Posts tagged with "Charity"

Zoo illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 Magazine, toys for tots

TOYS FOR TOTS ANNOUNCES 2020 CAMPAIGN RESULTS 

Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps’ premiere community outreach program, delivered a record setting 20.2 million toys to 7.4 million less fortunate children in 2020.

2020 was a year unlike any other, causing economic devastation for so many. COVID-19 took hold early in the year, leaving many millions of families in dire need. While Toys for Tots is primarily known as a Christmastime charity, we did not want to wait until the holiday season to provide support. Marines are known for being the first to fight and for running toward the sound of battle. During the spring and summer of the COVID-19 crisis, Toys for Tots partnered with Good360 to provide immediate relief and assistance by distributing 2 million toys, games, and books to COVID-impacted families. These gifts provided many benefits during this extraordinary time of need. They helped to fight boredom, relieved anxiety in children, and facilitated a return to normalcy. The gifts even contributed to the educational development of our Nation’s children, especially while they’ve been out of school.

As the pandemic continued to spread–causing states and municipalities to impose significant restrictions–the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in conjunction with Marine Forces Reserve, are looking ahead to the holiday season to making preparations for how best to collect and distribute toys to children in need.

COVID restrictions have greatly impacted our local campaign operations and significantly limited the number of volunteers permitted to help collect, sort, and distribute toys. In response, the Marines and local campaign coordinators of the Marine Toys for Tots Program rose to the occasion, and established over 800 local toy collection and distribution campaigns in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. As anticipated, the demand from families with children seeking support was much greater than the supply. But the Marines, in their typical fashion, found ways to improvise and adapt. They were very innovative about how they collected and distributed toys. They established curbside and drive-through collection and distribution methods, and enlisted support from other local social service agencies in order to accomplish the mission.

Seeing a deficit of over a million toys develop in November, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation sent out many communications soliciting for help. The American public heard our appeal and recognized the need for aid. Hundreds of thousands of individuals, as well as a record number of organizations serving as National Corporate Sponsors, answered our call. Significant donations allowed for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to augment local toy drives with over 8 million toys, valued at over $77 million.

Toys for Tots does not set a goal of children supported in a given year–rather, our goal is to support every family with children seeking our assistance. The American public has never let Toys for Tots down. With the help from so many, Toys for Tots was able to accomplish our mission distributing a record number of over 20 million toys to 7.4 million children, who otherwise would have gone without. “Unprecedented” seems to be the buzz word for most 2020 events, and there’s no better way to describe the generosity of the American public and our Corporate Sponsors – it was truly unprecedented. 

2020 Accomplishments

  • Distributed 20 million toys to 7.4 million less fortunate children from 808 local campaigns in all 50 states
  • Distributed over 2 million toys, books, and games to COVID-impacted families outside of the holiday season
  • Distributed 1.8 million books to children through the Toys for Tots Literacy Program
  • Distributed toys to 180,000 children through the Toys for Tots Native American Program
  • With support from Toys for Tots Sponsors, augmented local toy drives with over 8 million toys valued at over $77 million
  • Met all 20 standards of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance and maintained a 96:4 Program to Support Ratio

About Marine Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots, a 73-year national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides happiness and hope to less fortunate children.  The toys, books, and other gifts collected and distributed by the Marines offer these children recognition, confidence, and a positive memory for a lifetime. It is such experiences that help children become responsible citizens and caring members of their community. Last year, the Marine Toys for Tots Program fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of over 7 million less fortunate children in over 800 communities nationwide.  Since 1947, over 272 million children have been assisted. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a non-for-profit organization authorized by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to provide fundraising and other necessary support for the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.  For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org.

Illustration for 360 Magazine by Rita Azar

San Francisco Ballet Virtual Benefit

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) announces details for its first-ever virtual benefit, Leap Into the New Year, to be held online via Socio on Thursday, January 14, 2021 to mark the opening of SF Ballet’s historic 88th Digital Season.

With a performance curated by Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, the event includes delivered items, such as a meal, caviar, and gifts provided by McCalls Catering & Events; and wine provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards. The evening’s programming includes the SF Ballet performance debut of two of the Company’s new Principal Dancers, Nikisha Fogo and Julian MacKay, in the Act III pas de deux from Don Quixote, and an excerpt from a new work by Helgi Tomasson created on members of SF Ballet’s corps de ballet—click here to see a video about this work.

Leap Into the New Year also includes a newly produced prelude to Mrs. Robinson by Cathy Marston, featuring Principal Dancers Sarah Van Patten and Joseph Walsh, and excerpts from the Digital Season’s additional world premieres, Wooden Dimes by Danielle Rowe and a new work by Myles Thatcher. Complete programming and casting are included at the bottom of this release.

Proceeds from Leap Into the New Year will benefit a wide range of SF Ballet artistic initiatives, including new works, accessible digital content, scholarships and financial aid programs for San Francisco Ballet School students, and community education programs for youth, families, and seniors. The event begins at 6 pm with access to private virtual tables; a wine education session with the event’s wine sponsor, Rodney Strong Vineyards; and behind-the-scenes content from rehearsals, followed by a 7 pm performance.

Ticket holders at the Artistic Director, Principal, Producer, and Soloist levels will enjoy VIP programming, including the pas de deux from William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, rehearsed by Forsythe on Soloist Sasha Mukhamedov and Principal Dancer Aaron Robison, and the White Swan Pas De Deux from Helgi Tomasson’s Swan Lake performed by Fogo and MacKay.

