Change Makers: The Salvation Army

Change Makers: The Salvation Army

These responses were provided by The Salvation Army. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your organization!

Tell us about The Salvation Army

We’ve been helping people for more than 150 years! We were founded by a man named William Booth who was a bit of a rebel. He challenged tradition for the sake of action and made a huge difference in the lives of people in need. As we look ahead into the next 150 years, we take that tenacity with us.

The Salvation Army

What is your organization’s overall mission?

Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.  It is our faith that motivates the work that we do, sharing the love that we’ve received so generously.

What are a few goals your organization has been focusing on this year?

We’re definitely focused on ways to connect with the community, whether that’s creating new opportunities to meet the specific needs of your hometown or finding new ways for people to volunteer or give online.  Otherwise, we’re doing what we’ve always done, which includes helping disaster survivors, addressing food insecurity, overcoming poverty, assisting the unemployed, combating addiction, loving the elderly and above all sharing God’s love for everyone.

The Salvation Army

Can you discuss some of your major successes?

Success in Salvation Army terms is the smile on the face of a mother who can now feed her child; the elderly man who received sustenance and a shoulder to cry on.  Over the past year, we’ve continued to serve and rebuild in communities that were impacted by last year’s disasters.  Recovery is a process that lasts long after the news crews leave.  We also recently opened several homes and made available incredible resources for human trafficking survivors.

The Salvation Army

Can you share a few alarming stats that have low awareness?

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery—a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 40.3 million people around the world.

What can we do in our daily lives to help support your cause?

Take a moment to recognize the need around you.  There are hurting people in need of your care and kindness and you can start in your own homes and workplaces.  A warm smile and a genuine listening ear can go so far to create connection and build hope. Consider an ongoing donation to The Salvation Army as a way of supporting your neighbors in need.

The Salvation Army

How important are donors for the The Salvation Army?

First, we assess the needs of each community in which we serve. We work to understand the obstacles and challenges native to that area. Next, we build local programs designed to offer immediate relief, short-term care, and long-term growth in the areas that will best benefit the community. Then, we offer the local programs to the local community, working to continually optimize their efficacy via spiritual, physical, and emotional service. Without the support of the donor, none of this would be possible.

The Salvation Army

What has been your experience with Giving Assistant?

We’re excited to be a part of it and I love seeing the flag pop up when I go to new sites. It gives me so much respect for the brands I’m shopping. I’m also pleasantly surprised to see how many brands are participating!

Want to make recurring donations to The Salvation Army? Shop at Giving Assistant’s 3,000+ trusted brands and donate a percentage of your cash back to the The Salvation Army.

Giving Week | Double Cash Back, Double Giving Event

Giving Week | Double Cash Back, Double Giving Event

Tis’ the season to be giving…and what better time to catapult into the charitable season than on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving? Giving Tuesday is a global phenomenon, where end-of-the-year giving and holiday donations are at an all-time high. But, here at Giving Assistant, instead of having just one day to collect extra karma points, you get an entire week with our Double Cash Back, Double Giving Event. From November 27 to December 3, spread out your generosity much farther with the help of double cashback from participating stores/brands (like the ones listed below), which means charities of your choice get to enjoy double the donations this holiday season.

Oakley | up to 12% cash back

Home to Oakley Authentic Prescription lenses; Limited Edition MotoGP shades; the ultra-lightweight Women’s Training Collection; and eyewear offering PRIZM™, the brand’s latest lens technology, Oakley inventory offers much more than their iconic polarized sunglasses and sports-ready eyewear. You’ll find custom options, motocross goggles, and a handful of creative collections, like the winterfied, OneObsession Snow Collection. There’s also an impressive selection of jackets, hoodies, snow helmets, backpacks, and boardshorts that you can earn double cashback on.

