Tag Archives: charity

Our NGOs for 2017 are…

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” Warren Buffett

Even if this time it has come rather late, if there is a blog post that I am looking forward to write each year is this one. Few things can give you more pleasure than helping others (1). And in doing so I try to be as public and noisy as I can,  hoping that I may serve the causes we contribute to also from the awareness point of view.

Let’s go and see the different causes we decided to support in this 2017 (2):

Why am I “noisy” or public about these donations?

I know that between 100 and 200 of you will read this blog post. I bet with any of you that at least 50% of you will be compelled to take a look at some of these organisations above, 10% of you will consider making a donation. Do you dare thinking that 1% of you won’t actually make such donation?

I learnt about Kiva from Bruno back in 2009. Started contributing to Médecins Sans Frontières in 2010 after a conversation with Juan a couple of years before. I learnt from Slavery International at a temporary exhibit at the Museum of London. I started contributing to the sustaining of the Wikipedia after a tweet from Amalia. Discovered the Fundacion Hombres Nuevos thanks to my father’s 6-month volunteering in Bolivia. Learnt of Gapminder in TED. I started donating myself happiness with Fundacion Khanimambo after Nacho and Alberto. I started supporting to cancer research in part as a way to honour late friends and family members and encourage work colleagues going through therapy. I received the #IceBucketChallenge from Alvaro and Teresa. Avocats sans Frontieres and Movement du Nid were are ideas from Luca, the latest addition to the list being SOS-Racisme. After most of the causes there has been someone who let me discover them.

If not one of those, I am sure that you will be able to find a cause, a NGO which resonates with you. Do yourself a favour and contribute to it. It can be just 25$, the cost of diner at a restaurant. You’ll feel much better.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank


(1) See this article from the World Economic Forum “Why being generous is good for your health“.

(2) You may check out similar posts I wrote about our contributions to NGOs in 2016201520142013 and 2012.

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Our NGOs for 2016 are…

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” Warren Buffett

If there is a blog post that I am looking forward to write each year is this one. Few things can give you more pleasure than helping others (1). And in doing so I try to be as public and noisy as I can,  hoping that I may serve the causes we contribute to also from the awareness point of view.

Let’s go and see the different causes we decided to support in this 2016 (2):

Why am I “noisy” or public about these donations?

I know that between 100 and 200 of you will read this blog post. I bet with any of you that at least 50% of you will be compelled to take a look at some of these organisations above, 10% of you will consider making a donation. Do you dare thinking that 1% of you won’t actually make such donation?

I learnt about Kiva from Bruno back in 2009. Started contributing to Médecins Sans Frontières in 2010 after a conversation with Juan a couple of years before. I learnt from Slavery International at a temporary exhibit at the Museum of London. I started contributing to the sustaining of the Wikipedia after a tweet from Amalia. Discovered the Fundacion Hombres Nuevos thanks to my father’s 6-month volunteering in Bolivia. Learnt of Gapminder in TED. I started donating myself happiness with Fundacion Khanimambo after Nacho and Alberto. I started using the support to cancer research as a way to honour and encourage work colleagues going through therapy. I received the #IceBucketChallenge from Alvaro and Teresa. The latest additions, Avocats sans Frontieres and Movement du Nid, are ideas from Luca… and so on. After each cause there is someone who let me discover them.

If not one of those, I am sure that you will be able to find a cause, a NGO which resonates with you. Do yourself a favour and contribute to it. It can be just 25$, the cost of diner at a restaurant. You’ll feel much better.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

(1) See this recent article from the World Economic Forum “Why being generous is good for your health“.

(2) You may check out similar posts I wrote about our contributions to NGOs in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

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My charities for 2014 are…

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” Warren Buffett

I take for granted that most people are to some extent concerned by others and many contribute in different ways to alleviate others’ burdens. Some find it that these contributions should rather be kept private. In this regard, I take the opposite approach.

I try to be as public as I can, hoping that I may serve the causes I contribute to also from the awareness point of view. Take this blog post as an example. I expect that it will be read by over 100 people. If just a reader feels compelled by the message and decides to look for a cause to contribute to, the time spent by me writing this post will have been worth it.

Let’s go and see the different causes I decided to support in this 2014 (1):

AACR, the last organization I decided to support.

Kiva, Vittana, Oxfam, MSF, Slavery International, Wikipedia, Fundacion Hombres Nuevos, Gapminder, American Association for Cancer Research Foundation… those are the causes I decided to support this year. If not one of those, I am sure that you will be able to find one which resonates with you. Do yourself a favour and contribute to it. It can be just 25$, the cost of diner at a restaurant. You’ll feel much better. 

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

(1) You may check out similar posts I wrote about contributions to NGOs in 2013 and 2012.

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My charities for 2013 are…

January is the month of the year in which I take some time during a weekend to select which charities and non-profits I will donate some money (1). Let me introduce you to the 9 NGOs I have selected this year:

Kiva: this is a micro lending portal. This is the first non-profit to which I made a contribution. This is not truly a charity, as here you give loans to small entrepreneurs in developing countries. I have talked about in the blog sometimes. This year, for the 4th year in a row, I have added some more funds.

