"It had nothing to do with the trail system or with mountain biking at all."
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Last year, I ran the Boston marathon with Team World Vision to raise money for clean water projects in developing countries. I'm planning on doing so again this year. Training for marathons requires discipline and motivation over a long period of time, much like what's required to form any new habit or routine.
I was convinced it would be a cold day in hell before I would even think of doing one. But that all changed suddenly last year. I allowed myself to be swept up by polar bear dip fever at work. It was fun, kinda like pledging for a fraternity. It took me back to the carefree days of my youth.
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The role and influence of money in the political process has long been antagonistic to a fully democratic electoral system. Political parties must raise money from party supporters to maintain an organization, promote various messages and compete in elections, but it matters where that money comes from and how it is raised.
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I can't remember a time when breast cancer didn't cast a shadow over my life. For more than three decades it has been a constant, unwanted and unwelcome companion. When I was 14, my mother passed away from breast cancer. She was 39 years old. Prior to that, the disease took her older sister at the age of 42.
I'm not sure why I was shocked when I was diagnosed in 2002, in my thirties.
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By the time Mark Quattrochi had biked through China, he had raised enough to build a school room. Rather than stopping at the border, he plotted a new route that allowed him to visit all of the other communities in India, Kenya, Ecuador and Nicaragua where he wanted to build school rooms.
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My life was forever changed in one diagnosis: cancer. After 25 years, I had finally learned that the rash on my body was the precursor to a rare form of cancer called for Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) that would need to be treated with full-body radiation. My treatment plan was as unique as my diagnosis.
In early May, we buried an amazing 19-year-old-boy. This was Ryan Marston, an inspiration to us all. He fought the good fight three times before finally losing his battle, but in his passing, this young man left behind a legacy -- he was determined not to be forgotten, though he did not know it then.
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Canadian charities have long relied on P2P campaigns to engage their most passionate supporters in attracting donations. But Canada's economic uncertainty and increased competition in the charitable space have dampened results for many of the country's largest and most established P2P programs.
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After being shamed into action by media report and letter writing campaigns, the Ontario Liberals have finally introduced an election financing reform bill. Unfortunately, it doesn't go far enough. The changes move the dial in the right direction -- by banning corporate and union donations, for example. But privileged hands can still find their way into the cookie jar. Quebec may have the solution to this problem.
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The Ontario Liberal government has introduced legislation that will ban corporate, union and association political contributions and impose lower limits on those made by individuals. I am agnostic about this fundraising issue. In many ways, Ontario's current system works. All donations are made public. There are limits to how much each organization can give. Lobby rules require advocates to disclose their activities on a public registry. It is far less underground than people think.
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This is a running program that helps train people through supportive groups and provides a common goal for us to run, for clean water for kids. Water fundraising also makes a lot of sense to me as a runner. Runners are so aware of how much they depend on water, so it seemed like a natural fit.
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You can try and spin it how you want, but the bottom line is that donors are only as altruistic as much as their socio-economic circumstances allow. A majority for the most part give because of their emotional connection to the cause, but that is only as long as they have additional income to give in the first place.
Not-for-profit organizations throughout North America that were awed by the viral success of the ALS Society's ice bucket fundraising challenge should think twice before using social media as a significant fundraising tool, says the University of Toronto's Nicola Lacetera.