The HAND Foundation has helped fund Equal Justice Initiative’s (EJI's) national memorial for lynching victims, scheduled to open in Alabama next year. In contrast to Confederacy in the American South, the mass atrocities committed against African Americans have yet to be culturally recognized. The memorial will be the first of its magnitude, with hopes to spark honest conversation, reconciliation, and healing.
While education is at the top of the list for many donors, the bulk of Silicon Valley’s tech money goes to charter schools and national organizations. In 2013, Salesforce identified a great need amongst public schools. They have since partnered with San Francisco Unified School District and Oakland Unified School District to finance new programs and expose more kids to computer science.
While many organizations have stepped up to fight fake news, few have managed to take their solutions from concept to action. Earlier this year, The Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund, and Rita Allen Foundation launched an open call for ideas that would improve the flow of accurate information. Out of 800 ideas, 20 winners were chosen to share in the $1 million pot to bring their projects to life.
The world watched helplessly as Hurricane Harvey transcended upon the Gulf Coast late last month. The category four hurricane broke the record for rainfall on U.S. mainland, as entire Texas neighborhoods were submerged under water and thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. The Huffington Post offers ways you can help, through donations, volunteer work, giving blood, and even providing accommodations for evacuees.
One in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before they turn 18. Odds are likely that you will know someone who is being abused. With the right training, sexual abuse can be prevented. Darkness to Light equips individuals and communities with the tools to protect kids from abuse. Their website offers a plethora of resources, including adult training programs, educational videos, guidelines for prevention initiatives, and more.
Behrang Kamali was awarded the HAND Foundation Scholarship in 2012 for his first year of Ph.D. studies in economics at University of Pennsylvania. After earning his Ph.D. in 2016, Behrang was appointed Assistant Professor of Economics at Sharif University of Technology in Iran. Last year, he taught contract theory, market design, and micro economics for MBAs and will teach social economics this semester. Behrang is the second HAND Economics Fellow to join Sharif University and is playing an important role in achieving the goal of our scholarship, which is to cultivate the next generation of great Iranian economists and unleash their talents in service of the future of Iran and the rest of the world.
Inside Philanthropy has named its 50 most influential women in philanthropy. Their list has expanded since its debut two years ago year when it began with just 15 women. The online news hub wished to bring to light the charitable work of women often overshadowed by their billionaire husbands. In fact, they believe that women are the ones leading today’s most significant giving initiatives.
Putting dollars to work for social as well as financial returns has become a hot topic in philanthropy. Impact investing is still new enough that many organizations don’t know where to start. The Chronicle of Philanthropy shares lessons from experts in the field to help you navigate.
Fast Forward has raised $2.2 million from heavy hitters like Google.org, BlackRock, and AT&T. The Bay Area accelerator program invests money and mentorship into tech-based nonprofits to help them scale and achieve maximum impact. Since inception in 2014, Fast Forward has worked with 23 companies and raised $28 million in follow-on funding, affecting over 18 million lives.
The YMCA of San Francisco offers kids hands-on programming in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). Y STEAM engages a diverse demographic, with 90 percent of last year’s participants reportedly African-American and Latino. Program curriculum ranges from woodwork to robotics and includes innovation workshops where students can build and display their creations.
Global Fund for Women (GFW) is one of the world’s leading foundations for defending human rights for women and girls. Based in San Francisco, they provide grants, community, and support services for grassroots efforts around the world, empowering local women to make lasting change for themselves and others in their community. The HAND Foundation has contributed to GFW as part of its work to champion the advancement of women and girls. Find out what you can do to get involved with GFW’s 8-step toolkit.
Google.org has taken significant strides to close the opportunity gap. They recently announced a $50 million initiative to help underserved people secure new jobs in today’s competitive, technology-driven climate. These funds aim to better connect job seekers with the right employers, make technical training more widespread and accessible, and improve job quality for low-wage workers on a global scale.
Education is a key focus area for The HAND Foundation. With summer coming to a close and many students returning to school next month, we highlight just some of the work being done to improve education and close the opportunity gap.
Impact investing has become a buzzword lately, where investors can achieve positive social impact alongside financial returns. Yet the popular strategy is still in its infancy and lacks a lot of the resources and infrastructure of classic investing. Several organizations and foundations are looking to change that, by focusing their attention on ways to make impact investing more measurable, seamless, and accessible.
Research shows that behind teachers, center directors and school principals are the largest in-school factor of student success. Until now, most education policy has targeted teachers to improve education. New America, a nonpartisan public policy think tank, has collected data on state policies for school leadership requirements. Their Pre-K Leader Policy Scan report reveals the current landscape, who is leading, and where there is room for improvement.
While children and youth are common priorities for donors, America faces a rapidly aging population that will require unprecedented service and care. Unfortunately, support for the elderly is often insufficient. Research suggests that, by finding solutions connecting the needs of both groups, society will benefit as a whole. Some examples include commissioning senior citizens to mentor homeless youth and volunteer for children’s art programs, as well as daycare centers that admit children and the elderly to cut down overhead cost.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) received a $9 million gift from the estate of Madeleine Rast. The museum, located in Washington, D.C., is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to recognizing women’s art. Its 5,000-piece collection, multiple exhibitions, library and research center, and various events promote equity and highlight the creative contributions of women artists. Ms. Rast’s is the largest donation ever received in the museum’s 30-year history.
