Philanthropy Under Ice

Let me start this off by saying that I have no real issue with the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. There was a family at my old church who was directly affected by ALS and I think that we definitely need to raise awareness for this disease and raise money for research to fight it.  I think the Ice Bucket Challenge has succeeded at that goal. Kudos to all of you who have participated and donated.

Let me say, secondly, that….I can’t stand being cold. There, I said it. I’m sure everyone who has done the challenge is feeling it. I’m not a big fan of fads, either. I’m fine with others participating in them, but I’m probably going to hold off. I want some time to think about it.

We are also on a budget. I know that if I dumped ice water on me, then I would only be expected to donate $10, which wouldn’t break the bank. But it’s the idea of it for me.  We have so many people telling us where our money NEEDS to go, for bills and such, stuff that we don’t have much option with. The money that we give to charity is precious to us, and we put a lot of thought into it.  At this time, the donation bucket in our home has already been emptied.

So all of that aside, I want to address some things that I’ve noticed with this recent internet phenomenon.

1.  The general public does not read the fine print.

NPR came out with an amazing April Fool’s Day prank this year. They posted an article with the headline, “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?” It was accompanied by the blurb preview of “In an age of readily available information and countless ways to get it, we seem to be losing touch with our powers of comprehension,” and a picture of lines of books on library shelves. The comment section was already filled by the time I got there with incensed individuals across the WORLD who were infuriated that NPR would make such an awful generalization and how little they actually met the purported claim. And yet, they were proving NPR correct by their own comments in a pointed sociological experiment. When you actually clicked on the link, you were directed to a page congratulating you on being a “genuine reader,” and to like the post and to “not leave a comment.”

We are a society where there is so much information available that if we are not fed it in one sentence at the top of our computer/phone screen, with an appropriate picture or video (albeit short), then we’re not going to give it our attention. I am saying “we” because I am so guilty of this too.  I was under the assumption with the Ice Bucket Challenge that if you dumped the water on your head, you did not have to give. But if you didn’t, then you had to give $100. That’s incentive enough to not give, but it still gets the word out about the disease so I figured it wasn’t completely terrible.  I’m glad that I found out it was a tiered donation concept. Whether you participate in the ice bucket, you are donating, little or much. That’s a great fundraising technique!

2. Do you know exactly what you are giving to?

First off, do you think that all the people who are dumping ice water on themselves really know what ALS is?  I feel like I have a pretty good idea about it, but I definitely don’t know all the ins and outs of the disease.  I definitely don’t know all the ins and outs of what “research” means. I’ve been hearing/seeing things about stem-cell research, and that makes me uneasy. I’ve also heard that ALS allows you to designate whether your funds will go to stem-cell research or to other functions (like support/comfort/therapy/etc). So, I’m glad for that option. I would probably give to them since I could make a distinction as to where my funds would go.  Here are some good vids I’ve seen about the disease and challenge:

Are you giving because you know what is going on and you are supportive? Or are you giving because someone nominated you to and now you feel like you’re obligated?

3. Do you give to anything right now?

I’m talking besides ALS research.  As a couple, the Huz and I give our tithe to our church, we give to a couple of radio stations and then also to a handful of missionaries in the US and overseas.  We feel that God gives us financial liberty so that we can be generous to others. We pray about it, we discuss together, we make commitments and we make sure we have extra just in case a need arises. Anything that we have is gifted to us by God. It’s not even ours. God tells us to be good stewards of the blessings He has given us, but not to be stingy with them – and to give cheerfully! If we have the resources, we LOVE to give! It is such a great feeling knowing that we were able to meet a need.

But that’s the difference between the kind of giving we strive to make a habit of and the giving from this campaign. It’s not thought out, it’s not a habit, and it probably won’t stick. I’m not saying that now that you’ve given to ALS, you have to always give to ALS. I’m saying that if we had a habit of giving in our lives, the world would be a better place.

and

4. Giving should most often be something done unseen.

Part of this campaign is that the videos will be seen by many and raise awareness of the disease. I get that. When Human Trafficking was becoming a buzz-word on the interwebs, we were sharing as many videos and articles and cleverly designed gifs as possible to get the issue out there. There is a purpose and that’s inherent to the Ice Bucket Challenge. But for the most part, giving to the needy (and the sick are included in “needy”) should be done in secret, out of the public’s eye.

