Could it be left to capitalism to save our environment? With a nose for profit incentive, several entrepreneurial, high tech startups are introducing new, relatively inexpensive cleanup technologies for land, sea, and air.
For decades environmentalists have pushed governments to establish laws and standards to limit pollution. Clean-up, however, can be wildly expensive, so much so that it has driven some companies into bankruptcy. Now companies like Princeton Nanotec, located in Robbinsville, and South Brunswick's Carbozyme are making cleanup surprisingly affordable.
To showcase these new environment-enhancing techniques for both customers and investors, the New Jersey Technology Council's E3 Network presents "New Environmental Technologies: Air/Water/Soil," on Thursday, June 23, at 4 p.m. at Montclair State University. Cost: $40. Visit www.NJTC.org.
This event includes more than 30 exhibitors and several papers and discussions. Speakers for a regulations and compliance panel include Harch S. Gill, general manager of Princeton Nanotech; Michael Trachtenberg, CEO of Carbozyme; David Bonner, CEO of Thor Power Corporation; Bill Stephanatos of Trenton's Langan Engineering and Environmental Services; and Doug Hatler, vice president of Alliances at Enviance.
"It's so amazingly simple and inexpensive, people never quite believe that the whole thing will work," says Nanotech's Gill, speaking of Nanofe, his groundwater treatment process. Pollution Pac Man. Contaminated rain runoff, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, PCBs, and a long, frightening list of other chemicals are all finding their way into our groundwater. Five parts per billion of the common solvent trichloroethylene - a teaspoonful in a large swimming pool - can contaminate the water. Currently the way of treating these pollutants is lace the water supply with huge amounts of other chemicals. The process involves storage tanks, pump motors, and a big price tag.
Nanotech has come up with a natural solution. "We take iron particles and break them down until they are tiny - smaller than a bacterium," says Gill. This pure iron powder is mixed in water until it becomes about the consistency and color of good black coffee. The mixture is simply poured down wells and natural holes in polluted areas, where it forms its own plume. The tiny iron particles instantly begin to rust, creating an army of free electrons. These electrons go into a feeding frenzy gobbling up solvents, pesticides, PCBs, and all synthetic
Clearwater bargains. In addition to contaminants, Nanotech's iron filing slurry also gobbles up the notion that cleanup costs too much. By treating the water at the source of pollution - the contaminated soil area - expensive stream tracing plans are avoided. Further, one half pound of Nanotech's Nanofe will eradicate approximately a pound of contaminants at a cost of $60 a pound. Generally, between 100 and 1,000 pounds of Nanofe are necessary to complete the cleanup.
The basic formula for Nanofe was developed by Pennsylvania State University chemistry professor Thomas Mallouk four years ago. Gill guided the product's refinement. Born in Singapore, Gill graduated from the University of Singapore in l968 with a B.S. in civil engineering. Emigrating to the United States, he earned his engineering Ph.D. from Cornell and went to work for the environment. He spent 20 years as scientist and consultant for Dames & Moore, a large environmental compliance consulting firm based in California.
Ten years ago Gill took his expertise in contaminated groundwater treatment to Robbinsville-based PARS Environmental Services. The firm offered compliance, assessment, and treatment services. When the technology that forms the basis of Nanofe became available, PARS set up Princeton Nanotech as an incubator company for its production. "We have refined the process greatly in the past two years," says Gill, "and sales have increased tenfold. Now even the EPA and Department of Defense are interested."
Cleaning up the air. Also doing very well by going small, four-year-old Carbozyme has found a way to shrink C02 filters from two huge towers to a slim skin the thickness of three human hairs.
Carbon dioxide is everywhere. It is a natural product of driving, and occurs with the manufacture of everything from cellophane to shoes. The problem is that this C02 overload might just sink Manhattan. Worldwide, industry, vehicles, and residences put 22 billion metric tons of C02 into the atmosphere. This staggering volume makes it the most harmful of the greenhouse gases, which, many scientists believe, directly contribute to global warming, melting of polar ice caps, and the slow submergence of your Cape May beach house - along with most of New Jersey. It also may be responsible for the current hurricane proliferation we've witnessed.
