind.”

Source: Henry Herald

Editorial credit: Bruce Yeung / Shutterstock.com

Categories
Donation News The Power of Giving

Zuckerberg and Chan Offer $100 Million to Help Local Election Offices

So far two people have dedicated as much money as Congress has to help fund election offices as November 3rd races towards us. Mind you, those two people are Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. But still, it sends a clear message that Congress should be doing better.

On Monday, October 26, Zuckerberg and Chan announced a $100 million donation to help local election offices around the country. Along with money they have previously donated in September for the same purpose, that brings their contribution up to $400 million, which actually is just as much as Congress has allocated for the purpose.

Election experts have estimated that ensuring everyone has a right to safely vote this year should have cost on the order of $4 billion, but they’ll have to make do with less than a quarter of that, all the same.

The money will help pay for protective equipment at polling sites, equipment to process mail ballots, last-minute drive-through voting stations, and more. All indications show that, COVID-19 aside, this year will see a voter turnout unequaled in U.S. history.

“We’ve seen massive interest in the COVID-19 Response Grant program over the last month from over 2,100 election officials who are seeking funding to ensure safe, health election options for voters in every corner of the country,” said Tiana Epps-Johnson, executive director of the Center for Technology and Civic Life, which is the nonprofit directing most of the donations.

Because the nonprofit, which acts in a nonpartisan manner and is respected by election administrators on both sides of the aisle, was founded by Democrats, legal groups in 10 Republican and swing states have made legal obstacles against voting centers taking funds from these donations. 

Most election offices which have applied for grants are in rural districts with fewer than 25,000 registered voters, voters who may have to travel hours or even overnight to reach a polling station.

Source: ArkLaTex

Editorial credit: Frederic Legrand – COMEO / Shutterstock.com