Under the direction of Music Director Martin West, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra recorded music for the event using approved safety protocols at Skywalker Studios, 25th Street Recording, and the SF Conservatory of Music, which was produced, engineered and mastered by Leslie Ann Jones.

The evening is hosted by SF Ballet Soloist Madison Keesler, who will be styled by Neiman Marcus. All table guests will enjoy a private, virtual meet-and-greet with a Company dancer during the event and will have access to a virtual social wall where they can share photography and messages with other benefit-goers. Artistic Director and Principal level table guests will also have the option to request an on-site, socially-distanced photo-op with Drew Altizer Photography.

Tickets to the event start at $3,000 for a pair of guests or $1,600 for a virtual table of four for ENCORE! members. Guests who wish to receive a meal, wine, and gifts delivered to their home day-of must RSVP by December 31, 2020. Reservations may be made online or by contacting Emma Lundberg, SF Ballet’s Special Events Manager, at elundberg@sfballet.org or 415.865.6629.

LEAP INTO THE NEW YEAR’S PERFORMANCE PROGRAM 

Premier Presenting Producer

Osterweis Capital Management 

Presenting Producers

Frederick and Shelby Gans

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Linnea and George Roberts

Denise Littlefield Sobel

Excerpt from new work by Helgi Tomasson 

Composer: Jean Phillippe Rameau

Artistic Director Sponsor: Dr. Sunnie Evers

Featuring: JULIA ROWE, LEILI RACKOW, BIANCA TEIXERIA, NATASHA SHEEHAN

DIEGO CRUZ, LUCAS ERNI, LUCA FERRÒ, LLEYTON HO

Dedicated To… by Yuri Possokhov

Composer: Victor Osadchev

Artistic Director Sponsor: Jennifer and Steven Walske

Featuring: YUAN YUAN TAN 

Excerpt from Wooden Dimes, Danielle Rowe’s world premiere

Composer: James M. Stephenson

Artistic Director Sponsor: Alison and Michael Mauzé

Featuring: LUKE INGHAM, DORES ANDRÉ, MAX CAUTHORN 

Pas de Deux from Coppélia by Arthur Saint-Léon

Composer: Léo Delibes

Artistic Director Sponsors: Richard C. Barker; Yurie and Carl Pascarella

Featuring: MISA KURANAGA, ANGELO GRECO 

Excerpt from Myles Thatcher’s world premiere

Composer: Steve Reich

Artistic Director Sponsor: Christine Russell and Mark Schlesinger

CASTING TO BE ANNOUNCED 

Short film of Mrs. Robinson world premiere by Cathy Marston

Composer: Terry Davies

Artistic Director Sponsor: Fang and Gary Bridge

Featuring: SARAH VAN PATTEN, JOSEPH WALSH, LUKE INGHAM 

Act III Pas de Deux from Don Quixote by Alexander Gorsky and Marius Petipa

Staging and Additional Choreography by Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov

Composer: Ludwig Minkus

Artistic Director Sponsor: Diane B. Wilsey

Featuring: NIKISHA FOGO, JULIAN MACKAY

Pas de Deux from In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated by William Forsythe (VIP ONLY)

Composer: Thom Willems

Artistic Director Sponsor: James C. Hormel and Michael P. N. Hormel

Featuring: SASHA MUKHAMEDOV, AARON ROBISON

White Swan Pas De Deux from Swan Lake by Helgi Tomasson (VIP ONLY)

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Featuring: NIKISHA FOGO, JULIAN MACKAY

ABOUT HELGI TOMASSON

Helgi Tomasson, one of the most venerated classical dancers of his generation, embarks on his 36th season with San Francisco Ballet in 2021. Born in Iceland, he danced with Harkness Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and New York City Ballet, where he distinguished himself as a dancer of technical purity, musicality, and intelligence. Tomasson assumed leadership of SF Ballet in 1985. Under his direction, SF Ballet has become a company widely recognized as one of the finest in the world.

Tomasson has balanced devotion to the classics with an emphasis on new works, cultivating frequent collaborations and commissions with choreographers such as William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Trey McIntyre, Cathy Marston, and Mark Morris, among many others. He has choreographed more than 50 works for the Company, including full-length productions of Swan LakeThe Sleeping BeautyRomeo & Juliet (taped for Lincoln Center at the Movies’ Great American Dance), Giselle, and Nutcracker (taped for PBS’s Great Performances).

He conceptualized the 1995 UNited We Dance festival, in which SF Ballet hosted 12 international companies; the 2008 New Works Festival, which included 10 world premieres by 10 acclaimed choreographers; and 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works. Tomasson has also connected SF Ballet to the world, through co-commissions with companies including American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, and Dutch National Ballet; and major tours to Paris, London, New York City, China, and his native Iceland. In 2020, Tomasson received the San Francisco Arts Medallion, created by the Museum of Performance + Design to recognize those individuals whose leadership, action, and generosity have benefited the cultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area.   

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO BALLET

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia.

SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

Football Image for 360 Magazine by Rita Azar

Russell Wilson’s Good Man Brand

A November 7 article on Sportscasting reports on NFL Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s generosity in using his clothing brand to give to communities in need. The article notes that Wilson’s clothing company, Good Man Brand, donates 3% of all purchases to the Why Not You Foundation, another one of Wilson’s charitable endeavors, to provide food and career guidance for those in need.

Los Angeles-based manufacturer Hi-Tech Printing & Labeling Inc. says that brands big and small should be sure to take advantage of all marketing opportunities available to advertise their unique message and branding.