QVC | up to 8% cash back

Offering double cash back on the hottest brands in clothing, accessories, shoes, bags, electronics and many other gift-giving standouts, QVC has something for everyone on your holiday list. It’s here that you’ll find Vitamixes on sale; blindingly affordable Diamonique jewelry; Amazon deals galore; and so many new arrivals, it’ll make your head spin. Just some of the brands to look forward to on a QVC shopping spree include FitBit, Beats by Dr. Dre, Samsung, Sketchers, Dooney & Bourke, Dyson, Apple, and IT Cosmetics.

MR PORTER | up to 12% cash back

The online oasis of MR PORTER is packed with award-winning menswear, accessories and gifts that boast over 450 worldwide fashion statements at any given time. Constantly adding new items three times a week, you’ll find Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gucci, and Tom Ford sold alongside the likes of limited edition Pirelli watches, Luis Morais diamond cuffs, Brunello Cucinelli leather/suede sneakers, and Bottega Veneta cufflinks. Here’s your chance to double your cashback on the ultimate holiday splurge!

COS | up to 12% cash back

Invest in clothing that stylishly stands the test of time, and your smart shopping skills will not only stretch your wardrobe’s reach out a little farther, but also saves money. COS is a wizard at transforming modern designs to create functional pieces oozing with longevity that include solid color, wool wrap cardigans; simply striped pajamas; uncomplicated polos; and cashmere scarfs. The brand caters to both men and women, and there’s even a Baby Collection to browse with many hammydown-worthy gems. A versatile, flexible wardrobe is only fingertips away…just like the double the cashback savings you’ll earn.

Zenni Optical | up to 2% cash back

Holiday lights won’t be the only thing sparkling this season. A new pair of eyewear not only enhances the look of your eyes, but can also really let your personality shine. With new arrivals at every turn, an inventory stocked with affordably-priced, optical pizzazz offers plenty of options that encourage men, women and kids to embrace the latest eyewear trends. Shop vintage-style stunners, gemstone embellishments, oval lens, studded frames, as well as bold colors and patterns – and that’s just a taste of what to expect from Zenni Optical.

Double the Donation to the Nonprofit of Your Choice

When looking for a good cause to send 1-100% of your doubled, cash back windfall to as an automatic donation, we’d like to introduce you to the following organizations:

Pencils of Promise: The global initiative of Pencils of Promise concentrates on increasing access to quality education through building schools, supporting teachers, and improving literacy rates. As a result, the organization’s efforts have helped reduce poverty, prevent disease, empower women, and advance education goals in Ghana, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Laos. And, 100% of your online donation goes towards PoP programs. That’s because the nonprofit keeps their operation afloat solely through private donors and charity events.

Camp Kesem: Operating free summer camps for children impacted by a parent’s cancer, Camp Kesem is a Stanford University-founded program fueled by the passion of college student leaders. Since 2000, Kesem has increased its ability to serve more kids, expanding to over 100 chapters in 40 states throughout the U.S. In 2017, over 100 week-long sessions were held at Camp Kesem, with more than 7,000 children being able to attend. That’s 10 times the number of children the camp could support ten years ago!

Salvation Army: Investing in and building programs for those touched by poverty, natural disasters, abuse, hunger, homelessness and addiction, the Salvation Army is ‘dedicated to doing the most good’ for communities and individuals in distress. Helping those is need since 1865, their influence impacts the lives of approximately 25 million Americans annually, with a presence felt in 130 countries across the globe.

Environmental Action Committee of West Marin: Protecting an area that boasts a fascinating combination of land, water and biodiversity attracting over 2 million visitors annually, the EAC plays an important role in sustaining the unique natural resources of West Marin. Your donation goes towards the education and environmental advocacy programs of one of the only local organizations of its kind to take on extensive (sometimes decades-long) campaigns that address threats to the environment.

After participating in our Double Cash Back, Double Giving event, don’t forget to keep an eye out for more holiday deals and steals with the help of our Giving Assistant Button, which you can download now, if you haven’t already.

Happy shopping, happy giving!

Nonprofit Highlight: Drawn from Valor & The Power of Animation

Nonprofit Highlight: Drawn from Valor & The Power of Animation

This post is authored by Drawn from Valor, a partnered nonprofit. 