I’ve been working my way through the Bible this year and I’m currently in the book of Matthew. I just read the other day from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus teaches on principles for giving to the needy:

1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:1-4, ESV

This was a problem in Israel, back in the day, where people would make a huge deal over how much money they were going to give to the Temple. It could get pretty wild, a party in the streets – where everyone could see them and oo and aah over it.  Jesus was telling them that the reward for their good deed was received right at that moment. That fleeting moment of fame and adoration was all they would have to show for it. Yes, the money would go to help a need, but that was all the giver would get out of it.  Later in the chapter, Jesus encourages the people listening to store up their treasure (read, “reward”) in heaven and not on earth because it is all fleeting here on earth. In heaven, rust cannot get to it and thieves cannot steal it.

I’m not saying that everyone who is taking part in the Ice Bucket Challenge is doing it just to make themselves look good. I’ve watched several videos, and many of them make mention of someone the participant knows personally who is suffering or has passed with ALS. (Geez…it’s hard to right a blog post about ANYTHING in current events without feeling like you have to cover your tail at every phrase.) I’m just saying that the best way (I’ve found) to give is without anyone else knowing and sometimes even spur of the moment.

Conclusion

So, be mindful of what it is you’re participating in. If you are going to give your money or support to a cause, know it inside and out, as best you can.   There are so many eyes on us nowadays, and we are constantly being scrutinized – be a good steward. But also be giving – to whatever organization or cause you believe is worthy. If you are a Christian, prayerful consideration is a must.

For my part, I will not be participating in the challenge nor giving money. I’ve been nominated, but I’ve also been doing “my part” and sharing videos (like those above) about real people really fighting this disease. My money is already earmarked, but I can definitely join my voice with others to spread the word about this and other worthy causes.

My prayer is that anything you are doing (or not doing) is decided while you have two feet firmly on the ground and with a sound mind.

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Covenant House – Opening Doors for Homeless Youth

I got a phone call today. It was a restricted number, and normally I don’t answer those, but I thought on the off-chance that it might be important, so I picked up.

Plus, my husband was sleeping in the other room and I didn’t want it to wake him.

I’ve had this organization on my radar for a few years now and love it when I have the resources to help out. That’s not often (working hard to get down our debt…so we can be more generous later).

I’m glad I picked up the phone because they informed me about an amazing matching grant that is going on right now.

Covenant House Logo

Covenant House is an organization founded in the 1970s to help get homeless kids off the streets. This cause resonates all the more with me because I learned a while ago that homeless kids are at high risk of being trafficked. That’s true not just in the States, but across the globe…but let’s get back to Covenant House.

Covenant House has shelters in 21 cities in the US, Canada, and Central America: Anchorage, Atlanta, Atlantic City, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Managua, Mexico City, Milpas Altas, Newark, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Orlando, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tegucigalpa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C. and YOU can make a difference in the life of a child there.

I told you that they have a matching grant – $500,000 to match donations made until the end of the year! That has the potential to become $1,000,000!

Need an idea of what they do with that money? There’s a wonderful Christmas catalog on their website where you can get a clear explanation of what certain dollar amounts will provide.

Covenant House Christmas

There are a lot of great charities to support out there, but if you’re looking for one to make your own, I would encourage you to investigate more about Covenant House and then give give give!

By the way, it’s a command of God to help those who are orphaned and abandoned. I don’t think any two kids have the same story of the things they’ve experienced. There are countless reasons that a kid will end up on the streets. However, there is a practical way to help get them off the street and into a warm, nurturing environment. And this is how you can make that happen.

Nat’l Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today, January 11th, is the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  If I had been better prepared, I would have had this post ready to publish first thing in the morning, but I did not, so here it is.

You can call 1.888.373.7888 any time, day or night, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year to report a case of human trafficking.  Human trafficking can take the form of slave labor (including domestic servitude) or forced sex labor and can involve adults and children alike.  The average age of a trafficked child is 12 years old.  Victims of trafficking find themselves there by methods of force, fraud, or coercion.  They might be paying off “debts” with enormous amount of interest.  They may be threatened with violence or abused as well as their families.  They can often be taken across national borders to a country where they don’t speak the language – their paperwork could be forged or missing entirely and they often fear the police as much as their captors.  This fear is usually justified as when the crime is found, they are lumped in with the criminals instead of treated as a victim – many times they are sent back to their own country to live in their shame and risk being trafficked again.

This modern-day slavery is more heinous and comprehensive than the form of slavery fought over in the Civil War.  It is the fastest growing organized crime and second only to drug-trafficking (which is estimated to be surpassed very soon).  If you think that the United States is exempt from this, you are sorely mistaken.  Cases of human trafficking have been reported in every state.  The US has been found to be a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked individuals.