Hi-Tech Printing & Labeling Inc. says that while the most obvious locations to include a brand’s ethics are on the company’s website, online product descriptions, and in-store marketing, clothing tags, and labels are just as important and are often overlooked for their benefits.

The Los Angeles manufacturer adds that by including a brand’s message on fabric tags and labels, it reminds customers of the causes they’re supporting each time they wear a product, which helps to encourage future purchases as well.

Without a message’s integration on clothing tags, Hi-Tech Printing & Labeling Inc. says customers will only be reminded of the charitable connection if they actively visit a physical store or the company’s online shop. Even a big fan of a product is going to see clothing labels many more times than they are ever likely to see its website or advertising, says the manager.

For a brand’s message to remain visible over time, Hi-Tech Printing & Labeling Inc. says it’s important for clothing tags and labels to be made from high-quality materials that will not wear or fade for a long time. The Los Angeles manufacturer notes that product tags can only be effective if they can remain fully intact even after numerous wash cycles. Brands that invest in durable fabric labels demonstrate their attention to detail to customers.

Hi-Tech Printing & Labeling Inc. says that telling customers of a brand’s ethics is crucial for brand loyalty. Whether it’s sustainability or supporting a local community, customers are more likely to purchase products from a company whose mission they support. The Southern California company adds that oftentimes, individuals are more than happy to donate to a good cause; they just don’t know where to start.

By ensuring that a clothing brand’s message is clearly advertised across all marketing opportunities, including clothing tags and labels, customers will always remember the company and causes they’re supporting and where they can return to for more.

Readers interested in learning more about Hi-Tech Printing & Labeling Inc. and its offerings can call (213) 746-7772 or visit its website at https://www.fabriclabels.com.

Senate called on to include $200 billion for charities in relief package

A coalition of nonprofit groups is calling on the U.S. Senate to include a temporary emergency stimulus in its next pandemic relief package. The proposal would unlock $200 billion in charitable funds to assist charities overwhelmed by the pandemic, with updates to the laws governing private foundations and donor-advised funds (DAFs). The proposal would release more of the estimated $1.2 trillion they currently hold by increasing required distributions to 10 percent annually for three years.

“Nonprofits need emergency help right now. Millions of nonprofit jobs have been lost, one-third of them in health care. Up to 120,000 nonprofits are shutting down completely,” said Scott Wallace, co-chair of the Wallace Global Fund, a private foundation that committed to spend 20 percent of its own endowment in 2020. “We urge Congress to enact an Emergency Charity Stimulus to force philanthropies to increase their support for nonprofit organizations – immediately, urgently, and temporarily, to allow time for deployment of a vaccine and economic recovery.” 

“We are collectively facing the most dire moment that many of us have seen in our lifetimes, and it is likely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the challenges that await us as a society and a planet,” said Aileen Getty, founder and president of the Aileen Getty Foundation and granddaughter of billionaire J. Paul Getty.

“While some foundations and donors are stepping up at this moment, others continue to treat the five percent payout as a ceiling not a floor,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Charity Reform Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies. ““Donors have already taken the tax break for these contributions. Congress needs to raise the bar for those donors who haven’t figured out this is no time to sit on your treasure.”

Led by the Charity Reform Initiative of the Institute for Policy Studies, Patriotic Millionaires, and the Wallace Global Fund, the groups first proposed the idea in May with a letter to Congress. The letter has now been signed by almost 800 philanthropists and leaders of foundations as well as several thousand nonprofit leaders and staff.

The proposal calls for a temporary doubling of private foundation payout from 5 percent to 10 percent for three years and would establish a similar 10 percent payout for donor-advised funds (DAFs) that currently have no mandate.

Researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies estimate these policies would unleash an estimated $200 billion in additional charity funds over three years, with no additional cost to taxpayers. The independent nonprofit sector is part of the front-line response to the pandemic and other natural disasters. The sector employs 12 million workers or more than 10 percent of the private workforce.

Prominent signers of the letter include: Scott Wallace, Wallace Global Fund (PA); Abigail Disney (NY); Aileen Getty, Aileen Getty Foundation (CA), Sara Miller, Miranda Family Fund (NY), Rory Kennedy (CA), Ning Mosberger-Tang (CO); Catherine Gund, George Gund Foundation (NY); Mary Mountcastle, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation (NC); Anna Fink, Amalgamated Charitable; Ellen Friedman, Compton Fund (CA); Jerry Hirsch, Lodestar Foundation (AZ); Morris Pearl (NY); and Stephen Prince (TN). 

About the Charity Reform Initiative

The Charity Reform Initiative of the Institute for Policy Studies aims to modernize the rules governing philanthropy to increase the flow of resources to the nonprofit independent sector and protect the integrity of the tax system. 

About the Patriotic Millionaires

The Patriotic Millionaires are high-net worth Americans, business leaders, and investors who are united in their concern about the destabilizing concentration of wealth and power in America. The mission of The Patriotic Millionaires organization is to build a more stable, prosperous, and inclusive nation by promoting public policies based on the “first principles” of equal political representation, a guaranteed living wage for all working citizens, and a fair tax system. 

About the Wallace Global Fund

The mission of the Wallace Global Fund is to support people-powered movements to advance democracy and rights and to fight for a healthy planet.

Isaac Rochell at Thanksgiving drive as announced by 360 MAGAZINE

Isaac Rochell & Trai Turner Brought a Happy Thanksgiving

On Tuesday, Nov. 24, Los Angeles Chargers DE Isaac Rochell and his apparel company Local Human, joined by teammate and 5x Pro Bowl G Trai Turner, provided free Thanksgiving dinners to 450 families from the Santa Ana area.

