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March 2, 2012 / charityprofiles

The Real “Show” Outside The Ellen Degeneres Show

Ellen Degeneres is known to make her audience laugh, cry and dance. Only a few people knew she had a great heart for people, animals, education and peace.

The host of The Ellen Degeneres Show is known for her charitable works. Recently, she hosted a charity event on eBay where she auctioned the clothing she wore on the show and in many award shows she attended. The proceeds of the event all went to The Humane Society.

Degeneres is also known for spending time, money and effort in other charities like Project Cuddle, Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Peace Games, the Red Cross, Clothes Off Our Back, Artists Against Racism, and The Susan G. Komen Foundation, among others.

With actor Ben Affleck, Degeneres launched the “Small Change Campaign.” The event was in support of Second Harvest (now known as Feeding America). Feeding America distributes grocery products and food to fight hunger and increase domestic awareness of its evil effects. The network also advocates policies for fighting hunger in America.

February 29, 2012 / charityprofiles

Rocking Poverty in the World

Bono is the frontman of the Dublin-based rock band U2. He writes almost all the lyrics of U2’s songs, often times using social, political and religious themes.

Aside from being a singer, an artist and a musician, Bono is also active in causes to fight poverty and hunger in the world. He is in constant contact with world leaders and policy makers in his pursuit to make the world better.

Bono’s first exposure to charitable works was in 1986 when World Vision invited him to Ethiopia. It was during this time when Bono and his wife Ali developed an educational program which uses songs and one-act plays to spread information on issues like hygiene and health.

His trip to Ethiopia was followed with trips to Nicaragua and El Salvador. There, he worked with Sanctuary to help the communities draw their attention from conflicts.

Joined by the band The Edge, Bono was in the Festival Against Racism held in Hamburg Germany in 1993. In this festival, there were theatrical events, a concert, press conference, and a debate on the subject of anti-racism.

Bono leads the fight against poverty in the world. He helped organize institutions that address the issues of poverty such as Debt AIDS Trade Africa (DATA), ONE Campaign and EDUN, a clothing company that promotes trade with poor countries.

For his charitable works, Bono was included in the Forbes Generous Celebrity List for his involvement in the campaign against the spread of AIDS and for debt relief in Africa. He participates in many fund raising campaigns to fight AIDS; one of the most prominent of which is his donation to One in Four Ireland of $50,000.

For his efforts, Bono was nominated 3 times for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was knighted in 2007.

In that same year, Bono met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. During the meeting, Bono convinced President Sarkozy to restore the €20 million cut in Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The President promised Bono that France will keep her word.

February 24, 2012 / charityprofiles

The Fisher House Foundation: In the Service of American Soldiers

Men and women in uniform willfully serve their country, anytime, anywhere – even if they have to sacrifice their safety and happiness. But in times when they need help, who will be there to assist them?

The Fisher House Foundation made it their personal mission to serve America’s military personnel in their time of need. Recognizing the special sacrifices of these brave servicemen, the organization has made it a point to provide them with what the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs cannot.

To fulfill their goal, the organization has placed at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assure families that their needs will be provided for.  These facilities have the latest equipment, made available to any soldier who needs specialized care.

In a way, Fisher House Foundation represents millions of civilian Americans living all over the world when it extends a helping hand to soldiers as a sign of gratitude.

February 23, 2012 / charityprofiles

Joe Batson’s Gifts to Texas

Growing up in a family culture of philanthropy changes who we are inside and also alters the community and, often, the world we live in. It changes our perspective on material wealth and what is really important. Descending from hearty Texas Panhandle pioneer stock, Joe Batson learned from an early age the importance of working hard and how to serve for the joy of contributing to society. He has followed in his ancestors’ footsteps, particularly when it comes to his beloved state of Texas.

A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), where he earned a B.A. in Radio-Television-Film and Communication, Joe Batson has shown abiding loyalty to the institution. A lifetime member of Texas Exes, the university’s alumni association, he also serves on the President’s Council. In other service to the school, the proud graduate sits on the College of Fine Arts Advisory Council. The group endeavors to grow, develop, and maintain the excellence of the college within the university and the state of Texas. Additionally, Mr. Batson co-founded and serves on the Board of Directors of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at UT Austin.

