Friday, November 27, 2009

Collaborative Consulting Partners with The Home for Little Wanderers

BOSTON — Collaborative Consulting, a company that specializes in optimizing its clients' business and technology capabilities, has partnered with the nation's oldest child and family services agency — The Home for Little Wanderers — to help make holiday wishes come true for at-risk children this holiday season. By donating staff time and services, Collaborative Consulting has created a new functionality for The Home's Big Wishes for Little Wanderers Gift Drive online "wish list" database that will allow donors to fulfill more than 3,600 wishes.

According to Christine Robertson, The Home's Graphic Design and Web Manager, "The Collaborative Consulting Team that has been working on this project has improved the capabilities of our system to make it user-friendly for staff and donors. Their work on the wish list website will not only benefit The Home's donors and program staff, but ultimately the children and families we serve."

The site's new functionalities also allow donors to easily choose between "Adopt a Family" and "Children's Wishlists" links and provide an option to narrow searches by a child or family member's age, gender, and type of gift request.

"Last year we were able to help more than 100 families and nearly 500 family members through our Adopt a Family program," explained Scott Inman senior corporate relations manager. "In tough economic times, many of our families are in desperate need of necessities such as clothing and household items, so the enhancements to the site come at an important time as the need for our services continues to grow."

The Home for Little Wanderers' annual Big Wishes for Little Wanderers Gift Drive is one of the oldest toy drives in the Boston area. The event runs December 1 - 22, 2009. Donations may be delivered to the Toy Room at 161 South Huntington Ave., Jamaica Plain, MA or at a community drop-off location. To learn more, visit the website.

With the increased need this holiday season making a fundraiser more accessible is only going to increase a non-profit's reach to potential donors. By creating an online website to host The Home for Little Wanderers' holiday toy drive, it not only makes it easier for locals to participate, but it creates an opportunity for non-local donors to get involved. Collaborative Consulting Partners is giving this non-profit a gift that will continue to positively affect the community for a long time to come. The best part is, it didn't take loads of money, it just took a company to recognize its strengths and use them for good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Southwest Airlines Employees Give Turkeys to Feed Thousands

DENVER — In response to a call for help feeding Denver's poor and homeless population during the holidays and beyond, Southwest Airlines today announced a $50,000 donation to the Denver Rescue Mission, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing food, shelter, clothing, and rehabilitation services to the estimated 11,000 homeless people in Denver.

The donation is the largest turkey donation in the Denver Rescue Mission's history, and the food will be distributed to families at this year's Thanksgiving Banquet-in-a-Box and be served at this year's Great Thanksgiving Banquet. Additional turkeys will be distributed to families in need through churches and other non-profits across the Denver Metro area.

"Southwest Airlines is committed to Denver, and our commitment includes helping the less fortunate. In these challenging economic times, we're grateful for the opportunity to step forward to support the Denver Rescue Mission," said Dave LaPorte, Southwest's Station Manager in Denver. "By supporting something so close to the hearts and minds of our Denver Customers and local Employees, we're making an investment to help strengthen our community."

The Denver Rescue Mission will serve the turkeys purchased by Southwest and other donors beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 25, during the Great Thanksgiving Banquet, an annual event hosted by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. Additional items needed for the Thanksgiving food boxes include canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned pumpkin, boxed stuffing, canned cranberries, and canned yams. Donations can be dropped off at the Denver Rescue Mission's Lawrence Street Shelter at the corner of Park Avenue and Lawrence Street.

"By stepping up to the plate with the largest turkey donation in the Denver Rescue Mission's history, at a time when other local companies have been forced to cut back, Southwest Airlines has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Denver community," said Brad Meuli, president and CEO of the Denver Rescue Mission.

Southwest Airlines Employees from Denver also will volunteer at the Denver Rescue Mission to help prepare for this year's Great Thanksgiving Banquet. Southwest encourages its employees to get involved in the communities they serve through its Share the Spirit program, which helps the airline's Employees make a difference in cities across the U.S.

This is a great example of a national corporation making a big difference in a small community. Southwest's giving model encourages employees to give locally. It would be easy for a corporation of its size to only give to the high profile national nonprofits, but instead they take a much more grassroots approach. It's encouraging to see a company take such pride in the individual communities it serves.

Monday, November 23, 2009

You Decide What Matters


For the first time ever, Facebook® users will be able to choose from more than 500,000 small and local charities to decide which community organizations they want to receive donations totaling millions of dollars from a corporate philanthropy fund. Chase and Facebook launching Chase Community Giving: You Decide What Matters, a grassroots campaign to inspire a new way of corporate philanthropy.

“Every year, our company donates more than $100 million to non-profit organizations in local communities, nationally and abroad, and our employees dedicate countless hours of their own time to helping those in need,” says Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. “The grassroots nature of Facebook will allow us to hear directly which local charities matter most to our communities, hopefully creating an even bigger impact.”

Chase is enlisting Facebook users, now totaling more than 300 million, to vote for which small and local non profits will receive donations totaling $5 million. The eligible charity receiving the most votes will be awarded $1 million, the top five runners-up will receive $100,000 each and the 100 finalists, including the top winners, will be awarded $25,000 each. Additionally, a special Advisory Board featuring members who are active in philanthropy, including actress Eva Longoria, Do Something founder Nancy Lublin and NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, will allocate a total of $1 million to the nominated charities of its choice.

“Facebook has become a global platform people use for all types of philanthropic causes from medical research and human rights, to disaster assistance and children’s rights,” says Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. “Chase's creative approach -- crowdsourcing for charity -- puts the power of corporate giving directly in the hands of Facebook users. Thanks to the Chase Community Giving program, millions of Americans will be able to join together to have an unprecedented philanthropic impact on communities across the nation.”

Online tools are making it increasingly easy to reach a large consumer base in order to affect change. Much to some's dismay the online world gives the consumer infinite choice, so much so that consumers have come to both expect and relish it. Chase's community giving campaign exemplifies their ability to adapt in order to make the greatest impact — a positive thing, both in for and non profit.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Brown Bag Project



On Nov. 21, BlogCatalog.com and HalfHourMeals.com are asking bloggers to help someone in need by packing a meal and delivering it to a family in need, holding a food drive at your school or church or business, or donating food or money to your local food bank.

Then, use your blog to raise awareness about hunger, share what you learned from giving, or motivate others to help someone who is hungry.

BlogCatalog.com and HalfHourMeals.com staff will be hand delivering meals to families in San Antonio on the day of the event. We will be delivering them anonymously and attaching a card that says "from someone who cares about you."

If you are unable to physically deliver a meal to someone or deliver food to a food bank, there are ways to donate online.

Our local San Antonio Food Bank has a virtual food drive that makes donating food or funds as easy as clicking a few buttons. You can donate to their virtual food drive here.

Or, look for a virtual food drive sponsored by your local food bank.

Not only have BloggersUnite events generated widespread awareness for a variety of causes, but BlogCatalog also encourages philanthropy within its own company. Encouraging consumers to participate in philanthropic endeavors is great, but it has little impact if your company isn't taking action as well. It seems simple, but leading by example is a powerful thing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Public Service Enterprise Group Celebrates the Power of Volunteerism


NEWARK, N.J. — Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) is celebrating the power of volunteerism by recognizing exemplary employee volunteers and rewarding the nonprofit organizations they support. The energy company will award 17 New Jersey nonprofits a total of $34,000 in recognition of the work of employees who donate their time and energy to philanthropic organizations throughout the Garden State.

The employees were formally recognized today by PSEG Chairman Ralph Izzo and Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells at an afternoon luncheon at the company's headquarters.

"Though our employees expend a great deal of energy at work, they still manage to find time to give back and make their communities better," said Ralph Izzo, PSEG chairman, president, and CEO. "We honor their commitment and support their efforts. They are truly remarkable."

