New Program: MELTDOWN, Based on True Events

“The fact is that one person can make a difference, and together we are much more impactful and powerful.”

Jill Murphy Long, Screenwriter of MELTDOWN, Based on True Events

 

We are proud to introduce MELTDOWN, Based on True Events, a new organization that has joined Humanitarian Social Innovations this week.

Photos: Candy Delaney, Passionate Perspective Photography

MELTDOWN, Based on True Events, is a non-profit organization with a mission to bring awareness to the long-term effects of radiation and the necessity to go green now. They plan to produce a full-length motion picture based on the true events of screenwriter Jill Murphy Long’s life during the fateful days in March 1979 and three decades later when she returns home to Pennsylvania.

Logline

An author returns home to find neighbors and classmates sick and as she links the cancers to the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, she is blindsided by a brain tumor.

This drama will also recap the first five days of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident and what happened to the locals, their farmland, and the Susquehanna River after the meltdown.

“This narrative, feature film will tell their stories because many did not get a second chance at living. This movie will be their voice.” Long wrote in her screenwriter statement . Take a moment to hear the TMI Survivors’ stories in these video testimonials.

Born in  Pennsylvania, Jill Murphy Long lived in East York at the time of the 1979 TMI meltdown. Like many of the  people in Central Pennsylvania, the accident negatively affected her, but fortunately she recovered; however, that wasn’t the case for many neighbors and classmates. The Cancer Cluster Map shows the far-reaching effects, noting the neurological diseases and cancers in Central Pennsylvania that are now presenting decades later. 

Since April 2016, so many have been collaborating to produce the film in order to bring the consequences of the Three Mile Island accident to light. The Executive Film Members on both the East and West Coasts have been working tireless to secure circa 1970 props and cars plus locations and extras in both Pennsylvania and Colorado.

The medical community has published a molecular medical study linking thyroid cancer to TMI. Local residents continue to submit their diagnosis, so the medical community can test for tumors, other cancers, and neurological diseases for evidence.

A-list actors have been contacted to participate in the film and volunteers have donated their creative talents and time to create the videos, website, “green” and organic merchandise, and social media accounts. All believe in this story and want to bring this issue to light.  This is not only for those who have suffered, but for the health and well-being of coming generations.

Please check the film’s website to learn more about this production at http://www.meltdownthefilm.com. Or you can check out the trailer and other videos here.

Please consider donating to the production of MELTDOWN, Based on True Events so they can show the world the true human impact of the MELTDOWN at Three Mile Island.

Donate to Make MELTDOWN

Meet the Interns #Internductions

Humanitarian Social Innovations is pleased to host three excellent interns this summer. All are determined to make the most of their summer by gaining knowledge to help them in the working world and by making an impact in the world through their work here.

One of our new Interns this summer Jonathan Fiore

Jonathan Fiore- PR/Professional Writing Intern

Jonathan Fiore attends Moravian College where he is majoring in English and minoring in History. On campus, he is a reporter for the school’s student-run newspaper and an editor for the student publication, The Manuscript. He plans to use those skills this summer as our PR/Professional Writing Intern, writing content for our social media pages and our blog.

HSI:  “Why are you an HSI Intern?”

Jonathan:  “The reason that I am an HSI intern is not only for the experience that I am grateful to get, but also HSI’s purpose was what really drew me in. HSI wants to make it possible for non-profits and humanitarian groups to get a leg up in the world and provide them with support for their mission. I  too want to help these organizations achieve their dreams. My position here will help their message spread across the web for all to see.”

Jonathan is an avid reader, both print and online, who one day wants to publish his own stories and content for the world to see.

His life motto is that not everything is black and white; the gray area exists.  Don’t be afraid to steer off the path of normalcy and into the unknown.

One of our new interns this summer Kristen Rader

Kristin Rader- Marketing Management Intern

Kristin Rader attends Moravian College where she is double majoring in Marketing Management and Graphic & Interactive Design. Kristin is interning with HSI as a Marketing Management intern. She plans to use her experiences here as a guiding force in her management classes and in her future career. On campus, Kristin is hard at work in her PR position with the Moravian College Dance Company. She also works at at Studio South, an on-campus student-run graphic design firm at Moravian College, where she is not only a student designer, but also the Social Media Chairperson. Kristin’s graphic design work can be found on her local church website and in many places within the church environment

HSI:  “Why are you an HSI Intern?”

Kristin:  “I think their mission is very important and inspiring and I am looking forward to being a part of it. It is amazing to know that they work with so many organizations and charities in order to expand their overall outreach inside and outside of the community to help those in need.”

