Tag Archives: charity

Jeff Bezos gave just 0.0906 percent of his money to charity

Shocker, not.

From NY Post: For the world’s richest man, charity begins — and stays — at home.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has given only a tiny fraction of his $160 billion fortune to philanthropic causes, falling far behind fellow billionaires such as Bill and Melinda Gates and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, public records show.

Although Bezos, 55, and his estranged wife MacKenzie recently pledged $2 billion to a new charitable initiative, their previous giving amounts to a total of just over $145 million or .0906 percent — far less than one percent — of their net worth. Out of $100,000, that would be like spending $90.06 on charity.

“The record of both Amazon and Jeff Bezos reveals that they are takers, not givers,” said Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district includes Long Island City, where Amazon plans to set up a corporate headquarters. “When they make promises of how generous they will be, I look at what they have done in the past to know what the truth really is.”

Over nearly two decades, Jeff Bezos has given paltry donations to the Bezos Family Foundation, a charity that was started by his parents in Washington state in Sept. 2000, state incorporation filings show.

Between 2000 and 2017, Bezos contributed just under $6 million to the group that Jacklyn and Miguel Bezos kickstarted with $20,000. Ma and Pa Bezos, who were early investors in their son’s fledgling company in 1995, are worth as much as $30 billion today.

In 2004, Bezos, who had already amassed a net worth of just over $2 billion, joined the board of his parents’ non-profit, along with his wife and siblings Mark and Lisa and their respective partners, according to tax filings for the group reviewed by The Post.

But it was the parents who continued to finance the non-profit, mainly through donations of Amazon stock. In 2017, Jacklyn and Miguel Bezos contributed $30,266,250 in stock to their charity, public documents show. (The foundation makes donations to educational initiatives in the US and around the world.)

It wasn’t until 2011 that Jeff Bezos, whose wealth had shot up to more than $18 billion, finally gave his first contribution to the Bezos Family Foundation: $940,538 in Amazon stock through Zefram LLC, a company that he controls, federal filings show.

As his wealth climbed, Bezos continued to keep a tight rein on his cash, at least when it came to his family charity. In 2015, the year his wealth took a nearly $30 billion leap and his net worth shot up to $58.4 billion, the family foundation received a total of $5,002,590 in Amazon stock from Jeff and MacKenzie, public records show.

The $5,943,128 the tech titan donated to his parents’ charity over the last 17 years averages less than $350,000 annually.

Bezos has long been known for his stingy ways with employees at Amazon. According to Brad Stone’s 2013 book “The Everything Store,” meals in the company cafeterias are not subsidized for workers and new employees receive a backpack with orientation materials and various pieces of equipment, including a power adaptor, that they are asked to return upon resignation.

But in the last year Bezos seems to have opened his philanthropic spigot slightly. He took to Twitter to ask his 700,000 followers for suggestions on the direction his philanthropy should take, and he recently doled out $33 million to finance scholarships for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children and $10 million to With Honor, a political action committee that helps veterans enter politics.

After announcing the creation of the Bezos Day One Fund, an initiative to battle homelessness and support early childhood education with the creation of Montessori schools in needy neighborhoods in September, Bezos earmarked $97.5 million to homeless charities across the country.

Still, the grand total of Bezos’s giving — $146,443,128 — is well below other major wealthy philanthropists, who signed on to billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s 2006 challenge to give half their fortune to philanthropy.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Hustler Al Sharpton sells his life story rights for $531,000 – to his own charity

From NY Post: The Rev. Al Sharpton has found an eager buyer for the rights to his life story — his own charity.

The National Action Network agreed to pay the activist preacher $531,000 for his “life story rights for a 10-year period,” according to the non-profit’s latest tax filing, which was obtained by The Post.

NAN can apparently turn around and sell those rights to Hollywood or other takers at a profit, but neither the reverend nor the charity would identify what producers are waiting for such Sharpton content.

The document does not indicate when Sharpton, who is president of NAN, gets the cash, which is above and beyond the $244,661 he already pulled down in compensation from the group in 2017. Sharpton also wouldn’t say when the cash would come in.

