Frame USA’s Monthly Charitable Gift Program

Frame USA’s Monthly Charitable Gift Program

Dec 16

Frame USA, an online retailer that specializes in custom and ready-made picture frames, is setting the tone for corporate social responsibility. Frame USA has a “Monthly Charitable Gift Program” in which the company donates a portion of their proceeds towards a “charity of the month.” $0.75 of every order placed through their website and $1.00 of every custom order placed through their physical store will be given to a charity in need. This month, Frame USA is supporting Fill the Truck. Fill the Truck is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was launched in December of 2010 by Dan Regenold, CEO of Frame USA. It all started with a dream; Regenold wanted to fill a 54’ semi-truck with charitable donations. The donations included simple, everyday items ranging from shoes to winter coats to bedding and even toilet paper. To say it was a success is an understatement—by the end of the month, Frame USA ended up needing a second truck because the first one was overfilled by about 7%. In total, there were 833 boxes and more than 30 skids, making for over 22,200 donations! And that was just the first year… One year later, in 2011, Fill the Truck partnered with nine other businesses to fill a total of 8 trucks and/or storage units. This year, Fill the Truck has more sponsors and partners than ever before, and the organization is on track for a record-breaking year. Other charities that Frame USA has supported in the past include: The American Cancer Society American Diabetes Association American Red Cross Louisiana Floods Relief Autism Speaks Feeding America Foundation for Survivors of Sexual Abuse Leukemia and Lymphoma Society The Wild Animal Sanctuary Wounded Warrior Project … and many, many more. Thank you, Frame USA, from all of us here at Philanthropic People. You are setting an excellent example of what a socially responsible business looks...

The Foundation of Giving: New Movements by the Wealthy to Give Back

The Foundation of Giving: New Movements by the Wealthy to Give Back

Aug 05

Whether it’s inherent in the structure of a business or a personal choice made by the wealthy individual, more and more billionaires are choosing to give away massive portions of their wealth to charity. Sometimes the donations happen during the person’s lifetime; other times it’s a promise through a program like the Giving Pledge to donate a significant percentage of their money to charity upon their death. On the business side, groups like global financial powerhouse General Atlantic are often founded on the idea of giving back to the community. Established in 1980, General Atlantic has more than 100 investments around the world. But it’s not just about the money—the company founder, Chuck Feeney, was determined to make philanthropy a vital part of the business. According to Bill Ford, General Atlantic Chief Executive Officer, Feeny “was one of the early proponents of ‘giving while living’ and aimed to give his entire fortune away during his lifetime to support a number of philanthropic causes he was passionate about. In order to grow his capital available for giving, he partnered with us to invest in other promising entrepreneurs. So General Atlantic’s heritage has always been about backing entrepreneurs and innovators who are trying to build new businesses and who often pioneer new industries.” In more modern times, many billionaires are not only integrating philanthropy into their businesses, but also turning to Bill Gates’s and Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge. The pledge is not a legally binding commitment, but rather, a promise by the world’s wealthy to donate more than half of their fortunes to charitable causes either during or after their lifetime. The Giving Pledge is meant to help the wealthy inspire others by providing well-known examples of people who have gone above and beyond to give back to their communities. Each Pledge member publicly announces his or her intent to give, as well as creating an official statement about their philanthropic plans. In addition, they gather throughout the year—and at one big annual event—to discuss issues of philanthropy. As of 2015, this group included 193 individuals from around the world, with more constantly joining “It’s really thinking about how iconic figures providing inspiration and support can inspire and serve as a model for society,” said Robert Rosen, Giving Pledge coordinator and Director of Philanthropic Partnerships for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “We aren’t looking to add any additional complexity.” Will these...

Fraudulent Maryland Veterans Charity Barred from Soliciting

Fraudulent Maryland Veterans Charity Barred from Soliciting

Jul 12

Image: Shutterstock The state of Maryland has barred a fraudulent charity from soliciting for donations following a number of complaints and an investigation that found the charity was not operating within the law. The Southern Maryland Veterans Association claimed to be helping homeless veterans, but was not using the money they raised for those purposes, and in fact was not even registered with the Secretary of State. Without being registered, the group could not legally solicit for donations and was misrepresenting itself as a charity. They were a familiar sight outside of grocery stores and other locations, and had been soliciting for long enough that there couldn’t be a reasonable argument for why they were not registered with the Secretary of State. The organization was issued a cease and desist order earlier this year, but they requested several hearings to have that order overturned, all of which failed. The Secretary of State, which regulates charities in Maryland, upheld the cease and desist and has urged residents to report further solicitations by the group. This case is yet another example of charities, registered or otherwise, which purport to support veterans defrauding donors. Although fraud in the non-profit sector is actually pretty rare, it does come up in the news when it happens, and in the case of veterans charities, the problem seems to be snowballing. Why veterans charities? It’s a disgrace that we even need veterans charities, that former military personal should have to rely on the kindness of others to help them out instead of the government is beyond many people. And as such, veterans are seen by many as a party well worth supporting with their charitable money. Charity fraud tends to crop up following tragedies which generate a lot of donations (like hurricanes or mass shootings) but for the average scam artist, veterans seem to be quite the cash...

