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Crisis searches for Christmas helpers

Homelessness charity Crisis has put a call out for volunteers this Christmas.

Tell me more.

Crisis at Christmas has become a fixture of not only Crisis, but of the festive season in the UK. This year, Crisis estimates they will be providing hotel accommodation to more than 400 people in London alone who would be otherwise sleeping rough.

What else do they offer?

Crisis also runs day centres for people in temporary accommodation which provide everything from health checks to hot food and drink to friendship. But all these things wouldn’t be possible without the thousands of people who volunteer their time every year.

What does Crisis need from us?

Crisis are looking for volunteers to assist at hotels, to cook meals, and give advice. People in certain professions who would be willing to volunteer their skills, for example hairdressers, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, opticians, podiatrists, are also sorely needed.

Sign up to volunteer with Crisis at Christmas this year.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.

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A brief history of Loving Day

June is marked by a lot of things in the United States. Some of the first things that come to mind are school coming to an end, summer beginning, Pride Month, and Juneteenth. Other things that happen in June are Father’s Day, Flag Day, Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, as well as a handful of observances. 

One of the most impactful days though is Loving Day.

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Loving Day is named for Richard and Mildred Loving, who in June 1958 awoke to policemen in their bedroom who were there to arrest them.

“They asked Richard who was that woman he was sleeping with? I say, I’m his wife, and the sheriff said, not here you’re not. And they said, come on, let’s go,” Mildred Loving recalled that night in the HBO documentary The Loving Story.

The police were at their home because Mildred and Richard were a mixed-race couple. Mildred was Black and Native American, and Richard was white. In 1958 Virginia law called this unlawful cohabitation. They were to be arrested and imprisoned for a year but a judge offered them a choice: banishment from the state or prison. They chose the former for a few years until they returned a few years later, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in court.

This event led to the Supreme Court case called Loving v. Virginia.

The verdict of the case, coming on June 12, 1957, led to interracial marriage becoming legal across the United States.

Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the opinion for the court; he wrote that marriage is a basic civil right and to deny this right on a basis of color is “directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment” and seizes all citizens “liberty without due process of law.”

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: The ACLU is still around today and helped the Loving’s with their case. Consider donating them to support cases they cover today. 

SUPPORT: Look into supporting civil rights across all forms, like same-sex marriage today. Not everyone has equal rights across the United States.

 

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MacKenzie Scott donates $3.8 billion

MacKenzie Scott, American novelist and philanthropist, recently announced she’s donated nearly $4 billion to over 400 nonprofits across the country.

Sharing the news in a post on Medium, MacKenzie wrote: “We are all human. And we all have enormous energy to devote to helping and protecting those we love.”

Sharing the list of 465 nonprofits, to which she has gifted $3,863,125,000, she added: “Our aim has been to support the needs of underrepresented people from groups of all kinds. The cause of equity has no sides.”

“Equity can only be realized when all people involved have an opportunity to help shape it,” she wrote. “Each non-profit it will list was selected through a rigorous process, and has a strong track record of serving under-supported needs.”

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The causes she has donated to have a diverse range of missions and causes, with everything from those protecting women’s health, to those working to solve the climate crisis, as well as those in education. 

MacKenzie, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is known for her philanthropic efforts. In total, she has donated to 1,257 organisations. 

She added: “This belief in a diversity of voices also inspires our commitment to a vital category of leaders. The leadership of people directly experiencing inequities is essential, both because it is informed by insights no one else can contribute, and because it seeds power and opportunity within the community itself. 

“Approximately 60% of the organizations listed below are led by women, and 75% by people with lived experience in the regions they support and the issues they seek to address.”

You can find a list of all the nonprofits MacKenzie donated to on her Medium page

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Solutions-focused festival offers youths hope

In 2020 when the pandemic hit, economist Henry Leveson-Gower realised young people would be some of the worst affected in terms of life opportunities and mental health. This only added to the increasing anxiety among youths over climate change. To offer them hope in lockdown, he decided to launch an interactive online event, Festival for Change, which returns to the digital world this November.

The international gathering is entirely free, it lasts one month starting 14 November, and is aimed at 18 to 30-year-olds. Each week, a diverse range of speakers will inspire attendees with talks and workshops about solutions to climate change. This is followed by discussions every Saturday, where the young people have the chance to meet one another, share experiences and build connections.

