Brown Paper Tickets uses cookies to provide the best experience on our website. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy

Cookie Settings

Adopt One, Save Two: Animal Ark, a No-Kill Shelter

Animal-Shelters-charityAnimals deserve comfort, love, soft blankets, whatever treats make them happy, families—and at the very least, life. Thankfully, Animal Ark and similar organizations work to help companion animals neglected, lost or left behind.

Our latest Giving Program recipient works to rescue and re-home Minnesota’s lost and homeless companion animals.

Why Adopt from a No-Kill Shelter

A lot of people believe that adopting from a kill shelter is more impactful because it saves an animal from certain death and that the no-kill shelter’s animals are “safe.” In their latest newsletter, Animal Ark addresses these misconceptions.

“Adopting from a kill shelter helps keep that establishment in business so the needless practice of killing healthy animals just continues. We have limited resources and limited space so adopting our animals is a literal life-saver because it allows us to pull animals out of the aforementioned high-risk scenarios. Adopting from the kill shelters won’t save the animals already gone.”

It’s a sobering reality—if no-kill shelters don’t have space to take additional animals, they can’t rescue the ones in the kill shelters.

How to Help

Animal Ark runs on the kindness of others. You can make a monthly gift so this wonderful organization can keep doing good work.

What donations provide:

  • $10 provides a vaccine
  • $50 will spay/neuter
  • $100 is food and water for one month

If you live in the area, you can also volunteer or adopt an animal. The beautiful cat in the photo is Bengie and he’s listed as available for adoption, along with a lot of other cats and dogs.

In general, you can help no-kill shelters by fostering, donating supplies or even signing up (in some places) to cuddle or walk the animals.

Good Causes >

How Families First Changed One Life Forever

Not everyone has family or friends to turn to when times get rough. That’s why community service organizations are essential—they are the “village” for people to lean on when dealing with tough times.

Families First, our latest Giving Program donation recipient strengthens communities with individual and family mental health counseling, support groups, education and training, 24-hr crisis/suicide intervention hotline, and many other services.

How Families First changed one life:

Amy’s mother was first her abuser, selling her for sex at age five. Her mother kept all the money that the young girl was forced to earn throughout her childhood. At 18, she was forced into the emotional and physical control of other abusers – pimps. Restrained by physical chains and never allowed to move about the community independently, Amy was forced to perform sex acts, beaten, and starved until last November; she had just turned 50 years old.

Circumstances allowed her escape from her tormentors and she learned about Families First’s services. She was connected to a survivor advocate who enrolled her in multiple services.

Families First provided immediate support by getting her a place to stay and helping with some basic expenses. She received a case manager and began counseling programs to develop a safety plan, becoming aware of ‘red flag’ situations in relationships, and learned to process her trauma and emotions.

Now, less than a year after escaping her abusers, Amy says, “I’m learning to deal with what was inside, because I’ve kept that inside for a long time … It’s getting a lot better. It gets a little raw from time to time just opening up and everything, but … it just feels really good to be in a safe environment; I’ve never had this before.”

Despite years of abuse, Amy still has a heart full of gratitude. “This is just a really nice place, it helps people that are in a bad situation and they start making you feel sufficient and just learn to rebuild your life. Families First basically just saved my life from a path of destruction; I’m learning to make a better life for myself. I was never taught that.”

Amy said eventually she would like to help others who’ve experienced sex trafficking through Families First’s volunteer opportunities of mentorship and facilitating support groups. “If you can just help one person, that’s one person who is saved. And places like this need support where they can keep doing the good deeds that they do.”

She has a long road ahead to learn to live independently. She still walks around in a disguise so that she won’t be recognized by acquaintances of her former life.

“I just want to keep living a healthy life, and just having a happier life, and take the tools that I’ve learned and not be ashamed of where I come from…and just keep smiling because nothing’s promised for tomorrow – so you just got to keep making every day a better day.”

Brown Paper Tickets is honored to include Families First in our Giving Program. You can support Families First by making a monetary donation or volunteering at their Indianapolis-area facility.

Photo provided by Families First.

Good Causes >

Tech Savvy? You’ll Love Our Latest Giving Program Donation

TeamsCode-Not-just-for-ProfitTech geeks and coders will be especially excited about the latest recipient of our Giving Program donation – a nonprofit named TeamsCode.

TeamsCode started in 2016 when two passionate Mercer Island high schoolers organized a coding competition at their school. The students, Alan Bi and Chris Elliott, were both participants in other programming contests. They took initiative when they realized their school’s lack of representation in the computer science world. To remedy this, they created a coding competition that evolved into TeamsCode, the student-run nonprofit designed to encourage students to pursue computer science.

They work to create programming contests and events that get students excited about the world of computer science.

