18-Year-Old Gives His $40,000 Scholarship To Other Students

It’s not everyday that you see such a gift of generosity in a young person. Allan Guei, 18, decided, after winning a $40,000 scholarship, to donate all of his winnings to the 7 other students whom he competed against. Granted Geui had an easier time giving this money away after receiving another full basketball scholarship, but it turns out the rules would have allowed him to keep the money himself if he wished. Instead he decided to give that money away to his fellow students he felt deserved it more.

By Laura T. Coffey

This is a story of a teenager who did something so generous — so big-hearted — that it’s making plenty of adults swoon.

Allan Guei, 18, was a star basketball player at Compton High School in the Los Angeles area before he graduated last month. He also had a GPA above 3.0, and his good grades made him eligible for an unusual competition: A free-throw contest in the Compton High gymnasium. The top prize: $40,000 in scholarship money.

Guei, whose parents immigrated to the United States from the Ivory Coast, knew how much that financial aid could mean for his family. So he was feeling a fair share of pressure as students and teachers crushed into the gym to watch Guei and seven other randomly selected, academically successful students make foul shots.

Guei won the free-throw contest by one basket and netted the $40,000. But it’s what he did next that’s truly astonishing.

‘The right decision’
In the weeks following the March free-throw competition, Guei learned that he’d scored a full-ride basketball scholarship to California State University-Northridge. NCAA rules allowed Guei to accept the athletic scholarship and also keep most of the $40,000 he had won.

But Guei couldn’t stop thinking about the seven talented runners-up from the free-throw contest. They, too, had dreams — and very real needs. So, he asked Principal Jesse Jones to make a surprise announcement at Compton High’s graduation ceremony: Guei wanted to donate the $40,000 to the other seven students.

“I’ve already been blessed so much and I know we’re living with a bad economy, so I know this money can really help my classmates,” Guei said in a statement. “It was the right decision.”

Guei elaborated on his decision to give the money away in an interview with ESPN: “I was already well taken care of to go to school, to go to university for free. … I felt like they needed it more than I did.”

The beneficiaries of Guei’s generosity were ecstatic.

“It was a shock,” said Omar Guzman, 17, a runner-up who plans to use the money to attend San Diego State University. “I’m really grateful there are people like that out there. It was generous.”

Another of the seven runners-up, Donald Dotson, also plans to start at Cal State Northridge in the fall. Dotson described Guei as “a very deep, intelligent and warm person.”

“He’s going to go really far in life,” he said in a statement. “Because of what he’s done for us, God will bless him. That’s what life is all about — stepping forward to help other people.”

Lines that divide — and unite
The free-throw competition was the idea of Court Crandall, the Hollywood screenwriter behind the movie “Old School” and a partner at a Southern California advertising firm. Crandall was well aware of Compton’s image problems due to gang-related crime. Many of the city’s residents also deal with extreme financial pressures; according to Census data, more than 25 percent of the city’s families live below the poverty line.

One day Crandall was watching his teenage son play basketball with some bright, ambitious Compton students, and he got to thinking about the lines that divide us. Then inspiration struck: Could a free-throw line bring people together?

He decided to create the free-throw scholarship competition and make a stereotype-busting documentary film about the lives of Compton students in the process. Compton’s senior class had about 80 students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher; the eight students who participated in the competition got selected randomly from that group.

Crandall’s advertising firm, Wong, Doody, Crandall, Wiener, raised more than $75,000 for scholarships, making it possible to give $40,000 to the first-place winner and more than $5,000 — enough to cover about a year of college expenses — to each of the seven runners-up.

Now, with Guei’s added generosity, each of those seven runners-up has around $11,000 in scholarship money.

“It was the perfect ending,” Crandall told TODAY.com. “I was ecstatic about how everything turned out. … Most kids don’t have the sense of composure or leadership that [Allan] does, so after spending time with him and getting to know him, I really wasn’t that surprised by what he did.”

Crandall plans to submit his full-length documentary film, “Free Throw,” to the Sundance Film Festival in September.

Read more http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43745218/ns/today-good_news/



Building A Better Toilet In Africa

Bill Gates along with his very active Gates Foundation are putting over $40 million into a research program to try and create a repurposed toilet; one that can function ideally in African slum conditions. The Gates Foundation hopes that the better sanitary conditions will lead to better health by significantly reducing how much fecal matter residents must come in to contact with on a daily basis. Gates’ intention is not only clean hygienic conditions but to try and create some semblance of alternative energy use out of the material collected. While this is intended specifically for poor African areas one can’t help but wonder, if successful, how these advances might be applied to waste management worldwide.


