Archive for the ‘nonprofits’ Category

"Taste of Olathe"?

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

It’s unfair how much I enjoy making fun of JoCo. And I can’t begin to list the wise-ass comments that came to mind when I saw a fundraiser entitled “Taste of Olathe” scheduled for next weekend. White bread and white zin, anyone?

But my sarcasm doesn’t help out deaf children, and the Taste of Olathe does. So, if you’re out in JoCo next weekend, you really ought to take advantage of an opportunity to try food from 20+ Olathe restaurants.

Stop Attacking Volunteers

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

One of the more freakish sideshows brought on by the controversy involving Gloria Squitiro has been the tendency to attack her volunteer status, and, by extension, the standing of volunteers working for the good of our city. Councilman Ed “Ought to Know Better” Ford has sought an unworkable ordinance threatening volunteers with personal liability for discrimination claims, and a google search for “volunteer” and “Squitiro” opens a treasure trove of muddled thinking and short-sighted over-reaction.

Regardless of the feelings about the Mayor’s wife and the (unproven, unanswered) allegations made against, her, the attacks on volunteer roles in City Hall are threatening to rob the City of its ability to function.

In seeking to impose personal liability on all volunteers, Ed Ford would eliminate any chance of getting intelligent people to serve as volunteers anywhere in the City. Would you risk your house for the honor of serving on the City Market Advisory Committee, if you knew an upset person might sue over a decision made by the group? Would you volunteer to serve as a referee for Night Hoops if you realized your “charging” call might force you into bankruptcy? Who would be foolish enough to serve on the Downtown Minority Development Corporation?

The city relies on volunteers in countless roles. The willingness of people to help their community is something to celebrate. Even when one person in a volunteer role is alleged to have performed improperly, wise governance requires that we focus on the behavior, and not the volunteer status of the actor.

Autism Awareness Month Kick-off

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

1 in 150 children are diagnosed with some form of autism. It’s a disease that has grown rapidly in the past couple decades, and there is no real explanation. Some of the increased number of diagnoses can be explained by increased awareness and better screening, but there’s something else going on.

The Lee’s Summit Autism Support Group was started by a couple determined mothers whose children have been touched by this disease. On Thursday, April 3, they are hosting an Autism Awareness Night at Beauchamp’s on the Rail in old Lee’s Summit. (I’ve heard good things about Beauchamp’s, and have been wanting to check it out.)

This isn’t going to be some awkward, tear-stained event filled with tributes to kids you’ve never met. You won’t be forced to hug anyone. Instead, it’s going to be fun and positive, with a bunch of local celebrities like former Kansas City Chiefs Deron Cherry, Kimble Anders and Anthony Davis, Kathy Quinn of FOX 4 News, Matt Stewart of Channel 5, Shawn Sedlacek of the Royals, and the Royals Blue Crew (what’s with the fascination with oldschool media and athletes – why not bloggers and wargamers?).

If you don’t know anything about autism, this will be a good way of learning a little while having some fun. If you know a lot about autism, come out and support the cause. Beauchamp’s will be donating a portion of the proceeds that night to the Autism Alliance of Greater Kansas City.

10 Pounds of Food & Pryde’s Old Westport

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Think, for a second, about the dual role of food here in Kansas City. For many of us, it is a frequent focus of pleasure. We amuse ourselves with new tastes, we accompany it with great beverages, we present it attractively, and we consume it with great friends.

For others, it’s a frequent source of concern. If you’re out of money and your kids need to be fed, or if you’re homebound and the kitchen is bare, food is not pleasure – it is survival. While people don’t often starve to death in Kansas City, children, seniors and people trying to get their lives on track regularly go without proper nutrition. Every single day. Thousands of them.

Two worlds.

One of Kansas City’s best local foodie shops, Pryde’s of Westport, is offering a couple easy bridges between those worlds.

First, and easiest, here’s a coupon, where they’ll donate $5 to the Bishop Sullivan Center if you spend $25, plus, you get a free pound of their coffee. If you’re going there, please use the coupon!

Second, and almost as easy, Pryde’s will donate 10 pounds of food to the Bishop Sullivan Center if you go here and give them your name and email. I did it and it didn’t trigger a flood of spam, so, really, why not invest a few seconds of your time and help get 10 pounds of food to someone who needs it?

Pryde’s is a great store – their selection of kitchen gadgets and foodie stuff is better and more thoughtful than Williams-Sonoma or any of the other corporate chains, their shop is quirky and fun to explore, and their location is great. The fact that they are such great, compassionate corporate citizens makes it even more satisfying to shop there.

Local Firm Joins With My Twin to Help New Orleans

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

This is a neat story. Brad Pitt and other philanthropists have joined with a group of architects, including local firm BNIM Architects, to design houses for the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans. If you want to give a Christmas gift to someone who really needs it, you might consider visiting the Make it Right website.

Who Owns the Red Cross? Don’t Buy Johnson & Johnson!

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

There’s a legal battle brewing between Johnson & Johnson and the American Red Cross over use of the red cross logo on first aid, preparedness and related products sold to the public. Seems that Johnson & Johnson registered the emblem in 1887, while the American Red Cross was not chartered until 1900.

Generally, the rule in Trademark Law is pretty clear – the first one to register wins. I haven’t studied this particular lawsuit carefully, but, if I were a betting man, that’s the way I’d lay my money down.

When I first heard about this lawsuit, my reaction was that the American Red Cross is wasting its resources in trying to fight it. Legally, that might still be correct, but, in further reflection, it occurs to me that Johnson & Johnson is trying to profit from the good work done by the Red Cross.

Why is that red cross emblem valuable? It’s certainly not due to anything done by the corporate giant Johnson & Johnson. It’s due to the work of thousands of nameless volunteers who formed the International Red Cross Movement back in the 1800s. It’s due to Clara Barton and her post-Civil War advocacy. It’s due to the millions of people who have sought relief from suffering because of war, famine and natural disasters, and found that relief in the form of a Red Cross.

Legally, Johnson and Johnson may have the upper hand. Morally, they are stealing from volunteers and Clara Barton.

If you share my disgust at this corporate power play, make a mental note to avoid these brands. There are other brands of each of these products, and you won’t be supporting corporate theft. And then go here and tell them why. (Update – don’t bother! Their form is designed to frustrate consumers with useless questions and demands for personal information.)