Philanthropic Ways To Get Involved In Your Own Neighborhood

Being involved in philanthropy is a great way to give back to your community and contribute to making the world a better place. These days in our busy and overscheduled world, it can become hard to find the time to attend philanthropic events or groups. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, and feel like we don’t have the time or energy to give back to the community in a big way. However, giving back isn’t measured by the amount of money you donate or the number of fancy events you attend. There are plenty of ways to be philanthropic right in your own neighborhood.

If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community with a group of people or by yourself, here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

Clean Up! You don’t have to be an official cleaning crew to get to work! Gather a few families, friends or do it by yourself! All you need is some trash bags and some gloves. Head to a place that could use a little love, and leave it better then it was when you found it. Maybe you’ll even inspire others to do the same.

Offer to help. Is your neighbor going through something that makes life stressful? New babies, moves, or the loss of a relative can really throw people for a loop. If you know someone who might need some help, show up at their house with a simple meal, or maybe mow their lawn. Small gestures can make all the difference during a stressful time, and giving back can happen even on the simplest level.

Sing a Song. You have the potential to brighten the day of an entire retirement home by walking in and signing ONE song. It’s something so simple, but so greatly appreciated by the residents. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy—folk songs and old standards are great, because everyone can sing along. Bonus points if you can bring someone who knows how to play a guitar or piano!

Keep Someone Company. Many communities have senior centers with programs linking seniors and younger people, offering companionship and company for an hour here and there. Childrens Hospitals are another great place to go and spend time with someone who could really use the company and conversation. Do a search for your local centers and hospitals and inquire how you might help.

Plant Something. Want your neighborhood to be a little greener? Make it happen! Organize a planting party and beautify your surroundings. Whether you’re building a community garden or planting some flowers in your neighbor’s yard, you are giving back to your community in a big way! Just make sure to check with your city to ensure you’re planting in the right areas, especially if you’re planting trees.

Neighborhoods are made great by the people within them, so don’t be afraid to lead the way. Your efforts will come back to you tenfold, as you enjoy the neighborhood that you’ve fostered!

What Makes a Good Diamond?

Mark Bronner Diamonds

Diamonds: Much More Than Just a Girl’s Best Friend

Mark Bronner DiamondsYesterday, an astonishing article was published by Tech Times about how synthetic diamonds are being used for early detection and treatment of some of the most aggressive cancers. Seems like diamonds can really be even more than a girl’s best friend, doesn’t it?

According to the article, “Physicists at the University of Sydney’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems have found a way to use nanoscale or synthetic “diamonds” to identify cancerous tumors before they turn life-threatening” (Pascual, Synthetic Diamonds Offer Hope for Early and Effective Treatment of Deadly Cancers). This research is groundbreaking and proves that diamonds are much more than just aesthetically pleasing.

The study developed by physicists at the University of Sydney was published recently in Nature Communications, and proved that synthetic diamonds are a more readily accessible way to detect early-stage cancers throughout MRI scans. In addition, the article noted that, “Lead researcher and physics professor David Reilly highlighted the nontoxic, nonreactive nature of nanodiamonds, making them potentially useful in drug delivery during chemotherapy,” (Pascual, Synthetic Diamonds Offer Hope for Early and Effective Treatment of Deadly Cancers).

By magnetizing the atoms inside of the diamond, they light up on an MRI scan and are then attached to cancer-targeting chemicals. After the MRI, the diamonds are placed into the body, tracked, and will light up on the scan if there is cancer present within the body. Professor Reilly explains the beauty and effectiveness of the physics behind this research, stating:

“‘We effectively turned a pharmaceutical problem into a physics problem’… citing that the team  hyperpolarized nanodiamonds or aligned atoms inside them to create an MRI-detectable signal,” (Pascual, Synthetic Diamonds Offer Hope for Early and Effective Treatment of Deadly Cancers).

