Tim Cook and More Join The Giving Pledge


Late last month Tim Cook announced to the world that he would be joining the Giving Pledge. The Giving Pledge is a commitment by some of the most wealthy individuals in the world to give the majority of the wealth they’ve accumulated over their lives to charity either during their lives or after they pass. Some notable people that have signed the Giving Pledge are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg. Those four alone have $239 billion dollars.

Tim Cook’s wealth, which is estimated at $800 million, pales in comparison to those names but it is important nonetheless. More and more billionaires and business leaders are joining the Giving Pledge. Tim Cook had to replace the most adored CEO in history, Steve Jobs. His pledge along with other tech leaders shows that they believe civil society and philanthropy plays an important role in our future.

As government has grown, many have looked to it to solve social problems. But government, though good at some things, is not known for innovative problem solving. So Cook now joins the increasing number of tech and business leaders that see the effectiveness of philanthropy and non profits.

As a new industry is disrupted everyday by technology, the world is changing at a rapid pace and often government can’t keep up and can definitely not innovate. College, for example, has always been the staple of American education and has historically received millions in donations and government support. But even it’s future is questionable. High rates and lower cost and arguably more effective solutions are popping up left and right.

Tim Cook joining the Giving Pledge lends even more credence to importance of giving and further alienates people like Carlos Slim who adhere to the more traditional way of thinking – that businesses can solve society’s woes.

Celebrities Using Their Celebrity For Good

Taylor Swift in 2012

For the last three years one star has outdone her peers with philanthropic work. Superstar Taylor Swift is Domething.org’s most charitable celebrity again.

Do Something is an organization started in 1993 with the stated purpose of encouraging young people to get involved in the community and charity. They run national campaigns and for community based projects.

One of Swift’s many acts of charity was donating all of the proceeds from her single, “Welcome to New York” to public schools in the city. This song was included on Swift’s chart-topping album, 1989.

Second place on the annual list is Laverne Cox who used her rise to fame on Netflix’s, Orange Is The New Black, to speak for the LGBT community.

Another notable celebrity on the top five is Miley Cyrus who infamously let a homeless teen speak on her behalf at the MTV Music Video Awards to highlight the problem of homelessness.

The first male celebrity doesn’t make the list until number 7, John Cena. Cena has been known to do a lot of work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Justin Beiber made the list which may be part of an effort to clean up his image after a string of high-profile tickets and arrests. He wasn’t always a saint.

In 2011, Justin Beiber’s publicity value was estimated $4.2 Billion. But unfortunately for the notorious pop star and his charity of choice, Pencils of Promise, which helps build schools in developing countries, he showed his age. The publicity he was able to garner for the charity resulted in $82,887 for the charity, a small fraction of his publicity value. In 2014 he granted over 200 wishes for the make-a-wish foundation.

Whether these celebrities are doing this to further their fame or truly because they want to help, it is great to see celebrities use their public persona to do good and inspire others to do the same.


Charities Aiming To Bring Water To Millions

Many experts are predicting water to become the most important resource in the next few years. Right now more than 10% of the world doesn’t have access to clean drinking water. Fortunately, there are organizations that are fighting to bring clean drinking water to these people.


Combining an emphasis on hygiene and clean drinking water, Water.org has seen a lot of success creating healthier communities along with local organizations. They also give provide micro-loans to people that want to build sustainable water systems like wells.

Columbia Water Center 

CWC focuses mostly on the research end of the water problem. By employing researchers and scientists in agricultre, hydrology and engineering to find region specific solutions to water management.

Waves For Water

Waves For Water believes that helping communities that struggle with getting clean water is easy, especially for the nomad surfer archetype. They have a large membership base and many in the surfing community sympathize with their efforts.


By trying to solve this problem with direct means, this charity takes existing technology to build sustainable wells and filtration systems in developing countries. 100% of the donations they recieve go to these efforts.


MIYA takes an interesting, innovative, and effective approach to water conservation. A large and previously underserved problem with water management in developing countries is the infrastrure already in place. With millions of cubic meters of clean water lost due to poorly maintained infrastructure, MIYA aims to solve a huge problem.


Water Is Life tailors each solution to the community they are trying to help. They combine short-term solutions like providing water filtration technology, with long-term solutions like hygiene education and other water management solutions.

Three Avocados

An interesting hybrid non-profit that sells fair trade coffee from the same regions it turns around and helps with building water conservation and management projects.


