How to Afford Giving to Charity

Being charitable is one of the most important parts of our society. We all must work together and help each other out in order to make the world a better place. It may sound cliche, but it is true. Unfortunately, being charitable can also be quite difficult for some. Being charitable requires money in most cases, and that is almost always a touchy subject to bring up. However, there are ways to fulfill charitable endeavors without breaking the bank.


Donate clothes

People automatically assume that all charity requires some sort of financial exchange. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with giving money, it is not the only form of charity. One of the most cost effective ways to donate is through old clothes. Dig deep into your closet and find those pants and that shirt that just don’t fit anymore and give it to someone who could actually use it instead of throwing it away.


Donate Blood

This may be difficult for those of you who get queasy easily, but for those with an iron stomach, why not donate some of your blood? Again, in most situations, many assume that the only way to give back is to open their wallets. You can do just as much good by donating blood. In fact, according to the American Red Cross, 36,000 units of red blood cells and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S. That is a lot of blood.



If you really wanted to help and see the impact of your donation in real-time, you should consider volunteering. This can take many forms, all of which are fantastic ways of spending your time. Visit your local soup kitchen and assist in serving food to the needy; go to a homeless shelter and help out the needy; stop by an animal shelter and bring some light into an animal’s life. Most charitable organizations will never turn down a volunteer.


There is so much that needs to be done in this world in order to make it a better place to live. But if we each spend a few moments of our day thinking of others, then we could certainly achieve such a lofty goal.

Why #CharityTuesday is Important

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a huge love for technology, and in today’s world, we are surrounded by tech. While some see technology as a nuisance, I see it as a vast opportunity for our society to become as advanced and efficient as possible. The advancement of technology has given birth to another equally admired and hated sector of society: social media. And even though social media has seen its fair share of detractors, it has, much like technology itself, paved the way for some tremendous advancements and causes. One such cause is #CharityTuesday.

What is #CharityTuesday?

#CharityTuesday was started by LoveBox, a voluntary organization. Apparently, on a Monday afternoon, LoveBox’s founder wanted to create a worldwide awareness for charities of all kinds and so, the idea for #CharityTuesday was born. In the world of social media, hashtags (#) are a way of organizing keywords and topics in order to ease search queries. Once the hashtag #CharityTuesday began, it became something of an instant hit. Currently, several hundred charities use the hashtag on popular social media networks in order to promote awareness for their particular cause.

Why is it Important?
#CharityTuesday is important because it changes the way that charitable organizations and institutions can fundraise. It takes less pressure off of individuals and increases the odds of volunteers and contributions. For example, most charities, in order to raise funds, awareness or attract volunteers, make phone calls or stand outside of businesses and buildings, often directly asking citizens for help. This can create a sense of pressure on people, thus making them more reluctant. However, by utilizing social media profiles and using hashtags and calls to action, there is far less pressure, and people are far more likely to contribute to the cause, whatever it may be.

And all of this is possible through social media. In most cases, hashtags in social media consist of trending celebrities and world news; however, with #CharityTuesday, once the hashtag is picked up by Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, it can reach a worldwide audience in a matter of minutes, thus creating the ultimate awareness level. It’s incredibly important to continue to utilize technology in methods such as these.

Since today is Tuesday, why not get on social media and see what charities you can give to today?

The Dawn of Smart Contacts

Living with diabetes is difficult. 29.1 million Americans have to deal with the reality of the disease every day. One of the most difficult aspects of the disease is the constant need to monitor blood sugar levels. Currently, the most effective, and common, way of monitoring one’s blood sugar is by drawing blood from a finger, and placing the sample into a monitor. Recently, however, scientists and researchers have been developing newer and less intrusive methods of blood sugar monitoring. From fully automated pancreases to implantable glucose monitoring chips, the race to find a better way to monitor glucose levels is heating up. And the most unobtrusive method may be coming soon: smart contact lenses.


