Caring is Going Viral

Edmund Burke famously wrote, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

I think we’ve all had that feeling, that we’re too small to make a difference. The world has so many problems, what good would it do to solve just one? And at that, how can just one person hope to solve even one problem?
Well, without getting too philosophical, I want to acknowledge the point that if everyone acted (or rather, failed to act) based on that premise, the world would crumble from apathy. What’s more, simply putting effort into good for its own sake, rather than for what it can produce, is noble, and worthwhile, and right.

But it seems we may not have to wrestle with this question to the extent that we used to. The internet has given all of us the power of mass communication, and with it the ability to have a greater impact than we could’ve had before. It still takes action, creativity, and a meaningful cause, but with the growing popularity of web philanthropy, one person can do more, raise more, and help more.

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This very idea is what prompted us to start Heroes2u in the first place. Without a web innovation like video chat, it would be impossible for so many people to meet their Hero face to face while they help people in need. But this isn’t about self-promotion. I want to recognize the growing impact of viral, charitable campaigns. The term, “viral video” used to exclusively describe clips of people’s foolish antics that had been shared around the internet. Now when something goes viral, it can mean millions of dollars for charity.

Sites like Reddit.com and Indiegogo.com, which host fundraising campaigns, have been the platform for which multiple charitable causes have raised hundreds of thousands in the past few months alone. And of course, how can we ever shake the memory of anticipated shock that was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? That campaign raised millions and was executed almost exclusively through Facebook. Most never even visited the campaign page.

What’s clear is that we all want to help. We look around, see a lot of suffering, a lot of injustice, and we want to do something about it. Viral philanthropy has given us the opportunity to change the world after only a few clicks of the mouse. As we see the fundraising numbers skyrocket and watch the videos linked by a common purpose, we realize that our own power for good is not limited, but immeasurable. At Heroes2u we’re happy to be a part of this unstoppable “trend.”

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Spark the spirit of giving in everyone…

Part of our company’s stated mission is to “make a significant philanthropic impact on the world.” Our way of doing that is by teaming up with Heroes, people who have an elevated power to make such an impact due to their visibility and reach. A worthy cause they support becomes a cause the population must consider.

But our way requires another agent just as crucial to the success of our mission as the Heroes. It’s all of us, all of you hearing the call to action, considering it, and choosing to give, choosing to make a sacrifice so that others may have the same opportunity to enjoy life as we do. It’s why another part of our company’s mission is to “spark the spirit of giving in everyone…”

A lot of the time we like to highlight all the Heroes around the world who are working to lift up humanity instead of themselves. That won’t change. But we thought it was right to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of some Heroes and their generous fans. Together, they changed a little boy’s life. No matter your level of visibility or reach, everyone can help make the world better.

Toronto Blue Jays help a boy walk

Ben Sheppard is 8 years old. He suffers from left hemiplegic spastic cerebral palsy, a condition which makes it nearly impossible to walk. Unfortunately, this condition only gets worse with time, as his tightening muscles prevent his bones from growing properly. It’s physically and emotionally painful.

In order to raise money for a new surgery called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, the Toronto Blue Jays (Ben’s favorite baseball team) and Honda Canada hosted a charity skills clinic. Former Toronto stars like Carlos Delgado instructed and played with fans. Even Ben got to participate. Thanks to over 400 participants who were moved to help Ben in his heroic fight, over $68,000 were raised through the event. With additional help from his community and Honda, Ben reached his $100,000 goal and will be able to have the life-changing surgery.

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Heroes and their Charities

Charitynavigator.org is a great site that helps potential donors decide exactly whom they should be giving to. Of course, helping people give to important causes is what we’re all about.

We’re also passionate about connecting you with your Heroes. When communication can flow freely, when an ordinary person can learn from someone they admire, perspective shifts and the world can change for the better. Our favorite Heroes, the real Heroes are the ones who choose to use their power to uplift meaningful causes. That’s why our model targets Heroes aligned with charitable organizations and provides the perfect opportunity to raise money and awareness for those organizations.

Obviously, we took great interest in this article from Charity Navigator which rates each charitable foundation endorsed, supported, or founded by a celebrity. Take a look and see what you think. Which ones touch you? Which do you most respect?

