Posts Tagged ‘donation’


Samples of the antique lockets Suzanne sells at Luna & Stella. This week she is participating with 500 online businesses in an auction of products to help ACLU and RAICES. One woman organizes these auctions at _stillwerise.

Lindsay Meyer Harley, owner of the online baby shop known as Darling Clementine, felt anxiety about the state of the world and decided to do something. While still running her business, she began to organize likeminded online business owners to participate in auctions that fund worthy causes. The auction in which Suzanne and Luna & Stella are providing a $200 gift certificate features 500 online businesses eager to aid organizations working to unite separated families. It ends Monday.

The way it works: you bid at _stillwerise on Instagram by putting the amount in the comments under the photo of the product you want. When the winning bid is established after the deadline, you send the amount you bid directly to ACLU or RAICES or a combination of the two, and then you send the acknowledgment you receive to stillweriseauction @ gmail.com. At that point, Lindsay tells the business owner that s/he may send you the auction item you won. (Lindsay notes, “The receipt of donation will include your name, email and amount donated, no other personal information.”)


You can read all about Lindsay and the auctions she has managed in the last year here at Glitter Guide, here at Little Kin Journal, and also at https://www.stillwerisecommunity.com.

If you are on Instagram, follow @_stillwerise. There are so many tempting items offered in the cause of reuniting families!

I look forward to your comments. As amazing as the auction items are and as worthy as the two causes are, the thing that really bowls me over is this: one woman decided to “do something.”

Oh, my. The Power of One!

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Photo: Bloom Family
Thrifty Sylvia Bloom, seen here with her husband, was a secretary for the same law firm for 67 years. She left $6.24 million to Henry Street Settlement’s Expanded Horizons College Success Program, which helps disadvantaged students prepare for and complete college.

This inspiring story doesn’t need any comment from me, but I’d love to know what you think about it.

Corey Kilgannon writes at the New York Times, “Even by the dizzying standards of New York City philanthropy, a recent $6.24 million donation to the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side was a whopper — the largest single gift from an individual to the social service group in its 125-year history.

“It was not donated by some billionaire benefactor, but by a frugal legal secretary from Brooklyn who toiled for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at age 96 and died not long afterward in 2016.

“Her name was Sylvia Bloom and even her closest friends and relatives had no idea she had amassed a fortune over the decades. She did this by shrewdly observing the investments made by the lawyers she served.

“ ‘She was a secretary in an era when they ran their boss’s lives, including their personal investments,’ recalled her niece Jane Lockshin. ‘So when the boss would buy a stock, she would make the purchase for him, and then buy the same stock for herself, but in a smaller amount because she was on a secretary’s salary.’

“Since Ms. Bloom never talked about this, even to those closest to her, the fact that she had carefully cultivated more than $9 million among three brokerage houses and 11 banks, emerged only at the end of her life — ‘an oh my God moment,’ said Ms. Lockshin, the executor of Ms. Bloom’s estate. …

“Ms. Bloom’s will allowed for some money to be left to relatives and friends, but directed that the bulk of the fortune go toward scholarships of Ms. Lockshin’s choice for needy students.

“Ms. Lockshin, the longstanding treasurer of the settlement’s board, called the group’s executive director, David Garza, and asked him if he was sitting down.

“ ‘We were all agape, just blown away,’ recalled Mr. Garza. …

“Ms. Bloom, who never had children of her own, was born to eastern European immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. She attended public schools, including Hunter College, where she completed her degree at night while working days to make ends meet. …

“Ms. Bloom’s husband, Raymond Margolies, who died in 2002, was a city firefighter who retired and became a city schoolteacher with a pharmacist career on the side, relatives said. …

“Nearly all the money was in Ms. Bloom’s name alone, Ms. Lockshin said, adding that it was ‘very possible’ that even Mr. Margolies did not know the size of his wife’s fortune. …

“Ms. Bloom was known for always taking the subway to work, even on the morning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the World Trade Center, not far from the firm’s offices.

“That day, Ms. Bloom, at 84, fled north and took refuge in a building before walking over the Brooklyn Bridge and taking a city bus — not a cab — home. …

” ‘She never talked money and she didn’t live the high life,’ [Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton human resources executive  Paul Hyams] said. ‘She wasn’t showy and didn’t want to call attention to herself. … She was a child of the Depression and she knew what it was like not to have money. She had great empathy for other people who were needy and wanted everybody to have a fair shake.’ ”

More at the New York Times, here.

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Photo: Gramophone
Children in Uganda are learning the joy of playing a musical instrument thanks to an initiative called Brass for Africa.

The opening sentence of the following article caught my attention as, in fact, both my children had instruments they no longer played. A couple years ago, they let me donate the oboe and the alto sax to the Worcester public schools as part of a WICN program.