I’m going to list quite a few organizations/people/businesses I follow, either on Twitter or Facebook or whatever.  I would really recommend checking them out.  This is something that burns in my heart – as children of God we are called to loose the bonds of those who are held captive.  Educate yourself and then take up the banner – become an abolitionist.

*and really, these are just a few of the newly blossomed organizations ready to fight human trafficking.  If I’ve left out anyone note-worthy, let me know and I’ll see about adding them!  Thanks!

Organizations

Beauty From Ashes

(Fort Myers, FL)
website  ·  blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: BeautyFrmAshes    

Cincinnati Union Bethel

Social service agency: early childhood education; the Anna Louise Inn (housing for women) and Off the Steets (services for prostituted women. (Cincinnati, OH) ***Not only for trafficked individuals, but they deal with it enough to be included***
website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: cinunionbethel

DACS United

Designers Against Child Slavery
website  ·  facebook   ·  twitter: dacsunited

DNA Foundation

founded by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher – to eliminate sex slavery worldwide. “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls”
website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: dnafoundation

FAIR Fund

Preventing human trafficking of youth worldwide (Washington, DC)
website  ·  twitter: FAIRFund

Free Generation International

committed to eradicating human trafficking in Africa (Africa/US)
website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: FreeGeneration

Forsaken Generation

leading a national movement to end youth homelessness and child sex trafficking in the US. (New York)
website  ·  blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: forsakengen

Hagar International

organization restoring exploited women and children’s lives in Cambodia, Vietnam & Afghanistan
website  ·  blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: HagarIntl

Hookers for Jesus

Destiny Houses are a SAFE haven for ladies in sex slavery (Las Vegas, NV)
website  ·  blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: hookersforjesus

International Justice Mission

Head Quarters (Washington, DC)
website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: IJMHQ

Justice Campaigns
website  ·  twitter: IJMcampaigns

International Sanctuary

website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: isanctuary

Love 146

end child sex slavery and exploitation
website  ·  blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: OfficialLove146

Rob MorrisPresident and Co-founder
website  ·  twitter: ROBLOVE146

Adam Young of the Dayton Ohio Love 146 Taskforce
blog  ·  twitter: youngadamc

Made By Survivors

fights human trafficking and slavery with empowerment & education
website  ·  blogs  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: madebysurvivors

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Not only are they concerned with Cincy’s history in the fight against slavery, they are seeking to build up modern-day abolitionists (Cincinnati, OH)
website  ·  blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: FreedomCenter

Not For Sale

campaign for all justice seekers, united to fight human trafficking
website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: Not_For_Sale

Polaris Project

a leading non-profit organization committed to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery. (Washington, DC) **They even have an office in Japan now!**
website  ·  blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: Polaris_Project

RedLight Children

website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: RedLightCC

Restavek Freedom

ending child slavery in Haiti
website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: RestavekFreedom

She Shall Go Free

To break all these sufferings, all these fetters of slavery.
blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: sheshallgofree

Stop Child Trafficking

(New York, NY)
website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: SCTNow

Stop Modern Slavery

Washington, DC
website  ·  blog  ·  twitter: DCSMS

Survivors Connect

website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: survivorconnect

Unbound Movement

A Modern Day Movement to end Modern day Slavery – in all it’s forms! (Cincinnati, OH)
website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: unboundmovement

Vision Abolition

dedication to prevention, rescue, and restoration (Arizona)
website  ·  blog  ·  twitter: VisionAbolition

Shopping

*Made by Survivors, mentioned above

Night Light Bangkok

business as a mission offering employment to women formerly in the sex industry.
website  ·  blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: NightLightBKK

Nomi Network

leveraging the marketplace, fashion, and film to eradicate sexual slavery (New York)
website  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: nominetwork

Stop Traffick Fashion

a boutique about restoration and change for survivors of human trafficking. (Cincinnati, OH)
website  ·  blog  ·  facebook  ·  twitter: stoptrffckfash

Individuals

Amanda Kloer

writer on Change.org
twitter: endhumantraffic

Covenant House – Donation Opportunity

Well, with all my Pepsi Refreshing, one of the organizations I’ve been promoting asked if I would be willing to post a donation banner on my blog here.  I am honored to have been asked and gladly said YES!

The banner is over to the right, just below the “Tabs” and “Subscribe To” widgets.  If you want more info before you give, read below!

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Covenant House was founded 38 years ago with the mission to help homeless teens and young adults get off the street and into productive lives. Most of the kids Covenant House serves are running from abuse at home or they are thrown out by their parents. Many are kids who were abandoned or abused as young children and have bounced around in the foster care system until they reach 18.  Regardless of the reasons why they are on the street, the fact is that they are and need help. 

