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Entries in Donations (15)

Sunday
Apr212013

Online Fundraising Raises Money Quickly for Boston Bombing Victims

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- The recovery process for many victims of the Boston Marathon bombing will be slow, arduous and expensive. Numerous victims suffered severe injuries to their lower limbs, with multiple patients having one or more amputations.

But the victims will not be without financial help as they recover.

The public outpouring of support to Boston after the bombings has also translated monetarily, with millions of dollars in donations for victims already made. More than $10 million has been raised for the victims and their families through the One Fund Boston. More than $1 million more has been raised through individual online fundraising sites for victims.

The creation of the One Fund Boston was announced Tuesday by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The fund is designed to streamline donations into one account, which will then be divvied up to victims and their families.

"I am humbled by the outpouring of support by the business community and individuals who are united in their desire to help," Patrick said in a statement. "At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people."

Kenneth Feinberg, who also oversaw the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund and the victim funds for the Aurora, Colo., shooting, has been tapped to administer the project.

Multiple corporations have pledged to donate, including the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins and Bank of America. Adidas has pledged to donate all profits from Boston Marathon merchandise to the fund.

While donations to the One Fund Boston are still coming in, it is unclear when the money will be distributed to victims and their families.

For immediate access to funds, family and friends of victims have started using online fundraising sites to help with mounting medical bills and other expenses. Websites such as GoFundMe.com and GiveForward.com allow users to raise money very quickly and are paid out at the end of the scheduled fundraising drive.

Brooke Gibbs used GoFundMe.com to raise more than $300,000 from 7,906 users in just three days for Jeff Bauman Jr. A graphic photograph of Bauman, who lost both of his lower legs in the bombing, made headlines after the attack.

"We want to help in every which way we possibly can to get Bauman back on track as soon as possible," Gibbs wrote in a post. "Medical bills are going to start rolling in, let's get a head start on helping out Bauman and his family!"

According to a study conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management in 2011, prosthetics are covered by 70 percent to 75 percent of employer-sponsored insurance plans. For those who are not covered by insurance, prosthetics can cost approximately $40,000 per limb.

Gibb's fundraising goal for Bauman is $1 million.

Alyssa Carter also used the site to create a page for Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, a mother and daughter injured the blast. Sydney and Celeste Corcoran were both standing near the finish line when the bombs went off. Celeste Corcoran lost both of her lower legs and Sydney Corcoran had shrapnel embedded in her legs.

"There is a long road ahead -- both physically and emotionally -- and we're hoping to relieve some of the financial burden by raising funds in their name," Carter said in a post.

The fundraising page for the mother and daughter had raised more than $450,000 from a goal of $750,000 as of Saturday.

On GiveForward.com, a dedicated Boston Support Page let users choose between supporting 13 families affected by the bombing. Collectively they have currently raised $719,957.

The sites also have staff members that watch the fundraisers and contact users to ensure the websites are not used to support scams. According to Nate St. Pierre, the director of communications at GiveForward.com, the website has cancelled about 20 attempted fundraisers.

Both websites deduct money from transactions, the website GoFundMe.com deducts 5 percent from every donation and GiveForward.com deducts 7 percent from every transaction.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan212013

Corporate Cash Helps Fund Obama Inauguration Festivities

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In reversing President Obama's position on accepting corporate sponsors for this weekend's official inaugural festivities, the official inaugural committee has permitted a number of companies with interests pending before the federal government to donate.

They include such familiar blue chip names as AT&T, Microsoft and Coca Cola, but also such lesser-known companies as United Therapeutics, a biotech firm based in Silver Spring, Maryland.

United Therapeutics has in recent years been lobbying the Food and Drug Administration, so far without great succes, to grant approval of a drug the company developed to treat a lung disorder. 

In October, when an FDA ruling questioned whether the oral version of the drug did anything to slow the progress of pulmonary arterial hypertension, the company's CEO told reporters that company executives would "continue using our best efforts to gain approval [of the version of the drug] … and we will focus on doing so within the next four years."

How political contributions figure into the company's strategy is unclear.  Andrew Fisher, the company's Chief Strategic Officer and Deputy General Counsel told ABC News in an email, "We're not providing any comment on this topic."

But United Therapeutics has been more aggressive than most in its support of Obama, and those contributions came at a time when the president softened his opposition to corporate money in politics.  This summer, after Obama backtracked on a ban against corporate money at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., United Therapeutics stepped up.