NAIROBI, Kenya — At dawn every Sunday, Joseph Irungu leads an army of 50 men pushing hand carts fitted with old 42-gallon oil drums through the narrow alleyways of one of Kenya’s most populous slums.

With their bare hands, they use buckets to draw the feces from the pit latrines in Korogocho, fill the oil drums and push them to a river to deposit the waste. Every trip leaves the men with splotches of sewage on their faces and hands.

Irungu has been leading this sanitation brigade since 1998, when the Nairobi City Council refused his request to drain the pit latrine at his plot of rental houses.

“It was too much,” he said. “I had to do something, so I picked up a bucket and drained it myself. I realize that many other landlords were facing similar problems and a business opportunity presented itself.”

Irungu’s enterprising spirit was echoed across the continent Tuesday, when the world’s largest charitable foundation announced its newest venture: an effort to reinvent the toilet to bring safe, clean sanitation to millions of poor people in the developing world.

At the AfricaSan Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced $42 million in grants to encourage innovation in the capture, storage and repurposing of waste as an energy resource.

More than 2.6 billion people around the world don’t have access to safe sanitation. Instead of using toilets connected to sewer lines, most leave their waste on the ground or in a ditch or pit. The result is unsightly, unsanitary and contributes to illness.

Some 1.5 million children die each year from diarrhea-related diseases. Because the Gates Foundation believes most of these deaths could be prevented with proper sanitation, safe drinking water and improved hygiene, foundation officials are in Africa this week to launch this new initiative.

The foundation is focusing on toilets and sanitation, in part, because it’s the least attractive part of world development, said Frank Rijsberman, director of the foundation’s water, sanitation and hygiene initiative.

Almost taboo
“It’s almost taboo. Who wants to talk about shit? It’s not exactly a subject in polite conversation,” he said.

Before the end of the year, the foundation hopes to have 50 to 60 groups working on ideas for the next generation of toilets, which should run without water or electricity and not be attached to a sewer system. Rijsberman said they’re aiming for a toilet that is useful in more than one way, such as one that turns waste into something that can be used for energy.

If all goes as planned, in three to five years there will be a handful of solutions that will lead to products or innovations to serve tens of millions of people, he said.

Irungu, 47, says the main problem in communities like the Korogocho slum is the lack of sewage facilities and access to water. He has already seen a positive impact from his efforts, including a decrease in cholera outbreaks.

“This place used to smell because people would go the toilet in (plastic) bags and throw them in the streets because they could not go to the toilets which were overflowing with waste,” he said.

Paying to use clean toilets and water is an extra expense many slum dwellers cannot afford, so they end up using the dirty facilities that can expose them to diseases. The use of a toilet costs about two cents, or two Kenyan shillings.

If better toilets are introduced Irungu will lose his business, but he says he feels guilty disposing waste in a river. He says he has no alternative. The slum was built on rocky land, so many landlords dig shallow pit latrines that fill quickly because they are sometimes used by as many as 30 people.

For every latrine drained, Irungu takes home about $2, a solid income in an area where many residents earn less that $1 a day. Through this work he has been able to educate his five children, he said.

Korogocho resident Veronica Wanjiru, 29, who has two children aged 7 and 11, says cleanliness is a problem.

“Most of the tenants choose to use a donor-funded toilet facility which you pay 2 shillings,” she said. “Many of us cannot afford this fee so our children use potties until they are even 14 years or for those who cannot afford that they use paper bags which are then thrown into a ditch.”

Wanjiru said that if her family used the public toilet twice a day, it would cost her 12 shillings (13 cents), which she cannot afford. Instead, her children leave their waste in a portable, self-contained toilet chair. She dumps its contents into a ditch.

“I know that disposing of feces in the ditch is bad but I have no choice. I have no toilet. I don’t have a steady job,” said Wanjiru, who washes clothes for a living. “Disposing the feces in the ditch is bad because that is where my children play.”

