Watch last week's moon landing from the camera of Yutu -- Jade Rabbit, the Chinese moon rover -- and reflect on your life and the future of human civilization. And then go back to reading your email.
"The moon . . . never leaves. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”
― Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me
Would you say, "So, you guys, I am putting on my sneakers, grabbing a submarine, hopping on the highway and heading to the city," or would you say "So y’all, I am putting on my tennis shoes, grabbing a hoagie, hopping on the freeway and heading to the city" and mean the same thing.
We may all be speaking American English, but we're worlds apart. Not to mention those English-speaking New Zealanders. And if only we could better understand the language differences between grantmakers and grantseekers!
Some days it feels like the nonprofit sector emits a constant drumbeat of dismaying statistics about how awful the world is. And then, because we are always told we have to be positive, we add in a little story about how one or two people are overcoming the odds. Unintentionally, this juxtaposition creates an impression of the nonprofit sector where we are helping five people do better while 87% of their population is in terrible shape.
Sure, timing is everything! Feeling stressed and wondering what you've done the last few hours? Take a couple of minutes and enjoy these fun photos where the photographer happened to catch exactly the right moment on film. Spend the next three minutes looking at those that got it just right. You could use a smile and a moment of amazement.
At Blue Avocado, it's April 1 and we're thinking about changing our name: help us decide! One possibility is the Blue Avocado Foundation, which would allow us to receive the sucking-up of hundreds of nonprofits every day. We would declare ourselves in strategic planning mode for three years, during which we could debate "outcome" vs. "impact," and "marginalized" vs. "disadvantaged." (As a regular nonprofit, we could never have considered suspending operations for long periods of time in order to plan.)
Alternatively, we're considering Church of the Blue Avocado, which would mean we can skip Form 990, report nothing to anyone about anything, and still keep our tax-exempt status. And design some gorgeous choir robes, too. Whaddya think, readers?
There's other great news in April for nonprofits. Read on. --Jan Masaoka
Obama Administration Hires Senior Official Not from the Gates Foundation
Submitted by Michael Edwards
In a move that sent shock waves through Washington and the Gates Foundation, President Obama has appointed 55-year-old Dolores Piñata to head a new blue-ribbon Commission on the Future of Philanthropy. Piñata, a 30-year veteran of community organizing in Arizona, was selected ahead of the favorite for the post, 19-year-old Josh McKinsey, an intern at the Gates Foundation.
Both houses of Congress passed the Charity Required Arms Protection (CRAP) Act, legislation which preserves nonprofit organizations' 501(c)3 tax-exempt status only as long as the CEO and all board members of the charity agree to carry handguns at all times. "Arming our charitable executives will go a long way to ensuring safety in our nation's workplace," said the bill’s sponsor, Citizens for CRAP, a bipartisan special interest group.
Flexible Straws for the Sick Sucks
Submitted by Lee Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ViewPoint Peer Counseling, Cameron Park, California
Flexible Straws for the Sick, a New York-based nonprofit has a serious problem. When the organization gave 2,000 flexible straws to people with the flu, they intended to serve all in need. The supply of chicken soup did not last. Now there are over 500 sick people with just flexible straws for relief.
Nonprofits Begin "Too Small to Fail" Movement
Submitted by Dan Lozier, Pastor, Mayflower, Sioux City, Iowa
Nonprofit advocates picketed the White House on Monday with 3x5 cards saying "Too Little to Fail". "Yes, there are big nonprofits as well as small ones," declared nonprofit leader Shelby Long. "We are too little to fail, especially the children's charities," added the ghost of Danny Thomas.
Conflict Resolution Nonprofit Finds New Revenue Stream
Sumibtted by Leanne Jaskowiak, Peacemaker Resources, Bemidji, Minnesota
The staff of Peacemaker Resources will be fanning out on April 1, 2013 to create conflicts in retail stores, restaurants, school offices, law enforcement agencies and elsewhere. All requests for mediation arising from conflicts created on April 1 will receive a 35% discount from the Peacemaker Resources.
Pope-A-Palooza and Tom’s Shoes
Submitted by Sara Sternberger, Executive Director, Bridging, Twin Cities, Minnesota
During the month of April, for every pair of red loafers purchased from Tom’s Shoes, another pair will be donated to the new Pope. "This is just another way that Pope Francis can reach out to the masses while supporting a good cause," said a Vatican spokesperson.
Supreme Court Bows to Facebook
"I was convinced by all those red equal signs on Facebook," said swing voter Supreme Court Justice Kennedy. "How could I vote against same-sex marriage given those?" he asked. The Court appeared deadlocked, though, on whether the national dance should be Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake.
Congratulations to Blue Avocado readers for submitting items for this special April Fool's Day issue: Penny Eardley, Cathy Enright, Michael Edwards, Leslie Garvin, Leanne Jaskowiak, Lee Kaplan, Dan Lozier, Sarah Martinez-Helfman and Sara Sternberger. Your books are on the way!
Who picked the winners, anyway? Thanks to our judges Siobhan Kelley of the Nonprofit Insurance Alliance Group (and part of the Ask Rita team), Blue Avocado humor columnist Vu Le, and Blue Avocado project manager Susan Sanow. They know April Fool’s Day funny when they see it!
NEXT ISSUE: Our next "regular" issue comes out next week . . . keep your eye out for What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Healthcare Reform, Have Your Cake and Restrict It Too, Matrix Map for Financial Sustainability, and more. JM
Has anyone else seen an avocado in an Oscar nominated film this year?
It's not too often we at Blue Avocado take a strong stand on who should win a Best Film Oscar, but we are rooting for for an Academy Award 2013 Best Animated Film (Short) nominee. For your consideration: "Fresh Guacamole."
This one minute 45 seconds has to be the tastiest film ever. Watch it twice for a full 3-minute vacation.
Give your used eyeglasses to poor kids! Ship your old shoes to Africa! Send blankets to earthquake victims! At last, a group of Africans has turned the tables on heart-rending international relief causes with a new one of their own: sending used radiators from Africa to people in Norway who are suffering from frostbite.
This tongue-in-cheek, beautifully produced music video makes viewers question the effectiveness of aid efforts to developing countries, and reminds us how such campaigns can reinforce the stereotypes of Africa and elsewhere -- despite the catchy music.
Now, where is my old semi-broken electric space heater? I think I'll send it to Norway -- and feel great about myself all day!
"You look happy," said Liz to Jack on 30 Rock recently. "Did you just have a root beer float?"
Thrill your office this end-of-summer. Go get vanilla ice cream and root beer (straws nice but not necessary). Announce a 3:30 pm root beer float party. At 3:25 make the root beer floats. And be happy.
And then join Snoopy for 3 minutes while he gets drunk on root beer floats to big band music and does his Happy Dance . . .