Child abuse prevention is one of The HAND Foundation’s key focus areas, with over 3.5 million cases reported in the U.S. each year. The effects of abuse are devastating for victims and their communities, and persist long after the abuse ends. HAND grant recipient, San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, shares signs of abuse...
The Social Progress Index (SPI) measures basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunity to score and rank countries on a macro and micro level. Although overall quality of life is improving, the 2017 SPI shows that personal rights and safety, as well as tolerance and inclusion, have declined. GDP is also coming in under capacity.
Facebook plans to share its user data with international aid organizations for when tragic events occur. The social network can track people’s movements and its “safety check” feature allows users to indicate on their profile if they are unharmed. Individual identities will not be shared, instead the aggregate data will help response teams determine where to allocate resources during major disasters.
Georgetown University's Ethics Lab is a creative hub for students, faculty experts, and outside partners to join forces on today’s most challenging moral issues. Their projects include a bioethics workshop for researchers and health professionals and an empathy-mapping toolkit that will soft launch this year. They also develop and offer project-based ethics courses to students. This semester’s Data Ethics class asked students to dream up creative, viable solutions to the University’s use of student data.
Using credit card reward points for charity is not a new concept. Discover and American Express both offer a charitable option to cardholders. But users have to remember to spend them and $16 billion in reward points expire each year.
Tipping Point Community has pledged $100 million to cut San Francisco's homeless numbers in half. These funds will build on existing city efforts to address the growing needs of its most vulnerable population. The last count found that 1,745 people were considered chronically homeless. CEO Daniel Lurie estimates that number to be closer to 2,000, as he aims to get 1,000 homeless people off the streets over the next five years.
According to Mimi Kravitz, "Putting people first allows the best outcomes." Previously a human resources executive at Google, Mimi's been hired by Hillel International to implement a professional development strategy rarely seen at nonprofits. Where organizations are rewarded for low overhead and employees earn far less than their corporate counterparts, Hillel is investing in efforts to attract and retain talent by increasing pay and offering ongoing education and training courses. So far they have raised over $50 million from donors to do it.
SOCAP (Social Capital Markets) utilizes capital and collaboration to offer market-based solutions to some of the world's toughest problems. They have invited the public to share programing ideas at the annual conference held in October. The event, which attracts a consortium of innovators and influencers, provides a forum for exchanging ideas that furthers the social impact movement.
Pirooz Parvarandeh, the founder of the Iranian-Americans' Contributions Project (IACP), recently presented at Stanford University’s Iranian Studies program about the research and data-mining techniques his organization uses to measure the contributions of Iranian-Americans to society. The HAND Foundation has supported IACP in its efforts to collect data and conduct over 40 interviews with notable Iranian-Americans that are published in The Huffington Post.
Last year the NoVo Foundation pledged $90 million to support girls and women of color. Faced with both racial and gender prejudices, these women are especially vulnerable to sexual assault, unequal pay, incarceration, and poverty. Run by Warren Buffett’s son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Jennifer Buffett, the foundation’s pledge represents the largest grant from a private foundation targeting these societal challenges.
The World Affairs Council is a public forum that addresses some of the world's most challenging problems. They transcend sectors and borders to engage organizations, business leaders, policy makers, and everyday citizens in conversation on current events. Their work includes a year-long high school student ambassador program to cultivate the next generation of global leaders and a tech-centered business forum on global policy and market opportunities.
Awarding grants is just one facet of the work we do at The HAND Foundation. What's more, we emphasize citizenship as a means to empower individuals and build strong communities. This month HAND Foundation president and co-founder Noosheen Hashemi guest-edited the philanthropy issue of a Silicon Valley magazine, Gentry. In it, she features the work of some of the Bay Area's most innovative and generous philanthropists. Beyond financial support, these individuals and the organizations they run are tirelessly devoting their time and expertise to solving some of today's biggest problems. Please read her Letter from the Editor. We also encourage you to check out the complete issue, which can be purchased locally at Draeger's and Roberts Market, as well as accessed online at www.18media.com.
Since its formation in 2007, Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has become the largest community foundation in the world, matching donors to local and global beneficiaries. Over the last decade, SVCF has granted over $4.3 billion, of which $2.3 billion has gone to local organizations. As they commemorate their 10-year anniversary, economic security has been named a top priority and local groups have submitted proposals to strengthen low and middle-income families in the Bay Area.
The Freedom Fund pools resources from private investors to fight modern slavery. For the biggest impact they focus on “hotspots” where slavery is most prevalent, currently targeting central Nepal, Ethiopia, northern India, south-eastern Nepal, southern India, and Thailand, with efforts in Brazil and Myanmar on the horizon. They back grassroots anti-slavery organizations and engage with local governments and other change-makers to address the underlying causes of slavery.
New Profit is a national venture philanthropy fund, partnering with entrepreneurs and philanthropists to break down opportunity barriers. With $12 million from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they have launched the Personalized Learning Initiative. Over the next four years, they will invest in new approaches and technologies that enable teachers and students a more individualized learning experience.
The 2017 theme is “Building Community, Building Hope” as strong communities that are supportive of families play a large role in preventing child abuse by increasing protective factors such as social connections, nurturing and attachment. Protective factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities that reduce risk and can serve as buffers, helping parents to find resources that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress.
