Posted by: charityinfo | February 23, 2012

A Phone Call Started It All

You never know what could happen next when a phone rings and you answer it. One charitable organization’s existence came about because of a phone call.

Known as the man who knew “every medical missionary in the world” the late J. Raymond Knighton director of the Christian Medical Society in Chicago answered a phone call in 1954; it came from an executive of a large pharmaceutical company.  This company wanted to donate $25,000 worth of surplus medicine.

It took the next 3 months for Mr. Knighton and his secretary to deliver the 11 tons of medicine to where they were needed most abroad. This was the start of MAP which has grown to the capacity of being able to deliver medicine and other forms of help to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Since its inception MAP has provided around $4 billion in medicine and other needs to various partners and qualified institutions.

Every year it provides over $250 million in much needed medical supplies to over 100 countries, with donations from major drug companies. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, MAP is actively involved in mitigation and prevention of diseases. It is also involved in health promotion and disaster relief. The number of people this organization has helped already runs in the millions.

You never know what may happen the next time you answer the phone.


Posted by: charityinfo | February 20, 2012

Benchmark of Efficiency


This charity organization began as a small operation to help relatives and fellow Eastern Europeans after the Second World War. A wealthy Estonian immigrant by the name of William Zimdin started to send relief goods to relatives, friends, and former employees in Eastern Europe.  In 1948 he established the William Zimdin Foundation as a non-profit corporation in California.

Dezso Karczag took over after Zimdin’s death. The corporation changed its name to Direct Relief Foundation in 1957 and to Direct Relief International in 1982 reflecting its more global operations. Perhaps Zimdin never imagined that his original intent of helping fellow Eastern Europeans would one day lead to the formation of a large charitable organization with a very high reputation for fund efficiency use.

The organization now provides aid to millions of people every day. The need may be because of disaster or other causes.  Its operation is not only in Europe but the rest of the world including the U.S.  It’s involved in a project restoring vision in El Salvador, providing aid in Haiti, wildfires in Arizona, U.S. tornado storms, and earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

It has established a system of being able to provide relief aid at the least cost possible.  This allows it not only to respond for situational emergency relief but also perform sustained support effort. It has been helping Tibetan refugees for over 40 years now.  The organization is involved in charity work in more than 70 countries.

It has a base of strong donors including medical product donors. It bases its costs on wholesale prices that where independently formed instead of relying on donor companies’ high retail prices.  The organization’s known efficiency in using donations has enabled it to get large funding such as from the estate of long time supporter Mr. Guy DiStefano which gave $34 million dollars. With less than 2% going to staff and fund raising expenses and over 98% going to program expenses, Forbes Magazine has rated this organization as 100% efficient in fund raising.

This shows that even in charity there should be some hard-nosed approaches to expenses in order to become an even more effective organization in giving others a better way of life.


Posted by: charityinfo | February 16, 2012

Started By Politicians But Totally Private

We always suspect politicians to be making laws and assessing situations which will eventually lead to government funding of some pet project that will benefit (hopefully) their own constituents. There is an institute that was established by bipartisan U.S. Congressmen which relies entirely on private donations and not collected taxpayer’s money.

This is the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI),founded in 1984 and is a non-profit private institution.  A group of environmentally concerned congressmen put up this institute since having a like organization inside Congress had limitations due to rules and regulations.

It aims is “Educating Congress on energy efficiency and renewable energy; advancing innovative policy solutions”.  As mentioned in their website, the organization wishes to set the country on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path.  While there are many environmental advocacy groups out there, at the end of the day there must recommended policies based on sound empirical studies and not just sketchy proof that can be used to enact the appropriate measures.

The institute is focusing on three programs: Energy and Climate Program; Sustainable Biomass and Energy Program; and Transportation and Communities Program.

With its historical ties to Congress, the institute is in a unique and important position to influence laws that will not only determine the sustainable future of America but the rest of the world.

Posted by: charityinfo | February 13, 2012

Keeping People Warm And Safe

We sometimes take for granted the many amenities we have in our household. For those living in areas that experience cold weather there is one basic necessity that cannot be overlooked. This is the ability to heat one’s home.  For those who can afford to pay, it’s a given in their lives to have heat. For others it could mean a life and death struggle.

Heating one’s home is an expense. Those with meager incomes have to prioritize their expenses in a way that others may find alarming. It could be a choice between putting food on the table or having the money to pay the heating bill. Of course food will have to come first, then one must find a way to get through the cold. The sad fact is cold temperature can kill so it’s an equally pressing issue.

The Federal government has in place the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)  to help the qualified needy and elderly cope with their heating bill. In 1988 the funding was reduced by 33%. This reduction did not mean that the needs would change. There had to be a way to fill this gap. The state leadership under then Gov. Roy Romer setup a commission to come up with a solution to address the funding problem.

Out of this commission came the creation of the Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation- now called Energy Outreach Colorado. Energy providers, corporations, and individuals have been supporting this charity organization. It is non-profit and independent.  Aside from bill payment help, it also has energy efficiency programs and does advocacy work.

Since its inception in 1989 it has provided over $153 million to support energy bill payments and raising energy efficiency for affordable housing in Colorado State. It is one of the largest of its kind in the country and a highly regarded charitable institution.

Its establishment, continued existence and success demonstrate how concerned stakeholders have been able to rally themselves in order to help others.

Posted by: charityinfo | February 9, 2012

Even Warriors Need Help

One of the greatest acts of courage a person can do is to fight for one’s country and be ready to die doing so.  This is the job of the men and women in military service. They are willing to kill or be killed to protect their country and their way of life.

It all sounds so noble and heroic, but in real life there is so much pain that goes on in defending the country.  One can die, one can live. For those who die there is the pain of the loved ones left behind. For those who live, some wind up with disabilities that don’t allow them to live as they used to or even worse, don’t allow them to be able to fend for themselves.

It is the wives of those in military uniform that know all too well the pain and hardship involved. While there is help from the U.S. government more has to be given. To this end these wives formed a charity organization known as Hope For The Warrior.

Their mission is to “enhance the quality of life for U.S. service members and their families nationwide who have been adversely affected by injuries or deaths in the line of duty”. Part of their mission is to make sure that “no sacrifice forgotten, nor need unmet”.

To this end they have various programs that also encourage community participation including A Warrior’s Wish, Family Support, Outdoor Adventures, and Spouses Scholarships.  Warriors need help, too.

Posted by: charityinfo | February 6, 2012

Most Basic Need

The most basic need of man is food. This even comes before shelter and clothing. It’s a bit of an amazement than the most powerful country in the world; the U.S. would have a food problem. The problem exists because while on average America is a rich country, it does not mean the wealth is spread out evenly.  There are those who belong to poor regions in the country where economic activity and prospects are low. Jobs are therefore hard to find and this makes putting food on the table a difficult task.

You can’t put the blame on the region alone; sometimes it could be the individual who has put himself or his family in such a hungry situation. Whatever the case may be, people in one area simply looked at the problem of hunger and decided to act.

A committee of concerned citizens was organized by church leaders and civic leaders in 1982, to tackle the problem of hunger in the Hamilton County area in Tennessee.  This admirable action was the start of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

Like other charitable organizations, it relies heavily on donations.  It has corporate donors like Mckee Foods and General Mills, as well as individuals who make financial, time, or talent contributions to keep the charity going.  One company even had one of its rental forklift be used, free of charge for two weeks to help move and properly store the many food items in one of its warehouse.  Acts like these are of significant help to charity organizations.

This organization also channels its food to qualified churches and charities that have their own feeding programs. On its first year of operation it was able to provide 600,000 pounds of food to hunger families. Its area of coverage now includes 9 counties in northwest Georgia and 11 counties in southeast Tennessee.  In 2010 it gave away 10 million pounds of food. It serves 20,000 people every week in these counties.

Aside from food distribution other activities of the charity include seminars on food growing such as how to plant potatoes and apple tree grafting.  Man does not live by bread alone, but he also needs bread to live.

Posted by: charityinfo | February 2, 2012

Wind Beneath Its Wings

Bette Middler is an internationally acclaimed celebrity best known for her performance of the hit song “Wind Beneath My Wings”.  Not as well known to the rest of the world is her effort in keeping New York City clean and beautiful.  In 1995, finding many of the neighborhoods, parks and streets in neglect and polluted, she set about cleaning, first focusing on Fort Washington Park and Fort Tyron Park. 

This led to the founding of the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit organization. In partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and other concerned entities, the organization has centered most of its environmental and social efforts in under-resourced areas of New York City’s 5 boroughs.

Among the organization’s notable work was the restoration of 114 community gardens that was about to be sold off by the city government in 1999 to help pay the city’s budget gap.  Middler and her foundation and concerned groups were able to raise the money to save the gardens.  Since 2007 it has been actively involved with MillionTreesNYC, a project to plant 1 million trees in New York City by 2017.

From the cleaning and rehabilitation of city parks, gardens and other public spaces, to planting trees, New York City certainly has a wind beneath its wings in NYRP and Bette Middler.

