California Initiative Will Give Free Solar To Poor

California Initiative Gives Solar Panels to Poor

California Initiative Gives Solar Panels to Poor

Many philanthropic organizations utilize the 24 Characteristics of Genius in their mission towards the betterment of their fellow humans; and a nonprofit in California is a prime example.

The Oakland organization Grid Alternatives uses Dynamic Energy, for example, to enhance the well-being of the disadvantaged. Adopting the purpose of creating a positive public policy, the new program has arisen out of California’s cap-and-trade-law. The initiative, which penalizes companies for their carbon pollution, delivers free sustainability to the poor via solar roof panels.

According to SF Chronicle, the program will use the $14.7 million raised through the cap-and-trade system, greatly decreasing the greenhouse gas emissions. California’s Adaptability has made it a leader in inventive ways to take an environmental issue and create solutions that are innovative and modern. These types of programs show the state’s dedication to sustainability and environmental concerns.

By bringing solutions, social awareness and jobs to those who are generally incapable of incorporating these types of incentives, Grid Alternatives hopes to create equality in the solar-wielding landscape. Anyone who lives in a neighborhood the state currently designates as “disadvantaged” would qualify at no cost to them. Going forward, the organization has plans to install panels in over 1,500 homes by the end of 2016.  The system will save households between $400 to $1,000 a year in electricity costs, as long as the sun is shining.

The SF Chronicle article adds, “Most homeowners are asked to make small contributions for the installation, such as agreeing to feed the crew installing the array, or agreeing to help with the installation themselves. Otherwise, it’s free.”

The policy is controversial on both sides of the political arena—on the right, because it’s perceived as a tax on business, on the left because the carbon credits could be traded to enrich corporations. But ideally, only factories and fossil fuel plants would have to pay for the damage they’re doing to the climate, and the credits would go to repairing it. Here, the benefits go both to the environment and to low income residents, who will see a decrease in their electric bills.

The Grid Alternative program currently receives donations from solar companies and employs volunteer labor, but has hopes of expanding its funding. The program has the potential to become a truly powerful climate change tool for California’s poor to streamline sustainability.

The New Breed of Entrepreneurial Philanthropy

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates waited until his business enterprises were well-established before committing to philanthropic initiatives. But these days, businessmen are giving to charities while they are building their companies, and four of the top ten most generous entrepreneurs employ “Genius Characteristics” to pay it forward. Most of them work in Bay Area tech.

Last year, both WhatsApp entrepreneur Jan Kuom and GoPro CEO Nicholas Woodman individually donated at least $500 million worth of stock to Silicon Valley Community Foundation. There is a new class of philanthropists, who aren’t waiting to be firmly established and retired from their businesses, they are factoring charity into the infrastructure of their companies. These new philanthropists are smart, actively interested in their charities, and are all nearly much younger than their predecessors.

Said Emmett Carson, Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, “They want to understand the how, the why. That is a new and higher level of involvement than a lot of nonprofits are used to from donors who traditionally write a check and say, ‘See me in a year and tell me how you did.’ ”

Others on this current trend of giving include entrepreneurs from Google (co-founder Sergey Brin), Salesforce (Marc Benioff) and Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), in the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars at a time, though this new attitude towards extensive contributions does have its critics. Many of the tech giants are donating money overseas, not back to the Bay Area which has developing housing crises. Some think these large sums of money should be kept in the “backyards” of those donating.

But there is good news. As these savvy patrons become more involved with where their contributions go, they are creating a shift of how future generations think about giving back and using their examples as persuasion.

Emmett Carson said, “These are people who are going to take their knowledge of technology and social media, and blend that with core problems, and come up with new ways of thinking about problems and new ways of advancing solutions that we can scarcely think of.”


Millennials Are Reshaping Philanthropy

Millennials In the Workplace

Millennials In the Workplace

Millennials have changed the face of the tech industry and now it seems they will replicate that in another “industry”: philanthropy. With the flare for which they are known, these Millennials are contributing to charity in new ways, and not just with their money.

Also known as Generation Y, Millennials are those born roughly between 1979 and 2000, and have been said to prioritize their careers.  This has led many to categorize them as narcissistic and rapacious. However, when millennials are not working on their careers, they are often donating to charities, both money and time.

Findings from Achieve’s (a research and creative agency) 2014 Millennial Impact Report notes that 47 percent of 1,574 career-minded millennials polled considered giving back to community as essential, 87 percent had donated to a nonprofit in the past year and 57 percent showed interest in charity work through their employees.

Google, for one, remains one of today’s millennial-filled companies that has made philanthropy in the workplace en vogue and does it in ingenious ways — like charity quizzes.

The tech giant created a 10-question quiz which was distributed to 30,000+ employees, devised to educate on issues of world hunger. The reward for completing the quiz was a $10 donation to a hunger charity of the employee’s choice. Over 6,000 employees took the quiz with the Mountain View employees going further by donating more than 27,000 pounds of food and $800,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

By adhering to the millennials’ desire to join work and charity, Google’s creation of the quiz was a brilliant display of philanthropy.

As Achieve President Derrick Feldmann wrote in the report, “They bring these passions to work.” And their passion for work has involved giving back.

Nonprofits Receive New Dot-NGO Domain Extensions

Robert Duggan NGO Extensions

On March 17th, during the first round of the limited registration period, nonprofits with trademarked phrases and URLs were given special priority to register under the new .ngo and .ong URL extensions.

NGO in the United States, and ONG elsewhere, stands for nongovernmental organizations and generally refers to nonprofit organizations. Organizations must pass strict approval requirements to assure potential donors that the nonprofit meets certain protocols and is deserving of donations. Only active, non-political nonprofits will meet the stringent requirements to receive a coveted .ngo or .ong url. Well-known nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity and Wildlife Conservation Society have already signed up for their site domains.

Top level domains” (TLDs) like .org and .edu were initially created to provide site visitors an idea of the category of website they would be visiting. Historically, TLDs have carried more weight with Google, often ranking much higher than lesser-known domain extensions. The hope for nonprofits is that .ngo and .ong will gain traction with Google, and become another top tier TLD like .edu, .com or .gov. If all goes to plan, these new TLDs will provide nonprofits a new kind of online legitimacy.

Organizations that register an .ngo will be eligible to create profiles on the Public Interest Registry’s new online nonprofit directory, OnGood. The registry would provide nonprofits the ability to accept online donations as well as provide a resource for strategic social media campaigns and other areas.

Brian Cute, Chief Executive of Public Interest Registry, believes OnGood will help nonprofits expand their visibility to potential donors. Mr. Cute explains, “The feedback from the community has been very consistent: They want to be trusted online, and they want to connect with donors.”

The Public Interest Registry, which also manages the .org domain, spent years researching and workshopping within 30 countries in an attempt to create a more robust network to connect donors with nonprofits. Says Mr. Cute, “Say you’re sitting at home and you want to help, but you don’t know how to focus your dollars. That will allow you to do a quick search.”

The nonprofits that qualify will have to pay around $50 to $59 annually for the new domains.

Changing the Way We Give: Billionaire Seeks to Makeover Philanthropy from Ground Level

John Arnold is an introverted billionaire looking to solve underlying problems rather than just write checks. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Arnold got his start trading natural gas for Enron in 1996 and later went on to founding his own hedge-fund. In the last decade John Arnold managed to accumulate an estimated $4 million dollars working for Wall Street. In 2012 he opted to close his hedge-fund (Centaurus Energy) to retire and devote himself to philanthropy entirely.

While still in his thirties, John Arnold founded the Laura and John Arnold Foundation with the goal of using their wealth to solve some of the country’s biggest unsolved and underfunded problems such as hunger and obesity. The foundation would use their money to solve these problem through scientific research and data analysis otherwise not covered or deemed “too risky” to partake in by other organizations.

To evaluate the amount of nonviolent offenders behind bars in the state of New York the Arnold’s hired Anne Milgram and set out to determine that the CompStat crime-reduction system already in place was a poor tool for deciding who stays in jail. Anne Milgram went on to create a new tool for judges to use in three jurisdictions in the coming months. “What we’re hoping is that more policy decisions can be made based on data and not just on instinct or fear,” Laura Arnold says of the mission of the Arnold Foundation.

As well as researching the underlying causes of problems, the Arnolds have personally given $10 million dollars to build a new warehouse for the Houston Food Bank. At 300,000 square feet it is the largest food bank in the country and hosts an event entitled “rock n’ box” every Friday night to collect donations from supermarkets and nearby farmers. President of the Houston Food Bank Brian Greene discussed the food bank’s consumer data showing that hunger is a symptom but not the cause (illness, joblessness, etc.)Greene’s partnership with the Arnold’s led to a partnership with Feeding America, a network of food banks that provides aid to Americans across the country. The chief development officer for Feeding America-Maura Daly says, “the great things about the Arnolds is that they are not thinking small” and “most billionaires don’t have the luxury of putting forty years into solving a problem.”

The Giving Back Project

The GIVING BACK PROJECT is a new hardcover book and civic engagement campaign that comprises stories and photographs that reframe portraits of philanthropy.

The Giving Back Project attempts to reignite a movement that will fuel conscientious philanthropy through empowering a generation of Americans.  They aim to help Americans recognize their power and responsibility to give back.

For far too long, philanthropy has defined as gifts of wealth and large monetary contributions. Prevailing stories and imagery about giving often don’t include generous everyday people. They also feed these false notions about who is able to give, who can help make difference, and finally who matters most. Changing the world requires society to rethink and reframe philanthropic activities. The Giving Back Project reframes portraits of philanthropy.

The project’s publications, presentations, and their interactive community forums promote inspiring stories of everyday givers.  They serve to reclaim the true meaning of philanthropy, love of humanity.

From literary projects to photography,spoken-word poetry to digital media, and also music to social networking, the Giving Back Project promotes new content and new approaches to include a wider slice of society in philanthropy. The project promotes their belief that  everyone  can and should give back, no matter their age or circumstances. They celebrates generous gifts of time and talent. They value equal sacrifice over equal giving.

The book “Giving Back”  provides a beginning for dialogue and community conversations about philanthropy that are inclusive, responsive, collaborative and reflective of communities. In addition to beginning the conversation, every book purchased keeps giving.

How to be a Philanthropist

This is James. James wants to make an impact in his community and the world around him, but he is not sure where to start.  He also feels like any effort he undertakes isn’t big enough to really make a difference.  How can James find a way to give back effectively.  James needs a crash course in philanthropy.  Philanthropy  is something that anyone can do no matter your age, income, or location.  Philanthropy in Greek means for the love of humanity so it’s not just about writing checks more, it’s about compassion and community.

What steps does James need to take to begin his philanthropy strategy? The first step is to know what you care about.  A great way to figure out where your passions lie is to think about how you spend your time, money, and energy already. James is a teacher and he loves the outdoors, so for him education and the environment.

Next, James needs to get organized. There are many ways to be a philanthropist.  You can donate your time, your money, as well as your voice.James begins to use Facebook and Twitter to tell his friends and followers about the issues that matter to him. He also decides to set aside his coffee money twice a week so he can contribute to a cause.

Finding the right place to donate can be confusing.  Many organizations try to rate charities based on their financial metrics, but James also wants to know who is getting results.  He finds an organization that has successfully helping to reforest thousands of sequoias.  His favorite tree. He makes a contribution of the money he’s been saving, and his donation enables 20 trees to be planted.

James wants to use his influence to get more people involved. He tells his second graders about his tree project and encourages each of them to donate a quarter every week for the giant sequoias.  After three months, his class is able to plant 30 more trees.  Pretty soon on the principle takes notice and before long, every classroom in the district has joined James tree campaign.

Gina’s daughter attends school in the district where James teaches, and she has noticed her daighter’s enthusiasm for the project. Gina wants to multiply the impact of the idea and due to her high profile and financial resources, she can.

Gina needs a large-scale philanthropy strategy. James was able to mobilize others to take action on the issues that matter most to him.  Gina is taking his idea and helping it evolve strategically, dramatically expanding its reach. J

James used to think that as one person he couldn’t make a difference, but he’s come to realize he has the ability to inspire others and truly make an impact. Philanthropy is for everyone.