5 Organizations You Should Know About That Support Domestic Violence Victims

Ferhan Patel Domestic Violence Support

Domestic violence is an issue that affects nearly one in four women in the United States. Domestic violence causes damage to families, communities, relationships and most specifically, the individual experiencing the domestic violence.

Victims are not blind in their fight against this violence. There are a plentiful amount of organizations that adhere and help all victims of domestic violence. Here are five organizations that are present across the country in their fight to end domestic violence and bring support to victims.

 

  1. National Coalition against domestic violence (NCADV).

 

NCADV is founded on the vision to create a culture where domestic violence is not tolerated; and where society empowers victims and survivors, and holds abusers accountable. The strides that NCADV takes to end domestic violence include, affecting public policy, increasing the understanding of the impact that domestic violence has on the victim as well as in communities, and providing programs and education that drive that change.

The coalition has established reputable programs such as the Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery Program, where survivors are assisted in affording cosmetic and reconstructive surgery to repair injuries caused by an abuser, as well as, the Remember My Name project that was established in 1994 to memorialize the names of many women, children, and men that are killed by their abusers.

 

  1. RAINN (Rape, abuse and incest national network).

 

RAINN is the largest national anti-sexual violence organization. Most notably RAINN has created the national sexual assault hotline (800.656.HOPE), and partners with over 1,000 sexual assault services across the country. RAINN uses educational programs and public policy to help put an end to sexual violence. Since 1994 RAINN has helped more than 2.5 million people.

 

  1. INCITE!

 

This organization is for women, gender non-conforming, and trans people of color against violence. INCITE! Is compiled of grassroots chapters and affiliates across the United States working to put an end to violence against women of color and their communities. Chapters and affiliates use projects to help eradicate personal and state violence. Many of these projects include: organizing rallies on street harassment, training women of color in self-defense, and supporting their communities to engage and become part of the conversation.

 

  1. Futures without violence (FUTURES).

 

Futures without violence offers a simple mission: to heal those among us who are traumatized by violence today – and to create healthy families and communities free of violence tomorrow. For over 30 years FUTURES has developed innovative ways to end violence against women, children, and families at home and around the world. With offices in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Boston, FUTURES provides programs and training for professionals on improving responses to violence and abuse.

 

  1. Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP).

 

BWJP is a national resource center focused on fostering responses and care to victims of intimate partner violence. All of their offices offer training to professionals and victims on practices and policies that provide victims with the support that they need. Many of the training programs include identifying effective justice systems in local communities across the country and teaching them to professionals in the field.

Education is the first step to diminishing domestic violence. Using these organizations can help prevent domestic violence in your community and give you the resources you need to detect domestic violence when you see it.

 

The national domestic violence hotline can be reached at www.thehotline.org or 1.800.799.SAFE.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Charity Credit Cards

fehran patel

fehran patel Charity credit cards. They give you the power to boost your annual charitable donations without having to even think about it. But are they right for everyone?

There are charity credit cards, a subset of affinity credit cards, for many major organizations, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund. Most of these cards donate a portion of the purchased amount to the associated organization automatically, and others will also give an extra donation for new accounts opened or other benchmarks.

For those hoping to send their earnings to a specific cause, getting a charity credit card will help you send small donations their way each day (or with each purchase). For those who find themselves forgetful when it comes to making annual donations, the charity credit card is a feasible option to help you stick to your altruistic impulses.

However, while automatic giving can serve as an appropriate supplement to planned giving, it’s ultimately not enough on its own. How? The average charitable donation is $1,872, and if you were to spend $20,000 annually on a charity credit card that gives 0.5% in donations, you’ve only given $100. So while it’s easy to be lulled into the idea of its simplicity, charity credit cards aren’t giving as much as you’d imagine.

Also, charity credit cards don’t offer any tax benefits, despite your forgoing cash back in order to donate. Automatic donations are not deductible. Alternatively, if you were to write a check from your bank account, that many can be claimed as a deduction on your tax returns.

A final factor to consider is charity credit cards don’t give you much flexibility in terms of where your donations are going. While banks including Chase and Citibank allow their members to donate earned rewards to a wide variety of charities as well as claim it as tax deductible. Most credit card companies also offer the option for their customers to maximize your rewards and donate to charities of your choosing on your own time.

