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Prominent People in Philanthropy: Raymond McDaniel

Moody's CEO Raymond McDaniel
IMG: via moodys.com

Raymond McDaniel is a heavy hitter in the world of philanthropy, if only because as CEO of Moody’s Corporation he is responsible for many of the decisions that the company makes in its corporate social philanthropy program.  However, he is quick to assure people who ask that,  while he may be in charge of the company, much of the support for the programs that Moody’s Corporation leads comes from the employees themselves.

“The apparatus that we have here for creating visibility around our programs, and that encourages employees to participate in the programs, works very well,” Raymond McDaniel explained to Leaders Online Magazine in an interview. “Our employees know that Moody’s is involved in it and that it’s a good thing to do. The participation levels are strong. So I very much support what we’re doing, but I don’t think I need to drive momentum behind this. We’ve already got momentum behind this.”

Read the rest of his profile here.

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ReThink Fabrics: Pioneer of Recycled Polyester (r-PET)

How many plastic bottles are in YOUR t-shirt? Mine is composed of about a dozen. Also, I’d venture to say that it’s probably more comfortable than yours. Lies, you say? Well, keep reading and prepare to be amazed.

ReThink Fabrics Photo
IMG: via ReThink Fabrics

ReThink Fabrics is a Seattle-based r-PET clothing brand that is educating the public on rethinking waste and clothing. Having made an appearance in New York Fashion Week, been featured in the eco-friendly Black Eyed Peas (Energy Never Dies) tour, and partnered with Hummel to produce a recycled apparel collection, ReThink is off to a forceful start. However, there is still a lot of work to be done.

So what is r-Pet? Polyethylene Terephthalate is all around us. We drink out of it, use it for food storage, and, in a more recent evolutionary step, wear it. Commonly referred to as “PET” or “PETE,” polyethelene terephthalate can be used to make the average plastic bottle, which accounts for a significant portion of the world’s waste. Fortunately PET is recyclable. Recycled PET is referred to as r-PET. In the context of textile applications, PET is typically referred to by its common name, polyester.

ReThink Fabrics Photo
IMG: via ReThink Fabrics

The few companies that produce eco-friendly clothing have traditionally geared promotional efforts toward wealthy buyers. However, ReThink Fabrics prides itself on its environmentally friendly, socially responsible business model for producing more affordable clothing. “Our goal has always been to have [r-PET polyester clothing] mainstreamed. It’s not Patagonia, where you have to pay $200 for a jacket. No, I want this to be the standard for all polyester.” said Rethink Fabrics CEO, Anne Sodemann, who believes that educating the public is a main component of promoting eco-friendly fashion.

Although the masses are still somewhat unaware of what r-PET is and the advantages to purchasing recycled polyester over traditional fabrics, Sodemann and her team at ReThink have made efforts to educate the general population as it builds a brand presence. “I definitely think that we have helped educate the public, not just about the possibility of [r-PET polyester], but I like to think that we have also changed or at least contributed to their ability to rethink waste, whether it’s plastic [or] paper. [We’ve encouraged companies to] try to design it so that it serves a purpose beyond the trash can,” said Sodemann. She was recently asked to speak about how manufacturers can design recyclable trash packaging at a conference as part of a panel for waste management.

ReThink Fabrics Photo
IMG: via ReThink Fabrics

While the eco-friendly advantages to purchasing recycled polyester clothing are obvious (and articulated clearly on the company’s website, these t-shirts also provide anti-microbial benefits and wicking. Considering that one of the fabric’s main components is plastic, the garments are also extremely soft. When asked if the brand would attempt to expand their product line into areas other than clothing, Sodemann said, “Our fabric developers have really done a tremendous job. It’s really about just having a few product offerings and just focusing on what you’re good at. That’s the business strategy and that will continue to be the business strategy. Sometimes less is more.”

When buying apparel on the company website, each product description states how many plastic bottles are used in the design and the percentage of recycled polyester is used in the clothing. Additionally, Rethink Fabrics provides metrics for companies to track their efforts when products are purchased. The measurements can be applied to environmental impact statements as carbon offset.  From its genesis until now, ReThink Fabrics has worked not only to produce and socially responsible and environmentally friendly product, but also to make the product benefit the customer beyond providing comfortable, sensible garments. Therefore, businesses and individuals can now indulge in responsible, affordable clothing purchases, track their impact, and benefit from the advantages of wearing comfortable, quality attire.

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Profiles

Prominent People in Philanthropy: Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand
IMG: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

After she had become an internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, actress, director, and writer, Barbra Streisand tried her hand at philanthropy. And like all of her other ventures, Streisand has found success. In 1986 she founded the Barbra Streisand Foundation, an organization that gives grants to other organizations that work for causes that Streisand supports.

Since its founding, the foundation has donated over $16 million dollars through over 1,000 grants to causes such as voter education, environmentalism, and women’s health. Beyond her foundation, Barbra Streisand also works personally to raise money for good causes. She has raised $25 million through live performances, and she has donated some of her art collection to charity auctions in the past.

Read the rest of her profile here.

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Resources

Charity Navigator: Donate Effectively

Charity Navigator
IMG: via Charity Navigator

As Americans, we love to give. As  such, thousands and thousands of charities have cropped up, and they have become hard to sift through. Enter Charity Navigator, a non-profit organization that evaluates charities. Charity Navigator would like to help people give and help the charities receive. They find great charities that are working effectively, and they connect these charities with people who would like to give. Today, Charity Navigator has ranked more than 5,400 charities nationwide.

Charity Navigator rates charities based on two broad categories: Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency. These two categories reveal how efficiently charities will use your money, how committed they are to accountability, and how sustainable their visions are for the future.

