Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Liberty Bank Donates $7,500 to Library Construction

STOCKTON, Mo. — Liberty Bank's Stockton branch donated $7,500 this month to the Cedar County Library Board, slated for a construction fund that will build the Geneva Sharp-Stockton branch library. The library board has raised more than $643,000 for the project to date. The proposed library branch will be a standalone building and will feature a computer lab, program room, and space for genealogy and history research.

Liberty Bank opened its doors in 1995 with one mobile unit and six employees and has grown to 14 locations with more than 230 team members. The bank's mission is "to rise above the expectations of our customers, associates and shareholders." The Stockton branch is located at 14 Public Square in Stockton, Mo.

This donation demonstrates the importance of philanthropy, particularly in small, rural communities like Stockton, which has a population of 1,960 and an estimated 14 percent of its residents are below the poverty level. Liberty Bank sets an example as a good corporate citizen.

Bank of America Donates To Baseball Museum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) announced today that the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has donated $300,000, one of the largest corporate contributions given to the museum in recent years. The donation will support a three-year national Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tour of the museum's acclaimed traveling Negro Leagues history exhibition, "Discover Greatness."

"As the official Bank of Major League Baseball, Bank of America is honored to provide thousands of people across the country the opportunity to learn, and hopefully gain a greater appreciation, of the contributions of African- Americans to the game of baseball and its impact on America," said Spence Heddens, Kansas City market president for Bank of America. "By teaming up with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, we're giving more people the chance to experience a compelling piece of history and reconnecting Historically Black Colleges and Universities to an era they played a major role in shaping."

"Discover Greatness" is a powerful and compelling examination of the Negro Leagues that brings the fascinating story of triumph over adversity to life. The exhibition features 90 black and white photos, pennants, jerseys and a video that chronicles the rise and fall of the Negro Leagues while celebrating the contributions of America's unsung baseball heroes to the game and the social advancement of our nation.

Cinematic portrayals depicted the Negro Leagues as a vaudeville act and its players as tramps and hobos. And, for nearly six decades, these talented baseball players were shut out of the Major Leagues because of their skin color and a pervasive perception that they weren't "smart enough" to play America's national pastime.

"We are thrilled to partner with Bank of America on this exciting and historic tour that we believe will open eyes and minds to one of the great chapters in American history," said Bob Kendrick, NLBM marketing director. "It is important that the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum reestablish the connection between the Negro Leagues and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We believe this tour will not only validate the caliber of athlete that played in the Negro Leagues but will educate and serve as a source of pride and inspiration for students attending those schools."

The partnership will also make the exhibition available to African-American Museums in collaboration with the NLBM to support audience development. In March, the exhibition was hosted by the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee in conjunction with the inaugural Civil Rights Game developed by Major League Baseball(R). For a complete schedule of tours and events, visit theNegro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Bank of America's willingness to step up to the plate and tell a compelling story of American sports history is commendable. All to often, museums have to compete for increasingly competitive government grants when a single corporate donation might suffice. This is one of many contributions Bank of America has made in its 10-year quest to give $1.5 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the quality and vitality of their neighborhoods.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

North Las Vegas Chamber Foundation Raises $53k

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Golfers from around the nation participated in the North Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Foundation golf tournament, held May 21 at TPC Summerlin. The event exceeded its $45,000 fundraising goal, bringing in nearly $54,000 in net proceeds.

The foundation's mission is to provide educational opportunities through programs, funding and mentorships that will improve the quality of education in our schools, along with providing professional development opportunities to the local business community.

To date, the foundation has distributed thousands of dollars in support of North Las Vegas elementary and middle school libraries, teacher mini-grants, academic scholarships and business education programs.

We think this is an excellent example of the business community helping to support education, particularly in areas that are currently underfunded, such as school libraries.

Friday, May 25, 2007

BlogCatalog Employs Social Media For Fundraising

San Antonio, Texas —, one of the fastest-growing social blog directories on the Internet, will launch a social awareness campaign to benefit on May 28. The campaign asks directory members (bloggers) to write about and raise funds for the non-profit organization. is a non-profit Web site that brings teachers and donors together to fund specific student projects that range from "Magical Math Centers" ($200) to "Cooking Across the Curriculum" ($1,100). Any individual can search teacher proposals and fund specific projects, which are tax deductible.

“Internet social networks from MySpace to Facebook are receiving a ton of media and Internet attention, but we have yet to see an online social community come together to raise funds for a good cause,” said Antony Berkman, president of “We see this as an opportunity to empower and recognize bloggers to collectively focus their blogs for good.”

Berkman’s idea is to challenge directory members to draw attention to and raise funds for this underserved non-profit organization. has set a goal to raise at least $25,000 for, which is a member of the Omidyar Network. The Omidyar Network is a mission-based organization established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam.

“We’ve asked our directory members to provide a specific link in their post so we can track the success of our program, but anyone can participate,“ says Berkman. “All they have to do is include our ‘challenge link’ in any post they write about on May 28 and the importance of raising money for our schools and they’ll help us raise awareness about this organization and contribute funds to teachers across the country.”

