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.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Catalista for iPhone Connects Volunteers With Local Nonprofits

SAN FRANCISCO — Inspired by President Obama's call to service, Catalista LLC released Catalista for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch devices today. The Catalista smartphone application helps people find and connect with nearby volunteer opportunities based on their location and preferences.

Catalista for iPhone and iPod touch helps individuals find real-time, local opportunities on their mobile phones -- so no matter where people are, they can always be connected to volunteering opportunities happening that day, weekend, or month near them. They can invite their friends on Facebook to volunteer, keep track of their impact, and rate their volunteering experience once they've done their good deed. Volunteers can choose from over 200,000 opportunities from across the United States.

Catalista for iPhone wants to help reverse the falling volunteering rates and what the National Conference on Citizenship has coined a "civic recession." Research from the Corporation of Community and National Service points out that since 2001, volunteering rates have fallen 27%, costing the nonprofit sector roughly 77 billion dollars, and the equivalent in time of nearly 3 million full-time jobs.

"We believe that it will be easier for people to discover and connect with ways to help in their communities through a smartphone, rather than a desktop. Catalista's Facebook integration makes it fun to encourage our friends to get offline and together lend a hand in the recovery of our neighborhoods and local nonprofits," said Catalina Ruiz-Healy, founder of Catalista LLC.

Catalista for iPhone and iPod touch is available on iTunes and is powered by All For Good. It is the first third-party All For Good application developed for the iPhone and iPod touch platforms.

"We are really excited about Catalista. It demonstrates how a developer can use the All for Good API to support Americans and their ability to find and participate in service opportunities wherever they might be, even when they are on the move and equipped with nothing more than their phone," said Jonathan Greenblatt, president of Our Good Works, the nonprofit organization managing All for Good.

A new app in support of doing good in your community, what could be more appropriate? Many communities are in dire need of easily accessible information, like volunteer opportunities. Often innovative ideas are directed towards the for-profit world, but with this new app from Catalista, we can hope to encounter growing support within our service organizations and in our communities at large.

Friday, September 18, 2009

eBay Hosts Celebrity Auction to Benefit Oxfam

LOS ANGELES — International relief and development agency Oxfam America teams up with eBay once again to benefit Oxfam's poverty relief and advocacy efforts around the world. The program consists of three consecutive charity auctions beginning on September 17, 2009, and features unique "experiences" with Oxfam Ambassadors including Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, and Chef Giada De Laurentiis. Each item listed will run for 7 days and will be featured on eBay.

Actor Scarlett Johansson is offering an "Iron Man 2" experience that includes:
-Two tickets to the "Iron Man 2" Movie Premiere in Los Angeles in May 2010
-A photo opportunity with Scarlett Johansson at the Premiere
-Hair and make-up/Grooming services for the Premiere by Christophe Beverly Hills
-Other items include: signed LP's from her album, and her director's chair from the set of "He's Just Not That Into You."

Actor Colin Firth's charity auction featuring Walt Disney's "A Christmas Carol" experience includes:
-Two VIP tickets to the World Premiere of "A Christmas Carol" and after party in London this November.
-A meet and greet with Colin Firth at the Premiere
-Additionally, Firth is placing up for bid personalized DVD's packages that include, "Bridget Jones Diary", "Love Actually", and -"Pride and Prejudice."

And wrapping up the auction series is bestselling author and Chef Giada De Laurentiis offering the chance to visit the set of her show, Food Network's "Giada at Home" which includes a tour of the set and lunch for four.

The charity auctions are featured on Ebay through October 8 and are listed through the eBay Giving Works program. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Oxfam America.

The fundraising auction is being managed on eBay by Auction Cause, a premier online auction management agency specializing in high-profile design, strategy, and cause marketing for corporations and nonprofits worldwide.

Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice. Together with individuals and local groups in more than 120 countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice.

eBay uses its unique business model to do good. As an online auction site, eBay is an ideal forum to host an auction in honor of Oxfam. Utilizing company assets already in place allows the company to make a significant impact upon a nonprofit efficiently. Doing what you do best as a company is a perfect way to use your expertise to benefit a worthy cause.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Christie Cookie $25,000 Charity Giveaway Generates More Than 100,000 Nominations Nationwide

NASHVILLE — A little cookie company's sweet idea to help struggling nonprofit organizations is generating big support, as more than 100,000 fans have nominated their favorite charity for The Christie Cookie $25,000 Charity Giveaway. In marking their 25th anniversary, Nashville-based Christie Cookies will select the 12 charities with the most votes to share the cash prize.

More than 900 nonprofits and charitable organizations in all 50 states have received nominations since the giveaway contest began in August. Fans across the country can visit The Christie Cookie Web site through October 15 to vote.

The Top 50 most-nominated charities are listed on the Christie Cookies website, with continuous updates. Organizations, which are rallying much of their support through websites, eblasts and social networking sites like Facebook, are encouraged to use the easily downloadable web banners, e-mail messages and posters from the Christie Cookies site to promote their campaigns.

In an effort to thank loyal customers, Christie Cookies launched the $25,000 contest in response to a rising climate of decreased contributions to nonprofits during the past year.

"Our company guarantee is that Christie Cookies will put a smile on your face," says Sue O'Donnell, executive vice president. "In celebrating our 25th anniversary, our goal is to bring even more smiles - especially in these tough economic times - by helping organizations dearest to our customers."

A fitting celebration of a 25th anniversary -- a continuation of good will. For a quarter of a century Christie Cookies has brought joy to their costumers via their delicious cookies and now they are bringing joy to there consumers in a new and impactful way. Christie Cookies is engaging their public and asking them to choose nonprofit beneficiaries for the $25,000 donation. This says, you have invested in our cookies, now we will invest in a cause important to you. Simply put, a wonderful way to interact with your customer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Highmark Inc. Awards $7,500 to 15 Nonprofits Chosen by Employees

PITTSBURGH — Highmark Inc. recently awarded $7,500 in grants to 15 nonprofit organizations in Pennsylvania and beyond to assist programs supported by its employees' volunteerism efforts. The grants were awarded through Highmark's Employee Volunteer Grant Program, which reinforces the company's appreciation for employees who volunteer their time and services to help local organizations carry out their missions in the community.

Highmark recognizes that its employees know best the most pressing needs of the agencies where they volunteer. Through this program, employee volunteers are invited to apply for a $500 grant to support the institute with which they volunteer.

The grants are generally given to organizations that do not already receive significant contributions through Highmark's corporate giving program. Nonprofits are eligible to receive one grant per year through the program.

The following organizations received grants through Highmark's Employee Volunteer Grant Program during the second quarter of 2009.

Children's Grief Center of New Mexico (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (Allegheny County, Pennsylvania)
Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (Allegheny County, Pennsylvania)
Historical Society of East Pennsboro (Cumberland County, Pennsylvania)
The Volunteer Center (Cumberland County, Pennsylvania)
BARAK, Incorporated (Dauphin County, Pennsylvania)
Boy Scouts of America (Dauphin County, Pennsylvania)
Progessive Education of Children in the Arts Network, Inc. (Dauphin County, Pennsylvania)
Philhaven Behavorial Health Care Services (Lebanon County, Pennsylvania)
ISMRD-Rock4Dakotah Local Chapter (Los Angeles, California)
Child Care Information Services, Inc. (Northampton County, Pennsylvania)
Girl Scouts of America (Perry County, Pennsylvania)
Mt. Gilead United Methodist Church (Perry County, Pennsylvania)
Paw Prints Dog Sanctuary (Perry County, Pennsylvania)
Keystone Area Council Boy Scouts of America (York County, Pennsylvania)

As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.8 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

Encouraging your employees to get involved in the community by supporting their cause of choice is a great way to incorporate philanthropy into the culture of your company. Additionally, it shows support for your employees, as well as gives them a voice and provides them with an opportunity to highlight what is important to them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Second Annual Pink Heals Tour Launches from Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — The Pink Heals Tour kicks off the second annual breast cancer awareness journey in North Las Vegas. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Craig Ranch Regional Park, 628 W. Craig Road.

