Monday, August 31, 2009

Enterprise Team is 'Running for Shelter' in the NIKE Hood To Coast Relay Race

LOS ANGELES — For the 13th year, Enterprise Community Partners and Enterprise Community Investment have formed the Running for Shelter relay team to participate in the NIKE Hood To Coast Relay race. Starting at the base of Oregon's Mount Hood and ending 197 miles away in the coastal town of Seaside, Ore., this "Mother of All Relays" is being held August 28 - 29th. Each year Running for Shelter raises money for a different nonprofit developer of affordable housing, and has selected the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to receive the 2009 proceeds.

"The members of our team are committed to creating fit, affordable housing and thriving communities whether it's in our personal lives or our work lives," said Paul Cummings, senior vice president/regional executive for Enterprise and 13-year Running for Shelter team co-organizer and participant. "Running this race not only tests our endurance, it reaffirms our dedication to helping the estimated 12 million families who spend more than half of their yearly income on rent or mortgage payments."

Recently featured in an AP article, which ran in The New York Times, "Critical Need for Affordable Housing," LIHI provides struggling families and individuals with an affordable place to live and support services for the residents to gain and maintain stability. The organization also shares Enterprise's commitment to offering residents healthy, living spaces through energy-efficient, green buildings.

"We're very excited that Enterprise has chosen our organization to receive this year's proceeds from the Hood To Coast Relay," said Sharon Lee, executive director of LIHI. "Enterprise has been a strong partner over the years and to be the recipient of their Running for Shelter efforts is a great honor."

In 2008, Running for Shelter raised more than $50,000 for the National Affordable Housing Trust and the Downtown Emergency Services Center. Past funding recipients also include organizations such as Providence Housing of Louisiana, Greyston Foundation, Hacienda Community Development Corporation and St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County. Team sponsors include Brooks Sports, Inc.; Bocarsly Emden Cowan Esmail Parker & Arndt LLP; Kantor Taylor Nelson & Boyd PC; Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP; Great Lakes Capital; Reznick Group; Fedder, Silverman PC; Novak Birch and Group Gordon.

Enterprise is a leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. For more than 25 years, Enterprise has introduced neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations and others that share our vision. Enterprise has raised and invested more than $10 billion in equity, grants and loans to help build or preserve more than a quarter million affordable rental and for-sale homes to create vital communities. Enterprise is currently investing in communities at a rate of $1 billion a year.

Participating in a team event, like the Nike Hood to Coast Relay, is a great way to encourage philanthropic spirit within your company. Additionally, it provides employees with the opportunity to work together in order to achieve success — skills many employers hope to see in their company. Enterprise's participation in the relay is truly an ideal philanthropic investment. Not only does it represent goodwill within Enterprise's field of expertise, but it allows its employees to have a positive non-work related experience, on top of which employees are doing good, and thus have participated in a memorable and important event.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Viacom to Host Get Schooled Conference and Documentary Premiere at Paramount Pictures Lot

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) will join other corporations and nonprofit organizations, as well as education thought leaders, policymakers and concerned entertainment industry professionals at the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood to formally launch the Get Schooled initiative and engage students, families and community members in efforts to reform the nation's public schools and provide American youth with a world-class education.

The back-to-school event on Sept. 8 will kick off with an afternoon conference featuring presentations by Bill Gates, Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller, filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, author and political columnist Arianna Huffington, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein and Los Angeles area high school athletic director Stephen Minix. Stephen Colbert, host of the popular television show The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the conference.

The Paramount Pictures lot will also host a premiere of the special documentary, Get Schooled: You Have the Right, which highlights the education stories of three successful professionals who work with President Barack Obama, 2009 NBA MVP LeBron James and pop superstar Kelly Clarkson. At the event, the Gates Foundation and Viacom will welcome corporate partners AT&T, Capital One Financial Corporation and NYSE Euronext, which have each signed on to the Get Schooled initiative in order to promote education reform efforts and develop innovative ways of engaging communities and supporting students.

"Get Schooled brings together the immense creativity and ingenuity of leaders in business and the entertainment industries to inspire students to pursue an education that has real value in the global marketplace. We hope this conversation will inspire communities to fix our nation's public education system," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation.

The conference presentations will address why it is vital that the public become more engaged in education now and will challenge conventional thinking about how to fix America's schools and how to ensure all young people, especially those from historically underserved communities, can gain the skills they need to succeed. The speakers will share fresh perspectives about finding workable solutions that will improve the quality of public education in America, including engaging communities, businesses, media and a diverse group of partners.

