Look To The Stars

13 Mar

Sure, they’re famous.  True, they’re wealthy.  Of course, they’re entertaining.  But SOME are very generous as well.  Here are a few stats to give you an idea of how many.  Below that, photos of the top 5 major contributors rated 1 through 5 (1 being the most charitable)

Children   613 charities, 2115 celebrities                 
At-Risk/Disadvantaged Youths   249 charities, 910 celebrities
Health   492 charities, 1928 celebrities
Education   287 charities, 1046 celebrities
Poverty   199 charities, 1173 celebrities
Cancer   180 charities, 1084 celebrities

Elton

Oprah Angelinajolie bono Ellen

1. Elton John - Number of Charities: 48

2. Angelina Jolie - Number of Charities: 29

3. Bono – Number of Charities: 35

4. Oprah Winfrey – Number of Charities: 21

5. Ellen DeGeneres – Number of Charities: 38

CharitableStars

Love Somebody at the CASPCA

8 Feb

heartwithsunglassesIn this month of LOVE, our hearts are filled with joy and warmth.  All sweet and special.  Yep.  Valentine’s Day.  You just gotta love it!

I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of the need to show some love for our furry friends.  The Charlottesville Albemarle Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CASPCA) is our area’s primary animal shelter. This particular SPCA is a no-kill shelter that is supported by private donations, fundraising as well as funding from Charlottesville and Albemarle County. This shelter has been in Charlottesville since 1956.  Donations of money, food, toys, and treats are always welcome, but the CASPCA needs much more than that.

PennyThere are over 150 animals in the shelter right this very minute that need forever homes.  Ideally, getting them adopted in one fell swoop would be terrific, but since that almost never happens, they need LOTS of volunteers to care for/play with the shelter animals and foster homes to take on the animals who can’t stay at the shelter (very young kittens, special needs pets, etc).  If you are able to give any time or effort to this cause, you should.

lovesomebodyatCASPCAThe CASPCA needs your support at their fundraising events.  They work very hard all year long to come up with terrific ideas to entertain and get the community involved.  Take the Annual Critter Ball that occurs every Fall.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised by competing local “celebs” and they celebrate with a heck of a gala.  There are golf cat09tournaments, dog shows, and let’s not forget the SPCA’s Rummage Store on Preston Avenue.  Shop a wide array of unique treasures: Antiques, Collectibles, Art, Toys, Vehicles, Furniture, Clothing, Office, Appliances, Books, TVs, DVDs, Video, Audio, Computers (Pentium III or higher), Housewares, Linens, Garden, Sporting Goods, Automotive, Home Improvements and more.  These items are all donated by people like you and all proceeds from the SPCA Rummage Store go to support animal care at the SPCA.

Love Somebody at the CASPCA.  The pets that enrich our lives SO much deserve our attention.

Shine a Light: TODAY

17 Jan 2D11012620-shinealight.blocks_desktop_medium

As the new year begins, the TODAY Show unveils a new outreach project called Shine a Light, a year-long initiative focused on service and giving back to communities in need. 

Each anchor has picked a worthy cause to support throughout the year:

today-shine-140106-01.vembedmedMatt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie will help give kids safe places to play.  Matt and Savannah will help convert an abandoned lot into a playground, working to help provide secure locations for kids to exercise both their bodies and their imaginations.

“Recess was my favorite subject in school. I loved to go outside and run around. And I can’t imagine growing up and not being able to sit on a swing set and take flight,” Savannah said. “I would love to do something that brought joy to kids who have too little of it.”

“I want to take what is perhaps an eyesore in that neighborhood — a vacant lot, you know, broken bottles, rocks, graffiti — and I want a community to get motivated … After it’s been transformed from rubble, I want to be there as we swing that gate open for the first time,” Matt said.

Why is this cause important? Sixty-nine percent of low-income parents say there is no playground in their neighborhoods, and children in neighborhoods without a park are 26 percent more likely to be obese.  Track Matt and Savannah’s progress on our Shine a Light TODAY Facebook page.