The Gates Foundation was created in 2000 by the Microsoft Corp. chairman and his wife. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Read the original article here


Celebrity Charity Poker

Professional poker player and philanthropist Annie Duke hosted a Poker tournament to raise funds for the spcaLA and I’m Too Young For This Cancer Foundation. Duke brought together celebrities from all over the entertainment industry including actors, dancers, movie stars, and professional poker players to play in the tournament to raise money for these charities.

Celebrities and poker stars came together to play in The H.O.M.E. Foundation’s Celebrity Casino Royale poker tournament, raising money and awareness for wonderful charities including spcaLA and the I’m Too Young For This Cancer Foundation.

Professional Poker Player, WSOP Winner, Author and “Celebrity Apprentice” star Annie Duke came out ready to play poker and raise money for charity. Celebrities battled against Annie Duke with the casino crowd cheering her on. Unfortunately, Annie Duke did not make it to the Final Table, getting outplayed by celebrities including Dancing with the Stars alumni Shannon Elizabeth and ABC’s “Off the Map” star Nicholas Gonzalez – both made it to the Final Table.

WWE Superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, a natural crowd pleaser, threw down some good hands, along with other guest celebrities including actors Benito Martinez, Michael Gladis, Carl Weathers, Josh Henderson and Corey Feldman, among others. Some reality stars fared well against the poker pros including “Survivor” winner Judson Birza, “Real Housewives of Orange County” stars Alexis and Jim Bellino and “Amazing Race” contestants and Pro Poker Players Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle.

But at Celebrity Casino Royale, the real winners are the benefiting charities – spcaLA and the I’m Too Young For This Cancer Foundation. According to Frank Verdugo, president of The H.O.M.E. Foundation and event host, the event raised much needed funds and awareness for amazing causes while bringing together pokers stars and celebrities for a night of great entertainment. The H.O.M.E. Foundation committed to raising $200,000 for the charities and is well on its way achieving that goal.

Celebrity Casino Royale featured a casino area including blackjack and roulette tables, along with the main attraction, a poker tournament. Over 100 poker stars, celebrities and VIP guests competed in the tournament for a chance to win fabulous grand prizes including Original Steve Soffa Watches, a Buy In to the WSOP and a $13,000 European Vacation, among trips to Dublin, Scotland, Italy and Costa Rica.

Read more: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/6365-annie-duke-and-shannon-elizabeth-play-celebrity-charity-poker#ixzz1RGHWD1hu



Recycle for Breast Cancer Fundraising Program: Helping Individuals and Businesses Dispose of E-waste

Recycle for Breast Cancer is actively trying to alleviate two problems at once: breast cancer research and dangerous waste in landfills. For every piece of e-waste the Recycle for Breast Cancer (RFBC) group receives a donation will be made to breast cancer research. Visit their website linked below to receive free prepaid shipping boxes for you or your company’s e-waste.

Recycle for Breast Cancer is a no-cost, national fundraising program to help the fight against breast cancer while benefiting the environment. You can collect cell phones, pagers, Palm Pilots, inkjet & toner cartridges and surplus supplies. Our goal is to keep these items out of the landfills by recycling and putting them back to use while raising funds for a great cause!

RFBC announces a no-cost fundraising program to benefit the fight against breast cancer that everyone can participate in.

Every day millions of old cell phones and empty printer cartridges are thrown away and end up in our nation’s landfills. The Recycle for Breast Cancer program collects these cartridges, prepares them for recycling while raising money to help support breast cancer research. For every cartridge and cell phone recycled through this program a donation is made to a national breast cancer foundation.

Program Manager, Larry Behrens, says “This program is an opportunity for anyone to support a great cause and help protect the environment at the same time. It has two great benefits – we are raising money to fight breast cancer while providing a much needed recycling service to the community. The best part of the program is that anyone can participate without incurring any cost!”

RFBC has developed an online collection program that allows individuals as well as businesses to participate by donating cell phones and printer cartridges. Free prepaid shipping labels or boxes are provided.

The program has been very successful because what we are asking for most people consider being trash. In today’s economic environment collecting financial contributions is very difficult.

Using www.recycleforbreastcancer.org you can request shipping materials, collection bins and other marketing materials to make your collection efforts a success!

For more information please reference this article




UK, Bill Gates lead $4b vaccination drive

Computer mogul turned philanthropist Bill Gates is continuing his charitable efforts around the globe; this time focusing on vaccines for children to help treat pneumonia and diarrhoea.  The UK and Gates have both donated over $1 billion each along with other countries worldwide which is expected to help some $1.4 million children in poorer nations.

