An article from Lumbie Mlambo

How To Help Our Brothers & Sisters In Need
Tips & Reasons For Support, From Charity Founder

The poor are always with us – and in great numbers.

In the United States, about 46.5 million people live in poverty, according to the Brookings Institution. Worldwide, the number of impoverished people is about 1.6 billion, according to a study by Oxford economists.

“There is so much need out there and that’s why I believe it’s important that all of us do whatever we can to help the underprivileged,” says Lumbie Mlambo, editor of Equanimity Magazine (www.equanimitymag.com), an online publication that features inspiring stories of life and success.

“Who knows? You may someday wear their shoes. It’s like your health; nothing is guaranteed.”

Mlambo co-founded JB Dondolo Inc., a charity named for her father that promotes and develops projects that stimulate growth and improve people’s lives in low-income areas. One of the charity’s newer projects involves health and educational programs for underprivileged boys and girls.

“The truth is that regardless of whether a nation is industrialized or not, the needy are everywhere,” Mlambo says. “Many people require aid and support around the world and, most likely, in your community.”

A variety of private and public agencies try to help, she says, but their resources are limited and they can’t provide for every community in need of assistance or basic necessities. This leaves a large segment of low-income population with unmet needs, which is why it’s so important for everyone to do what they can to help the needy.

Mlambo offers tips for how we can get started helping our brothers and sisters in need.

 One person’s trash … Next time you’re taking time to clear some room in your closet or garage, remember that, though you may be finished with an item, someone else may need it. Those old pajamas, underwear and t-shirts that you’re fond of tossing in the trash can be turned into cloth rags for cleaning at home, or for other organizations to help under-privileged earn a subsistence income through using them for cloth crafting. Items such as loose leaf pages of paper, construction paper, crayons (broken and whole), markers, pens and pencils are perfectly useful, especially for poor children going back to school.

• Help others on date night. Lavish dresses, spotless tuxedos and expensive dishes are not only for fancy people. You, too, can attend a luxurious gala event to benefit charity. While this kind of event may be attended by affluent community leaders and well-to-do folks who may enjoy gratuitous back-slapping, the more important consideration is who benefits. Various good causes may be small businesses and historic sites in your town; better causes, however, often go toward organizations that benefit struggling families, disadvantaged children and homeless people. This will likely be more expensive than your typical date night, but most are doable for middle-class couples.

 Donate your professional skills. Among the great charitable organizations are programs supporting Guardians ad Litem, or GALs. A GAL is a person the court appoints to represent the best interests of a child in a divorce or parental rights and responsibilities case. The GAL will investigate the family situation and advise the court about where a child should live and what type of contact parents should have with their children. A professional with backgrounds including the law or journalism may be great for such work, but there are many other worthy causes if this doesn’t fit what you’re good at. A chef may help prepare tasty meals on Thanksgiving, or a salon worker may help make young girls with cancer feel pretty. Most professions can apply their expertise in the service of others.

About Lumbie Mlambo

Lumbie Mlambo Owner, Equanimity LLCLumbie Mlambo is editor of Equanimity Magazine (www.equanimitymag.com), a lifestyle publication that shares the stories of “real people and their search to lead better lives.” She also has a background in project management, computer/software engineering and business analysis. She holds an associate degree in computer science from Indiana University South Bend; and a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics from Texas Woman’s University. She is multilingual, speaking English, Zulu, Ndebele and French.

About Tim I. Gurung

One Man’s Legacy: Writing To Help The Poor,
The Weak And The Needy Around The World

It’s refreshing to hear an author describe himself as ‘a writer of conscience and righteousness.’ Tim I. Gurung has six published books to date, two currently in the editing phase, and working on the ninth. His compelling stories are thought-provoking, knowledgeable, exciting and persuasive, and draw much-needed attention to important global social issues. While vastly different, they share a common goal: To make a positive impact on people.

Tim Gurung’s life journey is a remarkable story in itself.  Born and raised in Nepal, at age 17 he became a Gurkha soldier with the British Army, stationed in Hong Kong. After retiring from the army, he remained in Hong Kong to work and raise a family.  While he enjoyed his job he wanted his life to mean more than just an income, so Tim made a promise to himself that for the second half of his life he would follow his heart. True to his word, Tim’s passion for writing has resulted in several highly successful books, and today he is able to donate the proceeds from these books to his family’s non-profit foundation, ISSLCARE, that makes it possible for needy families in Nepal to send their children to school.

Five Steps is Tim Gurung’s first published book. It is about a man who loses his family in a freak accident. As he investigates clues found at the scene, he gets caught up in a whirlwind journey that takes him across the globe ─ a journey that changes him and those he meets in positive ways as he learns to see life from different viewpoints.

Missionary or Mercenary is the story of a middle-aged man returning home after years abroad helping his countrymen in need. Using profits from his business to build a children’s home, he unwittingly attracts unwanted attention from a political party trying to align itself with his noble work ─ which wreaks havoc on him, his family, and business.