According to the charity’s standpoint, this is the best strategy: your contribution will be greater if you earn rewards and donate 2% as opposed to giving 0.5% automatically.

Bill Gates Looks to Chickens to Eliminate Poverty

Chicken

ChickenThere can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that billionaire Bill Gates is dedicated to philanthropy. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been helping increase quality of life for all individuals around the world for years. While much of the philanthropy of Bill Gates is done by donation and partnerships, he is now taking a somewhat unique approach. Very recently, he announced that he was launching an initiative to alleviate hunger around the world with a game called Coop Dreams. This initiative is all about chickens – the game is made up of trivia questions about poultry. If all are answered correctly, a flock of chickens gets donated to a sub-Saharan African family.

Bill Gates first came up with the idea for Coop Dreams when answering the question “what would you do if you lived on $2 a day?” He decided he would raise chickens. They do not cost a lot of money, are fairly easy to raise, and poultry is full of nutrients. Furthermore, the eggs that chickens produce can either be eaten or hatched, and chicks can be sold for money to buy food in other groups, with different nutrients. As hunger and malnutrition are a central focus for the Gates Foundation, Bill Gates has seen many families forced to live on $2 a day or less, as well as millions of children who die each year from malnutrition. Coop Dreams will hopefully help on both accounts.

Additionally, worldwide, it is common for chickens to be raised by women, close to their home. Raising chickens gives women the ability to accumulate income over which they have sole power. Studies show that more money is spent on a child’s education and nutrition when a woman has control of the house’s money.

There are, of course, some obstacles to overcome before poverty can truly be affected by this game. For example, all farm animals need vaccines. According to the Gates Foundation, chickens do not need many vaccines, and the vaccines are fairly inexpensive, but any amount is costly to families living on less than $2 a day. This may cause owners of chickens to pick the least expensive vaccine option in their country, which will not provide the chickens with the best protection. Additionally, it turns out that some governments are not on board with the idea of chicken donations. The Gates Foundation recently attempted to donate chickens to the government of Bolivia. Almost half of Bolivia’s population lives in poverty, despite the fact that its land is rich in resources. Nevertheless, Bolivia’s government rejected the donations because they were offended by the offer.

Despite the fact that there are a few kinks to work out, I think Coop Dreams is an innovative new philanthropy tactic. I am excited to see where it will lead.

Entrepreneurs in Africa Tackle Philanthropy

Flower

FlowerWhen people consider philanthropy in Africa, they envision well-meaning owners of companies and other wealthy individuals all over the world donating funds to aid the people in Africa. Barely anyone thinks about the philanthropists who are from Africa. It just so happens that there are several entrepreneurs, mostly female, who are using their wealth to aid their home countries. While there are millionaires in Africa, many parts of the continent are still stuck in poverty. Additionally, women are at a disadvantage, as millions of girls do not receive an education and they are married before the age of eighteen. Powerful African female business owners are looking to change this.

The female-led businesses in Africa are nothing like startups popular throughout the rest of the world. The women use their resources to build grassroots organizations in their communities, rather than joining the burgeoning tech market. These women are looking to grow their economy while employing people from their hometowns and taking care of their families. It is common in Africa for successful women to positively affect their communities by default. They are known to share their wealth with their families, especially their children, and their neighbors.

One such example is the renowned Nigerian architect Olajumoke Adenowo, whose incredible architecture and philanthropic efforts alike have given her worldwide notoriety. She runs a philanthropic organization that helps over 10,000 women start their own businesses per year. Assisting these females in becoming heads of their own companies has a ripple effect on the communities around them, which is exactly why Adenowo began this female-centric organization.

These remarkable women have ended up helping Africa more than foreign aid every could, precisely because they are helping their homes. Many of them believe that money and efforts from other countries are too removed to make a real difference. The fact that they are assisting their own communities makes them work twice as hard to better the world around them because a change for the better for their communities is a change for the better for them as well.

Of course, being a female philanthropist in Africa does not come without its own set of challenges. The foremost problem for all of them is the issue of funding. Many African entrepreneurs are viewed as corrupt by their own countries, and by other countries, and therefore the amount of funding these women receive is nothing compared to the funding the government receives from other countries. There are no tax incentives for philanthropic donations either.
Nevertheless, these women press forward to build their businesses and help their communities. I think all entrepreneurs could learn from their perseverance.

