TIME society

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Just Topped $100 Million

More than 3 million people have donated

Donations from the Ice Bucket Challenge broke the $100 million mark Friday as people around world continue to dump ice on their heads and donate to the ALS Association to help combat Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“The word gratitude doesn’t do enough to express what we are feeling right now,” ALS President and CEO Barbara Newhouse said in a statement.

The $100 million in donations came from more than 3 million donors who have contributed since the challenge went viral in late July. The ALS Association raised only $2.8 million in the same period last year.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been a social media phenomenon, grabbing the attention of millions of Americans including many celebrities and political figures. Some have speculated that it might forever change the way charities approach fundraising.

TIME viral

Toddler Completes Ice Bucket Challenge, Nominates Dora the Explorer

Your move, Dora.

By now, it seems just about everyone – celebrities, politicians, dogs — has participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, the massively viral phenomenon raising money for ALS research. (The ALS Association says it has now raised more than $90 million to combat the disease.)

You might be a little sick of watching videos of people dumping water over their heads, but we recommend taking 45 seconds to watch the one above, uploaded by YouTuber Mike Weber. It features an adorable 2-year-old named Ashley who dons a pair of goggles and gamely completes the challenge. She nominates a few members of her family, and then also nominates Barbie and Dora the Explorer.

Your move, Dora.

TIME als ice bucket challenge

I Figured Out Why I Hate the Ice Bucket Challenge

Two women get doused during the ice bucket challenge at Boston's Copley Square on Aug. 7, 2014.
Two women get doused during the ice bucket challenge at Boston's Copley Square on Aug. 7, 2014. Elise Amendola—AP

I shudder to think what Americans look like dumping freezing cold water over our heads while so much of the world is plunged into acute suffering, and I can tell you exactly why

With much gratitude, somehow my weekend Facebook thread was remarkably free of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos. A friend with whom I spent the weekend was not so lucky. Every time she looked at Facebook she exclaimed “Another one! Another one. Oh my God. Sheryl Sandberg! Oh my God! Bill Gates! Russell Crowe! Justin Timberlake!” I actually watched Justin Timberlake’s, not because I am obsessed with Justin Timberlake, but because I found him somehow the most surprising. But he really took to ice water, well, I guess the way a duck takes to regular water.

But my friend and I found ourselves ultimately irritated by the ALS challenge, which has shown no signs of fading. We wondered why. How could we object to an organization raising $80 million dollars to help combat a terrible disease? Charitable fundraising is not a frivolous pursuit. Plus, I myself had done many only-charitable-to-myself frivolous things this weekend. I flew in an airplane. I ate food out of takeout containers. I swam in a lovely pool.

Still exploring our irritation, my friend and I watched one particular video of a woman standing in front of her Malibu beach house, screaming as the icy water fell on her head. I’d seen and heard other ALS Ice Bucketeers scream, but this one was particularly bloodcurdling. In that scream, I knew why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge rubbed me the wrong way.

At any given time, many people on the planet are enduring war and famine and violence. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that in the last few weeks the news been especially awful. Around 2,000 Palestinians and 66 Israelis have died in Gaza since that conflict flared up. In our very own country, a police officer shot an unarmed 18-year-old boy, six times. This morning, Sudanese rebels shot down a U.N. helicopter.

And here we are in America dumping ice water on our heads, which, I insist, is more than just harmless fun for a good cause. It is disrespectful to the literally millions of people in the world who are, as I type and you read, in actual physical pain. To then post that experience in public forum is essentially kind of a subtle form of bragging. “My life is so without trauma that I find creating moments of trauma exhilarating, and hilarious.” The fact that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans creating and sharing these videos suggests that we as a nation are making the same boast.

Do I think everyone who did the ALS challenge is a terrible person? Of course not. Do I think that there’s another way that ALS could have raised all that money so fast? Unlikely. It’s certainly better for the ALS Association and the approximately 30,000 Americans who have ALS that this happened. That said, I shudder to think about what we look like dumping freezing cold water over our heads while so much of the world at this time is plunged into acute suffering over which they have no control. Not to mention the fact that we are also in the middle of an historic drought, and most of the challenge water is from the tap, not the toilet or another used source (an exception being Matt Damon, who rightly called dumping clean water on his head “a little crazy”).

Imagine being a suffering person in the world, watching Americans spend the weekend dumping water on their heads as a quixotic impetus to give—or to avoid giving? Which is it?—money. In Gaza, having bombs drop all around you and sharing the one remaining jug of water left in your kitchen with four other people. In Ferguson, Missouri.

I am not saying that Americans should have spent their weekends in hair shirts, flagellating themselves. But if we’re going to be excited about having this connected world, we need to act like citizens of that world and try to be aware that there are other people living in it, whose experience is absolutely nothing like ours. And with that realization, it might be nice to just quietly, without screaming or wasting, send someone who has less than you, someone who suffers more, a check. Just because.