On the good side, carbon dioxide is also the most controllable of greenhouse gasses. And until now industry has been paying the price to filter and dispose of it by the costly method known as amine. In this system exhaust C02 is funneled out through one large tower that absorbs and liquefies it. It is then transferred to a second tower which, using expensive stream heat, purifies it to a mixture of 90 percent water and 10 percent carbon dioxide. The process costs $43 to $128 per ton of the offending gas.
The Carbozyme process captures the C02 from manufacturers' smokestacks using a slender catalyzed liquid membrane. Trachtenberg, Carbozyme's founder, explains that "when the C02 hits our skin of 'magic juice' it osmoses from the rich side to the lean side, very much the way it is exchanged through human lung tissue." It is then transformed to more soluble - and disposable - bicarbonates.
Thrifty gas passing. Employing the Carbozyme method, 90 percent of a stack's carbon dioxide can be recovered for just $20 per ton. "The U.S. Department of Energy is calling for a goal of $10 per ton," says Trachtenberg, "but we think they are dreaming."
Also, to give price perspective, coal, oil and natural gas companies are currently paying $25 a ton for C02 reclamation. Therefore, a C02 polluter located within pipeable distance from an oil field, might just become a C02 supplier, at a profit.
The founding of an environmental cleanup company, at first glance, scarcely jibes with Trachtenberg's training. A native New Yorker, Trachtenberg earned a B.S. from New York City College in psychology and biology in l962. At the University of California, Los Angeles, he completed his Ph.D. in anatomy and neurology. Throughout his career he has been a visiting research professor at UCLA and at Zurich, where he served as director of neurological research. He helped found and develop products for NeuroGenesis, a company providing global treatment centers and remedies for alcohol and drug addiction.
Trachtenberg began researching his C02 recovery method in the l990s and founded Carbozyme in 2001. "The tests have been very well received," he says, "and response has been excellent."
Being stewards of the globe is a pretty tall order. We have to feed, clothe, and shelter our own species while doing as little damage to other life forms and portions of this earth as possible. For the last two centuries humankind has produced incredible engines of production to enhance our survival. Now it's time to use some of that same innovation to help protect the Earth.
- Bart Jackson
Love Your Job: Rick Jarow
The work world has not treated people so well in recent decades, according to Rick Jarow, professor of religion at Vassar College. Real wages, adjusted for inflation, are not going up. People are working more and making less than 30 years ago, and they have less vacation. And on a personal level, says Jarow, "most people sacrifice so much of themselves when they go to work."
Jarow believes work should be a source of both income and satisfaction, but that this happens only when a person's life is in alignment - "when you are able to consciously create the circumstances of your life instead of being buffeted by haphazard events."
The mistake most people make in seeking work, he says, is to start with a resume and a review of what's available in the job market for someone with their training and background. Instead people should work from the inside out, starting with their core values and their essential selves. His own life reflects the personal exploration that he recommends to others, and it put him on a career path that combines academic work with his unique approach to career counseling.
Jarow offers a program on "The Alchemy of Abundance" on Friday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Princeton Center for Yoga and Health, 50 Vreeland Drive, Suite 506, in the Montgomery Professional Center. Cost: $35; but $22 for students, seniors, and the underemployed. For more information, call Deborah Metzger at 609-924-7294.
Jarow's approach to finding work begins with four essential steps, which he will cover at the workshop:
Connect with your basic sense of well-being. When you connect with this "abundance," says Jarow, "you can bring it out into the world, begin to perceive opportunities, and do things in ways that make sense to you." Through meditations and visualizations, Jarow guides people through their personal histories and childhoods to find "moments in life when they were really themselves and felt good." Instead of therapy, which he believes focuses too much on what went wrong and why, he urges people to "find times when things were right "when they were working with "people, ideas, or things."
