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Spotlight on InspireLit

InspireLit: Inspire the Joy of Literacy

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have InspireLit, nominated by donor amrizzo01. They inspire the joy of literacy in children.

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About InspireLit

InspireLit is an Alexandria, VA nonprofit started in 2016. Co-founders, Jen Kenealy and Erica Jones, are moms and teachers who share a love of books and children. We created InspireLit to ensure that all children experience the joy of literacy. By building bridges between resources and needs, we strive to ensure that children across Alexandria have access to inspiring resources. Our hope is that our model will be replicated throughout other communities.

How we build bridges between resources and needs to inspire and support kids

  • Book Access: Make high quality books available to all children and provide opportunities for book choice.
  • Book Connectors: Connect leaders with kids to find just right books that match their interests and reading level.
  • Read Alouds: Encourage read alouds at home, school and in the community by providing resources for families, teachers and community members.

    So visit InspireLit's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause!

    Congrats to November Winner, Epilepsy Foundation

    Charitocracy's 27th check: to Epilepsy Foundation for $1701

    Happy Giving Season!

    Since Thanksgiving we've been spreading the word about Charitocracy by offering $1 for each new page like and $5 for each share. That resulted in an extra $240 in the November pot, and hopefully will have a positive impact on the December pot as well. Keeps those shares and page like invitations going out to your connections on Facebook and elsewhere!

    The best way to help grow Charitocracy's donor base and increase the size of the monthly pot is to give Charitocracy to a friend. Gifts start at the same $12 as signing up yourself. $1 or more goes into each monthly pot for a year, and your recipient can vote for the winners. You'll immediately receive a PDF (like this) with the gift redemption code. It includes a foldable gift box and cheat sheet describing how Charitocracy works. You can hand-deliver or email the PDF to the lucky recipient at the time of your choosing. And perhaps the best part is that your gift is tax-deductible!

    Meanwhile, Donor Erin Burke had a great idea she shared on Facebook a month ago: if all 200+ active donors at Charitocracy were each to give Charitocracy to at least one friend or family member, we could double our numbers. Ambitious? Yes. Would it be awesome if it happened? YES. Heck, I'd be happy to boost our donor count 10%, never mind 100%! Let's get some new faces on board before the end of the year. For $12/each, you could make it rain Charitocracy love onto your entire shopping list. 💦☃️🎁🥰

    November 2018 winner: Epilepsy Foundation

    Last night we voted in Charitocracy's 27th monthly winner. Congratulations to Epilepsy Foundation, and to donor Coppcarr for nominating it. She discovered Epilepsy Foundation while seeking resources and support after her daughter's epilepsy diagnosis.

    Now you have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to Epilepsy Foundation next week.

    The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is:

    To lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

    The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with more than 50 local organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The Foundation works to prevent, control, and cure epilepsy through community services; public education; federal and local advocacy; and supporting research into new treatments and therapies. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential.

    Before you go, check out Epilepsy Foundation's great video explaining epilepsy to children, and feel good about your part in our collective $1701+ grant to help with their work!

    Have a great December and be sure to log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

    Spotlight on HIAS

    HIAS: Welcome the stranger. Protect the refugee.

    Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have HIAS, nominated by donor r.a.y.. They protect, advocate for, and help resettle refugees in the U.S. and beyond.

    A few words on Charitocracy

    Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

    About HIAS

    Vision

    HIAS stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom.

    Mission

    HIAS rescues people whose lives are in danger for being who they are.

    • We protect the most vulnerable refugees, helping them build new lives and reuniting them with their families in safety and freedom.
    • We advocate for the protection of refugees and assure that displaced people are treated with the dignity they deserve.

    Guided by our Jewish values and history, we bring more than 130 years of expertise to our work with refugees.

    So visit HIAS's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And watch this video of a recent HIAS-led trip to the U.S.-Mexico border to bear witness to the crisis affecting families and other asylum seekers:

    Congrats to October winner, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

    Charitocracy's 26th check: to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for $1366

    Happy Halloween, and now bring on [Thanks]Giving Season!

    Together we added $44 more dollars worth of likes to the October pot. Also we added $31/month for the next 12 months thanks to 6 new double-matched donations and matched donation upgrades! Strong work, crew.

