Victor Jung is a committed philanthropist from New York City

Category: Philanthropy Page 1 of 3

Accepting Crypto Donations

The world is changing, which means philanthropies and nonprofits are taking leaps forward alongside technology. These days, the financial and technological world has been captivated by cryptocurrency.

 

A cryptocurrency is essentially a digital form of payment. Typically, cryptocurrencies are not connected to any governing body or bank, allowing users to sell, trade, or buy them as they see fit.

 

Most recently, people have begun to experiment with other uses of cryptocurrencies. For example, it is not unheard of these days to find a job offering payment via cryptocurrency. Now the idea has trickled into the world of nonprofit organizations.

 

Crypto Donations

 

The crypto world hit news organizations worldwide hard when Ethereum co-founder Vatalik Buterin did something surprising. He donated approximately one billion dollars worth of cryptocurrency (shiba inu coin) to a Covid-19 relief fund in India.

 

Given the highly flexible nature of cryptocurrencies, this generous move was followed by a decrease in value towards the coin. This does not negate the generous action. Interestingly, it seems that Buterin was gifted the money (by the founders of the shiba inu coin), which he chose to pay forward.

 

Buterin’s move has opened the eyes of many, as nonprofits realize they must adapt to accepting new forms of donations. In recent years, thanks to the pandemic, many have already switched to accepting digital contributions. Now it is time to take that one step further.

 

There are many reasons why donors may choose to pay with cryptocurrency instead of more traditional funds. For one thing, some find cryptocurrencies to be more accessible. Additionally, the IRS has labeled cryptocurrencies as a form of property instead of currency. While that doesn’t sound like much, this changes the donations and charitable gifts regulations. Whether or not this will change remains to be seen.

 

What Nonprofits are Accepting Crypto Donations

 

One might be curious to learn which goodwill, societies, and nonprofit organizations have adapted to these new changes. As we already discussed, charitable organizations have already had to make many changes in recent years to survive the pandemic. Thus, they were already poised for further changes.

 

Children-centric organizations such as Save the Children, World Vision, and No Kid Hungry made great leaps this year when they accepted the digital currency. The American Cancer Society likewise accepts cryptocurrencies from donors, as does the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

 

The Water Project is another organization accepting cryptocurrencies. The Water Project aims to create easy access to clean and potable water in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

 

Unsurprisingly, many internet and tech-based organizations now collect cryptocurrencies as a form of donation. These organizations include Code to Inspire, The Electric Frontier Foundation, and the Tor Project.

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The Big Picture Benefits of Philanthropy

Philanthropy is an intensely popular industry that encourages people to give back to their communities. Whether through corporate giving or personal volunteerism, the more people give back each day, the more people in need get the help they’re looking for. In the short term, philanthropists gain instant gratification from knowing that they’ve done something good to help their fellow humans—this is what most people chase when beginning their philanthropic journeys. 

 

What many people don’t know is that practicing philanthropy can benefit the philanthropist, those they are helping, and society as a whole in the long run. No matter how people practice charitable giving, there’s no doubt that helping others is a crucial part of personal and professional success.

 

Take, for example, corporate giving. Many businesses take part in charitable giving through company-wide donations and giving their employees paid days off for volunteer work. This is crucial for company culture as it builds a strong sense of community between coworkers, increases productivity in the workplace, and forms loyalty among employees and their employers. 

 

Philanthropy can also give companies a huge PR boost when they act charitably. By donating money to non-profit organizations, businesses will gain positive exposure and improve their reputation with customers, employees, partners, and the community. The better a business’s reputation is, the more sales they’ll ultimately make—roughly 90% of customers will shop at businesses that actively support a cause. In the same grain, Millennial job seekers are much more likely to apply to a company that supports a cause because they’ll feel a sense of purpose while working there.

 

Charitable giving impacts people individually as well. Parents can teach their children about the importance of helping others when participating in philanthropy and build on a child’s emotional intelligence. Many non-profits are involved in projects and events, providing parents with another teaching moment for their children: they can teach their children how to set goals, manage money, and plan projects correctly. These children typically end up being adults who continue volunteering and helping their communities. 

 

Additionally, philanthropy can vastly improve a person’s health. The body is actively moving while volunteering and working, which keeps people active for however long they work the charity event. Helping others can increase a person’s mood, reduce stress, stave off loneliness, and combat symptoms of depression. 

 

No matter how people give back, it’s clear that philanthropy is beneficial to society in the long run. The more people participate, the happier they, and their communities, will be.

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COVID-19’s Impact on Donating

After more than a year and a half of the world feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, some industries remain limited, while others have adapted to continue progress one way or another. Donor behavior is one facet of philanthropy that has shifted for the better.

