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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Considerations When Starting a Nonprofit

There are many benefits to starting a nonprofit organization: the chance to start a cause that you’re passionate about, becoming your own boss, perks that come with professional independence and more! Although the impact of a nonprofit is more societal and less monetary than a for-profit business, it is still a business that functions much like any other. You’ll still have to set up financial systems, create a payroll and open a bank account; hire staff and prepare a personnel manual; buy the right kinds of insurance, and so on. The systematic functions of a nonprofit also mirror a for-profit business, as it will still need organizational structure, mission statements, long-range planning, evaluation, etc.

Preparation

Though this process may seem daunting, the end benefits could be incredibly intrinsically rewarding. Most think that startingPlanning a nonprofit the paperwork for becoming tax exempt or partnering with a financial partner is the first step. However, your organization needs a purpose, vision or direction before you can even think about the means.

Your first task should be to create a mission statement that encapsulates the work your organization will do, who you will do it for and why this work is important. From here, you can create a vision and short-term and long-term goals to keep you focused and on track towards successful impact.

Another task that’s vital to the preparation process is creating a Board of Directors. This team will serve as your organization’s backbone. All members of the board should be eager and ready to support the organization with the individual talents and skills they bring to the table. This will give your nonprofit a solid foundation and a platform to launch. Check out HSI’s Board of Directors and mission statement for a concise and effective example of each. 

Incorporation

Once you’re well prepared you must establish your organization within the laws of the state. Each state’s regulations vary so you’ll have to do your research on your specific state. Not only do state regulations fluctuate, but so do the benefits that  states offer to nonprofit organizations. For example, states differ on when exemptions or provisions must be applied for, when fees must be paid, etc. Make sure you do your homework on all aspects of this process. You cannot function on a corporate level until you’ve been recognized by a state.

However, if you check out The National Association of State Charity Officials website, they have updates in a state by state list on the differing regulations. There’s also a book available on Amazon by NOLO Press titled How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation in Any State.   (While you are there, sign up to raise funds for HSI with Amazon Smile.  It is fast and doesn’t cost you anything-ever!)

Another resource that may help your cause not only for state incorporation but also for future endeavors might be seeking legal advice. Obviously an attorney costs more than a book plus shipping and handling from Amazon, but you can find people that have been through this process before, who know the boundaries and way through the system.

Tax Exemption or Fiscal Sponsorship

You will need to complete the IRS Form SS-4 to receive an EIN so that you can open a bank account.

Also, for the IRS to acknowledge your organization it must be structured as a corporation, trust or an association. Once this is established, you will need to complete an IRS Form 1023 or 1023-EZ. Then you wait. It could take the IRS anywhere from three weeks to twelve months to get back with a decision.


Social entrepreneur starting a nonprofitIt is possible to shorten the amount of time you spend waiting to access tax-exempt funds by applying for and receiving fiscal sponsorship. A fiscal sponsor, such as HSI, supports the charitable activities of an organization by allowing access to its own 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Donors may make tax-exempt contributions to the sponsor to support your work.  The fiscal sponsor accepts certain liabilities for the charitable work you do.

Getting Started

Humanitarian Social Innovations offers assistance along several startup pathways for non profit organizations.  

Join our startup workshop series.paths to innovation, nonprofit

Not only will you gain the information you need, but you will also create some important take-aways from each session. You will meet people who can answer your questions and be a sounding board for your ideas. Plan to bring team members!  You will be able to synergize throughout the workshop and team discounts apply!

  1. Changing the World: Paths to Social Impact-August 13-Come away with a business structure and path forward that will best meet your goals.
  2. Building a Strong Foundation: Mission, Vision and Values-September 10-Walk out of this workshop with a draft mission, vision and core values for your organization.
  3. Board Selection and Governance-October 8-Enter with a long list of potential board members and leave with a short list (or smart list!) and your board governance documents.
  4. Meeting Your Legal Obligations: All-Access Pass to a Helpful Attorney-November 12-Explanation of your legal obligations, Q & A time, and the opportunity to work on your own documents with an attorney as your tutor.
  5. Get Out There: Building a Manageable and Cost-Effective Website-January 14-You will build a website-no prior skill needed!