A huge percentage of them have not finished high school, have some emotional problems, and have no idea how to get or keep a job. Basically they are fodder for pimps and drug dealers. Covenant House takes these kids in and kind of re-parents them. They offer shelter and meet immediate needs (like a safe place to sleep and medical care) and then they work with the kids on a long-term plan that involves getting a GED diploma, learning a job skill and getting counseling.

Kids who stick with the program are offered a transitional housing program where they are coached in life skills, learn to hold a job, pay rent and take care of themselves. They pay rent to Covenant House for their apartments, and after 12-18 months when they graduate from the program, they are given all of their rent back as a start-up stake in life — to allow them to put a deposit on an apartment and set up a household.

The most interesting thing about Covenant House is that this is not a bureaucratic social services agency, the services are highly personalized for each kid, and they offer the kids parental care and love. Much of the program is about undoing the emotional damage to kids that their parental abandonment has left them with, helping them grow confident and happy with themselves.

Read this story about one of Covenant House’s “moms”:

Newark Woman Gives a Mother’s Love to Residents at Covenant House

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Check them out on:

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Pepsi Refresh – December *Hot Projects*

I showed you the projects I was supporting last month here

Of those, three projects got their funding!  Awesome!  You can check which ones won by going to the link above.

Here are the projects that have my vote for this month.  Again, you can vote each day for up to 10 projects!

Empowering DC teens to avoid & escape exploitation & human trafficking
by FAIR Fund, Inc. – $50k (top 10 get funding)

FAIR Fund is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit working to prevent human
trafficking of youth worldwide by building community leadership, providing education and empowerment programs, and offering compassionate intervention services. We have reached over 15,000 young people 11 countries since 2003.

Goals

  • Educate 1,000 at-risk teens to stay safe from trafficking
  • Support teens in danger
  • Provide access to shelter, medical services, and more for teens
  • Build a community that can better assist exploited teens

Rebuild the lives of homeless, throwaway and trafficked youth
by Covenant House – $250k (top 2 get funding)

Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in America providing food, shelter, immediate crisis care and other important services to homeless, throwaway, and runaway kids. We strive to move each kid forward toward an independent adulthood free from the risk of future homelessness.

Goals

  • To provide food to 1000 infants & toddlers in our Mother/Child program
  • To help homeless mothers build a future for themselves & their babies
  • To stay open 24/7/365 to any kid who comes to our door

Rehabilitate Victims of HUMAN TRAFFICKING
by International Sanctuary – $250k (top 2 get funding)

International Sanctuary (iSanctuary) empowers survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. iSanctuary is working to ensure survivors receive all the elements necessary for restoration, including education, counseling, vocational training, and mental, emotional healing.

Goals

  • Provide survivors the means to self-sufficiency and reintegration
  • Provide a place and opportunity for survivors to grow professionally
  • The ability for survivors of human trafficking to earn an income

24 Hr Drop-In Center for Human Sex Trafficking Prostitution Victims
by Genesis Project – $250k (top 2 get funding)

I am a Police Officer in Seatac Wa, with KCSO. I’ve been in Law Enforcement for 13 yrs and in the last 9 yrs I’ve contacted and or arrested over 500 prostitutes. Many of whom are juveniles between the ages of 12-17. These girls are modern-day slaves forced into the life. We are taking a stand!

Goals

  • Provide Shelter / Safety / Food / & Rehabilitation for these girls

Expose, Fight and End Child Sex Slavery and Exploitation
by Redlight Children – $50k (top 10 get funding)

Redlight Children is a human rights based nonprofit organization aimed at generating conscious concern for, and ending the demand for child slavery and exploitation. We use mass media to promote awareness, and our efforts include the K11 project-3 films designed to expose the industry.

Goals

  • Expose the issue of child slavery and exploitation in the US
  • Fight against perpetrators through advocating for stricter legislation
  • Collaborate with other nonprofits, corporations, universities, etc
  • Raise awareness and promote our films in communities nationwide
  • Raise awareness and promote our cause on universities nationwide

Develop the Next Generation of Civic Leaders
by Center for Progressive Leadership – $250k (top 2 get funding)

Construct an English Language Learning Center in Omaha, Nebraska
by Alee Forsythe – $250k (top 2 get funding)
*I like this because it can be used to help educate and acclimate victims who are trafficked into the US by teaching them the local language*

Restore Outreach Services to the Homeless in Columbus, OH
by The Open Shelter, Inc. – $50k (top 10 get funding)

Provide Suicide Prevention and Education to People in Cincinnati, OH
by Centerpoint Health – $50k (top 10 get funding)

Provide Properly Fitting Shoes to Children in Desperate Need
by Shoes 4 the Shoeless – $50k (top 10 get funding)

Pepsi Refresh – November *Hot Projects*

Thought I’d send you some links to great projects that could use your support this month.  You can go each day to Pepsi Refresh and vote for up to 10 projects!  Quite a few to fight against Human Trafficking, how exciting!