The 'challenge link' is:

Berkman said depending on the success of the challenge, will develop a community service page to host and promote more blog events in the near future. All donations made to DonorsChoose.Org will credit the blogger.

“We’ve seen social media can be used to bring people together for all sorts of reasons; I really hope we can bring people together to do good,” said Berkman. “Even better, this is a chance to find common interests within and across the Web.” is the first social network directory to organize its members to raise funds for a specific non-profit organization. benefits school systems in Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington, D.C. Donors can also choose school districts in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. For more information, visit

We've seen blogs raise funds for various nonprofit organizations, but BlogCatalog is the first social network that we've seen attempt to coordinate and credit hundreds of bloggers for helping raise funds for a specific nonprofit organization. Innovative giving is an excellent use for social media and it's refreshing to a social network like BlogCatalog step up.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sears Announces 'Help Heroes at Home' Initiative

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings Corporation announced the launch of Heroes at Home, a charitable partnership with the nation's leading volunteer home rehabilitation organization, Rebuilding Together. Through Heroes at Home, Sears Holdings seeks to improve the lives of military families in need across America by making necessary repairs, improvements or modifications to their homes.

"We are proud to be partnering with Rebuilding Together on this important initiative," said Sears Holdings Corporation Chairman Edward S. Lampert. "Our company has a longstanding commitment to the heroic men and women in the military. The goal of this program is to ensure that their families, who are also making sacrifices for our country, are living in safe, warm and comfortable homes."

Sears and Kmart customers have the opportunity to join in the effort by making a donation in stores nationwide or online. Sears stores will begin collecting funds on Memorial Day weekend. Kmart stores will launch their fundraiser for Heroes at Home on June 17.

Sears and Kmart customers are encouraged to make a donation at Sears stores from May 25 through July 8 or at Kmart stores from June 17 through July 8. Donations may also be made online at Sears or Kmart.

Army Specialist Ryan C. Major, 21, of Silver Spring, Md., is the first beneficiary of Heroes at Home. Specialist Major is currently recovering from severe wounds he received when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on patrol in Iraq. Heroes at Home will provide Specialist Major with a wheelchair accessible bedroom, bathroom and elevator. Volunteers from Sears and Kmart, along with Rebuilding Together's Montgomery County affiliate, will honor Specialist Major during an event on June 22.

Sears Holdings' ongoing commitment to assisting troops and their families includes several recruiting and employment programs. The company offers a military pay differential to employees serving in the armed forces. Additionally, reservists who are employed full-time are allowed to continue participating in life insurance, medical and dental programs. Heroes at Home is the first of three new programs that will be created as part of Sears Holdings' partnership with Rebuilding Together.

By pooling generous donations from their customers and then adding to those donations, more companies are making positive differences across America. This program's launch, in conjunction with Memorial Day, promises to deliver help where it's needed most. Stories like that of Army Specialist Ryan C. Major are all too common in America. Its great to see Sears taking a lead with assist from Rebuilding Together.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hudson Group Co-Sponsors 'Hero Miles' Program

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Travel retailer Hudson Group, owner and operator of more than 450 Hudson News airport newsstands across the U.S. and Canada, is co-sponsoring, with CNN and the Fisher House Foundation, an appeal to the traveling public to donate their frequent flyer miles to wounded veterans and their families through a program called "Hero Miles."

Eight participating airlines will match the miles donated by the public, and the Foundation will provide free airline tickets to reunite families with military men and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Participating airlines include: AirTran, Alaska, Continental, Delta, Midwest, Northwest, United and US Airways. To date, the Foundation has provided more than 9,500 airline tickets worth more than $12 million to hospitalized service members and their families.

Throughout the coming Memorial Day weekend, Hudson will make available at its airport newsstands cards outlining the Hero Miles program and providing the Web site where customers can log on and donate their miles. Fisher House Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports American service men and women and their families in a variety of ways.

According to Joseph DiDomizio, executive vice president and chief operating officer, members of Hudson Group's executive team have kicked off the program by themselves donating more than a quarter of a million miles: "Our people are constantly traveling to our 58 airports and accrue many frequent flyer miles. In addition to distributing the cards, they decided as a group to donate their own miles to this very worthy cause."

Hudson Group is a privately held corporation that operates more than 500 premier newsstands, bookstores and specialty retail shops in 58 airports and 11 transportation terminals throughout North America. Hudson News, is North America's only national newsstand brand. Under the familiar blue sign can be found the most complete selection of magazines and books in the transportation industry, along with newspapers, gifts and a wide variety of travelers' necessities, snacks and bottled soft drinks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

UnitedHealthcare Sponsors Veterans Wheelchair Games Team

LAS VEGAS — UnitedHealthcare recently donated $1,500 to sponsor and send a Las Vegas team from the Nevada Paralyzed Veterans of America to compete in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.