Eventbrite - Changing the World: Paths to Social Impact
Hop Into the Incubator or Apply for Fiscal Sponsorship

If you would like a more customized experience, sign up for Humanitarian Social Innovations’ Incubation program.  Set your goals at the start and enjoy our one-on-one partnership with you as you systematically meet them and begin to see the impact of your work.

Perhaps  you are ready for fiscal sponsorship and are looking for a fiscal sponsor to support your charitable activities. If so, contact HSI for an initial interview and an application.  

Email today!  office@humanitariansocialinnovations.com

 


Meet the Interns!

Humanitarian Social Innovations has been fortunate this summer to host three excellent interns.  All are focused students who are living intentionally in order to have impact not only after graduation, but also in the present time between semesters.

Dawn Heinbach

HSI Intern Dawn HeinbachDawn Heinbach graduated Summa Cum Laude from Kutztown University as well as from KU’s honors program with a BA in English/Professional Writing and minors in Public Relations and Digital Communications & New Media. She is the Chief Executive of New Dawn Enterprises, LLC, a PR, Professional Writing and Publishing firm she founded, and is also the project manager and founder of Writing Wrongs, a program of Humanitarian Social Innovations.  

This summer she is working as the Public Relations and Professional Writing Intern here at HSI. Dawn will be beefing up our PR strategy, producing press releases and researching and writing grant proposals. She is excited to be interning at HSI because she gets to interact with people who have fantastic ideas that will help humanity. “I can identify with their passion and want to assist them in launching their projects for social good. HSI provides a way for these entrepreneurs to get started right away. The HSI umbrella equips the innovator…, freeing them to focus on building their idea.”  

Dawn identifies with this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Jenny Kocsis

HSI Intern Jenny KocsisJenny Kocsis attends Arcadia University near Philadelphia where she majors in Cultural Anthropology and minors in Global Public Health and Religious Studies. Last year Jenny Interned at Maori Outreach in Wellington, New Zealand, helping young students grow and learn in an open, resourceful community. This summer she is on staff at Humanitarian Social Innovations as a Social Media and Marketing intern.

She is responsible for great posts like this one which can be found on our Instagram account. Stop on by and give us some love by following @hsi_innovators on Twitter and Instagram, or by liking our Facebook page.

 

Jenny’s interests include photography, yoga, dancing, exploring, and writing poetry. She identifies with this quote from Ram Dass: “I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion — and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.”

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 hsi_innovators We can create a better world by supporting social innovators.                                   #humanitariansocialinnovations  #loveglobally       #nonprofit 

Andrew Mengel

HSI Intern Andrew MengelAndrew Mengel attends Moravian College in Bethlehem where he is an English major with minors in Education and International Studies. Andrew volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem and recently returned from a short-term trip teaching English to Kindergarten and First Grade students in Kathmandu, Nepal. When not traveling this summer he is on staff at Humanitarian Social Innovations as a Content Writer intern. He is responsible for the last two blog posts on our website, What Can Fiscal Sponsorship Do For Your Organization? and Which Types of Projects Does HSI Sponsor? as well as many posts he has written for later publishing.

Stop by and comment or share the posts!

Andrew is a missionary and advocate for humanitarian prosperity at heart, and he believes that under the right circumstances, anyone can change the world.  

 

You can see that Dawn, Andrew and Jenny are great matches for the mission of HSI and their contributions are valuable to the work of the organization. Thanks, glad to have you on board, and best wishes in your future!


What Can Fiscal Sponsorship Do For Your Organization?

How can your new organization meet its goals and expand its community outreach? Fiscal sponsorship could be your answer.

Fiscal sponsorship is a formal arrangement in which a 501(c)(3) public charity sponsors a project that lacks exempt status, allowing that project to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under the sponsor’s exempt status. At HSI, this includes tax exemption paperwork and marketing outlets. Using a fiscal sponsor satisfies IRS requirements, while allowing the organization to make its own decisions on how to charitably use its contributions.   

