A Tech Millionaire, A Failing School System and $100 million

Philanthropic efforts are not always successful, we know this because the proof is in the report pudding. One major example of failed philanthropic efforts, in this case due to mismanagement of funds is the criticism fired at the International Red Cross over the missing $500 million donation to Haiti.

In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg in partnership with Newark’s Cory Booker and a very excited Oprah Winfrey announced on national television, much to the disbelief of all future persons involved (Newark school administrators, parents and teachers) a new philanthropic effort to boost Newark Public schools with a $100 million donation.

Four years later, reports show that this effort has failed, and this failure is reflected in the failure of the initiative to involve the people of Newark in planning these efforts, decreased student performance and a lack of knowledge surrounding the Newark school system and public administration.


On the flip side of the coin, the effort was successful in increasing the number of Newark children within the charter school system. The initiative was also successful in improving a new teachers accountability contract, which holds teachers and school administrators to the goal of helping children grow and learn.
Despite these improvements, critics again point to studies which reflect the failure of this initiative in contending with internal factors like budget cuts, which only decreased student performance in a time where it should have improved. if teachers  and their salaries are being cut, how will students have more access to education?

In the view of the public, what could possibly have happened, again, to such a large sum of money? With no detailed response yet from Mark Zuckerberg of Cory Booker, while we wait we must remind ourselves on what prerequisite measures we need to make when dealing with philanthropy. The question remains, how can we be sure that effective spending is exacted where large philanthropic donations are involved?

If you would like to know more about the Zuckerberg donation story, visit this detailed article by The Washington Post

Word Giving: 7 Amazing Quotes On Philanthropy

Building a society free from decaying human dignity and poverty is incredibly hard. Governments have tried, failed, maybe even succeeded in temporarily building systems or organizations to tackle this issue, it however seems like more and more the world’s problems are getting worse.

Lately, the increased reporting on the migrant situation, the ongoing civil war in Syria and economic and civil strife in neighboring countries continue to hound our consciousness as a humanity hostage.

When fears take you to the level of helplessness,  it is our strength in numbers, born as philanthropic organizations, who do not mismanage funds, but cater to the human condition as promised, which gives us the zeal to move forward. Has progress been made? Yes. We have seen change effected by organizations like The Children’s Defense Fund, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and even the Red Cross in dealing with causes in humanitarian relief, children empowerment and education.

I wanted to list out some of greatest quotations on philosophy, to remind us that this is a journey and not a race. We need not lose hope as we are bombarded with more world problems. Here are some words by famous people who have been influential in humanitarian efforts to improve human conditions:

1. “If You can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” – Mother Theresa

2. “No one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

3. ” I wanted to give my children enough monty so they they could feel they could do anything, but not so much they could do nothing.” – Warren Buffet

4. ” I’m not doing my philanthropic work out of any kind of guilt. I’m doing it because I can afford to do it, and I believe in it.” – George Soros

5. ” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”- Margaret Mead

6. “There are only four things you can do with your money.
You can give it to the government.
You can spend it.
You can give it to your kids to their detriment. My three sons understand this. I never want to deprive them of the wonderful feeling of making it on their own. I don’t think you do your kids a favor by leaving them a lot of money, or letting them think they’re working with a net.
And the fourth thing you can do with your money is create something good with it. I think it’s incumbent on everybody with any amount of funds at all to start thinking like that.”
—James Kimsey

7.  “Every dollar makes a difference. And that’s true whether it’s Warren Buffet’s remarkable $31 billion pledge to the Gates Foundation or my late father’s $25 check to the NAACP.” – Michael Bloomberg


To read more awesome quotes on philanthropy, visit this list by Philanthropy Roundtable



It’s Time To Acknowledge That Athletes are also Just As Generous

In the world of charitable donations, names like The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation or Mark Zuckerberg can make even the most generous donor quake in their boots. These people have proved themselves exemplary in building funds to support medicine research, education and even as we learned recently, planned parenthood.

