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August 17, 2019

Back to School Shopping: Donate First & Make Room for More

Back to school shopping is an important time to prepare your child by stocking up on the resources they need for optimal learning. They typically include clothes, accessories, notebooks, stationary supplies, snacks and backpacks, among other things.

eyv5aW4KBut at the same time that your priorities include taking care of your own child, you can also consider students without the means to get what they need. It doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition – just by donating clothes to charity you can share the wealth by providing for others.

Back to School Savings and Deals

Of course, you’re responsible for your own budget, and the more you save, the more you can share with those less fortunate. Being diligent enough to find the best deals can meet those goals.

How are Americans finding those cost-saving school supplies this year?

Despite our huge dependence on purchasing online, most back-to-school shoppers are buying in stores this year, says industry publication Retail Dive

While nearly half of back-to-school shopping involves price comparisons on smartphones and tablets, research shows that only 36 percent of shoppers said they’re buying products on their devices. Many mothers in the U.S. will use Amazon’s and Walmart’s websites, but there’s a shift toward parents and kids physically heading into the stores. Also, economic indicators say that each household is expected to spend more this year.

Some of the most popular go-tos for great back-to-school savings are Office Depot and Target. Stores with office products sometimes offer as much as 80% off the suggested retail prices. And these retail shops are often where teenage students go after their first day of school to fulfill teachers’ supply lists for such items as scantrons, blue books and college-ruled notebooks.

Moms turn to Target for a broad range of needs, from calculators to highlighters, considering it’s a modern-day general store. It’s a less expensive choice for back-to-school clothing shopping than department stores, for instance.

Bargain hunters have a resource in the Krazy Coupon Lady, an online avenue for deals from numerous retail sources.

The stores that Krazy Coupon Lady (KCL) carries deals for include:
• Best Buy
• Dollar Tree
• CVS Pharmacy
• Gymboree
• Home Depot
• Gap
• Fry’s
• Kohl’s
• Kroger
• Macy’s
• Petco/Petsmart
• Sephora
• Ulta
• Vons
• Whole Foods
• Yankee Candle

So, as you can see, your back-to-school savings through KCL isn’t limited to backpacks, notebooks and lunchboxes.

Donate to Make Room for More

Instead of stuffing your closet with more merchandise, first clean the closet to free up space for this year’s back-to-school shopping finds. If you’re a Marie Kondo fan (“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”) then you know how to streamline your belongings.

Once you’ve accumulated all the outfits from last year’s wardrobe (or last decade’s favorites) you need to choose who will receive the goods.s8LPHRJY

Often our first instinct is to make back-to-school donations through companies like Goodwill, however these organizations re-sell donated items – they don’t give them away to the less fortunate. They do good work, but there are other options that meet more specific needs.

Nearly every community has local nonprofits that collect clothing and other goods for needy families. Do you have a heart for victims of domestic violence? Or children in foster homes?

Consider donating what you bought during last year’s back-to-school shopping trip to benefit family shelters and foster homes. These are faithful nonprofit resources where supplies, clothes and home goods are given to individuals who lack resources.

Check with your local library to see if your books from last year can go to good use. Textbooks – offered free or at a discount – will help a starving student, and your other books can go to a fan of reading for a low price.

Libraries hold regular book sales, so it’s a good time to clean off your bookshelves or volunteer your time to help with the book sale or offer your services to a homework tutoring program. Nonprofit library foundations accept financial donations also.

Arlington Food Assistance Center is a good example of a community charity seeking to provide supplemental nutrition to the hungry. They distribute groceries free of charge to residents of the Arlington, Virginia area.

Your place of worship may also have a food or clothing distribution program.

How to Donate School Supplies

Aside from just donating money to worthy causes, there are many charities that accept school supplies. Some of the most common merchandise requested for school kids in need are:

• Backpacks filled with notepads, pencils, and snacks
• Clothing
• Shoes
• Art supplies
• Books

School on Wheels
For nearly three decades, nonprofit School on Wheels has been making sure homeless kids get the supplies they need to maximize their learning potential. It was founded by a retired teacher who saw the challenges homeless families face in getting a proper education for their children.

Residents of Southern California who have wondered how to donate school supplies have found a number of options through School on Wheels.

Like most charities, you can support the organization through cash donations. Donating in person is available by dropping off a check or other form of payment to their office in Downtown L.A. or the one in the city of Ventura.

K59LdEPfThe organization has a Student Wish List so you can make purchases and drop them off as well. Typical items include backpacks, notebooks and pencils.

You may choose to donate to School on Wheels online through Roonga. You can look over their list of needed items and shop for them there. They’ll be sent directly to the charity, which will distribute them to the kids.

You can also donate supplies through retailers including Amazon, Target, Smile, iGive.com or eScrip. Some of the money will be directed to the nonprofit when you shop online.

If you don’t have extra time for shopping, donate money for school supplies and the nonprofit can make the purchases they need. Through School on Wheels, a $50 donation buys a new backpack for a student who needs one and $100 donations will purchase a backpack and school supplies for the whole year.

Operation Backpack
With the tagline “Give back! Give a pack!” the Volunteers of America mobilize forces for Operation Backpack each year. Their efforts to help kids in need succeed are successful with the aid of people donating resources to the cause.

They provide the backpacks to students from pre-kindergarten age to pre-college. The charity reaches cities across the country, including:

• Mobile, Alabama
• Boston
• California (Bay Area and Sacramento)
• Chicago
• Indiana
• Michigan
• New York City
• Ohio
• Pennsylvania
• Reno/Sparks in Nevada
• Washington, D.C.

Develop Africa 

You can also donate or collect school supplies for Develop Africa, which is a 501(c)(3) benefiting kids in schools on the continent of Africa. Many schools in Africa lack adequate supplies, so additional resources are always appreciated.G uvarVH

By contributing in this way, you help improve the quality of their education and inspire the next generation to succeed. The office supplies you donate are tools that work directly to benefit the lives of the kids.

Studies by Michaelowa and Wechtler show that even one textbook per student raises literacy scores by 5-20 percent. The greater their education, the easier African kids can raise themselves out of poverty – and you can play a part in that important process.

United Way
It’s a well-known, trusted nonprofit organization, but did you know that the United Way collects school supplies this time of year?

The organization is fighting to give needy kids a better chance at a quality education. Though many of us don’t think of the United Way when we think of how to donate school supplies, the truth is, they accept either the supplies themselves or you can donate money to benefit the kids.

Items they need in the fall include pencil boxes, highlighters, glue sticks, colored pencils, erasers, backpacks and markers. But you can contact your local United Way office to get more specifics before doing your back-to-school shopping.

Salvation Army 

When a child’s parent is struggling to make ends meet, or battling an addiction, it’s a big hit against them in the present. But you can affect their future by investing in a child’s ability to learn.

That’s what the Salvation Army can do with the help of donations. Not only do their stores re-sell clothing, they also collect back to school donations to make sure kids are prepared for class.

OTDKbhJiMany children across the United States are in families with unstable financial situations, and the stress makes it hard for them to concentrate and come to school ready to learn. But by bridging the economic gap by finding charities that accept school supplies, it’s an additional means by which these kids can get a fighting chance to succeed.

Fall can be an exciting time for students and their parents – picking out a favorite lunch box and decorating notebooks. But for those families that lack resources, it can be a sad turn of events instead. By donating clothes to charity and shopping for others, your back to school shopping can work in tandem with a generous gift to offer children the gift of learning.

 

August 06, 2019

Donations – They’re Not Just Hand-Me-Downs

When you donate a car to someone in need, you transfer the value of your vehicle to a place where it can do some good. And the best part of it is, you get to choose whether it becomes a comfort to the sick, additional resources for veterans, or another form of benefit to others.

There are many ways to contribute to persons or causes you care about. You can obviously give cash to support a scholarship fund or foundation. And when you donate a car you are doing much the same – the money that’s garnered from the sale of your vehicle goes to the greater good through any channel you choose.gt3o2FHR

Types of Charities

It’s nearly impossible to create a comprehensive list of all types of nonprofit causes in existence. And every American comes face-to-face with a set of personal challenges, a health scare, or a loved one’s experience that, in the end, brings them in contact with a charity’s work.

Animal Rescues

The oldest animal charity is the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, known as the SPCA, says an article in Money Week. It was founded on June 16, 1824, and in 1840 it became the RSPCA when the word “royal” was added to the name.

Established by famous slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce and humanitarian Richard Martin, the group ironically met at a firm called Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in London. It was an era when animals were treated like objects, at best. Farmers had the freedom to flog their donkeys and horses to death if they chose.

Of course, the ASPCA, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is far from the only charity for animals in existence today. There are thousands of charities, publications and meetups dedicated to sparing the lives of four-legged creatures, limiting the number of strays on the street, and offering low-cost veterinary care.

You can donate a car to animals and enable your vehicle to improve the lives of pets or creatures in the wild.

Family and Children’s Charities

Along the lines of movements to prevent cruelty to animals, there was also a society founded in 19th century England to protect children. Strangely, it wasn’t established until more than 50 years after the RSPCA, but nonetheless, it brought attention to the plight of those who have the least amount of power in society.

Children are considered, by many accounts, to be our greatest resource and most people would agree we need more revenue streams to offer them the advocacy they need.

MrZhND4GA car donation to a charity for underserved children offers another layer of protection to inhibit their chances of abuse and boost their opportunities for healthy, happy lives. American kids live in a wide range of living situations – some that are safer than others.

When you donate a car to children and families through Cars2Charities, you not only have the choice of a long list of nonprofits that have already worked with us, you can choose your own. Any 501(c)(3) can benefit from your vehicle donation to kids.

Disaster Relief Organizations

When you get news of a natural disaster – an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, fire or flood – it makes you grateful for your own safety. But it also triggers a desire to help in any way you can.

When you have extra resources to share, it’s nice to know you can trust an organization to get the funds straight to the victims. And when you say, “I want to donate my car to disaster relief" but you’re unsure who you can trust, look at the track record of the company. With more than 30 years in the business, Cars2Charities has positive partnerships with countless nonprofits and we’ve made thousands of donors happy.

While you may have a preference, for instance, to send funding to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, we’ve also worked with many others.

