tagged w/ Generosity
-- an accumulation of statistics that indicate that atheists are the most compassionate and benevolent.-- an accumulation of statistics that indicate that atheists are the most... more
Kmart store manager Ted Straub talks Thursday Dec 15, 2011 in his Omaha, Neb store. Dozens of Kmart customers across the country have had their layaways paid off by strangers. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children.
He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.
"She told him, 'No, I'm paying for it,'" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn't, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."
At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents.
Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.
"She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband.
Deppe, who said she's worked in retail for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.
"It was like an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store," she said.
Most of the donors have done their giving secretly.
Dona Bremser, an Omaha nurse, was at work when a Kmart employee called to tell her that someone had paid off the $70 balance of her layaway account, which held nearly $200 in toys for her 4-year-old son.
"I was speechless," Bremser said. "It made me believe in Christmas again."
Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana.
The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store's system.
The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said.
"It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year," said Salima Yala, Kmart's division vice president for layaway.
The good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, though a Wal-Mart spokesman said a few of his stores in Joplin, Mo., and Chicago have also seen some layaway accounts paid off.
Kmart representatives say they did nothing to instigate the secret Santas or spread word of the generosity. But it's happening as the company struggles to compete with chains such as Wal-Mart and Target.
Kmart may be the focus of layaway generosity, Yala said, because it is one of the few large discount stores that has offered layaway year-round for about four decades. Under the program, customers can make purchases but let the store hold onto their merchandise as they pay it off slowly over several weeks.
The sad memories of layaways lost prompted at least one good Samaritan to pay off the accounts of five people at an Omaha Kmart, said Karl Graff, the store's assistant manager.
"She told me that when she was younger, her mom used to set up things on layaway at Kmart, but they rarely were able to pay them off because they just didn't have the money for it," Graff said.
He called a woman who had been helped, "and she broke down in tears on the phone with me. She wasn't sure she was going to be able to pay off their layaway and was afraid their kids weren't going to have anything for Christmas."
"You know, 50 bucks may not sound like a lot, but I tell you what, at the right time, it may as well be a million dollars for some people," Graff said.
Graff's store alone has seen about a dozen layaway accounts paid off in the last 10 days, with the donors paying $50 to $250 on each account.
"To be honest, in retail, it's easy to get cynical about the holidays, because you're kind of grinding it out when everybody else is having family time," Graff said. "It's really encouraging to see this side of Christmas again."
Lori Stearnes of Omaha also benefited from the generosity of a stranger who paid all but $58 of her $250 layaway bill for toys for her four youngest grandchildren.
Stearnes said she and her husband live paycheck to paycheck, but she plans to use the money she was saving for the toys to help pay for someone else's layaway.
In Missoula, Mont., a man spent more than $1,200 to pay down the balances of six customers whose layaway orders were about to be returned to a Kmart store's inventory because of late payments.
Store employees reached one beneficiary on her cellphone at Seattle Children's Hospital, where her son was being treated for an undisclosed illness.
"She was yelling at the nurses, 'We're going to have Christmas after all!'" store manager Josine Murrin said.
A Kmart in Plainfield Township, Mich., called Roberta Carter last week to let her know a man had paid all but 40 cents of her $60 layaway.
Carter, a mother of eight from Grand Rapids, Mich., said she cried upon hearing the news. She and her family have been struggling as she seeks a full-time job.
"My kids will have clothes for Christmas," she said.
Angie Torres, a stay-at-home mother of four children under the age of 8, was in the Indianapolis Kmart on Tuesday to make a payment on her layaway bill when she learned the woman next to her was paying off her account.
"I started to cry. I couldn't believe it," said Torres, who doubted she would have been able to pay off the balance. "I was in disbelief. I hugged her and gave her a kiss."
Associated Press writers Michael J. Crumb in Des Moines, Iowa; Matt Volz, in Helena, Mont.; and Jeff Karoub in Detroit contributed to this report.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/anonymous-donors-pay-off-kmart-222535611.htmlKmart store manager Ted Straub talks Thursday Dec 15, 2011 in his Omaha, Neb store.... more
SOS Outreach, a youth non-profit organization in Colorado, will give about 500 kids a chance to ride at six resorts in Colorado this weekend, including Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin. The program is designed to introduce kids to snow sports who may never have had a chance to get involved:
More Than 500 Kids Will Hit the Mountains This Weekend
December 10, 2009 (DENVER, CO) — The nation’s largest youth winter sports nonprofit entered its 16th season of service in Colorado. This weekend, more than 500 students in Colorado will hit the slopes at half a dozen ski resorts courtesy of SOS Outreach.