Celebrities and athletes are also generous donors in the world of philanthropy. Though not always on the same platform as tech entrepreneurs, athletes have been just as generous in giving to causes they care about. A common trend amongst celebrities and sports athletes is the establishment of foundations in their name. These foundations maintain the celebrities brands with that touch of “charity” but also allow them to make executive decisions in supporting causes they care about.

Here’s a list of people, whose level of generosity will shock you, especially when you compare their income or sponsorship deals to the amount donated

Tiger woods

Surprised? Golf’s poster child for startlingly prenuptial agreements and external sports scandal has been instrumental in providing educational opportunities for young children in the United States through The Tiger Woods Foundation, a non-profit organization he established in 1996 with the help of his now deceased father.

tiger woods

LeBron James

LeBron emotionally disenfranchised many fans with “The decision” in 2010, but that hasn’t stopped or thwarted his philanthropic efforts which he exacts through the LeBron James Family Foundation. The foundation supports after school programs, the Children’s Defense Fund, OneXOne and the Boy’s and Girls club which donated 2.5 million to in 2010.

lebron james


Andre Agassi

If you know Andre Agassi, you’ll know he won the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 1995 for his generous contributions. Agassi established a tuition free charter school to help students in the Las Vegas area prepare for college- the Andrea Agassi College Predatory Academy.

andre agassi

To learn more about athletes who have given to charitable causes, visit this article by CheatSheet


Pope Francis is Shaping How Millennials Interact With Catholic Philanthropist Organizations

With Pope Francis coming into New York city, streets will be closed, transportation hindered and people swarming in from areas all over the East cCast. Pope Francis is often described as one of most modern popes to come out of the vatican. He comes to us in a time when social theories and perspectives are evolving, and where religious leaders shy away from issues which they feel might misrepresent their religious institutions, the pope threads the conversation line lightly, sprinkling discourse with his own opinions which don’t shy too far from what the Vatican allows.

His presence and position on controversial topics in politics, religion and culture have positioned the vatican as an unexpected avenue for swaying international public opinion, and all eyes are on him as younger generations key into social discourse. Pope Francis views have shaken the core beliefs most people have about the papacy, the expected opinions of a pope, and the face of the Vatican outside of religion.

pope francis

In 2014, an internationally broadcast moment only showcased the pope’s ability to view world issues introspectively, he was quoted saying “Sister, through you I want to thank all religious sisters of the United States…’ Francis said to a beaming Sister Norma. ‘Be courageous. Move forward, always on the front line. And I tell you one thing more — is it ok for the Pope to say this? I don’t know — I love you all very much!

The Huffington Post highlights in this article, the potential influence of the pope on catholic philanthropists in the international community. As the pope’s visit to New York city draws closer, his team continually partners with an increasing number of philanthropic organizations who will also be organizing campaigns around his New York City visit. As external relations between the papacy and catholic philanthropic organizations get stronger, criticism on the pope’s severity with capitalism, the market system and businesses whose values stray away from human dignity are also increasing. The established partnerships with the catholic philanthropy organizations provide a way for the papacy to display alternatives ways of contributing to human life and dignity.

The pope’s visit will not only introduce him to the network of catholic organizations in the city, it will inspire young catholic philanthropists to continue to work hard to reach their religious and organizational goals, and remind the world about how deep the reach of the papacy is.

The Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study found that roughly 3 in 10 millennial Catholics regularly attend mass. These numbers might appear small, but in terms of social influence they matter. Pope Francis’ reach in the millennial demographic continues to increase, and this increase will change how catholic millennials view their fate and donate to the papacy or associated catholic philanthropic organizations.

To learn more about the pope’s visit to New York and Catholic Philanthropy efforts, click here 

Hurricane Ruby Is On It’s Way- Here’s How To Prepare

Another disaster may be at our hands. The American Red Cross recently reported that they will be tracking the Typhoon Hagupit, locally known as hurricane ruby is making it’s way towards the islands. The American Red Cross will be taking several measures to prepare for Ruby. The storm will make landfall and will most likely pose a serious threat to people’s lives, their homes and their subsistence. Ruby is set to cross through densely populated areas, meaning that it will affect millions of people.


Blake Rubin explores the Red cross work in the phillipines

These are the steps the red cross is taking to make sure they are prepared for this disaster.

  • Establishing red cross disaster response teams and volunteers to increase communication between staff and displaced persons
  • Evacuation centers with additional staff and responders to have clear communication and access to displaced persons
  • First aid support on stand-by with pre-positioned teams throughout the city. The Red cross will come equipped with relief items like food, medicine, sleeping mats and hygiene kits. There will be emergency equipment like water trucks, generators, chainsaws and communication gear.
  • These relief materials will be provided to up to 30,000 families in Manila, Cebu and Subic.

Here on the east coast, there may be storms here or there as the weather and the seasons change. Here are some things you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of your family during a storm from a hurricane.

  • Make sure you have adequate disaster supplies
  • Unplug any of your small appliances from your outlet
  • Make sure to fill your car’s gas tank
  • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters and make sure to board or plywood your doors.
  • Pay attention to evacuation orders and plan accordingly
  • Turn off your propane tanks as they can be liable to damage and will be inflammable.

Red Cross Aids Victims of Kentucky Floods

The America Red Cross has stepped up again in a huge way. The American Red Cross teamed up with WKYT help the victims of flooding in Kentucky. The Bluegrass Area Chapter is helping set up a ‘Kentucky Cares’ disaster relief effort. On Friday July 17th from 12 noon until about 6:30pm volunteers in a call center will take donations to help those affected. WKYT will use their newscasts in order to put out the word of the event and cause.

blake rubin - kentucky flood

A distant view of the flooding

The money raised will go towards the American Red Cross’s efforts in supporting those effected in Johnson County. While the death toll is low, many others are still missing. Homes have been wiped out and it will certainly take a long road back in order to get people back to where they once were. Mud, rain, and debris have made the search for those missing increasingly tough.

The search stretches more than 8 miles from the town of Flat Gap south to Staffordsville. This area holds 500 homes and 1,200 residents about 120 miles east of Lexington. The search has been tough for local officials who are traveling in knee deep mud, humidity, and an increased amount of mosquitos.

Hopefully, Kentucky recovers quickly from this tragic event. To learn more or donate, call (859) 253-1331 to get in touch with the Bluegrass Area Chapter. For more on this article, check it out here at wkyt.com.

Red Cross Preps For Possible Deportations

The Red Cross brings much needed aid to thousands across the globe. Whether food rations, medical supplies or cleaning efforts, the Red Cross is known the world over as a powerful humanitarian force. And with thousands of Haitians facing deportation from the Dominican Republic, the Red Cross is hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

Blake Rubin - Red CrossIn 2013, a judgement passed by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic altered the immigration status of nearly 400,000 citizens. Of those uprooted, a staggering 75% of them are of Haitian descent, making this one of the greatest exoduses in history. While nothing is set in motion, the Red Cross has set up several stations along the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti to facilitate this undertaking. Offering such necessities as basic health assistance, water and food, the global Red Cross is doing all it can to make sure this already strenuous situation remains controlled.

While the threat of violence will be ever-present, the Red Cross has taken steps to prevent the possibility of riots. By employing volunteers with recognition among the people, the Haitian Red Cross hopes that these community leaders will quell any civil unrest before it boils over. The Haitian Red Cross has a history of operating within tense political and humanitarian scenarios, and never has that skill been more necessary than now.

While many border crossings are being closely monitored by the Red Cross, several illegal crossing points have been identified by people seeking to remain in the Dominican Republic. Though the Red Cross is attempting to perform a much needed service, their job is made increasingly difficult by those who dodge the checkpoints. Many obstacles need to be overcome in order for this relocation to be handled successfully. With the record of humanitarian efforts carried out by the Red Cross, however, this difficult task will be performed with the utmost care. For more on this topic, check it out at RedCross.org.