There’s a little known singer cruising around the internet changing lives. She’s calling for all her monsters to come together and help her decide how to give away one million dollars.
Lady Gaga is working with New York’s Robin Hood Foundation to donate $1 million to five charities serving NYC’s at-risk youth population. Just to be clear, that’s $1,000,000. Gaga has partnered with Robin Hood to identify five programs serving at-risk youth and wants you to to cast your vote to determine how the money will be split between the five nonprofits.
Here’s how it works:
Hit up causes.com/ladygaga to learn more about each of the five nonprofits and then vote for the organization you think will put the money to the best use. Simple. The winner will be announced on May 9 at a benefit concert in NYC.
Here are the five organizations:
The Door provides comprehensive services for over 11,000 young people, all under one roof. With a health clinic, legal services, LGBTQ counseling and activities, G.E.D. classes, arts, meals and more, The Door empowers young people to reach their fullest potential.
The Hetrick-Martin Institute is the nation’s oldest social service organization dedicated to serving LGBTQ youth, providing over 1,500 teens and young adults annually with health services, food, counseling, education, career development and H.I.V. and S.T.D. prevention.
Lawyers for Children provides protection, support and hope for youth in foster care. Since 1984, LFC has delivered free legal and social work services to approximately 40,000 youth, with a special focus on the most vulnerable among them, including LGBTQ youth and those aging out of care.
Safe Horizon serves 1,700 homeless and abused young adults in New York City. Through its Streetwork program, Safe Horizon meets teenagers on the streets, provides support services, and helps them move forward after suffering from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Nearly half of its population identifies as LGBTQ.
SCO Family of Services is committed to strengthening family ties and providing services to New York City’s homeless and LGBTQ youth. It has served New York City’s homeless, vulnerable and LGBTQ youth for decades, providing transitional housing, education, health services, life skills training and career guidance.
Please, join us in putting your paws up (or, on the keyboard as it were) to help Lady Gaga help at-risk youth in New York City.
In a world where many folks dream of making the big bucks so they can rest easy by a swimming pool or on their own private island, Craigslist founder, Craig Newmark, stands apart. Though he hasn’t been involved in management of Craigslist in over 10 years, he’s still the site’s most famous customer service rep and one of San Francisco’s more interesting philanthropists.
Despite having made plenty of cash with Craigslist, Craig Newmark isn’t done yet.
We had the pleasure of hosting Craig for an intimate talk last week in the Causes office in San Francisco where Craig took questions from Causes’ CEO, Joe Green, and several of the guests in attendance. Craig talked about his latest venture, craigconnects.org, the state of journalism today, and how he wants to apply his lessons as a customer service rep to the nonprofit world. He also cracked wise and referred to himself as a nerd. A lot.
Craig has much in common with Causes.com – most importantly that we’re all out to help people change the world. No big deal, right?
In this clip, he talks about how craigconnects.org came about and some of his goals for the project:
Craig’s goal is large, no doubt. He has the added challenge of vetting the nonprofits he chooses to work with. In this clip, Craig gives us some insight in to how he goes about vetting organizations:
We’ve posted the entire talk over on Vimeo, check it out to hear some of Craig’s concerns with the state of journalism today (hint: very concerned), how to make sure you’re not being gamed by users and more:
The words “service” and “volunteering” can stir up powerful feelings. For me, these words are embedded in who I am, where I’ve come from and what I stand for. In honor of National Volunteer Week, I thought I’d share with you my story of service and I even got a few of my inspiring coworkers to cough up theirs.
Service in the Big City
When reflecting on how service and volunteer has shaped my life, I realized that I couldn’t even count all the ways that my parents demonstrated service in my life. I tried to list all the ways I remember them volunteering when I was a child – at church, at school, leading Boy Scouts, founding a Camp Fire group, coaching sports, teaching early American history, and the list goes on. What I realized is that I don’t think they ever saw what they were doing as “service” or “volunteering.” They were acting as members of a community, giving back and getting involved in the best ways they knew possible. It’s easy to take that stance when you live in a community of 5,000 people. You know everyone. They know you. And they are not afraid to volunteer you for things!
Moving to a big city (Washington, DC, is 150x the size of Berlin, WI) means so many more opportunities to volunteer, but it often means that you’re on your own to take the initiative. I moved here to do an AmeriCorps program through Lutheran Volunteer Corps and was fortunate enough to live a year surrounded by other service-minded people. I spent that year learning to understand what service meant to me, and not just emulating what my parents or peers did. I don’t think I’ll ever move back to Berlin, but I will try to find a community and serve that community however I can, no matter where I end up.