If you became a fan of actor Paul Walker during the first six “Fast & Furious” movies, you may know about his disaster relief agency, Reach Out World Wide, known as ROWW. 

When he witnessed the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, he couldn’t stand by and watch. So, he founded ROWW, a nonprofit that sends thousands of dollars of relief support every year when tragedy strikes.

Charities for Veterans

More than half of American families have a member of the family who serves, or previously served, in the military. If that describes you, there’s a chance you would like an opportunity to reward our heroes when they come home.

What a car donation to military causes can do is to pump money into benefits for soldiers and their families. Some charities offer mental health services, while others may simply provide fun for their kids.

Some of the organizations Cars2Charities has worked with include:

  • USO
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Veterans Helping Veterans Foundation
  • Heroes in the Rough
  • Patriots and Paws

Of course, you can introduce us to a favorite nonprofit benefiting veterans, as well.

Environmental Causes 

Nearly everyone in the United States agrees with the trend toward becoming more green. Most car buyers know they should look toward moving into hybrids and electric cars at some point. In other words, our carbon footprint could use some shrinking.

There are many nonprofits that could benefit when you donate a car for environmental causes. The irony is probably not lost on you that the very item creating carbon emissions can actually improve the air pollution when it’s turned into a car donation.

When you upgrade your car – choosing something more environmentally friendly or not – it can bring you pride to know your new set of wheels is a little bit greener and cleaner than before.

There are conservancies, natural foundations and heritage guilds that can benefit when you donate a car. Some tackle water conservation while others protect parks and open space – and there are countless other related nonprofits. L9d5QTS

Types of Donations

When you hear the word “donations,” it probably conjures up images of closet cleanouts and thrift shop visits. But there are many more facets to it than recycled appliances at Goodwill and upcycled collectibles at consignment centers.

There are several other ways to donate to charities in need, including time, money, vehicles and accessories.

Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories
One of the great things about donating clothing for needy individuals is the fact that they can be used directly, or they can become a part of an umbrella organization selling the clothes and using the money to support the underserved.

Clothes donated to the Salvation Army are resold to the public and the finances go to fight homelessness, among other things. The organization aims to benefit single women, seniors and families with children who are at risk of losing their permanent housing. Like Goodwill Industries, they also employ men and women, which gives them a form of income.

But your clothing can also be donated directly to agencies involved with assisted living or domestic abuse shelters for those who are being given safe haven. A website called DomesticShelters.org enables you to search for local domestic violence centers and obtain their wish lists. That way, when you’re cleaning out closets you know what to look for and donate.

Blood
1F3dOSDVAs long as there are traffic collisions and the existence of diseases there will be a need for blood. It’s not hard to find a source to take your blood donation, as labs and medical centers can direct you to a local facility. There are also blood drives throughout the year, which are hosted by schools, hospitals and nonprofit groups in the community.

Some nonprofits have websites that direct you to locations in your area to give blood, such as the Red Cross. There are opportunities to not just give blood in the general sense. Some patients need platelets and some agencies accept plasma donations.

Time
Perhaps you’re already on the board of your sorority alum group or involved in PTA. If you know what volunteerism looks like, you know it has a cost-benefit quality.

In some cases, the cause itself is your passion and you want to support and strengthen the mission. But while you may be paying it forward in some ways, you’re also reaping the benefits that come with your volunteer service. The relationships you forge with fellow volunteers often reap lifelong friendships. And you also may come in direct contact with those you’re supporting, unlike other less direct opportunities to give, such as donating a car to charity.

Money
When life gets too busy it can feel good to just choose the easiest route for giving. Writing a check to charities may be your best bet in that instance. It enables the organization to determine the most pressing needs and the best way to put it to use.

Food
There’s very little that can compete with the goals of organizations like Ample Harvest, which develops new strategies to end world hunger. A nationally known charity, Ample Harvest seeks to help gardeners eliminate wasted food, which would help solve the world’s problem with malnutrition and hunger.

Most communities also have their own food pantries which collect groceries to feed needy families. Sometimes they’re run by civic leaders and many times they are nonprofit entities. Both may accept resources directly – whether it’s cash or you donate a car to charity.

Donating Your Vehicle

The mutual win when you donate a car through Cars2Charities makes it a pretty tempting option when you find yourself saddled with a car you don’t need. What may seem simple – upgrading your vehicle – is often burdensome when it comes down to the details.qY7BUBht

But making a car donation to charity requires very little from you. It reduces the hassle factor – you get to just hand your keys over to the Cars2Charities associate and let the experts go to work. Of course, you also get a tax break when it’s all been said and done.

Deciding on the charity to gain proceeds from the vehicle donation is part of the process too. And what’s nice for the nonprofit recipients is that it becomes cash for them, which means they decide where to place the resources. Because we sell your donated vehicle, when the charity receives the check, they can ultimately decide how to use the funds to support their cause.

You may come up empty-handed when looking at which charities give away free cars, but you can choose a system where you can offer assistance to those who need it without the burden of shrinking your bank account or jumping through a lot of hoops. When you donate a car to a nonprofit you believe in, you get the good feeling that comes along with making contributions or volunteering for a cause.

 

August 04, 2019

Car Donation: Is it a Scam?

You’ve decided it’s time to finally get rid of that vehicle sitting in your driveway and car donations have been on your mind lately. The thing is, you don’t know enough about the process, and you’re weary because you’ve heard a horror story or two. You know that donating a car to charity is a worthy option for finding your old car a new home, but you also want to find a trustworthy source to handle it. No one wants to fall prey to a scam artist.rA1Jvfoi

Why Can Car Donations Appear to Be a Scam?

Whether or not you’ve known someone who’s done a car donation, you may be skeptical of the process. That’s totally understandable. To some, it can feel like you’re giving up the value of a trade-in or the cash you’d get from selling a car yourself. What many people have come to realize, is when you donate a car to charity, you’re putting a checkmark in the plus category on your taxes.

In truth, you and your accountant can determine your need for certain tax write-offs, credits, or deductions. But a car donation through Cars2Charities will maximize your car’s value rather than diminish it, as a dealer typically keeps 60-70% of its value. By donating your car, you’re not just getting a write off, but you’re supporting the cause of your favorite charity.

Now, what are the most common reasons people view car donation as a scam? We have taken the time to answer this question and offer you a different perspective.

Someone may think a car donation company is a scam if…

• The car donation company is not a charity
• They can’t take your car for donation
• The charity doesn’t get 100% of proceeds
• Your car doesn’t sell for Kelley Blue Book value
• Your charity is not on our list (or maybe it was on the list, but isn’t anymore)
• It takes a while to sell your donated vehicle (RVs, motorcycles, and watercraft included)

How can all of these factors not be indicators of a scam? In order to answer this, we must dig a little deeper. So let’s dive into car donations with Cars2Charities.

Why Donate My Car to a Company That Is Not a Charity?

YjKbBwPNExcellent question! Cars2Charities is not a nonprofit but IS registered as a commercial fundraiser (aka professional fundraiser), which means when you donate a car to charity through Cars2Charities it provides a way to raise money for the 501(c)(3) of your choice. Cars2Charities actually acts as a representative of your charity during the donation process! All you do is select a nonprofit organization that you care about, and Cars2Charities does the heavy lifting.

So, although Cars2Charities is not a charity, you still receive a tax deduction for your vehicle.

How, you ask? Well, in reality you ARE donating to the charity you chose, Cars2Charities is just taking care of the details.

Why doesn’t the charity handle the car donation themselves? Simple. They don’t know how, and they most likely don’t have the money, staff, or right connections. Car donations are complicated. There are many components involved, including IRS paperwork, DMV transfers, finding reputable companies pick up, buy, and sell donated vehicles, and knowing the rules and regulations. Most charities don’t have the right tools to handle their own car donation programs, and even if they did, car donations would take their focus away from their missions and take up too much of their resources. That’s why companies like Cars2Charities specialize solely in car donations. It saves charities stress, time, and money.

An additional advantage of Cars2Charities not being a charity is that we are not tied down to one, single cause. Our fundraising status means we’re free to work with a variety of charities, giving you many causes and nonprofits to choose from.

Why Is My Vehicle Being Turned Down For Donation?

Perhaps you’ve called around and no one seems to want your car for donation. “But I am giving it away to you for free,” you’ve said so many times to so many people. Still – no one will take it.c qXcTa

Here is the deal. Vehicle donations are not free. In order to raise funds for the charities we represent, we must be able to sell all vehicles that come through our facilities. Cars that are rusted, infested, run down, or just undesirable, won’t make enough money at auction to cover the fees it costs to send them there. In order to stay in business, we sometimes have to be selective.

Trust us, we would take everything if we could, but the used car industry isn’t what it used to be, and neither is the scrap metal market. At one time, we could take everything, and cars that didn’t sell at auction would be sold to scrap yards. But when scrap yards stopped buying, we had to change our business model. If we can’t take your car, we sincerely apologize and can definitely provide you with some alternative options. If donation is not feasible, just ask your friendly donation coordinator what your options are. She can help you decide what is the best choice for you and your old car.

Something else worth mentioning is that in the event a car’s sale price fails to cover expenses, such as towing or auction fees, Cars2Charities will pay for those out-of-pocket. We actually make sure our charities receive a minimum donation from us even if we lose money on donations that sell for less than we anticipated. However, to keep our doors open and continue the work we do for our hundreds of charity partners, we really try to make sure donations at least cover the cost of expenses – even if that means we are not getting paid.

As a rule of business – to stay afloat – companies need to cover expenses and make sure there is enough left over to pay their hard-working staff and pay for rent and utilities. It is a common misconception that car donations are free for everyone; that is not the case. This is a multi-million-dollar industry that involves many people who need to be compensated for their work, including companies like Cars2Charities. 

Why Doesn’t My Charity Get 100% of the Proceeds?

Let’s pretend you’re 10 years old and you’ve decided to sell your bicycle. In order to sell the bicycle, you realize you need a hand or two. First, you need to fix the bike, so you ask your father for help. Then you need to paint and clean it, so you ask your brother for help. Finally, it’s time to sell the bike to your friend across town, but you need a ride to get it to him, so you ask your mother for help. Now that you’ve sold the bicycle and you have the money from the sale, you realize that you didn’t do all the work yourself. In return for the help they gave you, you give some of the money you made from the bike to each member of your family, and you keep the rest for yourself.

