From Homeless to Successful CEO

Monday, September 20, 2010

If you’re ever discouraged by your circumstances, here’s a story to help encourage you to not give up hope:

Eight years ago Stephanie Tillman and her family were evicted from their house and were left with nothing. They ended up in a Salvation Army homeless shelter in Kansas where they received housing, food and support for the next four months.

Thanks to contacts made at The Salvation Army, the Tillman family was able to move out of the shelter and begin reestablishing their lives. Stephanie found a job in an engineering firm. Things were looking up.

Stephanie eventually branched out and opened her own graphic design company Crossover Graphics (now ikros.com), which has grown exponentially into a multi-million dollar company since its establishment in 2007. She serves as CEO and her husband works as the CIO, and they have hired ten employees to help support the burgeoning business. Their circumstances today stand in stark contrast to what they were several years ago.

This Thursday, Stephanie will host a ribbon cutting event to celebrate her company’s new headquarters. As a part of the festivities, she’s donating $25,000 to the local Salvation Army to help fund a new homeless shelter that will be built next year!

A media advisory explains the generous gift: “The Salvation Army provided shelter and love to Stephanie and her family, which helped turn her life around. This experience was instrumental in going from homeless to owner of a business established in 2007 that has experienced 555% growth within the last year.”

What an inspiring, real life example for everyone that just because circumstances can take a turn for the worse, all is not lost! And during those most difficult times, The Salvation Army aims to be that beacon of hope when things seem to be at their worst.

Thank you to Stephanie for her generous donation that will help The Salvation continue to provide families and individuals with the resources and opportunities they need to get back on their feet, just like the Tillman family. Best of luck to your entrepreneurial endeavors!

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Helping Things Look Up when the Economy’s Down

Friday, September 17, 2010

A newly released Census Bureau report found that the number of Americans living in poverty has increased to 1 in 7. The number of those without health insurance is also reportedly on the rise. It’s a startling thought when you put into those terms just how many Americans are in need of help.

The Salvation Army is working hard to meet these needs that are becoming ever more widely present in our communities.

In Grand Rapids, MI many people will have the opportunity for new work soon. The Salvation Army’s Kroc Community Center is expected to open in October, and they’re seeking to fill 120 positions. The Kroc Center held a widely-attended job fair yesterday. Pretty soon the Center will not only be offering recreational and educational opportunities, but economic ones as well for the community.

Plus, this week in Savannah, GA The Salvation Army held its 6th annual ‘Stand Down for Homelessness’ event, basically a one-stop shop of resources for the homeless. People in need were able to speak face to face with more than 50 vendors gathered at the Salvation Army to discuss information about jobs, housing and social programs, as well as receive services like flu shots and teeth cleaning.

The Salvation Army of Louisville also held their own event called ‘Standdown: Operation Homeless Connect.’ In a similar fashion, area homeless met directly with agencies and offices about jobs, housing and healthcare. Attendees received personal attention from housing providers and case managers and many walked away with free eyeglasses, HIV screenings, hospital referrals and new ID cards.

These events were great ways to directly connect homeless citizens with the resources they need to help them get back on their feet.

If you or someone you know is in need, contact your local Salvation Army to see how we can help you today.

Help a Child, Donate a Coat

Friday, September 17, 2010

You probably haven’t switched out the warm weather clothes in your closets yet to make room for fall and winter attire, but many local Salvation Army’s are trying to stay ahead of the game so that children in need aren’t left in the cold when the temperatures drop.

That’s why several Salvation Army ‘Coats for Kids’ collection drives are starting to pop up in communities across the country, and in the next few weeks some national football teams are teaming up with us for these events!

Check out the lineup:

Green Bay Packers

* Bring your gently used or new coats to the Packers/Bills game on Sunday, Sept. 19 between 8:30am and kick-off. Your donation will help The Salvation Army reach their goal of providing 11,000 coats for needy children in Wisconsin. If you can’t make it to the game, don’t stress – you can donate to Coats for Kids through Nov 7. Find more donation and volunteer info on the local Salvation Army’s website www.sagreenbay.org.

Indianapolis Colts

* Head to Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, Oct. 10 where The Salvation Army will be doing their big drive event as the Colts take on the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year generous donors helped the Army collect more than 10,000 coats, and we’d love to see even more this year! You can donate up until Saturday, Oct. 30. Visit www.salvationarmyindiana.org for more info and find partner drop off locations here .

Chicago Bears

* For the 22nd year The Chicago Bears are lending The Salvation Army their efforts to help kids in the Windy City. Donate your coats between now and Dec . 4 at local Salvation Army units, or click here for partners’ drop off locations. Visit www.salarmychicago.org/events for more info.

This is not an exhaustive list of Salvation Army ‘Coats for Kids’ drives, so keep an eye out in your community. Otherwise, you can always take gently used or new coats to your nearby Salvation Army Family Thrift Store. Thanks for your support!

We’re #5!

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. Australia
1. New Zealand
3. Ireland
3. Canada
5. United States
5. Switzerland

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?