The students will pick up tips from professional instructors to enhance their on-hill experience, but SOS Outreach founder and executive director Arn Menconi said participants will become involved in much more.
“Our aim is to give an experience of a lifetime to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity,” he said. “At the same time, we use the ‘cool’ factor of snowboarding and skiing as a hook for a multi-year core value curriculum that inspires the students to become more involved in the community by giving back.”
SOS Outreach Global Program Director Jon Garrou said public service was a primary emphasis of the organization for not only the staff and student participants, but the broader community.
“Something happens when people see kids doing something to improve their community, and they want to support that,” he said, adding that last year about 750 adults pitched in with on-hill programs as well as service projects initiated by multi-year students. “Snowboarding may have been what brought everyone together, but it’s become something much larger and more meaningful.”
In all, SOS Outreach partners with 39 mountain resorts across nine states, Canada and New Zealand. Menconi said without the steady support of Vail Resorts, the organization would not have been able to expand.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said the company was more than happy to partner with SOS Outreach.
“Working with SOS Outreach, we are able to give the experience of a lifetime to kids who may not have the opportunity,” Katz said. “SOS has taken the time to understand the best way to reach kids, and with the excitement of their first chair lift ride or their first turn, each of the SOS kids is an inspiration to every one of our employees who work with them. We hope the experience makes as big a positive impact on their lives as it has on ours.”
This year, 3,000 youth will enroll in winter sports programs with SOS Outreach, half of whom live in the Denver area. SOS Outreach will serve another 1,200 students in outdoor sports programs during the summer months, for a total of 20,000 participant days across its programs.
To learn more... contact Information
Arn Menconi, Executive Director: 970.390.4844
Jon Garrou, Global Programs Director: 303.332.7347
Nathan Rodriguez, Community Relations Manager: 303.548.4746
http://www.sosoutreach.orgSOS Outreach, a youth non-profit organization in Colorado, will give about 500 kids a... more
Obama has supported the Expansion of Programs for Service and volunteer programs focused on education.
If you're thinking about supporting SOS Outreach's youth development programs then now is the time, their fundraiser ends on April first! They are very close to their goal. Your donation will help put them on track to support 5,000 kids at over 40 ski resorts nationwide this year.Obama has supported the Expansion of Programs for Service and volunteer programs... more
GENERATION G "Captures the growing importance of 'generosity' as a leading societal and business mindset. As consumers are disgusted with greed and its current dire consequences for the economy—and while that same upheaval has them longing more than ever for institutions that care—the need for more generosity beautifully coincides with the ongoing (and pre-recession) emergence of an online-fueled culture of individuals who share, give, engage, create and collaborate in large numbers.
In fact, for many, sharing a passion and receiving recognition have replaced 'taking' as the new status symbol. Businesses should follow this societal/behavioral shift, however much it may oppose their decades-old devotion to me, myself and I.”GENERATION G "Captures the growing importance of 'generosity' as a... more
This looks like an awesome cause for this time of year...
"SOS Outreach was founded in 1993 in Colorado’s Vail Valley. As a not-for-profit organization, their programs build character and self-esteem in youth through snowsports and the SOS curriculum."
http://www.sosoutreach.org/This looks like an awesome cause for this time of year...
"SOS Outreach was... more
The top 10 are: Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates, George Kaiser, George Soros, William Barron Hilton, Walton Family, Herbert and Marion Sandler, Peter Peterson, Donald Bren, Michael Bloomberg
"Many of America's ultra-rich continued to give big donations to charity in 2008, despite the worst financial crisis in decades. In the past year, seven philanthropists gave north of $200 million and nine gave more than $100 million to causes ranging from wilderness preservation to fighting malaria. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates remain far and away the biggest givers overall, but two of 12 newcomers to the list pledged to give more than $1 billion away: William Barron Hilton, co-chairman of the Hilton hotel chain who pledged late last year to give away 97% of his wealth -- some $1.7 billion -- to his family's humanitarian foundation and Peter G. Peterson, co-founder of the investment firm Blackstone Group, who gave $1 billion this year to establish a foundation that promotes fiscal responsibility. Read their stories -- and those of the 48 other philanthropists on BusinessWeek's list -- here.
