Philanthropic Work of Prince

maxresdefault1

The death of a legendary artist and musician best known as, “Prince”, came as a sudden shock to the world on April 21, 2016. Prince released his first studio solo album at the age of nineteen and is known for his celebrated chart topping records such as “Purple Rain”, “When Doves Cry” and “Kiss”. Prince went on to sell over 100 million records, won seven Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.  He undoubtedly touched the hearts and souls of millions with his music, style and personality.

Conversely, those closest to Prince stated that he left behind more than his music. Although, Prince may have shied away from publicizing his efforts, his ex-wife, Manuela Testolini, described him as a “fierce philanthropist” in a statement following his death.  Reverend Al Sharpton also commented on Prince’s philanthropic efforts. During an appearance on MSNBC, Sharpton stated, “What many people didn’t know is that he [Prince] would support many of our civil rights causes”.

After the 2012 shooting that led to Trayvon Martin’s death, Prince donated money to the Martin family. Trayvon Martin was an unarmed seventeen year old who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch member, George Zimmerman. Trayvon’s tragic death sparked national controversy over racial profiling, which ignited conversations about race relations in the United States.

The extent to Prince’s passion, with regards to racial and social issues, was apparent in the Grammy Awards in 2015, when Prince presented album of the year and made the statement, “Albums still matter. Like books and black lives, albums still matter – tonight and always.”

In this statement, Prince was referring to the Black Lives Matter movement which was stimulated by the 2014 police killing of an unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. He donated $1.5 million through a charity concert that donated to Black Lives Matter and other social justice organizations in line with the message.

Is this the extent of Prince’s philanthropic involvement?

In an interview with CNN, activist and close friend, Van Jones stated that “he’s [Prince} a humanitarian, first and foremost”.  Jones and Prince were recently working on organizations such as: Green for All, which creates green jobs in disadvantaged communities; #YesWeCode, an organization with a mission to educate 100,000 low income youth about technology; and Rebuild the Dream, a movement that seeks to raise awareness on issues such as excessive incarceration, student loan debt and racial injustice.

Prince’s generosity does not end there.

After a show in 2011, at the mayor’s request, Prince donated $250,000 to Eau Claire Promise Zone, an organization working to help preschoolers and their families in struggling neighborhoods in north Columbia, South Carolina. He also donated $1 million to the Harlem Children’s Zone, a non-profit organization for poverty-stricken children and families living in Harlem and $250,000 to the Uptown Dance Academy when he found out they were going to lose their space back in 2011.  He also supported City of Hope, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Jazz Foundation of America, The Bridge, Urban Farming, H.A.L.O., the Edith Couey Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund, the Elevate Hope Foundation, and the Goss-Michael Foundation.

Prince’s humility and faith as a Jehovah Witness did not allow him to speak publicly about his humanitarian efforts. Although, it was through his music, charitable giving, and way of life, which inspired others to believe in hope for justice and opportunities.  His creativity and boldness knew no bounds, as he demonstrated genuineness through his messages and actions. Prince’s ability to master his art has impacted multiple generations around the world for nearly four decades. There is no doubt that even after Prince’s sudden death his legend to inspire hope for the oppressed will live on

Brad Pitt Rebuilds Homes After Hurricane Katrina With Community Support

7867861446_b562992c6d_b

Deemed the power couple in Hollywood, Brad and Angelina have not failed to be noticed for their humanitarian efforts and this is no exception. A decade after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Brad Pitt and his foundation Make It Right has been a blessing to 109 families devastated by the hurricane. Famous for his acting ability, Brad is no stranger to our screens and has been propelled into fame for his roles in Thelma & Louise, Ocean’s Eleven and on the other side of the camera produced and starred in the Academy Award winning film 12 Years a Slave.

Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005 killing at least 986 Louisiana residents in its path. New Orleans saw 70% of its occupied units damaged which is a huge amount of people left without a home. I cannot imagine the detrimental effect it would have to see your home and belongings displaced, ruined and lost in such a short space of time.

With winds of up to 140 miles per hour stretching across 400 miles of land it cannot be denied the catastrophe this caused. Whilst levees for the Mississippi River were reliable, the same cannot be claimed for Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Borgne and the marshes on the east and west of the city which inevitably flooded the area.

3833382783_dd7b66cf6b_b

Determined to help, Brad Pitt decided he would rebuild homes, but he also was under no impression it would be an easy task. It quickly became crystal clear how hard this undertaking would actually be. Through his foundation and with the determination of local residents, Brad began to encourage prestigious architects to lend a helping hand. The help of Shigeru Ban, Thom Mayne, and Frank Gehry was enlisted to tackle this mammoth project with the added challenge of designing and building eco-friendly homes.

Photographs by Alexei Lebedev/Momenta for Make It Right. These images are to be credited "Alexei Levedev/Momenta."
Photographs by Alexei Lebedev/Momenta for Make It Right. These images are to be credited “Alexei Levedev/Momenta.”

The goal was to develop hurricane-resistant homes that were cheap to build and live in. Around 30% of the population was thought to be in poverty which highlighted the importance of building homes that were affordable and would not put the vulnerable at more financial risk. It was hoped the homes would help residents escape the poverty trap, and it was equally important to also allow community members to make most of the decisions regarding the designs. As a result of the collaboration, the Make it Right foundation built aesthetically pleasing houses that catapulted the area into being a tourist attraction, and I can see why!

6012354454_ca60830f94_b

Equipped with the best architects and the local community what could go wrong? Bureaucracy of course with forgivable loan structures, family financial counseling, lot rights, and HUD grants to name. However, these hurdles did not stop the celeb, his team and the community from meeting their goals. Rebuilding the neighborhood cost around $26.8 million which is thought to have been funded through federal loans and donations.

3701722413_36a4f8a7fb_b

Although it is unclear whether this sum dented Brad’s bank account, it definitely showed his devotion to humanitarianism because he was very hands on with this project. Not one to shy away from his efforts, Brad has admitted he enjoys seeing the residents making use of their homes and converses with them often. Brad Pitt definitely met his goal considering a resident claimed their utility bill was around $24, jealous?

Currently shooting for a war film, Brad is excited to return to New Orleans for filming, claiming the area is so great for filming that it’s never a fight with studios as they love it and clearly he also loves the city very dearly!

Could Virtual Volunteering Be Right for You

images

Wish you could volunteer or donate time to a worthy cause, but your schedule just don’t have the extra time?  Maybe, there is an alternative that may be right for you. Virtual volunteering is basically doing volunteer work using the Internet. This could be a better alternative for those who want to be more active in doing non-traditional volunteer work.

There are a lot of organizations that you can find through the Internet that accept virtual volunteers. United Nations, Do Something, or Womenoncall are some of these organizations. Just look up their websites and you can match your skills to the jobs that they need. You could incorporate such programs into your employees’ work schedules and make some time to monitor them.

Kinds of virtual volunteer works

Tasks a volunteer may choose from may vary from as simple as data entry or online research to technical jobs like designing databases or web pages. What is important is that you could volunteer for services that you are particularly skilled at. Volunteer work that involves more specific tasks like counseling or giving legal, medical or business advice are better handled by professional people who are experts in those fields.

Here are some examples of tasks that a volunteer may engage in:

  • Virtual learning opportunities like e-tutoring students in various subjects, teaching foreigners in basic English as well as helping people learn different skills that may give them job opportunities like web design, photo editing, data entry and other related online tasks.
  • Administrative work like online research, data entry, translating documents, scanning documents and answering clients’ inquiries on behalf of the organization.
  • Technical jobs like creating podcasts, graphic design or editing videos.
  • Facilitate communication and networking through editing or writing proposals, newsletter articles and press releases about the organization.

There are some advantages of virtual volunteering like the following:

  • Virtual volunteering overcomes geographic boundaries and time constraints. You can give service to people from other countries most especially those who are lacking in resources. Since no travel is involved, you can spend more time teaching basic subjects to students on a one on one basis, allowing for more flexibility and convenience.
  • Virtual volunteering provides an efficient and cost effective way to perform community service. Since you have the technical resources in place like the computer with Internet connection and VoIP service, all one needs are the resource materials to complete your tasks when necessary.
  • It is environment friendly. Being able to work offsite helps the company promote eco friendly practices like less paper wasted or no car fumes emitted.
  • Online volunteers may have more sophisticated computer equipment and also programming skills that the organization may benefit from. This way, the organization saves more money, as they would use the volunteer’s resources in their behalf.
  • Assisting with programs dealing with helping out children, troubled individuals, and people needing counseling or tutoring may empower the volunteers into realizing that they make an impact on the people they help.
  • Volunteers could collaborate with each other using the Internet. Volunteer managers can use online discussion groups to be more knowledgeable about the program and get tips or offer advice to others.
  • Volunteers may be inspired to take a step further and continue on accepting volunteer work on their own and turn  into great advocates for the organization.

Benefits of virtual volunteering

Virtual volunteering can benefit both you and your organization as well as providing services to the organization, school, or government program where volunteer work is rendered. Even, companies who join in this endeavor now have the tools to sharpen their employee volunteer programs, and by design, are able to polish their corporate philanthropy reputation.

The Uncharitable World of Policy: Dan Pallotta TED

maxresdefault

One of the biggest threats that all nonprofits face is the injustice and discrimination from our own government. Our current Congress wants nonprofits to survive without government spending at the same time it is creating policies that increase dependency on the services nonprofits provide.

If the government does not want to fund these services, then they must allow these facilities to find innovative ways to fund themselves.  Who or what will pay for these much needed services? Nonprofits are struggling to survive. However, if there were some sort of revenue, benefit to donate to these nonprofits, and a way to market the valuable work they do, they could greatly expand the number of people who are helped.

According to activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta, everything the donating public has been taught about giving is dysfunctional, and this bleeds into the policy arena as well.  This creates misconceptions and injustice that target vulnerable populations. Dan claims there are a few specific ways that nonprofits are discriminated against in the economic world.

First through compensation, by providing more opportunities for incentives to other businesses instead of finding ways to incentivize people to produce more in the service population.   Secondly, through advertising and marketing, because investors don’t like to see their donations spent on advertising in the non-profit sector. Dan states, “You know, you want to make 50 million dollars selling violent video games to kids, go for it. We’ll put you on the cover of Wired magazine. But you want to make half a million dollars trying to cure kids of malaria, and you’re considered a parasite yourself.” (Dan Pallotta, 2008)

Most nonprofits must get their advertising donated, and this forces them to work at a capacity much lower than their other business counterparts. Thirdly by not allowing nonprofits to try innovative ideas because they are risky. In other profit businesses, taking risks is almost necessary and a loss is expected. However, in the nonprofit sector, these sorts of business risks are not allowed and could even be viewed as failures. Only Dan states when we prohibit failure we also stop innovation. The fourth way is through time limits.

For example, Dan states, that if a nonprofit told investors and donors that for six years no money was going to go to the needy, it was all going to be invested in building their nonprofit they would not be supported. However that is exactly what Amazon did, and they were supported in this by their investors. Most nonprofits have time limits for success and don’t have the opportunity to grow their nonprofit before they must close doors. And lastly being seen as a drain on the community rather than a value. In our society we value independence and vulnerable populations are not seen as worthy, only as unsustainable.

But this idea of individuality is an illusion, we cannot exist without being dependent on several variables. There is so much discrimination against vulnerable populations, it is almost as if it is purposeful and intentional to make it so difficult for the nonprofit sector. As long as we have this belief in our society things will not change. It is disappointing that in our society we value things that hurt us or isolate us however helping members of the community that is struggling is unfavorable.

Exit mobile version