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.
About ten years ago, Bill Gates gave a speech at a High School in California about what they would not likely learn in the classroom. A few things have changed over the past decade, but the rules that Gates suggests are still VERY true, not just for kids, but for all of us.
UPDATE - 22:10 ET - We have been informed that Bill Gates apparently did NOT write these rules or give the speech where they are attributed to. Still - they are worth reading!!! From more information about origin of "the rules" checkout: www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/schoolrules.asp
Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
A couple of years ago, I was digging around on the Internet and stumbled across the following definition of entrepreneurship from Harvard Professor, Howard Stevenson as written in 1983:
Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.
I found it again just a few days ago in an article on WWW.INC.COM. It really home this time. I realized that every successful entrepreneur, business person, and individual I've ever met instictively follows Stevenson's definition. And it's not just in the business world. Think about the successful not-for-profits in our area. Think about the creators, directors, and managers of those organizations. Each embraces this definition of entrepreneurship in their own way.
This is one of those definitions that takes reading a few times to begin to ferret out its full meaning.
Yeah, I know! Everyone hates New Year’s Resolutions, but we seem to keep making them none-the-less. And from what we find, people read them. But keep them – not so much. So here we go:
Lose weight. Stop smoking. Drink less (or more expensively). Join a gym or health club and actually go there. Promise to be more loving to your family, spouse, etc. Be kinder to others. Clean out your closets, garage, car, etc. De-clutter your office – are file folders that you last looked at two years ago really necessary?? Balance your checkbook.
Now that I’ve gotten the usual list out of the way, here are a few others that you might want to consider:
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.