Altruism Today

Award to Artist Who Gives Slums a Human Face

October 20th, 2010  |  Source: TED



It’s not common for important philanthropic prizes to go to people whose work involves criminal trespass and who make statements like the following: “You never know who’s part of the police and who’s not.”

But the TED conference, the California lecture series named for its roots in technology, entertainment and design, said on Tuesday that it planned to give its annual $100,000 prize for 2011 — awarded in the past to figures like Bill Clinton, Bono and the biologist E. O. Wilson — to the Parisian street artist known as J R, a shadowy figure who has made a name for himself by plastering colossal photographs in downtrodden neighborhoods around the world. The images usually extol local residents, to whom he has become a Robin Hood-like hero.

For most recipients, the value of the six-year-old award has less to do with the money than with the opportunity it grants the winner to make a “wish”: to devote the funds to a humanitarian project that will almost inevitably draw donations and other help from the organization’s corporate partners and influential supporters. The chef Jamie Oliver, the 2010 prize winner, recently proposed setting up an international effort to further his campaign against obesity; Mr. Clinton’s wish has channeled significant resources toward the creation of a rural health system in Rwanda.

Reached by telephone on Wednesday morning on a bus in Shanghai, where he was headed to work on a largely unauthorized photo-pasting project to draw attention to the city’s demolition of historic neighborhoods, J R said that he had learned of the prize only two weeks ago and that he had not yet had time to think of a wish.

Gabriel Group Helps Nonprofits Bring in More than Money with New Mobile Fundraising Technology

October 19th, 2010  |  Source: Gabriel Group


Gabriel Group announces their new mobile fundraising technology that can help nonprofits capture spur-of-the moment mobile donors and turn them into a loyal, responsive donor base.

With Gabriel's mobile giving solution, nonprofits are able to collect not only a donation but the donor's identification information, as well. The donor decides the size of their gift- not the phone company, which is the case in traditional mobile giving... and there is no limit. In addition, the donor's pledge is immediate and nonprofits receive 100 percent of the funds directly from all transactions within 15 to 45 days.

By simply providing one's first and last initial, zip code and last four digits of his/her social security number, 98 percent of the donors are identified by their complete name and accurate physical location.

"This technology now available through Gabriel Group allows nonprofits to regain control of their mobile fundraising programs. They no longer are at the mercy of the phone company... gone are the days when donations can only be $5 or $10 with 20 to 40 percent of profits going to the provider and wait times of 90 days or more for nonprofits to receive their money." said Elsie Listrom, CFRE and Vice President of Nonprofit Services.

Community-Owned Businesses Step Up to Fill In Market Gaps

October 19th, 2010  |  Source: Community


Stepping in when the marketplace is too slow to act on its own or the risks appear too high, community-owned businesses are motivated by a social purpose. In this article, Josh Bloom, former program officer at the National Trust Main Street Center, explains how these businesses – often cooperatives, community-owned corporations, small ownership groups, or community investment funds – help revive disinvested commercial districts. Highlighting the successes of these locally focused business development efforts, Bloom also explains the benefits provided by each model's unique structure. 

article-bloom.pdf (870KB)

Donations Dropped 11% at Nation's Biggest Charities Last Year

October 18th, 2010  |  Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy


Donations to the nation’s biggest charities dropped 11 percent last year, a decline that was the worst in the two decades since The Chronicle started its Philanthropy 400 ranking of the organizations that raise the most from private sources.

Nonprofit organizations say they don’t expect to have done much better by the time 2010 ends. More than one in four of the groups provided projections for 2010, and the median change they predicted was an increase of just 1.4 percent.

The 400 institutions in the survey raised $68.6-billion in 2009. The drop they suffered in contributions was nearly four times as great as the next biggest annual decrease: 2.8 percent in 2001, when charities also struggled to raise money from recession-battered donors.

The median amount raised by charities on the Philanthropy 400 also declined last year to $98.8-million, down from $105-million in 2008, meaning half raised more and half raised less. The Philanthropy 400 is based on the most-recent year of data available for charities; most organizations reported data for the 2009 fiscal year but some groups reported data for other periods of time.

The Top 10

Among the 10 charities that raised the most last year, six reported declines. Giving to United Way Worldwide (No. 1) decreased by 4.5 percent and to the Salvation Army (No. 2) by 8.4 percent, the smallest declines among the top-ranking groups.

Food for the Poor (No. 6) saw contributions fall by more than 27 percent, while donations to the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund (No. 7) plunged by 40.3 percent, largely because it relies heavily on stock gifts, which were not very popular last year. Also reporting declines were the American Cancer Society (No. 8), where giving fell by 11 percent, and the Y (No. 10), which reported a 17.2-percent drop in donations.

Only four charities in the top 10 reported increased contributions last year. They were Catholic Charities USA (No. 3) with a 66-percent jump in donations; the AmeriCares Foundation (No. 4), which achieved an 18.1-percent rise in giving, mostly in food, medicine, and other donated goods; Feed the Children (No. 5), another charity that relies on donated products, where contributions rose by 1.2 percent; and World Vision (No. 9), which reported a 4.5-percent increase in giving mostly by donors who make monthly gifts to “sponsor” needy children overseas.

