Raising Funds for Freedom Project Seattle

FPSlogo2016In honor of GiveBIG Tuesday, here’s an outstanding example of Paid Time-On. If you’re unaware, each one of our employees gets 40 hours a year of paid time to volunteer at causes they choose. It is one of our most-loved perks and a finalist for GeekWire‘s Perk of the Year in 2014.

“Paid Time-On is an amazing benefit,” says Peace, Doer Team Manager “I sit on the board for an understaffed nonprofit and they often need us to pitch in work hours. I never thought an employer would reward me for my volunteer service.”

Peace is on the board for Freedom Project Seattle, a nonprofit that undermines the industrial prison complex by reducing recidivism. Recidivism is the rate at which a previously incarcerated person returns to prisons. Researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle University have not only proven Freedom Project Seattle programs reduce recidivism, they also save Washington State five million dollars a year in taxpayer money.

Peace is using Paid Time-On to run an online fundraising event for Freedom Project Seattle in partnership with the Seattle Foundations’ #GiveBig day. One of their major donors has offered a $30,000 matching grant that Peace will try to galvanize the internet to match. Peace has created her own personal matching grant and our blog readers can join the fun. To participate, just write BPT in the comments of the donation form.

Peace offers, “If I can get 100 of my friends, family and peers to donate to Freedom Project Seattle, I will match their donations up to a thousand dollars. Donate a dollar if that’s what you can afford or $15 to celebrate our 15th anniversary. My goal: I want a hundred new people to begin to know our work.”

Good Causes >

Roller Derby Beirut: Changing Minds, Changing Lives

gotgear_landingpage(square)_under1mbI’m excited to announce that with Brown Paper Tickets’ help, we’ve been able to collect and send merchandise to a burgeoning roller derby league in Lebanon—Roller Derby Beirut (RDB). And now, we have new tools in place to collect more supplies and raise funds so this league can continue.

The funds will be used to purchase new gear for RDB. I’m proud to be a part of this initiative. However, none of it would have been possible without Elisabeth Wolffhechel, aka “LOL” of the A-team out of Copenhagen, Denmark.

I first saw the call to help RDB this past November, while working the WFTDA European Tournament in Malmo, Sweden and then I saw it again at the Women’s World Cup. I tracked Wolffhechel down when I realized I could assist with the project.

Sweet Beginnings

Wolffhechel a university student in Copenhagen, paved the way for RDB, through her work with GAME, a Danish organization that wanted to get involved with the Middle East. Using street sports, GAME teaches kids and young adults about democratic ideas, taking responsibility and equal rights for women.

Watch a video of GAME Finals Beirut 2015 event, and the first roller derby match ever in Lebanon.

As a GAME employee, Elisabeth founded RDB within her body of work. The quest also helped her to return with experience for her master’s thesis. She left for Beirut late January of last year and returned to Denmark in July.

Building a League + Changing Minds

Any time derby breaks social mores where girls and women aren’t accepted as equals, it begs asking about the reaction. There are parts of the world that are not as accepting to girls on skates in a physical game.

As anticipated, RDB didn’t always impress parents as a sport suitable for women. Another hurdle she encountered was that different political factions control different parts of Beirut, making it difficult for some to find transportation to practice. Wolffhechel had to navigate varied social values. It wasn’t just about building a league; it was about changing minds.

The moment some of the young ladies returned home physically sore, they were told to quit. Wolffhechel feels the parents’ naivety of the sport presented more of a challenge than the cultural barriers. Women’s sports, in general, are very under-developed. Insurance is also an issue.

RDB, a Catalyst for Global Change

A university that draws students from all over the world sits in the center of Beirut—many skaters are university students. This adds to the importance of RDB, as when these women graduate, they will hopefully spread derby to new areas of the world.

Practice space wasn’t quite the issue I would have predicted. RDB was able to find practice space under a roof, though not an enclosed building, providing fair protection from the weather on a consistent basis. As far as a playing venue, sports facilities require rent, which is currently unrealistic.

Upon Wolffhechel’s leaving, they had 12 skaters committed to the league. She divided duties before she returned to Denmark and currently, the skaters are self-run.


