Altruism Today

Altruism personified

January 23rd, 2011  |  Source: The Economist


Civility, altruism, public service, all publicly pined for since the Tucson shootings, seemed summed up in Sargent Shriver, who died on January 18th. In a world split between heavily armed East and West, Mr Shriver’s Peace Corps, set up in 1961 under his direction, sent students abroad to foster friendship and be useful. In America itself, riven by race and Vietnam, he led programmes—Head Start, VISTA, Community Action—that looked beyond colour and ideology to improve the lives and chances of ordinary people. And not least, Mr Shriver regularly put his own ambitions aside to help his thrusting in-laws, the Kennedys, grab and hold on to power. Too idealistic for the political rat-run, perhaps; too naive to be president, even if he had wanted it and voters had wanted him; just too darn nice, it seems, ever to have flourished in the present climate. But by no means ineffective, for all that.


January 20th, 2011  |  Source: Fisher House

Program Launched with After-Tax Proceeds from President Obama’s Children’s Book

Rockville, MD  & New York, NY (January 20, 2011) –Fisher House Foundation has announced the official launch of the "Heroes' Legacy Scholarships”program, which has been established to provide education aid to the children of military members who have died or become disabled through active military service since September 11, 2001, whether in combat or under other qualified circumstances.

The scholarship grants for this special program are principally underwritten by the after tax proceeds from the book "Of Thee I Sing, A Letter to My Daughters"written by President Barack Obama. The amount to be awarded each year will depend on the sum of royalties and other potential donations.

“We are so grateful to President Obama for his continuing support of military families and for allowing Fisher House Foundation to establish this scholarship program as the beneficiary of this beautiful children’s book,” said Ken Fisher, Chairman of Fisher House Foundation.  “Our military families make sacrifices that we civilians can’t even begin to comprehend.  To ensure that their children are not prohibited from pursuing an educational goal just because of a lack of funds is something we can all support.”

Selected recipients will receive a scholarship grant, not to exceed the costs of tuition, books, lab fees, and room and board, to any accredited U. S. post-secondary institution of high learning.  The amount of the scholarship may be reduced by other funds that the student has received from federal or state government programs or other grants. Eligibility criteria for the "Heroes' Legacy Scholarships" program are different from the "Scholarships for Military Children" program, also administered by Fisher House Foundation.  The two applicant pools are considered separately.  Applicants can apply to either or both program if they meet the eligibility criteria.

The program is open to dependent unmarried children under age 23. A disability is defined as one that results in the service member being eligible for, and receiving, Traumatic Service members' Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) or a permanent and total disability compensation rating of 100%.  More information can be found at

About Fisher House

Fisher House Foundation is best known for the network of 53 comfort homes on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. The houses are 5,000 to 16,500 square foot homes, with as many as 21 suites, donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs by the Fisher House Foundation. The Foundation provides support to families of patients receiving care at the nearby medical center and has ensured that families of service men and women wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan are not burdened with unnecessary expense during a time of crisis.

Located in close proximity to the medical center or hospital it serves, each Fisher House consists of between 8 and 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining room and an inviting living room with a library and toys for children. There is no fee to stay at a Fisher House. Fisher House Foundation pays any fees charged by the military. Since inception, the program has saved military and veteran families an estimated $150 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.

Fisher House Foundation operates the Hero Miles Program allowing donated frequent flyer miles to be used to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members. To date Hero Miles has issued over 21,000 airline tickets to our military and their families. The Foundation also offers a grant program that supports other military charities and a scholarship fund for military children, disabled veterans and children of the fallen, as well as military spouses.


January 20th, 2011  |  Source:

At age 43, JFK was inaugurated the 35th president, 50 years ago today: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." 