The same concept applies to vehicle donations. Cars2Charities takes your information, picks up your vehicle, transfers the paperwork through the DMV, sells the vehicle at auction, sends you a tax receipt for the donation, and mails the proceeds, minus expenses, to the charity you chose. They even offer each charity free marketing!

But you want to know where all these expenses are coming from. They are simply payment to the people who provided services that turned your vehicle into a tax deduction (and proceeds for the charity). Each hard-working individual, from the phone operator to the tow truck driver, must be compensated for their work. A lot of time and effort goes into each donation. We do try to keep expenses to a minimum, and the proceeds that remain after expenses are paid go directly to the charity.

The good news is, expenses do not affect you as a donor. You get to write off the ENTIRE sale price of the vehicle!

Will my Car Donation get the Kelley Blue Book Value?

R23jvCbESometimes! But most likely, you will get the fair market value of your vehicle, which is typically less than the Kelley Blue Book value. This is not a Cars2Charities policy, but is a regulation created by the IRS. To understand the government’s definition of Fair Market Value, use IRS Pub 561 for an explanation when you donate a car to charity. 

As stated above, after a vehicle is picked up, it is sold at auction, but we also have affiliations with private buyers and dealers who are looking for certain years, makes, and models. These individuals will pay higher than fair market value and closer to Kelley Blue Book in many cases.

If you’ve never taken part in a car auction, you may not know that some factors pertaining to the process itself affect the final selling price of your donation vehicle. Each vehicle in a car auction is sold to the highest bidder. Of course, that means you can’t be entirely aware, in advance, of the final price your donation vehicle sells for. Additionally, the IRS prohibits us (car donation companies) from disclosing a predicted price prior to the selling of vehicles. Nevertheless, these regulations do not prevent car donations from being a valuable opportunity. Many times, donors contact us elated because their cars sold for way more than they expected!

What If My Charity Is Not on Your List?

There are two reasons a charity may not be listed on our website:
1. We may not have an agreement with them yet. To make sure we are abiding by state regulations, we must have a formal agreement with every nonprofit we work with. If you want to donate to a charity that is not listed, no problem! We just need their contact information and we can reach out to them to see if they are interested in receiving donations from our company. Most charities are thrilled to find out that there is yet another way to receive donations, but there are some charities that are not comfortable with car donations. In any case, we are happy to call your favorite charity and explain how our services can benefit them.
2. They may have been removed from our list. If a charity has been removed from our list, it is most likely because they did not complete mandatory paperwork for the Attorney General. We file all of our donations with the Attorney General, then send the reports to be verified by each of the charities. If a charity does not complete this report, we are forced to remove them from our list and terminate the agreement we have with them. There are also a few cases where a charity has asked to be removed from the list because they no longer want to accept donations. This is fairly rare, but it can happen.

Charities are just like you. They want to know that car donations are going to benefit them. We speak with and add new charities to our list every day and are always glad to answer their questions about our program. We know car donations are misunderstood and find that once a charity has a better idea of how donations work, they are excited to get started with our services.

What If It Is Taking a While to Sell My Donated Vehicle?

The car donation procedure is extremely easy for donors and charities alike. At times, it can be a little tricky for us, especially when it comes to selling unique donations. Certain vehicles are highly sought after, but others take a little longer to sell if there is a narrower population of buyers looking for that type of vehicle.

Classic cars, motorcycles, RVs, off-roading vehicles, and watercraft are among some of the more difficult vehicles to sell. SR BDxWDEven nicer, more high-end vehicles can take longer to sell. Most of these specialty vehicles cannot be sold at general auctions, which means it’s up to us to find specific buyers. These types of buyers may or may not be in our network. Although we have a wide variety of specialized buyers, sometimes they are not in the market for the vehicles we have at a certain time of year. In the event that we cannot find a buyer right away, it may take a few months to sell your donated vehicle. This is completely normal for unique vehicles.

Rest assured that all of our vehicles sell. It is just that sometimes it takes longer to find the right buyer. If you haven’t received your tax deduction by the end of 10 weeks, please call us to find out the status. We keep detailed notes in each donation account and we are all about transparency. If your vehicle is having a hard time selling, we will be upfront with you about it. Sometimes the reason the vehicle won’t sell is not because it’s undesirable, but because it is worth more than buyers are willing to pay. Crazy, right? But it does happen.

There is a foot for every shoe, and the same goes for vehicle donations. We can, and do, sell everything! It just may take a little longer than expected. Not to worry, you WILL receive your tax deduction. We guarantee it!

Are Car Donations a Scam?

No, but they are often times misunderstood, just like any other business or industry.

If you’re not in the business, you may not understand it completely. And trust us, we get that.

In much the same way that we rely on airlines for our travel, we don’t feel the need to become pilots ourselves. We are all capable of entrusting others to complete complex services for us that we don’t wholly understand. The main takeaway is to do enough due diligence to feel confident that the car donation company you choose is worthy of working with you!

ZmB9l olCars2Charities does our best to give you as much information as we can to help you understand the process, but it is a large industry and there are things that may be enigmatic. This just means that you need to make sure to do your research and find a company that follows the IRS rules and does their utmost to inform you as a donor of their services and policies. We pride ourselves on our honesty and transparency about how our program works. This is because we want nothing more than for car donations to be safe and beneficial for donors and charities.

As none of us has the time to learn every detail about completing transactions in every arena of life, we can luckily still engage. Likewise, you can trust our nearly half a century of combined experience – we take care of the aspects that aren’t in your wheelhouse. All you need to do is make the first step toward your car donation by reaching out to us. And please ask questions, we are here to provide you with answers.

 

July 15, 2019

Summer Cleaning Hacks that Benefit Yourself & Others

There’s no time like the present. Summer cleaning enables you to streamline your homelife and create space that gives you both practical benefits and personal ones too.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that Americans spend an average of 40 minutes a day cleaning house. That’s not bad, but a few summer cleaning hacks will add some creative ideas to maximize your efforts and make it easier than ever.

Personal Benefits of a Clean Environment

Making your physical space less messy has psychological advantages, says an article on TheWayPointe.com. Research shows that minimizing clutter reduces anxiety and stress.

Science backs up the impact of cleaning, according to a study by the University of California. A messy house creates a rise of cortisol in the body, which is a hormone released by the adrenal gland that typically responds to stress.ZUFKZ4k3

 
A survey of more than 3,000 individuals found that simple housework decreases stress levels – by up to 20 percent. A UK study showed that when you have a high-stress career, you can lose as many as 33 years of your life.

With those stats in mind, a guide to summer cleaning can actually be a part of your wellness plan. Spending a few minutes a day doing some cleaning is a small price to pay for your mental health.  

 
 

Cleaning Your Closet

If you live in a small apartment, you’re probably a minimalism expert. But it doesn’t matter if you have limited space or a massive walk-in closet, it’s easy to find yourself adding to your belongings and causing it to bust at the seams.

One effective system to maintain a clutter-free existence is to use seasonal changes to reduce your excess stuff. You’ve probably heard the suggestion to change the batteries in your smoke alarm during each of the two “standard time/daylight savings” time changes every year. You can use a similar technique to minimize the stress of too much clutter by sorting your clothes with a system of winter and summer cleaning.

When the temperatures rise it’s a good idea to swap your winter clothes for summer clothes and do the reverse, come winter. One of the side benefits is how much easier it is to pick out your clothes each day when there are fewer hanging in your closet.

It’s also a good time to purge. If there are clothes you haven’t worn all year, it may be a good time to donate them. Think of the storage space you’ll save!

For the pieces you’re putting away, put them in the laundry first. Only store clean clothing items. And if you’re putting away your fall boot collection, take them to a shoe repair person first.

  • Here are some practical reminders:
    Don’t forget to put away coats, scarves, gloves, and hats. But keep some lightweight jackets and accessories available in case you go to the mountains or experience some cool summer nights.
  • Store heavy sweaters properly: By hanging cashmere or wool, there’s the possibility of stretching them and when they lose their shape you won’t like the way they look. Always store sweaters folded, even during the winter. When summer rolls around, put them in durable plastic storage bins to keep pests at bay.
  • Pack up bulky items efficiently: If your coats are puffy styles, they take up too much closet space. One way to increase storage effectiveness is to purchase vacuum-sealed plastic bags. Without the extra air, you’ll be left with compact bags of clothing which you can store in the garage or under the bed.
  • Protect your shoes: Save your boots from getting squished by storing them in their original boxes, if possible. You can also purchase plastic bins to store them individually or hang them on space-saving boot racks.
     
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Summer Cleaning Every Day

Simple and easy cleaning habits can change your home, mood, and lifestyle. We all know what these are – they’re little, mundane acts of housekeeping.

It was summed up so well in a commencement speech by Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven in Austin, Texas. He’s the author of “Make Your Bed.”

He told graduates to start each morning by making their bed, as he shared lessons he learned from basic Seals training. Every morning his instructors would show up to his barracks room and the first thing they’d do is inspect his bed. He needed to have:

  • Corners square
  • Covers pulled tight
  • Pillow centered just under the headboard
  • Extra blanket folded neatly

“Every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection,” he said. “The wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride. And it will encourage you to do another task. And another. And another. And by the end of that day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made. So, if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

There are, of course, many other tasks that need your attention on a regular basis, which is why a guide to summer cleaning is helpful.

Pick a dusting day. Get out your rag and polish every Tuesday, or one day of the weekend to be sure dust doesn’t get caked on your collectibles, furniture and countertops.

Summer typically means running the air conditioner (depending on where you live). Check the vents – they can get a harmful layer of dust and dirt that enters your lungs, negatively affecting your health.

According to HowStuffWorks.com, there are millions of dust particles, pollen, spider webs, hair, dirt and other allergens in your home’s air ducts. Not only is it a health matter, you can also save money on your air conditioning and heating usage.

The website offers some steps for cleaning air ducts, including:

  • First turn off power source to heating/air conditioning unit.
  • Get screwdriver to remove duct covers from walls.
  • Using a brush, clean grates and use soap and water if necessary.
  • Vacuum ducts. You may need an industrial strength vacuum, as household units sometimes lack the power to do deep cleaning.olX8MCsV

Kids and Summer Cleaning

They’re home and under foot ... use it to your advantage! Create a list of chores and rewards, so the cleaning gets done and they don’t get bored.

