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The Right Gifts for the Homeless

If you live in or near a big city, chances are you’re fairly accustomed to seeing homeless people. With colder weather already settled in and the holidays coming up, now would be a good time to spend some time putting together care packages for the homeless people in your area who could really use your help. But not everything is going to be useful for them, like gift cards to be used over the internet or jewelry. Here are some better options to pack into care kits for your homeless friends!


It’s very difficult to keep clean living on the street. Fill your packs with things that promote health, wellness, and hygiene, like hand wipes, tissues, toothbrushes and toothpaste, Band-Aids, a small first-aid kit, combs, and nail clippers. However, make sure you keep things like scented soaps or lotions away from any food items you want to pack so that they don’t start to smell and taste like each other. Additionally, try to keep anything alcohol-based out of the kit, like hand sanitizer or mouthwash.

Additionally, consider donating things like tampons and sanitary napkins, which are often not provided at homeless shelters.


Include soft, nutritious snacks like applesauce, pudding, trail mix, or beef jerky, and avoid hard or crunchy things like granola bars or candy. Most homeless people don’t have regular access to a dentist, so softer snacks will usually be preferred over crispy ones. But beef jerky, despite its leathery texture, is a popular item because of how much protein it provides.

Other items.

Things besides food and toiletries are likely to be appreciated, too. Things like sturdy travel mugs, socks, and mittens could really help someone out. But don’t give cash or used items, as used items can feel insulting. Putting religious literature into the pack is also generally not preferred, though many people do it out of kindness; but for homeless people who receive Bible verses and tracts all the time, it gets old.

When you give your kits to your homeless friends, be kind about it. Don’t be rushed, don’t throw the pack out of a car window, and don’t go alone. Stop and get to know the person you’re trying to help and let them talk to you—if they want to, which they may not. But if you’re prepared to listen, they might tell you their stories.

Donation News The Power of Giving

Millennials Prefer Volunteering to Donation

Millennials, those people who are now between the ages of 18 and 34, tend to get a bad wrap. They are often accused of not working hard enough, or expecting too much out of the opportunities they do have. Some older folk seem to think that all millennials are self-important children, who think they’re important or special because they all got participation awards when they were young (given to them, ironically enough, by the same generations that are complaining about it now).

But millennials have inherited a pretty broken economy, a faltering infrastructure, and a generally terrible job market. Millennials are often underemployed, with many working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Despite all this though, many still find time to help out in their communities.

According to a study from Achieve, a research agency, 77% of millennials would prefer to donate their time and find a charity they can help with a skill or expertise they’ve developed. Considering that many millennials are over-educated and underemployed, this isn’t terrible surprising. It’s easier to help out than to donate money, and it’s generally more personally rewarding.

The study also found that millennials tended to focus their energy on charities which were related to issues that directly affect people in their lives. Doing so allows them to bring a level of passion to their work that older volunteers may lack. These young people know that things aren’t perfect for them, and that it could be worse, and often is for people in their own communities or families.

In light of this new information, maybe it’s time people let up on millennials? They’ve been handed a rough situation and told it’s their own fault, but they’re not only making the best they can in those circumstances, some of them are also managing to help others at the same time.

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AT&T to Donate $20 Million to Schools

Mobile phone giant AT&T has announced that it intends to donate $20 million to support different education initiatives through the AT&T Aspire Program. The grant will support schools in 26 states around the country with the intent of providing mobile learning opportunities, mentoring, and career skills.

The grant will support students in a number of ways. “As students head back to school, we want to make sure we’re doing our part to help them succeed,” says Nicole Anderson, AT&T’s Executive Director of Philanthropy. “We’re collaborating with organizations that help students of all ages access mobile learning, mentors and the skills they need to hit the ground running beginning this fall and well into their futures.”

Some of the grant will go to Curriki, Get Schooled, and Black Girls CODE, an organization whose mission is to increase the number of girls and women of color in the STEM fields, as well as many others.

This donation isn’t the first time AT&T has supported schools, and not even in recent news. Yesterday, the company donated three hundred backpacks filled with supplies for the coming school year to the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District in Monitor Township, Michigan. The donation came from volunteer AT&T employees. This marks the 15th year of the Michigan Pioneers donation program. They plan to donate another 300 backpacks tomorrow to students in Saginaw County.

In August, AT&T gave a $30,000 grant to the Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center to help mentor at-risk students. The company created the Aspire Mentoring Program to achieve their goal of providing 1 million hours of student mentoring by the end of next year. Also in 2015, AT&T has donated over $5 million to various United Way organizations across the nation.

Already this year AT&T has made plenty of donations to schools and other betterment programs. Because of their efforts, more children and students have access to the mentorship, supplies, and support they need to succeed.