The Secret Philanthropist

Prince

PrinceNow that Prince has been confirmed dead, many people around the world are upset at the loss of another music icon. Prince created beautiful music and poetry and released it with abandon. He was one of those artists who transcends age and time, whose music helps people through the worst of times while letting them celebrate the best of times. Prince’s death left many distraught that he would make no more music. However, what a lot of people do not know is that his death also marked the loss of a great philanthropist.

It turns out that Prince used his fame to support a variety of different causes. This was first known by Van Jones, a philanthropist and activist, who befriended Prince after receiving an anonymous check for $50,000 for George Bush’s Green Jobs Act. The check, he found out after sending it back, receiving it again, sending it back again, and finally receiving a call, was from Prince. In the same fashion, Prince spent much of his life supporting various philanthropic causes, keeping a focus on low income communities and on those at a social disadvantage.

For example, Jones and Prince worked together to create the organizations Green for All and #YesWeCode. Green for All is built on a platform of giving people resources to pull themselves out of poverty. The organization goes into low income communities and creates green jobs, giving people in those communities a higher income as well as a say in the climate change debate. #YesWeCode, on the other hand, brings empowerment to disadvantaged communities through technology. This organization helps educate youth in the field of technology, and connects them with opportunities to work and learn more in the technology field. Additionally, Prince was heavily involved in the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.

Prince kept a very close watch on the news, which is how he decided when and how to help a new cause. He would see youth in a low income community trying to make their neighborhood better and immediately set up an organization to help. In the same vein, he would see a young person unjustly killed because of the color of his skin and send the distraught family money. No cause was too small for Prince to take notice of.

Prince’s philanthropic mindset mirrored his musical influence. He wanted to uplift individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender. He strove to make the world a more peaceful and loving place, through breaking down barriers between groups of people. His music will live on as some of the greatest artistic pieces of all time, and his philanthropy will be remembered by those he has helped most.

 

Philanthropy and Social Movement

Many people see philanthropists who donate large sums of money as giving to build something tangible. For example, any amount of money given could go toward sponsoring a child in a foreign country, helping rebuild or expand a structure, or feeding a certain amount of an underserved population. People do not, however, generally view this type of philanthropy as feasible for social movements. It is not considered that giving the same amount of money one would donate to, say, a museum to a global change movement instead could make a substantial difference. However, history tells a different story.

It turns out, in the last three or four decades, most social movements that have progressed have received a large sum of money. For example, the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States has been given a large amount of money, as has ‘Go Green’ movements everywhere. Global social change is catalyzed by people who are passionate about the cause and are willing to fight for a change. However, actual change may not be able to be achieved without philanthropic donations.

The Marriage Equality Movement, for example, has been a large point of controversy in the United States, especially in recent decades. In the early 2000s, most states in America were opposed to same sex marriage. Massachusetts was the only state gunning to make it legal. In 2003, Freedom to Marry was founded as a campaign fighting to make same sex marriage nationally legal. This campaign was begun with a $2.5 million donation. Millions more in donations followed as the movement migrated through the United States, until the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage across the nation in 2015. The same sort of movement happened in Ireland, in which donations were given to campaigns supporting same sex marriage, which was finally legalized.

Why does philanthropy help global movement? After all, the money itself is not used as bribery to get people to change their beliefs and behaviors. Essentially, the money is able to provide a strong foundation for a burgeoning social campaign. People fighting for a cause will generally need like-minded people, materials, transportation, and even lawyers, all which cost money. Furthermore, a large donation toward a cause can show the world that runs on money that the cause is worthwhile and therefore should not be casted aside. Finally, money allows the people who run these global movements to bide their time and plan strategy to change society, rather than rushing the process.

Philanthropy is not just the transferring of money from someone well-off to a physical entity. It also has the ability to help make society a better place.

Entrepreneurs Solving Problems in Cities

Urban entrepreneurs are leaders who begin unique business ventures specifically to solve problems in urban areas. Their startups are rooted in the philanthropic goal of helping entire communities. One such venture is the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative, begun by David Tarver, which is now tackling the water issue in Flint, Michigan.