A few summer cleaning chore ideas are:

  • Unloading the dishwasher
  • Folding laundry
  • Vacuuming
  • Cleaning their room

Some ideas for rewarding their work productivity are:

  • Getting extra social time with friends
  • More time on technology
  • Money for movies or treats
  • Tickets to amusement parks/concerts

Summer Party Cleaning Tips

Does the rise in temperatures also mean a rise in social time?

When you’re planning a party at your house, what fills your mind is thoughts of fun and games, but what fills your schedule is a lot of cleaning. Will guests be indoors, outdoors ... or in the pool?

More than just some routine summer cleaning is in order if you’re having a big bash. Real Simple Magazine has some ideas to create an “oasis atmosphere” for your backyard party.

Start your outdoor cleanup project as early as possible, beginning with an assessment of your needs based on time of day you’ll have your party, whether it’s inside or outside, and number of guests.

You have to figure out seating, which is one of the most important factors when it comes to the comfort of your guests. If you don’t have enough chairs, call a rental company. Party guests often prefer tables and chairs, particularly if you’re serving food that requires flatware.

Your lighting may be an issue, especially if it’s a nighttime affair. Says Jimmy Duhig of Creative Lighting Design in San Francisco, in many cases you don’t need brightness – just some ambient lighting. People’s eyes adjust if they’re outdoors while it’s getting dark.

k1GA1LxUAnd when it comes to summer cleaning to prep for the party, it gives you a great excuse to spend a few days out in the yard. Any standing water needs to be drained. Flower beds may need turning, and you have to clean the pool and patio areas.

An article by Swim University includes a guide to summer cleaning your swimming pool. Even if you don’t have waterfalls and high-tech pool covers, there’s maintenance needed.

Each pool has four components, says SwimUniversity.com: the water; the interior wall; the filter system; and the skimmer system.

Your summer cleaning needs to include a plan to keep these features free of buildup, as well as repaired and clear of dirt and mold.

Time for a Summer Car Clean-Out

Summer cleaning also involves a vehicle assessment. When your car is beginning to concern you – making noises and becoming less reliable – you may want to consider a vehicle donation. This one act enables you to get a tax write-off, benefit a favorite cause, and move your old car to make room for a newer one.

A lot of car dealers hold their best sales in July. U.S. News & World Report compares the rise in summer temperatures to the rise in savings on new cars. They posted an article listing some of the best deals, including the percent of the sticker price you can save this month:

Nissan Altima: 22% off
Kia Optima: 19% off
Ram 1500: 18% off
Hyundai Sonata: 17% off
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: 17% off
Ford Fusion: 16% off
Hyundai Elantra: 16% off
Ford F-150: 15% off

When you’ve decided it’s time for an upgrade and picked out your new set of wheels, there’s still that one problem – what do you do with your old car? Donate it!

If you’re thinking, “I don’t know how to donate my car,” it’s actually very easy. With a simple phone call to Cars2Charities at 855-520-2100 or by going online, you get the ball rolling.

 
 

It’s such a win-win. You find someone to tow away the vehicle you don’t need and pocket a tax break at the same time.

And not only that – your favorite nonprofit gets a donation. When you donate car to charity, you choose which 501(c)(3) gets proceeds from the donation.

 
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If you already volunteer somewhere, you can add to their resources with a car donation. And there are many set up for you as well. You can choose a medical cause such as Children’s Hospital or if you want to benefit veterans make a wounded warrior car donation.

A vehicle donation contributes to your summer cleaning goals by clearing out space in the garage or on other parts of your property, which is another shot at lowering your stress. Excess stuff can be burdensome, and if you’re paying for expensive storage units, boat slips or parking spots, it’s another monkey off your back to alleviate yourself from those bills. You can donate a boat to charity or an RV or many other types of vehicles.

Summer cleaning takes many forms and every little bit helps. Some choose one big act such as a car donation to charity, while others find it more beneficial to add daily chores to their schedule. But whether you tackle it all at once or a half hour a day, seasonal de-cluttering gets you off to a great start.

July 07, 2019

Summer Vacation Trip Ideas: Over-the-Top Not Overpriced

Planning a summer vacation sounds like an expensive proposition, but it doesn’t have to be costly to be quality. You just need to know some tricks of the trade.

Destination: Inexpensive Location

A travel blog by Southern Californian Kristin Addis offers money-saving hints in a wide variety of categories, from trips for solo females to resources such as itineraries to budgeting.

She travels solo all across the globe and delves into the world of locals to tap into each culture. Whether it’s a short jaunt or a long-term vacay, she and her team at Be My Travel Muse have information to share.

1YWxBsVJIf you want to go outside the U.S., an article on the website offers you some ideas if you’re planning a cheap vacation.

Asia
You can see Laos for $30 a day, according to Be My Travel Muse, though places to stay are actually a bit more expensive than other Southeast Asian destinations. What makes it a cheap vacation is that the activities are so reasonably priced.

The article describes one waterfall in Laos as the most beautiful in the world and it costs the traveler just $2.50. The writer went inner tubing on the Vang Vieng River one day for $7 and got a “tiger balm massage” for $6.

To get around Laos you can rent a motorbike inexpensively, for about $6-$15 for the day, but the best part of the deal is that it takes you to outlying towns where prices are even better. Nice rooms are about $35, it says, and meals total $3-$9 per day.

Vietnam is also about $30 a day – another cheap vacation venue – if you follow these tips.

Food in Vietnam is estimated at about $5-$10 a day. The street food was both the cheapest and healthiest, according to the travel writer. She ate soup with noodles, broth, pork and cilantro for $1.50. You can rent a motorbike there as well, but traffic is pretty bad, so the best summer vacation trip ideas include trains and buses.

Europe
Though it’s not typically at the top of the list of “where to go on summer vacation,” Romania is within your reach for just $33 a day. The towns are charming and a lot of activities are free, the article says – and better yet – a lot of tourists don’t know about them.

Stroll from village to village with history from medieval times or enjoy one of the country’s picturesque parks.

For accommodations, hostels are perhaps the cheapest route at $10-$15 per night. One way to save money on food is to eat breakfast at hostels and eat your biggest meal at lunch. If your hostel has a kitchen, you can cook your own dinner using produce and other fresh food from the market.

If it’s always been your dream to travel to Greece, you probably didn’t know it was a cheap vacation at $40 per day. The price to get there dropped after the debt crisis of 2010, which helps, but avoid summer months for the best prices on travel.vbHGwLQZ

For food, like anywhere else, it pays to make your own if you can. Some of the least expensive summer vacation trip ideas include taking a picnic down to the beach to enjoy the coastline of Greece.

Free walking tours are available and if you island hop, check prices and limit number of transfers.

You can find accommodations for as low as $10-$15 per night and if you split the cost of a rental car, you can get the price below the daily cost of a scooter rental, which is about $25-$30.

Where to Go on Summer Vacation if you Backpack

If you’re planning a summer vacation and want moneysaving advice, a website called The Broke Backpacker has some suggestions if you’re willing to travel that way. Some parts of the world are as inexpensive as $10 a day, notably India and Eastern Europe. 

The Broke Backpacker’s “Ultimate List of Cheap Countries to Visit” includes:

  • Iran, which is often overlooked. It’s the easiest to hitch a ride, he says, and citizens will invite you to their homes, so sometimes you pay nothing for accommodations.
  • Venezuela is also on the short list if you’re planning a cheap vacation. He says he buys 60 beers for a dollar and five-star hotels cost just $2 per night. Taxis cost approximately a quarter and multiple-day mountain trips are under $100.
  • Pakistan has picturesque mountains and extreme hospitality from locals, so The Broke Backpacker says its virtues are underestimated when planning a summer vacation that knocks it out of the park. He couch-surfed through the country and said your travel costs can add up unless you catch rides with friendly natives. Food in Pakistan is just a few dollars per meal and camping in the Karakoram Mountains is free.
  • India is one of the better-known cheap vacation travel destinations and years ago he backpacked through the country for a year for less than $3,000. He estimates a cost of $10 a day for the frugal traveler. To save money in India you need to be willing to use slow means of travel, however. For instance, taking the train over a 12-hour period is $16.50 for a sleeper.

Planning a Summer Vacation with Safety in Mind

Planning a cheap vacation makes little sense if you’re going to be dodging thieves or constantly watchful for violent behavior. Countries have rankings when it comes to safety stats too, and it’s a good idea to check those before making decisions.

qocpsd7ZA website called SkyScanner.com posted a list of countries with the highest safety statistics for travelers. It stems from the U.S. Department of State, which combines a number of factors to assign each country a ranking.

Some of the countries with the highest travel advisories are:

Zambia: Victoria Falls is one of its most desirable tourist sites. Nature also surprises visitors with the proliferation of lions, zebras and the second-largest wildebeest migration in Africa. It doesn’t speak to its rank when planning a cheap vacation, but it’s very compelling.

Slovenia: It’s 7th on the Global Peace Index and it’s a country awarded with the “Green Capital of Europe,” which is Ljubljana. There is hiking in the Julian Alps, as well as biking and rowing on Lake Bled island.

New Zealand: It’s the second safest country in the world behind Iceland. This group of Pacific Islands boast a series of subtropical, volcanic and glacial landscapes, which is why so many tourists make it their choice with planning a summer vacation.

Cheap Vacation Flights

Shopping for plane flights can take a lot of time and finesse, especially when you want to know where to go on summer vacation that’s cheap to get to.mzHoVrKz

You can typically find sites that compare several different travel sources, sometimes lining up a package that includes hotels and flights together for added savings. Some of the best known are Expedia, Kayak, JustFly and CheapFlights.

You can also subscribe to the airlines directly, which is sometimes an advantage. You usually input your email address to get deals and announcements about seasonal offers.

  • Tips for savings on flights include:
    Fly on weekdays, as flights are typically cheaper Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You’ll pay more if you fly on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.
  • Check for the cost of luggage vs. carry-on bags. If it costs money to check a bag, see if you can pack tightly enough to just bring a carry-on sized bag. Anything that trims your costs will make it easier to plan a cheap vacation.
  • Plan a cheap summer vacation all year round by using a credit card with travel miles. Numerous banks and credit card companies have airline points, which greatly reduce flight expenses. 