Rapper Big Sean Donates Money to Help Homeless College Students

Rapper Big Sean Donates Money to Help Homeless College Students

Jul 05

Image: Via dailydetroit.com The difficulty of life growing up in a city like Detroit is one of the central themes that runs through hip-hop. For rapper “Big Sean” Anderson, bringing those difficulties to light isn’t enough, so he’s trying to help out. He recently donated $25,000 to a group called HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher), which helps students struggling with financial difficulties make it to graduation. HIGH is focused on Wayne State University in Detroit, but the problem of college homelessness isn’t limited to the Motor City. Students who can’t afford housing, food, books, or clothing while they attend classes can be found at schools around the country. HIGH has been working to address the problem at WSU, and they’ve gotten a nice boost from Big Sean, but it’s a problem that needs to be addressed elsewhere, both by non-profits and through political action. With a significant portion of local students, Wayne State University is home to some problems that other schools don’t see as often. Big 10 universities and Ivy League schools tend to have large endowments to help students with tuition, or mostly attract wealthy students in the first place. But as a working class state school, WSU has many students who live at or below the poverty line, and it is exactly those students that HIGH was founded to help. Big Sean donated the money through his Sean Anderson Foundation, which partners with other groups to raise money for a variety of causes. Foundations like this are pretty common, and they’re a good model for people, especially celebrities, who want to help out but maybe aren’t willing to dedicate themselves wholly to one kind of charitable work. Big Sean likes to keep the focus in Michigan, and his foundation recently helped raise $82,755 for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to help children affected by lead poisoning in that...

Playing Zelda for Charity: Zeldathon

Playing Zelda for Charity: Zeldathon

Jun 23

Marathons are a common event in the charity world, with people signing up to run or pledging money to support friends and family who are running. But not everybody can, or wants, to run, and some people don’t really pay attention to charity marathons. For some of those people though, there are video game marathons. The basic principle is the same: people do a thing for an absurdly long time while others watch them. In these cases, they play a video game, or series of video games, for some length of time while others watch them. Social video services like Twitch.TV allow people to tune in from around the world. There are lots of events like this, and most of them use the platform to raise money for charity. A lot of different charities benefit, like Direct Relief, which is the recipient of funds raised at this year’s first Zeldathon. Zeldathon is held multiple times each year, and started back in 2009. It’s a pretty simple concept: players go through the entire Zelda franchise, periodically putting on silly costumes or eating weird foods because people donated a certain amount of money. Paying to embarrass players is pretty common in these kinds of marathons. But it’s effective. Since 2009, Zeldathon has donated 100% of the $875,000 they’ve raised to various charities, which is no small number. This time it’s Direct Relief, which works around the country and the world to help alleviate poverty, and has earned a perfect score from Charity Navigator, no small task. If you’re interested in watching the action, you can check out the Zeldathon website for more information. If you miss it, don’t worry, there’s probably another charity gaming marathon coming up any time...

The Billionaires to Donations Ratio in China is Skewed

The Billionaires to Donations Ratio in China is Skewed

Jun 07

The number of billionaires in the People’s Republic of China has increased significantly in the last decade or so, but their charitable giving has not kept pace. In 2015, China saw a rise in the billionaire population of 38%, with a net worth of $830 billion, meaning that country has the second largest number of billionaires after the United States. But the United States far outpaces China in charitable giving. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the most significant is a lack of transparency on the part of charitable organizations. In recent years, there have been a number of scandals involving charities in China, especially as pertains to the use of funds, which has made many people cautious. The government has stepped in to address the situation, but as is common in China, that has largely been to restrict who can claim charity status, and what they can focus their mission on. The result is that many charities are now beholden to the government. Some billionaires, a class that has only recently come into being in the nominally communist country, are reasonably cautious about how the government perceives them, and so they must choose their donations very carefully. But there also aren’t many tax incentives for donating in China. Here in the United States, although many people donate out of the kindness of their hearts, there are a number of tax benefits that companies can claim by donating to charity, and they make sure to do that. Regardless of why a person, or a company, donates to charity, the end result is still a donation. While the number of charitable organizations in China has increased in the last few years, up to 4,211 as of 2015, giving to those organizations is still slow. The Chinese government does seem to be interested in finding ways to get people to support select charitable causes though, so this may change over the next few...