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How To Pick A Charity that You Can Believe in

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How To Pick A Charity that You Can Believe in

With many charity organizations available, it is vital that you know how to pick the charity that you would support. In this article, Julie Jason gives us a guideline on how you can choose a charity. Read on to find out how to pick a charity.

How To Pick A Charity that You Can Believe in

Here are some questions to ask charities


Last week, we talked about the 9,048 charities rated by Charity Navigator. Those organizations “depend on support from individual contributors and foundations.” Others, such as those that provide services, are not rated.

Leaving ratings aside, let me share some additional thoughts on how to pick a charity that you can believe in and stand behind for a long time.

The quotes below are directly from Charity Navigator’s “Questions To Ask Charities Before Donating“.

My comments are based on my experiences on a few nonprofit boards over the years and a three-year volunteer stint as the state of Connecticut’s representative to the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, “the federal advisory committee charged with providing taxpayer suggestions to improve IRS customer service.”

1. “What is your organization’s mission?

If a charity struggles in explaining its mission and its programs, it will probably struggle in delivering those programs. Healthy organizations know exactly who they are, what they do, and why they are needed.”

Very well said. This insight applies to any venture, including for-profit businesses.

2. “What are your organization’s goals?

Goals are a necessary tool to measure success. Without establishing clear goals, it’s challenging to measure success. If a charity cannot communicate its goals, both short and long term, it is difficult for a donor to know what the charity is working towards.”

Again, who can disagree? Occasionally, serendipity can lead to a successful outcome. But you can’t run an organization that routinely delivers good outcomes without goals and metrics. Once more, this rule applies to all ventures.

3. “What progress is your organization making toward its goals?

Ask your organization what it has done to make the issue it confronts better. Can the organization demonstrate how their actions have impacted their progress?”

Actions speak louder than words.

4. “What sources are available to increase my confidence in your work?

Our research has shown that [the] majority of charities are responsible, honest, and well-managed. Healthy charities demonstrate transparency. Documents such as the organization’s form 990 and audited financial statement should be readily available for donors to review.”

Good advice. It is essential for a donor to understand how the organization will use his or her funds.

While I’m not an expert on charities by any means, getting answers to some big-picture questions will certainly help identify whether you believe in the organization’s mission and how it intends to execute it with the help of your donation.

Before leaving the discussion of resources, let me give you one more: the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA), found at www. give.org.
BBB WGA reports on 1,300 national charities. About half of the 112 Better Business Bureaus in the U.S. and Canada also report on about 10,000 local charities.

Give.org lists 20 standards in these categories: governance and oversight, measuring effectiveness, finances, and solicitations and informational materials.

Then the site concludes: “Meets Standards,” “Standards Not Met,” “Did Not Disclose,” “Unable to Verify” or “Review in Progress.”

An example is the American Red Cross, earning a “Meets Standards” on all 20 elements. The site also lists four “Complaints processed by the BBB in the last 36 months,” each of which is categorized by type and shown as “addressed.”

Finally, let me add a comment from a physician who chaired major gifts for almost three decades for a Connecticut hospital:

“Ask yourself if you are diluting your efforts by donating to multiple charities. Could you accomplish more by focusing on just a few?”

If you believe the latter is a better option, research of the type we’ve been discussing over the past two weeks will help you concentrate on causes you can support with confidence and passion.

A worthwhile consideration indeed.

* * *
Julie Jason, JD, LLM, a personal money manager (Jackson, Grant of Stamford, Conn.) and award-winning author, welcomes your questions/comments ([email protected]). To hear Julie speak, visit www.juliejason.com/events.

(c) 2017 Julie Jason.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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Economy

The Next Generation of Sin Stocks to Ride Out a Bear Market

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The Next Generation of Sin Stocks to Ride Out a Bear Market

While the recent stock market rally has technically pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average out of a bear market, many investors aren’t convinced it will last.

