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When a CEO realized many of his employees were on food stamps, he made a change to their paychecks.

He didn't do it purely out of the goodness of his heart, but it's still a big deal.

When a CEO realized many of his employees were on food stamps, he made a change to their paychecks.

Let's be real. Health insurance companies are notoriously stingy.


"What do you mean you'll only pay for $2.79 of my $473,000 gum surgery?!"

But at least one big health insurer is fighting that reputation, at least where its employees are concerned.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini was shocked to learn that many workers in the company's call centers made so little money they rely on food stamps and Medicaid to get by, according to an NPR report.

Rather than let them continue to struggle, he decided to do something about it.

The Aetna CEO raised the salaries of all of his lowest-paid employees to $16/hr.

Bertolini didn't just do this out of the goodness of his heart.

He did it because it made good economic sense.

The cost of raising the wages for Aetna's lowest-paid workers is significant, even for a massive corporation:

"[Aetna CEO Mark] Bertolini ... discovered the cost of boosting compensation for his low-paid workers would be significant — about $27 million a year."

But, when you look at the company's long-term financial future, it turns out paying that $27 million a year is totally worth it.

"But he also found that research shows there are costs associated with paying low wages. Low-paid workers quit more often, and the turnover is expensive. There's also evidence higher-paid employees provide better customer service. Bertolini thought the potential benefits could offset the $27 million cost and improve his company's profits in the long run." — John Ydste, NPR

At a time when worker productivity is rising faster than wages, and workers across America are walking off the job to call for a $15/hr minimum wage, a move like this is a pretty big deal.

Paying employees a living wage is also part of a larger trend.

Not sure I need that giant bag of tilapia, but it's only $3.99!

Just a few weeks ago, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price announced that he was taking a pay cut and raising starting salary at the company to $70,000/year.

And thriving companies like Costco and The Container Store already pay their retail workers far higher average salaries than the industry standard on the theory that higher wages lead to greater productivity and better employee retention.

We shouldn't wait for more companies to do this voluntarily.

It's important to keep pushing for higher, fairer wages for employees across all industries. A $15/hr minimum wage should be the absolute baseline.

In the meantime, it's great that more and more corporations are realizing that treating your employees with dignity and respect — and paying them accordingly — is not just more ethical.

It's also good for business.

via The Today Show

Michael and Jack McConnell will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on September 3rd and it won't only be a big moment for them, it'll be a landmark for the entire gay rights movement.

The couple was legally married 32 years before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004 and 43 before it became federally legal in 2015.

How did they do it? They outsmarted a system that wasn't prepared to address same-sex marriage.

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via The Today Show

Michael and Jack McConnell will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on September 3rd and it won't only be a big moment for them, it'll be a landmark for the entire gay rights movement.

The couple was legally married 32 years before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004 and 43 before it became federally legal in 2015.

How did they do it? They outsmarted a system that wasn't prepared to address same-sex marriage.

Keep Reading Show less
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If you've ever donated to a cause but worried that your contribution wasn't really enough to drive real change, you're not alone. As one person, it can be tough to feel like you're making a real difference, especially if you don't have a lot to donate or if times are tough (aka there's a worldwide pandemic going on.)

That's why, for years, the idea of philanthropy felt a little bit like a rich person's thing: if you had millions, you could donate and make change. The rest of us were just tossing pennies into a cup without really doing much.

But that's a problem: the priorities of a wealthy few don't represent the priorities of many, which means that good causes are often left underfunded, leading to a lack of meaningful action.

The thing is: it doesn't have to be like this. We can all make a difference, especially if we pool our money together.

Enter: Giving Circles. These are when groups of people with shared values come together to drive change. They do it by pooling their time and money together, then deciding as a circle where it should go. That way, they can cause a real targeted change in one place quickly in a very people-powered way by giving what they can, whether that's volunteer hours, money, or a mix of both. Best of all, Giving Circles are a social experience — you get to work together as a community to make sure you do the most good you can.

In other words, giving circles are a way to democratize philanthropy, making it more accessible regardless of your age, income, gender, or race.

That's why this year, The Elevate Prize, a nonprofit founded in 2019, is launching a new pop-up "Giving Circle" program so that problem solvers, budding philanthropists, and anyone that wants to do good can come together and drive real impact at a large scale. And you can do it all in just 90 minutes.

All you have to do is join one of the Elevate Giving Circles online. Learn about organizations doing good for the world, then pool your money together, and as a group, direct it where you think that donation could make the most difference.

But that's not all: every single donation made is matched by the Elevate Prize Foundation — basically guaranteeing that you double your impact for good. The theme for the first cycle is education, and Elevate Giving will match up to $75,000 in total donations for each cycle.

Ready to get involved? Elevate Giving experiences start June 26th, so sign up now for your spot to make a difference. There's no minimum fee to join either — so get involved no matter what you have to give. Now that's philanthropy for all.