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UN’s ‘Shot@Life’ Campaign Provides Vaccines to Children in Need

According to the U.N. Foundation, 1.7 million children will die in 2018 from diseases that have been nearly or entirely eradicated in the United States, such as measles, pneumonia, polio, and diarrhea. One in five children globally have no access to immunizations.

“Expanding access to vaccines strengthens our ability to fight disease globally and keep our families healthy here at home, while improving economic stability around the world,” a blog published on the U.N. Foundation’s website reads.

That’s what inspired the U.N. Foundation to create the Shot@Life campaign, an initiative to educate Americans about global vaccination programs. It’s a national call-to-action to support expanding access to the most basic medical needs.

With the help of corporate partners and donors, the U.N. provides tangible results: vaccines for polio, measles, and other disease given to underserved populations. At home, they train volunteers to advocate from an educated stance for global immunizations. They also run media placements, including radio and television spots.

We live in the country where, in 1736, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter mourning his failure to inoculate his youngest son. The boy died of smallpox, and Franklin was very certain he knew the cause. Today, nearly 300 years later, a growing contingent of anti-science sentiment has set up vaccination as their bogeyman, and these same diseases that ravage the young of impoverished countries are resurging in the United States. They can only be eradicated through global vaccination.

Shot@Life cites that for every dollar invested, the program gets a $3 return in funds raised to support global vaccines. In their first five years, they have raised nearly $6.5 million in donor and private funds—an amount that could provide nearly 30 million doses of vaccines.

Anyone wishing to donate or contribute can do so here, or by mailing a check to the address under the link. Donations are fully tax-deductible. Shot@Life has a 91% rating on Charity Navigator, with a 96% rating for transparency.

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4 Different Ways to Report a Scam Charity

If you suspect that a charity is fake or corrupt, there are several different ways to go about reporting it. The following comprises a list of your different options.

1. Report it to the IRS

The IRS is responsible for overseeing all charities on a federal level. The good news is that there are multiple ways to file a complaint through the IRS. You can even submit an anonymous tip should you so choose. Here are your options:

2. Notify the State

Depending on which state you live in, either the Attorney General or the Secretary of State will be responsible for overseeing nonprofit regulation. To find your state’s Attorney General, click here. To find your Secretary of State, click here.

3. Inform Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator is a watchdog organization that publishes an ongoing advisory list. This list assesses each charity’s concern/risk level. To submit a claim to Charity Navigator, send an email to cnadvisory@charitynavigator.org. Charity Navigator asks that you provide substantial evidence to support your claim.

4. Contact Your Local News Outlet

Most news outlets have a special team of investigative journalists that will look into your claims should you have reason to believe that a charity is engaging in unethical practices. Better yet, these journalists will protect your identity should you choose to remain anonymous. This is a great option if you want to inform the public about the organization’s unlawful activity.

Now that you have a list of options in front of you, it’s time to start compiling your evidence so that you can report the suspicious activity. Remember: the longer you wait, the more people will be taken advantage of.

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3 Controversial Ways to Raise Money for Charity

The nonprofit world is competitive, there’s no doubt about that. As a result, some charities are looking for unique and creative ways to raise money. But for however noble the cause, the means of raising money is sometimes… questionable. Take a look at the controversial ways that people have raised charity funds in the past.

Prostitution

Back in 2007, Chilean prostitute Maria Carolina auctioned 27 hours of sex to raise money for Teletonthe country’s largest fundraising campaign. A client of hers quickly took her up on the offer, raising nearly $4,000 for poor, disabled children. In response to widespread criticism, Carolina stated, “There are people who are going to be donating money that’s a lot more questionable than mine. The only thing I did was publicize it.” Do note that prostitution is legal in Chile, whereas it’s not in the majority of the U.S.

Dangerous Stunts

Nick Le Souef of Australia made headlines back in 2010 when he pledged to live amongst hundreds of poisonous spiders in the name of charity. For three straight weeks, Souef locked himself inside a 12×4 ft. enclosure littered with deadly redbacks, tarantulas, huntsmen, and house spiders in an attempt to raise $50,000 for children’s charity. But Souef is no stranger to danger. He’s also spent long periods of time locked inside of a shark tank and a snake pit!