"We cannot afford to ignore the problems in our education system and squander America's opportunity for a bright and prosperous future. The time for substantive school reform is now. Get Schooled serves as a rallying point for all education stakeholders and partners from the public and private spheres. We can mobilize our audiences and communities to create new solutions to ensure that the next generation will be able to compete in the global marketplace," said Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom.

"This exciting initiative co-developed by Gates Foundation and Viacom steps up the conversation America is finally having over the need to improve our schools and expand opportunities for our students to compete in a global economy. This project has the potential to deliver a compelling message about the power of education to millions of young people and motivate them to succeed," said New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein.


As announced last week, the 30-minute Get Schooled: You Have the Right documentary will air on Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. and will feature President Barack Obama, Kelly Clarkson and LeBron James. The program will highlight the education challenges, life choices and breakthroughs experienced by President Obama's speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz, Clarkson's music director Jason Halbert and James' sports marketing executive Latesha Williams - three professionals who provide critical support to these leading figures in politics, entertainment and sports, respectively. The documentary special will be aired in the first programming "roadblock" of any kind across all Viacom networks, including BET, MTV, VH1, CMT, COMEDY CENTRAL, Spike TV, TV Land and Nickelodeon. Cable partners for the television premiere of Get Schooled: You Have the Right include Comcast, Cablevision, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks.

Get Schooled is a national program that connects, inspires and mobilizes people - from policymakers and corporate leaders to communities and kids - to find effective solutions to the problems facing our education system. It provides resources and information, community outreach and creative programming that engage a range of audiences to address America's education crisis. Get Schooled's co-developers are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom, including BET Networks, MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures. The initiative combines the Foundation's deep knowledge of education reform with the power of Viacom's diverse brands to raise awareness about the challenges facing America's public education system and provide information and solutions for students and their families.

Qualms with education in the United States are not new, but The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom's proactive campaign shows an original approach to a longstanding issue. The documentary, Get Schooled: You Have the Right, is drawing attention all over the nation, due to Viacom and other committed sponsors. Not only is the community invited to the viewing of Get Schooled at the Paramount Picture's parking lot, but the documentary will air across all Viacom networks — making the documentary accessible across the country.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bloomingdale's Hosts a Fashionable Fundraiser in Support of HIV/AIDS

NEW YORK — For the seventh year in a row, Bloomingdale's will host a charity shopping night in each of its stores — the Fashionable Fundraiser in Black and White. Held each February and August, the Fashionable Fundraiser helps raise awareness and funds for national and local charities. This August, Bloomingdale's will partner with amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, for the four-day event, running from Thursday, August 27 through Sunday, August 30.
Fashionable Fundraiser in Black and White invites shoppers to support Bloomingdale's and its involvement in its communities. Customers will have the opportunity to shop for a cause, enjoy special offers, and learn more about amfAR and how to get involved in their own communities. Bloomingdale's pledges to make a donation of $75,000 to amfAR, which the organization will use in support of its global programmatic efforts in the fight against AIDS.

"Bloomingdale's has a long-standing history of supporting AIDS research, and we are proud to continue to aid the fight with this season's Fashionable Fundraiser in Black and White," says Michael Gould, chairman and CEO of Bloomingdale's. "What better partner could we ask for than amfAR, an organization that has helped to advance AIDS research in leaps and bounds since its inception, and gotten this world ever closer to a cure."

Designer Kenneth Cole, chairman of the board of amfAR, has designed a t-shirt exclusively for Bloomingdale's for the Fashionable Fundraiser in Black and White. The black tee proclaims in red and white writing, "Make the Most of Wearing Times," in classic Kenneth Cole style. 75% of the $35 retail price of the tee will go directly to amfAR.

"amfAR is grateful to Bloomingdale's for its generosity and its forward-thinking philanthropic leadership," said Cole. "We applaud them for recognizing the importance of supporting cutting-edge research and for keeping AIDS in the public eye."

The tee will be showcased on the Good Deeds wall — a new addition to stores this fall. The Good Deeds wall will highlight products that support charities and other various causes. Beginning with Fashionable Fundraiser, the wall will be seen in all stores, with a rotating selection of products, through the Holiday season.

The black and white theme, which is a Bloomingdale's signature, will play out in surprising and delightful ways throughout the stores. A Turner Classic Movies (TCM) trivia game will be placed randomly throughout each store, leading shoppers to the Good Deeds wall. Once there, they can select a mystery envelope and win a prize. A $1 donation will be made to amfAR for each person who completes and turns in the quiz to the Good Deeds wall, in addition to the $75,000 pledge.

