#GivingTuesday is coming. Are you ready?

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The giving season is just around the corner.

And at T4CI, we are helping our projects do more with some tips and a toolkit to kickoff the season on #GivingTuesday, the global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. This year it falls on November 28.

Check out this video to start your own year end giving kickoff:

 

Hey T4CI projects? Want some additional tips, usable samples and how-tos?  Simply click to send us an email to get your exclusive #GivingTuesday toolkit.

Save the koala

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We all know this cuddly bear with its round, furry ears and big nose. They look so cute carrying around their cub in the pouch or on its back. Sadly, the Koalas are an endangered species since most of its habitat is being cleared out.

On September 29, it’s Save the Koala Day where awareness about these furry little creatures is raised so that we can help conserve the Koalas and their homes.

The habitat that Koalas need to survive is increasingly being cleared, and 80 per cent of the Koala’s natural habitat has already been destroyed which have resulted in the extinction of local Koala populations. Only less than 80,000 Koalas are remaining, possibly as few as 43,000. If this rate of decline continues then the Koala is at risk of extinction.

So to spread some love and awareness about these cute, furry animals; Here’s five facts we bet you didn’t know about the koala:

Written by Lærke Vendel Steen, visiting communications and marketing intern from Denmark.

It’s apple season – and for good reason

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Since autumn is finally here, along comes one of our favorite treats: apples.  It’s no wonder we celebrate Johnny Appleseed on September 26th.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt as a good excuse for making yummy apple treats, or maybe a delicious apple pie!

On that day, we applaud the pioneer nurseryman, John Chapman, who spread apple seeds across the young Midwest United States and who we have to thank for apple trees all over America today!

John Chapman was an apple orchardist, traveling the young Mid Atlantic, planting trees on his way – whereas he was given the name Johnny Appleseed. During his travels, he would teach landowners how to establish nurseries of apple trees and how to keep deer and other animals from eating the sprouts. Appleseed was also an animal rights activist and condemned all cruelty towards all living creatures, even insects.

Considered ahead of his time, Johnny Appleseed became an icon of the conservation movement. He is truly an example of how one individual can make a great impact!

One of our projects, Save Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), has become a modern-day Johnny Appleseed.  By planting thousands of trees in the city of New Orleans, they are creating thriving urban forests which have a significant impact on the environmental challenges facing New Orleans.

And just like Johnny Appleseed, SOUL envisions growing and training a workforce of urban farmers who have the potential to play a viable role in green infrastructure. These farms can generate green jobs while also providing food access in marginalized neighborhoods.

But like Johnny Appleseed, remember that you, too, can make a difference. Support our own Johnny Appleseed of New Orleans with a tax-deductible donation to SOUL.

Written by Lærke Vendel Steen, visiting communications and marketing intern from Denmark.

Cute otters to celebration National Sea Otter Awareness Week

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Let’s face it:  sea otters are so cute we really don’t need a week to show our appreciation.

They aren’t just cute, however. The heaviest members of the weasel family, sea otters are also the second smallest marine mammals. Unlike other marine mammals, they do not have a layer of blubber to help them keep warm. Instead, sea otters have the densest fur in the animal kingdom, ranging from 250,000 to a million hairs per square inch, which insulates them.

Sea otters are a keystone species, meaning their role in their environment has a greater effect than other species. As predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of the near-shore kelp ecosystems. Without sea otters, the undersea animals they prey on would devour the kelp forests off the coast that provide cover and food for many other marine animals. Additionally, sea otters indirectly help to reduce levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a prevalent greenhouse gas, as kelp forests play an important role in capturing carbon in coastal ecosystems.

So when their numbers diminished less than 100 years ago for their pelts, there were less than 2,000 on the planet. Today, however, they are making a comeback with just over 106,000 worldwide.

But forget the facts and just dive in with this cute video. (Come on, you know you can’t resist!)

What you can do to help our national public lands

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National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands.  Held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, it’s also a “fee-free day”, meaning your entrance fees are waived at national parks and other public lands.

The United States public lands are the places everyone to use for outdoor recreation, education, and just plain enjoyment.  The lands encompass national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, lakes, and reservoirs, as well as state, county, and city parks that are managed by public agencies, but that belong to and are enjoyed by all Americans.

In 1872, the creation of Yellowstone National Park began a tradition of setting aside some federally managed land for recreation and conservation. Since 1906, under the  Antiquities Act,  US presidents have been protecting areas of unique historic, scenic, or scientific interest from mining, logging, and other development.  Today, more than 30 percent of the United States is public lands.

Yet critics contend that some recently designated sites are too big, too burdensome on nearby communities, and don’t deserve national monument status. In April, President Donald Trump ordered the US Department of the Interior to review more than 25 public land sites created since 1996 to determine whether they should be reduced in size or eliminated altogether.

Trump’s executive order, however, has rekindled a long-simmering debate over how much of America’s public lands should be reserved for recreational and aesthetic purposes — or should they be used for their natural resources and potential jobs.

As the debate rages on, outdoor products companies large and small are coming together to voice concern over US public lands policy. In August, the CEOs of more than 350 American outdoor businesses signed a joint letter urging Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to maintain existing national monuments and to “defend the integrity of the monument-making process.”

Although the outdoor industry is waking up to realize they have a political voice, you have a voice, too. During National Public Lands Day show your support by using this day to visit the lands that give us so much. (And remember on the fourth Saturday of September, your admission to any park is free!) You can also show your support by joining Save Our Outdoors (free as well). When there,  you can change your Facebook profile picture to show your solidarity in saving public lands.

