Donation Tuesdays: Dewey bartender rallies community to give to local charities

A local bartender, Kasey O’Brien, had a vision to help the community that has taken on a life of its own. Donation Tuesdays has been a recurring event at Woody’s Bar & Grill in Dewey Beach since May and each month 100 percent of bar tips are donated to a local charity in addition to money from raffling local artwork. With the approval and support of owner Jimmy O’Conor, the goal is to use their resources to help others in need.   What inspired you to begin Donation Tuesdays?Woody’s held a donation event in May that raised $1,310 on a Sunday lunch shift to benefit fallen Delaware State Police Officer Cpl. Stephen Ballard’s family. (The state trooper was killed in May at a Bear area Wawa).Since the success of that event, the owner, Jimmy and I have discussed additional ways in which we could use our resources to benefit local charities. Donation Tuesdays were born from a hope that if given the opportunity, our community would come together and help us give back. To this date, we have completely underestimated the impact of our friends and devout customers, and continue to remain humbled by their generosity. When did this kick off and how long do you plan to continue this cause?We officially started Donation Tuesdays on Nov. 7 and have continued to donate 100 percent of bar tips from 11 a.m-5 p.m. on Tuesdays to the charity of our choosing. In addition, we are highlighting and raffling off a new piece of local artwork every two weeks, in which 100 percent of those funds are also donated.Our vision is to continue to raise awareness and funds that benefit our local community.  As long as Donation Tuesdays continue to be a success that allows us to help others, we will move forward to highlight and support local organizations. More: Shore gives record $164,000 on Giving Tuesday What are the organizations that you have donated to so far? Do you focus on one particular organization per Continue Reading

What you need to know before donating to charity

Like many Wisconsinites, you're probably thinking about giving to a charitable organization this holiday season. But with so many groups asking for your money, how do you find the one that best does what you want your donation to do?The Christmas season is the time of year when you'll get the most requests for your money, materials and time.Charities know that Christmas is the best time to ask for help — people have giving on their minds, which makes the season a natural, and much of the more than $300 billion that will be given to charities this year will happen this month. It only makes sense; Christmas happens at a time of year when many charities see their clients' needs grow: homeless shelters, for example, begin to see their numbers swell as temperatures begin falling below freezing on a regular basis.Meanwhile, many donors are giving serious thought to the tax returns they'll have to file in the coming months and doing all they can to limit the amount of money they'll have to send to Washington and Madison. Charitable donations are one way to limit those amounts.But how can you be sure what's deductible and what isn't?And with thousands of organizations, some charitable and some not, asking for money, how can one tell if a donation can legally be deducted?Wisconsin has almost 35,000 organizations that are tax-exempt. Not all, though, are charities, meaning a "donation" to them doesn't translate to a tax write-off.With this story, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin has assembled a guide getting the most from your charitable giving — whether it involves donations you made in 2017, or are considering making in the coming year (perhaps with that income tax refund you're expecting).Here are some important things to know. RELATED : Learn  about Wisconsin charitable groups DATABASE:  Explore more than 30,000 Wisconsin nonprofits In this story, we address key topics to Continue Reading

How to donate locally to Hurricane Harvey victims

Several Delmarva organizations are doing their part to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, including sending trucks down to deliver aid first hand.Ocean CityOcean City officials say the town is supporting charities located in the areas hit by Hurricane Harvey.Town of Ocean City employees and community members who wish to donate to a local charity in the wake of Hurricane Harvey are asked to consider these organizations: The Salvation Army ( and the Houston SPCA ( “It is heart wrenching to see the photographs and read the stories of victims and aside from offering our prayers to the victims and first responders, we are also working on ways to provide assistance that will offer an immediate and effective impact,” said Mayor Rick Meehan.Ocean City Emergency Services Director Joseph Theobald is also preparing personnel to assist with recovery efforts if needed.“We are currently putting together a request for volunteers to assist Houston and the surrounding areas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,” said Theobald. “We work very closely with the State and officials at the Maryland Emergency Management Association to coordinate assistance where it is most needed.  It is important to remember that recovery in these areas will last for months, if not years, and we are preparing to help them as much as possible.”Ocean PinesThe Ocean Pines Home Owners Association is starting a disaster relief effort. The collection effort starts Tuesday, Sept. 5, and lasts through Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 5 p.m.Drop off points will include the Ocean Pines Community Center at 235 Ocean Parkway, Public Works at 1 Firehouse Lane, Sports Core Pool at 11144 Cathell Road and the Administration Building, including the Police Department, at 239 Ocean Parkway. The Police Department can pick up items. To schedule a four hour pick-up window, call 410-641-7747.Suggested Continue Reading

Amputees from Boston bombings face massive costs for prosthetics and rehab, donations pour in

Cost of amputating a leg? At least $20,000. Cost of an artificial leg? More than $50,000 for the most high-tech models. Cost of an amputee's rehab? Often tens of thousands of dollars more. These are just a fraction of the medical expenses victims of the Boston Marathon bombing will face. The mammoth price tag is probably not what patients are focusing on as they begin the long healing process. But friends and strangers are already setting up fundraisers and online crowd-funding sites, and a huge Boston city fund has already collected more than $23 million in individual and corporate donations. No one knows yet if those donations — plus health insurance, hospital charity funds and other sources — will be enough to cover the bills. Few will even hazard a guess as to what the total medical bill will be for a tragedy that killed three people and wounded more than 260. At least 15 people lost limbs, and other wounds include head injuries and tissue torn apart by shrapnel. Health insurance, as practically anyone who has ever gotten hurt or sick knows, does not always cover all costs. In the case of artificial limbs, for example, some insurance companies pay for a basic model but not a computerized one with sophisticated, lifelike joints. Rose Bissonnette, founder of the New England Amputee Association, said that the moment she heard about the bombings, she knew immediately that her organization's services would be needed. The advocacy group helps amputees navigate things such as insurance coverage for artificial limbs. Bissonnette shared one group member's struggle to get coverage for artificial arms as an example of the red tape some bombing victims could face. The woman "got a call from the insurance company and the person on the other end said, 'How long are you going to need the prosthetic hands?'" Bissonnette recalled. Bissonnette herself was in a horrific car crash 16 years ago that left her Continue Reading

Warren resident supports charity for transplant patients in Cleveland

Brian Vitale is a financial adviser in Warren, but he finds spiritual purpose in supporting a Cleveland-based charity organization.Vitale is a founding donor and a board member of the Transplant House of Cleveland, which offers comfortable housing for nonresident organ transplant patients and their loved ones.“It should really be called the Transplant House of America,” said Vitale, noting that patients from various states, including New Jersey, have stayed in the Transplant House, as well as guests from international locations.The Transplant House is composed of 15 private suites equipped with the needs for daily living and complimentary amenities. Staff and volunteers provide support, repairs and programming for guests. The house is in the University Circle area of Cleveland, close to University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic. READ: 'Story about the power of love' continues with engaged couple's successful kidney transplant READ: Charity begins with ballooningAccording to Elaine Turley, a co-founder and executive director of the Transplant House, the organization has served almost 200 families since it opened its first suites in 2014. Guests stay for an average of two to three months.“We have a small home away from home for each family,” she said.Vitale believes that staying in this warm, homey environment decreases the stress on patients and families.“It produces better medical results,” he said.Vitale is passionate about supporting the Transplant House because he understands the pain of being a transplant patient, as well as the struggles of recovery.In 2013, Vitale was diagnosed with hepatopulmonary syndrome, a rare condition in which liver disease affects the functioning of the lungs. He said that his doctor told him the condition was “100 percent terminal” without a liver transplant. Vitale and his wife, Diane, went to Cleveland in October of that year to wait for a liver Continue Reading