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Here are a few of the most important charities supported by Heroes.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

“A safe place to learn and grow,” this charity’s mission is “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” This well-known organization has reached the highest level of public awareness due in large part to the support they receive from celebrities, Heroes. Denzel Washington, Martin Sheen, Bill Clinton, and LeBron James are just a few of the big names to dedicate time and resources toward raising money and awareness for the cause.

DonorsChoose.org

Called a “revolutionary charity” by Oprah Winfrey, Donorschoose.org is backed by comedian, Stephen Colbert. It received a perfect score from Charity Navigator in the “Accountability & Transparency” category. Here’s how it works: “DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you.
When a project reaches its funding goal, we ship the materials to the school.”

The Elton John AIDS Foundation

Also receiving a perfect rating for “Accountability & Transparency,” this charity is backed by Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, and of course, Elton John. It has already had a massive impact on the fight against AIDS and HIV. “At the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) we believe that AIDS can be beaten. We act on that belief by raising funds for evidence-based programs and policies, and also by speaking out with honesty and compassion about the realities of people’s lives.

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Giving For America

With our country’s Independence Day approaching, and the recent success of the US soccer team, America’s patriotism is swelling, and we thought it was a good time to recognize a few of the most important patriotic charities and nonprofits going strong today.

The One Fund
This year’s Boston Marathon raised a record $38.4 million for charity, nearly twice as much as was raised in 2013. For certain, our country responds to tragedy with generosity and comradery. When our principles of freedom are attacked, we stand up for them. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombings were such an attack. On cue the city and the country came together and rallied behind “Boston Strong” and poured over $60 million into the “One Fund” in its first 60 days of operation. Its mission is “to serve those most affected by the Marathon bombings.”

The American Freedom Foundation, Inc.
The foundation’s mission is “to honor the men and women of America’s armed forces, raise awareness for their service and sacrifice and raise money for organizations that serve and support our Veterans, active duty military and their families.” They have contributed millions in grants to more than 30 different military organizations and over $1 million in scholarships to military families.

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The Gary Sinise Foundation
The actor, Gary Sinise is considered a profound American patriot. In the movie, Forrest Gump he portrayed a Vietnam War Veteran who lost his legs in battle. The role inspired him to launch this foundation. Its mission is to “serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. We do this by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.”

Hope4Heroes
Hope4Heroes was founded by veterans of Iraq “to support disabled vets and families who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), loss of limbs, severe burns, and career transition.” In addition to providing direct assistance to veterans in need, Hope4Heroes fights for vets on the legislative and corporate levels and even provides scholarships to their children.

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In Honor of Dad

Hope everyone had a wonderful Father’s Day. In honor of Dad, we wanted to put the spotlight on one of our favorite Heroes, Dwyane Wade, who truly understands the importance of his role as a father.

On the court, the Miami Heat star has achieved more success than almost every other active player. Three NBA titles, ten All-Star Games, and a scoring title will earn a guy some serious clout among even his most accomplished peers. But for Dwyane, basketball lags behind his very top priorities in life – primarily, being a good father to his three sons, Zaire, Zion, and Xavier.

After he and his wife split in 2007, Dwyane fought for and was granted full custody of his sons. Being a busy, superstar athlete, it would’ve been relatively easy for Wade to shun his responsibility of raising his sons in person. But Dwyane Wade, having survived a childhood burdened by the obstacles of a drug-addicted mother and a neighborhood dominated by gang violence, has never been one to take the easy way out.

Even on the road, Wade says he and his sons often exchange 50 messages a day, and set aside a specific time each day to talk on the phone no matter what. Parenting is about two words he says, “attention and affection. You never want your children to have to look outside of their parents for those two things.”

Wade recently wrote a book on parenting called, A Father First, though he warns, “I don’t have all the answers.” In fact, it may be his humility that best defines his parenting; he admits, “I tell my kids I am going to learn just as much from them as they are from me.”

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It’s not just his own children he cares for. In 2003 Wade created the Wade’s World Foundation. The charity “provides support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations.” To echo the foundation’s motto, “every child deserves a shot.”