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What a great way to spend the beginning of The New Year!

 

Everything here only costs a few bucks or takes a few minutes, but the impact? Huge.

1. Train a service pet. A $5 gift to canine assistants.org covers a week of food for a puppy learning to aid people with disabilities.

2. Buy groceries for a needy family. Nearly 50 million Americans are facing hunger; $21 to feedingamer ica.org feeds a family for two weeks.

3. Donate your old phone to cellphonesforsoldiers.com, which recycles them and uses proceeds to buy calling cards for our troops abroad.

4. Restore vision. $50 to unite forsight.org gives surgery to one of the 94 million people who are blinded or visually impaired by cataracts.

5. Rehabilitate women who’ve been trafficked. Senhoa.org hires survivors to make jewelry and helps them safely transition back into society.

6. Provide a kid with peace of mind. Holiday bulbs designed by celebs like Brooklyn Decker support the Child Mind Institute, which researches mental illness in kids ($40, available at bloom ingdales.com).

7. Help more teens in the U.S.graduate. A million drop out each year. Tutor and assist in an at-risk classroom for 10 months with cityyear.org.

8. Keep an infant HIV-free. In Africa, more than 800 babies are born with it daily; $50 to m2m.org teaches an expectant mom to avoid transmission.

9. Donate your wedding gown or veil to brides againstbreastcancer.org. They’ll sell it at a bridal show and help pay for support groups for patients.

10. Comfort the homeless. At projectnightnight.org, $20 provides a blanket, book, and stuffed toy to one of the 334,819 kids in shelters nationwide.

11. Beautify a city park. $15 to tpl.org goes toward playground equipment in a new or renovated green space for boys and girls across the U.S.

12. Ready young mothers. $50 to nursefamilypartnership.org coaches five first-time moms about healthy pregnancies and smart parenting.

13. Save a life in South Sudan. $5 to doc2dock.org ships unused supplies from U.S. hospitals to remote clinics, where shortages threaten lives.

14. Give Internet access to Afghan women. $25 to youngwomenforchange.org donates a desk to the first-ever female-only Web café in Kabul.

15. Prep an animal for its new home. Just $10 to petfinder foundation.com vaccinates four shelter dogs or five cats, keeping them ready for adoption.

16. Invest in health. 17% of American young people are obese; $50 to actionfor
healthykids.org buys PE tools for a class in a struggling district.

17. Inspire a new author. M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s holiday album ($11, amazon.com) benefits 826 National, which helps disadvantaged students build writing skills.

18. Stop partner violence. In honor of Yeardley Love, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend, joinonelove.org educates us all to prevent abuse.

19. Pay for a terminally ill child’s getaway. $25 to givekidstheworld.org helps affected families take a vacation to its Florida resort.

20. Volunteer from your desk. Sparked.com asks about your skills and passions, then gives ideas for using your talents to better the world.

21. Fight lung cancer. A donation to lcfamerica.org funds research to predict, detect, and treat the top cancer killer among Americans.

22. Take care of amputees. $300 to brac.net provides a prosthetic arm or leg to a Haitian who lost a limb due to the 2010 earthquake.

23. Prevent illiteracy. Order yourself a new book at better worldbooks.com, and they’ll send one to a needy child in the U.S. or abroad.

24. Raise a roof for a struggling family. Spend a day at one of womenbuild.org’s 27 sites and help put a low-income family into a home.

25. Groom women for government with a gift to the nonpartisan wufpac.org, conservative shepac.com, or liberal emilyslist.org.

26. Keep at-risk youth drug-free. For $25 to deaeducationalfoundation.org, one girl can attend after-school dance classes for 10 weeks.

27. End hunger. Spend $120 on a Feed tote full of gourmet snacks (deandeluca.com), and 15 meals go to kids in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East.

28. Soothe a scared kid. Send a stuffed animal to projectsmile.org; police officers and paramedics will hand them out to trauma victims.

29. Give land to a poverty-stricken woman. For $150, landesa.org secures a plot for a woman in India to live and grow food with her family.

30. Rush in relief when disasters like Hurricane Isaac strike. Teamrubiconusa.org uses your $11 to keep a veteran ready to deploy to crisis areas.

31. Rebuild schools after devastation. Every dollar to happyheartsfund.org, created by former Glamour Woman of the Year Petra Nemcova, does just that around the globe.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Emily Mahaney

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The beleaguered retailer posts yet another dismal quarterly earnings report.

 

J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson continues to offer investors more spin than a dreidel at Hanukkah instead of actual results. His job is now clearly in jeopardy.

The iconic Plano, Tex., retailer Friday posted quarterly results that were even more dismal than Wall Street had feared. Its net loss narrowed to $123 million, or 56 cents a share, versus $143 million, or 67 cents, a year earlier. Total sales plunged an eye-popping 26.6% to $2.93 billion. Excluding one-time items, the loss was 93 cents a share. Wall Street had forecast a loss of 7 cents on revenue of $3.27 billion, according to Dow Jones. As earnings misses go, this one’s huge.

Not surprisingly, shares of J.C. Penney are plunging in early trading. They have fallen more than 38% since the start of the year. Johnson’s magic touch that served him well at Apple (AAPL +1.73%) has eluded him at J.C. Penney. Sensing that he may be on borrowed time, Johnson is pleading for investors to be patient. His hubris is remarkable.

“Today, JCP is really a tale of two companies,” he said in a press release. “By far the largest part of our store is the old J.C. Penney, which continues to struggle and experience significant challenges as evidenced by our third quarter results. However, the new JCP, centered around the shop concept, is gaining traction with customers every day and is surpassing our own expectations in terms of sales productivity which continues to give us confidence in our long-term business model.”

It’s hard to see what he means. Same-store sales, a key retail metric, plunged 26.1% during the quarter, indicating that Johnson’s store-in-a-store strategy, isn’t gaining traction. His gimmicks, such as free kid’s haircuts and family photographs, while interesting are not enough to convince these people to actually buy J.C. Penney merchandise.

Johnson has got plenty of self-confidence. Recently, he told Fortune, “We’re going to create an entirely new retail model that’s built for the next 100 years.” Some in the retail world are still convinced that Johnson is a genius who needs more time to realize his vision.

“Call me crazy, but this man has a reputation for vision and a track record that prompted members of the J.C. Penney board to hire him in the first place,” wrote David Selby, a former Sears (SHLD +1.08%,) executive, in Ad Age. “They wanted disruption, and they got it — but disruption is very, very messy and takes time.”

While Selby has a point, his call for patience doesn’t carry the same weight as Bill Ackman’s. The head of Pershing Square Capital, which owns about an 18% stake in J.C. Penney — far the retailer’s largest shareholder — earlier this year had argued that the retailer’s future under Johnson was bright. Whether he still feels that way is not clear.

If Johnson fails to produce decent results during the holiday season — and the odds are against him — the board will be forced throw in the towel and fire him. J.C. Penney would then be forced to sell itself at a fire sale.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Jonathan Berr

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