The duo worked with the Santa Ana Unified School District to identify in-need families this holiday season and offered  them Thanksgiving meals – turkey, sides, and dessert – via an all-day drive-through pick-up at Robert A. Villa Fundamental Intermediate School on Tuesday. Volunteers followed all local and CDC health and safety protocols and placed groceries into the trunk of each family’s vehicle.

This event is the first of several community programs Rochell has planned between now and the end of the year. This event was made possible by Isaac Rochell, Local Human, Trai Turner, Albertson’s, and the LA Chargers.

Founded in 2020 by Los Angeles Chargers DE Isaac Rochell and Trevor Beck, Local Human is an apparel line founded on the premise of giving back. 100% of proceeds generated by Local Human are inserted back into the community through the Do Good Foundation. Additionally, every time one of their shirts is purchased, Local Human will in turn donate a shirt to a local California foster center.

Covid-19 Impact on Artists

Story × Art: Alex Rudin

As we head into the eighth month of Covid-19, the distractions of apple picking, pumpkin carving, and outdoor dining are behind us. Lockdowns have long been lifted and social gatherings have become commonplace. The ominous inevitability of a deadly third wave looms. This guaranteed “dark winter” begs one to reflect on the early days of the pandemic. A time when fear, disinformation, and isolation plagued every household, no matter its inhabitants. 2020 has been a year of postponement, grief, isolation, and reckoning. Yet with struggle comes the opportunity for growth, change, and creation… If you let it. As Andy Warhol once said, “they always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

As a self-employed artist, uncertainty is a language I speak well. Prior to Covid-19 I spent my days in the School of Visual Arts printshop in NYC. From conceptualizing and prototyping new products for my business, Rudin Studios LLC, to fumbling around for an answer to the age-old question of “what to make,” it is clear I was lost in an artistic haze of looking for purpose. Then Coronavirus hit. Instantaneously everything turned upside down. Suddenly, I was in an unfamiliar town, without the ability to work (silkscreen), miles away from the studio I call home. I remained glued to the news awestruck by the infection and mortality rates. I racked my brain for something to do, how to help, what to make.

I became focused on those who were not as privileged as me. Those who were struggling to find housing, to feed themselves, to protect themselves from this deadly virus which was clearly and disproportionately hurting people of color. I began working on a series of paintings to be auctioned off, 100% of the proceeds going to homeless and trafficked youth in NYC. While the fundraiser was a success, I could not help but feel the conceptual aspects of the work were not important, relevant, or impactful. If I learned anything from my education at Parsons School of Design, it is that concept is king. My artwork slowly began to shift towards the idea of documentation. Buzzwords like “historical” and “unprecedented” flew across the airwaves and fueled my desire to capture and document the struggles of 2020. This was just the beginning.

Soon to follow were the atrocious murders of George Floyd, Ahmed Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, which brought racial justice to the forefront of the American conscience. While the President continuously fanned the flames of racism, the cries for equality and allyship were deafening. It was time to allow my artwork to reflect the times and struggles of our country which so deeply affected me and so many others. Black Lives Matter, and it is the white person’s responsibility to be educated allies; to use the privilege we are born into to advocate for our oppressed brothers and sisters. I wanted to help acknowledge, reflect, and correct the institutional racism that is so insidiously intertwined with our institutions and the American way of being.

Concurrently, the 2020 Presidential election was ramping up. Climate change’s incendiary winds pillaged the west. The wearing of masks became a polarizing political tool. And all the while, the current administration refused to acknowledge or accept responsibility for any of it. Rather shifting blame, denying, and lying became the governing practice. The global importance of what was taking place in the United States was apparent. Election 2020 was to be a reckoning. On the docket: racial justice, women’s rights, climate change, science, and healthcare, to name a few. A polarizing choice between Id and empathy.

For the first time in my career, my purpose seemed clear. I began making work that focused on the progression of human rights, equality, and fairness relying on my trusty formula of stylized portraiture and anecdotal commentary. I firmly believe that artists have a social responsibility to reflect the times we live in. The majority of my work has focused on uncovering and expressing truths about what it means to be a woman in 2020. However, one cannot comment on the feminine experience without addressing the current political situation and the oppression experienced by American minorities. While the Trump Administration continued to attack women’s rights, promote violence, ignore climate change, and fan the flames of racism, I relied on my creative voice to talk about the challenges we faced not only as women, but as a nation. That being said, I decided to devote my time to creating a series of posters for the 2020 election to help galvanize the female vote. This included partnering with Women for Biden Harris 2020, Women for the Win, and Article 3 among numerous other female-run organizations.

While the trials and tribulations of 2020 have forever altered the fabric of American reality, so has it altered me. A year such as this begs internal personal reflection if not metamorphosis. To find purpose, love, and empathy through the chaos of hate and violence is the silver-lining we all need. In a time where division is the name of the game, we must transcend the idea of the “other.” As the most recent Covid-19 wave surges across the country, I implore anyone with the creative impulse to say something, to do so. Pick up the pen. Document the times, the thoughts, the fears that come along with living through such tumultuousness. Follow the empathy, the creativity, and the voice inside telling you to advocate for those less fortunate. As Thomas Paine aptly stated, “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.” If you find yourself in a place of privilege, take it upon yourself to seize the opportunity in front of you. It is not an opportunity for financial incentive or career advancement, but for internal revolution. Soon, life will “go back to normal,” but there’s nothing normal about what we have witnessed. Allow the intensity of experience to alter you. For when the time has come and gone, and you reflect upon 2020, wouldn’t it be nice to say that through all the sadness, grief, and fear a better version of yourself was uncovered?