Understand your formative influences. At this stage people need to become conscious of family history and the "opinions, attitudes, hopes, and wishes they have often inherited." They must also understand how they have been affected by messages from the broader culture about work and what is possible for them. For example, a person who grew up with negative attitudes about money might assume that money would not be available for a potential project. Or a woman might be affected by the societal messages of her youth that all a woman could be was a nurse, secretary, or teacher. Becoming aware of these messages and "realizing it's not you, but stuff you inherited, is tremendously liberating," says Jarow.
Learn how to focus energy and thought. The first step in learning to harness the incredible power of thought, says Jarow, is to "see that reality is created by your constant thoughts." Once people realize they can get control of their thought processes, they don't have to buy into negative inherited messages and can begin to set goals.
One technique he recommends is incremental goal setting. Rather than focusing on the amorphous "what do you want to do with your life?" he suggests specifying a goal for the next six months. Possible goals might be doubling income, developing patience, working on a relationship, or finding the right living space. "What's important is that the goal is genuine," says Jarow.
Another technique is to direct your thoughts through visualization. It might mean repeating in your mind a positive image like climbing a mountain and seeing a vista - but Jarow emphasizes that the image must come from one's own unconscious. Another approach is to repeat a positive phrase like "I have a perfect work and a perfect way, I do perfect service for perfect pay," 100 times a day. This technique can move a person "out of habitual doldrums," says Jarow, and attract forces that will get them moving.
Learn to give and receive in a communal context. As a society, we have been taught that it is good to give, he says, yet we have a hard time receiving. Even something as simple as a compliment may be difficult to accept, because we feel we don't deserve it. Yet Jarow points out that even a simple act like buying something means we are supporting someone else, and we are part of a web of giving and receiving.
Jarow believes that each day we need to be thankful for receiving the incredible gift of life. When you think this way, you want to share the gift with others.
Once people allow themselves to receive, they can begin to understand, says Jarow, that "careers are almost never created by oneself alone." Someone else has to pick up the phone or want your service. Once people are open to the give and take of relationship, they are ready to move beyond manipulative networking and to ask, "With what I love, where can I make a contribution to my community?"
Once people have gone through the process he describes, Jarow believes they will start meeting the right people, going to the right places, and having things happen for them. "It's the law of attention," he says. "Wherever you place your attention, that part of your life will expand."
"The population I'm working with are not unemployed," says Jarow. The issue is underemployment; for millions in our society, work doesn't match aspirations and dreams. They are settling for jobs that are meaningless because they believe there is nothing else they can do. To find the position that is peculiarly yours, Jarow offers several possibilities:
Self-employment. Find an apprenticeship or a mentor. "Find someone doing what you'd like to do and hang out with them."
Research like-minded organizations. Explore the mission statements of organizations you might be interested in, and only send resumes to places where know you'll feel good working. Jarow suggests thinking that "there's a place that needs you and a place you need to be," and he asks, "Can you see those two places coming together?" That kind of thinking, he adds, will set you up to find things you wouldn't have imagined before.
Don't work at all. Taking time off is particularly important for people who have lost jobs or are in transition. He asks people to sign a contract with themselves to "explore who you are and where you're going."
Consciously go into a profession like accounting, law or medicine. "Go in with a purpose, hoping to change them before they change you," he says. Find someone in the profession who you want to be like, who inspires you.
Jarow's approach to work comes out of his own search. After dropping out of Harvard at 19, he went to India and Europe for seven years. He also studied the work of Jung. "I had to come to terms with my own culture and background," he says. Returning to the United States, he earned a bachelor's and master's degree and then a Ph.D. in English and Oriental studies at Columbia, "putting east and west together." In addition to his formal education, he worked with healers and shamans, who taught him the use of imagination, meditation, and the power of intuition. In 1988 he did his first group on the issue of work. He also apprenticed himself to a career counselor at Columbia, Richard Gummere.
