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A demonstration of the Satellite Shelter.

When blizzards line up to rip through the Northeast, schools close, flights are canceled, and people even board up their houses. Though missions and homeless shelters do what they can to provide safety to those who have no homes to go to, thousands of people still have to weather the cold outside.

At Carnegie Mellon University's 2015 Impact-a-Thon, students were challenged to provide a temporary low-cost shelter for homeless people during the winter.

One team of students came up with the "Satellite Shelter," an insulated sleeping bag that converts into a tented structure. The students used mylar, a reflective material frequently used in greenhouses and space blankets, and wool blankets to ensure the shelter would keep anyone in it safe from the cold.

"We wanted to make sure it was super-portable and durable so that it's easy to carry," said student Linh Thi Do, who worked on the project. "We have wheels on it so it's easy to move from place to place."

Solutions like this one are handy in an emergency. Perhaps, however, other cities should take note of the city of New Orleans' success in providing long-term housing solutions for its homeless veterans. The only perfect solution to homelessness is giving people permanent homes to go to at night.


This article originally appeared on 01.26.15

Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

An anonymous lottery winner is donating nearly all of his Euromillions winnings to save the planet.

Imagine winning enough money in the lottery to be able to do pretty much anything you want. Travel the world in luxury. Buy multiple mansions and expensive cars. Hire a gourmet chef to prepare all of your meals. Yachts seem particularly popular among the uber-wealthy. With more than $200 million, there are few material wishes you couldn't fulfill.

But what if your biggest, truest wish was to save the planet from destruction?

An anonymous Frenchman who won 200 million euros (the U.S. equivalent of approximately $218 million) in the Euromillions lottery in 2020 has chosen to use his winnings to preserve and revitalize Earth. The man, nicknamed "Guy" by French lottery group Françaises des Jeux (FDJ), has not identified himself publicly, but has created a foundation called Anyama, named after an Ivory Coast city, for the purpose of protecting the planet. He shared an open letter on the Anyama website explaining why he's using his windfall this way.


“The Anyama endowment fund is the result of an imperious desire to act for nature and human beings that I have had for years," he wrote (translated from French). "Above all, it is the expression of a conviction that I want to share with as many people as possible: giving makes people happy, and constitutes a tremendous lever for transforming indignation into concrete and useful actions."

He explained how seeing truckloads of trees cut from the forests of Burkina Faso passing through the Ivory Coast (where he had spent several years as a child, according to Le Parisien) impacted him. He wrote that he has always only entered lotteries with "important jackpots," specifically for the purpose of creating a charitable foundation.

"My dream has never been to acquire boats, castles or other sports cars," he wrote, "it is to be useful and to give meaning to this money, with maximum positive impact. So that's what I'm doing today by creating Anyama, which acts for the benefit of the common good of all, with one watchword: protect the living. This is for me the urgency of our time and most certainly of the many years to come, in the interest of future generations."

The focus of action for the foundation revolves around the conservation of forests and revitalization of biodiversity, but also around support for human caregivers as well.

"Family caregivers are an essential link in our society," the Anyama website reads. "Accompanying them also means protecting the living in each of us. People in a situation of dependency linked to age, illness or disability are a significant burden for caregivers. Anyama's 'Caregivers' program will support projects aimed at supporting, training, relieving or welcoming family carers."

Guy sees man and nature as one whose vulnerabilities overlap.

"Man, for years, believed he could exploit nature without taking into account his own membership in this ecosystem, freeing himself from the rules that guarantee its balance," he wrote. "This observation obliges us to 'pay attention to others,' to act to protect and regenerate."

According to Le Figaro, Guy told French newspaper Le Parisien that he has already given most of his winnings to the foundation, and that he would "progressively give almost all" of the money to it. He appears to have no desire for notoriety or recognition, saying he plans to "continue to live peacefully, in the most total discretion."

FDJ told Agence France-Presse that it is not uncommon for winners to be generous with their lottery money, but the proportion Guy is donating to philanthropy is a "great first."

What a refreshing approach to becoming a multimillionaire: Genuine generosity and humility, and a desire to use wealth for the betterment of humanity and our home. Congratulations, Guy. It sounds like you deserved this win.

As tens of thousands of Afghans flee Afghanistan in the wake of a Taliban takeover, people around the world are scrambling to help. But providing help in a war-torn country with the chaos of U.S. military withdrawal and violent extremists seizing power is a bit complicated.

Simply getting people out of the country is hard enough. Figuring out what happens is even more complex. Where do these refugees go right now? How long do they stay? What countries will allow them to settle permanently? How do the necessary security screenings get handled? Who provides for their basic human needs as those details get sorted out?

While governments and refugee agencies work through the various moving parts and logistics, short-term rental company Airbnb has stepped up to provide a potential answer to one immediate need—where refugees will stay in the meantime.

For several years, Airbnb's non-profit arm Airbnb.org has provided temporary housing for people displaced by natural disasters and other crises. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has helped house healthcare workers on the front lines. For the past four years, the company has also helped provide temporary housing to 25,000 refugees around the world.