Get Involvedroller-derby-lebanon

Wolffhechel started something wonderful, but RDB needs a little derby love to keep rolling. Brown Paper Tickets created a donation portal to help keep the league in the game. Donate to the drive. I will buy new gear for the league and Brown Paper Tickets will ship it to Derby Beirut with a love note.

Skates are the hardest to round up—I hope this donation drive will be the answer to getting equipment and skates to league members, who are often exchanging skates even just to practice.

Every little bit helps. Make a donation or spread the word to your pals.

Good Causes >

Tale from the Ale I See Run

Ale-I-See-RunMy road to becoming a “runner” was slightly perilous; I sprained my ankle and lost both of my big toenails to impact stress within the first six months (they grew back). It took me close to four years to fully achieve a runner’s high where I ran upwards of 5 miles on auto pilot without labored breath. For me, running is more than exercise; it’s renewal. It’s been there through college, long distance moves, break ups, wake ups and everything in-between.

These days I run twice a week, 3.5 to 6 miles, a welcome relief from my gym routine. When a fellow Brown Paper Tickets employee mentioned the Ale I See run hosted by Rockaway Brewery, I was intrigued. We would do a 4-mile tour around Long Island City, guided by City Running Tours and stop at local breweries to taste the wares. Running plus beer? Running plus beer plus giving back to the community? A portion of each ticket would be donated to Recycle-A-Bicycle (RAB), a local non-profit dedicated to the health, development, stewardship and empowerment of NYC youth. Brown Paper Tickets decided to match every dollar raised (proud employee moment). I signed up.

Last Sunday, I threw on my gear and walked across the Pulaski Bridge to Rockaway Brewery. After checking in and throwing on my “I Run to Beer” t-shirt, I watched other attendees mill in and admire the tasting room. At a few minutes to 12:30, the event organizer, Justine ushered us outside and said a few words about the history of Rockaway and RAB. She mentioned that thanks to Brown Paper Tickets, the event raised over $400 for Recycle-A-Bicycle and asked for a round of applause, pointing to myself and my co-worker Victor. (I turned pink.) The emissary from City Running Tours gave a quick overview of the run, and we were off.

Due to my position in the crowd, I started off at the back of the 40-plus person pack, but quickly wove to the front where I stayed for the rest of the run. A short .78 miles later, we were at the first stop, Big Alice Brewing. It was a tough squeeze to get everyone inside, but amazingly we all fit. Tasting cups of Gunpowder Tea Rye Ale (9%) were passed around as we listened to the history of Big Alice, named for a local moniker for a nearby power plant. Conclusion: more please.

The second leg was longer, a little over a mile. I felt light and airy, possibly due to the Rye Ale, as we pulled up to the Long Island City Beer Project. The space was massive, and as we sipped on our choice of three ales (mine: Glass Jaw Bully, a dark Belgian brew), our host showed us their “air ship,” a free yeast collection room that pulls wild yeast straight out of the air for use in their ales. “Thank your Greek and Italian neighbors. They planted a lot of fig trees in their backyards and we are really seeing it in the flavors,” she said. The more you know, right?

We left with our longest leg ahead of us; it was two miles to Transmitter Brewery. I’ve tasted Transmitter’s ales before, so I was excited. Though the sun had come out and we were all covered in sweat by the time we reached our destination, I felt great. Bottles of S1 Mahogany Saison were popped and the nutty, dark farmhouse ale was surprisingly refreshing.

We geared up for the final .75 miles, and the mood was cheerful as we ran underneath the iconic Pepsi Cola sign hunkering over the East River facing Manhattan. Rounding the corner, we were back at Rockway Brewery and greeted with full pints (I got their classic ale that “started it all”), and a Krave Jerky tasting bar. Goodie bags of Brown Paper Tickets swag and other products awaited. Hooray.

Overall I would give this experience a 10/10. Many thanks to everyone involved.

Food & Drink >

Compassion Day at Pasado’s Safe Haven

Group3-Pasados (1) Cropped-01-1Pig oinks. Donkey brays. Pony whinnies. As an animal-friendly office, we’re pretty used to dogs (and sometimes cats) running a bit amuck, but a few weeks ago we spent our workday with animals of a different sort (or snort).