“What does that have to do with anything?” he said, speaking to The Post Saturday from South Africa, where he is hosting an MSNBC broadcast on the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

Sharpton claimed the idea for the deal came from two NAN board members, whom he would not name.

He said they wanted to create a source of revenue for the civil-rights organization after he steps down in about a year. “This way they make a profit from the beginning and all of the revenues,” he said.

Sharpton said he had contracts for two movies, with a third contract in the works. One of these movies is already in production, he claimed. He would not provide details of any of the projects.

He said a play was being shopped around and there were other assets that would generate revenue for NAN, including a recording where James Brown is singing and he’s talking, and video footage of him with Michael Jackson. “You’ve got real property here. You’re not talking about just me as an activist. These are non-related NAN things that are the saleable items,” he said.

Sharpton said that the assets were appraised and the movie deals alone could bring in at least triple to NAN over what it was paying him for the rights. The organization says a private donor put up the money to make the purchase, but did not name the donor.

Nonprofit experts said the transaction could be troubling because NAN — whose mission includes criminal justice reform and police accountability — was doing business with its president.

If NAN paid too much it could run afoul of IRS rules regarding excess benefits given to a nonprofit’s key officials, which might put its tax-exempt status in jeopardy, Marcus Owens, a former IRS official and a partner with the Loeb & Loeb law firm in Washington, DC.

“When I see this kind of thing, it just makes me roll my eyes because there’s so much potential for funny business,” said Linda Sugin, a Fordham University Law School professor and associate dean.

The organization’s tax filing noted that the board’s unnamed “executive committee independently approved” the deal.

But Sugin questioned such how such independence was achieved. “In this case, it’s really difficult because of his role in the organization and just because of his overall influence,” she said.

Daniel Borochoff, the head of Charity Watch, said the transaction would have been “a lot cleaner” if Sharpton sold the rights himself to a production company and then donated any profit in excess of $531,000 to NAN.

The Harlem-based National Action Network, which Sharpton founded in 1991, holds weekly “action rallies” at its House of Justice headquarters and an annual convention that has drawn President Obama as a speaker. The event has been sponsored in the past by large corporations, including Walmart, PepsiCo and Ford.

The nonprofit took in $6.3 million in revenue last year, up from $5.8 million the year before, according to its tax filings. Its years of outstanding taxes were paid off in 2014.

Sharpton, who hosts the “PoliticsNations” show on MSNBC, managed to pay off a chunk of his tax debt to the state and feds in the last year.

He paid $172,112 to the state, but still owes $736,375 in personal income tax and taxes for three of his companies to Albany.

City records show a $1.3 million tax lien to the IRS was satisfied in February, but records show he still has $2.5 million in outstanding federal liens against him and one of his companies. NAN has maintained that Sharpton is paying taxes on an installment plan. The liens don’t reflect partial payments.

DCG

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You need a permit to help the homeless in Seattle

Charity told to stop serving food to homeless in city parks

KOMO: Hot meals served to the city’s homeless have now become a hot-button issue after a local charity was told to stop doing it in city parks.

“Why now? What did we do wrong? 3 years, no one said anything,” said Willie Parish, Jr., executive director of the Bread of Life Mission. “We’re meeting needs, people are happy.”

The Mission, a local faith-based charity for 74 years, serves three meals a day to hundreds of homeless from its Pioneer Square headquarters. Once a month, every third Saturday, the non-profit heads to City Hall Park to hand out food and water to the homeless outside the county courthouse (“drive-by foodings,” the charity called it).

In October, city workers approached Mission volunteers and asked them to stop, Parish said. “We’re just trying to help, and I don’t understand why the city want to interfere with an organization that’s been around since 1939,” he added. “I’d think they’d want to get onboard and encourage us to help.”

The primary issue is that the Mission didn’t have a permit to serve food outdoors, said David Takami, spokesman for the Seattle Human Services Department, which oversees homeless issues in the city. The secondary issue is with food safety and the safety of volunteers, he added.

