Thanks to Linda drop-kicking my butt out of the house today I got to see some squirrels. Most of them were skittish but there was one older squirrel I called Gramps who not only ate as slow as a peanut could be eaten but crawled up and sat on my lap. And sat, and ate, and left crumbs, and ate and then after I petted the squirrel for a bit and he had some more peanuts. He left. I don’t know what his issue was but I have never seen a squirrel try to ‘gum down’ a peanut.
Also, I am not sure how bad the inbreeding has gotten as many of the squirrels are not that bright, but they are greedy, as this squirrel tries to carry 1/3 his body size in peanuts away.
I wanted to blog for a few days to tell you that I am having my ‘need to get money for emergency meds’ ebay sale, which is a lot of the sets I have talked about. It all sells on Sat/Sun. There are about 70 sets, which I hope will help out. A heat wave made it so I could not do much but help with the listings, but I have been going round the livejournals advertising. I would recommend Vampire Dairy, as it is complete, has the best condition I have seen and is 15 volumes of total fun. There is everything from under 13 year old reading ‘Miracle Girls’ to the 2010 Eisner Award Nominations of Distant Neighborhood and Pluto (the master retelling of Astro Boy). Brand new completed sets include Kimi Kiss 1-5 and recommendations include the cute Pearl Pink, the supernatural investigative reporter in Loan, and The Missing Girl (a mountaineer goes to Tokyo to find the daughter of the man who died climbing Everest, and takes his mountain skills into the Tokyo seedy underground), the amazing series Click (a love triangle of three in love with one person but one hetero, one lesbian, one gay – read it to find out – writer of Boy Princess – yes, gender bending may occur). Rare Yaoi, Tenshi ja Nai, and well about 50 more. I recommend clicking HERE to see them and the starting bid (About $3 a volume or so). For further pictures and descriptions please go HERE to the my livejournal account description with pictures. I do recommend the unknown country which is a princess from a small country where she makes and sells baked goods to visitors (imagine a country the size of disneyland) engaged to a giant rich kingdom – can true love overcome the vast differences in status? The first book is already out of print. As is the Name of the Flower I wrote about earlier. Odd how most everything I review ends up going cult and super-expensive (I either have great taste, or odd and kinky taste the same as people who have lots of money). Take a look, I can try to recommend some manga you, your partner or family would like. This one is likely the last ‘big’ sale – as bye-bye to all my favorites.
I had a couple grand mals today, and am hammered but I have tried for 3 days to put up this blog. I continue to try. Also, I have been reading 501 charity reports, which make for dry reading. I would like to recommend two charities above others for those involved in disability and illness.
Everyone knows about the ‘Wish Foundation’ who has ‘made over 197,000’ kids dreams come true. What most people do NOT know about the ‘Make a Wish Foundation’ is of the just under $35 million in expenses, how much was spent on ‘wishes’ - $232,694 out of $35 million. Of the various organizations who rate charities, like ‘Best Independent Charity’ or ‘Charity Navigator’, Make a wish does not get 5 stars or 4 stars. Charity Navigator has a rating out of 70 at the top (and of the top 10 charities, six are food banks!), and Dream Factory rates about 67 and Dream Foundation rates at 64-65. ‘Make a Wish’ is about 50.
Why Does it matter?
Okay, here is a really quick guide to WAY too much reading. In none profit charities, particularly those for disabilities/illness, the important ratings are ‘how many people are being employed’, ‘how much of the money is going to the program’, ‘how big are the salaries’ and ‘what is the privacy agreement.’
So ‘Doctor’s without Borders’ takes in about $149 million of which all but a million are spent on programs, no one is employed and the director takes a minimal salary. That is a GOOD charity. On the opposite there is ‘Handicapped Village’ (I shit you not) who recently changed their name to ‘Village Northwest Unlimited’. The BBB (who gets the tax info on charities) notes that ‘Village’ employs 360 people PLUS a CEO who makes $122K+ (that is actually low for charity CEO’s). The problem is that this ‘village’ in Iowa boasts that in the last 35 years it has helped a grand total of….180 people with disabilities (varying). 360 people employed annually for helping 180 people over 35 years….that is one not so great charity.
Now, just going to a single cancer site will get you 31 sites for charities that supply ‘wishes’ for children who are dying or have a life threatening illness. There is only ONE charity that grants ‘wishes’ to children, who are NOT dying, who have chronic/terminal/degenerative or other illnesses. And that is Dream Factory. It is the second largest wish granting organization in the US, but gets 1/20th the income that ‘Make a Wish Foundation’ Does: Dream Factory gets $2,435,275 of which $2,266,825 goes into the program.