    So keep those likes and sign ups coming, and we'll keep the matching funds flowing! Next stop: 900 likes? Please go spam your friends now.

    Finally, one last heads up before we announce October's winner: Giving Season is fast approaching, so start thinking about giving Charitocracy as a gift to friends and family. More on this later in the month, but feel free to get a head-start! Maybe we should make Thanksgiving gifts a thing?! Anyway, you get an email instantly after you purchase. Then you can forward the email or hand-deliver your Charitocracy gift when the time is perfect. So there's never a bad time to start your holiday shopping at Charitocracy.

    October 2018 winner: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

    At the stroke of Halloween midnight, we voted in Charitocracy's 26th monthly winner. Congratulations to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and to donor Stephanie for nominating it. She lost a close family member to suicide this summer, and our love and sympathy continue to be with Stephanie and her whole family. ❤️

    Now you have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to AFSP next week. It's in support of Stephanie's AFSP Lost Satellite Team for the Out of the Darkness Walk. They walked on October 27 in honor of her brother-in-law, Robert Todd.

    Mission: Save Lives and Bring Hope to Those Affected by Suicide

    Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death.

    AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies:

    • Funding scientific research
    • Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention
    • Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention
    • Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide in our mission

    Check out AFSP's video about fighting suicide, and feel good about your part in our collective $1366+ grant to help with their work!

    Have a great November and log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

    It’s scary how much we’ve raised for charity!

    Money Kills by WhiteEyedFrog

    Including the check we wrote this month for September's winner, Youth Pride Inc., we've awarded over $30,000 in grants to our monthly winners at Charitocracy. And we have over $10,000 more raised already for the next 12 monthly winners.

    While we still need to crack the code on how to grow this thing into the future, it's nice to look back at how far we've come. I've included an October 31 snapshot of our Winners page. You can see it for yourself here.

    Winning Cause Month Pot Votes Voters Nominator
    Youth Pride Inc. 2018-09 $1753 18.7 20 melissa745
    Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 2018-08 $1391 26.5 27 amrizzo01
    RAICES 2018-07 $1375 26.83 28 TdotWING
    Together We Rise 2018-06 $1237 25 27 SuZQ
    Sky's the Limit Fund 2018-05 $1114 34.67 38 obxlisa
    Outer Banks SPCA 2018-04 $1103 27.34 29 bjstager
    National Public Radio 2018-03 $1073 30 31 Maurice
    Innocence Project 2018-02 $1072 26 27 cperg814
    mikeroweWORKS Foundation 2018-01 $1478 31 33 emily0153
    International Justice Mission 2017-12 $1520 27 28 Alistair and Rebecca
    ALS Guardian Angels 2017-11 $1540 30 30 Maggie
    UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund @ HF 2017-10 $1465 35.5 37 TdotWING
    Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at GHCF 2017-09 $2571 48.39 51 brun064
    Special Olympics 2017-08 $1281 30.34 32 obxsunny
    American Civil Liberties Union 2017-07 $1241 24.75 27 TdotWING
    Planned Parenthood 2017-06 $1225 28.24 30 Bethany
    It Gets Better Project 2017-05 $1222 30.4 32 Stephanie
    Comfort Cases 2017-04 $1242 29.5 31 OBXHubands
    Children's Hospital Medical Center 2017-03 $1218 29.34 33 Maurice
    Southern Poverty Law Center 2017-02 $1171 38.83 41 damianf
    Feline Hope Animal Shelter 2017-01 $752 34.75 36 obxlisa
    Girls on the Run 2016-12 $731 28 29 Elinora
    Kids in Need Foundation 2016-11 $524 23 26 SeattleStrong
    Fisher House Foundation 2016-10 $539 28.5 32 Sue Wilkerson
    The NEA Foundation 2016-09 $500 26.29 31 sherylwthorp
    Total Distributed $30,338

     
    Happy Halloween! And don't forget to get those votes in before midnight!!