Kristin is an avid animal lover and enjoys the beauty of nature. She has been drawing and painting since she was a small child, which led her to pursue graphic design.  She also has a love for outdoor activities like fishing, paddle boarding, and jet skiing.

One of our new Interns this summer Rose Roberts

Rose Roberts- PR/Marketing Intern

Rose Roberts attends Moravian College where she is majoring in Political Science and minoring in both Management and Mass Media. Rose is very active on campus where  she volunteered with the Miller-Keystone Blood Center and also with the Special Olympics, Girls on the Run, and the S. June Smith Center through her sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha. Rose also helped establish an event called “Greeks for Greyhounds” in which members of Greek Life helped make almost 5,000 dog toys for Peaceable Kingdom and other animal shelters in the Lehigh Valley.

HSI:  “Why are you an HSI Intern?”

Rose:  “Leadership in service is the driving force behind what connects me to my college and my community. I love that HSI focuses on the empowerment and promotion of a variety of nonprofits. Anyone with a will to improve their community can now have the resources to make those dreams a reality. To gain experience in promoting these amazing non-profits is not only relevant experience to what I want to do in my career, but I am humbled and grateful to better understand the work being done locally, nationally, and globally to create a better world.”

Rose feels extremely grateful and honored to be able to work with Humanitarian Social Innovations in their mission to empower and promote a variety of nonprofits. She wants to give back to the community that helped shaped her into the person that she is today. She believes that HSI will allow her to do just that.

We look forward to providing a wonderful experience for our interns. We can’t wait to see what they create for Humanitarian Social Innovations.

To our Interns,

Welcome to HSI!


Meet Our Interns!

Humanitarian Social Innovations is fortunate to be located near quality universities teeming with ambitious and intelligent young adults. Our program allows local interns to test their skills in a company position while contributing their talent and energy to an organization that returns social and financial value to its community of programs as well as the people served by those programs.

Our spring interns have been tearing it up creating content and public relations opportunities. We would love for you to take a moment to meet them!

One of our interns from Kutztown University, Grace Davies.Grace Davies: Content Writer

Grace is in her final semester of the Professional Writing program at Kutztown University. She discovered her penchant for content writing during an internship with Kutztown Community Partnership, where she authored a community blog. You have probably enjoyed reading Grace’s contributions on our blog as well. She has authored many pieces for current and future publication there. Grace is also a passionate editor, a skill that is in constant use throughout our organization. After she graduates, Grace plans to travel and work on her poetry before settling down with a career. She uses her limited spare time to watch plants grow and pet her cat.

Jane Spadaccini: Public Relations and Social MediaOne of our interns from Moravian College, Jane Spadaccini

Jane is a Music Performance major and English minor at Moravian College. At Humanitarian Social Innovations, she is in charge of our social media accounts and public relations. These duties have her writing press releases and finding places or events where we can meet people who should know about us!  Thanks to Jane, you will find our snazzy table at the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs game on May 10! She is also a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, a service sorority that works with numerous charities such as March of Dimes and MADD. Her hobbies include cooking and reading. Jane’s ideal career would be as a performer in the music field, but she is also interested in PR work and law.

Intern with HSI!

Interested in an internship opportunity with Humanitarian Social Innovations? Shoot us your resume today at office@humanitariansocialinnovations.com!

 


Writing Wrongs: Tyler Kline’s Story

Writing Wrongs is a journalistic magazine that features stories about social issues written by students. Last year’s issue, “Addiction: Stories of Hope”, contains interviews with residents at Easy Does It (EDI), an addiction recovery facility in Leesport, PA. The following is the summary of a piece that was originally produced for the magazine by Chloe Schultz of La Salle University

At 19 years old, Tyler Kline is one of the youngest residents at EDI. His struggle with drugs began when he was 15, and persisted through a year of homelessness and one other treatment program. He arrived at EDI just two weeks before the interview after being asked to move out of his girlfriend’s house because of his drug habits. Tyler realized he needs to make a real change, and is now learning to care for himself and his environment.

Read more about Tyler’s transformation here.

You can also purchase the entire book here.

Are you interested in joining the Writing Wrongs staff in 2017 to explore the topic of immigration? Writing Wrongs is looking for students from a variety of fields to participate in the project. Applications are open now and can be found here.

Banner Photo: Portrait of Tyler Kline by Katelyn Bennett


Program Focus: Bringing Up a Bookworm

Bringing Up a Bookworm, which provides children with foundational reading skills by encouraging parents to read aloud to them from the day they are born, is an inspiring example of what an organization can achieve through fiscal sponsorship. Bringing Up a Bookworm has been with HSI for a year now and has been working hard to expand their outreach since they first launched.