TCM has provided fantastic prizes for the movie trivia game. One grand prizewinner will be chosen from each region to receive a TCM Movie Library, complete with 80 of cinema's greatest films. A second prizewinner in each store will receive a TCM gift basket. Additional winners will take home a TCM crossword puzzle book.

Throughout the Fashionable Fundraiser weekend, customers can have their photos snapped in black and white photo booths or drawn by sketch artists, and black and white cookies will satiate hungry shoppers -- activities will vary by store. Shoppers can even watch classic black and white movies in special viewing lounges.

Turner Classic Movies plays a vital role in Bloomingdale's fall film campaign, and has curated the selection of black and white movies screening in stores. And, the network, which is the authority in classic films, has loaned Bloomingdale's its extensive collection of photographs. The "Hollywood's Leading Ladies" and "Hollywood's Leading Men" black and white photograph exhibits will be on display in each store throughout the fall season.

LOOK GOOD FEEL GOOD, indeed. Does it get much better than fashion and fundraising? Bloomingdale's 'Fashionable Fundraiser' is a fun filled way to support a great cause. Their partnership with TCM is an outstanding addition to the event — nothing like a fashionista blast from the past to inspire a little shopping.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cup O' Joe for a Joe

Larkspur, California — For over twelve years, and in more than 65 cafes throughout the Middle East, Africa, Southwest Asia and North America, Green Beans Coffee has provided a welcomed moment of respite where deployed services members can relax, enjoy premium organic coffees, teas and fresh baked pastries, hear great music and for a few minutes, escape into a peaceful oasis of tranquility that brings a little bit of home with every cup of coffee served.

Now, with the introduction of CUP OF JOE FOR A JOE, Green Beans Coffee is giving everyone an opportunity to express their support for our men and women in uniform through the simple act of buying a cup of premium organic coffee and having it delivered along with their own personalized message of thanks to a soldier serving overseas.

For little more than the spare change in one’s pocket plus a few minutes of time, visitors to the Web site can brighten the day and send a little bit of home to a soldier deployed overseas. And in keeping with its continued commitment of service to our troops, Green Beans Coffee will contribute a portion of every purchase for CUP OF JOE FOR A JOE to worthy service organizations that support disabled soldiers, military families and young Americans.

“Green Beans Coffee was founded in 1996 with the mission that every soldier and civilian serving their country away from home deserves a morale boost and an improvement in their quality of life," according to Jason Araghi, CEO of Green Beans Coffee Company. "Our cafes have become a haven to get away from the stresses of the environment they are in, even if it’s for only fifteen minutes a day. Supporting these men and women, we believe, is patriotic and apolitical.”

Araghi goes on to say that during World War II, in excess of twelve percent of the American public personally knew a soldier that was serving. Today, it’s estimated that only about one percent of Americans know a soldier or civilian serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Cup of Joe for a Joe program aims to bridge that gap. This is an opportunity for anyone that supports our troops around the world to reach out, send a message of thanks, and for as little as $2.00, make a difference in a soldier’s day.

Cup O' Joe for a Joe allows friends and family to send heartfelt notes attached to a warm cup of coffee to soldiers overseas. Not only does the money go to purchase a cup of coffee, but a percentage is also donated to non-profits who support soldiers and veterans. Green Beans Coffee provides a terrific opportunity to support the Joes fighting abroad both during and after combat.

Friday, August 21, 2009

NBC Universal and American Express Launch the "Shine A Light Program" in Support of Small Businesses

NEW YORK— NBC Universal (NBCU) and American Express announced the launch of “Shine A Light,” calling for people across the country to nominate and vote for the small business story that most inspires them. Now more than ever, people cherish the small businesses in their neighborhood, and through this program, they can spotlight small business owners for all that they do, and the role they play in driving economic recovery. “Shine A Light,” which marks the largest ever cross property campaign at NBCU, will award the winning small business with $100,000 in grant and marketing support from American Express, and the people who nominate the three small business finalists will each receive a $3,000 American Express Gift Card. People are encouraged to participate in the program by nominating, “spotlighting” and voting on the Web site, a microsite developed and hosted by iVillage.

Beginning today, NBCU and American Express invite the public to nominate and vote online for the small business story that most inspires them based on innovation, community spirit and customer service. The nominations will be vetted by NBCU and American Express and then judged by talk show host and entrepreneur Ellen DeGeneres, fashion designer and entrepreneur Diane von Furstenberg, and MSNBC’s small business expert and host JJ Ramberg, to narrow the field to three finalists. The public will ultimately vote for the winning small business to be announced on October 19. The winning small business will receive a $50,000 grant and $50,000 marketing support from American Express and will be featured on MSNBC’s small business show, “Your Business.”

