Feed the Needy From the Comfort of Your Phone (via grubstreet)

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A couple of nonprofits are using technology to make foodie philanthropy easier this holiday season. First, for every $50 you donate via Fresh Direct’s website, Robin Hood will deliver a turkey and fixings to a food organization such as the Food Bank For New York City (Robin Hood is the bank’s largest supplier). Second, City Harvest has released its annual Great Food, Good Hearts guide of restaurants that support the organization. This year, you can search the 160 venues via your cell phone, by texting “city harvest” and any address to 69866 (you’ll then get a text back listing the closest restaurants). If you prefer the old-fashioned way (or the old new-fashioned way or whatever), you can view a PDF of the guide here.

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GOOD, an integrated media platform for people who “want to live well and do good”

GOOD makes some waves by raising a round of venture capital.  Here’s the details from TechCrunch:

GOOD, an integrated media platform for people who “want to live well and do good”, has announced that it has recently closed a Series A round of funding led by its co-founder and CEO Ben Goldhirsh and a number of angel investors including Nicholas Negroponte. While the amount remains undisclosed, newly appointed President Craig Shapiro says it was in the “single digit millions”.

In addition to the funding, GOOD is living up to its promise to help ‘push the world forward’ by striking several strategic partnership and investment agreements. These include deals with Causes, a hugely popular Facebook and MySpace app that promotes viral donations of time and money to charities and non-profit organizations, Goodrec (a personal inspiration and recommendation service) and Govit, an application that empowers citizens to take action by connecting with their elected representatives in the United States.

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Dialing for Answers Where Web Can’t Reach (via NYTimes)

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The premise behind Question Box is that many barriers keep most of the developing world from taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge available through Web search engines, said Rose Shuman, the service’s creator. That could be a drag on economic development.

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Vittana is an early-stage non-profit startup bringing student loans to the developing world

Vittana is an early-stage non-profit startup bringing student loans to the developing world through the power of person-to-person microfinance. We are a different kind of non-profit: we are designed from the ground up to be scalable, cost-effective, and just get things done. We are an Internet startup, we just happen to be in the business of creating good instead of creating money. Vittana is headquartered in the historic Pioneer Square district of Seattle, WA.

Check them out here…

The Oasis Fund, specializing in social entrepreneurship, invests in VidaGas

VillageReach, the Seattle-based social enterprise that increases access to healthcare for remote last mile communities, and the Foundation for Community Development (FDC), a Mozambique non profit that strengthens the capacities of underprivileged communities, today announced that the Oasis Fund, a European commercial investment fund specializing in social entrepreneurship, has committed a $1.375 million investment in VidaGas, a VillageReach-FDC-owned propane energy company.

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“Lend Me Some Sugar” is essentially American Idol for social entrepreneurs

The latest project from Virgance:
How Lend Works: Lend Me Some Sugar is essentially American Idol for social entrepreneurs. We will run a series of themed contests, each one sponsored by a large brand. For example Pepsi may likely sponsor a contest in which the contestants are entrepreneurs with great ideas for how to supply the world with clean drinking water. These contests are run online and they utilize social networks to reach millions of peoplewho login each week to vote on their favorite idea. One contestant is eliminated each round and the last remaining idea wins a large cash prize (think millions) to get their project off the ground. For brands, Lend Me Some Sugar has the potential to be a highly engaging (effective?) social media marketing campaign that associates their company with doing good and for us it’s a way to turn the massive advertising budgets of these brands into funding for social activism . We’ve generated a lot of interest from brands thus far; now our priority, as we launch LMSS, is demonstrating that we have the goods to reach a large audience.

The way we aim to build a large audience is by getting one million fans on our
Facebook page: http://facebook.com/LendMeSomeSugar. If this happens, LMSS will
most certainly become a reality.

Google SMS Allows People To Access Information With Their Mobile Phones

Google does a great job of describing Google SMS— it’s basically technology that meets the needs and infrastructure of Africa:

Most mobile devices in Africa only have voice and SMS capabilities, and so we are focusing our technological efforts in that continent on SMS. Today, we are announcing Google SMS, a suite of mobile applications which will allow people to access information, via SMS, on a diverse number of topics including health and agriculture tips, news, local weather, sports, and more. The suite also includes Google Trader, a SMS-based “marketplace” application that helps buyers and sellers find each other. People can find, “sell” or “buy” any type of product or service, from used cars and mobile phones to crops, livestock and jobs.

Facebook’s Hunger Program: ShareYourLunch.net asks you to “Share Your Lunch With 20 Children For Just $10

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This comes from TechCrunch as well:

Yesterday, we wrote about Microsoft’s pledge to feed the hungry if you download their web browser. That campaign is misleading, and it really shows when you compare it to another campaign of a similar nature.

Today, while at Facebook’s new headquarters in Palo Alto, we noticed that it too is involved in a campaign to end hunger. But rather than pledging to feed hungry people only if you download something from Facebook, the company is doing it on the down-low, asking its employees to help out, in its own cafeteria.

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Link to Share Your Lunch 2009 Campaign.

Mozilla Encourages Users To Participate in Service Week

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Not sure what’s up with Silicon Valley churning out the love these days but here’s Mozilla’s efforts:

This September, Mozilla is challenging users to earn their Internet merit badges by donating their time and talents to public benefit institutions, non-profits, and those in need.

According to an email we received from Mozilla, “Everyone should have the opportunity to know how to use the Internet, have easy access to it, and have a good experience when they’re online. This new initiative is looking for people with a talent for writing, designing, programming, developing, or all-around technical know-how. Internet skills, no matter how novice or advanced, can change people’s lives and make the Web better for everyone.” Mozilla Service Week will take place from September 14-21, 2009.

Goals of the initiative include teaching the elderly how to user the Internet, helping non-profits use the social web and update their databases, installing wireless networks at schools, and working in libraries and community computer centers.

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All For Good: A Craigslist for volunteer services

via TechCrunch:

A coalition of non-profit organizations, technology developers, designers, marketers and others has unveiled the alpha version of a new Web service dubbed All for Good in an effort to build some sort of ‘Craigslist for volunteer services’. The metaphor stands, and not only because Craig Newmark from the popular free classifieds service is one of the backers of the project (Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post is also said to be on board).

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