Focus On Philanthropy 2015

The window for last minute tax deductible contributions for 2014 may have vanished with that last drop of champagne on NYE, but the opportunity to make a difference and/or contribution for 2015 is wide open.

Fundraising drives and strategic finance management may once have kept non-profits afloat all year long, but up against dwindling government subsidies, higher operating costs and complacency many organizations are chasing after the same dollar in a shrinking pool of donors. Making a real and lasting impact is increasingly more difficult.

However, in 2014, a handful of of visionaries upped the ante; from social media challenges and hash tags to parties and playtime, the actions from a handful of innovators not only garnered them monetary contributions, but attracted new and younger supporters, and increased their efficacy.Their efforts deserve recognition for getting their communities to focus on the importance of philanthropy and inclusivity, and for inspiring other organizations to keep up the creative momentum going.

Here’s the Effie Magazine list of the top five most innovative non-profit organizations/service campaigns of 2014. May they inspire everyone to get involved, strive to improve their communities and make the world a more beautiful place.

Honor PAC

Since 2006, the advocacy group has supported candidates and ballot propositions that advance progressive policies and serve the unique needs and interests of Latina/o LGBT communities. The organization boasts members and supporters of all ethnicities and orientations. In 2014 Honor PAC helped Robert Garcia become the youngest, first openly gay, immigrant Mayor (Long Beach, CA), in 2014. The history making mayoral election is just one of several successful elections of LGBT Latina/o leaders across California, Arizona and beyond that the group has assisted. For more information, visit

The Village Family Services

The agency provides assistance to homeless youth of Los Angeles throughout the year with a “Drop-In Center” next-door to a free health clinic, among other services. The “Drop-In Center” is a haven for homeless youths to develop their personal growth, take care of their individual hygiene and a safe environment away from the streets. In 2014, the agency launched a social media campaign, #NoYouthHomeless, in an effort to bring support and awareness to the nearly 9,500 homeless youth between ages of 12-24 in Los Angeles County, nearly half of whom identify as LGBT (40% of homeless youth identified as LGBT, 2012 Williams Institute Study). Foster care and adoption services are also facilitated. For more information, visit


In honor of World AIDS Day 2014, former Project Runway contestant and social media personality Jack Mackenroth launched the #WeAreAllClean campaign to combat AIDS/HIV stigma and raise funds for treatment, prevention and a cure. Inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Mackenroth posted a soapy shower selfie, which inspired his social media followers to follow suit by posting their own shower selfies that ranged from sweet to sexy. The hashtag has been translated to at least six languages. Participants are encouraged to donate to Housing Works in New York and/or amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. For more information, visit

Five Acres

No only does this organization provide shelter and counseling to foster children, but they also provide specialized education for children with learning challenges and family life skills classes to prevent children from entering the Foster Care system. They also welcome foster and adoptive parents from all walks of life. In 2014, the organization launched a campaign by commissioning a statue “Boy 5 A” that was fostered by several companies and ultimately adopted by the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Charitable Foundation. For more information, visit

L.A. County Fire Department

In addition to rescuing people, the fire department is all about disaster prevention and community service, especially during the holiday season. Southern California Firefighters in association with ABC7 celebrated the 21st year of the “Spark of Love Toy Drive,” in 2014. Local Firefighters channeled Santa Claus by bringing joy and toys directly to children in their own neighborhoods on Christmas Day 2014. Local Fire trucks drove up and down the streets of Pasadena neighborhoods and other areas where Firefighters passed out gifts to ecstatic children, while parents looked on in gratitude and shock. For more information, visit

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