Author Archives: Minna Lehtinen

8th January 2016        Holiday Giving, Nonprofits     ,     No comments yet

The Conover + Gould team will be donating to ten causes in the spirit of giving back during the holiday season. During December and January, each team member will be blogging about their chosen nonprofit. For her gift, Paula chose St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

According to The American Childhood Cancer Organization, there are an estimated 15,780 children in the U.S. between the ages of birth and 19-years old who are diagnosed with cancer each year. Globally more than 250,000 children are diagnosed with the disease each year. Thanks to treatment advances, survival rates for many types of childhood cancer have improved. However, for too many kids cancer will shorten their lives. Cancer remains the most common cause of death by disease for children in America.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital works hard to be at the cutting-edge of the latest medicine and research in fighting life-threatening pediatric diseases, such as cancer. The greatest thing St. Jude’s does is shield families from the expense of treatment. St. Jude says that “families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.”  St. Jude does accept insurance; however, many services provided by St. Jude have never been covered by insurance, and will not be in the future.

St. Jude treats some of the toughest cases of childhood cancer. They also have the world’s best survival rates for some of the most aggressive cancers.

I have a soft spot in my heart for children. I wish all children could live with peace, love, security, food, and health. I want them to be able to just be kids and enjoy that period of their lives. Many years ago, I volunteered for Make-A-Wish Foundation. But I’ve always been drawn to St. Jude for all the good work they do. It costs $2 million a day to operate St. Jude, and 75% of the funds to cover those costs come from public donations. If the contribution in my name will can help save a life and ease the financial burden for parents who need to be strong for their children, it makes me sincerely happy.

30th December 2015        Uncategorized     No comments yet

The Conover + Gould team will be donating to ten causes in the spirit of giving back during the holiday season. During December and January, each team member will be blogging about their chosen nonprofit. For his gift, Jon chose DC Greens.

According to the 2014 US Department of Agriculture Household Food Security in the United States survey, the occupants of 13.2% of households in the District of Columbia didn’t have enough to eat. The survey found that households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line suffer from the highest rates of food insecurity. People living in food insecure homes skip meals, are more likely to suffer from obesity and other health issues stemming from the consumption of poor quality food, and experience longer and deeper bouts of hunger.

DC Greens is a nonprofit that started out as a farmer’s market serving fresh fruit and vegetable to neighborhood children. DC Greens now works with other DC nonprofits, schools, farmer’s markets, the local government and other partners to improve at-risk children’s and families’ access to fresh food. The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, launched in 2012, now serves 200 DC residents, and also provides valuable data on the benefits of bringing healthy food to families.

DC Greens works with more than 50 teachers in schools across the District to integrate food education and garden science into existing curriculum. In the Cooking Corps program, undergraduate and graduate student interns lead hands-on cooking demonstrations with students from third through eighth grades. DC Greens also serves as the state lead of the National Farm to School Network, which convenes stakeholders from the classroom, cafeteria, farm and garden to identify challenges and find solutions for how best serve their communities.

I chose DC Greens to help support its mission to fight hunger, improve access to high quality food, and its collaborative approach to educating others about the benefits of eating well.

29th December 2015        Holiday Giving     ,     No comments yet

The Conover + Gould team will be donating to ten causes in the spirit of giving back during the holiday season. During December and January, each team member will be blogging about their chosen nonprofit. For her gift, Minna chose Playworks.

I spent a lot of time outside as a kid, and I loved playing outdoors. I still do! In Finland, school children spend at least an hour a day on recess – always outside, come rain or shine or snow. The end of every class is punctuated with a 15-minute break. All this play pays off as Finland consistently scores high on the international PISA tests that assess and compare student performance around the world. It’s hard to say why Finland does so well, but research shows that play is powerful.

How does play work? Besides redirecting pent up energy, play also promotes learning. Kids learn important social competencies: how to communicate, resolve conflict, collaborate, compromise. They return to class refreshed, focused and better behaved. Our brains need a break!

In the U.S., almost a third of schools with children at the highest poverty levels have no recess at all. Those that do have recess often report it to be uncontrollable chaos - more destructive than refreshing. This is where Playworks comes in. They partner with schools, districts, and after-school programs to support recess and healthy play during recess. This ranges from providing on-site recess coaches that float on the schoolyard to keep everyone engaged and included; a school coordinator to teach, model and empower a sustainable recess program; or a trainer to help staff create and maintain a play environment throughout the school year.

Playworks serves more than 900 schools in 23 cities, and reaches more than half a million students directly and through training. In the District of Columbia, Playworks places coaches at 18 low-income area schools to organize games and activities, and show teachers how to incorporate more physical activity into the day. Coaches don’t stand on the sidelines and bark orders. They get messy, they play along with the students, and chaos is organically transformed into safe, active recess. Teachers at participating schools report both a decrease in bullying and an increase in academic engagement. Play works!