Charity Navigator has compiled multiple “Top Ten Lists” for some of the top-rated charities, and they organize their rated charities by topic so that you can donate to causes that you really care about.

Want to donate to a great charity? Want to watch your money do real good? Find more tips for smart donating here.

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Profiles

Prominent People in Philanthropy: Conrad Prebys

Conrad Presbys
IMG: via ucsdnews.ucsd.edu

As a young boy, Conrad Prebys contracted a heart infection which left him bedridden for a year. After he found success in the government sector in San Diego, California, Prebys decided to help others avoid a similar fate. In 2011, he donated $45 million to Scripps Health in order to fund the construction of the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, a progressive cardiac center that will conduct research, offer graduate-level education, and provide the best in cardiac care.

Beyond his generosity in the medical field, Conrad Prebys has been a longtime supporter of several other arts and technological institutions. Read the rest of his profile here.

 

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Olympians Take Philanthropy to New Levels

The Olympics are famous for the publicity they attract: companies fight to sponsor the games, cities compete to host them, and every media outlet focuses exclusively on Olympics coverage for weeks. Millions in revenue end up in the pockets of everyone involved, including the athletes. Some of these athletes have found a way to turn this new celebrity into something good: philanthropy.

Johann Olav Koss
IMG: via Right to Play

Johann Olav Koss is a Norwegian speed skater who, with 4 gold medals and a silver, is considered one of the best speed skaters in history. He has skated ten world records, and throughout his career he has amassed a collection of medals from Norwegian, European, and international competitions. After he retired from speed skating, Koss became an ambassador for UNICEF, a member of the International Olympics Committee, and he became the CEO of Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization  that uses sports and play programs to empower children and communities in disadvantaged areas and to foster peace.

 

mia hamm
IMG: via Global Sports Forum

Mia Hamm was the most recognizable  face in women’s soccer for more than a decade; she holds the record for most goals scored internationally for male and female players, and she has inspired an entire generation of young girls playing soccer. She led Team USA to Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004 before she retired among accolades. Mia Hamm has done more than play great soccer, however. In 1997, Mia’s adoptive brother Garrett passed away from a rare blood disease, and Mia was inspired to found the Mia Hamm Foundation in 1999. Her foundation is dedicated to her passions in life: raising funds and awareness for families of patients who need transplants, and continuing the growth of opportunities for girls in sports. Mia Hamm has been breaking records and making herself known throughout her entire career; today, she is using her position to help those around her.

 

Hannah Teter
IMG: GiroSportDesign via Flickr

Hannah Teter, an American snowboarder from Vermont, has taken Olympic philanthropy to new levels. After winning a gold medal in the halfpipe at the 2006 Olympics, Teter decided to found Hannah’s Gold, a charity that raises money for a rural Kenyan community through the sales of maple syrup from her home state. The funds from Hannah’s Gold have gone toward community projects like building schools and creating access to reliable, safe sources of water. In 2009, she donated all of her prize money toward her program in Kenya. Hannah Teter has also worked with PETA, Children’s International, and Boarding for Breast Cancer. In 2010, she launched an underwear line called Sweet Cheeks that donates 40% of its proceeds to Children International.

These three Olympians, past or present, set an example that all competing athletes should follow. Becoming an athlete at the Olympic level is an incredible feat; the world’s eyes are on you, and you have a responsibility to live up to millions of expectations. These athletes have the unique opportunity to use this publicity and fanfare for a bigger cause.

 

 

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Profiles

Prominent People in Philanthropy: Katherine Farley

Over the last decade, Katherine Farley has been an invaluable figure on the arts scene in New York City. She’s been involved with the New York Philharmonic and the Lincoln Center for years, and she is currently the chair of the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. Farley and her husband have been referred to as the “cultural power couple of New York” because of their relentless commitment to philanthropy. Katherine Farley has used her real estate experience as an architect for Tishman Speyer to help redevelop the Lincoln Center Theater.

Farley’s work extends beyond the arts, however. She has worked for women’s rights and for girls’ empowerment. Read about the rest of her accomplishments in her profile here.

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Profiles

Prominent People in Philanthropy: John and Laura Arnold

John and Laura Arnold
IMG: via Arnold Foundation

To say that John Arnold “retired” this May is misleading. John Arnold stopped his work at the hedge fund he managed in order to focus all of his attention on the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, a foundation he and his wife created “to produce substantial, widespread and lasting
reforms that will maximize opportunities and minimize injustice in our society.”

John and Laura Arnold are committed to the change they envision, and they want long-term solutions, not temporary fixes. They have invested much of the wealth they’ve accumulated to criminal justice reform, the restructuring of education for disadvantaged children, and the overhaul of public employee pension programs in their community.

Read the rest of their profile here.

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Prominent People in Philanthropy: Glenn Lowry

After his work as the director of the Museum of Modern Art, one would think that Glenn Lowry would be fed up with working for the arts. Nevertheless, Lowry uses his spare time outside of the MoMA to support the arts through groups like the Judd Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving and spreading the works of Donald Judd, or the American Academy of the Arts, where he’s been named a fellow.

Glenn Lowry has dedicated his life to the arts, and he’s committed his resources and his time to making sure that others can do the same. Read the rest of his profile here.

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Profiles

Prominent People in Philanthropy: Bruce Cohen

Bruce Cohen
Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Bruce Cohen has created magic onscreen as the producer of critically lauded films such as Big Fish, American Beauty, and Milk. Away from the cameras, however, he tries to create something else: change.

As the president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), Cohen works for equal rights for Americans. AFER is currently focused on marriage equality, and they are the sole sponsor for the court challenge of California’s Proposition 8, a proposition that limits the definition of marriage in California. Cohen is involved in more than just AFER’s fight for equality, however.

Read the rest of Bruce Cohen’s profile here.