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Brooklyn Nine-Nine Creators, Cast Donate to Protester Bail Funds

During the protests over police brutality in the United States after the death on video of George Floyd, the police arrested over 10,000 protesters across the country in just the first two weeks, and they haven’t stopped. Some of the arrests for looting and violence, but others have been plainly unjust, such as the arrest of Evan Hreha, who was arrested for “unlawfully discharging a laser” by a mob of cops while walking his dog a week after his footage of a 7-year-old child screaming in pain after police pepper sprayed him directly in the face went viral.

Hreha was released without bail after 43 hours, but many have not been so lucky. A variety of charities have been launched to provide bail funds for the hundreds of protesters who are still awaiting charges or trial. For many, waiting in a cell is life-ruining. Every hour they remain inside, they risk losing a job, custody of their children, or their apartment, and they’re made less able to participate in their own defense.

The cast of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a comedy show which satirizes the police and has an excellent track record of not shrinking away from the either issues of police corruption or the risks they face, has been vocally on the side of the protesters since this began.

“The cast and showrunner of ‘Brooklyn 99’ condemn the murder of George Floyd and support the many people who are protesting police brutality nationally,” tweeted Dan Goor, the show’s co-creator. “Together we have made a $100,000 donation to The National Bail Fund Network. We encourage you to look up your local bail fund: the National Bail Fund Network is an organization that can lead you to them. #blacklivesmatter.”

Stephanie Beatriz, one of the show’s lead actors, also made a personal donation of $11,000 to support bail funds, and said she regards it as her moral responsibility.

“I’m an actor who plays a detective on tv,” Beatriz tweeted. “If you currently play a cop? If you make tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in residuals from playing a cop? I’ll let you do the math.”

The Brooklyn Nine-Nine donations is just the latest in a series of large donations to Black Lives Matter and related causes. K-pop group BTS and its fans donated millions, and Bank of America pledged $1 billion to address racial inequality.

Photo: A June 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C.

Credit: Kalen Martin-Gross /

Donation News The Power of Giving

Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour Sells Valuable Guitars for Climate Causes

David Gilmour has been on the world stage since he joined Pink Floyd in 1968, just a few months after they released “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and made the charts. In ’85, he took over leadership of the band after Roger Waters departed. It’s in no small part to him that as of 2012, Pink Floyd was one of the best-selling bands of all time, with over 250 million sales worldwide. The music world recognized that, inducting him into the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, the U.K. Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and a CBE in 2003.

Gilmour’s net worth is estimated between 115 and 180 million pounds, and he has poured much of that into various charities over the years, going so far as to sell his own home to English nobility and donate every cent of the proceeds, over 3.6 million pounds, to Crisis, a U.K. charity which supports the homeless with housing, employment, and health care.

In 2019, Gilmour found himself touched by the vehement activism of Greta Thunberg, the young voice for the environment whose message swept the world. And he put his life on the stage to the service of that message, auctioning off several of his most famous guitars for charity.

“The global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face,” tweeted Gilmour. “We need a civilized world that goes on for all our grandchildren and beyond in which these guitars can be played and songs can be sung.”

He donated the black Fender Stratocaster which he plays in “Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd’s most legendary album, as well as “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” and also a 12-string Martin he played in “Wish You Were Here.” The black strat sold for nearly $4 million, making it the most expensive guitar ever sold. These two, along with three others he sold, raised $21.5 million, all of which he donated to ClientEarth, an international environmentalist charity which uses its funds to ensure companies are held accountable for their pollution footprint.

Source: Mother Jones

Editorial credit: Quique Ortega /

Donation Organizations The Power of Giving

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donates $13.6M to Antibody Testing

In 2015 on the birthday of their daughter, pediatrician Priscilla Chan and her husband, Mark Zuckerberg, set up the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub to fight disease worldwide. In the past 5 years, most of their activities have been towards securing funding beyond the $1 billion in yearly funds coming from Facebook shares, but now they are taking a step forward.