Jarow's premise is that we are here on earth to achieve the pursuit of happiness. His goal is to help people create working situations that support where they want to be in their lives. As a society, he says, we've learned about the power of hard work, but what we need is a "vision of who I am and what I can give to the world."
- Michele Alperin
Increase Sales by Setting Goals
'Don't cross the street, don't eat too fast, don't speak to strangers. When we're young kids, a lot of the learning we do is through negative conditioning," says Milton Paris, a former salesman and manufacturing plant manager turned business coach and consultant, radio host, and motivational speaker. "In order to achieve success we have to change that negative thinking and turn it into positive energy. I can help businesses increase sales by boosting their goals, improving their networking, and showing them how to get more out of their employees."
When Paris talks, people tend to listen. The six-foot-six-and-a-half-inch former college basketball player with the size 15 shoes now wears the title of process facilitator for Paradigm Associates, a Clark-based consulting firm that works with small and large corporations as well as individuals.
He gives a talk, "Increase Sales by Setting Goals," on Tuesday, June 28, at 8 a.m. at 1st Constitution Bank in Cranbury. Call 609-655-4500. Owners of companies, presidents, CEOs, executives, supervisors, team leaders, individual entrepreneurs, managers of companies that want to increase sales, increase business, and improve the bottom line - Paris welcomes any and all of the above to his free seminar with this pitch:
"In 30 to 60 days we can increase their business by $100,000 dollars. In 90 days, in some cases, we can help them increase their business by 300 percent."
Paris has developed a formula for success that works in tandem with his idea that positive mental conditioning can help change the behavior of individuals. "A person who says I don't think it's going to work has to change his attitude and that's where my formula comes in."
The formula reads like this: ASK plus goals = PBC + IR. ASK - A is for attitude. S is for skill, how to accomplish something. People may have skills but they may not know how to apply them. That's why they need K, for Knowledge. What you need to know and when you should do something with it.
Goals. You have to have goals to accomplish something. "If I go shopping for my wife she gives me a list. The goal is to get everything on that list. If I didn't have a list I would there for 24 hours, confused and faltering," says Paris.
PBC = Make a Positive Behavior Change in a person.
IR -Improve Results in your organization and personal life
In addition to his formula, Paris has developed some tips to help businesses use goal-setting to increase sales.
Set goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. "Companies tend to set goals that are too long-ranging," says Paris. "Setting annual goals is not enough. Look at what often happens to New Years resolutions that are made in January. People arrive at December and realize they haven't succeeded in keeping them."
Put goals down in writing and put them in a place where you see them regularly. Paris recommends keeping your list in your wallet or pocketbook or posted on a wall, anywhere you can see it easily so you can constantly remind yourself of where you want to go.
Check goals and results on a regular basis. Goals that are tended once a week are goals that tend to be reached. "I work hand-in-hand with managers to help them meet their goals," says Paris. "It's not enough to set goals. You have to see how well you're succeeding in achieving them. If you don't meet your goals, you have to figure out how to adjust them so that you can. You have to tweak them as you go."
Paris, who turned 68 last month, was born and raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Jefferson High School. His father, Julius, was an auto mechanic who gave him a positive outlook on life and a strong work ethic. "My father always thought he was a millionaire because he had four wonderful sons. He had a great attitude and this is the attitude I've always had. I must be positive seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I try to stay away from negative people and negative news."
Paris describes his mother, Ida, as the backbone of the family, raising four energetic boys, of which he was the baby. "She was a loving mother and a great cook. If she had only enough meat for one person and 20 people came in, she would make enough. She and my father were the perfect parents who brought up their kids with love."
Paris attended Gonzaga University in Washington State where he describes himself as the only Jewish student in a student body of 1,600 Catholics. His unusual height and large feet made him unacceptable for army regulations, so he played basketball on a scholarship and spent what he calls "four wonderful years."
