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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Philanthropy, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 115
1. 80,000 Books to Help Kids Read, Lead, Achieve

It was only 6:30 in the morning, but over 100 teachers had already lined up outside of the Children’s Museum of Houston – each eagerly waiting to select new books for their students.

Pi Beta Phi“It is hard to describe the lump I had in my throat when I drove up and saw all the teachers who had come at that early hour, from all over Houston,” said Patricia Gres Shuford, a collegiate member of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity.

Patricia volunteered with her New Mexico Alpha chapter to help distribute 20,000 books in Houston as part of Pi Beta Phi’s Fraternity Day of Service, conducted in partnership with First Book. She spent the day sharing stories and loading books into the cars of over 300 Houston-area educators and program leaders serving kids in need.

“The teachers were so excited and grateful,” said Patricia. “Helping distribute these books was such a rewarding experience.”

Cat in the Hat Pi PhiFirst Book, and longtime partner Pi Beta Phi, also touched the lives of kids in need in Baltimore, Long Beach, Calif. and Nashville, Tenn. In addition to the Fraternity Day of Service book distributions, hundreds of kids joined Pi Phi volunteers to enjoy Dr. Suess®-themed story times, visits from the Cat in the Hat and reading with therapy dogs. Across all four cities, local kids are now reading, learning and loving over 80,000 brand-new books.

First Book looks forward to its continued partnership with Pi Beta Phi through the Read > Lead > Achieve® initiative, inspiring a lifelong love of reading and impacting one life at a time.

To learn more about how you can volunteer with First Book, visit www.firstbook.org/get-involved/volunteer.

The post 80,000 Books to Help Kids Read, Lead, Achieve appeared first on First Book Blog.

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2. Are My Charitable Dollars Going to Good Use?

Charity Navigator 4-star rating

Even in a slowly recovering economy, Americans are still givers, donating over $316 billion last year (an increase of 3.5% over the previous year), with the vast majority of that money coming not from companies or foundations, but from individual donors.

At First Book, we rely on the generosity of our donors to help put new books into the hands of kids in need. But we understand how difficult it can be to make decisions about where your money will be used most effectively.

Which is why we’re pleased to share some great news: for the third year in a row, First Book has been awarded four stars — the highest rating possible — by Charity Navigator, the leading charity evaluator in America.

Only 11% of the charities we rate have received at least three consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that First Book outperforms most other charities in America.
Charity Navigator rates nonprofit organizations to provide donors with reliable data about the impact, efficiency and fiscal health of the organizations, and their online rankings are visited more than all other charity ratings groups combined. So we’re pleased to earn this distinction and proud that we’re using your gifts effectively to help children in need.

When you donate to First Book, 97% of your donation goes directly to putting brand-new books into the hands of educators serving kids in need — not to administrative and fundraising costs.

If you have any questions about how First Book operates, or exactly how your donations are used, we’d love to hear them! Get in touch through Facebook or Twitter, or send us an email.

Click here to see First Book’s profile on Charity Navigator.

The post Are My Charitable Dollars Going to Good Use? appeared first on First Book Blog.

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3. Are My Charitable Dollars Going to Good Use?

Charity Navigator 4-star rating

Even in a slowly recovering economy, Americans are still givers, donating over $316 billion last year (an increase of 3.5% over the previous year), with the vast majority of that money coming not from companies or foundations, but from individual donors.

At First Book, we rely on the generosity of our donors to help put new books into the hands of kids in need. But we understand how difficult it can be to make decisions about where your money will be used most effectively.

Which is why we’re pleased to share some great news: for the third year in a row, First Book has been awarded four stars — the highest rating possible — by Charity Navigator, the leading charity evaluator in America.

Only 11% of the charities we rate have received at least three consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that First Book outperforms most other charities in America.
Charity Navigator rates nonprofit organizations to provide donors with reliable data about the impact, efficiency and fiscal health of the organizations, and their online rankings are visited more than all other charity ratings groups combined. So we’re pleased to earn this distinction and proud that we’re using your gifts effectively to help children in need.

When you donate to First Book, 97% of your donation goes directly to putting brand-new books into the hands of educators serving kids in need — not to administrative and fundraising costs.

If you have any questions about how First Book operates, or exactly how your donations are used, we’d love to hear them! Get in touch through Facebook or Twitter, or send us an email.

Click here to see First Book’s profile on Charity Navigator.

The post Are My Charitable Dollars Going to Good Use? appeared first on First Book Blog.

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4. Books of Their Own to Take Home: The Guru Krupa Foundation & Summer Reading

When Estrella Elementary opened their doors in 2010, they had barely any books available to students. A Title I school located in an impoverished Los Angeles neighborhood, Estrella can only supply a limited number of books and educational resources to each classroom, and has no books at all to help their students at home.

This lack is not lost on the teachers and staff.