1. Warren Buffett
Berkshire Hathaway CEO
2004-08 Giving* $40,655 million
Buffett's $31 billion commitment to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced in June 2006, resonated throughout the philanthropic community. The giving is aimed at funding education and global health initiatives. This year the commitment to the Gates Foundation still resonates, inspiring other donors with a new model of philanthropy. Buffett, the world's second-richest man, also earmarked billions for the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation -- independent family foundations that support causes ranging from reproductive health to worldwide conservation.
Continued at link above or link here. http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/11/1124_biggest_givers/index.htm?campaign_id=yahooThe top 10 are: Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates, George Kaiser, George Soros,... more
It sounds like a movie script, but it's not....
Dr. Prasher's work in gene research was cut short when his funding by the American Cancer Society ran out.
He could have kept his work to himself. Instead, he mailed a couple of test tubes to Roger Tsien at the University of California and Martin Chalfie at Columbia University.
"It was more important to me to hand over the tool to other scientists with the funding than to have individual glory," Prasher told London's Daily Mail.
His initial work led to the research that allowed Chalfie and Tsien to win the Nobel prize for chemistry. They'll share $1.5 million.
Dr. Prasher drives a shuttle bus for $8/hour.It sounds like a movie script, but it's not....
Dr. Prasher's work in... more
Paul Newman didn't seek publicity for it but he once helped an OC charity give $10,000 to an orphanage in Baja. And nobody asked him to do it.Paul Newman didn't seek publicity for it but he once helped an OC charity give... more
Mary was a newlywed and ready to move to Norway, but was stopped at the airport because she didn’t have enough money for the trip. Then a stranger turned up and paid for her.
Mary Menth Andersen was 31 years old at the time and had just married Norwegian Dag Andersen. She was looking forward to starting a new life in Åsgårdstrand in Vestfold with him. But first she had to get all of her belongings across to Norway. The date was November 2nd, 1988.
At the airport in Miami things were hectic as usual, with long lines at the check-in counters. When it was finally Mary’s turn and she had placed her luggage on the baggage line, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.
-You’ll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway, the man behind the counter said.
Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.
-I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions, says Mary.
Although she explained the situation to the man behind the counter, he showed no signs of mercy.
-I started to cry, tears were pouring down my face and I had no idea what to do. Then I heard a gentle and friendly voice behind me saying, That’s OK, I’ll pay for her.
Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.
-He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?
Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man.
-He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.
She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.
The piece of paper said ‘Barack Obama’ and his address in Kansas, which is the state where his mother comes from. Mary carried the slip of paper around in her wallet for years, before it was thrown out.
-He was my knight in shining armor, says Mary, smiling.
She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker* in Chicago, and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university.
In the spring of 2006 Mary’s parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.
In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped ‘United States Senate, Washington DC’, Barack Obama writes**:
‘I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I’m happy I could help back then, and I’m delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States senator’.
The parents sent the letter on to Mary.
Mary was a newlywed and ready to move to Norway, but was stopped at the airport... more
Lee Myung-Bak pledged to donate his entire salary during his five-year-term to the underprivileged. He already has a massive fortune from his previous job as CEO of an engineering and construction company. So instead of just getting richer, he's promised to put his money where his mouth is.
He said, "I promised to spend my whole salary earned as a public official on public welfare.... My plan to donate the presidential salary to the underprivileged is an extension of that promise."
Talk about taking care of your people. Lee Myung-Bak pledged to donate his entire salary during his five-year-term to the... more
For nearly a quarter century, Larry Stewart wandered the streets of Kansas City spreading holiday cheer. Stewart quietly gave out more than $1.3 million to people in laundromats, diners, bus stations, shelters and thrift stores, saying it was his way of giving back at Christmas for all the wealth and generosity he had received in his lifetime.
Sadly, Larry passed away this year, but his legacy lives on all over the world.For nearly a quarter century, Larry Stewart wandered the streets of Kansas City... more