TIME Man of the Year, 1963, "America's Gandhi"

January 17th, 2011  |  Source:


"King ... has an indescribable capacity for empathy that is the touchstone of leadership. By deed and by preachment, he has stirred in his people a Christian forbearance that nourishes hope and smothers injustice. Says Atlanta's Negro Minister Ralph D. Abernathy, whom King calls 'my dearest friend and cellmate': 'the people make Dr. King great. He articulates the longings, the hopes, and the aspirations of his people in a most earnest and profound manner. He is a humble man, down to earth, honest. He has proved his commitment to Judaeo-Christian ideals. He seeks to save the nation and its soul, not just the Negro.”

Build-A-Bear Workshop Awarding $10,000 to 10 Un-bear-lievable Kid

January 14th, 2011  |  Source: Build-A-Bear Workshops


Nominations are now being accepted for the Eighth Annual Huggable Heroes program that recognizes and rewards remarkable young leaders for positive contributions to their communities and the world


A recent survey shows that today’s youths are more in touch with the needs of their communities than ever before. In a poll conducted by Build-A-Bear Workshop®, 98 percent of the 400 young people responding said it is important to help others. 

Through its Huggable Heroes® program, Build-A-Bear Workshop recognizes and encourages young leaders, ages eight to 18, who provide extraordinary service in their communities and around the world. The eighth annual search for these special people is now on! Anyone, ages eight and above, is eligible to nominate a candidate (and kids can nominate themselves) by visiting or by picking up an entry form at participating Build-A-Bear Workshop stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 28, 2011.

Entries will be narrowed down to 75 semi-finalists in March and to 25 finalists by the end of April.  Ultimately 10 new Huggable Heroes (eight from the United States and Puerto Rico and two from Canada) will be selected to join the ranks of more than 100 other amazing youths from the previous seven years. Each new Huggable Hero will receive a $7,500 scholarship toward his or her college education and a $2,500 donation from the 
Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation for a 501(c)(3) charity or Canadian cause of his or her choice. In addition, the Huggable Heroes will win a trip for themselves and a guardian to St. Louis, Build-A-Bear Workshop World Bearquarters. 

“Our Huggable Heroes program was born of the desire to encourage and reward young people to give back to their communities,” said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder and Chief Executive Bear. “While the monetary prize provides an incentive, it also represents an investment in both the causes these kids support and their education so they can continue to cultivate their leadership skills and achieve even bigger goals.”   


About Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. The company currently operates more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and Mexico. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. Brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball® mascot in-stadium locations, and Build-A-Dino® stores. Build-A-Bear Workshop extends its in-store interactive experience online with its award winning virtual world Web site at Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $394.4 million in fiscal 2009. For more information, call 888.560.BEAR (2327) or visit the company's award-winning Web site at

3 Year Investigation of televangelists goes nowhere!

January 13th, 2011  |  Source: NPQ

Source:Religion Dispatches |  In 2007 Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) initiated reviews of how some of the nation's most prominent televangelists were using or misusing their tax-exempt charitable status for personal enrichment.  Now, the results are in. 

Last week, Grassley's staff released findings about Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Eddie Long, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, and Creflo Dollar.  The staff report acknowledged the responses and reforms undertaken by Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer, but noted a pattern of incomplete responses and insufficient cooperation from the other four (Creflo completely stiffed the investigation). 

Religious leaders have hardly applauded Grassley and the nonprofit sector has been a bit reticent to comment.  One argument against was that the review violated the barrier between church and state. For example, Copeland refused to provide information to the Grassley investigation because, he said, "it belongs to God."  Others suggested that Grassley was biased against Pentacostals (Grassley himself is a Baptist). 

Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee warned that Grassley's investigations into these televangelists was one step on the slippery slope toward government investigations into nonprofits:  "It's a little chilling when you start thinking about is Congress going to start going after nonprofit organizations? And if so, are they going to do all nonprofits? Are they going to start looking at" 

The one year anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake is tomorrow, January 12th

January 11th, 2011  |  Source: Urban Zen

To celebrate Haiti’s resilient spirit and raise much-needed funds for the Haitian people, Urban Zen and charitybuzz present THE TRUTH, an exhibition and auction of artwork by Haitian, Haitian American and Haitian-Inspired Artists, curated by acclaimed fashion photographer Marc Baptiste. The exhibition and auction will raise funds to send Gifts of Love packages with vital supplies to the Haitian people. 