These are the projects with my vote (for more info and to vote for them, click on their Project Title):

Empowering DC teens to avoid & escape exploitation & human trafficking
by FAIR Fund, Inc. – $50k (top 10 get funding)
*Running again in December!*

FAIR Fund is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit working to prevent human
trafficking of youth worldwide by building community leadership, providing education and empowerment programs, and offering compassionate intervention services. We have reached over 15,000 young people 11 countries since 2003.

Goals

  • Educate 1,000 at-risk teens to stay safe from trafficking
  • Support teens in danger
  • Provide access to shelter, medical services, and more for teens
  • Build a community that can better assist exploited teens

Rebuild the lives of homeless, throwaway and trafficked youth
by Covenant House – $250k (top 2 get funding)
*Running again in December!*

(Also registered for a $50k grant here)

Covenant House is the largest privately-funded agency in America providing food, shelter, immediate crisis care and other important services to homeless, throwaway, and runaway kids. We strive to move each kid forward toward an independent adulthood free from the risk of future homelessness.

Goals

  • To provide food to 1000 infants & toddlers in our Mother/Child program
  • To help homeless mothers build a future for themselves & their babies
  • To stay open 24/7/365 to any kid who comes to our door

Create a SMS: Freedom Helplines to combat trafficking in California!
by Survivors Connect – $50k (top 10 get funding)

I am an anthropologist who has spent the last 5 years studying modern-day slavery around the world. I have worked on the issue in several capacities – from Hill advocacy, victim service and research. My work earned me the Freedom Award in 2008 and since I have launched Survivors Connect.

Goals

  • To create a text-based helpline for people to contact about slavery
  • Train human rights advocates and aid workers about slavery
  • Coordinate a network of first responders to rescue victims
  • Prevent young people from becoming victim to slavery in the US

Fight Against Human Trafficking & Empower Survivors
by She Shall Go Free – $25k (top 10 get funding)
*Yay!  They got their funding!*

She Shall Go Free was founded by two USC college students dedicated to fighting against human trafficking, gender based violence, and exploitation of women and girls. We focus on empowering survivors, raising awareness of sex trafficking, and supporting projects that aid at-risk women and survivors.

Goals

  • To purchase 1,000 shirts for our AWARENESS & FUNDRAISING campaign
  • To fund SCHOLARSHIPS for survivors for job training/basic education
  • To purchase requested items for LOCAL SHELTERS aiding women/survivors
  • To provide emergency financial ASSISTANCE to women in need

Teach immigrants English in Philadelphia, PA tended by Project SHINE
by Project SHINE

Develop the Next Generation of Civic Leaders
by Center for Progressive Leadership – $250k (top 2 get funding)
*Running again in December!*

Educate and empower young adults in PA to improve their communities
by Haile B. Johnston
*Yay! They got their funding!*

Teach Hip-Hop and Respect to inner-city youth
by Elementz Youth Center for Hip-Hop and Respect
*Yay! They got their funding!*

Open a home and youth center for teens in downtown Birmingham, AL
by The Village

 

NightLight

NightLight International.

Check out this great site/organization, rescuing women from exploitation in the brothels and bars of Thailand and giving them skills and industry to maintain a life of freedom.  Some of the jewelry is a little expensive, but how much should freedom cost?

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

NightLight is an international organization committed to addressing the complex issues surrounding trafficking and prostitution by catalyzing individual and community transformation. NightLight’s vision is to offer intervention to sexually exploited women and children, to enable them to discover their dignity, and to provide a program of holistic transformation, empowering them to live and work in their community.

NightLight’s mission is to build relationships and provide hope, intervention, rescue and assistance to women and children exploited in the sex industry by offering alternative employment, vocational opportunities, life-skills training and physical, emotional and spiritual development to women seeking freedom. NightLight builds support networks internationally to intervene and assist women, men and children whose lives are negatively impacted by the sex industry.

In Bangkok, Nightlight operates as a business (NightLight Design, Co. Ltd) and a non-profit (NightLight Foundation). In the United States, NightLight operates as a 501c3 with branches in Los Angeles and Atlanta.