Archive | July, 2011

Find Your Cause: The Bowery Mission

29 Jul

Meet The Bowery Mission

The Bowery Mission & Kids With A Promise ministers to New York City men, women, and children caught in the cycles of poverty, hopelessness and dependencies of many kinds. The Bowery Mission seeks to be the most effective provider of compassionate care and life transformation for hurting people in New York City.The Bowery Mission has served homeless and hungry New Yorkers since 1879, when its neighborhood came to define the term “skid row.” Kids With A Promise, the Mission’s children’s program, serves at-risk youth and began in 1894 by giving the children of recent immigrants the chance to escape the tenements in the summer.

How The Bowery Mission Does Good

The Bowery Mission’s programs for men provide meals, emergency shelter, and residential recovery programs. As women became the new face of homelessness during the 1990’s, the Bowery Mission adapted their experience in restoring the lives of homeless men to develop programs for women that offer hope and opportunity for a transformed life. The Bowery Mission addresses homelessness as both the problem and the symptom by meeting basic needs and operating residential recovery programs that help the homeless to regain sobriety, reconnect with family and faith, pursue educational goals, and prepare for work and independent living.Each day, the Bowery Mission serves more than 900 meals to homeless men and women who have nowhere else to turn, and each night over 180 men, women, and children receive safe shelter. When temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, The Bowery Mission opens its doors to provide warm, emergency shelter. The organization also provides weekly medical services and monthly optical services, administered by a a team of volunteer doctors and medical professionals offer medical services.  In addition to these basic services, The Bowery Mission also provides faith-based recovery programs for both men and women, which offer a chance for participants to achieve spiritual, emotional, and physical restoration. The Bowery Mission’s Kids With A Promise programs are designed to support a youth’s development, from age 6-18, giving each child a chance to discover and employ their unique talents and gifts.

The Bowery Mission’s Impact

This year, donors and volunteers helped The Bowery Mission provide more than 356,000 meals, 34,000 bags of groceries, 72,100 nights of shelter and 45,300 articles of clothing, as well as showers, haircuts, 500 professional doctor’s appointments and 100 eye examinations at the organization’s in-house clinic.

Three programs house 180 men and women who are regaining sobriety, reconnecting with family and faith, pursuing educational goals, and preparing for work and independent living. Last summer, Kids With A Promise provided 886 at-risk kids with the chance to go to summer camp and experience growth in an environment far removed from the inner city’s toughness. Kids With A Promise alsos provide mentoring and educational opportunities to more than 100 children year-round.

Get Involved

The Bowery Mission Page  is currently seeking a professional to help with copywriting. If that isn’t your skill, but  you want to get involved, please favorite the The Bowery Mission Page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available.  If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email


Find Your Cause: Rubina

28 Jul

Meet Rubina

Rubina is a design company and lifestyle brand that creates social impact through women and design. Rubina aims to work with women artisans in marginalized communities around the world. Rubina is currently in the process of partnering and designing a signature artisan collection, which will be the first Rubina lifestyle brand collection that fully realizes Rubina’s mission of incorporating women artisan groups into its supply chain.How Rubina Does Good
Rubina spent its first year as a small stationery design company giving a portion of time, talent, and profits to women’s causes and entrepreneurs around the world. In 2011, Rubina is stepping up its social mission a notch by actually incorporating marginalized women into the company’s supply chain as artisans and producers, and refining the Rubina brand to reflect the unique and beautiful cultures from which they live. By doing this, Rubina aims to help women build sustainable businesses that create social, environmental, and economic impact within their own communities. Rubina believes that Design is a powerful tool that can be used to solve complex problems in the world. By enabling a team of multi-disciplinary designers to partner in solving these issues, Rubina can make great change.

Rubina’s Impact

By the end of 2011, Rubina expects to have the first artisan line of “products for the urban woman on the go” in stores and selling online. Rubina also plans to have the concept and design of their second line finalized in preparation for a six month trip to work with their artisans and partner in India starting in January 2012. Through their useful, well-designed and hand-crafted products, Rubina aims to connect the unique stories of creative women in Indian artisan communities to the Rubina market of creative women in urban areas across the US.

Catchafire’s Pro Bono Impact with Rubina

Two Catchafire professionals have worked with Rubina to help the company realize its ambitions to to link design-thinking with social, environmental, and economic issues that face developing communities around the world. One marketing professional helped Rubina develop a succinct vision, mission, and strategic plan for its first year as a start-tup. Another professional helped further the organization’s mission by review, refine, and improve Rubina’s business plan, to create a solid plan to launch Rubina as a self-sustaining entity.