$1-Billion Gainers

While AmeriCares fared well last year, its fund-raising growth for the past two decades helped it achieve the top ranking among organizations that grew the fastest in the 20 years since The Chronicle started ranking the top fund-raising charities. It increased giving by $1.1-billion. Two other charities also grew by more than $1-billion: Feed the Children and Habitat for Humanity, which now ranks No. 11.

The Chronicle’s list shows how hard it is for new organizations to raise enough to make the Philanthropy 400 list. Of the charities on the 2010 list, 226 of the same groups appeared in 1991 and 178 organizations appeared on the list for all 20 years.

Two nonprofit leaders who played a key role in helping their organizations get on the list will discuss fund-raising trends and how their organizations overcome fund-raising challenges in a free online discussion on Tuesday, October 19, at noon U.S. Eastern time.

The Philanthropy 400 shows the organizations that raise the most from individuals, foundations, and businesses. No government funds are counted. As a result, some organizations that are large but get most of their money from government agencies are not included. Full coverage of this year’s Philanthropy 400 rankings, plus a look at the 20-year history of the list, are available at

Maria Shriver Takes on Disease With Second Shriver Report

October 17th, 2010  |  Source:



The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's is a collaborative research effort by California first ladyMaria Shriver and the Alzheimer's Association that calls on society and government leaders to address the needs of patients and caregivers, fund more research into treatment for Alzheimer's and other brain diseases and help people prepare for the possibility of a future Alzheimer's diagnosis. The report's main focus is the impact the disease has on women.

"Alzheimer's is a woman's disease that's dramatically changing the way we live as families," Shriver said. "Sixty percent of people with Alzheimer's are women, and 60 percent of the caretaking is done by women."

Doctors say there's a simple reason more women have Alzheimer's.

Bonuses for Bankers, Zip for Seniors

October 14th, 2010  |  Source: Senator Bernie Sanders


Altruism Not.

Social Security

A Labor Department report due on Friday could mean retirees and disabled Americans will go another year without a boost in benefits. While consumer prices are generally steady, inflated costs for health care costs have stretched seniors' budgets. 

Senator Bernie Sanders wants Congress to pass $250 in emergency relief for Social Security recipients and disabled veterans. He hopes to revive a bill that was backed by President Obama, AARP and veterans groups, but blocked by all but one Republican senator.

Children Should Carry Books, Not Water

October 13th, 2010  |  Source: Water Advocates


U.S. Raising Clean Hands Campaign Launched:  WASH (WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene)Is Essential to Achieve Universal Education


Nathan Strauss, 17, a student at Abington Senior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is part of a growing movement of America’s youth who are stepping up to make a change in the lives of the students around the world who are carrying water and not books.

Even for those children that have the opportunity to go to school, students lose 443 million school days each year due to diseases associated with the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Repeated episodes of diarrhea and worm infestations diminish a child’s ability to learn and impair cognitive development. This problem is exacerbated by the more than half of all schools in developing countries that lack adequate WASH facilities.

“I had no idea of the magnitude of the issue and I was shocked to find out the severity of the crisis and the number of students like me across the world that still don’t even have a toilet at their school. Doing something about this has become a really big deal for me,” said Nathan Strauss. “I think America’s youth has great potential to do something about this problem; if everyone gets taught the issue, we can all help. Imagine if all the students in America were a part of this; the change would be enormous,” he continued.

Nathan is not alone. Nearly 30 organizations launched a campaign in the United States today at an event at AED to demonstrate that providing water, sanitation and hygiene education in schools globally can help solve the WASH and education challenge around the world. Through this campaign, and an exhibit called “Bathroom Pass,” these organizations highlight the solutions they are currently implementing and urge the U.S. Government, the World Bank, and other actors in the education and health sectors to bring WASH to schools in the developing world.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero stressed, “The bottom line is this: if we are serious about improving child health, achieving universal primary education, ensuring gender equity and stimulating economic development, we need to be serious about providing safe water, sanitation and hygiene in schools.” She emphasized the important role of students, like Nathan, to participate in service learning projects that help them engage in concrete actions to help others around the world. Earlier this year on World Water Day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton emphasized that global water issues would be a priority for the U.S. Government.

Other speakers who highlighted the need to act included Carol Bellamy (Education for All - Fast Track Initiative), Clarissa Brocklehurst (UNICEF), Jack Downey (AED) and Denise Knight (The Coca-Cola Company). Jon Hamilton of NPR served as the moderator.

Nathan took action by helping to start a club through H2O for Life to raise funds to help schools in developing countries; the money is used to improve access to clean water, build toilets and handwashing stations, and provide hygiene education. So far 120,000 students across the U.S. have participated in H2O for Life service learning programs. Nathan’s story is highlighted in the “Bathroom Pass” exhibit, as are the stories of three students from Honduras, Madagascar and Nepal.