At Gramophone, Isha Ranchod wrote about something similar occurring in Uganda, “If you found out that your son’s junior band had 30 brass instruments that were not going to be used anymore, what would you do?

“Airline pilot Jim Trott raised funds to have them shipped to Uganda after seeing the circumstances of children while there for work, and what started as a way to save the instruments from the scrap heap turned into a story of hope and transformation.

“Trott placed the trumpets in an orphanage called The Good Shepherd Home, with the tutelage of music given to Ugandan local Bosco Segawa and his organisation M-Lisada – and so he thought his work was complete.

“However, he continued to visit the home regularly, and was amazed to find overall improvement in the children learning music. He said that they had discovered self-confidence and pride within themselves and found that playing in their brass band together had become the most important thing in their lives.

“This was when Trott realised that he needed to find a way to sustain this musical intervention and share this opportunity with more children. And so the charity organisation Brass for Africa officially began. …

“The children involved include those living in extreme poverty (living either as street children or in a slum), as well as children living in orphanages and rehabilitation centres, living with physical or mental disability, or coping with HIV/AIDS. These children each have two training sessions a week, which include music theory, and are periodically recorded so as to let them hear their improvement along the way. The bands each have at least three performances a year, which not only serve as goals for the children to work towards, but also allow for them to show the local communities their growth and talent. …

“The music lessons are supplemented with a life skills programme tailored to the experiences of these Ugandan children. The emotional support and practical skills taught in this way aim to help the participants to reach their own goals in the long term. …

“The teachers of the programme were once students of Brass for Africa, having come through the programmes themselves. This ensures that they understand the challenges faced by the participants and also creates a sustainable cycle in which the culture is not forced to adapt to a Western influence. …

“The project’s vision has attracted two internationally-acclaimed trumpeters, Alison Balsom and Guy Barker, who serve as ambassadors and patrons. …

“In 2014, Balsom and Barker went to Kampala, Uganda, and played in the different bands with the children, making music together and experiencing first-hand what had drawn them to the charity in the first place.

” ‘There were hundreds of young people that I met, and for all of them, this was the highlight, the focus, and the safety net of their day.’ … Many of the children told Balsom that playing in the band gave them a valuable escape from the stresses and challenges of their daily lives.” Read about a girl whose life was changed by the program, here.

Photo: Jim Trott
Aisha Nassaazi, a Ugandan girl, says her life was changed completely by music.

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talulah-cooper-boutique-providenceNew followers can be forgiven for not knowing that this is a blog for Luna & Stella, the contemporary birthstone jewelry company. The company owner is my daughter, Suzanne, and she lets me blog about anything that interests me. So I do go off on tangents.

But today what interests me is the Luna & Stella trunk show, scheduled to take place Saturday, May 2, 12 to 5, in Providence, Rhode Island, at the Talulah Cooper Boutique on Traverse Street (left).

I really love the new Luna & Stella charms, including the Blixt lightning bolt (which has a special association with Suzanne’s electrifying son), the delicate cross, and the anchor that is based on the Rhode Island state flag. And because I am pretty familiar with the great work of the folks at the Rhode Island Foundation, I’m also tickled that Suzanne is sending them $5 of every anchor charm purchased.

She writes, “Our Hope Anchor Charm Necklace is inspired by the anchor on the Rhode Island state flag. $5 of every Anchor charm ordered goes to The Rhode Island Foundation’s Fund for Rhode Island, serving the state’s most critical needs since 1916.”

Oh. Did I mention that Mother’s Day is really soon, May 10? I myself have been dropping broad hints about needing my new granddaughter’s birthstone.

hope anchor birthstone charm necklace

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A couple years ago I asked someone who organizes gleaners in Vermont to write an article for the place that I work. Gleaning was new to me then, but now I read about it often.

The idea is that volunteers are invited into farms after a harvest to pick the perfectly good remnants that would otherwise be plowed under. The excess produce is then handed over to food banks at peak of freshness.

Kathy Shiels Tully wrote for the Globe today about one gleaning effort.

“Founded in 2004 by Arlington resident Oakes Plimpton, Boston Area Gleaners organizes volunteers, sometimes on only one to two days’ notice.

“Timeliness is important, said Emma Keough, market and food access manager at Brookwood Community Farm.

“ ‘It’s really critical people show up … We’re growing really intensively, so there’s only a small window to pick excess crops in order to give us time to turn over the land and plant a new crop.’ …

“Todd Kaplan of Somerville signed on four years ago after hearing about Boston Area Gleaners ‘through the grapevine.’

