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How You Can Start A Community Farm Adam Gant

How You Can Start a Community Farm

When considering how you can benefit your community, donating money and goods may be the first idea to come to mind. However, there are other ways you can provide valuable resources and opportunities for those in your area. One such idea is starting a community farm. The benefits of a community farm are plentiful, especially in urban areas, and they are a great way for you to get involved with your neighbors and form lasting connections.


What Is A Community Farm?

Simply defined, a community farm is a shared plot of land that hosts produce, flowers, and other vegetation for anyone to use. These gardens are tended to by the community, meaning that anyone can plant seeds, water sprouts, and harvest fruits and vegetables. Often, community farms are started in order to provide healthy resources and cost-effective opportunities to individuals who might otherwise lack access to such things.


Some of the primary benefits of a community farm entail access to fresh produce, urban beautification, cleaner air, diversified relations, and a stronger, more tightly-knit community. Though starting and maintaining a community garden can certainly require a lot of hard work, the positive effects are worth the labor.


Getting Started

One of the most important steps to take prior to starting a community farm entails actually communicating with members of your community and gauging their interest. If you are the only individual who is passionate about the initiative and shows interest in tending to the farm, you might want to consider alternative means of serving your community. However, even connecting with your neighbors is a great start; showing them that you have an idea that would benefit everyone could be enough to convince them to support your initiative.


Identify Resources

From available, fertile land to gardening equipment, ensuring you have what is necessary for the urban farm is essential. You should devote some time to researching the organizations in your area such as gardening clubs or municipal planners who can support your idea and provide you with valuable resources and advice. Connecting with individuals in your community who have gardening or landscaping experience will also be beneficial.


Establish Guidelines

Budgeting finances and determining management duties is often a necessary aspect of beginning a community farm. Designating how you will receive funding for your farm—through fundraising or membership dues, for instance—and who will be responsible for tending to the garden throughout each week can help eliminate some stress and uncertainty. Putting these rules in writing is an important step, as well, to ensure everyone involved has a sense of responsibility for the project.


Once you have taken the necessary steps for preparation, you can begin. The benefits of a community farm are immense, and starting one can improve your community by adding to available resources, providing green space, and encouraging community connection and engagement.

How To Help Charities Without Donating Money Adam Gant

How to Help a Charity Without Donating Money

For those with generous hearts, supporting a cause or organization they support and believe in is fulfilling and rewarding. However, not everyone is always able to provide considerable monetary donations to charities they endorse. Naturally, there are ways to help a charity without simply giving them money, and these methods are as valuable as financial aid. Below are a few ways you can benefit your favorite charities beyond granting them donations.


Donate Time

Perhaps the most common and popular option, volunteering with a charity is a great way to get involved and benefit the organization. Charities that operate soup kitchens, for example, are often in need of volunteers to serve the food. Homeless shelters, too, require volunteers to maintain and manage the living quarters. Many organizations that provide public services or resources require volunteers to help facilitate their work. Other charities could benefit from individuals with expertise in areas such as marketing or Information Technology (IT). Your skills and free time can be used to benefit charitable organizations, and while you may need to expend time, energy, and gas to do so, you won’t be directly financing the organization’s operations.


Donate Goods

Even if your financial status limits your ability to donate money, you may still be able to donate other items. Things like clothes, shoes, books, food, and paper products are typically welcomed in a number of organizations. If you have old, functional electronics, used vehicles, or furniture you no longer use, some charities accept these items, as well. Donating these items to a charity shop or distribution center can help those organizations provide valuable resources to those in need.


Donate Blood

Organizations like the Red Cross are always in need of blood and plasma donors. Donating blood costs nothing and is used to save lives. Most people are capable of donating blood, and the process usually lasts less than half an hour. For those who are able, donating platelets is also a great way to give back; platelets are necessary for individuals undergoing chemotherapy or receiving organ transplants, so they are especially valuable.


Helping charitable organizations doesn’t need to entail a financial contribution. Instead, you can consider donating your blood, time, and unwanted goods to those in need. Doing so limits the strain on your budget while also enabling you to benefit your community.