Mark Bronner Diamonds

The study proved that experts at quantum physics can use their knowledge to debatably solve these real-world problems, especially in terms of targeting and detecting cancers that are otherwise difficult to find. Certain cancers, such as brain and pancreatic, are usually only detectable in later stages – but, using synthetic diamonds can offer detection much earlier, especially for those with a family history of these types of cancers.

It seems as though diamonds have opened a whole new realm of possibilities when it comes to quantum physics and cancer screening, which will help save an astounding number of lives.

 

Diamonds Crystallizing From Seawater

In recent studies, scientists have discovered that diamonds crystallize from ancients saltwaters going back as far as 200 million year ago and plan on using this information to help figure out how exactly diamonds form. If found, it would be paramount for the diamond industry and might eliminate the infamous “blood diamonds” as this has been causing damages for decades.

Mark Bronner DiamondsGeochemist at Columbia University, Yaakov Weiss says, “We can look at diamonds as time capsules, as messengers from a place we have no other way of seeing.” This is an interesting way to conceptualize the expensive precious stones that have been a symbol of affluence as long as time.

Researchers hypothesize that the gems begin to crystallize from the extraordinary heat and pressure in the Earth’s mantle layer located about 90 to 100 miles below the surface. The deepest diamond found came from 430 miles below the surface. Volcanic action and eruptions bring the precious stones to the surface with some dating back as far as 2.1 billion years ago. They surface in rock formations called kimberlites. Of about 2,000 known kimberlites, only around 60 were worth mining.

It is believed that diamonds crystallize in these conditions with the aid of a fluid though it hasn’t been proven or agreed upon on what exactly that fluid is. Many agree that both poor and high quality diamonds  from this same fluid though. Weiss commented, “Personally, I am among those that think that most diamonds form in a similar way.”

In the Ekati Diamond Mine located in Canada, geochemists have been studying and analyzing fluid inclusions in the formation of diamonds in hopes to discover what the mystery fluid is that the changes their structure. The diamonds used for this process are usually flawed with impurities.  Eleven fibrous (multilevel) diamonds were used to conduct their study. What they found was that the fluid was salty and filled with sodium, chlorine, and potassium. All the characteristics of seawater.

This “seawater” could be evidence that the Earth’s oceanic crust is having a chemical reaction and creating a mixture with solid rock, allowing the diamonds to crystalize. Although more study and examination is necessary, this information could also mark a change and create a new wave in mining. This could also spark a boost in the declining market.

Giving Back: Diamonds International

Diamonds International is a nonprofit organization that supports dozens of charity causes in impoverished communities each year. Some of these causes include: funding education, construction efforts to rebuild areas destroyed by natural disasters, cancer research, providing treatment. You can find out about Diamonds International’s many locations and support a cause that you feel most connected with by visiting their website here.

Mark Bronner Diamonds

Diamonds International was first found on the Caribbean island, St. Thomas, and now holds over 125 stores across the world after just twenty years. The main goals of the organization is to sell high quality, affordable jewelry to various customers whose profits are donated to the many charity causes the organization supports. The organization’s owners and employees are unbelievable grateful for the opportunities they get to “say ‘thank you’ for allowing us to be part of your life than with a gift to make a less fortunate person’s life a happier one,” (Diamonds International Corporate Responsibility: What We Do).

Mark Bronner Diamonds

The organization gives back to communities all around the world, from the Caribbean, to Africa, Guatemala, and areas all over the United States. Diamonds International caters to various aspects of certain communities. For example, the Lend-a-Hand project that takes place annually in Aruba gets together 17 Diamonds International employees with teachers and member of the parents committee from Anglo Kleuterschool located in Madiki, Oranjestad to show the true essence of teamwork. In past years, remodeling of the school has been one of their largest projects, which included uplifting the playground, repainting classrooms, and ensuring that all areas of the school were safe and secure for students.