Get Involved

Rubina is currently seeking a professional to help with Search Engine Optimization. If that isn’t your skill, but want to get involved, please favorite the Rubina on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available.  If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email

Find Your Cause: Re-Nuble

27 Jul

Meet Re-Nuble

Re-Nuble is an organic recycling company dedicated to diverting organic waste from methane producing landfills and strengthening local communities by rendering renewable energy and high valued soil amendments. Re-Nuble provides the transportation of organic waste from food waste generators to our partnered resource recovery facilities where they will be re-purposed to renewable resources. Re-Nuble strives to minimize waste, create green jobs and environmentally friendly communities. Re-Nuble’s purpose is to eliminate the need for greenhouse emission producing landfills and divert organic waste from ever having to touch landfill site again.

How Re-Nuble Does Good

Re-Nuble collects pre-consumer and source-separated organic waste from food scrap generators within local communities and transports them to partnered compost manufacturing and energy recovery facilities where they are converted into valuable, renewable resources and high valued soil amendments. With over 30 million tons of food waste generated every year in the U.S., only 3% is recycled. Re-Nuble’s food scrap generators understand the importance of zero waste and sustainability by incorporating organics recycling collection services in their business model.  They also realize that the food hierarchy should be granted to “feeding first” prior to disposal. As a result, the food discards that are collected by Re-Nuble are the remnants of what was not able to be appropriated to local feed the hungry programs. Food waste generators partnering with Re-Nuble include various stakeholders within the community: corporate cafeterias, academic facilities, medical facilities, public sports venues, restaurants, food processors, food product manufacturers, farmer’s markets, food co-ops, hotels, and supermarkets.

Re-Nuble’s Impact

To date, Re-Nuble is still very much in the planning stage and hopes to launch with funding in 2012.

Catchafire’s Pro Bono Impact with Re-Nuble

Two professionals worked with Re-Nuble to help develop its vision and mission both internally and externally. One professional helped with the strategic plan for the organization’s mission, focusing on goals and strategic milestones. Once this was complete, a second professional worked with the organization to create a brand and key messaging that conveys the organization’s identity to the outside world. More recently, Re-Nuble started working with a professional who will transform the organization’s current blog into a dynamic platform that will foster support the organization’s online community presence.

Get Involved

Re-Nuble is currently seeking a professional to create a motion graphics video. If that isn’t your skill, but want to get involved, please favorite the Re-Nuble Page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available.  If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email

Find Your Cause: Pediatric Universal Life-Saving Effort

26 Jul

Meet Pediatric Universal Life-Saving Effort

PULSE aims to address the substantial disparity in access to quality, specialized acute and intensive care services for children, particularly in developing countries, in an effort to curb outrageous infant and child mortality rates in countries outside the United States. Pediatric Universal Life-Saving Effort’s mission is to rescue children’s futures by donating resources, time and talent.PULSE was created by pediatric intensive care physicians and nurses, who shared a similar interest in international medicine and global outreach. Many have participated in international medical missions in various countries around the world and/or work in medically underserved communities within the United States.

How Pediatric Universal Life-Saving Effort Does Good

PULSE  establishes strategically placed PICUs in medically under-served areas via a hub and spoke model of district/local hospitals around a central PICU which will serve children that require advanced medical care, as well as a training of medical personnel within those regions, so as to become self-sufficient. Additionally, the organization then shares knowledge, training, and experience, to ensure that these centers are sustained by local staff. The organization trains and certifies nursing staff and other health care professionals in the skills and techniques of resuscitation and the fundamentals of critical care support according to internationally accepted guidelines. PULSE assists local medical centers in establishing their own PICU through frequent clinical and teaching missions, on-site training workshops and donations of medical equipment and supplies. In addition to on-the-ground services, PULSE also provides access to real-time specialized consultation through utilization of innovative technologies such as Telemedicine systems.

Pediatric Universal Life-Saving Effort’s Impact

PULSE developed a Pediatric/Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Port-au Prince, Haiti, located at the epicenter of where the earthquake struck. With a large grant from an international nonprofit, PULSE purchased equipment for the site and 2 teams travelled to Haiti to set up a PICU/NICU and have continued to return to Haiti to provide training of medical staff on-site. In August 2010, PULSE travelled to Kenya to lay the groundwork for the establishment of a PICU, in collaboration with one of the premier hospitals in Kenya. This past March, a multi-disciplinary team of pediatric nurse specialists participated in a week-long workshop to train local nurses and pediatricians in the essential skills necessary to provide medical support to a critical child during the first 48 hours of illness, a training program designed by the Society of Critical Care Medicine. PULSE plans to provide real-time real-time consultation services via telemedicine for a recently established but severely understaffed Pediatric ICU in a small city in Southern Honduras, an area which has a particularly high infant mortality.