2D11048280-today-shine-140107-01-social-Al.blocks_desktop_mediumAl Roker’s goal is to join a USO tour, helping to bring a little bit of America to our more than 127,000 troops stationed all around the world.

“A few years ago I went to Afghanistan … You see it on TV, but nothing can prepare you for what these men and women are dealing with,” Al said. “We still have a lot of American troops in harm’s way, and I want them to know that they’re remembered.”

Natalie Morales hopes to run the Boston Marathon, helping to raise awareness and money for victims of last year’s bombing attacks as their challenges continue.  “They’ve shown us not only how to be Boston strong, but America strong,” she said.

Willie Geist will renovate a homeless shelter, making it a safe place for kids and families.  “There’s just not enough space for kids,” he says. “We can do better than that.”

CarsonCarson Daly will fight childhood hunger in America, raising awareness and inspiring others to help feed their neighbors.  “I’m a father. And I wake up every day and, you know, breakfast with my kids is a big deal to me,” Carson said. “There are millions of kids who wake up and they’re not eating. And it’s certainly not by choice. It’s because they can’t.”

“People are hungry not just in the slums of America, not just in the poor parts,” he said. “It’s the kids who are sitting next to your kids in well-to-do areas, in middle class areas and poor areas.”

Tamron will focus her efforts on raising awareness about victims of domestic abuse.  “I’ve worked with victims, survivors, of domestic violence for many years now. But for me, that work changed after the death of my sister,” she said. “For years, my sister had been the victim of domestic violence, and I look back at our relationship, our friendship as sisters, and I wonder, ‘Could I have done something to save her?’”

Approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year, and three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day.  Tamron said she’ll connect with young girls in this situation who feel like they’re alone. “I want them to know that these hands are reaching out to them. And we’re going to pull them out of that dark hole into the light.”

today-shine-140109-split-03.vembedmedHoda Kotb is making it her mission to help kids with cancer, working closely with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.  “As a cancer survivor myself, I know what it feels like as a grownup,” Hoda said. “But what I can’t even fathom, even now, is what it feels like to be a kid … struggling with this grown-up disease, something they shouldn’t have to deal with. And all you want to do is reach out and help and hug.”

Hoda will help lift children’s spirits by creating a music video with them. It’ll be “an anthem about being brave and being strong,” she said, and expressed her hope that the message will spread from hospital to hospital across the country.

Kathie Lee Gifford will spend the year raising money for a worthy cause by encouraging families to make 2D11012620-shinealight.blocks_desktop_mediummemories with their loved ones.  “2014 is going to be the year that my family celebrates 20 years in the same home. So I started chronicling pictures and things and hopefully, by the end of the year we will have a coffee-table book,” Kathie Lee said. It’ll be called ‘Good Giffts, One Year in the Heart of a Home.’”

Proceeds from the sale of Kathie Lee’s book will go to the Salvation Army.

“I want this book to be a blessing to whoever picks it up,” she said. “I want to put a smile on their face. I want to put a prayer of gratitude in their own souls for the blessings that they have in life.”

Track the anchors’ progress and join to help make an impact on the Shine a Light TODAY Facebook page. And tell them on social media how you’re pitching in, using the hashtag #ShineALight.

Tis The Season for Giving

22 Dec

Give gifts that keeps on giving!santa-claus3

A big chunk of holiday tension comes from figuring out what gifts to give. Sure, there’s the run-of-the-mill sweater for mom, tie for dad, and gift certificate for Uncle Gerry (who is always difficult to shop for). But what do these gifts really say other than, I couldn’t think of anything else to get you?