Nepal earthquake: 7 tips to avoid charity scam

Images of the devastation from the earthquake in Nepal last weekend can tug at the heart and emotions, moving people to open their wallets to help.But a tragedy like Nepal also can bring out scammers who try profit off the misery of others. You'll need to make sure your donations go to a legitimate charity and not into a criminal's pocket."When bad things happen, some people want to do good and other people, frankly, do evil," said Steve Lee, acting director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs. "And scammers are a part of that."Press on Your Side talked to some experts to find what you need to know to stay ahead so you can help people in need. "Anytime someone is asking for money, consumers should be very careful," Lee said. • Give to an established charity that you know and trust. "Avoid these fly-by-night new startups," said Sandra Minutti, vice president of marketing and chief financial officer at Charity Navigator, a charity watchdog group."A lot of times when there are natural disasters, well-known, well-established trustworthy charities create funds to help support the people that are suffering," Lee said. "Do your research and try to give to a charity that you trust." • Be wary of solicitations via email and social media. "Social media can be a really powerful tool for charities to get the message out. They can easily share videos and heart-wrenching stories and images," Minutti said. "It is very easy for a scammer to replicate that type of messaging that a charity is using. The next thing you know your personal information, your financial information has been stolen."Another red flag: "If they are asking you to wire funds or send money by something like a GreenDot card or a prepaid debit card, that should raise your suspicions," Lee said. • Be careful if you receive a pop-up message or text alert to donate. "When you're getting messages without initiating it, that's when you should be really aware and do your research before you Continue Reading

Leonardo DiCaprio, the Kardashians, more celebs pledge donations for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

Editor's note: This piece will continuously be updated with donations as they are announced.  As the people of Southeast Texas continue to feel the wrath of Harvey, now a tropical storm, celebrities are generously pledging tens of thousands to aid in relief efforts. Sandra Bullock stepped up in a big way, donating $1 million to the Red Cross on Tuesday, explaining, "We all have to do our part."The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation donated $1 million to the newly established United Way Harvey Recovery Fund, which will go toward short and long term relief and recovery efforts. United Way Worldwide said Wednesday that the national fund will distribute 100 percent of donations to recovery efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.Singer Edie Brickell and husband Paul Simon announced Friday their pledge to giveTyler Perry vowed on Facebook to donate $1 million to Harvey relief on the ground, with  $250,000 of that going to Joel and Victoria Osteen’s megachurch — a church that has been plagued with controversy in the storm's aftermath."Joel and Victoria are really amazing people," said Perry in the Facebook video, who adding that he spoke to the couple on the phone before making the donation.Real Housewives of New York cast member Bethenny Frankel helped fundraise $50,000 in one day for the Corpus Christi and Houston locations of Dress for Success, according to a press release from the charity submitted Wednesday. This sum includes a donation from the businesswoman according to the release. Oprah Winfrey announced via Twitter Wednesday she would be giving money to the Red Cross, as well, and The Salvation Army. The day prior, Jamie Foxx, who hails from the Lone Star State, said he contributed $25,000. "From a fellow Texan, my heart goes out, my prayers go out," the Baby Driver actor said in a video shared to Instagram. Ellen DeGeneres detailed her sizeable contribution in a video shared on Continue Reading