They expect that once the euphoria surrounding the $2 trillion stimulus plan wears off, the market will resume its slide downward as the economic impact of the coronavirus takes hold in the next few quarters.

Sin stocks, so named because they are things that we should go without but can’t seem to part ways with, are historically a great investment during downturns.

The added stress and uncertainty means an uptick in business for the companies producing these sinful indulgences.

Things like alcohol, cigarettes, weapons and gambling all fall under the umbrella of sin stocks, so companies like Altria (NYSE:MO), Diageo (NYSE:DEO), Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR) and MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) are all widely considered to be sin stocks.

And while they can make great investments during times of uncertainty, there’s a new breed of sin stocks that could generate even larger returns over the coming months as Americans turn to their (new) favorite vices.

Here’s a short list of “next gen” sin stocks that we expect to do very well.

Marijuana stocks

While this is by no means a “new” vice, it is only in the last few years that it’s been possible to directly invest in companies that produce and sell marijuana. That wasn’t possible during the 2008 financial crisis, so it will be interesting to see how the major players do during their first economic downturn.

Just like smoking, we expect demand to hold up very well, if not increase, during times of turmoil.

Consider the larger companies like Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), GW Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:GWPH) and Cronos Group (Nasdaq:CRON).

Video Games

Being a “gamer” is a lifestyle now, with livestreaming on YouTube and Twitch and professional Esports leagues formed around the most popular titles like Call of Duty and Overwatch.

Video games are big money now, and the larger production studios will continue to generate massive revenues as the culture grows in the years ahead.

Look at the big studios with strong franchises like Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq:ATVI) which has the Call of Duty and Overwatch franchises and Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:EA) which has the Madden, Battlefield and FIFA franchises.

Social Media Platforms

If you have a child or grandchild under the age of 30, you are probably very aware of the effort it takes to get their attention away from their phones and all the social media apps or platforms that they are using.

Tik-Tok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all designed to keep users engaged and spending as much time as possible on their platforms. The publicly traded ones are Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook, which also owns Instagram (Nasdaq:FB)

While there are no guarantees when it comes to investing, as the coronavirus causes more people to spend time at home, they’ll be spending more time using the products and services of these next generation sin stocks, and that should translate to more revenues and higher profits for the companies.

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Investing

Bitcoin Collapse Should End Discussion About it Being ‘Digital Gold’

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Bitcoin Collapse Should End Discussion About it Being ‘Digital Gold’

For as long as Bitcoin and other crypto currencies have been in existence, a constant drum beat from its evangelists was the belief that it was “digital gold.”

The claim of course was an effort to throw a halo around cryptocurrencies as a “safe haven” and a “store of value” during times of crisis or economic uncertainty.

Per the Coinbase blog (emphasis theirs):

“Gold, and bitcoin, are safe havens from fiat currency devaluation, which historically tends to be incited by surging government debt. Armed with a myriad of technological advantages, accelerating development, and maturing global market, Bitcoin is a store of value to rival gold in the digital age.”

Not only that, but the same article says that Bitcoin is in fact better than gold (emphasis mine):

“Bitcoin development is accelerating and has already proven a myriad of advantages over precious metal…”

Those advantages are essentially listed as portability, scarcity, divisibility, privacy, low transfer fees and “auditability.” 

Yesterday’s market rout, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average collapsing 2,352 points to have its worst trading day since “Black Monday” in 1987, should have been the day where Bitcoin could finally live up to its promise.

All it had to do was not drop as much as the broad market and perform similar to gold, Bitcoin would have a landmark day.

Instead, it got decimated, plunging 12% to close at $5,700. 

In the past five days alone it has lost more than one-third of its value.

Gold, in case you are wondering, has lost a mere 6% in the last 5 days, and during yesterday’s market rout it only lost 0.74%.

One of those two “rivals” proved to be a safe haven and a store of value during these scary times.

The other proved to be nothing more than a speculative investment, providing absolutely no store of value.

Yesterday alone, the cryptocurrency market lost $62 billion in market cap, according to CoinMarketCap. 

In the past month, roughly 50% of the value of the entire cryptocurrency market has been erased.

Store of value?

Safe haven like gold?

Not even close if you ask Andrew Button at Motley Fool.

“While Bitcoin fans were caught off guard by BTC’s dramatic slide, the truth is that it wasn’t surprising at all. Put simply, apart from the scarcity, Bitcoin has nothing in common with gold. Gold is a physical asset you could trade if global financial institutions shut down; Bitcoin can’t be used without access to a computer. Gold is as old as human civilization; Bitcoin is younger than social media. Gold is used in manufacturing and jewelry; Bitcoin hasn’t seen any practical use case outside of black markets. The two assets simply have nothing in common whatsoever.”

While the siren song of “digital gold” is alluring, it’s time we stop pretending that Bitcoin has what it takes to become a real asset class. In times of uncertainty, it failed to perform as promised.

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drugs

7 Blockbuster Drugs Expected To Be Launched In 2020

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Pills falling out of bottle. (Image via Shutterstock)
By Shanthi Rexaline

Biotech stocks had a fairly decent run in 2019, thanks to record deal flow, several path-breaking innovation in drug research & development and the positive broader market sentiment. New molecular entity approvals totaled 48 in 2019, less than the 59 NME approvals in 2018.

The new year is expected to be risk fraught, as lawmakers are expected to step up their rhetoric on drug pricing. Even as the outlook for drug companies remains not-so-promising, some key drug approvals could still impart some momentum to the sector.

The FDA could expedite the review of some drugs, Evaluate Pharma said, citing some approvals in 2019 that came about well ahead of the scheduled PDUFA date such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated’s (NASDAQ: VRTX) Trikafta. Trikafta, a treatment option for cystic fibrosis, was approved five months ahead of the PDUFA date.

The following are the drugs with blockbuster potential that could make their way from lab to the shelves, according to Evaluate Pharma.

Trastuzumab deruxtecan

  • Sponsor: Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited (OTC: DSNKY) & AstraZeneca plc (NYSE: AZN)
  • Indication: Her2 positive breast cancer
  • Status: BLA accepted with priority review status in October and the PDUFA date has been fixed for second quarter of 2020

Palforzia

  • Sponsor: Aimmune Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: AIMT)
  • Indication: Peanut allergy
  • Status: PDUFA date of January; A FDA panel, which met in September, voted 7 to 2 that the efficacy data and 8 to 1 that the safety data in conjunction with additional safeguards are adequate to support the use of Palforzia

Ozanimod

  • Sponsor: Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY) (came into the company’s stable through its Celgene buy)
  • Indication: relapsing form of multiple sclerosis
  • Status: The FDA accepted for review the BLA in June and has set a PDUFA date of March 25

Inclisiran

  • Sponsor: Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS)(came into the company’s stable through its Medicines Company buy)
  • Indication: LDL-cholesterol lowering therapy
  • Status: NDA submitted in December for use in secondary prevention patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and familial hypercholesterolemia

Roxadustat

  • Sponsor: AstraZeneca/FibroGen Inc (NASDAQ: FGEN)
  • Indication: treating anemia associated with chronic kidney disease
  • Status: FibroGen, AstraZeneca’s partner in developing roxadustat, said it has submitted the NDA to the FDA in late December

Sacituzumab Govitecan

  • Sponsor: Immunomedics, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMMU)
  • Indication: treating metastatic triple-negative breast cancer
  • Status: After an initial snub, the company resubmitted the BLA and the FDA accepted the application for review Dec. 26, 2019, fixing a PDUFA action date of June 2

Filgotinib

  • Sponsor: Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) and GALAPAGOS NV/S ADR (NASDAQ: GLPG)
  • Indication: rheumatoid arthritis
  • Status: The NDA was submitted Dec. 16, 2019, with the review period expected to be expedited due to a priority review voucher submitted along with the application

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