The Common Good
March-April 2000

Resources for Study and Action

by Ryan Beiler | March-April 2000

Adopt-a-What?!

Adopt-a-What?!

Combining elements of successful adopt-a-highway and sister cities concepts, a new U.N.-sponsored program encourages individuals, community groups, and businesses to Adopt-A-Minefield. As a practical means of saving lives and raising awareness about the landmine crisis, sponsors raise funds to clear minefields and return land to productive use. While a mine can cost as little as $3 to produce, it can cost up to $1,000 to remove, so sponsors may adopt entire minefields or contribute smaller amounts, which are pooled with other contributions. Contact the Adopt-A-Minefield Campaign, United Nations Association of the USA, 801 2nd Ave., New York, NY 10017-4706; (212) 907-1300; info@landmines.org; www. landmines.org.

Listen to the Children

Foster international awareness and understanding through the videos in the Child’s View Series produced by Mennonite Central Committee. Each video brings you the sights and sounds of children’s lives around the world, including stories from Indonesia, Congo, Laos, Mozambique, and elsewhere. Though most videos are about five minutes long—accommodating viewers with shorter attention spans, young and old—they show both the joys and challenges that children in developing and conflicted countries experience. One story is of 8-year-old Sladjana, a refugee of the war in Croatia whose family is building a house and making new friends in Serbia. Videos cost $15 each ($10 each if purchasing five or more), but are also available for free loan from the MCC office nearest you. Contact MCC, 21 South 12th St., P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501-0500; mccresources@ mcc.org; www.mcc. org/resource.

Put Your Money Where Your Social Conscience Is

According to the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, in the last five years socially responsible mutual funds have consistently outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500. No, that’s not a NASCAR race. It means what many people of faith always suspected—that responsible companies can be profitable companies. For your piece of the action, check out ICCR’s Conscientious Investors Guide to Socially Responsible Mutual Funds and Investment Services, which profiles 44 firms, funds, and advisers who screen harmful companies and help investors use their shareholder power to influence corporations for good. The most common screens include alcohol and tobacco, equal employment opportunities, labor and human rights, nuclear power, and weapons production. Contact ICCR, 475 Riverside Dr., Room 550, New York, NY 10115; info@iccr.org.

Responsible Stewardship is Smart Stewardship

Use the vast information-gathering potential of the Internet for good rather than evil. GuideStar’s massive database of nonprofits of all shapes, sizes, and missions allows you to make educated choices about your charitable giving. It’s also a great way for nonprofits—especially those without their own Web sites—to present information online, including mission statements, newsletters, press releases, financial and IRS data, project updates, and classified ads. GuideStar’s services are free to both donors and participating nonprofits, and are available at www.guidestar.org.

Make Waves

Evoking the image of the ever-widening ripples in a pond, Claudia Horwitz’s A Stone’s Throw: living the act of faith is designed to facilitate spiritually informed social action. Through sections on "Turning Inward," "Sustaining Ourselves," and "Turning Outward," this book includes activities for individuals and groups, questions for reflection, worksheets and resources, and perhaps most inspiring, stories of people who are already combining justice work and spirituality. Cost is $17 (+$3 shipping) from stone circles, 301 West Main St., Suite 280, Durham, NC 27701; (919) 682-8323; astonesthr@ aol.com.

—Compiled by Ryan Beiler

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