Diamonds International’s mission statement is “Making the world a bright place one gift at a time.” Which is exactly what they do.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Community Serivce

Community service should be looked at in a positive light in order for you to get the most out of your experience. You may think back to a time when your parents forced you to volunteer at the local community center, or participate in a midnight run around Christmas time, and thought of it as a chore. But, if you change your mindset community service can be something you look forward to and dedicate to on a more regular basis. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your community service:

Mark Bronner Diamonds

First, helping others makes you feel good. Not only are you giving back to your community and helping those in need feel better, but the actual act of charity can elevate the levels of serotonin in your brain – making you feel great about yourself. By giving back, you recognize the power that a single person has on other lives, that you really can make a difference in the world, despite what you may have thought before.

Second, you can cater your community service to something you are passionate towards and therefore spend time working in a field you love. For example, if you love teaching and one day hope to become one (or if it’s just for fun), you can volunteer at after school programs and help children with subjects they are struggling in. This way, you can gain experience teaching all while helping children become better students and inspiring them along the way. If you are passionate about the environment, you may want to think about volunteering at a community clean-up day, or perhaps an event that raising awareness of pollution or anything else environmentally-related.

That being said, you can use community service as a resume-builder to help you gain experience in a field that you are looking to make a career out of. This way when you are going for job interviews, your interviewer will not only notice that you have experience, but that you are an active member of your community and are so motivated to work in a particular field that you’ve done it for free. Side note: having volunteer experience in your resume always looks good.

Last, being involved in your community will help you develop strong relationships that will stay with you wherever you go. Committing to community service helps you make friends you may not have otherwise met or thought of speaking to, and you’ll realize that the world is filled with wonderful, different types of people with kinds souls.

Community service will lift your spirits on the world as a whole, and you will be astonished by how much of a difference one person can make.

Queen of Philanthropy

Mark Bronner Diamonds 55b46a307dbb6.imagePageants are renowned for churning out crown-worthy queens, each with their own “personal mission” to answer the many questions thrown at them during the Q&A portions of their competition. Topics range from solving world hunger, to fighting the AIDS epidemic, but few winners make good on their promises to change the world. McAlester’s pageant winner, Sanders, is looking to change that tradition.

Many philanthropic issues are used as a stage, a platform for attention. Sanders feels that if you’re to champion a cause, it needs to be seen through. “One in four children in America will grow up without learning how to read,” Sanders says. “Two out of three children who cannot read by 4th grade end up in jail or on welfare.” Pioneering her program “The Storybook Exchange,” Sanders hopes to get books into the hands of those young minds who so desperately need to be stimulated.

During the years following her coronation, Sanders’ program was able to give away 15,000 books to children in the surrounding area thanks in part to financial support from corporate sponsors. With lofty goals for this year, the philanthropic spirit still burns brightly inside this pageant queen. “This year I hope to give away 25,000 books, and this year we hope to get $5,000 [in corporate donations].” Encouraging anyone to give whatever they can, Miss McAlester believes that no donation is too small.

In a time where promises made eclipse promises fulfilled, Miss McAlester has risen above her peers. Deserving of the crown placed upon her head, this queen will not let her reign pass unmarked. Giving the gift of education, inspiration, and imagination to thousands is a treasure beyond measure, and one the people of McAlester are sure to remember. For more on the queen who truly rules, follow the link here.

How can a Non Profit Be Profitable?

mark brannier non profitWhen one thinks of an non profit, you don’t often think of there actually being a profit. It needs to be realized that a nonprofit is actually a business and not just volunteer work. You need actual revenue in order to keep your non profit viable and sustainability. Furthermore, your staff should also be compensated for their time that they put into keeping your non profit running. Of course you should always be cognizant of the profit and exactly how much profit you make and show. Legally, there are restrictions on what a non profit can make in revenue. But this doesn’t mean that your nonprofit can’t be a profitable. There are a number of ways a non profit can make money in order to be a profitable organization. These suggestions will not only help bring in profit, it will also help with promotion and marketing.

