Guitar Hero or Superhero?

Children have the uncanny ability to see through a set of eyes adults no longer have access to. The whimsical, anything-is-possible set of eyes that, paired with the right brain and proper support, can turn dreams into reality.

Fifteen year old Teagan Stedman spent his summer taking the “Biology of Cancer” course at Brown University. TEDx Teen named him the “next big thing” after presenting his research project for improved cancer drug delivery to the conference in May. He has hopes of becoming a scientist and dreams of a future where cancer is as treatable as a headache.

The teens desire to help others came at a time where he felt completely helpless: his friend was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when Stedman was 8 years old. There seemingly isn’t much an adolescent can do to help their sick friends outside of elaborately decorated get-well posters.

But the adolescent mind has the ability to reach great heights, and in 2009, Stedman became the founder and CEO of a non-profit organization dedicated to helping kids support pediatric cancer research, raise awareness, and create a peer community.

That’s much, much more than a get-well-soon card.

Shred Kids’ Cancer was founded by a kid, is made up of kids, and is solely dedicated to helping kids. And since it’s inception six years ago, the nonprofit has raised over $300,000 to support pediatric cancer research and their beloved “Shredheads.”

Eleven year old cancer-survivor Kaitlin Lehman is a ShredHead, which is the nickname given to someone Shred Kids’ Cancer rallies behind and supports throughout his or her battle with cancer. She was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a rare form of musculoskeletal cancer, and soon after fell in love with John Green’s novel-turned-film The Fault in our Stars, a story of two teen lovers who also happen to have cancer.

Shred Kids’ Cancer was able to surprise Lehman with an experience she’ll never forget: a walk down the red carpet at the premier of The Fault in our Stars with it’s leading actor and actress Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley.

At first, the organization simply held an annual event called Shredfest. Spotlighting young musicians, this battle of the bands event attracted celebrity judges and generated a bunch of positive press for Stedman’s organization. A chance meeting between Stedman and Guns ‘N Roses guitar legend “Slash” in a mall lead the rockstar to sign on as a guest performer, battling young artists to raise money for pediatric cancer research.


The organization has evolved to now include a slew of youth-centric activities and events to attract kids of all kinds including bone marrow drives and 5K/10K Kids Fun Runs. Additionally, Stedman headed an awareness campaign called “Be Bold, Be Bald” which encourages kids to wear a bald cap for a day to show solidarity for their peers with cancer. It’s incredible what kids are capable of.

To read the original article, click here.

Angry Birds | Gaming for Education

Rovio Entertainment, the creators of the Angry Birds, are collaborating with A World At School to start a gaming tournament with the goal of raising an awareness of a petition for education. Participants will play the Angry Birds Friends game and support the hashtag #UpForSchool. Rovio points out that there are 58 million children around the world who are unable to attend school because of great issues that exist outside of the children themselves. Some of these problems include conflict, discrimination, and child labor. Angry Birds games have been downloaded over three billion times. Rovio wants to use this global audience to affect a positive change in the world by speaking out for children in need of formal learning.

The petition #UpForSchool has six million signatures on it thus far. The plan is to take this document to Oslo for the upcoming Education Summit. The originators of the campaign want to ensure children in conflict situation will be able to receive the necessary education. Gaming company, Rovio, has previously launched charitable campaigns aimed to rescue endangered birds, motivating children to read, and help earthquake victim in Nepal.

Another company in the gaming industry, Palringo created a charitable platform to target their gaming users who celebrate Ramadan. During Ramadan, alms giving is a good virtue and thus has garnered a positive result. This year Palringo is focused on world hunger. They will fundraise to contribute to food aid programs. The gaming company even integrated limited time charity fish into its chat-focused fishing game. Other companies such as Zynga and Playmob were also involved with charity through their gaming platforms. Playmob has a track record of charitable campaigns totaling up to thirty-five in just the past two years. Gaming platforms that were used to promote the causes included Sims Social, Plants Vs Zombies, and Madden. In that two year period, $1 million was raised for causes like Cybersmile and WWF.

To learn more about how the gaming industry fundraises, visit Forbes online here.

Philanthropy and the Wealthy | What’s Important?

piggy-bank-gaetano saccoA study was conducted on a segment of the world’s wealthy people. A survey was given to 640 adults with a minimum of $3 million of assets having the ability to be invested. The questions were geared toward figuring out what they valued the most and what they considered to be the factors in a life well-lived.

The results showed that health, family, and financial security ranked the highest for important aspects of a well-lived life. However, 86% said that philanthropy was a key part of life as well. Other results include:

  • One fifth of wealthy business owners look for new ways to resolve social and environmental problems.
  • The majority of survey takers participate in philanthropic efforts in the traditional ways. This included involvement through giving money as donations and physically volunteering their efforts.
  • One third of the pool would like to own assets related to social impact. A lesser amount of individuals were involved in strategic philanthropy and investing in social impact methods.
  • A higher percentage of women have an interest in investments tied to social impact. Meanwhile, more men have current investment ownership in that area compared to female owners.

Giving Pledge is an initiative that was formed to reach billionaires. This cause wants them to give the majority of their wealth to causes centered in philanthropic efforts. Giving Pledge gets people to pledge to the conditions of their initiative.

In the early stages, the company didn’t think they would get the interest that they have been able to gather. It has made a worldwide impact where people from around the globe are taking the pledge. To Giving Pledge, habitual giving to the extent that it becomes a tradition is most important. The initiative’s current numbers contain 137 pledges from 14 countries. Some causes these billionaires are particularly interested in include better K-12 education, economic development in Africa, and medical research for diseases in need of a cure.

To learn more about how wealth and philanthropy come together, visit PR Newswire and here.

3 Undesirable Behaviors from Charitable Donors

gift-gaetano saccoGiving to a good cause is an action that should originate from the heart. In some cases, donors may expect something in return for their act of kindness. Donors that invest larger amounts of money and resources are typically known for later exhibiting not so favorable behaviors.


Donors with a lot of money may want to get rid of some personal items which they find valuable. However, the item they are looking to give away may not be beneficial to the cause. An organization that receives an expensive but unuseful gift may have to allocate unplanned time to properly dispose of it in a way that may turn out to be beneficial. It then turns out that the gifter caused a great distraction that could’ve been avoided had that person given a useful gift.

Item Donations

Similar to the undesired gifts, providing donations that don’t help the cause, especially in times of emergency, can be troublesome. A silly example may include an infant crying for milk but being given a lollipop. The lollipop is not helpful in that situation. In fact, the infant can’t partake in it at all. Give items that people need and can use in hard times.


It is common for a donor to expect something like a receipt after giving a cash contribution. However, there are times where people who donate want an unreasonable form of documentation. One woman gave $2,000 and expected a 20 page report detailing the use of the money. At the end of the day, the labor to write the report most likely costed more than the donation itself. This situation could have been remedied if the donor found out the organization’s reporting method before agreeing to give the money. The giver and receiver could have made a point to be on the same page before the relationship continued to move forward.

Other downfalls of charitable donors may include too closely overseeing the decisions of the organization and expecting personal errands in return. These and more are counterproductive behaviors that donors can exhibit. For more information, visit the Wall Street Journal here.