Luckily there is a positive trend in gift giving that may be just the right cure for holiday-shopping anxiety.  This holiday, give a gift with extra meaning. Provide clean drinking water for people around the world, help for disadvantaged kids — and much more.  Besides the above giftcard, there are many ways you can give gifts to your friends and family while giving to those in need as well.  Here are some examples:

TisBest Charity Gift Cards empower your gift recipients to support good causes they are passionate about. The Card is a donation gift that works like a conventional gift card but instead of buying stuff, the recipient “spends” the TisBest card by selecting which of our 300+ charity partners receives the money. Personalize the card with your own message, image and/or company branding.  Eco-friendly, customizable, and #1 ranked, TisBest Charity Gift Cards make ideal business giftsteacher gifts, wedding favors, Hanukah gifts, and Christmas donation gifts. TisBest Philanthropy is a Top Rated 501(c)(3) nonprofit and earned the Gold Seal from GuideStar.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:
image.howitworks

This holiday, give a gift with extra meaning. Provide clean drinking water for people around the world, help for disadvantaged kids — and much more.  Besides the above giftcard, there are many ways you can give gifts to your friends and family while giving to those in need as well.  Here are some examples:

Help For The Troops  -  Even when a service member finds out that he or she can take off for the holidays, sometimes the good news comes so last minute that it’s impossible to find a reasonably priced ticket during peak travel time.  That’s when Let’s Bring ‘Em Home steps in.

Since 2001, the organization has been collecting donations in order to purchase tickets for servicemen and servicewoman so that they can spend the holidays with their families, no matter the ticket price.  Last season, the organization booked 122 flights. It received more than $80,000 in donations and more than half a million frequent flyer miles.

acspc-041567Help For Cancer Patients - Did you know that there are many people who must travel great distances on a daily basis to receive treatment? Who pays for that?  I just recently noticed the American Cancer Society’s TV campaign asking for text donations of $10 to raise money for hotel rooms to help traveling cancer patients.  American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, which provides free housing in 31 locations throughout the U.S. We also (as humans) get caught up in the holiday activities forgetting that cancer doesn’t take a break for the holidays. People still need treatment. People can’t be home. Imagine the tears. Extended Stay America and Hope Lodge are especially important this time of year. They help ease some of that sadness and some of the financial stress. I will be home for the holidays this year, will you?  Donate to American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge HERE.

The universal theme that circles around every December–regardless of one’s religion or spiritual practice–is to put others before yourself. And what better way to do that than to give gifts to the people you love that benefit the people you know need help? Charity gifts tug the heartstrings. You can’t always hold them, but you can feel them, which means they stand a chance of living in your memory longer.

To you and yours, have a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!!!

 

 

For The Child

13 Dec

Tis the season to think about our children.  What do they need?  What do they want?  What will they pester you to death for?  Have they been good (for goodness sake)?  Christmas is for the children and makes kids happy – some kids.

hp3

There are many abused and neglected children right here in our community.  They have been given a voice by Piedmont CASA (court appointed special advocates).  Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Inc. provides trained volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children, promoting and supporting safe, permanent and nurturing homes for child victims before the courts of the 16th Judicial District of Virginia. Piedmont CASA promotes awareness about child abuse and neglect through community education and outreach.

“My task is to talk to every person in these children’s lives – lives that have already been compromised and scarred – and piece together a recommendation that will help them to heal, to find stability, even to grow.”  - Volunteer Phoebe Frosch.

Volunteers Working to Stop Abuse and Neglect, One Child at a Time.kid-vert

Each year in the Charlottesville / Albemarle region, hundreds of children are victims of violence, sexual abuse and severe neglect.  CASA is an organization that trains Court Appointed Special Advocates, who work one-on-one with abused and endangered children to assist the courts in determining the best environment to ensure each child’s safety and well-being. Volunteer court advocates may be the only voice that can truly speak for these children.

Make a contribution online now!  The support of our generous donors enabled Piedmont CASA’s volunteers to advocate for 204 children last fiscal year. In order to continue serving children in our community who need our help, we rely on the support from caring individuals and businesses.

No fees are charged for the services of the Piedmont CASA program, and no other agency provides community volunteers to serve as child advocates in juvenile court proceedings.

As the need for CASA services continues to grow, additional resources must be secured to make sure that CASA is able to meet those needs effectively. Your financial support will help Piedmont CASA speak up for children in our community.

