Tag Archives: Donate

Humanist Response: Blood Drive

Update 6/19/16: THANK YOU to everyone who came out to show support and give blood at the CFFC & BE. #OrlandoUnited Blood Drive at Target yesterday!

We are grateful for the partnership of Target in Oviedo, the support and professionalism of the OneBlood medical staff, the efforts of 15 volunteers, the members of the community who came out to show support, and the donors who gave 27 units of blood – potentially impacting more than 80 lives!

Volunteers joined us from BE. Orlando, Central Florida Freethought Community, and the Secular Student Alliance at UCF.  Special thanks to Target management and employees for their continued support throughout the day – and their blood, too!

We had an amazing day and it was truly a heartwarming experience to be among members and friends who want to make a difference for the victims and families of last weekend’s tragedy at Pulse Orlando. Thank you, everyone!

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Post: 6/16/16

The secular community stands united with Orlando and with our LGBTQ+ members and friends, the Muslim community, and others impacted by the tragedy last weekend.

Please come out to Target in Oviedo this Saturday to support our blood drive.  We need volunteers and of course, blood donors.

GET INVOLVED: Please contact us at BEOrlando@live.com to volunteer or to donate drinks and snacks to support the individuals waiting to donate.

target_rainbow_logoThank you to Target for their partnership and compassion.  Their open commitment to inclusion of, and respect for, the LGBTQ+ community continues to inspire.

pulseThank you to everyone who has donated blood and supported blood drives around the region.  Your involvement makes a difference and shows that our community is connected, strong, and can stand together when needed.

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Contact us to volunteer or donate items

A Humanist Response to the Orlando Tragedy

World Blood Donor Day: Blood Connects Us All

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Update: Blood Connects Us All.

Update 6/18/2016

Today is World Blood Donor Day, and the theme this year is Blood Connects Us All.

On this day, we reflect on the blood supply challenges faced around the globe. Sadly, this week in Orlando we are working to uplift a community impacted by a terror attack targeting our LGBT friends and neighbors.  In response, blood donors have flooded the donation centers and bloodmobiles in an outpouring of kindness and love. The response of central Floridians to this tragedy has been inspirational.  Our community’s response of blood donorship illustrates how Blood Connects Us All.

We thank our community for their involvement and response.  We thank every blood donor, everyone who brings refreshments and other supplies to support the blood drives, and the volunteers who have been working around the clock to help our community come together.

We thank people around the world for your support and compassion on this World Blood Donor Day.

Read More…

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Stamp Out Hunger – 23rd Annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive!

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Update 5/9/15 – Reminder – Please put out your donations for the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive today!

Saturday, May 9th, is the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive!  This is a national effort that collects billions of pounds of food – your donations impact your local community.

This food drive occurs during an important time of the year when most school programs are about to close for the summer, leaving millions of children to find alternative sources of nutrition.

Visit the Second Harvest Food Bank information page for more information & needs list!

We will be volunteering with Hands On Orlando at the food sorting event to make sure all of your donations are organized & distributed to those in need in our local community!  Visit the Event Page to see if there are spots open – join us!!

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Annual Summer Reading BOOK DRIVE!

Updated 4/3/15

WHAT:  Book drive to support K-12 youth in our community

WHEN:  NOW through May 26 (see web page for drop-off location & details)

Please hold book drives in your Meetup groups, neighborhoods, workplaces, families, and other connections.  New and gently-used (gift condition) books only, please.

The annual Summer Reading Book Drive hosted by our local United Way provides books to local at-risk children.  They give them to participants in their June 23 Day of Action literacy event where hundreds of volunteers conduct literacy activities in our community.  They also provide books to summer literacy programs at local shelters and youth programs.

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Did you know that in low-income neighborhoods there is an average of one book for every 300 children?  In middle income neighborhoods, there are 13 books for every one child.

Quick Facts on Summer Reading Loss:

  • Students can lose up to 25% of their reading level over the summer.
  • Reading just four books over the summer can prevent the summer slide, and can actually increase reading levels.
  • Price is the number one barrier to book ownership .
  • A recent study found that in middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio of age-appropriate books is 13 books for every child, while in low-income neighborhoods, it’s 1 book for every 300 children.
  • A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22% of the school year.

Day of Action

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The Heart of Florida United Way coordinates hundreds of volunteers who engage with local schools, shelters, and youth programs conducting literacy activities with at-risk youth.  All of the children receive books at the events that they can take with them – last year every child received five books!

Books from this book drive are also provided to local shelters and youth programs to use throughout the summer as gifts to children and as part of their own summer reading programs.

Day of Action will be on June 23rd in Central Florida.  If you are interested in being one of the volunteers for this day, please contact the Heart of Florida United Way at volunteercenter@hfuw.org for more information.  You can also visit their Day of Action Web page – they will post the events for sign-up closer to the date.

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Holiday Giving for the Thinking Donor

As the holiday season approaches, we think more about ways we can make a difference for others. Many seek opportunities to make donations – but are those donations really making the difference we intend?

It is the responsibility of the donor to research the agency in which they are investing.  Some donors give just to feel they have done “something,” but many really want to know their contributions will have an impact that aligns with their values, kindness goals, and personal mission.  Charitable agencies, like businesses, market themselves for maximum profit.  And like businesses, their marketing face does not necessarily represent their true services or impact. How do you find the right one?

Getting to know an organization’s daily practices, its mission, who is served by them, how their programs truly connect with the need they are designed to address, and faith or political agendas funded by donor dollars are all important aspects of evaluating a charity’s’ integrity and character.

Indicators that donors often use to evaluate agencies include executive salaries and administrative cost. But think about these qualitatively, not quantitatively.

A high salary for agency leaders is not by itself an indicator of a bad organization.  For example, consider a powerhouse fundraising organization that nationally collects and invests billions of dollars a year to support extant programming and create new resources addressing critical needs in local communities. This organization requires top-performing executives for responsible management, and therefore must offer salaries commensurate with the business world to attract those leaders.  One executive’s salary, for example, is $268,426; this is 1.16% of that agency’s expenses, as they manage a revenue of $24,179,099 (FYE 6/2013, Charity Navigator).  How much would the CEO of a private investment firm with $24+ million in annual revenue generally earn?

An agency may save cost by hiring executives willing to work for less. Such a leader may be wonderful – that individual may indeed be a great leader who is also a kind, giving soul dedicated to serve without or with limited means of supporting themselves; or, they may be an underpaid, unexperienced, or ineffective leader, impacting the agency’s effectiveness and how your donations are truly used within the organization.

Rather than making assumptions based on a salary, consider what is required of the executives at a particular agency, the services of the agency they represent, and the track record of the agency.

Administrative cost is also not what it appears at face value.  These costs are necessary – facilities, personnel, and outreach are important aspects of most agencies and create the infrastructure to sustain services over time. Amount of administrative cost can vary greatly depending on the services offered. For example, an organization dedicated to providing medical service for terminally ill children, or one whose primary mission is outreach and advocacy through marketing, would have a different administrative cost appearance than others who may be serving animals through a foster homing program or hosting volunteer-run collections of food to distribute to pantries without maintaining their own storage facility.

Additionally, what is categorized as “programming” can be subjective. For example, let’s think about a university college dean’s office and documents printed there. Imagine we ask them: What percentage of the printing cost in your college is spent on programming for students, and what percent is administrative?  It is easy to blur those lines and not all colleges at that university would categorize items the same way; similarly, we can compare agencies’ admin cost percentages, but should be aware that it may not be an apples-to-apples comparison.

Investigate further when you see organizations that make claims about extremely low admin costs or CEOs that operate for free or minimal salaries.  There are costs associated with living and operating a business which are being paid somehow.  Seek genuine transparency over creative reporting.

Money, like time, is a limited resource for everyone – we only have so much to give, and ensuring the most impactful investment of that resource is up to us.  We can use Charity Navigator, Give.org, GuideStar, MelissaData, Charity Watch, Smartgivers.org, Givewell.org, IRS charity verification, and other research tools, but the best way to know how your investment will be used is to actively engage through service and discourse with clients and staff to get to know what the agencies really do with their programs and funding.  What are their daily practices, how do their programs impact others, and how do they manage donations?

Another indicator often used in evaluating charities is faith alignment. Individuals of all faith and non-faith perspectives may have reasons to seek secular charities when investing donations.

Many religious charities do offer great service to our community, but some of the money may be taken away from the actual charitable mission and directed to the additional mission of proselytization or even political activism to promote religious agendas. In addition, some require clients and volunteers to be (or pretend to be) affiliated with the agency’s faith perspective in order to receive services or participate in programs. Though they take donations from the diverse public, they may re-invest them in a limited demographic. Secular charities focus on their mission of service. The Nature Conservancy, for example, does not use donor contributions to promote a faith perspective – they work to conserve nature.

There are also humanist-focused agencies that include the humanist agenda in their programming. These are important to many individuals seeking to promote inclusiveness for all humanity because of the perceived imbalance in representation and visibility of humanist giving. Humanist agencies and those that openly declare secularism represent and encourage a giving spirit in all of humanity regardless of faith perspective.

Faith perspective decisions are very personal; consider the mission of the agency you are evaluating to determine if they will use your donation in a way that represents your world view.

It is, again, ultimately the responsibility of the thinking donor to consider the impact of their investment. One way to find out how your dollars will be used is simply to ask. Consider interviewing a staff member or administrator at the charity and ask them – what do they need donor dollars for? You may find they have a specific program or initiative currently lacking in funding that you would love to see succeed, and your contribution can make it happen; or you may find that their plans for your investment don’t align with your values and impact goals.

Volunteering with an agency and even sponsoring specific events that benefit that agency allow you to be involved in how your dollars are used. Seeing your investments in action is the most rewarding way to give. For example, sponsor a dinner at a shelter where you are also able to participate in the food preparation and serving.

If you are considering making a charitable contribution this holiday season, give responsibly for maximum positive impact. Your investment in our community makes a difference – ensure it is the difference you want to make. List your values and kindness goals and think about your personal mission statement, then decide what social impact area you would like to support and search for and review agencies that align with your personal integrity and life path.

Those who give money to make themselves feel fulfilled or to simply feel like they have done “something” do make some positive contributions to charities that need their help. But the world needs more people who want to make a real and meaningful impact and who take the time to think about donations as investments. We need thinking donors who are not reactionary givers based on ad misericordiam and other appeals to emotion or fall victim to creative misdirection & manipulation in advertising, but rather who consider the needs in our community and donate in ways that represent themselves and their community well.

Thank you for your interest in making a difference in our world!

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12 Blankets to Warmies Project!

A talented anonymous donor gave 12 crochet blankets to support The Warmies Project!  The small blankets are perfect for the lap blanket request we received from a local hospice.  Thank you to everyone who has supported this initiative and provided cozy-warmies with personal notes to the recipients to warm their hearts as well!

To donate items or request items for your agency, visit https://beorlando.wordpress.com/the-warmies-project/ or email BEOrlando@live.com.

Click any image below for our Warmies Album!

New Blankets:

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Help us save IHWN!

Join & share this event: https://www.facebook.com/events/652277171530584

Help Now: http://www.gofundme.com/inharmony

From IHWN: In Harmony With Nature is an animal haven located in Orlando. Our property is in danger and must be purchased in order to keep our mission going and provide a safe environment for our animals. It would be devastating to these animals to loose the safe place they call home. We strive to be a special place for volunteers with a passion to connect with nature and to help make a difference in the lives of our rescued animals. The effort to care for these animals is our priority and we want to be able to continue to offer them a safe natural environment as well as to help the others that cross our path. We help neglected and abandoned animals including wolves and wolf-dogs. We have dogs and cats, pigs and parrots, and tortoises too. We provide rehab, re-homing, as well as sanctuary for the ones who need a permenant place. PLEASE HELP US TIME IS CRITICAL!

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