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Telepresence Options Charities 2014- Helping Others

December 23, 2013 | Howard Lichtman

Telepresence_Charities2012.jpgOur favorite part of the year is the holidays and our favorite part of the holidays is getting to promote deserving charities in what has become an annual tradition. 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 Telepresence Options. The list includes: Kiva, where our Linked In group: Telepresence Industry Professionals has a lending team, Bicycles for Humanity co-founded by Pat Montani, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation which David Maldow supports, Vacations for Veterans founded by Chris Carr, The Fluoride Action Network and Amazon Cares which I am supporting, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 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.

Amazon Cares


New for 2014 we are adding a unique charity, Amazon Cares, that helps rescue street animals in the cities and towns of the Peruvian rain forests.� The poverty, favorable climate, open refuse, and open spaces of rain forest communities make ideal conditions for wild and abandonded animals to multiply.� Many become injured, malnourished, and/or diseased.� Amazon Cares, located in Iquitos, Peru - the largest city in the world without a major highway in or out, rescues these animals, provides medical care, a comfortable temporary home, and adopts the animals to families as pets. The charity organizes veterinarians from around the world who volunteer their time and pay their own way to provide free services and run spay and neuter clinics in some of the remotest regions of the world.�

How to Help: Donate Money,� For Vetrinarians, Vet Techs/Nurses, and Vetrinary Assistants you can join an Amazon Cares Vetrinary Trip into the Amazon where you can put your skills to work in one of the remotest places on the planet where they need you the most. Volunteer - Amazon Cares has opportunities for creative people and the action-oriented to help from anywhere on the planet.

Bicycles for Humanity


Bicycles 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:



Kiva is a unique charity where donors support entrepreneurs in developing countries by making microfinance loans of as little as $25. Kiva "lenders" can choose from thousands of entrepreneurs and target their loan to a specific country, sector, gender, and/or attributes like green or higher education initiatives. A typical borrower might be a Peruvian woman who makes peanut butter by hand looking for $750 to buy a machine to quadruple her output. Multiple Kiva members fund the loan and a local charity (called a field partner) administers the loan and collects repayments. As the loan is paid back the money is deposited back into the lender's Kiva account where they can lend again to another entrepreneur in need in a virtuous cycle that creates jobs and local economic development.

We have created a lending team on Kiva for telepresence and visual collaboration professionals through our industry association: Telepresence Industry Professionals (TIP). TIP is open to both members of the visual collaboration industry and the technical professionals who support telepresence, videoconferencing, UC, and visual collaboration in organizations large and small.

Vacations for Veterans


Vacations for Veterans is a non-profit founded by Equinix's Chris Carr, 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.

A recent example of Vacations for Veterans at work is the story of the young soldier 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.

Other Worthy Organizations We Like:

Room to Read - World Change Starts with Educated Children
National Vaccine Information Center - America's Vaccine Watchdog
Generation Rescue - Fighting Autism

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - Working to End Prohibition Related Violence and Crime. DonateMerch
Oath Keepers - Guardians of the Republic!

Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association - Protecting the People. DonateMerch
SafeMinds - Sensible Action For Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders

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