|October 27, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Interview Series|
Jesse Solomon is the Director of Programs for the Woodlands Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with disabilities and chronic illness. The Woodlands offers overnight and day programs at their 52-acre site in Wexford. Jesse volunteers with the Special Olympics, Exceptional Adventures, Get Involved! Inc., and the Muscular Sclerosis Association. In addition, she is a member of the #412Project which has the goal of giving exposure to local amateur photographers.
Years in the Pittsburgh area: I was born and raised in Pittsburgh!
What was your first job?
My first job was teaching was as an Autism Support teacher for Mt. Lebanon School District.
How were you drawn to nonprofit work?
After high school I served as a Corps Member in AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) for the United States. AmeriCorps NCCC strengthens communities and develops leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. In partnership with nonprofits—secular and faith-based—local municipalities, state governments, federal government, national and state parks, Indian tribes, and schools, members complete service projects throughout the region they are assigned. This experience was instrumental to introducing me to the nonprofit sector.
What is the first thing you do each day?
Walk my 2 dogs, a Pug and a Boston terrier.
What keeps you motivated?
The reality that I am living my dream is the biggest motivator for me. Running my own camp for individuals with disabilities has been the legacy I have always wanted to leave, and I get that opportunity every day with the people I work with. The Woodlands is a second home to our campers, our staff and volunteers. Knowing this makes coming to work an absolute privilege, even on the toughest days.
What are you reading?
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
What is your go-to time-saving/productivity hack?
Every evening when I leave the office, I prepare my desk with documents or tasks for the next day. This way, when I arrive in the morning, I just work my way through my pile.
What major issue or trend is currently affecting your corner of the nonprofit sector?
There is a lot of attention on disability rights and the right to work occurring in the communities and in press right now. The 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrations that are occurring this year have put a spotlight on the positive direction our society is taking. However, we have a long way to go. In my opinion, many people want to join the conversation, make a difference and get involved. Consequently, they are seeking opportunities to work or volunteer with organizations like The Woodlands.
What is one goal that you hope to accomplish in 2015?
I’d like to join a Board of Directors in the nonprofit sector that focuses on community, specifically around youth leadership and development.
What’s coming up at The Woodlands?
In preparation for the holiday season, the Woodlands holds the Rum Cake Sale starting in October and running through December. Last year The Woodlands had 13 volunteer groups come to bake cakes in support of the Rum Cake Sale.
The Rum Cake Sale was founded in 2004 by Dr. Kamthorn Sukarochana, or “Dr. Kam” as he is known by friends and Woodlands colleagues. His cooking talents inspired the charitable sale, which has grown in popularity since its inception 11 years ago. To date it has raised over $50,000 for the Woodlands programs. For more information visit www.MyWoodlands.org
|October 12, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Philanthropy, Research|
Research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy indicates gender income differences influence charitable giving, particularly among married couples. Where Do Men and Women Give? Gender Differences in the Motivations and Purposes for Charitable Giving and Do Women Give More? Findings from Three Unique Data Sets on Charitable Giving, both authored by Debra Mesch, Una Osili, Jacqueline Ackerman, and Elizabeth Dale, utilize data from the Philanthropy Panel Study (PPS), the Bank of America/U.S. Trust Studies of High Net Worth Philanthropy surveys (HNW), and the Million Dollar List (MDL) to examine patterns in giving level and activity. Their analysis found that single women made more charitable contributions than their male counterparts (except in the highest net worth category) but overall, marriage increased the occurrence and dollar amount of charitable contributions.
Among those married, an increase in the husband’s income was associated with increased giving in both activity and amount, specifically to charitable organizations related to religion, basic human needs, health, and education. Married couples who shared in decision making around philanthropy also tended to give more. Still, the relationship between income, gender, and charitable giving is a complicated one. For example, when women earned more than their husbands, giving activity dropped in comparison to households where the husband’s income was higher.
Sectors supported also differed by gender, as households headed by a female were more apt to donate to youth and family, health, and international causes, while those with a male decider were more likely to give to religious and education organizations. As far as social issues however, married couples with female deciders ranked animal welfare as a top priority, while those with a male decider prioritized the arts.
