Top 5 Philanthropy Tips to Engage This Year

It is often suggested that you pay attention to how cost effective a charity is. You can do this by looking up the organization on web sites like charity navigator. Charities can be very wasteful and it is well known that in certain large non-profit organizations that the top ranks are paid six figures and fly in corporate jets. Remember, this is your hard earned money and you should strive to do as much good as you can with your donation. 

Second, don’t just focus on your pet cause. This is obviously a personal decision. But just because you like animals doesn’t mean you should always focus your giving on animal related charities. There are plenty of worthy causes out there. Doing more research will reveal them to you. When you are young and money is tight, this might be a hard thing to do. 

Your priorities might change if you own a business that can benefit from your giving. There are plenty of great ideas out there that tie together business and philanthropy. For example, if you own a local pizza restaurant, sponsoring a kids sports team might make sense. Alternatively, if you’re a financial advisor targeting high net worth individuals, signing up for a charity dinners can be a great idea. Both options are great as you do good for both society and your business simultaneously.

Fourth, try to avoid knee jerk giving. One example is when there is a large natural disaster, more often than not, international aid organizations have the situation handled. In these situations, charities are usually overwhelmed with donations and the money ends up not spent on what the donors intended. Likewise, if a canvasser comes to your house asking for money, be wary. If you donate on the spot, you will not be able to do the necessary research.

Finally, eliminate the middlemen. Have you ever received a call from a telemarketer asking for a donation to a charity? Be careful as often these salesmen are compensated with a commission. You want as much of your money as possible to go towards those deserving of charity, not a marketer.

Partnership Between Samsung and Boys & Girls Club Gets Kids Excited About STEM

boys and girls club logo

With the growing technology of today, it’s a good idea to get children enthusiastic about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It’s important that all children are given the opportunity to explore the STEM fields so that they can can consider pursuing careers in these fields. Even for children who don’t end up pursuing these careers, learning these skills can help them be more well-rounded and will give them a greater base of knowledge to tackle any challenges that may come their way. That’s why the Boys & Girls Clubs of America partnered with Samsung Electronics America in order to empower youth to explore a future in these fields. Not only did the partnership encourage children to get involved in STEM, but it also empowered them to help spread information about climate change.

Together, the two companies developed the Climate Superstars Challenge, an environmental contest that encourages youth to raise awareness about climate change. The contest also works to ignite an interest in STEM among kids and teens. After seven weeks of completing various sustainability activities, members of the Boys & Girls Clubs Seminole Tribe of Florida were selected as the grand prize winners of the challenge. The challenge, which is only in its second year, is open to youth ages 11 to 13, and this year, 184 Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide participated.

The challenge required that participants completed weekly activities relating to core themes like reducing waste, conserving water and improving energy-efficiency. The participants were also encouraged to be creative. Club members at the Boys & Girls Club of Great Westfield, for example, made an interpretive dance video about picking up litter. Participants from the Boys & Girls Club of Kingman hosted a recycle party. Whatever approach the Boys & Girls Club members took, they made sure to demonstrate their understanding of factors that negatively affect the environment, as well as innovative ways to prevent this.

The Hollywood Rez Torch Club members at the Boys & Girls Club Seminole Tribe of Florida won because they went above and beyond. In addition to completing the necessary activities, they made a snow globe using an old glass jar as well as a rocket they made out of a pasta box to use as a learning tool.

Because they won the Samsung Climate Superstars Challenge, the Boys & Girls Clubs Seminole Tribe of Florida will win a technology makeover featuring a number of ENERGY STAR certified products, including three Virtual Reality devices, one Gear 360 Camera, two 55 inch Ultra High Def LED Smart TVs, thirty Galaxy tablets and thirty notebooks. These products more at a value of greater than $25,000. Throughout the three stages of the challenge, participants received prizes as well. A celebration event was held at the Club to reward the members for their efforts.

