Creative Charities for Animals

Giving to charity has always been seen as an act of generosity and compassion. It is looked at as being responsible and extremely caring. Many people donate money to charities that have a mission that they hold close to them. Others will contribute their time to charity by completing volunteer work. However, in today’s world, with so many different kinds and types of charities at our fingertips, choosing the one or ones that we want to support can become a bit overwhelming.

This list represents charities who are not only focused on helping animals, but who are also trying to step outside of the box and take a more creative approach to the world of charities.

Jack D. Ryger: Pilots n PawsPilots N Paws – The Pilots N Paws site is intended to be a meeting place for those who rescue, shelter or foster animals, and volunteer pilots and plane owners willing to assist with the transportation of animals. Through the discussion board, foster parents and animal rescuers can connect publicly with pilots so they can set up the transport of each animal, as well as share all the necessary information to successfully accomplish each transport. This open communication platform allows other volunteers to offer their help if they see it may be needed to save an animal.

Creative Artists and Rescue AnimalsCreative Rescue was created from the passion that two women share for rescue animals. Their mission is to utilize non-profit arts organizations to create products, with the proceeds of their sales benefiting animal rescue groups.

Free Kibble– Free Kibble is a website that was created by an 11 year old girl named Mimi, who wanted to feed the homeless pets at her local shelter. When you visit the site, you are asked a multiple choice question, and regardless of if you are right or wrong, you win! All you have to do to help provide food to animals who need it is click on an answer. Every day you click, Free Kibble will provide food to animal shelters to help feed their hungry dogs and cats.

The Providence Animal Rescue League– The Providence Animal Rescue League is a non profit animal rescue center who knows that there are lots of kids out there that care about the animals in our community. That is why they decided to create PARL Kids, a way to involve children who want to help support the animal rescue community. PARL Kids is a resource where children can come look for ideas to help animals in their community or even their personal pets. From creative art projects to fundraising ideas, thanks to PARL, kids are now able to involve themselves in the world of charity all on their own.

Adaptive Philanthropy

Philanthropy is more than the donation of funds, it’s a giving of self. Large or small, the act of caring for a group, cause, or community requires a great deal of the philanthropist. Determination and focus are the greatest tools when choosing where and how to direct your efforts. Though the task is difficult, the benefits are insurmountable. How can you put a value on changing a life? Where can you buy the satisfaction of helping those in need?

Jack Ryger philanthropy nyc

Looking into your charity of choice is an absolute must, especially when you’re able to give more. Wealth can create a strange rift between donor and recipient, oftentimes leading to expectations where none are welcome. If an organization is attempting to illicit more money than a donor is willing to give, a major red flag is raised. Without proper research, your hard-earned and freely given charity could be utilized for less than reputable means. However, not all causes are fronts for darker dealings. With proper research, a donor can find the heart of an organization, and be sure their goals align.

Real change is made through tireless effort and ceaseless focus. If a donor wants to achieve this, treating philanthropic efforts as a business and less like a hobby is the only way to make it happen. Businesses have drive, goals and direction, something charitable efforts cannot function without. While causal giving is never wrong, a discerning philanthropist needs an ironclad grasp of their funds, and how they’re being allocated to various charitable organizations. Slipshod management of philanthropic efforts will cost time and money that could have been put to positive use.

If philanthropy is to be treated as a business, than its beneficiaries are the customers. Though motivations for selflessly giving vary from person to person, businesses often choose to engage in philanthropic pursuits for some level of positive return. Whether to enhance a public image or bring attention to their brand, by opening a forum for honest feedback and communication, a bridge between parties is established, providing a mutually beneficial middle-ground for discussion.

Adopt the process of adaptive philanthropy. Nothing is immune from the chaos of day-to-day life, and maintaining an outlook that recognizes this inevitability will keep your efforts from falling short of your goals. A clever philanthropist keeps his expectations realistic without overextending his capabilities. Nothing is served by crippling yourself in service of others. And if at all possible, ask for analytics on how your donations are being used. Ensuring the proper houses are receiving the necessary care is why philanthropists undergo such a emotionally powerful and costly venture. After so much legwork has already gone into choosing which charity deserves your efforts, it’d be silly to not continue following your investment.

Giving is so much more than allocating money for a cause. By committing such a selfless act, you silently agree to a promise of a better world. Change is never easy, oftentimes taking several like-minded individuals years of focused effort to affect. But by electing to become one of the few, a philanthropist, one more agent of change joins the fight for a better tomorrow.