According to Gizmodo, researchers from Oregon State University have created a transparent biosensor that can be implanted into contact lenses which can detect sudden changes in blood sugar levels, among other health issues. According to the Gizmodo article, the lead scientist behind the project, Gregory Herman, was looking for a far safer and more practical method of monitoring blood glucose levels, as the current means can be painful and inconvenient.


The project came to be after Herman and his colleagues developed a semiconductor made out of gallium zinc oxide; this would be the foundation of the smart contact lenses. In short, the biosensor is engineered in such a way that when it comes in contact with glucose, it oxidizes blood sugar, which allows for noticeable changes in the body. While the technology is still new, Herman hopes that it can be developed to measure any number of diseases.


“There is a fair amount of information that can be monitored in a teardrop,” Herman stated in an interview with Gizmodo. “Of course, there is glucose, but also lactate, dopamine, urea, and proteins. Our goal is to expand from a single sensor to multiple sensors.”
If Herman and his group can hone the technology and mass produce it, they could potentially change the way that diabetics live their lives. Hopefully, the lenses will not only take off, but become a standard in blood sugar monitoring and even help detect other diseases.

UK’s Tech Startups Giving Back

Tech startups have taken the world by storm over the past few years. It stands to reason seeing as how the world is in the midst of a technological revolution. It seems as if all of the major aspects of our lives are getting smarter each day with phones, houses and cars receiving major tech upgrades. The UK in particular has seen a major uptick in tech companies, with a 92% increase in startups over the past three years. Tech companies also employ 1.56 million people in the UK.

These new companies come with the standard and expected benefit of creating new and exciting jobs. They also provide new technology that several other industries can use and benefit from, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

These new tech startups are also contributing to an unexpected industry in an extremely positive way. Startups have an intense passion for philanthropic work. More than 50 companies have joined the Pledge 1% movement in the UK, which sees businesses allocate 1% of time, product and equity to charitable contributions. And most of those businesses are related to the tech industry.

So why do UK’s tech startups want to give back so much? One reason has to do with the millennial mentality. Millennial’s are focused on using technology and making the world a better place. After conducting a survey, research company Achieve found that 84% of millennials donate to charity and 70% volunteer.

Millennials are also very picky about their job choices. According to a millennial survey conducted by Deloitte last year, the factors ‘a sense of meaning from my work’ and ‘the impact it has on society’ were the highest ranking factors for millennials when deciding on job offers.

And technology, for the most part, is synonymous with improving or helping the lives of human beings, so it makes sense that those working with technology enjoy charity.

It’s great to see these tech startups with the mindset of helping out your fellow man. Hopefully other industries will take notice and begin to implement philanthropic efforts into their business models.

Project Fi’s New Referral Program

Nearly everyone now has a cell phone in the United States. For most people, those cell phones are smartphones, allowing them to access the internet at a moment’s notice through mobile data. Ever since the rise in popularity of the smartphone, people with these types of phones, especially families or those on a tight budget, are looking for ways to reduce the amount of money they pay to their carrier, where costs can often accumulate to hundreds of dollars in a single month, without sacrificing the technology. Because of this issue, many are looking for alternate carriers who offer more affordable options. This is where Google’s new service provider, Project Fi, comes into play. Luckily, Project Fi is gaining popularity and could very well be an alternative to traditional carriers, and a solution to the “sacrificing technology for a lower cost” dilemma.

What is Project Fi?

Project Fi is a cell phone service carrier that Google has recently developed that allows users to use three different networks: Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular, while also subscribing through Google. The cost is $20 a month, and an additional $10 for each gigabyte of data used. It’s a prepaid service, but Google will refund you for any data not used and if you go over, you’re just charged the flat $10 rate for each extra gig of data.

One of the program’s downsides is the lack of phone choice, since users can only choose from some of Google’s new phones or three different types of Nexus phones. Luckily, switching over to the carrier is relatively easy; it only takes porting your number onto the phone and downloading some basic software that transfers your information and adds the apps and features you’ll need to use Project Fi.

