Charity Choice: Client Charity List 2009 #1
Location #1: Charity   Address : 1 1
Boston MA US 02111
Location Phone :    
Question Answer
Notes on Charities

John Hsu, Room to Read:

I chose this organization because all of their efforts are geared to toward lasting, self-regenerating changes in the most poverty stricken areas of the world. For as little as $8000, they can build a new school that will last for years to come and break the cycle of poverty for hundreds or even thousands of people. To ensure the longevity of the schools, they require that the communities contribute some of the funding, land, materials and labor, which also allows 90% of contributions to go directly to the projects.

Colleen Mullin, GirlStart:

As a child/teenager, I had a great deal of exposure to computers, This directly resulted in me "growing up" to be a programmer, a career that I find endlessly fun and rewarding. I wonder about the girls out there who may not be getting into computers because they don't have the opportunity or because computers seem like a "boy" thing. They may be missing out on something they would really enjoy and the world may be missing out on their contributions.

Girlstart is a non-profit organization created to empower girls to excel in math, science, and technology. Founded in 1997 in Austin, Texas, Girlstart has quickly established itself as a best-case practices leader in empowering, educating, and motivating girls to enjoy and become more proficient in math, science and technology.

Girlstart offers a variety of educational formats designed for girls, adults, and families through after-school programs, workshop series, summer camps, Expanding Your Horizons, and free community events. All Girlstart programs share a common theme of hands-on exploration of science, math, and technology in a fun and girl-friendly environment.
Devon Patane, Boston Living Center:

The Boston Living Center (BLC) is a non-profit community and resource center whose mission is to foster the wellness of all HIV positive people and respond to the changing needs of the HIV/AIDS community. Through peer leadership and support, we strive to enhance and enrich the lives of our members by providing education, treatment information, and support services with the goal of empowering members to live productive lives and participate within their families and communities.
Informally begun in 1989 as small get-togethers in the homes of those with HIV/AIDS, this was the beginning of what is now the Boston Living Center. Officially founded in 1990 under the auspices of the Massachusetts Coalition for People with Disabilities, the BLC opened in a small space in the YWCA building on Clarendon Street in Boston. At the time, the Center offered one congregate dinner per week, social events, and outings, basic services such as haircuts, occasional classes and workshops and - most importantly - a supportive community for members. In 1995, the Center moved around the corner to its much larger current location on Stanhope Street. This major step allowed the Center to expand programming, operating 6 days a week with meals and a diverse array of programs and services.
In direct contrast to the lack of media attention on the disease, the Center again expanded in the Fall of 1999, to meet the needs of an ever increasing membership. Although the public had begun to believe that AIDS was over, and people had been cured, the Center was seeing the impacts of a changing HIV/AIDS population. With the advent of new drug therapies, many HIV Positive people were experiencing renewed vigor and improved health under strict and demanding drug regimens. The Center was seeing an average of one new member each day join the BLC. Services for this population were changing.
Members were beginning, for the first time, to prepare to re-enter the work force, and the Center created an employment support program to assist members in this effort. Also, more services were created for those with a dual diagnosis of HIV and addiction, as well as mental illness and homelessness.

Here is how a donation helps the Boston Living Center help the community:
$10 provides a personal hygiene item package for our homeless or lower income members.
--Did you know 40% of BLC members are homeless/precariously housed and 80% live at or below the poverty line?
$50 provides multiple career counseling sessions to help our unemployed members enter the workforce.
-- 77% of our new members are unemployed.
$100 provides a computer class for 8 BLC members.
-- BLC has a computer lab with high speed internet service for members.
$250 provides an educational workshop for 10 members.
-- Topics such as Medication Adherence, HIV and Immigration, and Talking to Our Children about HIV/AIDS address our membersí varied concerns.
$500 provides one weekly lunch and dinner for a member for an entire year.
-- Last year the BLC served 40,000 meals to 1,500 HIV+ members.
Mary Malmros, Bikes Not Bombs:

Bikes Not Bombs is an amazing organization that uses one problem to solve another (and another, and another). They recycle unwanted and donated bikes and bike parts, turn them into good serviceable bicycles, and sell them at an affordable price to customers who need transportation. They also have youth activity and leadership programs in which young people can learn how to build and repair bicycles and help manage a bicycle shop, earning their own bike in the process. Bikes Not Bombs also donates many of its rebuilt bikes to micro-aid development programs in other countries, and provides expertise to train mechanics and program administrators to keep these programs going forward. These programs provide low-cost transportation for people without alternatives, and bicycle-driven machinery such as mills and water pumps. For more information on their work in the United States and beyond, see

Tara Henry, City of Hope-Oncology Department

Recently my uncle, who's been battling with several forms of cancer for quite some time, took a turn for this worse earlier this year. He had an unfortunately long yet successful stay at City of Hope for a hematopoietic cell transplant. The extent of their care was amazing, and made a very somber time for my family a little brighter. Without City of Hope and their care, I honestly do not know if my uncle would have survived.

Because of their care, I would like to donate my money to this wonderful facility, specifically their Oncology department. I, along with my family, are grateful for their care. For more information on City of Hope, visit

Rob Swalley, Dana Farber Cancer Institute:
I have known quite a few Cancer survivors over the years and have seen what they go through. I am particularly interested in Dana Farber for their work with children. Knowing how terrible cancer is on adults, I can't even imagine how rough it must be for kids. Also, as part of the Dana Farber complex, there is a house for the families of patients receiving treatment known as the Shannon McCormick house. Shannon was a childhood friend of my wife who died of cancer at age 16. The McCormick's remain a family friend and each year we help out in their various fund raising efforts to maintain the Shannon McCormick house at Dana Farber.
Jennifer Leonard, American Cancer Society

Cancer is a disease that has directly affected several of my husband's family members, and has indirectly affected all of them. Every year in June we walk the Relay for Life through the American Cancer Society and we donate as much money as we can. This organization not only works to find cures and medical help, but also provides an amazing amount of emotional support to survivors and families. I've been so touched to see how much my new family members have benefitted from the American Cancer Society, and I want to continue to support that.
Galina Petrova, Animal Rescue League of Boston:

I'd like to help keep animals healthy and happy.
Chris Grandoit, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation:

I hope, with this donation, that research can continue to help those living and affected by Juvenile Diabetes. I feel that Juvenile Diabetes is not as recognized as adult onset diabetes and hope that advancements are continuously made to help those cope with this disease.
Kathy Gavini, Red Sox Foundation, Inc.:

Want a great way to show your pride as a member of Red Sox Nation (c'mon, we know you're out there)? How about a donation to the Red Sox Foundation! The Boston Red Sox Foundation is the official team charity, whose primary focus is in serving the health, education, recreation, and social service needs of children and families in need across New England. In just five years since it's creation, not only has it become the largest professional sports charity in New England but one of the most successful in all of Major League Baseball. The Red Sox Foundation is a major source of funding for The Jimmy Fund, the Dimock Community Health Center, Red Sox Scholars, and Youth baseball programs, including RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) and Red Sox Rookie Leagues, as well as hundreds of other nonprofits and charities throughout New England.
Molly Montgomery, Home for Little Wanderers:

The Home for Little Wanderers has been advocating for children and child welfare in the Boston area for more than 200 years. They provide services and foster and residential care to hundreds of children in Massachusetts. Contributions from the public allow The Home to provide things like school supplies, holiday and birthday gifts, winter clothes, summer camp, and other small extras that make kids' lives easier. In a tough economy, there are more kids in difficult situations and fewer dollars to go around. Supporting The Home helps each of those children feel a little more cared for.
Kurt Milligan, Autism Speaks:

A new study published October 5, 2009 in the American Academy of Pediatrics' journal Pediatrics found a parent-reported autism prevalence rate of one in every 91 American children, including one in 58 boys.

As the parents of an autistic child, my wife and I struggle with this condition every day. The rudimentary communication and social skills that most of us take for granted are either significantly impaired or completely non-existent. We are grateful for organisations like Autism Speaks that are helping raise awareness about this condition and contributing towards research into causes and treatments.
Dave Gucwa, One Laptop Per Child:

I look forward to a future in which everyone, young and old, rich and poor, has access to the wealth of information that is the internet.
Matthew Lerner, Child's Play:

When a child is hospitalized, many times the most long-lasting damage and pain is the psychological. Being alone, bored, and scared in an unfamiliar and intimidating environment can be a traumatic experience. Child's Play tries to blunt that pain with the application of toys and video games for children's hospitals.