[Read more positive news about people taking climate action around the world]

Drawing on his work for Economic Pluralism, for which he promotes socially-beneficial economics, Henry said: “Young people are often brought up with a very narrow view of how society should be, constrained by dominant ideas. So the festival is partly aimed at helping them understand the causes of the challenges we face today, and allowing them the chance to explore a much broader array of ideas, which is key to driving the changes we need to see.”

Addressing complex topics in comprehensible ways, the talks are aimed at building understanding among young people on fundamental systems shaping our society. 

One attendee at last year’s event, Jayne Ashely reassured: “[The] amazing speakers showed economics is nothing to be scared of – and we all need to engage in these macro and micro discussions.” 

The organisers have yet to finalise the lineup of speakers for this year. But, based on the groundbreaking thinkers who spoke at the first event, they are set to offer up some of the most provocative and progressive ideas, with a special focus on young innovators.

Building networks for change

Another key part of the festival involves creating relationships between young people from entirely different backgrounds and parts of the world. Youth ambassadors from Hong Kong, Pakistan, India, Qatar, and the Netherlands helped design the festival and whoever joins this year’s event can take part in a buddying scheme to bring together young people from different countries.

[Read more good news stories about the individuals and organisations making the world a better place]

To facilitate discussion they’ve created a virtual world that’s something like Habbo Hotel, where participants can drag their avatar from place to place to join different discussions. Once they’ve chosen where they’d like to go, the system allows them to join a video call where they can speak to others face-to-face. 

Register for Festival for Change here.

Find more information at festivalforchange.global.

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Elton John aims to end AIDS by 2030

In 1990 Elton John became friends with Ryan White, a teenager from Indiana who died from AIDS.

Ryan’s life inspired the singer to take action, and he set up the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Fast forward three decades, and Elton is one of the UK’s leading philanthropists, having donated £395m to charity with his focus on achieving a world free of AIDS for everyone.

The Foundation’s goal is to end AIDS by 2030, which they hope to achieve by funding frontline partners to prevent infections, fighting stigma and providing treatment with love, compassion and dignity for the most vulnerable groups affected by HIV around the world.

Elton has set out his ambition clearly, stating: “No one should suffer from stigma, fear or lack of access to treatment anymore – everyone deserves the right to a healthy life.”

So far the Foundation’s work has saved five million lives globally, raised $450m worldwide for their work and supported 3,000 projects which align to their mission.

Their recent projects have focused on fighting AIDS in America, with their new initiative Breakthrough.

In association with Walmart, the Foundation has launched a three year engagement programme  to accelerate the end of AIDS in America by increasing access, education and awareness to safe, convenient HIV testing and services in the southern United States.

There are currently 250,000 people in the U.S. southern region who are living with HIV but lack access to treatment, indicating an urgent need for HIV testing, education, prevention and resources in the area.

The AIDS epidemic disproportionately impacts communities of colour, especially in the South, where people are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV over the course of their lifetime than Americans living in other parts of the country.

The epidemic also has a significant impact on the LGTBQ+ population, with half of Black gay men and a quarter of Latino gay men projected to be diagnosed with HIV within their lifetime.

Anne Aslett, CEO of the Elton John AIDS Foundation commented: “America and the world have set a goal to end the AIDS pandemic by 2030.

“Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in the U.S. South must be addressed if America is to achieve its goal. This is only possible if no one is left behind. It is wrong that the colour of your skin, your sexuality or your economic status should determine your risk of HIV.

“Walmart is part of the fabric of U.S. communities. Working together, we want to reach into the communities that most badly need support and help them where they are.”

To learn more about the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s work visit their website or follow them on Twitter.

 

 

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This campaign could save your life

Learning how to check your chest is a vital step in the detection and early treatment of breast cancer.

But for trans and non-binary people chest checking can be a traumatic and anxiety-triggering experience.

So breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel! has joined forces with Live Through This, the UK’s only LGBT+ cancer charity, to create a set of chest-checking posters and a webpage aimed specifically at trans and non-binary people.