Referral Program

Google has recently started pushing a referral program in order to get new users to join Project Fi. They’re running the campaign for a month, offering current users a $20 credit for every person who signs up using their referral code. Another perk is that the person who signs up gets a $20 credit as well, which essentially waives the basic monthly fee. This bonus is only available until January 17th, 2017, so if you’re a current user of Project Fi, take advantage of this opportunity while you can! Unfortunately, you can only benefit from ten uses of your referral code, but that’s probably enough for a couple months of free service, if you can find enough people to use all ten.

Jarvus Bringing in Public School Grads from Philly

Doug MacFaddin Jarvus
Tech companies are working round the clock to hire qualified applicants to keep up with demand. They need qualified applicants who can learn things quickly and work in a fast paced environment. To do this, some companies are using unusual methods of hiring staff and bringing in fresh talent. The development firm Jarvus is getting their talent directly from the Philadelphia public school system by training and then hiring recent grads to become the next tech savvy generation.

This was a great opportunity for high school grad, Nafis Bey who is now an IT apprentice to a software engineer at the firm. Bey didn’t want to college and Jarvus offered him a unique opportunity to learn a very valuable set of skills that will pay a great competitive wage and would give him on the job training rather than four years in a classroom. In his apprenticeship, Bey learned how to fix computers and to code. As he was training he worked at the Science Leadership Academy as a tech specialist. After he finished his apprenticeship, Bey was offered a full time position as an engineer at a web development firm. The apprentice program is known as the Urban Technology Project and is integrated into the public schools through Jarvus Innovations, as part of the development shop. This partnership has allowed Jarvus to fill their need for employees by connecting with public schools, utilizing a local apprenticeship program to train students, and eventually hired some of the best performing students in the program, even though they were not college graduates.

Through this program the schools are also being improved. For example, Bey created the position of technology manager at his school because he saw the need and he had the skills. He thought it was important to give back to his school community. Those are the kinds of inspiring stories that come out of the Urban Technology Project and it also shows great promise for how tech companies can increase and strengthen their work force.

Donald Sterling and the Los Angeles Clippers: Where Do We Go From Here?

The Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling has confirmed what many thought about him for years. He is a racist. This confirmation came after remarks he made to his girlfriend, Ms. Stiviano, the audio of which was released by TMZ on Friday. Note that he has a known girlfriend, Stiviano, even though he has a supportive wife, Rochelle, who is always by his side at games. This just adds to the track record of Sterling’s seedy character. It was no secret that Sterling was a racist, but for many years he has kept his thoughts and feeling on a low profile. The last, very public, incident of his racism was in 2009 when he had to pay $2.725 million in settlement money for discriminating against African-American and Latino families in apartment buildings that he owned around the Los Angeles area. After that case he started to keep more of a low profile about his feelings towards minorities, until the release of this ugly audiotape.

The release of the audio has had an effect on the team who have had to answer to angry fans. They are as upset as the fans are and have stressed that they don’t play for the team’s owner, but for the team. The Clippers coach, Doc Rivers is livid and said he only returned to the team because he thought the situation with Sterling had changed. He is so upset about the audio that TMZ released that Rivers is considering breaking his three-year, $21 million contract with the Clippers. First, Rivers said he needs to speak with Sterling and clear things up before making a decision, ending with “I’m just going to leave it at that.” Rivers knew that the team was and continues to be really upset and arranged a meeting with them so that they could all vent and voice concerns before they went back to the court to practice. It is unclear who will stay and who might go, but Sterling has definitely had a negative effect on the Clippers.

Will Student Athletes Benefit Financially from Unions?

Doug MacFaddinUniversities have long exploited student athletes; they mine the kids for their talent and then push them through their degree while not giving them the opportunity to learn, in many cases. Additionally, most recruited student athletes come from poor homes, placing them in the center of a multibillion dollar industry in which they get no piece of the pie. This was very clearly demonstrated with the UConn point guard Shabaaz Napier after his team won the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. He was in the center of the glitz and glamour, surrounded by media, fans and cameras. The irony is just a few weeks before he had told reports, “I don’t feel student-athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving.”