On Wednesday, April 29th, Zuckerberg announced that the Initiative would be donating $13.6 million towards COVID-19 antibody testing in San Franscisco, and coordinating with Stanford University and the University of California to conduct antibody studies in the Bay Area.

There will be two studies, one of which has already begun. The first will test 4,000 Bay Area volunteers monthly for both active COVID-19 and for the antibodies which will indicate they’ve encountered the disease before. That one will run from April into December, and be used to track where new cases emerge, helping to guide a safe return to normal.

The second study will be localized to frontline health care workers. 3,500 doctors, nurses, and EMTs will be tested weekly to determine how heavily and quickly the medical community can be hit. It will also work on determining if prior infection means future immunity, which is so far an unknown factor. Many important things hinge on whether or not you can re-catch the disease, and no one really knows yet.

Both studies are intended to be used as guideposts in reopening business and normal life in and around San Franscisco, but their data will have world-wide applications. The Chan Zuckerberg donation is the largest single share of funding coming into this vital project.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg also mentioned combining the data from both studies with the self-report symptom surveys that Facebook has been running for a Carnegie Mellon research group, which could provide even more information.

Source: The Week

Editorial credit: Frederic Legrand – COMEO /


Report: Fewer Americans Are Donating to Charity

A new report released by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Vanguard Charitable shows that the number of Americans who donate to charity has dramatically decreased in recent years.

The report, titled “Changes to the Giving Landscape,” reveals that 53% of Americans gave to charity in 2016, down from 66% in 2000. Put another way, approximately 20 million fewer households are donating to charity than they did 20 years ago.

“This shift is due to lower-income and lower-wealth Americans experiencing the slowest economic recovery since the Great Recession, during years when the cost of other items such as food, education, and healthcare have increased,” said Vanguard Charitable President Jane Greenfield. “This has led to a decrease in the share of income available to give to charity.”

The authors of the report noted that millennials in particular are less likely to give to charity than older generations, which is likely due to having “the misfortune of entering the workforce during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

Data shows that baby boomers and those belonging to Generation X, for example, gave more to charity over time as their income increased. However, the same did not hold true for millennials.

“There’s a general trajectory that as you get older your income grows and your giving grows,” said Una Osili, co-author of the report and associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly School. “With millennials we haven’t seen that same pattern.”

But that’s not the only reason Americans are giving less. The other big factor is religion.

Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center show 26% of Americans now identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular,” compared to 17% in 2009. Why does that matter? Because researchers at Baylor University found that religious people are more likely to give to charity.

“Religious organizations have traditionally gotten the lion’s share of Americans’ charitable dollars,” MarketWatch notes.

Click here to read the full report.


Meghan Markle Pays Visit to South African Charity

Meghan Markle is in the news again, but this time it’s not about her chic style or royal status—it’s about her kind heart.

On Wednesday, the Duchess of Sussex paid a visit to mothers2mothers charity, a nonprofit organization based in South Africa that trains and employs HIV positive women as community health workers.

During her visit, Markle donated two large bags of “loved but outgrown” children’s clothes. Some of the items belonged to her five-month-old son, Archie; the rest were provided by family friends.

According to People Magazine, Markle also donated pens, books, and other gifts. She spent much of her visit sitting on the floor with the other mothers while the children played.

“She sat down and within a few moments, she saw that the babies were all being held by their mothers,” said Frank Beadle de Palomo, president and CEO of mothers2mothers charity. “She saw the play mat, she said, ‘Let’s get these babies on the ground.’ She sat on the ground with us. She pulled us down and she just engaged with the children.”

Limpho Nteko, a 29-year-old mother of two who works for the charity, shared her personal story with Markle. Nteko, who came to mothers2mothers in 2013, had already lost one child to HIV. However, she has since had two more who were born HIV negative.

“She was amazing,” Nteko said. “She mentioned that she is a mom as well. She enjoyed playing and at the same time she was paying attention to what the mothers were saying and picking up on what important points they mentioned. That was actually quite amazing.