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Confiscated Wine May Be Sold for Charity

Pennsylvania has some pretty strict liquor laws, requiring almost all alcohol to be sold by beer distributors or in state-owned liquor stores with very strict guidelines, none of which sell rare vintages of wine. Which probably explains why Philadelphia lawyer Arthur Goldman built himself an extensive wine collection at home. It also helps to illustrate how daunting of a task that must have been. And explains why, after he sold a few bottles to other collectors, his entire collection of almost 2,500 bottles of wine was confiscated by the police.

Goldman has been given a probationary sentence aimed at allowing him to eventually clear his record, which would be good for him as a lawyer. Chances are in most of the country what he did would be ignored, but he’s unlucky enough to live in Pennsylvania. He was also allowed to get back a mere 1,043 bottles for himself, but the other 1,404 bottles have a less sure fate.

Luckily, a local hospital, Chester Country Hospital in West Chester has filed a petition to receive that wine. In an obscure law, which apparently has never been used, seized liquor can be sold for charity purposes, which is exactly what the hospital wants to do. They want to sell the wine, which will no doubt fetch a high price, for charity, which could be a huge boon for them, or anyone they decide to share that money with.

According to Trooper Adam Reed, spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police, this law has never been used, which is a shame. Although seizing liquor might not be a terribly common practice in Pennsylvania these days, it obviously happens sometimes, and that liquor might as well be put to good use. Unfortunately, it’s not a clear case, so we have to wait until September 3, when Chester County Judge Edward Griffin will decide whether or not the hospital can have the wine. Otherwise, it will likely go bad in evidence.

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Bicyclist Raises Money for Veterans While Riding Kid’s Bike in Tour de France

People take the Tour de France very seriously, and it’s the purview of a certain kind of bicyclist and certain kinds of bicycles. Apparently, the Raleigh Chopper, a kid’s bike, is not the “right kind” of bike, but that’s precisely why Dave Sims rode one in the race this year.

A lot of people were upset to be passed by a guy riding such a bike, and apparently its quite the achievement, but the part of the story that stands out is that, while on the race, he raised nearly £8,500. This was almost twice his goal, and he got that boost after receiving treatment for an Achilles tendon injury while on the race. He still finished, and he says this is the best shape he’s ever been in, and likely ever will be.

The money he raised is going to Help for Heroes, a charitable organization that helps wounded British veterans transition back into civilian life. Founded in 2007, the organization gives grants directly to wounded veterans and their families, and raises money to support other charities that help veterans.

Many soldiers are injured in the line of duty; it’s to be expected during war and is arguably better than being killed in action. However, in both the United Kingdom and the United States, many of those wounded don’t receive the help they need after they return home. Sure, they are treated for their injuries, but those treatments often fall short of what are needed to help someone who lost a limb or two adapt to their new situation and return to civilian life.

That citizens are expected to serve in combat, but then can’t expect to be fairly compensate for their sacrifice is a shame, and that’s on the governments that employ those soldiers. Luckily though, other citizens are kind enough to help those soldiers out when they do come home, and it’s good to know that groups like Help for Heroes exist.

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Selling Papal Motorcycles for Charity

Since Pope Francis was elected to that office in 2013, he has made a reputation for himself as a very active decision maker. He has publicized bold stances on things like economics and gender equality, and has become known as a “cool” pope, something that few people probably expected from the office before he took over.

Cementing that “cool” status is the fact that he owned a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which he’s auctioning off for charity. The motorcycle was a gift from the manufacturer as a celebration of the company’s 110th anniversary. Since then, it is unclear whether or not Pope Francis has ridden the motorcycle, but considering his willingness to eschew bulletproof Popemobiles and his image as a sort of “pope of the people,” it’s not out of the question.

The motorcycle is signed “Francesco,” and was auctioned off by Britain’s Bonhams, one of the oldest auctioneers in the world. They expected that the motorcycle to fetch somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 euros, or about $16,000 to $20,000. When it sold it went for $275, 551. Another motorcycle, signed by Pope Benedict, only sold for $52,651 a year later.

Pope Francis auctioned the bike in order to raise money for charity, specifically to help renovate Caritas Roma, a soup kitchen and hostel found in the Termini railway station in Rome. The motorcycle signed by Pope Benedict was also sold for charity, this time to benefit the Friendly World Association, based in Poland.

Selling material goods in order to raise money for charity is a good way to go about things. Celebrity signed items being sold for charity is common enough, especially on the internet, but experts suggest selling goods and donating the sales instead of donating goods even for less famous donors. This is especially helpful in situations where established charities donate gifts in kind, but where individuals doing so won’t accomplish much.

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Art Institute of Chicago Gets Largest Gift Ever

Great news from the Art Institute of Chicago: it has received the largest philanthropic gift in their history a few weeks ago!

According to the Chicago Tribune, a major private contemporary art collection with the value estimated at $400 million is being donated to the Art Institute of Chicago by local philanthropists Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, in what the museum is calling the largest gift of art in its history. This is incredibly fortunate for the Art Institute, and will bring further recognition to the Art Institute and the entire city of Chicago.