Our crew used a few hours from our paid time-on benefit at Pasado’s Safe Haven, an animal sanctuary sprawling over 85-acres in Sultan, Washington. Named after a beloved donkey who was sadly tortured and killed by a group of teenage boys, Pasado’s mission is to end animal cruelty. The organization provides rehabilitation, housing and kindness to neglected, abused and discarded animals.

Pasado’s also advocates for better animal protection laws and encourages the public to make choices that will abate cruelty:

  • Reduce or eliminate meat and dairy consumption. As more people forgo meat, more lives are saved. According to the Pasado’s brochure, “from 2007-2014 nearly 400 million fewer animals were killed for food.”
  • Adopt, don’t shop for all animals, including egg-laying chickens. See some of the animals up for adoption.
  • Spay and neuter pets.
  • Look for the leaping rabbit symbol on cosmetics and household products to ensure it was not tested on animals.

Blonde-Goat-Pasados

We made new friends while touring the grounds. Priscilla, the potbelly pig greeted us by pushing her snout into our hands. (She has since found her forever home.) We snuggled kittens in Kitty City and played with pups in Dog Town. We gave gregarious goats Gary and Chloe behind-the-ear scratches and also met a pair of six-month-old sows with a penchant for untying shoelaces. A staff member explained that at six months, these wonderful creatures would typically be headed to slaughter. Instead, they were rooting around an expansive enclosure in bright afternoon sunlight, happy as can be.

After the tour, it was time to dig in and work. Pasado’s, a nonprofit with a small staff needs volunteers to help maintain the grounds. We pulled weeds and clipped blackberry branches, cleaned out the healing barn and spiffed up the welcome center. Messy work, but the hours flew by and we even got to revisit Kitty City for a second round of cat cuddles.

Our Compassion Day came to a close too quickly and we were sad to leave. The animals we met remain fresh in our minds and some of us have since changed habits to diminish animal cruelty. We’re sure we’ll return, as there’s always more work to be done.

Thank you Pasado’s for introducing us to your very special residents.

 

Good Causes >

Derby Blood Drives Rolling Out Coast to Coast

PeninsulaRollerGirlsRoller derby is out for blood (yours). Brown Paper Tickets and the Red Cross team up again for the third annual Make ‘em Bleed blood drives. The efforts expand this year with New England leagues rolling into town and rolling up their sleeves.

From August 2 to December 31, athletes from California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire will encourage donors with autographs, photo opportunities, skate cookies, temporary tattoos and more.

Why the party?

As events people, we like a good party. But it’s more than that. On August 13, roller derby celebrates its 80th birthday. This year also marks the 15th anniversary of the sport’s rebirth. “We are creating a celebration at every blood drive event,” said Annelise Sexton, P.R. manager for San Francisco’s B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls.

Although the treats and chances to meet derby athletes are definitely reasons to come out, making a real difference is the reward. A single donation can save multiple lives. Blood supplies tend to be low in the summer and the Make ’em Bleed drives come at a critical time for blood supply. The 2014 drives collected enough blood to save 660 lives and attracted more donors than any other blood drive series in California.

Jerry Seltzer, our roller derby outreach lead hopes to double the record-breaking donations from last year. Let’s do it. If your league is located in California or New England and you’re interested in scheduling a blood drive, email jerry [at] brownpapertickets [dot] com.

New blood drives will be added weekly, so check back often. Walkups are welcome, but appointments are recommended. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code: DERBY.

2015 Make ’em Bleed Schedule

Sunday, Aug. 2 (Worcester, MA)
Worcester Roller Derby from 10AM to 3PM at Horgan Skating Arena, 410 Oxford St. Auburn, Mass.

Saturday, Aug. 21 (Livermore, CA)
Quad City Derby Bombshells from 1 to 7PM at the Asbury United Methodist Church, 4743 East Ave.

Sunday, Aug. 23 (Middleboro, Massachusetts)
Mass Attack Roller Derby from 10AM to 3PM at the Middleboro Elks Club, 24 High St.

Sunday, Aug. 30 (Trumbull, CT)
Connecticut Roller Girls from 9:30AM to 2:30PM at the Red Cross Bus parked at the Redwood Roller Rink, 1303 Main St.