The Nevada Paralyzed Veterans of America (NPVA) is the local chapter of a national organization dedicated to helping military veterans confined to wheelchairs. UnitedHealthcare provides and administers health insurance plans for more than 26 million commercial health plan members nationwide.

According to Julie Johnson, NPVA executive director, UnitedHealthcare’s donation kicks off the group’s fund-raising drive, and that the NPVA will need to raise nearly $8,000 by June to send up to eight local competitors to the 27th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Milwaukee June 19-23.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs said that the annual games attract more than 500 competitors from around the country, making it the largest annual wheelchair competition in the world. Events include swimming, quad rugby, shooting skills and track and field.

“We’re honored to play a part in helping our local veterans participate in such a worthwhile and inspiring event,” said Paul Davis, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Nevada. “This is but one way for us to recognize the tremendous sacrifice our veterans have made for our nation and to give something back to them.”

“The National Veterans Wheelchair Games is one of the biggest events of the year for us,” Johnson said. “These guys really look forward to competing every year.”

To raise the rest of the money they need to send a team to the games, NPVA members are joining forces with the “Riders of the Thunderdome” motorcycle show at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. As part of Memorial Day weekend, on May 26 and 27, the NPVA will have a booth next to “Riders of the Thunderdome” on Fremont Street where they will be collecting donations both days.

UnitedHealthcare provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services. The company organizes access to quality, affordable health care services on behalf of more than 28 million individual consumers, contracting directly with more than 535,000 physicians and care professionals and 4,700 hospitals nationwide to offer them broad, convenient access to services nationwide.

Businesses making even small donations can make a tremendous difference through business giving. UnitedHealthcare's contribution to the team could have easily made the difference between sending a team and not sending a team. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games is the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world and inspires veterans, people who are paralyzed, and youth (there is a designated Kids Day). The event is held in Milwaukee.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Two Days Left To Nominate Women Of Worth

NEW YORK — There are two days left to nominate candidates for the Women of Worth initiative, sponsored by L’Oréal Paris. The initiative recognized women who have demonstrated community achievement and volunteerism.

2006 Women Of Worth

Last year, seven women were selected for this national honor; you can learn more about them at 2006 Women Of Worth Honorees. Their charities included: Neighbor to Neighbor, Women Build, WhizKids Foundation, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, The Heart Touch Project, "Victorious" Foundation, Second Wind Dreams.

This year, from the hundreds of nominees, 13 "Women Of Worth" Honorees (one from 13 different regions) will be selected and recognized at a gala event in New York City. L'Oréal Paris will donate $2,500 in each honoree's charitable organization of her choice and a $2,500 donation in her name to The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (L'Oréal Paris' primary philanthropy).

One National Woman Of Worth Honoree will be selected by online public votes for an additional $25,000 donation from L'Oréal Paris in her name to the charitable organization of her choice. Nominations are being accepted online and by mail at Women Of Worth.

“The four simple words ‘Because I’m Worth It’ continue to serve as a galvanizing and unifying force for the L’Oréal Paris community,” said Carol J. Hamilton, President, L’Oréal Paris. “The Women of Worth program brings this message to life and honors real hometown heroes across the country. I applaud all our fabulous women who are inspiring volunteers and outstanding achievers who have an inspiring heart for making differences in their communities.”

The official Women of Worth website is a virtual community that encourages all women to share their stories and provides access to some of the most influential voices of social change. The online discourse will feature a new theme each month, with experts and real women proposing their thoughts on topics ranging from motherhood to volunteer vacations to “Make a Difference Day.” Women can also engage in dialogues with others about community achievement and volunteerism as part of this online community.

We are highlighting this grassroots awards program because it recognizes, celebrates and supports women who actively serve others by volunteering in their communities and inspires other women to make contributions to their communities. This awards program was brought to our attention by the Points of Light Foundation. The entire program and online community is supported by L'Oréal Paris.

Friday, May 18, 2007

USA Today 'Spirit of the USA' Becomes Media Model

MCLEAN, Va. — What began as part of its 25th anniversary celebration, USA TODAY's "Spirit of the USA" is becoming a model for other media. This charity program highlights and recognizes a different charity each week for 25 weeks.

The program began on March 30 and will continue every Friday through September 14 as USA TODAY salutes the nation's generosity and brings attention to different charities in print and online. This week's charity is the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children from abduction and sexual exploitation. Since its establishment in 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 130,300 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 112,900 children. NCMEC's congressionally mandated CyberTipline, a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation, has handled more than 475,000 leads.

NCMEC recently launched "Take 25," a national campaign that encourages families to take 25 minutes to talk with their children about safety and abduction prevention. Campaign activities will reach a peak this year on May 25, in honor of National Missing Children's Day.

"We know that teaching children about safety works," said Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. "It is important that parents and others 'TAKE 25' minutes to talk to their children about ways to keep them safe. This new campaign provides key information that makes starting that conversation a lot easier. There is no better way to mark the 25th Missing Children's Day than to launch an initiative designed to empower and protect children."

