Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ThanksUSA Launches 7th Annual Online Treasure Hunt to Aid Military Families

ThanksUSA and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation will unveil Treasure Hunt Seven, a free online and fully interactive trivia and puzzle game about American history, culture and values, on Thanksgiving morning, both organizations announced today. The Treasure Hunt series, now in its seventh year, serves to generate attention and donations for ThanksUSA's annual scholarship fund to benefit the children and spouses of active-duty military personnel.

The ESA Foundation, the charitable arm of the ESA, will sponsor Treasure Hunt Seven as part of a new three-year partnership with ThanksUSA that also includes support for 20 scholarships each year. The ESA Foundation began sponsoring the annual Treasure Huntseries in 2008 and aims to increase the number of scholarships available to military families.

"Treasure Hunt Seven highlights how we can work together to make learning interactive and fun. We are pleased to support this creative initiative to bring American history to life for students and families," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA. "We look forward to working with ThanksUSA in the coming year to continue offering scholarships for children of active-duty military personnel as an expression of our gratitude to America's servicemen and women."

This year's treasure hunt focuses on the fascinating histories of some of America's international allies: Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia and Peru. Treasure Hunt Seven will officially launch on November 24, 2011, Thanksgiving morning.  Once the game ends on August 15, 2012, ThanksUSA will award prizes, including gift certificates, to the winner of each game "chapter." Contestants can access the game

"Through The ESA Foundation's continued support, we plan to award 500 scholarships to the families of America's armed forces next year," said ThanksUSA Executive Director Michele Stork. ThanksUSA has awarded nearly $7.5 million in scholarships to 2,500 families across all 50 states and the District of Columbia and to all branches of the armed services.

About ThanksUSA
Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides need-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information visit

About the ESA Foundation
The ESA Foundation was created by the American interactive entertainment software industry to support and provide opportunities that can make a difference in the lives of America's youth. The Foundation is fully supported by proceeds from its limited edition charity game pack's sales and its annual fundraiser, "A Nite to Unite – for Kids," which together have raised more than $11 million in the last 10 years. For more information about the ESA Foundation, please visit

Monday, November 21, 2011

44 Environmental Projects Receive TogetherGreen Innovation Grants

Energy and dollar savings for churches in Phoenix, gardens for people and wildlife in rural Colorado, and restored habitat for the threatened American eel in the Hudson River are just three expected results of the 44 projects receiving a total of $1.1 million in the latest round of TogetherGreen Innovation Grants. This will mark the fourth year of TogetherGreen funding to facilitate people-powered conservation action in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Taking place in 27 states, these projects are selected for innovation; potential gains in habitat, water, and energy conservation; and opportunities to engage new audiences in protecting the environment.

"Never underestimate ingenuity and innovation. The approaches that will help us tackle the enormous environmental challenges confronting us today are going to come from unlikely and unpredictable places,” said Audubon President David Yarnold. “Each Innovation Grant project is an opportunity for Audubon to partner with local organizations to test and implement creative approaches to build healthier communities and achieve significant conservation results. And as our alliance with Toyota shows, when organizations work together, we can exponentially magnify our impact.”

Since 2008, the TogetherGreen Innovation Grants program has awarded over $4.7 million to more than 160 environmental projects nationwide. The 2011 awardees are receiving grants ranging from $5,000 - $50,000. Funds were awarded to partnerships, mostly between Audubon groups (local Chapters or programs of Audubon’s large national network) and organizations in their communities. This year’s grant projects involve more than 150 partner organizations nationwide. Many of the projects focus on engaging audiences that have traditionally been under-served by the conservation movement, from urban youth to rural ranchers.

In addition to financial support, grantees take part in workshops to strengthen their capacity to achieve conservation results, including a multi-day professional development course held at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and online trainings throughout the year. Audubon staff provides further support, including communications assistance, which leads to more public recognition at the local, state, and national level; and grantees are networked with each other so that they can share best practices and learn from others.

Audubon’s partner groups also benefit considerably from Innovation Grants. As Molly Tsongas, director of Tatzoo, said, “We are thrilled and honored to be a recipient of this Innovation Grant. TogetherGreen is breathing new life into the conservation movement, one that I want to be part of.”
Last year’s Innovation Grantees helped tens of thousands of people take conservation action in their communities, including Hmong American Eagle Scouts who made and erected roosting towers for rapidly disappearing chimney swifts in Minneapolis, African American student teachers who learned how to involve students in conservation action in Arkansas, rural Missouri teens who restored native cane habitat in the Ozarks, and communities of faith in New York City who cleaned up beaches for horseshoe crabs and migrating birds. Grant recipients leveraged their grants several times over through matching and in-kind support, allowing them to reach more people and deliver even greater conservation results.

“The TogetherGreen program grew out of Toyota and Audubon’s joint commitment to conservation, innovation, and diversity,” said Pat Pineda, Toyota’s group vice president of national philanthropy and the Toyota USA Foundation.  “This latest group of Innovation Grantees will help further the mission of TogetherGreen and serve as a catalyst for environmental change within local communities all across the country.”

Each year, TogetherGreen Innovation Grants fund projects in a community or region focused on habitat, water, energy, and/or engaging diverse audiences in conservation. Sample projects that will receive 2011 funding include:

  • Habitat: In New York, Audubon New York and its partners will work with New York State's Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to protect 120 acres of critical habitat in the New York state park system and educate at least 5,000 people about the importance of restoring wildlife habitat.
  • Water: In Kentucky, the Friends of Wolf Run, Inc., will work with Lexington residents to improve water quality in streams running through the city. Community groups and individual volunteers will take part in educational stream hikes, clean up days, invasive plant removal and native plant installation work days, and water quality monitoring and assessment to document improvements. The project partners will also lead a general community/media based education and outreach campaign to raise awareness about the initiative and how individual homeowners can help improve the streams running through their properties. 
  • Energy: In California, San Diego Audubon and its partners will launch Lights Out San Diego! to reduce artificial urban lighting to prevent bird collisions during spring and fall migrations and save energy.
  • Engaging diverse audiences in conservation: In Colorado, the Mountain Roots Food Project will work with food bank recipients, low-income families, schoolchildren, at-risk youth, and members of local Hispanic and Cora (Indian) communities, to create six new community gardens and maintain two gardens in two small, rural, Colorado towns. The gardens will harbor crops and native plants -- providing food for humans and habitat our wild neighbors.