Students at Estrella Elementary receive books thank to First Book and the Guru Krupa Foundation“They need much more than just classroom reading,” said Ana Martinez, a teacher at Estrella Elementary. “Schools and individual classrooms alike need a plethora of books that will spark student’s interest and that will inspire them to learn on their own.”

Thanks to the generosity of the Guru Krupa Foundation, First Book was able to change that.

Before Estrella closed its doors for summer vacation, every student was able to select up to three books to take home as their own, combating the summer slide. The students were overjoyed. Some asked when they had to return the books. The answer is: never. Those books are theirs to keep and read over summer vacation.

“I can’t wait to read these books during the summer,” said Alma, a third-grader. “I always wanted my very own chapter book. I’m going to set a goal to finish all three books over the summer. I want to read to my mom and little brothers so that they can learn English too.”

Students in Los Angeles receive brand-new books through First Book and the Guru Krupa FoundationEstrella Elementary is one of 14 schools that now have brand-new books to put into the hands of their students thanks to the Guru Krupa Foundation. Through a generous grant, the Guru Krupa Foundation has made an immense impact by distributing more than 9,500 books across 14 different schools in Los Angeles.

It was an article in the New York Times that first drew the attention of Mukund Padmanabhan, president of the Guru Krupa Foundation, to First Book.

“The New York Times article made us aware of First Book’s activities, and funding a project with them to put books into the hands of young readers fit right in with our education-related initiatives,” said Mukund Padmanabhan. “We at Guru Krupa Foundation believe that education is a cornerstone for future success in life. Supporting initiatives that bring the benefits of education to underprivileged children can lead to enormous future dividends, not only for the children but to society.”

Guru Krupa Foundation is a New York based private foundation that funds various initiatives related to education, health, and basic sustenance of underprivileged children in India and the United States.

The post Books of Their Own to Take Home: The Guru Krupa Foundation & Summer Reading appeared first on First Book Blog.

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5. Taylor Felice: How I Ran a Half Marathon to Bring Books to Kids in Need

Taylor Felice, a dedicated supporter of First Book, recently ran the Brooklyn Half-Marathon. Not only did she accomplish the goal of running the race but she also accomplished something else – getting books into the hands of kids in need.

Taylor aimed to raise $1800 through First Book to provide 400 brand-new books to kids in need. She surpassed this goal and doubled it, raising $2,182.85 via a First Book virtual book drive. Due to Taylor’s tireless efforts, 873 brand-new books will be going into the hands of children in need.

How I Ran a Half Marathon to Bring Books to Kids in Need

Taylor Felice

First Book:  What made you want to run a half-marathon? Are you typically a runner and/or participate in a lot of races?

Taylor:  My brother’s girlfriend actually got me to run the half-marathon. She ran the Brooklyn Half-Marathon last year and while I was standing at the finish line l became completely overwhelmed with emotion. I watched hundreds of runners in all shapes and sizes crossing and decided that if they could do it, I could too. Before this, I was more of a causal runner that did it for the exercise and had participated in a few short races prior to training for the half-marathon.

 

First Book:  Out of all of the organizations you could have raised money for, why did you choose First Book?

Taylor:  My mom and her best friend, Shelly, began participating in a reading program at a school in New Haven – when she went to the library to pick out books, the shelves were basically bare. After they got over the initial shock, they began reaching out to friends and family all over Connecticut to collect new and gently used books to help make the library a “happy” destination for the students.

Before my mom told me about the school, I’d never really thought about the availability of a book. We always hear about poverty and the difficulty of getting people nutritious food and sufficient clothing but you’d think within the walls of a child’s school he or she would have access to reading materials.

I was fortunate to go to an elementary school with a library full of books as far as the eye could see.  I’ve always been interested in working with and helping children – and while attending Tulane University, I volunteered in the New Orleans public school system – one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. If I can give back to children in low-income housing like many of my former students and inspire them to continue for greatness, I’d consider this half-marathon and these fundraising efforts a success. When I started my research for an organization, I knew I wanted something in the children’s education sector and I decided on First Book because I love to read and after research, knew that the money I was asking family and friends for would truly make a difference.

SONY DSCFirst Book:  In some of the nation’s lowest-income neighborhoods, there is only a single book for every 300 children. As someone who is passionate about reading, how does this make you feel?

Taylor:   When I first saw this statistic, I was sad – that’s really the only way I can explain my initial response. After getting over the initial shock, I was disappointed – how could children be so far from the opportunity to read a book? How could I have been so naive to never have thought about the possibility that it would be so difficult for children to have the opportunity to turn a page in a fairytale? I know how much I appreciate and enjoy a good book and I hope that some of these children that may struggle in low-income neighborhoods can find an escape inside one of the books that they receive from First Book.

First Book:  Why do you think it’s so important for children to have access to brand-new books?