Other charities scheduled to appear as part of the "Spirit of the USA" program are: The Nature Conservancy, Disabled American Veterans, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Ducks Unlimited, MusiCares Foundation(R), The Humane Society of the United States, Goodwill Industries International, Habitat for Humanity International, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Second Harvest, Hole in the Wall Camps, First Book, Gilda's Club, Special Olympics, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and American Red Cross. Big Brothers Big Sisters, Thanks USA, Earth Day Network, NARSAD: The Mental Health Research Association, American Diabetes Association, Hispanic College Fund, and the Arbor Day Foundation were previously highlighted.

We appreciate it is much more difficult to capture public attention with good news, which makes USA TODAY's program that much more rewarding. Some newspapers and broadcaster make a worthwhile effort to highlight giving, but this one stands out in that it is regular part of the nation's top-selling newspaper. Consistency makes the difference. By highlighting charities and/or the businesses that give on a regular basis, others almost always step up.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

LandWell Donates 2.37 Acres To Opportunity Village

HENDERSON, Nev. — The LandWell Company, a subsidiary of Basic Management, Inc., will donate 2.37 acres of land, valued at $835,000, to Opportunity Village today. The land will be used to for an expansion of its campus in Henderson, Nevada.

The LandWell Company made the decision after learning the Walters Family Campus of Opportunity Village has a waiting list for services because the facility is at capacity, which is attributed to the City of Henderson's rapid growth. Currently, there are more than 200 people waiting for the vocational training and employment programs.

Opportunity Village

This donation will allow Opportunity Village the ability to expand its Document Destruction Program and begin new programs that will train and employ people in meaningful jobs within the community. The Henderson campus currently serves about 90 clients who are employed in either the Document Destruction Program or in Packaging and Assembly providing services for business customers. In 1992, LandWell donated the original 1.63 acres of land where the campus is located today.

Opportunity Village was founded in 1954 as a not-for-profit organization that serves people with intellectual disabilities in Southern Nevada. It provides meaningful training, support, and employment, enhancing their lives and the lives of their families.

The LandWell Company is an affiliate of Basic Management Inc. and known in the area for several successful development projects in Southern Nevada, including Black Mountain Industrial Center, Valley Auto Mall, and the Traverse Point Mixed-Use Development. The LandWell Company currently is involved in remediating and planning a 2,200-acre parcel of land, which will become a mixed-use master planned community.

We're highlighting this donation as a best practice because it demonstrates the value of a company stepping up to meet a specific nonprofit need within their community. By working with nonprofit organizations, companies can learn how their services or unused assets can be employed for the betterment of the community as a whole.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Partners Launch Web Tool For Select Business Owners

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) and the Technology Partnership for Small Business Task Force co-founders — Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems, Inc., and AT&T — under the guidance of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), today launched a new online tool, Biz Tech-Connect.

Biz Tech-Connect is a small-business Web portal that provides free online technology training geared towards women and minority entrepreneurs nationwide. Content, features and links on Biz Tech- Connect provide users with up-to-the-minute business news through Small Business TV (provided by AT&T), free instructional Web-based seminars, video training courses hosted by business experts, and information on managing and growing a small business. Business owners can also submit questions to and receive answers from member companies.

The recommendation for Biz Tech-Connect traces its origin to the Women's Business Enterprise National Council Technology Toolbox pilot and workshop that was funded by the AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T, in 2004. This project gave women entrepreneurs easy access to the latest information about how technology can contribute to the success of their businesses.

"There is a significant body of knowledge from the private and public sector that shows an underutilization of technology by small, minority- and women-owned businesses. The Minority Business Development Agency commends ITAA, Microsoft, WBENC, AT&T and the Task Force for their commitment to tackle this opportunity gap," said Ronald Langston, MBDA national director. "Ensuring that women and minority entrepreneurs realize their business success and competitiveness through the effective use of technology is essential to America's economic strength."

Microsoft convened the Task Force, now administered by ITAA, in response to an Urban Institute study that revealed that many women and minority business owners were not maximizing their earning potential by better utilizing technology. The study also projected that the U.S. economy could capture up to $200 billion in additional revenue if technology use increased among minority- and women-owned enterprises.

"Too often, minority- and women-owned businesses have not realized the benefits of the technology boom," said ITAA Vice President for Government Relations, Cindy Jimenez. "ITAA is proud to work with both the public and private sectors to provide women and minority small businesses with market access to technology information and resources so they can stay competitive in today's global economy. We encourage companies across the IT industry to contribute information to aid small businesses' access to technology through Biz Tech Connect."

The Technology Partnership for Small Business Task Force is a first-ever collaboration of an elite group of IT industry leaders, associations representing small, minority and women-owned businesses, and other partners. convened by Microsoft Corp., Cisco, and AT&T to address the underutilization of technology by minority- and women-owned businesses. ITAA is the managing host of the Task Force.

