Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Story of Giving from Anonymous

Gratitude is something that can take many faces. I am grateful for the opportunity my family and I had in knowing Gary Troyer.

Gary Troyer had a resume that extends beyond the capacity of this submission. He had a distinguished career at Pomona College influencing and inspiring the lives of hundreds of student athletes in both water polo and swimming. Gary also was a SCUBA instructor and taught a variety of other water sports while keeping an eye on his other love, football.

To those who did not know Gary, he could appear to be gruff and unapproachable. For those who had the opportunity to get behind the wall, there you would find the warm, kind, gentle and giving man known as Gary. That is how I knew him, as did my family.

Gary passed away a few weeks ago while on a volunteer assignment. He left a legacy of time, talent and treasure that will live long past his years. In addition to his time at Pomona College, Gary was an active volunteer with the Claremont Chapter of the American Red Cross. He was a Disaster Service Team member and an instructor for first aid and CPR classes. Among other things, he also served as a CERT volunteer for the City of Claremont.

Gary gave of himself throughout his life and professional career to his students and athletes, his family and his friends. Additionally, he gave to his community through his ongoing gift of service and friendship, as well as his unbelievably deliciously grilled tri-tip sandwiches! Gary will be missed and fondly remembered, as his contributions are something for which all in Claremont and those who knew him can be grateful.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Story of Giving from Libby Gill

As we embark on 2012, I can't help but recognize just how much I have to be grateful for this year. My sons, Harrison and Zack, are juniors in college and high school, respectively. They are happy, healthy, vibrant young men (okay, so I'm biased but it's true). And they continue to teach me lessons in gratitude. It's through their giving that I'm inspired to give. From Zack serving as a "Tree Musketeer" and planting trees in El Segundo to Harrison suggesting I launch a "Libby Cares" non-profit campaign on my website, they continue to be great examples of service to others.

While I haven't fully set my long-term charitable campaign in motion, my Libby Gill & Company team members and I have tried to make a difference in the lives of people who, simply put, have less than we have, at least, in terms of material goods. In the past few years, we "adopted" Salvation Army families to holiday shop for, we gave gently worn women's suits to Dress for Success, and we kicked off a tee-shirt drive for an orphanage in Kenya - thanks to the hundreds of people who donated!

This season, my older son Harrison inspired me to make a donation to Kiva.org on behalf of all the wonderful clients, colleagues and partners I've had to good fortune to work with this year. Kiva, a non-profit whose tagline is "Loans That Change Lives," offers micro-loans to entrepreneurs in emerging and economically challenged countries to help them launch and build local businesses. Harrison, at the ripe old age of 21, has already given ten loans to Kiva. In fact, as each micro-loan is repaid, he rolls the donation over into a new loan for a different company under Kiva's oversight.

We chose a group, run by eleven women and one man, that runs a grocery store in Bolivia. Our loan will help them continue to serve their community and take care of themselves and their families. Thanks, Broadview Mortgage, for putting the spotlight on the joy of giving!

Libby Gill, Business Coach and Author of You Unstuck

Story of Giving from Larry Notheis

I have worked with RI in Pakistan and I would like to share some of the great work they do around the world. RI believes that donated money should be put to work and they make sure that 87 cents of every dollar goes directly to services.

1. Emergency, Health, and Sanitation: Relief International meets the immediate needs of victims of natural disasters and civil conflicts worldwide with the provision of food rations, clean water, non-food items, transitional shelter and emergency medical services. Beyond emergency situations, Relief International’s field teams provide long term health and nutrition services to communities in need by operating clinics and training health workers. Relief International also provides water and sanitation programming, providing communities with access to clean water, decreasing the incidence of communicable diseases, and improving quality of life.

2. Food and Agriculture: Relief International’s food and agriculture programming embraces environmental awareness by incorporating climate change, natural resource management, and conservation principles into projects that improve global food security. By increasing communities' knowledge of sound agricultural methods suitable to the regional landscape, cultural needs, and environment concerns, Relief International empowers farmers how to diversify viable crops, make the best use of the local growing season, and preserve local natural resources. The result is communities that can produce nutritious food for themselves in a sustainable way.

3. Education and Empowerment: Education is vital to the social and economic integration of future generations. Relief International places a significant focus on this sector to ensure that children affected by conflict can continue to pursue their education. Programs include a wide range of activities: teacher training programs, building libraries and Internet centers, providing books and classroom furniture to under-resourced schools, and promoting equal access to education. These programs also empower youth through service learning and leadership training to become active in their communities and act as agents for change.

4. Livelihoods and Enterprise: Finding new or better work is the most direct path out of poverty for families in need. Relief International facilitates this process by providing vocational training, offering microfinance opportunities, and developing promising value chains. As a result of these efforts, farmers in Tanzania can get their crops to market before they spoil and women in Afghanistan can earn an income to support their families. These programs are aimed at long-term, reliable growth, and Relief International often engages private sector partners to leverage additional resources and guarantee sustainability.

5. Shelter and Infrastructure: When natural disasters destroy housing or conflict forces families to flee their homes, Relief International provides for temporary and permanent shelter. Relief International also contributes to local infrastructure by building schools, irrigation canals, and community centers in impoverished communities. Relief International supports training for local residents so that they can participate in the construction process, creating livelihood opportunities for community members. Complementary programs help make homes safer and more comfortable by promoting products like high-efficiency cook stoves, which decrease indoor air pollution and reduce the need to gather fuel.

6. Protection and Human Rights: Millions of individuals worldwide face discrimination, persecution, and even violence. Relief International is on the forefront of implementing programs to protect and support these individuals and encourage peace through nonviolent conflict resolution. The result is programming that provides legal-assistance, fights trafficking in persons, promotes media and journalism, and encourages democratic governance. The rights of women and girls is a critical issue in this sector, and is incorporated in many of Relief International’s programs. Relief International's approach to civil society development emphasizes cross-cultural understanding and empowerment of vulnerable and under-represented members of society.