Napier made this remark when asked about the Northwestern Wildcats and the Chicago Football team’s attempt to unionize. The athletes at Northwestern filed with the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board in order to form and union and to gain legal status of University employees. They won the latter victory and the athletes will vote whether to unionize later this April. Their first goal with union power is to allow student athletes to keep athletic scholarship if they get injured. This way they can stay in school and they still have a future. It seems only fair since the sport, which they play for the school most likely, will have caused such and injury. Farther down the line the players are thinking about trying to get a cut of the money the school rakes in from advertising revenue for the game. The problem with student athletes being paid is that it directly violates the NCAA sanctions and if they do get money, Northwestern would lose eligibility.

There are other hurtles to overcome. Although the team was able to pass their employee status, Northwestern is appealing the NLRB’s decision. Next it will go to a panel in Washington D.C. for review. Many in the legal department think that unionization will pass but whether students are employees and that is why they should unionize is a controversial debate and will most likely make its way up to Federal Court. This debate is starting in Northwestern and may spread to a few other schools, but that alone will not take down the NCAA. However, it is putting the idea into student athlete’s heads all over the country that they are not being treated fairly. If that idea starts to spread, according to Tim Waters, the political director for the United Steelworkers union, “Their whole empire is starting to crumble.”

Silicon Valley Charity Doesn’t Cut It

Doug MacFaddin Silicon Valley Charity Doesn’t Cut ItRecently the leaders in the tech industry met in San Francisco’s silicon valley for TechCrunch’s seventh Annual Crunchies Awards. Inside the room was filled with CEO’s from major companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, while the sidewalk outside was filled with protestors. Those holding the signs were there because of the result of the booming tech industry: gentrification and displacement.

The rise of Silicon Valley has gentrified many areas, raising rent rates and forcing middle-class working families out of their homes. As if to add insult to injury, Twitter negotiated tax breaks with the local government after threatening to take their business out of San Francisco. The result was a group of unhappy, hard working Americans protesting the Crunchies Awards and asking for help.

Silicon Valley has responded with a few CEO’s starting charities. Some, like investor Ron Conway, are even working with the major to find solutions and to use the leverage of the tech industry for good. It may be that the only reason the tech company is taking action on this issue is because of the protests and an effort to improve their image.

The protests have pointed out that the charity the tech industry has attempted to put together is not enough. Some measures are as backhanded as Spotify, the music playing service that promised to “pay for employees to attend local performances including concerts, theater, dance, or performance art shows” in an effort to help the community.

Because of the tech boom rental rates have risen 72 percent since 2011 and the instances of no-fault evictions have doubled in the past year. Some protestors want to see the tech industry pay for affordable housing, free public transportation and community parks.

The tech industry may not clearly see the large impact they have had on the San Francisco community. It is pretty clear that they are not doing enough to mitigate the damage they’ve caused to working class families.

Microsoft is Not Thrilled About the Three New Android Phones

1200-nokia-x-unveil_nokia-press-conference-24th-february-2014-24Nokia has now officially announced three new Android phones under their Nokia X line. This will be a departure from their previously Microsoft heavy operating systems. The move is particularly stunning because Microsoft is in the middle of a $7.2 billion deal to buy Nokia’s phone and tablet business.

When Microsoft heard about Nokia’s Android phone, an insider with the company called the move “embarrassing.” On Nokia’s Android ambitions, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows stated, “They’ll do some things we’re excited about, and some things we’re less excited about.”

These new Nokia/Android phones are different than traditionally Android phones. They do not have any Google services (like maps, mail, etc.) and they run on extremely modified software. They use Microsoft services and will have a separate app store for Android apps. Nokia’s former CEO is hoping that these Nokia X phones will serve as a gateway for consumers to upgrade to Microsoft phones in the long run. They are currently targeting the emerging markets with these phone options. The problem with this logic is that Nokia already makes an affordable Microsoft phone for less than $100, the Nokia Lumina.

It stands to be seen if Microsoft will keep these Nokia X phones around once they are in possession of the company.