Altruism Today

Bill Moyers on How to Fight Citizens United

January 27th, 2012  |  Source: NPQ


Source: Truthout | In a video posted on Truthout, an independent nonprofit news site, Bill Moyers does a nice job of talking about how ordinary individuals can get involved in overturning the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens Uniteddecision, which paved the way for unlimited campaign spending by corporations, unions and qualified nonprofit corporations. 

Moyers clearly explains the process for getting involved. “So look around for organizations you can join or contact for information,” he says. “There’s a national coalition already at work named Move to Amend…and a group leading the fight And see you here next time.”

Moyers’ calm presentation of people’s potential to make change is bolstered by his credibility as a thoughtful journalist and documentarian of our times. It is one of many videos you can access at

Innovation: Nonprofit Launches an Alternative “Payday Loan” Shop

January 25th, 2012  |  Source: NPQ

Source: Kansas City Star | The Missouri Division of Finance estimates that 2.4 million “payday loans” with interest rates in the triple digits were issued in Missouri in 2010. But now there may be an alternative, at least for a tiny proportion of those seeking such loans.

In partnership with Central Bank of Kansas City, a nonprofit group calling itself Fair Community Credit has just made its first “payday loan” of an expected 500.

Fair Community Credit has been in development for three years. It will make loans of $300 to $2,500 on signature alone. The loans are not collateralized by the borrower; Fair Community Credit has a $200,000-plus loan guarantee pool donated by foundations and individual donors that it will be using over its first year of lending. Fair Community Credit’s interest rates will be in the mere double digits, whereas payday loans charge a heartrending 390 percent. There oughta be a law!

To be eligible for one of the Fair Community Credit loans, applicants must earn a minimum of $9,600 a year and be free of outstanding liens or judgments.

Two Degrees 2011 DOES GOOD Report

January 19th, 2012  |  Source: Two Degrees Food

It's been a remarkable year, from the sale of our first bar in January to the donation of our 250,000th meal to a hungry child in December.  Thank you for sharing our story, supporting our efforts, providing feedback along the way, and making this remarkable year possible! 

We hope our DOES GOOD Report gives you some information on why we give, what we give, how we give and where. 

As always, your feedback helps us learn and grow - and we welcome it.  Let us know what you think! 

Leveraging Limited Dollars

January 18th, 2012  |  Source: NCRP

Advocacy by 110 nonprofit organizations over a five-year period has brought more than $26.6 billion in benefits to low-wage workers, communities of color, rural residents and other marginalized groups.

That's one finding in NCRP’s new study, Leveraging Limited Dollars: How Grantmakers Achieve Tangible Benefits by Funding Policy and Community Engagement.

Their research found that every dollar grantmakers and other donors invested in policy and civic engagement provided a return of $115 in benefit.

A Social Innovator Contest Winner: We'd Like to Understand Her Idea on Homelessness a Little More

January 13th, 2012  |  Source: NPQ

Source: | Harvard undergrad Jessica Choi is one of three students to win the 2011 College Social Innovator Contest sponsored by the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative and the “Common Good” column at Choi submitted an award-winning essay describing the organization she and two University of California at Davis students (Thomas Ma and Brian Ma) have created, called “Beyond the Cardboard”. “Beyond” is aimed at “helping the homeless in two ways, by giving them a voice and providing them [with] tangible resources to overcome homelessness," as stated in Choi's essay.

Choi deserves congratulations, to be sure, as there were probably many competitors, but the social enterprise she is launching next month seems to have missed an entire infrastructure of homeless service providers and advocacy organizations working with the homeless. A reasonable question that the Forbes and Harvard contest sponsors might have asked is whether there were other networks of organizations doing some of what Choi proposes. This isn't to knock Choi's heartfelt commitment to the homeless, but rather to suggest that as “social innovators” think about solutions to problems such as homelessness, they might want to make sure that they are tapping the infrastructure that currently exists.

Salvation Army Kettles Get Gold, Diamonds This Christmas

December 26th, 2011  |  Source:

It is usual for Salvation Army volunteers to wear Santa’s hat and ring bells around Christmas to collect coins to feed the poor, but this time they witnessed unusual generosity with checks, gold coins and diamonds slipping in to their red kettles.

This Christmas season, the Salvation Army’s annual redkettle campaign received checks worth thousands of dollars, at least 40 gold coins, and other valuable treasures such as diamonds, the Christian charity said.

A check for $10,000 was found placed in a kettle outside a Menlo Park Safeway in Redwood City, Calif., Friday. And three days earlier, another anonymous donor left a $5,000 check outside another Safeway in Redwood City.

The fundraising campaign, which starts each year on the Friday after Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Eve, also received 36 $100 bills in Chattanooga, Tenn.; a gold coin worth $1,600 in Brown County, Wis.; a $20 gold coin worth about $1,400; a set of gold teeth in Fort Myers, Fla.; five gold Krugerrand coins worth about $8,000 together in Frederick, Md.; and a diamond ring valued at about $5,000 wrapped in a $1 dollar bill in Spokane, Wash.


