When You See or Hear Hate Speech, Don’t Ignore It

The deadliest attack on the 11 innocent Jewish people at a prayer service at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Parkland shooter who murdered innocent children and their teacher at a school in Florida, the person who sent bombs to high level Dems, and the Monday October 29th school shooter in North Carolina, all had two things in common.  All had mental health issues, and all had a history of posting hateful, incendiary messages on social media platforms laced with misinformation and conspiracy theories.

What can you do, when you see something?  Would anyone have been able to deter these crimes by calling attention to their social media posts or their suspicious actions? Hindsight is twenty-twenty, so how do we get ahead of these deadly criminals. 

The creator of the mail bombs was driving a van plastered with hateful images and carried large duffle bags into work and no one ever stopped him or questioned him. As a good citizen of the world, it's our responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and report when we see suspicious actitivity.

"Be a good citizen of the world. Free speech is not hate speech," said Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch. "Be aware of threats, be alert online and around your physical surroundings, where you work and live and where you visit. As a good citizen, report anything that seems suspicious.  There are opportunities to join local chapters and partnerships with organizations like the Department of Homeland Security, InfraGard and others, or run your own programs. Organizations and businesses can look for homeland security funding on GrantWatch or MWBEzone for grants to increase security and programs to help support their employees, members and participants with training to handle emergency situations and in coping with traumatic events."  

Target hardening is a term used by police officers, those working in security, and the military referring to the strengthening of the security of a building or installation in order to protect it in the event of attack. Follow the link for Homeland & National Security funding to improve security and train staff.

The following grant is currently available to provide funding to assist with support for recovery in communities following violent and traumatic attacks.

Grants to USA LEAs and IHEs to Support School Communities Following Violent and Traumatic Events, ongoing

Grants to USA local education agencies and institutions of higher education to assist the school community in restoring a learning environment following a traumatic or violent event. Schools may request short-term assistance to address an acute need as well as longer-term recovery assistance. 

The organization Share Some Good has some good recommendations about effective ways to respond to and prevent hate speech.  (http://sharesomegood.org/what-can-you-do/) They recommend reporting the inciteful or hate-speech postings to the appropriate channels at that social media company and taking a pro-active stance against hate. If the site administrators determine that the post is considered hate speech, it may be removed. “The more reports they receive of hateful content, the more pressured they feel to remove it." 

FYI: When you are on social media and you “unfriend” or stop “following” a person or group, it gets them out of your sphere of awareness, but it does not alert the authorities of a potential threat. The evidence shows that often anti-social behavior combined with hate related social media posts have been the precursor to gun violence, terror attacks, deadly hate crimes, or shootings.

You can find instructions on how to report hate speech via the step-by-step How to Guides (ohpi.org.au/how-to-guides), offered by the Online Hate Prevention Institute. They can help you find the best way to report hateful posts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google, and directions on online safety and security. OHPI aims to, “get technology companies and governments to recognize and take action against hate speech." The Online Hate Prevention Institute has reporting guides on how to report a Facebook image, page, post or comment, a YouTube video, user, channel, or comment, and a Twitter status (Tweet) or user, or a Google+ post, comment or community page. In addition, they have directions on how to secure your access and your information on Facebook and Google. 

If you see a serious threat, or a post that's inciteful, report it to the Department of Homeland Security or the FBI. 

Homeland Security urges citizens to get involved in their campaigns, “If You See Something, Say Something,”  “Stop. Think. Connect.” and the “Citizen Corps”. “If you see something, say something,” is a national campaign that raises public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement.  “Informed, alert communities play a critical role in keeping our nation safe. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to strengthening hometown security by creating partnerships with state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments and the private sector, as well as the communities they serve,” according to their website.

The "Stop. Think. Connect" Campaign is a national public awareness effort that increases understanding of cyber threats and empowers the American public to be safer and more secure online. It encourages people to view internet safety as a shared responsibility – at home, in the workplace, and in our communities.

The Citizen’s Corp empowers individuals through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.

They recommend that we all plan so we're ready for disasters, stay informed and even participate in active shooter training
Recognize the Signs

Recognize the Signs of Suspicious Activity.