How do I know If Fiscal Sponsorship Is Right For My Organization?

Newly formed nonprofits can benefit greatly from fiscal sponsors, especially in their incubation stage, as they are trying to raise enough money to file an IRS tax exemption and begin programming. Fiscal sponsorship provides programs that are not tax-exempt with a fluent path to revenue, which the organization may not otherwise be in a position to receive.

 

Keep in Mind:

  •   Donors may not claim a tax deduction unless they itemize deductions and donate to an organization that is recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt pursuant to IRS Code Section 501(c)(3) (National Council of Nonprofits).
  •  The guidelines of most private foundations explicitly require grantees to be recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS. Consequently, groups that are not formally recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt are generally not eligible for grants from private foundations (National Council of Nonprofits).
  •   Fiscal sponsorship can help newly formed nonprofits test-drive their ideas to determine whether there is a market or a desire among the public to fund the end product (National Council of Nonprofits).
  •   Some programs remain in a fiscal sponsorship relationship for a long time, as they can best achieve their mission in this structure. (National Council of Nonprofits).
  •   Some organizations – including those that are tax-exempt – find that outsourcing their administrative responsibilities to a fiscal sponsor, whether back-office tasks, or those relating to fundraising and disbursement of funds, is the right business model for them. This structure might be particularly well-suited for all-volunteer organizations (National Council of Nonprofits).

 

HSI offers fiscal sponsorship to charitable projects, grassroots movements or startup nonprofits looking to make an impact on humanity. If your organization needs connection to resources to empower you and maximize your organization’s impact, contact office@humanitariansocialinnovations.com for information about our application process.


Which Types of Projects Does HSI Sponsor?

Humanitarianism is moral kindness and benevolence extended to all humans. The power of human empathy leads to action, social prosperity and the betterment of human life. Unlike any other creature on Earth, humans learn and understand without having to experience. This characteristic allows us to comprehend the hardships people feel, not only around the world, but also in our backyards. At HSI, all projects do their part and collaborate when possible to improve the quality of life for some sector of humanity. These are our partners:

 

Bringing Up a BookwormBring up a Bookworm

Bringing Up a Bookworm provides children with foundational reading skills by encouraging parents to read aloud to them from the day they are born. Through her experiences as a fourth grade teacher and reading specialist, entrepreneur Marsha Townsend, saw the struggles students had with reading comprehension, confidence and general literary skills. Debating these educational challenges, Marsha was introduced to Mem Fox’s book, Reading Magic:  Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, and Bringing Up a Bookworm was born.

The vision of the program is to provide a copy of Mem Fox’s book to educate parents on the importance and potential impact reading aloud can have on their children, especially infancy to toddlerhood. Reading aloud has been proven to increase a child’s reading proficiency, self-esteem and to encourage children to take risks within their learning.

To find out more about Bringing Up a Bookworm, you can visit the HSI Website link at:

Bringing Up a Bookworm

 

Writing Wrongswritingwrongslogo

At Writing Wrongs, journalists look to make a humanitarian impact with their words and stories. Originally inspired by ‘Will Write For Food 2013’ campaign, Dawn Heinbach developed Writing Wrongs through her Honors Project at Kutztown University in 2015. Now the program has bloomed, and Writing Wrongs will be hosting their second event this upcoming September.

Essentially, the group meets one weekend to collaborate and put their writings together to create an informative publication. This year’s topic is addiction. The entire weekend is dedicated to writing, editing and creating an open discussion on the deemed topic. After they’re finished, they publish their work and educate the public.

For more information about Writing Wrongs, you can visit their website at:

https://seektruthandreportit.com/

 

Solar for AcademicsSFA

Solar for Academics not only tackles humanitarian outreach, but it also saves the environment at the same time! Solar for Academics improves the quality of education and opportunity in impoverished communities by implementing solar energy in schools.