This new tool is an excellent example of several companies and organizations coming together to deliver a tangible, stand-alone Web tool and information center used by a specific target audience. It easily represents what is possible when different companies and organizations come together to share expertise to develop worthwhile programs that benefit our communities. Not all such programs require large company backing, just enough imagination to meet underserved needs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Poker Team Picks AHA And Cancer Institute

LAS VEGAS — The 2007 Queen of Hearts Team — a team of women poker pros, celebrities, and executives that will compete in the 2007 World Series of Poker Ladies Event — will be raising funds for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Campaign and the Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI), which is the official community relations partner of the World Series of Poker.

The team includes: Lisa Tenner, co-captain and founder; Mimi Rogers, co-captain; Jennifer Tilly; J.J. Liu; Vanessa Rousso; Jennifer Leigh, Clonie Gowen, Isabelle Mercier, Mary Jones; and Susie Isaacs. Some new team additions also include Lisa Wheeler, poker journalist; Elizabeth Shepherd, real estate broker; Mary Magazine, attorney; Stacie Orloff, luxury watch maker; and Anne Spinetti and Mylene Leitner, two accomplished amateur champions.

"We are sponsored this year by the Poker Players Alliance, which has provided the first donation to the team and the charities," said Tenner, who owns Tenner & Associates, Inc. "Thanks to our sponsor and this great group of women who have accumulated individual winnings well into the millions, our Team expects to exceed its 2006 total."

Each of the Queen of Hearts team members will play in the World Series of Poker Ladies' No Hold'em Event June 10-11 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, an event that was won in previous years by Jones (2006), Tilly (2005) and Isaacs (1996 and 1997). The players will also commit funds from any winnings in the Ladies event. Funds raised by the Queen of Hearts Team will benefit the Las Vegas Office of the American Heart Association and Nevada Cancer Institute.

"We appreciate the support of the community and of the Queen of Hearts Team," said Clark Dumont, vice president of communications and public affairs for NVCI. "This financial support will help us in pursuing our mission of preventing, detecting, educating, caring and curing cancer throughout our communities."

Poker events and other friendly competitions continue to have tremendous fundraising potential for non-profit organizations and worthwhile causes. Tenner does an especially great job at pulling together a highly visible team to compete at a very visible event. What we like about it is that it can also be duplicated for smaller venues. Smaller companies can host a less visible but equally rewarding competition such as a poker party (or team with an industry association) to raise funds for charities, with all or most of the proceeds donated to the cause of their choice.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Motorola Sponsors Young Entrepeneurs

CHICAGO - Sponsored by the Motorola Foundation and with the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) as a partner, about 75 young, passionate and successful entrepreneurs and Motorola staff members for the second annual Future Founders program, which is hosted by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

Slavko Bekovic and Jose Leon, seniors at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, were crowned as the winners of this year's youth entrepreneurship program competition for their business, The Online Scout. Having recently gone through the process of working with college scouts for baseball scholarships they realized there is a need in the market for a Web site that allows student athletes to send their information to scouts and other organizations for added publicity and greater opportunities to play sports in college and professionally. With this concept, The Online Scout was created from the ground up.

"The Future Founders program and all of the mentors helped provide ideas we never even thought of to add to our business plan," commented Bekovic. Leon adds, "We never thought we would be able to turn something we like, such as sports, in to a business that is actually profitable, but we already have eight customers!"

Joshua Taylor and Alexis Isaacs, founders of One Fragrance and seniors at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, were the first runner-ups for their company that creates one-of-a-kind fragrances to fit people's personalities. Ryan Braswell and Darrell Jackson, founders of D & R Gaming Tournaments and sophomores at ACE Tech, were the second runner-ups for their video game tournament company that organizes tournaments for young adults who like to compete, play in a safe environment and have a chance to win cash prizes. All six of the winners took home Toshiba Laptop computers as prizes.

"We want to ensure continuing to inspire students with creative ideas to funnel them in a positive outlet in the business world and also introduce the students to new things, such as their first taste of sushi, that may not traditionally be exposed to them," said David Weinstein, president of the CEC. "The high-caliber of mentors we have involved in this program are extremely dedicated and in the case of Karan Goel [a 23 year-old from University of Chicago and founder of PrepMe that recently made BusinessWeek's list of Top 25 entrepreneurs under 25] may only be a few years older than the students!"

Over the course of an entire school year, the mentors share their real-world business experiences, help students fine-tune their business plans and work on their presentation skills. Future Founders works closely with the NFTE program to provide a comprehensive experience to the students.

The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) is a nonprofit affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce that seeks to make a perceptible and lasting economic impact on the Chicagoland region by providing a comprehensive support network for entrepreneurs through sales and client development; financing; support resources; strategic advisory programs; and community development.

The program successfully brings together several elements, including diversity, to inspire students through education and practical business experience. Future Founders program also does well in matching mentors with students who have similar cultural backgrounds.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

No Post For Friday

We give Friday, May 11, up in rememberence of a friend: Nelson Ellis, Jr. Until Monday. Good night and good luck.

First Choice Power To Award Grants In Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas — The First Choice Power Fund is now accepting applications for First Choice Power Partnership Grants from nonprofits that improve the quality of life in Texas by focusing on education, environmental awareness, and economic vitality. The First Choice Power Fund will award $50,000 this year. The deadline is June 5.

