It is my sincere hope that those readers and many more will be impressed with the list of sixteen men listed below. I asked each gentleman to tell me their favorites charities, and in the end, twenty-one nonprofits are profiled.
As singer Jon Foreman wrote recently in his moving post about community and service,
We need each other. Human beings will always be the most valuable natural resource on the planet. The human story is still unfolding. We are telling it as we speak. The human song is still weaving its way towards a chorus, through the suffering, through the fear. We need each other. We need heroes. Let your life be a beautiful song. We need hope. Tell a good story with the way you live.These men understand the "beautiful song" Foreman writes about. Their lives are a reflection of what they advocate on a daily basis. They are as impressive as the charities and causes they assist.
Why he rocks: He's a renowned explorer, TV host and sustainability advocate who founded Azure Worldwide, a strategic environmental design, development and marketing company. His favorite Twitter charity: @EarthEcho, which he founded in 2000, with his sister @Acousteau, to honor of their father Philippe Cousteau Sr., famous son of the legendary explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau. This nonprofit's mission is to educate the leaders of tomorrow about the need to restore and protect our Oceans. Their work is further strengthened through partnerships with Planet Green, Youth Service America, and @UsherRaymondIV's New Look Foundation.
Why he rocks: Ranseth actually traveled around North America meeting and connecting with people through social media. He's a popular speaker, author & entrepreneur. His life's mission is to touch lives & love using social media. His favorite Twitter charity: @BGCA_Clubs. This nonprofit engages and challenges young people to reach their full potential. It has great, highly touted programs in the areas of health, the environment, leadership development, athletics, and education.
Why he rocks: I love Nuez's writing, and I love his vision of New Media. He is a Latinos in Social Media -- Best NY Blogger Award nominee. He is also Managing Editor and co-founder of New Media Brief and New Media Brief News Room. His favorite Twitter charity: @Causecast. This nonprofit has partnered with a wide array of other nonprofits dealing with issues like education, breast cancer, sustainability and human rights. Its great directory helps you connect with inspiring people and nonprofits doing exceptional work.
Why he rocks: Maybe you've seen Cory Booker on Oprah's show. Maybe you saw him on Conan O'Brien's show. No matter how a person comes to hear about him, when you read about his life, purpose and dedication, you'll immediately love him. He is the charismatic, transformational Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. His awesome work was profiled in the recent cable series Brick City. His favorite Twitter charity: @NewarkNow, the nonprofit Booker founded in 2002. As transformational and effective as its founder, Newark Now makes sure the residents of the city are equipped with the resources and services to grow and transform their neighborhoods. Newark Now's groundbreaking work has been universally praised.
Why he rocks: Gigantino owns four profitable health clubs (3 in California, and 1 in Arizona), and has a very popular workout blog, which has great infomation on fitness fundamentals. He is one of the most passionate health and wellness advocates I've ever come across. For Gigantino, it's not just fitness, but also motivation, inspiration and purpose. Twitter charities he supports: @mssociety. This nonprofit exist to make the world completely free of multiple sclerosis. It has a great 50-state network of chapters. The @mssociety helps people affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, and by providing advocacy and education. He also supports the work of @llsusa, the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and education.
Blair Semenoff / @Flipbooks
Why he rocks: Semenoff is nothing short of a marketing guru. His firm, TruAction Flix, produces flipbooks, which Semenoff believes is an "ideal way of reaching a variety of audiences with repetitive and long-term messaging that has exceptional staying power for your brand." I agree with him. His great marketing ideas have won him some top-notch clients. His favorite Twitter charity: @nothingbutnets. This nonprofit was founded by sports writer RickReilly. It teams with the UN Foundation, NBA Cares, The People of the United Methodist Church, and Sports Illustrated to buy anti-malaria bed nets for children in Africa. It is already making a significant impact. In fact, if you'll recall, Ashton Kutcher donated 10,000 anti-malaria bed nets when he beat out CNN in a contest to get million Twitter followers.
Paul Rieckhoff / @PaulRieckhoff
Why he rocks: Mr. Rieckhoff is a military veteran, media professional, social entrepreneur, music connoisseur, bestselling author of Chasing Ghosts, popular Huffington Post blogger, and Founder and Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). His favorite Twitter charity: @IAVA. Since 2004, IAVA has become one of the best and strongest advocates for our veterans and their families. It's won legislative victories on the new G.I. Bill, mental health screenings for returning service members, Veterans Health Care Budget Reform, among other issues. In fact, it teamed with the AdCouncil to start CommunityofVeterans.org, a veterans-only, online community. Moreover, the incredible documentary Warrior Champions, which was produced by @IAVA, premiered at the Austin Film Festival on October 23.