Summer Vacation Trip Ideas for Accommodations

Where you stay makes a big difference when it comes to your budget. There are, of course, sites such as Priceline.com where you name your cost and that’s a beneficial and widely-used option.

HotelTonight.com is an app that gives you access to deals. You fill in your destination and dates and a “digital concierge” lays out options. They have heavily discounted room rates – especially if you have flexibility with your travel dates. Hotels have quotas, so the website can also offer you help with last-minute bookings.

If you thought Groupon was only for massages and piano lessons, you could be missing out on cheap vacation ideas. It’s a global entity, so there are Groupon deals everywhere.

coHqy6FBTo vet these summer vacation ideas you find on Groupon when planning a summer vacation, use apps like Yelp to read reviews and find more resources. 

Another great source of information is to simply ask locals. Even before you reach your destination you can pinpoint not-to-miss sites, activities and restaurants. If you’re using Air B&B, you can message your host, of course. And call places of interest directly – museums, theme parks, etc. – for hours and dates they are open.

One of the best summer vacation trip ideas is to purchase transportation passes or tickets in advance. Often there are bus or train ticket discounts, depending on your destination and when you board so you can make it a cheap summer vacation rather than the other way around.

Planning a Summer Vacation with a Vacation Voucher

A discount program such as a car donation vacation voucher can cut your expenses by offering you deep sale prices on vacation destinations. You simply choose from the vacation hotels listed and it often requires a small deposit.

Cars2Charities has a vacation voucher program, which means when you donate a car to charity you can benefit from the offers. So, the added bonus is that the value of a car you no longer need is converted to support for a cause you care about. You also get the tax deduction, which saves you money as well!

Planning a cheap vacation is something you can consider all year round, whether you’re upgrading your car or applying for a new credit card. If you’re getting deals sent to your email you’ll be apprised of where to go on summer vacation or when to plan a trip to take advantage of the best discounts. AwU3pfQB

It may take some effort but most people, when planning a summer vacation, want to spend as little of their hard-earned money as possible.

July 03, 2019

Family, Friends, Food & Fireworks – It Must be the Fourth of July!

Most of us know why we celebrate Independence Day, even if we aren’t mindful of its origins.

History of the Fourth of July Holiday

Today it’s the equivalent of an evening of fireworks, but the Fourth of July has been a federal holiday since 1941, says the History Channel website. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech on July 4, 1941, before the U.S. had entered WWII. He compared the struggle for independence in 1776 with the Allies' fight for freedom overseas.

But what Independence Day is actually commemorating, of course, began in the 18th century. Independence Day history starts with the first battles of the Revolutionary War, which broke out in April of 1775.2Htyjkk6

American citizens who wanted to be independent from Britain were considered radicals. It wasn’t until Thomas Paine’s 47-page “Common Sense” that many more members of the population also wanted their independence. First published anonymously, it was one of the most influential pamphlets in the history of our country. When it was written most colonists saw themselves as British citizens with grievances against the king and Parliament. But it helped to reshape that perspective, shifting the belief of residents in the New World from seeing themselves as Britons to seeing themselves as a melting pot country unto itself.

The pamphlet said, in part: “Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.”

The Continental Congress met in June of 1776 in the Pennsylvania Statehouse, which is now called Independence Hall, where Richard Henry Lee, a Virginia Delegate, brought forth the idea of independence. They held a heated debate and postponed voting on the resolution proposed by Lee, but they put together a committee of five men to draft a formal statement about breaking with England. The men were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and Robert R. Livingston of New York.

On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted in agreement to declare independence, and the Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. Delegates from the original 13 colonies signed the document.

Launching a Celebration of Independence Day

When planning to commemorate our independence from Great Britain, there were various opinions about the most appropriate date. For instance, in determining when is Independence Day, John Adams saw July 2 as the best date. In fact, he wouldn’t even accept invitations to celebrate on the Fourth of July.

Ironically, it’s the date both he and Thomas Jefferson died – July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of Independence Day.

Philadelphia held the first Independence Day celebration on July 4, 1777 despite the fact they were still in the midst of war. The following year on the 4th of July, General George Washington ordered double rations of rum to all of his soldiers. The first state to make the 4th of July a state holiday was Massachusetts.

FrCMVu5DIn 1870, the 4th of July was designated an official holiday by the United States Congress. Parties, bonfires, parades, reenactments and a reading of the Declaration of Independence are typical events commemorating Independence Day.

Before the Revolution, residents of the New World had similar celebrations, but they commemorated the British king’s birthday. There would be concerts, processions and speechmaking, among other activities.

Just following its signing, colonists would fire cannons and muskets while reading the Declaration of Independence. And in the 20th century – 1941 specifically – there was a paid holiday granted to all federal employees.

What to Do on Fourth of July – East Coast

A lot of Americans have traditions for a safe and sane 4th of July celebration. Families may head to the beach, hold reunions, barbecue food and participate in arts and crafts while enjoying professional fireworks.

Thousands of towns and cities across the United States host professional fireworks shows. And stadiums – from high schools to professional fields used for football or soccer – play host to 4th of July shows for local audiences.

An article on VacationsMadeEasy.com has a list of unusual things to do:

Attend the oldest Fourth of July celebration in the United States. Bristol, Rhode Island has a 230-year tradition of Independence Day events including performances by the Drum Corps, parades, a carnival and a big fireworks show over Bristol Harbor.JWCVk7Mf

Go to the largest fireworks display along the Main Line in Narberth, Pennsylvania. Some of the wealthiest individuals live in communities within that area and the show reflects it.

Go to see the largest fireworks display in the United States. New York City is home to Macy’s annual show in NYC. It’s 40 years old and counting – and it’s televised.

There are four days of 4th of July events in Gorham, New Hampshire. One of the state’s longest running shows, the Fourth of July Spectacular includes everything from a chili cook-off to horse-drawn wagon rides.

Ever been to Wilmington? This Delaware city holds a Fourth of July celebration at the Riverfront that includes a 50-foot obstacle course, rides, face painting and food from a crab feast. Special to the holiday are patriotic events from historical reenactments to magic acts. Of course, the big show is after dark when the sky lights up with fireworks.

Visitors to historic Corolla Park in Corolla, North Carolina get to take in the annual Festival of Fireworks. Not only is it a big show, during the day you can wander around the park while enjoying food, in addition to activities such as a cornhole tournament and watermelon eating contests.

The celebration in Bar Harbor, Maine has been called a best bet by “National Geographic”! It’s followed by a huge seafood festival and the annual lobster races, plus free music in Agamont Park on the Village Green.

What to Do on Fourth of July – West Coast

If you find yourself on the left coast of the U.S., you won’t be near the nation’s capital nor in the city that never sleeps. But, don’t worry – there’s plenty going on in cities to the west if you’re searching for what to do on the Fourth of July.

Los Angeles has a huge number of fireworks venues, according to Timeout.com.8ZwpIMXA

Pacific Palisades has a beach-themed party going on, beginning with patriotic skydivers whose landing begins the town’s classic Fourth of July Parade. It starts on Sunset Boulevard between Drummond and La Paz and there’s a concert at 4 p.m. followed by fireworks at dark.

Also on the coast, but further south, Marina del Rey has its annual fireworks over the water. You can watch the explosions from Burton Chace Park, Mother’s Beach or Fisherman’s Village, where you’ll hear music to accompany the oohs and ahhs from the crowd. If you’ve got a boat you’ll have a great view as well.

And speaking of boats, keep going south to the Queen Mary for concerts and patriotic, family-friendly events. There is an evening of musical entertainment, historic tours of the icon and a patriotic film screening.

Also in Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific is holding a Fourth of July Late Night BBQ and party. Not only will the aquarium remain open into the night, there’s a great view of fireworks over the water. The BBQ cookout includes classics from hot dogs and Coleslaw to brisket and s’mores bars.

In the heart of the city? Downtown L.A. is holding an Anime Expo at the Convention Center this year. There are four days of special events, cosplay and panels of experts. There will be thousands of individuals who descend on downtown for a celebration of the subculture, where they can meet characters and get autographs.

For a creepier Fourth of July nearby, head to Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a screening of “E.T.” People will come with picnics and watch a fireworks show following the movie. Hosted by Cinespia, there will be a themed photobooth and DJ for the dance party aspect of the annual event, which brings Angelenos lining up hours in advance. It’s a cult classic involving sleepovers and a lot more at this favorite film venue.

If you’re inland, there’s Pasadena’s AmericaFest in the Rose Bowl Stadium. It opens at 2 p.m. on the Fourth for families to take in rides, crafts and games – all kid-friendly. There is a motorcycle stunt show, lots of food and fireworks at night. Parking is $40 but you can tailgate and never enter the stadium, because it’s easy to see all the festivities from outside the stadium.

While the Rose Bowl is Bruin territory, if you’re a Trojans fan your end of the spectrum is celebrating too with the Fourth of July Community Festival and Fireworks Show at L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Bring a blanket and chairs to this free event, just outside the Coliseum, for a day of music, games and a nighttime fireworks show.VrfozOy8

There’s never a dull moment when you look at what to do on the Fourth of July. It’s a holiday that truly brings Americans together. Our shared history and years of traditions make it a special occasion that’s about much more than the original Independence Day when we separated from our British roots. It’s more about families, friends, food ... and, of course, fireworks.

June 24, 2019

How New Charities Get Funding Through Vehicle Donations

One of the biggest challenges for new charities is raising enough funds to gain forward momentum. When a startup is launched, or when a founder gains nonprofit status, the game is on – it’s now imperative that streams of income are found to sustain the work and maintain productivity.

An Introduction to Car Charity Donation

Cars2Charities is a third-party company that handles vehicle donations on behalf of hundreds of nonprofit organizations nationwide. Car donations are an effective form of charity fundraising, in part because most Americans have easy access to the process. Oftentimes we aren’t aware that the car we own can become support for a favorite nonprofit cause.car 1245706 640

The Donation Process
There is a simple and reliable process that Cars2Charities has been utilizing for 30 years, continually making alterations to better serve vehicle donors and new charities receiving funds through the program.

