Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How to Help

The National Association of Realtors has released the following info:

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How to Help 

We continue to monitor the events unfolding in Japan since March 11, 2011, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the shore of northeast Japan, triggering a tsunami.

To assist in the rebuilding effort, the Asian American Real Estate Association has set up a relief fund. You can make a tax-deductible donation to AREAA Foundation Earthquake Relief Fund. Checks may be mailed to: AREAA
5963 La Place Court, Suite 312
Carlsbad, CA 92008-8823

NAR has also identified four funds that we believe are well equipped to provide disaster-relief services. The star-ratings (four stars being the highest) and descriptions of the funds were pulled word-for-word from the Web site

Caution: Some members have reported receiving scam e-mails from organizations, some calling themselves real estate associations, purporting to collect money for Japanese tsunami relief. Here are helpful giving tips that Charity Navigator has provided for those who want to make sure their donations reach those in need.

1. AmeriCares
Overall Rating: Four Stars

AmeriCares is a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization whose passion to help is matched by its ability to deliver. In times of epic disaster, daily struggle or civil conflict, AmeriCares restores health and saves lives by delivering donated medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian aid to people in need around the world and across the United States. Since its founding in 1982, AmeriCares has delivered more than $9 billion in aid to 147 countries. AmeriCares is able to maximize the impact of each donation due to its gift-in-kind model and the contributions received from pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers, as well as our partnerships with local health care providers around the world. Historically, for every $100 donated, AmeriCares is able to deliver more than $3,500 in humanitarian relief to people in need, including medicines, medical supplies, nutritional supplements and other vital aid. Donate to AmeriCares' Japan relief.

2. Habitat for Humanity International 
Overall Rating: Four Stars

Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need. Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1.5 million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter. Habitat is founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent, affordable place to live in dignity and safety. Donate to HHI's Japan relief.

Overall Rating: Four Stars

The United States Fund for UNICEF was founded in 1947 to support the work of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) by raising funds for its programs and increasing awareness of the challenges facing the world's children. The oldest of 37 national committees for UNICEF worldwide, we are part of a global effort to save, protect and improve children's lives. Every moment of every day, UNICEF is on the ground providing lifesaving help for children in need. We provide families with clean water and sanitation, we vaccinate against childhood illness, and we help protect children against malaria. We provide nourishment to fight malnutrition, and we care for children affected by AIDS. We protect children from abuse, and we give them an education. We are here to make sure that all children lead a healthy, humane, and dignified life. Donate to UNICEF's Japan relief.

4. WorldVision
Overall Rating: Four Stars

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God's unconditional love for all people. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. Donate to WorldVision's Japan relief.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Great design ideas

Are you considering a renovation in the near future? Check out! is a free website where people can browse remodeling and decorating projects for inspiration. Billed as a "digital look book" for design ideas, visitors can create ideabooks of their favorite photos. With over 90,000 home design photos, the site is a massive source to get homeowners (and future homeowners!) excited. Since members can tag and organize photos into themed albums, it's quick and easy to check out specific "ideabooks" such as "Musical instruments around the house," "Botanical prints," "Tile tips for baths on a budget," and more. In addition to photo browsing, visitors can also ask questions of the community and find professional architects and designers to help them fulfill their vision.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

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