Donations of Equipment and Supplies to Other Nonprofits from Earth Links

By Stephen Leinau, Executive Director

In my thirty years working in the nonprofit world, I have maintained an interest in meeting the needs of nonprofits and their clients with tangible items: work clothes, tools and the various necessities of life. From my tenure as the Director of the Long Island Food Bank in the 1980s, and coordinator of the USDA food distribution program on Long Island, to my work with Earth Links, I have learned from first-hand experience the value of materials that nonprofits need and can put to good use immediately serving people in need.

Volunteer Chris McPherson and donated clothing, 1995

Since its founding in 1991, supporting other nonprofit organizations has been at the core of Earth Links’ mission of “bringing people and resources together.” Through corporate, business, and individual contributions during those twenty five years, Earth Links has donated over one million dollars worth of materials to other nonprofits, including new clothing, software, computers, communication gear (such as satellite phones and ham radios), office supplies, and other items without costs to the nonprofits we serve. These materials have been and continue to be critical to the work of women’s shelters, community development projects, and advocates for indigenous peoples. Given the cuts to local, state, and federal budgets  (as well as economic uncertainties on the horizon), groups are in even more need, and Earth Links would like to continue this work in future.

We are always looking for the financial resources to support our giving of material donations from corporate and small business sources. Each $1,000 donation to Earth Links allows us to solicit, pay shipping and handling, and deliver $10,000 worth of needed items to other nonprofits.

photo

Insulated coveralls for local farm workers.

 

Donate now to help our continuing efforts to provide people with the resources they need!

zp8497586rq

 

Kids Learn about Water Conservation and Water Security

In 2014 Earth Links, musical duo ZunZun and Raindancer Media released their third Music Video in a series that covers Watershed Awareness, Water Science and Water conservation.

The music videos, H2O Go with the Flow, in English and Spanish, are a fun and effective way to learn about water science and water conservation through Movement and Music.  They are wonderful in the classroom or at home with the family.

Have a kid who wants to help other kids out? After talking with musical duo ZunZun, who work with school children on water conservation and watershed education, we came up with some suggestions for children who want to help communities that need clean, safe water: fundraising for water projects in communities suffering or at risk of water insecurity.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

According to the Millennium Project, 2.4 billion people worldwide live in water-scarce regions, children would be responding to a vital need. Fundraising for these projects (building a well, for example) can be fun and informational: a group of kids or a class can put on a dance marathon or other event. These projects would preferably be specific, at a village or community level and costing less than $1,000 to complete, so that children at one school could take responsibility for raising all the money needed to complete the project. Young people would have the experience of making a real and lasting difference in the lives of other children and their families. The water projects would be identified and managed by a respected nonprofit nongovernmental organization (NGO) that specializes in helping communities develop sources of inexpensive, simple to maintain, community-controlled water.

Our initial research found the following list of NGOs working globally on water projects. We welcome suggestions for other nonprofits doing good work in this area.

  • Drop in the Bucket is an organization that is often mentioned as well run, effective, and welcomes donations by school children.
  • Globalwater has a website that includes stories about students getting involved and their successful fundraising, including ideas for creating fundraising events.
  • The nonprofit a child’s right puts children’s water needs front and center.
  • Philanthropedia has extensive lists of organizations doing water projects and gives recommendations for each organization based on a survey of experts, organizations such as WaterAid, Water for People, IRC (International Water and Sanitation Centre), PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health), Water.org, iDE, and WASH Advocacy Initiative. Please see their excellent website for more details and links. Some of these NGOs are religious, and some do not necessarily focus on water, though they often provide water, sanitation, and hygiene projects as critical parts of more comprehensive, community development projects.

SeaVibe at Pinto Lake: Water Quality Education

We’re excited to share here today a few public service announcements recently made by Watsonville teens who are working with our friends at SeaVibe Foundation.

This academic year, the SeaVibe Foundation has been collaborating with the Academic Vocational Charter Institute (AVCI), City of Watsonville, and University of California at Santa Cruz (and supported by the Audobon-Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship and Earth Links), to provide these AVCI students with integrated training on water quality education in their own watershed. The results are inspiring!

As this article from the City of Watsonville explains,

Students receive community service credit for their work, but more importantly, the field work, research skills, art projects, and public presentations will help prepare the students for college and job opportunities.

You can read more about it here on Watsonville Patch.