Examining giving at a level deeper than the “household” may help nonprofits and charities improve engagement with current and future donors. These papers, as well as a literature review on women’s charitable giving, are available at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s website.
|September 25, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Health, Research|
This week the CEO of Goldman Sachs announced that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and would continue to work while receiving treatment. Whether one remains at/returns to work after a cancer diagnosis depends greatly on an individual’s situation, but an online survey of American cancer patients and survivors found the majority (73 percent) want to work, citing financial concerns but also the belief that working helps in their overall recovery.
According to the survey, conducted by the Harris Poll for Cancer and Careers, although most respondents enjoy working, they also face challenges balancing their health needs with the workplace. For example, women were more likely than men to report working a reduced schedule due to treatment, and people of color were more likely to be advised by a medical professional to stop working while in treatment. Other findings from the poll,
- fatigue was the primary daily challenge of employed respondents,
- 20 percent have concerns that taking days off will weaken their employment stability, and
- 65 percent feel that additional information is needed around navigating employment and workplace issues after a cancer diagnosis.
|August 30, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Interview Series|
Jake Milofsky, a native of Squirrel Hill, is the Tree Care and Restoration Coordinator at Tree Pittsburgh, a non-profit dedicated to growing and protecting the City’s urban forest. Since 2011, he has worked with community, City, and industry partners to facilitate tree care activities with volunteers throughout Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Jake also provides technical support for communities interested in restoring the health and sustainability of their local green spaces.
Years in the Pittsburgh area? 22 total (age 3-16, 21-27, 29-32)
What was your first job? My first full-time job after college was with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, where I worked as a Field Ecologist for about three years before leaving for graduate school.
How were you drawn to nonprofit work? As my career goals were coming into focus, I knew I wanted to work outdoors but I also wanted to do work with a social component like planning or community organizing. By doing environmental fieldwork in the non-profit sector, I found the social component I was looking for by working with community volunteers to do the outdoor work I enjoy.
What is the first thing you do each day? After turning off my alarm every morning, I like to open up my Google News app. Not only does the light help my eyes adjust, but I have plenty of good conversation fodder throughout the day.
What keeps you motivated? The volunteers I work with keep me motivated most of all. We work with close to a thousand volunteers each year, and it’s extremely rare for any of them to show up with a bad attitude. Even if I’m tired or a little off at the beginning of an event, I’m always in a good mood and energized afterward.
I’ve worked with some incredibly dedicated individuals who repeatedly humble me with the energy they bring to these voluntary activities they are passionate about. I’m lucky to be a part of it, and recognizing that keeps me motivated to do a good job.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given? “Seek out mentors, and spend time with them”
What are you reading? Right now I’m reading The Millionaire Next Door. It’s about how the media portrays wealthy people as driving flashy cars and wearing fancy clothes, when in reality, many of the people who are actually wealthy in this country live very modest lifestyles, which is why they’re wealthy! Also, many people who lead flashy lifestyles may have high incomes, but very little wealth. I don’t have any illusions about becoming extremely wealthy, but the book is a good reminder to live at or below your means, and a welcome counterweight to the influence of our consumer society.
What is your go-to time-saving/productivity hack? Put it on the calendar. In my world, if it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist and it probably won’t ever happen.
What major issue or trend is currently affecting your corner of the nonprofit sector? The need for population diversity in trees is big in urban forestry right now. Diseases, insects, and the prediction of continued warming temperatures mean we need to think ahead and create landscapes that are resilient. If we do a good job, the urban forest should be able to survive these environmental challenges and continue to provide us with its many benefits. To create these landscapes, however, will take education and continued advocacy on the part of those who share this understanding.
What is one goal that you hope to accomplish in 2015? With close to 15,000 new trees planted on streets and in parks throughout Pittsburgh, it is very important to keep them pruned on a set cycle. This ensures they fit into their surroundings and don’t get in the way of pedestrians or vehicles. Our pruning goal for 2015 is 2,500 trees. So far this year our staff and volunteers have pruned just over 2,100 trees, so I think we’ll get there.
What is the best thing about the nonprofit sector in Pittsburgh? The best thing about the non-profit sector in Pittsburgh is the feeling of community and willingness to partner between organizations. One may think that competition for funding or other resources could cause conflict, but instead I see example after example of working together to make projects more effective.
What does Tree Pittsburgh have coming up? Tree Pittsburgh will be hosting our fundraiser, Arbor Aid, on Saturday, September 26. It will be at the site of our new Heritage Tree Nursery on the Allegheny River in Upper Lawrenceville. It’s a great location and sure to be a good time!