Saturday, Sept. 5 (Rohnert Park, CA)
Resurrection Derby Girls from 11AM to 5PM at the Red Cross Bus parked in front of Cal Skate, 6100 Commerce Blvd.

Saturday, Sept. 5 (Redwood City, CA)
Peninsula Roller Girls from 10:00AM to 4:00PM at Redwood City Women’s Club, 149 Clinton St.

Saturday, Sept. 12 (Antioch, CA)
Undead Bettys from 10 AM to 4PM at Evolve Aikido & Movement Center, 1211 Auto Center Drive (across from Midas).

Sunday, Sept. 13 (Fitchburg, MA)
Mass Maelstrom Roller Derby 11AM to 4PM at Great Wolf Lodge, 150 Great Wolf Drive.

Saturday, Sept. 19 (San Francisco, CA)
B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls from 10AM to 4PM at the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter office, 1663 Market St.

Monday, Oct. 12 (Santa Cruz)
Santa Cruz Derby Girls from 9AM to 3PM at the LDS Church, 220 Elk Street.

Saturday, Oct. 31 (Dover, NH)
Seacoast Roller Derby from 9AM to 2PM at Dover Bowl, 8878 Central Ave.

Saturday, Oct. 31 (San Jose, CA)
Silicon Valley Derby Girls at Silver Creek Sports Complex, 800 Embedded Way from 10AM to 3PM.

Tuesday, Dec. 1 (Concord, NH)
Granite State Roller Derby, Everett Arena (Bus), 11 AM to 5 PM.

Saturday, Dec. 7 (Keene, NH)
Elm City Derby Damez from noon to 5PM at the St. Bernard Church, 185 Main Street.

Photo Credit:Tom Jung/San Mateo Daily Journal (Peninsula Roller Girls)

Good Causes >

12 Ways of Giving and a Message of Gratitude

giving-tuesday-blogThis Giving Tuesday (and everyday), Brown Paper Tickets is grateful.

Before we get to the season of turtle doves and French hens, we’re taking a gratitude pause to reflect on the little things that aren’t little at all. Food and water. Speaking without fear. Reading, writing, dancing, singing. Health. Safety. View our UNselfie video or see it posted below.

Read on for 12 ways of giving and find charity and fundraising events in your area.

1. Give Time

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2012 and 2013. Volunteering may not require an intensive time commitment—there are walk-a-thons, community gardens, outreach and all kinds of one-day activities.

Volunteers often come away from the experience with lasting friendships, perspective and maybe even improved health. The Corporation for National & Community Service reports that those who volunteer have lower mortality and depression rates and feel more connected to the community.

Check out Volunteer Match to find a volunteer opportunity that matches your interests and schedule.

Throw a Fundraiser

Or put the fun into fundraising—organize an amazing, out-of-the-box, knock-their-socks off concert, performance or dinner to raise money for causes. Learn how you can use our Fee-Free Donation Tool to set up your page and collect funds with or without selling tickets.

Some examples of creative fundraising:

2. Have a Wine Competition

Put your palate to the test with competitive wine tasting. Form teams and have them bring two identical bottles of wine then do a blind taste test. Proceeds go to a good cause.

3. Laugh Out Loud with a Comedy Cabaret
Your charity event doesn’t have to be a bake sale or a black-tie benefit. You can make people laugh and raise money like this comedy cabaret that helps Team Towanda Foundation, a non-profit that provides women in need with funding for mammograms and other health services.

4. Stir Things Up with a Cook-off

If you’re planning a food-related charity event, stir things up by adding a competitive element. In Holiday Chefs Challenge, an event in North Carolina that benefits food banks, chefs compete to create delectable appetizers, desserts or entrees based on a list of everyday items distributed by the food bank.

5. Dance-a-Thon

Want to get physical with your charity fundraiser? Think outside the 5k. Shimmy, shake and move for a good cause with a dance off or dance-a-thon. You could even theme it to the dance like Zumbathon.

6. Treat a Veteran

Give military members a well-deserved night of entertainment. Brown Paper Tickets Salutes is a partnership with Veteran Tickets Foundation that donates event tickets to active military men and women, veterans and family members of those who gave their lives.