Thanksgiving Charity Drive-Thru

By: Krishan Narsinghani

On Sunday, November 22nd, a group of volunteers from the Sant Nirankari Mission Los Angeles hosted a Thanksgiving Drive-Thru to provide food and COVID safety items to nearly 300 families (1200 people).

The Drive-Thru took place at the congregation hall’s parking lot in Norwalk where the fire department and Sheriff’s Department joined the charity event. Lines of cars spanned across four blocks. Prime local news channel ABC 7 covered the giveaway along with other radio and global press. A livestream was captured on their Facebook page.

“Our goal is to give these items to families from across multiple Los Angeles and Orange County communities and to the first responder teams, who are putting themselves and their families at risk to protect everyone.

After seeing and hearing stories repeatedly over the past few months, we felt it was time to provide support in a big way that touches many people. So, we are ready to roll-up our sleeves and work day and night to pack hundreds of boxes with food, masks, sanitizers, disinfectants, soap, lotion, coupons, gift cards and more. To ensure we can maximize the number of people that benefit, we want to make this a larger community effort and procure large quantities of these items. There are countless numbers of families whose jobs have been impacted. Many families have had to also increase their risk to maintain the safety of others.”

The team is part of a humanitarian outreach organization called, Sant Nirankari Mission (SNM), which is headed today by Her Holiness Sudiksha Mata Ji. SNM has been working hard to provide aid and support during COVID-19 around the globe, including here in Los Angeles to communities, hospitals, shelters, assisted living centers, and more. SNM’s continued inspiration to serve humanity is their strength.

All funds contributed went directly to the cause.

This event was one of many COVID support efforts lead by the SNM Los Angeles team. As of late, they provided over 15,000 meals to local food banks and senior centers. This past summer they also donated masks to various hospitals, assisted living centers and some shelters. In addition, the youth of the mission prepared “thank you videos” for the medical professionals.

The pursuit of Truth is a universal phenomenon. Religious faiths all across the world proclaim to preach it, and amongst them they agree that there is no greater Truth than the Supreme Being, the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty Formless One – Nirankar. The many and varied names for God all represent an omnipresent, all-pervasive, omniscient, and Supreme Entity.

Bio:

All the sages, seers, saints, gurus and prophets from across time have, therefore, preached the same Ultimate Truth; God. The approach, however, might have been different. The various Holy Scriptures are the milestones representing the flow of Divine Thought. These writings and teachings were meant to reveal the Ultimate Truth. History, however, shows that rituals and dogmas overwhelmed the essential Truth behind these teachings, creating confusion and division between religions, sects, and communities.

Baba Buta Singh Ji, the founder and first Satguru (Master) of the Sant Nirankari Mission, recognized that adhering to rites and rituals does not enable humans to realize God. That can happen only with the grace of a God-realized soul. In 1929, Baba Buta Singh Ji began to show the path of uniting with God. This is how the Sant Nirankari Mission and Satguru tradition began.

The Satguru tradition states that God-realization is possible only through the Satguru, the teacher of God Knowledge. The mission of the Satguru is eternal, for there is always another candle to light, another life to transform.

Ideology:

Human being has been described as superior to all other species created by God. It is the human being alone who has been bestowed with intellect that enables him to distinguish between Truth and the falsehood, reality and a non-reality, desirable and the undesirable. For this, however, one must be familiar with what is true, real and desirable. Life being so precious, one must realize the truth about its beginning and its end. While living, one must know the supreme source of entire existence. And this is the primary objective of human life. Once accomplished this makes life blissful here and hereafter.

Ordinarily we find everything surrounding us, occurring in day-to-day life and everything we do as true, real and a matter of fact. But looking at all this carefully, we shall find that these realities are not ever-lasting or eternally true. They change with the change of time, place and person. What we need, therefore, is the Ultimate Truth, the Ultimate Reality, infinite and eternal, beyond time, beyond birth and death, beyond places – the same everywhere, and beyond persons – the same for everyone.

And this Ultimate Truth, Ultimate Reality, this supreme, eternal and infinite entity is God. In His formless form it is He who was there when nothing was, He is there when everything is and He shall be there when there shall be nothing – animate or inanimate. Hence the principal aim of human life is to know God. This is what we are living for. Once it is accomplished and God gets associated with our thought, word and speech, we know what is true, real and desirable. We keep immersed in God while living, merge with Him at the end and stand liberated from the cycle of birth and death.

No doubt the body has its own requirements. We must fulfill the same. As a matter of fact, man has made wonderful achievements to provide more and more comforts to the body from material point of view. The mind, however, may remain in tension and continue to suffer because what it needs ultimately is peace within. This is the man’s spiritual need, the need of his soul and can be fulfilled by spirituality alone. One must link the mind with God all the time at all places and in all circumstances. This will make life meaningful and purposeful.

This link, this state of mind will take man to the realm of Truth which needs no proof, no calculation, no measurement. Here there is belief, there is faith. One comes to be known as a devotee who rises above dualities. He remains attached to the material world but with a spirit of detachment. He stays in what is known as Sehaj – a state of complete harmony. His life becomes balanced and blissful. He enjoys all the comforts of material world in his physical form while his mind and his soul remain linked with God. He is neither entangled in nor carried away by the material wealth. His aim is to use it for his own well-being as also the welfare of others. He transcends the negative feelings of selfishness, ill-will, hatred and violence and leads a life where there is peace inside and calm all around. This makes life happy here and earns the bliss that is eternal, hereafter. As the end arrives, man realizes that he has not only achieved the aim of this human life but lived also in such a way that he gave life its meaning and achieved its purpose.