According to a survey conducted in March 2020 by Fidelity Charitable, 54% of donors planned to maintain their regular giving habits, while a surprising 25% planned to actually increase their donations. Younger generations have also pledged to donate more of their time and resources in the wake of the pandemic. 46% of the millennial generation, specifically, said they would start donating or continue to donate to COVID relief organizations.

In terms of what exactly donors aimed their philanthropic sights on, health-related nonprofits were of the most important. A majority of the population was concerned about the health and safety of frontline workers and people who were considered “at-risk.” However, knowing that nearly every industry in the world was impacted in one way or another, a portion of donors wanted to ensure that arts and entertainment did not fall by the wayside as well.

While the pandemic’s impact on donor habits has been trending positively, there are still a few fields that have been, and will continue to be, negatively impacted, such as volunteering. With social distancing being strongly encouraged, if not made mandatory, across the world, nonprofits that rely heavily on volunteers have seen a steep decline in their returns. Fidelity Charitable found that almost half (47%) of all volunteers stated that their time spent volunteering would either decrease or stop altogether amid the pandemic.

Another problem many donors have been facing is a general lack of information on where they should contribute in order to support combative efforts against COVID-19. One-third of the donors surveyed stated they were unsure what pipelines of philanthropy would be best to truly aid the fight in ending the pandemic. The number of confused donors only increased with age, as 35% of Baby Boomers stated they did not have enough information, versus 27% of millennials.

The fact that donations have continued and a clear need to help remains on the minds of donors is a positive sign in itself. For individuals not working in any facet of the healthcare industry, donating your time and finances is a guaranteed way to make an impact, as small as it might be.

A History of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund

The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund got its start thanks to a single visionary heart surgeon in 1988. Duncan Walker, a congenital cardiac surgeon in Leeds, realized that his facility was missing out on opportunities to save the lives of infants and children. Though there was new equipment available that could provide benefits, the Leeds hospitals could not afford to purchase these highly specified tools.

Therefore, Walker decided to set up a charity that would help fund pediatric cardiac surgery. The public immediately responded to this cause, and in just a year, enough money was raised to build a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Once Walker realized just how much the public cared about this important cause, he decided to continue running the charity even after the initial goal was met.

The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund continued to raise money for keeping the Leeds unit operational. This took on a whole new sense of urgency in 2011 when changes to legislation threatened to close the entire clinic. The issue arose after a scandal in the 1990s when several children died in the Bristol Royal Infirmary. Due to this problem, the government had decided to move all children’s heart surgeries to a few specialist clinics.

If this law was enacted, the Leeds unit would have to shut down. However, the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund launched the ‘Save Our Surgery’ campaign. With a petition of over 600,000 signatures and a massive demonstration, they generated national interest. When even this was not enough, the charity then used funds to start a legal action against the Department of Health. This ultimately proved successful in 2013, when a High Court judge ruled that the Leeds clinic deserved a more thorough analysis before closure.

In 2015, it was determined that the LGI actually did meet most of the national standards for pediatric heart surgery units, and the clinic was allowed to stay open. This whole saga showed just how successful the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund could be when the people of Leeds united for a cause. With pressure to continue meeting national standards, the charity has continued to run fundraising efforts. Recently, £500,000 was raised in a year to launch a revolutionary hybrid theatre that continues to help save lives.

Why Philanthropic Businesses Should Focus on Social Purpose

For decades, many corporations have had just one singular focus – increasing value for the shareholders.

Early education has taught us the value of philanthropy, but it has also been enshrined into several laws that permit shareholders to hold executives responsible for attempting to increase profits at any cost. Such a policy has led to some great innovations in technology, making the supply chains faster and more efficient than previous years. It has, unfortunately, also led to some of the most damaging exploitation, abuse, and neglect of the workers, communities, and environment that support these corporate giants.

The larger, social issues that they are primed to address or possibly prevent have disappeared from the list of priorities for corporate executives in pursuit of this singular goal. The belief was that, in time, the “market” would fix most of the bugs in the system. Businesses would be forced to improve working conditions, create safer products, and preserve the environment, because failing to do so would affect the bottom line. After nearly five decades of such a policy, people and (most importantly) corporations are waking up to the fallacy of that world view.

Vast income inequality, social upheaval, and environmental disasters have forced businesses to rethink the idea of shareholder primacy. Calls for a shift away from a purely profit-driven corporate culture to one that takes the business’s responsibility to the communities they serve and the planet are growing. Even investors are shifting their focus, with more and more investors putting money into sustainable, responsible, impact-driven investments.

Curiously, it is the handful of brave companies that have bucked that convention that has reported greater growth and stability. By creating a corporate culture that aims to promote an economy that serves everybody instead of just the shareholders, companies have outperformed the market by 5-7% annually. They are proof that being a genuinely philanthropic entity is profitable and sustainable.