The Epic Foundation vets high-impact youth organizations around the world and connects them to donors. They recently published a report, Epic Outlook 2017, which features data collected from over 2,000 children and youth-focused organizations. Assessed for impact, operations, and leadership, the resulting 30,000 data points identify key factors shaping the philanthropy market, current challenges, and what an emerging generation of nonprofits is doing to overcome them.
The MacArthur Foundation has selected eight semifinalists from the nearly 2,000 applicants, all competing for a $100 million grant. The competition, 100&Change, launched in June 2016 and was open to organizations that could offer a meaningful and durable solution to some of the world’s greatest problems. Proposals were graded on meaningfulness, verifiability, durability, and feasibility, out of which eight semi-finalists emerged to go on to compete for the grand prize.
Citi Foundation has committed $100 million to expand their Pathways to Progress initiative, aiming to connect 500,000 young people to training and job opportunities within the next three years. The initiative launched in 2014 across 10 U.S. cities and has already helped over 100,000 young people become career-ready. The additional funding will allow them to have a further reach by building on existing programs and engaging in new partnerships.
Allison Fine, an expert on nonprofit management, offers college students suggestions when pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector. Her advice is pragmatic and may surprise you: according to Allison, passion and idealism are not all it takes to be successful.
Google.org is increasing its efforts to improve racial justice in the U.S. Since 2015, they have granted $5 million to nonprofits that share this objective. Now, an additional $11.5 million has been committed to support criminal justice reform.
Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s nonprofit dedicated to helping women achieve their ambitions, recently completed their annual Women in the Workplace study for 2016. The study examines the state of women in corporate America. Despite the progress made towards gender equality, the results indicate we still have far to go.
Transgender students are a particularly vulnerable group. They are more likely to be bullied and have higher rates of suicide than their peers. A national survey by GLSEN found that 75 percent of transgender youth feel unsafe at school, affecting their grades and attendance. Several Jewish organizations have recently come together to help change that by launching a campaign to support transgender youth.
Researchers in various fields are seeking to help explain the increasing U.S. political divide, including Kaveh Majlesi. A HAND fellow from June 2006 through July 2007, Kaveh researched and coauthored a paper examining how rising import competition has contributed to the polarization of U.S. politics.
Scott Budnick, renowned movie producer of the Hangover, put his Hollywood career on hold to focus on helping incarcerated youth. He founded the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), a nonprofit that provides support services for those formerly incarcerated.
Scott became passionate about criminal justice reform in 2003, when he agreed to volunteer his weekend at a writing class offered at a juvenile detention center in Los Angeles. Moved by the inmates’ stories, Scott began visiting every weekend and maintained connections with many of his students as they transferred to adult facilities or were subsequently released.
The New York Women’s Foundation partnered with the YWCA of the City of New York to enlist a diverse group of young women to award grants to various nonprofits. Girls IGNITE Grantmaking Fellowship, a youth-oriented grantmaking program, intends to tap into the minds of these young women to find out which programs stand to have the biggest impact on their communities. Fifteen girls, ages 12 to 17, were selected from a variety of sources, including public and private schools, foster-care agencies, religious institutions, health centers, and LGBTQ organizations, to properly reflect the widely diverse New York City demographic.
Jack Ma, influential business leader and founder of Alibaba and Taobao, sat down with Charles Bedford at The Nature Conservancy to discuss his take on China’s changing attitudes towards conservation and the environmental dilemmas we currently face.
Ma is optimistic. He predicts China’s environment will be better in the next 10 to 20 years, simply because people are starting to care. As Ma puts it, “10 or 20 years ago, China would never have been aware of this kind of problem. Back then, people were focused on how to survive. Now, people have better living conditions and they have big dreams for the future.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launched its Aspire Challenge, which will award $1.2 million in prizes to organizations that provide small business support to formerly incarcerated individuals. The alarming rate of unemployment amongst former inmates after one year of release is nearly 60%, resulting in lost wages and an increased likelihood of recidivism. The SBA views self-employment opportunities as one powerful solution to this large problem.
According to the report, The Giving Code: Silicon Valley Nonprofits and Philanthropy, published by Open Impact, Silicon Valley nonprofits are struggling to meet demand despite being in one of the wealthiest regions in the world. Funded by the Lucile Packard Foundation and accounting for a year's worth of of research and analysis, The Giving Code hypothesizes that the increased cost of living and a disappearing middle class have added strain to local organizations. A disconnect between Silicon Valley’s philanthropists and nonprofits has then led to missed opportunities for successful donor-charity matching.
During his final days in office, President Barack Obama unveiled Obama.org, the official website of The Obama Foundation. The Foundation will serve to carry on Obama's legacy as he transitions from the White House to civil society. It's first call to action? Engaging citizens to submit their hopes and ideas for America's future.
Differentiating itself from other presidential foundations, the Foundation is centered around community engagement. It seeks to "inspire people globally to 'show up' for the most important office in any democracy, that of a citizen."
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s philanthropic organization recently acquired Meta, an AI search-engine company that makes the latest academic research accessible to scientists. This acquisition is a first for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and closely aligns with its $3 billion commitment to prevent, cure and manage all disease within our children's lifetime.
Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, the nonprofit subsidiary of Fidelity Investments, beat out United Way as the top recipient of charitable contributions in 2016. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual Philanthropy 400, which ranks charities according to how much money they raise, this marks the first time a donor-advised fund surpassed the more traditional, established nonprofits. It was also only the second time that United Way lost its top ranking since the Philanthropic 400 first came out in 1991.
Y Combinator, a well-known startup accelerator in Silicon Valley, has invited the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to their Demo Day, where they will receive funding and mentoring, as well as a platform to pitch their cause to investors.
Although not a startup in the traditional sense, the ACLU is poised to grow. Just following President Trump’s travel ban, the ACLU has received $24 million in donations, six times their average annual online donations.
University of Southern California announced in May that Oracle founder and chairman Larry Ellison is donating $200 million to the university to create an interdisciplinary cancer treatment center. The center, which will be called the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC, will focus on using technology to transform cancer treatment.
The Ellison Institute will be built in West Los Angeles and will include an interdisciplinary cancer research lab, an interactive care clinic, a think tank, a wellness program and community spaces for lectures and classes. David Agus, who currently leads the USC Center for Applied Molecular Medicine, will lead the new institute.
Nonprofits and charity experts are seeing a new trend emerging of grant makers providing general operating grants to charities to invest in the health of the organization. General operating support has nudged up only slightly in the past decade, according to a Foundation Center analysis of data from 2013, the latest year available. Yet advocates are cautiously optimistic that these new efforts will accelerate and encourage others to tackle the question: Just how much does it cost to do good?
The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, an early pioneer of venture philanthropy, has committed to giving $65 million to 100 socially-minded entrepreneurs to jumpstart their big ideas to help solve the world's most pressing problems. This is DRK's third round and most significant to date. They focus on early-stage funding and are fully engaged with their grantees. The new crop of 100 grantees includes a mix of nonprofit and hybrid companies that work in a number of areas, such as improving access to healthcare, education, poverty alleviation, social justice and environmental issues, including Sirum.
Clean-energy executive Michael Polsky has donated $35 million to the University of Chicago to expand a center he helped establish to aid young entrepreneurs taking new ideas to market. An article in the Chicago Tribune quoted Polsky saying that he hopes the move will ingrain the center's ethos of sparking innovation and entrepreneurship both on and off campus into the entire university's culture. The larger goal is to create a research, innovation and entrepreneurship hub around the university.
Recently, Bill Gates created a game on his blog, gatesnotes, called Coop Dreams. It is a trivia game all about poultry and each time a player get the questions right, the Gates Foundation donates a flock of chickens to a family living in sub-Saharan Africa through Heifer International. The goal of Coop Dreams is to donate 100,000 chickens to increase the total percentage of rural families in sub-Saharan Africa raising vaccinated chickens from around five percent to 30 percent. The game begs the question- can chickens end world hunger?
Yves Iradukunda co-founded Academic Bridge, a data management company for primary and secondary schools.
After working with his AEC mentors, he decided that the capital requirements to build a biogas plant were too high, so he shifted to more affordable products to produce: organic fertilizers and cleaner burning briquettes. To get the inputs that he needed for these two products, Jean Bosco pitched for and was awarded the contract to manage the district's waste collection and sorting facility. Overnight, he had 300,000 clients.
Jean D'Amour Mutoni is the CEO and co-founder of Acts of Gratitude, an NGO in Rwanda that promotes community service and 'paying it forward.'
The HAND Foundation Summer Travel Fellowship funds selected Menlo School students to undertake an in-depth investigation, scholarly research or a social entrepreneurship project through international travel. Last year, P.J. Frantz and Jamie Holmstrom went to Cuba to study the Cuban music style “Son” and its ties to Cuban culture, which they documented in a blog.
FUSE Corps is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that enables local government to more effectively address the biggest challenges facing urban communities. FUSE partners with civic leaders to identify pressing strategic challenges and then recruits entrepreneurial, mid-career professionals to serve in executive-level fellowships across local government. FUSE Fellows are uniquely positioned to achieve transformative impact across issue areas such as education, health, poverty, economic development and the environment.
Eurasia Foundation believes societies function best when people take responsibility for their own civic and economic prosperity
For many years, we have seen large universities and hospitals with donor relations and stewardship staff but now smaller charities are starting to hire staff, to boost their fundraising.
Wishbone is a fundraising platform that helps promising students enroll and pay for high-quality programs that fit their interests.
Oasis For Girls, which focuses on low-income immigrant girls and girls of color, ages 14-17, in San Francisco
Educating Teens on Sexual Assault and What To Do Next
TUMML supports start-ups that aim to tackle civic problems, while turning a profit along the way
Have you ever noticed Wiki does not have ads? What some do not know is how Wikipedia pays for their site.
For the working poor, who find that day care centers don’t meet their needs, expanding and making the child and dependent care tax credit refundable, for example, may be the best solution.
Using an innovative technology platform, SIRUM saves peoples’ lives by allowing health facilities, manufacturers, wholesalers, and pharmacies to donate unused medicine rather than destroy it.