One of the main ways that you can bring money into your nonprofit is to apply for a grant. In this instance, the main grants that are available are foundation, government, and corporate grants. When writing a grant, be sure to outline all expenses, operational, and administrative costs. These costs can include staff salary, any benefits, and as well as additional costs for basic upkeep (supplies, travel expenses, etc.). Be sure to be as specific as possible and outline each possible scenario.

Another suggestion is to hold a some sort of a fundraiser. There are a number of ideas and avenues you can go with this route. Furthermore, any donations made through this channel can be a tax write off for the person donating. A good way to go about this is to highlight that that the proceeds of the fundraiser is going to a specific purpose. You can create a marketing campaign surrounding this in order to get the consumer emotionally invested. By getting your guests to be emotionally invested, people will become more compelled to donate and they will feel like they are an actual part of the process.

You can also generate revenue by passive resources. you can obtain profit through rents, royalties, investments and/or interest payments. However, being that your organization will most likely be a 501(c) 3 tax exempt organization, you have to be 100% transparent with exactly where the money is coming from and what purpose the money is for. Be sure to check any legal restrictions to make sure that you are up to code and that you can accurately generate revenue.

As stated earlier, just because you are nonprofit, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be profitable. Running a nonprofit as a business will only ensure that you remain relevant and sustainable.

4 Ways to Raise Money for a Fundraiser

Raising money can be a tough challenge for anyone involved. Many times an organization will prompt for someone to raise a certain amount of money in a set amount of time. That’s not always the easiest task. If you don’t do fundraising for a living, starting from scratch can be a frustrating experience. Where do you start? What’s the best avenue to actually raise money? And more importantly, how do I get people to give me money toward my cause? These are all questions that people may have. Due to my experience in the Philanthropy sector, I have gained a vast experience in the industry of fundraising.

mark bronner fundraising

Below are the top fundraising plans that have helped me:

Hold a Rummage Sale

A rummage sale can be an easy way of not only raising money, but also purging your life of items you don’t necessarily use or want anymore. You can get the members on your team to donate items to the rummage sale so that you are able to have a nice variety of items. Additionally in an effort for extra promotion advertising, you can also get other people to donate items for the sale. One thing that will be key to the success of the rummage sale will be to actively advertise and promote the sale. This can be done a number of ways. If it’s something a little more local, one of the best ways to go about this would be regular snail mail and flyers. Make sure the flyers are visually entertaining and don’t contain too much wording. In addition to that method, make sure to utilize social media. Most social media properties are free and one can easily take advantage of that medium and reach a vast audience.

Sell Meals and Baked Goods

The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. Selling food is a good way to get people to give money to your cause. Everyone loves a good meal and people don’t feel like they’re necessarily wasting money on something they may never use. However, all the cooking that takes place for the event can be not only exhausting and tiring but actually not to mention ridiculously expensive. The best way to combat this is to split the responsibilities up between members of your group. This will split up the costs as well as all the responsibilities. Another tip is to buy food that is able to be bought in bulk. Examples are hot dogs, burgers, wings, etc. You can feed a large mass of people as well as cut down costs.

Crowd-funding

In this new digital age, we have the opportunity to reach a large range of people in different regions and parts of the world than we are in. There are a myriad of websites that offer services to put your cause out to the public. When going the crowdfunding route, be sure to have a clear concise plan for your target market to read. Don’t have the plan written in jargon specific to your field because it automatically turns people who may not understand off to your cause. Before to write the plan in your words and convey your personality so people feel personally attached to the project.

Submit For a Grant

This option is the most successful but definitely the hardest option on this list. Grants are highly competitive and are tough to get. When using this option, be sure to search for the grant that applies to you and your cause. There are usually applications to fill out, be sure to be thorough and concise in this process to reduce any room for error. In addition, when it comes to writing the proposal, be sure to enlist the help of a professional writer or have your proposal edited by a couple of eyes. You want to make sure it’s easy to read and to the point all the while telling your story.

These are some of the ways that have helped me in the past raise money for my fundraiser. What are some of the ways that you have raised money?