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The more than 350 service dogs that Milk-Bone has supported since 1997 have transformed their owners' lives. The company works with Canine Assistants to train dogs to handle everyday needs for the disabled. At free two-week camps, Canine Assistants staffers match dogs with new owners like Chase and Connor Wilson, 7-year-old twins who have cerebral palsy. "My guys are so proud of all the things they can do with the dogs' help," says their mom, Lisa Panish, of Largo, Florida. (Chase and his buddy Oakley are shown above.) Milk-Bone covers every dog's $12,500 training cost and also pays for lifetime feeding and vet care.Keeping Kids Safe After School
More than 15 million American children are left unsupervised when the school day ends, giving them ample opportunity to get into trouble. To help kids find safe activities, JCPenney has given $80 million over the past decade to after-school programs offered by the YMCA, 4-H, and others nationwide. The company's generosity has kept some groups afloat in the bad economy: It recently contributed $250,000 to a New York City-based Boys & Girls Club facing devastating budget cuts. "That donation protected hundreds of at-risk kids," says Carol Simon, the club's executive director.Creating an Online Community of Givers
Yahoo's 600 million users have the power to make a major difference when they rally around a cause. Shortly after Haiti was devastated by an earthquake in January 2010, users donated $1.5 million to relief efforts via the site's "How to Help" links. And last April, after Yahoo featured a story about a woman who was paddle-boarding to raise money for breast cancer, Web surfers were inspired to contribute $92,000 to the cause.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, October 2010.
In 2003 executives at Alacer, maker of Emergen-C flavored vitamin drink mixes, came up with a refreshingly good idea: The company would donate its products to Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit that assembles care packages for soldiers deployed overseas. Since then it has contributed more than 1.5 million drink packets. Alacer's latest charitable venture is the launch of the dragonfruit-flavored Emergen-C Planet, available at Whole Foods; sales will help provide microloans to small-business entrepreneurs.Comforting Sick Kids
Each year children account for more than 6 million hospital stays. To make the experience a little less scary, Downy partnered with the nonprofit Quilts for Kids to provide handmade quilts to young patients across the country. Since 2009 its Touch of Comfort program has delivered more than 7,000 quilts to hospitals. The company makes it easy for customers to get involved in its do-good efforts by offering free quilting kits at downy.com.Funding the Fight Against Breast Cancer
Earlier this year, chicken chain KFC set an ambitious do-good goal: to make the largest single donation ever to the breast-cancer advocacy group Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Its "Buckets for the Cure" campaign raised an impressive $4.2 million for breast-cancer research, education, and treatment. "Our partnership with KFC helped us raise awareness of the disease in communities where we didn't have a presence," says Margo Lucero, director of global corporate relations for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.Doing Good Close To Home
For the 50 employees at specialty food company Conifer, supporting the local community is at the heart of their business. The Woodinville, Washington-based company helps keep area farms in business by purchasing the organic wheat for its products from Shepherd's Grain, a cooperative of 33 local farmers. Conifer has also donated over 50,000 pounds of food to Food Lifeline, a local hunger relief agency, in the past year.
For the past 23 years Pepsi has spent millions to advertise during the Super Bowl. But this year the company chose to use $20 million of that ad money to fund a unique do-good campaign: the Pepsi Refresh Project. Individuals and nonprofits submitted proposals for community improvement projects and Pepsi asked the public to vote for the best ones. Each month the ideas with the most votes got grants. In August Pepsi gave out an additional $1.3 million to projects helping people affected by the Gulf oil spill.Feeding the Less Fortunate
When employees at Cabot Creamery cooked up the world's largest macaroni and cheese this fall, they weren't just vying for a Guinness World Record. The Vermont-based dairy co-op -- which gives an average of 65 tons of its products to the hungry annually -- donated most of the giant dish to local food banks. "Protein-rich foods are one of the most difficult things for food banks to keep in stock, so Cabot's donations are invaluable," says John Sayles, CEO of Vermont Foodbank.Racing to Save Lives
Since 1993 Revlon has made amazing strides in funding the battle against breast and ovarian cancers with the Entertainment Industry Foundation Revlon Run/Walk for Women. The annual 5K event -- held in Los Angeles and New York City -- has raised more than $55 million in research dollars. This year the beauty company used social networking to boost participation, pledging to donate $1 for each of the first 100,000 fans to enter the race on their Facebook page. "The response was overwhelming," says Kiki Rees, Revlon's senior vice president of media and communications. "We raised the money in a matter of days."
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, December 2010/January 2011.
Home-furnishings retailer Ikea came up with a bright idea to help kids in developing nations do their homework at night. Every time a customer buys one of their $20 solar-powered Sunnan desk lamps, the company (in partnership with UNICEF) donates one to a child living in a home without electricity. Since the initiative began in June 2009, Ikea has distributed 500,000 lamps to needy kids. And from now until December 24, Ikea will give $1 each to UNICEF and Save the Children for every plush toy they sell.Providing Meals to People in Need
Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest processors of chicken, beef, and pork, has spent a decade working to eradicate hunger in America. Through partnerships with nonprofits Share Our Strength and Feeding America, Tyson Foods has donated more than $3 million and 85 million pounds of food to hunger-relief agencies and food banks since 2000. The company's employees contribute to the cause by staging fundraising events such as pie-throwing contests and a 477-mile bike race across Iowa.Bringing Hope to Children with Cancer
When Vicki Riedel asked insurance company Aflac to make a donation to the Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta back in 1995, she had no idea they'd be so generous. "I thought maybe they'd give $25,000 to name a room," says Riedel, who was the hospital's associate director of development at the time. Instead, Aflac gave $3 million to create the Aflac Cancer Center; today, it's one of the top childhood cancer centers in the country. All proceeds from sales of the plush Aflac duck mascot (duckgear.com) support the center. There's also a holiday version currently available at Macy's and aflacholidayduck.com; sales benefit the children's cancer hospital closest to where the toy was sold.