“Averaging a dozen gleaning sessions a year, Kaplan, a legal aid attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, has gleaned mostly on farms west of Boston — Dick’s Market Garden in Lunenburg, where he’s picked kale, tomatoes, and green peppers; Kimball Fruit Farm in Pepperell, which has offered the group first pick of apples; and the Food Project Farm in Lincoln.

“The gleaning nonprofit ‘moves an inordinate amount of food that would otherwise go to waste into the hands of people who really need it,’ Kaplan said.

“Lynn Langton, a North Andover resident, says her immediate reaction to learning about gleaning in a newspaper article three years ago was ‘I want to do that!’ … It’s such a high-quality, fresh product. It’s unbelievable.’ ”

More here.

Photo: John Blanding/Globe Staff
The Boston Area Gleaners program organizes volunteers. to pick excess crops from farms and donate them to food banks for distribution. Matt Crawford is the group’s coordinator.

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More and more nonprofits are creating investment opportunities for well-wishers who want to support the charity’s mission while also receiving a modest return on their money.

New Hampshire Community Loan Fund is one I know about. “Investments in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund are stable, pay interest to the investor and create opportunity many times over in New Hampshire’s communities,” says their website. “The money that people and institutions invest in us, combined with our own capital, creates the pool of funds from which we lend to create opportunity for decent housing, child care and jobs for families with low or moderate incomes.

“Our borrowers are people and nonprofit organizations that won’t qualify for a bank loan, but that are responsible and motivated to achieve their goals, including repayment. We connect them with the specialized training and support they need to be successful.”

The website also notes that the Community Loan Fund “received the highest honor in our field: the NEXT Award for Opportunity Finance. We were selected from among the country’s top community development financial institutions for providing fair, fixed-rate mortgage loans to help people in New Hampshire’s resident-owned communities build value in their home.” (Resident-owned communities are parks for manufactured housing at which the residents own not just the home but also share ownership of the land. They are a specialty of the Loan Fund.)

At The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Holly Hall writes about how the Nature Conservancy is using the concept of an investment vehicle for supporters.

Hall writes, “Project manager Jeff DeQuatro walks on a protective reef built by the Nature Conservancy off Coffee Island, Alabama. The environmental group has started Conservation Note, an investment program that returns the principal and interest of up to 2 percent to the charity’s supporters.

“Since April 2012, the Nature Conservancy has secured more than $16 million with the Conservation Note, a new investment program that will return an interest rate of up to 2 percent to the charity’s supporters. Under the arrangement, supporters who provide at least $25,000 to the Nature Conservancy to invest for a term of one, three, or five years will earn 0 to 2 percent in interest and get all their money back. The Conservation Note has been given a double-A rating by Moody’s.

“The Nature Conservancy will use the money from supporters to help it shoulder the costs involved in transferring a protected piece of land.

“For instance, the Nature Conservancy recently purchased a Colorado ranch on sensitive land and obtained a conservation easement that prohibits the land from being developed, thereby lowering its value. The lower price made it possible for five families with adjacent ranches each to buy a portion of the property back from the Nature Conservancy. The buyers all agreed not to develop the land.

“Money from the Conservation Notes helped the charity make up the costs involved in selling the land and getting the easement.

“ ‘What is so exciting is that it opens up a whole new avenue of supporting conservation with resources aside from philanthropy,’ says Charlotte Kaiser, who manages the program.” More on how it works.

Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters/File
Project manager Jeff DeQuatro walks on a protective reef built by the Nature Conservancy off Coffee Island, Alabama. The environmental group has started Conservation Note, an investment program that returns the principal and interest of up to 2 percent to the charity’s supporters.

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Yesterday’s NY Times Dining section had a delightful story about all the food being delivered to Occupy Wall Street. Donations have come from far and wide, and people have self-organized to distribute it and do the washing up. The story is here.

“Requests for food go out on Twitter and various Web sites sympathetic to the protesters. And somehow, in spontaneous waves, day after day, the food pours in. …

“Platters and utensils are washed on site. The soapy runoff slides into a gray-water system that’s said to draw impurities out through a small network of mulch-like filters. …

“Members of the [food] crew sometimes fail to show up in the morning because they were arrested the night before. (Then again, as many a chef will tell you, that happens in a lot of restaurants.)” …

“Telly Liberatos, 29, the owner of Liberatos Pizza on Cedar Street in the Financial District, said he has received orders from places like Germany, France, England, Italy and Greece, as well as every region of the United States.

“ ‘It’s been nonstop,’ he said. ‘The phones don’t stop ringing. People from California order the most at one time.’ Someone from the West Coast had called in the biggest delivery: he wanted 50 pizzas dispatched to the park.”

You might enjoy knowing that Asakiyume’s blog offers music suggestions for the 99 percent. Check it out. (I borrowed the picture from downtownmonks.blogspot.com.)

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