The nonprofits receiving the grants are as diverse as the employees who support them. This year's recipient organizations provide valuable services for youth, the homeless, disabled, elderly and low-income families, and concentrate their efforts on areas such as substance abuse, grief counseling, premature births, conservation and animal rescue.

For a list of awardees please visit PSEG's website.

Taking a moment to honor your employees for their philanthropic contributions is an ideal way to foster a giving spirit within your company and the community at large. Not only does PSEG encourage employees to get involved, but they also provide the causes additional financial support, thus demonstrating their commitment both to the community and their employees.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Medela Recognizes National Prematurity Awareness Month

Every year, 20 million babies are born to soon, too small and very sick — half a million of them in the United States. In an effort to reduce the increase in prematurity around the world, we are joining BloggersUnite.org and March of Dimes to spread awareness and funding for continued education and research. We are honored to dedicate today's post in order to highlight one of the many companies supporting March of Dimes during the month of November.

MCHENRY, Ill. — Medela will host a Virtual Human Milk (breastmilk) Collection Campaign in honor of the March of Dimes' National Prematurity Awareness Month and the thousands of dedicated Neonatal healthcare professionals nationwide.

Throughout the month of November, individuals can visit Medela's website to register their vote for their preferred Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The four NICUS, one in each of four geographic regions, that obtain the most votes will receive at least $5,000 each worth of Medela products or education services for their facility.

"Medela is committed to providing Neonatal healthcare professionals with products and education to help them better promote and provide the life saving benefits of breastmilk for the premature infants in their care," says Carolin Archibald, vice president, professional business at Medela Inc. "Human milk works like a medicine to help protect premature babies from many complications during and after their hospital stay."

Research shows the more human milk feedings, the better the health outcomes for the infant. Feeding human milk rather than formula in the NICU has shown to reduce the length of hospital stay, reduce the days of oxygen therapy needed, reduce the incidence of late onset sepsis, Necrotizing Entercolitis (NEC), ear infections, serious respiratory tract infections and gastroenteritis.

By voting, individuals are helping their preferred NICUs to potentially receive products and services from Medela. Each individual may only vote for one NICU. Winning NICU facilities will be notified by December 10, 2009. Full participation guidelines, terms and conditions are available at Medela's website.

"It is critical to equip NICUs with the products and knowledge needed to promote and provide the life giving benefits of human milk to the one in eight babies born prematurely each year in the U.S.," adds Archibald. "We hope this Virtual Human Milk Collection campaign brings awareness to this issue while rewarding outstanding NICU facilities that care for premature infants."

Medela has invested in the fight for preemies, but also in their products' ability to improve infant health. This demonstrates the company's passion for their product and the positive impact they believe it can have on the future of neonatal care.

Many companies began with a vision for improving one thing or another. Getting back to the foundation of why you started may inspire you to make a difference for a cause that desperately needs your help.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Six Flags Mobilizes Universal Workforce to Lend a Helping Hand

NEW YORK — Today Six Flags will close its gates to launch Project 6, the company's first annual Day of Service. The entire Six Flags workforce will collectively press pause on all day-to-day duties to spearhead and participate in volunteer projects within their local neighborhoods aimed at improving overall quality of life. All full-time employees will join more than 55 organizations from the US, Mexico and Canada to hand-deliver Six Flags smiles to those in need this holiday season.

All local volunteer initiatives will benefit organizations dedicated to the needs of children and families, public welfare or environmental issues. Each Six Flags employee, representing a broad spectrum of talents ranging from entertainment to engineering, will be paired with a project that matches their expertise. For example, Rob Lindsay, Maintenance Supervisor and 14-year veteran of Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, will lend his knowledge to Project WARM, a nonprofit based in Louisville, Kentucky that provides free weatherization services for low-income families who can no longer afford their high utility bills. His services will range from hanging plastic over windows to repairing broken glass to changing furnace filters.

"Six Flags' geographic span, coupled with the size, talent and quality of our workforce puts us in a position to inspire real and timely change," said Walt Hawrylak, SVP Administration. "Project 6 reconfirms our commitment to corporate responsibility by helping the communities in which we work, reside and play."

According to The Corporation for National & Community Service, as the economy slows and nonprofit organizations struggle to provide services, volunteers have become even more vital to the health of our nation's communities. Six Flags provides a realistic solution for many of these organizations. With almost 4,000 full-time employees participating in Project 6, Six Flags will donate more than 28,000 hours of service in just one business day - time worth over $567,000.*

Interrupting operations sends a powerful message to employees and consumers about the importance of philanthropy. Not many companies will take a potential loss in revenue, much less a guaranteed loss. Nevertheless, Six Flags didn't ask employees to donate personal time, instead Six Flags donated a day of work. It shows true leadership when a company takes such initiative.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Under Armour Steps Up in Support of the Wounded Warrior Project


In support of Bloggers Unite Veterans Day event, Who Will Stand, it is an honor to highlight the Wounded Warrior Project and their corporate sponsor, Under Armour. Their efforts continue to make a significant and lasting impact on our Veterans.

Baltimore, MD. — Under Armour (NSYE:UA) today announced its partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project, a not-for-profit organization that provides programs and services for injured service members and their families. The two have joined forces in conjunction with the University of South Carolina and University of Maryland football teams to recognize the sacrifices made by those who have served and those that continue to serve in our nation’s Armed Forces.

On November 14, in honor of our troops, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and University of Maryland Terrapins will wear specially designed head-to-toe uniforms for their Game Day match-ups versus the University of Florida Gators and Virginia Tech Hokies respectively. The teams will take the field in black and desert camouflage uniforms featuring the Wounded Warrior Project logo. The uniforms will also have a unique twist; a core value embellishment - Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, Country, and Service - will replace the players’ last name on the back of each jersey. Both games will be nationally televised.

Wounded Warrior Project and Under Armour will create special make-up products for fans to wear on game day to show their support. The gear will be sold in college book stores, local military base exchanges, and online. A percentage of the fan gear proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Additionally, a select number of game jerseys will be auctioned off after the game on the University websites and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

“Partnering with an organization such as the Wounded Warrior Project allows Under Armour a unique opportunity to connect with college football fans and our athletes on a whole new level, while also supporting the overall mission of the Wounded Warrior Project - to build public awareness and help support injured service men and women and their families,” said Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour. “We will continue to both honor and empower those who have been wounded and we are proud to support our troops.”

Under Armour's collaborative effort to support the Wounded Warrior Project greatly benefits Veterans, but also invigorates football fans to get involved and support the cause. Fan participation creates additional exposure for Under Armour and their notable contributions, while also increasing awareness about the undeniable need to support Veterans. As this example highlights, a healthy partnership can do a lot of good for the cause and your company.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dominick's and ABC 7 Chicago Join Forces for Annual Holiday Food Drive in Support of Greater Chicago Food Depository

CHICAGO — Dominick's Finer Foods and ABC 7 Chicago will help stock pantry shelves this holiday season through the annual Dominick's & ABC 7 Chicago Holiday Food Drive. The eight-week event runs from Nov. 5, 2009, through Jan. 3, 2010. Last year, the food drive collected the equivalent of 837,653 pounds of food that benefited hungry men, women and children. This year, the goal is to gain the equivalent of more than 1 million pounds of food so that everyone in our community may enjoy the bounty of the holidays as 35 percent more people are turning to pantries for food assistance.

ABC 7 meteorologist Tracy Butler and anchor Hosea Sanders will help focus attention on the critical need to fight hunger, with live reports and weathercasts from three Dominick's stores on Tuesday, Dec. 1. To donate food and see the reports, visit the Dominick's store at 2550 N. Clybourn from 7-9 a.m., the store in Park Ridge (1900 S. Cumberland) from 11 a.m.-noon, and the store in Downers Grove (42 E. Ogden) from 4-4:30 p.m.