Donate by mail:
Check should be made payable to Piedmont CASA
Piedmont CASA
818 East High Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Donate over the phone:
(434) 971-7515

Contribute through the United Way:
Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign with CVC Code 3836:

State employees, remember that you can designate Piedmont CASA to receive your donation through the United Way’s Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign. Piedmont CASA’s designation number is 3836.

Building Goodness

1 Dec

secHammerThe mission of Building Goodness, a Charlottesville-based charity, is to build community and improve lives.  What they do is greatly needed in our area and I’m happy to support their efforts.

Building Goodness brings together volunteers from every part of the construction industry to design and build structures for communities in need. Together with partners, they use donations of time, money, materials, and expertise to build clinics, schools, community centers, and specialized housing for those who need them most—both in our own community and around the world. Non-construction volunteers are a critical part of their team. And, beyond the bricks and mortar of a new structure, BGF volunteers build lasting relationships with the people they are helping—relationships that profoundly improve the lives of all involved.

Currently, Building Goodness Foundation has projects right here at home in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area making structural improvements on homes and nonprofit organizations’ facilities. Following the desire to help beyond or our own community, BGF volunteers are also working at the Mattaponi Reservation near Richmond, VA, and several rebuilding sites in Haiti. In addition to ongoing local work, our volunteers have completed numerous buildings in Gulf Coast town of Pearlington, MS, in Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and El Salvador since 1999.

Founders, volunteers and community members talk about the inspiration and connectedness of BGF–from that first trip to Haiti to the reality of 13 years of building community and improving lives here and abroad.  Watch the BGF video

A few of Building Goodness’ current projects. Please CLICK HERE to lend your support for any of their projects:

Barrett Early Learning Center, CharlottesvilleBarrett

Founded in 1935, Barrett Early Learning Center is Virginia’s oldest preschool. The center provides a nurturing, educational, and healthy environment for some of our community’s youngest residents, with a special focus on children from low-income families.

We’re honored to yet again partner with this Charlottesville institution. We’ll be working to ensure the safety of the students, as well as the educators and staff entrusted with their care. BGF volunteers will install two steel fire escapes, replacing the aging, wood fire escapes.

CODEP Depot

CODEP Depot - Leogane, Haiti

In an effort to address the daily hardship in the mountainous area of Léogâne, Building Goodness Foundation partners with CODEP, Haiti Fund’s Comprehensive Development Project. CODEP families participate in education, reforestation, tropical agriculture and healthcare initiatives, improving their own living conditions.

The CODEP Depot for Community Development will be a multi-use building that supports the CODEP animators and their business development. The building will provide space for the production of coffee and textiles, storage for tree-planting supplies, and a market for fruits and vegetables. The Depot will serve as a micro-business development center, providing training in business development, accounting, and economics. It will also be used as a meeting place for the CODEP animators, group leaders for the different CODEP regions.

CODEP works with 30 small communities and 600 Haitian farmers (200 of whom are women) to improve their lives and those of their families. Just a few of CODEP’s accomplishments include:

  • Planting over 7 million trees since 2000.
  • Digging over 1,000 miles of contour ditches to prevent further erosion.
  • Installing/Building over 100 cisterns and almost 90 houses as incentive awards/earthquake replacement homes since 2000.
  • Impacting the lives of over 50,000 people in the Léogâne Commune.

Arc

Arc of the Piedmont, Charlottesville

BGF is once again partnering with Arc of the Piedmont, this time to make some much needed repairs to one of their residences right here in Charlottesville. The Arc strives to improve the lives of those living with physical and intellectual disabilities through a number of programs including assisted living. The residence on Jefferson Park Circle is home to six adults, and provides a structured atmosphere where they can live more independent and empowered lives.

BGF volunteers will be installing air conditioning units in two bedrooms on the second floor, as well as tackling some basic carpentry and roofing repairs around the house.

 

A Cause For Paws

10 Nov

Doggies, kitties, bunnies, even the occasional hamster – The Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA is one of the very few non-kill shelters in the Nation and a wonderful institution as well.

hound

The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that provides a safe environment for the lost, abandoned, and homeless animals
of Charlottesville and Albemarle County and places them in good homes.