By Rachael Brown

The United Kingdom and philanthropist Bill Gates are leading a multi-billion-dollar international campaign to vaccinate children in poorer nations.

Meeting in London for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) summit, politicians, charities, private companies and philanthropists pledged more than $4 billion to the campaign.

It is estimated pneumonia and diarrhoea kill three times more children under five worldwide than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined.

Experts say the death toll is so high because developing countries cannot afford vaccines.

The UK led the pledges by boosting its commitment by $US1.3 billion, which was matched by Mr Gates.

Australia tripled its current commitment to $200 million, with Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd declaring: “My name’s Kevin, I’m from Australia, and I’m here to help.”

“This will help vaccinate more than 80 million children and save 1.4 million lives,” British prime minister David Cameron told the conference, winning a standing ovation from the audience.

“We are pledging an additional billion dollars,” Mr Gates said, adding that the money would be spread over the next five years.

“It’s not every day that we give away a billion, but for a cause like this, it’s exciting to be doing this.”

Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to sell a diarrhoeal vaccine at cost price to poorer nations, and some other firms have since made similar moves.

The funding will allow more than 250 million of the world’s poorest children to be vaccinated by 2015 and would prevent more than 4 million premature deaths, GAVI said.

GAVI says it has helped prevent more than 5 million child deaths in the past decade with its immunisation programs.

The alliance funds bulk-buys of childhood vaccines against diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae type b or Hib disease, diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough, tetanus, measles and rotavirus.

Read more http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/14/3242885.htm


Supermodel has soft spot for wildlife

Veronica Varekova reflects on her work for African Wildlife Federation

By NBC News

Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with supermodel Veronica Varekova about her work with the African Wildlife Foundation.

Varekova moved to the United States from the Czech Republic at age 19 to pursue a degree.  She was quickly recruited by a modeling agency and has since appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue eight times.  In 2009, Varekova was named one of the first Goodwill Ambassadors for the African Wildlife Foundation.  In that role, she helped the foundation in its mission to conserve large landscapes, protect endangered species and empower local communities throughout the African continent.

Varekova’s first mission took her to Rwanda in December 2009, with fellow Goodwill Ambassador Ben Stein. While there, they both helped AWF conclude their celebration of the “Year of the Gorilla.” We spoke with Varekova about her love of nature and her upcoming projects.

Interviewed by Elizabeth Chang

Q: You were just named the first Goodwill Ambassador for the African Wildlife Foundation.  How did you become so passionate about the foundation and Africa?

Varekova: I was enchanted by my first trip to Africa, which was years and years ago. I’ve been going there pretty much every other year. If it was for work, or for a trip, I just really look forward to it, and I’ve never had a boring or uneventful trip. It’s just such a beautiful, beautiful continent, and every and each country of Africa has shown culture, such a profound culture, and obviously the wildlife, something that you really have to be there to experience it.

You can take pictures, you can see it on the TV on “Animal Planet,” but once you’re there, it just takes you in. I think, to me, it happened… my first trip when I was there in Tanzania.  I was in Africa for a totally different purpose. I was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and somebody who knew about African Wildlife Foundation and is a friend of mine had put me in touch with them. So, I spent one week, once I descended from Kilimanjaro with the African Wildlife people in Tanzania in Tarangire (National Park), and we continued to go to the Serengeti National Park, where I met with lion researcher Bernard Kissui, and he explained his work in the field.

Then, the people were introducing me to the philosophy and the mission that African Wildlife has in Africa. I was amazed and when I returned to New York, I went to visit them in Washington, D.C., and we were talking and talking. At the end, we realized that I could learn so much and be part of something that really inspired me, and they could benefit from it by me raising the profile of their foundation and illuminating the mission that they have in Africa, and so basically we began our journey.

Q: What will your duties be as a Goodwill Ambassador?

Varekova: It’s pretty much what the description of ambassador is. You really want to bring the attention to African Wildlife and their work in Africa, and pretty much illuminating what they do there, and introducing them to, whether it is, media or friends. Just raising profile, and also hopefully, help them make some funds, too.

Read more http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43402839/ns/us_news-giving/


Duggars lend helping hand in Joplin

’19 Kids and Counting’ family members pitch in to help tornado-devastated Mo. town

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children, Josh, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Juston, Jackson, Johanna, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace and Josie, all have a roof over their heads.

