Customer Philanthropy: Battered Women's Justice Project

This month our corporate philanthropy supports the Battered Women's Justice Project. Located in Minneapolis, the Battered Women's Justice Project provides resources for advocates, battered women, legal and justice system personnel.

This organization provides a number of different resources for those attempting to address this growing problem of violence against women. These resources include:

Expert articles

Website links

Training and Consulting Services

Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence


This is a resource you wish didn't need support. The growing problem of violence against women is one that's only solved with greater resources, support, education, accountability, understanding, compassion. For too long, it's existed in the shadows of our community, whispered about but never acknowledged. The result is a problem more widespread than we realized and too often addressed on the basis of misunderstanding, prejudice and bias, outdated paternalistic attitudes, a blame the victim mentality and if all that isn't enough...there aren't enough resources for those willing to provide a solution.

Can you help? The Battered Women's Justice Project is  worthy group making a great difference with this problem. We'll contribute $50.00 for every referral and $50.00 for every new customer we receive during the month of December. 

December 5, 2007 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (0)

August Philanthropy: Rural Development Initiatives

Rural Development Initiatives is our customer philanthropy project this month.

RDI, Rural Development Initiatives, speaks to our heart for its work. According to its website,

Rural Development Initiatives is dedicated to helping rural communities and the organizations that serve them to thrive by providing a variety of award-winning services which enable them to develop sound plans, strengthen community leadership, and build appropriate skills and structure for implementation that result in increased community vitality.

RDI's services are focused on finding the needed capacity within a community that are needed to drive it revitalization projects forward. They do it by increasing the skills and knowledge of community's citizens, helping enhance collaborative community leadership and applying best tools for the the community's revitalization.

Visioning and Planning, Project Assistance, Organizational Development, Facilitation and Mediation are just some of the areas where RDI can help a rural community bring their vision to fruition.

They also offer a tremendous set of Resources and Links.

Supporting our customers engaged in philanthropy is just our way of Saying "Thank-You" by Helping Others which we started last year. You can read the list of customer projects we support this year in the post Corporate Philanthropy - 2007.

Donate, participate, educate. Get involved. Give a little something back to your community, to those who need a little help.

August 10, 2007 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free The Slaves President on ABC's Primetime Tuesday

Kevin Bales, President of Free The Slaves, will appear on ABC's Primetime Tuesday at 10:00 PM Eastern. His appearance is part of their segment detailing the story of a 9-year old Egyptian girl, sold into slavery and shipped to California from Cairo, Egypt.  There, in sunny California she worked as a a family's maid without pay...She was 9 years old!

This isn't an anomaly, an aberration, an exception to the rule. Modern day slavery continues to exist. According to the website of Free The Slaves, there are 27 million slaves worldwide...TODAY.

You can help end this misery by sharing this story, donating to Free The Slaves and/or calling your US Congressional representative to ask them to co-sponsor HR 2522 which creates a commission to study how best to end worldwide slavery.

Free The Slaves was one of the first groups we supported as part of  our Corporate Philanthropy project. We announced that last year. We're proud to help spread their message and bring attention to their work to end worldwide human slavery.

July 30, 2007 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (0)

2nd Story from Kids Hope United

Kids Hope United is one of the organizations we're sponsoring this year as part of our Corporate Philanthropy - 2007 program.

We posted our first inspiring story of success from Kids Hope United  last week. Here's the 2nd story:

Family Preservation Program

In 2003, Leah was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. Faced with losing her 4- and 5-year -old daughters, Leah entered the Family Preservation Program.

After her first attempt at treatment, Leah’s caseworker found her once again in possession of drugs and helped Leah enroll in intensive rehab and recovery programs. Leah’s caseworker continued to offer support during her treatment, helping her get to counseling, court appointments and doctor visits.

With help from the Family Preservation Program, Leah has maintained sobriety for nearly two years.

She moved in with her parents, attended business school and, in October 2006, received a degree in business administration.

Her daughters are enrolled in Head Start and thriving.

Overcoming methamphetamine has not been easy, but Leah continues striving for a successful career, looking for love and caring for her girls. In every way, Leah is winning the battle over addiction.

Iowa, as many midwestern states are, is a battleground over the scourge of meth addiction. It's a daily news story about families devastated by this highly-addictive and very inexpensive drug. The only solution is drug rehab and counseling programs, not longer sentences. If longer sentences were the cure we'd have no problem with meth addiction. Kids Hope United  is one organization providing the needed rehab programs and personal care that's been shown to be the only solution.