Upon graduating he went on a job interview. "The manager in charge of interviewing me asked 'what is your goal in life?' and I said I want your job. He hired me, and two years later, I did get his job," relates Paris. His can-do spirit helped him move up to president and vice president of sales for three different companies national customer bases. He says that he helped grow each one to unprecedented levels of sales revenue. And along every step of the way he had hands-on involvement in marketing and promotion, merchandising and product development.
"I asked my mother to give me 'Tenacity' as my middle name," he jokes. "Tenacity is how I attribute my success. There's no such thing in my vocabulary as cannot do. It's always 'can do.'"
Paris also had a longtime dream of retiring at the age of 59, a dream he realized nine years ago. He actually went into a state of semi-retirement, traveling around the country doing talks, consulting, and volunteering for many different causes. Then, just a couple of years ago, after living in Merrick, Long Island for 36 years, he says he and his wife got tired of waking up every day to see another person moving to Florida. That's when they decided to move to New Jersey to be closer to their two sons and four grandchildren.
Paris and his wife, Susan, a homemaker, live in Monroe Township in a retirement community called the Regency. As movie buffs, they run the Regency Culture Club, bringing in live entertainers and organizing classic movie nights once a month for the seniors who live there. He also shows movies for other seniors at the Monroe Township Community center. "Seniors come from all over central New Jersey every month for the free movie screening. I'm very good at networking and getting people to donate. People will say look out, he's coming, he wants something else. But I believe it's important for people and businesses to support the communities where they live and work."
Now, in addition to his work for Paradigm Associates, Paris hosts a weekly radio show, "Getting Ahead in Business," on WCTC 1450 AM broadcasting to the New Jersey and New York area. He wrote a motivational book "Two Hundred and Fifty Statements and Thoughts to Live By in Sales."
"I want everybody to bring me their business problems and I'll give them some answers and positive guidance," says Paris. "I believe anybody can succeed. If you have your health and set your goals, you've got it made. I'm a true believer."
- Euna Kwon Brossman
Work a Niche Inch by Inch: Rob Weber
Between 60 and 70 percent of products brought to market annually will die away within their first year. And in a cruel twist, the winners are often far from the most useful entries. Pet rocks and corn cob holders can barely be kept in stock, while improved bicycle helmets and cheaper lawn mowers gather dust. The new products that flourish - no matter how frivolous - are those that are placed on the right shelves in the right way.
Even for experienced business owners, the long road between the firing up of the initial prototype and the first ring of the cash register can remain a mystery. To help uncover the elements of success, the New Jersey Technology Council's CEO Forum presents "A Case Study in Do or Die Decisions in New Product Introduction," on Wednesday, June 29, at 9:30 a.m. at Cisco Systems in Edison. Cost: $20. Visit www.NJTC.org or call 856-787-9700. Rob Weber, managing director of Antiphony Partners in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is the featured speaker. The talk focuses on how Weber founded ENSONIQ, a provider of digital audio products, and on how he marketed them.
For most of his adult life Weber has been either launching some new enterprise, or financing one. He holds a bachelor's of science and an economics degree from Wharton (Class of 1982), a good combination for a scientist with entrepreneurial ambitions. In l983 he founded ENSONIQ, and later he launched Elastrometric Technologies, an electronic connection manufacturer. Through his angel investor group, Robin Hood Ventures of Wayne, Pennsylvania, Weber has held an executive position in many startups. Currently, along with running Antiphony, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania and president of Knoa, an E-learning software company he founded.
"I think probably the greatest mistake the new business person makes," says Weber, "is that he gets swayed from his original market strategy - if he has one at all." For Weber, marketing plans must be precise, yet flexible.
Market focus. How many times have you heard it on TV? "This is a great product, it dices, slices, chops, cures measles, and babysits the kids."
"Entrepreneurs get lured in by their own product," says Weber. "They fantasize about its uses until they believe that every person with a pulse is a potential customer." This something-for-everyone approach not only dilutes the image of quality and turns away buyers, but it also diffuses and burns the new company's resources in a scattershot approach.