Isabelle Fries makes a brief splash inside 360 MAGAZINE

ISABELLE FRIES

At 22 years old, Isabelle Fries has started to make a name for herself in the music industry. Not only is she gifted in her art, she has an extremely large heart.

Born in Sydney, but raised in Denver, Colorado, Fries found her inclination for singing at a young age. “I knew I wanted music to be a part of my life since I was about 7, but as I got older I was able to recognize that it is a labor of love for me,” she expressed. “I have never searched for fame through my music.” 

Not long after, she discovered her heart had room for another love, philanthropy. At just 15 years old, Fries became the first youth board member and youth leader for the Global Livingston Institute (GLI) an NGO in Uganda who’s mission is to educate students & community leaders on innovative approaches to international development and empower awareness, collaboration, conversations and personal growth. 

Through working with this organization, Isabelle travelled to Uganda to teach, perform and empower. In 2017, Fries performed in front of 20,000 people in Uganda at the annual iKnow HIV Awareness Concert Series along with other musicians from around the world, using music to breakdown barriers, bring people together and provide free medical testing and awareness for HIV for over 8,500 Ugandans.  

“I became a part of GLI when I was 15 and fully threw myself into their mission and their work. It is what opened my eyes to one of my passions I am now pursuing in international education. They really focus on young voices and drawing on perspectives from all types of individuals which is why I was asked to be on the board at such a young age. GLI is truly one of the most important things in my life so I could not be more thankful to be a part of it.” 

This wasn’t the only organization Fries carried out philanthropic work with. She volunteered in Haiti with The Road to Hope, an International Affairs Intern with Creative Visions in Malibu, California and a community worker with CEPIA in Costa Rica.

Isabelle still wanted to do more for Eastern African communities. She founded the “Bulamu Raise Your Voice Community Foundation (BCF)” and was able to draw on inspiration from one of her other life-long devotions: swimming. 

For twelve years, she swam competitively breaking records, winning State Championships and being a leader on her teams until complications from several autoimmune disorders forced her out of the water. This was never a part of her plan, but she was able to alter her life’s path and kept pushing through

“It is not something that I let control my life or hold me back from living. I take care of myself in every way I can and find strength in what I am able to do and learn new ways to improve my way of life,” she expressed. 

One of Fries’ missions with both GLI and BCF is to raise awareness for water safety on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda by teaching swimming to prevent drownings. By working closely with GLI and the headmaster of the Kazi Primary School, Fries has been able to carry out this initiative, as well as implementing academic, music and sports curriculum.  

She said that the community of Lake Bunyonyi changed her life by seeing how they are such powerful and driven people. “I don’t go for my own benefit or to be a ‘white savior’ ,” she asserted. “When I work in Uganda, I give the individuals I work with support and resources and they truly do the rest.”

Isabelle was fortunate enough to meet one of her long time role models, Michael Phelps. Fostering a relationship with someone who has shaped her life in so many ways in and out of the water has been such a blessing, says Fries. This lead to her working with the Michael Phelps Foudation (MPF), where she took the opportunity to become certified in their “IM Water Safety Program” which is implemented in The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

When given the opportunity again to combine her music and philanthropy through the MPF, she couldn’t resist. Isabelle was asked to open for country singer, Eric Church, at a MPF benefit concert in Chicago at the iconic Arcada Theater. “Swimming is an incredibly big part of my life as I was a serious competitive swimmer from the ages of 5 to 18, therefor having the chance to combine my music with my love and passion for swimming and water safety was very special and meaningful.” 

Now a recent graduate of The University of Southern California, Fries splits her time living between Denver and Los Angeles, continuing to pursue her passions: music and philanthropy, while working in Denver at a non-profit dedicated to mentoring students. Isabelle holds a degree in International Relations with minors in Spanish as well as  Non-Profits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism. 

While studying at USC, Isabelle was fortunate enough to catch the eye of Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer/mixer Rob Chiarelli, who she’s fostered an incredibly close relationship with. 

She began releasing music signed with Chiarelli’s label Streetlamp records this year, already finding a widespread and loyal audience across all music platforms using her rich, soulful vocal that could be compared to the sound of Lauren Daigle or Adele. She recently released her 6th single, a raw piano ballad called “All We Had. When people listen to her music, Fries always wants to make them truly feel – whatever that feeling may be. Through channeling lyrics with her songwriters from her own life experiences, the emotions she is able to elicit are special to her. 

While the music may be interpreted differently for each unique individual, her raw style is something she hopes help guide those listeners on whatever journey they want to take. “I’ve always said, I love music because it lets you feel something you didn’t think you could.”

This is definitely something she mirrors artistically with one of her musical inspirations, Amy Winehouse. Growing up performing jazz music, Fries describes this genre as a big part of her musical identity, so she was instantly drawn to Winehouse’s style which she catalogs as “authentic, raw and groundbreaking. Amy created music unapologetically.”

But Fries’ number one music icon is Sir Elton John. “His music was always around me when I was growing up. My parents loved all music from that time and exposed me to it at a very young age which is one of the reasons it is the type of music I love the most. 

However, Elton John’s music was different for me, it felt like poetry and real emotion. His sound and songs are like stories that you never want to end. When I began to listen to him more I realized this is the type of music I want to sing and be a part of.” 