Giving-Tuesday7. Give Tickets to a Charity or Holiday Happening

Tickets make great gifts. They are more personalized than sweaters, almost guaranteed to be used and don’t clutter up the house. Buy your friend or loved one tickets to a charity or holiday happening and give back with your gift. Some ideas:

8. Broads for Bones
For your friend who loves to laugh, give tickets to see some of Los Angeles’ funniest women and help raise money for Ankylosing Spondylitis, a crippling bone disease. The hilarious line-up includes top-tier comedians, directors and television writers.

9. Green Generations Holiday Party
Send your favorite environmentalist to a swanky celebration with a signature cocktail and silent auction. Proceeds help Green Generations, Inc. an organization that teaches NYC children about sustainability.

10. Meowy Catmas Cat Circus
Surprise the cat-lover in your life with tickets to see acrocats walk tightropes, perform death-defying jumps with the greatest of ease and yes, rock out on keyboards and drums.  A portion of ticket sales goes toward cat rescue and the organizer strongly advocates adoption.

11. The Nutcracker
Bestow the gift of holiday ballet magic and sugar plum fairies while supporting the Alameda Civic Ballet, a non-profit and charitable organization.

12. Happy Giving
Who doesn’t love happy hour? When it’s for a great cause, it’s even happier. Enjoy wine, beer and appetizers while benefiting the Head Start program. Bring a toy and take joy in the act of giving.

We hope you enjoy our video. Feel free to share.

Good Causes >

Revolutionary Fee-Free Donation Tool Gives More to Good Causes

donationtoolgraphicGot a big heart? You’ll love this. Ready, set, raise more money. With our fee-free online donation tool, you can maximize money for good causes, projects and organizations with no service fee taken from Brown Paper Tickets. Zero. Zilch. Nada. No contract. No deadlines. No limitations. No charge from us.

$667,047 has been raised to date by more than 1,000 community centers, non-profits and individuals using our fee-free tool for online fundraising. Donor money goes to a heart-felt cause instead of a ticketing company, donation tool or crowd-funding platform.

Prepare for Giving Tuesday. Use our tutorial.

1. Collect Donations without Selling Tickets

Add your own credit card processor. (Due to an agreement with our bank, the Brown Paper Tickets processor cannot accept charitable donations). Create an event and add donation pricing. Then promote the page and watch the goodwill grow.

-Support a friend, family member or community through a hard time
-Raise funds for indie bands, art and theater projects or to save a local venue
-Schools can use it to fund new programs, equipment or uniforms
-Find charity event ideas

$44,000 was the record raised from one single Brown Paper Tickets donation-only event page using the fee-free donation tool to buy clothes, food, blankets and other items for Brooklyn shelters after Hurricane Sandy. A current fundraising page is for Feather Note Music Project, a philanthropic program to prevent suicide in Native American youth by teaching and giving them tools to record music, stories and languages of their culture.

rusted-root-commoncare2. Collect Donations and Sell Tickets

You can also organize a charity event, fundraiser, or benefit and allow event attendees to contribute donations when they purchase tickets.

Ticket buyers will still be charged $0.99 plus 3.5% of the face value, but when you use your own processor Brown Paper Tickets will only take $0.99 + 1%, leaving you with 2.5% to help offset your processing fee. No fee is added to donation levels, only to tickets. Official 501©(3) organizations that qualify for a lower credit card processing rate with PayPal or their credit card merchant find that Brown Paper Tickets’ gift of an additional 2.5 percent of the face value of every ticket often covers 100 percent of their PayPal or credit card merchant fees.

-Host a black-tie fundraising dinner or wine tasting
-Organize golf tournaments, roller derby charity bouts and other sporting events
-Ask your favorite local band to play a benefit show
-Find fundraiser event ideas

A benefit music concert featuring band Rusted Root worked well for Heather Rangel, San Francisco Bay Area event organizer of a $100,000 fundraiser benefiting CancerCommons. Supporters bought tickets, donated funds or both in the same transaction. “I couldn’t believe that Brown Paper Tickets would do this for us for no fees; it felt like there must be a catch, but there never was one,” Rangel said.

Rangel’s fundraising event was held in tribute to a friend who lost her battle with cancer in fall 2014. CancerCommons, a nonprofit that educates patients and doctors about cutting-edge treatments and research, received all funds directly. Rangel was so pleased with her event success, she just created a new $1 million fundraising campaign.