Let us paint a picture for you: Imagine that you have a child or a family member who has been displaying unusual health symptoms. You take them to the doctor and you wait for test results. You are anxious and scared because you just want to help them feel better. Then, you get the diagnosis. It’s Type 1 diabetes. Now, the doctor gives you a lot of information, all of which you apparently have to learn right now. It seems like a whole new language! How can anyone learn all of this? What if you make a mistake?

Enter Drawn from Valor. Drawn from Valor is a nonprofit animation studio that uses the power of animation to educate and empower children and families who are facing life changing physical or mental health issues. It’s our goal to help them live longer, happier, healthier lives by providing them with the resources they need to understand their conditions.

Drawn From Valor

WHAT HAVE WE DONE SO FAR?

Drawn from Valor’s first project, Kara and the (Not So) Dire Beastie was released in July 2018 as part of a new and innovative tool to help kids and their family members learn about Type 1 diabetes. The New Onset Diabetes Educator (NODE) contains an interactive eBook that tells the story of Kara, a young girl who has just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Through NODE, we follow Kara on an 8-episode animated journey of discovery as she learns to manage her condition. 

Drawn From Valor

Her adventures bring her into contact with new friends like Sir Rynge and the RedBlooded Knight who help her care for her pal, the Dire Beastie (a play on words for diabetes). The “Beastie” represents a cell in the body. He needs a special key, which stands in for insulin, to unlock his mouth so he can eat. Normally, he is a happy blue Beastie, roaming the kingdom eating “glueclose” (i.e., glucose). He becomes “Dire” when the keys go missing. At the end of the story, when Kara learns how to manage her diabetes, she realizes the Beastie is not so dire. Our hope is that children following along will feel the same way, will have learned the disease is manageable, and know they can live full, happy lives with Type 1 diabetes. You can learn more about Kara and her adventures here.

WHY ANIMATION AND WHY ARE WE EXCITED ABOUT GIVING ASSISTANT?

Studies have shown that children learn and understand material better and at a more rapid pace when it is presented in animated form. Additionally, because of their visual nature, animations are particularly well-suited for explaining topics and issues that may be hard to understand otherwise. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; one second of animation can literally be up to 30 pictures or more.

Drawn From Valor

Animation is very expensive to create. It costs us approximately $225 per second…or nearly $94,500 for a 7-minute episode. While the cost of producing animated videos is high, they can help countless people, and we offer the animations for free on our website and across social media

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) estimates that 40,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes annually. If each of those patients used Giving Assistant and raised $2.37 through their purchases, together they could fund an entire series!

WHAT IS NEXT FOR DRAWN FROM VALOR?

While we have several projects planned, we are currently focusing on The Tales of the Golden Acorn, a series of free animated short films being created to help educate and empower young people who are directly or indirectly impacted by trauma. The series focuses on the effects, issues, and strategies for living with trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a family setting. 

While the subject matter is weighty and serious, the tales have been created specifically for young people – and are designed to bring the viewer on a journey of adventure and wonder as they learn.

Ultimately, the goal of Drawn from Valor is to empower families to transform their lives for the better regardless of the health challenges they may face. We hope that you’ll select us as your nonprofit of choice on Giving Assistant’s platform.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness & How You Can Support

Breast Cancer Awareness & How You Can Support

Every year, between October 1 and October 31, breast cancer awareness is at an all-time high as people from all walks of life join forces to spread the word about the second most common cancer affecting American women. Statistics cite that about 1 in 8 females in the U.S. will receive a diagnosis for the disease over the course of a lifetime, which is what makes Breast Cancer Awareness Month such a significant campaign. The widespread actions that follow not only call attention to the importance of early detection and prevention, but also raise money for research and education.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Because of this, survival rates continue to soar, and cancer of the breast is now known as one of the most treatable forms of the disease.

