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These are the Difference Makers™

Newspapers in Education
Newspapers in Education
Davenport, IA

USA Today research found that students who read the newspaper in school were 83.2% more likely to vote than those who did not read the paper. Our future depends on these children.

Literacy Leadership, Inc. is a national non-profit organization which supports the advancement and promotion of literacy in the communities served by their founding organization, Lee Enterprises, Inc. Their national headquarters is in the Quad-Cities, IA/IL. Their mission is to support literacy efforts and help students learn and develop reading and critical thinking skills now, and help them become informed, involved citizens in the future.

Local efforts are focused through the Quad-City Times and Muscatine Journal, whose slogan is "We Deliver More Than News." They give back to the Quad-Cities through a number of projects or partnerships, such as the "Newspapers in Education" (NIE) program which provides over 25,500 newspapers and literacy curriculum each week to Quad-City Area K-12 schools. NIE is an international educational effort that helps teachers and parents use the very latest textbook -their local newspaper - to instruct young people about the world around them, fuel their desire to learn about many topics and encourage a love of reading. A better educated community allows for students with a higher rate of employability, increased work skills for future careers and more informed voters for a bright future.

They also support "Reading Adventures," a free yearly community event focused on literacy. Every child under the age of 12 receives a free book, activities and treats at this special event. Their new program, "Technology 4 Education," partners with local community members and businesses to refurbish donated computers and other technology, which is then redistributed back to local school children who have no access to technology at home, to be used to help them with their education. Although the program has just started, they have over 100 computers to be distributed in their first event.

This program has donated over $1,100,000 back into the Quad-City Area for children's literacy efforts. The Quad-City Times generously subsidizes all costs so that 100% of all money raised goes back in into the Quad-City Area Community, which includes schools in 14 counties in Iowa and Illinois.

To learn more about this exciting program, please log on to their website: or contact

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Mending Kids
Mending Kids
Burbank, CA

Mending Kids is a non-profit group that provides transformational, life-changing, corrective or rehabilitative surgeries and surgical care to children worldwide. Based in Burbank CA, Mending Kids has helped thousands of children by giving them a chance at longer, healthier and happier lives. Most of the operations performed include correcting congenital heart defects, orthopedic abnormalities, severe scoliosis, and significant cranial facial deformities.

Kids with complex cases are provided transportation and are provided aid by partner hospitals in India, Israel & Canada. Surgical teams and volunteers travel to developing countries to perform surgeries and build sustainable programs.

This year Mending Kids will be doing their 3rd Hometown mission in Los Angeles where in the span of one day, there are up to 20 free surgeries performed by volunteer surgeons for American children. For those kids outside the United States, they are often flown here for complex surgeries and stay with volunteer host families.

This amazing organization has received the Guide Star Gold award which is awarded to only the top non-profit groups. 91% of their money goes directly to the program to help special kids in need.

Find out more at their website:

Mending Kids        Mending Kids

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The Snowdrop Foundation
The Snowdrop Foundation
Houston, TX

The Snowdrop Foundation based out of Houston Texas is a non-profit group that is dedicated to assisting patients and families at the Texas Children's Cancer Center. Progress has been made, but we have a long way to go. In just forty-five years, the overall survival rate for children with cancer has increased from 10% to 70%. Thirty percent still need our help, as well as the help of scientists, researchers and doctors.

The Snowdrop Foundation donations are designated for four specific areas:

  • Snowdrop Scholarship Program: Scholarships to qualified, college bound, and Board of Director approved pediatric cancer patients. To date, over $494,000 in scholarships have been awarded.
  • Teen Programs: The Teen Program is a support program for teenage patients within the Cancer Center. This group plans activities such as weekend trips, an Easter egg hunt, Snowdrop Toe Drop, and Bling for Bravery.
  • Research: Total donations from 2006 through 2015 is over $726,000.00(including matching funds). The research grant goes to Dr. Nino Rainusso at Texas Children's Cancer Center.
  • Awareness: Hosting events such as fun runs and endurance events to raise awareness of childhood cancer.

Childhood cancer patients demonstrate indestructible attitudes and spirit while battling the life threatening illness of childhood cancer. The snowdrop symbolizes hope and purity. Hopefully one day a cure for all childhood cancers will be found allowing the purity of every child to remain untouched by the devastating diagnosis of cancer.

To find out more about this life saving organization, check out their website:

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Stoney Creek Ranch
Stoney Creek Ranch
Houston, TX

Stoney Creek Ranch provides urban youth with a rare peek at a completely different life. They have the chance to try new experiences in the great outdoors such as catching a fish, seeing a deer, kayaking, hanging 20 feet above ground during the high ropes course, water zip lines, and so much more.

Kids get a chance to breathe fresh air, try new things, grow in self-confidence, and deepen their connection with the other children and the adult leaders. Relationships grow best through shared experience, so Stoney Creek provides fun engaging activities designed to test initiative, develop perseverance and foster servant-leadership.

Imagine never having traveled outside your own neighborhood, never tried swimming or fishing or had 3 square meals a day or slept in a cozy bed. That is the real-life story of many of their summer campers.

For many of the youth they serve, Stoney Creek Ranch will be the ONLY time they are given the opportunity to simply "be a kid."

Learn more about how you can help other children experience being a kid today-log on to their website:

Team MARCO and Difference Makers™ may be able to help you in your effort to help others. Each week a $500 credit to use towards a promotional products order (including any set up fees and shipping) will be given free to a 501 (c) (3) organization. Difference Makers™ are welcome to apply.

Download Your Difference Makers™ Application to Win $500 in FREE Promotional Products for Your Charitable Organization.
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