Vittana: another micro lending portal. This one is specialized on credits for education purposes, very similar to Kiva in its conception. This year, for the 3rd year in a row, I have added more funds, to help some students study nursing and engineering.

Médecins sans Frontières: I started donating cash to MSF in 2010 while still living in Spain, in 2011 I became member of the French branch. This year I learnt what you can afford with just 100€:

Oxfam: another well-known NGO. Oxfam mission is “to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice”, this is the 3rd year I help them :-).

Anti-Slavery: Can you stand slavery today? In the XXI century? I cannot. This is why since 3 years ago I am contributing to this NGO which works to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world. 

Fundación Hombres Nuevos. My father retired in autumn 2011. In January 2012 he was packing to spend 5 months in Bolivia working in the field teaching some underprivileged children maths, language… or just helping them do their homework. I think that only my sister had such a good opportunity in the past 2 decades!

My father discovered this foundation in a TV documentary about 2 years ago:

That sparkled again a vocational aspiration he had since completing his studies and he went on to fulfil it. I’ll try to get him to write about it… stay tuned.

Brief comment about the foundation: It was founded by Nicolás Castellanos who received the prize “Premio Príncipe de Asturias a la Concordia” in 1998 along with Vicente Ferrer or Muhammad Yunus (who later received the Nobel Peace Prize and is credited with the invention of micro credits).

Wikipedia: When was the last time you checked the Wikipedia? How often do you check it? Wikipedia’s self-description:

“Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model. The name “Wikipedia” is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning “quick”) and encyclopedia.”

For the second year running I contributed to #keepitfree.

Gapminder: you might have seen some talk from Hans Rosling, its founder. Gapminder is “a non-profit venture – a modern “museum” on the Internet – promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals”, or better “Fighting the most devastating myths by building a fact-based world view that everyone understands”.

Have you got 13 minutes? Why don’t you check this video about “Religion and babies” and let his performance convince you?

Finally, let me introduce you to the new addition to my list of NGOs:

Fundación Khanimambo. I was introduced to it by two friends, Nacho and Alberto. I loved the message of the NGO: “¿Necesitas sonreír? Déjate ayudar (Do you need to smile? Let us help you). It’s wonderful, the children from Praia Xai Xai, Mozambique, want to donate happiness to people worried and stressed in the rich countries. To do that, they need some money to enlarge their school, buy more pencils, papers, etc… Let them convince you (less than 2 minutes):

Final reflection:

I understand that in these times of economic stress many will not have the opportunity to spare some funds needed by their own families to help others in need. For those of us who have a job, I truly recommend you to take some moments and go through some websites of different NGOs, charities, non-profits, scientific endeavours… I am sure you will find an initiative that will resonate with you. Go and direct some funds to it. You might feel a bit wary the first time. It’s OK. Spend 25$, 50€… (it’s only the cost of a dinner with your partner). You will not only help someone in need, you will feel much better after having done it.

If not for them, do it for you :-).

 ***

(1) I already published two similar posts in 2011 and 2012. In previous year I had set first 0.7% and then 0.9% of my net income as the minimum bar; this year I increased the contribution to 1.1%.

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Which NGOs will I support in 2012?

Every January I take one afternoon to direct at least 0.7% of my personal net income to different NGOs. I already explained this in a post last year. In that post I also explained the origin of the figure, 0.7%.

This year, I wondered how development aid was faring taking into account the crisis in which most of the big donor countries are in. You may check the figures at the extensive database of the OECD, or just to get the latest data on Official Development Aid you may check last year’s release announcing 2010 figures (or the report, PDF). The figures of 2011 won’t be released until April, but as far into the crisis as one year ago the fact was that development aid had actually increased, even if still far from the 0.7% committment.

Official Development Assistance in 2010 per country, source: OECD.

Evolution of Official Development Assistance through 2010, source: OECD.

Which NGOs will I support in 2012?

Last weekend I took sometime to make the numbers and select the different organizations. In previous years I directed 0.7% in January and along the year for different reasons I ended increasing this contribution. This year, I am directing already 0.9% of my income in January and again I expect that as the year goes by I will increase that figure. I take the Nordic OECD countries as an example and see the 0.7% as a minimum threshold, not as the maximum goal.

The organizations I have selected this time are:

  • Kiva: a micro lending portal, that I have talked about in the blog sometimes. I added some more funds.
  • Vittana: another micro lending portal, specialized on credits for education purposes, very similar to Kiva in its conception. I allocated some cash last year in it for the first time, and this year I have added more funds, to help some students study industrial engineering.
  • Médecins sans Frontières. I started donating cash to MSF in 2010, in 2011 I became member of the French branch. I renewed my membership.
  • Oxfam: a well-known NGO working “to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice” to which I already contributed last year.
  • Anti-Slavery: an NGO which works to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world. I find that only the thought of people being slaves in 2012 simply devastating. I already directed some funds to this NGO last year and I was positively impressed to find information about its activities when we visited the Museum of London last year.
  • Fundación Hombres Nuevos: a Spanish NGO working in development projects in Bolivia. It was founded by Nicolás Castellanos who received the prize “Premio Príncipe de Asturias a la Concordia” in 1998 along with Vicente Ferrer or Muhammad Yunus (who later received the Nobel Peace Prize and is credited with the invention of micro credits).
  • Wikipedia: I guess this does not need any introduction, but I will make use of Wikipedia’s self-description: “Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model. The name “Wikipedia” is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning “quick”) and encyclopedia.” This is the first time that I collaborate in its sustaining.
  • Gapminder: in their words “a non-profit venture – a modern “museum” on the Internet – promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals”, or better “Fighting the most devastating myths by building a fact-based world view that everyone understands”. If you have the chance, take a look at any of the videos of its founder, Hans Rosling, they are truly mind-blowing.