To learn more about the 2011 TogetherGreen Innovation Grants projects, visit

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Butt In, So Teens Can Butt Out

In an effort to prevent teens from picking up that first cigarette and to help those who have already started, the American Cancer Society and ENT and Allergy Associates®, LLP (ENTA) are again teaming up to deliver a strong and relevant anti-smoking message to teens.

As part of ENTA’s commitment to the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, which occurs today, ENTA is challenging high school students to create their own anti-smoking t-shirt design and compete for a $2000 prize.  The contest is open to all public high school students throughout New York and New Jersey. 

In further support of the effort, several ENTA doctors-along with  the American Cancer Society Staff- will speak to students at local high schools about the dangers of smoking, how to deal with peer pressure, and how the tobacco industry targets its advertising to teens. The American Cancer Society Web site also includes financial benefits of quitting smoking, a cigarette calculator, and directions on how to become an advocate in the fight against the tobacco industry. 

In addition, throughout the month of November, ENTA will offer patients materials on how to quit smoking in its 36 offices throughout the Greater New York and New Jersey area.     

"The American Cancer Society is pleased to once again partner with ENTA on this year's Great American Smokeout," said Susan Petre, American Cancer Society, Regional Vice President. "Many adult smokers begin in their teen years, so by reaching youth early we hope to prevent teens from developing an addiction that can lead to serious illness, suffering and even death."  

“Our practice, unfortunately, sees far too many patients suffering the harmful effects of prolonged tobacco use,” said Dr. Wayne Eisman, President of ENT and Allergy Associates. “We are delighted to help with cessation efforts, and extremely proud of the efforts of these high school students, who combined commitment and creativity to effectively get the message out to their fellow teens”.

ENT and Allergy Associates has a clinical alliance with the Mount Sinai Medical Center to fight head and neck cancer and esophageal cancer,  by providing patients with comprehensive and seamless  world class, first-of-a-kind approaches to superior healthcare

For more information about the American Cancer Society, call 1-800-227-2345 or log onto For more information about ENTA or the T-Shirt contest, call 914-984-2539 or 914-984-2523 or log onto 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whither Philanthropy in Our Current Reality?

How One Company Measures Success By How Much It Gives Away

With Occupy Wall Street and the "greed of the richest 1% of our country" on everyone's minds, it is easy to label corporate America as the villan. Here's an example of how one multi-million dollar privately held designer menswear brand, Geoffrey Beene, LLC, has been working hard behind the fashion scene to help make the world a better place.

In less than six years, under the direction of Chairman and CEO Tom Hutton, Geoffrey Beene has been completely transformed into a unique philanthropic entity. “With donations of 100 % net profits going to critical causes like revolutionary early stage translational research for all types of cancer, as well as Alzheimer’s and heart disease our public service campaign says it best…”We Give You The Shirt Off Our Back…literally, “ says Hutton.

The company's philanthropic programs include:

Cancer Research and The Alzheimer’s Initiative
The number one feared illness in this country is cancer. To date, $120 million in value has been donated to the Geoffrey Beene Research Center at Memorial Sloane-Kettering, New York to help fund revolutionary early stage research for all types of cancers. Through the Geoffrey Beene Gives Back ®Alzheimer's Initiative, scientific research is gaining momentum in new preventive discoveries and treatments for Alzheimer's disease, Americans second most feared illness. The Initiative has been helping to increase public awareness of this fatal neurodegenerative disease and engage the baby-boomer generation in proactive large-scale solutions.

"Rock Stars of Science"
Studies show that children cannot name one scientist but they can rattle off many rock stars. In an effort to engage more young people in the pursuit of careers in science, medicine and research, a new public awareness campaign was created with GQ magazine, “Rock Stars of Science.” The program teams up scientific researchers whose work saves lives with celebrities like Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Keri Hilson, Timbaland, Bret Michaels, Jay Sean, B.o.B, Heart and Blondie to help promote more public/private funding for research.

Veterans and At-Risk Kids
Veterans and “at-risk” children are another strong focus for Geoffrey Beene, LLC through “Project Heal,” an organization that supplies service dogs for homebound veterans. The young residents at Children’s Village Residential School Program in New York help train dogs for these veterans. Other animal welfare and related organizations such as the ASPCA have also been given new starts with considerable financial support from Geoffrey Beene, LLC.

Fashion Industry Student Scholarships
Wanting to stay true to the company’s pioneering fashion roots, Geoffrey Beene donates nearly $10 million to the “Council of Fashion Designers of America Scholarship” and the “YMA -Fashion Scholarship Fund Awards, both of which provide support for gifted students seeking careers in the Fashion Industry. The Geoffrey Beene, LLC National Merit Awards grants $35,000 scholarships to students to further their education and training.

So there you go, naysayers. There is still much good in this old world of ours. Here is just one example: A multi-million dollar, privately held designer retail company is putting its money on the philanthropic future, thereby supporting its customers 100%.

The Start of a New Blog

Every day I receive news releases from associations and nonprofits that are doing wonderful things to improve the world. This blog is created to find a home for them. By sharing their information, I hope to inspire others to also do good things to change the world. We can make a difference.