There are 2 ways to help expand the reach of Kids Hope United. You can donate. You can volunteer ( No act of kindness is too small. - Mother Teresa)

With your help and our help, there can be many more such stories.

March 21, 2007 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (1)

Stories from Kids Hope United

Last month we announced our Corporate Philanthropy Program - 2007. We listed 6 organizations to receive funds this year from among our many deserving customers who serve as non-profit organizations helping others.

Kids Hope United kindly shared several of their success stories. We'll share a few of them over the next few weeks. The first inspiring story of their successful efforts was:

Foster Care and Adoption

Nine-year-old Julie was desperate for a family to love. After being sexually abused by a biological parent, Julie struggled with overwhelming emotions and moved to and from six different foster homes, unable to settle in.

But her life changed when she met Norelia and Brian Hill. The biological parents of three, the Hills welcomed Julie into their home as a foster child, but soon made the decision to adopt.

Slowly, Julie broke out of her shell and let the Hills care for her needs. Today, Julie is the MVP of her little league team and enjoys being a big sister to her siblings. The Hills continue to foster, recently welcoming Sara into their home.

Although they know that some cases end in adoption, the Hills are strong advocates of foster care, saying:

“Not every story ends in adoption. We need good foster homes –– safe havens –– that take care of these kids until they can go home.”

There are many such stories happening through the efforts of the Kids Hope United organization.

There are 2 ways to help expand the reach of Kids Hope United. You can donate. You can volunteer ( No act of kindness is too small. - Mother Teresa)

With your help and our help, there can be many more such stories.

March 14, 2007 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Corporate Philanthropy - 2007

Last July in a post titled Saying "thank-you" by helping others we announced our Corporate Philanthropy program. We chose three non-profit organizations to sponsor. These were:

* Opportunity, Inc. (August, 2006)

* The Hunger Project (October, 2006)

* Free The Slaves (December, 2006)

We sponsored them by taking the funds we'd normally use for Starbucks' gift cards and flowers as a thank-you for sending us referrals and for becoming our customers and redirecting them to these worthy projects.

We decided to extend that project through 2007 in the same manner, choosing a worthy organization to support in alternating months, with funds from our customer thank-you budget.

Here are the 6 non-profit organizations from among our active customers we've chosen to support this year:


....has been providing quality health-care and wellness promotion since 1969 to all members of our communities, focusing on those most in need.

EVERY CHILD – April, 2007

...a coalition that was formed in Pennsylvania in 2004 to "ensure that all children with complex health care needs and other disabilities have the opportunity to grow up in a loving, lasting family."

Watch their "Family Tree" video


... provides income and sustenance to millions of people in Kenya through the planting of trees. It also conducts educations campaigns to raise awareness about women's rights, civic empowerment and the environment throughout Kenya and Africa. It was founded by Nobel Peace Price Laureate  Professor Wangari Maathai.


...a catalyst for community vitality in rural areas: we work with rural leaders and volunteers to expand the knowledge, skills, and networks for building communities that foster opportunity, thrive and endure.

KIDS HOPE UNITED – October, 2007

...a private, non-profit, human service organization dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families.  We serve more than 15,000 children and families in multiple states through a diverse array of prevention, intervention and community-based  services. Our vision is a safe, nurturing home for every child.


...offers training, technical assistance, and consultation on the most promising practices of the criminal and civil justice system in addressing domestic violence.

The Battered Women's Justice Project promotes systemic change within community organizations and governmental agencies engaged in the civil and criminal justice response to domestic violence in order to hold these institutions accountable for the goals of safety and security for battered women and their children.

I hope discovering these projects will be as inspiring for you as it's been for me. Just the mere act of sharing their stories gives me a sense of hope, a reminder there is good people in the world doing good things for others, and we're fortunate enough to have them as our customers in some manner, big or small, AND we're in a position to help them.

As the months progress we'll try to share a more detailed story with each project.

February 21, 2007 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (0)

December's Philanthropy: Free The Slaves

Free the Slaves is one of those organizations that work tirelessly on behalf of those with no voices, no options, no opportunity, usually no education and no chance to gain one, usually existing invisibly in a world we wished didn't exist: the world of human slavery.

According to their website, there are 27 millions human Today. Today as in December 2006. That's more than at any time in history. It's in every country; it's in every state in our country.

Free the Slaves fights to bring humanity, opportunity, justice (if that's not too harsh...), dignity, health care, education, basically the chance to even consider all the opportunities we consider God-given to those who've never known them or lost them.