Certainly, they need donations to house and feed all of the animals, but they
also need plenty of volunteers to take care of those animals and give them attention while they wait to find their forever homes.  Volunteers help daily to maintain the well-being of the animals at the SPCA and are vital to achieving our No Kill mission. Yearly, hundreds of volunteers donate more than 20,000
hours of service.

The CASPCA also needs foster families.  The foster program is an extension of their shelter, designed to save those animals that depend on additional care for their survival and/or eventual adoption. Great candidates for foster homes include: kittens and puppies who are too young to be spayed or neutered, nursing mothers, animals recovering from major surgery or minor illness, and those that simply need extra training or socialization. Fostering is fun and the best part-time job you’ll ever have.

Hundreds of animals have received a second chance thanks to the love and compassion of our foster families. Animals can come to us in very dire straits. While we have a crack veterinary and animal care staff, the shelter - like a hospital - cannot provide the security and warmth of a home. Thanks to their foster program, we have been able to save and adopt out many puppies, dogs, cats and kittens that would have had very little chance at adoption or even survival otherwise.

Celebrate your child’s birthday at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA!  They can enjoy a fun, hands-on animal experience while enjoying a special day with their friends.  They’ll have a shelter tour, fun games and real “party animals.” Everyone at the party will get a chance to meet and learn about some of our exceptional shelter animals.

birthday dog

 

 What’s Included:

  • Exclusive use of the party room
  • Set up and clean up by the SPCA
  • Provision of all the party necessities: decorations and party favors
  • A group orientation and shelter tour
  • A safe, supervised opportunity to interact with an animal
  • An autograph dog signed by all attendees for the birthday child

Since 2005, the CASPCA has maintained one of the few No Kill communities in the entire nation. But our job is far from over. There are still pets in need. Some are simply lost, others can no longer be kept by their owners, many have been abandoned, and a few need life-saving medical attention.

No gift is too small or too big. Some choices for donating money include a one-time gift, a monthly recurring gifta gift in memory/honor of a pet or persona legacy giftsponsor-a-pet,adopt-a-kennel or purchasing a memorial brick.  Your generous donation will be tax deductible under IRS guidelines.  If you need more information about the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA, if you’d like to volunteer, foster or make a donation, visit http://caspca.org.

 

 

 

 

4 Oct

BrasCalendarCoverThe 2013 edition of Bras for A Cause will be held a week from Saturday, October 12 from 7-10pm at the Holiday Inn on Emmet Street.  This is the Third Annual Bras for A Cause, which has caused quite a stir in Charlottesville and helped raise both funds AND awareness of Breast Cancer amongst our community.

Presented by the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Womens Council of Realtors, this event  will be an evening of absolute fun!  Attendees will enjoy the live Bra Fashion Show with male models wearing bras decorated by various groups and organizations. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to “Flourish” a Positive Image Boutique in our community.

Flourish, a positive image boutique is a one-of-a-kind in Central Virginia. Flourish is designed to help those facing cancer to look and feel their best.  Far beyond a fashionable boutique, Flourish plays an essential role in the healing journey.  From their beautiful décor to an array of specialty products, their mission is clear:  to help patients feel more vibrant, confident and better able to face the challenges of cancer.

hellotittyFlourish, a positive image boutique is a one-of-a-kind in Central Virginia.  It is designed to help those facing cancer to look and feel their best.  Far beyond a fashionable boutique, Flourish plays an essential role in the healing journey.  From their beautiful décor to an array of specialty products, their mission is clear: help patients feel more vibrant, confident and better able to face the challenges of cancer.  Flourish is conveniently located on the main floor of the UVA Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center and is supported by the UVA Hospital Auxiliary.  Funds generated by the boutique go to the UVA Cancer Center to help provide additional resources for cancer patients.

