Ending Poverty Should Be One of Society’s Primary Concerns

Ending Poverty Should Be One of Society’s Primary Concerns

Jul 29

Psychiatric and pediatric researchers have been arguing for some time now that poverty has a variety of negative impacts on children. Now, a study published in JAMA Pediatrics in July brings those arguments into greater focus. According to the study, and an accompanying editorial, living in poverty can have serious effects on the development of children’s brains. Children living in poverty, which includes about 22% of all American children, can face lifelong learning disabilities, limitations on their ability to cope with stress, and depression. Developmental lags in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain can result in a 20% gap in educational achievement, most often seen in lower test scores. The good news, though, is that these problems can be mitigated, somewhat, by nurturing parents. Parents who are taught nurturing skills, especially those who live below the poverty line, can help to offset the problems that their children will face. But those problems can’t be done away with through nurturing. 22% of American children grow up in poverty, in what is probably the most affluent nation in the world, and that’s frankly disgusting. What’s worse, is that as those children lag behind their wealthier peers, they’re going to have a harder time in school, they will be less likely to go to college, and more likely to end up with lower paying jobs. The negative effects of poverty make it harder to escape poverty. And when those children grow up and have kids of their own? Their kids grow up in poverty as well. When you’re looking for a charity to help out, consider those that are focused on alleviating or eradicating poverty. Look for charities that help homeless people, or underprivileged families. Look for non-profits who put their donations to use helping to build and support schools, or to help feed hungry children and their families. Help those groups that advocate for political change to help people who are struggling to make ends meet. Helping poor children can help their children, and their children’s...

Become an Everyday Philanthropist

Become an Everyday Philanthropist

Jun 15

You work hard and you play hard. But some sense of satisfaction seems to be missing from you life. What could it be? Perhaps you need to consider the art of philanthropy. Giving to others in need, an institution you support, or a cause that concerns you is at the heart of philanthropy. And here’s the best news yet—you don’t need to be a millionaire to practice philanthropy. Start with a personal inventory. First things first, schedule a quiet time to reflect on your passions, interests and which social issues you trouble you. Use this period of reflection to identify institutions you use like the YWCA, a local museum, or community health clinic. If you don’t know where to begin—start in your own backyard. Read local papers, check out the bulletin board at your favorite coffeehouse, ask friends, family or faith leader for suggestions. But you must schedule this time. If you don’t make a date to do this initial work you may never find the time to become a philanthropist. Philanthropy is all about giving but it’s not only about giving money. You can give your time by volunteering. You can give your skills by tutoring. You can give your experience by leading organizing a fundraising event. Sometimes giving you time isn’t enough. Money may be required to solve a dire problem like natural disaster relief or to provide funds for a food bank in crisis. How do you find funds to donate when your funds are allocated for your monthly bills and personal savings? Well, the first thing you never do is to go into debt. A successful philanthropist needs to have peace of mind and give only when they budget their gift. Get into debt and you’ve become the problem that needs to be solved—not the solution you hoped to provide. A practical way to generate some funds is to conduct a personal inventory. Take a tour around you home paying special attention to closets, basements, attics, junk drawers, and the space under the bed. Chances are that you have far more possessions than you actually use and that many of these items haven’t been used in several years. Consider asking a friend to join you in this process. They don’t have your sentimental attachments to items and the will help make rational decisions in favor of philanthropy. Set up four piles—one to sell, one to...

Top Malaria Prevention Initiatives

Top Malaria Prevention Initiatives

May 29

Malaria is a major health issue for nearly half of the world’s population, and especially for those living in the poorest parts of the world. Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that is particularly endemic in Sub-Saharan regions in Africa. There are many people involved in the fight against malaria, including scientists that work on different ways to combat the spread of malaria and that look for a cure, as well as philanthropists and charitable organizations that donate their time and money to help those in need. Before we dive in, we’d like to share some surprising statistics about malaria in Africa, and around the world: Every 45 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria. Each year, malaria infects over 200 million people, killing nearly one million of them. Malaria alone costs the African continent $12 billion a year in economic loss. There are many charitable organizations that support anti-malaria initiatives, like the JC Flowers Foundation. The JC Flowers Foundation, founded by J. Christopher Flowers, has worked extensively with malaria prevention initiatives since launching NetsforLife in 2004. NetsforLife, as well as other similar initiatives like NothingButNets, allow you to help combat malaria by sending sleeping nets to countries in need. People in these areas will sleep beneath these mosquito nets, protecting in their sleep from mosquitos that might bite them and thereby spread malaria. NothingButNets was created by the UN Foundation and is a global, grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to combat malaria. This initiative gained worldwide attention in 2006 when Rick Reilly’s Sports Illustrated column about malaria challenged each reader to donate $10 for the purchase of anti-malaria bed nets. NothingButNets has adopted the $10 pledge, and used it as a baseline ever since. There are also many other malaria initiatives around the world, including the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, ACTMalaria, Medicines for Malaria Venture, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and many others. For more information about global Malaria initiatives, check out this comprehensive infographic list from the Malaria Foundation International. If you want to join the fight against Malaria, helping any one of the organizations described in this article will make a...

