Kevan Casey Foundation

Charities are easy to come by, and they come in all shapes, sizes and causes.  From small bake sales for a local church group to large and established organizations like the Red Cross, finding a charity is not an issue.  However, finding the right charity can be hard.  Grantspace states that, “According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), more than 1.5 million non-profit organizations are registered in the U.S. This number includes public charities, private foundations, and other types of non-profit organizations, including chambers of commerce, fraternal organizations and civic leagues.”  With so many charities in so many forms existing, it can be overwhelming trying to find the right one to donate time, money, or material supplies to.  Below are three tips for finding the charity that is right for you.

Charity Search Engine

Just like there is Google for general internet searches, there are search engines to help you find charities.  If you do not know where to start and just want to see what is out there, this is a great place to start. Sites like Charity Navigator allow you to search in a number of different ways.  You can use causes, keywords, categories, and state or zip code to search for a charity. You can even narrow your search to the type of work the charity does and its size.  Using a search like this can help you hone in on a charity that you may find worth giving to.

Make It Personal

Many people choose to give to a certain charity because they have a personal connection to the cause the charity supports.  Veterans and their families for example, are more likely to want to give to a charity that supports veterans.  Those who have or have loved ones who survived cancer may choose to donate to a specific cancer cause.  Yet, others may decide to donate to pet organizations that help stray animals because they have a rescued animal.  Find that personal thing that you connect with and find a charity that supports the cause to give to.

Learn About the Charity

Just because a charity exists does not mean it is reputable.  Therefore, if you are choosing to donate to a local or unknown charity, do your homework.  Visit their website and the Better Business bureau.  Call and see what projects they have done.  Stop in to see the space they work out of.  Ensure that your donation will go to the cause you want it to go to and not get deferred to mainly administrative costs.

Finding the right charity takes work.  By using specialized search engines, making it personal, and learning about the charity, you can help ensure that your donation of time, money, or goods will go to the best use possible.

Deciding How Much Money to Donate 

According to Giving USA, Americans gave an estimated $358.38 billion to charity in 2014.  That is a lot of money helping a lot of great causes. Even more, 72 percent of the total given came from individuals like yourself.  Donations ran the spectrum of charities, including religion, education, health, human services, arts, culture, environment, foundations, animals, and international affairs.  With so much donated to so many causes, one must wonder about the average amount given.  According to Financial Samurai, the average amount donated, as aggregated from several of the largest charitable foundations, was 3 to 5 percent of a person’s gross salary.  This sounds like a large number, but, in reality, it is not.  A person making $40,000 a year would have given $1,200 according to this statistic.  However, any amount donated above zero percent is helpful to any charity.  So how do you decide how much to give?

Ask the Charity 

Each charity has its own fundraising goals.  Public radio that relies on donations needs less than a charity like the Red Cross.  The best thing to do is to ask the charity what their fundraising goals are, how much they need, or what they are aiming to use funds for.  You can then decide how much to give based on that.

Budget Giving In 

Many people tide a certain amount annually based on their budget. The number varies based on household income versus expenses and savings goals.  Some families aim to give 10% away each year while others aim for $5 per month.  This is a number only you can decide on.  But if you want to ensure it happens, set up an automatic recurring payment to the charity of your choice.

Give With Others

As we have seen in the era of ride-sharing and crowdfunding, you do not have to do everything alone.  Sometimes it is easier to give with a group.  This defrays costs and allows the group to give more than you can alone.  You can search on crowdfunding sites like Go Fund Me for a cause to donate a small amount to along with others or you could organize something with your friends or family.  Giving with others is a great way to give more with less.

Figuring out how much to give to charity does not have to be difficult.  By asking the charity, budgeting what you can give, and giving through social giving, you can give the right amount you can comfortably afford and still make a difference, which is what it is all about.   

Ways To Support Charities Without Giving Money

When people think about giving, they often think about giving money. This makes sense because we are constantly flooded with images or ads asking for money for different natural disasters.  Plus, these days it is so easy to give money just by going online or sending a text message. But, many people simply cannot afford to donate money.  And that is okay because sometimes there are other and better ways to support charities or even a cause without cash.  Nothing demonstrates that more than the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The challenge had four simple rules. Make a video of you pouring an ice bucket of water on your head.  Upload it to YouTube and challenge three friends to do the same. The fourth rule was to donate to the cause, which was optional.  This challenge not only raised awareness for the cause, but it raised a ton of funds.  According to the ALS Association, “More than 17 million people uploaded their challenge videos to Facebook; these videos were watched by 440 million people a total of 10 billion times. It is now an annual event to raise awareness and funds to find treatments and a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)”.  Just the simple act of doing something out of the ordinary helped bring large amounts of attention to a cause. And there are other ways you can give to a charity without using money.  Here are three ideas we like.

Donate Time 

Many charities rely on support from people willing to volunteer their time.  This is because many charities do not have the funds or staff to handle all the needed tasks.  Nothing illustrated this more than animal shelters that rely on volunteers to walk the dogs, clean the animals, feed them, and do other important task to help the shelter run.  You do not have to give all of your time.  An hour here or there is much appreciated by any charity.  Something is better than nothing. 