When corporations shift focus and begin to examine the impact they can have on the larger community they are primed to come alongside government and NGOs to address serious issues. They can become change agents that not only enrich their shareholders but the communities in which they exist and serve. Not only are the communities happier and healthier, but the employees are also more engaged in their work and find greater meaning.

4 Rising Trends In Philanthropy

While technology itself is not the only factor affecting changing trends in philanthropy, it is certainly having an impact. In fact, technology is often the invisible driving force behind numerous changes that don’t inherently seem to be technological in nature. With that said, here are four upcoming trends in philanthropy.

  1. Personal Philanthropy

In the past, the majority of philanthropic efforts were conducted by large foundations that collected vast sums of money and directed them towards charitable endeavors. Today, everyone is getting in on the act. Examples of personal philanthropy include building community gardens or starting small businesses that employ felons or help the homeless climb their way off the streets.

  1. Micro-Giving

If a large organization such as the Red Cross received 500 checks for $5 each, it would cost them almost as much to simply process all those donations as they received in donations. With digital banking and transfers, however, the vast majority of even the smallest donation can be directly applied to their mission. In addition, with the rise of smaller philanthropic endeavors that may only need a few thousand dollars in contributions to accomplish their mission, smaller donations are having a much greater impact.

  1. Data-Driven Solutions

Advanced analytics were once the purview of the largest corporations and wealthiest businesses. Not only was data time consuming to collect but if often had to be compiled and analyzed by highly trained experts. Now, data is plentiful and can be gathered, compiled and analyzed by programs available to even the smallest organizations. Offering both data-driven solutions and hard analysis of results can help even small organizations attract a wealth of donors.

  1. Corporate Philanthropy

While corporate philanthropy is coming under attack for a wide range of reasons, it is still a driving force in the philanthropic world. In many cases, corporate philanthropy is seen as self-serving or merely solving problems the corporation itself is responsible for creating in the first place. For instance, Mark Zuckerburg’s Chan-Zuckerburg Foundation recently pledged $500 million for affordable housing in the Bay Area. In Menlo Park alone, home to Facebook’s headquarters, median home prices have more than doubled in the last 20 years to a whopping $2.5 million. This means that even a mid-level executive making a 6-figure salary would have difficulty making ends meet in the area.

What is Community Philanthropy and Why is it Important?

Traditionally, philanthropy has generally been defined as the act of giving large sums of money to charitable causes, or participating in fundraising activities. Through the years, however, philanthropy has changed as various models have succeeded or failed. Today, philanthropists are just as likely to create their own foundation as write a check and they are just as likely to give their expertise as their money.

Philanthropy is also changing on the outgoing end as well. Previous charitable models have often done far more to create dependency than self-sufficiency, which just leads to the need for more aid. In addition, when outsiders bring their money in, they often bring outside agendas as well, particularly when there is either a religious or commercial component. This has given rise to a new type of philanthropy known as community philanthropy.

Attempts to solve the water crisis in Africa offers a perfect example of why traditional charitable models don’t work. Early attempts to solve the crisis involved charitable organizations simply raising money to build a well in a village or community and building it. Initially, this cut down significantly on the amount of time it took each day for women and children to gather water, which theoretically should have given them more time to improve their conditions or get an education.

The problem is that whoever builds the well owns the well and whoever owns it is responsible for its care and maintenance. Eventually, the wells would break down because they were not being cared for or maintained because no one owned them. Eventually, organizations began to offer low-interest loans to build the well instead. This forced the community to come together to form a plan as to how to pay for the loan. The well itself became a source of income, which in turn provided both motivation and funding to maintain the well.

Once the loan is paid back, it also creates funding for another community to take out a loan to build a well. This means the same initial investment of dollars can create dozens of wells rather than a single well, all of which are cared for and maintained on an ongoing basis because they were bought and paid for by the community. Traditional philanthropy creates a black hole of never-ending need. Community philanthropy instead helps communities help themselves to pull themselves out of poverty.

A New Business Model Incorporating Philanthropy with a Solid Business Plan

For-profit businesses and non-profit organizations have always had opposing goals in the past. For-profit businesses have generally existed for one reason and one reason only: to make money. The more money they made, the better. This philosophy generally resulted in the excesses of the 80-hour workweeks that were often a badge of honor in the 1990s, and the out-of-control excesses that led to the collapse of the mortgage industry in the 2000s. Millennials, who grew up watching it all, have had enough.

Millennials are poised to be one of the most generous generations in history, in spite of being saddled early with more college debt than any generation in history. However, they are demanding more of the businesses they work for than to just turn a huge profit. Millennials want to make a difference in the world and they want their businesses to do the same. Conversely, they are also expecting more from non-profits.