Looking for a Career in the Non-Profit Field? Start Here!

Looking for a Career in the Non-Profit Field? Start Here!

May 16

Are you looking to find work in the non-profit field? If helping people is your passion, it might be a good fit, but finding that work can be difficult. In addition to the various normal hurdles of finding a job, like proving that you’re a worthy candidate or actually landing an interview, just finding non-profit jobs can be difficult. You can always start by checking out charities that you trust or support, but what if they aren’t hiring? Chances are there are far more charities out there than you’re aware of, but there are sources that can help. Check out the sites below to get your job search started! Idealist.org is summed-up pretty well by the site’s name. Idealist works to “connect idealist with opportunities for action.” At the site you can find job listings, but you can also find volunteer opportunities, search for people or organizations, even find blogs. They also list employment fairs for college students and recent graduates (down at the bottom of the home page). Over 100,000 organizations use Idealist to connect with people, so it’s an excellent place to start your search. Commongoodcareers.org is a search firm that works to place people in positions at non-profits. They don’t have the same scale as Idealist, but they do have a good track record of placing candidates, from entry level to upper management positions. It’s worth checking the site out, especially if you have a good idea of what you want to do, but just need some help doing it. The Chronicle of Philanthropy is one of the leading publications in the non-profit world, and worth investigating if you’re serious about working for a non-profit. They have a jobs section that offers a variety of search parameters, and based solely on their importance as a thought leader, it’s a good bet that a lot of jobs can be found...

Beware of Emails Looking for Donations

Beware of Emails Looking for Donations

May 10

If you’re reading this, you are no doubt familiar with SPAM emails, and you likely realize that many of those emails are scams, trying to get your money or your personal information. Unfortunately, some scammers try to take advantage of others’ generosity by pretending to be a charity looking for donations. This is much more subtle that the “deposed prince” style of scam we’ve all seen. Instead, scammers will set up fake websites, set up fake charities, or even use the names of real charities to try and trick you. As a general rule, legitimate charities don’t solicit through emails. This isn’t to say that no legitimate charity does this, but when they do, it is generally in the line of “click here to donate” as part of a larger message, such as a campaign update. This model is a favorite of political campaigns, actually, to tell you about the campaign and urge you to go make a donation. But scammers can use the same model to try and trick you. Regardless of who sent the email, whether it’s a group you trust or a person you know, never follow such links. Instead, go to the website of the organization or person in question if you want to donate. If it’s legitimate, that donation will work either way, and if it’s a scam, your money will go to the right place. If you get an unsolicited email from a charity you aren’t familiar with, it’s likely fraud, and you shouldn’t feel bad about deleting that email outright. Even if it’s a group you’ve heard of, it could be somebody with a similar email address. If you’re not convinced, if it’s a really professional, official looking email, or you just aren’t sure if it’s a real charity, do some online research. Links in such an email might be phishing attempts, and clicking on them could result in infecting your computer. But going to the website’s homepage, or searching for the group online will be much safer. With a little common sense you can protect yourself from such...

Crowdfunding Your Charity

Crowdfunding Your Charity

May 09

Crowdfunding, using the Internet to raise money from large groups of people from across the country or the world, is a relatively new but very useful tool in generating capital. Companies often use it to generate investment from customers, and creative types use it to get the money to make films and other products. But crowdfunding can be used for charitable work as well. Most crowdfunding takes place on websites specifically for that purpose, allowing people to make their information readily available to potential supporters, and which makes collecting money easy. In most cases, people who support your campaign get rewards for doing so, like copies of the product being funded, usually offered at different tiers of support. Kickstarter: Probably the leader of the pack, and easily the most recognizable, Kickstarter has been a huge boon for companies and creators that want to produce products without having to find traditional investors. Kickstarter requires that campaigns have both a deadline, and that they reach a particular dollar goal before any money is collected (or any fees are charged). IndieGoGo: Not as well known as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo has certain advantages despite its smaller share of the market. Namely, you don’t have to meet a goal before you get money from your supporters, meaning that even if you don’t hit your target, you still get the money people pledged. This is a double-edged sword though, as it means you might not make enough to actually cover the costs of sending items to your supporters. GoFundMe: An up-and-coming site, GoFundMe allows people to set up personal fundraising to, for example, make rent one month or to raise money for an operation. They don’t require that campaigns set specific dollar goals or deadlines, meaning that you can raise as much as you need, and receive those donations. If you’re interested in crowdfunding, do some research to find the site that works best for you. There are tons of articles about how best to raise money through crowdfunding sites, and there are even companies who specialize in this kind of...