Donate Items

Goodwill can give because of the generous donations of items from people.  The power of giving some old clothes, used books, or other material a charity may need can go a long way in helping them out.  Many charities cannot afford to purchase needed items such as computers.  To see the power of giving items, look no further than coat and canned food drives to help the homeless that happen regularly at schools, places of worship, and community centers.  Every little bit counts.

Spread the Word

Some charities do not have a large or any marketing budget.  They rely on the help of others to spread the word.  This can be in the form of creating and handing out flyers.  Perhaps you help them with social media marketing or creating a website or crowdfunding campaign.  Or perhaps you just talk to people about the charity.  This has worked great for organizations just getting started or that are small.  Many groups that help addicts started with one or two volunteers making calls and talking to people face to face.

Giving to a charity does not have to be solely based on money.  It can involve something as simple as participating in a challenge, or you can donate your time, unused or used items, or help spread the word about the charity.  The bottom line is to be creative and any little bit you can do helps in a big way.

 

Houston A+ Improving the educational standards

The standards of education need to be raised in every region of the world. The children should be provided with the facilities that will help in the effective learning. Houston A+ organization is committed to working as a catalyst that will change the way in which the education is provided to the children. The major focus is to introduce reforms that will innovate the process of educating children.

Programs offered by Houston A+ organization:

Teachers and leaders play an important role in the development of the children. Although there can be a lot of factors that will contribute to lowering the standards of education but building stronger teachers will help in getting the best results. This is the major focus of this organization. They are working hard to create strategies that will help children in learning through the use of proper strategies that will maximize their developmental abilities. The programs of Houston A+ organization are explained below:

1.      Strengthen the system:

The first program of Houston A+ organization focuses on the strengthening process of the education systems. The schools, as well as the teachers, need to develop skills that will help children in getting a proper education. As it is the only way through which the nation can develop effectively. Different programs and ways are used to educate the educators and to let them know about the latest techniques that are a compulsion for the proper education system. Workshops are arranged under the supervision of experts in the related field so that the educators may get benefits from their expertise.

2.      Innovation:

The next focus of Houston A+ organization is on the innovations that need to take place for the development of effective educational facilities. These innovative techniques mainly involve the use of new technologies for the implementation of strategies. As the world is developing with every passing day, new ways are inventing that can be used to accelerate the process of learning. This is another focus of the Kevan Casey organization to use innovation methods and techniques to provide better educational facilities to the children around the world. Every child is different, no single technique can be applied to everyone. That is why there was a need to use different methods for different children that will suit their mental abilities.

3.      Establishing connections:

A proper connection needs to be developed between the schools and other institutions of the society. All the stakeholders must communicate with each other. The students and the policy makers should also be involved in this process so that the development will take place at a proper pace. Moreover, it is always better to work in the form of a group if we want to develop as a nation. The consensus between the students and the authority is the only way that can maximize the learning abilities of the new generation.

Periwinkle Foundation

Another one of the charities based in Houston is the Periwinkle Foundation. The Kevan Casey Foundation is active in sponsorship.

After investigating and becoming familiar with this charities Cancer support The Kevan Casey Foundation decided to assist in sponsorship.

About the Periwinkle Foundation.

The name Periwinkle is taken from a plant,  Perennial Vinca minor. It  is an ingredient in Vincristine, a  chemotherapy medication .

This is fitting as this foundation supports children, young adults and their families who are suffering from cancer or other life threatening disorders and being treated at the Texas Children’s Hospital.

The charity s aim is to help provide emotional healing and support through several programs’.

  1. Periwinkle Arts Programs

Since 2001 the Periwinkle Foundation worked with the Art in Medicine group at the Texas Cancer Center. The belief is that Art is healing.

Local arts organisations provide help and guidance volunteering their services to give the children pleasure and fulfillment through the arts.

Professional writers will sit with children and work on stories, creative writing even poems. These can then be published in the “Splendid Review “.

Making the Mark: Is an exhibition held at the end of each year which displays the talent of the children whether in writing, art, music or drama.

Postcards from the Road; – a travelling arts exhibition is displayed in various parts of Texas. Postcards are available on which people can write complimenting the artist and sending inspiring messages.

There is in addition a weekly show mounted at the Cancer Center with various artists performing for the children.

  1. Periwinkle Camps

Various camps are offered throughout the year which have shown proven psycho social benefits for those who attend.

Periwinkle Camps

The children arrive often wondering if their lives will ever be “normal” again.

After attending the camp they see that they are not alone .Many other kids are just like them. They realize that there are many activities they can still be involved in. Self confidence is raised. The break from hospital routine is in its self uplifting. There are also opportunities to chat with long term survivors.

Camp YOLO

This camp is specifically held for teenagers between the ages of 13- 18 years. The YOLO refers to “You Only Live Once!”

Family Camps

These are held twice a year and can be attended by the whole family. I.e. parents, sick children and their siblings. It gives families a break from the hospital routines and allows fun family bonding and sharing.

Cancer Center Camp Days

In the summer the waiting rooms at the cancer center are converted to camps for two days. There is a lot of games and fun for patients.

  1. Survivor Programs

There are four different aspects to these program which help in particular once children have left the center.

  • Long term survivor Programs
  • Celebration of Life
  • Socials and Events
  • Education

In addition to the above the Periwinkle Foundation holds several fund raising events annually. The Kevan Casey Foundation has great pleasure being associated with this fine Charity.

Houston Children’s Charity

Houston Children’s Charity.

One of the charities that The Kevin Casey Foundation donates to is the very worthy Huston Children’s Charity. (HCC)

This is a large charity. A non profit organisation, which had a simple start 30 years ago. Lara Ward, offered a $5 a head Spaghetti dinner at her children’s school.

The charity’s main aim is to improve the quality of life of  Greater Houston’s children .They are proud to say that they will never ignore any legitimate call for help.

This charity has for the last 19 years provide funds and support for over 300 agencies helping over a million children.

They have several programs in place which the Kevin Casey Foundation helps to sponsor:

Chariots for Children

They provide purpose built vehicles to help handicapped children and their families. To date the charity has donated 89 passenger vans, 28 handicapped vans, 3 box trucks 1 passenger car and 2 vehicle modifications.

Limbs for Life

This is a program that supplies myoelectric and prosthetic devices to any child who has suffered a loss of a limb.

Along with educating and the correct physiotherapy the child can regain mobility. The early fitment of these limbs gives the child hope and encouragement.

Scholarships

The Houston Children’s Charity Scholarships are awarded to underprivileged youth so they can attend college. This hopefully will result in assisting to break the cycle of poverty in families.

To date over $ 240 000 has been awarded to deserving Houston students.

Houston Children’s Charity Family Emergency Fund at Texas Children’s Cancer Centre.

This is a program which has been developed to support families who are in urgent need and whose children are being treated at the cancer center.

HCC Closet

This was opened in 2005. It is stocked with donated gently used clothing and shoes.  It allows the child parents to “shop” with their children .There is NO cost to these parents and children are encouraged to have fun choosing.

Back2School

No child should start school disadvantaged. To this end over 20 000 children have been given basic school starter supplies.

 

A Better Nights Sleep

Every child deserves a good night’s sleep. To date 68 000 bed packages have been provided to children in need. This consists of a twin mattress, bed frame, sheets, pillows and blankets.

Kool Kidz

Temperatures can rise as high as 100 degrees F in Houston. Children –Especially those not well – often need air conditioner. This program has supplied 98 air conditioners to date.

Easter and Christmas Parties /Adopt a Family

Many sponsored Easter and Christmas parties are arranged during these special times of year

Adopt a Family is a special program where sponsors can” adopt” a family  providing Christmas “presents ,special treats and decorations . There is also an opportunity to help out with a few special extras that the family may need.

This is a very worthwhile charity which provides for many needs of children in the Houston area. The Kevan Spacey Foundation is proud to be associated with them.

For volunteering please contact the charity offices on 713 524 2878.

 

The light house of Houston

The light house of Houston- Facilities for visually impaired people

The light house of Houston is an organization that was established in 1939. The goal behind the creation of this organization is to help visually impaired people so that they can get involve in the quality way of living. As it is a private, non-profit service centre, it has developed special programs to facilitate the people. Around 7000 people are served every year and the number is increasing with every passing day. The mode of providing facilities is on an individual basis. People are evaluated and then they are provided with the specified facility they need.

The organization has different sources from which it gets the financial support that is required for the proper functioning. The major sources include Lighthouse Foundation, United Way allocations, government service contracts, contributions and industrial product sales.

Programs offered by the light house of Houston:

1.      Educational programs:

One of the major contributions of the light house of Houston is their educational programs that are specifically designed for the visually impaired people. The main goal of these programs is to teach the people so that they can get into normal living. By learning different skills with the use of different techniques, they will be able to work in an effective way for their living.

Major educational services include the office skills training in which different ways are learned by the visually impaired people. With the help of these office skills training, they will be able to perform standard office tasks. This training mainly includes the use of a keyboard, introduction to windows and basic math office. The other one is the customer service which is designed to produce skills to deal with the customers. Other educational programs include the following:

  • Vocational programs
  • Adult literacy programs
  • Outpatient rehabilitation
  • Centre for behavioural health services

2.      Community service program:

Apart from the educational programs that are developed to develop skills in the visually impaired people, the organization also focused on creating programs for the community service. The main facilities that are offered by the light house of Houston include the following:

  • Licensed Adult Day Care
  • Community Independence Program
  • Community Education and Outreach
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Vision Rehabilitation
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation
  • Centre for Behavioural Health Services

All these community services are designed to cater special needs, for example, the licensed adult day care program provides a full day productive activities to the adult people who are blind and need help for effective working. Moreover, the therapeutic recreational activities for children and adults allows them to enjoy their life. They will also be able to develop different skills that are required for a normal living. Different programs for infant youth and children allows them to communicate with their families and learn new skills.

All these programs are specifically designed for the visually impaired people. The team at the light house of Houston is still finding new ways to help the people in more ways.