A while back I wrote on my other blog about using GoodSearch for internet searches because each search gets the charity of your choice a penny. In the Dollar Philanthropy style-- small things can really add up. Now there is a tool that uses internet searches to benefit a charity.
Jikolp is another site that uses people's internet searches to generate funds for worthy nonprofits. Jikolp is not really a 'me-too' site. It uses the google search engine and 50% of the revenue generated goes to the charity of the month. I assume that revenue is generated when you click on one of the sponsored links (ads) that are placed at the top and bottom of the page.
Jikolp is a good addition to the "philanthropic searching' trend. The ability to use Google is different from GoodSearch (uses Yahoo). Unlike GoodSearch, the searcher cannot choose the charity his or her clicks benefit. Jikolp does this for you. This can be good and bad. The short term enables charities to mobilize their supporters more easily and on a time limited basis. The downside is that people may not use the search if they do not want to support the charity that has been chosen.
One idea for improvement is making the links open in a new window. Right now, you get taken away from Jikolp when you click on a item. If this is not the site you need, you have to 'back' out of it to get back to your Jikolp search. While this isn't bad if you know right away that this is not the site you need, but if you search the site, you could be pushing 'back' several times to get back to the original search.
oh... one more thing.... Jikolp folks... please can we bloggers have a cool little search box widget that we can add to our blogs? I'd love one for the DP readers who need to research a little more about good causes and good charities.
Overall, Jikolp is a good service and provides an easy way to search and help ---all at the same time. Jikolp also has just started a blog (BTW--Thanks for the link love). The search engine and the blog are quite new so I am curious to see how both will evolve.
I am a 'helper'. I find it hard to sit still when there is an opportunity to help. I help clean up after a dinner party. I'm on the speed dial of many of my friends-- just in case of car trouble, health trouble, running late for picking up the kids, and other small stuff. As you may expect, I even like having the opportunity to buy things and help good causes in the process.
I also am a 'reader'. I have an Amazon wish list that never seems to get shorter. I collect books like some ladies collect shoes. In my single days, I did not have cable because I liked having the extra money to spend on books.
I am a 'recycler'. On a weekly basis, I fill two recycling bins with paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass. Why fill the dump with this stuff if it can be reused?
So imagine my joy when I happened across Better World Books. This company rescues old library books from certain death and destruction (5 million pounds of paper-- in fact). Then these kind people try to find new homes for these books via online sales and through the Amazon system. They then donate some of the profits to non-profits who focus on eliminating illiteracy ( 1.3 millon dollars, to be specific). Click here to read the full survey of success metrics. They even have a blog.
So as you think about holiday presents this year, consider taking the opportunity to give an old book a home and purchase a gift from Better World Books. Some suggestions include:
All of my life, I've felt pulled to express myself in a creative way. Thankfully, I was offered plenty of opportunities to find my creative voice and the expressive modality that I was good at. Shrinking funding of art, music, drama, and other creative education programs in the public school system has left a large number of kids without proper introduction to important artistic processes and modalities. Additionally, many parents do not have the time or money to ensure that their children are exposed to arts programs.
Abstraction Made Elementary is a Boston-based organization seeks to bridge that gap by teaching children who an artist is and encouraging creative risk-taking, critical thinking, and spontaneity through personal, hands-on art making projects. AME introduces abstract art as a formal visual art language, as an extension of children's natural early expression and aesthetics.
Some of the programs include:
taking children to visit artist studios and galleries
workshops on creative thinking and team-building skills, contemporary art appreciation, development of a portfolio of painting and drawing
classes that introduce at-risk youth ages 18-24 to the basic elements of graphic design with Adobe Suite CS software
workshops that help youth artists increase their self-esteem by learning about self-promotion and marketing their art
John Ruggieri, the founder of AME, has assembled quite a number of accomplished and dedicated contemporary artists to help him in his endeavor. The AME program has also been highlighted in Newsweek magazine and the Boston Globe as a model arts program. AME hopes to be able to spread this model to other commnunities across the US.
As with most small, all-volunteer non-profits, donations are key to being able to keep momentum going. Afterall, most people in all-volunteer non-profits, still have their day jobs that require their attention.
Send Your Dollar Today
By Mail: Please make a tax-deductible donation today payable to AME,
Abstraction Made Elementary Attn: John Ruggieri 1313 Washington St. #417, Boston, MA 02118.
Chunky Soup and the NFL are teaming up to turn team spirit to a big food donation to help those who do not come to their meals as easily as we do (Thanks Andy for the good quote).
A donation of Campbell’s® soup will be made to a
hunger relief charity on behalf of the team with the most clicks! Don’t
be discouraged if your team didn’t win last year, because the team that
improves the most in the number of clicks from last year will also
receive a donation! Remember, you can vote once every day, so come back
daily to support your team!
One of my greatest frustrations in life is that I love music but I lacked the gifts and talents for making anything but noise. I tried band and chorus, but to no avail. I practiced and practiced and practiced. I took afterschool lessons. I stayed late for band practice. Every year I would bounce between last chair of first band and first chair of second band. For the overachiever in me, this was quite a blow. No matter how hard I tried, the music I created was only rhythmic racket. I just did not have the gift. So now I just sing in the privacy of my own car.
That is why I am highlighting a music organization this week. I had an opportunity to be exposed to and attempt to explore something that I loved. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have a real gift and not having the programs and instruments available to help refine and hone the gift.
Modern Improvisation Music Appreciation (MIMA) aims to provide music education to inner city children without music programs. They also provide aftershool programs to provide an alternative for those kids who are at risk of getting involved in drugs or gangs. To accomplish this, they draw on the talents of volunteer college musicians. These volunteers have the benefit of being close enough to the age of the participants so they are in a prime position to be excellent mentors and role models.
SpinJazz, MIMA's premier program held programs in 16 schools in New Jersey, one in China and a camp in Spain. Their work has won them awards from the City of Trenton and Princeton University. Christoph Geiseler, the Executive Director of MIMA, is a recent graduate of Princeton and is quite accomplished himself.
To date, MIMA has been able to provide services because of grant support from Google Grants, Bank of America, and REMO (an instrument provider). However given the current goals of expanding the outreach of the SpinJazz program, more funding is needed. They also hope to be able to develop partnerships with instrument manufacturers so that each child that wants one can have access to an instrument.
Are you like me? Are you tired of all those political ads? Have they brought out your worst cynical notions about our government? Does the conflict and negativity in these ad cause you to doubt the system's ability to create anything of real value?
The folks over at Good Magazine have gently reminded me that "Voting Matters." In fact, your preparation before voting matters a lot too.
You've got a few days before you are supposed to cast your vote. So consider empowering yourself with information about causes and issues you care about. Do this by contacting the candidates directly and asking them to tell you what they think about your cause or issue.
In close races, candidates know that every vote counts. So they are inclined to answer questions directly or at the very least to have their staff to answer your questions. This process also lets the candidate know that there are constituents that care about certain issues and that votes can come and go based on his or her position on the issue. In the machinations of the government, I'd like to think that candidates would keep an eye out for opportunities to make improvements in areas that they know their constituents care about.
Then again, if my optimism is unwarranted. Then the answers the candidate gives can be used to make them accountable in the future. Might I add, that blogs are a great way of making a historical record of searchable information on an issue, community, or candidate.
So Friends, voting matters. Ask questions. Let your voice be heard and keep elected officials accountable for the platforms on which they are elected.