Just Plain Odd

There’s been a recent epidemic in the U.S. where people from all over the country are seeing creepy clowns. But long before the creepy clown sightings there were naked clown sightings. Fortunately, these were benevolent clowns, and the only intention that had was to help raise money for multiple sclerosis research. The naked clowns posed for pictures in a 2009 calendar. The calendars sold for $20 each and all proceeds went towards the Judy Finelli Fund. The lesson to be learned here is that bizarre behavior gets attention, and attention is the first step towards raising money.

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Get Fit for Charity: Apps that Motivate

Getting back into shape is hard, mostly because personal motivation is so fickle. But imagine if another person’s life was dependent on it. That’s the idea behind the latest fitness charity apps. Four apps—Charity Miles, Charity Bets, stickK, and Plus 3 Network—can reward progress by donating money to charity for every fitness milestone reached. Read on to learn more about these healthy giving apps.

Charity Miles

Get ready to burn some serious fat and calories with this app! Charity Miles has a list of sponsors who will donate 25 cents for every mile either walked or run. For bicyclists, it’s 10 cents. Users even have the ability to choose the charity they would like the money to go to. Thus far, Charity Miles has donated over $1.7 million.

Charity Bets

Charity Bets is for those moments when someone says, “I bet that would never happen.” Now, users can put friends and family members to the test by literally betting on their goals. Money is placed on the goal (say $20 for a 5k marathon) and if the user completes the marathon, that $20 will be donated to a charity of their choice.

stickK

stickK is revolutionary in that it uses negative incentives to motivate users. Here’s how it works. The user sets a fitness goal and puts money down for that goal. If the user doesn’t meet the goal, that money will then be donated to a charity the user hates. If the user meets their goal, they can do whatever they like with the money, including donating it to a charity of their preference.

Plus 3 Network

Imagine the macro side of donating, as in, huge donations made on behalf of large companies. That’s precisely what Plus 3 Network is focused on, except these generous donations are entirely dependent on the micro side of things. When a company signs up with Plus 3 Network, they’re given a mobile “Clubhouse” that can be used to track participating employees’ physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and other lifestyle factors. The app rewards healthy lifestyle choices by donating money on behalf of the company whenever personal fitness goals are achieved.

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Companies that Give to Education

Several high-profile companies have committed themselves to donating generous funds to education to promote its quality, longevity—and, most importantly, its accessibility. Among these companies are private equity firm KKR, who have made significant contributions to schools through the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity programs, and Google, who is donating Chromebooks to incoming refugees to help them settle into their new homes and to provide refugees with a reliable educational platform. Additionally, car company Fiat Chrysler now offers free college educations to its employees. Though the donations and efforts look a little different, these companies are all working to support education.

KKR has given support to the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) for years. SEO Scholars is an eight-year academic program that helps underprivileged public high school students all the way through college, supporting them for a significant portion of their lives. KKR cofounder Henry Kravis and KKR global head of public affairs Ken Mehlman attended the program’s 13th Annual Awards Dinner recently. “Since becoming Chairman of SEO’s Board of Directors, I’ve continued to be inspired by the determination of the young people we serve,” Kravis said.

Google is also doing its part to make sure people of all ages are getting access to information and opportunities they need. The tech company is donating $5.3 million to provide nonprofits with Chromebooks for Syrian refugees to help them learn new work skills, a local language, and to help them continue whatever studies they left behind. Chromebooks are an excellent low-cost option for nonprofits that can help needy people settle in to a new culture.

“[Chromebooks] can run an educational game for children, a language course for younger adults, or even feature information about the asylum application process on a pre-installed homepage,” said Jacqueline Fuller, director of Google.

Perhaps the only option better than a Chromebook is to simply offer free college education to those who want it. That’s what Fiat Chrysler is doing: the company is offering “no-cost, no-debt” college educations through Strayer University. The college offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees in 40 different fields. In Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, and Tennessee, 356 dealerships have opted in to participate in the program. Any employee can enroll. The company hasn’t announced how the program is paid for, but it is likely that a deal between the two institutions has been reached. Fiat Chrysler’s program, called Degrees@Work, contributes to the overall wealth of knowledge its employees have that they can then pour back into the company.

Through these measures, these three companies are contributing to the world’s shared knowledge, empowering workers and educating people for the better.

