- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 23, 2008

RANDOM ACTS:

Home, green home

The D.C. affiliate of Habitat for Humanity is one of 30 organizations that have initiated a green building partnership under sponsorship of both Habitat for Humanity International and the Home Depot Foundation.

The pilot program, which began in May and will continue through April next year, is intended to help make 5,000 homes to be built by Habitat affiliates in the next five years become more energy efficient and sustainable, in line with national standards. Home Depot is pledging $30 million in financial and in-kind support, including technical resources and training. Its foundation was established in 2002 and designed to support the construction of homes for working families, according to Caroline Counihan of the Home Depot Foundation in Atlanta.

“The foundation’s focus is on affordable housing, but we also are involved in planting community trees,” she notes. “Our goal is to build green homes that are both healthy and financially sound.” Trees, of course, are vital in providing shade to help reduce energy costs and also aid in managing storm-water runoff. “It’s also been said that trees planted around a house increase the value of the property by 15 percent,” she adds.

Aiding their efforts in the tree project are other national nonprofits, including the Alliance for Community Trees and the Arbor Day Foundation. Through its Trees for Success project, the latter organization has involved 16 schools across the country in educating children about the importance of trees and has sponsored tree-planting events.

Gates honored

The American Friends of the Hebrew University this month named Bill Gates, the software chieftain, its first Einstein Award winner. The recognition stems from Mr. Gates’ role as a technology innovator but also as co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to AFHU’s national office.

The Seattle-based foundation was created in 2000 through the merger of the William H. Gates Foundation, focused on global health improvements, with the Gates Learning Foundation, which had been established to put public-access computers with Internet connections in U.S. libraries.

Proceeds from a gala New York dinner, to be held in December, will help fund plant- and animal-science research at the Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences in Israel.

“Like Einstein, [Mr. Gates] is a leader whose actions stem from the knowledge that human progress includes alleviating human suffering,” an AFHU news release says.

Corporate good

Marriott International Inc. and Kiplinger have been named to a list compiled for the second year of the world’s most ethical companies - said to be based on companies’ codes of ethics and their histories of litigation and regulatory infraction. The list, which includes such familiar names as General Electric, Google and McDonald’s, comes from the research-based Ethisphere Institute and an associated membership group called the Ethisphere Council.

Home run for hunger

Food Link Inc., an Annapolis-based hunger-relief organization, has put up for sale 7,500 tickets to raffle off a $500,000 home. The $100 tax-deductible donation to A Home Run for Hunger can be purchased at Food Link Maryland (click here) by Aug. 8.

The two-story, four-bedroom home is located on 1.8 acres overlooking Lions Creek in Dunkirk, Md., 30 miles east of Washington, 25 miles south of Annapolis and just west of the Chesapeake Bay. Proceeds will go toward helping the hungry in the region.

Random acts is compiled by Ann Geracimos.

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