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Telepresence Industry Charities 2010 - Helping Others

December 21, 2010 | Howard Lichtman
In the spirit of the season I wanted to take a moment to recognize and promote some charities that were founded by members of the telepresence industry and a couple that are near and dear to some of us at the Human Productivity Lab and Telepresence Options.  The list includes: Bicycles for Humanity co-founded by Pat Montani, CEO & Co-founder of IP-V Gateways, Vacations for Veterans founded by Chris Carr, Director of Video Markets at MASERGY, The Fluoride Action Network which I am supporting, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation which was nominated by John Serrao.  If anyone knows of any other worthy efforts supported by members of the industry then please pass them along and we will add them to the list.

Bicycles for Humanity
Bicycles_for_Humanity.jpgBicycles for Humanity is a non-profit founded by IP-V Gateway's CEO Pat Montani that collects unused bikes in North America, Europe, and elsewhere in the western world and ships them to developing countries, primarily in Africa, where they change lives by providing transportation for local entrepreneurs, charities, and deserving individuals.

Some of the groups that benefit from Bicycles for Humanity include:

  • Women, who typically spend more time walking than men through performing domestic duties like gathering food, water and firewood.
  • Children, who face long walks to school and arrive too tired to learn, or simply don't attend
  • Healthcare workers, who often walk long distances to provide medication and counselling to people living with HIV/AIDS and malaria in their homes
  • Unemployed people, who can start bike shops, delivery businesses, tourism ventures or spin off projects making trailers, racks and other addons.

WOEIMB? TRAILER from Bicycles for Humanity- TBAY on Vimeo.

Full Documentary at Password: screeningcopy

A News Story on Bicycles for Humanity

BEC.jpgIn 2008 Bicycles for Humanity focused on distributing Bicycling Empowerment Centres (BEC) around the world.  A BEC is a bicycle shop in a box, ready to be delivered to any community in a developing country. Stocked with 300-400 bicycles, tools, spare parts and accompanied by comprehensive training in bicycle mechanics, it is designed to empower disadvantaged people and their communities with their own transport and their own means of maintaining it. The BEN Namibia, Okathitu update on a BEC will give you a better idea of how it works and the benefits derived.

How to Help: Donate - Time, Money, or Bikes/Tools/Spare Parts., Sponsor a Bicycle Empowerment Centre, Organize fundraising activities to help fund the cost of a shipping container, the shipping cost to a deserving community, tools and in-country delivery

Vacations for Veterans
Vacations_for_Veterans.jpgVacation.jpgVacations for Veterans is a non-profit founded by Chris Carr, Director of Video Markets at MASERGY Communications, and his wife Peggy.  Chris is a former Marine Corp infantry officer and veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Peggy is a former Marine Corp legal officer and both were looking for a pro-active way of supporting the troops.  They founded Vacations for Veterans to provide recently wounded veterans of the United States Armed Forces with a well deserved vacation.  The organization collects donations of unused time in vacation homes which they then pair up with deserving vets. Occasionally, through the genorosity of donors, they are able to provide amenities like airline tickets, a rental car, and even the occasional fishing trip.   

Vacations for Veterans - Laura Ingraham Interviews Co-founder Chris Carr

A  recent example of Vacations for Veterans at work is the story of the young solider saved by the actions of Pfc. Ross McGinnes.  Pfc. McGinnes' squadleader in Iraq was saved when Pfc McGinnes absorbed the blast of a hand grenade with his body.  In November that squadleader contacted Vacations for Veterans seeking assistance with the logistics for a visit to Pfc McGinnes' grave in Arlington National Cemetery on the anniversary of his heroic death.  Vacation for Veterans helped with donated frequent flier miles to take care of the plane ticket, money for a hotel room, and a corporate donation of a free rental car from Enterprise.  Vacations for Veterans helped ensure that the anniversary of Ross McGinnes' death being honored and remembered in the most fitting way possible.. by the presence and gratitude of one of the men he died to save.

How to Help: Donate Time/Money or Frequent Flier Miles AND/OR Donate Time in your Vacation Home

The Fluoride Action Network
Fluoride_Action_Network.pngIt is unfortunately uncommon knowledge that the Fluoride chemicals that are put into the public's water supply to, ostensibly, prevent cavities are actually quite toxic.  Depending on the jurisdiction, most public health services use either Fluorsilicic Acid or Sodium Fluoride both of which are the poisonous by-products of aluminum and fertilizer manufacture.  Aluminum and fertilizer manufacturers would have to pay about $10,000 per tank car to dispose of these toxins in a Class A landfill but instead they make a similar amount by selling this waste to public health services where it is disposed of in the water supply. 
Water fluoridation is opposed or questioned by at least 14 Nobel Laureates in medicine and chemistry.  It is opposed by the EPA's own scientists and toxicologists who have testified before the US Congress through their union on its toxicity and pushed for a moratorium on its use. It has been linked to lower IQ in 23 different peer reviewed studies from the around the world and research done at the Harvard School of Dental Health has linked it to increased bone cancer in children. It has also been linked to major health Issues including: Tyroid Problems including Hypothyroidism, Gastrointestinal Tract Problems, Compromised Immune System, and Cancer,

Dr. Joseph Mercola, publisher of the world's most subscribed health newsletter, and Fluoride Action Network head Dr. Paul Connett talks about the potential dangers of water fluoridation and what you can do to help remove fluoride from your water supply. Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) is leading the charge to broaden the understanding of the dangers of Fluoride and have it removed from public water supplies around the world.  FAN has organized over 3,200+ health, scientific, and environmental professionals including Nobel Laureates, Goldman Prize Winners, National Medal of Science Winners, and the current president and 6 past presidents of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.
How to Help: Donate - FAN is currently in the middle of it's annual fundraiser and is offering a number of premiums to reach it $50,000 by December 31st including signed copies of its definitive new book: The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There, by Paul Connett PhD, James Beck MD, PhD, and H.S. Micklem DPhil   

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
EFF_Banner.jpgThe Electronic Frontier Foundation has been called "the ACLU for the digital age".  They fight for our constitutional rights in the digital domain. Recent campaigns and victories include:

Whether your issue is Free Speech, Privacy, Ensuring Transparency, Protecting Innovation, or Protecting Fair Use, EFF is fighting for you!

How to Help: Donate!, Get Your Employer to Match Your Contribution, Buy EFF Schwag

Other Worthy Organizations We Like:

Room to Read - World Change Starts with Educated Children
Kiva - Loans that Change Lives
National Vaccine Information Center - America's Vaccine Watchdog
Generation Rescue - Fighting Autism
Oath Keepers - Guardians of the Republic!
SafeMinds - Sensible Action For Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders
Amazon Cares - Amazon Community Animal Rescue and Safety 

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