“People across the country care about the local shop down the street and the restaurant downtown – these are places where relationships are formed, memories are made and dreams are realized,” said Nancy Smith, Vice President, Global Media, Content and Community, American Express. “The passion, dedication and resilience of these business owners are especially relevant in times like these – they are the key drivers of economic recovery, and through this program, we look forward to spotlighting the wonderful work that they do every day.”

“We’re thrilled to join forces with American Express to help celebrate and support America’s small businesses,” added Mike Pilot, President of Sales and Marketing, NBC Universal. “We’re extremely proud of this campaign which shows how collaboration with a client and their agencies can lead to a smart, layered and custom enterprise marketing solution that covers everything from talent to technology. ‘Shine A Light’ highlights the full scope of our capabilities, using the diverse platforms of NBCU to deliver a unique and creative solution that engages consumers and delivers the targeted results our clients are looking for.”


The “Shine A Light” campaign will include significant on-air and online promotion, in-show integrations on NBC Local Media’s “First Look” as well as series of custom videos that will air on multiple NBCU networks and online properties. The videos will feature various NBCU personalities such as chef, restaurateur, and entrepreneur Tom Colicchio and Law & Order’s S. Epatha Merkerson discussing small businesses that have inspired them and encouraging participation across media platforms. iVillage has built the entire community platform at nbc.com/shinealight, where all promotional elements will drive consumers to nominate, “spotlight” and vote. The program will be heavily promoted on iVillage, where a series of articles with small business insights and tips will run throughout the next three months.

Now through September 13, the public is invited to participate by nominating and voting for the small business that most inspires them. The process is simple: a written nomination, accompanied by photography and video if desired, may be submitted online. Visitors to the site will review the written nominations, share feedback and shine a digital “spotlight” on one small business story.

All participants including those who nominate and the nominated small business owners are encouraged to rally their networks to get as many “spotlights” as possible. Nominated small businesses require a minimum of 50 “spotlights” on the site to advance in the campaign. Nominees will be able to find several promotional tools on the web site to help them raise awareness for the program and encourage online voting, such as widgets and badges that may be posted on sites like Facebook and MySpace.

On September 24, three finalists will be announced, and voting to determine the winner will last until October 16. The winner will be announced on October 19, 2009. To nominate, vote or to obtain more information, please visit the Web site.

We all have those local favorites that do something better than the larger, more well known companies. Maybe it's the costumer service, maybe it's the product itself, but whatever it is, there is now a means to advocate for the continuation of those tailored services. With the support of NBCU and American Express, we are able to promote the local treasures that remind us of why we appreciate our respective communities so much.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Creativity for a Cause

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Hanes(R) has launched a T-shirt design competition offering the chance to combine creativity with passion for a most worthy cause - Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R). Through Oct. 26, 2009, participants can enter Passionately Pink-inspired T-shirt designs with messages of hope, love and support for the chance to win a weekly drawing for a $100 Hanes gift card. In addition, a grand-prize winner will receive a $250 Hanes gift card and a screen-printed copy of the winning T-shirt design. Hanes will also make a $5,000 donation in the grand-prize winner's name to the winner's choice of Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R) local Affiliate or Komen Global Headquarters.

This year, Hanes became the Official Apparel Sponsor of Passionately Pink for the Cure, a fund-raising program created by Komen for the Cure that inspires breast cancer advocacy and honors those affected by the disease. Hanes is donating $250,000 ($100,000 in cash and $150,000 in kind) to Komen for the Cure. In June 2009, public service announcements dedicated to breast cancer awareness began airing featuring actress Sarah Chalke (Hanes spokesperson and star of the television show "Scrubs" and mini series "Maneater"). Chalke also will attend Komen events and will host her own "Passionately Pink" parties with her sisters and friends.

Beginning today, Hanes will also offer a special "pink collection" of panties, bras, socks and graphic tees (including one T-shirt exclusively designed by Chalke), and has created a campaign Web site that features interactive content to inspire people to make a difference in the breast cancer support community. The Hanes contribution will help fund Komen's breast cancer research and community outreach efforts. The Hanes "pink collection," including Chalke's T-shirt, is now available on Hanes' Web site and will be in select stores in September.

The design competition will be hosted on the campaign Web site. Visitors can design virtual Passionately Pink T-shirts using a variety of tools and graphics provided on the site, including a text function that will allow users to convey a tribute message or a personal note. Once the digital T-shirt is submitted, consumers will complete an online form to be entered into the promotion for the chance to turn their virtual creation into a screen-printed tee.

"The Hanes Passionately Pink T-shirt design competition will mobilize and encourage people to join the fight against breast cancer while allowing them to express their passion in an individualized way, providing comfort to those who need it most," remarked Sidney Falken, SVP/Hanes brand.

Each week throughout the contest, the first 30 participants will receive a T-shirt from actress Sarah Chalke, who has kicked off the competition with her own Hanes T-shirt design which includes the words "courage and strength" above her signature and features pink hearts alongside the iconic pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness.

"I am so excited to kick off the Hanes Passionately Pink for the Cure design competition and be a part of an amazingly dedicated network. Awareness is the best prevention and this program encourages people from across the country to join the fight against breast cancer in a truly meaningful way," remarked Chalke. "The pink Hanes T-shirt I designed was inspired by my personal connection to cancer."

Twelve weekly winners will be selected based on pre-determined criteria including representation of campaign theme, creativity, originality and online votes. Finalists will be announced on November 11, 2009, and will receive a $100 Hanes gift card. Beginning Nov. 11, 2009, through Nov. 25, 2009, 12 finalists will be featured on www.hanespink.com where visitors can vote on their favorite designs. The grand prize winner, who will be announced on or about Dec. 7, 2009, will designate either Komen Global Headquarters or a local Komen for the Cure Affiliate to receive a $5,000 donation made in his or her name by Hanes. The grand prize winner will also receive a $250 Hanes gift card and a screen-printed copy of their winning design on a Hanes T-shirt.

Nothing like a little competition to inspire people to get involved. Hanes has not only made a significant contribution to breast cancer through their partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but they have also invigorated people to contribute on a deeper level. Supporters of breast cancer are able to utilize their creativity to benefit the cause. What a unique, fun and therapeutic way to give back.

Monday, August 17, 2009

SNICKERS Partners with Feeding America to Bar Hunger

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. — Mars Snackfood US announced today that its SNICKERS® Brand is teaming up with Feeding America to ‘Bar Hunger’ – a campaign to help the one in eight Americans struggling with hunger. As part of ‘Bar Hunger,’ SNICKERS will donate the equivalent of at least three million meals to Feeding America in 2009. The brand will also educate and inspire Americans to help through special branding and educational verbiage on its SNICKERS packaging, dedicated national advertising, its Facebook® Page as well as series of events throughout the year.

SNICKERS enlisted the support of actor and chairman of Feeding America’s Entertainment Council, David Arquette. He hopes to raise $250,000 in donations for Feeding America, at a time that is especially trying for the growing number of Americans at risk of hunger, through the Snickers Facebook Page, text messaging and on-site collections.

“The SNICKERS brand has always satisfied hunger,” said Carole Walker, vice president, integrated marketing communications for Mars Snackfood US. “The ‘Bar Hunger’ campaign is designed to draw attention to a very real challenge facing America. But this charitable effort is about more than putting a logo on our wrapper. We want people to join the effort and help in any way they can.”

SNICKERS has teamed with Arquette because of his passionate participation in the fight against hunger. Aside from his role as the first-ever chairman of Feeding America’s Entertainment Council, he also regularly volunteers at a food bank in Venice, Calif.

“I’ve seen first hand the impact of hunger, which is why campaigns like ‘Bar Hunger’ are so critical,” said David Arquette. “But SNICKERS and I can’t do it alone. We need to educate all Americans about this issue and mobilize them to do something. The only way we can truly ‘Bar Hunger’ is together.”

In addition to the donation that SNICKERS will make to Feeding America, the brand also worked with the non-profit to provide opportunities for other Americans to support the cause, including:
• SNICKERS will match every donation -- up to a total of $25,000 -- made to Feeding America via the SNICKERS Facebook Page
• People can make a $5.00 donation to Feeding America by texting the word “BAR” to 90999** from July 14 through December 31, 2009
• Consumers were able to make a cash donation of any size on July 14 and 15 outside Madison Square Garden

As the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity, Feeding America feeds 25 million hungry Americans each year through a nationwide network of food banks and engages the country in the fight to end hunger.

“We’re very thankful for the support of SNICKERS,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. “The dedication of our corporate partners like SNICKERS, as well as individuals like David Arquette, is critical for us to generate awareness about hunger, as well as continue to provide food to millions of Americans each year who would otherwise go hungry.”

SNICKERS' partnership with Feeding America may not seem dissimilar to other corporate/philanthropic partnerships. You can see the correlation between the product and the cause and why it is a good fit. But, SNICKERS takes it to a new and different level. The "Bar Hunger" campaign is brilliant for two reasons -- both good for the company and the cause. For one, they are creating public awareness and two, they are creating a relationship with the brand that is synonymous with the cause. When people think of hunger, they will also think of SNICKERS and its philanthropic efforts. A great endeavor all around.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lesbian Save the World, One Cruise at a Time

SAN FRANCISCO — Deciding whether to spend your vacation giving back, or getting some much-needed relaxation, can be a tough choice. The 2,000 lesbians on board the Sweet Caribbean Cruise, Nov. 8-15, plan to show the world you don't have to choose, you can do both!

