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
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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.

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.