The same can’t be said for thousands of residents of Joplin, Mo., who were fortunate enough to survive the devastating tornado that pulverized much of the town of 49,000.

So when word spread that a monster tornado had just hit Joplin, several members of Duggar clan sprang into action to help.

“We heard about the tornado from some friends of ours in that direction,” eldest son Josh Duggar told msnbc.com by telephone Thursday. “They called us and said, ‘Hey, a tornado just touched down.'”

The Duggars, of reality TV show “19 Kids & Counting” fame, live in Tontitown-Springdale area in northwest Arkansas — 18 kids and their parents in one house and Josh and his wife and young daughter in another nearby. They are about 75 miles south of Joplin.

Josh, 23, who has past volunteer firefighting experience, and siblings John, Jana and Jill, active volunteer firefighters with first-responder training, decided to head to Joplin shortly after the tornado hit Sunday night. Their father, Jim Bob, along with younger siblings Jessa, Jinger, Joseph and Josiah, accompanied them.

Story: Relief groups seek relief from disaster onslaught

The family members set out in a three-car caravan loaded with supplies including bottled water, flashlights, batteries, Gatorade, dried snacks and ponchos. When they arrived in Joplin, they were immediately put to work.

The younger Duggars handed out supplies, while the ones with emergency training combed the streets looking for survivors amid the collapsed houses.

Read more http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43186230/ns/us_news-giving/



US foreign aid efforts get a corporate boost

Government increasingly relying on private partners to spread American principles

By Jim Gold

When IBM executive Chandu Visweswariah went to Rio de Janeiro as part of a volunteer team to help city officials plan to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, he found himself immersed in a mash-up of a corporate Peace Corps and “The Apprentice.”

“It’s a little of both but without Donald Trump to fire anybody,” Visweswariah said, noting the team had just a few weeks to accomplish many tasks that will help both events succeed.

Visweswariah and his teammates, who worked in Rio as part of an IBM program that encourages employee volunteerism, are the foot soldiers of a growing corporate cadre in the U.S. foreign aid program. And with foreign aid programs increasingly under fire in Congress, they are seen as an increasingly important force that could fuel innovation and greater productivity in the government’s efforts to win friends overseas.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Agency for International Development unveiled a program to make it easier for more companies of all sizes to send professionals abroad to help local governments, small businesses and civic groups in developing nations. The new Center of Excellence for International Corporate Volunteerism was developed with IBM and CDC Development Solutions (CDS), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that manages companies international volunteer initiatives.

USAID will pay CDS $743,076 over two years to launch the program’s website and get it operational. IBM will pay CDS $4.1 million in cash and in-kind donations of technology, materials and expertise and 100 employees.

Sharp increase in corporate volunteerism
CDS estimates that 21 major U.S. companies plan to send nearly 2,000 employee volunteers abroad this year, up from six firms that sent just 280 workers to four countries in 2006. Since then corporate volunteers have worked in 58 countries, CDS estimates, based on company surveys.

Since 2008, IBM has spent $25 million to send 1,100 employees on more than 100 missions in 20 countries through its Corporate Service Corps, said Ari Fishkind, a company spokesman.

Besides Rio, teams have traveled to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to help the city develop strategies in public transportation, water supply and food safety, and gone on multiple missions to Africa, working with local organizations in South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to support programs that drive economic development. In Ghana, for example, a team worked on a technical school’s website and student record database, improved an electric company’s computer network and aided in technology to better educate disadvantaged youths.

Each six-to-10 member IBM team spent more than two months in preparation, one month on location and more than two months after their return, wrapping up projects and mentoring other volunteers, IBM said. More than 10,000 employees have applied to participate in the program.

IBM, which has nearly 427,000 employees, acknowledges that projects may occasionally lead to commerce, such as when the government of Cross River State in Nigeria last year hired IBM to assist with two social welfare and health care initiatives. But Big Blue, which last year reported net income of $14.8 billion on revenue of $99.9 billion, said that’s not the objective of its Corporate Service Corps.

Among other companies with new volunteer programs are Dow Corning’s Citizen Service Corps, whose pilot project in Bangalore, India, is focused on energy, social enterprises and low-income housing, and drug maker Novartis International, whose Entrepreneurial Leadership Program sent teams to Tanzania and the Philippines to work with NGOs and government agencies on health care initiatives.

USAID says the new program will allow other companies to leverage the expertise of IBM and others to set up or expand international volunteer programs.

The independent federal agency is rooted in the post-World War II European reconstruction program known as the Marshall Plan. With its $21.9 billion budget facing cuts by Congress, USAID is under pressure to spend taxpayers’ money more efficiently. Teaming with corporations will mean deploying more high-level expertise faster, cheaper and quicker to USAID’s beneficiaries, who in turn eventually may become self-sustainable, agency officials say.

“It is our hope that these resources will drive innovation and allow us to achieve a greater return on investments,” Bambi Arellano, counselor to USAID, said in a statement announcing the partnership.

Volunteers will work on food security, sustainable economic growth, global climate adaptation, health, education, information technology and urban development, the agency said.

‘Jumping on the bandwagon’
To Ian Vásquez, director of the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based market-liberal think tank that has called for the abolition of USAID, the agency is “jumping on a bandwagon a little too late … to approximate what occurs in the market.”

“Corporations already are doing philanthropic and private foreign aid that far surpasses what the agency does itself,” Vásquez said. “It smells very much like a development fad. The aid agency has been dogged by problems of effectiveness and accountability — a problem with international aid in general.”

But Carol Adelman, who was an assistant administrator at USAID in charge of foreign aid for Asia, the Middle East and central and eastern Europe when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, said corporate involvement in U.S. foreign aid efforts is nothing new.

“We had a bank of volunteers,” she said, referring to the Washington, D.C.-based International Executive Service Corps. “They were invaluable to me in helping on projects when we needed to have that language skill.”

Adelman is now director of the Center for Global Prosperity, tracking private-sector philanthropy at the Washington, D.C.-based Hudson Institute, a nonpartisan research organization.

She called USAID’s new program “a smart move because of the battle over the budget” in Congress. Teaming with corporations will save money and boost peer-to-peer relationships that will help build understanding of America and its principles.

Companies know that donating human resources now to efforts around the world may not immediately improve their bottom lines, but long term these efforts could help grow their supply chains and increase the global marketplace for their products, officials said. Also, both government and private-sector officials said they follow the presumption that prosperous democracies tend not to go to war with one another, thereby creating environment where commerce can flourish.

That concept was touted as long ago as 1957, when Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Congress that the Eisenhower administration would prefer to see private capital eventually replace foreign-aid funds in overseas economic development, according to a Time magazine report at the time.


Read the full article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43190484/ns/us_news-giving/


Drug companies drive 2010 corporate giving

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK — Drug companies helped drive an almost 18 percent increase in corporate philanthropy last year as they gave away medicine to poor Americans still struggling in a rough economy, a survey found on Thursday.

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy poll of 110 companies found they gave $13 billion in cash and products last year as the United States began to emerge from recession.

While 40 percent of the 110 companies — polled annually for the past four years — boosted their giving last year by more than 10 percent, another 17 percent decreased their giving by more than 10 percent compared to 2009.

“We’re seeing companies build back,” said Alison Rose, the committee’s manager of standards and measurement. “From 2008 to 2009 we saw 60 percent of companies decrease giving, so now from 2009 to 2010 we’re seeing 65 percent increase giving.”

She said more than half of the $2 billion increase in corporate philanthropy last year came from pharmaceutical companies donating medicine through their Patient Assistance Programs and investing in other initiatives.

For more information http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43254951/ns/us_news-giving/



Half the fun of having more money than you know what to do with is giving it away. Don’t take our word for it — just ask billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who have pledged to leave their huge fortunes to charity (sorry, kids!). Others have opted to give back in more creative ways, like the billionaire who has used his wealth to save… lemurs. Don’t ask, just click.


Big Givers: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates

Charitable Donation: The Giving Pledge

The two billionaires recently founded The Giving Pledge, an altruistic initiative that encourages the super rich to donate a majority of their wealth to charitable organizations of their choice. Gates and Buffet obviously set the example for their fellow billionaires, making official pledges to give their vast fortunes to charity. Super rich folks like Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg and Barron Hilton apparently love The Giving Pledge concept; they’ve already signed on to donate most of their money. The only people who probably aren’t impressed by The Giving Pledge are the children of these generous tycoons, who are getting much less now.

Read more http://powerwall.msnbc.msn.com/business/giving-it-all-away-the-super-rich-get-philanthropic-10041.gallery