Sweet, the new eco-friendly lesbian travel company, is proud to offer eight spectacular community service opportunities for guests on board its upcoming carbon-neutral Western Caribbean cruise on Norwegian Spirit.

"When a consumer thinks about giant problems like global warming, poverty and illiteracy, it's overwhelming. Where do you start?" asks Shannon Wentworth, CEO and co-founder of Sweet. "Sweet aims to break these overwhelming issues into fun, bite-sized chunks. Each of our projects is 3 to 5 hours long, but creates a measurable difference in the community. Incredibly fun, profoundly meaningful. That's Sweet."

With eight community service opportunities to choose from during the cruise - including a beach cleanup, a deep-sea reef restoration, a children's library project, set up of a school's computer lab, a pediatric ward cheer-up, dune restoration, wetlands restoration and park re-beautification -- there's something for everyone. "The idea is simple," says Wentworth, "Solve the world's problems and have fun while you're doing it."

The Sweet Caribbean Cruise, which sets sail from New Orleans, features the most hilarious lesbian comedians on the circuit, cutting edge singer-songwriters, sizzling lesbian DJs, and the hottest lesbian celebrities. It's also the biggest carbon-neutral cruise in history - lesbian, gay or straight.

"By offsetting a cruise ship this large, Sweet is taking a huge step towards sustainability that few other cruise lines have before," says Jason Fitzgerald Carbonfund.org's Partnership Manager. "Carbonfund.org is so pleased to partner with Sweet, and we hope other travel companies follow their lead as we all pursue a clean energy future."

Sweet's ambitions go beyond the lesbian community.

"It's my dream to demonstrate to the rest of the business world that you can do good and create a profitable business," says Wentworth. "Sweet's impact is profound, but what if everyone spent 3 to 5 hours of their vacations working on a volunteer project? That's world changing."

Balancing business and philanthropy can be a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors. The Sweet Caribbean Cruise gives customers the opportunity to have a great vacation, while also giving back. Very few people have time to do both on their vacations, but now they get it all. Besides, during times when funds are limited, customers' feel pride in their dual-purposed holiday. Doing good can be great for your business and your customers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Barefoot Wine Presents a Free Beach Concert to Benefit the Surfrider Foundation

MODESTO, Calif. — Barefoot Wine is proud to present the Beach Rescue Concert benefitting the Surfrider Foundation. Music and beach lovers are invited to a free concert being held in Asbury Park, NJ on Saturday, August 29, 2009. Special performances by musical guests who support the cause include Joss Stone, Gavin DeGraw, Cold War Kids and Mason Jennings.

To help celebrate Surfrider Foundation's 25th anniversary, Barefoot Wine and the Surfrider Foundation have spent the summer traveling coast-to-coast cleaning and restoring 25 beaches and lakes with the help of more than 2,000 volunteers as part of their Beach Rescue Project, now in its third year. The final cleanup of the summer will take place on the Asbury Park shore prior to the benefit concert. Those volunteers who attend the beach cleanup will receive special "VIP" privileges, including entry to the VIP Lounge, complimentary food and beverage and priority views of the stage. The cleanup event is free and open to everyone; free tickets to the concert are available to those 21+ years old and must be obtained by visiting the Web site by noon on August 29th or while tickets last. All wine sales from the concert will benefit the Surfrider Foundation to support their strategic initiatives to preserve special places.

"We raise our glass to our friends at the Surfrider Foundation and congratulate them on their tireless efforts to protect our beaches," said Tanvee Mehra of Barefoot Wine. "We are looking forward to rocking out with the amazing lineup of beach-loving musicians and volunteers who are helping to raise awareness for such a great cause."

To ensure environmental greening efforts are met at the Beach Rescue Concert, Reverb, the non-profit organization that educates and engages musicians and their fans to take action toward a more sustainable future, is handling on-site greening logistics and online fan outreach.

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world's oceans, waves and beaches. Now in its 25th year, the Surfrider Foundation has grown from a small group of dedicated surfers in Malibu, California to a global movement made up of over 50,000 members and 90 chapters worldwide.