(Free material from http://www.gapminder.org – mind-blowing as I said)

Before ending this post, I wanted to make two reflections.

First, why do I or why do people/corporations make this kind of  contributions? Sometimes you hear criticism towards donations like “it’s for the tax deductions”, “it’s for marketing purposes”, “to show off”, etc. My personal view is that it doesn’t matter. It might be one or many of those reasons or none. What I believe is that the people in need do need the help and whatever the reason behind a contribution, it is welcomed. I do receive some tax deductions for the contributions for MSF and Oxfam as they’re based in France, not for the others. I also believe that the real contribution is the time dedicated by individuals working in cooperation, in the field, etc., in the end all what we give is a small percentage of our income / revenues.

Second, why do I write this post? Again, someone may think it’s show off. I’m fine with that. My goal is to get at least a reader to take a look at one of those NGOs, to think about dedicating her/his 0.7% to development aid… If I manage to do that, and I am sure I will (it worked in the past :-)), this post will be worth the time spent in writing it.

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Running Toulouse marathon for a charity

As I announced back in August, today 23rd October 2011, I’m running my 4th marathon, 10 years after having run the last one. When I wrote that post, I mentioned that I would be raising funds for a charity, “Vaincre la mucoviscidose”.

With this post I wanted to thank those persons who contributed to the cause: Nacho, Jaime and Luca. Thank you for your contributions!! The people affected by the illness and I sincerely thank you for them. Together we have raised 240€ as you can see in the cheque below extended to the charity association.

Check sent to the charity "Vaincre la mucoviscidose".

Finally, in case you wake up early enough, you may follow the race live through this link. My bib number: 2329!

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One marathon, one cause

It is 10 years since I ran my last marathon. I have been running again quite often since the beginning of 2011, and a few of you know that in October 2011 I’ll be running the next Toulouse marathon if health permits.

Some months ago, following a recommendation of my brother Jaime, I watched a movie in Youtube called “The Spirit of the Marathon” based on the experiences of some beginners during their training towards running the Chicago marathon in 2007. I strongly recommend the movie to anyone willing take on such challenge.

In the movie, I especially liked the character of Lori, who apart of conveying a positive attitude all time and sharing a beautiful story behind, is running the marathon supporting a cause.

In February, when I decided to take part in the marathon in Toulouse, I thought it would be nice to do as Lori did and try to raise some funds for a cause, for a charity. However, I didn’t know which one to choose nor how exactly to set it up. In the meantime months have passed by, I have not started raising any cash, but luckily my Airbus Running club has sorted out which charity I could run for.

This year, all Airbus runners taking part in the Toulouse marathon are encouraged by the club to raise funds to help the association “Vaincre la mucoviscidose” which helps families of children suffering the illness and creates awareness about it. I think this is surely a worthy cause to run 42.195km for and raise some funds during the training period.

How can you contribute to such cause?

Easy, I have set up an ING savings account for that purpose. All contributions received in that account will be transferred to the associations bank account by 21st October.

Bank account: 1465 0100 91 2021356780 (ING Direct)
IBAN:  ES68 1465 0100 91 2021356780
BIC / Swift Code: INGDESMMXXX
Beneficiary: Javier Irastorza

Since in France, contributions to charities are deducted from taxes up to a 66% and I do not want to get any tax benefit out of possible contributions from friends, I will double any contribution that you make so as to offset possible benefits and thus contribute myself to the cause as well, i.e.: if you give 5€ for the charity, I will put another 10€, making a total of 15€ for the charity, out of which 10€ would be tax-deductible, equal to the disbursement I had made.

What’s in it for you?

Apart from contributing to a worthy cause, I will explicitly dedicate my marathon in this blog to all those who have contributed to the cause (if they haven’t requested anonymity).

What it’s more, in line with crowd funding initiatives, I have been working since January on a special project that will only be unveiled after the marathon. That project will also be dedicated to the contributors to that cause who will have the chance of enjoying it before the general public.

Summing up

I’ll do:

  • 100% of the training in these months (~1,100km in 17 weeks),
  • 100% of the running in the marathon (42.195km on October 23rd),
  • 66% of the financial contribution to the cause…

All you have to do is give some euros to make up for that 33% that we will contribute to the children suffering from mucoviscidose. Let’s do it together!

Running at "Corrida Pedrestre" in Toulouse, July 1st 2011.

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