Posted by admin on 11.12.2007 at 8:48 am
With Thanksgiving just 10 days away, I am already anticipating renting some good movies and getting cozy on the couch during the long weekend. For those of you with a similar plan, my recommendation is a double feature of two documentaries that follow Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America…the Emmy nominated Lost Boys of Sudan
and the more recently produced God Grew Tired of Us.
Both are powerful accounts of courage and a wonderful reminder of all we have to be thankful for.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, movies, off-topic
Posted by admin on 11.09.2007 at 11:27 am
I am lucky enough to be attending the 27th Annual Charleston Conference enjoying some of the best weather that the southeastern United States has to offer in November. We have spent two days honing our acquisitions skills learning about weeding processes, approval plans and, most interestingly, RFID (IMO).
Thanks to Corrie Marsh, Associate University Librarian at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, I learned that they are using RFID to indicate low tire tread, keep track of students and school buses, even pay for cover charges and drinks at bars in Barcelona & Miami. That’s right, a bar owner in Barcelona has added an RFID reader that can charge your account for cover charges and drinks through an RFID tag surgically imbedded under your skin! Check it out here www.txcdk.org/rfid. To take it a step further, China is planning to issue over 10 million RFID identification cards to individuals and 3 million RFID readers to the police to assist in crime prevention.
Is RFID going too far?
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, conferences, library
Posted by admin on 11.08.2007 at 2:43 pm
You know how sometimes you’re at the office and feeling a bit lazy? It’s rainy outside, your report is done (or as done as you’re going to get it today) and you want something to kill the time? You’ve gone to the watercooler approximately 20 times in the last 3 hours and you’ve even read the Metro section on NYTimes.com even though you don’t live in New York (how cosmopolitan of you!).
Instead, try this:
Free Rice donates rice for every question you answer correctly, via the United Nations. Not only will you be doing something less asinine than watching those “Rock of Love” reruns or something else that is about as mind engaging as sharpening a pencil, but you’ll in fact be doing something good for the world!
Now I personally would never avoid work (are you reading this Aaron and Sarah Lynne?) but for those of you who must, at least make it worthwhile. I’ll be doing this after 6pm, of course.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, free rice, games, non-profit, off-topic
Posted by admin on 11.08.2007 at 12:37 pm
Here in the world of socially responsible companies and triple bottom lines we have our ear to the ground about corporate giving. So when my colleague, Niko Tomlinson (Senior Midwest Director), sent me an email about www.CorporatePhilanthropy.org, I was obviously intrigued. You’ll notice there’s a very informative–if somewhat dry–report on Corporate giving trends for the Fortune 100 as well as surveyed companies on the whole (get it at the link below). The results were surprising but ultimately positive.
Niko did an excellent job of boiling down the N.B. parts of the report:
The lead stats:
Total giving increased-
-Median $ amount increased from $29.5 million to $32.6 million per year
-Median % increase of 4.8 per company
-Median total giving as a percentage of revenue was unchanged at 0.14%
-Median total giving as a percentage of pre-tax profit fell from 0.98% in 2005 to 0.93% in 2006
-SO… companies are giving a smaller percentage of their profits but the absolute dollar amount is greater.
Now I’m no economist (full disclosure: I was a Music and English major) but it doesn’t take an M.B.A. to tell you that more overall money from corporate giving is a good thing. Hopefully this type of philanthropy will be seen as less of an added bonus to what a company is doing, and more of a necessity in company (and popular) culture.
Download and read the full report (.pdf format) at this link.
Posted by admin on 11.06.2007 at 8:02 am
A colleague of mine pointed out this article from Grist (an excellent site for environmental news):
Wondering which colleges are greenest? The Sustainable Endowment Institute has released its second College Sustainability Report Card, grading the environmentaliciousness of the 200 U.S. colleges with the largest endowments. Two-thirds of the schools got better grades this time than last; the average overall grade was a C+, and six schools received an overall A- for their efforts — Carleton College, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Middlebury College, University of Vermont, and University of Washington. The colleges were graded on transportation, administration, climate and energy, food and recycling, green building, and investment priorities, as well as endowment transparency and shareholder engagement (both of which most schools solidly failed). Among the encouraging statistics: Around half of the schools have committed to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, more than two-thirds have green building policies, and more than 80 percent source at least some cafeteria food locally.
[Thanks to Ed Would at Grist]
This is fantastic. Awareness breeds accountability, and the more of these we have, the better. Go see where your schools stands and do something about it! Sustainability isn’t magic, it’s about the effort that you put in everyday.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, college, green, sustainability
Posted by admin on 11.05.2007 at 2:15 pm
In the last year members of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) have collected over 10,000 books to help spread global literacy. A majority of these books have gone to support Books for Africa and help end the book famine in Africa. Better World Books is incredibly thankful for these successful book drives and hope the new school year will bring twice as many books from the AMSA community.
I want to personally thank Michael Casey, a medical student and AMSA member. His hard work and passion for this partnership is instrumental to its success. Thanks to his tenacity and passion in just one years time one book drive has increased to 20 and 500 books have become 10,000! We are grateful to all the AMSA chapters that participated. I especially want to thank the top three collecting AMSA chapters from last Spring:
1. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo: Collected over 1,000 qualified books!
2. University of Florida: Collected over 950 qualified books!
3. Columbia University: Collected over 850 qualified books!
Thanks to all the books AMSA has collected Books for Africa can fund the shipment of 30,000 books to Africa, enough to fill 15 schools! We are truly thankful to work with such remarkable and passionate people. Thank you!!!