Marsha Townsend, the organization’s founder, is a fourth grade teacher in the Schuylkill Valley School District. During her free time in the summer she worked diligently to bring more books to the youth of Berks County.

“I’ve mostly been working on sending out letters to various doctors’ offices in the Berks County area. Hopefully by the end of the month I will have reached all offices,” said Marsha.

As of now, Bringing Up a Bookworm is in five doctors’ offices around Berks County. Each office receives 15-25 copies of Mem Fox’s book, “Reading Magic”, for their young patients’ parents along with a postcards that explain Bookworm’s mission and vision.

“Each office has reordered, and we expect them to reorder again at the end of the month! The response from the offices has been great. They always say they love the bags, and their patients are really excited about the books—they’re appreciative.”

When we asked Marsha if she had any advice for new nonprofits, she had this to say:

“Get some money under [your] belt. Have some type of financial footing, a base, to get started with. I didn’t have any of that, so when I started I had to get businesses interested first then order my supplies. Now I have to keep it going. I’ve started. I have to finish.”

As for the future, Marsha would love to get to the point where she is able to supply gift bags to all the doctors’ offices in Berks County. In a few years, she’d like to stretch into other counties and eventually go national.

Marsha is looking for more personal feedback from the parents that receive her gift bags. Each bag of books includes a postcard with Marsha’s contact information. If you or a member of your family receives a gift bag, please don’t hesitate to contact her so she can improve her outreach.


Writing Wrongs: Angela Powell’s Story

Justin Sweitzer

Writing Wrongs is a journalistic magazine that features stories about social issues written by students. Last year’s issue, “Addiction: Stories of Hope”, contains interviews with residents at Easy Does It (EDI), an addiction recovery facility in Leesport, PA. The following is the summary of a piece that was originally produced for the magazine by Justin Sweitzer of Kutztown University.

Writing Wrongs 2016 Edition

Buy the book!

Sweitzer’s article, “Angela Powell Finds Chance for Redemption at EDI”, tells the story of a mother of three who just wanted to do what was best for her kids. “I just wanted to be supermom,” she told Sweitzer during her interview while describing what started her drug use. She had been trying to do it allworking full time while caring for her childrenwhen an injury lead her to painkillers and eventually alcohol. She found her way to Easy Does It after a chain of misfortune caused her to make an attempt on her own life.

You can read the full story of Angela’s redemption here

You can also purchase the entire book here.

Are you interested in joining the Writing Wrongs staff in 2017 to explore the topic of immigration? Writing Wrongs is looking for students from a variety of fields to participate in the project.

Applications are open now and can be found here.

Banner Photo: Portrait of Angela Powell by Katelyn Bennett


Contest Winner: Education in Every Language

On November 28th, 2016, the Humanitarian Social Innovations board of directors met to review submissions for the Lehigh Student Enterprise Plan Pitch Contest. The HSI sponsored contest asked Lehigh University students to submit a business plan for a social enterprise they wanted to bring to life. The three winners are to receive incubation and free application for fiscal sponsorship should they choose to move forward with their programs.

The first place winner of the Student Enterprise Contest is Education in Every Language— a program that will provide native-language tutoring to English Language Learning (ELL) elementary school students by pairing them with Lehigh University students of the same ethnic background.

Education in Every Language is the brainchild of Anastassiya Perevezentseva, Heather Wadyka, and Chelsea Cooper. The three women were motivated to create this program by a shared interest in education, and said they had noticed a need in the community for a mentorship program that not only provides English language tutoring, but also fosters cultural kinship for students that have smaller ethnic communities in Bethlehem.

“If a kid needs to know what a word is in Spanish, there will probably be five other kids in the class who can help him. But if a student speaks Chinese, there might only be one,” said Cooper.

Education in Every Language would like to set up their program with Donegan Elementary School on 4th Street in South Bethlehem, PA.

“Donegan has the exact makeup we need,” said Perevezentseva. This is due in part to Donegan being a community school that focuses on student development and works with community stakeholders to further their goal. Donegan already has a partnership with Lehigh University, which would ease the program’s incorporation.

Education in Every Language may be off to a rocky start. Cooper and Perevezentseva are to leave the country after this semester, which will leave most of the planning up to Wadyka. Even though she is facing a busy final semester, Heather will try to get the program off the ground and into capable hands before she graduates.


