charity posts

May 16th 2012

AOL Celebrates Birthday with Annual Day of Service

Here at AOL, we're in the business of helping people, period. Although we try and live this value every day, each year on AOL's birthday, we take it to the next level with Monster Help Day, a global community service day where AOLers around the world come together as a company to help strengthen the communities we live and work in while sharing a rewarding experience with our colleagues. On Friday, May 18th, we are celebrating our third annual Monster Help Day – an initiative created by employees, for employees.

This year AOLers from 21 offices around the globe will support more than 38 charities by doing volunteer activities like building care kits for troops, serving lunches at food banks, and planting trees in local parks. From Bangalore to Palo Alto, AOL employees will take the day off from work and support the charitable organizations in our local communities while reinforcing one of our core values. Over the last two years AOL employees have spent over 50,000 hours doing community service on Monster Help Day and have helped nearly 100 charities. We've built houses, sent packages, and helped those most in need, take a look at what we accomplished at last year's event:

Interested in getting involved in Monster Help Day? Find out more information by visiting our Monster Help Day page on AOL Impact and follow us all around the world on Twitter on Friday at #monsterhelpday.

Mar 21st 2012

Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver at TOMS, Visits AOL

As AOL prepares to participate in the One Day Without Shoes barefoot challenge on April 10th, we had the pleasure of having Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, pay a special visit to our New York City office. Blake spoke about the origins of TOMS, the impact his revolutionary One for One model has had on the world and explained why the Tom's One Day Without Shoes campaign is so much more than just going without shoes for a day.

Introduced by Blair Cobb, Senior Director of AOL Cause Marketing, and greeted by packed conference rooms across the country watching the live stream, Blake started off by explaining how his life experiences and time spent in Argentina led to his unique vision. When he witnessed the hardships facing children growing up barefoot in Argentina, he knew he had to help in some way, and the One for One movement was born.

Through a bit of trial and error, and the help of amazing editorial pickup from outlets like the LA Times and Vogue, Blake was able to sell 10,000 pairs of shoes his first summer, which translated into 10,000 pairs of shoes donated to children in need. After his first trip to Argentina to drop off shoes, his life was forever changed.

From the beginning, Blake knew that in order to make a big impact and make his idea truly work, he had to do more than just create a charity – he knew that he had to create a business model that incorporated an active giving component into the overarching strategy. Through the success of his model, he strongly believes and teaches that the more "good" that companies can incorporate into their business strategies, the bigger an impact they will have on society, and in doing that, the more brand ambassadors they would have without even trying!

To generate awareness around his One for One model and the importance a pair of shoes can have on a child's life, Blake created TOMS One Day Without Shoes. Through this event, individuals go without shoes for a day, and begin to understand how vital they are to your overall health. Though this sounds like a movement aimed solely around this specific cause, it's a really a day aimed at generating awareness for and initiating conversations around all of the causes that we are passionate about. The idea is that curiosity leads to conversation, which leads to action, which ultimately leads to change.

What was primarily a One for One business around shoes has already grown to include a One for One business for Eyeglasses, but only time will tell what other important issues can be remedied through this business model.

Last year, more than 1,000 AOLers went barefoot in honor of TOMS One Day Without Shoes- this year, we're looking to increase our impact 100 times over!

This is where YOU come in! Help AOL reach its goal of reaching 100,000 people with the One Day Without Shoes message. You can do this by taking on one (or more) of the following actions between NOW and April 10th, 2012:

To thank those who have taken one of the above action, we will be awarding one hundred $50 TOMS gift cards to random winners!

For more information and official rules, please visit: http://impact.aol.com/cause/toms-one-day-without-shoes/

Mar 14th 2012

Christa Zambardino Talks AOL.com, America's Homepage and Giving Back

This is the second post in our series profiling incredible women at AOL in honor of "Women's History Month."

An AOLer for over fifteen years, Christa Zambardino, VP of Sales for AOL homepages, has seen it all. Over her long career at AOL, Christa has witnessed first-hand the evolution of AOL into a company and brand, but also the progression of the industry as a whole.

We sat down with Christa to discuss a wide variety of topics including advertising trends, the importance of volunteerism and her thoughts on what differentiates the AOL homepage from its competitors. "For our users, it all starts here. Our homepage is really America's homepage. By integrating our unique canvases, our video assets like the 'You've Got...' series and featuring heart-warming stories, the homepage has a more personal feel that users identify with and want to wake up to in the morning and end their days with in the evening."

When Christa came aboard AOL there was no sales strategy for the homepage and she quickly identified that a category focus was needed. By working with marketing, her team created sales materials and messaging that catered to brands in all industries.

Combined with continuing technological advancements and a focused editorial strategy, the AOL homepage has seen huge growth in revenue, and a substantial increase in video views and video content displayed since 2010.¹ Providing personalization for users with different tactics like an emphasis on local offerings has also led to growth. "We introduced the local page, which uses your zip code to pull relevant information, whether its news from your local Patch town, directions for your neighborhood from MapQuest or movie times and listings from Moviefone, we use geo-targeted data to make our users' lives easier."