An equal opportunity supporter of education, the philanthropist also serves as a member of the President’s Circle of West Texas A&M University by virtue of his generous donations. A founder and lifetime member of the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, he assisted in bringing the popular outside musical presentation of “Texas” to the area. Previously, he served on the board of the Amarillo Tri-State Exposition. Achieving every boy’s dream, he received an appointment from the Governor as an Honorary Texas Ranger. In recognition of his dedication and service to the community, Joe Batson earned Citizen of the Year honors in 2007 from the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association.

February 23, 2012 / charityprofiles

Protecting African Wilderness, Together with the People of Africa

Africa is best known for its untouched, raw beauty. The continent’s wilderness is its best asset; its diversity is unparalleled, with animals living in coexistence with the other. However, because of modernization and human folly, many creatures in the African wilderness are now in danger.

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is an organization that works against the destruction of this land. Together with the people of Africa, the group ensures that the beauty of the land will live on forever. They also share their belief that the country’s vast landscape is the key to its future, thus it is vital to keep the wildlife protected to make certain Africa’s prosperity.

Established on March 20, 1961, the AWF’s first project was to establish the College of African Wildlife Management in Tanzania. Their first step is proof of the organization’s long-term goal: educating the people of Africa to make them stewards of their own land. In 1965, the first batch of graduates proceeded to take part in the active movement on preserving the African wildlife.

In fifty years, the organization grew from one batch of graduates to a whole country working together towards one goal. Their declaration, “together with the people of Africa”, is both a promise and a philosophy that has been the center of their philosophy ever since. The AWF empowers the people by developing conservation enterprises which can benefit local communities, providing education and training to young African scientists or conservationists, and tapping the government to shape conservation policy.

Last year, the African Wildlife Foundation celebrated 50 years of success as stewards of Africa’s natural wildlife.  People outside the continent have also become aware of their mission because of the organization’s unwavering philosophy. Thanks to their efforts, Africa is still a protected region where people and animals can coexist with one another.

February 17, 2012 / charityprofiles

Model Supermodel Helena Cristensen

Having posed in sexy lingerie ads, Helena Christensen is not only a supermodel but a model citizen as well. Very few people knew that Christensen has an advocacy to bring food on the table of those who can’t afford it.

Once, Christensen was seen wandering the aisles of New York City, checking the supply of canned fruit salad, Chiquita bananas and Special K cereal. She wanted to learn how the Food Bank for New York City works behind the scenes. The Food Bank is a non-profit organization that raises funds to provide billions of pounds of food to feed the impoverished people across America. Christensen is one of the fund raisers of the organization.

In New York City alone, the Food Bank provides 300,000 of free meals each day. This is on top of pantries and shelters that the organization provides.

Christensen has been working at the warehouse, providing support to other volunteers. She asks questions, takes photos and cracks jokes. If she had the time, she visits a community kitchen off Harlem where some of the food stuff goes.

February 16, 2012 / charityprofiles

George Soros and the Principle of Open Societies

George Soros was born in Budapest Hungary in 1930 in the midst of the long dispute between fascism and communism. He survived the World War II when the Nazis tried to occupy his native Hungary and the imposition of Stalinism after the war. He was a witness to all the violence and other forms of intolerance during these times, which helped shape his thinking and influenced the finance and philanthropic strategies he had later in his life.

In order to escape the torturing effects of war, Soros left Hungary in 1947 and fled to England. He graduated with a degree in Economics at London School of Economics in 1952.

Later he worked as a financial analyst in New York. While there, he adapted the philosophy of Karl Popper in his work The Open Society and Its Enemies, which Soros studied while at the London School of Economics. While implementing the principles he came to believe, Soros realized that he is more of a businessman than a philosopher. So in 1973, Soros established a private investment company which was later known as Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds.

His memories of wartime in Hungary moved Soros to provide financial support to black students at University of Cape Town in South Africa. Then he created a foundation in Hungary which focuses on education and culture. He was also an avid supporter of dissident movements in Eastern Europe, helping people in Communist states to organize themselves in order to have an avenue for voicing their opinions, promote tolerance, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

He continued his desire to create open societies when communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR collapsed. He established the Central European University in 1991, an institution dedicated to the teaching of democracy. He also founded the Open Societies Institute.

His charitable endeavors grew into a network of foundations and non-profit organizations devoted to the creation on open societies in many parts of the world. He has already donated no less than $8 billion spreading in 70 countries worldwide. These funds were for the purpose of supporting the efforts for human rights, freedom of expression, access public health and education.