Apple to Give $1 Million in Aid to Sulawesi

Apple to Give $1 Million in Aid to Sulawesi

Oct 04

On Friday, September 28, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The quake triggered a tsunami that leveled multiple cities. Together, the two natural disasters caused a death toll currently known to exceed 1,400. It also destroyed thousands of homes. Humanitarian aid has been slow to reach the hardest hit areas, due to damaged infrastructure and a lack of heavy machinery. The United Nations currently estimates that 200,000 people are stranded in the worst zones and need urgent help, with about 66,000 destroyed homes. Adding to the nightmare, the volcano Mount Soputan—which stands on the northeastern-most end of the island—began to erupt early in the morning on Wednesday, October 3. It sent a three-mile tower of ash into the sky, making it very difficult to fly into Sulawesi’s airfield. On Tuesday, October 2, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the tech giant would be donating $1 million to help the stricken island. “Our hearts go out to the people of Sulawesi and all of Indonesia after this weekend’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. Apple is donating $1 million to aid relief efforts as this beautiful country starts to rebuild,” he tweeted. While $1 million is approximately what Apple makes every 20 minutes, the company does have a solid track record of donating to emergency relief efforts around the world. Just a few days before this announcement, they pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Florence. A month ago, they donated nearly the same amount to help those caught in the Kerala floods in India. Sometime last year, they donated $5 million after Hurricane Harvey. The company has also put millions towards helping those affected by California’s wild fires. There is no law requiring that companies donate any money at all, so the fact that Apple chose to do so on its own accord shows that they truly...

Salesforce Pumps Millions into Underserved Schools

Salesforce Pumps Millions into Underserved Schools

Sep 28

Salesforce.org, the charitable arm of a cloud-computing company based in San Francisco, has been in a philanthropic relationship with two Bay Area school districts for five years now. This year, the combined $15.5 million donations put their contributions over $50 million. San Francisco Unified School District will be receiving $8 million, and the slightly smaller Oakland Unified School District will get $7.5 million. The money is earmarked for STEM support, teacher training, and mindfulness projects. Mindfulness, while something of a workplace buzzword, is a big focus for Salesforce’s charity organization. They want to promote education that takes into account a student’s whole life, a “whole child,” approach. “Because we know that what happens outside of the classroom impacts what happens inside the classroom,” explained Ebony Frelix, the executive vice president and chief philanthropy officer of Salesforce.org. Putting their money where their mouth is, the organization also donated $2 million towards fighting youth homelessness, announced in the same breath on September 25, by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. London Breed, current Mayor of San Francisco, lauded the philanthropic organization. “We are going to change what is normal in San Francisco because we are going to invest in our kids on the front end,” he said. “We are going to make sure that the doors of opportunity in the technology field are open to them.” Oakland Unified School District, which will receive $7.5 million, has formed a “Principal’s Innovation Fund,” where the money can be used at the individual school level. So far, they have used past donations to create a makerspace, support students who are refugees, and incorporate mental health services, all of which increase the ways in which students can access their education. More of the funds have also gone into training teachers to more effectively teach and use technology, and to make computer science education more...

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Unveils $2B Philanthropic Fund

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Unveils $2B Philanthropic Fund

Sep 23

Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, with a net worth in the realm of $160 billion. Money like that, wielded philanthropically, can alter the shape of the world. Bill Gates is already doing that, with his anti-disease efforts worldwide. Andrew Carnegie did it by donating nearly 3,000 libraries to towns and cities around the world. Now, Bezos is making a run at it, with a $2 billion donation to his new “Day 1 Fund”—a two-target foundation to aid low-income communities. One branch is earmarked for homeless families, the other for preschool education. The first half, called the Day 1 Families Fund, is inspired by a nonprofit in Seattle. Mary’s Place, a family-oriented homeless shelter, has the vision statement of, “No child sleeps outside.” The Fund will issue grants and awards to organizations providing shelter and food to young, impoverished families. The second half, the Day 1 Academies Fund, is more hands-on. It will operate a network of “tier 1” full-scholarship preschools in low-income areas. Bezos has been open about his desire to operate both branches like a business as opposed to a nonprofit. This decision has drawn a reasonable amount of criticism from the public. In a tweet posted on September 13, Bezos explicitly called his potential students “the customer,” which many say shows that he inherently misunderstands education and the way that schools work. Nevertheless, this type of donation can still do a tremendous amount of good. Thus, the public has begrudgingly tolerated his faux pax. On the same token, it’s also worth noting that $2 billion is a drop in the bucket for Bezos, as it equals a mere one percent of his assets. But it does mark a large upswing in his charitable giving; previous known donations from himself, his wife, and family only amounted to $135 million, a paltry 0.0008 percent. Hopefully, his latest donation marks the beginning of a new...