Earlier this year, Airbnb announced the creation of a $25 million Refugee Fund to expand their efforts to house and support refugees in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), HIAS, and Church World Service. With that fund and the company's experience hosting refugees, Airbnb is in a position to provide housing assistance in Afghanistan's newest refugee crisis.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced the new Afghan refugee initiative on Twitter:


"In this past week, it has become abundantly clear that the displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees here in the United States and elsewhere is a significant humanitarian crisis – and in the face of this need, our community is ready to once again step up," the company announced on its website. "Today, Airbnb and Airbnb.org are announcing that Airbnb.org will provide temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees worldwide – the cost of which is funded through contributions to Airbnb.org from Airbnb and Brian Chesky, as well as donors to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund."

Dave Milliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, praised Airbnb for its support.

"As the IRC helps to welcome and resettle Afghans in the U.S., accessible housing is urgently needed and essential," said Milliband in a statement. "We are grateful to our partners at Airbnb.org and Airbnb for once again offering their support and infrastructure to meet this moment, providing safe and welcoming places for individuals and families as they arrive in the United States and begin rebuilding their lives."

Airbnb also acknowledged the complexities of the situation, but also called upon other businesses to make their own efforts to support the immediate needs on the ground:

"Airbnb and Airbnb.org recognize that the situation on the ground is fast evolving. Airbnb.org will closely collaborate with resettlement agencies and partners to go where the need goes, and evolve this initiative and our support as necessary. In addition, given the tremendous need, Airbnb urges fellow members of the global business community to join efforts to provide immediate support to Afghan refugees."

When the world faces a global crisis, it takes a collaboration of governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals to come up with solutions. Good for Airbnb for seeing an immediate human need it can help alleviate and taking action to make it happen.

MacKenzie Scott has given away more than $8 billion since her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos nearly two years ago. For perspective, that's more than the entire GDP of some countries. For comparison, Bill and Melinda Gates have become the world's biggest philanthropists, having given away around $50 billion over the past 27 years—at Scott's pace, she'd hit that amount in 12 years.

Scott just announced that she and the philanthropy team she has assembled have donated $2.74 billion to 286 organizations. Though the donation amounts vary, that's nearly $10 million per organization on average. (Had to do that math three times. "Billion" is a hard number to wrap our brains around.)

The money is the point, of course, but Scott wants the focus to stay on the organizations the money is funding and the work they are doing, not on the wealth that's flowing from her to them.


In a post on Medium, she wrote:

"People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change they are creating. This is equally — perhaps especially — true when their work is funded by wealth. Any wealth is a product of a collective effort that included them. The social structures that inflate wealth present obstacles to them. And despite those obstacles, they are providing solutions that benefit us all.

Putting large donors at the center of stories on social progress is a distortion of their role. Me, Dan, a constellation of researchers and administrators and advisors — we are all attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change. In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands, and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others. Though we still have a lot to learn about how to act on these beliefs without contradicting and subverting them, we can begin by acknowledging that people working to build power from within communities are the agents of change. Their service supports and empowers people who go on to support and empower others."

Scott wrote that the recipients of the funds were "high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked," including schools educating underserved populations, organizations bridging religious divides through interfaith support and collaboration, arts and cultural institutions that often struggle for funds, organizations battling poverty and empowering women and girls, and initiatives focused on supporting community engagement.


Perhaps most notably, Scott gave the money without strings or instructions for how to use it, believing that these organizations know best how to use the funds. "These are people who have spent years successfully advancing humanitarian aims, often without knowing whether there will be any money in their bank accounts in two months," she wrote. "What do we think they might do with more cash on hand than they expected? Buy needed supplies. Find new creative ways to help. Hire a few extra team members they know they can pay for the next five years. Buy chairs for them. Stop having to work every weekend. Get some sleep."

Here's the complete list of the organizations receiving Scott's donations:

317 Main Community Music Center

A Place Called Home

ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities

ACCESS

Achieving the Dream

ACT Grants

Adeso

Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

African Leadership Group

Afrika Tikkun

Alaska Native Heritage Center

Allied Media Projects

Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Alternate ROOTS

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Amarillo College

American Indian College Fund

American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC)

Amref Health Africa

APIA Scholars

Apollo Theater

Art for Justice Fund

Arts Administrators of Color Network

Arts for Healing and Justice Network

Arts Forward Fund

Arts Midwest

Ashé Cultural Arts Center

Ashoka Innovators for the Public

Asian American Federation

Asian American LEAD

Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy

Asian Pacific Community Fund

Asian Pacific Fund

Atlanta Music Project

Authors League Fund

AWID (Association for Women's Rights in Development)

Ballet Hispánico

Big Thought

Black Ensemble Theater

Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD)

BoardSource

Borealis Philanthropy

· Black Led Movement Fund

· Communities Transforming Policing Fund

· Disability Inclusion Fund

· Emerging LGBTQ Leaders of Color Fund

· Racial Equity in Journalism Fund

· Racial Equity in Philanthropy Fund

· Racial Equity to Accelerate Change Fund

· Spark Justice Fund

Brazosport College

Broward College

Building Movement Project

CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities

Cal Poly Pomona

California State University Channel Islands

California State University, Fullerton

California State University, Northridge

Candid

Center for Asian American Media

Center for Cultural Innovation

Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP)

Center for Evaluation Innovation

Center of Life

CFLeads

Chaffey Community College

CHANGE Philanthropy

Charity Navigator

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Chicago's Cultural Treasures

Child in Need Institute (CINI)

Children's Defense Fund

Chinatown Community Development Center

Chinese for Affirmative Action

Co-Impact Gender Fund

Collage Dance Collective

College of the Desert

Common Counsel Foundation

Common Future

Community MusicWorks

CompassPoint Nonprofit Services

Constellations Culture Change Fund

CUNY Hostos Community College

Dance Theatre of Harlem

David's Harp

Decolonizing Wealth Project

Digital Green

Donors of Color Network

DonorsChoose

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Dream a Dream

East Bay Fund for Artists

East West Players

El Museo del Barrio

El Paso Community College

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy

Equal Measure

Equitable Evaluation Initiative

Equity in the Center

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center

Excelencia in Education

Exponent Philanthropy

Faith in Action

Faith in Public Life

Filantropía Puerto Rico

Firelight Media

First Peoples Fund

Flamboyan Arts Fund

Florida International University

Fondo Semillas

Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants COVID-19 Funds

FSG

Fund for Shared Insight

Funders for LGBTQ Issues

Girls First Fund

GiveDirectly

GiveIndia

GivingTuesday

GOONJ

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

GreenLight Fund

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

HIAS

Homeboy Industries

Hyde Square Task Force

IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

IDinsight

Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)

Institute for Transformative Technologies

Interaction Institute for Social Change

International African American Museum

Jan Sahas

Japanese American National Museum

Jazz at Lincoln Center

Junebug Productions

Jusoor

Kennedy-King College

Kepler

Kiva

L.A. Arts Endowment Fund

Lee College

Leeway Foundation

Lever for Change

Long Beach City College

Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy

Lwala Community Alliance

Magic Bus

Maine Expansion Arts Fund

Mama Foundation for the Arts

Management Leadership for Tomorrow

Mann Deshi Foundation

MDRC

Memphis Music Initiative

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership

Metro IAF

Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund

Mexic-Arte Museum

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

Mid-America Arts Alliance

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Mosaic Network and Fund

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit

mothers2mothers

Motown Museum

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

Museum of Chinese in America

Muslim Advocates

Muso

Namati

National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures

National Center for Family Philanthropy

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

National Council of Nonprofits

National Equity Project

National Museum of Mexican Art

Native Americans in Philanthropy

Native Arts & Cultures Foundation

NDN Collective

Neighborhood Funders Group

Neutral Zone

New City Kids

New England Foundation for the Arts

New Profit

NGOsource

NTEN

Odessa College

Oregon Arts and Culture Recovery Fund

OutRight Action International

PA'I Foundation

Partners In Health

Pasadena City College

PEAK Grantmaking

PEN America Writers' Emergency Fund

Penumbra

Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity

Pillars Fund

Piramal Swasthya

Play On Philly

Porterville College

Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN)

ProInspire

Project Evident

Project Row Houses

Race Forward

Recess

Renaissance Youth Center

Renton Technical College

Repair the World

Repairers of the Breach

Results for America

Rise Up

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Rockwood Leadership Institute

Room to Read

Roosevelt Institute

RYSE Center

San Antonio College

San Francisco Community Health Center

San Jacinto Community College

Sanku — Project Healthy Children

Santa Barbara City College

Save The Music Foundation

Self Help Graphics & Art

Service Year Alliance

Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO)

Sins Invalid

Sipp Culture

SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action)

Social Finance

Solidaire Network

Souls Grown Deep

South Arts

Southwest Folklife Alliance

Southwest Texas Junior College

Sphinx Organization

Spy Hop

TechSoup Global

The Antara Foundation

The BOMA Project

The Bridgespan Group

The Center for Cultural Power

The Door

The Education Trust

The Freedom Fund

The Greenlining Institute

The International Association of Blacks in Dance

The Laundromat Project

The Management Center

The Nonprofit Quarterly

The Studio Museum in Harlem

The Theater Offensive

The Urban Institute

The Village of Arts and Humanities

The/Nudge Foundation

Third Sector

Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation

Tostan

Triangle Project

Ubuntu Pathways

United Philanthropy Forum

United States Artists

Unity Productions Foundation

University of California, Merced

University of Central Florida

University of Illinois Chicago

University of Texas at San Antonio

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Urban Bush Women

Urban Word NYC

Ushahidi

VolunteerMatch

West Hills College Lemoore

West/Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation

Western States Arts Federation

William Rainey Harper College

Wing Luke Museum

Womankind

Women's Funding Network

Women's Audio Mission

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA)

Youth Empowerment Project

Youth on Record

Youth Speaks

YR Media

ZUMIX

Congratulations to the recipients. Here's hoping they make a marked difference in the lives of those they serve.