The Atlantic's Debby Bielak and Jim Shelton explore how $1 billion of targeted private funding can start to move the needle of poverty. We have all heard of the 'American Dream': everyone has a equal opportunity to a career and wealth. However, we are finding that this promise is impossible for some Americans. Nearly 70 percent of children born to parents in the bottom 40 percent of incomes remain in poverty—regardless of whether they "work hard and play by the rules," as so many have been taught. The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit philanthropic advisory group, has found investing in targeted, on-the-ground innovations has the best results and can pave the way to social mobility for millions of poor Americans.
Studies show that a high rate of joblessness makes communities, especially those vulnerable to family instability and acts of violence committed by young people, have no stake in society.
Immigrants play a key role in creating new, fast-growing companies, as evidenced by the prevalence of foreignborn founders and key personnel in the nation’s leading privately-held companies
This week, the HAND Foundation would like to highlight a special grantee, the SV2 Teens Philanthropy Program, that engages youth in the giving process and develops the next generation of philanthropists.
On International Women’s Day, ZanaAfrica Group, a Kenyan social enterprise, which manufactures high quality sanitary pads for women and girls in East Africa,
announced that it is a recipient of a $2.6M Grand Challenges Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation under their initiative, Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development.
Sampat Pal, self-styled national commander of the Gulabi Gang, formed her all-female brigade a decade ago to defend the dignity of women in Uttar Pradesh — a network that is now 400,000 strong
The South American country of Colombia acknowledges more national holidays than any nation except for India. Of its eighteen official holidays, twelve come from the Roman Catholic calendar, and three of those fall in June this year: Corpus Christi on June 8, Sacred Heart (Sagrado Corazón) on June 15, and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (San Pedro y San Pablo) on June 29.
In most endeavours, storytelling is plays a key role in framing a narrative that drives a mission forward. Recognizing the importance of storytelling for non-profits, The Rockefeller Foundation helped establish Hatch, a new organization dedicated to help social impact organizations craft, curate, and share their stories. Hatch describes itself as a "concierge" that helps organizations leverage storytelling with the hopes of elevating their impact.
xY Combinator, a seed fund, has a very successful track record in supporting startups. In fact, Y Combinator has contributed to more than 800 startups since its inception in March of 2005 and the combined values of the companies they have invested in is over $30 billion. Over the years they have supported and helped establish some of the most well-known Internet companies like Dropbox, Reddit, Codecademy, and Scribd.
Today PARSA CF announces its most expansive set of grants to date: $2,400,000 to launch and grow Iranian studies programs across North America.
PARSA Community Foundation is pleased to announce grants to arts and media projects including film, print, and music.
PARSA Community Foundation is pleased to announce four grants to major museums and institutions to further expand and grow their programs.
PARSA Community Foundation is thrilled to announce grants totaling more than $500,000 to organizations working on humanitarian and community education causes benefiting Iranians, Iranian-Americans, and the community at large.
PARSA Community Foundation announces a $250,000 grant to the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University for the "Iranian Genome Project."
PARSA Community Foundation is pleased to announce a series of strategic grants to Iranian-American organizations promoting civic engagement and civil liberties protection.
As a part of its Mehrgan 2010 Grant Cycle, PARSA Community Foundation is pleased to announce grants to two strategic and long-term initiatives spearheaded by London-based Iran Heritage Foundation (IHF).
As a part of its Mehrgan 2010 Grant Cycle, PARSA Community Foundation is pleased to announce a $300,000 grant to Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB).
History of Persian Philanthropy
Highlights from PARSA Community Foundation’s 2008 Persian Garden Gala
PARSA Community Foundation: A Force For Good
Highlights from PARSA Community Foundation’s 2007 Inaugural Gala
An introduction to the PARSA Community Foundation—helping Persians foster goodwill in their communities locally, nationally, and worldwide.
The San Francisco Bay area, home to Silicon Valley, has the fastest growing income disparity in any city in the United States. The biggest effect of the income disparity is seen in the real estate market where gentrification is forcing long-time residents of certain communities to move. Communities that immigrants from Central America and Mexico have historically called home are overtaken by developers building high-end condos.
The hashtag went from being an obscure button on touch-tone phones to a meta-tag used in all social media platforms. President Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign helped popularize the hashtag when users on Twitter were asked to pose any question to then Presidential candidate by using "#AskObama". Since then, hashtags have been used by philanthropists to raise awareness, promote causes, and help raise money for non-profits.
In San Mateo, California, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is just over $2,000 a month. This figure greatly exceeds what most people in the area can afford. To make matters worse, San Mateo has very little public housing units available for its citizens. Waiting list for the ones that are available are, as of this writing, closed indefinitely. Fortunately, HIP Housing, a private non-profit organization, provides housing services to the community through funds raised from corporate and individual donors.
During a time of crisis and natural disasters, both domestically and overseas, Americans and American non-profit organizations generously donate their time and/or money to those in need. When the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, killing over 8,500 people with thousands still missing, the U.S. government committed a total of $10 million for response and recovery efforts. American non-profits such as AmeriCares and the American Red Cross raised $750,000 and $300,000 respectively in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. Donations came from all over the country, including two young boys in Minnesota who raised $5,000 by making and selling "4NEPAL" bracelets.
At this critical juncture of race relations in the U.S., with tragic events in Baltimore, Ferguson, and New York City, it is imperative to take a step back, critically examine, and learn from the struggles for racial equality in the 1950s and 1960s. The Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) is an online collection of unedited news and television archives, primary sources, and other educational materials from various libraries and museums. CRDL is spearheaded by the University of Georgia through a National Leadership Grant for Libraries by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
As of this writing, the death toll of Nepal's April 25, 2015 devastating earthquake is an estimated 4,000 with thousands more displaced and unaccounted for. Within hours of the quake, rescue teams and organizations from all over the world came to aid the country in their search and rescue operation. Unbeknownst to many, scores of digital volunteers from two organizations, Standby Task Force (SBTF) and Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) have been working tirelessly from all corners of the world to help rescue teams on the ground.
¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
An indication of the Mexican diaspora's cultural influence, Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) is a day of Mexican cultural pride acknowledged and spread by mainstream America. What is mainstream America recognizing when donning Mexican colors, listening to Mexican sounds, or tasting Mexican flavors?
What if we could record life stories of people from all backgrounds in the United States?
How can stories remind us of our shared humanity and help increase connections between people while teaching the value of listening? StoryCorps, an organization founded in 2003, started with these questions in mind. To date, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews with over 90,000 participants.
Earlier this year, Feeding America teamed up with FitBit, the popular wearable devices that track calorie counts, on an initiative: FitForFood. The idea was simple: burn calories, give calories. Starting on February 3, 2015, FitForFood aimed to reach one billion calories burned, and upon reaching that goal, 1.5 million meals would be served to those in need. For each active calorie burned and recorded by FitForFood during the program, Fitbit donated $.00015, and up to $150,000, to Feeding America.
For non-profit organizations and charities, retaining donors is a top-priority. Yet, in a new study by the Urban Institute and the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2014, the average annual donor-retention rate at nonprofit organizations is just 43 percent. This means that for every $100 a charity raised from new donors in 2013, it lost $92 from existing donors who gave less or stopped giving entirely.
The impact of child abuse is devastating for individuals, families and communities. According to the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center (SFCAPC), abused children are more likely to experience negative educational, health, and behavioral outcomes and have greater difficulty leading successful and productive lives as adults. Moreover, abused children have a 25 percent greater risk of experiencing low academic achievement and are more likely to drop out of school and become teenage parents.
In commemoration of Child Abuse Prevention Month, we'd like to recognize, Sarah Jones, a Tony Award winning playwright, actress, poet and social activist. She has been named the first ever Ambassador for UNICEF's Violence Against Children program.
Over 46 million Americans live in poverty. There are many government and nongovernment organizations providing social services for people who are in need. Yet, despite the availability of these services, many people who need help do not know what opportunities are available to them. Now, thanks to Single Stop, they will.
Every diaspora community strives (and struggles) to maintain cultural ties to their homeland while assimilating in their adopted country. With each passing generation the task becomes even harder. How do you instil your culture and heritage to children born and raised in another country with a different culture?
Imagine stepping into a gold shipping container in the middle of New York City equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment and you come face-to-face with someone from Tehran. No, this is not a plot from a new science-fiction movie, this actually is happening throughout the U.S. Shared_Studios has created this unique and innovative way for strangers in two different countries to spend 20 private minutes discussing anything they like.
A consequence of the widening income gap in the United States is its effects on education in underserved communities. It is widely believed that education is an important stepping stone for financial and personal success. However, as it has been widely documented, students from underserved communities are not being afforded the same opportunities as their peers in more affluent communities.
The International diaspora Engagement Alliances (IdEA) has launched an interactive map for people and organizations that work for and are interested in learning about diaspora organizations around the world. To date, 175 organizations from all over the world are featured on the map.
The advent of 3D printers is revolutionizing various fields from space exploration to organ transplants. Two individuals saw the potential of 3D printing and founded a nonprofit to 3D print free prosthetic hands for children. e-NABLE has grown from two people into a global network of passionate volunteers, engineers, occupational therapists, designers, academics and parents.
In 2014 Kickstarter saw 3.3 million people from around the world collectively pledge over $500 million for 22,252 projects. Wishbone, a non-profit organization dedicated to sending low-income students to high-quality summer programs, is using the success of the crowdfunding model to establish a platform to fund educational opportunities for low-income students.
George Soros' Open Society Foundation has provided seed money for the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) to launch as an independent leadership organization. CBMA is a national membership organization that is committed to improving the lives of Black men and boys. The organization has more than 3,000 members representing 2,000 organizations across the country.
The all too common narrative of unarmed black men killed by police officers reached an all-time high this past summer. The killing of Michael Brown, an 18-year black male, by police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, a small suburb of St. Louis brought national attention to an ongoing (and often underreported) problem of police brutality towards black men.
Before his passing, famed movie critic Roger Ebert declared writer-director Ramin Bahrani as the "new great American director." With the latest buzz surrounding Bahrani's new film, 99 Homes, Ebert's prophetic words are now bearing fruit. Co-written with iconic Iranian film director Amir Naderi, Bahrani's film is a raw and honest look into the housing mortgage crisis of 2008.
According to a United Nations Foundation supported report published in 2013 by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, nine out of ten children give money to charity. This is an impressive statistic. While behavior and language from parents around charitable giving can certainly have profound effects on children's attitudes toward helping others, what role should schools play in preparing children to become philanthropic adults?
Have donations to your nonprofit been staggering as of late? Would you want a 100% increase of donations in a span of three weeks? How about a 3,500% increase and donations totaling way above $100 million? Well, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association did that and more with a viral Internet challenge.