Taylor:  When you’re a child, something shiny and new is a source of pride – its yours and yours alone and it becomes a part of your identity. Whether it’s a toy, a new piece of clothing or in this case a book, donating something new to a child, instantly becomes special. I think it’s important for children to have books because it inspires imagination and sparks their creativity; as an adult, I still love to read and let my imagination wander along with the characters.

First Book:  Thanks to your outstanding efforts, at least 873 brand-new books will be going into the hands of children in need. (That number is of course still increasing by the day!) How does it make you feel to know that you are making such a huge impact?

Taylor:  At first I was proud that I’d made the decision to support a nonprofit – and then I was a little hesitant to start asking people for money. Once the money started coming in and I beat both my first and revised goals, I was humbled by the outpouring of generosity from friends and family.  Seeing the number of books is great but thinking about making 873 children smile is better than anything.

First Book:  What has prompted you to be so involved with volunteerism? Did someone in your family emphasize the importance of reading?

Taylor:  My family has been involved with charities and volunteer work for as long as I can remember – it’s part of who we are. My parents read to my brother and me a lot and my grandfather used to tell us that he didn’t care what we read as long as we read something. They all knew how important books were to our education and development.

To get brand-new books into the hands of kids in need like Taylor did, visit www.firstbook.org and start your very own virtual book drive today.

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The post Taylor Felice: How I Ran a Half Marathon to Bring Books to Kids in Need appeared first on First Book Blog.

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6. Lose Ten Pounds & Get More Dates: Five Reasons to Volunteer with First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books to programs and schools serving children in need. Dedicated volunteers around the country (called First Book “Advisory Boards”) raise funds in their communities to provide brand-new books to local schools and programs, and YOU can be a part of that.

Learn New Skills

Volunteering with First Book means you can gain new skills, adding professional value to resumes and college applications. There are a wide range of skills that you can develop, including community outreach, partnership building, fundraising, event planning and grant writing.

Reasons to Volunteer with First Book

Meet New People

When you volunteer, you get to meet new people who share the same interests. Volunteering can lead to networking opportunities or even new friends! You will have all kinds of things to talk about as you discuss why you decided to volunteer with First Book when meeting and interacting with fellow volunteers.

Community Ties

By volunteering your time with a First Book Advisory Board in your community, you are furthering First Book’s mission and getting books into the hands of kids in your local area.  Advisory Board members can impact the quality of education for local programs and classrooms by providing books and resources.

It’s Good For You

When you are looking for something new to do that’s good for you, volunteering keeps you busy and active. According to health and fitness website, Greatist.com, a past study has shown that “People who volunteered for selfless reasons and to create valuable relationships decreased the risk of mortality.” Not only does volunteering give you a sense of fulfillment, but also wellness.

Reasons to Volunteer with First BookYou Make A Difference

If you offer your time and volunteer with First Book then you will be helping us get brand-new books into the hands of more kids in need. Together we can transform the lives of children in need and elevate the quality of education.

 

Find out more information about how you can volunteer with First Book by clicking here

 

 

The post Lose Ten Pounds & Get More Dates: Five Reasons to Volunteer with First Book appeared first on First Book Blog.

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7. How First Book Works with Pi Beta Phi to Support Girls Everywhere

Today’s guest blog post is from Ann Shaw, Director of Philanthropy for Pi Beta Phi Fraternity. Ann has held this volunteer role for the past six years. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas and her Master’s in Education from the University of New Orleans. Ann taught for over 25 years as an early childhood teacher and is passionate about literacy.

Ann Shaw, The Women of Pi Beta Phi and First Book Partner to End Illiteracy

Ann Shaw, Director of Philanthropy for Pi Beta Phi Fraternity

In 1987, the U.S. Congress designated March as Women’s History Month to ensure that the history of American women would be recognized and celebrated in schools, work places and communities throughout the country.

Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women was founded in 1867 by 12 students at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois who were the pioneers of the women’s fraternal movement. While our country was rebuilding after the Civil War, few women attended college. The women of Pi Beta Phi were visionaries of their time not only because they founded the Fraternity and patterned it after the men’s fraternal organizations of that time, but also because they were philanthropically minded and wished to better society.

Pi Beta Phi members continued their philanthropic interests by creating a school in 1912 in the remote Appalachian Mountain hamlet of Gatlinburg, Tennessee to provide formal education. In November 2012, Pi Beta Phi members celebrated 100 years of literacy service in Gatlinburg. From their original mission to the continuing legacy of Pi Beta Phi Elementary School and the Arrowmont® School of Arts and Crafts, Pi Beta Phis are proud of their commitment to literacy not only in Gatlinburg but across the United States and Canada.

Kyle Zimmer, The Women of Pi Beta Phi and First Book Partner to End Illiteracy

Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book, reads to girls at a local DC program

In the next 100 years, Pi Phi’s Read. Lead. Achieve.® literacy platform will continue to provide direction for Pi Phi’s mission “to lead the way to a more literate society” through its partnership with First Book, Champions are Readers program, Arrow in the Arctic, Fraternity Day of Service and local initiatives.

Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book, is a visionary too, as she had the dream to put books into the hands of undeserved children through the inception of First Book. Both organizations work to end illiteracy and realize the importance of reading and how it is a predictor of success in school and life.

Both organizations work to end illiteracy and realize the importance of reading and how it is a predictor of success in school and life.

Pi Phi strives to lead the way to a more literate society and has supported First Book’s mission financially and through the volunteer efforts of our members. First Book and Pi Beta Phi are making a difference in the lives of children through their philanthropic efforts to create rich literacy environments, improve interest in reading and encourage children to be readers.

The Women of Pi Beta Phi and First Book Partner to End IlliteracyWhile we celebrate the accomplishments of women during National Women’s History Month, let us remember not only the women who have made significant accomplishments to better society but those women who read to their children, surround their children with books and encourage their children to love reading.

Pi Phi recently made a special edition of the title, Remember the Ladies: 100 Great American Women available to First Book’s schools and programs. If you work with kids from low-income families, sign your program or classroom up with First Book.

 

 

 

 

 

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8. How a Mortgage Bank Makes It Possible for Kids to Have New Books

Every year, First Book provides close to ten million brand-new books to local schools and community programs across the country. To make that happen, we rely on the generosity of thousands of individual donors, grants from charitable foundations, and the revenue-generating (and someday self-sustaining) power of own First Book Marketplace.

But the most significant source of funding for First Book’s ever-growing programs is the support of our corporate partners – the companies that are investing in their communities every day by ensuring that kids from low-income families have the books and resources they need to become success stories.

SunTrust Mortgage Employees get books to kids through First BookOne example of how First Book works hand-in-hand with socially responsible companies is our partnership with SunTrust Mortgage.

SunTrust Mortgage has made it possible for us to put a lot of books into the hands of a lot of kids. But they don’t just write us a check. They get involved in lots of ways, both big and small.

  • SunTrust Mortgage employees – over 4,000 of them – have contributed over $500,000 to First Book since 2005. That generosity has put 400,000 brand-new books into classrooms and home libraries.
  • SunTrust Mortgage sponsored a “Click Challenge” last year online; funds for 8,700 books were donated in a single week.
  • SunTrust Mortgage employees volunteer their time as well. Recently they hand-delivered 1,500 books to John B. Cary Elementary School, Westover Hills Elementary School and G.W. Carver Elementary School, all Title I schools in Richmond, VA.

Now, for the eighth year in a row, our friends at SunTrust Mortgage have stepped up with $50,000 that will provide more new books and resources to the educators and children we work with.

Thanks to everyone at SunTrust Mortgage. We couldn’t do it without you.

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9. “Never Donate to a Shady Nonprofit Again”

The Social Impact 100 index will make sure you never donate to a shady nonprofit again. By setting a rigorous set of criteria, the index makes sure that it only includes organizations that are using your money to make a real, tangible difference.

– Ariel Schwartz, Fast Company’s Co.Exist blog

First Book named to S&I 100 index

At First Book, we don’t just provide new books to kids in need. We work hard to make sure that we’re elevating the quality of education by getting the right books and other educational resources to the schools and programs that need them the most.

We’re also aggressively planning for the future, ensuring that we’re able to grow in smart and self-sustaining ways and bring more books to more kids.

Which is why we’re delighted to be named one of the nation’s top-performing nonprofits by Social Impact Exchange. They’ve included us on their new S&I 100 index, an exclusive list of U.S. nonprofits that have been rigorously screened by experts for proof that a) their programs are having a significant impact and b) they have the ability to expand to serve more people in need.

Click here to donateWe know people have a lot of options when they decide which nonprofits to support with their time and money. We see the impact our work is having every day, and we’re excited to have that recognized by the experts.

Donate to First Book today, and join us in turning every child into a success story.

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10. Philanthropic foundations and the public health agenda

By Bill Wiist In 2009, there were 2,733 corporate foundations with assets of more than $10 billion and an annual donation of $2.5 billion. In that year foundations made grants of more than $38 billion of which $15.41 billion was from family foundations. In 2009, the 50 largest contributors to health donated more than $3 billion through almost 5,000 grants. The extent of corporate-based foundation funding in public health raises two critical questions for public health policy, research, and programming. First, should corporate-based foundations be setting the public health research and program agenda?

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11. Shop at dd’s DISCOUNTS & donate to First Book

Today’s guest blog post is from Julia Falkenstern, a Strategic Alliances coordinator at First Book. Julia works with First Book’s corporate partners to ensure that children from low-income families throughout the country have the opportunity to own new books.

 

This past Saturday marked the kickoff of the third annual dd’s DISCOUNTS in-store donation drive.  The back-to-school fundraiser provides brand new books through First Book to local programs serving children in need.

