Month: March 2017

Charities that Give the Most to Veterans

Oftentimes when we talk about charity we talk about organizations that work to benefit demographics like children or people living in areas of high poverty. One of the most important causes out there that needs our help and doesn’t receive the attention it deserves is our veterans.

The servicemen and servicewomen who have laid their lives on the line in the pursuit of a better and brighter tomorrow often return home from the war they fought to find themselves facing a new, internal battle. Within 4 months of returning home, nearly a third of all soldiers will develop mental health problems; these problems commonly include anxiety disorders, clinical depression, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).  These mental health problems, on top of all of the difficulties and emotional burdens of war, led 20% of returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan to develop drug or serious drinking problems, and saw 22 veteran suicides per day in 2010.

Because of the long-term emotional and psychological burdens that accompany those who return from combat, it is often difficult for our servicepeople to hold jobs or properly take care of themselves. This means they often rely on public services and programs like the VA to help them in times of need. They can also turn to the aid of some of the philanthropies and charities around the country who work to help those who have served. Here are just a few of the organizations whose efforts help to benefit our nation’s veterans.

  • Adaptive Sports Foundation
  • Fisher House Foundation
    • The Fisher House Foundation was established to help the loved ones of military servicemen and women while the veteran is receiving medical services. The homes are located nationwide, nearby VA medical centers and hospitals to allow the families all of the amenities of living at home for free close by.
  • The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
    • This fund, established in the year 2000, has provided the families of military servicepeople with over $200 million worth of benefits and support in the years since. They also offer assistance for medical care to help the soldiers continue to lead fulfilling lives, in or out of the line of duty.

Effects of Giving

Donating resources and time to charity creates a ripple of effects. Most of which, people don’t even realize. Charity and helping those that are less fortunate than you does a lot of good for the sole and our fellow man. There are even some kickbacks of that ripple to the donor. In order to get a better sense of the effect charity can have, here are a few examples.

Sense of Pride

The first thing that happens after you donate is a wave of pride. There’s no shame in feeling great about helping others. It feels good and comes from a place of pure compassion and care. There are many people who get caught up in their own hectic lives and forget to stop, look around, and think about the others around them. When you donate, it’s more than okay to let pride wash over you.

Tax Deduction

Tax deduction are not the reason most people donate, but it is a nice incentive nonetheless. Donations can be written off at tax time, so you end up paying less taxes to the government because of your good deeds. Make sure to speak with an accountant before writing everything off that you’ve ever donated, though. There are certain parameters and specifications for filing charitable donations.

Helping Others in Need

This is the main effect of giving to charity. Your donations of time and/or money go to help others less fortunate than yourself. It doesn’t matter how big or small your donation is either. Everything donated is more than what was there before and can be used to change someone’s life for the better.

Being a Role Model

Last, but certainly not least, donating to charity can position you as a role model for others. Younger siblings or family member who look up to you will see your efforts to help others and strive to do the same with their lives. When giving becomes a family affair, it’s a beautiful thing.

Why People Give

One of the biggest topics, that often goes without discussion, is our motivations to give. What makes people give to others? There have been plenty of studies around this very question. According to that research, there’s a multitude of reasons why people donate their resources or time to help others in need. This blog will break down the four biggest reasons as to why we give.

We’re motivated to give with our hearts

The biggest factor when it comes to giving is the prospect of making someone’s life better. We want to donate to causes that create significant change, but we are very driven by the narrative we’re told. If a particular organization’s purpose is tied to a story that pulls at our heartstrings, we’re more likely to donate. Our emotions are a driving force in our lives and when it comes to helping others, it certainly is not an exception to the rule.

Community Pride

Individuals with a strong tie to their communities are driven to give back as much as they can. To them, giving is a way of lifting the community up to make it an even better place than how they already see it. Those who donate to community causes swell with pride when their donations increase the wellbeing of the community as a whole.

Influenced by those around us

Another factor behind giving is the influence others have on us. For instance, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was, in part, a huge success due to the influence of our peers. When a campaign goes viral and people show up in droves due to the fear of missing out, they are motivated to give because everyone around them is doing the same.

Driven to give due to personal stability

Finally, the most humbling motivator is your own personal and financial stability. Many people are driven to give because they look at how fortunate they are and want to use some of their security to provide others with similar comforts. This is an interesting motivator because it’s one that takes more introspection and mindfulness than the others.

All in all, no matter why we give, it comes from a place of positivity and desire to better the lives of others. The more people we can motivate and inspire, the better off the world will be.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

To most every person in the United States, the name Bill Gates should at least sound familiar. The founder of tech-giant Microsoft, Bill Gates is and has been the richest man on earth for quite some time now. With a current net worth of $86.6B, Gates has held the title of Richest Man Alive for 18 out of the last 23 years.

However, as Bill Gates came to learn, after a certain amount of wealth, there’s not much more you can have or own or do, so you need to look for different ways to spend it.

Gates himself said, “Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. Its utility is entirely in building an organization and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world.” So that’s what he and his wife, Melinda, decided to do.

From there, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was formed.

Their journey into the world of philanthropy began in 1997 when the couple was particularly moved by a piece written about the millions of children around the world in impoverished countries who die each year from maladies that have long ago been eliminated by medicine in the United States. Considering their already sizeable fortune, the two wondered if maybe there wasn’t something they could do about it. In that same year, Bill Gates took his first trip to India in the name of the Gates Foundation where he personally administered polio vaccines to local children.

The couple has taken a particular interest in issues concerning health around the globe and their work and initiatives are reflective of this. They’ve partnered with organizations like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, launched programs like the HIV/AIDS Prevention Branch in India, granted money to help fight malaria, and is actively working to end polio.  

Where other philanthropists give their money to such causes but pledge their time elsewhere, Bill and Melinda Gates willingly step right into the thick of the poverty and help those in need face to face.

They’re also incredibly active in other areas; their work extends to areas like education, world hunger, and clean energy. Together this couple is helping to make the world a better place through their plan to donate all of their wealth before the end of their lives.

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