Focus on Philanthropy – AIDS Services Foundation Orange County

Nathan Jurczyk Highly Recommends This Charitable Organization

The Mission: AIDS Services Foundation Orange County’s mission is to prevent the spread of HIV and improve the lives of men, women, and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Orange County.

The Services They Provide: AIDS Services Foundation, Orange County helps more than 1,800 men, women, children, and families in Orange County living with HIV disease. They provide food, transportation, housing, emergency financial assistance, kids and family programs, mental health counseling, support groups and HIV education and prevention services

Nathan Jurczyk Note: this organization was founded 25 years ago by a passionate and committed group of individuals – many of whom continue to serve on the board and work on behalf of the organization.  An incredibly committed group of volunteers and board members.

Key Events:

  • AIDS Walk Orange County (annually – June) – a community walk, traditionally attracting more than 10,000 participants.  One of Orange County’s premiere volunteer events.
  • The Red Ball (September) – ASF’s largest “black tie” dinner of the year
  • ASF Holiday Party (December) – general organization fundraiser

Nathan Jurczyk Volunteer Tip: This is a GREAT team building opportunity for businesses, church groups, or social clubs looking for an event to sponsor.  The walk provides the opportunity for you to pull your team together on a Sunday morning for fun and conversation.  It requires minimal pre-event effort, and each an every dollar you raise is valued by the organization.

Nathan Jurczyk Volunteer Tip: for those looking for a slightly more involved role with a community organization, consider volunteering for an ASF Walk Planning Committee.  It’s limited in scope (1-2 nights a month, for the 3-4 months preceding the Walk) and will give you great exposure to the staff, the organization, and its volunteers.

To learn more or contribute, visit their website:

Nathan Jurczyk Video Recommendation: see a quick ASF AIDS Walk Orange County promotional video, along with links to participant videos from the event day, at this YouTube link:

Focus on Philanthropy – Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim

Nathan Jurczyk Highly Recommends This Charitable Organization

The Mission: I love this organization’s mission statement: “To inspire and enable ALL young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, healthy and caring citizens.”

A city shouldn’t be without a Boys and Girls Club.

Nathan Jurczyk Volunteer Tip: look into ways that your business or community group can provide assistance to one of their after school programs.  Art supplies, back to school donations, sports equipment – it all supports a healthy environment for kids from low income families to participate in – keeping them away from wandering the streets.

Focal Point – The Motel Kids Outreach Program

Nathan Jurczyk Note: one of the best initiatives, with respect to achieving results, at work in Orange County today.

Perhaps its most significant community program, the B&G Club’s Motel Kids Outreach Program provides support to the at-risk population of homeless children living in motels for shelter.  There are an estimated 2,000 homeless children living in one of the 75 “residential motels” in the City of Anaheim alone.

The program seeks to counter the influence of poverty, drug abuse, prostitution, violence, and gangs – elements these kids face each and every day in the motels while their parents are away at work.

Nathan Jurczyk Video Recommendation:

Here’s a great  YouTube clip on The Motel Kids Outreach Program –

Kids are provided complimentary transportation to and from their motel (or low-income residence) and Club facilities, six days per week.  Each week, motel kids make approximately 80 to 100 visits to the Clubs.

Nathan Jurczyk Note: Providing transportation, food, homework assistance and sporting activities to these kids is undoubtedly helping to positively shape their futures.

Volunteer Recognition: there is an incredible volunteer in Anaheim – Bruno Serato – that gives an incredible gift, each and every night, to the Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim.

Bruno owns The White House – an Italian food restaurant in the city.  Regardless of whether business is up…or down…Bruno whips up and delivers meals for the kids down at the center.  Each and every night.  A perfect example of social responsibility by an incredible man, and an incredible restaurant.

To date – nearly 250,000 meals.  Wow.  Bravo, Bruno – Bravo.

Bruno’s work was recognized recently by several media outlets:

To learn more or contribute, visit their website:

Merchant Services of Irvine Volunteer Work: our leadership team was recently inspired to support the Boys and Girls Club’s Motel Kids Program.  Collectively, the team purchased and donated more than 200 backpacks, filled with school supplies, to the kids at the beginning of the 2010 school year.

They titled their effort “Give Back…Packs”.   You gave much, much more than just backpacks.  Each and every one of you made us proud – thank you.

Focus on Philanthropy – The Orange County Rescue Mission

Nathan Jurczyk Highly Recommends This Charitable Organization

The Mission: The Orange County Rescue Mission provides housing, food and services to help Orange County’s homeless people become self-sufficient.

This organization makes a strong impact throughout the community.  Today’s economic environment has driven drastic increases in unemployment and poverty – if you’re looking to make a contribution that will in turn make a difference – the Rescue Mission has very worthwhile programs.

Charity Navigator gives it a top rating, and shows that nearly 85% of every dollar goes directly to shelter/food programs.

The Services They Provide: This year, the nonprofit is providing 71,091 meals a month, along with shelter and medical support to hundreds and hundreds of homeless in Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Nathan Jurczyk Note: Break down your donation like this – every $1.48 provides a meal to a Rescue Mission client.

Nathan Jurczyk Volunteer Tip: Organize a Food Drive!  Get your church or social group to collect non-perishable food for the homeless. Food Drive Planning Kits can be downloaded from the Rescue Mission website.  With Thanksgiving and the holidays fast approaching, it’s a great way to get in the spirit while giving back!

Nathan Jurczyk Volunteer Tip: visit the Rescue Mission’s website, then go to their Volunteer tab for updates on available volunteer opportunities.  Planning note: the Rescue Mission carries a strong Christian faith message which is infused throughout their programs.  They also require volunteers to attend training sessions before actual events, so some pre-planning is required.

Nathan Jurczyk Note: the economy has had a severe impact on organizations like the Rescue Mission.  While the need for support has increased dramatically, donations have plummeted.  Now’s the time to make a difference – give what you can.

A recent OC Register Article illustrated the challenges Rescue Mission is facing and the assistance they need:

The Services They Provide: The Village of Hope (shelter for the homeless), Community Health Clinics and Food Box Distribution Programs.

The Village of Hope, a 192-bed transitional housing program for homeless men, women and children, opened in March 2008. The Children’s Dream Center, a 6,000 square foot center located on the Village campus, was completed three months later in July and the Rescue Mission began admitting single homeless women with children and intact families.

The Village of Hope is at more than 90% capacity (late 2009), with a total of 169 homeless individuals calling the facility home.

To learn more or contribute, visit their website:

Nathan Jurczyk Video Recommendation: a recent video journal, approximately 5 minutes in length, focuses on a local homeless story and how the Rescue Mission was able to help

Volunteer Note: The Orange County Rescue Mission is a faith-based organization that infuses a message of Christianity throughout their activities.  If this does not align with your personal beliefs, there are other food pantry and volunteer soup kitchens throughout Orange County in need of assistance.

Focus on Global Initiatives – The Olive Tree Initiative

Nathan Jurczyk Recommends This Organization

The Mission: The Olive Tree Initiative aims to promote dialogue and discussion regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict. This educational student-led initiative is modeled after empericism – gaining knowledge through experience. Students travel to the region and learn about the conflict from a personal perspective, independent of the media.

Nathan Jurczyk – Contribution Notes:

By investing today in expanding the knowledge and understanding of tomorrow’s world leaders, we stand a chance to put an end to the cyclical violence that has scarred the Middle East.

$35 – 1 night of student lodging

$15 – a student meal

$500 – complete meals for a student

$700 – full lodging for a student

$3,700 – full sponsorship of a student

Nathan Jurczyk Note: this is, without a doubt, one of the most contentious political topic debated around the world today.  Walls continue to go up – figuratively, and literally.  It takes initiatives like this to provide any hope of overcoming the deep divides fostered by this conflict.

Program History: In March 2007 a diverse group of UCI students from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and non-religious backgrounds with varying perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict founded the Olive Tree Initiative. The students were inspired to create a forum where they could discuss and learn about their different perspectives on the situation in Israel/Palestine and to embark on an educational trip to the region. In the fall of 2008, 16 students and 2 faculty made an inaugural two-week trip to Israel/Palestine. While there they met with academics, politicians, religious authorities, community leaders and activists and learned about their perspectives on the conflict. Since returning to campus the Olive Tree Initiative participants have shared their experiences and insights in more than 70 forums on and off campus. In April 2009 they hosted a three-day UC Student Leadership Summit which resulted in seeing the Olive Tree Initiative adopted by other UC campuses

Nathan Jurczyk Video Notes: a 10 minuteYouTube video clip provides an effective overview of the program.

Nathan Jurczyk Video Notes: a full length version of the link above, this 89 minute educational video, developed by the team at UC Irvine, explores this innovative program in depth.

To learn more or contribute, visit their website:

Helping the Global Community – Heifer International

Nathan Jurczyk Highly Recommends This Charitable Organization

Nathan Jurczyk was introduced to an incredible organization – Heifer International – through an Alternative Christmas Market hosted by a local church.

The Mission: Heifer’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.  By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, Heifer International empowers them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.  With gifts of livestock and training, it helps families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways.

Nathan Jurczyk Recommendation: Using Heifer International’s gift giving opportunity is an excellent opportunity to help children understand the importance of helping those in need.  By intertwining the gift giving tradition of Christmas with community-building contributions, kids can learn to invest their time, effort and gifts in a way that will improve our global community.

Heifer International provides an incredible opportunity – to give gifts that will improve the lives of people in need, around the globe.

To learn more, visit their website:

Nathan Jurczyk Video Recommendation: Heifer’s YouTube video, a 2.5 minute clip highlighting their work:

A Sampling of the Great Gift Opportunities Heifer International Provides:

-          $20 – flock of chicks

-          $120 (or $20 a share) – sheep

-          $250 (or $25 share) – water buffalo

-          $60 (or $10 share) – trio of rabbits

-          $30 – honey bees

-          DOZENS of additional items available for sponsorship

Want to know how communities benefit from these gifts?  Visit Heifer Intnational’s gift catalog – each item is accompanied by a detailed description.

Follow Heifer International on Twitter:

Nathan Jurczyk Recommendation: for families with a strong faith tradition, this is a great opportunity to blend Biblical teachings with a learning activity which focuses on giving back to people in need.

I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me… (Matthew 25:35)

Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy.  (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Happy are those who are concerned for the poor; the Lord will help them when they are in trouble. The Lord will protect them and preserve their lives; he will make them happy in the land; he will not abandon them to the power of their enemies. (Proverbs 41:1-2)

If you refuse to listen to the cry of the poor, your own cry for help will not be heard. (Proverbs 21:13)

Be generous and share your food with the poor. You will be blessed for it. (Proverbs 22:9)

For more information on the community work of Team Merchant Services in Irvine, visit