  • Expressed or implied threat
  • Surveillance
  • Theft/Loss/Diversion
  • Testing or probing of security
  • Aviation Activity
  • Breach/Attempted intrusion
  • Acquisition of expertise
  • Eliciting information
  • Misrepresentation
  • Cyberattack
  • Recruiting/financing
  • Sabotage/Tampering/Vandalism
  • Materials acquisition/Storage
  • Weapons Collection/Storage
  • Sector-Specific incident


Be Alert, Be Aware, Report 

Suspicious activity is any observed behavior that could indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime. This includes, but is not limited to:

·         Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window or door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.

·         Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.

·         Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation – particularly in concealed locations; unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (i.e. with binoculars or a video camera), taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.

Some of these activities could be innocent, but they’re worthy of reporting. Law enforcement can then determine whether the behavior warrants investigation, but they can't do anything to stop it if they don’t know about it. Better be safe than sorry. The above list is not all-inclusive, but those examples have been compiled by Homeland Security based on studies of pre-operational aspects of both successful and thwarted terrorist events over several years. “If You See Something, Say Something” emphasizes behavior and activity rather than personal appearance in identifying what is suspicious.

While due to privacy and freedom of speech laws the FBI does not monitor sites without just cause, individuals and organizations can work with them through InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and members of the private sector. The InfraGard program provides a vehicle for seamless public-private collaboration with government that expedites the timely exchange of information and promotes mutual learning opportunities relevant to the protection of Critical Infrastructure. With thousands of vetted members nationally, InfraGard’s membership includes business executives, entrepreneurs, military and government officials, computer professionals, academia and state and local law enforcement; each dedicated to contributing industry specific insight and advancing national security.

The mission of the InfraGard Program is to foster collaboration and information sharing that enhances our collective ability to address threats to the United States’ critical infrastructure through a robust private-sector/ government partnership.

The over-arching goal of InfraGard is to promote ongoing dialogue and timely communication between members and the FBI. InfraGard members gain access to information enabling them to protect their assets and in turn, give information to the government in order to prevent and address terrorism, cyber threats, and other crimes.

The best way to get social media posts taken down is to report them.

The New York Times addressed this issue Tuesday in an article by Sheera Frenkel, Mike Isaac and Kate Conger, “On Instagram, 11,696 Examples of How Hate Thrives on Social Media.

“Social media companies have created, allowed and enabled extremists to move their message from the margins to the mainstream,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, a nongovernmental organization that combats hate speech. “In the past, they couldn’t find audiences for their poison. Now, with a click or a post or a tweet, they can spread their ideas with a velocity we’ve never seen before.”

Facebook has started “actively reviewing hashtags and content related to these events and removing content that violates our policies,” according to Sarah Pollack, a Facebook spokeswoman. T

YouTube has strict policies prohibiting content that promotes hatred or incites violence and takes down videos that violate those rules, so they are a good partner to report to. They will take your request seriously.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, recently told the New York Times that although the company’s longtime principle was free expression, it was discussing how “safety should come first.”

How to Report Suspicious Activity:

Public safety is everyone’s responsibility. Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or a person of authority in a clear way, describing what you’ve observed including:

Who or what you saw, when you saw it; where you saw it; where it occurred; and why it’s suspicious.

If there’s an emergency, Call 9-1-1. 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWatch.


Is this Name Changer a Game Changer? For Purpose vs Nonprofit

Can an ordinary person create extraordinary change? According to Adam Braun in his bestseller, The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change, the answer is a decided "yes".  Each chapter in this book highlights one clear step that every person can take to turn their highest ambitions into reality and make their life a story worth telling.

On YouHelp.com, when you start a purposeful fundraiser for any and every purpose, you get to write what is called the "back story" of your purpose.

Why start a nonprofit in our capitalistic society? Braun had a "lightning moment" as he describes what changed the course of his life. That moment in time led to his writing this purpose guide-book and to his founding the Pencils of Promise Foundation in 2008 at age 25, leaving behind a promising career at a top investment firm.