Advance tickets for Charlottesville’s Bra’s For A Cause event are $20 and they are $25 at the door the night of.  Please come on out for this great cause and be entertained by some unique bras!  See you October 12th at 7PM :)

breast-of-show-300x239

Bras_0

A Reason To Do Something

13 Aug

Jennifer-Hudson-Kelly-Osbourne-Do-Something-AwardsThe good-hearted stars of Hollywood convened at Avalon for VH1‘s Do Something Awards in LA on August 1st. Jennifer Hudson was recognized for her work with the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, established to provide stability, support and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds to help enable them to grow to be productive, confident and happy adults. It was a heartfelt honor for the star since the foundation was created in honor of her late nephew, Julian. Kelly Osbourne also took home a silver winged sneaker for her involvement with the Race to Erase MS charity dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of multiple sclerosis. Kelly also holds a special connection to her charity since her brother, Jack Osbourne, suffers from multiple sclerosis.

These two stars had very good reasons to do something – family.  But can’t the reason be just because?  Because you want to help.  Because you want to feel good about helping.  Because you want the world to  be better.  Just BECAUSE.

payitforward1Remember the movie Pay it Forward? Little Haley Joel Osment played a 12-year-old boy with big dreams who launched a so-cute-you-can’t-help-smiling plan to make the world a better place. Osment’s character does good for three people under the condition they’ll pass a good deed on to another three strangers. And so on until everyone in the world has been helped out a bit—and has helped others. I won’t give away the ending in case you haven’t seen it, but let’s just say it requires a few Kleenex boxes.  The basic idea is this: When you do something good, people notice—and take action.

Turns out that’s true. Researchers writing in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science learned that good deeds inspire other good deeds. In their study, people who had watched a program featuring musicians and their mentors were more likely to help a stranger out than those who watched a clip from a nature documentary.holding_door2

It makes sense. Consider the ever-annoying door-holding situation. When someone lets a door slam in my face, I’m less likely to go out of my way to hold the door for someone else. I guess I feel peeved enough to pass on the emotion. (Not a good thing.) But if someone holds a door for me while I’m still a few feet away? I owe it to the person five feet behind me to play doorman for the day.

I can’t really think of other instances where I knowingly do a good deed because someone lent me a hand, partially because I don’t think we do the whole pay it forward thing intentionally—at least not most of the time.  Then there’s those times when no one is being kind to you—you just spot some do gooder going about their business. Sadly, these occurrences are few and far between.

 

Celebrate The 4th With Cleaner Water

4 Jul

american-flagYou’d probably rather have a nice cold beer and a hot dog, and you can, but let’s consider something a little more important as well.  As you celebrate the birthday of our Country, there is an opportunity to pledge to more than the American flag.

charity: water is an organization whose goal is to provide cleaner water for everyone on the planet and they have developed a unique way that you can pledge YOUR next birthday to the cause.  800 million people still live without clean water on our planet. Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.  Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses.

dirty water90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are in children under five years old.  The WHO reports that over 3.6% of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.  charity: water focuses on life’s most basic need — water. But to significantly cut down disease rates in the developing world, water is just the first step. Almost everywhere charity: water builds a freshwater well, we also require sanitation training. In some communities, we build latrines; at the very least, we promote simple hand-washing stations made with readily-available materials. Clean water can greatly alleviate the world’s disease burden, but only with education and hygienic practice. charity: water is committed to using water as a gateway to sanitary living.

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ADDING IT UP: THE RETURN

Every $1 invested in improved water supply and sanitation can yield from $4 to $12 for the local economy, depending on the type of project.

Even in regions prone to natural disasters, water infrastructure has proven to be a smart investment, sometimes reducing flood damage or disease rates among survivors. Clean water transforms lives, communities and generations — and at a surprisingly low cost.  Just $20 can provide clean water for one person.

Do you remember your best birthday ever?  Bring that feeling back.  Pledge your birthday.

Sign up with a form here.  When your birthday is near, the folks at clean: water will remind you to start a fundraising page and ask your friends to donate to clean water for your birthday in lieu of presents. They will use 100% of the money you raise to fund clean water projects. When complete, you’ll see the exact projects you funded with photos and GPS.

Here’s a story of a birthday boy named Leroy:

 

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