 

Sarah Miller also writes for NewYorker.com and The Hairpin, among other outlets, and has published two novels, Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl.

TIME viral

Matt Damon Uses Toilet Water for His Ice Bucket Challenge

He hoped to draw attention to the widespread lack of clean water around the world

When nominated by his pals Ben Affleck and Jimmy Kimmel for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Matt Damon faced a bit of a dilemma.

The challenge requires participants to either donate money toward amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research or dump water over their heads (or, as many celebrities have done, both, helping the campaign raise about $80 million.) Damon was down to contribute to a good (and massively viral) cause, but didn’t want to waste clean water, as he’s the co-founder of Water.org, a non-profit dedicated to providing safe water and sanitation in the developing world.

Damon’s solution to this conundrum? Just use toilet water — and also consider the video an opportunity to raise awareness about the lack of clean drinking water across the globe.

“This is truly toilet water. I’ve been collecting it from various toilets around the house,” he says as he fills his bucket. ” For those of you like my wife who think this is really disgusting, keep in mind that the water in our toilets in the West is actually cleaner than the water that most people in the developing world have access to.”

Then he dumps the toilet water over his head and nominates George Clooney, Bono and Tom Brady. We have a feeling those guys will just use regular water though.

TIME viral

‘Winter Is Coming’: George R.R. Martin Does the Ice Bucket Challenge

A Song of Ice (Bucket Challenge) and Fire

George R.R. Martin took a quick break from killing off all your favorite people in Westeros to add to the ever-growing collection of celebrity Ice Bucket Challenge videos. That’s the trend in which people dump ice water over themselves and post the proof on Facebook or donate to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research. Many stars have done both, and the campaign has raised about $80 million so far.

After being nominated by Neil Gaiman (who he deems a “bastard”) and a few other people, Martin parks himself beside a pool and declares, “God help us all! Winter is coming!” Then some friends dump ice water on him and he emits a sound that can really only be described as a squeal/yelp hybrid. Then he hops into the pool and makes a bunch of Game of Thrones references.

Overall, the whole thing is much less of a bloodbath than we expected.

 

TIME

You Know Things Have Gone Too Far When a Samsung Galaxy Challenges an iPhone to the Ice Bucket Challenge

#Brands being #Brands

Some people are dumping buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS. Others are dumping buckets of ice water over their head to raise awareness for their social media profile. Samsung, for instance, dumped a bucket of ice water over a waterproof Galaxy S5 to bash Apple’s non-waterproof iPhone.

Brands, amiright? Always finding a way to latch onto the latest viral trend…

Chili’s had a more subtle approach to the challenge:

And Ronald McDonald had the most confused, failing to mention donations and nominating all “redheads”:

The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than $80 million for ALS research since July 29.

TIME viral

Oh, Look: Robert Pattinson Did the Ice Bucket Challenge, Too

He accepted Zac Efron's nomination, and the result is hilarious

Celebrities are really into nominating each other for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge right now and then posting the videos all over social media. Well, on Tuesday, Zac Efron nominated his famous buddy Robert Pattinson, even though he’s virtually invisible on social media.

It’s a bit of a surprise that he actually went through with the challenge. He ended up simply tasking Efron with sharing the video on his behalf.

After the Twilight star thanks Efron for the nomination, somebody dumps a pot of ice cubes over his head. Then someone else sprays him with a hose. When he thinks it’s all over, he lists his own nominations while ice cubes (and red Solo cups) are chucked at him.

Man, this really makes us wish he did the whole social media thing. Maybe the positive reactions to this video will make him come around.

TIME viral

This Heartbreaking Ice Bucket Challenge Video Is the Best One Yet

Meet 26-year-old Anthony Carbajal, who was recently diagnosed with ALS

Some skeptics have slammed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, writing it off as a silly social media fad, a waste of water and just another example of “slacktivism” that allows people to feel good about themselves without really doing much.

If you agree with the critics, the video above might change your mind. It was created by 26-year-old Anthony Carbajal, who explains that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) runs in his family. His grandmother had it, his mother currently lives with it, and he himself was diagnosed just five months ago.

In this very emotional video, Carbajal shows just how challenging and devastating life with this insidious disease really is as he takes care of his mom. His message for the haters and the skeptics? The Ice Bucket Challenge is actually an incredibly positive force.

“I promise your newsfeed will go back to cat videos and ‘Let It Go’ covers, but right now, the ALS community has the main spotlight,” Carbajal says into the camera with tears in his eyes. “And for once in my entire life, I’ve seen it in the forefront.”

We’ve reached out to Carbajal for comment and will update if he gets back to us.