In October, fundraising walks, runs and other events are held across the country, which provide much-needed support to charities and non-profit organizations at the forefront of finding a cure, assisting patients and their families, as well as educating the public.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As a shopper, you also have the ability to give to a good cause though the items you buy online. Giving Assistant is a platform that rewards you with a percentage back from the purchases you make when shopping your favorite brands. You can donate 1% to 100% of the cash back you earn towards supporting a breast cancer-focused nonprofit, just like the ones listed below:

Keep A Breast

Keep A Breast concentrates on helping young people from around the world reach a healthy level of confidence, physical self-awareness, and knowledge related to proactive prevention against breast cancer. The organization’s success has shined through in multiple initiatives and programs that include the “i love boobies!” campaign, the “Check Yourself! app,” and breast cast art exhibitions.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer

Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer has already connected more than 10,000 women to a “mother volunteer” who has already experienced the breast cancer fight with their daughter. The nonprofit makes every effort to ensure women affected by breast cancer have an individual support system, including access to help from those familiar with specific types of treatment, such as bone marrow or stem cell transplants.

Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer

Breast Treatment Task Force

The Breast Treatment Task Force fights on behalf of New York City residents that are without health insurance, and in need of diagnostic follow-ups and treatment for breast cancer. They also educate patients and assist them in finding adequate care through a variety of prevention programs, community referrals, and free mammogram screenings.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there’s plenty of ways to make a difference! Get out there and spread the word about mammograms, breast exams and early detection. Encourage friends and family to get checked out. Volunteer at local events. In this fight, all contributions in time, compassion and charitable donations go a long way.

Nonprofit Spotlight: Play Time is Essential For Quality Education [Right To Play]

Nonprofit Spotlight: Play Time is Essential For Quality Education [Right To Play]

There’s a lot a child can learn and gain when they’re at play. In between the thrills, joyful excitement, exercise and fun enjoyed at a typical playground, life lessons await at every turn. Games and activities have the capacity to protect, inform and empower both kids and adults…something Right To Play knows all too well. This worldwide organization harnesses the power of educational games to uplift and improve the lives of children in need.

Right to Play

Founded by four-time Olympic gold medalist Johann Olav Koss, local volunteer coaches and staff across the globe have been managing programs since 2000 – all working towards the same goal – to help build life skills and healthy, safe environments for youths living throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. In addition to the physical health benefits that exercise and games provide, there’s a social and emotional component to Right To Play that extends beyond “child’s play.” The beneficial, long-lasting change that follows energizes families and entire communities.   

Each week, approximately 1.9 million children around the world benefit from Right To Play programs, which touch upon the following aspects:

Connecting More Children to Quality Education

Right To Play fills classrooms with eager-to-learn students through the efforts of community and youth leaders that work towards inspiring children to enroll in school and regularly participate in class. Some Junior Leaders in the community are as young as eight years old!

Right to Play

Right To Play trains local teachers and coaches on how to make education more exciting, enticing and inviting. Leadership clubs also form at the school level.

As a result, Right To Play programs have seen attendance rates soar and have led to children staying engaged, focused, and active longer at school. They’re looking forward to taking their seat, raising their hands, and contributing to program activities. It’s this kind of energy that trickles down to the next generation of students! In just three short months, one Right To Play Leadership Club encouraged an impressive 78 children to enroll and attend school every day.

Improving Youth and Community Health

Anyone up for a game of ‘Mosquito Tag?’ The smiles on the faces of children at play are far-reaching, but Right To Play programs are so much more than encouraging everyday exercise. They use games and play activities to empower kids with the skills, knowledge and motivation needed to avoid preventable disease. Coaches are trained to establish open lines of communication and dialogue with kids on significant, local health issues, such as malaria, HIV and AIDS, sexual health, and everyday hygiene practices. Children learn essential life-saving lessons and form healthy habits (like how to use a mosquito net or how to properly wash their hands). For instance, a game of ‘Water Relay’ stresses the importance of hand washing and cleanliness that keeps families, classmates, and themselves healthier.

Building Peaceful Communities

The delight heard in the laugh of a child who’s enthralled in play is literally contagious. It’s the kind of positive vibes that Right To Play sends out through their programs. This powerful energy invigorates communities, and helps create a happier, more peaceful environment that everyone can thrive better in.

Right to Play

A game of Right To Play ‘Protector Dodgeball’ comes with a twist. The goal isn’t to hit an opponent; it’s all about protecting teammates. ‘Volley Tennis’ concentrates on building communication skills, and places less emphasis on how many points are scored.

From the bliss of scoring their first soccer goal to the warmth felt when thoughtful teamwork pays off, these are the kinds of feelings that everyone (no matter their ethnicity, culture or community barriers they face) can appreciate, enjoy, and achieve growth from. Skills learned from play doesn’t always involve hand-eye coordination, speed and accuracy, it’s the lessons learned along the way that improves the emotional and social health of participants. In Pakistan, Right To Play introduces girls to games and activities that help them clear gender and cultural hurdles within their communities.

Right to Play

Right To Play has offices in the United States, Canada, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The impact of their programs is increasingly felt across the world, and thrives off of the actions of volunteers, partnerships, athlete ambassadors (including more than 300 professional and Olympic sports figures), and donations ranging from the likes of corporations to savvy shoppers, like you.

Right to Play

Simply select Right To Play as your nonprofit of choice when donating all or a portion of your cash back savings towards enriching the lives of youths with programs centered on building teamwork, self-esteem, safety, and a better quality of life.

And, if you haven’t already, downloading the Giving Assistant Button is an excellent way to stay on top of the latest deals and discounts that can help your donation to Right To Play grow.

How Conquering 325 Miles Helped Raise $200k for Zambia

How Conquering 325 Miles Helped Raise $200k for Zambia

This post was written by Luis Sanchez, Engineering Manager at Giving Assistant. Photo credit: R.J. Peña.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able travel the world and experience many of the wonders it has to offer.

However, my travels have also shown me the ugly reality of poverty and social injustice on this planet firsthand.

For this reason, I decided last year that I needed to do something more meaningful with my travels. I wasn’t sure how to find an organization that would merge my love for adventure travel with philanthropy, until one evening, when my friend Ben invited my partner Raul and me to happy hour in San Francisco’s Castro district.

Taking the leap

After a couple of drinks, Ben told us that he was on the board of a nonprofit organization named Chooda, which organized a yearly fundraising bike ride in Zambia. He also mentioned that the funds collected from the bike ride go directly to three fantastic nonprofit organizations doing remarkable work in this part of the world, ranging from economic empowerment of women and girls, to providing treatment and education for those affected by the HIV pandemic.

After chit-chatting for a bit, Ben popped the question.

“You guys should join us for the biking trip in Zambia next year!”

“Yes!” I immediately responded. “I’d love to!”

That same night, Raul and I went home, went to Chooda’s website, paid the registration fee for the biking trip, and went to bed.

The next morning when I woke up, the first thought in my mind was:

“What have I done? I don’t even have a bike!”

However, after seeing these statistics and reading about the suffering of the people of Zambia, I knew I wanted to honor my commitment:

  • 1 in 8 adults in Zambia are infected with HIV.
  • 64% of the total population lives below the poverty line, rising up to 80% in rural areas.
  • Life expectancy is just 58.1 years—however, this is a considerable increase from the 2012 life expectancy of 49.4 years, thanks in part to improved access to antiretroviral treatments.

Training for a challenge, from 0 to 325 miles

A few weeks later, I got my first-ever road bike and started training. Initially, I only rode my bike within San Francisco city limits. Eventually, Raul and I trained more, riding across The Golden Gate Bridge and conquering the Marin Headlands.

As a new rider, these were great achievements for me. However, I still had another unfamiliar mountain to conquer:

I needed to raise a minimum of $4000 to even qualify to participate in the ride!

Because I work at Giving Assistant, where we help over 17,000 nonprofit organizations like Chooda, I felt like I understood some of the difficulties nonprofits faced when it came to fundraising.

Then I realized, while working to raise donations to qualify for this bike ride, just how challenging fundraising can be! (I also learned that donors can come from very surprising places—one of my first donors was from a friend in Switzerland who I hadn’t caught up with in over 15 years.)

My fundraising efforts involved social media, hosting an event at a bar, doing toastmasters presentations about Zambia, asking for donations at San Francisco’s AT&T ballpark before a Giants game, and peer-to-peer fundraising through Giving Assistant.

After only a few months, I hit the required $4,000 and surpassed my personal fundraising efforts. I am even more proud to report that collectively, all 38 riders committed to this Zambia biking adventure raised over $200,000 towards Chooda’s mission.

As for me: About 20% of my donations came from online shopping through Giving Assistant! Just normal online shoppers, donating the cash back they earned in small, yet very meaningful amounts. Below is a graph showcasing the growth of my donations between November 2017 all the way into June 2018.

Giving Assistant

Arriving in Zambia

The big day came, and I started my long journey to Zambia. It took 4 flights, and over 26 hours of flying time—not counting connecting times! On my last leg from Johannesburg to Lusaka, I felt excited but a bit overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to expect on arrival, but as soon as I landed, I was welcomed by the most wonderful smiles.

That night, I went to the campsite and met some of my fellow riders. Initially, I was a bit intimidated. Most of these riders were passionate bikers who had done multiple day-long fundraising rides like the AIDS Life Cycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles. As for myself, I had still never ridden for multiple days at once. Again, I was feeling under-trained and overwhelmed about my decision to take on this endeavor.

The next day, we had the opportunity to meet some of the fundraiser’s beneficiaries. Together, we built bikes at World Bicycle Relief that were given to boys and girls in rural areas to help provide them with better, more reliable access to education. Unfortunately, we learned, some kids in Zambia have to walk up to 10 miles each day to get to and from school. We also learned that 70% of the bikes that get built and donated go to girls, while only 30% go to boys.

The reason for this is that girls are tasked with many more domestic chores than boys. Consequently, they fall behind because of the cultural obstacles they face. In many villages, it is common for girls to arrive at school late and tired if they arrive at all. By providing bicycles to children, especially girls, we can empower them with knowledge and ultimately, change the course of their lives.

The adventure begins!

The next day was our first day on our bikes. I felt excited to be on the road. The moment we started riding, kids ran up from all over the place. They were excited to see us there! We were greeted with high fives, cheers and smiles along the journey. These beautiful smiles kept me going.

It helped that approximately every 13 miles, we made a pit-stop for water and snacks. We would also wait for the last rider to get there before resuming the next leg of the journey. By breaking the trip into 13-mile legs, the 325-mile journey felt more digestible to my brain, which only had to focus on finishing 13 miles at a time!

My fellow riders were also phenomenal. We checked on each other throughout the ride to make sure we were all feeling well. One day, when my new friend Kelly asked me if I was doing okay during the ride, I responded by saying, “Yes! Thank you.” She responded to my “thank you” with: “Of course! We’re all in this together!”

Every night we gathered for dinner and a fireside chat. During these chats, we’d share stories of our hard days on the bike saddle. There was the day we helped pump water from a well, and moments when locals would add us to Facebook. At dinner, we’d also exchange the pictures and selfies we took during that day’s ride.

After a week on dirt and sandy rural roads, our trip came to an end. After crossing the final line at the majestic Victoria Falls, I felt an amazing feeling of accomplishment.

However, I also felt a bit sad that such an amazing opportunity had come to an end. Africa had changed me. Today, more than ever, I feel as though having a positive social impact on our global community is not so much a choice as it is our collective responsibility.

One community of givers—one big impact

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to my cause. If you are currently fundraising for a registered nonprofit, I strongly encourage you to use Giving Assistant’s platform through your friends’ and families’ everyday online shopping. Email Giving Assistant’s nonprofit team at nonprofits@givingassistant.org and they will be more than happy to assist you with your personal fundraiser!