Posted by: charityinfo | January 30, 2012

Worth Saving

Reading an article has different effects on people, while most of us will empathize with a story, that’s just about it. We’re not supermen and we can’t solve all the problems in this world, coupled with the fact that we may also be having our own struggles. One business executive in Chicago did act upon reading a news article.

In 1997, Paula Fasseas read about the pet overpopulation and mercy-killings that went on in local pet shelters.  With other business leaders they toured the local animal shelters and saw the extent of the problem. This led to the foundation of PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) Chicago.

One of their first activities was the Angels with Tails events held in various places in Chicago. These events have helped thousands of dogs and cats find new homes. Just as important is the awareness that people in Chicago now have with regards to homeless pets.

They also established the PAWS Chicago Cat Adoption Center at 2337 North Clark Street in Lincoln Park and opened seven days a week. This center has resulted in around 300 cats being adopted every year. The center started in 1998.

The charity organization knew that a major solution to the overpopulation problem lay in spaying/neutering these animals.  The organization set up the PAW Chicago Lurie Family Spay/Neuter Clinic in 2001. Based in the Little Village neighborhood and targeting underserved communities, this is a high-volume, low-cost clinic and one of only a handful in the whole country.  It performs 10,000 to 12,000 operations per year.

It also opened a state of the art Adoption Center in 2007, also in Lincoln Park that provides a friendly shelter for homeless cats and dogs. In 2011 the GusMobile started operation. This is a mobile clinic which performs spay/neuter surgeries, vaccination and pet education in different communities.

When the charity started in 1997, 42,561 homeless pets were killed in Chicago. Now the number has been reduced to half. A lot of this improvement is attributed to PAWS Chicago.

Volunteers and donors have worked unselfishly to make this all possible and it all began when a business executive read an article in a news paper.

Posted by: charityinfo | January 27, 2012

Over 150 Years Ago….

Over 150 years ago a man saw the rise of homeless children in New York City and took action. In 1853, Charles Loring Brace founded the Orphan Train Movement.  This involved moving children off the city streets of New York to a more family environment in the homes of farming families in the West.

It was the start of the present day Children’s Aid Society. The society’s work is focused in 5 boroughs of New York City and Westchester County. This charitable institution’s mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive.  While this is a short mission statement, it encompasses a broad coverage of a child’s life. Hence the organization serves adolescents, early childhood, and parents. While parents are not exactly children, it is basically through them that a child has a good chance of succeeding in life.

There are various programs in each of the groups served. While the organization is over 150 years old, its programs have kept up with the times and are not based on old practices. In fact many of the organization’s initiatives have been adopted nationally and internationally including, the influence on the present day foster care program, the free lunch program, and day care centers for working mothers.

The society’s activities range from prenatal care to college and job preparatory training programs.  There are many stories of how this institution has helped families. With its stringent financial approach and cutting-edge solutions to child care problems, it won’t be a surprise if this endeavor will be around for another 150 years.

Posted by: charityinfo | January 23, 2012

A Doctor’s Idea

In 1958 Dr. Irving Fradkin had an idea, if every person in his community simply donated a dollar to an education fund, there would be enough money to help almost every student in the community go to college. This was a simple yet insightful idea of this Optometrist from Fall River, Massachusetts.

Through the determined pursuit of his idea, Scholarship America came into being. From the original Dollars for Scholars chapter he founded in his community, now there are about 1,100 chapters involving 3,500 communities across the whole stretch of America.   Dr. Fradkin has continued to work for over 50 years to help send students to college.

Now over 1.7 million students through $2.5 billion of funding have been assisted by this scholarship program. This national organization is presently headed by Lauren A. Segal and has embarked on a mission to have 750,000 students complete post secondary education by 2025.  It is America’s largest non-profit, private scholarship and support organization, is highly regarded and has been bestowed many awards.

Scholarship America is organized around three major programs. The first is Dollars for Scholars. The 1,100 chapters in 3,500 communities across the country help raise funds for college students.  It is also possible to donate online and they welcome volunteer help.  There are also partnerships with participating universities and technical schools to make the most out of the scholarships.

The second program is Dreamkeepers; aptly named to keep the dream alive. One of the reasons why college students drop out of school is due to unexpected short-term financial emergencies. Hence this program provides grants usually averaging $523. This fund was started by Lumina Foundation and run by Scholarship America. Walmart Foundation has also joined this program.

With 50 years of scholarship program experience the third program the organization runs is Scholarship Management Services. Those who have scholarship programs in mind can have Scholarship America run their scholarships for them. They have the expertise to help run an effective scholarship program.

This charity organization works hard following their credo, “because college doesn’t happen by chance”.

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