Volunteering can be so much more than tedious work in support of a good cause. It can be engaging and rewarding. Barefoot Wine has created the ultimate volunteer experience with their summer concerts. As they travel across the nation, Barefoot Wine brings communities together to clean and restore local beaches and then celebrate with a free concert. And just in case that wasn't enough to inspire you to get involved, all the wine purchased at the event supports the Surfrider Foundation.

Monday, August 10, 2009

NATB Announces Partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Ronald McDonald House Charities((R)) (RMHC((R))) announced a multi-year partnership with the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) that includes ticket donations to select Ronald McDonald House Charities in the United States and volunteerism by members of the NATB family. As of August 1, 2009, NATB members across the country have donated over 2,000 tickets to their local RMHC Chapters.

"We are proud to be associated with the NATB, which has approximately 175 member ticket brokers in the United States," said Marty Coyne, president and CEO of RMHC. "RMHC and our local Chapters rely on the generous donations of our corporate partners and NATB is providing valuable contributions in terms of volunteers and entertainment for our families. Our families are going through difficult medical situations with their child, and NATB is giving them a chance to relax and take their mind off their worries - if only for a few moments. This partnership is a natural extension of our mission to support families - both financially and emotionally - during a very difficult time in their lives."

In August 2009, NATB will commence their partnership by launching their "32 for 32" program. This three year initiative will donate 32 tickets for every NFL preseason game in each of the 32 NFL markets. NATB members will also donate tickets for other sporting events, concerts and the performing arts. Additionally, NATB members will donate 32 hours of volunteerism in each of those 32 NFL markets. And this is just the beginning, as other initiatives will be announced in the coming months. NATB also hopes to establish a unique ticket donation and volunteer program that encourages its members to get involved with local Ronald McDonald Houses and RMHC events in their community.

"The NATB is proud to partner with such an incredible organization. Several of our members have worked with Houses on a local level by donating tickets and volunteering to cook a meal. Now, we get to take it National and give back in a big way," said Tom Patania, NATB President. "When we first brought this opportunity to our board, the vote was unanimous. Our membership is completely dedicated to helping these kids and their families in any way we can."

The Ronald McDonald House program provides families with a "home away from home" while their children receive treatment in a nearby hospital or medical facility. Here, family members can sleep, eat, relax and find support from other families in similar situations. The House program allows families to stay together, which helps aid in the healing process. There are more than 287 Ronald McDonald Houses open in 30 countries and regions worldwide.

NATB Gives Back was formed by the NATB Board of Directors with the mission of making a positive impact in the communities which support its member businesses. NATB Gives Back endeavors to do this by providing leadership, programs, and education to the NATB members and by forging partnerships with charitable and community organizations.

Families who face traumatic illness need outlets to distract them, so they can just enjoy spending time together. NATB support of the Ronald McDonald House is a great fit. It's not always cash that does the trick, but a product that your company has in excess can add a little joy to someone's life, especially when they are experiencing difficult times.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Soldiers' Angels Receives $10,000 Grant from KBR

PASADENA, Calif. — Defense contractor KBR has stepped up to support the troops with a $10,000 grant to nonprofit Soldiers' Angels, awarded through their Corporate Giving Program. The money will help fund Soldiers' Angels activities in support of military personnel and their families in KBR's home state of Texas, through projects such as First Response Backpacks for the wounded, Hero Flights, Living Legends, Tank Support, Valour-IT, and more.

"KBR has a great track record as a company that recognizes the importance of making sure our heroes are cared for and supported," said Soldiers' Angels founder Patti-Patton Bader. "We are honored and excited to receive these funds that help us continue to ensure 'No Soldier Go Unloved.'"

Support from KBR has extended beyond the $10,000 grant. They recently sponsored a Soldiers' Angels booth at the Freedom Over Texas 4th of July Celebration, allowing Soldiers' Angels to interact with an audience very receptive to the message of troop support.

"It was so inspiring. Soldiers' Angels were the guests of KBR but were also surrounded by KBR volunteers," said Soldiers' Angels Soldier Liaison Toby Nunn. "Together we put up a wonderful information booth that assisted both organizations in playing a positive role in the Houston community. To have the support of KBR is amazing; they bring a special formula of people and leadership into everything they do."

KBR is a leading global engineering, construction and services company supporting the energy, petrochemicals, government services and civil infrastructure sectors. Their 57,000 employees have a proud history of community involvement as donors and as volunteers in the many communities where they live and work. KBR shares that proud legacy of community engagement and support across the United States and the world.

Established in 2003, Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as veterans and military families.