“I totally forgot she was a duchess. Even though I was nervous, when she entered the room everything was so normal! She’s an incredible person. She makes everyone feel welcomed. She warmed up the place.”


Amazon to Donate Unsold Items to Charity

On Wednesday, Amazon introduced a new program in which unsold items will be donated to charity.

“This program will reduce the number of products sent to landfills and instead help those in need,” Amazon wrote in an email to sellers announcing the launch of the new program.

As the largest e-commerce company in the world, it only makes sense that Amazon would donate these items instead of dumping them in the trash—but that wasn’t always the case. A recently aired TV documentary, for example, uncovered that Amazon destroyed three million unsold items in France last year.

Infuriating as it may be, the exposé actually led to a positive outcome. For example, it paved the way for Fulfillment by Amazon Donations, the new program that allows third-party sellers that store their merchandise in Amazon warehouses to donate their unsold items to charity.

The program will become default on September 1, though sellers will have the ability to opt out. However, according to CNBC, the program makes it more cost-effective for sellers to donate their unwanted inventory.

“We know getting products into the hands of those who need them transforms lives and strengthens local communities,” said Alice Shobe, Director of Amazon in the Community. “We are delighted to extend this program to sellers who use our fulfillment services.”

As reported by Newsweek, Amazon has partnered with several organizations to help allocate the donated items. Virginia-based nonprofit Good360 will be in charge of distributing the donated items to various charities across the U.S. In the U.K., Amazon has pledged to give directly to individual charities like the Salvation Army, Barnardo’s, and Newlife.

In an emailed statement to CNBC, Amazon said that they are “working hard” to reduce the number of destroyed products to zero.

“At Amazon, the vast majority of returned products are resold to other customers or liquidators, returned to suppliers, or donated to charitable organizations, depending on their condition,” Amazon said.


Jersey Mike’s to Donate All of Today’s Sales to Charity

Imagine if your next meal came with a side of altruism. That’s the opportunity sandwich chain Jersey Mike’s is offering customers today.

In honor of their ninth annual Day of Giving, the company is donating all sales to charity. It is a nationwide event, meaning that every Jersey Mike’s location in the U.S. is participating. However, it’s only for today, so those who want to contribute had better grab a sub before they close.

“Our culture of giving at Jersey Mike’s is as much a part of our heritage as oil and vinegar,” the company’s website reads. “We believe that making a great sub sandwich and making a difference can be one in the same. Every store we open starts by partnering with a charity in the local community. Because the way we see it, a sub’s job isn’t done at simply tasting good. A sub should do good too.”

This single-day event is part of Jersey Mike’s “Month of Giving” campaign, in which customers are actively encouraged to support local charities. The campaign, which takes place every March, has raised $34 million since its initial launch in 2010.

“Last year’s nationwide Month of Giving initiative raised more than $6 million for charities making a big difference in their local communities, and this year, we hope to raise even more,” said Peter Cancro, founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s. “From the early days, it’s just what we’ve always done—give to give, as they say. This March, I invite you to visit Jersey Mike’s to help support an important cause in your neighborhood.”

Cancro launched the sandwich shop in 1956—when he was just 17 years old. The east coast eatery quickly became popular, and now operates 1,537 shops in the U.S. Those who would like to support the company’s annual Day of Giving can find a nearby location by clicking here.


Report: Former Muslim Aid Trustees Mismanaged Charity

One of Britain’s largest charities, Muslim Aid, is at the center of a scandal.

A recent investigation by the U.K. Charity Commission revealed that former trustees seriously mismanaged the organization’s resources. According to The Times, Muslim Aid has an annual budget of £34 million.

“The concerns were originally dealt with as part of a regulatory compliance case,” the commission said in a statement. “But the commission’s engagement escalated when the charity’s own reassurances to the regulator served instead to highlight the sheer scale of concerns about the charity’s financial management, specifically its due diligence, monitoring, and oversight of its field offices.”

According to nonprofit news source Third Sector, the commission was also concerned that the charity was unintentionally funding a terrorist group due to a lack of proper checks. However, further inquiry proved that wasn’t the case.