Discussing advertising trends that will impact 2012, Christa cites the importance of mobile and video. "We're working with our mobile team to take advantage of these added advertising opportunities. Over the next quarter we will continue to integrate rich media into our mobile offerings and possibly incorporate targeting capabilities to create a more complete experience."

One of the things that sets Christa apart is her commitment to helping others. At AOL, "We are in the business of helping people. Period" and Christa lives this value every single day. After volunteering in 2009 at the Ronald McDonald House New York during AOL's day of service, Monster Help Day, Christa made a personal connection to the house and wanted to look for new ways to continue to support the organization. After spending more time at the house, it was clear to Christa that they needed a new media room. Suggesting demolishing the house's dated computer room and starting fresh, Christa presented her proposal to the executive team and immediately received support for her project, engaging 20 different departments from designers to engineers to assist her along the way.

One year later, AOLers celebrated the room's completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with patients, their families and Kevin Jonas. The new AOL Media Room now includes brand new computers and digital equipment set up for one-on-one tutoring, and group learning scenarios for children in treatment, as well as their siblings staying at the House. The house was so thankful to Christa for all of her hard work that they recently asked to join the house's board of associates.

This year, in an effort to raise money for her NY marathon run, Christa created an AOL team that will run under the Ronald McDonald House name. All donations will go toward enhancing the house's music room, on behalf of Rory Wheeler, Christa's AOL colleague and marathon runner, who passed away from cancer late last year.

Christa's amazing accomplishments have not gone unnoticed at AOL. At this year's sales conference, Christa was recognized in front of all of her peers when she was honored with the Rory Wheeler Courage Award for her tireless philanthropic work both professionally and personally. "Cancer has been such a big part of my life, and I love showing people that giving back is an easy thing to do and does not take a lot of time. Being acknowledged in front of my peers and the whole company was incredible. I was so honored and proud to be part of AOL."

Source: AOL Internal Data

Jan 17th 2012

Meet the Winners of our AOL Employee Cause Contest

At AOL, we are in the business of helping people. We bring this value to life each and every day through our work with AOL Impact, a platform that has shined a light on hundreds of non-profits and the advertisers that support them. Much like our advertising offerings, AOL Impact uses our best-in-class assets and brands to inform, entertain and connect our audiences - in this case with charities. Based on the overwhelming feedback we receive internally about the AOL Impact program, we decided to let our employees get involved and tell US what non-profits we should feature. The result was our first-ever employee cause contest, and we're excited to share the results with you!

Due to an overwhelming amount of contest submissions, we decided it was too difficult to choose just one winner, so we opened it up to three! Our team of panelists judged based on the employee's personal connection, level of commitment, and expected future commitment to the charity. Our judges also considered the overall impact that the $5,000 grant will have on the submitted organization. The winners will each be awarded a $5,000 grant in their name to be given to their organizations in addition to pro bono advertising including a Daily Impact unit and blogging opportunities on Huffington Post Impact.

We're thrilled to announce our AOL all-stars:

Venus Bivins Johnson
Sales Strategy, Chicago
Hope Restored
Venus passionately supports and volunteers with Hope Restored, whose mission is to restore hope in Haiti by building a partnership with the members of a small community in Haiti in order to see food, education, and medical care brought enabling them to rise from a culture of desperation to one of hope.

Nelson D'Cruz
AOL Site Engineer, India
Riya Foundation
Nelson is part of a team, out of the AOL India office, who created the Riya Foundation to address the special needs of individuals with disabilities. Nelson looks forward to continuing his work with the organization, and seeing it expand to accommodate even more disabled children.

Matt Blank
EU Search Designer, London
Radio Northwick Park
Matt is the Chairman for the charity, Radio Northwick Park, which is a hospital radio station, based in North London, UK. Matt has dedicated the past 12 years of his life working for and supporting this charity whose mission is to provide care, entertainment, and company to those in need.

Nov 18th 2011

HuffPost UK Launches Impact

The Huffington Post UK launched The Huffington Post Impact bringing together all the charity and issues-based stories on the site, as well as lots of blogs from well-known names in the charity sector.

On the Impact page in the UK today you can find a whole host of blogs from leading voices: Dr Miriam Stoppard talks about how she's enabling "girl power" through her support for the international children's charity Plan UK, Caroline Davey, Director of Policy at Gingerbread urges us to remember single parents in need, and Anne Marie Carrie, CEO at Barnado's reminds us of the help that we should be offering to disadvantaged children, all very apt as the UK is in the midst of the annual Children in Need campaign.

Other blogs launching on the site today from representatives of major charities include John Nuttall from Unicef, Ayoub Koussar on behalf of the British Council and Aurelie Walker from the Fairtrade Foundation.Going forward, we're looking forward to hosting regular blogs from UK charities of all shapes and sizes and enabling them to get their message out to a large audience.

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