Of the 42 total pieces, there are works from famous artists including Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and many others spanning from 1953 to 2011. With 9 pieces from Andy Warhol, experts have claimed that it is one of the most significant collections of its kind in the entire world.

“It’s a powerful statement to have a collection of this international stature staying here in Chicago,” Robert Levy, chairman of the Art Institute’s board, told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s unbelievably exciting for the Art Institute, for the city of Chicago, for the entire art community of Chicago. It’s all good.”

The Art Institute will begin displaying the collection in its second-floor galleries of its Modern Wing beginning in January.

Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson boast a collection of 200 works that they keep in Aspen, Colorado. They are some of the top art collectors in the world, and great philanthropists as well.

At Philanthropic People, we thank these two philanthropists for their generosity!

What do you think of this wonderful donation to the Art Institute of Chicago? What is your favorite kind of art?

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StreetWise Partners Raises $275K at Annual Charity Poker Event

Founded in 1997, nonprofit organization StreetWise Partners works tirelessly to assist disadvantaged, low-income individuals by helping them realize their career potential, and provide them with the skills they need to empower themselves through work. The organization’s Board of Directors includes Chairman Anton Levy, a Managing Director at General Atlantic, Vice-Chairman Orlando Ashford of Holland America Line, and more than a dozen other philanthropic-minded individuals that are committed to supporting StreetWise Partners year after year.

Poker Chips

Based in New York City, StreetWise Partners provides mentorship programs, offers professional training facilities to its program participants, and continues to attract volunteers that want to make a difference in NYC and beyond. According to the organization, its primary objective is to “work with low-income individuals to help them overcome employment barriers so that they can break the cycle of poverty, obtain better jobs and achieve economic self-sufficiency.” The work that StreetWise Partners does is so important, and has changed the lives of nearly 2,600 job seekers and counting.

StreetWise Partners recently hosted its annual charity poker event, a gathering that attracted some of NYC’s biggest philanthropists and other special guests. This year’s fundraiser, dubbed “Raising the Ante” raised $275k that will go towards “Career Ventures” and other vital programming.

Brian Korb, a StreetWise Partners Board member and Raising the Ante co-chair commented, “Proceeds from this event will make a huge impact on so many more lives,” adding that “StreetWise Partners’ Career Ventures Program matches low-income trainees with some of the area’s best and brightest business professionals.”

“I always embrace the opportunity to help raise money for people less fortunate than myself but rarely do I have the chance to have so much fun doing it,” said Emmy award-winning writer J.R. Havlan of the philanthropic event. Havlan also commented that StreetWise Partners is a “compassionate, thoughtful and brilliantly run organization,” a sentiment that he and many other fundraiser attendees share.

Other guests at the 2015 poker charity event included John Sabat of Cubist Systematic Strategies, Tony Snow, Jonathan Caruso, as well as special guests NY Knicks Legend John Starks, NY Rangers great Alex Kovalev, and former NY Giants player Thomas Randolph, among others. Learn more about who was in attendance of this year’s poker charity event in this press release from StreetWise Partners.

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Lincoln Center Receives Significant Donation

David Geffen, entertainment industry mogul and cofounder of DreamWorks animation, has made a sizable donation to the Lincoln Center in New York City. Geffen will donate $100 million to the Lincoln Center.

Geffen is in good company, as a group of highly successful and philanthropic individuals oversee the Lincoln Center as well; among the board of directors are William E. Ford, the CEO of General Atlantic, Robert A. Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Shelly Lazarus CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, among many others.Lincoln Center chairwoman Katherine Farley announced on March 4 that the Avery Fisher Hall will be renamed the David Geffen Hall in September. Renovations to the hall will begin in 2019.

Lincoln Center chairwoman Katherine Farley announced on March 4th that the Avery Fisher Hall will be renamed the David Geffen Hall in September. Renovations to the hall will begin in 2019.

Lincoln Center


“As a native New Yorker, I recognize that Lincoln Center is a beacon to artists and musicians around the world,” Geffen said in a statement. “To be involved with such a beloved and iconic institution is deeply satisfying.”

In addition to David Geffen hall, there is also the Geffen Playhouse and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, all of which are named in honor of the generous philanthropist. Geffen isn’t a stranger to making large donations. In fact, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA came at the price of $200 million.

The hall was originally named after Avery Fisher, a violinist and founder of the Fisher Radio Company, after he financed a renovation to the hall in 1973. Fisher died in 1994, though an agreement guarantees that the renovated building will still feature prominent tributes to Fisher and his family, chiefly his three children, will remain involved in the concert hall.

About the Lincoln Center

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a 16.3-acre complex in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan. The center has 30 indoor and outdoor performance venues. The Lincoln Center is home to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Juilliard School, and many others.