Braun proposes that the terms "for-purpose" and "profitable purpose," be used to describe nonprofits and for profit corporations respectively.  He goes on to explain that the term nonprofit is a misnomer giving the wrong impression to would-be donors and participants.

The Promise of a Pencil

One of Braun’s (and his organization’s) most deeply held conviction is: “every child should have access to quality education”. This conviction was shaped while he was attending a Semester at Sea program as a junior, in college. As he traveled Adam asked other young people what they wanted most in life. While docked in India, he saw a young boy begging on the streets and stopped to ask the boy what he wanted the most, and this little boy said, “A pencil!.” Braun then reached into his backpack and gave him a pencil of his own. This small act of generosity could have been forgotten. Instead, this moment propelled Adam to action and changed the trajectory of his life.

From an initial $25 of his own money, Pencils of Promise grew beyond just providing pencils, to build over 489 schools around the world: The foundation's programs are currently educating over 95,873 students.  

And what sets Pencils of Promise apart from other nonprofit organizations? They promise “100% for purpose”, “100% direct giving,” and “100% operational integrity", (and) “100% transparency.” Pencils of Promise is guided by this “revolutionary” “for-purpose” approach.  “Blend the head of a for-profit business with the heart of a humanitarian nonprofit, we rigorously measure the return on investment of every donor dollar we spend. Joy and passion are great, but results are what we’re all about.”

Donors can never truly be sure of where their money is going. By covering their operational costs through private donors, events and companies, 100% of every dollar donated online can go directly into programs to educate children.

According to their website: “We don’t just build a school and move on, we monitor and evaluate every project we undertake. We have a proactive process to ensure every school we open is educating students.”

One of the drawbacks of the term “nonprofit” (a legal tax designation) is that it can creates a misconception surrounding purpose and revenue. “Nonprofits” actually need to make a profit or they cease to exist, just like for-profit companies except it’s usually a longer, slower, more drawn out and painful death.

In addition, while thinking like a “nonprofit,” many organizations fail to emphasize good business practices. They consider the idea of being profitable as somehow being morally wrong. All “profits” can go to funding the work the organization is doing and for their operating expenses, and to keeping the organization operating “in the black.” When good business practices aren’t a priority, the nonprofit will eventually implode.

Braun conceptualized a new way of looking at “for-purpose” organizations. He built a huge following by proposing that 501C3s not use the term “nonprofit,” but instead adopt a positive, affirming term that focuses on what’s really important.

The following lead statement is from the Forbes article entitled, A New Nonprofit Model: Meet The Charitable Startups:

Startup companies are traditionally for-profit enterprises, but in recent years philanthropic ventures have begun adopting the technological know-how and scrappy mentality of startups to develop a new breed of lean nonprofits.

Adam Braun, founder of Pencils of Promise refers to Pencils of Promise as a "for-purpose organization" rather than nonprofit. He insists they remain focused on the bottom line – instead of gross profit, its "gross efficacy.” Braun believes that nonprofits can learn from big business.

Braun said, “Across both startups and the not-for-profit sector, people are driven by intense passion around purpose and mission – they are there because they believe the company is doing something that wasn’t there before.”

“Entrepreneurs have a ludicrously large vision to change the world but have the humility to be solving very clear pain points,” agreed Ted Gonder, founder of Moneythink, a nonprofit which teaches financial literacy to inner city students. “All these things are also true of nonprofits.” …

“Startups test new innovations and are always evolving – I think that that’s really, really important for any organization.”

So, if you lead, work or volunteer for a nonprofit, maybe it’s time to change the way you think about your operational model. Maybe it’s time to start learning from startup businesses, big corporations, and perhaps partnering with for-profit organizations in more ways than simply asking for donations?

In founding Pencils of Promise Braun adopted the term “For Purpose,” and the idea that in some ways, all companies should be “for purpose” corporations as well.   What’s the purpose of your organization or business?

Whether you choose to adopt Braun’s term or come up with another entirely, isn’t purpose the real focus of your organization or institution? Let’s focus on what we are, not what we’re not.

Many ways exist to raise funds for causes one believes in. Start a purposeful fundraiser to raise money for a charity or business on YouHelp.com For more information contact support@youhelp.com or call (888) 240-1494.  