Beginning at 6:30 a.m. from Boulder City Fire Department, a procession of Pink Heal fire trucks will be escorted through the Las Vegas Valley by local police departments. They will reach Craig Regional Park about 8 a.m. — just in time for the festivities to began at 9 a.m., followed by a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m.

The tour, which includes two pink fire engines and a pink truck company, will visit cities across the country holding health fairs focused on increasing breast cancer awareness. The pink fire trucks are manned by firefighters in pink turnouts and are adorned with thousands of signatures from breast cancer survivors, family and friends.

This year's event is an expansion of the tour that visited last year. It includes entertainment by the Scintas, food by local vendors, refreshments, sreenings for free mammograms and other health information. Fire Departments in North Las Vegas, Clark County, Las Vegas, Boulder City, Henderson, and Nellis Air Force Base will all participate.

The City's Fire Department will hold drawing for prizes worth up to $1,050. Firefighters will be selling Pink Heals Tour T-shirts, hats, and wrist bands. Proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Southern Nevada.

The Pink Heals Tour, formerly known as the Pink Ribbon Tour, is not affiliated with the Pink Heals Foundation. The tour was started by Arizona firefighter Dave Graybill and Guardians of the Ribbon.

The Pink Heals Tour facilitates camaraderie within the community and among fire departments across the nation. Fire departments come together for a number of causes throughout the year, which is a nice change from their stressful day to day duties. Firefighters have particularly dangerous jobs — making relationship building outside of work necessary to build a strong team, in order to face life and death scenarios. While our daily activities may not be life threatening per se, team building events, like The Pink Heals Tour, are a perfect way to strengthen relationships and goodwill between coworkers.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Target Revamps Ailing School Libraries

MINNEAPOLIS — Target and The Heart of America Foundation will officially kick-off the Target Volunteers School Library Makeover program with the unveiling of one of sixteen extreme school library transformations in New York City on September 10, in support of the United We Serve nationwide service initiative. The additional unveilings, along with even more school donations, will happen across the country throughout September and October, just in time for the new school year.

With ongoing school budget cuts, the Target Volunteers School Library Makeover program helps schools provide better resources to tens of thousands of kids who need it most. In fact, studies show that students benefit from a strong school library media program, and when compared to students without one, score much higher on standardized tests.

In response to this growing need from schools and building on last year's program launch of eight school makeovers, Target awarded sixteen schools with a complete library transformation, which included over 2,000 new books, advanced technology, new furnishings, shelving, paint, carpeting, and light construction. In addition, Target has incorporated eco-friendly designs and construction practices into each library makeover, including the use of green certified furniture in partnership with Paragaon and Smith Systems and the use of recycled materials in all locations. Also, Target will gift every student from the sixteen schools with seven brand new books to add to their personal at-home reading collection. In all, more than 750,000 new books have been distributed since the program's inception.

"The Target Volunteers School Library Makeover program combines our commitment to education and volunteerism, two of our key areas of focus when it comes to giving to the local communities our stores serve," said Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target. "It's a wonderful opportunity for Target team members across the nation to come together and meet the needs of the community, as well as to equip local schools with the best educational supplies and facilities possible."

The Target Property Development team provided specialized business knowledge through a variety of unique pro bono services, which included leveraging their design, construction and project management expertise to help with the significant updates to the libraries.

"Through our partnership with Target, we are able to increase the magnitude of our giving nationally, ensuring schools throughout the country have the basic resources they need to help their students," said Angie Halamandaris, president, The Heart of America Foundation. "The library is the place in every school where learning is inspired, and by working with Target, we are able to give that gift of passion for education to those who need it most."

In addition to the sixteen fortunate schools that received a complete library makeover, many more will receive help from Target as well. This year, more than 1,600 Target stores and Distribution Centers provided a $500 book award through First Book to a local school of their choice to fund the purchase of books and reading supplies for the fall - just in time to kick-off the new school year.

To see a listing of all the schools benefiting from Target Volunteers School Library Makeovers or view a time lapse video of a makeover in action, visit Target's Web site.

Target identified a need in the community and met the need with consideration to every detail. They ensured students accessibility to books to read at home and improved school libraries' selection and environment. Target whole-heartedly engaged in this cause. Not only did they address a need, but they used a variety of means to do so — from hard dollars to many volunteer hours. It is refreshing to see a company immerse themselves so completely in a cause.