Feeling very blessed to have found such a supportive team, guiding her in finally being able to put her own original songs out there into the world, she is excited to evolve using her music to help create change, perform live again, and continue to build upon her body of work. While she’s away in the studio recording, we’ll be out here patiently waiting for more music, while she continues to use her voice to make the world a better place. 

Highland Dancers, Chicago Scots

THE CHICAGO SCOTS KICK OFF 175TH ANNIVERSARY WITH BLACK TIE EVENT

The Chicago Scots, the first and oldest non-profit organization in Illinois, is thrilled to officially kick off their historic 175th anniversary year by hosting the 175th Annual Saint Andrew’s Day Gala, “The Feast of the Haggis”, on Monday, November 30 beginning at 6:30 p.m. This event, held annually, even in times of war, depression, and pandemics, will be hosted virtually for the first time since its inception to keep the safety of all patrons and participants of the utmost importance. During this tremendous celebration of tradition, all participants will have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive Feast of the Haggis in A Box, specially curated by Award Winning Chef Gary Maclean, who will take purchasers through how to recreate various Scottish delicacies in the safety of their homes, as well as live entertainment including bagpipers and Highland Dancers, special awards presentations, and much more.

This annual festivity first began in 1845, when Chicago’s population was just 12,000. A group of immigrant Scots gathered at the city’s finest hotel, the Lake House, to celebrate Saint Andrew’s Day. There, they established Illinois’ first and still oldest charity, the Illinois Saint Andrew Society and adopted a simple mission: “Relieve the Distressed.” Since then, despite crises like the Civil War, Great Chicago Fire, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the 1918 Pandemic, the Society (known today as the Chicago Scots) has never failed to host their “Feast of the Haggis.” On Saint Andrew’s Day, November 30, 2020, the Society will officially become the first 501c3 not-for-profit in Illinois to celebrate this milestone and kick off its 175th anniversary year.

All proceeds of the event will benefit Chicago Scots and its principal charity, Caledonia Senior Living and Memory Care.  Around the world there are many societies that celebrate Scottish culture, but there is only one that has developed an elder-care community as a defined charitable purpose. For more than 110 years, generations of families have turned to and trusted the Chicago Scots to provide loving care at their five-acre campus nestled in the forest preserve, just west of downtown Chicago.

During this uniquely Scottish evening, the Chicago Scots will recognize achievement of excellence and contributions to Society by presenting their Distinguished Citizen Award, to Peter Georgeson, Founder of Scot Forge. The Chicago Scots have also created a new prestigious award to commemorate the 175thanniversary, the Makar’s Medal, which will be presented every five years to the seated Scots Makar – the poet laureate of Scotland.

This year’s 2020 Distinguished Citizen will be presented to Peter I. Georgeson, Founder and owner of Scot Forge, who has impacted Caledonia Senior Living as its most generous donor spanning more than four decades, and which continues to this day. Peter has been an influential figure at Chicago Scots throughout the 1980s-1900s. Peter is the ‘Man of Steel’ who led the enormous expansion of his family’s forging business into what is now a successful employee-owned company Scot Forge, a global industry leader. Peter and his wife were named Kinsman and Kinswoman of the year in 1986 in recognition of their volunteer efforts and generous support. Throughout the years, Peter’s generosity continued, gifting to build the 22-bed Georgeson Wing which expanded elder care services at Caledonia’s historic building the Scottish Home, as well as leading the gift for the Reimagine Tradition Campaign to help refurbish the interior of the Scottish Home, which to this day has raised over $4 million to refresh the 110-year old Home.

This inaugural Makar’s Medal Award will be presented to Jackie Kay, a critically acclaimed poet, playwright and novelist. Considered a poet of the people and the literary figure reframing Scottishness today, Jackie was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, adopted by a white Scottish couple who also adopted her brother two years prior. Her Memoir, Red Dust Road, was published in 2010 and was awarded the prestigious Scottish Book of the Year, the London Book Award, and was also shortlisted for the Jr. Ackerley prize. It was also selected among 20 books for the World Book Night in 2013. Her first collection of poetry The Adoption Papers won the Forward prize, a Saltire prize and a Scottish Arts Council prize. Kay was appointed the third Makar in March 2016, was awarded a CBE medal, or Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in 2019, and is now a Chancellor of the University of Salford and Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

To prepare for this year’s Feast of the Haggis, patrons will have the opportunity to purchase a Feast of the Haggis in A Box for $175 that serves two, specially curated by Award Winning Chef Gary Maclean, who will take viewers through how to recreate a couple of Scottish dishes and desserts in the safety of their homes. The Feast in a Box will include an event program, recipe cards, and a curated list of contents to help prepare your own Feast, including: two Chicago Scots etched whiskey glasses, two Chicago Scots cloth napkins, Caledonian Kitchen Highland Beef Haggis, Cold Smoked Scottish Salmon, Tracklements Wiltshire Beer Mustard, Mull of Kintyre Mature Scottish Cheddar, Highland Oat Crackers, Aegean Fig Chutney, and Scottish Highlands Heather Honey. Also included within the box is a photobook with memorable Feast of the Haggis pictures spanning the 175 years of the event’s history for all patrons to reminisce.

As one of the world’s largest Scottish cultural organizations, The Chicago Scots are dedicated to nourishing Scottish identity through service, fellowship and celebration. Sponsorship opportunities are available and range from $250 to $50,000 to be a premier Sponsor. Participants can purchase a “virtual table” and have the Feast in the Box sent to their guests.  For more information on sponsorships, please email Dawn Miller at DawnMiller@ChicagoScots.org. Donations of any kind are also very welcome. For more information about the Chicago Scots’ 175th Anniversary kick off, or to purchase tickets to the 175th Annual St. Andrew’s Day and “Feast of the Haggis”, please visit Eventbrite. Kilts for the virtual event are optional, but as always highly encouraged!

ABOUT CHICAGO SCOTS, CELEBRATING 175 YEARS

In 1845, when Chicago’s population was just 12,000, a group of immigrant Scots gathered at the city’s finest hotel, the Lake House, to celebrate Saint Andrew’s Day. There, they established Illinois’ first and still oldest charity, the Illinois Saint Andrew Society and adopted a simple mission:“Relieve the Distressed.”Since then, despite crises like the Great Chicago Fire, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the 1918 Pandemic, the Society (known today as the Chicago Scots) has never failed to host their “Feast of the Haggis.” On Saint Andrew’s Day, 30 November 2020, the Society will officially become the first 501c3 not-for-profit in Illinois to celebrate a milestone and kick off its 175thanniversary year. Relying on their strong roots to stay true to their values, the Chicago Scots continue their mission in support of their principal charity, Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care, where their record of safety throughout the crisis our times, COVID-19, is impeccable.

Around the world there are many societies that celebrate Scottish culture, but there is only one that has developed an elder-care community as a defined charitable purpose. For more than 110 years, generations of families have turned to and trusted the Chicago Scots to provide loving care at Caledonia Senior Living, a five-acre campus nestled in the forest preserve, just west of downtown Chicago.

The Chicago Scots welcome everyone who is Scottish by birth, by heritage or simply by inclination. To strengthen the enduring bonds of friendship between Scotland and North America, the Society hosts events that educate, entertain and promote Scottish culture. In response to 2020’s pandemic, the Chicago Scots pivoted their cultural events to become virtual including hosting the first virtual Scottish Festival & Highland Games in the U.S. and a Kilted Classic Golf Scramble Around the World.  The Chicago Scots also support initiatives like the Scottish History Forum, Scottish Genealogy Society and the world’s only Scottish North American Museum and Hall of Fame to tell the stories of Scottish journeys to and experiences in North America.

For 175 years, the Chicago Scots have delivered life’s most important things: home, family, and love. The Society is guided by four key principles, their “Ways of Being” that define and inform everything they do and aspire to be: We Create Home, We Relieve Stress, We Extend Family, and We Reimagine Tradition.

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a Fundraising Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Gilda’s Club x The Yellow Cab Project

Nov. 12, the Gilda’s Club NYC will host their annual gala, honoring Giovanni Caforio (M.D. Bristol Myers Squibb) and Emma Stone (Actress and Gilda’s Club NYC Ambassador), virtually.

As part of this year’s Gilda’s Club NYC fundraising, Remembering Marco will participate in the virtual auction launched on Nov. 5 with The Yellow Cab Project. The Yellow Cab Project is part of Remembering Marco, a charity initiative started by Annalisa Menin in 2013 to raise funds in memory of her husband, Marco Omiccioli.

Annalisa Menin, an Italian entrepreneur and writer who was originally from Venice, Italy, built her name with her first publishing project “My Last Year in New York,” a blog that then became a book.

It was dedicated to her husband, Marco Omiccioli, who died prematurely at the age of 33 from cancer in Nov. of 2013.

The Yellow Cab Project started when Annalisa stopped in front of the Kendra Scott window in SoHo, located at the intersection of Spring and Greene Streets. Along with jewelry and beautiful handbags, there were a few die-cast model yellow cabs being used as props, a tribute to the city of New York.

Annalisa went inside to ask what would happen to all those models once the window was emptied. Once she discovered that they would be thrown away, she thought, “Oh, no! I want them!”

Two weeks later, she went home in a real life version of those models, driven by a lovely gentleman with a white, cloud-shaped beard. She carried eight boxes containing as many cabs.

Annalisa created The Yellow Cab Project in 2020. It involved five international artists, designers and creatives, giving them the opportunity to “contaminate” the die-cast model cabs in their own way. The five artists were Warø, Jon Koon, Iena Cruz, Marco Gallotta and Clint Henderson.

To remember Marco in this very eventful year, Annalisa chose to support Gilda’s Club NYC. She strongly believes in their mission to “support, educate, and empower cancer patients and their families.”

This year, Gilda’s Club is turning 25 years old, and they will celebrate this important milestone with a virtual gala Nov. 12. It is the perfect occasion for the die-cast models, now precious objects of beauty and art, to be donated and auctioned, raising funds for Gilda’s Club NYC and its community from Nov. 5 to Nov. 16.

“We are so excited to have these one-of-a-kind yellow taxis included in our 25th Anniversary milestone event to benefit our cancer patients and families and are grateful for this generous collaboration with Annalisa and the remembering Marco Omiccioli Charity Initiative,” said Lily Safani, CEO of Gilda’s Club.

In these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilda’s Club NYC, the cancer support organization founded in memory of Saturday Night Live comedienne, Gilda Radner, transitioned their free cancer support program to a virtual program. They will continue to provide essential support services to cancer patients who are among some of the most vulnerable in this pandemic.

Members have expressed sincere gratitude for their quick transition to virtual programming. Due to the increased demand for this program and an affected donor base, they need additional funds to serve their current and growing community.

Annalisa personally experienced how important it is for grieving individuals to have a support system, especially in a city like New York, where many are far away from loved ones. She joined one of the bereavement group at Gilda’s Club NYC in 2013 after her husband Marco passed away, and it helped her tremendously.

You can find more information about Gilda’s Club by clicking right here.