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How your charity can raise $50K+ for Vets and Heroes

Hey, we're launching the Veterans Charity Challenge 2 to raise money for good causes.

Last year I sponsored the first Veterans Charity Challenge to raise money for nonprofits that support veterans and their families. The challenge was so successful that we decided to host the Veterans Charity Challenge 2 this year, but include more folks who really have their boots on the ground. I'm giving $50k to support orgs who are doing good work.

cc challenge

This challenge is for all nonprofits that support veterans, military families, police, and firefighters. It starts in just a few weeks, over on CrowdRise, and there's still time for you to get involved. Here are some reasons why your org should sign up:

    • Last year's Veterans Charity Challenge raised over $445,000 for causes like yours
    • This year's Veterans Charity Challenge 2 goes from May 22nd at 12pm ET and runs through July 3rd at 11:59:59am ET
    • The charity team that raises the most during the Challenge gets $20k, second place get $10k and third place gets $5k
    • Plus, there'll be another $15k given away in cash and prizes throughout the Challenge
    • Even if you don't win a grand prize, you get to keep the money you raised

Getting involved is easy, folks. Just Go Here and click the Start a Fundraiser button.

Okay…now that you know how to sign up for the Veterans Charity Challenge 2, check out the Veterans Charity Challenge 2 Toolkit. It's a reference guide to help you raise more money than you thought possible for your cause. The Toolkit has really important stuff, including sample calendars and tips.

And, as an extra bonus, if you browse the Veterans Charity Challenge 2 Toolkit and find the hidden movie quote, Email CrowdRise with the name of the movie it's from and you'll be entered to win a pizza party for your org on launch day (May 22nd).

Please share this challenge with all the orgs you know that support vets, milfams, police, and firefighters. These folks do a lot for our country, and it's important to give back. Email CrowdRise with any clarifying questions, they're the real deal.

This isn't altruism, it just feels right.

Local-Global Youth Development

Folks, the Organic Health Response (OHR) is located on Mfangano Island, Kenya, in the heart of Lake Victoria.  They seek to activate information technology, social solidarity, and environmental sustainability to turn the tide against HIV/AIDS across Lake Victoria.

Over the years we've supported OHR’s ICT initiatives, namely a highspeed Internet link from their ICT resource headquarters, the Ekialo Kiona (EK) Center, on Mfangano Island to the nearest mainland city of Kisumu. This record breaking link is East Africa’s longest wifi connection (You can read more here: WiFi to Help Out HIV/AIDS on Mfangano Island).

The Ekialo Kiona Center implements a suite of programs including the innovative Cyber-Voluntary Counseling and Testing Pilot, a computer lab with 17 low-powered Inveneo PCs, an organic demonstration farm and native tree nursery, the world’s first microclinic program for people living HIV/AIDS, and EK-FM, a youth-driven community radio station.

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The Organic Health Response helps connect kids to their local ICT resources by hosting school field trips to the EK computer lab. According to OHR,

"Last week, a group of 15 kids trickled in to the EK Center for their first tour, led by EK’s ICT Coordinator, Brian Mattah. Sounds of excitement bounced off the ferro-cement walls, as little fingers punched away at the keyboards.  For many, this was their first experience in front of a computer screen. In conjunction with a fieldtrip, Mfangano youth are paired with student pen-pals at Rutherford Elementary School in Stillwater, MN. Over the years these kids will learn to communicate with each other via email. At the same time, students in the USA learn about life on Mfangano Island and help raise money to support each field trip."

The EK Center's the only high-speed Internet hub on the entire island. For local youth, there are no training facilities in their island communities to support a healthy connection to the outside world.

OHR supports local-global youth development by providing ICT experiences at a young age (computer training, journalism, radio production, and editing skills), in hopes of building and empowering skilled and empowered leaders for the future.  EK-FM youth presenters have been sending us posts over the last few months (More here…). Stay tuned for even more from these talented folks.

 

 

 

4 factchecking sites that’re the real deal

Folks, I just want news I can trust. As I've been saying, the press should be the immune system of democracy, and needs to fulfill that role again. With the Internet, everyone can be their own journalist now. It's become increasingly difficult to find news that comes from a trustworthy press.