    Occupy Sydney, Day 5, "THE NEW GLOBAL CURRENCY IS LOVE" by Newtown grafitti

    Money Kills by WhiteEyedFrog (at the top of post) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

    Occupy Sydney, Day 5, "THE NEW GLOBAL CURRENCY IS LOVE" by Newtown grafitti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

    Spotlight on The ChadTough Foundation

    The ChadTough Foundation

    Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have The ChadTough Foundation, nominated by donor brian. They fund research and raise awareness of pediatric brain tumors, with emphasis on Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

    A few words on Charitocracy

    Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

    The ChadTough Foundation

    The most hated word in the world of pediatric brain tumors is “rare.” “Rare” is the reason there is not enough research being done. “Rare” is the reason there aren’t drugs being developed. “Rare” is the reason there is so little funding. “Rare” is why our kids don’t have more options. The three facts below negate the claim of “rare”:

    • Cancer is the number one disease killer of children in America.
    • Brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related death in children.
    • DIPG is the leading cause of death from brain tumors in children.

    DIPG

    DIPG is a brain tumor found in the Pons of the brain stem. Children are typically diagnosed between the ages of 5-7 with around 300-350 new cases per year in the United States. The median survival rate is 9 months from diagnosis, only 10% of patients survive 2 years from diagnosis. Long term survivors total less than 1%.

    What makes DIPG so difficult to treat is not only its location (a very small area of the brain stem responsible for many critical bodily functions including breathing, swallowing, respiration, equilibrium and eye movement) but also the fact that it is “diffuse” (as opposed to looking like a solid mass or ball, it spreads out and mixes with healthy cells, it is sometimes described as looking “marbled”).

    One of our doctors called it “the worst kind of tumor in the worst possible place.” The only standard of care to treat DIPG is radiation. Radiation is used to shrink the tumor giving temporary relief of symptoms but after a period of time the tumor typically grows back. As it grows, it cuts off those critical bodily functions until the child can no longer swallow or breathe and eventually succumbs. You cannot surgically remove DIPG and until very recently it was considered dangerous to even biopsy. This has resulted in very little DIPG tissue being available for researchers to study.

    Perspective

    As a parent of a child with DIPG it’s hard to describe the bewilderment and anger you feel when you are told the standard of care for DIPG has not changed in over 40 years. When you combine a lack of tissue to study with a severe lack of funding for childhood cancer, you end up with no progress.

    Approximately 4% of the taxpayer-funded National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) annual budget is directed toward pediatric cancer. Not 4% for DIPG, not 4% for pediatric brain tumors… 4% for ALL of childhood cancer! Drug development is a huge issue for pediatric cancer. Drugs are developed almost exclusively for adult cancers and then simply “taken down” to treat pediatric cancers. Our children deserve better than this.

    Vision

    DIPG presents a great challenge. It is an extremely difficult and complex disease. We believe a cure will come from talented, passionate people working collaboratively. It will come from “Thinking outside the Box” and taking some risks. It will come from small breakthroughs happening in many different areas of medicine. The ChadTough Foundation is committed to funding this work.

    So visit The ChadTough Foundation's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And watch this video about ChadTough's namesake, and the organization's efforts to rid the world of DIPG:

    Thirteen is the Luckiest Number

    Twelve

    Twelve is the new Thirteen

    I have ended the tyranny. Since Charitocracy day one, September 1, 2016, there has been an automatic 8.3% "tax" or "tip" to cover Charitocracy's overhead. A 13th month of contribution, essentially. We've used those funds to cover credit card fees, nationwide solicitation registration, web site hosting, software licenses, insurance, advertising, postage, inkjet ink, etc. But those days of mandatory tipping are over! $12 is the new minimum donation, with 100% going to winning charities.

    Why now, Benj? Why ever?

    I've been trying to put myself into the shoes of strangers. [Not literally, because if you're familiar with my feet, you know they probably wouldn't fit.] These strangers hear about Charitocracy from a friend, or see an ad on Facebook, or see me rocking a Charitocracy sweat jacket, running shirt, or coffee mug. They visit our web site, and then NOTHING happens.

    One of my theories is this: they see a $13 donation where $12 goes to 12 charities. They think: scam alert! Charitocracy is skimming a buck off each $13 donor, and probably using it to charter flights to the Caribbean.