SeaVibe at Pinto Lake

Water Contamination PSA

Ecofashion PSA

We want to congratulate all the students on the great video work and making a difference in their community. We’re glad the video cameras provided by Earth Links were used to such ardent, effective use!

You can read more and see photos of the Pinto Lake Community, Water & Art Project at SeaVibe’s Facebook page.

Pinto Lake suffers from toxic cyanobacteria pollution, caused partially by extensive agriculture and poor farming practices in the Pajaro River watershed in Watsonville, CA. The toxin is causing death in birds, fish, and other wildlife at the lake, and has traveled through the watershed to the Monterey Bay where it has been linked to a mass die-off in sea otters. SeaVibe Foundation is working with local students to help educate the community about pollution and to clean up the lake, thanks to funding from the Toyota/Audubon TogetherGreen Fellowship.

Online Petition Sites

Here are some links for people who are interested in online petitions: what good they are and do, where and how to set them up, and what changes in the “business of campaigning” are ahead for online issue advocacy.

• This article, funded by nonprofit technology clearinghouse TechSoup, is a terrific summary of the difference between pledges and petitions, how to integrate both into larger campaigns, and the kinds of technological tools on offer on the internet.

• Socialbrite.org has a good list of online petition sites and various plug-ins that can turn your own website into an online petition.

• Since last fall, Change.org has dropped from many people’s lists of good online petition sites because of its new advertising and sponsorship policies. See this article on Huffington Post for more information

• Read this Economist article on Purpose.com, a relative newcomer to the online petitions scene.

Facebook Pages for Nonprofits

Confused about how to use Facebook for your nonprofit? We empathize! Here are some links to articles we’ve found useful in understanding the social media platform and its benefits for nonprofits.

Social Source Commons Blog has a great post that clears up a common misconception about Facebook Profiles (which are only for individuals) and Pages (which are for organizations), as well as guidance in setting up Pages and tips for converting an organization Profile into a Page:

Many times, organizations will set up a Profile on Facebook to represent themselves. Most of us have our own Facebook Profile, so we feel comfortable setting up a Profile for our organization when we are presented with the task. However, Facebook wants only individuals to maintain Profiles. They search for organizations representing themselves in Profiles and aggressively delete them because they want all Profiles to represent individuals. In any case, the features for a Facebook Profile don’t match how most organizations would want to use Facebook anyway. The Profile has a limit of 5,000 friends (which you must approve), no metrics and low search engine optimization. As an organization, therefore, do not set up a Facebook Profile. The features are not designed for organizations and if Facebook finds you, they will delete you.

We also recommend checking out Wild Apricot’s Membership Knowledge Hub’s “How to Set Up an Nonprofit Facebook Page,” and Firstgiving’s “Back to Basics – How to set up your Nonprofit Facebook page,” both of which are clear and give step-by-step instructions.

Jorge Acosta Facilitating SRI-Rice Education in Latin America in 2014

SRI as a network is growing faster in Latin America in 2014! This agro-ecological method for growing rice (the System of Rice Intensification), known in Spanish as SICA (la Sistema Intensivo de Cultivo Arrocero), has increased the food security of people all over the world, most recently in Latin American countries. Since the First International Latin American Workshop on SRI held in Costa Rica back in November 2011, more and more farmers and researchers are discovering the benefits of SRI. This is a critical movement, as Latin America currently produces only 50% of the rice they consume, and could surely benefit from the increased yields with fewer inputs that SRI provides. (You can read more about SRI here.)

SRI rice champion Jorge Orlando Acosta Buitrago

Passionate SRI advocate, researcher and writer Jorge Orlando Acosta Buitrago is the Latin America outreach coordinator for SRI Global Inc and Cornell”s SRI-Rice Center. Jorge is  a recent graduate of Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica. Jorge’s article, “El SICA orgánico en Colombia,” which was published in the magazine LEISA revista de agroecología, gives a timely and incisive look at the state of SRI in a country especially ready for large-scale adoption of SRI (you can read it here in Spanish). He is translating key SRI documents into Spanish and developing social media for Latin America.

Earth Links was helping to facilitate Jorge’s work and travel around Latin America. Thanks to an initial donation to Earth Links from Three Americas Inc., Jorge’s position was  funded for 2013. Now through a collaboration with SRI Global, Earth Links, Three Americas and generous matching funding from Bridging Peace Jorge has begun a full time initiative to bring SRI/SICA to Latin America.  Thanks to support  and office space provided by IICA Jorge will be able to spread information through their 35 offices throughout the Americas.