The nation has been stymied by the fiscal cliff and seen mass carnage by hurricanes, floods, and gun violence but, to a greater degree, positive news and generosity defined this year. Here are just a few of the efforts supported by the donations and purchases.
New e-book, “An African Safari for Anthony” shares author Glori Ann’s adventures in Kenya and donates a portion of the sales to preserving the country’s wildlife parks. Experience the wilds of Kenya without leaving one’s living room or classroom. This is the author’s (actually Gloria Blakely’s) second charity book published on Kindle this year. “An African Safari for Jarvis”, memoirs of her romp through Tanzania, was the first charity book. It supports wildlife parks in Tanzania. Her goal is to generate $8,000 in donations from each book. They cost only $3.99 each. For more information, visit www.amazon.com. Missing a Christmas gift? Need a last minute option? E-books are available 24/7 and the download or gift access is just a few keystrokes away.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributed a $2.5 million grant to the new Philadelphia Great Schools Compact initiatives. The initiatives are aimed at improving school leadership, strengthening teacher training, and creating benchmark assessments in Philadelphia that align to the Common Core State Standards. The Gates Foundation grant will be managed by the Philadelphia School Partnership, which is raising $100 million for the Great Schools Fund. Earlier this year, $2 million were invested in Esperanza Academy. Learn more at http://www.philaschoolpartnership.org/.
The star-studded 121212 Concert for Sandy Relief raised more than $50 million and counting. Contributions are still rolling in to benefit the Robin Hood Relief for Hurricane Sandy victims. Further donors can download the concert from iTunes, buy concert merchandise online, or give money. For more information, visit http://www.121212concert.org/.
Covenant House raised $3,131,744 from Sleep-Out: Executive Night. Executives joined a movement of hope that spanned more than a dozen cities in 2 countries. They slept outside overnight to show solidarity with homeless youth, build awareness and raise funds that support life-saving programs in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. The first ever Sleep-Out: Young Professional Night is scheduled in March. Right now, Covenant House invites the public to donate $20 for shoes and sock to comfort 2 children. For more details, visit http://www.covenanthouse.org/ and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more about Young Professional Night.
Emily’s List raised $51.2 million from the largest number of donors in its 27-year history. Since 1985, the organization worked to elect 87 pro-choice Democratic women to the U.S. House of Representatives, 16 to the Senate, 9 governors, and more than 500 women to state and local offices. Donate by Jan. 6 and win 2 VIP tickets to join some fearless and inspiring Democratic women at the Emily’s List Inauguration Brunch. For more information, visit http://emilyslist.org/ or click here to donate.
One in 4 people in Philadelphia struggle to put food on the table. The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger helps thousands of families and seniors obtain necessary nutrition; it funds and trains soup kitchens; and advocates sensible policies to prevent hunger. This effort requires almost $1 million a year. And, for a better perspective on the hunger too many families face, take the hunger challenge of living on $5 worth of food a day. Or, attend Springfield High School’s Empty Bowls Dinner, a fundraiser on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Visit http://www.hungercoalition.org/ for more details about the organization and upcoming events or to make a donation.
Main Line Today Magazine received the Main Line Gives Back Award for 2012 from the Main Line Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes businesses that contribute more than $26,000 and actively supports the local community. Among other types of support, the magazine sponsors an annual businesses expo and fundraiser, which draws tens of thousands of guests. For more information, visit www.todaymediainc.com.
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia celebrated the 225th birthday of the U.S. Constitution this year. Enjoy the remaining holiday season with festive programs from Wednesday, Dec. 26 – Monday, Dec. 31. Children are invited to make crafts including New Year’s noise makers, holiday confetti crackers and New Year’s hats while singing holiday favorites during a special karaoke sing-along. Guests can send season’s greetings to the men and women serving overseas in the Armed Forces. During a special interactive program, visitors can also explore the history of New Year celebrations and how the holiday is celebrated around the world. Participants will learn the history of American New Year’s traditions including “Auld Lang Syne,” the ball drop at Times Square, and Philadelphia’s own Mummers Parade. The world premiere of American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is currently featured at the center. The exhibit continues through April 28. For more information, visit http://constitutioncenter.org/.
The Penn Museum celebrated its 125th anniversary this year. The celebration concluded with an open house on Founders Day and launching a new Timeline of Archaeology and Anthropology Research. This system links to a new online collections database to give visitors a data-rich interactive map and timeline featuring 125 of the museum’s most famous expeditions around the world. Speaking of world, it did not end this month, nor has the Maya 2012 exhibit. To learn more about the museum and myths related to the Maya end of the world predictions, visit www.penn.museum.
Philadelphia is 1 of only 18 cities bestowed a $100,000 grant from the Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund in order to mobilize volunteers to tackle systematic problems in a high-impact and measurable way. The present grant will support 2 initiatives: PhillyRising CREATES will take back blighted spaces and transform them into vibrant hubs of community activity. Technology Today Tutors engages volunteer tutors to help adult learners develop literacy skills while building digital fluency. For more information on these and other projects, visit www.SERVEPhiladelphia.org.
Philadelphia Women in Film and Television incorporated this year. PWIT is part of a network of 40 women in film chapters worldwide that represent more than 10,000 members. This local chapter will engage a new generation of women in the film and television industry in Philadelphia and serve as the preeminent networking organization for industry members in the Delaware Valley. For more information, visit www.pwift.org.
Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health care, education, and information services to nearly 5 million women, men, and teens worldwide. Nearly 3 million clients visit 800 clinics across the U.S. each year. Roughly 584,000 unintended pregnancies are prevented in this country on a yearly basis. And, about 770,000 Pap tests, 750,000 breast exams and 4 million tests and treatments for STDs (including HIV) are given, then add to that, educational programs to 1.1 million young people and adults each year. Now, donations supporting these programs will be matched dollar for dollar until midnight, Dec. 31 up to a total of $250,000. For more information, visit www.ppfa.org or, to make a donation, click here.
The Village of Arts and Humanities’ annual end of the year celebration raised $10,600 while guests had a fantastic time. The funds will continue art education and the work of young artists in the Philadelphia region. Given previous donations, that puts this nonprofit about $6,400 dollars short of its $25,000 goal for 2012. Every $3,000 helps to add another 10-week after school program for 20 young artists. More than 300 teens honed their artistic skills in 2012. For more information, visit http://villagearts.org/. Plus, the Village is now interviewing interns for 2013. College students and volunteers interested in arts education, environmental studies, graphic design, public relations, marketing, magazine writing, board development, and grant research are encouraged to intern with The Village next semester. Academic credits may be available for eligible students. Please send a cover letter and resume to Heather Jones, email@example.com.
Just a couple of reminder: most of the above organizations welcome donations throughout the upcoming year, and museum gift shops offer distinctive items. Visiting them are fun ways to support local cultural corridors.
Happy holidays to one and all.