"Nonprofits have programs that bring valuable resources to those in Texas who need them most," said Diane Harrison Ogawa, PNM Resources Foundation executive director. "The First Choice Power Fund is proud to offer these grants to help build a stronger and brighter future for our state."

Any 501(c) 3 nonprofit that provide direct services to the communities served by First Choice Power is eligible to apply.

Nonprofits in Texas are encouraged to visit First Choice Power to learn more about who can apply and better understand funding guidelines. The First Choice Power Fund is a division of the PNM Resources Foundation, a nonprofit established in 1983 to improve the quality of life in communities where the company's customers and employees live and work.

First Choice Power Fund does an excellent job outlining application expectations and the selection process. It includes a list of organizations it funded in 2006.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Designing For A Better Global Environmental

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — Autodesk, Inc., a world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, building, and construction, and media and entertainment markets, is working with the Natural World Museum to drive awareness of global environmental issues and promote sustainable design.

Autodesk is the title sponsor of the traveling exhibition, Envisioning Change, hosted by the Natural World Museum and the United Nations Environment Programme, which offers thought-provoking perspectives on the issue of climate change from artists around the world. The relationship demonstrates a collaboration between public and private sector organizations with similar visions to inform and promote innovations that address current and future sustainable design challenges. In addition, Autodesk helped to bring the exhibit to life as the layout was designed using Autodesk software.

The Natural World Museum is a nonprofit organization that presents art through innovative programs to inspire and engage the public in environmental awareness and action. The Envisioning Change exhibition, which follows the theme of this year's United Nations World Environment Day, "Melting Ice - A Hot Topic," brings together 40 artists from 25 countries to address issues confronting our changing environment as reflected in the melting and thawing of ice, snow and permafrost from the Himalayas to Kilimanjaro, from the Andes to the Arctic.

"We're excited to be working with Autodesk to help promote the need for sustainable design on a global scale," said Mia Hanak, Executive Director, Natural World Museum. "As a key sponsor for Envisioning Change, Autodesk's vision for impacting change through design contributes to our goal of inspiring creative sustainable solutions worldwide."

Envisioning Change -- "Melting Ice -- A Hot Topic" will launch at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, during United Nations World Environment Day on June 5, 2007, and remain on display through the end of August. The exhibit will travel to the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium, in October 2007 and to Chicago in spring 2008.

Autodesk is committed to driving awareness and adoption of sustainable design through public and private partnerships, with organizations such as the U.S. Green Building Council and Integrated Energy Solutions, and as a major sponsor of a multi-segment public television series on sustainable design. Autodesk also provides technology, education and support for initiatives that inform and promote innovations that address current and future sustainable design challenges.

Autodesk, Inc.'s news provides a best practice in partnering with nonprofit organizations to make the world a better place. Large and small companies often have the most impact where they can match their skills and resources to the needs of a nonprofit organization. In this case, the benefactor is all of us. Well done.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Blue Cross Blue Shield Seeks Nominations

DETROIT — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are seeking nominations for the Claude Pepper Awards that honor exemplary senior citizen advocates in Michigan.

The awards are presented to two individuals whose professional or volunteer efforts have made significant contributions to improving the lives of Michigan seniors, particularly those whose access to health care services may be hindered by physical, mental, financial or geographical limitations. The awards are named for the late Florida U.S. Sen. Claude Pepper, one of the principal sponsors of the Older Americans Act of 1965 and a major force in strengthening Social Security and Medicare.

"The Claude Pepper Awards recognize those who make a profound impact on the lives of Michigan's elderly," said Diana Jones, vice president of community affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. "It is a way for us to salute those who give so selflessly of their time and talent to help seniors in our state."

Nomination forms and additional information are available on the Community Awards section of its site. Forms also can be obtained by phoning 1-800-733-BLUE (2583) or by writing to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Community Service Awards, Mail Code 0620, 600 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226. The nomination deadline is July 1.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Senior Advisory Council Education Committee will review all Claude Pepper Award nominations and select the two winners: one retiree and one actively employed person of any age. They will each receive a $1,000 donation for their respective nonprofit organizations. Runners-up will receive certificates of merit.

Only nonprofit organizations with a tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code are eligible for Claude Pepper Award donations. If the winners are associated with a non-qualifying program, a qualifying program related to his or her service may be designated.

The Claude Pepper Awards will be presented Friday, Sept. 14 at the Soaring Eagle Resort in Mount Pleasant during the Senior Advisory Council annual conference. This is the seventeenth year for the awards.

Recognition remains one of the most powerful motivators in the field. While some community relations professionals question the number of fundraising award programs they are asked to attend, programs such as these continue to draw attention to unrecognized achievements. Sponsoring or hosting an awards program doesn't have to be a huge or elaborate event. It can be as simple as a luncheon with a dozen people. This one, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, draws attention to the achievements of an aging population.