Honestly, I still have a difficult time wrapping my head  around human slavery today...Here's a brief video that shows the impact of rescuing 25 children from slavery in the fishing villages of Ghana that helped bring the impact of human slavery and the impact of Free the Slaves in righting this wrong.

We're proud they're our customer. We've blogged about them in the past and shared an interview with Jacob Patton. This month we'll donate to them in lieu of sending gift cards or flower bouquets for new customers and referrals. We hope you'll donate, too.

Previous non-profits we've helped in this same way have been:

Opportunity, Inc.

The Hunger Project

We'll announce a new 2007 schedule for these projects next month.

December 14, 2006 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Hunger Project: This Month's Philanthropy Project

We announced this summer that beginning in August we would donate to non-profit organizations among our customer base. The donation would be based on the number of referrals we received during a calendar month and the number of existing prospects who became customers during the month. 

For the month of August we generated a donation of $1500 to Opportunity, Inc.  We shared their story here and here.

This month we'll generate donations for The Hunger Project. We interviewed The Hunger Project's COO and VP, John Coonrod, in January 2005. According to John:

The Hunger Project is a global, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of hunger.  It's been in existence for 27 years.

And here are examples of 3 projects where The Hunger Project was successful in creating a sustainable means to end hunger.

* 50,000 village volunteers in Bangladesh trained to carry out thousands of successful projects in health, education, nutrition and family income.

* 25,000 elected women leaders in India and Bangladesh trained as "key change agents for the end of hunger".  During recent floods - and in the wake of the Tsunami - they have proven their effectiveness in coordinating relief efforts.

* 2.6 Million people in Africa mobilized to create, with their own hands, 63 epicenters - community facilities for health, education, farm training, food processing and storage and micro-finance.  Dramatic improvements were seen in incomes, nutrition, reduction in infant and maternal mortality and reductoin in the spread of HIV/AIDS. During a recent Malawi, not a single person in our epicenter regions died of hunger.


John's been busy since then January 2005. You can read about their exciting projects at their website, The Hunger Project.

And you can help:

1) Invest directly with The Hunger Project
2) Blog about them; tell others about their inspiring work.
3) Send us your referrals. Each one received during this month generates a $50.00 donation to The Hunger Project.
4) If you're not yet a customer, sign up today; that will generate a $50.00 donation to The Hunger Project.

October 4, 2006 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Philanthropy Projects

Recently we announced our plans for Saying "thank-you" by helping others. It's our ongoing corporate philanthropy project to support some of the non-profit organizations among our customers.  Alternating months we'd re-direct funds we'd normally invest to send flowers and gift-card to customers for their referrals to instead go to these non-profit groups. You can read our initial announcement here.

August Recipient: Opportunity, Inc.

The first group to receive the funds was Opportunity, Inc. $1500 was raised for Opportunity, Inc. Opportunity, Inc. was chartered in 1976 as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation to help people with disabilities developed to their fullest potential by working in a viable business enterprise...You can can read the inspiring interview with Barry Shapiro, CFO, and Elizabeth Golden, National Sales Director we were fortunate to have in  during the month of August from referrals from our customers and from prospects who started during August. 

Barry Shapiro, CFO, suggested the best use of the funds would be to help sponsor the Holiday Dinner in December.  We agree! The holidays are the best time to celebrate and share a year of accomplishments with friends and family. We're delighted, honored really, to help make this year's celebration a grand one. 

October: The Hunger Project. THP offers successful, low-cost, people-centered strategies for the sustainable end of hunger — the silent killer that takes the lives of 20,000 of our fellow human beings each day. 

We'll donate $50.00 to The Hunger Project for every referral we receive during the month of October, 2006. You can read my interview with John Coonrod, VP and Chief Operating Officer, from January 2005.

September 18, 2006 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helping others in August

During the month of August, we'll donate $50.00 to Opportunity, Inc. each time you refer a friend* to us during the calendar month of August. And we'll send the donation in your name.  We'll do this in lieu of our normal step of sending flowers to you as a "thank-you".

By the end of tomorrow, each of you as our customers will receive an email outlining this special offer.

As we wrote earlier in Saying "thank-you" by helping others, we'll do this again in October and December.  And we'll continue it through 2007 with more worthy projects from among our customers.

* You don't have to refer only your friends. But, it may help them be friends if you do.

July 31, 2006 in Philanthropy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack