Monday, October 25, 2010
The wait is over! Our National Advisory Board Chair Charlotte Jones Anderson made the announcement on ESPN’s Monday Night Football this evening…
Three-time Grammy Award winner Keith Urban has been named the featured performer for this year’s Salvation Army’s Kettle Kickoff! That means you get to watch him rock out during the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game halftime show on November 25 aired on FOX. (Read our official press release here)
But instead of watching from your couch, how would you like to catch all the action live at Cowboys Stadium?
As a part of the Kettle Kickoff promotion, fans will have an opportunity to win an expense-paid trip to the game to see Keith’s performance and watch Dallas take on last year’s Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints. Just signup to be an Online Red Kettle virtual bell ringer at www.onlineredkettle.org, and the fans who collect the most donations for people in need have a chance to win! You can checkout rules and details at www.onlineredkettle.org, but the contest has started and there’s no time to waste, so we’re including key info below as well.
May the best virtual bell ringer win!
Eligibilty: The Contest is open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older, residing in one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. Employees, soldiers and officers affiliated with The Salvation Army and their family members are eligible to participate.
Contest Time Period: The Contest runs from October 25, 2010 through Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 12 noon ET.
How to Sign Up: Participants can sign up for individual Online Red Kettles on the Internet at www.onlineredkettle.org and following the directions provided.
Prize Package: The prize package includes:
* Two game tickets to the November 25, 2010, Thanksgiving Day game between the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX
* Two field-level passes to the Keith Urban half-time performance
* One-night hotel stay for two persons at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center in Dallas in a single room with two queen-sized beds
* Two round-trip coach-class airline tickets from U.S. destinations (excluding U.S. territories and outlying areas) on a major commercial carrier, subject to seat availability
Winner: The participant whose individual Online Red Kettle has the highest monetary total of donations as of November 21, 2010 at 12 noon ET, will be declared the winner.
Tie-Breaker: In the event that more than one kettle has the exact same total, the person whose kettle was registered in the Online Red Kettle system first will be declared the winner.
Notification: The winner will be notified via the e-mail address they used to register their individual Online Red Kettle.
General Conditions: No purchase necessary.
Again, for more contest details please visit www.OnlineRedKettle.org or our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Saturday, October 23 is “Make a Difference Day,” the nation’s largest single day of volunteerism according to USA Weekend magazine. One of the most recognized faces out there promoting the event is NBA Star Shaquille O’Neal. He’s a stellar athlete, reality TV entertainer, father, funny-man and…lifelong volunteer.
In a feature article Shaq attributed his personal emphasis on volunteering to the examples set by his parents. He even mentions one of the childhood experiences that had the most impact on him was he and his dad filling up an entire moving truck with blankets and clothes and driving it all down to a Salvation Army homeless shelter.
What are you doing Saturday? Maybe there’s a way you can join with the 3 million other Americans who will be working to make a difference. If you’re short on ideas, contact your local Salvation Army. They may be in need of food for their feeding kitchens, administrative help for holiday events, or searching for Christmas Red Kettle bell ringers. And just like Shaq said, it could be a great opportunity to teach your kids about giving back, even if you’re just dropping off some clothes to our Family Thrift Stores.
And volunteers are not just a help to people in need – they’re a huge help to charities who have also been feeling the pinch in the sluggish economy. We recently reported that the nation’s biggest charities, including ourselves, have seen an overall decline in giving as compared to last year. Another study found that for financial reasons more than a third of donors plan to cut back their giving for the remainder of the year, but they plan to show their support in other ways.
So especially when things are tight, it’s our volunteers who really help us make a difference by stretching our resources and services so that we reach as many people in need as possible! In whatever way you give back, thanks for making a difference. Thanks for helping The Salvation Army “do the most good.”
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
A new report shows that donations to the nation’s 400 biggest charities dropped 11% last year, the most significant decline in the 20 years it’s been tracked. Ranked #2 on the list, The Salvation Army was no exception to the decrease having seen an 8.4% cut in donations.
The effects of our country’s economic recession have put charities in a sort of Catch-22. More people are in need and the demand for assistance increases, but fewer resources are available to meet this demand.
We would like to point out though, that even though our total charitable donations fell during 2009, generous givers like you still contributed a record amount to our Christmas Red Kettles. Every little penny counts in our mission to indiscriminately meet human need, so thank you for digging deep!
As the holiday season approaches yet again, please consider how you might be able to help The Salvation Army serve others during this time of overwhelming need. Like the rest of the population, we aren’t immune to the economic hardships, but we are committed to “doing the most good” in all circumstances.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The holidays are right around the corner, and many community Salvation Army units are searching for volunteers to assist with their seasonal activities and services. The holiday season is generally the busiest time for us and the extra hands lent by volunteers make all the difference in helping us stretch our service to people in need.
Can you find time, anywhere from one hour to a few days, to help The Salvation Army serve your community this season? Maybe you’d like to help with a toy drive, be a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer, assist with meal distributions or just jump in wherever you’re needed most.
Visit your local Salvation Army’s website to see if they are offering information and sign-up for volunteer opportunities. If you don’t see anything online yet, just give your community’s unit a call and ask what you can do. You can find your nearest Salvation Army by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org and typing in your zip code in the top menu bar’s “Locations” field.
Scott Bedio, Archivist for The Salvation Army USA’s National Headquarters, has volunteered as a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer every holiday season for the past 20 years and believes “there’s no better way to give back.”
Over the years he’s come to recognize many of the faces who pass by and donate to his kettle season after season. He says many strangers even feel compelled to talk to him about their personal stories of how The Salvation Army has helped them in times of need.
One of Scott’s favorite parts of being a Bell Ringer is seeing what he calls “generational giving” – when children, parents and grandparents share in the tradition of donating to the red kettles. He also looks forward to when his son is old enough to participate with him in his annual bell ringing tradition.
For those of you who are considering being a first time Bell Ringer, Scott offered some great advice:
Dress in Layers. Standing out in cold weather can be the hardest part of bell ringing, so covering up from head to toe can help you endure the elements with less shivering.
Be Creative. People love to hear the bell, but you can also mix it up. Scott sometimes brings his tuba and plays Christmas music when he wants to give his hands a break from ringing. Others have also been known to sing!
It’s All About Your Rhythm. If you don’t want to wear out your arm, Scott advises to not overuse your arm and elbow when ringing by keeping your bell near your waist and focusing most of your movements in your hand. But the technique of bell ringing is flexible so feel free to work out a style of your own.
As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Scott what’s the most important thing people should know before they volunteer as a bell ringer?
After thinking a bit, he replied, “Have a smile on your face and enjoy the people. It’s a special time.”
Does this sound like something you’d like to be involved with? Contact your local Salvation Army today to get started.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A recent study found that parents play a significant role in influencing their children when it comes to supporting charitable causes.
Children of parents who do not support a nonprofit are only 25% likely to grow up to be a donor, while parents involved in nonprofits increase their children’s odds of becoming a donor more than 80%.
This begs the question, what kind of example do we want to set for our kids? What habits and beliefs are we instilling in them? Most of us agree that raising responsible and caring citizens is important, especially with the growing rate of need in our communities.
Now you don’t have to be a board member of a charity to teach your kids about generosity and responding to need. I remember what a strong impact my parents left on me when they faithfully put a check into the church offering plate each Sunday and gave me a dollar or few coins so that I could contribute as well.
In a post titled, “Early Lessons in Generosity,” CBS Moneywatch’s ‘Bank of Dad’ blog offers some broad but practical suggestions about how parents can teach kids about philanthropy, such as bringing them with you next time you donate your family’s used items to a Salvation Army Family Thrift Store.
And with the holidays just around the corner, there will be plenty of opportunities for adults to involve kids in giving. How about letting them drop some money into a Salvation Army Red Kettle or pick out a toy for our Angel Tree program for a child in need?
If we want to ensure that the next generation understands the importance of giving, the best way is to make giving a family affair.
For information on programs and services offered by The Salvation Army, visit our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The Salvation Army is proud to announce the new Chairman of our National Advisory Board (NAB) is Mrs. Charlotte Jones Anderson, the Executive Vice President of Brand Management/President of Charities for the Dallas Cowboys!
Mrs. Anderson will be the first-ever female chairperson of our NAB and will serve a three-year term beginning January 2011, following the term ending of our current chairman Rob Pace.
Pace told the Dallas Morning News, “[Anderson] had unanimous support – we all thought she was the exact right person for this responsibility.”
Read more of his thoughts, along with those of Salvation Army National Commander Israel Gaither, in the article here- Dallas Morning News: Cowboys exec Charlotte Jones Anderson will be new chairman of Salvation Army’s advisory board.
Serving as NAB Chairman is just the next chapter in Mrs. Anderson’s distinguished history of involvement with the Army. She has been a member of the NAB for the past 5 years, helped create a memorable kickoff to our annual Christmas Red Kettle campaigns for the last 13 years through her organization of the nationally televised Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game half-time show, and she also frequently participates in events at The Salvation Army’s Gene and Jerry Jones Family Center for Children which provides affordable childcare for low-income families.
Having worked with the Dallas Cowboys for 21 years, Mrs. Anderson is one of the NFL’s most innovative and versatile executives. She guides the team in everything from stadium design to entertainment, merchandising, uniforms design, and philanthropy. It’s no wonder they lay claim to one of the most popular brands in sports! She also supervises the fortunes and travels of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders – considered to be the most recognized and accomplished organization of its kind in the world.
The Salvation Army is confident that Mrs. Anderson’s support and experience with our organization, strong marketing background, and excellent vision displayed in guiding the Dallas Cowboys will help make her an excellent leader for our National Advisory Board!
Read our official press release HERE.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The United States has been ranked as the world’s 5th most generous nation, according to the 2010 Gallup’s World Giving Index. Rankings were based on responses to survey questions about the frequency of charitable behavior including donating money, volunteering and helping strangers.
Here’s who took the other top spots (repeated numbers indicate a tie):
1. New Zealand
5. United States
Coming from The Salvation Army’s perspective, we’re not surprised that the American public has a big heart – much of what we do hinges on the generosity of others. According to our 2010 National Annual Report, more than 3,411,613 Salvation Army volunteers donated their time and effort last year! And during the last two years’ holiday giving seasons, when the economic downturn suggested that financial donations should be on the decline, Americans gave more than ever before to our Annual Christmas Red Kettle Campaigns!
What do you think about our nation’s rank as #5? How important do you think philanthropy is to the strength and well-being of a society?
And let’s extend the poll to our readers – In the last month, have you supported an organization or charitable cause by donating money, volunteering or helping a stranger? Bonus question: In which way of these ways do you like to give back the most, and why?
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
The Washington Post reports that Washington, DC sports teams and athletes are increasingly focusing on charitable giving.
Staff writer Susan Kinzie says, “For reasons idealistic, self-serving or practical, athletes and teams are putting a greater emphasis on donating money, volunteering and helping local communities — with more commitment to providing real impact rather than just photo ops.”
As a DC resident, it’s nice to hear that my teams are giving back. Between the baseball, hockey, basketball and football teams, DC athletes are helping revitalize local neighborhoods, investing in cancer prevention, fighting hunger, supporting children’s education programs and addressing a load of other issues. With the unique voice and wide supporter base that comes with the territory, athletes have a great platform to get the message out on deserving causes and make lasting, positive impacts on communities and individuals.
I’ll admit though, sometimes I’m skeptical when I hear about big names pushing a cause. I wonder, do they really care about or have a genuine commitment to this issue they’re attaching themselves to? For me, sincerity is important.
What’s your take on athletes being active in philanthropy? Do you have a favorite athlete who’s an outspoken advocate for a charity or a cause? Does a sports/charity partnership make you more likely to support the members involved?
Felix Jones spends time coaching kids at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Center in Tulsa, OK.
Felix Jones spends time coaching kids at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Center in Tulsa, OK.
Since becoming a Salvation Army employee, I’m happy to say my skepticism has tempered after seeing athletes and teams from around the country give and serve generously through our organization in ways that have invaluably inspired and assisted those in need. Their collaboration with us has ranged from extended partnerships to isolated volunteer efforts. Some athletes have never been involved with the Army before, while others have actually been clients in our programs.
Maybe you root for some of the teams and players who have worked with us:
* Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys – He tutors students in ACT prep at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Boys & Girls Club in Tulsa, OK and has served as a role model in other programs. He’s also pledged $25,000 to the North Mabee Center. Why? He played football at North Mabee as a kid and personally knows what a great impact it has on the local community.
* Robert Meacham, New Orleans Saints – Young aspiring football players received personal tips on playing the game from this Super Bowl Champion during a summer sports camp at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Center in Tulsa. Yep, Meacham also grew up playing ball at the center with Jones.
* Julius Erving, NBA Hall of Famer – The b-ball legend is an advocate for exercise and sportsmanship for youth in Atlanta, where he hit the basketball courts as a kid at The Salvation Army. One way he gives back is through his annual “Dr. J” Biddy Ball tournament hosted this year at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, with the help of other players including Cory Blackwell, Vincent Askew and Duane Causwell.
* Omaha Nighthawks (UFL) – These players not only helped establish two mentoring programs through a $25,000 donation to the Omaha Salvation Army Kroc Center, the Nighthawks also serve as mentors themselves! And they’re holding their training camp at the Kroc Center where kids and the community will have the opportunity to see their role models in action.
* Indianapolis Colts – From hosting Christmas toy drives to a $25,000 donation equally shared by The Salvation Army and 4 other non-profits, the Colts are community-focused. On top of that, their Senior VP Tom Zupancic just joined our Advisory Board!
* Philadelphia Eagles – When disaster struck Haiti, the team wanted to help. Eagles guard and Haiti native Max Jean-Gilles, Eagles linebacker Akeem Jordan and Eagles employees volunteered to help The Salvation Army and Numana pack nutritious meals for earthquake survivors.
* Dallas Cowboys – For 13, going on 14, years the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game halftime show marks the official launch of our Red Kettle Christmas Campaign. The annual campaign has raised more than $1 billion since the partnership began in 1997 and has helped the Army to serve 30 million people each year nationwide. Plus, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene, opened the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Center for Children – a Salvation Army child care center for low-income families in Irving, TX. Mr. Jones is now an Emeritus member of The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board and his daughter and wife are active board members.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Yesterday we posted an updated bulletin regarding The Salvation Army’s ongoing relief work in Pakistan in response to the area’s devastating floods.
Today we are sharing the firsthand account of Major Dennis Gensler of The Salvation Army Pakistan Territory regarding his efforts in the recovering communities. Some of his narrative expands on the events described in yesterday’s bulletin, and much of the narrative provides additional detail exclusive to Major Gensler’s own experience. We hope it will provide you with a more personal view of The Salvation Army’s relief efforts and the plight of flood survivors.
“We left Territorial Headquarters Saturday 14 August at 4:30 am for the four hour trip to Islamabad to pick up other members of the Disaster team before going the remaining two hours to Charsadda. We were in two vehicles as the plan was to leave the four-wheel drive truck with the Islamabad team for their future visits to the flood areas.
We were grateful for the good organization that Captain Asif in Peshawar had arranged. Each family that was to be helped had a paper with their name and identification number on it and they were numbered from 1 to 100. After showing their identification card and giving their thumb print they were given a canvas bag with cooking utensils, pots, buckets, plates, cups, and kettles. They also received a foam mattress, a quilt and a large pillow. Everyone was very grateful for these very useful items. We did this in three places for a total of 300 families being assisted and it all ran very smoothly. We were able to have prayer at each location. We were joined by a few of the Bishops of other denominations and even a Muslim leader came and shared a few words at one of them. We also had the MPA (Member of Provincial Assembly) for the Peshawar area Prince Javed participate in one of the distributions. We are expecting to help at least 3,000 families in this area alone.
After a long day of passing out relief goods we went into Peshawar to spend the night at a guest house. Peshawar was not at all what I expected. It’s really a very large and modern place.
On Sunday morning we did some additional assessments at some of the areas affected by the flood waters. We visited some families whose small mud homes were missing walls and parts of the roof. One home had a large hole in a small bedroom where a woman was in mud up to her neck and had to be pulled out by a few men. They were already working on rebuilding some of the mud walls and in some cases they will use some bricks. It’s not that much stronger, since they don’t use cement with the bricks – only mud. One little boy in this area was holding a 9 mm pistol which he seemed to keep at his side, somewhat hidden. I wasn’t sure if it was real or a toy, but being an American in Peshawar I felt my heart race a bit. I called him and some other boys near to me for a picture. It’s hard to imagine the affect that all of this is going to have on the children. My heart was aching for each of them.
The really disturbing place that we visited was a village called Azhakhel, which as it turns out was an Afghan Refugee Camp. As I looked at the map it appears this place is right at the bend in the river. Another village just to the west is called Pabbi and they were hit just as hard. As far as we could see in either direction was total destruction. Villagers told us that there were around 15,000 families in these places, but we couldn’t verify that.
The work of recovery and rebuilding here in Pakistan will take years. They were already so far behind, but this will just send them back even further. I wish I could rely on the generous gifts from around the world to give what is necessary, but considering how Pakistan has become alienated from so many I don’t see that happening. I wish more people could see the Pakistan that I have come to see in the last six months. I’m certain they would give more.”
If you would like to support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts in Pakistan, you can donate by clicking here.
Friday, August 13, 2010
The headlines under the newspaper’s business section seem to leave us lacking in optimism as of late.
Participation in the nation’s food stamp program hit a record high of 40.8 million in May, continuing a pattern of record highs for 18 straight months.
U.S. unemployment for July remained unchanged at 9.5%.
With the job market still struggling, the U.S. Congress passed another unemployment benefits extension for Americans without work who are trying to support themselves and their families.
Increased need has resulted in unprecedented demand for social services at many non-profits and charities, including The Salvation Army.
Bill and Melinda Gates, top, and Warren Buffett, bottom, have encouraged billionaires to donate half or more of their fortunes to charity through an initiative called ‘The Giving Pledge.’
As mentioned in our National 2010 Annual Report, some local Salvation Army units have reported a demand for services more than 400% above normal. In Hickory, North Carolina, we’ve served 75,000 more people than this time last year. And one of our food pantries in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania serves up to 50 families per week, up from last year’s 15 families per week.
The good news is it seems that with increased need there’s also been a heightened call in general for philanthropic generosity.
Recently Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett announced an initiative called ‘The Giving Pledge,’ an effort to encourage American billionaires to give half of their wealth to charities or non-profits during their lifetime or after their death. It’s an interesting idea that they hope will “draw more people into philanthropy” and “continue for generations” to come. A list of pledge signers, including George Lucas, Ted Turner and T. Boone Pickens, is available at http://givingpledge.org.
What do you think of this idea? What causes would you like to see supported by these pledge signers?
It would be wonderful if this initiative did result in more resources reaching those most in need, but thankfully you don’t have to be a billionaire to make a difference.
In fact, I would argue that Salvation Army supporters are some of the most generous people out there. This year The Salvation Army’s Christmas Red Kettle donations soared to a record $139 million. That’s $9 million more than our 2008 record, another year in which the economy and logic suggested that donations would be down. And no, these donations did not come from billionaires. Most of it came in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters from regular people with big hearts.
Though many Salvation Army offices were not (and are not) exempt from the strain of limited resources amidst escalating demand, The Salvation Army was able to provide help to nearly 30 million Americans last year thanks to our benevolent donors.
So while headlines may tempt us to feel dispirited, thankfully, as our supporters show us, there’s more to the story.