Monday, May 07, 2007

NEA and PTA Launch Teacher Thank You Card

WASHINGTON D.C. — As part of the NEA's National Teacher Day celebration (May 8) and PTA's Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-12), the two associations are partnering to build the "Nation's Largest Teacher Thank You Card."

Thousands of individual thank you cards from people across the nation — including actors, athletes, musicians, television personalities, politicians, and notable public figures — will be compiled for inclusion in one gigantic card. According to the two groups, the "Nation's Largest Teacher Thank You Card" will serve as a public tribute to teachers and recognize the hard work and dedication that goes into teaching.

Anyone can participate. From May 7 through Dec. 28, 2007, people can send a thank you e-card through A Tribute of Thanks to Teachers or mail a thank you card to: The Nation's Largest Teacher Thank You Card, c/o NEA/PTA, P.O. Box 66458, Washington, D.C. 20035. The cards collected will be merged into a single oversized card that will travel to major cities and events in 2008.

"Teachers, in partnership with parents and families, truly make a positive impact on student success," said PTA National President Anna Weselak. "PTA and its 6 million members will be getting school communities nationwide excited about this huge project to show teachers the appreciation they so richly deserve."

The idea came after more than 2,500 teachers participated in NEA's Teacher Gift online poll, conducted in March and April 2007. The poll asked teachers what gift they would most like to receive from their students/classrooms.

Respondents overwhelmingly chose "hearing the words thank you/receiving a thank you card" (48 percent). Receiving a spa or other gift certificate came in second (30 percent), followed by an appreciation breakfast or lunch (15 percent), flowers or a plant (6 percent), and an apple (1 percent).

National Teacher Day came into being through the leadership and persistence of Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1953, she persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim May 7 that year as National Teacher Day. The PTA took Roosevelt's idea and dedicated a week to celebrate the accomplishments of educators. For more information, visit the PTA.

The Thank You Card serves as a thoughtful reminder how easy it is thank people for their dedication and service. While this one is delivered a grand scale, there is no question that simple acts of gratitude can go a long way. The idea that anyone can add their thanks to the card makes it especially unique.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hyundai Grants Scholarships For Cancer Survivors

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. - Hyundai Motor America and its dealers donated $25,000 in scholarships to 10 bright and courageous college students who have battled and are winning the fight against pediatric cancer. Each of the winners will be awarded $2,500 towards the college of their choice for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Scholarships were awarded as part of Hyundai's Hope on Wheels philanthropic initiatives, which has contributed more than $8 million over the past nine years to community-based research institutions dedicated to curing pediatric cancer. Through its network of more than 750 dealerships nationwide, Hyundai continues to donate dollars for every vehicle sold.

"As dedicated as we are to winning the fight against pediatric cancer, we are equally dedicated to ensuring that survivors enjoy the rich quality of life they deserve," said Zafar Brooks, director, Community Relations and Government Affairs, Hyundai Motor America. "The scholarship program is an added benefit that will help these survivors of pediatric cancer and their families with the cost of their education."

The 10 scholarship winners for the 2007-08 academic year are:

* Letti Connelly, Lincoln, NE
* Amanda Gambino, Webster, NY
* Scott Genovese, Woodmere, NY
* Anna Herring, Oxnard, CA
* Eric Imhof, Yorktown, VA
* Alexander Isakov, Sudbury, MA
* Mark Lane, Alma, AR
* Kelsey Beth Schomburg, Council Bluffs, IA
* Sarah Scutt, Western Grove, AR
* Madeline Ziser, Orinda, CA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 750 dealerships nationwide.

This is an admirable niche giving idea that removes some financial burden from students who already faced an even more difficult challenge than seeking financial aid. The scholarships help alleviate the financial burden of education and provide a gift of hope by encouraging these students to think about the future.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Volunteers Join Neighborhood Beautification Effort

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Code Enforcement Community Improvement staff and about 45 community volunteers are expected to partner for a city beautification project from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sat. May 5 in North Las Vegas.

The project will include graffiti abatement, painting address numbers on curbs, and repainting street polls and community walls. Volunteers include students from Canyon Springs High School's U.S. Air Force JROTC program and residents. The group will gather near the north end of the 1900 block of Stanford Street.

North Las Vegas residents who find graffiti can call the city's graffiti hotline at 702-633-1871. Callers can remain anonymous (and receive a $500 reward for the the arrest of the reported vandal). The city maintains a goal of removing graffiti within 24-48 hours after it is reported. For more information, visit the North Las Vegas Web site.

The project provides a simple solution for communities or even local businesses to effectively lead and partner with volunteers to beautify surrounding neighborhoods.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ernst & Young LLP Releases Education White Paper

WASHINGTON D.C. - Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, released the findings of a comprehensive independent white paper, written and researched by FSG Social Impact Advisors, to guide corporations seeking to maximize their impact on the U.S. education system.

The full white paper, "Best in Class: How Top Corporations Can Help Transform Public Education," will be released during a live webcast in Washington, D.C. today at 1 p.m. (EST).

