Americans seeing the devastation wreaked by recent tornadoes are responding with generous gifts of time and money, as they've traditionally responded to disasters throughout the world. But even when needs are close to home, givers should take steps to assure themselves that their donations will go to legitimate and reputable charities and relief efforts that have the capability to help victims, cautions the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.
"Despite long experience in giving for major natural disasters, and with the desire to quickly help those in need, Americans sometimes forget to heed advice that's relevant to all charitable giving," says Art Taylor, President and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. "In the present situation, we advise donors especially to learn about what individual charities are doing and the time frame of their work. Donors who know what to expect from the charities they support are less likely to question the benefit of their gifts."
BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following five tips to help Americans decide where to direct donations:
Take time to check out the charity. The best way to avoid being disappointed in helping Storm Relief Charities is to find out more about the charity before making the donation. Unfortunately, most people don't. Donors should review the charity's website and go to third party sites such as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (www.bbb.org/charity) to learn more about the charity and verify its accountability.
Identify what stage of relief the charity intends to provide. There are three general stages to relief efforts. Find out which stage the charity is intending to address. The Emergency Response stage involves immediate assistance and rescue needs and takes place within the first days after the storm. Next, Disaster Relief occurs in the first month and provides clothing and temporary shelter for displaced families. Finally, the Recovery Stage can last over a year and involves clean up, repair and/or rebuilding homes, and other long-term recovery needs.
New York State Electric and Gas has reported a possible data breach of its customer data files in recent days. Since the majority of our clients are NYSEG customers, we are suggesting that everyone follow-up on this information.
It appears that sensitive NYSEG and RG&E customer information was put in the hands of a third party company who was doing programming work for the company. That company apparently did not have adequate data security systems and procedures in place to full secure that data.
There is a new CSA in Ithaca. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and there are now many CSAs available in our community. The Finger Lakes Wine Center, one of our clients has created a new CSA just in time for the holidays. Here's more information on their program.
Have you wanted to expand your experience with Finger Lakes Wines? Do you love to sit down with your loved ones and enjoy wine, cheese, bread, and good conversation? Then the new Finger Lakes Wine Center CSA is for you.
There are many not-for-profit orgnanizations in this community who support the less fortunate, the arts, education and other worthy endeavors which make Ithaca and Tompkins County a very special place to live. Each year, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, NY Finger Lakes Chapter presents four awards honoring the people and organizations that make philanthropy work in our community. This years award winners are:
Professor Arthur Kuckes was presented with the Philanthropist of the Year award for his major gifts to the Tompkins Cortland Community College Foundation that funds over 60 student scholarships at TC3 annually.
John Potter, the owner of Seneca Beverage Corporation in Elmira received the Corporate Philanthropist of the Year award for his company’s work with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and guidance to Glover house, the Boy Scouts and other organizations.
Brigid Hubberman received the Outstanding Professional Achievement in non-profit leadership award for her un-tiring work in creating and nurturing the Family Reading Partnership.
Lastly, Larry Baum, CEO of The Computing Center received the Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year award for his work with the TC3 Foundation, Cayuga Medical Center Foundation, Finger Lakes Wine Center, and other local not-for-profit organizations.
The Computing Center's "truly" amateur golf team of Scott Prasek, Scott Zinzola, Darren and Jared Clark finished tied for 3rd in this year's Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament shooting a spectacular 63 in rain soaked conditions. Unlike several of the teams who finished ahead of The Computing Center, none of our players play every day during the summer. Or that, at least, is the hope of Computing Center management!!
In a tongue-in-cheek statement an unamed Computing Center executive remarked: "Several of the so-called winning teams had ringers on their teams, players who spend their entire summers on the golf course! At least our guys mostly work for a living!"
The proceeds from the tournament go to the good works of our local chamber of commerce including supporting the business and organizations which create most of the new jobs in Tompkins County, support initiatives that lower the costs of doing business, and in promoting our community. The golf tournament is a great way for businesses and organizations of all sizes to get together for an event where everyone has a great time and are able to support an organzation that we all believe in.