Time to Act: Prevent Sexual Assaults

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When we hear the term sexual assault, most of us think of rape by a stranger. The reality is that about 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Sexual assault isn’t just limited to rape, either—it includes child abuse, sexual harassment, teen relationship violence, date rape and domestic violence. Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year, the campaign focuses on preventing sexual violence on campus.

Some starling statistics

Recent news stories of the alleged fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia (Rolling Stone reporting snafu aside) and the Stanford University athlete caught mid rape have certainly fueled the conversation about sexual assault on college campuses.

Image Source: Flickr
Image Source: Flickr

The campus sexual assault study revealed:

  • 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college
  • 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college

The majority of these college victims never report the assault. In the big picture, sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes: 68% of assaults in the last five years were not reported to the police. And only about 2% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.

What can we do about it?

Educating our children about this is imperative. While it’s a tough and awkward topic to tackle, we need to talk about it. That’s one of the best ways to truly protect them.

Image Source: Flickr
Image Source: Flickr

RAINN, the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, suggests ways to get the conversations started: teaching your child to say no, and to come to you with questions and concerns.

The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center booklet, He Told Me Not To Tell, is another good parent’s guide. It includes specific ideas about storytelling and playing the What If game.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s What is Healthy Sexuality and Consent fact sheet contains great information for teenagers.

What else?

Help charities who are addressing the issue of sexual assault do more outreach, create educational materials, and provide the services for victims that make a difference. Give today so they can speak with a louder voice and help prevent sexual assaults.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center is the organization behind Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and offers a wealth ofbutton_give_now_small information for preventing sexual violence. It is operated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Rape Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and operatesbutton_give_now_small the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country.

Love is Respect is a great resource to for engaging, educating and empowering young adults about how to prevent and endbutton_give_now_small abusive relationships. Brought to you by Break the Cycle.

– Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant

Nonprofit Spotlight: Bubble Foundation

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Image Source: Flickr

At first blush, the Bubble Foundation seems like an unusual name for an organization that helps kids live healthy and happy lives, but then again…. Not wanting to pigeonhole their holisticbubble_logo efforts or be heavy handed about wellness, the name was chosen to keep it fun and focused on kids.

Funders ask about our name, says Executive Director Lizzie Redman, but never the kids. In fact, it’s a contagious echo in school halls where kids are heard chattering about “Bubble, Bubble.”

Bubble’s mission

Bubble believes every child in the United States, regardless of socioeconomic status, should have access to activities, food and information that helps them live healthy and happy lives. To accomplish this in New York City, they partner with schools in underserved communities, supplying core curriculum and program activities to fill a gap. They provide – free of charge – information, food and activities for schools, students and families who would otherwise get little or no health and wellness education.

School programs that deliver

The power of going directly into schools is how Bubble succeeds. Not just with kids, but their parents and school leaders too. Redman explains, “We reach kids while they’re young and expose them early on. We also bring in parents for family meals and workshops where we work with them about how to make healthy changes at home. We plant the seeds for healthy habits and empower school leaders to carry it forward.”

Bubble’s programs make “food, fun and fitness float”:

 

Bubble EATS is nutrition education delivered through weekly classes, cooking demonstrations and more from volunteer teachers. For instance, “kids may never have seen broccoli before, but they learn about it, cook it and find it enjoyable to eat,” describes Redman.

Bubble GROWS teaches the science of how food grows and basic farming and irrigation principles, and includes visits from farmers and to community gardens. Bubble brings portable grow boxes into classrooms and starts outside or rooftop gardens where there’s space available.

Bubble MOVES connects the school to other organizations and experts for fitness classes, recess programs, sports clinics, and special programs like yoga and African dance.

Results

Started in 2010 as a small organization to help one school – the Mott Haven Academy in the Bronx – Bubble will partner with eight schools during the 2015-2016 academic year. A few stats:

  • Bubble programs teach 1,200bubble2 students each week
  • Around 50 volunteers work for Bubble each semester – 30 teach weekly and 20 others support special programs
  • School partnerships last for 2 years (with support afterward)
  • Impact: 5 schools are successful program graduates, 6 schools are currently partners, and 4 more are being added next year

Giving practices

JustGive is proud to help the Bubble Foundation raise money online. “The ability to have a platform we can easily use is huge,” comments Redman. “And from a data perspective, to know where the money is coming from is valuable.”

Following best practices, Bubble has its Donate button built into every page of its website, and has customized its Donation Page, telling donors exactly what different size gift can do.

Check out how you can help the Bubble Foundation do even more.

– Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant

P.S. If you’d like to be featured in the JustGive Blog, submit your nonprofit!

2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference Highlights

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I remember attending an annual NTEN conference for the first time, in San Francisco. The sharing between very large companies like Blackbaud through individual IT consultants working for a cause demonstrated the tremendous resources offered—not just for nonprofit organizations (NPOs), but to the broad community serving them.

Launched in 2000, NTEN, The Nonprofit Technology Network, aspires to a world where all nonprofit organizations use technology skillfully and confidently to meet community needs and fulfill their missions. The organization serves scores of volunteers, tech workers, IT managers, “progressive geeks” – all resourceful individuals striving to keep philanthropic operations viable.

It’s fair to say that in 2015, we are reliant on IT resources for operations and outreach more than ever. NTEN’s impact in galvanizing our essential, cause-based community as we seek ways to integrate the best technology for our organizations is immeasurable.

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Image Source: NTEN

NTEN held its 15th annual conference in Austin recently. Featuring a roster of collaborative workshops and information, session tracks included Communications, Fundraising, Leadership, IT, Product Demos, and more.

If you weren’t able to make it to the conference this year, or would like a recap from a few valuable sessions, here are three highlights.

Leadership. The Challenge of Making your CEO’s Visions an IT Reality – Read thoughts from the CEO and IT decision makers and get an Executive Director’s perspective.  (More about the session and panel of presenters here.)

Communications. Is it Worth it for Nonprofits to Build Branded Apps? Notes from this session detail what it takes to build and promote a successful app from scratch.  (More about the session and panel of presenters here.)

Fundraising. 50 Fascinating Nonprofit Statistics – See all the stats, covering everything from a global nonprofit perspective to giving trends, including a wide variety of stats about mobile giving, retention rates and more. (More about the session and Blackbaud Director of Analytics presenter here.)

To read more about the wide variety of topics covered in discussions, take a look at the entire 15NTC Community library here.

NTEN, like JustGive, is celebrating 15 years of dedication to its mission this year. Congratulations NTEN! If you’re not a member yet and would like to join visit their site to sign up.

– Roxanne Gentile

Director of Technology

The Corporate Citizenship Difference

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Image Source: Flickr

Measuring the results of your citizenship efforts (environmental and social) can be a challenge. You want to know: What difference does it make? In addition to the indicators you build in to measure your own programs, the research from the Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College can help answer that question.

For the first time in more than a decade, in the 2014 State of Corporate Citizenship report, a majority of executives (across all industries) confirm that corporate citizenship helps their business succeed. Here are three key findings from the research.

  1. Corporate Citizenship delivers real business results.  According to the study, executives believe corporate citizenship not only helps their companies achieve strategic goals like increasing market share, it also improves financial performance and returns value to their shareholders. Achievements they gave are impressive: Companies that integrate their citizenship efforts into business initiatives are 2.2x more likely to gain access to new markets and 2.3x more likely to be successful with employee retention than companies that don’t.
  1. Over the next three years, executives plan to
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    increase corporate citizenship resources.  Executives see the value of corporate citizenship and are putting their money behind it—investing in environmental, philanthropic and social programs that deliver. As the economy has recovered, they have found their citizenship efforts strengthened in many ways, including helping them compete globally and address the pressure for long-term financial returns.

  1. The long term approach to corporate citizenship pays off.  Ninety three percent of the executives in the survey report that citizenship efforts supported for four years or more achieve the biggest gains: They are 3.9x more likely to report success in reducing employee health care costs and 3.6x more likely to report success with reducing waste as a result of long-term citizenship efforts.

The bottom line: Being a responsible leader and good corporate citizen makes a tangible difference – not just in your community and with your employees, but also in the financial success of your business.

If you’d like to start or build on your company’s citizenship efforts with philanthropy, we can help. Contact us today.

To download the Executive Report and read more about this study visit the Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College website.

 

– Andrea Lloyd

Director of Programs

One From the Heart – February is American Heart Month

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I’ll be the first to admit it. I get stressed.

Stress affects our health in many ways, but heart disease is a common result in the United States, particularly among women. As a woman, this is a stressor in itself. Worries and perfectionism aside, what are some simple, everyday ways you and I can decrease our stress and be kind to our hearts?

A plant-heavy or plant-based diet is a wonderfully heart-healthy eating plan. Personally, I switched from a vegetarian to a vegan diet 2 years ago, and everything I continue to learn about its health benefits encourages me to keep at it. Avocado and olive oil are my favorite plant-based ways to lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol while leaving heart levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol intact.

Image Source: Flickr
Image Source: Flickr

Hobbies that include movement are a low-stress way to get your heart pumping stronger. Dance class (or dancing around the house), gardening, vigorous cleaning and yoga or stretching are some relatively low-impact and low-cost ways to get your circulation up and flex your heart muscle.

But what about the mental stress? It’s the biggest factor in many of our busy lives. Mindfulness meditation is one way to change your mindset and even regulate the rhythm of your heart. Look for a zen or yoga center in your area for more information. Lucky for me, San Francisco is home to a beautiful Zen Center that hosts a variety of programs, classes and retreats.

My personal favorite fact about preventative heart health? Doing good for others lowers your stress levels.

This is something we can all do anytime and it doesn’t have to cost money – sharing time is just as valuable.

Image Source: Flickr:
Image Source: Flickr

If you’d like to find volunteer opportunities in your area, you can use our Act Locally search option and contact local charities to see how you can help. Bonus points on volunteering: It gets you outside – and being in nature is another great de-stressor.Even if you live in a city, you can likely find an urban gardening project to volunteer your time. Check out The National Gardening Association’s Kids Gardening program, which empowers every generation to lead healthier lives, build stronger communities, and encourage environmental stewardship through gardening programs.

If you’d like to support their efforts:

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The most sobering fact I uncovered in my research: women are more prone to suffer from undiagnosed heart disease. Women’s symptoms tend to differ from men’s, and women are more likely to suffer a silent heart attack.

In fact, heart attacks are responsible for the loss of half a million women per year in the U.S. alone. Heart disease is the number one killer of women even though many women are more afraid of breast cancer.

Image Source: Flickr
Image Source: Flickr

I lost a friend and community member, far before her time, to silent heart disease. After her untimely passing a few years ago, another friend organized memorial donations in her honor to WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. It’s a charity that provides support and research and was started by three women who have personal experience with heart disease issues. Women Heart was the first – and is still the only – national patient-centered organization focused exclusively on women’s heart disease.

If you’d like to donate to help WomenHeart carry out its work:

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Education, information and advocacy are our greatest weapons against killer heart disease. Together, we can multiply our strengths in fighting the battle against heart disease with a unified front. We have to watch out for each other, right?

-Alex Mechanic

Customer Service Manager

YEAR IN REVIEW: A LOOK BACK AT 2014

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Image Source: Flickr

Thanks to your giving and support, JustGive expanded philanthropy and sent more than $30 million to charity in 2014!

We passed a major milestone in May, processing our 1 millionth donation, and are proud that 24 percent of giving came from 2013 donors returning to use the site. We also saw charity gift card purchases grow by 9 percent. To be more accessible and expand our services, we launched our mobile responsive site and added the ability for companies to independently buy a quantity of gift cards.

Here’s a glimpse of our impact—and what we accomplished together—this year.

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We’re charging into 2015 eager to do more good, fulfilling our mission to make charitable giving a part of everyday life. Here’s to making more of a difference!

Help us kick off the year in the best way possible: Set up an automatic monthly donation to your favorite charities today.

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Thank you for giving.

—Andrea Lloyd, Director of Programs

THE MANY FACES OF HOMELESSNESS: HOW YOU CAN HELP

blog_title_image_homelessnessKnowing how to help a homeless person can sometimes feel difficult, confusing and overwhelming. The dollar you give might be used to buy drugs or alcohol. Even offering food can be a problem – imagine handing an apple to a homeless man and then discovering he has no teeth. Just as there are many reasons people become homeless, there are also many ways to help. Understanding the leading causes of homelessness is often the best way to learn what the homeless need and how you can make a positive difference in their lives. The chronically homeless, who often struggle with mental health or substance abuse issues, need a safe and stable living environment where they can get counseling and health care. To help them, consider volunteering at a local shelter or halfway house that provides longer-term housing. Donating clean towels, pillows and blankets can also help create a comfortable and safe living environment. The majority of homeless youth bw_homeless_teens_21461332have been kicked out of their homes or abandoned by parents or guardians. Others who left on their own accord have suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their families. For many, trusting another adult or authority figure can be difficult. One of the best ways to help is to simply ask them what they need. Maybe it’s a hot meal, a warm coat or a clean pair of socks; or maybe it’s information on how to get into foster care, enroll in a drug and alcohol detox program or register for the GED. Taking the time to listen to their needs, and to follow through, can go a long way in helping them regain their trust in others and get off the streets. imm needs housing homelessFor many veterans, physical disability, mental anguish and post-traumatic stress can make readjusting to civilian life very difficult. This can lead to drug and alcohol addiction, the inability to hold down a steady job and homelessness. Because many veterans have very specific needs to help them get back on their feet—job placement services, medical services, housing assistance, counseling—there are numerous ways to get involved. Consider donating your time or money to organizations which help homeless vets:

While we need to address the problem of homelessness as a whole, the more we can understand each person’s individual circumstances, the more we can help. Before making assumptions or judgments, take the time to ask some questions and do a little research. It can make all the difference. The Face(s) of Homelessness

  • Number of homeless in the United States: 610,042
  • Number of chronic homeless: 109,132 (18%)
  • Number of homeless youth under 18: 380,000
  • Number of homeless veterans: 57,849 (9%)

For more charities helping the homeless with shelter, counseling services and job training.

-Amelia Glynn, Marketing Contractor