We make it easy for clients by limiting their responsibility and taking charge of more steps in the process than they may find elsewhere. Those include the following:

1. Call or submit an online donation request form on the website Cars2Charities.org.
2. Create an account.
3. Schedule a pickup with one of our associates.
4. We send you a receipt that confirms your donation and you choose the charity to receive proceeds from the sale of your vehicle.
5. We pick up your vehicle at a predetermined date & time – one that’s convenient for you.
6. We add value to your vehicle by making necessary alterations to the vehicle.
7. We sell your vehicle for you.
8. You, the donor, receive a tax receipt with the selling price for your records and the car donation charity does as well.
9. Your chosen charity receives an invoice and a check for net proceeds.

Can I donate my car to charity directly?

Some individuals assume they can donate their car directly to a favorite charity. But we do NOT give physical cars to nonprofits; we give charities additional income by selling the donated vehicles.

Donors select charities to receive proceeds, and selling the vehicles allows us to raise monetary values that support the chosen nonprofits.

There are various reasons we can’t give physical cars to a nonprofit. If you’ve talked to friends who have done so, it would require that charity to have a car donation program in-house.

One of the main problems with making a direct car donation to charity is that liabilities are a part of the course of action when cars are given to nonprofits. That includes the need to determine:
• Who is responsible for the car registration
• Who pays for maintenance on the vehicle
• Who is held responsible in case of an accident
• Who will pay for the necessary insurance
• Who will be responsible if it stops running

chevrolet 2805257 1920If your thought is that a nonprofit organization can use your car donation as a company car or truck, that is rarely the case. Many businesses – nonprofit or otherwise – do not have the time or money to receive and maintain a company vehicle.

Instead, vehicle donors with Cars2Charities choose which nonprofit they would like to receive financial support from their vehicle’s proceeds. They can choose a charity listed on our website or request a new charity for us to partner with.

When donors choose a charity that we do not currently work with, our charity relations team contacts the charity and sends them an agreement. Once the agreement is returned, our team verifies the information, and sends a welcome guide to jump start their marketing strategies.

Marketing for New Charities

If you run a nonprofit, it’s a “given” that you have one thing that is always on the front burner: How do we increase our car donations?

When we at Cars2Charities form new partnerships with a nonprofit group, it not only gives our staff the opportunity to get acquainted with the work of a new cause, we share our experience with them to increase their charity fundraising efforts. By collaborating with our marketing team, staff members from both companies can identify the most effective strategies based on the mission of the charity.

Our team members construct appropriate, attention-getting social media posts and strategize about how to get in front of donors and thus maximize charity fundraising. We create professional web pages and blogs that accurately reflect the goals and benefits of the charity’s work and we can also contribute to other marketing materials.

With 30 years of experience as a car donation program, our writing staff understands the best practices for search engine optimization, which we detail for the charity after its principals sign the service agreement. Together we create a marketing plan that we agree is the best way forward to increase donor awareness, which is particularly important for new charities.

Car Donation Charity Fundraising Results

It’s common to wonder, “When I donate my car to charity, how much money goes to the cause?” It’s a win-win situation, and everyone involved is united in making sure that the good work of the nonprofit is supported as much as possible. There are some factors that determine the total donation in dollars and cents, whether it involves new charities or those that have been around for many years.

When an individual, or an estate or other entity donates a car to charity, the nonprofit group receives 50-70% of the proceeds. The process at Cars2Charities is aimed at maximizing that number.

After we’ve been contacted by the donor and we pick up the vehicle donation, we bring the car to our expert technicians for assessment. By checking the condition of the car and assessing its value, we can make necessary alterations that typically raises the sale price by 25-50% before selling it at auction.

Service fees are detracted from the sale price of the vehicle, and specific charities have individual service fees based on the service agreement they have with Cars2Charities.

Which Car Donation Program Benefits the Donor

There are various programs available to individuals who own a vehicle they no longer need and want its value to benefit a favorite cause. And because of the liabilities mentioned above – not to mention, most companies’ lack of preparation to receive vehicle donations directly, there are legal and practical steps that need to be completed by professionals. speed 1249610 1920

The best news for car donors is that it takes the onus off of them – to follow procedures required by the IRS, to become acquainted with DMV regulations, and to complete all of the paperwork properly, including the title transfer. That’s why submitting the process to a company with a car donation program is a good method for minimizing headaches.

Reasons to Donate a Car to Charity

There are many motives for a person to decide to make a car charity donation, and in some cases there’s another, more personal, reason not outlined here:

Ease
You have a car you don’t need and you have to do something with it. Perhaps you’re used to doing a dealer trade-in. Most people realize it’s a big money-loser, but you may not be aware just how much. Dealers pocket approximately 60-70% of the value of your vehicle, which is fine for their purposes, but it doesn’t enable you to determine where it goes.

Environment
You ditched your gas-guzzler for a hybrid and you love the idea of “reducing, reusing and recycling.” There’s no better example of environmentally-friendly car ownership than reducing reliance on oil while recycling your old wheels.

Commitment to a Cause
It might never have crossed your mind to donate a car to charity, but you’ve been wishing you could contribute more to a particular nonprofit group. Without a bottomless bank account, there’s a limit to what you can give.

That’s when owning a car you no longer need gives you the opportunity to increase their funding through the transfer of your vehicle’s value.

Which Charities to Donate to

After you, as a car donor, complete your end of the vehicle donation program – which at Cars2Charities simply includes contacting us with your donation – the only responsibility that remains is for you to choose your favorite charity.

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Some car donation companies limit you to make contributions to their program. If you research sites detailing how to donate your car and they only mention one charity, that means it’s probably a program run by the nonprofit itself.

At Cars2Charities you can choose any 501(c)(3) – the cause you care about most can receive proceeds from the sale of your car. While we’ve worked with a huge number and range of nonprofit organizations, we are always eager to make new partnerships, as there are countless charities to donate to.

We have many categories of nonprofit groups on our “causes” page. If you have a heart for medical needs, children or if you always participate in the Love Ride, for example, we can direct you to some of those companies we’ve processed donations for already.

 Some of the causes we have experience with are:

Animal Rescue 
Military/Veterans
Children/Families 
Disaster Relief 
First Responders

It’s not always the first thing we think of, but one of the best ideas to channel money to your favorite cause is through a car donation program. And it’s particularly a good idea for new charities when they are trying to get established.

June 19, 2019

International Day of Yoga 2019

Becoming a part of International Day of Yoga means connecting to other yogis and fostering awareness about the practice. On June 21, 2019 studios all over the world promote their favorite avocation and raise awareness about the benefits of yoga.O5mw4gn4

What is Yoga?

It’s an Indian discipline known the world over which took root in the East but has spread across the globe, as popular now as it’s ever been.

The website YogaSix defines the avocation as “a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. “ 

As June 21 is International Day of Yoga, it’s an appropriate time to create awareness and better define what it is and what the practice can accomplish.

Centering in on breath and movement, yoga is designed to foster stability, strength and grace to the mind and body. Though considered multidimensional, in the West it’s more of a physical practice, less spiritual than in Indian traditions. In its original form, yoga is meditative and spiritual at its core.

The word “yoga” is used to mean one of the orthodox schools of Hinduism, of which there are six. It is related to the philosophy of Hindu Samkhya. The practice of yoga is thousands of years old and has evolved to its modern embodiment.

History of Yoga

Clarifying yoga for beginners is best accomplished by looking back in time. It began in approximately 3000 B.C. in India and its presence in the Indus Valley is proven by the existence of yoga poses represented by figures carved in stone. The aim of yoga in the beginning was harmony between the heart and soul leading to divine enlightenment. While becoming established in Eastern society, yoga was observed as a healing practice for diseases including high blood pressure and diabetes, while also reducing chronic pain and physical injury.

ngBbrkgMThere is not just one form of yoga nor one category of easy yoga poses. Instead, it is practiced by believers of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Hatha yoga and Raja yoga are among the best-known styles.

The Yoga Basics website explains the origin of yoga, which has a rich oral history, sometimes responsible for murky facts. Its written history was recorded on palm leaves, which were fragile transcriptions because they could be damaged or lost.

Sacred texts known as the Rig Vedas have the earliest record of the word yoga included in its collection of songs, rituals and mantras which were used by Vedic priests, or Brahmans. The most widely-known yogi scripture is the Bhagavad-Gita from approximately 2,500 years ago. They outlined the beliefs and practices of mystic seers in the Upanishads, which is a work of more than 200 scriptures incorporating ritual from the Vedas and added to it a teaching of sacrifice of the ego and karma yoga, or action, plus jnana yoga, or wisdom.

In homage to International Day of Yoga, a look at the phases of development of the practice can increase understanding. Yoga has changed over time, best described in a breakdown of four periods.

After Pre-Classical Yoga, described above, there was a period of its development known as Classical Yoga. While it was previously a combination of beliefs, ideas and techniques, in the classical period it was given a more systematic definition in the second century by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras.

Yoga was described as the path of Raja Yoga and the eight-limbed path had stages and steps where an individual could obtain enlightenment. Patanjali is considered by some as the father of yoga.

A few centuries later, Post-Classical Yoga was the strongest representative of the age-old practice. Yoga masters sought to teach practitioners to rejuvenate the body and prolong life through practicing yoga, ultimately achieving enlightenment through the physical state. It was a rejection of previous teachings by the ancient Vedas.

Tantra Yoga was a process of cleansing the body and mind to “break the knots that bind us to our physical existence.” There was an emphasis on the connection between physical body and the spiritual self, and it led to Hatha Yoga, a common practice in the West today.

Finally, the Modern Period ushered in the yoga masters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As yogis traveled west there was a growing band of followers. In 1893, the city of Chicago was host to the Parliament of Religions when Swami Vivekananda delivered lectures about yoga and discussed unity among religions. Hatha Yoga grew stronger as it was promoted in India through T. Krishnamacharya. The first Hatha Yoga school was opened in Mysore in 1924. And in 1936, the Divine Life Society was founded on the banks of the Ganges River.PU8iObHz

As far as American establishment of the Eastern practice, the first yoga studio opened in Hollywood in 1947 and it began to grow in Los Angeles from there.