Four Guidelines for Selecting a Fiscal Sponsor

Navigating the nonprofit sphere can be daunting, especially when it comes to getting your 501(c)(3). You may consider fiscal sponsorship as a means of gaining access to tax-exempt funds while your nonprofit organization is without official tax-exemption. It is important to make sure the fiscal sponsor you choose, like any other service provider, will fit your needs and the needs of your organization. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while selecting a fiscal sponsor to partner with.

 

1. Align Your Vision

 

Many fiscal sponsors have a specific purpose in mind when they look for clients. Before you seek a relationship with a particular fiscal sponsor, it is essential that you take their mission into consideration to ensure they will be effective in assisting you. Humanitarian Social Innovations specializes in humanitarianism and social entrepreneurship, sponsoring projects that make the world a better place for a sector of humanity. However, there are over 200 fiscal sponsors in the United States that are involved in issues from the arts to international affairs.

2. Transparency

Transparency is the key to a good sponsor-client relationship. It is vital to keep track of what funds your sponsor holds on your behalf, to know how much of that money goes to administrative fees, and to have a general knowledge of what the administrative fees are covering. Your sponsor should be willing and able to provide you with any relevant information you request. If the sponsor does not readily respond to your inquiries, it may be a red flag.

3. Competency and Accountability

Competency and accountability are important when selecting a fiscal sponsor

Two of a fiscal sponsor’s responsibilities to their clients (other than providing the sponsorship, of course) are maintaining their tax-exempt status and staying in business. A good fiscal sponsor will demonstrate networking abilities, have a working knowledge of the grant system, and be capable of handling funds wisely in the face of a fluid economy. They will also be well informed on the non-profit industry and be on top of filing taxes and paperwork necessary to keep their 501(c)(3) status.

 

4. Know Your Model

The two most common models of fiscal sponsorship are the comprehensive fiscal sponsorship (Model A) and the pre-approved grant relationship (Model C). In Model A, the fiscal sponsor takes responsibility for the program’s assets and activities, managing the liabilities while the creator of the program remains free to run the program as they see fit. In Model C, the fiscal sponsor will provide a structure in which an incorporated project can access tax-exempt donations and grant funds, but the non-profit is otherwise a separate entity from the sponsor. When selecting a fiscal sponsor, you should determine which model aligns best with your goals and make sure your contract appropriately follows the guidelines for the model you have chosen. In a pre-approved grant relationship, a fiscal sponsor should not try to take ownership of assets or activities aside from those designated for fundraising. Humanitarian Social Innovations practices both Model A (Acceleration) and Model C (Certified Grantee). 

The world of fiscal sponsorship may be a bit overwhelming at first, but once you have been taken safely under the wing of a trustworthy sponsor that meets your specifications, you will be able to turn your focus away from administrative worries and back to making the world a better place. 


Should You Use the 1023-EZ to Get Your 501(c)(3)?

          Back in July of 2014, the Internal Revenue Service saw a need to address a growing backlog of applications for tax exempt status. Their solution was to introduce a new, shorter application (the 1023-EZ) aimed at small-revenue charity applicants. Although the 1023-EZ sounds like an organization’s dream, there are some drawbacks when compared with the original long form. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons, and determine if you may be eligible for this EZ form. 

Eligibility to Complete Form 1023-EZ

  • You are not eligible to use the 1023-EZ form if your organization:
    • has received more than $50,000 in its previous three year existence.
    • is projected to receive more than $50,000 in the next three years,
    • has accumulated more than $25,000 in assets.
    • was formed, or has a mailing address, outside of the United States.
    • is a limited liability company (LLC).
    • is a church, school, college, or university.
    • has replaced a for-profit organization.
    • is a private operating foundation.
  • A complete eligibility worksheet can be found at the end of the Form 1023-EZ instructions at this link.

Rationale for Using Form 1023-EZ:  Pros

  • Shorter and easier to complete

Instead of filling out the 26-page application, the new EZ application is only 3 pages.Planning a nonprofit The IRS estimates that it takes 19 hours to complete this form. However, this is mainly due to preparation hours, which they consider will take up to 10 hours. If you’re prepared it should only take you 4-5 hours to complete. In contrast, the estimated completion time for the long Form 1023 is 105 hours.

  • More rapid determination and notification of status

Normally the determination process can take anywhere from 6 months to a year and a half. With the 1023-EZ, the IRS gives you an approval or denial letter within 2-4 weeks of completing the application. We have even heard of organizations receiving notification within 3 days.

  • Less costly

Because the new application is fairly easy and self-explanatory, you will not have to hire legal counsel to assist with the form.

The filing fee for the 1023-EZ has been reduced to $275 as of July 1, 2016, whereas the filing fee for IRS Form 1023 is either $400 of $850, based on your organization’s projected income.  

Basis Against Using Form 1023-EZ:  Cons

  • Lack of IRS backing for donors

 From the perspective of donors, the Form 1023-EZ process transfers the responsibility for attestation of appropriate organizational materials from the IRS to the signer of the Form 1023-EZ. IRS Revenue Procedure 2014-40  clearly states,

“a determination letter issued to an organization that submitted a Form 1023-EZ…may not be relied upon, if it was based on any inaccurate material information submitted by the organization.”

Inaccurate material is rather subjective in this instance, as this could pertain to your organization’s projections, exemption purpose, conduct of prohibited and restricted activities, or even organizational documents. Form 1023-EZ, does not provide the IRS with as much information as the original application does, so there is less verified information to make a determination on the attestations the signer made.

  • Signer Liability

There are numerous liabilities the signer of the 1023-EZ Form takes on because the statements and representations penalty-of-perjurymade in the application fall under penalties of perjury should the statements be shown false.

For instance, the signer is accountable for any false information on the application. The signer also must attest to conditions he or she may not be qualified to fully understand. Some of these, but not all, include the verification of the organization’s charitable purpose, the existence of the proper founding documents, and that the founding documents contain the appropriate wording to ensure that the organization will be obeying laws regarding political activity, inurement of funds, and dissolution to name a few.

The form’s instructions do not mention any of these liabilities, only that the signer must check the box “penalty of perjury.”

  • Research Findings

The Taxpayer Advocate Service, (TAS) in its 2015 Report to Congress, stated,

“analysis of a representative sample of Form 1023-EZ applicants that obtained exempt status: 37% of the organizations in the sample did not satisfy the legal requirements for exempt status.”

In that same report, the TAS provides the following graphic showing that normally 95% of 1023-EZ applications are approved for exemption, however when the documentation is requested from a representative sample, only 77% of organizations are approved.

Should we be concerned that those running fully one-third of the 1023-EZ organizations are not aware of the requirements on 501(c)(3) organizations?

Read the full report here

Boiling it Down

     Generally speaking, the 1023-EZ application seems to best-fit smaller nonprofits looking to quickly get on the grid and not spend a huge sum of money. However, if you’re an organization who decides to go down this avenue, proceed with caution. This is a fairly new process, with some contradictions and confusing consequences. Perjury is as serious as it sounds. You will want to consult a knowledgeable source before proceeding.

Andrew MengelContributed by Andrew Mengel

HSI Intern, Summer ’16


Journalism Exposing Societal Issues

 

Exposing Societal Issues Through Journalism

 

“It is the opportunity to learn from others, to experience a life-changing weekend and to share the stories of those who need to be heard.” 

 

 

FaydenWriting Wrongs continues to expose societal issues in Pennsylvania. It is a charitable project that aims to change lives through journalism. Similar to photojournalism projects like Humans of New York, Writing Wrongs captures and publishes strangers’ stories. However, Writing Wrongs is making distinctively different strides to make a lasting impact on the people they meet. The interviews conducted allow young critical thinkers to converse with people in need. This benefits the usually unheard voices of those in need and allows college students to see a different way of living.

 

 Teenager and homeless man in journalism projectLast year Writing Wrongs addressed the issue of homelessness by interviewing residents at Opportunity House, a homeless shelter in Reading, Pennsylvania. Continuing in this tradition, in September, 10 college students will once again gather — this time to tackle the issue of addiction. The students will share the stories, knowledge, and hope extended by the residents at Easy Does It, an addiction treatment facility in Leesport, Pa.

 

 Last year’s homelessness issue has impacted people from across all walks of life. By devoting time, a listening ear, and photojournalism skills to the societal issue of addiction, Writing Wrongs hopes to have even greater impact this year.

On Saturday, August 27, 2016, members of the student photojournalism team who will participate in Writing Wrongs 2016 will gather to publicly read the work of their predecessors.  They hope to shed light on the issue of homelessness and raise funds for the production of Writing Wrongs 2016.  Please see details below.  Can’t make the event?  You can still donate if you would like to help support this project.  As our thank you gift for donating, you will receive a complimentary copy of Writing Wrongs 2016.

*photo credits: Stephanie Giannakis, Writing Wrongs 2015 Staff
Donate to Writing Wrongs

 

 

Humanitarian Social Innovations is proud to fiscally sponsor this program.

 

Writing Wrongs Fundraiser for Journalism Project

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