Filed under: Current Events

Give Hope & Joy this Holiday Season!

Leave a Comment November 20, 2013

By contributing writer Amanda Howard, and Brad Jamison, contributing writer and founder of Good Citizen

Christmas time is often called “the most wonderful time of the year” and I couldn’t agree more. I LOVE Christmas – the traditions, time with family and friends, gift giving, cooking, eating, singing holiday favorites, church on Christmas Eve and more.

Now, there is another side of this time of year that has gotten a bit out of control – the commercial side. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to the commercial side of the holidays. I love giving gifts to those I love – I get a thrill out of finding just the right thing, big or small, and presenting it to them. But, I do think it has gone too far, as the hope and joy seem to have been replaced by greed and selfishness.


Give Wisely This Season of Giving!

Leave a Comment November 20, 2013

GreatNonprofits Publishes 2013 Top-Rated Charity List

This Season of Giving when most Americans donate and volunteer for nonprofits, GreatNonprofits, the largest nonprofit review site (like a Yelp for Nonprofits) announces the 2013 GreatNonprofits Top-Rated List.  Over 1,400 nonprofits ranging from national nonprofits to local nonprofits are on the list.  In 2013, an expected $375 billion[1] is expected to be donated to nonprofits.  The Top-Rated List of nonprofits helps donors find worthy charities. (more…)

Help Victims of Typhoon Haiyan

Leave a Comment November 12, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan has left millions of families and children in need in the Philippines. As many as 2.5 million people require assistance. (more…)

Raising a Compassionate Child In the Age of Entitlement

Leave a Comment August 23, 2013

You can also read this article here on LinkedIn!

Imagine this: your seventeen-year-old daughter is texting her friend on her flip phone. She’s had this phone since eighth grade and she doesn’t mind; she can call, she can text and that’s fine by her.

A pack of cool girls in her class walks by. They’re all on their iPhones, checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They look over at your daughter’s old phone. “What is that,” one of them snorts, “a dumbphone?”

In this era of “entitlement” when adolescents are given more privileges than ever, empathy with people who are different or who don’t have the same material resources, are at an all time low. According to researchers, entitled children often seek only their own pleasure, and forget about other people’s feelings. They don’t empathize that not everyone grows up with Retina Display. (By the way, that was an actual exchange between kids in a high school in California this year.)

Most parents don’t intend to spoil their kids. Well-meaning parents take their kids to piano classes, take them to museums in Europe and buy them cell phones, not with the intent to spoil, but to give them a solidly well-rounded and well-provided-for childhood. But one unintended consequence is that their child may grow up into a selfish and narcissistic adolescent.

How do you make sure that your child stays humble, responsible, and empathetic?

The secrets to raising a compassionate, responsible child are surprisingly simple, according to researchers.

Top 5 Ways To Raise A Compassionate Kid:

1. Assign your kids chores. When your kids are young, start by assigning chores early on, so they understand the concept of each family member taking on a specific job for the wellbeing of the entire family. Studies show that this is one of the best ways to encourage compassion and prosocial behavior. Older kids can babysit younger siblings or other kids in the neighborhood. Older boys can be particularly good babysitters and develop a caring relationship with younger boys.

2. Praise them not just about their act, but their internal motivation. When you see your child doing a good deed, make sure you recognize her actions – but go a step further and attribute these actions to her “internal disposition” (e.g. “Wow, Julie, thanks for helping your brother with his homework! You’re such a kind and caring person.”) When your kids hear about how their actions reflect their inner good nature, rather than just hearing about how good the deed itself was, this fosters a prosocial self image that results in more empathetic actions.

3. Reward not for rare goodness, but for consistent behaviors. Children are continuously learning, so don’t reward them after just one instance of a good behavior; wait until they’ve shown it multiple times, when it’s starting to become more of a habit. Make sure your child understands that their behavior has consequences; consistent mature, responsible behavior will elicit praise or rewards while continued irresponsible behavior results in loss of rewards. Don’t reward too often – by only calling attention to your child’s exceptional behavior, this sets the social responsibility expectation higher for them. Rewarding them for every small, already-expected action causes them to lower their own expectations of what constitutes good behavior.

4. Encourage open expression of emotions in your family. Many families find it difficult to openly air out negative emotions, but talk it through with your child when she comes home upset or sad. Children who are more tuned in to emotions from an early age often end up more empathetic and are more likely to understand and consider others’ feelings, rather than taking them for granted. Growing up in a tight-knit family provides a conducive atmosphere for children to openly express their feelings; encourage this by spending more time with your kids.