Breast cancer can affect people of any age or gender and while everyone is different CoppaFeel!’s chest-checking message is the same for people of all genders – and the charities hope that the new posters and resources will help to address some of the specific barriers faced by trans and non-binary people.

Rico Jacob Chace is the director of TransActual UK CIC and took part in the focus groups which informed the new resources. Rico commented: “As the society we live in becomes more inclusive the healthcare provided should reflect the patients.

“Without access to inclusive resources members of the trans and non-binary communities, who are just as susceptible of contracting cancer, will be unaware of how to manage and potentially mitigate the risks.

“Live Through This and CoppaFeel! have created this forward-thinking and inclusive resource with the help of focus groups of the people it’s aiming to serve. Focus groups and consultation sessions work, and it shows in the final product.

“These resources will help the trans and non-binary communities have the same quality of life as the rest of society.”

Sinéad Molloy, head of marketing at CoppaFeel! added: “We made a deliberate choice to move away from typical representations of breast cancer symptoms, which use gendered illustrations.

“We wanted to represent the signs of breast cancer in a way that avoided reinforcing what any person’s body ‘should’ look like.

“We worked closely with a focus group of trans and non-binary beneficiaries to develop fruit-based images as a playful nod to the variety of ways people’s chests might look.

“Your chest might be big, small, firm, saggy, hairy or smooth – and these are all natural and healthy ways for it to be.”

The posters will be complemented with an online resource providing guidance about changes during transition, stories from young trans people and answers to some common FAQs.

To find out more visit CoppaFeel!’s website or follow them on Twitter.

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS: 2021 Charity Film Awards opens to entries!

After last year’s Charity Film Awards raised the profile of hundreds of organisations, Smiley Movement announced today that the awards are opening again to 2021 entries, with a six week window for submissions (Deadline 6th August 2021). 

The world’s largest campaign for cause-based films joined forces with Smiley Movement this March and is encouraging charities and corporate causes to submit films to compete for public recognition. The event will offer entrants access to the combined platform of Smiley Movement and the awards body, along with widespread media coverage. 

“We should celebrate how films are an amazing and positive means to create emotions in us that provoke us to act and make the world a better place. So, the awards are not just about promoting great films but about helping people see those films in new ways,” said the awards’ founder, Simon Burton.

“The whole objective of the Charity Film Awards is to get more views for charities’ campaigns,” explained campaign director for the Charity Film Awards Madeleine Johnson. “If we can gain just one additional view for each organisation then that’s potentially one new supporter and one more individual reaching out to their community.”

Encouraging charities to enter, Nicolas Loufrani, the CEO of Smiley™ added: “I hope that Smiley Movement is going to multiply the number of views these great charity films get by at least 10 times, and in doing so that we’re going to enable them to get more volunteers and to generate more donations.”

Burton echoed these sentiments: “I’m excited about the fact that the Charity Film Awards is going to benefit from the Smiley Movement’s profile and power, but most of all from Nicolas’s passion and the team’s passion for doing good.”

 

Eligibility for the awards

Any registered charity, charity media agency or brand with a corporate social responsibility initiative is invited to enter a film in the awards, provided it was created in the last eighteen months. Companies are encouraged to submit films for projects or campaigns that benefit society or the environment.

Charities are categorised based on income generated in the last financial year, a People’s Choice category and overall winner. This creates a level playing field so that smaller organisations are just as likely to receive an award as the larger, more established ones.

Burton explained: “Charities from household names like Unicef, the NSPCC and the British Heart Foundation take part as well as smaller local charities and they all benefit from the power of the awards’ story to create engagement and connect with old and new supporters.”

Johnson added: “It’s not to say that everyone’s a winner, but one of our main objectives is to allow as many people as possible to share in the success that the awards offer.”

More than 1,500 films have entered the Charity Film Awards in its five-year history. Over a quarter of a million members of the public have voted and millions of additional views have emerged for the participating organisations. 

For such a young awards body, the event reaches an impressively large audience through social media and press coverage. Each year the awards have received local, national and celebrity press attention, and have trended on Twitter in the UK.

“Considering the small size of our organisation, that is a massive achievement. It is largely down to our efforts, as well as the charities’ engagement with their audiences to amplify the content further,” said Johnson.

To expand the horizons of thousands of charities even further, this year the organisers are calling for potential partners to get in touch who can share news of the awards across their platforms.