In the past, non-profits have enjoyed the freedom to simply “do good” with very little oversight. Donors often gave because the mission was good, not necessarily because the organization produced significant results. The wealthy felt good about giving and the organizations felt good about “doing good” – even if the majority of their funding went towards overhead rather than actually accomplishing their mission. Once again, however, Millennials want to change that mindset.

They are demanding a better social mission from all types of businesses and more accountability from non-profits. This is giving rise to a triple bottom line in traditional businesses, and even a new breed of business sometimes referred to as a “social enterprise.” A social enterprise has a mission similar to non-profits of the past, but the same profitability goals as any other business. They may raise initial capital through donations to get their business up and running, but they don’t do so without solid business plans and a target date for becoming self-sufficient. While some may continue to rely on donor funding to some degree, most aim to at least gain no more than 40% of their income from donors.

Some examples of these social enterprises include TOM’S shoes that pioneered the idea of sending one item to a developing world for every one item purchased, and the Women’s Bean Project. The Women’s Bean Project hires and mentors formerly incarcerated women to make bean soups and other goods. These are just two of the many businesses that are bringing solid business practices to the world of philanthropy.

9 Philanthropic Businesses Bettering the World

Not every business is a cold-hearted machine solely dedicated to the pursuit of profits. Listed below are several businesses that are working to change the world in their own way.

Threaded

This inexpensive bedding brand uses all-natural materials to fabricate linens. Most of Threaded’s factories happen to be woman-run installations within India. These factories operate by recycling their water resources and solar cell electricity.

Globe In

This subscription box company offers handmade, fair trade home goods sourced from across the planet. GlobeIn has used its influence to feed starving American children, give jobs to the homeless of Malaysia, protect Rwandan elephants and ensured that disabled Cambodian artists receive their due.

Bright Endeavors

This Chicago-based enterprise seeks to help young homeless and impoverished mothers by way of a job training program, showing how to make soy candles.

Golden Door Spa

This California locale donates all of its proceeds to charities like the “I Have a Dream Foundation,” and the “Whole Planet Foundation.” This includes the money earned from their online store, as well.

Turkey on the Table

This company was started by a pair of moms with the goal of educating others on the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It accomplishes this mission by selling activity kits that encourage thankfulness throughout November. Every kit sold garners $1 to “Feeding America.”

Join Trafalgar

Trafalgar is a travel brand with its own nonprofit arm. Join Trafalgar’s objective is to support local communities across the globe in a way that sustains the region’s natural merits. Concerned travelers can look to Join Trafalgar’s “Be My Guest” program, which offers natively sourced food, contact with local artists, and a hands-on lesson about new cultures.

Alter Eco

This organic chocolatier repays the farmers and replants the lands where its product comes from. One of its products, the Alter Eco Holiday Gift Box, which offers a wide array of sumptuous confections, included the replanting of a tree within the Peruvian Amazon with every purchase.

The Body Shop

This chain of organic and cruelty-free cosmetics stores was among the first recipients of “Leaping Bunny” certification and recently signed a petition, containing over eight million signatures, sent to the United Nations to stop global animal testing.

Laughing Man Coffee

Thespian Hugh Jackman established this philanthropic company to ensure that coffee farmers are fairly paid and can grow their crops in sustainable ways around the world.

How Fighting Child Poverty is Both an Ethical and Economical Responsibility

Poverty remains one of the biggest issues facing many Americans today. Thousands of people, including children, suffer year after year because they do not have the financial means to sustain an adequate lifestyle. Children have been one unfortunate target of poverty, as approximately one in five children grows up poor. However, the issue of poverty has impacted specific demographics harder than others.

Children of color have proven to be disproportionately poorer than their counterparts, and they comprise 70 percent of the poor children population. In addition, black children are projected to become the majority in 2020. The issue of poverty stems beyond these numbers, however, because poverty is color-blind. This calls for an inherent ethical responsibility to fix the poverty situation.

Study after study has demonstrated that poverty has an adversely negative impact on the development of children, and it can impact their ability to become successful when they grow up. This could mean not getting a decent job or not getting an adequate education. However, the impact of poverty can also affect one’s physical development as well. Being poor means they may not be able to have adequate nutrition. This can make them more susceptible to numerous infections or important deficiencies in their body that can affect their health.

This country owes it to those who do not have opportunities to not jeopardize the future of many Americans. While many people have the fortunate reality of escaping poverty, they are offset by those who enter into that same situation. The issue is further exacerbated by the fact that many people work a full-time schedule, and are just barely able to make ends meet. That should not be the case, especially considering the millions upon billions of dollars that the country spends on other pursuits such as military defense recklessly.

The leaders of this country who have the majority of wealth and cannot possibly relate the struggles of those who do not know when the next meal is coming have to be held to a higher standard. It is contingent upon leaders of every form of government to ensure that its citizens are given ample opportunity to succeed in life. The issue of poverty can be fixed, but the desire to devise a means to fix it is what’s missing.

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