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Investor David Tepper Donates $3 Million to Feeding America

Over 200 centralized food banks comprise the nationwide network of Feeding America, which supplements food to nearly 50 million people via 60,000 food pantries and meal delivery programs in the U.S. The entire network has been strained to the breaking point this autumn, by the hurricane disasters in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

In a glimpse of what the wealthy should be to America, hedge fund billionaire David Tepper pledged $3 million from his David Tepper Charitable Foundation and Appaloosa LP to support Feeding America’s hurricane relief efforts.

Last week, Tepper told reporters that ensuring food banks have access to food, safe drinking water, and the other resources they need to remain open in times of crisis is “vital to helping these communities recover.”

CEO of Feeding America Diana Aviv said that the Tepper Foundation pledge will reach thousands of those displaced and impacted by the hurricanes. On their website, Feeding America quips that every dollar of donation furnishes 11 meals to the hungry. By that rubric, this pledge could feed more than half of the network’s regular recipients. By comparison, in 2016, they reported taking in a total just under $2.5 million in public support and revenue.

Tepper, son of an accountant and a school teacher, is currently worth nearly $12 billion, putting him among the 200 wealthiest people in the world. He’s known as a “philanthropist with a loose wallet.”

Tepper’s $3 million pledge, while game-changing for Feeding America, is chump change for his foundation. In 2013, he donated a whopping $67 million to his alma mater of Carnegie Mellon University (the university named their school of business after him). As if that’s not cool enough, Tepper also regularly supports charities targeting Jewish communities and education.

Another reason to love the guy? After Hurricane Sandy, he donated $200,000 in gift cards directly to families in affected cities to help them rebuild.

The world needs more David Teppers.

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Donation Organizations

Turn Your Gardening Hobby into a Charity

Image: Shutterstock

For gardeners with a charitable streak, donating part of your harvest to charity can turn your hobby into helping others. According to Plant a Row, a nonprofit dedicated to this exact idea, about 84 million households in the United States have yards or gardens. They maintain that if each of those gardens simply added another row of vegetables or the like and then donated that yield, it could take a pretty big bite out of hunger.

About 50 million people, almost the population of California, suffer from food insecurity, and rely on food banks or other organizations for help, when they can get it. But those organizations don’t always have enough food to go around, and fresh produce can be especially hard to keep on hand. Fresh fruit and vegetables are important to human health, but are all to often neglected or out of people’s price range. Local gardeners can help change that though.

There are a lot of ways that this idea can be put into practice. Home gardens are the obvious choice, but community gardens built with charity in mind are a wonderful idea as well. Not only do such gardens generate food, but they create green spaces and provide exercise and recreation for people in the community. Schools often undertake gardening projects, and those are a perfect opportunity to not only teach kids about biology, but to help instill a charitable tendency as well.

And charitable gardens don’t require much more work than normal gardens either. Crops like leaf lettuce, onions, or carrots are easy to grow, hardy, and should have no problem finding a good home. Get in touch with local food banks, or organizations like Plant a Row or Feeding America to see how you can help out, and if you can’t find a local organization to contribute to, why not start your own?

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News

Philanthropic People: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift Philanthropy
Taylor Swift IMG: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Wholesome musician Taylor Swift might be known for her status as pop music icon and “America’s Sweetheart,” but did you know that she’s also a dedicated philanthropist? At just 24 years old, Swift has contributed greatly to many international charities, and has used her celebrity status to raise awareness about important causes.

The reason Swift is such a model philanthropist is twofold: she is both generous with her money when it comes to donating to charities and relief efforts, and she is genuinely hands on. Swift has donated personal items to charitable auctions such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, UNICEF, Oxfam International, Feeding America, Donate My Dress, and many others. In 2008, when she was only 18 years old, Swift donated $100,000 to the Red Cross in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to help displaced flood victims. From this point forward, Swift has immersed herself in philanthropic efforts; she is loveable as a pop star and philanthropist because of how genuinely she wants to connect to others in both areas.

Swift does far more for charitable initiatives than simply writing a check. She has performed at many benefit concerts including BBC’s Children in Need concert, which generated thousands of dollars in donations. She has lent her voice to various social justice initiatives, such as PSAs that address hate crimes and discrimination. She even takes time out of her busy touring schedule to spend time with children in hospitals, like on her recent visit to Boston where she sang and danced with 6-year-old Jordan Lee Nickerson. These kinds of efforts to improve the quality of life of people around the world are what make Swift such a model philanthropist.

In the world of philanthropy, Swift’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. She has been recognized by the Do Something Awards, The Giving Back Fund, and the Tennessee Disaster Services for her willingness to help others in need. In 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama presented her with the “Big Help Award” for her dedication to helping those and need and her ability to inspire others through action.

With no signs of slowing in her philanthropic efforts, it seems as though Taylor Swift is committed to both making music, and making the world a better place.

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Organizations Profiles Resources

Hunger in America Growing

Feeding America
IMG: via feedingamerica.org

According to Feeding America, the United States has many more hungry citizens than it used to. The nonprofit organization is now feeding about 50% more people than it did in 2006, and though more people have stepped up to help, there are still far too many hungry families in the nation.

Today, about 1 in 6 Americans lives in a food-insecure household. “Food security” is defined as having healthy food available and accessible. Among children, 1 in 5 lives in a food insecure household. Not having access to proper nutrition causes more than just hunger; it can also contribute to chronic diseases, more aggression and anxiety, and inhibited development of social skills.

According to a poll by Gallup, every single county in the U.S. contains food-insecure families. In 2012, about 18.2% of Americans didn’t always have enough money for food. In Mississippi, Alabama, and Delaware that number is greater than 22%. Twelve other states, many in the South, that percentage is between 20% and 22%.

Fifteen percent of Americans live in poverty. That’s nearly 1 in every 6 people. One in 8 Americans is reliant on Feeding America to provide enough food and groceries to survive on. And that number keeps going up. Pantries, kitchens, shelters, and other organizations that work in conjunction with Feeding America have all seen increases in the number of people needing assistance.

Currently, about 60% of food-insecure households participate in federal food assistance programs, and those numbers are up as well. The number of participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is up to 40.3 million from 20 million in 1990; the National School Lunch Program is up to 31.7 million from 24.1 million; and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children is up to 9.2 million from 4.5 million.

Feeding American currently provides food and groceries to some 37 million people every year, but many more still need assistance. It costs about $1 to buy 8 meals for one man, woman, or child. That means that an entire family can be fed for a month from just $45, six months for $270, and one year for $540.

Those interested in helping can also get involved by working at food pantries, transporting food to charitable organizations, participating in virtual or actual food drives, or volunteering for a local Kids Café program.