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Adam Lambert Donates “Birthday”

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This year, Adam Lambert decided he didn’t need any gifts for his birthday. Instead of making his 31st a traditional celebration where people fawn and bestow unnecessary gifts, the birthday boy is asking that anyone wanting to wish him a happy birthday instead donate to the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF).

Lambert is exercising his philanthropy bone by encouraging his fans to donate $31 to WAFF in exchange for which they will be able to record a short birthday greeting to send to him. Those donating less than $31 will be included as well, and will get to sign the “world’s biggest” birthday card.

It would seem that so far, Lambert’s proposal has paid off—the foundation has already received over $16,000 in donations for his birthday. Apparently fans just need to be encouraged a little bit to be more charitable. It also helps that WAFF is a heartwarming organization on a powerful mission.

WAFF is a nonprofit “dedicated to the vision of a global family by creating and supporting programs that inspire and educate the next generation about respect, understanding and cultural diversity—while striving to solve some of our biggest global problems at the same time.”

The foundation strives to bring peace to people of all cultures, and to connect us together by reminding us of our common bond of humanity. Lambert will be honored at the WAFF 2012 Celebration Gala with the Unity Award. The Gala will be hosted by Rosie Perez and Toure and will take place at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on Thursday, January 31st. He is also set to perform with Nile Rodgers at the gala.


Auto Show Raises Nearly $4M for Children

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Preparations are made for the 2013 Charity Preview. IMG: WWJ / Beth Fisher

The Auto Show’s Charity Preview, which took place last Friday, has earned serious commendations after it raised millions of dollars for Metro Detroit children’s charities. A stunning $3,920,700 was raised at the event, which is known worldwide for being the single largest single-night fundraising event.

The money raised by the event will go to nine different children’s charities. A total of 13,069 people attended the event, the “2013 North American International Auto Show Charity Preview.” The black tie event was, of course, also full of stunning cars for guests to “ooh” and “aah” over.

Jim Seavitt, who is chairman of the NAIAS 2013 was quite pleased with the turnout. “I’m tired and my feet are sore, but I am thrilled that the people of Detrout and Southeast Michigan have once again opened their hearts for our kids,” he said. “I have seen, from personal experience, the benefits that these funds provide, and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of one of the greatest events which provides the us the opportunity to do so much for so many.”

The event hasn’t raised this much money since 2008. Last year’s event had about 12,000 guests and raised $3 million, which means this year showed a more than thirty percent increase in funds raised.

The charities that will benefit include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Boys and Girls Hope Detroit, Children’s Center, The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) Charitable Foundation Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, The Detroit Institute of Children, Judson Center, March of Dimes Metro Detroit, and Think Detroit PAL.

The event has raised over $90 million since 1976. Tickets to the event this year cost $300, with $290 being tax deductible. The public can see the show through January 27th. It features a total of around 60 vehicles that debuted from the world’s finest automakers.


Giving Growing Despite Economy

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One might expect charitable giving to decline in a time of economic hardship, but according to the 2012 Giving USA Study of charitable giving, that’s not the case. Over the past few years, global charitable giving has been steadily increasing despite the fact that economies all over the world are struggling. In the past two years, the study says that charitable giving has increased by a whopping 15.2%.

Part of this is due to the fact that people can access charities much easier these days—we have the Internet to keep us up to date, aware, and constantly prompted to give back. Giving has also become a matter of pride to many, who have formed giving networks and made it their mission to communicate needs of communities all over the world.

Giving has increased not only in developed nations like the United States and the United Kingdom, but also in developing countries with fast-growing emerging economies like India, Brazil, Latin America, and China. For example, according to Bain & Co’s India Philanthropy Report 2012, India’s contribution rate among its wealthiest amounted to about 3 percent of their total income (from 2.3 percent the previous year)—and many expect they will continue to increase their giving in coming years. India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Perhaps part of the reason giving has increased globally is the fact that the youngest generations (millenials) were “born into an era of globalization and the distinction between local and global has increasingly blurred.” These youth don’t necessarily feel obligated to keep their investments and donation limited to causes in the United States or their home countries. Global awareness has skyrocketed in the past few years, and now we find ourselves painfully aware of the lack of basic necessities and the scale of poverty in developing nations. Now we can implement change on a global, rather than local, scale.

The rise of technology has effectively caused a rise in awareness and therefore humanitarianism. Although country lines, oceans, and political ideals may separate us, we all retain one identity that is the same: global citizen. As long as we stay connected and aware of the world, it’s likely that goodwill will continue to spread and grow.


Earle I. Mack

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If there was  ever someone who believed in charitable giving just for the sake of giving, it would be Earle I. Mack.  A former ambassador to Finland, Earle I. Mack has spent his life as a philanthropist, a supporter of the arts, and an advocate for Thoroughbred horses.

His philanthropic drive was perhaps clearest when an earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, and Earle I Mack found himself struck by how little there was to be done for the people there without proper medical help.  But there wasn’t any medical help to be had.  So Mack personally arranged for two plane-fulls of medical personnel and supplies to be sent to the island to help the survivors.

Earle I. Mack is an avid supporter of the humane and safe treatment of Thoroughbred horses, especially after their racing careers have ended.  To read more about all that Earle I. Mack does for these horses, and the work that he has done throughout the world, read our full profile on him here.



Lady Elisabeth Murdoch Remembered

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Born in 1909 in Melbourne, Australia, Elisabeth Murdoch (nee Greene) was 103 when she passed away. Even as a young woman, she volunteered to knit clothes for babies in a nearby hospital, helping those who couldn’t help themselves. When she was 18, she met and later married 42-year-old Keith Murdoch, with whom she had four children.  She would go on to become Lady Murdoch, and would eventually be involved in her community as a philanthropist for over fifty years.