Why TeamsCode

For many pupils, computer programming is too intimidating of a college major. Just hearing those words can send a shiver of fear down the spines of the less-than-tech-savvy. But learning the language is empowering and opens doors to various careers in tech.

TeamsCode aims to provide encouragement, support, and resources to students around the Pacific Northwest. They work to keep the world of computer science engaging and exciting through programming contests. They have caught the attention of other computer science-related groups, including a sponsorship from Microsoft TEALS and TopCoder.

TeamsCode shines not just because of their crew of passionate high schoolers working to find the potential in others, but their selection of accessible resources. They offer an AP Computer Science course meant to prepare students for the yearly AP examination. Unlike many preparatory courses, these in-depth lessons are free for anyone to use. They also offer a collection of programming challenges that were used in previous TeamsCode contests for anyone to practice with. They anticipate that their online learning options will expand by the end of 2018. Try out your skills here. 

The folks running TeamsCode have inspired confidence and literacy in the field of computer science to students in Washington, Oregon, and California. They hope to continue expanding as others find excitement and opportunity in computer programming. We are pleased to welcome TeamsCode as our newest Giving Program recipient, which will aid in their upcoming fall event.

Check out all of the upcoming TeamsCode events.

Good Causes >

Giving Program Spotlight: What Makes SoHumane So Special

Brown Paper Tickets has a ginormous heart for animals (just check out our Instagram for a peek inside our fur-friendly offices). That’s why we’re wagging our tails in excitement to announce SoHumane as our latest Giving Program recipient.

Read on for a personal account of what makes SoHumane so special.

This month’s organization really touched my heart. SoHumane is an all-volunteer organization that serves companion animals. SoHumane adopts animals from other shelters and saves them from euthanasia through their Saving Train program.

A few years ago I had the cutest little dog named Sammy, pictured here. He was a Pomeranian—one of those small, poof pups with the pointy ears.

Sammy was the smallest member of our family. Everyone loved him. We had him for ten years when he was suddenly diagnosed with cancer and an enlarged heart. The vet suggested we put him to sleep because those conditions were not treatable. The day we put him to sleep was the hardest. We cried for weeks.

To this day, I haven’t gotten another pet.

Now imagine an animal being put to sleep simply because there is no space. 

SoHumane provides quality care for dogs and cats, including shelter and adoption services for displaced pets. They also strive to reduce the pet overpopulation through spay and neutering programs.

SoHumane’s Programs

The Saving Train Program attempts to rescue animals that have been marked for death at public shelters. According to SoHumane, the animals they attempt to rescue are healthy, adoptable animals that have been overlooked and have run out of time at overcrowded public facilities. Learn more about the Saving Train.

Senior Pets – As you can imagine, senior animals are the first ones to be marked for death at public shelters, especially if the shelter is packed with younger pets. Most people tend to adopt the younger ones. SoHumane believes that every pet—no matter their age—deserves a chance.

Medical Needs – They take care of treatable medical conditions so that the animal’s adoption chances increase. 

Make a monetary contribution, choose a donation item from their wish list or give your time.

I am so thankful for organizations like SoHumane for saving one animal at a time. Suggest a charitable organization for our next donation here.

Good Causes >

How Silver Bullet Productions Empowers New Mexico Tribal Youth

SilverBulletProductions-BPTGivingProgram“We create award-winning documentaries that expose esoteric topics, shatter stereotypes and expand cultural preservation,” – Silver Bullet Productions

Brown Paper Tickets is delighted to highlight Silver Bullet Productions, the most recent recipient of our Giving Program donation. Our $500 donation will go directly to purchasing two film equipment packages for New Mexico rural and tribal student workshops. After the workshops are complete, the tools will stay, so the group of young filmmakers can continue to make media on important community subjects.

In addition to making beautiful, topical films, we were also impressed with Silver Bullet Productions’ model. Truly a labor of love and mentor-ship, the entire operation is 100% volunteer run. Pamela Pierce, the CEO and President shared that the board, advisers, and workshop leaders are all dedicated to the mission of empowering youth to use film as a creative storytelling mechanism.

 Film Trailer

Excerpt from “A Thousand Voices” written by Maura Dhu Studi and directed by David Aubrey. View the full trailer here.

“SBP engages students and community members in an educational workshop or the creation of a film relevant to the geographic, cultural or historic vision of that community. The impact is educational change, historical awareness and preservation of culture,” notes Silver Bullet Productions.

We’re excited to see what they put out next and encourage you to check out some of their documentaries. Donate here to support their beautiful work.

Who should we donate to next? Nominate an amazing organization for a Brown Paper Tickets’ Giving Program donation.

Good Causes >

Get to Know Partners for Rural Health, an Incredible Organization

Monthly DonationThis month, Brown Paper Tickets picked Partners for Rural Health in the Dominican Republic for our donation gift.