Each dd’s DISCOUNTS store is connected with a local group from First Book’s network of registered schools and programs that serve children from low-income families.  You can visit one of dd’s DISCOUNTS’ 78 locations across Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Texas to make a donation at the register that will directly support a program in the local community.

Now through September 5th, 100% of your donation will provide brand new, high quality books to the local program supported by your dd’s store.  dd’s DISCOUNTS is also matching donations, up to $25,000, to help even more children in dd’s communities discover the magic of reading.

For a list of dd’s DISCOUNTS locations, visit www.ddsdiscounts.com.

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12. A Big Announcement … Disney Donates EIGHT MILLION BOOKS to First Book

Disney Donates 8 Million Books to First BookWe hope you had a good weekend. We sure did! We went to D23, the annual gathering of the world’s Disney fans, in Anaheim, Calif., where are friends at Disney announced that they were donating 8 million new books to First Book. And we will put every single one of those books into the hands of kids in need.

Eight million books is a lot of books. To give you some idea of just how many, if you laid them all end-to-end, you would definitely give up and go home long before you were done. To give you an even better idea, First Book distributed 8 million books altogether last year; Disney’s incredible donation will allow us to double that.

To top it off, Disney also made a donation of $500,000 to First Book, which will help us cover some of the many expenses involved in getting all those books out to schools and programs serving kids from low-income families around the country.

So a big THANK YOU to our friends at Disney, from all of us at First Book, and from all of the kids in all of the 27,000 programs in the First Book network!

Remember, if you work for a school or program that serves children from low-income families, or if you’d like to help your child’s teacher or program leader get new books, sign up with First Book.

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13. Giving Where It Works

At First Book, we work hard to make an impact: we put over 8 million new books into the hands of kids in need across the country this year. And we’re mindful of how many amazing organizations there are out there, both nationally and locally, that could use your support.

So we were pleased to see the New York Times Opinionator blog list First Book today as a nonprofit that is making a major difference while staying on the difficult path towards self-sufficiency, describing our work as a “particularly good use of charitable dollars” (we agree) and “proven to work” (also true).

Commenting on the way First Book’s model marries “altruism and profit”, Tina Rosenberg writes:

If you give books to children who don’t have them, good things happen — they become interested in reading, and they read more. Having lots of books in the home is as good a predictor of children’s future educational achievement as their parents’ educational levels.

But good things also happen to the publishing industry: First Book has harnessed its large network of education programs to create a guaranteed market and persuade publishers to make low-cost versions of some 2,000 titles — allowing publishers to reach the 42 percent of American children who were not in their market before. Fifty dollars buys 20 books for a child who has none.

We hope you’ll support First Book this holiday season. Every $2.50 you give provides one new book for a child in need. It’s a great way for you to make sure your hard-earned and well-considered donation goes to support something that works.

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14. It’s Not Too Late! You Can Provide New Books for Kids in Need This Christmas

Donate to First Book to provide new books to kids in need

First Book distributed eight million brand-new books to kids in need this year. That’s a LOT of books, and those books have the power to change a lot of lives.

And, with your help, we want to do even more in the year to come!

Donate now to provide new books to kids in need through First Book

Every $2.50 you donate goes to provide a brand-new book to a kid in need, helping them become a reader and changing their life. And your impact will go even further this year – through Dec. 31, our friends at Disney Publishing Worldwide will match every $1 donated with another new book. Pretty great stuff.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support of First Book and the children who are counting on us.

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15. Pursuits and Family Understanding

 

Before I finish out this month’s blog challenge, I’d like to take a few moments to talk about something to which most of us can relate.

When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, my parents and grandparents taught us lessons. Some of those lessons came at the end of a parent’s arm, in the form of a solid hand landing on a padded behind. That was before the days when self-expression was encouraged and corporal punishment was banned as being barbaric and cruel.

I’m just making a point about the differences in society between then and now.

One of the big lessons taught in our household, and in many other homes as well, was that there were places in the world where people went hungry on a daily basis, and that we should be grateful for what was placed before us on the table.

I think everyone between the ages of 45 and 100 has echoing voices in your heads right now that testify to that piece of instruction.

My family was considered slightly poor by the standards of children raised in town, whose folks worked in a shop, for IBM, or the university. My dad was blue-collar, and we lived in the country. Those were big considerations back then, too. I didn’t know any of that until high school.

We didn’t go without food, clothing, shelter, fun, a good car, or the rest of the material things that “mattered.” Most of those living in the country had as many or, in come cases, more of their needs taken care of, than those in town, without our mothers having to work outside the home.

We knew we had it good. It was understood. We learned by example when Mom took the time and effort to feed those who came to the door and asked for food and something to drink. Hobos were common in those days.

Our country culture demanded that we provide sustenance to those in need. It never occurred to her to turn someone away without at least a meal and clean, cold water to drink. Usually she gave them iced tea and whatever was leftover from dinner the evening before.