Additionally, Butler and Sanders will appear in public service announcements supporting the food drive. Butler has helped to spearhead the public service campaign for the Holiday Food Drive since 1999. ABC 7 public affairs program "Chicagoing," featuring Bill Campbell, will examine the issue of hunger in the area and the importance of the Holiday Food Drive with Kate Maehr, executive director, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Sunday, November 29 at 11:30 a.m. on ABC 7.

During this effort to fight hunger across Cook County, individuals can drop off nonperishable food items at the ABC 7 Chicago lobby, at 190 N. State Street, or at any local Dominick's location or by making a donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository through Depository Dollars, available at the check-out counters of any Chicagoland Dominick's store in $1, $2 and $5 denominations. A complete listing of Dominick's stores can be found at www.dominicks.com.

A Virtual Food Drive will also be included on the ABC 7 Web site. The Virtual Food Drive appears similar to Web sites for online retailers, where Food Drive supporters can "buy" food items for donation to the Food Depository. All money raised from the Virtual Food Drive will be used to purchase high-quality, nutritious food needed by men, women and children in Cook County.

Dominick's Finer Foods and ABC 7 Chicago are leading their community in a multi-level effort to do good this holiday season. From encouraging individuals to donate can goods, donating themselves, and hosting an online donation campaign, they are doing everything they can to surpass the needs of the community. Not to mention, the ample media exposure their efforts are receiving — what better way to be known than as a company that is truly invested in the community it serves.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Verizon Legal Volunteers Launch New Program to Provide Free Legal Services

NEW YORK — Verizon attorneys and legal staff have started a program that will provide free legal services to needy individuals and nonprofit organizations.

The program helps address a major issue: Nearly 1 million poor people will be denied representation in courts across the country this year because of insufficient resources, according to a recent study by Legal Services Corporation.

Verizon attorneys, who specialize in a variety of legal fields, and legal staff, will donate their time, talents and professional expertise, with an emphasis on civil matters involving education, domestic violence, and supporting veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This program is a natural extension of Verizon's long-standing commitment to the communities we serve," said Randal Milch, executive vice president and general counsel for Verizon. "With attorneys and staffers in 20 states and the District of Columbia, Verizon's pro bono program has the potential to have a significant impact in many of these communities."

Under the program, the more than 700 attorneys, paralegals and staffers in the company's legal department will be encouraged to volunteer a minimum of 25 hours a year. The department has established a Pro Bono Committee to oversee the program, approve pro bono projects and partners, assess the program's effectiveness, and ensure that volunteers have access to proper training resources.

The program will provide legal assistance in three key areas: education, domestic violence, and Veterans.

To broaden the program's reach, Verizon has partnered with the law firm of DLA Piper, which has a similar program that provides legal services to the needy, and joined the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge - a program sponsored by Corporate Pro Bono. The Challenge's goal is for at least half of the members of Verizon's legal department to participate in the program.

Partnering with other companies in the community can be a great way to make a big difference. Through Verizon's determination to meet a community need, others are encouraged to join in, allowing a greater number of people to be impacted by Verizon's initiative.

There is a strength in numbers. If you are feeling overwhelmed by a cause you want to support, try partnering with other companies that have similar passions. You might be amazed at the impact you make and the new relationships you gain in the process.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Independent Film Unites Bloggers and Hosts Free Screening in Honor of Veterans Day



LAS VEGAS — In honor of Veterans Day, independent filmmakers are using "Who Will Stand" to raise awareness for veterans on Nov. 11.

The campaign includes a BloggersUnite.org event that asks bloggers to post and write about veterans on Veterans Day, including nonprofit organizations such as The Soldier's Project, Defending Freedom, Canines for Combat Wounded, Blue Star Mothers, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Concurrent with the online event, The Galaxy Theatres at Cannery Casino & Hotel will host a special open-to-the-public, free screening of “Who Will Stand”. The screening will also feature entertainer Clint Holmes who performed the title song.

The free screenings will take place at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11 at the Galaxy Theatres in Las Vegas. Attendees are invited to make a donation to HELP USA LAS VEGAS, a Las Vegas-based organization that finds housing for homeless veterans.

The movie focuses on more than a dozen soldiers who were physically or psychologically wounded. It also profiles several charities dedicated to helping veterans.

Director Phil Valentine and Director of Photography Michael Bedik traveled across the United States to find soldiers who were willing to talk candidly about their issues. “Who Will Stand” is a call to action and inspires the community to help those brave men and women of our military.

A portion of the DVD sales will go to support organizations that help veterans anonymously, immediately and without cost. This includes the Wounded Warrior Project, Canines for Combat Wounded, The Soldiers Project and Help USA.

Not only is this film creating awareness in communities across the nation, but a portion of the proceeds will benefit many local nonprofits. By supporting the causes that support Veterans "Who Will Stand" is doing good and creating additional support for the film from people who are passionate about these causes.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Miracle Recreation Equipment Company Partners With National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to Promote Child Safety


MONETT, Mo. — Miracle Recreation Equipment Company proudly announced today they have become a corporate sponsor of The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). They have pledged to donate more than $250,000 to NCMEC over the next three years, and to help cover lodging costs necessary to reunite family members upon the recovery of missing children.

The money will be used to support NCMEC's mission of finding missing children, preventing child abduction and sexual exploitation, and serving child victims and their families. It will also support NCMEC's prevention education efforts targeted at providing resources and information for families to help keep their children safer. As part of the partnership, NCMEC will develop child safety tips for playgrounds and parks.

"In today's world, we as a society must all look out for the safety and security of our children," said Mike Sutton director of sales at Miracle and a former law enforcement officer.

Miracle's donation will be funded by the sale of playgrounds incorporating Miracle's new patent pending MiracleTech® integrated security product line. The MiracleTech® product line includes the ParkWatch® infrared security camera to digitally record events and to help deter inappropriate activity, SiteBrite® low voltage lighting, and the SonicScreen® patented sound technology, which is designed to help deter vandalism after hours.

"It is with the generous support of partners like Miracle that we are able to continue our work and help make children safer and better prepared for the risks that they face in today's world," said Ernie Allen, NCMEC president and CEO. "Together we can provide families with the tools and resources that can help make our communities safer, something that is important to both of our organizations."

Miracle's dedication to this cause sends a strong message to costumers. Miracle doesn't just sell playground equipment, they are invested in children's safety and well-being. Safer communities means more people will utilize parks and playgrounds. When we give to the community, the community inevitably gives back.

Friday, October 30, 2009

PETCO Offers Three Ways to Give to Pets in Need This Holiday Season


SAN DIEGO — More than 1,000 PETCO stores nationwide will encourage families to Think Adoption First during National Pet Adoption Weekend Nov. 7 and 8 when they partner with their local animal shelters to hold adoption events. In addition, the National Pet Adoption Weekend kicks-off PETCO's annual Tree of Hope fundraiser for the PETCO Foundation and PETCO's partnership with the IAMS® annual Home 4 the Holidays® pet adoption drive.

"Last year PETCO raised more than $3 million through the Tree of Hope campaign in PETCO stores, and the PETCO Foundation was able to help more than 5,000 animal shelters," said Jim Myers, Chief Executive Officer for PETCO. "Through our National Pet Adoption Weekend and Tree of Hope campaign we hope to boost the number of animal adoptions and monies raised to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of animals."

The Tree of Hope fundraiser allows PETCO customers to purchase snowflake card ornaments for $5, $10 or $20 donations through Dec. 24. Customers may also purchase PETCO Foundation "Peace on Earth, Good Homes for Pets" T-shirts or sweatshirts while supplies last. In addition, IAMS will donate $1 to the PETCO Foundation for every bag of IAMS cat or dog food sold at PETCO stores from Nov. 7 to Dec. 24 in support of the 2009 Home 4 the Holidays goal to find homes for 1.5 million animals by the end of the holiday season.