As a part of this campaign the organizers are challenging you to:

• Live for one day on the global minimum standard for water—approximately 5 gallons per person per day for drinking, cooking and bathing.

• Wash your hands at critical times: after using the toilet and before preparing food or eating.

• Start an H2O for Life club at your school like Nathan and his classmates did. Visit

The launch of this campaign is timed to coincide with the week of Global Handwashing Day, October 15, when 200 million children, parents, teachers, celebrities and citizens in over 80 countries are raising attention for handwashing and for WASH in Schools. Visit


Meet the Lady behind the iCow idea!

October 12th, 2010  |  Source: iHub Kenya



Su Kahumbu-Stephanou founded Green Dreams Ltd. in 2000, an organic farm in Tigoni, Kenya, dedicated to serving local consumers. Green Dreams now works with Kenyan farmers to achieve organic certification and connect them with local markets. They opened their first organic store in 2006, and are working to create Kenya’s first organic coffee shop.

“Kenya’s farmers are generally small scale farmers who cannot afford to follow industrialized conventional production. What they have is access to land, farmyard manure and manpower,” Su says. What they’re missing, she says, is the know-how to create a productive farm. “The biggest aspect that is missing in this sector is information,” she says.

Hence the conception of the idea iCow by Su Kahumbu-Stephanou; TED Global Fellow 2010 and Managing Director of Green Dreams Ltd.

According to Su, iCow is a voice based mobile application that will help farmers track the oestrus stages of their cows helping them to manage their breeding as well as cow nutrition leading up to the calving day. Farmers will update the system with definite known dates within the cow calender and the system will send call back  voice and sms alerts to the farmer during the year assisting them to make informed decisions.

iCow is a plugin App for the Mkulima Farmer Information Service and Helpline being developed by Green Dreams Ltd. iCow also recently won first place at the inaugural Apps4Africa competition.

Congratulations to Su Kahumbu-Stephanou and Green Dreams on this great idea!!

1 Warm Kid will provide warmth to many families this winter and shed light on this growing epidemic.

October 11th, 2010  |  Source: 1 Warm Kid


Aéropostale, Inc. a mall-based specialty retailer of casual and active apparel for young women and men, today announced that it has partnered with nonprofit One Warm Coat to create its first annual ‘1 Warm Kid’ campaign, a coat drive for kids that will run from October 11, 2010 through October 31, 2010 at P.S. from Aéropostale locations across the country.  In support of the campaign, P.S. from Aéropostale will match every donated coat with a brand new coat up to 100,000.

‘1 Warm Kid’ aims to raise awareness of the growing numbers of families living in poverty and to collect as many coats as possible, all of which will be donated to local agencies where they will be distributed to families in need this winter.  A growing list of celebrities are lending their support to the campaign and encouraging others to participate.  Those who donate will have the chance to win signed coats from Ellen DeGeneresCourteney Cox and David ArquetteRicky SchroderCole and Dylan Sprouse (“Suite Life on Deck”), Debby Ryan (“Suite Life on Deck”), Jennette McCurdy (“iCarly”), David Henrie (“Wizards of Waverly Place”), David Del Rio (“The Troop”), Tinsel Korey (“Twilight”), and more.

“1 in 5 kids live in poverty. It’s startling to learn of how many families struggle to have the basic necessities, such as a coat.” said Scott Birnbaum, Senior Vice President of Marketing of Aéropostale, Inc.  “1 Warm Kid will provide warmth to many families this winter and shed light on this growing epidemic.”

A driving force behind the success of ‘1 Warm Kid’ is P.S. from Aéropostale’s relationship with the schools in its local communities.  Through their partnership with One Warm Coat, more than 1600 schools were invited to participate in the coat drive.  To activate students and entice school participation, P.S. from Aéropostale is awarding prizes to the top three schools that collect the most coats. First prize school will win $5,000 and a party in their school.  The second and third place schools will win $3,000 and $1,000, respectively.

“We are excited to have the support and encouragement from schools across the country,” said One Warm Coat President Sherri Lewis Wood.  “We know school kids can be a powerful force in community service. 1 Warm Kid provides them with an opportunity that is easy to implement and will have an immediate impact in their own community.”

In addition to the schools organizing drives, P.S. from Aéropostale welcomes individual donations as well. As an extra incentive for anyone who donates, P.S. from Aéropostale will give 25% off your next purchase, though no purchase is necessary. 

To learn how to get involved, and for more information about ‘1 Warm Kid’, go or

Ai Weiwei's Sunflower seeds at Tate Modern

October 11th, 2010  |  Source:



The latest instalment of Britain's largest contemporary art commission was unveiled in the Turbine Hall this morning: a vast carpet of porcelain replica sunflower seeds assembled by artist Ai Weiwei, each hand-fired and hand-painted by an inhabitant of Jingdezhen, the 'porcelain capital' of his native China. Here's a first glimpse inside

About Value News Network

Value is the only commonality in an increasingly complex, challenging and interdependent world.
Laurance Allen: Editor + Publisher

Connect with Us