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.

Travel Advantage Network Donates to March of Dimes

Did you know that in 1 in 9 babies in the United States are born prematurely? Or that in the world, 15 million babies are both prematurely each year?* March of Dimes is a charity that not only helps spread awareness about problems that threaten the health of babies, but they also help mothers have full-term pregnancies.

For the month of March, Travel Advantage Network, a vacation accommodations program, dedicated its charitable efforts to the March of Dimes, raising a total of $1,750. Flavia Oleniewski, Web Designer / Developer, raised funds for this charity that is close to her heart.

“My son was born with a congenital heart defect which required open heart surgery when he was a baby, and my daughter was born at only 28 weeks gestation and spent 68 days in the NICU,” Oleniewski explained. “March of Dimes’ efforts to prevent birth defects and prematurity is my motivation for this month’s fundraiser.  Hopefully, through their research, they’ll be able to learn why these things happen and hopefully prevent other families from going through what my kids went through.”

To support this charity, Oleniewski held fun activities throughout March including weekly bingo games, a pancake breakfast, blackjack, daffodil grams, a bake sale, jeans days and a departmental challenge. The IT department won the departmental challenge, collecting over $40 in the baby bottle passed out to all departments during the month, winning a free jeans day.

A big thank you to Flavia and the Travel Advantage Network employees who helped donate towards this charitable cause. To find out more information the March of Dimes, you can visit their official website here.

*Source: www.marchofdimes.org

Travel Advantage Network Supports Local Charity: Maryland Therapeutic Riding

For the month of February, Travel Advantage Network, a vacation accommodations program, dedicated its charitable efforts to Maryland Therapeutic Riding, raising a total of $1,365. This charity raises money for therapeutic programs that provide horseback riding to those with physical, emotional or developmental health challenges.

Shari Walker, Senior Staff Accountant, raised funds for these programs through a variety of fun and educational activities. Along with jeans days and a 50/50 raffle, Walker promoted candy/rose valentines, pony-grams, a Flag Day breakfast, a guess the baby picture game and trivia for this cause that she is passionate about.

“I have a horse of my own and run a small boarding facility, and I have volunteered at several therapeutic riding facilities in the past and am passionate about their mission,” Walker said. “Maryland Therapeutic Riding combines so much good: animals, helping the disabled and veterans, and they are right in our own community!”

Maryland Therapeutic Riding was founded in 1996 and is located in Crownsville, Maryland on a gorgeous, 25-acre farm. This unique charity offers therapeutic riding and hippotherapy, which has a variety of benefits including:

  • Normalizing muscle strength and tone
  • Improving coordination, balance, and body awareness
  • Enhancing self-image and confidence
  • Promoting interpersonal communication and bonding

To find out more information about Maryland Therapeutic Riding or to donate to the cause, you can visit their official website here.

Travel Advantage Network Helps Premature and Critically-Ill Infants in the NICU

For the month of January, Travel Advantage Network, a vacation accommodations program, dedicated its charitable efforts to the Anne Arundel Medical Center NICU. The $2004 raised will provide babies who are premature or critically-ill with professional neonatal health services. Leading the charitable efforts were Ellen Moore (Chief Operating Officer) and Dawn Ashburn (VIP Agent). The duo picked this charity for a very unique reason.

“Our children were born into the NICU at the same time,” Moore said. “When I met Dawn, I saw photos of her twins with NICU wires and asked. We figured out that my daughter and her boys were in there together, so it made sense to raise money for them.”

To support this charity, Moore and Ashburn led a variety of activities to get employees involved in this month’s charity. Some of these activities included jeans days, a scavenger hunt around the company campus that educated participants about the NICU and a reverse raffle where employees paid to get out of having to do the Chicken Dance at the monthly company meeting. Perhaps the most memorable charity activity was called Sticky Fly where employees paid for strips of duct tape to tape Ellen to the wall (see image).

A big thank you to Ellen, Dawn and the Travel Advantage Network employees who helped in this success! To find out more information about this charity, you can visit their official website here.

Travel Advantage Network Donates to Project Stay Warm

For the month of December, Travel Advantage Network, a vacation accommodations program, dedicated its charitable efforts to Project Stay Warm. This non-profit organization is affiliated with Let’s Feed the City, a program that helps the less fortunate in the Baltimore community, run by Shelley’s Helping Hands.

To support this charity, employees donated requested items including blankets, clothing, coats, warm winter gear, toiletries, towels and food. Two Travel Advantage Network employees (Dawn Robey, Executive Assistant to President, and Vivian Lo, Account Admin Specialist) led the charity efforts. The duo worked persistently to fill an entire cargo van full of donations. They distributed the items on Sunday, December 21st in a Baltimore park.

“I chose this charity because I had been wanting to give back to the community but was unsure in regards to what organization or where to start,” Vivian said. “It’s amazing to see how our efforts provide such a blessing to those in need. It was definitely a life-changing experience and helped me put things in my life into perspective.”

To find out more information about this charity, you can visit their affiliate’s official Facebook page here.