Play theorist Brian Sutton-Smith said it best: “The opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression.” So remember to make some time for play for yourself, for your children and the children in your community. You can donate to Playworks by clicking here. $100 will fund balls, cones, and jump ropes for three schools!

 

27th December 2015        Holiday Giving     ,     No comments yet

The Conover + Gould team will be donating to ten causes in the spirit of giving back during the holiday season. During December and January, each team member will be blogging about their chosen nonprofit. For his gift, Matt chose the NAC Food Pantry.

The NAC Food Pantry is an emergency food pantry located in my hometown, Northbridge, MA. Its mission is to help local families in need who are struggling with food insecurity.

Food insecurity is a condition where someone has limited access to food based on their economic or social status. When we think of food insecurity, we tend to think of the homeless or those who are unemployed. In fact, over 1 in 7 Americans struggle with this issue, and 85% of food-insecure households with children have at least one working parent. It’s an issue that is particularly hard on people of color and people living in rural communities.

The NAC Food Pantry works to solve this issue by providing food, household items and hygiene products to 100 local families in need per month. Everyone that walks through its doors is treated with compassion and respect, regardless of the difficulties they’re facing.

As a volunteer, I’ve been able to see how my hometown has rallied behind the Pantry over the years. Our local Shaw’s and Hannaford stores donate food to the Pantry, and many other local businesses hold fundraisers for the Pantry throughout the year. Additionally, students at Northbridge High School are in charge of a Community Garden, which has grown 1800 pounds of fresh produce for the Pantry this year alone. It’s inspiring to see so many people come together to help local families in need.

Please click here to learn more about the NAC Food Pantry and how to make a donation.

26th December 2015        Holiday Giving     ,     No comments yet

The Conover + Gould team will be donating to ten causes in the spirit of giving back during the holiday season. During December and January, each team member will be blogging about their chosen nonprofit. For her gift, Kemi chose Operation Smile.

I am a first-time mom, and my daughter is my world! My favorite thing to do is to tickle her until she breaks into a smile. Unfortunately, some kids can’t have a beautiful smile because they were born with a facial deformity; and that is why I have chosen Operation Smile. Its mission is to help children born with a cleft lip/palate to get free and safe reconstructive surgery. Most of its patients are poor and lack access to surgical care. It costs as little as $240 to help a child have cleft surgery.

Operation Smile has provided over 240,000 free surgeries. The stories of the kids and their families are so heartwarming, and I hope to help Operation Smile to help more kids through this donation. The generous gift from Conover + Gould this holiday season will give the gift of a beautiful smile to moms like me all around the world.

25th December 2015        Holiday Giving         No comments yet

The Conover + Gould team will be donating to ten causes in the spirit of giving back during the holiday season. During December and January, each team member will be blogging about their chosen nonprofit. For her gift, Sally chose the International Rescue Committee.

As a student of European politics who started my Masters’ work last fall, I have been intensely aware of how the Syrian migration crisis has grown rapidly and with an urgent need for assistance. Help is needed to support the refugees in the vicinity of Syria, who have been displaced by the conflict and also those who are seeking asylum around the world, in particular in the EU. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is working to improve many aspects of this crisis, from providing healthcare and immediate help to vulnerable populations in the Syria region, to helping refugees through the asylum process in the EU, to helping a successful resettlement of refugees in the U.S. All of these steps are critically important work, and the IRC understands the importance of supporting children first and foremost as they attempt to resume their education and get the necessary food and health care to learn and grow.

31st August 2015        Media Relations     ,     No comments yet

Imagine you’re representing a hospital that’s just promoted the VP of finance to the CEO position. On the way to a swanky reception dinner, the communications director tells you he expects a story in the Wall Street Journal or Forbes by the end of the week. “Got it?” he tells you. Click.

You gulp in trepidation. “WSJ? Impossible!” you think. But instead of feeling sorry for yourself, feel sorry for the journalist on the other end who has to sit through his 35th story idea today.

We get so wrapped up in our own PR worries that we often forget the reporter on the other line is also – surprise! – a human being too. They have deadlines to meet, interviews to run to, and an endless stream of emails to read just like you. Treating the journalist with respect and goodwill may be the extra oomph that sets your pitch apart.

To show a reporter you care, consider these quick tips:

  1. Show some respect. We may see journalists as vessels for our message and forget that they, too, are searching for insightful story ideas that will earn them the respect of their peers and readers. Only pitch stories that contribute to their body of work. Irrelevant ideas are not only a distraction, but can seem insulting. It could harm your relationship with the journalist in the long run.
  1. Know how a newsroom operates. Reporters have to justify stories to their editor and may risk personal capital pitching a half-baked idea. Do the legwork by developing a compelling, coherent narrative that explains why your story is relevant in the "real world." Reporters also cover very specific beats, so do your homework and take the time to familiarize yourself with their unique content and writing style.
  1. Arm your journalist with the tools they need. Would you ever show up to a transatlantic flight without a passport? Of course not. So why would you expect reporters to type up earth-shattering works of journalistic genius without providing any of the materials? Today, journalists need to think through a multimedia perspective so their stories receive enough page views, attract social media buzz, and generate sufficient ad revenue. If you can offer access to an exclusive photo or video, you’re going to be taken a lot more seriously because you understand how the industry is evolving.

