Spotlight on Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read
photo credit: Sean Hennessy

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Reach Out and Read, nominated by donor RoamX. They stimulate early brain development in young children by prescribing books and reading aloud by parents.

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 Reach Out and Read

When we look back on our childhood, many of us have fond memories of being read to, of snuggling up and enjoying a favorite story with the people who love us. And it's not so much the story that we remember, but the feeling of love and security that it gave us. It turns out that reading aloud, a time-honored tradition in so many families, is actually a wonderful way of helping children to reach their full potential.

Reading aloud is a great way of engaging with young children

What happens during the first few years sets the stage for the rest of a child's life. It is a time when a child's experiences irreversibly affect how the brain develops - for better or worse.

Nurturing from a loving parent or caregiver in the early years supports healthy brain development that forms the foundation for success later at school and in life - and one of the best ways of engaging with young children is through looking at books together. Even the youngest baby loves to be held close and hear the voice of Mom or Dad as they read a book aloud.

Reading aloud promotes language development and early literacy skills

It is widely accepted that reading aloud is the single most important researched activity leading to language development and promotes early literacy skills, such as:

  • Book handling and naming
  • Understanding how stories work
  • Recognition of sounds and letters
  • Knowledge of a wide range of vocabulary
  • Ability to listen

Even young babies can benefit from read aloud practices!

Reading aloud:

  • Builds motivation, curiosity and memory
  • Helps children cope during times of stress or anxiety
  • Takes children to places and times they have never been - enlarging and enhancing their worlds
  • Creates a positive association with books and reading

Despite all of the benefits of reading aloud, surveys show that only a half of parents read to their young children daily and less than 10 percent read to their children from infancy. Families living in poverty are significantly less likely to read aloud to their infants and toddlers.

This is where Reach Out and Read comes in!

At Reach Out and Read, we believe that ALL families should have the tools and information needed to make reading aloud a daily routine, that ALL children should be given a foundation for success at school and beyond.

Reach Out and Read doctors and nurse practitioners deliver the program at routine pediatric checkups, so that we have repeated and unparalleled access to families with children from birth through five years. More than 91% of children under the age of six attend well child checkups each year.

Even handling books develops school readiness in infants!

Many of the families that Reach Out and Read serves do not have any books at home. We give each child a new developmentally-appropriate book to take home with them - and for those parents, whose first language is not English, we offer books in 12 different languages. Books can even be useful for parents who don't read - we encourage them to talk about the story that the pictures tell. We also encourage partnerships between Reach Out and Read sites and their local libraries, to expand the selection of books available for families to read aloud.

When a trusted doctor or nurse offers guidance about reading aloud to infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and provides a book to read, parents have an opportunity to give their children the best start in life.

So visit Reach Out and Read's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And watch this short video on why early literacy matters:

Congrats to February Winner, Carroll’s Kitchen

Charitocracy's 30th check: to Carroll's Kitchen for $1814

Welcome, Brandi

We have a new board member for 2019: Brandi McMahan! She brings experience in web design and web apps, and already has dozens of great ideas for Charitocracy. (She's going to keep me busy in the engineering department.) Join me in welcoming Brandi!

Learn more about Brandi and our other fantastic board members on our About Us page.

February 2019 winner: Carroll's Kitchen

Last night we named Charitocracy's 30th monthly winner. Congratulations to Carroll's Kitchen. They provide healthy employment to women leaving crisis. Also congrats to donor spencer for nominating it! He nominated it on New Year's Day, just days after joining Charitocracy, and managed to squeak out a win in his 2nd month as a donor, never mind 2nd month shepherding a nominee. I call it beginner's luck. But it helps that he nominated such an amazing and deserving cause...

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 Carroll's Kitchen next week.

Before you go, check out Carroll's Kitchen's latest video and feel good about your part in our collective $1814+ grant to help with their work!

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

Spotlight on World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have World Central Kitchen, nominated by donor Stephanie. They're a group of chefs creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty.

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 World Central Kitchen

José Andrés founded World Central Kitchen after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti with the belief that food can be an agent of change. We have expanded globally and have developed into a group of chefs creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty.

Today, World Central Kitchen uses the expertise of its Chef Network to empower people to be part of the solution, with a focus on health, education, jobs, and social enterprise.

  • HealthCleaner cooking with clean cook stoves and food safety/sanitation training.
  • EducationSchool kitchens to support feeding programs that encourage school attendance and provide a source of sustainable revenue for the school.
  • JobsCulinary training to elevate the hospitality workforce, increase earnings, enhance quality of life, and strengthen Haiti’s economy.
  • Social Enterprise: Food ventures that increase income, create jobs, and provide transferable vocational skills to low-income communities.

Since our inception, our work has affected communities in Brazil, Cambodia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, Zambia, and the United States.

Join us as we use the power of food to empower communities and strengthen economies.

So visit World Central Kitchen's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And watch this Washington Post story on WCK's relief for federal employees during the recent government shutdown:

Congrats to January Winner, The You Rock Foundation

Charitocracy's 29th check: to The You Rock Foundation for $1893

Double the Benj, Double the Fun

For the new year, I've worked out a new schedule with my day job that permits me to devote both Thursdays and Fridays to Charitocracy while I'm home. (All bets are off when I'm traveling for work!) But this should nearly double my Charitocracy productivity. Or as I like to call it, my Charictivity.

It still leaves me overwhelmed by all the things I'd like to get done in those 2 days each week. Thanks to all your poll responses over the last 2 weeks, I'm armed with a bit of guidance on some of the low-hanging fruit to pursue:

  • Make it immediately clear that we're a legit 501(c)(3) run strictly by volunteers where 100% of your donation goes to winning causes. We're not skimmers or scammers! We use optional 8.3% tips and employer matching donations to cover our minimal costs.
  • Amplify the positive theme that resonated the most with our donors: that while they can only afford relatively small monthly donations, they love the group-giving aspect that super-sizes their donation into a bigger, more meaningful one.
  • Don't spend more on ads. Instead, we should seek media attention to grow. If you have any leads as to where/how we should pitch a story about Charitocracy, please do get in touch!

January 2019 winner: The You Rock Foundation

Last night we named Charitocracy's 29th monthly winner. Congratulations to The You Rock Foundation, and to donor misadowling for nominating it! At You Rock, rock musicians share their stories to spread awareness and help battle stigmas attached to mental illness.

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 You Rock next week.

Before you go, check out The You Rock Foundation's latest video featuring Brandon Mendenhall, star of the award-winning documentary, Mind Over Matter, and feel good about your part in our collective $1893+ grant to help with their work!

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

Spotlight on First Candle

First Candle Safe Sleep Guidelines

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have First Candle, nominated by donor Jbarefoot. They work to prevent SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths, and support grieving families. First Candle provided grief support to Jbarefoot and her husband after tragically losing their healthy one-month-old daughter to SIDS.

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 First Candle

Our Mission

First Candle is committed to the elimination of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths through education and research, while providing support for grieving families who have suffered a loss.

Who We Are and What We Do

First Candle is dedicated to reducing the rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and preventable Stillbirths by educating caregivers and families, and supporting research. We are also committed to offering bereavement support for grieving families.

This has been our role for more than 35 years. In 1994 we partnered with the National Institutes of Health on the Back to Sleep campaign, which led to a reduction in the rate of SIDS by more than 50%.

Despite this, SIDS remains the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age. Due to SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths, including accidental suffocation, more than 300 babies every month may not live to see their first birthday. Infant mortality rates in the U.S are also higher than in the 20 wealthiest nations.

Our objective is clear: saving babies and supporting families. Working with local organizations throughout the country we are educating new and expectant parents on the importance of providing a safe sleep environment for their baby. And for those families who have tragically lost a baby we are here to offer bereavement support and counsel.

We are a national member in good standing of Community Health Charities, have a Gold ranking on Guide Star, and a 3-star ranking on Charity Navigator. We are proud to maintain administrative costs well below the nonprofit industry standard of 25 percent.

So visit First Candle's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And watch their important video covering safe sleep guidelines for infants:

Spotlight on Carroll’s Kitchen

Carroll's Kitchen

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Carroll's Kitchen, nominated by donor spencer. They provide healthy employment to women leaving crisis.

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 Carroll's Kitchen

Carroll’s Kitchen is a nonprofit social enterprise restaurant group providing healthy employment for women leaving crisis at two locations in Downtown Raleigh, NC. We offer contemporary Southern grab and go food to Downtown Raleigh and have been since our opening in 2016, more recently expanding to a second restaurant and now offering catering. We exist to stand in the gap for women seeking employment while recovering from traumas like homelessness, incarceration, addiction, domestic violence, etc.

Get Involved

When you give to Carroll’s Kitchen, you create an opportunity for us to connect a woman to a supportive and nurturing community of people dedicated to her wellbeing. You create an opportunity for us to provide job training and employment at our restaurant. You create an opportunity for a woman to move into safe and dignified housing — for her to leave crisis for good.

So visit Carroll's Kitchen's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And watch this video explaining Carroll's Kitchen's mission:

Congrats to December Winner, Malala Fund

Charitocracy's 28th check: to Malala Fund for $1840

1000 Likes

What a great way to end the year. In the last days of December our Facebook page like odometer rolled past 1000. We had 122 people share our ad, and over 150 new likes in December. It's a nice milestone to put in the rearview mirror as we enter 2019.

For our next trick, we'll try to get some of our new likers to join us as donors at Charitocracy. 5 times as many people like us as donate and participate. $12 is our new, lower, minimum annual donation which may help. But mostly it'll be a matter of getting our message out there, and to belt it out louder than the background social media noise. Your continued support sharing Charitocracy posts is greatly appreciated, amplifying our signal while reducing our costs. Thanks!

December 2018 winner: Malala Fund

Last night on New Year's Eve, they dropped a ball at the stroke of midnight in Times Square to mark Charitocracy's 28th monthly winner. Congratulations to Malala Fund, and to donor SuZQ for nominating it. This is her second winning nomination after Together We Rise. Strong work, SuZQ, and can't wait to see the next one!

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 Malala Fund next week.

Malala Fund breaks down the barriers preventing more than 130 million girls around the world from going to school.

Malala is fighting to give back to girls what poverty, war and discrimination tried to take away. Donate today to help us give all girls the opportunity to learn and lead.

“I believe we will see every girl in school in my lifetime.” -Malala

Before you go, check out Malala Fund's great video message to G20 leaders ahead of their Argentina meeting, and feel good about your part in our collective $1840+ grant to help with their work!

Have a great start to your 2019 in January and be sure to log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

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: