A Social Media Shoutout

After collecting over $2,000 for Frisky’s Wildlife & Primate Sanctuary through employee donations in the month of August, the charity gave us a kind shoutout on their Facebook page which you can visit here.

To thank our employees, we gave out awards from Frisky’s depending on how much each employee donated. These rewards included a bumper sticker, Frisky’s shirts and/or a tour of Frisky’s in Woodstock, Maryland.

Frisky’s is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center who is the home to many injured, orphaned, abandoned or displaced wildlife. Some of these animals include monkeys, birds, turtles, squirrels and much more.

To learn more about Frisky’s and their mission, you can visit their official website here.

Travel Advantage Network Donates to Frisky’s Wildlife & Primate Sanctuary

For the month of August, Travel Advantage Network, a vacation accommodations program, dedicated its charitable efforts to Frisky’s Wildlife & Primate Sanctuary, Inc., raising a total of $2,226.25. This unique, non-profit organization prides themselves in their Wildlife Rehabilitation specialization. The charity, whose roots began in 1970, takes in injured, orphaned, abandoned or displaced wildlife. Frisky’s goal is to return the wildlife back to their natural habitat after they are strong enough/old enough to safely live in the wild. The sanctuary houses primates and other small exotics such as monkeys, birds, rabbits, squirrels and more.

The Marketing department raised funds for Frisky’s through a variety of activities for Travel Advocates to participate in throughout the month of August. These activities included weekly bingo, a silent auction, a Ravens ticket raffle, a bake sale, a pancake breakfast and the delivery of banana-grams. Perhaps the most competitive activity was the Support Your Monkey challenge, where each department was able to “sponsor” a monkey. All of the proceeds that the Travel Advocates donated in that department went towards their monkey. The department with the most monetary/physical donations won a tour to Frisky’s along with a shirt, bumper sticker and more. The winning department was the IT department, raising a total of $298 for their monkey, Mandy!

“Seeing the employees at Travel Advantage Network rally together to support such a great cause was a very rewarding feeling,” Alyssa Yuan, Marketing Project Coordinator, said. “We not only surpassed our monetary goal for donations for Frisky’s, but we were able to spread our passion for animals throughout the process.”

To find out more information about Frisky’s or to donate to the cause, you can visit the official website here.

Helping Animals in Need

As part of Travel Advantage Network’s charity efforts, the Marketing team is currently collecting money and supplies for Frisky’s Wildlife & Primate Sanctuary, Inc. While collecting donations, we have also been educating our Travel Advocates about the sanctuary along with about what to do should they find a baby animal.

According to Frisky’s Wildlife & Primate Sanctuary, Inc, here is some information about what to do if you find a baby animal:

  • Birds: If you know the mother is dead or the baby is injured, call the wildlife rehabilitator right away. If the baby is separated from the mother and you know where she is, place the baby close by so she can hear it and watch from a distance. If the mother is not found or does not claim the baby within an hour, call a wildlife rehabilitator.
  • Bunnies: If their nest is damaged, you can use light grass to repair it. Mothers return only at dawn and dusk. When bunnies are 4-5 inches long, able to hop and have eyes open, they are able to survive on their own.
  • Fawns: Mothers normally feed and leave their babies behind. Unless the baby looks diseased, confused or threatened, leave the baby and the area alone or else the mother will not return.

If the animal is hurt or sick (i.e. bleeding, vomiting, shivering, flies around it, splayed out, attacked, weak), call your local Wildlife Rehabilitator, Frisky’s (410-418-8899). If you are unable to reach a wildlife rehabilitator, carefully keep the baby warm and in a quiet area until you are able to take the baby to the rehabilitator.

For a full look at what to do if you find a baby animal in the wild, click here. Stay tuned to see what activities the Marketing team does to raise money along with the total amount of donations Frisky’s will receive from Travel Advantage Network.

Travel Advantage Network Donates to the National Stroke Association

For the month of July, Travel Advantage Network, a vacation accommodations program, dedicated its charity efforts to the National Stroke Association, raising a total of $747. This charity raises money to help those impacted by strokes through prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support.

Denise Wilson, TVS Reservation Agent, raised funds for this charity throughout the month of July with different activities for Travel Advocates to participate in. Some of these included a Tupperware fundraiser, a cook-out event, a silent auction for Dierks Bentley tickets and a special charity auction for a 4-hour limousine service along with a $100 gift certificate to Arturo’s Italian restaurant.

The National Stroke Association gives 74% of their funds to stroke education, while 15% goes towards fundraising. Only 9% goes towards administrative expenses. The non-profit organization has many resources for those that are affected by stroke including a Stroke Help Line, StrokeSmart Magazine, a tool to find a local support group, many publications and more.

A big shout out to Denise Wilson and the Travel Advocates who participated in donating to the National Stroke Association. For more information on the National Stroke Association, check out the website here.

The History of Charity

         Click to image above to view the entire infograph

Giving back through charities is a concept that is so established in our society that it’s difficult to imagine a time before their existence. However, the evolution of charitable giving is one that dates back to 2500 BCE. Take a look at the timeline of some key events in history that helped to develop the concept of charity:

  • 2500 BCE: Ancient Hebrews used a mandatory tax or “tithe” to benefit the poor.
  • 500 BCE: The world “philanthropy” first appeared in the drama “Prometheus Bound” by Aeschylus. Phil means “love” while anthro means “man”.
  • 387 BCE: Plato’s Academy, which was a group working for the public good on a voluntary basis, is established.
  • 1601: The Charitable Uses Act of 1601 is enacted by Parliament, which identifies what purposes can be defined as “charitable”.
  • 1643: The first American fundraising drive is organized by Harvard University, raising about 500 pounds (according to www.measuringworth.com, this would be worth £75,830 or $118,037 USD today).
  • 1835: “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville is published, which highlights the philanthropic spirit of Americans as one of the country’s strengths.
  • 1913: Congress passes the Revenue Act of 1913 which exempts charitable organizations from paying taxes.
  • 1914: World’s first community foundation (The Cleveland Foundation) is established in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • 1935: Corporations are now allowed to deduct charitable contributions.
  • Today: The Giving Pledge invites America’s wealthiest  to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropic efforts.

(Source: https://www.growyourgiving.org/giving-blog/brief-history-giving)

Travel Advantage Network Donates to the Lupus Foundation

In the month of June, Andrea Billings, a Travel Advocate in the TVS department, headed the month’s charity efforts, donating to the Lupus Foundation of America. The Lupus Foundation is a national organization devoted to figuring out the mystery behind lupus, the world’s cruelest, most unpredictable, and devastating disease. Their mission is to “improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus through programs of research, education, support and advocacy.” To carry out this mission, they have three goals:

  1. Reduce the time of diagnosis
  2. Ensure people with lupus have safe and effective treatments
  3. Expand direct services and increasing access to treatment and care.

With the help of Travel Advantage Network employees, we raised $1,153. Andrea was inspired to choose this charity because a few of our Travel Advocates actually have lupus. Andrea feels we, as Travel Advocates, are a family that should support each other through our hard times.

“Charity starts at home,” Andrea explains. “As a family, we need to stick together.”

Inspired by Andrea’s mission, Travel Advocates took action to successfully raise a generous amount of money. Charitable efforts included several different events that were held throughout the month of June. Andrea started with having a spaghetti lunch where employees paid $7 for a delicious spaghetti meal. There was also a bake sale that consisted of delicious brownies, butter pecan bars, cookies, cake, and cupcakes. A 50/50 raffle occurred as well as jeans day, where employees paid $5 to wear jeans on Fridays. In addition, a silent auction featured Pure White Hennessy, a Picnic Basket, and a Basket of Cheer.

A big shout out to Andrea Billings and the Travel Advocates who participated in donating to the Lupus Foundation of America. For more information on the Lupus Foundation, check out the website here. You can also donate below.

Donate to the Lupus Foundation

The Celebrity Truth

Angelina Jolie in Kenya in 2009. (Source: http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/suzannah-ramsdale/543046/angelina-jolie-how-she-s-become-an-inspiration.html)

Some wonder whether celebrities are actually taking the initiative to use their large fortunes to give back to those who are in need. It makes sense to question these people and their philanthropic actions. There are many charities, organizations, and service groups that need assistance and resources in order to make this world a better place. Celebrities have so much money and success, it wouldn’t make sense for them to not contribute to the community. It would be a small feet for them to overcome. So the truth about celebrities? They DO donate.

Sports players, musicians, comedians, actors/actresses, directors, hosts and many more have contributed large amounts to charities. Some of these celebrities include: Taylor Swift, Michael Jordan, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, George Lucas, Mel Gibson, Bono, Sandra Bullock, and Ellen DeGeneres. Many celebrities donate millions each year.

In fact, there are numerous celebrities who are founders of their own charity organizations. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis began the 30/30 Project, Ian Somerhalder founded the IS Foundation, Beyonce created the #BeyGood Campaign, and Carrie Underwood started the C.A.T.S. Foundation. And this is just the beginning. Many celebrities even take on 20-50 charities at the same time.

According to Forbes, the record-breaking donation was $10,569,002 from actress Jami Gertz and entrepreneur husband, Anthony Ressler to their charity, the Ressler-Gertz Foundation, in 2012. The Ressler-Gertz Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides education, scholarships, and financial assistance to organizations and individuals in need. Their organization provided an abundant amount of help focused on medical treatments and research.

“Any time you’re helping someone is very important and, of course, when children are involved. I feel like your celebrity is not about the fortune or the fame. But if you can’t help anyone then it’s in vain, it’s pointless.”
-Jennifer Hudson

Travel Advantage Network Donates to the Wounded Marine Fund

The month of May has proven to be extremely productive for all of the Travel Advantage Network Travel Advocates. Thanks to Steven Ogden and the assistance and donations of employees, about $2,066 was raised for the Wounded Marine Fund. The Wounded Marine Fund expresses that their mission is “to help combat wounded Marines returning from the War on Terror. More specifically, Marines who have lost limbs. The Wounded Marine Fund will provide financial aid in the form of trusts. The funds from these trusts will be available to the beneficiaries for any purpose that will help our heroes regain their independence.” It was our mission to help as many of these Marines as our funding will allow.

Steve Ogden, a Travel Advocate in  Account Management, lead the charity for the month of May. Steve chose the Wounded Marine Fund because he personally connects with it in a special way.

“I am a disabled Marine, I still have all my limbs, unlike the Marines we are raising money for,” Steve explained. “These Marines have given a lot more than me, they have lost limbs and are still getting surgeries to repair them. The money we raise goes a long way in helping them get their lives together. In the Marines we have a saying ‘Semper Fi’ which means always faithful. This is my way of giving back.”

Fundraising efforts consisted of several special events that were held throughout the month of May. There was a silent auction that included an array of great  prizes like: Dirty Dancing tickets, Golden Corral buffet tickets, car washes, Gorilla Grahams and more. In addition, tickets were sold for a delicious sausage, gravy and biscuit breakfast. Every Friday was weekly jeans day where participants donated $5 to wear jeans. In addition, a 50/50 raffle was played so Travel Advantage Network employees could have a chance at winning a cash prize, while giving back in the process.

A big shout out to Steve Ogden and the Travel Advantage Network employees who participated in donating to the Wounded Marine Fund. For more information on the Wounded Marine Fund, check out the website here.

The Richfield Association of Parents and Teachers (RAPT) Thanks Travel Advantage Network

It is always an amazing opportunity to assist different charitable organizations to ensure their mission is successfully achieved. Travel Advantage Network had the pleasure of donating to the Richfield Association of Parents and Teachers (RAPT). RAPT is organization based out of Hurbertus, Wisconsin that’s mission is, “to promote and support fundraising activities that enrich student learning and the school environment that may otherwise not be provided within the Richfield Joint School District #1.”

In early February, RAPT contacted Travel Advantage Network with hopes of receiving a donation for their Richfield Annual Celebrate Families Dinner & Silent Auction on Thursday, March 26, 2015. The goal of the event was to raise enough money to support numerous students in their educational pursuits. This includes school equipment, field trips, enrichment materials and much more. Travel Advantage Network welcomed this opportunity with open arms.

We were delighted to donate a week of vacation to; Hilton Head, South Carolina, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, or Kaunakakai, Hawaii. RAPT reciprocated with a wonderful thank you letter (above) and a postcard from the children (below). Thank you RAPT for giving us the privilege of donating to such a wonderful cause.

Employees Donate Time to BBB Shred Day

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) held their annual Shred Day event on April 18, 2015 from 8AM to noon in White Marsh, Maryland. Travel Advantage Network employees were invited to volunteer at this initiative to help reduce identity theft. At this event, participants are able to bring up to three boxes of documents for free, on-site shredding.

Volunteers from Travel Advantage Network were greeters, welcoming drivers with goodie bags and helping to keep traffic flowing. The event had over 700 attendees, with a steady stream of cars for the first three hours. Many got there early, securing their spot in line for the 8 AM start to begin filling the four Shred-It trucks.

A big thank you to our Travel Advantage Network employees who participated and to the BBB for holding this event. Be sure to visit the BBB official website for more information and be on the lookout for the 2016 Shred Day, occurring the Saturday after Tax Day.