Monday, September 07, 2009

West Alabama Focuses on Adult Literacy

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Literacy Council and the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama will conduct a two-day event to raise awareness about adult education as part of International Literacy Day on Sept. 8.

The event will begin with a strategic-thinking forum for literacy service providers, educational agencies and employers from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn. The forum will teach them how to infuse literacy into their planning and programs. The forum will also tell participants how to effectively recruit people who want to help in literacy programs.

There will be a literacy grant workshop to assist in identifying and securing grant money for literacy programs from 9 to 11 a.m. Sept. 9.

An International Literacy Day lunch and awards program will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at a cost of $20 per person. Awards will be given to students, tutors, organizations and leaders. More than 40 different organizations are expected to be there.

Organizers, however, say the two-day event isn’t aimed only at those who work with literacy issues.

Johnnie Aycock, president of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, said the issue should concern the whole community. Aycock said literacy is a key element in work productivity, because it minimizes social problems and it reduces the number of school dropouts.

This year, the event will feature Margaret Doughty, president and chief executive officer of Literacy Powerline. Doughty is considered one of the nation’s foremost authorities on literacy.

Doughty said that literacy, which is directly related to economic development, requires community involvement.

“There are two main reasons for the community to participate on these events: First, literacy is the one constant in which research can prove that can reduce poverty. And second, the only way to achieve economic prosperity is by having a skilled work force and literacy is the foundation for this,” she said.

Doughty said members of the community should ask themselves what can be done to increase literacy rates.

“If they can understand why is this so important, we can share the answers with them and explain what actions are necessary to increase literacy in the community,” Doughty said.

September has been designated International Literacy Month. Koichiro Matsuura, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said that literacy has been proved time and time again to be a vital tool of empowerment.

“It is time for the right to education of all persons, of whatever age, to be realized in practice,” Matsuura said.

Worldwide, 776 million adults are illiterate and 75 million children do not go to school, according to UNESCO.

In Alabama, 951,328 people 16 or older are not enrolled in school or have not earned a high school diploma or an equivalent, according to the 2000 Census.

One out of every four people function at the lowest literacy level in Alabama and 75 percent of small-business owners report that many applicants for job openings do not have basic reading skills, according to the Literacy Council of West Alabama.

Like West Alabama, many communities across the United States are working to improve literacy. September is literacy month and it's the perfect time to get involved in support of the cause. There are many programs that work with adults and children across the nation. Volunteering, even an hour a week, can make quite an impact in the community.

Friday, September 04, 2009 Challenges Bloggers to Raise Awareness for Literacy

San Antonio, TX — is partnering with the APPLE Partnership in cooperation with Barnes & Noble;; the City of Henderson (Nevada); Copywrite, Ink.; FedEx; PBS&J; and Wal-Mart for International Literacy Day on Sept. 8. The online campaign asks bloggers, journalists, and companies to help raise awareness for literacy by dedicating a blog post, press release, or online message that points people to local, regional, and international programs that increase literacy around the world.

International Literacy Day was originally proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1965 with the aim to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. The UNESCO theme places the spotlight on its importance for participation, citizenship and social development. At, individual bloggers have designated literacy as this year's most underserved need.

"We have the technology to put every book on an e-reader, but we still haven't taught 776 million adults the minimum literacy skills," said Tony Berkman, president of and co-founder of "I think that is what is so frustrating for many. This challenge is solvable on the local level, which is why we partnered with the APPLE Partnership, the City of Henderson, and various corporate sponsors who support literacy where it matters most."

One APPLE Partnership program encourages older siblings to read to younger ones. For every book read, they receive a chance to win a computer. PBS&J awards a computer to the school whose students read the most books.

Barnes & Noble supports local and national requests from nonprofit organizations that focus on literacy, the arts, or education for children, pre-K to grade 12. It also considers sponsor opportunities that focus its business on higher learning. Its summer reading program puts more than one million books in the hands of children every year.

FedEx, which supports several education programs, has pledged more than $1 million to assist Junior Achievement Worldwide, which is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.