All of which brings us back to the question of that hunger lesson. I know that there are thousands of children all over the U.S. who go to bed knowing real hunger. I was never one of them, thank God, but I’ve known my share of them over the years.

I got to thinking about that this afternoon, and the admonition drilled into children to this day at the dinner table. Children cannot relate to something they’ve never experienced or seen first-hand. Unless the child who lives in the well-kept house, with all the toys scattered unthinkingly throughout, actually sees the consequences of hunger, it’s impossible to get the lesson across.

I’m tempted to wager that the majority middle-class and upper-lower-class citizens have never known hunger in this country. They haven’t gone a few days without something to eat and decent water to drink. If they had experienced real hunger on a regular basis, I doubt it would not exist in the country for long.

The realization of this difference between my generation and those coming up blazed

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16. The Hat That Gives Back

Are you looking for a great Father’s Day gift? How about a gift that gives back?

Phil Mickelson, KPMG and First Book join forces to bring new books to kids in needGolf champion Phil Mickelson has joined forces with our friends at the financial firm KPMG to launch ‘Blue for Books,’ a nationwide campaign designed to put thousands of books into the hands of children in need through the sale of KPMG blue golf hats, just like the one that Phil wears on tour.

All proceeds from sales of the hat, as well as some special gift packs, will go to benefit First Book. In addition, our friends at Random House have pledged to match all donations with more new books. So for every hat sold, First Book will be able to put six brand-new books into the hands of kids in need.

Visit Phil’s microsite to learn more about the hat and the program, and see a video featuring Phil and a surprise cameo appearance by a special guest star. (Hint: It’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt.)

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17. “Kids Can Have Their Own Books in Their Own Houses”

The thing that I like about First Book is that kids can have their own books in their own houses that their parents can read to them, and, later, that they can read themselves.
– Jane Greene, First Book supporter

Jane Greene, longtime supporter of First BookJane Greene is a longtime supporter of First Book. She isn’t a wealthy philanthropist, but she is the kind of person that all good causes look for – a dedicated, constant cultivator of people and projects she believes in. She’s also someone who understands the importance of helping kids in need have new books to read.

“I always send books as baby gifts,” Greene said. “The value of reading and owning books has been in my life always.”

Greene works at a nonprofit as well, the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County in Maryland. (Two of the agency’s programs – Kensington Wheaton Youth Services and Bridges to Pals – actually work with First Book to get new books for their kids, although Greene actually found out about First Book during a promotional campaign with Borders bookstore.)

“The thing that I like about First Book is that kids can have their own books in their own houses that their parents can read to them, and, later, that they can read themselves,” Greene said.

“No gift is too small,” Green added. “I just decided to commemorate special occasions, acts of kindness and holidays by sending a little something to First Book.”

Not only have Greene’s contributions put brand-new books into the hands of kids from low-income families, she typically makes donations in the name of others, many of whom, when they find out about the gift and the work First Book does, go on to become supporters themselves. (It wasn’t easy to get Greene to agree to be profiled. “I was always the one behind the scenes,” she said. “That’s the way I like to influence and educate others.”)

Click here to donate to First BookFirst Book couldn’t do the work that we do without the open-hearted generosity of people like Jane Greene. Thanks, Jane! We’re glad you’re in our corner.

Click here to help get books to kids in need in your community by supporting First Book.

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18. When Life Gives you Lemons…

You can change the world at any age. Ten-year-old Malaika Abramson has illustrated how she wants to inspire kids to read. The young, savvy entrepreneur created a website entitled “The Reading Lion”, a book recommendation site where purchase links to Amazon are embedded within the content, resulting in a percentage of profit to the site’s creator.

Malaika is on a mission to make an impact Malaika Abramson & Friends show their support to First Book on literacy by donating proceeds to First Book. She is wise beyond her years and told us why she wanted to donate to First Book. “I love reading and I want other kids less fortunate than me to enjoy books as well”, said Malaika.

With the help of a team consisting of family and friends, Malaika graciously contributed funds to First Book raised through a book and lemonade stand. Her tireless support has provided over 30 books to children in need.

She is doing more than just encouraging others to read, she is inspiring us all to make a difference.

 

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19. A Prescription For Success

Today’s guest blog post is an excerpt from avid reader, Jacquelyn Adams. She is currently in medical school where she is pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. Education has always been an important issue for Jacquelyn. She lends her support to this issue by raising money for First Book through a virtual book drive in which she created for her love of reading.

Reading has been an enormous part of my life for as long as I can remember. I used to get sent to the principal’s office in third grade for leaving my desk to hide in the corner of the room and finish my latest Box Car Children Mystery. Without the novels of my childhood, I have no idea what my life would be like. I grew up in a world of stories, adventures, romances, and mythical creatures. It is why I am who I am today.First Book supporter Jacquelyn Adams raises money through a virtual book drive

Last semester, I heard a story that brought me to tears. One of the surgeons I was shadowing was talking about a story he saw online. It was about a program called First Book that had come to southern West Virginia and was helping provide books to children in need. He said that over half of the middle schoolers in that area had never owned their own book. I was blown away.

By seventh grade, I had multiple bookshelves filled to the brim and more overdue library books than a thesis student. How could a seventh grader not far from my front door not own a single book? I asked him as much, and he said “That is why you are in medical school and they are struggling to graduate high school.”

Every time I think about this conversation, I feel guilt and determination. Every child deserves the joy of reading. Every child deserves the chance to live in a world of stories, adventures, romances, and mythical creatures. Every child deserves his or her own first book. That is why I am starting this fundraising page. I hope you all can help, and I hope you will choose to get involved with First Book.

Jacquelyn aimed to raise $200 through a virtual book drive and has already succeeded in reaching her goal. Just like Jacquelyn, you or anyone you know can create a virtual book drive to support First Book in an effort to get books to children in need.

 

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20. The Big Andy Warhol Foundation Sell Off

The Big Andy Warhol Foundation Sell Off:

jockohomo:

“The Warhol Foundation announced this month that it had settled a deal with Christie’s to liquidate all of its remaining art holdings, aiming to raise money for more grants. Christine J. Vincent assesses Warhol’s philanthropic legacy. [The Art Newspaper]” via Art Fag City.

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21. A Million Dollar Shot

Normally we at First Book spend our evenings reading award-winning children’s literature, of course, but tonight we’ll be glued to our TV sets for Monday Night Football, watching golf legend Phil Mickelson try to make a $1 million shot at halftime.

If he makes it? 100% of that money will go to First Book, and that means as many as 400,000 brand-new books for kids from low-income families.

The challenge comes from our friends at KPMG, whose commitment to putting books into the hands of kids in need runs deep. It’s all part of KPMG’s Family for Literacy program and their new “Blue for Books” campaign, which has provided over 20,000 new books since March.

At the game, Mickelson will stand in one end zone, aiming for a target in the other end zone, which will have a putting green with three rings around it. If he hits the green, KPMG will donate $50,000 (that’s 20,000 brand-new books), and for each ring they’ll donate more, up to $1 million for the bulls-eye.

Phil Mickelson's million dollar shot for First Book

In the hands of a lesser golfer this might be a problem, but we’re not worried. Go Phil!

You can help KPMG and Phil get books to kids by donating to First Book. Every $2.50 pays for a brand-new book for a child in need. Or you can show your support through KPMG’s ‘Blue for Books’ campaign by buying Phil’s Blue Hat. For every hat purchased, KPMG will donate three new books. To learn more, visit philsbluehat.com.

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22. What to get your favorite aunt for Christmas?

What to give your favorite aunt (or anyone else) for Christmas? Fruit cake? A reindeer scarf? Those mittens that are attached together with yarn?

How about the gift of reading to kids in need, in her name?

That’s right, every $2.50 you donate provides a brand-new, high-quality book for a child from a low-income family. Your favorite aunt will love it. and you can let her know with one of these snazzy e-cards:

Snazzy e-cards from First Book

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23. Three Books for Kids in Need This Holiday Season

Triple your impact by giving new books to kids in need through First Book

Together, we’ve put over 100 million new books into the hands of children who need them, and we’re counting on your support this holiday season. This year, thanks to our friends at Disney, the impact of your gift will be tripled!

Disney to match holiday donations to First BookEvery $2.50 donated to First Book provides one brand-new, high-quality book for a child from a low-income family. And Disney has agreed to match every one of those books with two additional books, from now through the end of the year. Click here to donate.

As always, when you donate to First Book, you can be sure your money is being used wisely; 97% of donations to First Book go directly to provide new, high-quality books to kids in need. (That’s how we won our four-star rating from Charity Navigator.)

Thanks for being part of our work, and happy holidays from everyone at First Book!

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24. Limit the estate tax charitable deduction

By Edward Zelinsky


One widely-discussed possibility for reforming the federal income tax is limiting the deduction for charitable contributions. Whether or not Congress amends the Code to restrict the income tax deduction for charitable contributions, Congress should limit the charitable contribution deduction under the federal estate and gift taxes. Such a limit would balance the need for federal revenues with the desirability of encouraging charitable giving.

On December 11th, the advocacy group Responsible Wealth called for the federal government to tax estates over $4,000,000 at rates starting at 45%. Among those joining this call were heirs to old fortunes such as Abigail Disney and Richard Rockefeller and owners of new wealth such as Bill Gates, Sr. Most notably, Warren Buffett agreed (as he has in the past) with this recent plea for higher estate taxes.

I am a fan of my fellow Nebraskan and agree with him that the federal government should impose estate taxes, particularly on large fortunes. I also admire Mr. Buffett for the Giving Pledge which he has promoted with the younger Mr. Gates. Under that Pledge, wealthy individuals commit to giving at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.

There is, however, considerable tension between the Buffett commitment to federal estate taxation and the Buffett commitment to philanthropy. By virtue of the estate tax charitable deduction, when a wealthy decedent leaves part or all of his estate to charity, no estate tax is paid on these contributed amounts.

It is perfectly plausible to call for estate taxation only for those who don’t distribute their wealth to philanthropy. It is, however, hard to reconcile that position with Responsible Wealth’s advocacy of strong estate taxation. Mr. Gates, Sr., for example, declared that “it would be shameful to leave potential revenue on the table from those most able to pay.” However, that is precisely what happens when large estates go to charity, namely, estate tax revenue which would otherwise flow to the federal government is instead diverted to charity. Such charity may be worthwhile but it does nothing to reduce the federal deficit.

Similarly, Ms. Disney argued that “a weak estate tax” falls “on the backs of the middle class,” presumably because the federal government will respond to reduced estate tax revenues by deficit financing, by raising other taxes on the middle class or by reducing government spending. However, when an estate is distributed to charity free of estate taxation, the government confronts these same choices.

A compromise could preserve the incentive for charitable giving while also generating some estate tax revenues for the federal government: Limit the estate (and gift) tax charitable deduction.

Many, including President Obama, have suggested such limitations on the income tax charitable deduction. If, for example, an individual is in the 35% federal income tax bracket, the President has proposed that the donor receive a deduction as if he or she were in the 28% bracket. In a similar fashion, the estate tax charitable deduction could be curbed, thereby generating some additional revenues for the federal fisc while also keeping a tax-incentive for charitable giving.

Consider, for example, a billionaire who leaves his entire estate of $1,000,000,000 to charity. To simplify the math, let’s assume that this billionaire would pay estate tax at the 40% rate if he did not bequeath all his assets to philanthropy. Because this $1,000,000,000 bequest is fully deductible for federal estate tax purposes, no tax is paid in this example. If this billionaire had not made this charitable bequest but had instead left his money to his children, the federal government would have received estate tax revenues of $400,000,000.

Suppose now that Congress limits the federal estate tax deduction to 70% of the amount donated to charity. In this case, the billionaire would leave a taxable estate of $300,000,000. At a 40% rate, this would require a federal estate tax payment of $120,000,000.

To provide the cash to pay this tax, this billionaire would probably reduce his charitable bequest to retain cash to pay this estate tax. However, at the end of the day, charity would receive the bulk of this billionaire’s assets while the federal government would receive some estate tax.

A limit on the estate tax charitable deduction could be constructed to fall only on relatively larger estates. For example, the first $10 million of charitable bequests could be fully deductible for estate tax purposes and only the amount gifted over that threshold would be deductible in part.

Alternatively, the limit could be phased in as charitable contributions increase. For example, the first $10 million of charitable bequests could be fully deductible for estate tax purposes. Then the next $50 million of philanthropic gifts could be 90% deductible and any further gifts would be 70% deductible for federal estate tax purposes.

The details are less important than the basic policy: By limiting the estate tax charitable deduction, all large estates donated to philanthropy would pay some federal estate tax revenues at a reduced rate. This would balance the need for federal revenues with the encouragement of the kind of charitable bequests quite commendably encouraged by Mr. Buffett and the Giving Pledge.

Edward A. Zelinsky is the Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He is the author of The Origins of the Ownership Society: How The Defined Contribution Paradigm Changed America. His monthly column appears here.

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Image credit: Macro shot of the seal of the United States on the US one dollar bill. Photo by briancweed, iStockphoto.

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25. A Bucket Full of Change

Union Elementary School raises money for First Book's Book Relief ProgramHurricane Sandy caused much devastation to the East Coast. Families lost their homes, buildings were heavily damaged and countless children, families and schools lost libraries full of books.

The students at Union Elementary School in Farmington, CT, decided to take action.

Some Union Elementary students came across First Book’s initiative to raise money to provide new books to children affected by Hurricane Sandy. They wanted to contribute to First Book’s effort, so they collected loose change for a month.

Mrs. Banta, the school’s main office clerk, hauled a big bucket of change to Farmington Savings Bank, and got a check for more than $400, enough to provide 160 brand-new books to children affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“The leadership, staff, teachers, students and families of Union School strongly share First Book’s belief that books are among the critical resources that children need every day, and we were so pleased with the strong response we received from everyone in collecting change to turn into dollars, then a check, then lots of books for kids,” said Jessica Lister, a Union Elementary School mom and publicity co-chair of the PTO.Click here to donate

Although the storm has passed, many families and children are still living in shelters and have lost many of their personal belongings. You can help just as the kids at Union Elementary did, by clicking here. Every $2.50 you contribute will provide a new book to a child affected by the storm.

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