Holiday Giving

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.

7th 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 his gift, Doug chose the American University of Foundation's undergraduate scholarship program.

Although a client of ours, my choice is not connected with a desire for continued business. Rather, because they are a client, I’ve learned first hand what AUN does and the vital role the faculty, staff and students play introducing a modicum of hope and civility to a part of the country that has little of both.

All lives certainly matter, and there is no shortage these days of lives in peril. There is also no shortage of people willing to help, as we’ve seen most notably in Europe, where hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other refugees have been welcomed with mostly open arms. Many here in the U.S. would gladly welcome more refugees here. But many will not welcome them, and have turned their suspicions on the foreign born already living here.

Most people in the world aren’t looking to immigrate and, as a practical matter, can’t. That’s why it’s important to provide help where they live. I recall reading that the poorer northern part of Nigeria has been that way for many decades. It is largely Muslim, where the south is largely Christian. I hope this isn’t a permanent division of central government attention and resources. A new government has recently come to power, and the leadership would be wise to treat the north more fairly.

The terrorist group Boko Haram, which wages violence against western education and other values, has wreaked havoc on the people of the region, burning schools, churches and, counter intuitively, mosques, driving people from their homes and farms. It will take years to recover—longer in the absence of international assistance. And the bad guys will be ready to creep back. They thrive on ignorance and anger.

That’s why I’m helping, and hope others will too. AUN is a highly credible institution, which I’m confident will spend the money in a responsible way.

I wish I had resources like the American philanthropist who recently announced he’d provide scholarships for more than 20 young female students. The students somehow managed to escape from Boko Haram. I don’t have such resources, but what I can give will mingle with gifts from other people like me. Together, we can make a very positive difference, as AUN produces a new generation of leaders who represent the best chance yet of reversing decades of deprivation.

Yes, a Nigeria in chaos would be very bad for Africa and for the rest of the world. I worry about this but what I alone do will not affect what happens. What I can do is try and help equip maybe one person who will commit his or her life to making things better. Depending on the beneficiary, this could turn out to mean a great deal.

 

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!

 

28th 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, Carly chose the American University of Nigeria Foundation's Humanitarian Aid Campaign.

This year, I chose to highlight the American University of Nigeria Foundation (AUNF) and the work they do to provide humanitarian aid to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria. AUNF, an U.S. based 501(c)3 nonprofit, raises funds for the American University of Nigeria (AUN) to provide an education for vulnerable Nigerian youth and humanitarian assistance to survivors of Boko Haram violence.

Nearly 2.4 million men, women, and children have been displaced by local extremist group, Boko Haram. Sixty percent, or 1.4 million, of these IDPs are children. What can be more staggering than to know that the average length of displacement is 17 years. Plus, the overall environment of Nigeria further exacerbates this situation through food insecurity across the region and limited access to education, child protection and health services. These children may grow up without ever having consistent or safe food and water, a stable place to live, health care, or education. Because of these conditions, they may be vulnerable to exploitation or recruitment by Boko Haram, and the circle of violence will continue.

AUN has continued to support IDPs in Yola, Nigeria – where the campus is located – by providing humanitarian assistance and implementing development programs for education, peacebuilding, women’s empowerment, and employment. Recently, AUN provided basic relief to 75,000 IDPs, but these supplies will only last for a few more months.

In working with AUNF (the American University of Nigeria is a C+G client), I have gained a deeper appreciation for what IDPs go through after such terrible events, as well as a greater understanding of the complexities that encompass Nigeria.

More is needed beyond humanitarian aid. IDPs need development programs that can provide access to education, a stable living environment, and much more. But they absolutely must have food, water, and other basic necessities in order to live.

To donate to this organization, click here.

 

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 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, Kevin chose Horace Mann Educational Associates.

I am proud to volunteer for and support HMEA, a nonprofit agency serving nearly 4,000 people with Autism and developmental disabilities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

According the Centers for Disease Control, incidence of autism has been rising over the past 20 years and is now estimated to be 1 in 68 children. It is conservatively estimated that 75,000 people are diagnosed with autism in Massachusetts alone.

The cost of providing care for a person with autism in the U.S. is an estimated $1.4 million over their lifetime, according to a study funded by advocacy group Autism Speaks. For those with autism who are impacted with intellectual disabilities (with an IQ of 70 or less) — nearly half of the autistic population — the cost jumps to $2.3 million. On average autism costs a family $60,000 a year. Nationally, expenditure on autism treatment is estimated at 160 billion dollars and is expected to increase five-fold to 800 billion by 2030.

A recent report from the Massachusetts Autism Commission determined that tremendous gaps in services and supports exist and that there is a critical need to develop a comprehensive approach that will respond to the needs of this burgeoning autism population.

Fortunately, HMEA is working to close some of these gaps. They provide an Autism Resource Center for families, a school for students ages 9 to 22, assistive technology services,  home-based childrens’ servicesday programs where adults with developmental disabilities can learn work/life skills and receive job training and employment, residential and shared living programs, and so much more.

Earlier this year, HMEA held an autism summit that convened local, regional and state leaders to discuss the impact of autism on communities in Massachusetts. HMEA is also developing a new model program called, Students for Higher – Rising up for Autism, to train college students as behavioral therapists and respite providers for children with autism.

Despite the multiple funding sources available to Massachusetts families today, there is a critical shortage of skilled therapy and respite workers needed to meet the care needs of children and families with autism. As a result, many families are on a six-month waiting list for in-home services. The goal of the Students for Higher program is to significantly reduce the number of families of children (and adults) with autism who are desperately waiting for in-home therapy services and respite in Central Massachusetts.

To learn more about HMEA and the many valuable services and supports they provide to people with autism and developmental disabilities, visit www.hmea.org.

30th 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, Greg chose Mid Coast Food Prevention Program.

The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program’s (MCHPP) mission is to provide hungry people with access to healthy food, work to improve the quality of their lives by partnering with others, and serve them in a manner that recognizes their dignity.

They provide food assistance to over 1,200 Maine families in need each year. In addition, they provide programs to help build skills to live self-sufficient and healthy lifestyles. The Soup Kitchen feeds an average of 120 people per day, serving fresh meals restaurant style, so people do not have to wait in line for their meal. One way that MCHPP is unique is their dedication providing services to their “clients” in a manner that respects the dignity of those they are serving.

MCHPP also maintains a Food Pantry that provides fresh fruits and vegetables, personal care items, deli choices and other food items to income eligible families every 2 weeks. In past years, they have served over 1000 households.

I support MCHPP because it feeds the spirit, as well as the body, and because it makes a real difference in Maine.

To learn more about this cause, please click here. 

 

30th 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, Heather chose "e" inc.

“e” inc. has been one of my favorite local Boston organizations for many years.  This wonderful organization provides children and adults with a scientific understanding of the earth’s natural biomes, resources and systems which when combined with hands-on experiments, observation and field work, helps us understand our current and future environmental challenges.

Led by the dynamic, brilliant and energetic, Dr. Ricky Stern, the e-inc. team of educators inspires environmental change in urban neighborhoods through their school year and summer programs. Their latest endeavor is to build a LEED-certified Environment Science Discovery & Action Museum in Boston that will not only help visitors explore the planet, but also teach them how they can protect it in their daily lives.

We need more organizations like “e”-inc. that are building communities of engaged, caring and motivated young (and older) people committed to taking action to ensure a sustainable planet.

To learn more, or to make a donation, please click here!