Catchafire’s Pro Bono Impact with Pediatric Universal Life-Saving Effort

Two Catchafire professionals are working with PULSE to develop their marketing and social media strategies. PULSE hopes to gain the attention of medical volunteers and donors, its current target audiences, as well as broaden its reach to a larger audience of health care institutions, medical societies, and other philanthropic organizations. With the help of a Catchafire marketing professional, PULSE has been able to match the organization’s goals with a new marketing strategy. Another professional was able to help the organization focus specifically on its social media presence, running a campaign to increase the organization’s online fundraising.

Get Involved

Pediatric Universal Life-Saving Effort is currently seeking one professional to prepare a grant proposal and another to create a public relations plan. If that isn’t your skill, but want to get involved, please favorite the Pediatric Universal Life-Saving Effort Page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available.  If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email

Find Your Cause: East River Development Alliance

25 Jul

Meet East River Development Alliance

The East River Development Alliance (ERDA) provides residents of public housing neighborhoods in Western Queens with the tools and resources needed to achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency, and to break intergenerational cycles of poverty. ERDA works to transform and improve New York City public housing neighborhoods by providing residents with the tools and opportunities necessary for self-sufficiency and economic mobility.ERDA currently works in Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria and Woodside Houses and provides technical support to leadership in public housing developments throughout New York City.

How East River Development Alliance Does Good

ERDA achieves its objectives through five integrated, comprehensive, and long-term programs: workforce development, one-on-one financial education and counseling, comprehensive public benefits access and tenant advocacy, college access and youth development, and community economic revitalization.

ERDA’s youth development program prepares young people and their families for college with intesnsive SAT and college prep progams for high school juniors, all of whom will be the first in their families to attend college. ERDA also offers college visits for youth and their families, community service activities kids, speaker series, and field trips.  To develop the skills to get a better job, ERDA’s workforce development program provides adult education classes and referrals to job training programs. ERDA helps residents find and land the right job through resume, cover letter, and interview preparation and connections to employers. To ensure that residents are able to get the most out of their paycheck, ERDA offers access to income supports. Residents are also given access to ERDA’s customized financial counseling, financial education seminars and conferences, and money management training. Through this, ERDA’s clients have opened bank accounts, reduced debt and increased savings, and even moved into their own homes.

ERDA focuses on community revitalization as a whole to ensure that residents living in public housing neighborhoods have access to the basic goods and services that allow families to thrive. ERDA’s efforts include expanding access to fresh foods and mainstream financial institutions, in addition to organizing murals and neighborhood cleanups. As part of its community economic revitalization portfolio, ERDA opened the ERDA Federal Credit Union in April 2010 – the ERDA FCU is the first new credit union in NYC in a decade and the first low-income designated credit union in Queens ever.

East River Development Alliance’s Impact

The East River Development Alliance serves over 4,500 individuals in need per year. ERDA’s free tax prep campaign has returned $5 million to public housing neighborhoods and connected hundreds with financial counseling and income supports. Over 500 children are on the road to college thanks to ERDA.

Catchafire’s Pro Bono Impact with East River Development Alliance

Six Catchafire professionals have worked with the East River Development Alliance.  While the organization had established a presence on Facebook and Twitter, they needed the help of a social media professional to full develop a strategy for capitalizing on their social media presence and expanding it to spread awareness about their work. The organization was looking for help highlighting its successes, and so a photographer and storyteller have been working to capture the faces and stories behind ERDA’s work. More recently, two more event planning and marketing professionals have come on board to help the organization plan for its annual fundraising gala this fall.

Get Involved

East River Development Alliance is currently seeking a professional with event publicity for its upcoming fall gala. If that isn’t your skill, but want to get involved, please favorite the East River Development Alliance Page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available.  If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email

Find Your Cause: Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center

22 Jul

Meet Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center

Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center is a culturally diverse, community-based nonprofit that reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS and drug-related harm among injection drug users & the community. Services are based on the non-judgmental acceptance of drug users, evidence-based health science, & human rights. HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, & risk-reduction strategies are utilized with the aim of advancing individual and collective strength and enhancing the well-being of drug users and the community.

How Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center Does Good

The Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center (LESHRC) offers both preventive and vital service programs. Preventive services include syringe exchange, which remains at the core of its work. Sterile needles, other supplies, and abscess prevention materials are available on a free and anonymous basis to registered participants of our program.  LESHRC works to maintain a consistent presence in the community so people know they can rely on the center when they are in dire need. LESHRC also offers on-site as well as community venue Rapid HIV Testing free of charge, with results ready in just 20 minutes. In conjunction with New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, LESHRC provides testing to individuals who may have been exposed to Hepatitis C.Beginning this last March, LESHRC has been offering health services to registered participants, including urgent care, primary care, immunizations, physical examinations, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, Hepatitis C testing and counseling, abscess care, and more.  The center also offers peer education programs, support groups, and educational workshops. In a supportive environment, LESHRC provides information on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, risk reduction strategies, and safer sex practices, mental health services, case management, and overdose prevention. LESHRC recognizes that active drug users who may be HIV+, homeless, and not connected to systems of care, are more likely to require a higher threshold of services in order to address their needs. The vital services program was developed by the LESHRC to handle these high-need individuals.

Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center’s Impact

To date, the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center has served countless individuals in need.

Get Involved

To be the first to know when they need your help, favorite the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center Page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available. If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email

Find Your Cause: Yansa

21 Jul

Meet Yansa

Yansa partners with communities that want to make use of their renewable energy resources as a means to building sustainable and participatory local economies.  Yansa provides the project financing, technology, management and community training; their community partners provide the land and renewable resource.As renewable energy projects become recognized as a solution to a range of environmental, economic, and employment crises, the race to establish control over areas rich in renewable resources is often beset with exploitation, displacement, and territorial conflicts, which often pit local communities against development. Yansa believes that giving local communities a central role in renewable energy projects will help make the them more sustainable and successful.

How Yansa Does Good

Yansa supports renewable energy projects as part of a broader framework of integral and sustainable community development. The organization first helps local communities by providing access to technology, capital, and training that allows them to utilize their renewable energy sources. In addition to help with financing, Yansa supports communities throughout the process, including needs assessments, community visioning, project definition and planning, education, and training. Yansa’s approach favors the direct transfer of knowledge and skills between communities, along with training by external experts. Trainings are aimed at empowering the community as a whole (not only its most trained and most often male members) to make collective decisions about their project. Over time, Yansa hopes to build training centers in communities that have already realized projects and are ready to share their knowledge with others.

The profits from each Yansa project are then divided between the community and the Yansa Foundation. Yansa’s portion of the profits is used to finance community projects elsewhere. The community’s portion is administered by a community trust devoted to strengthening the quality of life, economic opportunities and environmental sustainability of the community.  Yansa is also planning to create an investment platform that will allow organizations and individuals to invest in a positive social and environmental impact.

Yansa’s Impact

Yansa’s initial project is in Oaxaca, Mexico where they are working with a Zapotec community to create the first large-scale, community-owned wind farm in the region. The legal designation of communal land means that communities cannot use their land as collateral. It is therefore very difficult for them to obtain financing of the magnitude required to develop a wind farm. However, by partnering with Yansa, the community will gain access to the resources needed to develop the wind farm.  As the community provides use of their land, Yansa is contributing the capital, technology, project management, and training. Construction on the wind farm is expected to begin in late 2012 and in the next few years Yansa hopes to launch several more projects.

Catchafire’s Pro Bono Impact with Yansa

Three Catchafire professionals have made a big impact helping this organization in its early stages. As the Yansa team was working hard to get the organization up and running, they had not developed a message to clearly communicate their work to the outside world. A Catchafire marketing professionals was able to help make sure that the essence of Yansa comes across clearly to external parties in a compelling way. Another design professional has been working to produce a more creative design for Yansa’s website, that showcases the social and environmental impact of Yansa’s projects, while also attracting potential investors. While these two professionals focused on putting Yansa’s best face forward publicly, a technology professional customized the organization’s Salesforce database to keep things organized internally, creating a working environment where the entire team has access to information needed to advance their mission. The work of each of these professionals has been invaluable to the young organization, whose future endeavors will benefit from the services and foundations these professionals have given to Yansa.

Get Involved

Yansa is currently seeking a professional to prepare a Grant Proposal and another to draft a One-Pager. If that isn’t your skill, but you want to get involved, please favorite the Yansa Page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available. If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email

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