The Constant Coach
Growing up playing sports, coaches were some of the most important and influential people in my life. I have vivid memories of my coach’s advice, intense looks, high fives and (on good days) laughs, so since I was old enough to drive, I’ve taken time to coach. My teams have ranged in age from elementary school to adults and everything in between, in soccer, basketball, and currently ultimate frisbee. Across this spectrum of age and skill, I’ve learned that the act of volunteering, of consistently showing up with the intent of helping people, is the most rewarding and appreciated part.
Paying it Forward
I grew up watching my mom volunteer frequently – she mentored two boys for several years that became like family to me. When I went off to college, I quickly followed her lead and began volunteering for an outdoor mentoring program for middle schoolers. For me, service has always been a responsibility. I have been so fortunate to live the life I lucked into and I feel a deep responsibility to pay it forward somehow. Now that I’m an adult (or getting there), making service a part of my life is still a priority. Whether it’s volunteering for nonprofit boards or taking the time for more direct service, I plan to continue finding ways to serve others.
“Being Part of Something Bigger”
In a meeting about internship opportunities my professor once said, “Don’t climb up the ladder Daniil, just to pull it up after yourself.” Helping others find their way and achieve their potential is how each of us can ensure that the work we do and the communities we create don’t end with us. For me service is a way of being a part of something bigger.
A Service Vacation
Outside of doing regular mentoring with women in the community (nothing formal, but I work with a couple women regarding career and relationship stuff) my biggest service story is heading over to Malaysia a few years ago on a Habitat for Humanity build.
The 12 of us (all strangers at the beginning of the trip) worked for a couple weeks building a 2 bedroom, 4-room home for a family of 5 outside of Kuching. The family had been living in a 2-room shack made of (rotting) split bamboo. The home they live in now is concrete construction (cinder block), with poured concrete floors and has their first flush toilet and shower. They worked along side us every day and provided snacks, coffee and lunch – the lunch was usually fish or chicken (from their own stash of chickens). Connie, the mom, would get up at 5am and start preparations and take their scooter in to town to purchase food since they had no electricity for refrigeration. Previous to joining Habitat, they had been saving for 5 years to buy cinder blocks – in the 5 years they saved they were able to purchase 10 cinder blocks. My Habitat trip was far and away the best vacation I’ve ever taken.
Guest post: Nick F. Carranza is a Los Angeles based creative director, writer and proprietor of PlanetSpeck.com. Passionate about “the cause,” Nick often lends his professional talents to charitable organizations, and has been a Downtown Dog Rescue volunteer for almost a decade.
Many people understand the term “dog rescue” to be the act of transitioning a dog from a dire situation to a more favorable lifestyle. Although this meaning is partially true, it’s difficult to understand the true meaning until you’ve done it yourself. After spending years immersed in Los Angeles rescue efforts, it’s become evident that rescuing goes far beyond saving dogs.
photo by Downtown Dog Rescue
Downtown Dog Rescue (DDR) has approached rescue work through the heart and eyes of the community, or “forgotten neighborhoods” as some may call them. These are neighborhoods that are statistically deemed dangerous and off-limits to non-locals. Although there may be some truth behind those facts and statistics, DDR realizes that the people in those communities are the key component to rescue work.
DDR is as much involved with people as they are with dogs.
DDR focuses on long term strategies in everything they do. For example, Operation Safety Net is a program that offers pet owners solutions for keeping their pet rather than surrendering them into the South L.A. Animal Shelter where, more likely than not, they’ll be put to sleep. Operation Safety Net offers low income pet owners everything from free medical treatments to the more labor intense building of fences to reduce the number of strays. This program truly saves not only a dogs life but, in most cases, a family bond and, of course, saves the City of Los Angeles thousands of dollars and several man hours each year. The same helping hand is lent with no prejudice to many of Los Angeles’ homeless dog owners.
photo by Downtown Dog Rescue
In addition to low income communities, DDR, with the help of on-staff trainers, offers classes to help all pet owners identify the characteristics of their breed through exercise and training. The classes play a vital role in maintaining a healthy, balanced and long-lasting pet/owner relationship. These classes are mobile, allowing DDR the ability to bring their training classes just about anywhere. In support of the neighborhood mom-and-pop merchants, DDR makes it a point to purchase any supplies needed for the classes (i.e. water, paper towels, party supplies) locally.