 

Last year’s winners of hearts and minds

In 2021 Smiley Movement hopes the awards will expand to audiences of thousands of charities, reaching potential supporters on a scale even greater to that experienced in the past five years. 

Charities who entered the awards in 2020 did so specifically for the increased support the event would offer them. Among the winners, the Shahid Afridi Foundation, an organisation improving basic services in Pakistan, won the People’s Choice award for the income bracket of £100,000 to £500,000. 

Their executive director, Saima Khan, reflected on why they submitted a film: “I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to receive more visibility. As a result we were really successful in getting our name out there, especially through our social media network.”

Likewise, humanitarian charity The Salvation Army entered a film to raise the profile of their campaign tackling modern slavery, which won the People’s Choice Award for a turnover of over £100 million. “Awareness is absolutely key to combating modern slavery,” explained PR and communications officer at the Salvation Army Isobel McFarlane. 

Such heightened awareness often translates into tangible improvements in the lives of vulnerable people. McFarlane explained: “We need the public to know what slavery looks like so that when they see something suspicious they report it. That’s the only way we’re going to rescue the tens of thousands of people that we estimate are still living in slave-like conditions in the UK. So for us, it was wonderful that the awards offered multiple opportunities to share our film and ask people to support us.”

To keep updated on the Charity Film Awards, sign up for alerts here.

 

Notes for businessesSmiley Movement is seeking partnerships to promote the awards and help build support for the positive initiatives involved. Organisations interested in this opportunity should contact christina@smileymovement.org.

About the Charity Film Awards

Launched five years ago, the Charity Film Awards is the world’s biggest campaign to promote cause-based films. Since its creation, more than 2,000 causes have benefitted from the awards, gaining exposure, donations and volunteers. More than a quarter of a million members of the public have voted in the awards, between five and ten per cent of which also donate to the charities. Through media coverage the awards have reached nearly 500 million people around the world, boosting the profile of organisations and raising awareness about their causes.

About Smiley Movement

Smiley Movement (CIC) is a nonprofit, sponsored by the original Smiley™ brand. With a focus on positive solutions journalism, Smiley News covers the work of inspirational charities changing the world through their frontline work in the community. With a mission of driving positive change, Smiley Movement empowers people and organisations doing good. It connects them to new resources and supporters through their matchmaking for good network, and through their Smiley Talks, inspiring other potential leaders and innovators to create a better world for us all.

To learn more about the Charity Film Awards sign up for updates by clicking ‘Get Involved’ on Smiley Movement’s Charity Film Awards page.

 

 

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Facebook founders donate billions

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and wife Priscilla Chan, set up the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) in 2015, and pledged to give away the majority of their wealth in the same year.

And the couple, whose net worth is estimated at $90bn, have so far donated $2.7bn to good causes, focusing in 2020 on helping organisations dealing with Covid-19 relief and electoral integrity.

Zuckerberg, 36, founded Facebook in 2004 as a 19-year-old student at Harvard, and took the company public in 2012. He still owns 15 per cent of the stock.

The site has billions of users worldwide, but has received criticism for not tackling fake news and disinformation.

In the run up to the US elections in November 2020 CZI donated a total of $400m to help local election offices prepare for people casting their vote safely in the midst of the pandemic.

Most of the money was given to the Chicago-based Center for Technology and Civic Life, and it helped to pay for protective equipment to prevent spread of the coronavirus at polling sites, drive-through voting locations, equipment to process postal ballots and more.

In a statement the couple commented: “Many counties and states are strapped financially and working to determine how to staff and fund operations that will allow for ballots to be cast and counted in a timely way.

“These donations will help to provide local and state officials across the country with the resources, training and infrastructure necessary to ensure that every voter who intends to cast a ballot is able to, and ultimately, to preserve integrity of our elections.”

The pair both declared in 2015 that they intended to give the majority of their wealth away, and signed the Giving Pledge to make their commitment public.

In their pledge they stated: “We’ve had so much opportunity in our lives, and we feel a deep responsibility to make the world a better place for future generations.

“We’ve benefited from good health, great education and support from committed families and communities. We believe that in the next generation, all of our children should grow up living even better lives and striving for even more than we think is possible today.”

 

 

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