Every May since 2005, our school has held an annual Jog-A-Thon to raise money for a charitable organization that inspired us to help people in need. Originally created by long time parent and former director Stacey Constantian, we have continued this tradition. The type of special charitable organization that we look for is one that contributes the monies donated to directly benefit the recipients and not to promote the organization itself. Surprisingly, most charities use 50% or more of their earnings for things other than supporting their cause. The charities listed below are the ones that we have donated to over the past 10 years.
One Heart for Hope
One Heart for Hope’s goal is to not only provide impoverished children the basic necessities of life such as clothing and shelter, but to restore their sense of self-worth, reveal their capacity to believe, and to realize all our children's abilities to transform their hopes into reality. The Foundation has served over 23,000 street, underprivileged and special-needs children and families through education; feeding programs; medical, dental and vision missions since its inception. One Heart for Hope is operated by dedicated team of volunteers who coordinate all activities from the United States and has over 90 volunteers in the Philippines fulfilling its mission. We learned about One Heart for Hope through the local community who are involved in the project. We feel it has similar views on children as the Montessori Philosophy. In 2011 we raised over $14,000. http://www.oneheartforhope.org/.
Kiva a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Using a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, they help individuals get their lives to a better place where they have a chance for financial independence. Their website tells the stories of many individuals who, through their organization, have a chance of success. In 2010 we donated approximately $10,000 to this non-profit. http://www.kiva.org/.
In 2009 we raised over $15,000 donated to the organization called charity:water. They are a non-profit bringing safe, clean drinking water to developing nations. The unique aspect of the organization that we love is 100% of public donations are used to directly fund water projects in developing countries. They use corporate and private sponsors and organizational fundraisers to fuel the organizations inner workings. Explore charity:water here http://www.charitywater.org/.
Free Wheelchair Mission
One of our favorite Jog-A-Thon charities was the Free Wheelchair Mission. A local organization developed by a friend of Sarah Smith (Head of School), Don Schoendorfer. We loved the immediacy of the project and had a sample wheelchair here at school during the pledge period. The students could see what we were raising money for. A mechanical engineer and inventor by trade, Don was a Columbia University graduate with a Ph.D. from MIT, working in the biomedical field and responsible for a string of over 50 U.S. patents. After his experience in Morocco, when he witnessed the plight of a disabled woman struggling to drag herself across a dirt road, Don began researching the global dilemma of disability in developing countries; soon thereafter, he started tinkering in the basement, developed a durable, safe, inexpensive wheelchair, and eventually walked away from a successful career to found the nonprofit organization Free Wheelchair Mission. Our pledges purchased over 100 wheelchairs for people in need across the globe. Check out their website http://www.freewheelchairmission.org.
Freedom from Hunger
Freedom from Hunger brings innovative and sustainable self-help solutions to the fight against chronic hunger and poverty. Together with local partners, they equip families with resources they need to build futures of health, hope and dignity. They are a nonprofit charity. In 2007, they were introducing micro-financing to impoverished groups. Microfinance provides credit and saving services that are affordable, flexible and reliable enough to allow the very poor to reduce the day-to-day uncertainties of cash management, to save money over time, and to borrow for vital needs and opportunities, such as starting or growing a tiny business to earn more money. Our 2007 Jog-A-Thon raised almost $12,000 that we donated to Freedom from Hunger. Learn more here http://www.freedomfromhunger.org/.
Seeds of Light
In 2006 we raised over $13,000 for an organization called Seeds of Light. They do charity work in South Africa. The funds we raised went to rebuilding the Funjwa Primary School in Acornhoek Village of Mpumalanga Province. At that time this small school in rural South Africa was in desperate need of support. There are other interesting projects discussed here www.seedsoflight.org/.
Our first Jog-A-Thon in 2005 was our most successful. Many parents participated in the event and solicited donations from friends, family and community. We raised a total of over $20,000. PlayPumps International produced low-tech, low-maintenance water pumps powered by children playing. As children spin on a PlayPumps merry-go-round, clean water rises from the ground source into a storage tank. The holding tank protects the water supply from animals and other contaminants. It uses gravity for distribution to drinking faucets and irrigation systems. Each pump supported up to 2,000 people in rural African communities and schools. Socially responsible advertising and public health messages on water towers provide funds to pay for African maintenance crews who kept pumps running for 10+ years. PlayPumps is no longer intact but there is more information about how they have since evolved here www.waterforpeople.org.