Benefits of Yoga

Health professionals, from new age healers to fitness experts, appreciate the physical benefits of yoga. It can increase flexibility and strength, tone muscle, contribute to weight loss, increase blood flow, decrease blood pressure, improve your balance and help the body relax for sleep.

Some of the mental benefits of practicing yoga is a clearer mind, more focus and it promotes positive self-image.

Types of yoga exist for different kinds of people which enables you to find the best fit.

Local Yoga Classes

As we can see from the fact there’s an International Day of Yoga, it’s become more than just a tiny Eastern philosophy dovetailing with physical poses. It also means that virtually anyone can participate in the practice, as studios exist all over the world.

Some of the most common classes involve a yoga instructor in a studio setting, where participants bring mats and follow the leader. There is often relaxing music in the background and a state of relatively mild meditation is the aim of the group experience.

Hot Yoga
It has become fairly popular in the United States and has many benefits, according to an article in Best Health Magazine. After you “embrace the heat,” which means you withstand excessive sweating, the class takes place in a room heated to 37 degrees centigrade.

The extensive sweating is promoting detoxification, for starters. You also get a more intensive workout, which means you come away with greater strength, tone and flexibility. Hot yoga is used for cardiovascular classes, but still offers mental concentration and improved breathing.

Outdoor Yoga
Local yoga classes won’t always take place in a nearby studio. Sometimes yogis bring their mats outdoors. Some of the advantages are the same as getting back to nature for any other reason. Natural surroundings can’t be replicated in total, so gaining the sights and smells of the woods, a meadow or bluff can evoke a mood that fits with the goals of yoga.

Because the word “yoga” means “union,” practicing outside makes sense when you consider you’re uniting with nature, humanity and the universe.

Beer Yoga
Though it sounds antithetical to the natural bent of practicing yoga, there are groups mixing alcoholic beverage intake with their favorite mental and physical health practice. A play on the words “flow yoga,” participation can be appealing to beer lovers, even if they’re relatively health-conscious.

Yoga instructor and studio owner Jenny Miller is the author of a blog called BeerAsana. She wants people who don’t mark the box “healthy” to have the chance to be turned on to the practice. "I wanted it to be an entryway for people who self-identified as not healthy,” she explains on the website OutsideOnline.com. “And really, for most people you start doing yoga and you sort of end up moderating your habits.”

Breweries and wineries are hosting yoga classes and pouring drinks after the workout.fUHrPS0l

Water Yoga
Among the many ways to do yoga, there are instructors welcoming participants into the swimming pools. Touted as easy yoga poses, time in the water is practical yoga for beginners, says a blog called Yoga.LovetoKnow.com.

Some of the suggested poses are:

Standing Tree: It requires less balance than the tree pose practiced regularly by yogis on land. Hold on each side for 10-15 breaths and you gain strength in your quads, glutes, inner thighs and ankles.

Half Moon: Slightly more challenging, you need strength in your abs and legs, plus an ability to balance. Easier in the water, you get buoyancy to keep you upright.

Floating Boat: It’s more work for your abs. You stand in mountain pose while resting on a noodle. When you lean on the noodle and lift your feet off the floor, you’re working your tummy muscles.

Yoga with Animals

People are bringing the farm to the practice. For some, it’s a form of therapy, but what they’ve found in general is the release of positive hormones from just petting animals, says Mindful Studio Magazine.

Goat yoga has made its way across the country, now being hosted for nonprofit fundraisers and just as a unique form of fun.

Kitten yoga comes about when a studio pairs up with a rescue and puts yogis in contact with kitties just waiting to find forever homes.

Bunny yoga was held in Canada for a fundraiser for the Small Animal Rescue Society of British Columbia. It’s an unusual idea.Vl7RfjiC

Dog yoga came out of Sugarland, Texas to benefit a local animal shelter. When man’s best friend meets the calming effects of yoga, there’s a high-level bonding that takes place ... and dogs find homes.

It’s an Eastern practice, a college major, and to some, a fitness plan. Yoga really does have a global appeal, which explains its growth. It also explains the amount of celebrating you can expect on International Day of Yoga 2019.

June 13, 2019

Father's Day: When Old Guys Rule

It used to be neckties, while today it's more likely to be golf gear. Father’s Day presents can be cliché in any culture depending on the man-gift of the hour. But the truth is it’s a holiday with a 100-year history in the United States, and when it comes to what to do for Father’s Day 2019, there are a lot of features beyond gifting – SUh0vqhcespecially in places outside of America.

When you look back at Father’s Day history, you see trending come and go. But to find out what is Father’s Day and find out how they determined when is Father’s Day, you can begin by looking back to the last century.

History of Father’s Day

Like Mother’s Day, the celebration for dads has a commercial element that began in the early 20th century. 

When a Philadelphia department store launched a special service to mothers, including the sale of feminine clothing and accessories with moms in mind, other retailers followed suit. By 1909, there were 45 states celebrating Mother’s Day, which President Wilson made official in 1914 – designated to be the second Sunday of May.

There would probably not be a Father’s Day if it weren’t for Mother’s Day, which was its inspiration. Mother’s Day was an outcropping of post-Civil War activism, when individuals like Ann Reeves Jarvis established “Mother’s Work Days” to bring together women from the Union and the Confederacy.

Mother’s Day was tied to commerce – the first to target sales to moms was the John Wanamaker department store – and it was fueled by financial success. But there were some who felt that fathers did not have the same sentimental appeal that mothers have; and therefore, it wouldn’t be as financially successful. For that reason the campaign for a Father’s Day celebration wasn’t as enthusiastic.c3cxTMh0 

According to the History Channel website, as early as 1908 there were special occasions honoring fathers being held in various locations. A group of church members in West Virginia commemorated some of their own fathers, as 362 men had died in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah. One Sunday, they were memorialized by parishioners in a service where he delivered a sermon in their honor. Soon thereafter, Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children in a family where her father was raising them alone, had an idea. She visited churches, shopkeepers, the YMCA – even government officials – to support a plan to establish an equivalent of Mother’s Day, but for fathers.

Her efforts paid off. The state of Washington held its first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. It did not become a federal holiday, however, for more than 60 years.

People continued advocating to establish a holiday equivalent to Mother's Day, one that recognized fathers, and in 1924 President Coolidge encouraged state officials to recognize that request. It wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day actually became a national holiday.

One phenomenon found by early Father’s Day advocates was that mothers were far more universally embraced and appreciated, as were efforts to recognize them. It incited controversy about establishing Father’s Day.

One historian said that they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products – often paid for by the father himself.” 

Still, advocacy ramped up. In the 1920s and ‘30s, groups in New York rallied to bring awareness to “Parent’s Day,” which would combine Mother’s and Father’s Day, honoring both parents in one day’s celebration.

WWII became a part of efforts to recognize the outstanding contributions of dads. In the 1940s, commercial retailers used Father’s Day to support the troops and the war effort, which the public got behind, though it wasn’t an official federal holiday.

Father’s Day Around the World

Honoring parents is not just an American idea. The website TimeandDate.com describes what is Father’s Day in the practices of worldwide cultures. 

LfRRvESGFather figures are recognized and celebrated, though not on the same dates; but many resemble America in holding the tradition of the third Sunday in June, such as the United Kingdom and Canada. Australia and New Zealand, however, celebrate dads on the first Sunday in September.

Though determining when is Father’s Day differs, there are many similarities in the intent and practice of honoring male parenting. Visits, phone calls, greeting cards and gifts are a part of recognizing dads in many cultures. Some traditions differ from family to family. And as it’s a modern holiday, there are many forms of dads recognized today:
• Fathers
• Stepfathers
• Grandfathers
• Great-grandfathers
• Guardians

An article in Personal Creations describes various countries and how they celebrate Father’s Day around the world. 

In Canada people wear roses to show their appreciation and they hold family reunions, contributing donations in the name of their male role models.

India now has a celebration that resembles an American Father’s Day – just smaller scale. Urban centers and large towns in India create more awareness of Father’s Day, as there are more citizens of western countries residing there.

South African Father’s Day celebrations are infused with social messaging. The cultures there stress the importance of fathers taking the role of nurturing very seriously, believing it contributes to a stronger society. They hold parties and other social gatherings to celebrate the father’s role in raising children.

German families celebrate “Vatrtag” by participating in activities such as hiking, biking and drinking. The mother typically stays home with the children so the men can celebrate together.

Children in Japan give their fathers handmade beer glasses and flowers, and a seafood dinner is served on Father’s Day.

In Nepal the daughters place their heads in their fathers’ hands and sons touch their heads to their fathers’ feet to show love and appreciation.

“Dia del Padre” is what it’s called in Mexico. Like other North American countries, families gather for food and typically bring gifts to father figures present.

In Thailand, Father’s Day became a federal holiday because it was also former King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday – December 5. They believe the king is the father of their nation and now that the birthdate of King Bhumibol’s successor, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, is July 28, there are two holidays: Father’s Day and the King of Thailand’s Birthday. People wear yellow on Father’s Day and one of their traditions involves gifting dads with canna flowers.

What to Do for Father’s Day when it Comes to Gifts

It’s the first thing family members ask themselves: What do I get Dad?

When people rack their brains, they often come up with items related to fishing, hunting, grilling, golf or wine. wibycYC3Some of the most common Father’s Day gift ideas are:
• Shavers
• Remote controls
• Socks
• Luggage
• Robe and slippers
• Sunglasses/shades
• DVDs
• Books
• Binoculars for birders

Of course, it depends on the man, but here are a few other ideas if you’re trying to figure out what to do for Father’s Day gifting:

Tools and Products for the House: Nobody does it better than a hardware store, and the Home Depot site has more options than you can imagine for a dad who loves to putter around the house or in the yard. Some options are:
• Lawnmower
• String Trimmer
• Barbecue
• Pressure Washer
• Miter Saw

Personalized Gifts: He’ll know it’s just for him if it has his name, initials or other customized feature on it. Good Housekeeping has some Father’s Day gift ideas that are personal than usual.

A company called Paprikaa Paperie creates personalized beer bottle labels you can order online. Or you can order an article of clothing, such as socks, with your dad’s photo on them. An Etsy store known as OurLoveWasBorn will frame a print of the night sky on specific dates. You can order the date you were born or another significant anniversary.