About the Author: Staff writer for GrantWatch.


Hurricane Michael: What You Can Do Now

As Hurricane Michael continues to wreak havoc along its path, disaster relief efforts have already begun on site and behind the scenes. Organizations such as Save the Children, the Salvation Army, Gleaning for the World, Chabad Lubavitch Organization, The Humane Society, World Vision, and the American Red Cross, have started fundraising campaigns open for donations and volunteers to come and rebuild. They’re readying relief supplies and identifying church partners in potentially affected areas allowing them to mobilize as quickly as possible once it’s safe to begin restoration efforts.

Leading disaster relief organization World Vision recommends praying and giving as the top ways to help those affected by Hurricane Michael.

When disaster strikes, World Vision is often one of the first organizations to respond across the United States. Their relief workers connect with partners — including religious institutions — in affected regions to help hard-hit communities. They are continually preparing for the next disaster by equipping their field sites and partners to help those affected by tornadoes, floods, storms, wildfires, and other disasters across the country. They also remain long after disasters have faded from the headlines helping communities rebuild. 

Their prayer: “Almighty Father, we ask for Your care and protection for people in the path of Hurricane Michael. Give them the assurance of Your presence and equip those who will provide relief and assistance after the storm passes.  Strengthen the minds and bodies of first responders for the days ahead.”

Strengthen mind and body of first responders

If you’ve been affected by the hurricane and need assistance, contact them or FEMA and your insurance company to set the process in motion to receive aid. To find additional funding for yourself, your organization or others in need, there are some grants available for hurricane relief on GrantWatch.com with the key words Hurricane and disaster-relief-grants.

For immediate assistance, there are shelters available but they’re filling up quickly. Shelters in Dothan, Florida, and some others in the panhandle and across south Alabama are some of the closest for evacuees.

The two main shelters in Dothan are Wiregrass Church at 900 West Main Street and the First Baptist Church shelter at 300 West Main Street. Both have plenty of cots and food and both still have room if you need assistance. 

There are three American Red Cross shelters in other areas of Alabama open now.   Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 6610 Vaughn Rd, Montgomery, Ozark Civic Center, 302 East College St, Ozark, 36360 and Robertsdale Coliseum, 19477 Fairground Rd, Robertsdale, 36567

The Dothan, Florida shelters have family areas and places where children can play.


Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Panama City in the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm early Wednesday afternoon with tree-snapping winds and towering waves that flooded whole beach towns.  Maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (249 kph) according to Reuters News Service, have been recorded in the storm’s eye wall. It is the first Category 4 storm in recorded history to make landfall in the northeast Gulf Coast. Its sustained winds were just 2 mph (3.2 kph) shy of the highest, Category 5.

Coastal areas could see up to a foot of rain, winds above 130 mph, and storm surges of 14 feet. The storm is expected to track through Georgia and the Carolinas as it moves inland Wednesday and Thursday, bringing more wind and rain to areas affected by Hurricane Florence.  

“This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century,” Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday morning.

"Unfortunately, this is a hurricane of the worst kind," said Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Here's what makes Hurricane Michael especially dangerous:

It's the strongest hurricane to ever hit Florida's panhandle

Michael crashed onto Florida's coast Wednesday with 155 mph winds — strong enough to demolish houses.

Those kinds of winds "are above typical building codes," Long said. Even with the tougher standards in the Florida Building Code, set in place after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, older homes aren’t built to withstand a hurricane of this magnitude.

Hurricane Michael began in the southwest Caribbean Sea and was first monitored by the National Hurricane Center on October 2. It strengthened from a tropical storm to a hurricane by October 8. Warnings were sent out to 20 counties to head towards higher ground, but those who hadn’t left their homes by early Wednesday morning were told it was too late to leave.

You can start your own campaign for those affected by the storm on our crowdfunding website, www.youhelp.com.

Local municipalities, nonprofits, religious institutions, community-based groups and concerned citizens frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants can identify funding opportunities in support of hurricane and other disaster relief initiatives at GrantWatch.com and MWBEzone.comSign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.




About the Author: Staff Writer at GrantNews