Marc Galbraith: - small loans to 3rd world people trying to start their own businesses, because helping someone be self sufficient is better than just giving money.
John Obelenus: has a fantastic success rate, allowing people to sustain themselves and their loved ones through standard business opportunities that we would take for granted.
Tony Felos
Marko Bukovac
Scott Yaffe
Matt DeChellis
Jim Pogozelski
Clint Kashevos

Kiva is an official SurfMerchants charity for two reasons. First, Kiva is part of the growing microlending movement, where tiny loans are given to individuals in developing countries to jump-start their own businesses. As those businesses grow, those loans are repaid with interest and redistributed to other individuals. Second, Kiva is unique among microlenders in that they allow you to specify exactly who receives the loans, receive reports on their progress, and then decide who to re-loan the money to one the initial loan has been repaid.

For their commitment to highly effective, self-sustaining use of donations and for their visionary use of the Internet to facilitate personal relationships between lender and borrower, Kiva is an ideal choice for a designated charity for SurfMerchants in 2009.

Tristan Schneiter
Panny Gerken
Nick Garner
Hellen Zziwa
Lily Eynon
Aaron Bassett
Jeff Gray
Jim Kytola

From John Hsu, Managing Partner SurfMerchants LLC:

SurfMerchants supports Yakuna (a foundation to build computer centers for underprivileged children and adults in developing countries) for three reasons:

First, we've all vacationed in places where we've been treated like royalty ... but can't help noticing and being moved by the poverty that surrounds these plush resorts. It's easy to say that our tourist dollars help these economies and the locals but deep inside we know it's not enough.

Second, straight handouts don't lead to lasting change. Empowering people to help themselves and those around them DOES. Education (and specifically TECHNOLOGY education) is a proven method to empower people, and Yakuna is tightly focused towards that goal.

Third, I know the President of Yakuna really well - he's my brother-in-law! Personally, I'm extremely averse to involving or endorsing family in any venture involving business or money ... but for Piercarlo Romano I am very happy to make this one exception.

I've seen how he runs his business and have been inspired by how he's been able to evolve a struggling company into a stunning success while never compromising on principles of fairness and the concern for common good. This is the kind of guy whose idea of a vacation is to spend a week and volunteering in Bolivia for Operation Smile and the kind of CEO who will cut loose large accounts whose products create public health issues.

When giving to a charity you have to wonder "Will my money be used properly?" When I personally see Piercarlo spending his weekends building computers from spare parts to make sure every dollar goes as far as possible, I can finally have full confidence that the answer will be, "YES."
Your Selection
Company Name  
Your Name (note: if we receive multiple submissions from the same company, proceeds will be split amongst the multiple selections)  
Your email address  
Please choose from one of the following listed charities, all of which were chosen by the staff at SurfMerchants, or fill in the charity of your choice in the field below. Room to Read (John)
Boston Living Center (Devon)
Bikes Not Bombs (Mary)
City of Hope-Oncology Department (Tara)
Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Rob)
Red Sox Foundation, Inc (Kathy)
American Cancer Society (Jenny)
Animal Rescue League of Boston (Galina)
Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (Chris)
Home for Little Wanderers (Molly)
Autism Speaks (Kurt)
One Laptop Per Child (Dave)
Child's Play (Matthew)
Kiva (Marc, John O., Tony, Marko, Scott, Matt, Jim P., Clint)
Yakuna (Tristan, Panny, Nick, Hellen, Lily, Aaron, Jeff, Jim K)
GirlStart (Colleen) 
If your charity of choice is not listed above, please list it here (note: for various reasons, SurfMerchants can only donate to federally recognized charities who qualify as a 501(c)(3) organization.)

IMPORTANT: In order to ensure that the donation is made properly, please include a web address where donations can be made, OR specific instructions on how donations can be made.

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