Maps are also a popular choice these days, which can be placed on coasters, cutting boards or many other media. You can choose the image of your hometown, your state or neighborhood. 

Dinner for Fathers: Another Good Housekeeping idea is a trip to a favorite chain restaurant, which often have the best deals for dads. An article in the magazine suggests the following, among others, that have Father’s Day pricing:

  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • Tony Roma's
  • P.F. Chang's
  • Chili's
  • Red Lobster

Father’s Day Donations

For the father who has everything, you can bring a smile to his face by honoring him with a donation to a nonprofit in his name. If you have the kind of dad who loves the beauty of generosity, or one who has a private passion for those who are underserved, this is a big opportunity.

6hWpIbPoWhen money is an issue for you, donating a car to charity is an easy way to contribute a good chunk of support without pulling out your checkbook. When you donate a car to charity through Cars2Charities you can choose whichever 501(c)(3) you want – or even better – please Dad by supporting one of his favorite causes.

Is he a veteran? You can donate a car to a veterans group. You may be a supporter of Wounded Warriors, or you can ask the car donation company for a suggestion. Cars2Charities has worked with several, including Heroes in the Rough.

Is your father a retired firefighter? There are many charities that support victims and those who fight fires.

If your dad has a special place in his heart for children with serious illnesses, you may consider a car donation to children, such as Rady Children’s Hospital or another medical charity with a nonprofit foundation. 

Many people want to benefit those who are homeless or are underprivileged. Of course, any nonprofit that relates to those issues can be processed through Cars2Charities. The Los Angeles Mission is a Southern California choice, but Habitat for Humanity serves individuals worldwide.

Everyone’s dad is different, so the way we choose to celebrate him comes in a range of traditions and practices. Which ever way your culture enjoys a Father’s Day celebration, you can customize it to please the number one man in your life.

June 05, 2019

The Power of Pride Month 2019

Involvement in Pride Month grows every year, as acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community increases. There have been large gains in legalities, social inclusion and cultural shifts in the last century.2oCsaUEC

What is Pride Month?

Pride Month is an annual commemoration and for founders determining when is Pride Month going to be, it made sense to establish it in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. The Stonewall Inn, a gay club, was raided by police, and their reputed mistreatment of customers and employees sparked a riot. Residents of the Greenwich Village neighborhood clashed with law enforcement for six days of protests, largely thought to be the start of the Gay Rights Movement.

Cities across the country host Pride Month Parades, workshops, parties, picnics, symposia and concerts which draw millions of participants. It’s also a time to shine a light on the trauma of the HIV/AIDS virus and those whose lives have been lost simply for being a member of the LGBTQ community.

Gay bars have long been a safe haven for members of the movement, says an article on History.com. While members of the LGBTQ community have been excluded from many other venues, or at least discouraged from inclusion, backed up by criminal statutes in the history of the United States. But clubs have been a refuge for people who are openly gay, as a place where they can freely socialize without stigma or bias. 

Even in those places where they routinely gather there are times, of course, when they have been or even currently are hassled by police and sometimes State Liquor authorities. It’s the efforts by brave, determined advocates that are celebrated in Pride Month 2019.lsdkVkXr

History of Pride Month

Thanks to the work of early activists, the improving acceptance rate of LGBTQ Americans has mobilized legislation and workplace attitudes. A CNN article has a timeline tracing the gay rights movement back to 1924. 

The earliest advocate was Henry Gerber of Chicago, who founded the first documented gay rights organization.

Another activist, Harry Hay, founded the Mattachine Society in 1950, which centered on social support for the LGBTQ community.

In 1952, homosexuality was listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual. Experts thought it was a condition, categorizing it as a sociopathic personality disturbance.

The next year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower banned homosexuals from governmental jobs, signing an executive order claiming they put Americans’ security at risk.

A few years later, in September 1955, the San Francisco Daughters of Bilitis, or DOB, was formed. It’s the first lesbian rights organization in the country and its social activities were private so they would not be threatened by police action.

The 1960s brought further awareness, and homosexuality was first decriminalizedaHLrQJA2in Illinois in 1961, which meant sodomy laws were removed. The same year, a televised documentary about same sex couples was aired in California, the first of its kind in the United States.

A newspaper was launched in 1967 called “The Los Angeles Advocate,” later renamed “The Advocate,” and is reportedly the oldest continual LGBT publication in the country. It was originally a newsletter out of PRIDE – Personal Rights in Defense and Education.

One year after the Stonewall incident, the first Gay Pride Parade was established when New York City residents marched to recognize the first anniversary of the riots.

The next battleground was over marriage. In 1973 the state of Maryland banned same-sex marriage, the first state to create the statute.

The same year, a group called “Parents and Friends of Gays” was formed. In 1982 it was changed to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG.

At the end of the year, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the diagnostic manual which was previously categorized as a mental disorder.

The first openly gay individual to be elected to a public office was Kathy Kozachenko, who won her seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council in 1974. Another lesbian was elected that year to the State Legislature of Massachusetts, the first openly gay individual in a state office.

A federal gay rights bill was introduced in 1975. It would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation, but it never passed the Judiciary Committee.

Gay Pride 2019 Celebrates the Movement’s Accomplishments 

In 1924, when German immigrant Henry Gerber, who founded the Society for Human Rights, settled in Chicago, he saw the poor treatment of individuals with different sexual orientation. He was targeted by authorities and committed to a mental institution temporarily in 1917, says Dosomething.org.

"I had always bitterly felt the injustice with which my own American society accused the homosexual of ‘immoral acts,’” Gerber wrote.

D8gkVxNEIn the 21st century, thanks to activists the gains for the gay community come at a faster pace. In 2007, The Employment Nondiscrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation.

The name Matthew Shepard is now iconic. The University of Wyoming student was attacked and killed by two men who targeted him because he was gay. In 2009, The Matthew Shepard Act outlawed crime towards individuals for reasons of sexual and gender identity

The federal government recognized same-sex marriage in 2013 and a year later, 19 states made it legal. There are 15 countries that currently allow same-sex marriage.

Anyone Can Take Part in Pride Month 2019

Even people who don’t know what to do for Pride Month quickly become aware of it when cities host events, making it possible to engage in activities, even if they never have in the past.

A site called “them.” offers the following tips for first-time Pride-goers.

There’s no dress code. Freedom to be yourself is nearly the entire focus of Pride Month, so you can express yourself in whatever way you desire. Ironically, dressing in shades of the rainbow are probably a better way to fade into the woodwork than something simple.

In searching for the nearest parade, there are sites to go to such as GayPrideCalendar.com. You’ll see other Pride Month events posted as well. You can also contact an LGBTQ rights office in your town. 

You don’t have to be gay to celebrate Pride Month, Week or Day. Some individuals use the opportunity to “come out,” and others are straight, but just want to support the community. Everyone’s welcome and your sexual preference isn’t an issue. You may keep it discreet.SFfcrDCB

Special Events During Pride Month 2019

Cities all over the world can make your Pride Month experience special, and none is more iconic, perhaps, than West Hollywood. If you don’t live in the Los Angeles area, it may be a good time to visit this prominently gay community. The Human Rights Campaign provides a website where you can find events in your state.

Sometimes referred to as “WeHo,” it is the home of iconic entertainment such as the legendary Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset Strip. Santa Monica Boulevard has a number of gay bars, dance clubs and shops and WeHo is famous for some of the city’s most buzzworthy restaurants.

There is a two-day festival planned this year during Gay Pride Week 2019 which opens following the Pride Month Parade. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is providing volunteers for the event, which is held on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, 2019. The Pride Week Parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday and the festival follows at 12 noon.

The HRC website describes the role of a volunteer: “Volunteering at Pride means talking to the general public about HRC's work, our resources and the importance of engaging in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. It also means asking for donations in order to sign people up as members.”

Perhaps the most widely-known Pride Month celebration is the San Francisco Pride Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Parade & Celebration, which will be held on June 29-30. With the tagline “Generations of Resistance,” the Bay Area festival is always colorful and sends strong messages to the rest of the world. 

Some of the attractions at this year’s Gay Pride Festival are:

• World-famous drag queens including Amara La Negra, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Kristin Beck
• Entertainers including La Frida, Candelaria and Book of Love
• San Francisco Pride Golf Tournament
• Identity & Pride Youth Art Show
• Speakers including Mayor London N. Breed and Senator Scott Wiener

If you have an amusement park in your community, check with their Pride Month 2019 schedule. They want you there and some of them create an LGBTQ-supportive atmosphere by decorating to celebrate Pride Month.

LGBTQ Pride Month is a good time to visit museums and memorials with the history of human rights. One of San Francisco’s notable institutions is the GLBT Historical Society Museum in the Castro District. It’s the first stand-alone museum of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history and culture in the U.S. It has dynamic exhibits and it typically showcases diversity and social justice.

Recognize Pride Month 2019 by Empowering the LGBTQ Community

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to support a nonprofit that benefits the gay community, you only need one thing: a car you no longer want. It’s everyone’s experience at some point – when it’s time to replace your vehicle you have to decide how to kick your car to the curb.

sznl78lsIf you’ve always done a dealer trade-in or CarMax, you’ve lost value on your car (which you probably knew, but it didn’t matter because it was easy). Here’s your chance to do a little celebrating when you donate a car to an LGBTQ charity.

You get to decide which nonprofit gets proceeds from the sale of your car. It can be any 501(c)(3). At Cars2Charities we’ve processed car donations to gay charities in the past, so we can help you if you don’t have one in mind.

You can donate a car to the Alliance for Children Everywhere, which helps children in crisis, including those orphaned by AIDS. Its Nutrition & Nurture Program provides physical needs such as milk for infants and unbridled support for families.

Another nonprofit we’ve worked with is the Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness that works to offset the inequalities that exist for the underserved in San Francisco. Communities needing HIV/AIDS services, particularly the African American community, are among the sectors receiving the most attention from the charity.

Or you can donate a car to the Los Angeles LGBT Center through Cars2Charities. Citing its contribution with “50 Years of Queer,” the LAGBT Center assists individuals with everything from social services and housing to health services and education.

The move toward inclusion is worth celebrating. This year you may want to take part in your first Pride Month celebration, and there’s a growing number of opportunities.

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