Donate to a 'Second Life' Christmas

If you're a Second Life user and you're feeling charitable in these last days before Christmas, I've got something you may want to look into.

And that is the appropriately named Second Life Christmas initiative (free Second Life account required to connect). It's an island in the virtual world full of opportunities to donate to various causes, as well as to bid in a silent auction on a number of different items.

Money collected through the program will be donated to the Province Empty Stocking Fund, a charity that helps various organizations in the Canadian province … Read more

FreeRice tests your vocabulary, feeds others

While knowing how to string together words puts food on my table, is trying to let you use such powers for the good of others with their vocabulary-testing site. FreeRice will service up a quick little vocab quiz with a word and four answers. If you answer correctly, the service donates 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program to give away to impoverished or hunger stricken people. If you're wrong, it'll let you know what the correct answer was and give you a chance at a new word while ramping down the … Read more

Building a state-of-the-art Emergency Room for Silicon Valley

Today I'm extremely excited to tell you about a philanthropic gift that my wife Laura and I are making:

We are giving $27.5 million to Stanford Hospital, for two purposes:

First, to significantly enhance and upgrade Stanford Hospital's current Emergency Department.

And second, to fund the creation of a new state-of-the-art emergency facility in the new hospital that Stanford will build -- assuming it is approved by the city of Palo Alto -- over the next several years.

As you can imagine, Laura and I are unbelievably excited by the opportunity to make this gift. In fact, … Read more

$2,400 headphones get price cut

This memorable pair of bejeweled DJ headphones first appeared on Crave nearly a year ago, though that version had only clear crystals. The updated set shown here, however, was created with pink amethyst stones specifically for the 2007 Swarovski Fashion Rocks U.K. event for the Prince's Trust charity, according to BornRich. And we're happy to report that the headphones have actually come down in price--from to $2,400 from the original $2,500. Or maybe that's only with a coupon.

Tree-Nation invites you to adopt an African tree

The goal of Tree-Nation is to plant 8 million trees in sub-Saharan Niger, Africa, the world's poorest nation.

The sunny Web site, based out of Barcelona, Spain, provides social networking for would-be huggers and planters of trees. You can donate between $14 to $106 per tree, and then track and map its growth via GPS and Google Maps.

Working with ecologists in Niger, Tree-Nation will nourish the sprouts of the baobabs, acacias and other species in a nursery before transplanting them outside. Although desertification threatens most of the land in Niger, the trees grow in places that receive enough … Read more

Manhattan iPhone Watch: T minus 1.25 days

High noon. The rain's stopped, thankfully, but now it's sunny and sweltering in New York. I stopped by the downtown Apple Store in SoHo right around midday, and the dozen or so people waiting in line for the iPhone were now using their umbrellas as parasols. Luckily, Apple Store representatives were walking around handing out free bottles of SmartWater (is that what they feed them at the Genius Bar?) to the queuers.

At the front of the line, as previously reported, is a group of volunteers from Keep a Child Alive, the foundation that had staked out the … Read more

How to search for a cause

Admit it, efforts at Web-based philanthropy and activism can be pretty annoying. Maybe you've signed more than your fair share of chain-letter e-mail action alerts and filled out form letters to politicians for some righteous cause or other, without ever seeing any results.

However, it is possible to make real dollar donations to a favorite charity without dropping a dime, just by surfing the Web. A handful of online services will route some of their profits from Internet advertising to the tree-saving, cancer-curing, kitten-rescuing, or other group of your choice.

This approach is more convenient than remembering to visit, … Read more

Tomorrow: Use Flickr, be in a book

Many Yahoo photos users will soon be making the exodus to Flickr, so we thought we'd give everyone the heads up on a fairly cool "event" going on tomorrow. It's called 24 Hours of Flickr, and it's challenging people to go take pictures all day Saturday and then upload their favorite shots to a Flickr group specifically created for the day.

Flickr editors will go through the photos, pick some of the best, and add them to a coffee-table book (designed using Blurb) that will be made available for purchase this summer.

Anyone who gets … Read more

Red charity not seeing tons of green

Remember Bono's (RED) campaign, the charity project that launched the red iPod? (And eventually a torrent of other crimson gadgets.)

Given all the publicity, we assumed that the initiative would have brought in truckloads of money for its stated purpose of helping fight AIDS in Africa. But according to marketing firm PSFK, the charity reported raising only $11.3 million as of the end of December, "a tiny fraction of the $6.6 billion funds the Global Fund has committed to 460 programs in 136 countries."

The campaign is still less than five months old, so it'… Read more

Change the present in more ways than one

Come to think about it, it's surprising that the current wave of Web trends hasn't moved more into the realm of the nonprofit. You'd think that the focus on "people power," citizen media, and user-generated content would have sparked the imagination of some Bono acolytes with Web development skills. And indeed, there are a few sites out there--Care2 comes to mind--but most of them actually existed well before anyone was talking about "Web 2.0."

But that all could change with Changing the Present, which was one of the presentations at last … Read more