Every PETCO customer who adopts an animal through one of PETCO's sponsored animal adoption events or its charitable partners are invited to join PETCO's Think Adoption First program. When proof of a pet adoption is brought into a store and a P.A.L.S. loyalty program membership is activated, customers will receive a free brochure that features exclusive savings on food and supplies. In addition, new pet parents will receive a year-long series of educational e-mails regarding the health and well-being of their new pet, as well as special offers of up to 25 percent in savings each month.

Of course it makes sense for PETCO and IAMS to invest in a cause that supports animals, but they are also investing in the communities they serve by giving individuals who participate in the program long term incentives and support. Both these companies recognize the value of investing in local communities and are making a BIG difference for the pets and their owners. An investment that I am sure will be returned ten fold.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Choice Hotels Gathers Volunteers To Improve Homes Of Those In Need


SILVER SPRING, Md. — Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) supported Rebuilding Together's 2009 Make a Difference Day on October 24th. Make a Difference Day is an encompassing national day of helping others — a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. In 2008, three million people cared enough about their communities to volunteer on that day, accomplishing thousands of projects in hundreds of towns.

This year, Choice Hotels franchisees and employees will join Rebuilding Together volunteers across the country to help hundreds of homeowners and their families. This fall, an estimated 700 Choice Hotels volunteers, including both Choice employees as well as Choice owners and operators, will put in nearly 5,000 volunteer hours dedicated to Rebuilding Together projects.

In addition, for every volunteer who joins the Choice Privileges® rewards program before December 31, 2009, Choice Hotels will donate $1.00 to Rebuilding Together up to $50,000. Each Rebuilding Together volunteer who joins Choice Privileges before December 31, 2009 can receive up to 1,000 Choice Privileges bonus points. Volunteers who sign up for Choice Privileges through this promotion receive 500 points and an additional 500 points for completing an eligible stay prior to December 31, 2009.

With little reprieve from the housing crisis, initiatives like this are proving necessary lifelines to individual communities. Choice Hotels is not only taking strides to better communities across the nation, but they are also uniting them. With more and more people in need, their volunteers will help make a big dent in this year's projects, not to mention the generous funds donated to encourage other volunteers to sign-up.

By facilitating volunteer opportunities, companies large and small can greatly improve their local communities. So, what are we waiting for?

Monday, October 26, 2009

STOP MRSA Now Coalition Launches the Bleacher Brigade to Reduce the Spread of MRSA


WASHINGTON D.C. — This fall, as children across the country head back to school and hit the sports’ fields, there may be one unexpected opponent on their schedule – MRSA. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a potentially life-threatening antibiotic resistant Staph infection that is becoming increasingly common in places like locker rooms, gyms and schools and it affects more than 90,000 Americans every year.

The STOP MRSA Now Coalition has joined with the North American Booster Club Association (NABCA), NBA-star Grant Hill, and The Clorox Company to launch the national "Bleacher Brigade" challenge to activate individuals and communities across the country to help prevent the spread of MRSA in community settings and at home

“When I was diagnosed with an MRSA infection, it was hard to get information about the illness or even how to help prevent the spread of it,” said Grant Hill, STOP MRSA Now member. “This infection is becoming an issue in community settings across the country and that is why, as an athlete and a father, I am joining STOP MRSA Now to offer a playbook on prevention so that everyone can get in the game to help reduce the spread of MRSA.”

Participation in the Bleacher Brigade challenge is easy and rewarding!
• Visit stopmrsanow.org
• Download the free STOP MRSA Now Playbook and distribute copies among your community
• Post the STOP MRSA Now prevention tips, links to the Web site and playbook, and videos found on stopmrsanow.org to personal Web sites, blogs, community and organization Web sites and other online channels
• Request and distribute prevention posters for display in community settings
• Use the form on the STOP MRSA Now Web site to submit all the ways you are helping to prevent the spread of MRSA at home and in your community and include photos and links to where you have posted information
• Three submissions will be eligible for a Bleacher Brigade prize pack including an autograph from Grant Hill and $500 gift card.

“People can carry MRSA without any symptoms and can transmit MRSA to others, especially in community settings," said Everly Macario, STOP MRSA Now member, whose healthy 1 1/2 year-old son, Simon Sparrow, died suddenly in 2004 from MRSA. "That is why we owe it to our children, families, and communities to learn more about MRSA and how to reduce the spread of it."

STOP MRSA Now is a coalition of community members who have experienced first-hand the threat of MRSA and MRSA experts who are committed to working together to reduce the spread of MRSA in community settings and to educate community members on MRSA prevention.

The Clorox Company is committed to helping prevent the spread of MRSA. As part of this commitment, Clorox is honored to support the STOP MRSA Now coalition to educate community members about the importance of understanding more about MRSA and how they can help prevent the spread of MRSA in their community.

The Stop MRSA Now Coalition is fortunate to have such suitable advocates, like Grant Hill and The Clorox Company. Speaking from his own experience, Grant Hill makes a powerful champion for the cause. Additionally, The Clorox Company brings a tangible action into the mix with their product being, in a sense, the anecdote to MRSA. Through The Clorox Company's generous inkind donations, volunteers are able to reduce the risk of MRSA.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wear Your Cap To School And Support Kids Being Treated For Cancer


NEW ORLEANS — The non-profit organization Caps for Kids, along with national sponsors New Era Cap Co. and Hatworld/Lids, are proud to announce that the 6th Annual "Wear Your Cap to School Day" event will take place on October 23rd in schools across the United States. This fundraising initiative encourages students to donate $1.00 for the chance to wear their favorite cap in the classroom. All monies raised support Caps for Kids' mission of providing celebrity signed headwear and scarves to children being treated for cancer.

"Having cancer at any age is a traumatic experience but having it as a child is even more anguishing," says John DeWaal, Caps for Kids President. "Wear Your Cap To School Day is a great opportunity to illustrate to students that their small donation can have a big impact to kids in their community."

Interest in the program continues to spread across the US with schools in more than 38 states participating and over $340,000 raised to date to benefit Caps for Kids. In 2008 alone, more than $90,000 was generated, marking a record of growth for the organization.

Caps for Kids is an international nonprofit organization with programs in over 90 hospitals throughout the United States. Caps for Kids is dedicated to providing celebrity signed headwear to children, adolescents, and young adults who have lost their hair as a result of treatment for cancer and other life threatening illnesses.

"Wear Your Cap to School Day" is a great way to instill a sense of philanthropy in students. Even as an adult, it is empowering to get involved and make a difference, the same is true for our children. Not to mention it allows students to do something fun and out of the ordinary -- like wear a hat to school -- which seems to be a great way to engage hat sponsors in this worthy cause.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Payless ShoeSource Distributes Shoes to Children in Need this Holiday Season


TOPEKA, Kan. — Leading family footwear retailer, Payless ShoeSource, announced the expansion of Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids to include other countries in the Western Hemisphere. The program is aimed at delivering more than $1.2 million worth of free shoes to children of families in need this holiday season.

Through a network of charity partners, Payless will distribute more than 77,000 gift coupons redeemable through Feb. 28, 2010, toward a new pair of kids' shoes at any of its stores located in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and in 10 Latin American countries including the Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Tobago, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia.

"In America the economy appears to be on the mend, but times are still difficult on Main Street and the economic challenges are rippling across the globe," said Matthew E. Rubel, Chairman and CEO of Collective Brands, Inc. (the parent company for Payless ShoeSource). "Footwear is a basic need that many of us take for granted, and yet a significant number of children need shoes. In a difficult economy, the underprivileged are hurt more than any other group and the charities that assist them are often underfunded. That's why we are expanding our Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program to Canada, Puerto Rico, and our Latin American countries and calling on charity partners again this year to help us establish an extending network to get the gift of shoes to children that need it the most this holiday season."

Partnering with local charities offers a grass roots approach — an important element of the program. It allows Payless to effectively reach children that need shoes; it also ensures widespread and diverse coverage in urban and rural areas, as well as assist non-profits during the economic downturn as many charities, especially the small to medium sized organizations, are experiencing reduced giving among contributors.