A Tree Called Tenalpa, a story of migration and discrimination, is a profoundly tender tale of six different color birds that live peacefully together in a huge tree until their world is turned upside by a storm. Through exquisite storytelling, we learn how the birds adjust to a new living arrangement and cope with their respective problems and survive.

Afterlife. We’re all curious about the afterlife and what happens after death. Where do we go and what’s it like in heaven and hell? While Afterlife is an intriguing story that takes readers into some strange and frightening places, it also takes them on a beautiful otherworldly journey that has them wondering if these mysterious places might just be real…

The Cursed Nation is an inspiring story about overcoming obstacles on the path to a better life. When a young man moves to the city, he gets a job where he’s in contact with many powerful and influential people – like his boss, who becomes prime minister of the nation. But when the corrupt political games get to be too much for him, the young man decides to move to a poor suburb in the city and help the struggling residents. It’s while he’s helping these people that his own life starts to change in many positive ways.

A Nation for Refugees is a satisfying and inspiring read of love, trials and triumph. After college, a young man joins an internationally-known company where he works for several years, but when problems surface in the hierarchy he is forced to give up the job he loves. To make ends meet he opens a makeshift café in a tent outside his home, and barely ekes out a living. All that changes when Sarah, his first real love, reenters his life. As the café becomes popular, their newfound wealth allows them to contribute vast amounts toward helping refugees.

Tim Gurung’s humble beginnings did not allow him the opportunity to attend college, but this was never an obstacle for him. He learned from real-life experiences and is living his dream today ─ a respected author, devoted to helping those less fortunate through his family’s charity. For more information on this great humanitarian or any of his books, please visit: http://www.timigurung.com.

All books are available at:  http://www.amazon.com/Tim-GURUNG/e/B00SQOI2MU

~ submitted by Dawn English of the Ascot Media Group

The Benefits of Charitable Giving

How to Achieve a More Meaningful Retirement
Advisor Shares 4 Benefits of Charitable Giving

June is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – a designation for most people to, if nothing else, take stock in the good fortune they and their families have enjoyed, and consider contributing something for charitable purposes.

“It’s a news story that never gets old: the little kid suffering from cancer who runs in a touchdown and gets a standing ovation, or is recognized by an entire city as Batman for a day, or the little girls who dress up for prom night because, tragically, they may not make it to high school,’’ says independent retirement advisor Gary Marriage, Jr.

“Retirees, who’ve lived full, mostly blessed lives, often wish they could do something for these children or another cause that touches their heart.”

Marriage, CEO of Nature Coast Financial Advisors (www.naturecoastfinancial.com), which specializes in maximizing retirees’ finances, says charitable efforts can provide a powerful sense of purpose and meaning to life – whether they come in retirement or during the working years. Marriage, for instance, is founder of Operation: Veteran Aid, which helps veterans and their surviving spouses with long-term care expenses by qualifying them with the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Aid and Attendance benefit.

He reviews four reasons why retirees should explore charitable giving.

•  Voluntary vs. involuntary philanthropy: At the federal level, you can zero out your estate taxes by diverting what would have gone to the government in favor of your chosen cause. In a real sense, the government is a sort of charity; Through taxes, a citizen’s money goes into the social capital funnel. If you’re worried your tax money isn’t being spent wisely, consider a legitimate charity that you would like to support. There are legal leveraging techniques that can be used to make your taxed income skew more voluntary than involuntary.

•  Smart from the heart giving: Each year, Americans give about $300 billion to charity. Like any investment, carefully consider to whom you’re giving; ask plenty of questions. Also, think about giving to underfunded charities. Finally, make your money go further by donating your time and skills to the charity. You’ll likely experience even greater satisfaction when you combine a donation of money and effort.

•  The rewarding knowledge of your will: Only about 40 percent of Americans have this important legal document, which covers your estate’s executor, guardians for children and how to distribute your estate. A fourth component is gifts, which enables you to identify people or organizations to whom you wish to give gifts of money or specific possessions, such as jewelry or a car.

•  Perspective on your money: Many people say, “…but I’m not Bill Gates or Warren Buffett – let those guys give their money away.” In fact, there are many “middle-class millionaires” – those who live modestly in middle-income neighborhoods, who have a net worth of $1 million or more. “These folks have saved money their entire lives, and they don’t donate money easily,” Marriage says. “However, others in their same situation havedonated some of their estate and found it among the most rewarding acts they’ve ever done.” 

About Gary Marriage

Gary Marriage, Jr. is the founder and CEO of Nature Coast Financial Advisors, (www.naturecoastfinancial.com), which educates retirees on how to protect their assets, increase their income, and reduce their taxes. Marriage is a national speaker, delivering solutions for pre-retirees, business owners and seniors on the areas affecting their retirement and estates. He is an approved member of the National Ethics Bureau, and has been featured in “America’s Top Hometown Financial Advisors 2011 and most recently selected to Co-Author a book with Steve Forbes titled, “Power Principals.” Marriage is also the founder of Operation Veteran Aid, an advocate for war-time veterans and their families.