TIME viral

10 Dogs That Bravely Completed the Ice Bucket Challenge

From a dachshund in a shower cap to a cavapoo in a raincoat

You might be at least a little sick of seeing people dump water over their heads everywhere you turn on the Internet, even if the hugely viral phenomenon is raising insane amounts of money for a worthy cause.

But the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has now taken a cutesy turn. Here, we present some of the best canine contributions to the ever-growing collection of icy videos.

The dachshund that’s totally prepared with a cute little shower cap:

The pug that would rather just donate the damn money and have you leave it alone:

The big guy named Jet that’s pretty chill about things:

The puppy named Buttons that’s all, “can you not?”:

The corgi that actually seems excited to complete the challenge:

This chill chihuahua named Jack:

The little dude named Phineas Ernest Sander that’s rocking a fly raincoat:

The little cutie named Tinkerbelle that chills in protective rain gear while her human sings for some reason:

The dog named Boomer that realizes the challenge isn’t so bad after all:

The courageous pooch that uses an actual bucket:

Honorable mention: this cutie named Lucky that almost completed the challenge:

 

MONEY charitable giving

How to Give Smarter in an ALS Ice Bucket World

Ice bucket challenge
Tournament Director Anne Worcester takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with the help of Tennis players Simona Halep, (left), Caroline Wozniack, (centre), and Petra Kvitova, (right), during the Connecticut Open at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut, August 17, 2014. Tim Clayton—Corbis

The viral success of the ALS fundraising campaign is raising questions about whether this is the best way to donate money. Here are some answers—and advice to help you make sure your contributions go to the worthiest causes.

As is inevitable with something as wildly successful as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge—a stunning $62.5 million has been raised for the ALS Association from July 29 through August 23, vs. just $2.4 million for the same period last year—a bit of backlash is developing, and thoughtful voices are starting to raise concerns about the charitable giving campaign’s message and impact.

Among them: MONEY reporter Jake Davidson, who wrote an opinion piece for Time.com in which he pointed out problems with the way the campaign is crafted: Folks are asked to donate money to help battle ALS or pour a bucket of ice water on their heads; if taken literally, all those funny videos of celebs and Facebook friends would be of people who prefer being cold, wet, and uncomfortable to helping to fight the disease.

Davidson, whose father died of ALS, also questions how much the campaign has actually educated people about the disease since many of the videos don’t mention ALS or treat it as an afterthought to the main event, a point that Slate’s Will Oremus also made. And Will Macaskill, a research fellow in moral philosophy at Emmanuel College, charges on Quartz.com that such trendy fundraising drives ultimately end up cannibalizing giving to other causes.

Well, here’s the good news for those of you who have donated to ALS charities in the wake of the Ice Bucket Challenge: According to CharityNavigator.com, which evaluates nonprofits, at least some of your fellow new donors are taking the time to learn more about the disease and the organizations that help fight it. Page views on its site for the ALS Association, the main charity behind the campaign, were up to 16,000 through the first 17 days of August, an 8,500% increase compared to the same period last year, reports Charity Navigator’s Sandra Miniutti.

You can also feel good about the organization you’re donating to: The ALS Association receives Charity Navigator’s highest four-star rating, and devotes about 72% of the money it raises to the programs and services it provides (the rest goes to administrative expenses and fundraising costs). (Check out the group’s page on Charity Navigator here.)

What about the charge that the money raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge for a relatively rare disease (30,000 affected in the U.S. by the ALS Association’s estimate) takes money away from groups working to fight more prevalent illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s (which affects 5.2 million patients in the U.S.) or diabetes (25.8 million)? Well, there’s a reasonably easy fix: Make a donation to charities that help battle those diseases as well. The Alzheimer’s Association, for instance, also receives a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.

Or give money to other worthy causes you’re passionate about. Among those groups that consistently earn a four-star rating or other top-notch marks from Charity Navigator: The Children’s Aid Society, Doctors Without Borders, the Navy Seal Foundation, Project C.U.R.E., and the United Nations Foundation, among dozens and dozens of others.

To make sure you donate to an organization that will use your money wisely, conventional wisdom is to look up your preferred group’s financials on CharityNavigator.org or Guidestar.org and stick with ones that limit their overhead expenses to less than 20% of their budget. Bear in mind, though, that expense ratios don’t tell the whole story since some nonprofits have higher administrative costs because of the nature of their work.

You also want to look at how well the charity works to support its mission. Two sites that can help you suss that out: MyPhilanthropedia.com pulls together experts to recommend and evaluate charities in 35 different causes, and GreatNonprofits.org offers crowd-sourced reviews of the work charities are doing, as told by volunteers, donors, and beneficiaries—sort of like the Yelp of the nonprofit world.

This story was updated on August 24 to reflect more recent donation totals.

 

 

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