Appreciating – and helping – the elephants

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Favorite animal?  In a recent unscientific poll, most people say elephant.  And no wonder! They are currently the largest land animal and so interesting!

So much so we put together a video with more information on the animal that ‘never forgets.’  (It’s true!  Find out why in this video.)

How much do you know about farm animals?

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September 17-23 is National Farm Animal Awareness Week. From goats to pigs, from cows to horses, and everything in between, we all have a favorite.

And we wondered how much do you know about these important creatures?  Ready to find out?  Take our quiz (and share it too).

How much do you know about farm animals?

Take this farm animal quiz!

Let them take over the kitchen

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“We don’t have any more milk,” says my daughter.  “Let’s go to the store and get some more.”

A girl after my own heart, she loves getting the chance to go to a supermarket or a farmer’s market.  Not to just get milk (which I forgot – again – to buy) but to smell the fresh fruits and vegetables, selecting one, and developing a recipe around it.

From garlic scapes to lychees, from kohlrabi to loquat,  an adventure awaits for the daring. We focus on learning where things are grown and how to make delicious, healthy meals.

Studies show this type of ‘farm-to-table’ kids cooking fosters enthusiasm around fresh fruits and vegetables and empowers children to make healthier choices that are often better for the environment.

Since September 13th is Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day, why not use the day to help kids you love to learn more about the foods they eat? Here are some tips:

  • Slow down. Teaching takes longer than just doing it yourself. Add time so that no one gets the ‘hangries’ because dinner ended up late.
  • Really let them cook. Of course we need to make sure young kids aren’t handling sharp knives or the hot oven, but really let your kids get their hands dirty and not just stir ingredients in a bowl. Let them crack eggs (just be ready to scoop out shells), pour and measure out ingredients, and chop or cut when age appropriate.
  • Be ready for the mess. Your kitchen will probably get messy and your kids will probably be even messier. So expect the mess, don’t get angry about it, and teach your kids to clean as they cook.
  • Teach them how to read a recipe. From ingredients, prep work, to putting it all together, talk to your kids about the recipe so they know what step is coming up and how all of the steps come together to make the meal.  It’s also a great time to discuss where food really comes from.

Speaking about where food comes from, have you heard about the Grazing at the Kitchen Table event from our project Kitchen Table Advisors on October 5?  Find out more about this delicious evening that celebrates sustainable farms, ranches, and the community who supports them.  Go to https://www.grazeandgive.org 

In the photo above: Sophia and Lyra Cherry, daughters of T4CI’s Director of Communications and Outreach, Shannon Cherry.

T4CI adds new senior advisor for fundraising and development

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T4CI is proud to welcome Alice Ng as our Senior Advisor for Fundraising and Development. Hailing from New York city, Alice brings over 16 years of experience in the nonprofit sector with hands-on multi-faceted experience in fundraising and development. In this role, Alice will advise and coach our program teams on fundraising and development best practices in areas such as annual giving campaigns, membership development, major donor cultivation and stewardship, foundation support, corporate sponsorship, and fundraising events.

Most recently, Alice served as the Development Director for the Coral Reef Alliance, where she was responsible for the long-term fundraising strategy based on the organization’s theory of change. In this role, she  worked closely with the Program and Communications teams to direct the design of a 10-year $20 million capital campaign strategy, planned and executed the organization’s annual gala, managed the stewardship and major donor recognition program for prominent constituents, and directed the messaging for all direct mail appeals.  She also performed the first-ever analysis donor segmentation of the donor database to better identify untapped giving opportunities and refine approach strategies.

From 2006-2014, Alice served first the United States Director for Animals Asia Foundation, where she supervised the North American operations including strategic planning and growth and development of the organization and then as Development Director where she managed all fundraising efforts across North America. During her tenure, she created and implemented a major gifts program including bequest/legacy giving and donor recognition programs, stewarded all major donor relationships including securing high-level six-figure gifts, oversaw foundation proposals and reporting, and led donor trips to field projects in China and Vietnam.

From 2002-2006, Alice served as Co-founder and Co-director of Animal Balance, a global nonprofit focused on the development and implementation of 100% humane animal population control strategies for dogs and cats on the islands of Galapagos, Dominican Republic, Samoa, Cuba, Cape Verde, Bahamas and Hawaii. Alice is a current member of the Board of Directors and continues to support the growth and expansion of the organization.

Earlier in her career, Alice served as a Shark Conservation Campaigner for WildAid where she focused on reducing the demand for shark fin through education and research.

Alice holds a BS in Management Information Systems from the University of Buffalo and in her spare time, you can either find her climbing in Yosemite or serving as an active wilderness first responder for the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit.

This position is part of our forward-facing strategy focused on providing hands-on advisory support to accelerate the growth and development of the innovative projects that operate under our umbrella. Together with other value-added services in areas of communications and leadership development, these additional advisory services are  provided alongside our core operational supports in accounting, human resources and benefits administration, grants and contracts administration, and general operations and administration.

Celebrating the elephant

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We recently shared the story about how the Singita Grumeti Fund is working to train dogs in their anti-poaching and conservation efforts.  So who are these dogs protecting?

The Tanzania area’s elephant population, for one.

The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, and human-elephant conflict are just some of the threats to both African (less than 400,000 worldwide) and Asian (less than 40,000 worldwide) elephants.

Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world, including the Singita Grumeti Fund.

And it’s working. The project has seen a fourfold increase in their elephant population. That’s why on World Elephant Day – and everyday, you should consider supporting the Singita Grumeti Fund.