Partners for Rural Health is an incredible organization, established in 1995 by the University of Southern Maine, College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Twice a year, they send out healthcare professionals and other volunteers to 15 mountain villages to provide healthcare to over 2,000 people in homes, schoolrooms, and churches. Not only do they administer healthcare, they also offer basic education in nutrition, disease prevention, dental health, and hygiene, including a certificate-training program for community health promoters.

As someone from the Dominican Republic, I really appreciate what this organization does for my country’s people. The work they do is tough – it brings to mind my own volunteer experience for a different organization. We labored tirelessly for three days to bring basic medical care to the people in Bayaguana, DR. I can’t believe Partners for Rural Health does a similar thing twice a year—it deserves immense gratitude and respect.

With our help, they can continue to assist those in need in the Dominican Republic.

While other similar programs rarely return to the same location, Partners for Rural Health has a sustained program in place that provides consistent access and continuity of care to the people in the villages. They are making a considerable difference in the long-term health and quality of life for the thousands that depend on their return.

Their return depends on us.

Get Involved with Partners for Rural Health

Volunteer. Doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, dentists, interpreters, Peace Corps, pharmacists, physical therapists, clinic greeters, and intake staff comprise their volunteer group. That said, neither a medical background nor Spanish-speaking one is necessary. There are many other ways that volunteers can contribute.

Join Partners for Rural Health on one of their trips.

Donate. Your donations are tax deductible and used to purchase medical supplies, equipment, administrative and transportation costs. Partners for Rural Health doesn’t have paid personnel; everyone, including the Board of Directors donates time. All of their donations come from individuals, companies and fundraising events.

Photo from Partners for Rural Health

Good Causes >

Charity Spotlight: Wild About the Wild Bird Fund

When we think of the hustle and bustle of New York City and the animals that live there, what comes to mind? Well-groomed poodles? Pizza Rat? Along with its 8.6-million human residents, there are a whole lot of wild creatures in need of care and protection from the booming city.

Every month, Brown Paper Tickets selects a recipient for a one-time donation from a list of our user’s suggestions. Our latest recipient, the Wild Bird Fund stood out because it is a steward for wildlife in New York City. They see the beauty in pigeons, educate children to live in harmony with wild birds, and care for injured animals. They report that 90% of the animals brought to them are “directly or indirectly injured by human activity.”

The Wild Bird Fund can be found on the Upper West Side, a block from Central Park. They share on their site: “Located in the heart of the concrete jungle, the Wild Bird Fund provides the necessary medical and rehabilitation services for injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife found in New York City.”

If you have a minute (or maybe an hour…) check out their current patients.

The Wild Bird Fund shares a lot of interesting information on each highlighted success story. Here’s our favorite.

The Ruddy Duck, Light Weight Champ:

After surviving a rubber band assault and a dog attack (!!!) he was found in Brooklyn and brought to the Wild Bird Fund Rehabilitation Center.

A fighter at heart, he hissed at and tried to bite his caretakers and even escaped his cage during his stay—a good reminder that these wild animals are not pets. When he was eventually back in the pond at Central Park, he was in the right place.

Since it’s spring and wildlife is emerging, we thought it would be good to share some hot tips from Wild Bird Fund:

  • Fears of disease transmission from pigeons are largely unfounded. Most pigeon diseases only transmit to other birds, not to people. All you have to do is wash your hands.
  • Return fledglings and nestlings to their nests.
    “It is a myth that a bird will reject a baby because it was handled by humans. Don’t bird-nap!”
  • If the baby bird has feathers and is hopping on the ground, this is normal behavior. The parents are still feeding it.

If you love birds and appreciate the Wild Bird Fund, check out ways to get involved.

Photo Credit: Fred Cohen Photography

Good Causes >

Charity Spotlight: Voices Against Violence

Did you know we make a contribution to a praise-worthy cause each month? If you’d like to suggest one, we would love to hear about it.

Our most recent donation goes to Voices Against Violence, an amazing organization that supports survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence and harassment, stalking, human trafficking and bullying.

Voices Against Violence’s mission is “to break the cycle of violence by providing comprehensive services for all victims and survivors and by creating social change through education and action.”

It started as a grassroots organization in 1981 when a group of women joined forces. It was originally called Plymouth Task Force Against Domestic Violence and in the beginning, volunteers used their personal homes to shelter domestic abuse survivors.

Twenty years later in 2001, the group became Voices Against Violence with an executive director, full-time staff, Board of Directors and a trained group of volunteers. This amazing organization has “taken thousands of crisis line calls and have offered information and support, court advocacy, support groups for women and children and community education to 18 towns.” 

Voices Against Violence provides an array of services, including:

• Information and support
• 24-hour hotline at (877) 221- 6176
• Sexual assault support
• Police accompaniment
• Emergency shelter

Here’s a comprehensive list.