    Not a bad theory. 59 cents of that $1 goes straight to credit card fees, but the remaining 41 cents would add up fast. Almost fast enough to cover our other expenses it turns out. But luckily we have donors whose employers match, or even double-match, their donations. So we've found ourselves plenty of breathing room for paying the bills while sending 100% of web site donations (and Facebook donations) into the monthly award pots for the winning charities. Still no Caribbean vacations, so clearly we have some kinks yet to sort out.

    We appreciate each and every mandatoryincluded tip we've received from our early adopters during our 1st two years. You've paid for our setup costs to get up and running, and we're ever grateful. But from now on, these tips are entirely optional! You can go to My Account > Donation Change to switch to a non-tipping annual donation at any time. And new signups will not have this tip selected by default. It's an opt-in for all new donations. Maybe everyone will still choose to donate a "baker's dozen" 13 months worth every year, but this could be one less red flag for new donors who don't know us personally like many of you do.

    In Other News

    • We had a larger than usual monthly pot of $1753 for September winner Youth Pride Inc! That's thanks to $2 matches per new social media Like/Follow, as well as matches for each new/upgraded donation. Well done!
    • We're continuing this promotion, so keep on inviting friends to join us or at least like our various social media accounts! Potential $8 in the October pot for follows: $2 each for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And then if one joins at the $12/year level, that's an additional $24 we'll match!
    • Despite the busy month, huge gain in likes (over 800 now on Facebook), and big pot, we had fewer voters in September than usual. Combine that with a swing of only 2.5 votes between 3rd place and 1st, your vote would certainly have an impact in selecting the winner. Get out the vote!
    • Just a few more hours to sweeten the pot for Youth Pride Inc. or to nominate a new cause for October. Looking forward to another great month!

    I mean, really it's your choice.  But $13?  Still the best donation.

    Congrats to September winner, Youth Pride Inc.!

    Charitocracy's 25th check: to Youth Pride Inc. for $1753

    Awesome birthday month, Charitocracy!

    We attracted over 200 new social media followers in September. That channeled $414 extra into September's pot! We also had 6 new and upgraded annual donations. Those spread an additional $408 across the next year's worth of pots! (That's $34 per monthly pot!) Keep those likes and sign ups coming, and we'll keep the matching funds flowing! Next stop: 900 likes? Please go spam your friends now.

    September 2018 winner: Youth Pride Inc.

    Last night we voted in Charitocracy's 25th monthly winner. Congratulations to Youth Pride Inc., and to donor melissa745 for nominating it! YPI offers a safe space for LGBTQQ young people.

    You have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to YPI next week.

    YPI started as a support group of the YWCA of Greater Rhode Island in December of 1992. In the middle of a snowstorm, four youth and an adult facilitator held their first meeting at Brown University’s Sarah Doyle Women’s Center. They shared their experiences, built community and named themselves, “The Way Out.” This small weekly group grew quickly soon overtaking the Women Center’s living room, with dozens of young people sitting on laps, tables and every part of the floor. In order to meet the needs of this rapidly growing group, “The Way Out” became Youth Pride, Inc, (YPI) and received its own tax-exempt status as a not-for-profit organization in 1994.

    Our Mission

    Youth Pride, Inc. is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of youth and young adults impacted by sexual orientation and gender identity/expression while working to end the homophobic and transphobic environments in which they live, work and play.

    Our Statement of Values

    • LEADERSHIP: YPI is committed to creating the leaders of today. Youth voices drive our process, and we seek to develop the leadership skills necessary both within the organization and outside.
    • AFFIRMATION: YPI believes all youth must be affirmed for who they are and how they express themselves. We are committed to making that a reality in all of the environments in which young people live.
    • COMMUNITY: YPI believes building strong connections is essential to youth success and empowerment. We strive to create a caring, respectful and diverse community of young people and adults.

    Check out this video from YPI, and feel good about your part in our collective $1753+ grant to help with their work!

    Have a great October and log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

    Spotlight on Hydrocephalus Association

    Hydrocephalus Association #NOMOREBS

    Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Hydrocephalus Association, nominated by donor magresto. They are working to cure hydrocephalus, an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within cavities of the brain.

    A few words on Charitocracy

    Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

    Hydrocephalus Association

    Community. Clarity. Cure.

    Seeking an end to hydrocephalus.

    The Hydrocephalus Association serves as the primary nexus for research on hydrocephalus, a condition defined by an abnormal, excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the cavities of the brain. Hydrocephalus affects over 1 million people in the U.S. alone. Approximately 1-2 babies for every 1000 births are born with hydrocephalus, but anyone can get hydrocephalus at any time through a brain injury or infection, among other reasons, or as part of the aging process.

    In our effort to find a cure, HA pursues a three-pronged strategy.

    COMMUNITY

    Hydrocephalus means a lifetime of uncertainty for the families and individuals who are confronted with a diagnosis or who are affected by the condition. Naturally, they want to learn more, to understand what the condition entails, what treatments are available, and they want to know they’re not doing this on their own. We understand this, because many of us have stood in those same shoes. To help, HA gathers together valuable resources and connects individuals to larger communities that can provide support and understanding. By providing an online library and common space for those dealing with hydrocephalus, HA works to reduce uncertainty, advance the overall hydrocephalus community, and provide as much insight as possible into what remains an often challenging and bewildering condition.

    CLARITY

    Despite its broad prevalence, hydrocephalus remains a misunderstood and often hidden condition, and the general population largely remains unaware of the breadth and depth of the impact of hydrocephalus. This lack of clarity complicates diagnosis, and not surprisingly, it also results in limited funding. For example, while hydrocephalus is 30x more common that Cystic Fibrosis, it receives only 1/13th of the federal research money.

    HA works to educate national and state policymakers, the medical community, and the general population about the nature and extent of hydrocephalus, and to focus attention on the condition and the legislation/attention needed for individuals to overcome challenges. Our Medical Advisory Board contains leading neurosurgeons, neurologists and other medical professionals and scientists to ensure that we are providing the most current and reliable information. We work to help others see the condition for what it is, so that it can receive the consideration it deserves.

    CURE

    Today, no cure for hydrocephalus exists, and the primary treatment – the insertion of a shunt into the brain – was developed fifty years ago and suffers from one of the highest failure rates of any surgical treatment. By focusing attention and research monies, HA works toward the ultimate end: a final cure to hydrocephalus.

    Little is known about the causes of hydrocephalus, but recent research offers hope that a cure is indeed possible. Already we are seeing improved diagnostic techniques. New valve designs are improving the efficacy of the shunts used to treat patients. New treatment options have opened up the possibility of a life without a shunt for some individuals. Studies in biomarkers and genetics are providing promising insights into how we might prevent the condition from occurring. This is the power that research has, and every dollar matters. The more research we can fund now, the better the scientific foundation upon which future research will build. HA supports a Strategic Research Initiative that focuses on work that will truly advance our understanding of the condition, and with that, discover its causes, improve its treatment, and help us see an end to hydrocephalus.

    So visit Hydrocephalus Association's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And watch this video about HA's efforts to cure Posthemorrhagic Hydrocephalus:

    Spotlight on Preston’s March For Energy

    Preston's March For Energy

    Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Preston's March For Energy, nominated by donor ColleenOBX. They provide access to adaptive bicycles for children with special needs.

    A few words on Charitocracy

    Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

    Preston's March For Energy

    Preston is a young man with Mitochondrial Disease, which leaves him with low muscle tone and developmental delays. He tires easily and has balance issues but everyday he wakes up smiling and determined to keep up with this friends and especially his big brother!

    During the summer of 2011 Preston was blessed to have an adaptive bike donated to him through a fundraiser that was developed by a family friend. The Buenaga family was amazed by this overwhelming support, and they are determined to “pay it forward” by raising money (each bike costs between $1400 and $2500) for more children to realize their dream of riding their own bike.

    Preston’s March for Energy was created with this goal in mind. With the overwhelming need for adaptive recreational equipment for children with disabilities and the concern for childhood obesity Preston’s March For Energy’s mission is to provide adaptive bikes to children with special needs.

    So visit PMFE's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this thank you video celebrating their 300th donated bike a few months ago: