Aaron Rodgers and State Farm partner to donate $2 Million to Camp wildfire victims.
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State Farm 2018

Aaron Rodgers and State Farm are tackling the needs of families and communities in the aftermath of California's deadliest wildfire on record.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was born and raised in northern California's Butte County, where the recent Camp Fire devastated thousands.

To date, that wildfire — the deadliest and most destructive in California history — has killed at least 85 people, destroyed 14,000 residences and ravaged 153,000 acres in Butte County alone. The entire town of Paradise, a town of 26,000 people 15 miles from Rodgers' hometown of Chico, burned to the ground. While the fire is now 100% contained, the daunting work of cleaning up, rebuilding and recovering emotionally and physically from the blaze is just beginning.


Bird's Eye view of Butte County during the Camp Fire. Photo by NASA/Wikipedia.

So Rodgers posted a video to Twitter on November 21 to express support for the victims and send out a fundraising call. "I personally reached out to my friends and the mayor of Chico to find out how to be of the most help," Rodgers says in the video, "And raising money for both the immediate needs and the long term recovery is what's needed most right now."

Rodgers also donated $1 million of his own money to help the recovery and rebuild efforts in partnership with Northern Valley Community Foundation.

In response, State Farm's social responsibility program, Neighborhood of Good, pledged to donate $1 for every retweet of Rodgers' video and mention of #Retweet4Good, up to $1 million.

As a longtime partner of Rodgers, State Farm was inspired by his willingness to offer support in this way, and were compelled to meet his altruism.

State Farm has a rich history of community involvement and being a good neighbor. The company's Neighborhood of Good program helps people "turn caring into doing" by identifying local opportunities where people can give back. This call to action seemed like the perfect way to propel that mission forward.

In just 9 days, Rodgers' tweet was viewed over 8.3 million times, and the initiative raised $365,000 for wildfire relief and recovery.

Although the retweets didn’t reach 1 million, State Farm Neighborhood of Good decided to up the donation to a full $1 million.

A follow-up video on November 23 with the same #retweet4good hashtag received an additional million-plus views and 22,000+ retweets.

But the generosity didn't stop there. These philanthropic endeavors inspired other big businesses to give back well. Walmart also decided to donate $1 million to the Camp Fire recovery efforts after seeing the response to Rodgers' tweet.

Whether they're celebrities, heads of companies or everyday individuals, when people work together, they can do incredible things.

Most of us want to help make a difference in our communities, but we don't always know where to start. Neighborhood of Good helps bridge that gap by making it simple to find local needs and inspire people to take action for causes they care about.

The need in the wake of California's deadly wildfires is great, but people in this country have proven time and time again that they are willing and able to step up and meet that need. It doesn't have to take a huge amount of effort to do so — lots of small actions, like a simple retweet, can make a big impact.

If you'd like to donate to Aaron Rodgers' wildfire fund, go to his fundraising page on the North Valley Community Foundation website. And if you'd like to learn more about how to volunteer in your local area, check out NeighborhoodofGood.com.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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In 2015, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price had a life-changing epiphany.

Price, who founded Gravity with his brother in 2004, was out hiking in the Cascade Mountains with his friend, Valerie. She told him her landlord had raised her rent by $200 and she was struggling to get by on her $40,000 a year income. Price, who was making $1.1 million a year as CEO of Gravity, was struck by her story. Not only did he feel for Valerie—a military veteran working two jobs and barely making ends meet—realized that some of his own employees might be facing similar struggles.

And they were. One employee frankly told him his entry-level salary was a rip-off. Another employee had secretly been working at McDonald's outside of work hours to make ends meet. So Price decided to make a drastic change by investing in his employees.

He researched how much money the average person would need in order to live comfortably and settled on $70,000 a year. In one fell swoop, he dropped his own salary to that amount, while also making it the minimum salary for anyone who worked at Gravity.

The move drew media coverage—and dire predictions from pundits. On Fox News and other conservative outlets he was called "foolish," a "socialist" and a "lunatic of lunatics." Rush Limbaugh called the company policy "pure unadulterated socialism" that was "going to fail" and should be a case study in MBA programs on how socialism doesn't work. Talking heads predicted that his employees would end up in the welfare line.

Six years later, Price has proved the haters wrong—by a lot.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less