“We certainly appreciate that good (they’re doing) and their work,” Takami said. “But this has been the case where there are a lot of meals served at one time to the same population on the same day. It creates a possible food waste issue, garbage, and in that case a rodent issue.

Takami said the city is working with the Mission and encouraging it to partner with existing groups, such as OSL, which has been serving meals underneath the interstate at 6th and Cherry for years.

“We wash the site, we wash the benches, we make sure it’s as safe as possible,” said Beverly Graham, who founded the group, which started serving meals in local parks decades ago. “When you’re serving somebody in a park you don’t know where they’re taking that trash and that garbage, so that’s very difficult.”

“It just is a better way to make use of people’s good intentions,” added Leslie Smith of the Pioneer Square Alliance. “People come downtown with good intentions, but it makes messes in parks, there are issues of food health practices, safety, etc. What the city’s trying to do is to use the good intentions of volunteers to use their best.”

Parish said he understands the concern, but after serving the city of generations, just can’t get past how serving meals could stir up so much controversy. “We’ll do whatever they want us to do, but let us serve. We serve 300 meals a day here (indoors),” he said. “I’d think they’d want to get onboard and encourage us to help.”

City officials are concerned about trash, rats, and safety? Where were they when Occupy Seattle turds trashed Seattle Community College with drug use, drinking, trash and rats on campus?

And why, after three years of serving the homeless, has the City now started to notice? The homeless and rodents have been in that area for plenty of years. Sounds like nothing more than the City trying to garner more revenue through a permit.

DCG

 

 

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Seattle Seahawks create fund for team's "justice and equality" cause

michael bennett

Seahawks player Bennett (l) and his buddy the cop-hater Kaepernick.

They aren’t getting a dime from me. Donate some of that millions of dollars the “oppressed” players make.
From MyNorthwest.com: Amid a national conversation about NFL protests during the national anthem, the Seahawks have created a charity to “help build a more compassionate and inclusive society.”
An announcement Friday states:
In an effort to create lasting change and build a more compassionate and inclusive society, we are launching the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund to support education and leadership programs addressing equality and justice. We invite you to join us in donating and taking action.
The announcement is short on specifics of exactly how the fund will contribute to “education and leadership programs addressing equality and justice.” The effort, however, is a component fund of the Seattle Foundation, which supports philanthropic remedies to disparities between rich and poor.
To get the fund going, the Seahawks are reaching out to 12s and all football fans to donate in a crowdfunding-style campaign. Fans can give once or set up a monthly donation. Donations can be made here.
DCG

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Mitt Romney Fights Heavyweight Boxing Champ Evander Holyfield

image
Mitt Romney lasts 2 rounds against Holyfield in boxing match
By BRIAN SKOLOFF (Associated Press)
May 16, 2015 1:35 AM
AP – Sports
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and five-time heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield squared off in the ring Friday at a charity fight night event in Salt Lake City.
Romney, 68, and Holyfield, 52, sparred, if you could call it that, for just two short rounds before Romney ran away from the boxer and threw in the towel, giving up a round early in the lighthearted fight that came amid several other fights by professional boxers and an auction.
The two barely threw any punches and largely just danced around, occasionally lightly jabbing each other in the midsection in what was much more of a comedic event than an actual bout.
The black-tie affair raised money for the Utah-based organization CharityVision, which helps doctors in developing countries perform surgeries to restore vision in people with curable blindness.
Romney’s son Josh Romney, who lives in Utah, serves as a volunteer president for CharityVision.
Corporate sponsorships for the event ranged from $25,000 to $250,000. Organizers say they raised at least $1 million.
”He said, ‘You know what? You float like a bee and sting like a butterfly,”’ Romney said after the fight.
Attendees just enjoyed the festive atmosphere and the chance to see Romney in the ring.
”Oh, it was great. I was very proud of Mitt,” said Katie Anderson, who attended the event with her husband.
”I was happy it went to the second round,” Devin Anderson said.
Romney, the most-high profile Mormon in America, is hugely popular in the state, where more than 60 percent of the residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Beyond his religious connections, the former Massachusetts governor is remembered by many for turning around Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Olympics after a bribery scandal.
Romney has recently built a home in the Salt Lake City area and registered as a Utah voter.