Above all, don’t treat reporters like mindless, typing robots. With a little patience, planning and – yes – humanity, you can help a journalist develop a fantastic story that pleases your boss and theirs.

22nd December 2014        Holiday Giving     ,     No comments yet

The Conover + Gould team will be donating to eleven nonprofits in the spirit of giving back during the holiday season. During the month of December, each team member will be blogging about his or her chosen nonprofit. For his gift, Erik chose Food Allergy Research & Education. Food Allergy Research & Education (FAimgresRE) is dedicated to finding a cure for food allergies and keeping those with allergies safe and included. Growing up, I loved eating peanut butter. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich pretty much every day and Reese’s were my favorite candy. One day, I started to feel a sore throat after finishing my sandwich.When I noticed that this was happening more and more,  my parents took me for an allergy test. Sure enough, I had developed an allergy to peanut butter. While my allergies have yet to strengthen to the point where I am at risk for a severe reaction to peanuts, many are not so lucky. 15 million Americans have food allergies, and many are at risk for serious life-threatening reactions. 1 in 13 children in America are affected. And it’s not just peanuts, since most foods are capable of causing a reaction. However, 90% of food-related allergic reactions come from peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. The danger is complicated by the fact that many food companies manufacture their foods on the same machinery as common food allergens, so people who are at-risk struggle to safely eat foods that we take for granted. For almost two decades, FARE has been the world’s largest private funding source for food allergy research. They help fund research to discover new cures and develop treatments. They also provide families with information such as newsletters, workshops and conferences so they can help people manage living with these allergens. To donate to this cause, please click here.

11th December 2014        Holiday Giving         No comments yet

The Conover + Gould team will be donating to eleven nonprofits in the spirit of giving back during the holiday season. During the month of December, each team member will be blogging about his or her chosen nonprofit. For her gift, Sophie chose Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network.

imgresSince Glinda first taught Dorothy that a click of her heels and a little repetition were all that she needed to return to Kansas, the phrase “there’s no place like home” has remained poignant in the American consciousness. But what if you didn’t have a home to return to? The numbers of homeless in America have continued to rise. In the Washington D.C. metro area alone there are roughly 7,000 people who do not have a reliable place to sleep at night. Yet, walking home alone at night and seeing bus stop after bus stop filled with sleeping bags and huddled bodies has had more of an impact on me than any number could. This led me to become interested in working to end homelessness in the capital area.

I discovered Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) and was impressed by their programs. Their street outreach service includes volunteers going into parks, underpasses and other abandoned areas to meet with the homeless and deliver clothing, blankets, meals and personal hygiene supplies. Outreach workers also encourage them to visit the Opportunity Place where they have access to a range of services. A-SPAN also sets up an Emergency Winter Shelter where single adults can go during the winter months to spend the night and avoid freezing temperatures. When the Winter Shelter is not available, they help people find shelters and access to medical and employment services.

Having a stable home and a reliable place to sleep at night is a fundamental human need, and it is my hope that through donations and volunteers we can increase the number of shelters and the network of healthcare and employment opportunities for the homeless.

To donate to A-SPAN, please click here.

9th December 2014        Holiday Giving     ,     No comments yet

The Conover + Gould team will be donating to eleven nonprofits in the spirit of giving back during the holiday season. During the month of December, each team member will be blogging about his or her chosen nonprofit. For her gift, Lindsay chose DC Greens.

DC GreensWhen I moved to D.C. three years ago, I was surprised to learn the city has some of the highest inequality rates in the country.  Many longtime D.C. families are struggling with rising housing costs, stagnant wages, a higher cost of living, and increasingly, food insecurity. Studies suggest one in eight district residents can’t find affordable, healthy food in their neighborhoods.

While there are no easy solutions to these problems, many local organizations are tackling the multidimensional causes of poverty in cooperative, creative ways. One of these groups is DC Greens, a local non-profit founded in 2009 that works to improve food justice in the city.

With garden training programs for teachers and students, D.C Greens instills values of sustainability while making healthy foodways more accessible to residents. The School Garden Markets program, for instance, helps students at six schools build their own community gardens, where they grow and sell their own vegetables for profit. Last year, students made a collective $4,200 that they will reinvest in their gardens.

D.C. Greens also reaches out to marginalized communities. Partnering with a local health clinic, the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program provided grants to 25 families so they could buy fresh fruit and vegetables. At their Farmer’s Market, DC Greens also matches federal aid benefits such as SNAP and WIC to ensure all families have access to healthy diets.

At the intersection of education, sustainability and poverty reduction, DC Greens is doing some amazing work to improve the lives of families across the District. I can’t think of a better organization that deserves this recognition, and I wish it all the success as it continues to grow!

To donate to this cause, please click here.