5. Volunteer. In general, researchers have found volunteering is associated with increases in adolescents’ self-esteem and self-acceptance, moral development, and belief in one’s personal responsibility to help. Volunteering often brings a new dimension to the world through children’s eyes; it helps them grasp that not everyone has the same privileges they do and makes them more empathetic.

Empathy and compassion take years to develop. The one caveat is not to force your child against her will. If she doesn’t want to go to the food pantry this weekend to help stock food, don’t yell at her and push her into going; she may associate negative emotion with volunteering, according to studies.

One final tip: go home from work today and tell your kid you love him or her. It doesn’t matter if they’re seven or if they’re seventeen. Just one little phrase can remind them of how much love and compassion they have – and in turn, allow them to spread that love and compassion to others.

Follow Perla Ni, GreatNonprofits founder and CEO, on LinkedIn!



Immigration Reform Bill Provides New Hope and Victory for Nonprofits

Leave a Comment June 28, 2013

In the wake of the 68-32 vote that passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act through the Senate, immigration advocacy groups, activists, and immigrants alike are celebrating this new milestone in the path towards securing a better future for millions of people who are hindered by their lack of documentation.

Congratulations and thank you to the following Top-Rated nonprofits who have worked towards improving the lives of thousands of immigrants in America! These organizations have aided immigrants in need throughout the years, either by offering English and literacy tutoring, providing financial and job assistance, or fighting for passage of this reform bill. We are awed by their courage and selflessness in providing essential services for people who otherwise would not have been able achieve their dreams in the U.S.

Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Top-Rated Nonprofit 2012

LALDEF provides community photo ID cards for both documented and undocumented residents so that they can access emergency and other services regardless of their legal status. The organization also organizes local health fairs, free attorney services, and newsletters that provide information about job and scholarship opportunities.

“LALDEF is making a difference in the community by helping immigrants better assimulate and advance themselves in education, health, work and civic participation. This organization succeeds because of the strong group of volunteers and dedicated leaders who give tirelessly and with pride.”


Boston Marathon Bombings: Who to Give to

Leave a Comment April 24, 2013












A week after the Boston Marathon explosions, our thoughts remain with those who were affected by the bombing. We are awed and inspired by the heroic acts of the first responders and civilians who helped. The bombs left three dead and 282 injured. Are you looking to help out with a donation but don’t know where to give? These organizations are accepting donations for victims.


Newtown School Shootings at Sandy Hook – Can Nonprofits Help Prevent Such Tragedies?

Comments (12) December 18, 2012

The Newtown School Shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut were a painful reminder that we have a horrible recurring problem of mass shootings in this country. At schools alone, we have a string of recent events, with this CT shooting bringing back memories of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and Columbine High School shooting in 1999. State and Federal gun control laws certainly can have a role in helping prevent such massacres, and President Obama calls for “meaningful action,” but passing new gun control laws will be time-consuming. And many groups, like the NRA are opposed to new gun control laws. Can nonprofits be a meaningful near-term solution to help prevent such shootings in the future?

Gun buy backs can get a lot of guns off the street. ©Antonio Villaraigosa on flickr

City gun buyback ©Antonio Villaraigosa on flickr

While we do not yet know the full details of how the killer acquired his guns, studies show that a “large source of guns used in crimes are unlicensed street dealers” and those dealers do not do background checks that would reveal prior records or mental health concerns. Thus, nonprofits raise money and perform gun buybacks to get guns that might otherwise be sold at gun shows or at flea markets off the street. Just one day after the tragedy, …Continue reading Newtown, School Shootings — Can Nonprofits Help Prevent Shootings?

2012 Election Obama Victory Speech Video, Transcript – Calls for Charity, Duty, Unity

Leave a Comment November 7, 2012

Barack Obama speech during the 2012 Presidential Election campaign

Barack Obama delivering his 2012 speech. ©ljlphotography

The 2012 Presidential Election has come to a close. Last night, President Obama delivered a powerful victory speech with some memorable lines, and beyond the usual thanks and personal stories from his campaigning, he had a call to action to the entire country. Text highlights from Barack Obama’s victory speech transcript (video below):

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self- government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared — that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.

…Continue reading 2012 Election Obama Victory Speech & Transcript

Top 10 Soup Kitchens to Volunteer For

Comments (3) October 18, 2012

Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan recently got himself in hot water for “volunteering” at St.Vincent De Paul Society. Ryan may not have understood the true essence of volunteering at a soup kitchen, but you can. Below are our Top 10 Soup Kitchens to Volunteer For, according to reviews by volunteers!

Society of St. Andrew

SoSA uses tens of thousands of volunteers to glean farmers’ fields and orchards after harvest for nutritious produce that would otherwise be plowed under or left to rot

GNP users say – “SOSA is one of the best charities that we, as a family have volunteered in. The organizers are extremely personable and down to earth people. Children are not only accommodated but their participation is valued. Its so wonderful to be out there in an orchard or farm connecting to nature and you’re benefiting the hungry in the process.”

Northern Illinois Food Bank

Northern Illinois Food Bank aims to create a hunger-free northern Illinois by providing nutritious food to all those in need

GNP users say – “It is a privilege to help out at a food bank where the staff is setting the trends that other food banks follow. I always look forward to my next visit.”

Lombard Central Presbyterian Church Soup Kitchen

The soup kitchen provides food for those who are in need and also empowers them through partnerships with other community and social agencies

GNP users say – “This is a great service to the persons in need of the West Philadelphia area. They not only offer food, but medical information and limited screening, a warm place to be and even kinder individuals to staff it”


WhyHunger connects people to nutritious, affordable food while inspiring self-reliance and community empowerment

GNP users say – “This was a great learning experience, I was able to gain a better understanding how WHY connect grassroot groups all over the United States in order to efficiently counter hunger as well as poverty issues”

Center for Food Action

The Center for Food Action provides emergency food, housing, heating, and utility assistance to low-income people in northern New Jersey.

GNP users say – “I have volunteered at the Center all my life and have only the greatest respect for this charity. Their events are well planned and I especially enjoyed helping out at Christmas which is always well run. The Gala is an event I look forward to all year and am always happy with the party. The Center has found a way to remain relevant in a declining donating world and the work they do is remarkable”

Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

The soup kitchen provides a hot meal to over 1,200 New Yorkers in need every day while counseling staff also work with guests to connect them with benefits, housing and job interviews.

GNP users say – “This soup kitchen feeds the hungry day in day out year after year–feeds them body and soul, including drumming circles and a writing workshop. It is a place where those who happen to need a square meal are treated with respect for their dignity and with authentic compassion”

East End Cooperative Ministry

The Ministry helps individuals and families throughout the East End community, helping people through some of the most difficult times they’ll ever experience.
GNP users say – “I find it truly rewarding to be able to volunteer and get to know the people that I help when I volunteer 3 days a week. I volunteer with a dedicated group of people that thoroughly enjoy providing 2 meals per day to our homebound Meals on Wheels clients, a hot lunch for our Soup Kitchen patrons and emergency groceries for our Food Pantry guest.”


SoupMobile  is a non-profit mobile soup kitchen dedicated to feeding the homeless in the Dallas area.

GNP users say – “The SoupMobile is the most rewarding volunteering I have ever done. The best part is being right there with the homeless to hug them, talk with them, and just simply love them. I have learned so much by serving the homeless. Their boundless faith leaves me humbled. I am so grateful to David Timothy, a.k.a. SoupMan, for this amazing opportunity”

Food Bank of Central New York

The Food Bank of Central New York is a not-for-profit organization working to eliminate hunger through food distribution, education and advocacy in cooperation with the community.

GNP users say – “The Food Bank of Central New York is an incredible place. They took the idea of a food bank and made it so much more – not just handing out bags of food to local families in need (although they still do that, too). They coordinate large donations from local stores and businesses. They ship food    to hundreds of food pantries, food banks, soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers, and emergency organizations throughout New York State. They have educational programs that teach people about nutrition, growing their own food, and give them the seeds and materials they need to keep going.”


The Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) responds to the needs of hungry people in the Trenton area by providing meals to all those who are hungry, providing services to encourage self-sufficiency and improve quality of life, informing the wider community of the needs of the hungry and advocating for resources to meet these needs.
GNP users say -  “I first became involved with TASK three years ago and have supported them throughout the years with food and clothing donations and have adopted families for the Christmas holidays. TASK is a wonderful organization. The people that work there, whether it be in the kitchen serving food, the social workers, or the Adult Education volunteers are all extremely dedicated and caring individuals.”



Top 5 Volunteer Opportunities in Pittsburgh

Leave a Comment September 12, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great Pittsburgh non-profit? Whether you’re new to Pittsburgh and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Pittsburgh charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Pittsburgh non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

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