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National Youth Fundraising Initiative Launched to Benefit Habitat for Humanity's Gulf Coast Building Efforts

Submitted by: Cone Communications

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: Aug 28, 2006 – 03:38 PM EST


Coin campaign helps children make a difference in the lives of Hurricane Katrina victims during the back-to-school season

BOSTON -Making Change for Katrina ( www.makingchangeforkatrina.org) knows that even the youngest individuals can have a tremendous impact. During the 2006 back-to-school season, the national campaign will encourage America's youth to harness their collective power to raise funds for Gulf Coast hurricane victims. Children have shown their compassion and collective power in the immediate aftermath of recent disasters. Proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds simple, decent and affordable shelter with people in need. The need for affordable housing in the Gulf Coast is dire, with more than 40,000 families eligible for Habitat homes waiting to rebuild.

The back-to-school fundraising effort will focus on the collection of spare change in classrooms across the country. In partnership with the Discovery Educator Network ( www.discoveryeducatornetwork.com), a global community of more than 600,000 educators, and RandomKid ( www.randomkid.org), an organization that helps kids help others, Making Change for Katrina has created a pipeline of possibility for displaced families along the Gulf Coast.

With the anniversary of hurricane Katrina only days away and schools back in session, it is anticipated that America's youth will once again rally around the need of Gulf Coast hurricane survivors. After hurricane Katrina hit, RandomKid gathered thousands of kids across the country to raise funds for Gulf Coast recovery efforts. Together, they raised more than $7 million for various nonprofits supporting Katrina relief efforts. This fall, RandomKid will partner with Making Change for Katrina and harness their collective power to raise money to build Habitat homes in the Gulf Coast.

"I'm proud of our accomplishments for hurricane Katrina survivors, but the job isn't done yet," said Talia Leman, age 11 and co-founder of RandomKid. "Making Change for Katrina is a simple way for kids to get involved and continue to make a difference in the lives of Katrina survivors. When kids unite they are powerful and can do extraordinary things."

In addition to RandomKid, The Discovery Educator Network has launched a nationwide contest within its teacher network for Making Change for Katrina. Participating classrooms will collect change for the program and engage in lesson plans focusing on hurricanes and youth philanthropy. The school contest will end on October 15, 2006.

"The Discovery Educator Network is proud to be a part of this innovative program to unite children and teachers in such an important cause," said Betsy Whalen, director for the Discovery Educator Network. "Young people are very powerful and can accomplish great feats when they put their minds to it."

Parents are encouraged to assist their children in the fundraising effort. "Kids today are inundated with messages about having the right sneakers on their feet and the trendiest cell phones in their pockets," notes Carol Weisman, author of Raising Charitable Children (2006 F.E. Robbins & Sons Press). "It is important to convey to them that life is about more than material things. When children get involved in philanthropy, they feel empowered and happy."

Weisman suggests taking the following steps to engage kids in philanthropy:

1. Make donating time to charity or causes a family affair.

2. Share your philosophy of giving with your child.

3. For your child's birthday, let him or her pick a charity and make a donation. Do NOT make this in lieu of a gift.

4. Ask your child to do something for the charity of your choice for your birthday or anniversary.

5. Make visiting a charity a part of your next vacation, even if it's just spending the first morning before leaving town collecting cans.

The primary collection partner for Making Change for Katrina is Coinstar Inc., who estimates that idle change--unused pennies, dimes, nickels, and quarters--in United States homes adds up to more than $10.5 billion--enough to help build thousands of homes in partnership with displaced families along the Gulf Coast. Contributing is easy and kid-friendly. Children and schools across the country are encouraged to collect change and donate at one of the more than 12,000 coin collection centers found in supermarkets nationwide. Participants simply choose the "donate" option from the onscreen menu, select "Making Change for Katrina" as the charity of choice and pour in the coins. Proceeds from Making Change for Katrina benefit Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that builds simple, decent housing with people in need.

"Making Change for Katrina gives kids a chance to make an impact," said Mark Crozet, senior vice president of Development for Habitat for Humanity. "Coins saved by a young person can truly make a difference. We urge kids and their parents to give what they can, as often as they can. Each of us has the ability to 'make change' for families who have lost virtually everything but their dreams."

Lesson plans, community involvement kits and additional materials are available for download on the Making Change for Katrina Web site.

To find out more about Making Change for Katrina visit www.makingchangeforkatrina.org.

About Making Change for Katrina

Making Change for Katrina ( www.makingchangeforkatrina.org) is a pro bono campaign that was created by Carol Cone, chairman of Cone Inc., a cause branding agency. Making Change for Katrina is a campaign to collect spare change to benefit the victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. The recipient of this campaign is Habitat for Humanity, which has been a partner throughout the development process. Coinstar Inc., with more than 12,000 Coinstar® Centers in grocery stores throughout the United States, will serve as the primary collection partner.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.

About RandomKid

RandomKid ( www.randomkid.org) is an Iowa nonprofit that Helps Kids Help Others. Kids often have BIG ideas. RandomKid takes their ideas for a better tomorrow seriously and helps them harness their power to make their dreams a reality. By creating opportunities for children across the USA to tap into a variety of resources, RandomKid will allow children's unique abilities to shine as bright as they can and solve real-world problems while doing it.

About Cone:

Cone, Inc. ( www.coneinc.com) is a corporate citizenship strategy and communications firm. Cone is part of Omnicom, a global network of many of the world's advertising and communications agencies.

For more information, please contact:

Kelly Faville Cone, Inc.
Phone: 978-405-3199
Duane Bates Habitat for Humanity
Phone: 229-924-6935 x2541

For more from this organization:

Cone Communications


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