Wal-Mart, which has initiated several literacy programs over the years, and the Wal-Mart Foundation, which continues to support high school success, access and retention of first generation college students, and adolescent literacy.

UNESCO will be hosting a day-long event at its headquarters in Paris. It will include an International Literacy Day Message by Koïchiro Matsuura, director-general of UNESCO, and an address by Laura Bush, honorary ambassador for the UN Literacy Decade.

"In 2004, after Mayor Jim Gibson and the Henderson City Council became alarmed by the startling statistics about local childhood literacy, we partnered with the Clark County (Nevada) School District, parents and teachers to develop a proactive way to help families help children learn how to read," said City of Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen. "We're proud to continue this legacy for literacy and to do our part as a community, and we hope, by providing an example, other communities can do their part to improve literacy and give all children a chance to succeed."

As part of the initiative, the APPLE Partnership and its sponsors are being included as one of hundreds of examples worldwide. While Berkman encourages bloggers to find local examples, he says that highlighting efforts like the APPLE Partnership can encourage other communities to strengthen their resolve in the fight for literacy, which is the foundation for all education.

Since 2007, BlogCatalog's Bloggers Unite initiative has evolved from the first blogger-driven social awareness campaign into a self-sustaining social awareness network. More than 200,000 bloggers interact on every day and provide the foundation for

Blog Catalog recognized its reach as an asset in order to create awareness and stimulate positive change. Through Blog Catalog, is able to reach nearly 300,000 bloggers in an effort to do good. Since its onset, has supported causes like human rights, AIDS, hunger, and literacy. The initiatives hosted through also provide added value for members of Blog Catalog — the ability to come together with a common cause in mind and make a difference.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Deluxe Corporation Foundation Donates Funding to SCORE to Boost Small Business and Job Creation

WASHINGTON — SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business," The SCORE Foundation and the Deluxe Corporation Foundation announce the development of a new program, the Deluxe/SCORE Counseling Methodology. The Deluxe Corporation Foundation will underwrite funding for the creation and implementation of this initiative. A Deluxe site manager presented a check for $490,000 at the SCORE National Leadership Conference in Salt Lake City on August 19.

Each year, about 6 million people attempt to start a business in the United States. Of those, about 25 percent fail in the first year, while about 50 percent fail after five years. Studies show that a person with five or more hours of business mentoring is more likely to start a business with greater economic impact in areas such as revenue and job creation.

SCORE and The SCORE Foundation will work with the Deluxe Corporation Foundation to develop a standard mentoring methodology that can significantly increase business survival rates and create new jobs. The program will provide specific training, templates and processes that SCORE mentors can use to help aspiring entrepreneurs start new businesses.

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy," said Lee Schram, president of the Deluxe Corporation Foundation. "Deluxe is committed to helping small business owners prosper so we are honored to partner with SCORE to provide their volunteers the latest in effective counseling tools and industry insight."

All SCORE volunteers will be trained in the new methodology, which will feature homework for clients, follow-up guidelines and mentoring techniques. The methodology can be used for face-to-face mentoring, plus chat and video-based mentoring through services like Skype. In addition, SCORE will research and track client data, including:

Social groups
Geographic area
Entrepreneurial resources used to support business creation and development

"SCORE is dedicated to helping more small businesses get started and stay in business," says SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "Through the generous contribution by the Deluxe Corporation Foundation, SCORE will prepare its volunteer experts to give entrepreneurs an excellent mentoring experience that leads to a path for success."

About the Deluxe Corporation Foundation The Deluxe Corporation Foundation is a grant-giving institution that has partnered with educational, cultural and human service nonprofit organizations for more than 50 years to enrich the communities of Deluxe Corporation employees. An independent 501(c)(3) organization, the Deluxe Corporation Foundation has received funding from Deluxe Corporation to support its mission of giving back to the communities it serves.

About SCORE Since 1964, SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" has helped more than 8.4 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 11,200 volunteer business counselors in 370 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.

The Deluxe Corporation invested in the success of its clientele through their foundation and partnership with SCORE. This shows commitment and a long term investment in small businesses. Additionally, due to the current economic situation, this is an ideal program to show support for the greater economy.

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