As a defense contractor, KBR is supporting a nonprofit that impacts their industry. This is a great way to choose a cause for your company. It shows the companies passion for its work, as well as its support for the industry and the people that work within it. When choosing a nonprofit for your business, choosing a cause that you are passionate about is a must.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

BD and Direct Relief International Team Up to Provide Diabetes Insulin Injection Products for Those in Need

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. and SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) and Direct Relief International announced today the launch of a new nationwide program to help people with insulin-dependent diagnosed diabetes who have been affected by the current economic crisis to manage the disease. BD has pledged to donate 5 million insulin syringes and pen needles through Direct Relief to more than 1,000 community health center and free clinic partners nationwide.

"To avoid the debilitating and costly complications of diabetes, patients must effectively manage their conditions," said Linda Tharby, President, BD Medical - Diabetes Care. "Insulin injections often play a vital role in this daily effort, and BD believes that patients who have fallen on tough times should not forego this critical part of their treatment regimen. Direct Relief is a natural partner for BD to help ensure that these patients have access to insulin injection products."

The rise in unemployment has caused many people to lose their health insurance and thus their means to pay for insulin injection products. Direct Relief will work with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC) to assist those who are struggling from the current economic crisis.

"Unfortunately, financial hardship may force many people in communities across America to sacrifice their own health to feed their families or keep roofs over their heads," said Direct Relief International President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Tighe. "Direct Relief and BD are combining forces to address these impossible choices for many people with diabetes, by providing a safety net during these difficult times."

In the United States, approximately 18 million people — more than five percent of the population — have diagnosed diabetes. Since the economic crisis began in December 2007, more than 7.2 million Americans have lost their jobs, and 400,000 of these are estimated to have diabetes. Many now lack health insurance and access to affordable medical care, and could be at risk for a number of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications if they fail to manage their diabetes effectively.

Direct Relief and BD have worked together since 1996, helping people in developing countries and disaster-ravaged areas worldwide by supplying and delivering medical supplies to communities in greatest need.

Products will be available at participating clinics beginning August 10, 2009, subject to availability. For additional information, please visit BD's Web site or call 866-242-3275.

Founded in 1948, Direct Relief is a Santa Barbara, California-based nonprofit organization focused on improving quality of life by bringing critically needed medicines and supplies to local healthcare providers worldwide. Direct Relief works in 59 countries, including the United States where it has provided more than $150 million in assistance and is the only nonprofit licensed to provide prescription medicines in all 50 states. It is one of two charities ranked by Forbes that has received a perfect fundraising efficiency score for seven consecutive years and is ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as California's largest international nonprofit organization based on private support.

BD is a leading global medical technology company that develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents. The Company is dedicated to improving people's health throughout the world. BD is focused on improving drug delivery, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases and cancers, and advancing research, discovery and production of new drugs and vaccines. BD's capabilities are instrumental in combating many of the world's most pressing diseases. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD employs approximately 28,000 people in approximately 50 countries throughout the world. The Company serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public.

It's inspiring to see a company step-up in a time of need. By donating $5 million worth of product, BD is aiding those who have a direct and pressing need. Yes, we are in an economic downturn, which seems to me a good reason to get involved. This country, through all its past struggles, continues to see support from businesses. Let's hope that philanthropic attitude continues for generations to come.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Four Texas Nonprofit Organizations Receive $29,300 in Literacy Grants From Verizon

IRVING, Texas — A dollar a month may not seem like much, but it can go a long way to improving literacy skills in local communities and giving people the opportunity to succeed.

Thanks to Verizon telephone customers in Texas who participate in Verizon's Check Into Literacy program, four nonprofit organizations throughout the Lone Star State have received $29,300 in grants to support their literacy programs.

The Check Into Literacy program allows Verizon's landline telephone customers to support literacy by checking a box on their monthly phone bills to make a $1 tax-deductible donation to promote literacy throughout the United States. Verizon then distributes these donations to local literacy organizations that serve the state the customers live in.

"One of the most effective tools to promote literacy arrives in your mailbox each month: your Verizon phone bill," said Carl Erhart, president of Verizon's Central region. "Verizon customers who participate in this program show how much they care about our communities through their donations, and we applaud them for it."

Verizon awarded literacy grants to the following organizations:
Tom Green County Adult Literacy Council, San Angelo -- $6,751.
Literacy Texas, Fort Worth -- $13,500.
Families & Literacy, Kerrville -- $4,250.
AVANCE - Rio Grande Valley, McAllen -- $4,800.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $68 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26 million in combined contributions to nonprofits. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since 2000.

Your company can be a great tool in fostering philanthropy within your community. Verizon's literacy grants are 100 percent funded by its customers. The Check into Literacy program created awareness and the customers were eager to participate in supporting the improvement of the community. Giving people a convenient way to give is a great way for your company to get involved and show support for the community.

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