Friday, November 27, 2009

The gift of relationship and the Advent Conspiracy

There is a movement underfoot to redirect the celebration of Christmas from a season of stress, traffic jams and shopping lists to a time of reflection and strengthening of relationships. The core message of the Advent Conspiracy is to worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all.

In the words of the Advent Conspiracy...
Christmas can (still) change the world. This year give Presence.

This is a counter cultural idea which reflects the radical message of the gospel. I'm quite sure that the very best gift we could give to a child is the gift of our presence.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a mentor please call or email Kinship to befriend a child in need of your friendship. PH: 612-588-4655, Email:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks under stress

It seems these days either one is stressed because they have a job and the work load has increased OR because one is unemployed and under financial pressure. Either way, lots of stress going around!

At a Thanksgiving service yesterday I heard a message written years ago by the apostle Paul who was under enormous stress, being imprisoned in a foreign country during his years as a missionary. Despite these adverse circumstances his letter contained a most joyful and encouraging message written to his friends in Philippi.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

-Philippians 4: 4-9, New International Version

As I open the paper this morning and saw a flood of advertisements I'm was also reminded of a favorite expression "The most important things in life aren't things."

Today I'm thankful for caring individuals everywhere who are sharing meals, and even more importantly, sharing their love and friendship.

Peace and joy to you and your kin on this day of giving thanks!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's wrong with Charitable Giving?

A thoughtful article in the Wall Street Journal provided the following recommendations to fix some of the present difficulties associated with charitable giving. Recommendations included the following:

1. Increase the distribution percentage of required foundation annual payouts from 5% to 6%
2. Increase giving to general operating support
3. Increase multi year funding
4. Adopt rolling grant making
5. Allocate more funding to the truly needy.
6. Reach out to local groups in under served populations
7. Simplify application and reporting process
8. Improve public accountability
9. Fund the watchdogs

This article also raised the question of whether it makes sense to have funds that are made to last into perpetuity. Good thoughts and questions as we consider the pressing needs of many nonprofits serving disadvantaged populations.

The author, Mr. Eisenberg, a senior fellow in the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership at Georgetown Public Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

A more expansive report on philanthropy is available from the Wall Street Journal.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Minneapolis CARES mentor recruitment campaign

The kick off for Minneapolis CARES will be Thursday, December 10th from 5-8 pm at International Market Square (275 Market Street). This is a major collective mentor recruitment effort with Kinship of Greater Minneapolis, Bolder Options, Big Brothers and Sisters, MADD Dads and the City of Minneapolis. This event will include hors d'oevres, live jazz and a cash bar. Susan Taylor, founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and Essence magazine will help to launch this event along with special hostess Angela Davis from WCCO television. The primary goal the national CARES movement is to mobilize massive numbers of able African Americans to take the lead in fulfilling our society's spiritual and social responsibility to our children. This will be one by connecting caring adults to existing community-based organizations, where they can serve as role models, dedicated to helping vulnerable young people transform and secure their lives.

Like to know more about Minneapolis CARES please contact Nancy Torrison,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Give to the Max, Success to the Max!

Thanks to all for promoting and participating in Minnesota’s "Give to the Max Day" November 17th. Kinship of Greater Minneapolis received 51 gifts totaling $11,445.00. Additionally there will be matching funds of $500,000 distributed among the over $14,000,000 in donations given to more than 3,000 nonprofits.

It is not too late to give through this website. Thanks to underwriters of this service 100% of donations go directly to support kids in need of mentoring through Kinship, GiveMN.

One of the added advantages of giving online through GiveMN is that they will keep track of all your charitable donations to MN nonprofits throughout the year and provide a year-end statement for your tax purposes.

Thanks to all for your generosity during these difficult economic times!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Michelle Obama Launches Mentoring Program

First Lady Michelle Obama has established a mentoring program for 20 teenage girls in the Washington DC area. Top administration officials will be serving as mentors to help them develop life skills.

With so many important local and world issues it is impressive that Ms. Obama has chosen to personally become involved with mentoring. She commented "I always wanted to be a bridge between kids like me and the possibilities that can propel them to greatness."

In addition to providing support the First Lady is encouraging the protegee's to recognize their need to give back. "We have some expectations from you as well, that when you get to this position, you do the same for someone else," she said. "And if we keep building in that way, holding one another up, there's no telling what we can do."

If someone as busy as the First Lady is finding time to become a mentor I hope we all will check our priorities to see if we too might consider doing the same.

A full report on this is available from Politico.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Benefit Of A Mentor: Disadvantaged Teens Twice As Likely To Attend College

Two findings from a new national study reveal the power of mentors, particularly those in the teaching profession:

•For all teen students, having an adult mentor meant a 50 percent greater likelihood of attending college.
•For disadvantaged students, mentorship by a teacher nearly doubled the odds of attending college.

"Potential is sometimes squashed by the social environment, and the data show that mentors can overcome those forces," said Lance Erickson, a sociology professor at Brigham Young University and the study's lead author.

"Comments from study participants indicate that their mentors weren't necessarily doing anything extraordinary, just being involved and treating the young person as an important human being," Erickson said.

The research will appear next week in the academic journal Sociology of Education. Study coauthor Steve McDonald, a sociologist at North Carolina State University, notes a harsh paradox evident in the numbers.

"Youth who are most likely to need mentors are least likely to have them," McDonald said.

The information above was reported in Science Daily.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Give to the Max Day November 17th

You can stretch your giving dollars even further by participating in "Give to the Max Day" on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009. On this day will match a percentage of your donation up to a maximum match of $1,250! is a brand new website that allows you to discover, support and engage with the local charities that match your philanthropic goals.

To make your gift to Kinship go to Kinship of Greater Minneapolis GiveMN page. Matching is available for contributions made beginning at 8 a.m. CDT on the 17th through 8 a.m. on the 18th.

Please maximize your contribution -

* Give local. Find your perfect Minnesota match, such as Kinship
* Give fast. Make online donations quickly and easily via credit card
* Give smart. Record all online contributions and store receipts
* Give completely. 100% of all donations comes straight to our organization

This is a great opportunity to maximize your charitable end-of-year giving this season, and help us support families and children in need of mentoring.

Thanks for your consideration!