Bill Wixey / @BillWixey
Why he rocks: Wixey is an emmy award-winning broadcast journalist who has been in Seattle for more than a decade. He produced a great documentary "Mission of Hope", about his trip to Sri Lanka following the deadly Tsunami. Also, his blogging and reporting on his battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of lymphoma (cancer originating from a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes), has won him thousands of new fans. His favorite Twitter charity: @SeattleCCA. This nonprofit, the Seattle Cancare Alliance, is doing its part to lead the world in translating scientific discovery into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of cancer. @SeattleCCA brings together doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, and Seattle Children's Hospital, to form a world-class treatment center.
Stephen Gilmore / @SchereLLC
Why he rocks: Gilmore is on the move. His firm, Sphere LLC, has some incredibly innovative shower curtains. His Obama Shower Curtain is his big seller, and it has provided him with the opportunity to significantly grow his business. Twitter charities he supports: @FrankSkiKids. Since 2000, this nonprofit, has helped young people in Metro Atlanta, and provided resources and programs dealing with science, technology, athletics and the arts. Gilmore has donated products to that foundation. Moreover, he has donated time and products to @4hosea, which has fed the hungry and homeless for the past 40 years. And he's helped the Georgia Clayton County School District using his Obama Shower Curtain as a fundraiser.
Josh Charles / @Joshcharles
Why he rocks: Charles is a true renaissance entertainer, as I noted in a recent blogpost. Everybody loves socially conscious musicians who put their money where their mouth is. Charles fits the description. He is raising money through downloads of his song "Healing Time." You can buy it on Amazon and itunes, with 100% of the funds going to assist in the rebuilding of New Orleans. His favorite Twitter charity: @prcno. This nonprofit, the Preservation Resource Center, receives the funds his downloads produce. It promotes the revitalization and preservation of New Orleans' historic architecture and neighborhoods. They're doing some amazing work.
Matthew Sapaula / @MatthewSapaula
Why he rocks: One of "The Money Men" of Chicago, Sapaula is a respected financial strategist, speaker, TV commentator and talk show host of Chicago's Money Smart Radio. His favorite Twitter charity: @AmericanCancer. This nonprofit is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization with more than 3400 offices.
Jim Thomas / @Jimtdenver
Why he rocks: Thomas is a well-known business lawyer who has his hand on the pulse of what's happening in Colorado. In fact, he blogs for the Huffington Post. His posts deal primarily with family, community, and business. His favorite Twitter charity: @wesing, where he serves as board president. This nonprofit -- through children's ensembles -- presents professional concerts and educational programs. It provides unique experiences which engage participants, entertain audiences, and positively affect communities throughout Colorado, the United States, and all around the globe.
Paul Smith / @GreenSmith
Why he rocks: Smith is a well sought after Green Business Consultant, taking full advantage of the eco-friendly environment in international commerce. He's a star blogger for Triple Pundit, Ghost Writer, and self-styled social media demystifier and idea ninja. His favorite Twitter Charity: @SHILaCosecha. This nonprofit provides farming families in Central America countries with the tools to overcome poverty while restoring and preserving our planet's tropical forests. Since 1997, it has planted more 2.3 million trees and converted thousands of acres to sustainable uses. All of this has saving tens of thousands of acres of tropical forest.
Mike Dardis / @MikeDardisKOMO
Why he rocks: Dardis is well-respected, emmy-winning morning anchor. His command of the issues, smooth delivery, and great rapport with his co-anchor Molly Shen have made him a huge star with Northwest viewers. His favorite Twitter charity: @FoodLifeline. Last year, this nonprofit received over 21 million pounds of food - roughly 17 million meals - to feed hungry families and individuals throughout Western Washington State. Food Lifeline provides food thousands of people through hundreds of emergency feeding programs including food banks, hot meal programs and shelters.
Pete C. Rodriguez Jr. / @Fivestarprodj
Why he rocks: Rodriguez is a HR Recruiter, graphic designer, master of networking, entrepreneur, and social media enthusiast. He's also a music connoisseur. He provides all types of genres of music for weddings, Quinceanera's, and other events through Five Star Productions, which he owns with his wife. Twitter charities he supports: @WWF_Climate. This nonprofit is helping to preserve our planet's natural environment, and, it's also on the front lines in the creation of green jobs -- the next frontier in global commerce. He also supports the work of the @RedCross, whose expertise and resources are stretched to the limit during natural disasters. And like JosephRanseth above, he is fully behind the @BGCA_Clubs.
Edward Philipp / @EdLovesSumo
Why he rocks: Philipp is one of Southern California's most successful entrepreneurs. He conducts popular TeleSeminars, has a must-see Free Resource Blog at TeleSeminarWebFolk.com, and is CoFounder of TeleSeminarNation.com. Twitter charities he supports: @GFPCEdward. This is his church Grace First Presbyterian Church. Located in Long Beach, CA, his church supports New Orleans relief efforts that continue after Hurricane Katrina. In fact, @GFPCEdward purchased a house that houses groups who are building, cleaning, helping people in many ways. They also send groups from their church. They've spent $824,000-plus, with the eventual total expected to exceed $1,000,000. He also supports the efforts of @Habitat_org (Habitat for Humanity).