Brown Paper Tickets offers a lower fee for ticket buyers than competing ticketing companies offer to 501©(3) nonprofits. Low ticket fees and zero donation fees is a social ROI example of our Not-Just-For-Profit business philosophy. “We are the first to offer free tools and service for anyone to forge a direct connection between donors and the causes they care about without taking a cut,” said Steve Butcher, CEO of Brown Paper Tickets. “Fundraising is a selfless act. We honor fundraisers by putting the financial rewards of their labor directly in their hands, where it belongs.”

Good Causes >

130 Big Apple Kids Learn Urban Farming via $2500 Gift

City Growers Urban Farming BenefitThanks to City Growers, goodwill (and good food) is sprouting up on rooftops across the Big Apple. Since 2011, City Growers has brought more than 10,000 urban kids to rooftop farms for educational excursions and workshops. We love their mission to teach families nutrition and urban farming techniques.

Last Saturday, Brown Paper Tickets donated $2,500 to City Growers at their annual rooftop dinner benefit. The feast served fresh food from Brooklyn Grange, the popular rooftop farm and venue at which City Growers calls home. With these funds, 130 kids from low-income New York City communities will be able to attend a 6-week City Growers’ program.

From hens to honeybees, to compost and cultivation, learning opportunities abound at these amazing farms in the sky. Kids from all 5 boroughs gain a hands-on experience with nature that might otherwise be difficult given their city roots. Children, plants and nonprofits City Growers Farm to Table Benefitall enrich local communities. Brown Paper Tickets is honored to open our New York City office this summer in the same neighborhood as City Growers.

Want to support urban farming kids programs? City Growers launched a capital campaign to raise funds. You can help City Growers engage the communities that need them most. Your contribution could send a kid on a memorable field trip to the farm or build a bee hive (with bees). If you’re based in New York, consider volunteering or visit the farm for a workshop during free family farm days.

Good Causes >

Tuesday Tease: Giving Back

224768-250Burlesque performers are a generous lot. In fact, they’ve been known to give others the shirts right off their backs. Ha, ha…drummer, rimshot please!

No, but seriously, they are generous and this is why this week we are highlighting a few of the charity-minded burlesque shows that are out there. This is your chance to go out, see an amazing show, have a good time and contribute to a good cause like cancer research, domestic violence and homeless youth.

Seattle, Washington

Thursday, June 13 | Catch a Falling Star   Organizer Morgue Anne had this to say about this upcoming fundraiser: “Around 2am on the morning of April 13th, local burlesque star and songbird extraordinaire Nitara Ashling was hit head on by a drunk driver. In anticipation of her already-piling bills for medical care and legal assistance, some of the best burlesque performers from around Seattle have banded together to throw her the most sparkly fundraiser we possibly can. Yes, the driver will have to pay for his actions, but in the mean time this star needs all the help she can get to shine as bright as we all know she can.”

Saturday, June 15 | Divas Take the Hill   Join Team Diva for the third annual Divas Take the Hill Pride Kickoff event and benefit for Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets PSKS. Sip on local libations, savor tasty treats, and enjoy some divalicious performances, all supporting local homeless youth. With prizes, performances, snacks, and sips, be sure to get your tickets to what is bound to be the best Diva event yet.
Read More…

Arts >

Featured Non-Profit: Kiva

As you probably know, Brown Paper Tickets is a ticketing company. We sell tickets all over the world to events and have an unbelievable list (in my opinion) of free services and tools for event producers to put their events together. What you may not be fully aware of is this whole other branch of the company that is very involved in giving back to our communities. This is the realm I am fortunate enough to be immersed in.

One of the most recent additions to our company’s giving came from the Marketing and Communications team. The VP of Marketing and Communications, Kelsye Nelson, was given a budget of $25 a month to take her staff out to lunches or coffee, so instead, in the spirit of Brown Paper Tickets, she and her team decided to vote on one person a month who they feel has been rocking their job and exhibits the essence of Brown Paper Tickets. This month I was honoured with their votes. As the winner of  the grand prize, I get to choose who the money goes to this month at Kiva.
Read More…

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