In 2014, Flint’s water crisis began when a manager decided to treat and distribute Flint water to its residents instead of continuing to purchase treated water from Lake Huron from Detroit. The water was not properly treated and tests revealed that it is highly corrosive, containing over 100 times the maximum amount of lead allowed by the EPA. Citizens tried to voice their concerns to officials, as they could tell the water was contaminated, but were not taken seriously. This issue has only come to national public light very recently.

David Tarver began his initiative in Flint not as a response to the water crisis, but as a reaction to the general decline of his hometown. He recognized that Flint was not the only city suffering from such problems, and decided entrepreneurs were the answer. The Urban Entrepreneur Initiative was created to foster the formation of for-profit businesses that solve problems in all such cities. When the water crisis in Flint came to light, Tarver saw it as another urban problem that could be solved by creative minds.

He is currently pushing entrepreneurs to consider how to help Flint residents during their water crisis. This could include inventing innovative water filtration devices or helping businesses in the city that are affected by the water crisis stay afloat to ensure Flint’s economy is not detrimentally affected any further. If the businesses fold due to the city’s lack of clean water, Flint could become a truly desolate place, something that Tarver wants to avoid at all costs. Additionally, the exciting thing about creating products for Flint’s water crisis is that said tools would not be limited to one city. Anything designed to analyze water samples, for example, has the potential to be used in developing countries and to help countless numbers of people.

The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative is still in its beginning stages of existane, but it has the potential to become something huge. In a philanthropic sense, startups based on urban entrepreneurship are invaluable to struggling areas. They can solve real problems and help a city’s economy simultaneously. Just think about it – Flint’s government has been waiting for over a year to even attempt to solve the water problem. Urban entrepreneurship may be the most viable avenue for assistance for the residents at this juncture.

Philanthropy Mindset

Let’s face it; Philanthropy has become something of a buzzword. It is used in all sorts of instances, to describe giving for nothing in return of any kind. It has begun to appeal more and more to the younger generation as they see young people like Mark Zuckerberg ‘donate’ most of his fortune. However, despite its growing popularity, Philanthropy is still viewed primarily as giving money. People are deemed philanthropists if they write checks to send to their causes whenever they can. This, of course, is wonderful. Every philanthropic cause needs funding, and those who supply this funding are keeping such causes alive. However, there are some who see simply giving money to be unworthy of the term ‘philanthropy.’

I do not agree with these people, as I think giving money to a cause is necessary for said cause to stay afloat. However, I do find the idea that philanthropists need to have a ‘Philanthropy Mindset’ interesting. For example, business owner Naveen Jain recently wrote his opinion that people need to think like entrepreneurs, like problem-solvers, in order to truly be considered philanthropists. Jain believes that philanthropists need to be willing to disrupt the sphere of giving, and create philanthropic ventures that will thrive and continue to give far into the future.

Jain coined the term ‘Entrepreneurial Philanthropy’ with the belief that true philanthropists will go into communities with an economic need and build businesses to create stable economies. This practice is a far cry from simply giving money to a cause, but I agree that the world could use more entrepreneurial philanthropists. Giving money, while necessary, does not mean one is personally working to fix an underlying issue. If people with disruptive mindsets decided to at least attempt to create companies in bad economies, many economic wounds in the world could be slowly healed.

Jain continues his assertion with the idea that all philanthropic companies must be able to turn a profit, just like any venture capital-backed company. Without the profit, the company is not successful. The company must be successful to truly assist the community. He gave this advice to a woman who runs a homeless shelter, and encouraged her to think of the women in her shelter as her ‘product’ and the local businesses as her ‘customers.’ Jain reasoned that local businesses needed employees, and these homeless women needed jobs. They, therefore, were good candidates to work in the local businesses and, with a focus on getting these homeless women jobs, the owner of the shelter would have created a more disruptive business model.

Of course, all disruptive entrepreneurial ventures are begun with a founder who pictures his company on a large scale. Jain encourages this by asserting that larger-scale technological ventures will be more helpful in the long run than local philanthropic efforts, such as building a school in a community or helping out at the local soup kitchen. I believe that such technological initiatives will be helpful for philanthropic efforts in the long run. However, I do think the world still needs people focusing on local philanthropy as well. A person in need, after all, needs both short-term and long term solutions.

Overall, the focus on long-term solutions to worldwide issues is a healthy trend. Entrepreneurial minds coming together to begin philanthropic companies can work toward solving a problem for good, rather than just putting a bandaid over the problem with money. However, I disagree with Jain in his assertion that the label philanthropist should not go to those who take part in local philanthropy efforts, or routinely give money to charity. Those people deserve to be recognized for supplying short term solutions to problems for people in trouble, who cannot wait for a long-term solution. Philanthropy comes in a variety of different forms, and all efforts should be recognized as going toward the common good.

Zuckerberg’s New Philanthropy

Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg’s latest philanthropic contribution is something we have been hearing about nonstop since it happened. In the beginning of December, Zuckerberg and his wife dedicated $45 million to the ‘Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.’ The money is going to promote the betterment of the world, but it is being kept for the time being in this limited liability corporation.

This is obviously not how financial gifts are traditionally given

To further shake things up, the ‘Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’ will not only be donating to nonprofit initiatives, but it will also be putting money in for-profit sectors that have to do with education and health. Zuckerberg and Chan see this as a way to expand their money’s reach to all available sectors that benefit humanity. They are measuring success based on financial and social return from the companies in which they invest. Basically, the companies that they give their money will have to have numeric proof that they are making money and helping the world at the same time. If either of these things are not shown, the company will receive no additional funding.

Putting the $45 million into a limited liability corporation ensures that the Chan and Zuckerberg power couple will maintain control over the money they put in, as well as that they are able to take donations from other sources. They will be managing their own money, and the money of those who choose to donate.

Many people are convinced that Zuckerberg’s approach to philanthropy will change the world of donations for good. Some believe it is a great idea, and others, including many charities, are protesting.

The approach of the ‘Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’ has many benefits. It ensures, for example, that the companies being given the money are actually doing what they are meant to accomplish. There are many charities in this world who maintain donations without actually succeeding in their charity work. The Initiative is also entitled to a share of profit from its investments, which means that it will continue to have money to donate into the far future.

However, social benefit is not an easy thing to measure. Some companies doing good work could fall through the cracks by not meeting numbers. Also, many charities are concerned that this will make donors become too controlling. They are worried that donors are becoming too money-focused and less focused on the problems they are attempting to solve.

All in all, it will be interesting to see where the ‘Chan Zuckerberg’ initiative leads the world of philanthropy going forward.

For more information on the changing world of philanthropy, check out this article in the Wall Street Journal.

Improving the World from the Workplace

ferhan patel

ferhan patelSince 2011, Tim Cook has served as the leader of multi-billion dollar giant, Apple. Within that time he has proven to follow in the steps of his predecessor Steve Jobs in his focus on product and attention to efficiency, but he has also brought his own distinct brand of leadership to this role in the company.

Recently, Tim Cook spoke at the BoxWorks conference in San Francisco, California. During this interview, he remarked that, “Business has a very important responsibility to society. That responsibility has grown markedly in the last couple of decades or so as government has found it more difficult to move forward.” While Timothy Cook’s comments may seem somewhat vague on the surface, in reflecting on the past few years of his tenure as CEO, Cook has applied this belief to his work.

One notable cause for Tim Cook is his attention to charitable giving and his commitment to developing the environmentally-minded wing of the company. In 2013, Cook famously hired Lisa Jackson, who had previously  led the Environmental Protection Agency. Cook made this hiring decision in an attempt to gain talent capable of aiding the company in its goal of cultivating renewable energy activities.

Furthermore, since assuming the role of CEO in 2011, Cook publicly came out as gay, opposed a discriminatory law in Indiana, and took strides within the company to find ways to improve public education and protect the environment.

Cook reported during this talk that Apple’s US data centers are powered entirely by renewable energy and that globally, the data centers run at 90% renewable energy.

While Cook is not the first CEO to discuss his or her commitment to society, the fact that he heads arguably the most powerful company in the world suggests that this message is not only being received on a global scale, but that Cook and the company are creating a true change. A change in corporate culture and vision, and re-setting the expectations for what it means to be a successful organization. Instead of focusing solely on product, expansion and capital gains, Cook suggests that it’s imperative for corporate entities to examine their role and potential impact within society.