What are the differences?
First, Make a Wish Foundation USA has over 65 chapters, all having a paid manager (then there are the ‘Make a wish’ Overseas organizations. So paid staff is 94. And the Chief Executive, David Williams Makes 336,000+ a year. Amount into wishes: $232,000 – BBB report.
Dream Foundation has 1 branch, it has 4 employees, and Anne Bunger the CEO makes $72,000. BBB report In fact they overspent by $200,000+ last year and dipped into their savings.
Privacy: “Make a wish”, clearly tells you (and you can find out in detail on Charity Naviagtor), that they use your private information to trade, ‘rent’ (aka sell to other charitable organizations) for fundraising. So your name and information on a list is part of your donation, because that data will be sent, traded (10,000 contributors from them for 10,000 contributors from another charity), and sold to fundraise for ‘Make a Wish’. ‘Dream Factory’ on the other hand: “The Dream Factory will not sell, rent, or lease your personal information to other organizations. We assure you that the identity of all our donors will be kept confidential.” – they just don’t do that.
So, if you want to help kids who are ill get a wish, kids who have chronic conditions, then I recommend Dream Factory.
Due to visiting Gramps and the squirrels today, some of the ODD charities from previous research came to mind. Which is that in 1999, due to pressure, Make a Wish Foundation no longer funded hunting for children (nor would it buy them guns, those darn unchristian, anti-constitution charities!). This immediately created two foundations, Hunt of a Lifetime, which provides a hunt for children with less than year to live and the odd Christian charity, Catch a Dream which does the same bringing dying children, guns, and headshots together in the Master Weaver's plan of the Lord's Beauty (if you think I am being sarcastic, I am quoting the website). If you go to Catch a Dream, I recommend taking some sort of mind altering substance first because it sounds like fishing, right? Wrong. In fact, if you go to ‘What we are about’ page you get a nifty song played for you about the joys of tweens killing: “ever see a white tail (deer) running in the wild../Lord, it make you grin,…/‘ever seen a child’s smile/(when it) takes a white tail in the wild’/Ever seen its (the child’s) eye have that gleam?’..
Plus the motto: “....these children need to know that hope does, indeed, exist.”
They have provided hunting for children in over 40 states with their hunting sponsored ‘teams’, from moose, wild turkey and I guess you could apply for bear, or now even wild wolves. Beyond that, the co-sponsor, Durey, offers ‘best kills’ videos of each ‘season’ from the ‘Catch a Dream’ requests being fulfilled. It just got a little too odd for me. I mean, regardless of how one feels about the death penalty, should there be a charity to help dying children push the switch to execute criminals, then? Or maybe, there just is stuff that dying children shouldn’t be doing since, if you come from a hunting family, and you want to emulate your Dad or Mom, they will have guns and no one will stop you getting a license and hunting with them. I guess I can’t see the need to commercialize it into a TV season and DVD sets much less pay to ENSURE the kill (that isn’t hunting then is it?).
Let’s get away from that to the first, the largest and one of the VERY few organizations to ‘fulfill dreams’ for ADULTS who are terminally ill (including hospice admittance): Dream Foundation. Because dying sucks at any age, and if you are 19 or 23, or 30 or 50 you might have wishes too. ‘Because adults have dreams too.’ Serving all 50 states out of one office, founded in 1994, while Make a Wish is almost at 200,000 the Dream Foundation is trying to reach 10,000 fulfilled dreams. The Dream Foundation works with 19 year olds to 70+ year olds, they realize that at the end of a long term illness, medical costs make it very difficult for even relatives to come and visit at the end, or children to go out with a sick parent. “Dream Foundation operates on a small cash budget and relies heavily on non-cash contributions. 75% of dreams granted benefit in some way from in-kind, non-cash donations, including frequent flier miles, hotel rooms, restaurant meals, etc.”
The most common ‘dream’ is to see someone. To not be alone. And so under ‘ways to help’ donating airline miles and other point schemes make a difference, along with non-running vehicles (which you can then tax deduct!). I know the difference because someone donated a bunch of loyalty points to Linda from a pharmacy, and with those she was able to get almost two months worth of the over the counter medicines I have to take. It made a really big difference for us. I was the recipient of a hotel room in the same way. Without it, a trip wouldn’t have happened. I don’t know how to repay that quality of life improvement than to be grateful and try to pass it on.
I just thought that you would like to know about two charity programs where you could make a difference and not have it cost you anything at all. Like we say in macabre humor, if only ambulances had frequent flier miles.
Oh, and last weekend, 36 postcards, I am slowly making my way though the list, as fast as I can, okay.
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