Weber's advice for startups is to focus like a laser on one specific, and very limited market group. Concentrate on serving them better and winning a major purchasing share from them. ENSONIQ decided to sell music synthesizers to hobbyists. Its strategy deliberately left out hackers, professionals, and semi-professionals. While these groups were large and enticing, Weber saw he could not stretch his product - or his marketing efforts - to address the needs of all of these audiences.
Controlled growth. As the product grows more successful, the market will change. Entrepreneurs should forecast their products' lifespan and whom it will serve at given periods. Then owners can plan the amount of funding they will require over a five-year period. Of course, even the smallest niche market is never static. It is important to be flexible and to update the product. The goal is to have the customer dialing your number because "they always have just the right item for me."
Raise less money. By beginning with a small but solid toehold, the new company can dominate a position and leverage its experience. Nothing so entices investors as a track record. Big plans are invariably more attractive when you can show that a lot has already been achieved with very little.
"If you've got some patience," says Weber, "it's amazing how little first round funding you can get away with." Venture capitalists are fond of pointing to a very attractive sports blog that is seeking funding to become a regional print magazine. It is a highly favored prospect, far more likely to draw funding than an unproved business plan for a sports magazine would be.
The CEO's endless role. "If you have the idea that you are going to fund your firm once, get over it!" exclaims Weber. "A CEO's primary job is to maintain cash flow for the company." As obvious as this may sound, many company owners neglect this part of their job description.
"You may be selling yourself to venture capitalists, your stock to shareholders, or your product to buyers," says Weber. "But you as CEO are always the salesman." Taking this long view of funding, he says, puts short term needs into perspective. Since the funding process is ongoing, asking only for today's money today keeps the amounts down and makes the entrepreneur less dangerously beholden to investors.
The economy of scale is not always achieved by going larger. Taking your business forward through the small steps proposed by Weber can prove lest costly, and can leave you with more control, more profits, and fewer sleepless nights.
- Bart Jackson
Charitable Giving To Make a Difference: Janet Ginn
Most charitable organizations focus on why they deserve your financial support, demonstrating their strengths and accomplishments with brochures, annual reports, and websites. Heifer International, a world hunger organization, does all that, but it has also created a foundation, the purpose of which is to educate people about charitable giving. Janet Ginn, president of the Heifer Foundation, travels the country giving seminars to donors and potential donors to tell them about financial vehicles for giving and estate planning.
"We work with individuals who want to make a difference," she says, citing in particular the Depression and "baby-boomer" generations. "What we do is provide them with the options to do that."
But Ginn emphasizes that caring for the family comes before seeking to change the world. "When you go on an airplane, the flight attendant says to put on your own oxygen mask first and then help someone else," she says. Similarly, "if you don't take care of your own financial needs, you can't make the difference you desire through other charitable organizations."
Ginn speaks on "Planned Charitable Giving" on Thursday, June 30, at 6 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel on Route 1. The talk is sponsored by Heifer International, which is based in Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information call 501-907-4900.
Ginn's own life experience showed her what can happen without adequate financial planning. Her grandparents built a 2,000-acre farm, which went to her grandmother after her grandfather's death. Her grandmother was forced to sell the property little by little to support herself during her last 20 years, each time paying capital gains taxes. When she died at age 95, she had nothing left.
As a result of her grandmother's experience, Ginn understands the need for estate planning, both to care for family needs and to transfer personal values to the next generation.
The first thing Ginn tells her audiences is that "everyone in the room has an estate plan, either one they have created or one the government has created for them." Although it seems obvious to Ginn that people who have worked all their lives and struggled to save would want to create an estate plan, she says that 7 out of 10 people don't have a will. The reasons? "Either they thought they were too busy, or that they didn't have enough assets, or that it was too expensive. Or they don't like legal documents." And then there are those people, she says, "who don't plan to die."
