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Donation News Organizations

Nonprofit ‘Mercy Ships’ to Launch World’s Largest Non-Governmental Hospital Ship

Becton, Dickenson and Company (BD) is a medical technology company, one of the largest in the world and over 120 years old. They essentially invented the modern hypodermic needle, and in the last decade have spent over $30 billion in acquiring some of their competitors.

Feel what you may about the cost of medicine, which tech companies like BD certainly play a large part in, this company works to maintain a clean public image. In 2010, BD was ranked 18th in the Fortune 500 Green List, which ranks all of the Fortune 500 companies by their environmental impact. And then there is Mercy Ships.

Mercy Ships is a global nonprofit with which BD is partnered, running hospital ships which can travel to underserved countries and ports, providing medical care and infrastructure without needing anything new to be built on site.

Celebrating 25 years of their partnership, BD is donating $1 million to the charity to support the construction and launch of the Global Mercy, which at 571 feet and 37,000 tons will be the largest ever non-government hospital ship. The Global Mercy will feature six operating rooms, a fully-functioning hospital, and will house as many as 600 staff, from highly-trained surgeons to volunteers.

Once launched, the Global Mercy will join Mercy Ships’ only other extant vessel, Africa Mercy, in bringing medical care to African nations, where the need for quality surgical care is highest. According to Mercy Ships’ website, 18.6 million people die a year in need of surgical care, nearly all of them in Africa.

“The high quality, compassionate surgical care that Mercy Ships provides to patients has transformed nearly three million lives over four decades,” said Tom Polen, CEO and President at BD. “It’s been a privilege for BD to support the Mercy Ships mission over the past 25 years, and with this newest philanthropic commitment, we look forward to being part of the life-saving medical treatment that the Global Mercy will bring to millions of vulnerable patients.”

Source: Press Release

Editorial credit: byvalet / Shutterstock.com

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Top Nonprofit Trends of 2019

The nonprofit sector is rapidly evolving. Charities that want to succeed in the coming year will need to stay ahead of the curve by studying the list below, which contains the top nonprofit trends of 2019.

Rejecting Tainted Money

Fundraising ethics became a central concern in 2019 amid several scandals involving high-profile donors. For example, many organizations struggled to distance themselves from philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein after he was charged with child sex trafficking crimes.

Similarly, institutions that received millions of dollars from the Sackler family attempted to cut ties after news reports surfaced of the family’s alleged role in the opioid crisis.

Focusing on Diversity

While a lot of progress has been made in regards to hiring more people of color, data collected from the 100 biggest charities shows that white men still make up the majority of chief executives.

Increasing Wages

Earlier this year, more than 2,500 museum workers disclosed their salaries in a crowdsourced spreadsheet that has since gone viral. The results showed that many of the lowest paid workers do not earn enough to keep up with the cost of living. As a result, many organizations are making it a priority to increase wages.

Mass Exodus of Fundraisers

A survey conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in conjunction with the Association of Fundraising Professionals revealed that half of fundraisers are looking to leave their jobs due to low wages, too much pressure to reach unrealistic goals, and frustrating organizational structures.

Fundraising with Artificial Intelligence

Advances in technology have made it possible for charities to more efficiently target donors. There are now artificial intelligence programs that can identify donors’ passions and make appeals to them based on their personal interests. While there is excitement regarding the benefits of this new technology, some experts worry that it will result in fewer jobs for real people.

Why do these nonprofit trends matter? Because in the end, it is the organizations that know how to navigate these changes that will thrive in 2020.

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Donation

Wells Fargo Renews Ongoing Support of Habitat for Humanity

Wells Fargo is number 25 in a ranked list of the United States’ largest corporations. Their corporate social responsibility efforts extend from long before their notoriety, and include three priorities: economic contributions to disadvantaged communities, environmental husbandry, and progressive inclusion.

Their recent and ongoing donations to Habitat for Humanity serves all three goals.

Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976 in Georgia and today a worldwide Christian nonprofit, is a well-established force towards making sure people have a place to live. “Through shelter, we empower” is their motto.

Wells Fargo has donated over $40 million to Habitat for Humanity since the beginning of their relationship in 2010. Wells Fargo employees are also encouraged to volunteer on Habitat building projects, having contributed more than 355,000 hours in that same time, or the equivalent of six consecutive years of man-hours.

On December 20th, 2017, Wells Fargo gifted an additional $18 million to the nonprofit to strengthen their U.S. operations, specifically in the realm of disaster aid. Habitat has learned much in the wake of the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, and has expanded its needs.

“We have seen the positive impact made in local communities through our work with Habitat for Humanity and this donation will help to further advance our commitment to economic empowerment through affordable home-ownership,” said Jon Campbell, head of Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility at Wells Fargo. “The funding will also enable Wells Fargo to exceed our goal of building and improving 1,000 homes between 2016 and 2020.”

“This generous donation from Wells Fargo will enable us to partner with more families in need of a decent place to call home,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford. “These much-needed funds also will allow us to make critical improvements to our operations, and help us better address the growing need for affordable housing throughout the country.”

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Resources

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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Donation News

Star-Studded Sing-a-Long Raises $5 Million for Historic Apollo Theatre

Since it first opened in 1934, the Apollo Theatre has been a hotspot for African American culture—particularly music. Its amateur night has been the starting point for many big names in music, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bill Cosby, and Lauryn Hill. These days, the theater relies on generous donations to keep its legacy going. That’s why billionaire Ron Perelman’s seventh annual fundraiser is so important.

On August 20, Perelman’s “little barn in the Hamptons” was filled with big names from a variety of entertainment and business backgrounds, including comedian Chris Rock, singer/actress Jennifer Lopez, and private equity guru Henry Kravis.

Guests paid $10,000 to mingle among the stars and hear live music performances by Lionel Richie (who led sing-a-longs to his hits), The Roots, Gwen Stefani, and Joe Walsh. But there was a purpose beyond fun—to raise funds for the Apollo Theatre.

“We’ve got to break the divide between the haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor,” Perelman told his guests. “I think we can manage to do it with the arts….And the Apollo can do that better than any other institution I’ve been involved with.”

The theater that was to become the historic Apollo was built in Harlem, New York in 1913 by Jules Hurtig and Harry Seamon. The two burlesque operators ran it as Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. In 1928 Bill Minsky bought the building and renamed it the 125th Street Apollo Theatre. Even though Harlem was becoming the epicenter of African American culture by that time, audiences and entertainers at the theater were entirely white.

That all changed on January 26, 1934, when new owners Sydney S. Cohen and Morris Sussman reopened the Apollo as a theater specifically meant to showcase black performance. Its “amateur night” became a popular feature, creating space for the first performances for many who went on to become big names in the music industry.

The Apollo is now officially a landmark building, drawing an estimated 1.3 million visitors every year.

Perelman’s annual fundraiser provides the Apollo with regular funds—this year, about $5 million—to continue its support of the African American art scene in New York.

Photo: Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

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News

The Philadelphia Inquirer Belongs to a Non-Profit Now

The Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the oldest newspapers in the country, is going non-profit. Specifically, it and it’s sister publications, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, have been donated to Institute for Journalism in New Media, which itself is part of the Philadelphia Foundation. The move is an attempt to ease the financial burden that legacy news organizations face these days.

People have been saying for some time that “print is dead,” and while it continually proves them wrong, newspapers have been struggling across the country. The goal with this move is to make that easier by making the paper leaner. They still need to generate profit, but that money has to be sunk back into the company, instead of going to owners.

The Tampa Bay Times is also owned by a non-profit, the Poynter Institute, but unlike the Philadelphia Inquirer, that paper is held as a for-profit subsidiary. The Inquirer and her sisters have started down a new path, the effects of which remain to be seen.

But it stands to reason that the non-profit world is perhaps where newspapers, perhaps journalism in general, belong. While they have historically been for-profit, and often started as money making ventures, newspapers have long filled an essential role within democracy. While blogs and other websites are horning in on that territory, newspapers still serve a purpose, especially for those readers who do not have Internet access. Not having a computer shouldn’t prevent you from keeping up with the news.

So it makes sense that a medium so essential to the workings of democracy, which is intended to inform the citizenry and to uplift them, should be non-profit. It benefits the readers, by keeping newspapers around, and it benefits those with jobs in he industry, from journalists to printers, who are at risk of losing their jobs in attempts to keep those papers lean and profitable.

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News

Sanders Calls for Nonprofit Credit Ratings Agencies

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has stated that credit ratings agencies should be nonprofit, and that they should not be reliant on Wall Street. He argued that companies such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch have too close a relationship to Wall Street, which creates a conflict of interest.

Under such a model, those groups would be less beholden to Wall Street and less susceptible to it’s machinations, and able to provide more honest credit ratings to Americans. As it stands, financial institutions have too much influence in the credit market, which can negatively impact Americans who need credit to purchase cars, homes, and other expensive items. With poor credit ratings, many borrowers are forced to rely on lines of credit with prohibitively high interest rates.

Mr. Sanders has also said that under his presidency, he would seek to reform the Federal Reserve so that it ceases making interest payments to financial institutions that keep money with the central bank. Instead, he proposes that those institutions should be paying fees to keep their money in the Fed. He also said he would ban banking industry executives from serving on the board of the Federal Reserve, which also creates a conflict of interest. Mr. Sanders and his supporters see the current arrangement as yet another opportunity for large companies to make money at the expense of the American people.

Mr. Sanders is running as a Democrat, but has historically served as an independent senator for Vermont and identifies as a democratic socialist. He has consistently run on a platform of greater accountability for big business, and an expansion of social programs within the United States in order to make the richest country in the world a place that is easier for people outside of the wealthiest Americans to live.

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Resources

Dallas Nonprofit Sends Supplies for Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

MediSend
IMG: via MediSend

MediSend International, a Dallas-based nonprofit that distributes medical supplies, is now focusing its attention on West Africa, the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak. The company is concerned for those fighting the outbreak and is trying to make sure they are able to replenish essential supplies they may have exhausted already.