On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, she passed away.  Read more about Lady Elisabeth Murdoch and what she did for philanthropy throughout her life on her Philanthropic People profile.


The Milken Institute – Bringing leaders throughout the world together

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IMG: via The Milken Institute

If ever there was a group that was determined to make the world a better  place, the Milken Institute would be one.  Actively determined to improving lives around the world, they partner with leaders in every possible field and enterprise to advance innovate economic and policy solutions that create jobs and enhance health.  Many of these leaders also speak at events like their Global Conference.  Previous speakers have included President Bill Clinton, George Lucas, Ray McDaniel Moody’s CEO, David Crane (Special Advisor for Jobs and Economic Growth to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger), and Steve Forbes.

The Milken Institute believes that “societies prosper if they have an educated, healthy workforce; open and efficient capital markets’ and effective social institutions.” To read more about them check out our philanthropic profile on the Milken Institute. 

Organizations Resources

Giving on the Rise in UK

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Things are looking up for philanthropy—at least in the UK they are. A recent study by Coutts Institute, “The Million Pound Donors Report 2012,” found that the number of donations of over £1 million is at the highest level in five years. Over 232 donations for more than £1 million were made to philanthropic organizations in the UK during 2010-2011.

The philanthropies that are really benefiting from this rise are operational charities rather than charitable trusts, and the most popular causes are higher education, arts and culture, and international development. The total donation amount was £1.241 billion.

“It’s extremely encouraging for the development of UK philanthropy to note that this is the highest number of donors and donations since we began compiling this report in 2008,” said Maya Prabhu, the Executive Director of Philanthropy Services at Coutts. “Large scale philanthropy is on the increase and the more donors there are the more they communicate about the benefits their philanthropy brings to society and what it means to them personally, the more it will grow and strengthen a new generation of philanthropists.”

We sure hope so. We can accomplish much more in the world by working together rather than alone. Prabhu believes most of the donors to be genuine in their support for the causes they donate to, and dismisses the notion that they’re only donating for tax breaks.

“Today, the majority of the philanthropists we meet are self-made individuals, many of whom witnessed firsthand the highs and lows of building a business, and on occasion, the possibility of losing everything,” she says. “It’s a strong desire to make a contribution to the world that has afforded them so many opportunities, whilst also enriching their own lives, their families and the lives of others that we see as the main driver for their philanthropy.”

News Resources

$5 Million Grant Studies Philanthropy

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IMG: via the John Tempelton Foundation

A grant of $5 million has been awarded to the Science of Philanthropy Initiative (SPI) by the John Templeton Foundation to study and explore the motives behind philanthropy. SPI is a collaborative effort of three colleges: the University of Wisconsin—Madison, the University of Chicago, and Georgia State.

SPI is a “research and outreach project that utilizes rigorous quantitative methods and partnerships with the philanthropic community to explore the motivations behind charitable giving.” SPI has three “Big Questions” it is currently exploring:

1) Why do people give?

2) How do people give across the lifecycle and across cultures?

3) How to increase philanthropy?

By exploring what makes people give to philanthropy, SPI hopes to discover which strategies work best or can be developed to encourage more giving. SPI has already been working on developing theories and experimenting with methodologies, and the $5 million grant from John Templeton will help them continue to delve into what social preferences makes people give. They then hope to apply this knowledge and share it with practitioners and policymakers interested in philanthropy.

“In this era of tight federal and state resources, philanthropy is more important than ever in meeting societal needs, preserving community services and expanding public outreach and engagement,” said Anya Samak of UW-Madison and SPI.

“Even in the recent recession, donors gave over $300 billion to U.S. philanthropic organizations in 2009,” she added. “These organizations often lack hard data on giving and rely on rules of thumb when spending $2 billion on development activities annually.”

Organizations Resources

Philanthropy and Small Business

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Just as small businesses can greatly strengthen the local economy, so too can they have a huge impact on philanthropy in the community. Size isn’t all that matters when it comes to philanthropy, and small businesses are often passed up as potential investors because they’re perceived as too small to make a difference. But when it comes down to it, small businesses can, and should, play a vital role in community service and philanthropy.

Small businesses might not be able to donate a million dollars to a cause like a larger corporation might, but philanthropy is about more than just monetary donations. Local nonprofit organizations also need volunteers, advisors, and board members. They need people to help carry out fundraisers, find other investors, and educate the public about their cause.

One small business alone may not be able to donate much, but every community has multiple small businesses, and together they can add up to quite the contribution. Businesses also have far-reaching connections and the means to get word out, and possibly products that they can donate to events and fundraisers.

And, the more small businesses get involved, the more people will start to recognize that company as one that has the community’s best interests at heart. Studies have shown that some of the most inspiring companies today are those that care about the community, are authentic, give back, and have good values—and those companies also have more loyal, enthusiastic customers that spread the good word around.


Andres Santo Domingo: a New York Philanthropist

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IMG: via Forbes Credit: Billy Farrell/Sipa/Newscom

Andres Santo Domingo is one of those people who is a true philanthropist.  A record label owner and New York socialite, both he and his wife Lauren Santo Domingo are heavily involved in the community in the city.  The son of Colombian businessman Julio Mario Santo Domingo Pumarejo, Andres grew up in New York City, attending St. Bernard’s School, and it makes sense that he would continue to give back to the community he lives in and loves.

Both Lauren and Andres Santo Domingo have been heavily involved in the arts in the city, as well as various environmental initiatives.  For more information about Andres Santo Domingo and his involvement in the community check out our profile on him.