Reasons You Should Volunteer

Though many people have busy schedules, especially if you live in New York City, you should always make time to volunteer. Finding something you are passionate toward and helping the people in that specific community will forever change the way you live your life and give you hope for a stronger, kinder future. You’ve probably thought about volunteering in the past, but haven’t quite made the strides to dedicate your time. The time is now – get out there, make a difference! Here are just few of the many reasons why you should volunteer as soon as possible:

jack ryger volunteer

First off, it’s good for your health. This may seem a little selfish when speaking about volunteering, but it’s important for you to recognize the many health benefits that stem from helping others (it’s a two-way street). Not only does volunteering help reduce stress by having you focus on others instead of yourself, it also increases positive emotions in your brain – like optimism and joy, and can help strengthen your immune system.

Volunteering also helps bring people together so you can all experience a sense of community. Regardless of your background or social status, individuals who are passionate for the same subject and are working together toward a common goal are united through philanthropic work. Not only can you meet life-long friends through volunteering, but you also learn the importance of teamwork, a skill that will be used in various fields, consistently throughout your life.

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Furthermore, when a community comes together, it gets stronger. By supporting families through daycare and eldercare, feeding the hungry, improving education, supporting youth programs, and beautifying the community, members are proud to be a part of it, and will become more and more willing to help out other members of their community.

Lastly, when you volunteer, you recognize you can make a difference – even if it’s small. Helping others gives you the opportunity to realize that small things have a great impact on the world around you. You learn to appreciate the power of single individuals working together as a whole, helping the world for the benefit of humanity.

About the UJA-Federation

Jack Ryger UJA Full Building CROP500The UJA-Federation (United Jewish Appeal) is a leading force in the fields of community and philanthropy for the Jewish community in New York.  The UJA-Federation was established more than 90 years ago, and has now pulled together over 55,000 donors to help those in need, along with inspire a passion and commitment to Jewish life in order to strengthen the Jewish community across the globe.

The UJA-Federation works with 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and various other Jewish establishments to help an astounding 4.5 million people from all around the world. Through hard work and organization, the UJA-Federation is able to carry-out services and provide resources in order to change individual’s lives for the better.

Through this nonprofit organization, volunteers learn the importance of helping those in need from their own city to halfway across the world. The UJA-Federation has helped Holocaust survivors in Kiev by providing meals at community centers, Ethiopian Jews by teaching skills they can use to support their families, and children with disabilities so they feel welcome into their Jewish communities.

Jack Ryger Holocaust survivors video project

According to the UJA-Federation’s official website,, “Our caring hand extends to those living in poverty, the aging, Holocaust survivors, children and adults with disabilities and special needs, and the unemployed across the economic spectrum. We provide access to crucial human services to all New Yorkers, whoever they are, and Jews everywhere.”

Jack Ryger UJA Fed

The three main goals of the UJA-Federation are: to establish a sense of community, especially for those who undergo crises and struggle at various tasks associated with daily living, inspire Jews by teaching them Jewish values and giving them access to high-quality education, and to connect Jews across the world, reminding each other that we are all part of one people.

Ways to Help Local Domestic Violence Shelters

One great branch of community service to get involved with is helping out at a local domestic violence shelter. According to the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Center for Victims of Crime, 25% of women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime – that’s one out of every four women you pass on the street each day. Women are abused in different ways, ranging from financial situations to being abused mentally and physically.

jack ryger stop domestic violence

Unfortunately, it’s very hard for these women to flee their homes and get away from their abuser. But, domestic violence shelters have been set up across the nation for these women to feel safe, and with your help they can get even more of the resources and care that these shelters provide. Here are some ways you can help:

First, donate gift cards. According to an article published by the Pixel Project, “Women many times leave their homes very quickly without packing. All they take with them are their children and the clothes on their back. A great way to assist would be clothing or superstore gift cards…” (16 Ways to Help Your Local Domestic Violence Shelter). With these gift cards, women can buy the right size clothing for themselves and their children, along with getting professional attire to wear to job interviews so they can secure their finances independently.

jack ryger women's shelter

Next, volunteer to work at a hotline. Local shelters or even rape crisis centers have hotlines that are in need of volunteers since they are generally open 24/7. Volunteers usually have to go through certain training courses and commit to work a few days per week answering phones, so being willing to do these things even though they can be time consuming is key. Just remember, working for hotlines is extremely rewarding – you can save lives.

Lastly, think about writing a newsletter. Especially if you are a strong writer, using words to assist a local shelter’s quarterly or monthly newsletter can help the shelter out immensely. Writing articles about women’s rights and healthy relationships are two great topics to speak about and may even help women reach out about their own struggles. Keeping people aware and educated of the problem at hand (in this case, abuse) is the most important step towards eliminating it.

If you want to know more ways in which you can help your local domestic violence shelter, please read Pixel Project’s article here, where you can further learn about their previous campaign concerning women’s rights and domestic violence.

Why You Should Join the Peace Corps

After a decline in voluntary membership from 2009 to 2012, the Peace Corps is happy to see a resurgence of eagerness to participate in developing foreign communities.

jack ryger peace corps logo

The Peace Corps itself can attribute this to a simple tweaking of its application for participation, whereby it allows volunteers to select the country in which they wish to serve. Of course, volunteers without any inclinations can let the organization decide their location for them. Any 18 year old American citizen can pick his destination of choice, even his own country of origin, and begin contributing to the development of health and education programs, environmental sustainability programs, economic programs, etc., thereof.

The Corps is certain many will appreciate the opportunity to go back to their countries of origin and help out, even after leaving for the United States. In its youthful years, the organization was a little less liberal with its offerings, designating locations to applications based on need. The attraction of the modified system is that volunteers can choose locations that offer programs in line with their interests and skills from farming to computer science.

The Corps also encourages volunteers to develop their own clubs and programs with purposes that tend to to a community’s specific needs. In this way, the Corps mimics the college major-minor system, which grants students control over what they study. This lets the Peace Corps better guarantee the education and growth of not only the countries it serves, but the volunteers it hires. There will undoubtedly be far more productive use of talent when it is focused to certain tasks over others.

jack ryger peace corps

The socio-political principles of the Peace Corps are also adapting to today’s climate, a necessary change if the organization is to stand by its mission to promote and stimulate cultural growth. President Barack Obama has requested greater funding for the programs, now upward of $400 million dollars, which will be used to develop more technologically relevant programs, even helping developing countries gain familiarity with social media platforms and developing their own business ideas. Graduate students are also offered scholarship opportunities, and benefits like greater chances of being hired for governmental positions.

If the program’s service isn’t enough of an educational experience on its own, its aftermath advantages should convince the unsure. Students can expect tuition cost defrayment, access to scholarships, and government stipends for their service. What’s more is applicants can also apply to serve as couples given that they provide the appropriate documentation. Both heterosexual and same-sex couples are invited to participate, able to serve as a unit in the same location if they so please. In this day and age, adaptations such as these are pivotal to the continuing success of the organization.

Substitute Teacher Dreams of Starting Non-Profit

Amy Aubrey is a substitute teacher in Elizabethton, Tennessee. In her time working with the district, she has taken note to the high number of children that obviously come from impoverished conditions. Originally, her knee-jerk reaction was to blame the parents for failing to adequately care for their children. However, she has since reevaluated the situation, believing that no one has invested in the lives of the parents thus far either.

According to an article from WCYB News, the statistics for the district indicate that the socioeconomic situation of the town is not in positive condition. However, Aubrey and Candace Patai, principal at Harold McCormick Elementary School, both believe the situation is even more imperative than the figures on finances suggest.  Patai believes the number of children and parents that struggle financially is high and constantly on the rise.  Many of the children’s basic needs aren’t being met, such as clothing and food; the problem is getting worse, not better.

teamwork nonprofit

The Elizabethton community center will raise funds for needy families.

Aubrey, in her experiences in the district, has seen just that.  Seeing the conditions has sprouted a new dream for her; she wishes to start a new nonprofit organization in Elizabethton, entitled Community Center.  The center would help children and families, investing in the help of parents as well as their kids.  Upon hear of the idea, Patai encouraged it, saying that the community really needs a program like the one Aubrey has in mind.

Aubrey has already started putting plans together for the center.  She regularly blogs and sends out a monthly newsletter to update those who support the initiative on her progress.  However, this is a marathon, not a sprint; she knows it will be a long process and she’s already taking it just one step at a time.  She’s already started meeting with business leaders in the hopes of getting some funding, as she knows that nonprofits cost quite a large sum of funds to start.  Aubrey has also started the process of filling out the required paperwork.  With every passing day, she attempts to take slow steps towards become an official nonprofit, in the belief that, even if it fails, if she is able to help one sole family or person, it will be well worth it.

Budget Struggles for Allocations to Nonprofits

The Community Human Services Partnerships is responsible for allocating funds to all of the nonprofits in the Tallahassee area.  However, with every passing year, the funds allocated to the partnership decreases.  According to an article recently completed by the Tallahassee Democrat, this year’s budget is almost two million dollars less than the request issued by the organizations affected by the allocations.  For the 2014-2015 year, 4.3 million dollars have been provided to the Community Human Services Partnership; the original request issued from participating organizations was for just over six million.  The allocated four million dollars will need to be spread between sixty-three nonprofit organizations that work to represent one hundred and one programs.

The number of participating nonprofits and organizations is down from the average, which is approximately seventy agencies who work to represent one hundred twenty programs.  The article speculates that the steady decline in funding provided by the Community Human Services Partnership has forced such severe cutbacks in monetary means that the missing programs and agencies have been forced to fold and close their doors.  Those who have survived have worked to revamp their methods of generating money, as the funding only grows scarcer with every passing year.

Officials for the Tallahassee area are distraught at the news of budget cuts to the nonprofits that loyally serve their community.  In particular, they do not care for the fact that nonprofits are forced to ask for less while the needs of those they serve continue to not be met.  Citizens who volunteered to make the decisions as to which funds from the allocated 4.3 million dollars would go to which organizations feel similarly.  All eighty volunteers visited the sites of the services and experienced detailed presentations on the goals and inner workings of the organizations.  Several were so struck by the work and efforts that the organizations make—despite having very little money to do so—that they were brought to tears.  In general, it was found that, despite having very little money to get by, that which the organizations do have gets selflessly infused back into the community.

Remembering Willie Fliegelman

When I decided to pursue a career in philanthropy, I picked one of the largest social service organizations in the country-UJA-Federation. UJA-Federation represented over 130 social service, religious, and educational agencies in New York, Israel, and around the world . It was my good fortune to work with one of the longtime  directors of the federation, Willie Fliegelman. Willie had originally started in the mail room when he was 17 years old for the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.

The original federation supported local programs in the New York metropolitan area. The Federation’s counterpart was UJA, which supported Israel and the greater Jewish diaspora . The fundraising year was split into two parts, with the Federation and the UJA alternating events. Willie  gradually moved up the ladder to become- in order- an office clerk, assistant fundraiser, fundraiser, a part of major gifts, and eventually assistant director. He handled various campaigns including community campaigns, trades, and professions. The federation segmented various campaigns. There was a milk division, a bakers division, policeman’s division, tire and automotive division, plate glass , electrical , toy, textile, tobacco and confections, etc. Eventually the Federation and UJA merged and became a powerhouse in fundraising.

Willie hired me as a fundraiser for Long Island’s North shore, or Gold Coast. During the interview process, when Willie asked me about raising funds, I replied, “you run affairs.” Willie quickly responded, “affairs are between people, we run events.”

He explained the nuts and bolts of fundraising developing relationships and event planning. Wille was also very dogmatic and wanted things done in his own inimitable style. When someone deviated from that course, the results were not as optimal. During that time,  we planned hundreds if events. We would obtain an honoree build committees and have events that raised significant funds to support  our agencies.  One chief tool that we employed was a card calling event. We would have a program with a guest speaker. The speaker would make a pitch for contributions. The key was to immediately call people’s names and ask for their pledges. This was done in a room of their peers. It was quite effective, especially when you started out with a major contribution. But times have changed, and you cannot utilize this fundraising tool as expansively as we did in the past .

Willie recently passed away at the age of 84. He is dearly missed for his insight, perseverance, and erudite manners.  Willie Fliegelman left behind a legacy of fundraisers who continue to try and make the world a better place for all.


For those of us deeply involved in entrepreneurial or nonprofit causes, how much do we think about fundraising? As one of those procedures that we know we must undergo for a greater good, but can’t help dreading in the hours leading up to it? Or as an activity that is best left to others- something we can delegate to others within the team or organization while we busy ourselves with what seems like an affair that is more immediately important?

I guess a better question would be, why is fundraising a facet of nonprofit and entrepreneurship to which many people have an aversion? Is it because… we perceive it as boring?

Fundraising provides mutual benefit for both the fundraiser and the charitable giver.

In an op-ed article for the New York Times, social scientist, musician, and author Arthur C. Brooks argues that fundraising is not all-so bad. In fact, he argues that it can be fun. The op-ed, aptly titled “Why Fund-Raising is Fun”, is how Brooks presents his case. He starts with an anecdote that involves him asking a class of aspiring entrepreneurs a question related to fundraising- nothing too different than what I did to start off this post. Specifically, he asks the group how many of them are looking forward to fundraising, and understandably, gets zero cries of enthusiasm. He explains to them why this should not be the case, and goes on to use some interesting data to inform the reader about his thoughts. HIs extrapolation is also quite profound.

Brooks begins by telling us he detected his own patterns in the data he was given. He found that those who donated money often ended up with more money (post-gift giving of course). He said he passed this data off as “meh”, but when he told university professors about it, they were unsurprised because it just confirmed what basic psych had already figured out: that people who gave charitably are generally happier than those that do not. Spending on oneself usually just has a marginal impact of self-happiness, but spending on others has results in a much greater increase. This is, simply put, because giving money or resources to worthy causes bestows a sense of responsibility, self-efficacy, and meaningful impact upon the giver.

So how does this translate into fund-raising being fun? Brooks argues that the fundraiser has the tools to tap into the psyche of a giver and show them the virtues of giving. By convincing someone with the means to use their financial resources not on themselves (resulting in less happiness), but instead on noble causes (more happiness), the fundraiser achieves a great deal of enjoyment from it.