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Target Shifts Giving Focus from Education to Health

UNICEF’s Kid Power program is focused on helping kids eat better around the world by providing them with healthy food. Now, they’ve joined forces with Target, who will be adding another dimension to that program: getting kids in America to be more active.

Starting next month, Target will start selling fitness bands for children, which track their footsteps and connect to an app that allows them to track goals. With each purchase of the fitness bands, Target will donated $10 to Kid Power. That money will go toward funding food packets for hungry children. The app that goes with the bands will allow kids to go on “missions” to learn about other countries, and will be able to unlock goals after a certain number of steps, which will in turn result in additional donations to UNICEF.

Target has, until recently, focused it’s corporate giving on education, primarily with their Take Charge of Education program, which will be ending following this school year. They’ve instead decided to move their focus to health and nutrition, which they claim many of their customers are concerned with. They have maintained that they will continue to support, or consider supporting, other education programs with a health element.

The Kid Power program seems like a logical step in their move from education to health giving, as the program was piloted by UNICEF in schools in Boston, Dallas, and New York back in March. With Target’s help, the program is expected to expand into more schools, reaching up to 70,000 students. The two pronged approach is pretty clever, as “gamification,” the introduction of game-like elements to other activities, is a good way to hook kids. Giving them goals, which not only help them but others as well, is a great way to get them interested in taking better care of their own health, and in supporting charity.

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News

Outpouring of Donations for Syrian Refugees Following News of Child’s Death

The Syrian civil war has been going for some time now, and while the Syrian refugee situation has gotten a lot of press lately, it’s been something that groups like Save the Children and UNICEF have been working on for a while. But, following the death of three year old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian child who drowned on a Turkish beach, Americans in particular have been giving a lot more to help out.

According to Carolyn Miles, the president and CEO of Save the Children, since photos of Aylan and the story of his death began circulating on social media sites, donations have been pouring in, especially from ordinary Americans. Miles says that, in the first eight months of 2015, Save the Children raised about $200,000 to aid refugees. In the eight days following Aylan’s death, they raised over $800,000. The United States Fund for UNICEF also reported a huge influx of donations, 636% more donation, in fact, as well as three times the website traffic they normally received.

Young Aylan’s death was a tragedy, and one that could have been avoided in numerous ways, but news of his death, and especially photos of his body on that Turkish beach, seem to have galvanized people. For many, it seems, the refugee situation isn’t just about numbers any more, but about actual people, and especially about children. As morbid as it is, photos of one dead child helped to create a huge outpouring of goodwill.

From a charitable standpoint, this is the power of social media. In the past, photos like that of Kim Phuc, a young Vietnamese girl burned by napalm in 1972, have driven home the realities of suffering during armed conflicts and other tragedies. But the speed with which the story of Aylan’s death spread around the world has made a huge difference. If his story had only been shared in traditional print media, it is unlikely that the donations would have come in as quickly. Or maybe even as much.

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Philanthropic People: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift Philanthropy
Taylor Swift IMG: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Wholesome musician Taylor Swift might be known for her status as pop music icon and “America’s Sweetheart,” but did you know that she’s also a dedicated philanthropist? At just 24 years old, Swift has contributed greatly to many international charities, and has used her celebrity status to raise awareness about important causes.

The reason Swift is such a model philanthropist is twofold: she is both generous with her money when it comes to donating to charities and relief efforts, and she is genuinely hands on. Swift has donated personal items to charitable auctions such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, UNICEF, Oxfam International, Feeding America, Donate My Dress, and many others. In 2008, when she was only 18 years old, Swift donated $100,000 to the Red Cross in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to help displaced flood victims. From this point forward, Swift has immersed herself in philanthropic efforts; she is loveable as a pop star and philanthropist because of how genuinely she wants to connect to others in both areas.

Swift does far more for charitable initiatives than simply writing a check. She has performed at many benefit concerts including BBC’s Children in Need concert, which generated thousands of dollars in donations. She has lent her voice to various social justice initiatives, such as PSAs that address hate crimes and discrimination. She even takes time out of her busy touring schedule to spend time with children in hospitals, like on her recent visit to Boston where she sang and danced with 6-year-old Jordan Lee Nickerson. These kinds of efforts to improve the quality of life of people around the world are what make Swift such a model philanthropist.

