Benojo weekly roundup – what’s happening in the giving space?

Each week we aim to bring you the biggest stories across the corporate giving and charity space. Here’s what’s causing waves globally, the things stirring up people like you and all the latest in the world of social good. Benojo corporate giving

Michael Hintze: Australia’s benevolent billionaire philanthropist

Michael Hintze is an Australian billionaire and one of the world’s busiest philanthropists as he goes about giving away the fortune he has built up from a long career in the financial sector.

The 61-year-old British-Australian worked for some of the biggest names in banking before heading out on his own, setting up the hugely successful CQS Asset Management, which became one of the world’s top hedge funds under his leadership. CQS has been a massively profitable venture for Hintze and according to Forbes his fortune is now worth US$1.8 billion (AU$2.12 billion), which means he just misses out on a place in the top 1,000 richest people in the world, but he is in the top 25 richest.

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Predictions for five CSR trends in 2015

Corporate social responsibility has evolved significantly over the past several decades – from corporations simply writing checks to nonprofits, to a multitude of practices and activities that have become highly integrated into business practices. As we begin 2015, here are Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s predictions for what’s ahead for CSR in the coming year.

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Your old laptop's battery will light homes in developing countries

Don't be too quick to toss out the battery from that ancient laptop -- it might just be the key to powering homes in developing countries, and helping the environment in the process.

IBM researchers have revealed UrJar, a device that turns old lithium-ion battery packs into rechargeable energy sources for low-power devices like LED light bulbs, fans and cellphones. To create the gadget, the team extracts functioning lithium-ion cells from a trashed battery and combines them with both charging dongles and safety circuitry. It sounds simple, but it's potentially very effective.

According to IBM, roughly 70 percent of all discarded batteries can provide at least four hours of LED lighting every day for a year. That's enough to offer extra safety to homes in areas with little to no reliable electricity, or to keep a street vendor in business after sunset.

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Charity Kindles boost reading skills of indigenous children

A not-for-profit organisation that sends e-readers to Aboriginal children across the country to improve their literacy is having staggering results, lifting the reading time of average students by 237 per cent. The indigenous children involved improved their comprehension scores by 61 per cent and fluency scores increased by 26 per cent.

Indigenous leader Marcia Langton, the patron of the Reading Project, said it was a real example of something that worked:

“The Indigenous Reading Project works so well, achieving superior results, I recommend every school adopt it,” Professor Langton said.

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Charity soars with Little Wings

The past 18 months have been a whirl wind for Kevin Robinson, the founder of the non-for-profit, 24/7 on-call Little Wings patient flight service and this year’s winner of the NSW Australian of the Year Local Hero Award and the NSW Volunteer Award for Western Sydney.

The Little Wings flight service has grown from a budgeted 30 flights a year to delivering 225 flights which help 530 people, with potential to assist 900 people if Kevin can secure increased funding for the coming year.

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Big Idea 2015: Bringing Social Responsibility Back to Business

People are demanding more from the companies they buy from beyond price and convenience.

Over the past several years we’ve seen a new wave of fresh thinking on the social responsibilities of business with the emergence of new frameworks like B Corps and Conscious Capitalism that goes much deeper than traditional CSR. The specific frameworks themselves are less important than the core idea behind them: that businesses can and should integrate social responsibility into their business models.

The increasing pressure on private enterprise to create social good is only going to grow, and in 2015, the expectation that business will contribute meaningfully to society will become the norm. Companies that just give lip service to integrating their business purpose with social purpose, with no real action behind it or business models that reflect a commitment to social purpose, will be called out and held accountable.

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Tourists abusing strangers’ charity to fund trips

A third of Melbourne’s beggars are international tourists seeking to boost their travel funds. Victoria Police, Melbourne City Council and the Salvation Army have raised concerns over a spike in numbers of bogus beggars during the holiday season. Salvation Army Major Brendan Nottle said men from Germany and Sweden — most under 30 — made up the bulk of the backpacking beggars.

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Do you have something to share with us? Comment below or feel free to contact us to see how we can help your business or charity connect with others in the giving space.