O is for Opportunities

OK, I am a sucker for good causes:
BlogCatalog and Heifer International are partnering to call for the end of world hunger and start of hope on April 29. All we ask is that you join thousands of other bloggers and write a post about world hunger on April 29.
You Can Make a Difference.

I am posting this a day early in case others want to join in.

* Right now, more than 500 million people are living in “absolute poverty” and more than 15 million children die of hunger every year.
* World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the population is underfed and another third is starving.
* Even in the United States, 46 percent of African-American children and 49 percent of Latino children are considered chronically hungry.

Organizations like Heifer International are the solution. Every day in April, Heifer International is lifting people out of poverty by providing communities with livestock and agricultural training to improve lives and inspire hope.
What can you do for Bloggers Unite For Hunger And Hope?

* Join this event by visiting Bloggers Unite and adding a badge to your blog before April 29.
* Visit Heifer International to learn more about Pass On The Gift.
*Make a small donation or take some other action to end world hunger.
*Blog about world hunger on April 29 with links to solutions all over the world.

I was stuck for an idea about what different perspective I could bring to the topic, until yesterday, when my American Institute of Philanthropy Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report showed up in the mail. Among other information, the website designates the top-rated charities in a variety of categories. For hunger, they include, with links:
Action Against Hunger – USA A+
Bread for the World B+
Bread for the World Institute A
Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest) A
Food Bank for New York City (formerly Food for Survival) A–
Food for the Hungry B+
Freedom from Hunger A–
Global Hunger Project A
The grades are based on “rigorous analysis. Groups included on the Top-Rated list generally spend 75% or more of their budgets on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, do not hold excessive assets in reserve, and receive ‘open-book’ status for disclosure of basic financial information and documents to AIP.” Knowing this information is extremely helpful, for, in the words of the newsletter, “As the unemployment rate continues to rise and home foreclosures increase, it is more important than ever that those who are able lend a hand to their neighbors who need it.”

I am interested to hear from any of you , especially outside the Unites States, to find out if watchdog groups such as AIP exist elsewhere.
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Also, here’s something I learned about watching Bill Moyers’ Journal on PBS, American public television:

Playing For Change — Songs Around The World CD/DVD in stores now

After 4 years of filming and recording musicians around the globe, we are finally releasing our album “Playing For Change: Songs around the World,” featuring a 10 song CD and 7 track DVD. This is a collection of songs and videos featuring over 100 musicians from around the world that have never met in person, but have been brought together through the power of music.

Today is our chance to show the world that independent projects designed to connect and inspire people can be successful.

The album demonstrates that regardless of our religion, race, gender, or political views we can unite through music. The time is now to unite as a human race and this global collaboration driven by your love and encouragement is designed to lead us in that direction.

The CD/DVD is available online or at that increasingly popular purveyor of music, Starbucks.

ROG