Founded in 2003, HAND's grantee, Words Without Borders promotes cultural understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of contemporary international literature. Every month, Words Without Borders publishes eight to twelve new works by international writers and to date has published well over 1,700 pieces from 124 countries and 101 languages.
After countless trips to various African countries, Guy Pfeffermann, founder of The Global Business School Network (GBSN), asked a simple question: what happens when most of the world's business talent pool resides in advanced countries, while emerging markets across Africa, Asia, and Latin America demonstrate a great need for skilled entrepreneurs and qualified managers?
In early 2013, a human rights organization in Sri Lanka began accepting bitcoin donations in order to protect the identities of supporters. The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, a London-based non-profit, began to take bitcoin donations out of fear that the Sri Lankan government would retaliate against supporters of human rights.
According to a 2012 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Report, nearly two-thirds of African Americans make charitable donations, giving about $11 billion each year. Blacks give a greater percentage of their disposable income—nearly 9 percent—than any other racial group in America.
Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) is an award winning non-profit dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence, crime and incarceration of teens. Through FLY's unique and powerful combination of programs, youth get off probation, get engaged in school, and get back on track with their lives.
As the immigration debate continues to heat up in the United States this summer, it is important to think about what immigration numbers mean when we take voting and politics into account. A Pew Research report issued in May 2014 demonstrates that in recent decades there has been a sharp rise in immigrants living in the U.S. there has been a "sharp rise in the number of immigrants living in the U.S. in recent decades."
The Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, financed by Yuri Milner, a Russian investor, and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, comes with a $3 million award. The Breakthrough Prize is a set of international awards which aim to celebrate the best scientific work and also inspire the next generation of scientists in a number of scientific fields. The Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics is the latest effort in Milner's crusade to make science lucrative and cool in a society that celebrates athletes, entertainers, politicians, and business tycoons.
On March 27, 2014 16,000 young people packed Oracle Arena for the very first We Day California. Organized by Free The Children, this event brought together young people from over 400 schools across California with the unifying goal of student empowerment. Each student earned their ticket to the event by taking one local action and one global action to improve their world. The students listened to speeches by Martin Luther King III, Magic Johnson, Seth Rogen, Laila Ali, Selena Gomez, and more.
"Say No To Racism!"
Mario Balotelli is one of soccer's most dynamic and talented goal scoring players. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and his passion was on full display early this year when cameras caught Balotelli in tears on the bench moments after leaving a game. Reports surfaced that Balotelli's emotional display was in reaction to fans that had directed racist chants towards him. His coach and teammates downplayed Balotelli's tears, but it is no secret that the twenty-three year old Balotelli has been a victim of discrimination from soccer fans.
Traditionally, students preparing for the SAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE, or any other standardized test would pay a lot of money to for-profit educational companies for test prep and tutoring services. These courses usually cost thousands of dollars, and for the most part, exclude students from lower socio-economic families.
Donors expect follow through and transparency from their grantees. If a donation was made to fund a project over a certain period of time, then the donor expects the funds to be used solely for the intended cause. According to some, especially the Robertson Family, a statue of limitation does not exist for donations.
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) began to thrive in Iran under the presidency of Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005). A plethora of organizations sprung up to work on a variety of issues, from the environment, to women's issues, to poverty, to protecting child labourers. However, with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005, and the subsequent rise of the Green Movement in 2009, NGOs took a big hit in Iran.
Gary Becker, the Nobel prize-winning economics died last month at the age of 83 from complications related to ulcer surgery. Dr. Becker served as The HAND Foundation's Chairman of the Advisory Board. Along with his wife, Guity Neshat, Dr. Becker played an instrumental role in establishing The HAND Foundation's Scholarships for Iranian PhD students in economics.
Social Capital Markets (SOCAP), an organization dedicated to increasing the flow of capital toward social good, is holding its flagship conference, SOCAP14, in San Francisco from September 2nd to the 5th. SOCAP holds its annual event to connect leading global innovators, investors, social entrepreneurs, and philanthropists to build a market dedicated to maximizing social good.
In 2010, PARSA Community Foundation awarded Organization for Refuge, Asylum, & Migration (ORAM) a $100,000 grant. ORAM, founded in 2008, is the only international organization devoted solely to advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) refugees fleeing brutalization due to sexual orientation or gender identity.
We use it to store memories, jot down our thoughts, navigate cities, listen to music, and update our Facebook statuses. For better or worse, cell phones are an extension of who we are. Many cannot envision a day without their trusty mobile friend at arm's length. The tiny technological wonder that wakes us up in the morning and keeps us connected with our family, friends, and colleagues has changed the world, yet not in a way you think.
There has been a recent push to transcend effective and sound business strategies to philanthropy. Critics of effective philanthropy argue that focusing philanthropy on results may suffocate innovation in philanthropy as foundations and non-profits reshuffle their priorities to win over donors with "results" rather than striving to innovate and promote ideas that are actually effective.
Bianca Tylek, a J.D. candidate at Harvard University School of Law, is focused on fixing the U.S. prison system to reduce recidivism rates. Geroge Pocheptsov, an artistic prodigy, has created artwork for Hillary Clinton and Michael Jordan and is now working to get his MBA. Daniel Kim, has lead research on repurposing antifungal agents as a target for skin cancer, is applying joint MD/PhD programs across the nation. These all-stars, along with 27 of their peers, have been named 2014 fellows of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.