The online charity auction entitled THE TRUTH: A HAITI HOPE HELP & RELIEF AUCTION will be open to bidders worldwide at leading charity auction site charitybuzzthrough Jan 21 at The online auction features 65 stunning photographic works of art from the exhibition, which is currently live at the Urban Zen Studio in New York. Photographic sponsor Poloroid will be donating all printing and framing services for the auction.

New Charges of Cheating Tarnish Pepsi Fund-Raising Contest for Nonprofits

January 7th, 2011  |  Source: NYT



Pepsi Refresh, the online fund-raising contest with a $20 million giveaway for charitable causes and nonprofit groups, is again receiving complaints that its results are being manipulated.

A few nonprofit groups say that recent winners have used a mysterious service to propel themselves into the winning ranks, and complain that the practice breaks Pepsi’s ban on proxy voting and on votes from international locations.

“I feel like we were cheated out of a win,” said Ann Goody, a founder of the Three Ring Ranch, an exotic-animal sanctuary in Kona, Hawaii, that participated in the contest for many months. “We worked our hearts out with e-mails, phone calls, Facebook, kids handing out candy canes at Wal-Mart and then we find out our win was stolen from us by people breaking the rules.”

Pepsi has been running the contest each month since last February. Organizations and causes compete for votes to win grants of $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, $50,000 or $250,000. “I’d say only three months of this contest, the first three, were pretty legitimate,” said Randall G. Herzon, founder of Kritter Kountry, a new nonprofit animal shelter and rescue center in Eureka, Calif., that vied several months for the $250,000 prize.

Mr. Herzon said he first started noticing problems in May. “I’ve been complaining to Pepsi about a number of things since then, and so have others,” he said. “I think they got tired of hearing from us. They kept skirting the issues and saying everything was O.K. under the rules.”

In a statement, Pepsi said it was committed to maintaining the integrity of the contest, and that it deployed a variety of proprietary methods to identify fraudulent votes and remove them from the system. Pepsi also said it “adamantly disputes Mr. Herzon’s claims,” adding that the organizations it had hired to help respond to inquiries had thoroughly reviewed complaints.

GlobalGiving's Mari Kuraishi: Forging a 21st Century Model for Philanthropy

January 5th, 2011  |  Source: Knowledge@Wharton

Technology is transforming the world of philanthropy in ways that should ultimately give a voice to those people whom the charities aim to help, according to Mari Kuraishi, co-founder and president of GlobalGiving, a nonprofit that connects donors with groups that manage charitable projects via the web. In a keynote speech at the recent Wharton Social Impact Conference, Kuraishi outlined the ways in which organizations are becoming more effective, and shared insights from the sometimes-tough lessons she has learned along the way. 

Dancing Deer Baking Co.

January 3rd, 2011  |  Source: NPQ


Source:Entrepreneur | A cookie called "sweet" probably is enough of an enticement to get people to buy. But the Dancing Deer Baking Co. adds even more to sweeten the deal. For every item purchased from its Sweet Home line, the Boston-based baker donates 35 percent of the retail price to One Family, a nonprofit that works to end homelessness in Massachusetts.

Buy a $25.95 tin of gingerbread cookies, One Family gets $9. Spend $126.95 on 40 dark chocolate cookies and your purchase produces a $44 gift. Giving back has been part of Dancing Deer's business model since 1994, the year it opened for business. According to former CEO Trish Karter, "I wanted to do something that was really about having philanthropy in the core of our business."

It's a decision that has proven both rewarding in terms of profits and the good feeling that comes from giving back. Says Karter, "At a basic business profitability level you're going to create a better brand and a better company if you give people something higher to aspire to than just turning a positive cash flow."

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