But die they do, and planning is essential. Ginn describes a number of alternatives her grandmother might have pursued that would have provided lifetime income, with the remaining assets left for the family and/or for charity:
Charitable remainder trust. "If she had put her property into a charitable trust," says Ginn, "she could have sold a portion through the trust, bypassing capital gains." She would also have received an immediate charitable deduction and would have received income for life and potentially for her children for up to about 20 years. At the end of the trust, normally upon the death of the income recipients, whatever was left would have been distributed to charities named in the trust.
A charitable remainder trust is a very simple instrument to create, says Ginn, requiring four pieces of information - age; market value of assets, which may include property, cash, stocks, and bonds, although she advises people to use appreciated property so as to bypass capital gains taxes; federal and state income brackets; and what annual return the trust should provide.
The trust also requires a trustee who is responsible for the trust's accounting, for knowing all relevant federal and state laws, and for making sure the tax information about the trust is provided for annual taxes.
Retirement trust. This trust is similar to the remainder trust, but the eventual recipients do not receive immediate income. An asset is put in a charitable trust, where it is managed and has the opportunity to grow. For example, if a younger donor put aside $200,000 inherited from an aunt, assuming an average 8 percent return, it would be worth over $1,000,000 by age 65, at which time the individual could begin receiving as much as $90,000 a year. The remainder would go to the specified charity when the recipient dies.
Charitable gift annuity. Based on a simple agreement, a donor gives money or assets to a charity and receives a rate of return based on his or her age at the time of donation. The donor gets a fixed income for life, no matter what the market does. For example, if at 76 John donates $50,000 worth of stock, which the charity puts into low risk investments, he will receive about $4,000 annually for the rest of his life, no matter how long he lives. The income will not increase, as it does with a charitable trust, but it won't decrease either. About $500 of the income would be tax free, and a portion of the donation would be considered a charitable deduction the year the annuity is set up. The remainder would go to the charity specified.
Two-life charitable gift annuity. This is like a gift annuity, except that you specify two people to receive the income. Examples are an individual and spouse or child, grandparent and grandchild, or a person and her best friend. A person can create multiple charitable gift annuities for multiple people.
Deferred annuity. As in a retirement trust, the donor gives the charity money or assets, but doesn't receive payments for a number of years. As a result, the percentage return is higher. If, for example, a donor put in money at age 45, but did not touch it until age 65, the return could be as high as 13 or 14 percent.
Ginn is a native Arkansan who had never been out of the United States before taking her current position. She began her career working for a religious denomination, "educating them on their mission program." After 20 years she decided she wanted to be part of an organization that was feeding hungry children and researched many options. Then, serendipitously, one day she opened a newspaper and read that the Heifer Foundation needed a vice president of marketing and administration. She applied in 1998, got the job, and after three years became the organization's president. Ginn is a certified fundraising executive and in 1999 completed the nonprofit strategic management program at Harvard Business School.
Heifer International gives "a hand up, not a hand out," says Ginn, by providing food and income-producing animals around the world. With the income from the animals, recipients buy clothes for their children, provide them with nutrition, and send them to school. The next step is "passing on the gift"; everyone who receives an animal signs a legal document agreeing to pass the first female animal born to a neighbor in need.
Through her work at the Heifer Foundation, Ginn facilitates a whole chain of giving: "I have had the privilege, a life dream, of being able to not only help recipients through Heifer International, but to help a world in need.
- Michele Alperin
The special health needs of African Americans is the focus of an upcoming Princeton HealthCare System event, "Soul to Soul: Taking Care of Each Other." The free event takes place on Saturday, June 25, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency. Cost: $30. Call 609-233-1234. Keynote speakers are Susan L. Taylor, editorial director of Essence magazine, and Michael Eric Dyson, an author and University of Pennsylvania professor who was recently named to Ebony magazine's list of "100 Most Influential Black Americans."
"Soul to Soul" follows last year's "Taking Care of Sisters" by expanding the program to include men and emphasizing the role of mutual support and caring in good health.
