Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ring My Bell

OK, I'll admit it. I find those Salvation Army bells outside of grocery and other stores mildly annoying. (Not nearly as annoying as constant Christmas music, boring into my brain like a worm with an insatiable appetite, but that's a post for another day...)

But limiting their time from 10 hours per day over 32 days, to 4 hours per day over 12 days? Seems kinda Scroogey, Giant Foods...

Of course, for those of us who are gay rights activists, to give or not to give to Salvation Army comes with its own moral dilemmas.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Entrepreneurs are Givers!

As an entrepreneur, I was thrilled to read about this study in the Chronicle of Philanthropy (released by Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund and Ernst & Young).

According to the study, entrepreneurs give twice as much of their profits to charity as do more-established companies. 70% of survey respondents said they donate their time as well, with more than 50% sitting on nonprofit boards.

Nearly 70% said they started their charitable habits while they were still building their businesses - they didn't wait until their businesses were successful, but rather made giving a habit along the way.

Did you know that this is National Entrepreneurship Week, complete with a Presidential Proclamation? Mere coincidence that this week also includes National Philanthropy Day? I think not!

Looks like there's something about the entrepreneurial spirit and the giving spirit that just goes together!

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's National Philanthropy Day!

November 15 is National Philanthropy Day!

I'll be "officially" celebrating on Thursday at the Association of Fundraising Professionals' DC Chapter's National Capital Philanthropy Day. But I'm happy to celebrate today, as well, by encouraging you to make a gift to charity today.

You are a philanthropist. Yes, you! Whether you are giving $5 or $50,000. So make a gift today and honor the tradition of giving back.

Here's some charities that have been on my mind over the last couple of days, in case you are looking for places to give:

My friend Sharon is participating in Walk For the Homeless this weekend, which supports DC area organizations that help the homeless.

I've definitely thinking about the crisis in Haiti and the tragic cholera epidemic that is sweeping through the country. Doctors Without Borders is doing lifesaving work there.

I'm proud to be on the Steering Committee for the Tranquil Space Foundation, which supports programs that help women and girls find their voice through yoga, creativity, and leadership.

I'm also proud to be on the board of DC Council BBYO, a GREAT organization for Jewish teens. I was an active member of BBYO as a teenager and am thrilled to see BBYO continue to do such great work with teens on leadership, service, and Jewish identity formation. DC Council BBYO is having its annual gala on December 9.

I went to the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery a couple of weekends ago and LOOOOVED the Elvis portrait exhibition! Seriously, even if you are not an Elvis fan, you should check out this photography exhibition. It's a real slice of American life. And seriously... the Smithsonian... what could be better!?

Feel free to add any charities you like by commenting, below. Happy National Philanthropy Day!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Americans retain their post as not-quite-nicest people on the planet

Such an inspiring blog post about Canadians the other day... and, unfortunately, a less inspiring post about Americans today.

According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, the number of people who plan to give nothing, zip, zilch to charity doubled this year (12% in 2010; 6% in 2009). The good news is, numbers on volunteering are slightly up - 11% in 2010, 9% in 2009. 13% of those surveyed report that they give neither time nor money.

24% of those surveyed said that they feel a responsibility to "make the world a better place by being actively involved in various issues." This number is down from 31% in 2007. In addition, the survey found that "just under half (46%) feel that people can get involved in different causes but shouldn't necessarily feel obligated to do so, which is up from the 40% who said this three years ago."

The sample size of 2,620 seems a bit small to me, but the results are still interesting. Now that times are tough, we are giving less, volunteering slightly more, and feel less of an obligation to make the world a better place.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Canadians retain their post as nicest people on the planet

A retired Canadian couple won $11.3 million in the lottery... and they are giving almost all of it away. Mr. Large is a retired welder, and Mrs. Large is retired from retail and currently undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.