The non-profit and philanthropic world is going through an identity crisis of sorts. According to Barry Knight and Jenny Hodgson, in the last thirty years technological advancements has changed the non-profit landscape, "[we] live in a world where constant technological innovation has become the norm, so that what is new is always better than what has gone before," and this logic seems to have transferred to how non-profit organizations are managed.
The African continent contains roughly 200 million youth between the ages of 15-24, a formidable number that can signal strong growth for the future. However, an estimated 90 million of these youth are un- or underemployed, comprising 60% of the continent's total unemployment rate, double the rate of adults. With such daunting numbers, a new collective came together in Summer 2012 to support young entrepreneurs in Africa and create employment opportunities: the African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC).
internet.org is a global partnership dedicated to making affordable internet access available to the two thirds of the world not yet connected. Internet.org is a partnership between Facebook and six mobile phone companies, Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia, Opera Software, Qualcomm, and MediaTek, as well as with nonprofits, local communities and experts.
In the philanthropy and non-profit worlds, financial support for organizations in the recent past came with stipulations to demonstrate growth by "scaling up," or growing the size of a program or organization. Seeking to understand what kinds of scale and impact actually work in increasing impact in our communities, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) launched the Scaling What Works initiative in 2010, in the hopes of broadening the conversation. After three years, GEO has released its report and calls for grantmakers and organizations to redefine scale.
The Muslim Giving Project (MGP), a new initiative, aims to provide American Muslims with the resources to do good and give better. MGP's goal is to foster a more dynamic American Muslim charitable culture in a two-pronged approach: the "Muslim Giving Project Fund" and the Muslim Giving Project Lab."
Iranian filmmakers are a tour de force in international film festival circuits. Filmmakers like Abbas Kiarsotami, Jafar Panahi, Samira Makhmalbaf, and Asghar Farhadi are frequently screened and praised at Cannes, Venice, Toronto, New York, and Hollywood. The recent wave of Iranian films making the rounds internationally are socially critical of conditions in Iran.
15 years ago as a graduate student at Stanford University Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen created Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2) as a fund of Community Foundation Silicon Valley to pool investor money for the advancement of non-profit organizations. Today, SV2 is a nationally recognized organized organization with an impressive portfolio of grantees.
The dreaded April 15th, 2014 tax day is almost upon us. As most of us hustle to make sure we file our returns on time, there is a healthy debate happening that can affect how we all file our taxes. The U.S. is one of the most charitable countries in the world (tied for 5th by the World Giving Index rankings) with 64% of its population donating to charities.
South Sudan, the world's newest country, faces a long journey of nation-building ahead, and in spite of a recent cease fire agreement, ethnic fighting within the country continues. With over four million displaced during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005), the South Sudanese diaspora continues to be large in spite of at least 2.5 million South Sudanese having returned since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
Peter Singer, the Australian moral philosopher and current Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, often poses two simple questions to his audience: "What is a human life worth?"; and if you saw a child drowning in a shallow pond, "do you have any obligations to rescue the child?"
Museums commemorating genocide, human rights, and other means of marginalizing populations can be solemn reminders of the atrocities humans have inflicted on one another. They memorialize the victims of senseless acts of violence by reminding patrons the ugly ramifications of stereotyping, racism, and prejudice in society. They are tools for students that can be used to further develop critical thinking skills. It humanizes history by providing faces and personal stories of affected people.
On September 15, 2012, Mom's Against Poverty (MAP), held its 5th annual "Step Out, Step Up" fundraiser to fight poverty in the San Francisco Bay area. Over 1,200 people from all over the United States attended and over $200,000.00 was raised for the all volunteer non-profit organization.
For over 150 years, the Jewish Family Services (JFS) has been providing compassionate social services that improves the lives of countless men, women, and children of all religions, ethnicities and ages. JFS is Los Angeles' oldest charitable organization and has been working under their founders' mandate to improve the quality of life for people of all generations and walks of life, no matter what their ethnicity or religion.
PARSA Community Foundation was the first Persian community foundation and the only Persian philanthropic institution practicing strategic philanthropy and promoting social entrepreneurship around the globe. While in operation from 2005 to 2009, PARSA awarded almost $10 million in grants to non-profits, universities and colleges, museums, and independent filmmaker and artists. One of the organizations that received numerous PARSA grants was Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB).
In the United States, the vilification of diaspora communities is an experience common to all emerging exile groups. For example, during the height of the Iran hostage crisis, Iranian Americans were subject to derogatory and inflammatory racist campaigns. For many Iranian Americans, the ghost of their past resurfaced last year in the infamous "Let's play Cowboys & Iranians" poster. This type of spectacle is not unique to Iranian Americans.
The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is one of four higher learning institutions in the United States that offers a degree in Middle Eastern / South Asian (ME/SA) studies. However, what sets UC Davis apart from the other three schools is that the mandate for the program was not given by the school's Chancellor or other administrators, but rather the Department of ME/SA was created by a grassroots effort led by the students, the faculty, and the UC Davis community at large. The need for an academic program dedicated to the Middle East and Southeast Asia was expressed and the UC Davis community mobilized.