Non-profit organizations based in the United States and Canada interested in Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids can apply online by completing a short application. Core selection criteria includes a mission to serve children and families in the local area, direct access to underprivileged children in local communities to distribute the coupons by Dec. 24, and close proximity to Payless stores. Additional requirements call for non-profit organizations in the U.S. to have Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 501(c)(3) status; Canadian charities must be registered with the Canadian Revenue Agency. The application process for non-profit partners of the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program ends Oct. 30.

All selected partners will be notified and the shoe gift coupons will be distributed in various quantities based on the number of constituents served. Payless will select as many well-suited nonprofits as possible to partner in the program.

Studies show that properly fitting shoes can enhance self confidence in children and aid in their proper development and growth. As well, with rising unemployment and food costs, it is difficult for parents to cover basic needs, thus making the holidays an even more stressful time for struggling families.

"A great pair of shoes can lift spirits, bolster self esteem and, as we witnessed first-hand when we launched the program last year, bring a huge smile to a child's face," said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless. "We are thrilled to expand this important holiday giving campaign to the majority of our chains and to reach deeper into the communities in which we operate to give this holiday gift to children. We hope to take one concern off parents' plates for tens of thousands of families this holiday season."

Last year, Payless launched Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids by partnering with localized non-profit partners throughout America to join in the giving campaign. More than 630 non-profit partners in 50 states and the District of Columbia joined Payless to deliver $1 million worth of free shoes to children of families in need across America. Please visit Payless Gives facebook for updates and photos on this year's program.

Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids provides the company with an opportunity to invest in the communities it serves. Nonprofits will certainly be struggling this year as the funding is scarce and the need continues to increase. Encourage local nonprofits to get involved in the program, so that more children will have shoes this holiday season. I know a great pair of shoes certainly lifts my spirits.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Whole Foods Thanks Customers for Supporting The Lunch Box Project


AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market, a leading natural and organic grocer, extends thanks to customers at its 273 U.S. locations for donating $660,065 to help transform school lunches across the country. Over the past eight weeks, customers surpassed the Company's goal of $400,000 to fund the development of "The Lunch Box Project," an online resource created by "Renegade Lunch Lady" Chef Ann Cooper's nonprofit, F3: Food Family Farming Foundation, which helps public schools provide more nutritious lunches for kids. This total combined with a $50,000 donation from the company means F3 will receive $710,065.

"Our customers have shown us that providing healthy lunches for our children is an issue of great importance to them," said Whole Foods Market Co-President and Chief Operating Officer Walter Robb. "We are so pleased to celebrate National School Lunch Week this year by recognizing and thanking our shoppers for their contribution. Inspired by our customers, we are deepening our own commitment by asking each Whole Foods Market location to partner with a school to work on making real progress in cafeterias in our communities' schools."

These store-school partnerships are already developing. For example, as a result of attending one of Whole Foods Market's community discussions, Dr. Melissa Kim, principal of Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, D.C., has struck up a multi-faceted relationship with Whole Foods Market in Tenley. Together the store and the school will approach the school's third-party food service provider with the aim of coordinating menu transitions and culinary training. Additionally, the Tenley store is partnering with the school's International Cooking Club, which meets once a week, to explore cuisine from around the world.

"We are so grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support by Whole Foods Market customers and employees for the creation of 'The Lunch Box Project,'" said Nicole de Beaufort, executive director for The F3 Foundation. "The momentum created by this campaign has generated not only the means to build a successful set of resources; it also has built awareness about the connection between what we feed our children and their health and well-being."

"The Lunch Box Project" toolkit, found online, is now providing more than 80 recipes -- all nutritionally analyzed and easily scaled for portion size or number of servings. The next phase of the project will add food safety and culinary how-to videos, photos and manuals to help school lunch providers make serving nutritious, affordable lunches to students a reality.

In the spirit of National School Lunch Week, parent groups, schools and districts are encouraged to share anecdotes about how their cafeterias are improving lunches. From hosting local farmers markets and providing fresh produce to limiting fast food options in school kitchens, share your story at The Lunch Box website.

To increase national awareness of the "School Lunch Revolution," Whole Foods Market partnered with Chef Ann Cooper who traveled across the country to hold community discussions, serve on expert panels and deliver parent lectures. The three-week, six-city tour concluded last week also included school facility tours and a healthy cooking competition for children, an event that rallied customers around the cause.

This week the company also announced that Albert Einstein Academies Middle School is the winner of the School Lunch Revolution online video contest. Einstein Middle School is a charter school in the San Diego Unified School District. Einstein's entry was selected from the one-minute videos produced by parents passionate about improving lunches in their schools. The winner will receive a visit and coaching session from Chef Ann Cooper.

National School Lunch Week was established in 1963 by presidential proclamation. The week is designed to help raise awareness of, and support for, the role that the National School Lunch Program and nutrition education play in the lives of children.

Whole Foods partnered with customers in order to do good, what a novel idea. Costumers exceeded the $400,000 goal, and even inspired Whole Foods to partner with local schools throughout the school year. Whole Foods costumers rallied behind Whole Foods in support of the cause. Is your business leading the community in philanthropic endeavors? If not, give it a try, you may be surprised.

Friday, October 16, 2009

BLOGGERSUNITE.ORG Partners with March of Dimes in the Fight for Preemies

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — BloggersUnite.org, a social awareness initiative supported by 200,000 BlogCatalog.com members, is partnering with March of Dimes, the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, to expand a global social awareness campaign about the need to prevent premature birth and give all babies a healthy start.

The campaign, Bloggers Unite: Fight For Preemies, asks bloggers from all over the world to post on the same day – Prematurity Awareness Day – on behalf of the more than 13 million babies who are born too soon each year worldwide. Collectively, these posts will reach millions of people during November, Prematurity Awareness Month.

Nov. 17 will mark the 7th Annual Prematurity Awareness Day®, a time when March of Dimes volunteers and parents draw attention to the crisis of premature birth (birth before 37 weeks gestation) and its toll on babies and families.

“March of Dimes is the champion for babies, and we are fighting to give all babies a healthy start in life. Bloggers and parents can visit marchofdimes.com/fightforpreemies to learn how they can help,” said Beverly Robertson, national director of the Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center at March of Dimes. “We are thrilled to partner with BloggersUnite.org and BlogCatalog members to make Prematurity Awareness Day a featured social media event and to harness the power of the Internet to fight for preemies.”

Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually. It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face serious health challenges, such as cerebral palsy, lung problems, and vision and hearing loss. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon (34-36 weeks gestation, also known as late-preterm birth) have higher rates of death and disability than full-term babies.

In addition to promoting the campaign with the help of millions of volunteers, supporters, and celebrities, March of Dimes will be working with BlogCatalog to provide source material for bloggers. Several topics include: the escalating rate of prematurity (36 percent in the last two decades); the increasing need for research in the field of prematurity to help reduce risks and long-term complications; and help more women learn how they can reduce the risk of premature birth.

“Since its inception in 2007, BloggersUnite has truly evolved into a member-driven social awareness campaign that is conceived, promoted, and supported by tens of thousands of bloggers,” says Antony Berkman, president of BlogCatalog and co-founder of Bloggers Unite. “We are thrilled about their support of March of Dimes and the cause of premature birth, especially because one of our co-founders experienced the hardship of having a premature baby firsthand.”

Berkman added that bloggers will be highlighting premature birth from many different angles. Some may discuss the importance of early and regular prenatal care, while other may focus on the financial and emotional burden placed on families. He expects some bloggers may even share personal stories that have yet to be covered by mainstream media.

Bloggers are encouraged but not required to register their blogs at BloggersUnite.org and visit the event page for BloggersUnite: Fight For Preemies. This page offers a growing assortment of badges, videos and support material for bloggers, future parents and pregnant women.

