The Importance of Background Checking Your Charity Donations

As socially conscious individuals, we all make our efforts to contribute to just and right causes. Of course, this contribution process is different for each and every one of us, but giving back has in many ways become a socially expected activity—and rightly so. There are an endless number of causes, charities, organizations, and programs out there that deserve our interest as a society and benefit from our generous donations. That being said, it’s important that we really examine where our money and charitable donations are going when we make them. Yes, there are some charitable organizations that are dishonest about their givings, but also, oftentimes our donations aren’t being used in exactly the way we imagine. Donating and contributing to a cause is important—just be sure you understand how your money and contributions are being utilized. Follow these steps to better understand the organizations you dedicate your time Read more…

Nike: Working Towards a Better World

Sports have always been an important part of my life.

Whether it’s basketball, baseball, tennis, football, swimming, running or soccer, I’ve always been involved in sports in some aspect or the other.

Playing sports has kept me fit and out of trouble. It’s taught me individual (strength, perseverance) & team (interpersonal, collaboration) skills.

Most importantly, sports have taught me responsibility.

My actions (big or small), always have an impact on myself, teammates and the game. By being accountable, it’s forced me to always strive to become better.

Better World

Nike is a brand that’s synonymous with sports.

Seek high performance in any sport, and you’ll find a Nike product that is specifically designed to help you do better.

In recent years however, Nike has opened up its “better” focus towards positively impacting society, and the environment.

Earlier this year, Nike launched its corporate responsibility micro-site “Nike: Better World” with one mission: Make the world better through sport.

Start of by Read more…

Paint It (RED)

What’s found in stores, socially responsible, and (RED) all over?

In our society, shopping has become somewhat of a sport. Black Friday deal-hunting crowds make headlines and entire television shows are dedicated to the premise of coupon collecting. Surely we are all motivated by getting the most ‘bang for our buck’. So, what about the possibility of changing a life while you pick up a new t-shirt? Funding the donation of antiretroviral drugs to AIDS inflicted communities at the same time you buy a new iPod? To me that seems like the ultimate bargain.

This is the very premise of (RED). (RED) is all about letting our purchasing power speak for those who do not have it. It’s about recognizing our ability to choose what we buy and picking the product that can bring about positive change.

In the beginning

(RED) was created by musical artist Bono in conjunction with Bob Shriver, activist and politician. It came Read more…

Acumen Fund: Investments not Grants, Building Business Models to Solve the World’s Problems

This story begins with Jacqueline Novogratz’s favourite blue sweater…

Jacqueline Novogratz: Founder of Acumen Fund

And so this amazing tale inspired Jacqueline’s ambitious venture into social good with her creation of Acumen Fund: an organization dedicated to investing in social entrepreneurs and enterprises focused on providing critical goods to the world’s poor.

Investing Patient Capital in Social Entrepreneurs

By using the idea of patient capital (where investors are willing to make a financial investment in a business with no expectation of turning a quick profit) and investing this into people trying to solve vital problems for the poor in their region, this essentially creates a system that combines both businesses (whose bottom line is profit) and philanthropy (a focus on creating a positive impact on society), ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty.

Since a social entrepreneur’s model is based on not one but three bottom lines – People (society), Planet (the environment) & Profit Read more…

FiveByTwenty: Coca-Cola’s Pledge to Empower Women

When I say ‘Coca-Cola’s reputation’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Coca-Cola may not have the greatest reputation for its business practices around the world, but for thousands of women in many developing countries, the Company’s business decisions aren’t looking so unjust!

When It All Started

At the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Meeting in New York City, Coca-Cola’s CEO Muhtar Kent announced the Company’s FiveByTwenty project – their pledge to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs in the developing world by 2020. The idea is to integrate profit-making with local community support, not through charity, but through innovative and inclusive business models. For women entrepreneurs around the world, this means access to the skills training, small-business loans and professional networks that are crucial to the prospect of a bright future for themselves and their families.

By 2020, The Coca-Cola Company aims to partner with civil society and other private sector actors Read more…

Amex Launches Facebook “Friends of Japan,” Supporting Earthquake Victims

The earthquake in Japan occurred months ago, but there are still many areas of the country that need support. Last month, American Express set out to reignite attention and support for the relief efforts by launching “Friends of Japan,” its first-ever global social media program on Facebook.

Friends of Japan is a social, word-of-mouth campaign that builds upon previous contributions and fundraising activities by Amex since the disaster struck.

The campaign encourages people from around the world to share messages of hope through the Amex Facebook page (facebook.com/americanexpressjapan). Visitors from around the world will receive a customized experience based on their location, as the “Friends of Japan” area on the page will be translated into Chinese, English, French, German, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.

Visitors can select one of four messages or create their own messages of hope for Japan, in the form of a virtual postcard. American Express will donate $1 for every Read more…

Save The Music Foundation: Empowering Kids to Climb The Charts

I believe every kid wants to be a rock star.

Whether it’s a drummer, the singer, the sound engineer or even perhaps the band’s tour manager, since the advent of MTV and the music video revolution, kids everywhere have been subjected to motivations of being the next Beyonce/Ozzy Osbourne. However, the odds are heavily in favour of those with money on their side, to buy musical equipment and fund their dreams.

This is not fair. Dreams are for everybody.

The Reality Star

Seeking to target older demographics looking for softer pop music, VH1 was created in 1985 as a New York City venture aimed at building on the success of MTV’s music video revolution. The overall focus on VH1 is primarily that of popular music, while the network has moved into the reality television market.

Creating music is free. However the means of producing such creative art is not.

In many cases, music educational programs have Read more…

The Brand that Keeps on Giving: Why Starbucks is #1 on the Net

I feel a sense of irony sitting here at my local Starbucks drinking my skinny vanilla latte, writing about why Starbucks is at the top. But honestly, it’s where I go to write all my articles.

So…Why Starbucks?

Being in a Starbucks makes me feel good.

Be it the fresh “fair trade” coffee served in a recycled cup telling me that I’m a “pioneer” for using it. My cup holder letting me know that it’s also made of recycled materials. The napkin informing me that Starbucks doesn’t use trans fats, artificial flavours or high-fructose corn syrups in my brown bagel.

I feel very socially responsible buying coffee from Starbucks.

However, I’m at the end of the line…Starbucks’ goodness actually begins with their mission statement.

“We’ve always believed that businesses can – and should – have a positive impact on the communities they serve. So ever since we opened our first store in 1971, we dedicated ourselves Read more…