Friday, December 18, 2015

Feel Good Friday - Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund

Last Feel Good Friday we went global with the work of UNICEF so today we're going local.  Well, local if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, that is.

Those of you who read this blog and read the San Francisco Chronicle are most likely familiar with the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund. For those of you who aren't, the summary from their website explains it best. "The Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund provides temporary assistance to help people living in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties. Over the last 29 years, the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund has raised more than $105 million to help individuals and families in need."

Twenty-nine years and over $100 millions dollars! So far their 2015 - 2016 campaign fund has raised over $5 million dollars and the best part of it is 100% of this money goes to people in need. Donations are split between individuals and families (85%) and nine local food banks (15%). Although the success stories are only published in the Chronicle between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, distributions are made to support people year round.

In 1986 this was a charitable fund sponsored by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to help individuals and families in crisis. Since that time, the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund has collected millions of dollars in private donations from people like you and me and is now "one of the largest private sources of emergency financial assistance in the Bay Area."

Whether you need assistance from the fund or you can donate money to help provide it, you can always show your support by liking their Facebook page and following them Twitter @SoSFund. Happy Feel Good Friday!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Feel Good Friday - UNICEF

It's Feel Good Friday and time for a quiz!

Q: What do Susan Sarandon, Jackie Chan, Angelique Kidjo, David Beckham and Shakira have in common?
A: They're all UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors.

Q: Why am I talking about UNICEF at this time of year?
A: Find out at the end of this post!

Q: What is UNICEF anyway?
A: The United Nations Children's Fund (originally the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, hence the acronym.)

Created in 1946 by the United Nations to provide food, clothing and health care to European children facing famine and disease after World War II, "UNICEF believes all children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential - to the benefit of a better world."

Children around the world are disproportionally affected by poverty, war and instability. Statistics from the UNICEF website state that "16,000 die every day mostly from preventable or treatable causes" and "every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girls dies as the result of violence."

For almost 70 years UNICEF has been "working globally for the rights of every child. Child rights begin with safe shelter, nutrition, protection from disaster and conflict and traverse the life cycle: pre-natal care for healthy births, clean water and sanitation, health care and education." You can learn about specific programs on the what we do page and read a summary of their story here.

UNICEF works in 192 countries and this year will be "providing a package of assistance for 2.6 million Syrian children inside Syria and across the region." You can learn more by watching some of their YouTube videos, liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @UNICEF.

Yes, yes, this all sounds good but it's the holiday season and you've got cards to send and presents to buy. Guess what? You can support the work of UNCIEF by buying cards and gifts for all occasions at this link. As they say, "Every gift you purchase helps saves children's lives". I call that a Feel Good Friday and holiday win-win!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Feel Good Friday - Hip Hop for Change

With the multiple mass shootings that have happened this week, it's important to me to keep posting the Feel Good Friday stories to remind us all that wonderful things are happening too.

Today, we're talking about Hip Hop for Change. I learned about the Oakland, California non-profit from this news story on KALW. Established in April, 2014 their website explains that Hip Hop for Change (HH4C) "uses grassroots activism to educate people about socio-economic injustices and advocate solutions through hip hop culture. We raise funds for local causes that enrich marginalized and historically oppressed communities."

As this video interview with founder and MC, Khafre Jay shows ,he is motivated to inspire young people that they can rap about their actual lives and social justice issues, rather than the misogynistic and materialistic topics that dominate current popular music. His goals and vision for HH4C include:

  1. Change the perception of hip hop perpetuated by the mainstream industry.
  2. Create an empowering organizational culture.
  3. Build infrastructure for justice in the Hood.
To achieve these goals, employees of HH4C go into schools to teach the history and importance of hip hop culture and into the community to have dialogues with people in their neighborhood. They promote shows with progressive music by local talent, and produce cds which you can buy for $15, and they support other community non-profits like East Oakland Community Project, Phat Beets Produce and Habitat for Humanity.

You can learn more about their featured artists and watch videos here. If you live in the Bay Area you can check out some of these upcoming events. No matter where you are, if you like what they do and want to support the original hip hop principles of "peace, love, unity and having fun" like the HH4C Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @hiphopforchang3. You see, there is something you can feel good about after all.