In the world of philanthropy, Swift’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. She has been recognized by the Do Something Awards, The Giving Back Fund, and the Tennessee Disaster Services for her willingness to help others in need. In 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama presented her with the “Big Help Award” for her dedication to helping those and need and her ability to inspire others through action.

With no signs of slowing in her philanthropic efforts, it seems as though Taylor Swift is committed to both making music, and making the world a better place.

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Profiles

Singer and Philanthropist Katy Perry is One of Forbes’ ‘Most Powerful Celebrities’

Katy Perry
Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

You might be familiar with American singer Katy Perry for her mark on contemporary pop culture, but did you know that she is also a dedicated philanthropist? The young singer recently made Forbes’ list of the “Most Powerful Celebrities,” for her massive earnings as a musician, and is commended for her ongoing commitment to charity work in addition to entertainment.

As of June 2014, Perry’s estimated yearly earnings fall around $40 million, which is incredibly impressive for a woman who emerged as a powerful force in pop culture a mere 5 years ago. Unlike Beyoncé, who ranks #1 in Forbes’ “Most Powerful Celebrities” roundup and performed a whopping 95 shows last year, Perry keeps a somewhat lower profile despite her immense popularity, and devotes much of her time to humanitarian efforts. An LGBT rights activist, Perry has been involved with efforts such as the It Gets Better Project, and The Trevor Project, the latter which presented her with the Hero Award for her work and activism on behalf of LGBT youth.

Supporting organizations that advocate for youth has been one of Perry’s most notable contributions within the realm of philanthropy. She has donated to charities such as Little Kids Rock, The Children’s Health Fund, the Boys Hope/Girls Hope foundation, and UNICEF, and was officially named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2013.

Perry has used proceeds from record sales to support many causes, especially those that support youth, LGBT causes, hunger, and animal rights. The Humane Society of the United States as well as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are prominent animal rights organizations she has supported. As an artist herself, Perry is also dedicated to supporting arts and music programs throughout the country. In March of 2014, she joined an A-list group of celebrities in raising $2.4 million for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and previously donated $175,000 worth of music tour proceeds to the Tickets-For-Charity fundraiser.

You can expect that more of Perry’s future endeavors will involve the combination of music and philanthropy. Stay tuned for more about this inspiring young singer and humanitarian.

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Organizations Profiles

Audrey Hepburn and UNICEF

Audrey Hepburn Wax Figure
Audrey Hepburn Wax Figure
Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com

Audrey Hepburn is one of the most adored Hollywood icons of all time. While many know her for roles in dozens of beloved American films, Hepburn was as much of a passionate humanitarian as an actress throughout her adult life.

Hepburn has said, “I feel so strongly that’s where it all starts, with kindness. What a different world this could be if everyone lived by that.” This principle influenced how she lived her life, and is what led her to pursue remarkable humanitarian work. One of her most notable humanitarian roles was with UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. This organization works in more than 190 countries to save and better children’s lives by providing basic necessities such as medicines and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition education, and emergency relief. The organization’s ultimate goal is to “achieve a day when zero children die from preventable causes,” and to provide safety for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Hepburn took direct part in these efforts while serving as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a position she was appointed to in 1988. According to UNICEF, the goal of the Goodwill Ambassador program is to allow celebrities who have shown a dedicated interest in the cause use their fame to draw attention to important issues. When Hepburn became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador she informed international media outlets, celebrities, governments and the general public of the atrocities she saw while visiting underdeveloped countries where children were in danger due to risk of starvation, violence, and unsanitary living conditions.

Through her passionate work with UNICEF she not only raised public awareness about issues targeting underdeveloped parts of the world, but also experienced delivering water, food, and medicine to children first hand. Her time spent in Africa, Turkey, South America, and elsewhere irrevocably changed Hepburn, and ignited a desire to devote the rest of her life to helping children. Hepburn is prime example of a person who has used their celebrity to promote important causes in hopes of creating change and bettering the lives of others.

Even years after her death, Hepburn has left a legacy that inspires others to do good in the world, and fight for others’ basic human rights. She was a role model, a kindhearted activist, and a true philanthropist.

To learn more about Audrey Hepburn’s relationship with UNICEF, and the organization’s continual work to better the lives of children around the world, visit UNICEF’s official website.