The report concluded:

“The then board of trustees fell short of the standards required and expected, particularly of a large, well-known and trusted charity with substantial operations and reach.

“The then board of trustees did not meet with their duties to act with reasonable care and skill and fell short of their responsibilities under charity law.”

The report did note, however, that significant improvements have been made ever since Jehangir Malik was appointed CEO in September 2016. In a statement, Malik reassured the public that the charity is back on the right track:

“After a challenging period, the board and the senior leadership team have initiated a new governance structure that has put in place model checks and balances to ensure the highest of professional operating standards.

“Muslim Aid has a 30-year legacy of excellent field work, serving humanity. This is a strong foundation and the improvements put in place, under the supervision of this inquiry process, will ensure that the future of the charity is robust.

“Muslim Aid has emerged a more transparent organization, more fit for purpose for the current strategic requirements of donors and beneficiaries alike. Muslim Aid is entering an exciting new phase.”


Lottery Winner Starts Her Own Charity with Winnings

Rachel Lapierre won the lottery in 2013—a one in seven million stroke of luck, netting her C$1,000 a week for the rest of her life.

At the time, she was a nurse, a former Miss Quebec, and already a person dedicated to helping those around her. At 20, she ran a modeling school to help young women build careers under their own control in the fashion industry. Later, as a nurse, she worked in emergency departments and was a part of overseas humanitarian organizations.

Lapierre was 56 when her numbers popped up on the Canadian National Lottery.

“I figured that if I won, I would go ahead with this project of founding a charity,” she told le Journal de Montreal in 2013.

And she’s done just that. Using her winnings to organize teams of volunteers under a charity called Le Book Humanitaire, she has worked in eight countries and counting. Beginning in her hometown of Montreal, providing food and clothes to the homeless, she has also traveled abroad, building things like street clinics in India, Haiti, and Senegal.

“Money is money,” said Lapierre in an interview with the Mirror about her passion project. “When you’re born, you don’t have anything. And when you go, you go with nothing but your memories. You go with what you did here in life.

“We just try to promote good deeds. Good deeds can be so many things. It can be a bike, it can be food, it can be transport to go to the hospital.”

Lapierre’s winnings are supplemented by a number of partner companies to fund the charity, including Les Ateliers, Lunettes Dépôt, and international shipping company Transport Charrette.

Lapierre’s whole life is a story about making sure that her successes elevated others with her. If one can be said to deserve to win the lotto, surely she did. And she continues to make sure that her rising tide lifts all boats.


Feeling Generous? Here’s Some Tips for Giving

In times like these, it’s easy to want to help and not know how. The news is packed with stories of economic injustice, much of it urgent. A thousand children need legal representation today. Schools in Puerto Rico are closing down. Michigan’s donated water has run out. It’s something different every day, and for most of us, the only help we can offer is to open our wallets.

The urgency makes it difficult to gauge the effectiveness and trustworthiness of charity campaigns. GoFundMes and the like set up by private individuals feel good to support, as they represent the kind of grassroots activism we all admire. But even well-meaning organizers may fall short of their promised activities, and many don’t have good intentions.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to investigate a charitable campaign before giving. A quick search may turn its name up on a list of common scams.

For a more concrete review, check with and Charity Navigator, which hold charity organizations responsible for transparency and fiscal responsibility. New organizations that pop up immediately following a disaster are difficult to verify.

Crowdfunding campaigns, while often among the first to pop up in response to an emergency, are difficult or impossible to vet. If you do decide to donate to one of these, follow up by monitoring the campaign’s activity and discussions. If anything seems off-base, quick reports to the hosting site may keep the money from disappearing.

If you do support small grassroots campaigns, look for a few earmarks of good planning. Specific uses for donations and how they are intended to help is a good starting point. Avoid vague and broad promises. Organizers who set up transparency from the beginning, with real names and contact information available, are far more credible.

We all want to help, and monetary donations are desperately vital. Lawyers, marches, soup kitchens, and clean water all cost money. But take the time to ensure that your money will go where you intend it to.