December 19th, 2011  |  Source: CAF America


The United States now ranks the highest in terms of charity in a massive global survey that put the nation in fifth place in 2010, according to CAFAmerica, a member organization of the United Kingdom based Charities Aid Foundation International Network of Offices, providing charitable financial services to individuals, global corporations, charities, and foundations.

According to those surveyed, two out of three Americans said they donated money to charity (65 percent), more than two out of five volunteered their time (43 percent) and roughly three out of four helped a stranger (73 percent).

The new “World Giving Index (WGI) 2011” report is based on over 150,000 Gallup polling interviews with members of the public in 153 countries. The 2011 report looks at three aspects of giving behavior of individuals in the preceding month, asking if they have donated money to a charity, volunteered time to an organization, or helped a stranger.

The top-ranked U.S. was followed in the survey by Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom rounding out the top five. The four new countries in the top 20 compared to the 2010 WGI report are Thailand, Morocco, Nigeria and Liberia. Of these, Liberia has enjoyed the biggest rise from 39th to 14th place, although Morocco’s increase from 33rd to 12th is equally notable. Other major shifts in the rankings include the rise of the United Kingdom from eighth to fifth, and Thailand’s neighbor Laos moving to tenth place.

Read the December 19, 2011 news release.

Read the “World Giving Index 2011” report.

Listen to the December 19, 2011 news event.

AmeriCares & GE Foundation: Health Care for the Uninsured

December 5th, 2011  |  Source:

New online resource to help improve care at free clinics nationwide

AmeriCares and the GE Foundation have teamed up to launch an innovative online resource guide for free clinics and nonprofit health care centers serving the growing number of uninsured Americans. With nearly 50 million people in the U.S. without health insurance, and more families relying on safety net clinics as their primary source of medical care, serves as a comprehensive resource dedicated to improving the care provided by the 1,200 free clinics serving America’s uninsured and underinsured.

The site contains practical how-to guides for clinic administrators interested in better managing volunteers, organizing on-site pharmacies and improving the delivery of health services. It also features a message board where clinic directors can solicit advice from their peers all across the country. The site links to AmeriCares U.S. Access online ordering system that allows free clinic administrators to request donations of medicines and supplies from products in stock at AmeriCares Stamford, Conn. warehouse.

“Free Clinics Today is a one-stop-shop for all of the best and most up-to-date information for health care providers serving the uninsured,” said AmeriCares President and CEO Curt Welling. “Pairing our expertise with our medical aid deliveries is one more way we’re helping free clinics do more with limited resources.”

Free Clinics Today is part of AmeriCares expanding domestic work, which includes ongoing medical assistance to 400 free clinics, nonprofit pharmacies and community health centers nationwide. In addition, more than 100,000 Americans rely on AmeriCares Patient Assistance Programs for free prescription medications to manage their chronic health conditions. In Connecticut, where the charity is based, it operates three AmeriCares Free Clinics that provide high-quality, outpatient medical care for low-income residents without health insurance. Launches Membership-Based Platform

November 29th, 2011  |  Source:, one of the largest U.S. organizations that helps teens take action on causes they care about, launches a new membership model today.

The goal of membership is to build an army of doers 5 million strong by 2015. 

The organization will communicate with its members primarily through text messaging, as 90% of teens have a cell phone by age 15 and the open rate for text message is 100%.

Membership gives teens the chance to make a real impact on social change, cash grants and prizes for school and cause projects, swag teens actually want (like movie tickets), and access to invite-only opportunities like the chance to meet a celebrity. Any young person 25 and under can join by texting “JOIN” to 38383 or joining online at

In addition, the organization is releasing data from their third annualCommunity Service and College Admissions Survey, the only scientific report addressing how community service impacts the college admissions process. This year, the survey reportsadmission officers indicate long-term commitment to a cause or organization is very important.

Sponsored by Chase and conducted in partnership with Fastweb, the trusted scholarship and financial aid resource, the survey interviewed admissions officers from 32 of the top 50 colleges and universities listed in US News & World Report to identify the most important elements of a strong application. Some findings include:

·         “Good citizenship” is instrumental, a skill developed in service activities(76% of officers reported leadership plays a critical role in admissions decisions)

·         Specific language can be more effective: words like “passion” and “initiative,” should be used instead of ”required” and “brief”

·         Applicants should indicate their community service in the specific area of the application and elaborate in the essay)

·         Community service ranked number four in importance of factors considered for admission – above reference letters, interviews and legacy.

For more go to:

Médecins sans Frontières book reveals aid agencies' ugly compromises

November 20th, 2011  |  Source: The Guardian

Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed gives inside account of forced deals with regimes that abuse human rights

A controversial new book produced by one of the world's best-known aid agencies, Médecins sans Frontières, lifts the lid on the often deeply uncomfortable compromises aid organisations are forced to make while working in conflicts.

How humanitarian aid organisations work – and the sometimes unintended consequences of their actions – has been brutally cross-examined in recent years, not least by the critical Dutch author Linda Polman.

Read the review here:

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