This event was a win-win because it helped get kids excited about the STEM field while also promoting environmentally-friendly practices. It’s important that we encourage young people to help protect the environment so that we can have a greener tomorrow.


How to Get Involved with a Clean Water Organization

Clean water org

Around 660 million people worldwide are do not have access to clean water. That amounts to nearly twice the population of the United States or 9% of the world’s total population. Having access to clean water is often something that people take for granted. Water can play such a large role in the daily lives of people all over the world. Below are 4 facts about water that may change the way you value water and the many ways that you use it.

  1. Diseases and Infections from the use of dirty water kill more each year than every form of violence, this statistic includes war and combat. Around 40% of those recorded deaths are children ages 5 and younger.
  2. Each year African women spend 40 billion hours fetching water. These hours take away from schooling, food gathering and income-producing work.
  3. With access to clean water stable plumbing, more children, specifically females will be able to attend school and not have to miss 1 week out of every month at home.
  4. 72% of the water collected in Sub-Saharan Africa is carried out by women. Access to clean water can give them their life back.

Why People Need Clean Water

  • Proper hygiene can be maintained with clean water to bath in. Cleaner people means fewer diseases.
  • Over three quarters of disease in underdeveloped countries is waterborne and can be combatted with access to clean water.
  • The less time that people are spending searching for clean water, the more time they have to attend school.
  • More clean water gives people access to safe cooking practices.
  • Economic development can be jumpstarted as every 1$ invest in clean water can yield a return of around 8$ economically.

Addressing The Issue
Charity: water works with local communities worldwide to promote and implement sustainable water solutions to help assure that everyone worldwide has access to clean water. Since Charity: water was founded in 2006, 20,000 projects have been funded which has resulted in 6.3 million people having access to clean water in 24 countries. This includes the installation of new water collection systems and the repairing of old ones. 100% of donations are used to fund projects, since operations expenses are covered privately.

How to Contribute
Donate on a monthly, daily or one time basis. Charity: water accepts checks, stocks, PayPal and cash.
Sponsor an entire water project that will be started or continued at an appropriate location. With a donation of $10,000 or more, an entire community can have access to clean water.
Pledge your birthday to Charity: water, instead of asking your friends and family for gifts, ask them for donations. An average of 38 people get access to water from a birthday campaign.


40 Worth Street
Suite 330
New York, NY 10013
tel. 1-646-688-2323
fax. 1-646-883-3456

Tips to Decipher a Charity’s Legitimacy

Though never ideal, charity scams can often times be more common than current or potential donors would be comfortable coming to terms with. Familiarizing yourself with the various governing bodies that check up on and analyze how these charities operate is a great first step to prevent giving away hard earned dollars to organizations.

1. The IRS Nonprofit Charities Database has a tool called “The Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool”. This tool allows you to enter the name of an organization and see if the organization is exempt or not, which is an important piece of information to know before you donate anywhere. Please bear in mind If the organization is not exempt, your donation will not be tax-deductible.

2. Charity Navigator rates charities based on their financial health, accountability, and transparency to guide individuals to make smart decisions throughout the donation process. Evaluating over eight-thousand charities, it is clear that this organization takes various factors into consideration when producing comprehensive guides for donors. On the off chance that your charity is currently not on the list, be sure to further investigate why this could be the case.

3. GuideStar keeps records of financial documents, such as the 990, which help your current and prospective volunteers evaluate the how legitimate an organization is. The 990 document not only informs donors of how the dollars are allocated, but also sheds light on how the top or upper management officials within the organization are compensated.

4. Charity Watch rates charities on specific criteria such as exposing any sort of abuse or misallocated funds. While advice, articles, and basic information are open to the public, a membership is required to have access into specific charities’ internal structure, spending habits, and other useful information to help you make a decision.

5. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance helps donors in evaluating organizations on particular criteria. Among the twenty standards, some that the organization focus their studies on include oversight, effectiveness, finances, solicitations, and informational materials. If said charity meets the necessary requirements, the philanthropic body would actually earn a point added to their profile. As the score is ranked out of twenty, be sure to keep tabs on how your favorite charity or charities are ranking.

givingWhat Donors Should Keep in Mind:
-Be careful with giving your credit card number over the phone or to an organization that only wants cash donations. If said organization or charity only wants cash donations, investigation is the best way to better understand this process.
-Keep in mind that charities do infact have administrative costs and it is impossible if 100% of the proceeds go to the cause directly.
-Trust your gut feeling, if a certain organization seems strange or a little off, be sure to check up on the charity with any of the governing bodies mentioned above.
-Avoid donating via text as much as you can. It is the least secure way to give money to an organization or charity.
-While donating dollars is always good, donating items such as food, clothing, or other goods is also a wonderful way to get involved with a charity.

Baby Boomers to Donate $8 Billion

A recent study has revealed that baby boomers will donate nearly $7 trillion in cash over the next two decades. If you add the $1 trillion-plus they will contribute in volunteer work, it becomes quite a sum. The study, which was conducted by Merril Lynch Global Wealth Management and Age Wave, determined that the baby boomer generation is about fifty percent more likely to do research on a prospective charity prior to donating compared to their parents’ generation. In fact, 44 percent of all baby boomers want to have a direct say in how their contribution is used. This is markedly higher than the fifteen percent of the prior generation.

It has long been known that men and women tend to give more come retirement. If you factor in long life spans, non-profits are primed to rake in a lot of donations in the near future.

imagesDr. Dychtwald, founder of Age Wave, notes that this is good news for non-profits, but these organizations will have to adapt to the times. Baby boomers, much more than any previous generation, want to do much more than write a check. They are hoping to “get back from their contribution” in some way.

Dychtwald also points out that these non-profits will be competing for these trillions of dollars, but the smartest organizations will work to attract retirees as volunteers. Data show that retirees tend to volunteer less often than others, but they spend more hours contributing once they do decide to volunteer. Furthermore, retirees have a wealth of knowledge as they have decades of experience professional experience across sectors. Non-profits should welcome this know-how and experience with open arms providing an outlet for these retirees to remain engaged while contributing to a cause for which they are passionate.

The Age Wave study also discovered a few other interesting giving trends. It appears that women are more likely to contribute their money and time to non-profits. Additionally, baby boomers are contributing much less to religious organizations compared to their parents.

How to Select a Charity

A myriad people want to donate their time and resources to a worthy cause, but are not necessarily sure how to properly a vet or even find great charity that will make a tangible difference. Unfortunately, research has concluded that giving to charity may not result in the most bang for your buck. Warren Buffett, who has pledged to give away the vast majority of his fortune, notes that analyzing the markets is much more cut and dry than examining philanthropic organizations. There has been a push by researchers to create indexes and metrics to help those who want to give gauge the effectiveness of the organizations. also outlined four tips you should take to ensure your donations make a difference.

  1. Donate to CharityPonder the causes that you care about and scour the web for information. Whether your searching on Facebook, Twitter, or the organizations’ websites, get a feel for the prospective charities and how they approach their specific issue.
  2. Pick 5. While you may have discovered hundreds of organizations that you believe can make the world a better place, it is important that you narrow down the amount you are going to support. Such focus will certainly augment the impact your time and donation will have. Be thoughtful in your choosing as these could very well end-up being long-term relationships.
  3. Vet each of them. Try to find how many people the organization helps and how they quantify success. Is this information cited by outside organizations or simply “in-house” research. If an organization doesn’t present outside corroboration on their website, it may well be because there is not any.
  4. People who are quite involved with charities will often be the first to tell you how rewarding volunteering is. You can apply your skills and knowhow to a cause that you do truly care about. Sites like and are great starting points if you are looking to donate your time.