81-Year-Old Man Who Cuddles NICU Babies Donates $1M to Hospital

81-Year-Old Man Who Cuddles NICU Babies Donates $1M to Hospital

Sep 13

Sometime last year, Louis Mapp saw a special on local TV about the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital. Eighty years old at the time, he was inspired to become a volunteer. He followed through on that inspiration, and has spent the last year holding and rocking at-risk newborns. It’s the kind of care that increases their chances of survival, but is too time-consuming to occupy busy nurses. “Every day,” Mapp says, “I ask the Lord, ‘Show me, somebody, where I can help them.’ It may not be financially, it may be giving them a ride, or making a phone call, but I figure, while I’m here on earth, I need to do everything I can to help others.” Mapp, who is a father of three, grandfather of eight, and great-grandfather of two, is a very giving man. He is the custodian of the Mapp Family Foundation, a charitable body that has given out approximately 600 grants to aid the underserved. Mapp money has supported drug rehabilitation programs, food banks, and free clinics. Now, through Mapp, the Foundation has made its largest donation yet. Mapp and his wife of nearly 60 years, Melinda, have donated just over $1 million in an endowment to the hospital, to be used as a supplement to their regular budget under the staff’s discretion. “I’m 81 years old, and one of the neatest things I’ve ever done is being around those precious babies, and the nurses that take care of them,” Mapp told People magazine. He wants those nurses, and the other staff who work one-on-one with the patients, to have the freedom to decide what they need. In that light, one of the first things his money will be spent on is special beds for the extremely premature—infants who weigh less than one...

$150k Grant Will Provide Tesla Powerwalls to At-Risk Populations

$150k Grant Will Provide Tesla Powerwalls to At-Risk Populations

Aug 24

In 2017, 14 people in a Florida nursing home died when Hurricane Irma knocked out their power. Without air conditioning, they died of overheating. Twelve of those 14 deaths were ruled to be homicide, as they could have been prevented if anyone had taken action on their behalf. Hurricanes and high heat are a growing fact of life on the east coast of the U.S., and odds are good that this exact scenario will happen again. It is with this in mind that the Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity (VLITE) has backed a grant to help. They have offered $150,000 to install 100 massive battery backups in the walls of low-income, high-risk customers. The batteries, Tesla Powerwall 2.0 batteries, are meant for exactly this: to power a home for a short period of time (8-12 hours for a whole house, longer if used selectively) in case of a blackout. Ordinarily, through the provider (Green Mountain Power, in this case) they cost $1,500 upfront or an ongoing $15/month fee. To buy one outright and have it installed can cost over $10,000. Green Mountain reports that the 2000 Powerwalls they’ve already distributed to paying customers can be expected to save them an accumulated $2-3 million over the batteries’ lifespan, and much more for customers who supplement with solar. The customers chosen to receive free batteries and installation with the grant will be mostly senior citizens and the disabled, along with people who have medical needs for uninterrupted power or those who would be endangered by the loss of their air conditioning. VLITE is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation with a mission to represent “the best interests of the public” in building an energy-secure State of Vermont. They are currently overseeing 21 different energy-related grants to a total of nearly $2 million. They are funded by dividends from Vermont Electric Power Company. Photo courtesy of Kenneth Lund via Flickr Creative...

Frequent Flyers Donate Their Miles to Migrant Families in Need

Frequent Flyers Donate Their Miles to Migrant Families in Need

Aug 15

Most Americans collect some kind of travel rewards with their credit cards. As many as two-thirds, actually. And more than a quarter of those just let the miles expire, essentially leaving money owed to them to revert back to the airlines. Most, for instance, don’t actually spend or fly enough in any given year to earn a free flight. So the reward miles add up, then drain away without ever being spent. Beth Wilensky is a law professor at the University of Michigan. Her husband travels often for business, building up a lot of reward miles they never have time to use. This year, instead of letting them expire, her family redeemed miles to put a family back together. Her miles let a father pick up his three-year-old son from Michigan and take him to stay with their extended family. The father and son had been separated by immigration officials at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the little boy sent over 2,000 miles away to a holding center. When they were allowed to reunite, there was no assistance offered for travel. Last-minute tickets sell at a premium; without this help, that father or his family could have spent thousands to get their child back. Wilensky tweeted about her experience, offering to coordinate other potential donors, but the response—140,000 likes and 30,000 retweets on Twitter alone—quickly overwhelmed her ability to respond, so she instead connected interested parties to two charities: Miles4Migrants and Michigan Support Circle. By Friday, only four days after her initial tweet, Miles4Migrants had received nearly 6 million donated miles, and Michigan Support Circle had 252 new donors on standby. It’s a kind of need often overlooked. Travel expenses don’t often seem like a dire strait, but they can be the difference between a family never reunited, an immigrant left homeless with no resources wherever he’s released, and a father and son making it to a safe new home, hearts...