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The Art Institute of Chicago is home to over 5,000 years of history, of human expression, and of society - and proud to be so.  The encyclopedic art museum features a staggering collection of over 3000,000 - and counting - works of art from a wide range of styles including Old Masters, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and contemporary art, among others.  The museum also boasts of the best collection of paintings ever created in Western culture, a distinction that attracts millions of visitors to its galleries annually. 

Visitors have plenty of art work to appreciate, even be amazed at, in the Art Institute of Chicago, an art island set amidst Grant Park.  Its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Collection will surely impress with Claud Monet’s paintings being the stars of the show; his Haystacks and Water Lillies collections will take your breath away with their beauty. 

Other equally impressive works of art include paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Two Sisters); Paul Cézanne (The Basket of Apples); Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (At the Moulin Rouge); Henri Matisse (Bathers by a River); and Vincent van Gogh (Bedroom in Arles and Self-portrait).  You can spend hours just contemplating these magnificent works of art yet still be amazed by their glory on your next visit.

The museum’s American art collection is just as impressive.  Be enthralled by the works of Mary Cassatt (The Child’s Bath); Grant Wood (American Gothic); and Edward Hopper (Nighthawks). The Art Institute of Chicago, after all, has a distinct American thrust coupled with an enviable world view. 

Such is the impressive collections of art works in the museum coupled with its glorious architecture and friendly staff that it is considered the world’s best museum; the distinction was given by TripAdvisor in its review of millions of travelers’ surveys in 2014.  The Art Institute of Chicago is also the second-largest art museum in the United States with an area of one million square feet; only the Metropolitan Museum of Art beats it to the draw.

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We live in a world where bigotry is alive and well, sadly. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) fights bigotry in general and anti-Semitism in particular, all in the interest of a bigotry-free world where civil rights for all are protected.

The international Jewish non-government United States-based organization uses peaceful means including information, education, and legislation as well as advocacy. Said approach is crucial in its brand as the nation’s foremost civil rights agency for, indeed, violence of any form should have no place in the 21st-century civil rights movement.

The ADL has opposed many individuals and groups considered as racist, bigots, and anti-Semitic. The most notable are the Nazis and neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, the Christian Front movement, the Christian Identity movement, white power skinheads, and the American militia movement, among others.

While the ADL is still a long way away from its goals - bigotry in many forms is still prevalent - its dreams of a bigotry-free world is certainly ones that we can all support.

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When journalists can’t speak, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) speaks up - and speak up the independent, non-profit organization has in the past and well into the present. The organization has the avowed mission of promoting press freedom worldwide and, thus, of protecting journalists and their right for reporting the news and expressing their opinions without the fear of reprisals.

By providing protection for journalists, CPJ also ensures the free flow of their work in places where the freedom of the press is compromised. In many countries from South America to Europe, Asia and Africa, journalists are being kidnapped, threatened, harassed, censored, attacked, and killed - truly, an attack on press freedom itself.

Why the importance placed on protection for journalists? Keep in mind that journalism in general and journalists in particular play a crucial role in society in many ways, such as empowering the people toward making the right choices in democracy. When journalism is stifled and when journalists are silenced, then society itself is in danger of demise.

Truly, the impact of journalism and journalists on society cannot be underestimated. Many a dictatorial or tyrannical government has been partly toppled by the power of press in encouraging the people to act on change. In this regard, CPJ implements programs and projects designed to promote a free media across countries. These include Global Campaign against Impunity, Speak Justice: Voices Against Impunity, and Critics Are Not Criminals.

The organization denounces violations of press freedom even in the United States; meets with VIPs, such as heads of state, about matters affecting free media; and works with various organizations in giving affected journalist with justice on their cases.

Let’s just say that the Committee to Protect Journalists is one tough enemy to have for individuals and groups setting out to silence press freedom.

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Every Christian knows the story of the Good Samaritan and it is a tradition of loving your neighbors regardless of their age, race and religion that the Samaritan’s Purse is continuing in modern times. The evangelical Christian humanitarian organization has a strong presence in over 100 countries from Asia and Africa to Europe and North America with its headquarters in Boone, North Carolina.

Samaritan’s Purse provides large-scale relief projects in disaster and war zones with the goal of alleviating the suffering by providing aid to affected peoples in physical need. It funds mission partners as well but its concentration nowadays is on large-scale relief projects, such as those in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, in many countries across Asia after the Indian Ocean tsunami, and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, among others. It is also one of only two medical non-government organizations still active in Liberia, West Africa amidst the Ebola outbreak.

Indeed, the Samaritan’s Purse continues the tradition of the Good Samaritan in modern times and it will appreciate every help that comes its way in the interest of its mission.

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Every year, companies are thrashing or destroying hundreds of millions of dollars worth of merchandise - truly, a waste that has adverse impacts on the environment and on society. Then along comes Good360, a charitable organization based in Alexandria, Virginia with a great plan to do good.

In a nutshell, Good360 encourages and assists companies in donating their excess or surplus merchandise instead of throwing them in the trash or destroying them. Everybody benefits from the deal - the planet has reduced trash thrown into its landfills, the company fulfills its social responsibility, and the recipients enjoy the donations.

Founded in 1983 as Gifts in Kind - the name was changed in 2011 - Good360 is one of the largest charities in the United States. It has generated and distributed nearly $900 million in donations (2006) from thousands of small companies and large corporations across a wide range of industries including technology, manufacturing and retail. It has 30,000 community charities from across the United States and the rest of the world on its beneficiary list, an impressive list considering the logistics of distribution.

Good360 is also well-known for its trustworthiness in donations as well as cost efficiency in distribution, thus, the continued outpouring of donations. Forbes magazine, in fact, has recognized the organization as one of the most cost-efficient charities in the United States; Good360 distributed 99.7% of its donations directly to charitable recipients. The organization has also consistently been rated 4 stars by the Charity Navigator.