Former Diamondbacks pitcher Russ Ortiz funding charities with golf apparel

Russ Ortiz didn't have to work another day in his life.He played 12 seasons in the major leagues and a retirement filled with family, golf and relaxation was guaranteed the moment he signed a four-year, $33 million contract with the Diamondbacks in December of 2004.The deal didn't work out well for Arizona.Ortiz was waived midway through the 2006 season with the Diamondbacks still owing him $22 million. Four years later, Ortiz retired. He didn't do much the first two years of his post-baseball life, but as 2010 bled into 2011 and then 2012, Ortiz began to think about his dual passions: Golf and giving back to the community.A few months later, 2nd Guy Golf was born.Walk into the company's small, non-descript office in East Mesa and 2nd Guy Golf looks like just another golfing apparel company. A couple dozen colorful shirts hang on the wall. The company's designer is working on the logo on his computer. Ortiz is on the phone, trying to make a sale.But here's the twist: 100 percent of the company's profits go to charities, and Ortiz doesn't draw a salary. And says he never will."I love golf and I wanted to make sure if we did something it was going to help people," Ortiz said. "The best way I knew I could was by me forgoing any salary and giving everything we could away to charity. So that's what we decided to do."If you're wondering about the company's name, it's a play on a golfer's lament. Leave a putt short, drop a second ball down in the same spot and then knock it in, and a golfer will say, "I'm the best second-ball putter in the world." RELATED: More golf coverage, including Tiger Woods breakup"My buddy and I were playing golf in spring training in 2009 and we both came up short from about 120 yards out," Ortiz said. "We threw down another ball, I think we changed clubs and of course we got on the green. That's kind of where the light turned on."Ortiz's desire to help others was lit in 1995 when he was pitching for the San Francisco Giants' Class A affiliate Continue Reading

Beware charity scams tied to Nepal earthquake

The devastating earthquake in Nepal has touched the hearts of millions of Americans, but beware the scammers who would use your desire to donate to trick you out of your money.The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance and the Arizona Attorney General's Officehave advised potential donors to avoid being taken advantage of by questionable solicitations or wasting their money on poorly managed relief efforts. RELATED: Nepal prime minister: Death toll could reach 10,000 RELATED: Nepal earthquake ravages large collection of historic sites RELATED: Scottsdale climber safely at Everest base camp after Nepal quake; Florence couple gets news of daughter "Sadly, scam artists are ready to use tragic events for their personal gain," Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement. "One of the best ways for generous people to protect themselves from disaster-relief scams is to do their homework before they donate."The BBB's Wise Giving Alliance agreed, with President/CEO H. Art Taylor saying in a prepared statement: "The news out of Nepal is horrific and the photos are heartbreaking. People want to help as soon as possible, and that is wonderful, but donors need to follow some key rules about supporting disaster relief so that their gifts get to those who need them most."Arizonans can take meaningful steps to sort through legitimate and non-legitimate charities, according to the Attorney General's Office.One of the most important steps to ensure that contributions are used for earthquake relief is to give directly to known organizations, rather than relying on others to pass along donations, the Attorney General's Office said.Another measure is to be leery of charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. "Sometimes these soundalike names are intended to confuse donors," it said.Arizonans also should be cautious of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or as government officials seeking donations, according to the Continue Reading

Breast cancer charities: Where to give — and where to avoid

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and with the recent announcement that Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been diagnosed with the disease, the issue is once again on the hearts and minds of many.  More: Julia Louis-Dreyfus' breast cancer news shows how far we've come Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One way to help fight this devastating disease is to contribute to charities that focus on the research, prevention and treatment of breast cancer. But with the large number of organizations with similar names devoted to the cause, how do you know which ones are the best? The first thing you should do when considering donating is to check with charity watchdog groups that evaluate how well each organization spends the money it receives from contributors.Two of the biggest charity watchdogs are Charity Watch and Charity Navigator. Both groups evaluate thousands of charities and non-profit organizations by looking at financial statements, tax reports, program expenses and fundraising costs.  When giving to a charity it is important to consider three things, according to Charity Navigator CEO Michael Thatcher: Be clear on your motivation for giving and focus on where you want to make an impact, check the financial health and accountability of the organization, and check for signs of results. In terms of breast cancer, consider whether you want your money to go for research and finding a cure, support services for cancer patients, helping support families or education and public awareness, Thatcher said. The American Institute of Philanthropy's Charity Watch cites 12 organizations as the top-rated cancer charities and of those there are three on the list that focus specifically on breast cancer prevention and research:  Breast Cancer Research Foundation  Continue Reading