The Largest Charities In The United States


There are thousands of charities in the United States but very few can aspire to the size and scope of these organizations. With revenues that rival some large companies, these charities have become household names, but what do each of them do?


With $6.6 billion in revenues Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) is the largest on this list in terms of revenue. Also one of the oldest, “The Y” was established 1844 as a way for people to become healthy in mind, body and spirit.


A community organization that, in addition to operating thrift stores in every major city, provides job training for veterans and the disabled. Through clothing and other materials donated to Goodwill, the non-profit is an effective hybrid that has made a significant impact on America.

Catholic Charities USA

A collection of nationwide Catholic charities, the organization helps millions of poor get their basic necessities and empowers them to become self-sufficient. They are also heavily influenced by the Catholic Church.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army might have the biggest name recognition on this list, and has revenues of 4.3 billion in revenue per year. They serve as both a Christian church and a charity with over 1.5 million members. There are hundreds of Salvation Army shelters nationwide that provide shelter to the homeless.

United Way

United Way started as an American organization and eventually grew to become an international organization. It has over 1,200 local offices nationwide and works with community stakeholders in an effort to make positive measurable differrences in the community. Their revenues are 4.2 billion per year, allowing them to make a significant impact.

Feeding America

In a distant third, Feeding America with 1.8 billion in revenues, was formerly named America’s Second Harvest. Feeding America operates thousands of food banks, soup kitchens, and shelters with a goal of fighting hunger in the United States.




Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goals For The Poor


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s mission is to help uplift those in extreme poverty. They have given millions in aid and have studied how their generous donations help achieve their lofty goals. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released their annual letter on Thursday where they said there will be four breakthroughs for those living in extreme poverty in the next 15 years.

They believe the number of child deaths before age five will continue to decrease quickly. They point out that in just the last 25 years the number of child deaths was cut in half. They believe that feat can be accomplished in just 15 years this time around. This will be accomplished through a number of different factors. Increased vaccinations for common killers like diarrhea and pneumonia and better sanitation practices in the countries where this lack of sanitation causes the spread of disease.

Another one of their goals is getting Africa to be self-sufficient. As technology gets better and is spread throughout Africa the thought is that education in farming practices coupled with enhanced fertilizer will help farmers yield more crop. Once they are yielding more they will be able to sell the excess and buy other goods to improve and diversy their diets. Improved infrastructure will complement these positive changes.

Perhaps the most interesting change they foresee is the rise of mobile banking for the poor. Not having access to banking institutions can make it even more difficult to be poor. As mobile banking becomes a more common practice, people will be able to store assets digitally and other financial services like micro-loans will be made available to them.

Finally, the spread of technology will facilitate online education. The online education industry is nascent even in The United States so people in developing countries will be able to take advantage of the technology right alongside us. Education platforms that know when a child doesn’t understand something are already being built. This has the chance to be even more revolutionary abroad than it does in America.

One of The Best Stories of A Charity Being Started


A Ticket Forward is not your typical charity, so its story should be no less interesting.

Jordan Axani, a Canadian real-estate developer, recently posted on Reddit about breaking up with his girlfriend, Elizabeth Gallagher. Axani had purchased non-refundable tickets for a short trip around the world for his then girlfriend. So he pleaded with the internet to help him find another Elizabeth Gallagher to join him on his trip so someone could use the tickets.

Axani and his new friend, who actually has a boyfriend, leave on Sunday from John F. Kennedy airport in New York. They will be visiting three different continents and six major cities on the three week trip.

Axani did not mean for his plea on Reddit to go viral, in fact, he says he’s normally a private person. His post on Reddit turned out to be a friend’s idea during a dinner party. In a gracious response to all the kindnesses he’s received as a result of the viral post he’s decided to start a travel charity.

What is a travel charity? The crowdfunding charity aptly named, A Ticket Forward, gives life-changing trips to people who don’t have the money to travel. The charity has already raised a lot of awareness and earned a partnership with Marriott. A Ticket Forward has already helped four people achieve their dreams of traveling the world. One of those is a terminally ill mother who wants her children to be able to see the world, a chance she was never afforded.

Axani became so popular throughout this process that he appeared on Good Morning America where he said people actually offered to change their names to come on the trip. A total of 18 possible Elizabeth Gallaghers reached out to Axani. The Elizabeth he chose volunteers often and for that reason seemed like the best choice.