Examples of Giving Back Shine Brightly

SIPA, SIPF and Members Give Back to Community

There’s always enough bad news in the world, so on this rainy Tuesday (here in Washington, D.C.), let’s spotlight some good things.

1. Kudos to Thompson Media Group for having donated 10% of their gross proceeds of all online sales for a period at the end of March–with a minimum commitment of $2,000—to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund. “There has never been a better time to get the publications and resources you need from Thompson Media Group, and also help those in need,” wrote Thompson CEO Bob Mate.

There’s also a Thompson page on the American Red Cross site so you can still donate in their name: “Please join Thompson Media Group in keeping the people of Japan in your thoughts. We wish them strength and hope as they begin to recover and rebuild.”

2. The Motley Fool also addressed the Japan disaster as part of its Foolanthropy initiative. On March 16, writer John Reeves researched the best places to give through Charity Navigator, a site devoted to intelligent giving. He also gave $250 to AmeriCares. “I’ve heard and read great things about that organization, and am very happy to support its work.”

At the end of 2010, The Motley Fool announced that it had “chosen Thurgood Marshall Academy as this year’s Foolanthropy recipient. The academy is a Washington, D.C., charter school whose students are drawn from an area with an average per-capita income around $14,000 per year, just about one-third of the national average.” For the first week of 2011, the Fool donated 10 cents for every article comment (up to $20,000 in total). Let’s hope they had some spirited online debates that week. In addition, they will be making a Foolish donation and organizing employee volunteers.

3. SIPA Gives Back was a huge success at the 2010 Annual Conference, as a group of attendees headed to the Washington, D.C. food bank on the Saturday before the Conference to lend some hands. This year, SIPA Gives Back returns to SIPA 2011 to support the D.C. Central Kitchen, a nationally recognized “community kitchen” that provides meals for the hungry in the greater D.C. area. It uses food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities.

Attendees will assemble on Sunday morning, June 5, to put together trail mix snack bags for the Kitchen to distribute to children as part of their HEALTHY RETURNS program. All food and supplies will be provided and no skills are necessary; it could be a nice couple hours, especially if you are bringing your family. All you need is a willingness to contribute your time to help these deserving kids.

4. The Specialized Information Publishers Foundation (SIPF) is offering financial assistance for a limited number of people to attend SIPA 2011. This scholarship program was started two years ago in response to tighter budgets that meant so many members—who were regular participants in SIPA events—wouldn’t be able to attend our annual conference.

Over the past two years, the Foundation has awarded more than 40 scholarships to individuals from companies of all sizes, from around the globe. Some were members whose companies had a no-travel or no-training policy. Others had lost their jobs and just couldn’t afford to attend. Some were from smaller companies or were new members who had never taken part in a SIPA conference. No matter what size your company is or what the circumstances of your need for financial aid, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship. Click here to download the application form.

5. We never got to applaud United Communications Group (UCG) for the help it provided to nine families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. These were all families that had dependents and only a shelter to live in. The money—$80,000—came from a foundation funded by UCG and its 1,300 employees around the country. “It was a big investment that we would do again, because it was the right thing to do,” said Nancy Becker, a partner at UCG.

The Washington Post chronicled UCG’s efforts for one family in particular in an article last August. “When Katrina hit,” the article said, “a team of about 10 employees led by Becker spent a few weeks working through government agencies and charities to get access to families displaced by the storm.”

If you have a story of giving back or know of someone SIPA-related who has one, please email me or let everyone know on our Comments page. It’s nice to know that SIPF, SIPA and its members are reaching out to the greater community.

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