Founders Paul Hodges and Michael Planer teamed up to provide solar power to schools in places where electricity is sparse, in order to enable the school to offer an uninterrupted education. The company trains the recipients on how to install the panels, and even gives them the tools to sustain their use. Solar for Academics connects, educates and sustains humanitarianism through creative and progressive innovation.

For more information about Solar for Academics visit:

Solar For Academics

Citizen Media CenterCMC Logo Square

The mission at the Citizen Media Center: to train and support emerging social justice and democracy-seeking advocates in the field of citizen media. The Media Center allows the audience to become the journalist, testifying to news concerning daily life.  However, with the rise of new journalistic tools such as social media, Citizen Media Center, gives its participants the guidance they need to master these tools. Additionally, The Center also gives access to education, training, forums, and workshops on how to use these tools effectively. 

2016 promises to be a busy, but opportune year for the Kutztown-based writers. The Center intends to occupy a newly-secured headquarters, crafted an active, collaborative website, began hands-on writing workshops, and is providing fellowship grants to cover the impending presidential election.

The realm of providing information and reporting is continually revamping, as our society progresses. Citizen Media Center sets out to impact the media world by nurturing the next generation of democratic journalism.

For more information about Citizen Media Center, you can like them on Facebook or visit our site at:

Citizen Media Center

 

Players of the StagePlaysofStage

Free shows, blooming, young actors, and a vision based around community materialize Players of the Stage. The non-profit, Christian-based organization promotes the progression of individuals through theatre, the advancement of art, and the work of social justice in the Lehigh Valley. Established in Allentown, the theatre has been putting on shows since 2000, starting with a music recital for a Christmas banquet. Since, Players of the Stage has put on shows such as A Christmas Carol, Pygmalion, and Pride and Prejudice.   

As of 2005, Players of the Stage hosts benefit shows, donating all proceeds collected at the shows to charities such as Care Net, American Ministries to the Deaf, and to the Allentown Rescue Mission. All in all, the theatre company has raised nearly $150,000 in their past eight seasons. Every penny goes to the organizations mentioned above.

Players of the stage continues to expand their purpose as they’re looking to add theatre classes, productions, and eventually occupy a building housing an art gallery and a lounge café to connect all parties together.

For more information about Players of the Stage check out their website at:

http://www.playersofthestage.org/

 

Rugged Medical TransportRMT-logo

Humanitarianism does have a global dynamic to it. At Rugged Medical Transport, the organization provides light, easy-to-operate gyrocopters and deploys them as emergency medical transportation vehicles in countries with poor road infrastructure. Inspired by his experience in Tanzania, founder Patrick Wensel, developed a more plausible solution to places that can’t afford the high costs of emergencies.

Rugged Medical Transport bases themselves in Tanzania, and countries like it, where they educate the people on designing and manning the manufacturing facilities. Once invested in, Rugged Medical Transport provides communities with a plausible way to improve the health care access for their citizens. RMT’s gyrocopters are capable of overcoming the harsh, African terrain, while still maintaining safety for the patients on board.

To learn more information about Rugged Medical Transport visit our website at:

http://humanitariansocialinnovations.com/rmt/

 


Honoring Board Members

Three Ways to Cultivate a Positive Board Culture

If you have ever been involved with a nonprofit organization, you know the impact of a positive culture among the Board of Directors.  How does a great organization keep positive, productive board members?  Here are three ideas for your consideration.

Present board members

Let them participate. Plan board meetings to include plenty of discussion time.  Humanitarian Social Innovations (HSI)Portrait of business people discussing a new strategy at a seminar started a tradition of also asking for closing comments at each board meeting.  Before the final gavel, each board member in turn shares observations and thoughts that were unspoken during the meeting, but are for the good of the order.  This reinforces that each member’s perceptions and ideas have value for the whole board.

Future board members

Let them test the waters-Make opportunities for potential board candidates to volunteer on a committee.  Your organization gets to know a potential board member and that person gets a sense of the organization.  If you are lucky, these future board members will give you some great feedback along the way and will grow in anticipation of the time when they can contribute as an elected board member.