Aspiring for greatness
DDR helps community members and their dogs enter the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program. The CGC is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. The test itself is a 10 part behavior, agility, tracking and performance test. Not your standard, sit, stay, roll over routine. Since many of the dogs DDR works with have not been formally trained and/or socialized, the CGC is certainly something to be proud of. In 2011 DDR hopes to assist in certifying 100 South L.A. dogs.
photo by Douglas Hill
In addition to the training, you can find DDR Every 2nd Sunday of the month in Compton at their spay/neuter clinic. In 2010, DDR was responsible for spaying and neutering over 700 dogs in Compton alone. Owners not ready to spay or neuter can come and get training tips, as well as free food and treats. The event is truly for the people.
To learn more about Downtown Dog Rescue, their adoptable dogs, their classes, programs and events visit Downtown Dog Rescue.
Times of economic crisis bring to the forefront the everyday struggles and suffering of those Americans for who every day is a battle to make ends meet. Recently 60 Minutes and NPR aired an investigative series chronicling the effects of the recession on homelessness in America.
While homelessness is a perennial issue in the United States the economic crisis has magnified its reach and effects, disproportionately hitting middle and working class families and young people.
The affects of homelessness on families and children
From 2008 to 2009 the highest rise in homelessness was among families, with 3,200 new homeless households. Families are suddenly one paycheck away from not having a home, as 60 Minutes reported in its Hidden American segment, “one of the consequences of the recession that you don’t hear a lot about is the record number of children descending into poverty.” From 2008-2010 two million children joined the existing 14 million living below the poverty line, a 14 percent jump in just two years. As a country we are inching toward the point where 25 percent of children in the US will live in poverty, the highest percentage since the Great Depression.
The effects of these numbers are staggering and hard to comprehend until you hear the stories told by the children experiencing them.
Start at 4 minute mark
The Chronically Homeless
For the chronically homeless a tough situation has gotten even worse. To face this challenge over 70 major US cities have teamed up with the New York City group Common Ground for a national campaign to deliver sustained services and permanent housing to 100,000 of the most vulnerable homeless Americans. Common Ground has flipped the first come first serve approach to homeless care on its head by focusing on the most serious cases, which, though more difficult, can have a ripple effect on the affected community.
The fact remains that a major driver of the recent rise in homelessness has been the recession and the spike in unemployment. In fact from 2008 to 2009 the number of “poor households experiencing extreme cost burden” jumped by nine percent and the number of unemployed jumped by almost 60 percent.
How the Causes community is helping
At Causes decided to look inward and see what our nonprofit partners and individual members were doing to help address homelessness. What we found is inspiring and humbling.
Mark founded invisiblePeople.tv while fighting his own battle with homelessness. With a genuine personal perspective on the issue, Mark promotes awareness and catalyzes change by making the homeless more visible through film. Mark has gathered compelling footage and stories of the homeless, all of which can be found on his website.
In only a few years we have made history in changing the story of homelessness that has resulted in real change. Because of InvisiblePeople.tv housing programs have been started, feeding programs have been started; a farmer even donated 40 acres of land that is now being used to help feed low-income families in a public school system!
Literally, people who were once homeless will be sleeping inside tonight because of your continued support of InvisiblePeople.tv
His Birthday Wish inspired many and generated touching personal responses through thank you notes on his Wish Wall.
Mark wasn’t the only person this month to dedicate his birthday to help the homeless. Earlier this month, Jon Bon Jovi created a Birthday Wish asking friends, family, and fans to donate to the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation raising over $9,600. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation provides affordable housing and food for the homeless and proposes a more sustainable solution through social services and job training.
In addition to to these heartfelt Birthday Wishes, there are many successful campaigns on Causes that address the issues of homelessness. Birthday Wishes started by outstanding individuals, a group of nonprofits focused on helping shelters and empower people afflicted by homelessness have run successful campaigns to engage communities and raise money through Causes.
The South Oakland Shelter is using Causes to raise $20,000 to help reduce the impact and prevalence of homelessness in Metro Detroit. With a donation of just $10 dollars you can provide 3 meals and one night of shelter for a displaced person in need.
When young people walk through our gates, they are greeted with something few of them have experienced: unconditional love. Love that faces problems, acknowledges faults, and encourages their strengths. Love that is transforming communities…one young person at a time.
These are just a few examples of organizations that are using Causes to reverse the trend of increasing numbers of homeless people in America and there are many more that still deserve a shout out.