A Review: The National Meningitis Association

Meningococcal disease, sometimes called bacterial meningitis, is a potentially fatal bacterial infection that can cause death or disability within hours. The effects of this disease can be devastating to those infected and their families, but the good news is: it can be prevented through proper vaccination.

The National Meningitis Association (NMA) is a nonprofit organization that was founded by parents whose children have died or live with permanent disabilities because of meningococcal disease. They make it their mission to educate families, medical professionals, and the general public about the disease and its prevention.

Beyond education, the NMA also provides a network of emotional support for affected families, and raises awareness of other preventable diseases and recommended vaccinations they believe the public has a right to be aware of.


NMA began in 2002, when there was little public awareness about meningococcal disease. Vaccination was not yet recommended, and there were no formal support structures available for affected families. It started with just a handful of parents whose families experienced firsthand the true impact of meningococcal disease. That small group of dedicated parents quickly grew into a national organization that advocates for meningococcal disease awareness and prevention on both a national and grassroots level.

NMA - Logo

Since then, the NMA has worked tirelessly, resulting in a number of important changes:

  1. Vaccination is now recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all preteens and teens as well as those of other ages with risk factors for the disease.
  2. Many states now require vaccination for adolescents; others require that families and college students be educated about prevention.
  3. Vaccination rates have climbed steadily in recent years while disease incidence has declined.
  4. Research and development are in progress to improve prevention options.
  5. NMA is proud to have played a role in increasing meningococcal disease awareness and vaccination rates.

Facts About the Disease and Prevention

According to NMA, approximately 600 – 1,000 people contract meningococcal disease in the U.S. each year. Though this number is at a historical low, it is still a major public health concern because contraction leads to death in 10-15 percent of cases. Among those who survive, as many as 20 percent live with permanent disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing loss, loss of kidney function, or limb amputations.

Adolescents and young adults are among those at the greatest risk for contracting the disease, with 21 percent of all meningococcal disease cases occurring in preteens, teens and young adults ages 11–24.

Prevention as well as speedy diagnosis is critical, as symptoms often mimic the flu or other viral infections. Every minute left undiagnosed and not properly treated puts patients at greater risk of suffering severe disability or death.

Important Statistics

While the rarity of the disease might dissuade some from taking it as seriously as they should, there are a number of important statistics to keep in mind when planning for your child’s or your own immunizations.

  1. 1 in 5 U.S. teens have not yet received their first dose of the meningococcal vaccination against serogroups A, C, W and Y and remain unprotected.
  2. Less than one-third of first dose recipients have received the recommended booster dose.
  3. Newer vaccines, recommended in 2015, can help protect those age 16-23 against meningococcal serogroup B, which the most common cause of disease in adolescents and young adults.


NMA volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are parents or family members of disease victims, some are meningococcal disease survivors themselves. Most have personally  been affected by meningococcal disease. All are committed to sharing their stories in order to bring awareness to the disease and allow others have an opportunity to make informed decisions about immunization. They also encourage you to share your story.

Within the NMA umbrella are several factions of supporters:

M.O.M.s (Moms on Meningitis) is a coalition of more than 50 mothers from across the country who lost children or whose children’s lives were drastically affected by meningococcal disease.

T.E.A.M. (Together Educating About Meningitis) includes meningococcal disease survivors, siblings and other family members of those who have been affected by the disease.


The National Meningitis Association (NMA) receives funding in the form of individual donations, foundation donations, and unrestricted educational grants from corporations, including pharmaceutical companies. Though NMA maintains independence and control over all program and editorial content. You can donate here.

Official Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine vaccination against four of five major meningococcal disease serogroups at age 11-12 (serogroups A, C, W and Y) with a booster at age 16. Young adults between 16 and 23 years old should also ask a healthcare provider about vaccination against serogroup B.