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Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, “Angel of Mexico”

Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio

Today, the universal Church honors Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, known as the “Angel of Mexico”.

Sebastian was born of poor Spanish parents.  At 31, he journeyed to Mexico, wherein he began to work very hard taking care of the fields.  He was extremely ingenious, effective and talented, since he was known for building roads and/or bridges to help agricultural trading and merchandising, also fulfilling general travelling needs.  His 466-mile road that went from Mexico City to Zacatecas took Sebastian ten years to build.  Sebastian also had to deal with the politics that facilitated the building of this road with the indigenous people who lived in the various towns and cities that this road affected.

Sebastian, at the age of 60, being a wealthy farmer and rancher, entered into a “virginal  marriage” with a lady who did not have enough money for a dowry, allowing her to live a proper and respectable life.  His first wife died and he once again, entered into a second such marriage for the same reason, with his second wife dying at a young age.

There is no end to Sebastian’s generosity and kindness.  At the age of 72, he distributed all of his personal property to the poor and entered into the Franciscan order as a brother.  He was assigned to the 100-member friary at Puebla de los Angeles, south of Mexico City.  For the next 25 years, Francis collected alms for the friars.

For the sake of background, the Franciscan order provided that all of the friars were to work for their bread.  But many times, whilst the Franciscans were serving the poor and the lepers, they had no monies to give them.  Hence, begging for alms was then permitted.

St. Francis demanded that the friars give good examples, that they live their lives pursuant to what they preach.  One time, St. Francis entered a town with his brothers, wherein the brothers expected St. Francis to preach.  He did not say a word to the people.  When questioned by his brothers why he did not speak, St. Francis said, “Speak the Gospel constantly, and when necessary, use words.”  St. Francis explained that just by walking through the town as they did, treating people with kindness and love, was the highest manner of preaching.  Certainly, Sebastian truly lived his life in a Christ-like manner as has been set forth above.  Therefore, he preached incessantly!  Nevertheless, St. Francis gave the brothers this maxim:

“There is a contract between the world and the friars.  The friars must give the world a good example; the world must provide for their needs.  When they break faith and withdraw their good example, the world will withdraw its hand in a just censure.”  (2 Celano, #70).

Sebastian’s wonderful charity and generosity up to and including his age in the 90’s, earned him the name, “Angel of Mexico”.  In 1787, Sebastian was beatified, and received the honor of being called, “Blessed”.

What a wonderful man!  His compassion, empathy, kindness and generosity is what Jesus requires of us!  The thought came to my mind what the famous French priest, St. Vincent de Paul, said, “Be kind, be kind, be kind, and you will be a saint!”  Let us attempt to follow the example of dear Blessed Sebastian.  We send you our love dear Blessed one, and we thank you for your wonderful example of being “Jesus in disguise“.

With love and respect,

Joan

Source:  Vatican website

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Letter From Jesus About Christmas


It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.
How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don’t care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Now, having said that let Me go on.
If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.
Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8.
If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:
1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.
2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up with your prayer. It will be nice hearing from you again.
4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile. It could make the difference between life or death.
7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas,” that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn’t make so much money on that day, they’d close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families
8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary — especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.
9. Here’s a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no Christmas tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don’t know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, or some other charity that believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.
10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.
Don’t forget: I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your court.
And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love.
I love you,

Jesus

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What Grandma Taught Me About Santa Claus


I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.
I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns.  I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so.  It had to be true.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus?” she snorted….”Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”
“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.
“Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. “Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.
I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.  The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.
For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.
I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class.
Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he didn’t have a good coat.
I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!
I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.
“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. “Yes, ma’am,” I replied shyly. “It’s for Bobby.”
The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, “To Bobby, From Santa Claus” on it.
Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa’s helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”
I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.
Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.
Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were — ridiculous.
Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.
I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.
May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care. And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Merry Christmas.

H/t my dear Jewish friend Sol.
~Eowyn

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