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3 Ways Charitable Giving Is Likely to Change in 2019


Humanitarian crises, natural disasters, disease outbreaks – the needs today as pressing as ever, but the way we give is evolving. Thanks to tax law and technology, along with changing consciousness and shifting social mores, philanthropy experts say there are notable shifts in where, when and how Americans open their wallets to charitable causes.


Below is what to expect in charitable giving trends in 2019.


Giving bigger donations, but less frequently.


Charities and non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, are watching carefully to see if the doubling of the standard deduction under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changes how – and how much – we give.


Our potential change is that people could switch to giving every other or every the third year instead of annually, a tactic called “bunching” that would let them itemize in their giving years to get the deduction and take the standard deduction in other years.


Using technology to mobilize support


If you feel like you’ve seen more notifications in your Facebook feed that someone is raising money for a good cause to celebrate a birthday or other milestone, you’re probably right.


This growth is a confluence of two trends. The desire of donors to personalize their giving, and advances in technology that makes giving, or asking others to give on your behalf, as easy as typing up a heartfelt message and hitting “enter.”


The growing clout of big donors (for better or worse)


People are going to top one-half of 1% will be giving about 30% of all charitable dollars. Although there is a drawback in that funding is funneled to a smaller pool of recipients or causes. This, combined with the proliferation of charities at the grassroots level, may leave smaller non-profits feeling pinched. Charities at these local levels are going to feel that they’re facing greater financial challenges in their fundraising, and the reason is that the number of charities continues to expand dramatically. The total amount of dollars can be given to any local charities still, and furthermore, they can be divided up more.

Adam Gant Giving Money

7 Wealthy Individuals Who Enjoy Giving Away Money

Many wealthy individuals appreciate giving away some of their money to charities and causes that they support. Some of them even enjoy giving away the majority of their money. The following are some of the richest people in the world who donate significant portions of the wealth.

Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathway is a well-known philanthropist who enjoys donating his money. He’s already given away more than $21.5 billion dollars, more than what most wealthy people make in their lifetime! Buffet has also pledged to donate 99% of his wealth either during his lifetime, or once he passes away. So far he’s donated 20% of share in his company to many different charities. He also plans to distribute 4% of his stock every year.

Tim Cook

The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, is another individual who likes to give money to a variety of causes and charities. He plans to donate his entire fortune, leaving only enough to provide his nephew with a college degree. In 2017, he donated $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and another $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League. He also donated  $2.5 million to the Red Cross for relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

Patrice Motsepe

Patrice Motsepe is the founder of African Rainbow Minerals, a mining company. He is also South Africa’s first and only black billionaire. His goal is to help others who are less fortunate to become self-sustaining while improving their quality of life. He and his wife Precious are the founders of the Motsepe Foundation, and have donated half of their wealth to improving the lives of others.

Richard Branson

Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, donates 80% of his time to the group’s non-profit foundation, Virgin Unite. The charity recently celebrated its ten year anniversary of working to solve issues such as conflict and environmental struggles.

Bill Gates

Bill and his wife Melinda Gates are other champions of giving. So far they’ve donated $27 billion. They’re most passionate about eradicating preventable diseases. They also support causes such as education, agricultural development, and emergency relief.

Ted Turner

Ted Turner, the former CEO of Turner Broadcasting, has switched his focus to the Turner Global Foundation, a group dedicated to protecting wildlife and the environment. He also donated $1 billion to the UN Foundation. He says although giving up his hard earned money is difficult, it makes him feel “really wonderful.”

Manoj Bhargava

Manoj Bhargava, the founder and CEO of 5 Hour Energy, has pledged to give away 90% of his wealth to charities, especially to causes that alleviate human suffering. His foundation has already undertaken more than 400 projects.


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American Immigrants Are a Force of Giving

The United States has immigrants from many different world countries. Some were raised in poverty-stricken situations and were seeking political asylum. Others came from affluent families and arrived to attend an American college or university. Young and old come to the states for a variety of different reasons. However, not many are aware that a number of immigrants who made the U.S. their home have demonstrated great generosity as philanthropists.


Successful Immigrants


There is insufficient evidence to determine the total number of dollars that the migrated Americans have donated. However, in the last two decades, the number of foundations established in the United States by Chinese-Americans increased in number by 400 percent. One of these Asian Americans was Cyrus Tang who founded the Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Tang came to the country in 1950 from Hong Kong and attended college in Philadelphia. He eventually became a giant in the industry. He donated more than $50 million to his former colleagues.


Other influential immigrants include George Soros, who hailed from Hungary. The private foundation that he established is second in size to the organization established by Bill Gates. Some of the top American immigrants who took part in the “Giving Pledge” include Elon Musk, who was originally from South Africa. Hamdi Ulukaya is from Turkey. He founded Chobani. Jorge Perez is from Argentina and became a billionaire due to real estate.


Like any other philanthropist, the American immigrants donate funds to their college alma maters, charities in which they believe or in order to further education in a particular field. They might also start a charitable organization.


Low-Key Investors


Many of the philanthropists prefer to keep their generous endeavors below the media radar. Tang’s foundation in Los Angeles, for example, is one of the largest ever created by an Asian American. Yet, few were aware of his involvement.


The need for anonymity commonly comes from an individual’s cultural background. Asians are often quiet, reserved people. Latin Americans view public acknowledgment of charitable contributions as classless. For some from violent countries, allowing their wealth to become public fodder makes them a target for kidnapping and other criminal acts.


However, as Tang once explained, he wanted to find a way to demonstrate that America was his home. He was grateful for the opportunity to come here and found a way to express his gratitude.

Kids Girl Pencil Drawing 159823

Michelle Obama’s Program to Help Adolescent Girls Through Education

Thursday, October 11, 2018, was the International Day of the Girl. Michelle Obama, our former first lady, chose that specific day to announce on NBC’s “Today” show that the Obama Foundation was proud and thrilled to launch the Global Girls Alliance. That is a program to use education to empower adolescent girls all around the world.


The goal of the Alliance is to support over 1,500 grassroots organizations that combat the many challenges that girls encounter in their communities, stress the strategies needed to overcome those challenges, and clear away the hurdles that many girls face. Featured will be fundraising to inspire and accomplish the efforts and to drive public awareness to encourage involvement and action.


Created has been an online network that connects leaders so they can share ideas, resources, and best practices. In addition, GoFundMe has launched the Global Girls Alliance Fund that will directly support leaders who work on education for girls.


Over 98 million adolescent girls worldwide do not go to school, and this new program will offer ways for the public to support its mission. When girls have gone to school, families become stronger, poverty in the community goes down, GDPs go up, babies are born healthier, and the whole world gets better.


October 11 has been designated as the International Day of the Girl since 2012. António Guterre, the UN Secretary-General, said that we should recommit to the support of every girl in developing her skills, be able to enter the workforce on equal terms, expand her learning opportunities and new pathways, and be able to reach her full potential and empowerment.


Girls of today are being faced with preparing to enter a work world that is being transformed by automation and innovation that make skilled workers in great demand. However, approximately 25 percent of young people, mostly female, are presently not employed nor in training or education. Of the 600 million adolescent girls, out of the existing one billion young people who will enter the workforce in the coming decade, over 90 percent living in developing countries will be employed in the sector where no or low pay and exploitation are all too common.


The Alliance has marked the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together advocates who will draw attention and investment to the opportunities for girls to attain the necessary skills to adequately prepare them for a successful transition into the work world.

Kat Yukawa 754726 Unsplash

Why it Feels Good to Give

Day in and day out, humans mostly focus on themselves. Whether it’s how much money they’re making or how they can make themselves happy, more often than not, their days are spent selfishly. When people break that norm and choose to dedicate their time to give back, they find that the act of giving others happiness makes them feel fulfilled. Read on to learn why giving back just feels so good.


1. Giving Back Connects People with Their Passions


Finding a cause to give back to is one of the best ways to discover something outside of work that one is passionate about. While altruistic, it also helps point people to work towards something bigger than themselves. For example, someone may have a job working in marketing, but partnering with a local charity outside of work is a way to tap into their passion for helping others.


2. Helping Others Uplifts the Soul


Whether someone is giving their time reading to local children or donating money to an organization, giving back just does something uplifting to the soul. It empowers the human spirit to see others encouraged and uplifted. With all the negativity in the world, finding a way to help others is essential for staying grounded and positive.


3. People in Need Really Deserve Something Good


Sometimes it just feels good to give because people in need really need something good to happen to them. Most people never realize how truly fortunate they are or how much they have compared to others. By taking the time to recognize one’s blessings and give back to those that aren’t in the same situation, one will see just how grateful others are for their gift.


4. Positivity Breeds Contentment


In life, so many people are on the hunt for happiness. By focusing one’s life on giving back, positivity and happiness are sure to follow. By doing good for others and the world, those that donate their time and money will automatically have a more positive outlook on life. Regardless of how much one does for themselves, it doesn’t have the same effect as being able to support others. As social creatures, humans inherently find happiness in the happiness of others.


When giving back, one learns that there is far more to happiness than making money and climbing the corporate ladder. Taking a moment out of the solitary lives most people lead to help a stranger will work to change the lives of both people for the better.

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Clever Ways to Upkeep your Neighborhood

Figuring out how to obtain a more enjoyable neighborhood community for you or you and your family is actually quite simple. Start to get to know your neighbors. Just by simply interacting with the people you live near can significantly strengthen your community and spur organization.


Below are tips on how to make your neighborhood community feel more like home.


Paint your intersection. Usually, when you think of interesting you don’t think of an intersection. But residents in Portland, some neighborhoods have made them worth stopping for. All you need is some paint, creative people, and a bright design to get started. This is all it takes to bring neighbors together and produce something the whole community can be proud of.


Make a poetry box. This idea is simple and does not take too much time at all. Start by creating a box with a clear or plastic front. Put this box on a post and write your own poem or print out your favorite classic. Then display it in the box for all your neighbors to see.


Another option is setting up a separate dropbox and encouraging neighbors to write their own poems and drop them in the box. Then post the poems from the neighbors as they come in.


A tool library. When you randomly need items such as a leaf blower or a chainsaw or even an electric cake mixer, a tool library is definitely an option. Tool libraries create a space where neighbors can donate rarely used appliances to share. To find a space for a tool library, check with a local business, community center or church group.


Set up a book library. Turn old and unused pay phones into small lending libraries. This concept was developed by John Locke in New York City.


Turn your front yard into your backyard. You rarely, if ever run into your neighbors in your backyard right? Well, moving your typical backyard activity to the front instantly makes you more visible and approachable. You can establish a front yard garden, build community benches or even simply barbecuing in your front yard are all great ways to connect with your neighbors.

5 Ways to Fight Poverty

Global poverty is a shocking concept. When you hear that more than half of the world survives on less than $2 a day, it can put a lot of things into perspective. North American poverty, by comparison, is predominantly better, but it is still a national concern. Here are 5 suggestions for solving the poverty issue.


Generate Employment

There are lots of industries the government can focus on to create employment. Construction projects like repairing old bridges, building mass transit and converting to clean energy are a few ideas. The government can also invest more in social services that provide jobs, such as schools, child care and eldercare. Mass market housing construction also creates jobs in communities and lowers the overall housing costs, which frees up disposable income that can go back into the economy.

Raise Wages

The current federal minimum wage  in the US is $7.25/hour, which is $15,080/year before taxes. This rate has remained unchanged since 2009. By comparison, the federal poverty threshold for a family of three is $20,780. The Minimum Wage Fairness Act requested an increase to $10.10/hour in 2015, which would have meant an annual salary of $21,008 before taxes. The request was denied. Fortunately, there are separate minimum wage laws at the state-level, and 29 states pay higher than the federal rate. When people make enough money to avoid poverty and can have a decent standard of living, it’s called having a living wage. A radical idea called Universal Basic Income (UBI) would provide everyone on the planet with a monthly living wage, no matter who they are or what they do. This has naturally caused a lot of heated debates on both sides.


Another way to help financially struggling people is to build-up existing government programs like unemployment insurance, food stamps (SNAP), financial assistance, and the earned income tax credit (EITC). Paid family and medical leave would protect parents who take time off for personal reasons, such as having a baby or caring for a sick relative.


End Lengthy Imprisonment

The incarceration rate in the U.S. is the highest in the world, holding 22 percent of the world’s prisoners. Non-violent criminals who are kept in prison for lengthy periods of time are kept out of the workforce and away from their children, unable to help support their families. Once time is served, many reformed criminals find it nearly impossible to gain employment, and many parolees are denied housing, education and lines of credit which almost guarantees a return to prison.


Increase Child Care Quality and Availability

One in three families spends at least 20 percent of their annual household income on child care. Many parents need child care in order to work, but the cost is sometimes so great they end up not working at all. Center-based care now averages more than $10,000 a year, and a survey by revealed that seven out of ten families can’t afford it. Having affordable, high-quality early child care helps form the building blocks children need in order to have a better education and higher-paying jobs.


Focus on Concentrated Poverty Areas


Concentrated poverty is a term used to describe neighborhoods with at least 40 percent of the population living below the federal poverty threshold. According to the US census, the concentrated poverty rate has more than doubled since 2000, despite an overall economic growth. To fix this problem, there are a number of resources Washington can employ, such as economic stimulus packages, to give cities better unemployment benefits and tax credits. This would sustain basic public services and provide assistance to struggling workers and their families. The money could also be used to fund training programs, which would give low-income residents a chance to find better-paying jobs.

Poverty and the Pareto Distribution: Part II

In my last blog, I covered the Pareto Distribution and how it relates to the problems of inequality throughout nature. We left off with a critique of the Marxist view that Capitalism was to fault. And while I don’t deny that man-made structures can become corrupt and fueled by greed, we must be careful to address the problem for what it is. Inequality is a problem; it is. But it’s not capitalism or any other system’s fault – it’s something we don’t quite understand.

Many have attempted to remedy this problem by implementing higher taxes on the rich or enforcing programs that redistribute wealth – all of which have not produced the intended result, with some of these ‘solutions’ resulting in the death of untold millions. But many are researchers are looking at the Pareto Distribution and similar methods to see if there is a solution we can derive from the natural laws that are in place.

Work on Saving

Bikas Chakrabarti of the SINP and his colleagues are working on a method that paints a much less solemn prescription for the poor. His team worked with the gas model (mentioned in the previous blog) to help develop a plan that allows people to save more money. This model predicts both class models that Yakovenko found, and it. It also posits (but does not guarantee) that if you save more, you are more likely to end up rich. This research suggests that training people to save and spend money more responsibly (something that harkens back to the random spending habits of people) can help even out wealth distribution. While this model is far from perfect and has received criticism by many in the field, it is certainly a proper start on the road to assessing the problem of inequality from a scientific and thoroughly examined viewpoint.

Personal Responsibility

In the end, it does in part come down the philanthropic work of individuals. As a free society, we cannot force people to engage in actions they do not wish to. If we can learn to foster a love for the people around us, then it’s certainly reasonable to assume that many people would be much better off. But we also need to move to a deeper understanding of helping people build a sustainable future for themselves. The adage, “Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime” is certainly true in this case. Working to instill dignity and self-respect in the people who stack up at zero is crucial for the betterment of all societies. It has proven toxic to force other people to give the ‘fish’ they worked so hard for to other people. Kindness must come from the heart, not from the legislative hand of so-called morality.
It’s true, we all have a part to play, but we must be honest with ourselves when we are unsure of what that part entails. We need to address the very real problem of inequality, but we also have to figure out smarter and more comprehensive ways to help and do away with the old murderous models of the 20th century. We need to find contentment in the fact that everything is not as it should be, but we are working to remedy that problem.

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