Topic: Donate

Local Girl Raises Awareness and Money for Homeless Women

Congratulations to Caroline Coxe, a senior at Falmouth High School and a recent Hardy Girls Healthy Women Girls Rock! Award recipient.

Most young women don’t want to talk, much less raise public awareness, about something so personal and intimate, but Caroline fearlessly led a community awareness project around homeless women who don’t have adequate access to sanitary products during their periods. In doing so, she empowered her peers to creatively express their concepts of women’s empowerment, used the process to help educate and raise awareness of the challenges homeless women face each day, and collected cash and in-kind donations to benefit the women Preble Street serves.

Caroline brought to the limelight a subject matter many adults are embarrassed to talk about, menstruation. Inspired by the viral video The Homeless Period, Caroline began to think about the challenges homeless women in her local community face in having access to feminine hygiene products and was moved to do something to make those challenges a little easier.

Caroline, an artist, decided to use art to bring her community together to help with this cause. She made her cause the focus of her Senior Project. Her idea was to curate an art show, on female empowerment, to both raise awareness and money regarding the issues homeless women face. With the support of her art teacher, she engaged her advanced art class, and the seven classmates spent the fall semester developing pieces of artwork depicting strong images of female empowerment.

Caroline, with the assistance of her art teacher, Nancy Goldstone, developed assignment sheets for the students who participated in the project and checked in with them regularly to offer assistance and guidance. She began educating her fellow classmates, as well as faculty and advisors, on the issues homeless women experience around having limited access to feminine hygiene products. She also created promotional materials for the art show, inviting staff, faculty, fellow students and community members. She created a bulletin board, highlighting Florence House

Attendees were encouraged to either donate cash or hygiene products and/or purchase a print of one of the pieces. All in-kind donations and funds collected will be donated to Preble Street to benefit Florence House. Caroline raised approximately $400 in donations or sales of artwork and collected two large baskets of hygiene products to be donated for the benefit of homeless women. More importantly, she sparked a community conversation about a topic society, and especially women, are often ashamed to talk about publicly.

For all this, she definitely does rock!

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Please help those who have no home this holiday season.

Preble Street founder Joe Kreisler said, “I am a human being. Part of my job, part of being alive, is making sure that other people are too.”

For 40 years, Preble Street has worked to live up to those words, serving some of the most vulnerable people in Maine. With 14 programs throughout the state, Preble Street is the hub of services in northern New England’s largest urban area, providing round-the-clock programs 365 days a year to not only meet urgent needs, but also create solutions to homelessness and hunger.

From a nutritious meal to crisis intervention, from clean clothes to health care, from showers to a permanent home, Preble Street programs help people move beyond the crises in their lives and on to brighter futures.

But we can’t do it alone. We need you.

Your support is not only an expression of comfort for those who are suffering, but also has the power to transform their lives.

Donate to Preble Street today, and help us bring these Mainers and others home, not just for Christmas, but for good.

The Good Fight: Inciting Kindness

In honor of World Kindness Day, November 13, The VIA Agency, a full-service marketing, advertising and digital agency, today announced the launch of The Good Fight, a mobile game designed to turn simple acts of kindness into friendly competition. This launch is the beginning of a year-long competition in search of America’s kindest city.

The Good Fight is the result of a joint initiative between Preble Street and The VIA Agency. “A few years ago, we started to notice a lessening of kindness in our society,” said Mark Swan, Executive Director of Preble Street, “Somewhere and somehow we started to show less caring towards one another and it became okay to be intolerant. As this behavior reaches the next generation, it is the beginning of the full blown empathy crisis that we see today. We had to do something, so we asked VIA to help us create a campaign to bring back kindness.”

Instead of creating a traditional advertising campaign or digital effort to encourage kindness, The VIA Agency turned up with the idea to make a game.

“There are plenty of good people who go the extra step to help others,” said Leeann Leahy, CEO of The VIA Agency, “but the vast majority want the world to be a better place, they just don’t want to have to change their own lives to make it one, so we wanted to make it easy and fun. We wanted to gamify kindness.”

Enter, The Good Fight… a mobile game that gives you credit for the simple, every day things you do… things that are already kind… and rewards you with points in a friendly competition.

It doesn’t take much effort to join in the fun! Just download the app from the App store to your iPhone and connect through Facebook. Then go about living your life, but every time you do something kind, you log it in for points in The Good Fight. All kind acts count from smiling at a stranger, to holding a door for someone, to volunteering in a soup kitchen… any act big or small is valued. As you get points and move throughout the game, you can share your kind acts and photos through Instagram and Twitter and challenge others in your social network to do the same.