Factchecking efforts only have value, it's felt, if:

    • Misinformation is corrected, in a way that doesn't reinforce the lie.
    • Any involved news outlets are encouraged to avoid promoting misinformation.
    • Regular people, the broad citizenry, have the means to easily help media correct misinformation and encourage news outlets to restore factchecking.politifact meter

My team and I compiled a list of 4 factchecking sites that are the real deal (in no particular order, and please note that none are perfect, and sometimes their calls are called into question):

      1. FlackCheck.org, brought to you by the folks at factcheck.org – FlackCheck.org provides resources designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular.
      2. Politifact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times to help you find the truth in American politics.
      3. Sunlight Foundation – Sunlight uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency.
      4. Poynter. – Poynter is a school that exists to ensure that our communities have access to excellent journalism—the kind of journalism that enables us to participate fully and effectively in our democracy.

 

What sites do you follow because they're the most ethical and trustworthy? More to come…

5 veterans who are taking the startup world by storm

Folks, my team and I have been highlighting a lot of important startups and vets recently, and we thought it'd be a good idea to merge the two. We reached out to the community on Facebook and Twitter, and compiled a list of 5 veteran-founded startups who really have their boots on the ground.

Vets are effective entrepreneurs, and many of the skills veterans have overlap with those needed to found a startup. As this article says, "Tech startups to veterans: We love you, we want some more of ya."

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5 Veterans Who Are Taking the Startup World by Storm (in no particular order):

  1. Kristina Carmen, Founder of TurboPup.
    (TurboPup isn't on Twitter, but you can find them on Facebook.)
    TurboPup was founded to create a sustainable and socially conscious business, and give back to causes in support of our four legged best friends and our country's heroes: Veterans.
  2. Jacob Wood & William McNulty, Co-founders of Team Rubicon.

    Team Rubicon is a group of military veterans and medical professionals irrevocably committed to changing veteran reintegration and disaster response.
  3. Blake Hall and Matt Thompson, Co-founders of ID.me.

    ID.me is a secure digital ID card that allows individuals to prove their identity online. Using ID.me, online shoppers can attach attributes of their identity, such as military service or student status, to a Single Sign On so they can quickly verify to any third party that they are who they say they are. The site offers exclusive benefits and discounts for military folks and vets all in one place. ID.me was founded by 2 Army Rangers who made a long-term commitment to the military and veteran community. 
  4. Chris Hulls and Alex Haro, Co-founders of Life360.

    Life360 is a free smartphone app that helps keep families and close friends connected stay in sync throughout their busy day. With Life360, you can see where your family and friends are on a private map, stay in touch with group and one-on-one messaging, and get help in an emergency.
  5. Dawn Halfaker, Founder of Halfaker and Associates, and President of Wounded Warrior Project.
    Halfaker and Associates 
    provides professional services and technology solutions to the federal government. According to HuffPo, this "allows Halfaker to fight on two fronts: She helps equip on-the-ground troops to fight missions and helps U.S. veterans fight unemployment."

If you're able, please support and follow these vets and their startups. And, I'd love to hear what veterans should make version 2.0 of this list. Please leave comments below.

Hey, this isn't altruism, it just feels right.

5 of my favorite things

Folks, I'm often asked about my interests and priorities. I decided to share 5 of my favorite things in my personal life. Many of you may not be surprised to hear some of these…

  1. Birds – the Mrs. and I created a Birdography Spectacular dedicated to all of the birds and their friends who visit my home office. DSCN1082-X2
  2. Babies – both bird babies and human babies.

    #20 and craig

    me with #20…

  3. Dogs – I carry dog treats whenever I'm out, just in case I run into a furry friend (or four) who needs a pick-me-up. doggies and craig
  4. TV – the Game of Thrones guy, George R. R. Martin's a really good writer who can get to the point really well, and an opponent of attacks on voting rights, on top of it. That's the real deal. Other TV shows I enjoy include, Mr Selfridge, the Simpson, Justified, the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, Silicon Valley, Girls, and the Americans… TV
  5. Books – I read a lot of books, maybe 8 per month. I currently use the Kindle app, but it's growing problematic. (I've read around 700 books, mostly science fiction. Note: 1. I'm a nerd, and 2. it's how we roll.) Books I'm reading, among right now or recently include:
  • An Autumn War, Daniel Abraham
  • The Iron Kings, Maurice Druon
  • It's Complicated, danah boyd
  • A Lily of the Field, John Lawton
  • Shattered Pillars, Elizabeth Bear
  • Parasite, Mira Grant
  • Why Kings Confess, CS Harris
  • A Man without Breath, Philip Kerr

 

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Oh, and of course the wife. Make that six things.