Posted by admin on 11.05.2007 at 8:18 am
Room to Read participated in the Clinton Global Initiative back in September – check out this video of John Wood & Erin Ganju (Room to Read’s CEO & COO) on stage with Bill Clinton at the event [thanks to the Clinton Global Initiative for use of this video]. John commented on the experience:
At the Clinton Global Initiative, we had an amazing amount of exposure to over 1,000 philanthropic leaders (a great mix of funders and other NGOs). Bill Clinton called Erin and I on stage to announce Room to Read’s commitment to grow our Reading Room program to 10,000 by EOY 2010 and to double our geographic footprint to 15 countries, and to print at least 3.5 million new local language books to add in with the big commitment Scholastic is making. And, in a ‘stage whisper’ that I will always remember, Bill said “I really loved your book”. The next day, we were featured on an education panel with Andre Agassi (nothing like a little star power to draw a crowd), along with the leaders of Escuela Nueva and BRAC, two of the world’s most respected NGOs doing work in education. Those latter two are also 25 and 30 years old, so for a 7 ½ year old organization to be alongside them says a lot for the regard with which the CGI Education panel holds our work.
We were very surprised that during his closing comments, former President Clinton repeated once again his respect for our work. Two shout outs from Bill on subsequent days ain’t a bad thing! Lisa, Erin and I were mobbed with constant meetings, and we met a lot of potential funders, and also dozens of other NGOs that want to partner with us. We will be deluged with follow up for the next few weeks – nice problem to have!
Posted by admin on 11.02.2007 at 1:14 pm
Martha Schouten, from the University of Oran in Algeria (previously blogged here) sent me this picture of her just-renovated office, featuring one of the school’s teachers and some of the English Club members. The university has enlarged the room so they can fill it with some of the books that will be coming in a Books for Africa container any day now! We’ll have more updates when the container gets there – stay tuned.
Posted by admin on 11.01.2007 at 2:00 pm
Here’s the feature story from the most recent FORGE newsletter:
In Meheba Refugee Settlement, it’s hard not to notice Brigitte and Boniface, a married couple in their late 30s. The proud parents of two young children, they have lived in Zambia as refugees for five years. The couple was forced to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 when the school where Boniface taught was attacked by rebel forces. At the time they fled, Brigitte was seven months pregnant with Easter, their oldest daughter, who would be born in prison after they crossed the border. After a few months in separate prisons (their refugee status was difficult to achieve), Brigitte and Boniface reunited in Lusaka, where they lived for a few years as urban refugees before moving to Meheba.
With a degree in biochemistry from the University of Lubumbashi, Boniface speaks eleven languages fluently. He has pursued careers in business and teaching in Zambia’s capital. Despite his talents and qualifications, Boniface has faced numerous barriers to holding stable employment due to the high cost of work permits, and heavy prejudice against refugees. Boniface currently works as the Office Manager for the FORGE Microfinance Institute (FMI) in Meheba. After more than a year of preparation and planning, Boniface recently helped FMI launch a Savings Program to encourage people in Meheba to put their money into savings.
You’ll find Brigitte working at her tailoring business in the center of Meheba’s largest market, spinning out clothing for the community. Not only is Brigitte skilled on the sewing machine, but she has also put herself through an intensive business skills program in Lusaka which required her to walk more than 10 miles a day to and from class. As her business thrives, more educational opportunities become available to the family.
Apart from their children and jobs, Brigitte and Boniface devote their time to a local Pentecostal congregation in Meheba, where Boniface serves as a Pastor. At the moment, the couple does not know if they will repatriate to Congo should it become peaceful, or if they will try their luck applying for resettlement to a new country. In the meantime, they focus on providing a safe home for their two children within the limited confines of Meheba, where they will wait.
Have your say » | Tagged Our Partners, FORGE, Our Partners, partner updates
Posted by admin on 11.01.2007 at 11:14 am
Check out the latest update from the NCFL. Did you know that today, (besides being the Day of the Dead / All Saint’s Day) is National Family Literacy Day?
In honor of National Family Literacy Day on November 1, NCFL is undertaking a variety of activities designed to raise awareness about intergenerational learning among the general public and media. The results will further increase the understanding that literacy is the foundation for success in our families, schools and communities.
Here are just a few ways NCFL is celebrating:
A new, free, parent-friendly magazine called Cultivating Readers: Making Reading Active and Fun is being unveiled. Written by NCFL with funding from Houghton Mifflin, the magazine provides effective and easy strategies for promoting reading throughout a child’s early years. It includes activities for parents of children ages birth to two, three to five, and six to eight, plus tips on selecting age-appropriate books. Visit Cultivating Readers at the NCFL website for more information and to download this great resource, which will help parents nurture a lifelong love of reading in their children.
The company that has served billions and billions is now serving a steady diet of family literacy in Southern California. On November 1, NCFL will partner with 600 Southern California McDonald’s restaurants to bring parents and children together to learn and support each other to improve their reading, writing and thinking skills. Following a book reading, NCFL and McDonald’s will team up to distribute books to each family in attendance and provide parents with tips on ways to improve their family’s literacy skills. In addition, McDonald’s will feature family literacy on its tray liners and bag stuffers.
Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, will announce its support of NCFL and launch a new product, My Word Coach (for the Nintendo Wii and DS systems), in New York City on November 1. A nationwide online contest, the “Great American Word Challenge,” will pit city against city to measure their greatness not by the height of their skyscrapers but by the depth of their vocabularies. The city that gets the highest cumulative average score takes the title and the prize, which includes a Ubisoft donation of Nintendo DS units and My Word Coach games to local NCFL learning centers. Log on to Great American Word Challenge for additional details.
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