The biotech company was the sixth largest corporate donor to the administrative arm of the convention host committee, called New American City, Inc., only finishing behind such financial giants as Bank of America, AT&T and Duke Energy.  The company gave $600,000, according to contribution records.

The company's CEO has also been a major donor to the Democratic Party, and to Obama's campaign, giving more than $125,000 in the past four years.

Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which advocates for transparency in the way politics is financed, said the decision to allow corporate money is just one of several changes in the way Obama has approached financing inaugural events.  Gone also are self-imposed caps on the amounts that individuals can donate.  And, Krumholz said, the inaugural committee has back-tracked on the level of transparency displayed in 2009, when Obama was first sworn into office.

"This inauguration and, particularly the funding of it, stands in stark contrast to the previous inauguration," she said.

The changes are consistent with a subtle shift in the way Obama has handled touchstone issues surrounding money and politics.  Obama was once a critic, for instance, of the so-called Super PACs that were established to raise unlimited funds to support campaigns.  But in his 2012 reelection bid, Obama advisors set up an organization, Priorities USA, for just that purpose.

Krumholz said she believes corporate donors, in particular, warrant scrutiny.

"I think that with all these corporations, they are giving because they see that contributions to the inauguration, to the convention, to the campaigns, to all these different pots of money might be beneficial to their corporation and to their legislative policy agenda in Washington," Krumholz said.  "It's not natural for a corporation, which has to uphold and protect its bottom line, to be making contributions out of altruistic reasons or to support democracy.  They have reasons which I think bear scrutiny."

Krumholz's group researched the backgrounds of the corporate donors and found that more than 300 registered lobbyists worked on behalf of five large corporate donors to the inauguration -- AT&T Inc., Microsoft Corp., energy giant Southern Co., biotechnology firm Genentech and health plan manager Centene Corp. -- to influence legislation and government policy.

Parties other than the official inaugural balls are not covered by this money.  Dozens of other parties have private sponsorship.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has published the names of all of its donors on its website, though Krumholz notes that the list does not include basic identifying information, such as the donor's employer or address, and it does not say how much money any donor has given.

The list includes a number of the president's close friends and longtime supporters, as well as familiar Democratic Party patrons, including a number of labor unions.

The American Federation of Government Employees, the American Postal Workers Union, the International Association of Firefighters, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the Laborer's Union, the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, and the United Food & Commercial Workers, all ponied up with support.

A document identifying the rewards for major donors, first reported by The New York Times, spells out how those who provide the most money will have had greater access this weekend.  Individuals in the top package who gave $250,000 and institutional donors who gave $1 million are identified as "Washington" donors, (as opposed to "Adams" or "Jefferson" donors, who gave less) and are entitled to such perks as tickets to the "Co-Chairs Reception," entry to the "Road Ahead" meeting for the president's top supporters, "VIP tickets to the Candle Light Celebration at the National Building Museum" and two reserved bleacher seats for the Inaugural Parade.

Efforts to reach the inaugural committee this weekend have been unsuccessful.  According to the Sunlight Foundation, which has also been tracking money at the inaugural festivities, officials with the Presidential Inaugural Committee have been tight-lipped about the details of the finance effort.  They quoted Brent Colburn, communications director for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee, as telling reporters that the committee, by listing donors on its website, has attempted "to go above and beyond that and add a level of transparency."

In December 2012, when ABC News first reported Obama's position switch on corporate donations, a spokesperson for the inaugural committee said all donors would be vetted and that donations from lobbyists or political action committees (PACs) will not be accepted.

"Our goal is to make sure that we will meet fundraising requirements for this civic event after the most expensive presidential campaign in history," spokesperson Addie Whisenant said then.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec252012

Year-End Guide to Charitable Giving

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the end of the year approaches, many Americans are searching for the best organizations to give to.

In 2011, Americans donated $217.79 billion, up 3.9 percent from 2010, according to an annual report on philanthropy from the Giving USA Foundation.

But this year a lukewarm job market might mean only a moderate bump in donations over past years.

“We expect to see perhaps a very modest increase. While the economy has improved, it is far from robust, and the unemployment rate continues at a high level,” said Joanne Reisser, vice president of development at Charity Navigator, a nonprofit group that evaluates charities.

In addition to a slowing job market, Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast about two months ago, causing an economic loss of $35 billion to $45 billion in the area affected.

The storm, which hit the U.S. in late October, could have an impact on end of the year giving, said one expert.

“Since Hurricane Sandy occurred so close to the end of the year, that may impact December giving,” Reisser told ABC News. “Thirty percent of annual giving occurs in December, with 10 percent given in the last two days to take advantage of tax breaks.  With the likelihood of going over the fiscal cliff looming and the uncertainties inherent therein, people may decide it’s better not to give this year,” she said.

In the run-up to the end of the year, Charity Watch CEO Daniel Borochoff said charitable donations could remain flat but said donations related to Superstorm Sandy weren’t expected to have a huge impact on overall donations, because they only accounted for 1 percent of charitable giving. Consequently, with the threat of cuts to government programs, Borochoff said Americans should consider giving to national and local programs that help the needy. Charity Watch rates charities, helping donors to make informed decisions.

“There’s a lot of needy veterans and a lot of F-rated groups and A-rated groups and people need to be careful,” Borochoff told ABC News.  

And just what earns a charity an F?

“A lot of what the F groups do is they educate you that needy people have needs and don’t do much to help people,” said Borochoff.

Borochoff suggests requesting an organization’s tax forms, financial statements, and if the charity is soliciting donors, take care, because much of a donation could end up going toward paying the solicitor.

Keep in mind that the Internal Revenue Service is not just about tax forms. Anyone wanting to donate should refer to the IRS for tips on year-end gift-giving, including guidelines on what qualifies as a charitable donation.

Here’s a look at the Top Seven Charities that made the top 100 list compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy for 2012:

•    United Way

•    Fidelity Charity

•    Salvation Army

•    Catholic Charities U.S.A.

•    Task Force for Global Health

•    Feeding America

•    American National Red Cross

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov262012

Charities Fight Consumerism with Giving Tuesday

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There's Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and now charities are starting what they hope will become a national day for giving that will join the holiday lexicon: Giving Tuesday.

As of Friday, #GivingTuesday had 2,065 partners listed on the movement's website, including corporations, nonprofits, schools and religious groups.

The idea for the campaign sprung from the 92nd Street YMCA deputy executive director Henry Timms and Kathy Calvin, CEO of United Nations Foundation.  Timms began thinking about the concept during the holidays last year, and the idea gained momentum this past spring.

"When 92Y's Henry Timms called he explained the opportunity this way, 'We have a day for giving thanks, two days for getting deals.  Why shouldn't there be a day for giving back?'" Calvin said.

She said the UN Foundation loved the idea.

"There are so many creative ways that people can volunteer and donate in today's world of social media," Calvin said.  "A national day of giving back around the holiday shopping season just makes sense.  It helps people everywhere make the most of their philanthropic side."

The organizers, including public relations firm Fenton Communications, are asking partners who have the capability of collecting data to report how much they raise on Tuesday, how many people volunteered at an event, or other relevant information.  They hope to report those figures on Wednesday.

But will Giving Tuesday catch on, especially in light of the expected increase in retail holiday sales?

Devin Hermanson, senior marketing director of relief organization World Vision, said he hopes so.

According to a phone survey by Harris Interactive and World Vision, 83 percent of Americans say they would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional gift like clothing or electronics.

However, the percentage of people willing to give a charitable gift as a present has fallen.

Last year, 51 percent of U.S. adults said they would be "more likely" to give a charitable gift as a holiday present.  This year, that percentage dropped to 45 percent.

"Holiday shopping is treated like an Olympic event," Hermanson said.  He hopes the same attention will be paid to Giving Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov062012

ABC's 'Day of Giving' Campaign Raises $15M for Sandy Relief Efforts

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- All day Monday, ABC joined the American Red Cross for a "Day of Giving," urging viewers to donate money to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

The "Day of Giving" campaign was promoted on ABC shows such as Good Morning America, Dancing with the Stars and Jimmy Kimmel Live!  At last word, it had raised over $15.6 million, including a match of $3 million from Samsung.

GMA had several celebrities work a phone bank, accepting donations from viewers.  Those stars included Barbara Walters, Ben Stiller, Ethan Hawke, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Rachael Ray, Tony Danza, Cameron Mathison, Anthony Edwards, Ana Gasteyer, Daisy Fuentes and Andrew Shue.

Danza said the devastation caused by the storm has brought people together.

"No matter who you are or where you come from, we're all people and we all have to pull together to get through this," he said.

Snooki said she is still without power, but wanted to help people who are worse off than she is.

Hawke noted the storm has impacted his off-Broadway play, Ivanov.

He said, "I've only had one show ever canceled, which was Sept. 11, and now we had six canceled, a whole week of performances canceled, that's the only way that I can really grade the scale of this 'cause it always takes me a while to register...this is really serious."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Five Most Generous States for Charities Mostly Lean Republican

ABC News/Ma'ayan Rosenzweig(NEW YORK) -- Which states are more generous about giving money to charities?  Red or blue states?  A report by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, "How America Gives," uses the most recent available IRS data from 2008 to find out.

The answer, according to the report, is that people in Republican-leaning states give somewhat more, mostly because of religious ties.  The Chronicle studied individual tax returns and studied demographic characteristics such as religion and political affiliation.  The report found that states that were in favor of the 2008 presidential candidate John McCain gave higher percentages of discretionary income toward charities.

The state of Utah, where a majority of residents are Mormon and encouraged to give 10 percent of their income to the church, had the highest percentage -- 10.6 percent.  Residents in Utah had an estimated median discretionary income of $49,551.

The state of Utah shows how important religion is to giving, said Peter Panepento, the Chronicle of Philanthropy's assistant managing editor.  In Utah, the estimated median contribution was $5,255, as reported to the IRS on itemized tax returns.

The District of Columbia followed Utah, with people there giving an average of 7.7 percent of their salaries to charity.  The district, the only ranking in the top five that swung Democrat in the last presidential election, has an estimated median discretionary income of $39,045.

After religion, diversity, especially in an urban area such as the District of Columbia, is a major factor affecting philanthropy.  In other words, where and with whom someone lives affects his or her giving habits, Panepento said.

People who made over $200,000 a year and lived in wealthier ZIP codes gave in lower numbers than those in more economically diverse ZIP codes, the Chronicle found.

Mississippi, a Bible-belt state, ranked third in philanthropic giving, another example of the relationship between giving and religion.  The state had an estimated median contribution of $3,998 with a giving percentage of 7.2 percent of income.  The estimated median discretionary income was $55,264.

The state of Alabama ranked fourth with a giving percentage of 7.1 percent and an estimated median giving contribution of $4,007.  The estimated median income for residents is $56,493.

Also in the Bible belt, Alabama has strong religious ties that encourage people to give more of their income to the church and charitable causes.

The state of Tennessee ranked fifth, with a giving rate of 6.6 percent and a median contribution of $3,807.  The median discretionary income is $58,097.

A number of religious denominations are headquartered in Tennessee, including the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Baptist Convention.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

Corporations Pour Big Money into 2012 Election

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As Americans begin to divide down party lines over their presidential preferences in the 2012 election, so too are many of the country's largest corporations.

From Google to Marriott and Dreamworks Animation to the United Parcel Service, some of the largest companies in the country are forking over big bucks to support candidates, occasionally leaning heavily to one side of the political aisle.

But while the predictably partisan labor groups are going blue and the often-conservative oil companies are going red, some less overtly political businesses are taking sides as well.

The United Parcel Service, or UPS, has so far doled out $1.2 million in the 2012 election, about 70 percent of which went to Republicans or conservative groups, according to disclosure data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.  Goldman Sachs, Marriott International and The Home Depot have also disproportionately supported Republicans.

But while the majority of the political contributions UPS and its employees gave supported the GOP, more than $10,000 went to President Obama and a similar amount went to Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., the center's data shows.

Internet giant Google has, as a whole, come down on the side of Democrats, with about 70 percent of the $1.1 million the company has spent on this election cycle going to Democratic candidates or liberal groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But Google's political action committee's spending is split relatively evenly between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, spending $150,000 on Democrats and $143,000 on Republicans.  However, Google employees have overwhelmingly backed Obama, donating close to $140,000 to the president's re-election campaign through the end of 2011.

Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics, said that while a few corporations tend to favor one party over the other, "a large majority of corporations are going to end up somewhere in the middle."

"Especially big corporations will split their giving across parties because they are worried about getting access," Biersack added.  "In those cases they might be less concerned about what party the member [of Congress] is in and more concerned what committee they're on."

But the millions that each of these companies has reported spending on the 2012 election so far may be a mere fraction of the full amount these businesses are pumping into politics this year.

"We don't know what the corporate money is because we haven't seen [full] disclosures," said Bruce Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability, which is pushing for more reporting requirements on corporate political spending.

While companies have to report their donations to political campaigns, parties and political action committees, they can remain anonymous when donating to trade organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce, and some non-profit advocacy groups, like the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec132011

Salvation Army Surprise: Gold Bars Dropped Into Collection Kettles

PRNewsFoto/The Salvation Army(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The Salvation Army got a little more than the usual spare change this weekend.

Over the weekend, two gold bars were dropped into Salvation Army collection kettles -- a 10-gram gold bar worth up to $800 and a 5-gram gold bar worth $310 -- in different parts of Kansas City, Mo.

Last year the Salvation Army received an identical 5-gram gold bar worth $300, according to Major Michele Heaver, a Salvation Army spokeswoman.

The grand gestures aren’t limited to gold, however. Two weeks ago, a loose 3/4-carat diamond said to be worth about $2,000 was found in a kettle outside a Walmart in Shawnee, Kan. The appraiser offered to place the stone in a setting so the Salvation Army could auction it off as a ring, but the group has not yet decided what to do with it.

Heaver said her unit has found silver dollars (including one that had never been circulated), tokens for pizza places, a gold wedding band, a dead goldfish and a scrabble piece in their collection kettles.  Those are strange but small objects, able to fit through the small slot in the kettle. How the donor fit the gold bars into the slot is unknown.

The kettle tradition dates back to 1891, when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was looking for a way to fund holiday dinners for the poor. He decided to use a pot to collect money, with a sign that read “Keep the Pot Boiling.”

Today, the Salvation Army helps more than 4.5 million people during the holidays, providing poor families with toys and Christmas food baskets.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec052011

CT Powerball Winners Make Good on Philanthropic Promise

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(GREENWICH, Conn.) -- Three Connecticut wealth managers who won a $254 lottery million jackpot followed through on their promise to put the money toward philanthropy, announcing on Sunday donations to five charities that assist veterans.

The first recipients will each receive $200,000. They are: The Bob Woodruff Foundation, Building Homes for Heroes, Services for the Under Served, Operation First Response, and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation, started by ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff -- who suffered a brain injury when a military vehicle in which he was traveling was struck by an IED in Iraq -- helps injured veterans reintegrate into everyday life following deployment.

Building Homes for Heroes constructs from the ground up and also modifies homes for wounded and disabled veterans.

Under Served supports, "individuals and families facing challenging life situations such as mental illness, developmental disability, physical disability, AIDS, homelessness, unemployment and poverty," according to its website, and also has a veteran's support group component.

Operation First Response helps the families of wounded soldiers deal with the domino of costs that can come from injury.  Peggy Baker, president of the charity, called the gift a "Christmas miracle."

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund supports the families of wounded soldiers and those killed in action.

The three trustees said they felt it was important to give back to a section of American society that is underserved.

"We are leveraging our professional experience and our collective success in money management to ensure these lottery dollars go far further than their face value," the three winners, who formed the Putnam Avenue Family Trust, said in a statement.

Money managers Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff, and Tim Davidson came forward on Nov. 28 to claim the jackpot 27 days after the winning numbers were announcd.  All three work for wealth management firm Belpoint Capital in Greenwich, which manages $82 million, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Skidmore is the president and CEO of the company.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct252011

Occupy Wall Street Struggles with Redistributing Its Own Wealth

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the Occupy Wall Street movement expands, protest organizers -- many of whom support wealth redistribution -- are struggling with distributing the $500,000 in donations they have received. As the saying goes, money changes everything, and apparently it's causing infighting in the group.

Pete Dutro, a member of the Occupy Wall Street finance committee, dismissed reports that squabbling was growing as to who gets to collect.

"Finances are always a flash point for a lot of organizations," Dutro, 36, said.

The New York Post reported groups of protesters were upset for having to fill out paperwork to access funds, such as money to reimburse drums that had been vandalized one late night.

"There are people who don't want to follow the process and there's not a whole lot I can do for them," Dutro said.  "How is that going to be accountable?"

About 8,000 individual donors have given on average about $50 each, Dutro said.  Earlier this month, the Occupy Wall Street account was temporarily frozen due to a human error, losing $144,000 in online donations.

Occupy Wall Street had raised about $500,000 and as of Monday have $416,000 according to the bank balance sheet, Dutro said.  He said the majority of expenses are food, and next are clothing, medical expenses and credit card fees from processing the online donations.

The protests, which originally began on Sept. 17, have spread across the country, with people camped out in San Francisco and Chicago, among other cities.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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