Nick Hallack, CEO of MediSend International, says care for Ebola patients requires items many hospitals in developing countries are lacking such as specialized hazmat equipment along with basic medical supplies. MediSend is trying to alleviate some of the stress being put on the likely exhausted outbreak workers and strengthen their resolve in the best way they can. By sending essential supplies, MediSend is hoping to establish itself as a resource for the medical professionals at the heart of the Ebola outbreak.

Mark Luke, who works as a respiratory therapist at JFK Medical Center in Monrovia, Liberia, came to the United States a week ago to help MediSend prepare the shipments. Luke is working towards a certificate in biochemical engineering through MediSend’s Global Education Center, and says his native country, Liberia, is currently facing its first ever Ebola outbreak. When Luke left just a week ago, the medical center he works in had as many as 52 confirmed patients quarantined in a specialized camp. Of the outbreak, Luke has said that it is the worst thing he has seen in the twelve years he’s worked in the hospital, including HIV and even cancer.

“When people heard about Ebola first [time] in Liberia they couldn’t believe it,” Luke said. “They thought it was some rumors. But, when people start to die, everybody got panicked and didn’t know what to do.”

The panic, fear, and chaos the Ebola outbreak has caused in West Africa is likely making the outbreak even harder for the hospital staff to contain. With nonprofit organizations such as MediSend aiding the situation by sending supplies, there is hope that the outbreak will be more contained soon.

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Organizations Profiles

Inside Philanthropy Challenges Big Donors for Big Results

Inside Philanthropy
IMG: Inside Philanthropy

In the world of not-for-profit fundraising, smaller startups and nonprofit organizations often minimize the pool of donors that they reach out to, simply because donations from more prominent donors seem unattainable. As Forbes contributor Tom Watson explains, “At the top end, philanthropy is a disproportionate business. The largest funders, the big foundations, the massive fortunes and their grant officers enjoy a position of power over nonprofits and social entrepreneurs that’s similar – if not more dominant – to the venture capital and startup equation,” of the disparate nature of philanthropy.

However, one startup is breaking all the rules as it challenges the big funders to ante up for causes of all kinds. It’s called Inside Philanthropy, and was founded by social entrepreneur David Callahan, the man behind Demos and author of “The Cheating Culture,” a book that explores why humans cheat to get ahead in finance and economics. Inside Philanthropy is a website that provides news on philanthropic trends, information about major donors, and uses a ratings system to evaluate philanthropic foundation program officers. Inside Philanthropy promotes transparency in the charitable sector, and is bridging the gap between big and small donors, in hopes of leveling the philanthropic playing field.

In a recent interview, Callahan commented on the ways in which major philanthropists hold back so much. He says, “I’m continually blown away by the sheer amount of money waiting in the wings and how even major philanthropists like George Soros and Pierre Omidyar have barely scratched the surface in giving away their fortunes.” Callahan notes that not all philanthropists are like this, however. “Bill Gates is a great example,” he says. “He’s given away more money than anyone, but he keeps getting richer [and] is now sitting on $79 billion. The philanthropy we’ve seen in recent years is nothing compared to what’s coming.”

Inside Philanthropy is a small company that is focused on the big money that exists within the philanthropic sector. By sharing information about huge donors and remaining transparent, Callahan hopes to inspire even more giving around the world, but keeping major philanthropists honest about their generosity.

Learn more at www.insidephilanthropy.com.

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Organizations Resources

Boston Marathon Raised Record Amount for Charity

Boston Marathon 2014
IMG: via Boston Marathon on Facebook.

During the 2014 Boston Marathon, runners raised a record $38.4 million for local nonprofits. This is nearly double the $20 million raised in 2013, according to the Boston Athletic Association (BAA).

After the infamous bombings at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, there was an incredible demand to participate in the annual race. This, combined with an increased field size, contributed to the unprecedented generosity, which more than 300 organizations benefited from. “At some level, it was an attack felt everywhere, and I think the fund-raising this year reflects the depth and breadth of that resilience,” said Tom Grilk, executive director of the BAA, which sponsors the Marathon.

The 2014 Boston Marathon marked the first year of the run since two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three and injuring hundreds more. The field of the 2014 Boston Marathon was expanded to 36,000 participants to accommodate the runners who were unable to finish last year’s race as well as the influx of those wanting to run, walk or wheelchair push their way over grueling hills and heated stretches on behalf of those who were injured, killed and those who survived the devastating Marathon bombings.

“This year’s Boston Marathon was like no other that we have witnessed,” BAA Executive Director Tom Grilk said in a statement. “We worked in cooperation with the community, especially the eight cities and towns which comprise the Boston Marathon route and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to accommodate as many participants as possible, and we were delighted that so many chose to channel their dedication and commitment towards fundraising for worthwhile causes.”

The Boston Marathon is an event that truly represents the generosity, sense of community, and pride that Boston residents possess. Bostonians will never forget the horrific bombings of 2013, but their shared resilience will outweigh the tragedy for years and years to come, and this year’s Marathon proves it.