The March of Dimes is the leading organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit the March of Dimes website.

Since 2007, BloggersUnite has evolved from a BlogCatalog member initiative into a member-driven online community where bloggers can unite and coordinate activities for dozens of causes. Every year, the founders of BloggersUnite.org, together with BlogCatalog members, dedicate additional time and resources to three underserved causes.

An amazing opportunity for bloggers to create awareness and support for a very worthy cause. They are asking so little -- just one post dedicated to March of Dimes -- we will be joining in, we hope you will too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stonyfield Farm Donates $100,000 to Help the Earth

Londonderry, NH — Through their Profits for the Planet (PFP) program, Stonyfield Farm will give a total of $100,000 to three organizations that help the earth. Each organization will receive $20,000 plus a percentage of $40,000. And the best part is, they are asking costumers to choose.

With limited-edition yogurt lids printed to raise awareness for the program, Stonyfield Farm is encouraging consumers to support their favored organization through voting online. Consumers can vote once with a simple click or vote multiple times through their "myStonyfield Reward" program where each reward code printed on the yogurt packaging can be used to cast a vote and earn point(s) to redeem for eco-friendly gifts. Online voting can be accessed on Stonyfield Farm's website

Here are the choices:

Center for Biological Diversity - At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. We work to secure a future for all species hovering on the brink of extinction, and for the lands, waters and climate they need to survive.

Energy Action Coalition - Founded in June 2004 by youth climate leaders, the Energy Action Coalition unites a diversity of organizations in an alliance that supports and strengthens the student and youth clean and just energy movement in North America.

The Organic Center - is an independent nonprofit research and education organization based in Boulder, CO, that conducts primary, peer-reviewed research on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming as well as the risks associated with the widespread commercial use of toxic synthetic pesticides, genetically modified crops (GMOs), and biotechnology in agriculture.

Customers love it when you give them choices. They especially love it when you give them choices when it comes to cash. Stonyfield Farm's bid with your lid program benefits everyone involved -- the non-profits that receive funds and the costumers who are given a voice in support of a cause. This is a great way for Stonyfield Farms to engage their costumer while also doing good.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Doing Good with Wood

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. — Minwax, the leading manufacturer of wood finishing and wood care products, announces the last call for entries for the 2009 Community Craftsman Award. Eligible participants include individuals, community groups, schools, associations and woodworking clubs or guilds that promote and participate in the betterment of their communities through woodworking.

The grand prize is a $5,000 cash grant, a supply of Minwax products, and a consultation with author and wood finishing expert Bruce Johnson. Two runner-up organizations will receive a supply of Minwax products, and a special recognition award and cash grant of $2,000 will be presented to one individual award winner. The deadline for all submissions is December 31, 2009.

The Community Craftsman Award Program recognizes the growing number of people and organizations that are volunteering and working together to improve their community. According to Volunteering in America, neighborhood engagement levels have risen sharply since 2007, with a 31 percent increase in the number of people who worked with their neighbors to fix a community problem. As the economy slows and nonprofit organizations struggle to provide services on smaller budgets, volunteers become even more vital to the health of our nation's communities.

"Since the inception of the Community Craftsman Award Program, we've seen scores of wonderful projects submitted by volunteers who enjoy woodworking and wood finishing," said Janet Krakow, vice president, marketing, Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Products. "We encourage all those who have used their woodworking skills to improve their community - giving freely of their time and enthusiasm - to submit their project for consideration."

The winners will be announced in early spring 2010. All eligible applicants are encouraged to enter by writing a summary of recent woodworking projects. Entries can be submitted by either (1) uploading on the Minwax Web site at minwax.com, (2) via e-mail by writing to minwaxcca@brushfireinc.com, or (3) via mail by writing to MINWAX Community Craftsman Award, c/o Brushfire Inc., 2 Wing Drive, Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927.

Using the Community Craftsman Award Program to encourage volunteerism shows great initiative on Minwax's part. It is a unique effort in the sense that it focuses on everyday people coming together in support of projects they believe in, through a hobby they enjoy, while also fostering camaraderie and support within local communities. All in all, a great idea.

Friday, October 09, 2009

One Meal at a Time: Kraft Foods Fights Hunger

LIVERMORE, Calif. — Five volunteer projects. One day. More than 100 Kraft Foods' employee volunteers. What does that add up to? Thousands of people in the Bay Area benefiting from Kraft Foods' first-ever global "Make a Delicious Difference Week."

With more than 10,000 employees in 33 countries participating around the world, this special week of service (Oct. 5-10) will benefit roughly 500,000 people in need. The effort will mobilize six times the number of volunteers than in previous efforts and build on the company's commitment to fighting hunger and promoting healthy lifestyles. In the Bay Area, Kraft Foods is partnering with Alameda Co. Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Loaves & Fishes, Shepherd's Gate Shelter and Turn On to America.

Kraft Foods Regional Vice President John LeGuluche will join about 50 volunteers today in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to help build a home for a family in need.

"We may be best known for making delicious foods like our Oreo cookies, but 'delicious' means much more than that," said LeGuluche. "The volunteer spirit of our employees combined with the expertise of these organizations is a winning recipe to help those in need. Knowing our efforts here in the Bay Area are an important ingredient in our first global week of service makes this experience even more powerful."

As unemployment has risen in the Bay Area from 6.8 percent to 11.5 percent in the past eight months, Kraft Foods' commitment to the communities is stronger than ever.

Local projects include:
• Packing boxes of food that will be distributed to those in need in the Bay Area by Turn on to America
• Working at the food pantry at the Alameda County Food Bank in Oakland
• Serving food to the homeless at the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank in Antioch
• Teaming up with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for the Bao/Lei family in Oakland
• Renovating the Shepherd's Gate Shelter for battered women in Livermore

To supplement its employees' efforts, the Kraft Foods Foundation will match U.S. employee cash contributions to nonprofits on a two-to-one basis throughout the week.

Starting Oct. 13, people can visit the Kraft Foods website to learn how to spread the volunteer spirit through a special online video. Each time this video is viewed, Kraft Foods will donate money to Feeding America to help provide five meals to those at risk of hunger -- up to 100,000 meals through the end of October.

As the second largest food company in the world, Kraft Foods is taking a stand when it comes to fighting hunger and promoting healthy lifestyles. Since 1997, the company has provided more than 1 billion servings of fresh food. Around the world, the company contributes approximately $100 million annually in food and money to community organizations. The company committed $180 million in the next three years to community involvement activities around the globe. The expansion of its global employee volunteer efforts though the first global "Make a Delicious Difference Week" is another example of Kraft Foods' stepped up efforts.

It is amazing what one company pooling their efforts can accomplish. In this instance, over half a million people will be fed. Kraft Foods has completely immersed themselves in the fight against hunger through volunteerism, in-kind donations, and matching funds. This multi-level campaign includes individuals on the local level in addition to addressing hunger issues worldwide. Kraft Foods, we are impressed.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Design Within Reach Partners with Arzu Studio Hope

SAN FRANCISCO — Design Within Reach (DWR) is partnering with Arzu Studio Hope (Arzu) to offer DWR's extensive customer base a limited-edition collection of 28 one-of-a-kind handmade rugs, available this October and November for purchase at one of five trunk shows at select DWR locations across the United States or through DWR's website.

Arzu Studio Hope is a nonprofit social enterprise organization that supports women in Afghanistan by sourcing and selling the rugs they weave. Of Arzu's total expended resources, 93% directly supports Arzu's mission. In an effort to break the cycle of poverty, sales from the rugs will directly contribute to Afghan communities, providing weavers and their families vital access to education, health care and community infrastructure improvements.

Each Arzu rug is one-of-a-kind, made from handspun wool that's gathered from locally bred sheep and dyed using all natural, vegetable-based materials. Notable for their tight weave and dense pile, the rugs are woven by hand on looms in the homes of the artisans - enabling weavers to continue caring for their children while generating income for their family. The 28 Arzu rugs that DWR has selected range from tonal solids to vibrant patterns and include designs by Thomas Shoos and Ben Holiday.