The The National Meningitis Association has made a huge impact on public awareness, public policy, and the course of this horrible disease. With the continued efforts of their dedicated volunteers, hopefully they can ensure the awareness and availability of vaccination for all children, young adults, and those at risk for contracting the disease. No individual or family should have to deal with the uncertainty and devastation that comes with it.

Boys and Girls Clubs of America

In every single community across this nation, boys and girls are often left unsupervised each day expected to effectively develop their passion and do, as kids should, recreational activity. The organization is committed to providing those children a have to grow, to learn, to develop meaningful relationships, and provide a sense of hope and opportunity. First and foremost, the Boys and girls clubs exists to help children realize their full potential.

The organization is based out of Atlanta, but Boys & Girls Clubs holds a presence in upwards of 4000 communities across the United States of America. It is estimated that the movement directly impacted around four million children in 2013. First established by Hartford’s Mary & Alice Goodwin, and Elizabeth Hammersley in 1860, the movement has grown larger than the three pioneers could have ever imagined. However, their mission to positively influence children who need a haven to learn, play, and develop remains the same.

Ryan Klarberg - Boys and Girls ClubThe official website of BCGA highlights that child safety is chief to the work of the organization. Visit this page, in order to learn the six-step procedure that Boys and Girls Clubs of America employs to ensure such security.

BCGA boasts a number of corporate sponsorships that understand the importance of the mission and help ensure that the necessary staff and facilities are adequately cared for. Sponsors include, but are not limited to, Coca-cola, Comcast, Disney, Microsoft, Staples, UPS, and more.

The official website notes that nearly twenty million children are unsupervised after school every day and that more than forty million are without access to summer programs. If you feel compelled to help secure a productive and safe future for the nation’s children, there are a number of ways to contribute to the Boys and Girls Club of America. If you wish to donate, you can visit this page. If you are able to donate your time and resources, research your local club to determine how you can most effectively contribute. Please note that your money or time can make a real tangible difference as a Harris Survey revealed that more than half of all Boys and Girls Clubs Alumni believe that the organization saved their lives.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness

Ryan Klarberg Foundation Fighting BlindnessOn May 19th, I attended the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ “New York Fashion Ball.” The Foundation Fighting Blindness aims to drive research for the treatment, prevention, and cures of various retinal diseases such as Usher syndrome, age-related macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa. There are more than 10 million individuals in the United States who suffer vision loss of some sort from the aforementioned diseases.

Two couples founded the FFB: Gordon & Lulie Gund and Bernard and Beverly Berman. The organization was founded in 1971 under the name National Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation. Over the years, the organization has been in developmental phases; planning charity events to raise funding for the research they wanted to focus on. Since their inception, the FFB has raised over $600 million. Today, they are heavily involved in 30 studies, funding the development of gene therapy, pharmaceutical drugs and stem cell therapy treatments. They currently fund 71 institutions and 116 grants. They have 50 volunteer-lead groups in the United States that dedicate their hours to raising money, educating the public, and provide various types of support for their community. The bulk of the donations go towards funding clinical studies of therapies, treatments, and drugs that have made it past their initial stages of testing.

Now let’s learn a little about these retinal diseases. Retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome are biological diseases that are typically diagnosed at a young age. Retinitis pigmentosa causes severe vision loss that will lead to legal blindness (and complete blindness in many cases). Usher syndrome is also identified at an early age as the diseases leads to various degrees of deafness, which later develops into RP.

Age-related macular degeneration is typically characterized by a loss of central vision overtime. This disease is the leading cause of blindness in individuals over the age of 55.

If you are interested in volunteering or donating, don’t hesitate to reach out! There is a regional office located right here in New York City:

80 Broad Street
Suite 3301
New York, NY 10004
Phone: (212) 244-1470

You can also email the foundation for more information at

Their direct PO Box for donations is:

Foundation Fighting Blindness – PO Box for Donations
PO Box 17279
Baltimore, MD 21298-9581
Click here for more contact information, and explore their website to learn more about the cause and how you can help fight blindness in America.