The webcast will be moderated by Beth Brooke, one of Forbes' Most Powerful Women in Business and Ernst & Young's global vice chair of strategy and regulatory affairs. Joining her will be Bob Corcoran, president of GE Foundation, Robin Willner, vice president of global community initiatives at IBM, and John Kania, managing director, FSG Social Impact Advisors.

The white paper includes practical recommendations for how companies can leverage the successes of businesses that already are making an impact on the U.S. education landscape. In response to the longstanding evidence and published studies about the challenges facing the U.S. education system, Ernst & Young commissioned the white paper to shed light on solutions. The full white paper can be downloaded here.

Statistics show that:
•  Of 100 9th grade students entering public high school in any major U.S. city, 70 will stay in school to graduate, 40 will enter college/university or technical school, and only 18 will earn a college degree in four years.
• Ten million U.S. jobs could go unfilled by 2010 because the available workforce will lack the needed skills to fill the positions.
• Deficits in basic skills cost businesses, colleges, and under prepared graduates as much as $16 billion annually in lost productivity and remedial expenses.
• America's high-school graduation rate ranks 16th out of 20 developed countries, with Germany, Japan, and France, among many others, all reporting higher rates.

"Corporate America has both an opportunity and an obligation to help the U.S. education system — our future workforce and global competitiveness depend on it," noted Beth Brooke, global vice chair of strategy and regulatory affairs for Ernst & Young. "The business world has unique skills and competencies that both individually and collectively can help to make a real difference in our education system. This white paper is a strategic framework for companies focused on education reform."

Research participants included representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BellSouth Foundation, ExxonMobil, GE Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs Foundation, IBM, Intel, Grantmakers for Education, Junior Achievement Worldwide, Microsoft, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, New York Public Schools, Teach for America, Business Roundtable, State Farm Insurance, and Texas Instruments, among others.

The research includes valuable lessons from leading companies that are blazing a trail in public-private partnerships on education. It also provides practical recommendations for how corporations can repeat the successes and avoid the pitfalls of past corporate initiatives in education. Opportunities for corporate involvement fall into three key areas that impact student achievement: 1) Teaching and Learning, 2) Human Capital, and 3) Systems and Structures.

The paper highlights six key recommendations to guide corporations and key stakeholders as they design, structure, and implement effective corporate initiatives in education:

1) Start at the top: CEO-level commitment can exert significant influence
on education reform. A CEO's decision to adopt the cause of education
sends a strong message about the importance to employees and local
education stakeholders.
2) Lead with your strengths: Education professionals want help with
something at which companies excel. Experience suggests that
companies which offer initiatives most closely aligned with their own
strengths are most effective.
3) Scale Appropriately: Avoid trying to have large-scale impact on a
school system by applying a small-scale commitment of time and money.
A small investment of funding and time will need to be modestly scoped
and tightly managed.
4) Adapt, don't prescribe: Create programs around local classroom,
school, and district needs - don't offer prepackaged solutions.
The most effective programs include collaboration with partners and
experts around existing entry points.
5) Be in it for the long haul: Education improvement requires a long-term
commitment - quick fixes and shortcuts are not appropriate. Improving
educational outcomes is not a short term intervention.
6) Measure and Manage: Measuring success will ensure a greater
likelihood of improved educational outcomes. Setting measurable,
achievable goals for initiatives is a critical success factor for a
program that is sustainable and delivers results.

FSG Social Impact Advisors notes that corporations can serve as better agents of change by adopting systemic problem-solving approaches to the persistent, chronic challenges facing the U.S. education system today. You can register for the webcast here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

NonprofitCenters Network Collaborates For Space

SAN FRANCISCO - The NonprofitCenters Network will host a national conference, Collaborating for Success National Conference: Creating and Operating Multi-Tenant Nonprofit Centers on May 16-17 at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, California. The conference is a bi-annual event that engages nonprofits, foundations, real estate and financial professionals who are creating stable, affordable, mission-enhancing work environments.

The three day conference will focus on:
•  The nuts and bolts of creating and managing multi-tenant nonprofit centers, including the design and development process and on-going operations
• Effective, efficient shared services
• Financing using both commercial and nonprofit methods
• Cross-sector partnerships
• Environmental design in nonprofit facilities

Speakers consist of 70 experts in real estate development, financing and management, and nonprofit leaders developing and operating centers throughout the nation. They include: Steven Oliver, renowned building contractor, art collector and Chair of the Board of SFMOMA; Diane Ford of the Sobrato Family Foundation; Marsha Maytum of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects; Dirk ten Grotenhuis of Stone & Youngberg, LLP; Jeanne Bell of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services; Marjorie Torres of Concrete Stories.

The NonprofitCenters Network provides nonprofit organizations with the information and tools they need to successfully complete multi-tenant facilities projects. The network is building a cross-sector network of nonprofits and their philanthropic, government and real estate partners. NCN supports the creation of nonprofit centers through peer networking, public education, an online resource center, and national conferences attracting hundreds of participants.

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