How to Help Voices Against Violence

Learn. Read books, watch documentaries and become knowledgeable about domestic violence. According to the Voices Against Violence website, “You might find that once you learn about it, that you suddenly see it all around you.”  If you see it, contact the appropriate authority figures or reach out to an organization like Voices Against Violence.

Listen. If someone close to you is experiencing abuse, the best thing to do is listen and prevent them from becoming isolated. An abuser will do their best to keep the victim isolated; it is how they remain in control.

Speak Up. If someone you know is abusing or controlling a family member, and you feel it is safe for the victim and yourself, speak up. Letting an abuser know that their behavior is unacceptable definitely has an impact.

Here are more ways to help end domestic violence.

Domestic and sexual violence is unfortunately, prevalent and survivors desperately need services from Voices Against Violence. Please consider donating a monetary gift or items from their wish list.

Good Causes >

Charity Spotlight: Ending Hunger with Food For Thought

Food for Thought DenverEvery month Brown Paper Tickets donates to worthy causes. We select our charity from a list of online suggestions that our users submit.

We’re excited to introduce our most recent charity donation pick: Food for Thought Denver. This passion project is run entirely by volunteers and supplies local kids with PowerSacks. Their mission is to eliminate weekend hunger in Denver’s Title 1 elementary schools. Colorado is the third fastest growing state for childhood hunger and one in four families do not have enough to meet basic needs.

For some kids, school offers their only consistent food source.

“During the school week, children from low-income families in Denver Public Schools receive free and reduced lunches at school. Often the lunch they receive at school on Friday is the last meal they eat until they arrive back at school on Monday. Teachers and principals report that many students come to school on Monday mornings hungry, complaining of stomachaches, headaches and unable to focus and learn.”Food For Thought website

Food For Thought extends the resource for weekend sustenance by providing PowerSacks to each child who qualifies for free lunches, in seven schools at the end of every school week.

It’s a big job.

What is a PowerSack?

Each PowerSack has nine to thirteen items, enough to feed a family of four two meals. They have distributed over 239,200 PowerSacks, and last school year they provided 72,000 PowerSacks to 2,000 students in 7 elementary schools. That’s so impressive.

What We Loved Most

It is a 100% volunteer-run program.

“Blown away by all the generous people and organizations, the dedicated volunteers, the sweet and grateful kids, the kind teachers and principals. This is a true grassroots effort that is helping the very best of mankind to shine.” – Volunteer Testimonial

With low overhead and an advisory board that handles administration and fundraising, donations go right into the substance of the program. This means that all donations go directly to purchasing food and making a direct impact for the kids they serve.

3 Ways to Support Food For Thought

1 – Donate
The cost of each PowerSacks is $4 and 100% of the donations are used to buy food for students.

2 – Amazon Smile
If you shop on Amazon, you can use this link to make your purchases and .05% will be donated to the Arvada Sunrise Rotary Foundation, who will in turn earmark the funds for Food For Thought.

3 – Volunteer
If you happen to be in the Denver area, volunteers are needed and appreciated. Food For Thought told us that “volunteers are the heart and soul,” of their organization.

Image from Food For Thought’s Facebook page

Good Causes >

From Shelter to Soldier: Saving Lives, Two at a Time

Every month we get a plethora of online submissions through our suggestion page of good causes to send Brown Paper Tickets’ monthly donation to. Looking over the hundreds of entries each month renews my faith in humanity at a time when the world seems so low. Organizations fighting for human rights, food equality, the environment, animal justice, mental and physical health awareness and treatment, plus grassroots organizations out of homes, and large established fund raising organizations. They all have one truth in common, they were born out of the desire to help.

For us here at Brown Paper Tickets, it is not just the opportunity to donate to some of these fine organizations, but to amplify their voice and share their mission with you. We hope that our readership, event organizers, and attendees see something worthwhile in these causes and connect with them too. We research many organizations each month and lean towards smaller non-profits that have low overhead and administrative costs so that our donation can hopefully have a direct impact.

Shelter to Soldier in California is making an impact by adopting unwanted shelter dogs, often of high kill breeds, and putting them through an intensive training course to serve as a “psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other injuries associated with traumatic service experiences.”

According to their site, in the United States, on average we lose 21 vets and active Military to suicide a day. We also lose 3,200 dogs a day to euthanization in our shelters. Pairing these two groups together can have a dramatic impact on both parties lives.

Miesha is photographed by Allison Shamrell Per Photography FB: @allisonshamrellphotography

Feel free to have some fun and check out their newest canine class here: http://www.sheltertosoldier.org/dogs/

If you have a box of tissues handy, view some Shelter to Soldier success stories here: http://www.sheltertosoldier.org/stories/

To view past recipients of Brown Paper Tickets’ monthly donations please click here!

Good Causes >