The game pits players against their friends, all other players, and ultimately aggregates all the kindness points in your area to create a city vs. city competition. Leaderboards show you how you are doing and can be viewed across all three measures.

“We are on a quest to find the kindest city in America,” says Leahy, “so, will be accumulating data for the next year to do so.  If we have a bit of fun along the way and maybe just maybe make the world a better, kinder place…well, that’s a win for all of us!”

More details about The Good Fight as well as instructional videos on how to play can be found here: thegoodfightchallenge.com.

Goodbye, Friend!

All of us at Preble Street are deeply saddened by the loss of Leon Gorman, our faithful friend, supporter, cheerleader, advisor, and soup kitchen grill master extraordinaire.

A humble, self-effacing man whose deepest desire was to be of use to others, Leon was the real deal. Grandson of L.L. Bean, and longtime President and CEO of the beloved Maine company, he used his remarkable depth of insight not only to steer his company from a small family business to a worldwide industry leader but to offer strategic advice and support to dozens of nonprofit organizations.

Not surprisingly Leon also loved to work hard, and for 12 years he ran the grill in the Resource Center soup kitchen, frying up eggs to feed 400 hungry souls every Wednesday morning.

When Preble Street gave him our Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009 he told us receiving that award was among his proudest achievements in a life filled with distinguished awards and honors. That says an awful lot about Leon.

Last winter, during a nasty storm, Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann received a call from Leon and his wife, Lisa, who were stuck on a grounded plane at Logan International Airport. Instead of complaining or catching up on their reading, they were thinking about how the homeless people of Portland were coping with the brutal winter. Within hours a truck filled with winter jackets, scarves, hats and toe-warmers was heading from Freeport to Portland for the Resource Center.

Preble Street is a better agency for Leon’s involvement over the years, and Maine, too, is a better place because of him.

His commitment to volunteer service continues to inspire us daily and lives on in all of the dedicated people who willingly give their time, energy, money, voices, and compassion to serve the least powerful, most easily forgotten people in our community.

To honor that commitment, the agency is renaming its Volunteer of the Year Award to the Leon Gorman Volunteer Service Award.

Preble Street earns highest Charity Navigator score in Maine

PORTLAND, ME [December 3, 2014] Preble Street, a Portland-based social service agency, earned the highest score of any charity in the state of Maine in a 2014 fiscal-year analysis performed by Charity Navigator, the country’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities.

Recording an overall average of 99.17 points out of a possible 100, with a perfect score in the area of "accountability and transparency," Preble Street ranked among the highest-scored nonprofits in the country. The agency, dedicated to providing accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty, and to advocating for solutions to those problems, was also recognized for fundraising efficiency and revenue growth.

Charity Navigator’s online tools allow donors to see, at a glance, the percentage agencies spend on program services, compared to administrative and fundraising expenses. Charity Navigator adopted a 100-point scale in August to clarify its ratings.

One of Maine’s largest social service nonprofits, Preble Street was awarded Charity Navigator’s top rating, four stars, for the ninth consecutive year. The premier rating is awarded to nonprofits exceeding industry standards and outperforming most charities in their cause category.

"Only 1 percent of the charities we rate have received at least nine consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that Preble Street outperforms most other charities in America. This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Preble Street from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust," said Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator.

The scores are based on an analysis of a charity’s federal income tax filing, which is public information. Charity Navigator rates more than 8,000 public charities. Charity Navigator only evaluates organizations granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that file a Form 990.

Charity Navigator’s evaluation covers two broad areas of performance: "financial health" and "accountability and transparency." The ratings provide donors with information on how efficiently a charity uses philanthropic support, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time, and the level of its commitment to being open and accountable.

"We are very proud to have the highest Charity Navigator score in Maine," said Mark Swann, Preble Street executive director.

"We know potential donors look very carefully at how charities operate, as they should. Preble Street has an important mission, with a lot of people counting on us to be a strong, stable organization, so we take the business side of our work very seriously, doing our best to operate efficiently, thoughtfully and strategically."

Donors increasingly base giving decisions on the guidance of Charity Navigator other watchdog groups that offer insight into how their money will be used.

"As the nonprofit sector continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, savvy donors are demanding more accountability, transparency and quantifiable results from the charities they choose to support with their hard-earned dollars. Our goal in all of this is to provide donors with essential information needed to give them greater confidence in the charitable choices they make," said Berger.

Preble Street’s complete Charity Navigator profile can be viewed at: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=9851#.VFkoN_nF9WE