"Last year's celebration was sold out, so we've nearly doubled the number of participants we can accommodate this year," said Henry Davison Jr., MD, event co-chair and immediate past president of the medical and dental staff of Princeton HealthCare System, in a prepared statement. He said that "Soul to Soul" is the largest event of its kind for the African American community in Mercer County. Dyson, author of "Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?," speaks on his insights into health and illness.
Also speaking are Davison, a surgeon who offers "a wake up call" for good health; John D. Passalaris, MD, an internist and cardiovascular physician, who speaks about heart disease; and Ronald Morton, MD, of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, who addresses cancer risks, myths, and guidelines.
While this conference is targeted to the health needs of African Americans, all are invited to attend.
NJIT's New Weekend University
It's hard for working adults to find time to take college courses. With this in mind, New Jersey Institute of Technology has launched a Program for Professional Advancement: The Weekend University. The goal is to make it convenient for adults to earn either an undergraduate certificate or a bachelor's degree.
"Frequently when NJIT speaks with our industry colleagues, we hear about their personnel needs, including the numbers of their employees who have yet to complete their undergraduate degrees or who lack the additional education to help the employee, as well as the company, progress to the next level," said Joel Bloom, vice president of academic affairs at NJIT, in a prepared statement. "This new program is our response to industry needs. It's innovative, it's convenient, and it's customized to educate the working adults to the actual jobs that will be in demand in New Jersey in the coming years."
The program, (adultlearner.njit.edu/weekend), which will begin in the fall of 2005, is designed for high-tech professionals who want to first earn a certificate either in information systems management or in network applications, and then continue to earn a bachelor's degree in information technology (IT). Students who earn the certificate and the bachelor IT will be well positioned to find high-demand jobs, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Top 50 Occupations report, says Bloom.
To accommodate the schedules of working adults, Weekend University classes will be offered on Friday evenings starting at 6 p.m. and on Saturdays starting at 9 a.m. The hour and a half classes meet on the NJIT campus, either once a week or once every other week, while students also study online throughout the typical NJIT 15-week semester.
Students can earn the 24-credit undergraduate certificate first and then use that as a springboard to pursue the bachelor's degree in IT. In this way, working adults earn two credentials for the price of one, said Gale Tenen Spak, associate vice president of Continuing and Distance Learning Education at NJIT.
"Combined face-to-face teaching with online learning offers flexibility to the busy adult, allowing them to take additional classes each semester and earn a degree faster," Spak said in a prepared statement. "We have highly trained professors in online educating methods and affordable state university tuition rates."
Undergraduate certificates will be offered in two IT areas: the essentials of network applications and the essentials of information systems management. Students choosing to specialize in network applications will be offered classes such as Information Design Techniques, Internet and applications, and computer systems and networks. And students who concentrate in information systems management can take classes such as database system design and management, systems for analysis and design for managers, and decision support systems.
After completing 24 credits, students will have the chance to have their work experience count toward the bachelor IT degree. That degree program, said Spak, offers students a multidisciplinary approach, allowing them to choose a specific area to apply computing and telecommunications technologies. The program balances emphasis on software and hardware applications with an array of concentrations in many fields. The program prepares students to integrate, design and manage computing and telecommunication resources. Through core courses that provide knowledge of information technology functions, system development, and applications, the program helps students develop a marketable expertise in the IT area of network applications and information-systems management.
"As the convergence of telecommunications and computing, information technology is the foundation of the 21st- century economy," said Spak. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, she added, ranks IT as the profession expected to grow fastest over the next 10 years, while the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development says that these jobs are among the top 50 occupations in demand in the state.
"NJIT's Weekend University," Spak added, "is tailored for adults who want to be lifelong learners and stay on top of their professions. Researchers who study adult learners note that most of them need to remain at their jobs, but they also want to earn the qualifications to get promotions. They want to earn certifications that prove that they have attained a certain level of education, and they want to be perceived by their superiors and their peers in a way that enhance their careers.'"
For more information on the program, call NJIT's Division of Continuing Professional Education at 800-624-9850.