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Greetings, readers. This top ten list has been inspired by our long time Penn State University tradition, simply known around here as ‘Thon. We will put this very worthwhile charity in the list today as our #10. We did go to the internet websites of the charities to get a little background information, such as dates and mission statements, and we lifted some facts directly from these sites. So here we go.

#10. ‘Thon, properly called the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. [Began in 1973 by a group of students, it is now one of the largest student lead fundraising events. Students dance all weekend, for 46 hours, to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund, fighting cancer in children. Usually millions of dollars are raised each year.]

#9. The Pennsylvania Lottery. [Since 1972, Pennsylvania has donated millions of dollars from the lottery proceeds to support programs for older adults.]

#8. UNICEF, formally called the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. [It was established in 1946 to respond to millions of children displaced, hungry, or otherwise in crisis at the end of World War II. They still operate today to help children.]

#7. Doctors Without Borders. [Began in 1971 to bring medical aid to troubled places.]

#6. The American Red Cross. [In 1881, Clara Barton and others began this organization in Washington D.C. after she went to Europe and was impressed by their Global Red Cross Network. Today they respond with aid in times of crisis and disasters.]

#5. Heifer International. [Founded over 70 years ago by Dan West, this organization lets people buy livestock – sheep, cows, bees, water buffalos – for people in villages who need them. The organization also provides training with the livestock.]

#4. United Way. [Began in Denver, CO in 1887, this organization raises money for other charities and helps co-ordinate relief efforts.]

#3. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. [Founded by Danny Thomas, in 1962, this hospital in Memphis, TN is committed to finding cures for childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases, as well as treat children of all backgrounds.]

#2. The Mia Foundation and other animal rescue shelters. [The Mia Foundation began shortly after 2010 to save animals born with birth defects who would otherwise be euthanized.]

#1. The Pine Tree Society Camp and other camps for children with needs. [Established in 1945 in Maine for children with disabilities, today the Pine Tree Society Camp is open to children and adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities.]

Until next week, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

UPDATE: Feb. 26, 2014. The final tally at the end of the ‘Thon last Sunday was $13, 343,517.33. Today, I was talking to my friend Sarah Wetzel who works at the Panera cafe I go to all the time, and she told that in the past 4 years, they have raised $45 million for the Four Diamonds Fund. Whoo-hoot and a thumbs up to all the generous people.

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