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How to Make Health-Based Philanthropy Work

Many of us have a desire to save the world in whatever way we can—that’s why philanthropy is so important and widespread. But what’s the most effective way to approach health initiatives? It’s all good and well to throw money at a problem, or even try to swoop in and save the day—but will that cause real, lasting change? Organizations like the Gates Foundation (founded by Bill and Melinda Gates) and the J.C. Flowers Foundation (founded by private equity giant J.C. Flowers & Co.) follow what studies say is the best way to approach community activism: they support change as run by the community itself, rather than just coming in as an outside influence.

“Numerous agencies of the federal government of the US have concluded that community engagement is a critical component of any public health strategy,” write Barbara J. Zappia and Deborah L. Puntenney in their study on grassroots activism and community health initiatives. That’s why agencies like the US Department of Health and Human Services the National Institutes for Health, and the Centers for Disease Control have chosen to focus a large part of their energies on community engagement.

Effective activism that engages the community can be positively supported by business, despite the sometimes negative connotation of combining philanthropy with “profit-making.”

The J.C. Flowers Foundation is one example of this. Its extremely effective work to eradicate malaria in “last mile” African communities has inspired philanthropists both locally and internationally. The Foundation believes in focusing on the local community when it comes to supporting its initiatives. According to their website, they “believe that the people who live in the communities have the best knowledge about how to solve their own problems.” The J.C. Flowers Foundation brings its organizational skills, as well as financial and technical know-how, to the table, but count on local communities to spearhead initiatives.

The Gates Foundation also has a focus on malaria eradication from the inside out. To date they’ve invested $2 billion in grants to fight the disease, and they are committed to working with a broad range of partners, including local communities, to treat and prevent future outbreaks. Because they are a large organization, they’re able to invest financially in ways local communities can’t always manage; however, they also acknowledge the importance of working with the people on the ground who make these areas home.

Whether abroad or at home, philanthropy focused on health initiatives can make great strides if the groups working on it focus on partnering with and strengthening local communities.

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The Fight Against Malaria in Africa

Malaria continues to be a huge problem in Africa, as well as other places across the world where access to medical help and information are not always readily available. Though some progress has been made in treating and cutting down the number of cases, malaria has yet to be eradicated.

However, many organizations around the world are fighting hard to provide African communities with the information and support they need.

The Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Elimination Initiative

The Isdell:Flowers Initiative is the brainchild of the J.C. Flowers Foundation, the philanthropic arm of financial services giant J.C. Flowers & Co. The Initiative focuses on an area called the “last mile,” the cross-border region that includes Namibia, Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe where the population is mobile and difficult to reach. Because people living in this area travel a lot, they often spread malaria without meaning to, and they don’t have the education or resources to take precautionary steps.

That’s where the Isdell:Flowers Initiative comes in. Their work focuses on things like net distribution (to prevent malaria-infected mosquito bites), training villagers to treat and prevent the disease, and providing the equipment for rapid testing. The Initiative also performs extensive research and data analysis.

The Global Health Group

Launched in 2007, the Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative pursues “achievable and evidence-based elimination goals.” By partnering with researchers, implementers, and advocates, Group Health conducts research and develops new tools to help eliminate malaria. To date they’ve published important reports and peer-reviewed papers; organized relief efforts in both Asia and Africa; partnered to provide sustainable, domestic financing and resource mobilization; and greatly influenced policy-makers with organizations like the Malaria Elimination Group, an international scientific community that serves as an advisory board to 35 countries fighting malaria.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation has its fingers a lot of philanthropic pies, and the fight against malaria is no exception. Noting that malaria occurs in 100 countries across the world and exists as both a social and economic burden, the Gates Foundation oversees programs that help address malaria as a treatable and preventable disease. Their multi-year malaria strategy, Accelerate to Zero, was adopted in 2013 and continues to coordinate with partners in taking steps to eradicate malaria. Because the Foundation is well funded and uniquely positioned across the world, they are able to support initiatives and take risks in a way other, smaller organizations can’t.

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Ending Poverty Should Be One of Society’s Primary Concerns

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 children.

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Become an Everyday Philanthropist

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 donate, one to keep, and one to recycle. Remember to recycle. Don’t donate items that are broken or ripped; only donate useable items. The end result of this process will be hard cash to support a worthy cause and an uncluttered living space filled with light. Sell the items at your own yard sale or rent a table at a local flea market for larger crowds.

What other ways do you practice being an everyday philanthropist?

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Top Malaria Prevention Initiatives

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 difference!