Teen motivated to help children with disabilities

When the Multiple Sclerosis Society offered Krissy Dull a trip to Australia for her fundraising efforts for the 2004 MS Tour, the 15-year-old declined the award. Instead, she donated the value of the trip to the society's 2010 research campaign.

Teachers and friends know Dull as passionate, persistent and highly personable. Her persistence and dedication are spurred, she says, by her desire to help children with disabilities.

Dull worked to recruit friends and family members to be part of her team and engaged in fundraisers as diverse as cookbook sales and selling custom-made flip-flops and light-up wine bottles.

"She has an incredible passion," says Bland. "You can't tell her 'No.'" That passion is evident when Dull talks about her fundraising and her commitment to helping find a cure.

"It makes me sad to see people suffer," she says. "I've seen the advances we've made and it makes me happy to see us raise money and get closer to a cure."

[Excerpted from an article by Bart Ganzert in Philanthropy Journal]


Dare to Dream of a Better World

When you have worked in the non-profit world for some time, like life in general you are faced with ups and downs. It's during the down times you need inspiration to press on. Such as these thoughts from George Bernard Shaw:

"I am a dreamer. Some men see things as they are, and ask why; I dream of things that never were and ask why not.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”


Pro Bono Work Helps Firms Fight Economic Slump

The Wall Street Journal reports that many small-business owners and their employees are doing more pro bono services or volunteer work as a marketing and customer-relations strategy.

An architect firm, after a 2008 revenue drop of 30%, began providing 15 to 20 hours a week in pro bono services to keep employees occupied and potentially attract future contracts. The projects later received full funding and the firm obtained several contracts, which ranged in value from $16,000 to $100,000. Bottom line: "Offering the pro bono services has given us a chance to maintain our design vigor [and] resulted in people hiring us."

A steakhouse shifted $20,000 of the company's advertising budget to pro bono work. This year, not a week goes by that the company doesn't offer its services for charity events, or give away gift cards. Bottom line: "It's worth more to do charity work than to advertise in a local magazine. It's more like guerrilla marketing. People see that we're involved in the community."

One of the beneficiaries of a tech firm was a local church, which had trouble setting up an outdoor wireless digital sign board. The company worked on the four-month project free of charge, saving the church some $7,000 to $12,000. In exchange, the company received an endorsement unlike any other. At a Mass, the pastor thanked the company in front of the congregation. "My wife says, 'It's almost like a referral from God.' "

For a small business that has lost clients or seen revenue-generating projects dry up, performing free work is a way to keep employees engaged while cultivating new relationships. Donating services to charity groups, churches, schools and other nonprofits can "increase local visibility, deepen local business ties and create opportunity for new business," says Christine Banning, vice president of marketing and communications at SCORE, a Washington-based group that provides free counseling to small businesses.

"When there are fewer opportunities, there are more choices of whom people are going to do business with," Audrey Murrell, professor of business administration at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh says, adding that people are going to "be more influenced by the relationship that you've cultivated."


The Visionary Richest Woman in the Middle East

Shari Arison, billionaire ($2.7 by Forbes's most recent estimate), is controlling stockholder in Israel's largest bank and its largest construction company, heiress to the Carnival Cruise Lines fortune and head of a long list of other undertakings. Arison, perhaps the richest woman in the Middle East, and a major force in Israeli philanthropy, claims that she can see the future.

In her new book published this summer in Israel, the 51-year-old Miami native says she felt the Indonesian tsunami sweeping over the land two months before it happened and sensed Hurricane Katrina pummeling New Orleans. In an interview, Arison says she also "saw the writing on the wall" before the global economic crash.

Arison writes in Birth: When the Material and Spiritual Come Together, “Over the years I suffered much from the visions, the feelings and these messages . . . I prayed they would go away. They brought much pain to my life. This was the preparation for the current phase, the phase in which I am ready to declare what I know with courage and without fear."

Arison says she plans to mobilize her wealth, her companies and, most important, the energy of her accumulated lives to save the human race. As a philanthropist and erstwhile spiritual role model, she had already been taking action -- like encouraging good works and promoting the kind of inner harmony she believes will do as much as summit meetings to keep people, and particularly Arabs and Jews, from hurting each other.

"Here I am -- a woman, a businesswoman -- coming out with ideas that it is okay for a rabbi to have, or it is okay for a spiritual leader to have or an astrologist to have or whoever," Arison says, acknowledging that, for many people, the idea of a banker with a spiritual gift "is scary."

"And it is a shame because it should be quite the opposite. They were not scared with all the mortgage investments . . . and those were very rational business people, who all they cared about was profit, and look what happened. And here comes someone who says they want things to be vision-based, with values, with caring, with a sense of humanity, and people are scared."

For "true world peace, among all people, each one of us has to reach their own individual peace," Arison says in a video introduction to Essence of Life, which sponsors workshops and a Web site aimed at "bringing about a major shift in collective consciousness." She hopes that her Good Deeds Day initiative, which is up to 20,000 participants after its first few years, can go global with its message of setting aside one day a year to volunteer at a charity, paint a school or even just carry the groceries for a neighbor.

Arison recently invested $100 million to set up a water company, whose mission goes to one of Arison's chief worries, that water and other resource shortages will increase conflict around the world.

And she has not run willy-nilly into what would seem like a peacemaking Israeli capitalist's sweet spot -- investments in the Palestinian territories or joint ventures with Israeli Arabs with an emphasis on improving the Palestinian economy.

[The Washington Post]