DWR will launch the Arzu partnership at five trunk show events, starting in New York City on October 14, and followed by Chicago on October 22, Los Angeles on October 29, Houston on November 5 and Washington, D.C. on November 12. Customers in each city will have five unique Arzu rugs to choose from. Three additional rugs will be available for purchase online.

"DWR's partnership with Arzu Studio Hope will bring much deserved attention to their brave and noble work in Afghanistan." remarks Ray Brunner, CEO of DWR. "Together, we are leveraging modernism to create social equity for Afghan women and their families. The 'added value' in these rugs is the potential for a better future that they represent. There is no greater value than hope."

During this 'new' economy, many businesses are cutting back and non-profits are feeling the pressure to maintain funding. Amidst the negative news reports, there are still companies who are changing things up in order to support non-profit endeavors. DWR is one of them. Choosing innovation over defeat, they added a product line in support of their cause, thus maximizing support, while minimizing expense.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Simmons Law Firm Presents Second 'Miles for Meso' Walk/Run Fundraiser for Mesothelioma Research

EAST ALTON, Ill. — The Simmons firm, a leading national law firm in the fight against mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, will present the second Miles for Meso 5K run/walk on Sunday, October 11, in University City, at 9 a.m.

The Simmons firm sponsored the first annual Miles for Meso event September 26 in Alton, Ill. Nearly 500 runners and walkers registered, and through matching donations by the Simmons firm raised approximately $30,000.

"We're excited that so many people, with so many options to run or walk in events for other causes, supported Miles for Meso," said Chairman and CEO John Simmons. "We really were pleased by the support of our Metro East neighbors. Now, with the help of our friend Julie Gundlach, we hope to achieve the same results in St. Louis. Our simple goals are to make people aware of mesothelioma and generate funds for critical research."

Gundlach, who has been living with mesothelioma cancer since 2006 and participated in the Alton event, is helping lead the St. Louis event. Ghisallo Running is helping to coordinate the event. She also plans to run in the 5K for runners and walkers that will begin at Centennial Commons.

"Unfortunately, mesothelioma is now everyone's problem," she said. "It's my hope that, through events like this, people come to start to understand that this is a preventable disease, and that we need the help of everyone to educate and raise money for research."

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The Simmons firm's sponsorship includes matching and donating 100 percent of all entry fees to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to funding critical research for better treatment options and, ultimately, to find a cure for mesothelioma.

The "Miles for Meso" event is open to participants of all ages. Prizes will be awarded to the top runners: the top three finishers in the men's and women's categories, including gift certificates to the Ghisallo's Running Store, credit towards a membership to Centennial Commons, and more. All participants will be eligible for five $100 drawings and other giveaways. The registration fee is $15 on or before October 1, $20 after October 1, and $25 for registration onsite the day of the race.

"The need for mesothelioma education, awareness, and research has never been more urgent," Simmons said. "Our firm is committed to funding research and building awareness about the disease so that we can assist in providing the needed critical help for families throughout Illinois, Missouri, and the entire country."

The Simmons firm is a leading national law firm in the fight against mesothelioma. With offices in Illinois, Missouri and California, the firm has represented thousands of patients and families affected by mesothelioma from all across the country. The Simmons firm is passionate about improving the lives of victims of mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses and has pledged over $15 million to cancer research. The firm also has practice areas in intellectual property, pharmaceutical litigation, and business litigation

It's heartening to see The Simmons Firm lend a helping hand to the clients they serve. Their continued support and investment in education, awareness, and research for mesothelioma, shows their dedication and commitment to their clients and the cause.

Friday, October 02, 2009

New York City & Los Angeles Light Up for Afterschool Programs

WASHINGTON — On October 22, the top of the Empire State Building will be bathed in yellow light as part of Lights On Afterschool, the only national rally for afterschool programs. This is the third year that the Empire State Building will be lit up for the event, which is organized by the Afterschool Alliance. But this year, for the first time, city officials in Los Angeles will light the historic Lindbergh Beacon atop City Hall that evening, so that national landmarks on both coasts will be lit up in celebration of afterschool.

Each year, Lights On Afterschool brings together students, parents, educators, afterschool program directors, and community and business leaders from across the country to show their support for afterschool programs. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the rally, which will include 7,500 events throughout the nation and at United States military bases around the world. In all, a million people are expected to participate to urge leaders to support the afterschool programs that keep children safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

Rarely lit up for events, the Lindbergh Beacon will be turned on to commemorate Lights On Afterschool thanks to the efforts of Los Angeles' Woodcraft Rangers afterschool program and City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who requested the lighting. The City of Los Angeles will also issue a resolution regarding the Beacon.

"The lighting of these well-known landmarks - one on each coast - is a wonderful way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Lights On Afterschool," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. "We are deeply grateful to the Empire State Building for being the first landmark to light up in recognition of this nationwide rally, and for inspiring the City of Los Angeles to light the Lindbergh Beacon for afterschool this year. It is our hope that these efforts will help to highlight the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open for our children each afternoon, so they will all have the opportunity to learn and grow in safe, supervised and educational environments after the school day ends."

At Lights On Afterschool rallies throughout the country on and around October 22nd, Americans will urge leaders to increase support for the afterschool programs that children and families need. The events give youth a chance to showcase the skills they learn and talents they develop at their afterschool programs, and to send the message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs. Actress Rhea Perlman is a spokesperson for Lights On Afterschool and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is Founding Chair, a position he has held since 2001.

In advance of Lights On Afterschool this year, the Afterschool Alliance will release the second America After 3 PM: A Household Survey on Afterschool in America, the most in-depth study ever to explore how America's children spend their afternoons. Sponsored by the JCPenney Afterschool Fund, a charitable organization committed to inspiring children to be smart, strong and socially responsible, the original study was released in 2004. It found that 14.3 million kindergarten through 12th graders took care of themselves after the school day ended. At the time, just 6.5 million children were in afterschool programs - but the parents of another 15.3 million children said their children would participate if an afterschool program were available.

The 2009 study, designed to measure progress over the last five years, is also sponsored by the JCPenney Afterschool Fund and includes updated information on afterschool participation nationally and in all 50 states. The Afterschool Alliance and JCPenney Afterschool Fund will release it on October 6 at an event at the U.S. Department of Education. State data will be featured a few weeks later at Lights On Afterschool events around the country.

As part of this year's Lights On Afterschool celebration, Bright House Networks will air a new documentary on the benefits of afterschool, featuring the personal stories of youth and families across the country.

Lights On Afterschool serves as an excellent reminder of a noteworthy cause. Going about our daily routine, it is easy to forget all the happenings in the world, but with the Empire State Building and Lindbergh Beacon bathed in light, it might be just enough for people to take a moment to think about afterschool programs and what they afford our communities. And if that's not enough, Bright House Networks generous airing of a documentary supporting afterschool programs should do the trick.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sears and Kmart Team Up with Rebuilding Together to Improve the Lives of Military Families at Home

DENVER — On Saturday, October 3, more than 24 volunteers from Rebuilding Together Metro Denver will team up with volunteers from Sears and Kmart stores to help renovate the home of Robert and Nellie Sims. The project is part of Heroes at Home(SM) a program that provides support to military service people, veterans and their families through joint efforts with various nonprofit organizations.

Mr. Sims was stationed in France for 3 years during the Korean War. Unbelievably, they had lived without hot water since October 2008, boiling water on the stove and carrying it to the bathroom to try and wash up.

After Rebuilding Together Metro Denver replaced the hot water heater Robert said "it will be a blessing to be able to take a bath or shower and not have the danger of carrying the hot water at our age and health."

They still had other plumbing repairs needed as well as handrails, grab bars and wall and ceiling patching and painting that will be addressed by the volunteer team on October 3rd.

Rebuilding Together, Sears and Kmart volunteers will replace the bathroom floor, kitchen sink and countertops, install safety features including grab bars and hand rails, and patch and paint walls and ceilings. Outside the home volunteers will replace downspouts, install an energy efficient front door, re-grade to keep water away from the home and paint the siding and trim.

Sears Holdings has raised nearly $7 million for Heroes at Home(SM) through 2009 via a nationwide in-store fund-raising campaign during the holidays. This is one of the hundreds of projects made possible by these donations. To date, Rebuilding Together has completed nearly 300 projects for veteran homeowners across the country.

"We are extremely excited and proud to team with Sears and Kmart to assist military families in our community," stated Laurie McCaw, CEO of Rebuilding Together Metro Denver.

Rebuilding Together Metro Denver continues to generate support for low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled, members of the military, veterans and their families by providing home repairs, improvements or modifications. To find out more about Rebuilding Together Metro Denver, how to refer a family or how you can help please visit their Web site.

Nothing like a little manual labor to support your community. This is an outstanding volunteer opportunity, it brings people together as a team to work for an immediate improvement in someone's life. Getting involved in a nonprofit is an excellent way to give back, but there's something particularly rewarding about a hard days work, especially when you can see the positive impact upon completion. Although you may not have a plethora of construction experience, with Rebuilding Together there are ample opportunities to participate, regardless of skill level. So, grab your hammer and go to town.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Usher Donates $1 Million to Seed Youth-Led Service Projects

NEW YORK — Usher's New Look (UNL), a non-profit organization supporting youth to use their talents and become corporate and community leaders, today announced Powered By Service-a bold new initiative to rebrand service and fundamentally change the role of youth in communities. Powered by Service is designed to get young people in the world over-involved in changing the most pressing problems facing them and their communities --whether it be preventing malaria, stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, ending gang violence or increasing access to clean water. The goal of Powered By Service is to mobilize over 5,000,000 youth in a global call to service that will ultimately touch the lives of 50 million individuals.


At the Clinton Global Initiative, Chairman and Founder of UNL, Usher Raymond IV, pledged $1 million to Powered By Service to support young people as they address the world's most pressing problems through innovative service projects.

"Over the last 10 years through the work with New Look's partners including, HandsOn Network, City Year, Public Allies and ServiceNation, I have seen the POWER of putting service learning skills in the hands of youth," said Usher. "Youth can change problems in a local community or halfway around the world through service. It's a matter of putting the skills and the financial resources directly in their hands and letting them create change on their terms. Powered By Service is not about one organization or one campaign it is about collaborating with diverse partners to build on the foundation of service so many have created. Only by working together can we inspire all young people to be Powered By Service!"

Young people all over the world can participate in Powered By Service. Participants will have access to online toolkits and opportunities to apply for financial resources to support their projects. Grants will be awarded to exceptional service ideas so that youth are not only called to serve, but have the tools they need to create real change.

"I am so excited that someone like Usher has committed $1 million to youth service," said Ashley Hurt, Usher's New Look youth leader. "It is important for people to understand that youth have the power to serve with whatever talents we bring to the table."

Usher has personally contributed $1 million to the initiative, but this is bigger than any single person or organization. The Corporation for National and Community Service's Learn and Serve America, the United Nations Foundation, EarthEcho International and numerous other organizations and individuals contributed to the initiative to ensure it reaches youth both in the U.S. and abroad. One of the first projects that Powered By Service will address is the Nothing But Nets campaign to end malaria. Millennium Equity I also announced its commitment of $7.4 million to Powered By Service to address the global digital divide and make advanced technology accessible for all service projects. Collectively, the partners have provided more than $8 million in funding for youth service initiatives.

New Look is not the only organization that sees the potential in our youth. Organizations like the Corporation for National and Community Service and the United Nations Foundation were the first to step up and say, "we want to invest, truly invest in our youth!" said Shawn H. Wilson, president, Usher's New Look. "It is especially exciting to be a part of the Clinton Global Initiative with all of our partners to demonstrate how youth can serve locally but have an impact internationally."

Together, UNL, Powered By Service, and young leaders have the power to make significant change on a global scale.

In this instance, Usher provides a great example for individuals and corporations wanting to give back. He picked a cause that he was extremely passionate about and took it to a whole new level. Obviously, not all of us can afford to donate $1 million, but we can all afford to whole-heartedly embrace a cause and make a difference.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pennzoil Saves Music in Public Schools

NEW YORK — The VH1 Save The Music Foundation and Pennzoil will join forces to help restore instrumental music programs in our nation's public schools through the "Play The Music. Save The Music" Campaign. And, consumers can benefit, too. By purchasing any Pennzoil(R) oil change from participating installers, consumers can receive up to 46 free music downloads* plus up to a $15 service certificate back by mail. The promotion runs from Sept. 4 through Dec. 6, 2009.

As part of the campaign, Pennzoil will donate $60,000 to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, which has provided $43 million worth of new musical instruments to more than 1,600 public schools across the country since its inception in 1997.

"We are incredibly honored to have Pennzoil contribute to the Foundation," said Executive Director of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation Paul Cothran. "With their help, we will be able to continue to raise awareness about the importance of a musical education in a child's life, and ensure that additional children have access to the benefits of music study."

The money donated by Pennzoil will provide selected schools with complete instrumental music programs.

"We are proud to work with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation and help raise awareness for this important cause," Patty Lanning, Installed Channel Marketing Team Lead said. "The Pennzoil(R) 'Play the Music. Save the Music.' campaign allows drivers to receive free music with their Pennzoil oil change, while Pennzoil helps save music programs in public schools."

With budget cuts across the nation, the private sector is stepping up to save public school programs. Putting their money where their mouth is, Pennzoil saw a need that they were passionate about and filled that need. It's inspiring to see a company willingly fill one of the many growing gaps in funding that states currently face.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Golden Gaming and Clark County READS Enhance Library at John F. Mendoza Elementary School

LAS VEGAS — The Public Education Foundation’s literacy initiative, Clark County READS, and Golden Gaming are replacing outdated books in the John F. Mendoza Elementary School library with new nonfiction books.

Golden Gaming has donated $10,000 to enhance the library with almost 600 new nonfiction books through the Clark County READS Library Enhancement Program.

To recognize the donation, an hour-long celebration will be held inside Mendoza’s library on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 12:30 p.m. Mendoza Elementary is located at 2000 Sloan Lane in Las Vegas.

“Literacy and education are vital to the development of our children, and Golden Gaming is proud to support Clark County READS and the opportunities it provides to students,” said Golden Gaming Vice President of Human Resources Sheila Pankas.

Prior to ordering books for a library, the Foundation performs an analysis of the library’s collection to determine which books will have the greatest impact on the library and its students.

The Clark County READS Library Enhancement Program utilizes donations from various businesses and organizations to update resources for students in Clark County School District (CCSD) libraries.

“We are very grateful for Golden Gaming’s commitment to our children,” said Curtis Jones, director of Clark County READS. “Their generosity allows Clark County READS to continue promoting the importance of reading in Southern Nevada while working to end the cycle of illiteracy. We know there will be many smiles at Mendoza Elementary because of all these wonderful new books.”

Since Clark County READS was established in 2001, more than $1.2 million worth of new non-fiction books have been placed in 90 CCSD libraries. This translates into more than 75,000 new nonfiction books, benefiting more than 79,000 students.

Clark County READS manages seven literacy programs, all providing quality literacy programs to children and families in Clark County.

Golden Gaming made an investment in the community and is taking steps to improve literacy in Southern Nevada. Their $10,000 investment will make quite an impact in the life's of the students at John F. Mendoza Elementary School. In addition to donations to support literacy programs, Clark County READS has volunteer opportunities that are flexible with time constraints — a great way to make a big difference.

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