The bottom line: Good360 is an organization that companies trust with their donations and you can as well.

Beneficiaries can avail of the donated merchandise in several ways, such as:

  • Browsing the online catalog and placing an order
  • Picking up donations from a local store
  • Receiving one-time local donations

What are you waiting for? Donate to Good360 or pick up your donations now! You, too, can do good for the environment and society.

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Reproductive health is a fundamental right for men and women. It is a right that Pathfinder International focuses on its operations in over 20 developing countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Near East.

Based in Watertown, Massachusetts, the global non-profit organization works in strategic partnerships with many organizations including local non-government organizations, national ministries, and local governments in providing for reproductive healthcare services. Its advocacy focuses on reproductive health, family planning, and HIV/AIDS prevention and care with their main clients including men and women of all ages, commercial sex workers, and rural patients.

Pathfinder International rightly believes that access to quality reproductive healthcare services is not just a fundamental right. Said access is also crucial for the progress of societies in general and for the expansion of opportunities for a better quality of life for women and their families and communities.

Indeed, Pathfinder International is making a path for men and women in their transformations toward the quality of life that they deserve - and that’s something that we can all support.

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Together, we can. This is the battle cry of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in leading the charge against breast cancer - truly, one of the most dreaded diseases among women, even men. The foundation believes that no institution has the resources to conquer the disease on its own, thus, coming together is a must for success.

Founded in 1993 by Evelyn Lauder of the Estee Lauder Companies, BCRF has raised over US$350 million in its vibrant fundraising activities that encourage individuals and industries to donate their resources to the cause. The independent non-profit organization provides for funding support for research and development into a breast cancer cure. The research has encompassed a wide range of topics including genetics, tumor biology, stem cells, metastasis, drugs, and survivorship.

BCRF is indeed committed towards making breast cancer a preventable and curable disease. Such commitment has resulted in several breakthroughs against breast cancer that have contributed to improved survivorship rates and quality of life for patients today. Studies have shown that breast cancer patients are now more hopeful about their prognosis, thanks to medical advancements funded by the foundation.

The foundation seeks out the best doctors, scientists and researchers involved in breast cancer research, provide them with the resources to pursue their work, and then spread the word about their breakthroughs. Said funding support can mean the difference between fighting the disease and letting it take over the lives of patients and their families around the world.

BCRF President and Chief Executive Officer Myra J. Biblowit asserted that the BCRF’s ultimate goal is the acceleration of breakthroughs in a breast cancer cure - and it looks like the foundation is right on track. There is still more to do, nonetheless, so it is time that you, too, also donate your resources to the foundation.

It may be yourself or your family and friends whom you will be saving from the scourge of breast cancer.

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The 92nd Street Y (92Y) may have Jewish roots - its full name is the 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association (YM-YWHA) and it is not affiliated with the YMCA - but it has a non-denominational approach. People of all faiths and races can come and enjoy the facilities and activities provided by the 92nd Street Y with just one consideration - be respectful of others.

Located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, the 92nd Street Y was established in 1874 by German-Jewish businessmen and professionals. It has since evolved into a multi-faceted, multi-ethnic cultural institution offering over 200 programs on a daily basis. These programs include community outreach, musical concerts, humanities classes, fitness classes, and a residency program, among others, which serves over 400,000 individuals yearly.

Indeed, the 92nd Street Y has provided and continues to provide the communities around it with meaningful programs that nurture individuals and bond communities in ways that even its founders will be pleased to hear.

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The free software movement is making inroads into global society with its proponents advocating the universal freedom for the creation, distribution and modification of computer software among all users. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is recognized as one of the industry players in the free software movement because of its significant contributions.

Richard Stallman organized FSF on October 1985 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with the goal of supporting the free software movement - and it continues to reap successes in this area. The organization’s funds are used in many ways including:

  • Hiring software developers who create free software for its GNU General Public License Project;
  • Working on structural and legal issues affecting the free software movement and community;
  • Providing critical funding and infrastructure for its GNU Project that, in turn, is the base for all of the organization’s GNU/Linux operating systems family;
  • Promoting the use of free software via yearly conferences (e.g., LibrePlanet) as organized by its Campaigns Team; and
  • Defending freely licensed software from proprietary attacks via its Licensing and Compliance Lab.

For example, free software developers can approach the Licensing & Compliance Lab for advice on licensing issues.

Why is FSF such a relevant entity in the Internet-prevalent global society? Keep in mind that most software available in the market today have licenses, agreements and patents that deprive general users of a basic right - the right to study the software’s source code, modify it and then share it with their fellow users. FSF in particular and the free software movement in general works toward promoting said right.

Plus, there’s also the issue of transparency and privacy among non-free software. Keep in mind, too, that free software has challenges when used for surveillance purposes so much so that it is considered as a critical defense against surveillance (i.e., invasions of privacy) undertaken by various entities.

Because of its outstanding work, FSF has been awarded the Linus Torvalds for Open Source Computing, the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction.

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Functioning as a division of the Public Citizen before 2005, Food & Water Watch is another non-governmental organization that is focused on accountability related to food, water and fishing. This charitable institution has always been on the look out for any corporate and government issue related to their focus causes.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Food & Water Watch has been a critical advocate in restricting the practice of aquaculture in American waters. They were also the first group to divulge and report the outbreak of salmonella in US chicken processing plants way back 2006. As part of their food campaign, the group is also heralded for stopping Starbucks in using milk that is coming from rBGH-treated cows. They also have a watchful eye on the burgeoning industry of bottled water.

Protecting the rights and access of every American to good water and food has always been the strong cause of the group. It intends to protect all consumers from anything that would pose any risk to their health.