Past board members

Let them stay connected-A beloved, tenured college professor who can no longer teach becomes a professor emeritus. At HSI we apply this concept to our Board of Directors. Active board members in good standing may, at the completion of board service, be nominated for the Emeritus Board. These honorary, nonvoting board members may attend board meetings or committee meetings if they like, or stay on as committee members. They may serve in many other ways throughout the organization. The positive cultural message is that their service was meaningful and appreciated, and the organization would like to keep them close by.

How do you keep a positive culture on your Board of Directors?  Share your ideas!

 


Upcycled Business Cards

IMG_3975These business cards are unique! If you are an entrepreneur who has faced a networking event hoping you and your new venture will be noticed in the sea of networkers, you may want to give this a try. Or perhaps like HSI, your business uses sustainable processes wherever possible.  Either way, these upcycled business cards get the job done.

 

Whether these cards are upcycled or recycled is a discussion for another post.  For now, we will use the “u” word.

Yesterday’s Discards, Today’s Cards

These cards are printed on the inside of discarded record album covers. Each album cover provides stock for about two dozen professional-weight business cards. Like snowflakes, there are no two exactly alike. At networking events they can allow the bearer to connect with others quickly.  You may find that people will come across a room to ask for your card.

IMG_3976The best part is that the back of the card becomes a conversation starter. You do have to use some discretion in professional settings. (This card is better saved for a friend.) Once you connect with a person in casual conversation, it is easy to transition the conversation to the great idea coming to fruition in your new enterprise.

Caution-Printer Nerdspeak Ahead

The printing process itself was fairly simple.  We converted our logo and important contact information to a one-sided design using a single color.  I think black works well and gives a nice contrast to the natural color of the inside of the album sleeve.  Finding a printer who would tackle the job took a few days.  The printing process, letterpress, is no longer used by most commercial printers.  Specialty shops and printing aficionados are your best bet.  These cards were printed by Robin Cook at Artisan Letterpress.  (trceoj@gmail.com) Robin developed a die on recyclable plastic and cut the album sleeves into a size that could be used as a printing medium. If you live anywhere near the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, I highly recommend his craftsmanship!

Give upcycled cards a try, and let us know how it works!


The Importance of Core Values

Identify your organization’s core values.

Is this just one of the boxes on the business start-up checklist installed in the entrepreneur’s thoughts by well-meaning friends, professors or small business development office folk?  Or is it a vital step in developing a thriving organization?

DeathtoStock_Desk2All entrepreneurs – take a note from the name of the task. Core values are the center, or core of the organization. Too many entrepreneurs skip the process of intentionally developing these concepts that anchor their new organization.  After all, the reasonable founder has a good internal sense of values. It is tempting to put off the task until the commotion of startup activities settles down a bit.

Dont’ do it! Before the entrepreneur takes on board members, writes a mission statement or even begins to develop programs, he or she must take a moment to ponder these values in order to have a depth of focus on which to build all else.  So what are core values, and how should they be exhibited within the organization?

Identify your core values

There are three tests to determine whether the values you are considering can be elevated to the stature of the core value.  The value transcends time.  Will this value be just as important 100 years from now? The value transcends the organization. If you leave your organization and found another, will this value still be important and relevant to you?  The value transcends economic considerations. If someone offers you a large amount of money to betray this value, will you refuse the offer in favor of this value?

Define your core values

IMG_0383Once you have identified your core values, be sure to define them and consider the behaviors that members of your organization should have as a result of that value.  For example, at Humanitarian Social Innovations our first core value is respect.  We have defined respect as “Having a high esteem for the worth of each person’s qualities and abilities, no matter how like or different we perceive them from our own.” Two behaviors that stem from this core value are consistently assuming positive intent from others, and always thanking when assistance is given.

Use your core values

So get to it!  Roll up your sleeves and write those core values, entrepreneur!  Or maybe you just want to look up those old core values and test them out to see how core they really are to your organization.

Once you do, you are ready to build your programs, your culture, your staff, your board on the core values you have identified.