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What’s for Lunch?

Chances are anyone reading this blog is asking this question as opposed to, “Am I even going to have a lunch today?” Unfortunately, for about 48.8 million Americans, of which 13 million of them are school-aged children, this is the question that shadows them everyday. These are Food Insecure households as they are referred to nationally; lacking nutritious food on a regular basis. A staggering 25% of households with children residing near large cities are recognized as food insecure. These stats should be deemed unacceptable in a country as affluent as the United States. The government has a dozen or so programs designed to address this issue such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Women, Infants and Children), and Head Start. These are established and monitored by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) but these programs are not getting the job done and further they are currently being threatened with a $150 billion budget cut.

Just segment out the children for a moment for these children were born into their situations and most are too young to help themselves. These 13 million children are often heading to school on an empty stomach and expected to maintain attention and energy throughout their classes. How can they concentrate with the accompanying stomach ache, headache or even dizziness from hunger? How are they to possess the same energy in Physical Education class as those children who have enjoyed a balanced breakfast? Right out of the gate, these children are at a huge disadvantage as a result of no fault of their own. To further amplify the gravity of this crisis, of all the children who get free or subsidized lunches, only about 9 million of them receive a subsidized breakfast, leaving the remaining 4 million without any food since their previous day’s dinner. (Source: Food Research & Action Center: School Breakfast Scorecard).

Take this same population and bring them into the approximate 185 days of the year, largely summer, that they are not in school and statistics show that 6 out of 7 of these children do not get their well balanced lunch at all during these days. (Source: Food Research and Action Center: Hunger Doesn’t Take a Break). Nutritious food along with clean water have got to be a right for every human being and not a privilege. Americans have the ability to eliminate hunger just as successfully as we have ensured clean water.

There are so many ways benefactors of all levels can help out. Impact Giving takes on the responsibility to match your level of giving with a mission, project or wish list item of a charitable organization that addresses the cause of your choice. We do this with care and thoughtfulness to ensure a meaningful giving experience. When possible, Impact Giving arranges to connect the supporters with the charitable organization and/or their respective beneficiaries of their mission. Currently, Impact Giving has areas supporting hunger in America and hunger and clean water initiatives abroad. Be a part of the solution to end hunger in America. Again nutritious food and clean water should be a right of all human beings and not a privilege. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Help strengthen America in the best way possible! Take action and contact Impact Giving to see where and how you can help.

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More Bang FROM Your Buck

We’ve all been there. Checking out at the grocery store with just a few items in preparation for dinner. Your mind is running through all that still lies ahead of you yet to accomplish before hitting the pillow for the night. As you are a million miles away in your head strategizing your night, the kind woman at the register asks if you would like to support such and such charity with a simple add-on dollar amount to your grocery bill. The sound of a needle drops and album scratch immediately pulls you back to reality feeling like you have been broadsided by an unassuming assailant. You just wanted to get your groceries and go home without yet another obstacle trying to separate you from your money. But in that instant, a decision to part with your money has to be made, and with spectators lined up behind you anxious for your answer as it may then set a precedence for them. You feel your pulse amp up as you try to suppress that feeling of being cornered, played… even manipulated. You are not afforded time to do your due diligence on the charity as you normally would. What is the mission of this charity? Who or what does it benefit? How much of my donation goes to the cause? How much goes to the administration and marketing of the charity? Does the grocery store get a percentage for running the drive? Does the employee receive an incentive for asking for the donation? Who gets the tax write-off? Is the grocery store matching donations? The questions pile up in your head as the beads of sweat roll down your neck. Then you try to justify it as, “Well, it’s only $5, does it really matter?” Until you stop in the grocery store two more times that week, 8 more times that month and so on and so on.

The fact of the matter is millions of dollars are collected this way every year with the winners in this game being the collecting corporations and the government. The corporations are not entitled to the the tax write-off benefit of the large “donation” but they certainly cash in on the goodwill generated from the photo ops during the presentation of that 6 by 3-foot cardboard check inferring a donation from their profits but truly representing the donations from their customers. Even harder to swallow, the government completely benefits from this form of donation because that same cumulative massive dollar amount donated is not likely going to be included in the population of respective donors’ tax returns. Right? How many people are going to keep the plethora of receipts from the grocery stores and the like over the course of the year?

Good hearted and giving individuals are left with unanswered questions, unfulfilling giving and perhaps even a defeated feeling that they have been used. As individuals, we want to feel like our efforts and our generosity can make a difference. Individuals, not unlike foundations and corporations, want to make an impact with their support. This has become a growing mandate over the last year or so. With every turn of the head, there is another relief effort or a charity forming. How do you know which charitable organizations are aligned with your belief system? How do you know which are legit in their stated mission? How do you know which of these are run efficiently? How can one achieve meaningful giving? There are resources that have recently been created to guide the philanthropic individuals, businesses and foundations toward more impactful giving. Regardless of the level of support, there are goals that can be accomplished or brought to the next phase as a result of a single contribution. It’s just a matter of seeking out that project, mission, or because that pulls at your heart strings and then “partnering” with them with a donation of your time, talent or treasure. This creates the environment for more purposeful and meaningful giving. Giving that offers you, the benefactor, a tax write-off AND the good feeling of making a difference.

by Mark Turner

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Giving in 3D

You’re not a one-dimensional company so why settle for one-dimensional giving?

Perhaps you’re an entrepreneur who eats nails for breakfast and who has risked your life’s savings to get your business thriving. Or you perhaps you have schooled and worked hard to rise to the top ranks of the company. You are accustomed to having the expectation of making things happen and making an impact. You have spent your whole life expecting more from yourself and willing to work harder than the rest of the pack. You deserve more because you invest more; you risk more, you work harder, wiser, and often longer. Business is business and there are many aspects of the business to pay attention to. Even in flat out giving, you can obtain a return a.k.a. a tax write-off. But is this one-dimensional transaction enough? What if you could give more meaningfully AND receive far more abundantly? Well, you can. This giving with impact has become a national mandate in recent years and companies of all sizes are catching on. Gone are the days of merely giving for the tax write-off, especially for businesses.

Study after study shows consumers are gravitating their purchasing towards those companies who partner up with a cause. As much as 42% of those surveyed from Ellevate Network, a business network for women, stated that they would choose to purchase a similar item from the company who partnered with a cause even if the item was sold at a slightly higher cost. Again, answering the mandate for more meaning… meaningful giving and meaningful purchasing.

Americans collectively give in the close range of $300 billion every year in recent years. Yes, that is billion with a “B.” There are many great causes out there and many extraordinary people bringing awareness to them, tirelessly working towards remediation and the betterment of their community. Every dollar of support represents equally extraordinary people wanting to finance these efforts. There is a responsibility on the part of the wealth of this country to support their community and clearly, at $300 billion a year, companies and individuals are standing tall to their responsibility. But there is also a responsibility on the part of the non-profits to use that generosity wisely; for the greater good. This calls to question the dollars of support that sometimes go unappreciated, unacknowledged even or worse, go to the padded salaries of the top executives of some non-profits? To be clear on that last one, a top executive is a top executive and should be compensated greatly for their leadership and the expertise. It is no longer expected that a professional of this caliber should work for charity just because they are leading a charity. In order to attract and keep the talent, charitable organizations have had to become competitive with the corporate world in their management salaries. This is a proven concept however, there is a point where it is arguably questionable for the top execs of a non-profit to carve a hefty dollar amount of the donations received in support of the cause they represent.

To meet the need for meaningful giving, or giving with impact, we have come up with a business concept that works for all involved. It allows for multidimensional giving AND receiving. Impact Giving seeks out and meets with non-profits that are addressing a need in society, are well run, are effectively using their resources and are happy to acknowledge, appreciate and able to give back to their benefactors in the best way possible. They do this by enhancing the goodwill of the company through various initiatives which may not only encourage a more loyal customer base, but it also nourishes the internal corporate culture of the partnering company. With a portfolio of effective non-profits representing a wide variety of causes, Impact Giving reaches out to businesses, foundations and philanthropic individuals to understand the benefactors’ missions, client base, communities, and heartstrings. At this point and based on the amount of giving the benefactor already allocates to charitable giving each year, IG presents them with possible partnering non-profits where their gifts will go a lot further in both the giving and receiving AND make a far greater impact. Making every minute and dollar count is easier than you think. IG does all the work for both the non-profit and the benefactors, leading all involved into a win/win/win scenario. Contact us to see how we can help you give more deliberately and more meaningfully.

by Mark Turner