Charity & Grassroots in South Vineland

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When Frank Wheaton Jr. first visited the Corning Museum of Glass in the early 1960s, it caught his ire. On display were many marvelous works of glass?treasures forged of sand, wood, soda ash, and silica that represented the dawning of the American glass industry. Frank's problem? Those shiny, fragile masterpieces were being exhibited in New York and not where they were birthed: New Jersey.

As the grandson of glass magnate Dr. Theodore Corson Wheaton?whose glass pharmaceutical bottles were instrumental in giving rise to the Millville glass monarchy of the Wheaton company?Frank claimed his birthright and created Wheaton Village now known as Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center. The organization has a mission to engage artists and audiences in an evolving exploration of creativity, and has appealed to audiences of all ages for over four decades with its diverse traditional and contemporary arts programs, classes, workshops and exhibitions. Also on-site is The Museum of American Glass, housing one of the most comprehensive collections of American glass in the country, from the first glass bottles made in America, to celebrated works by Dale Chihuly and other contemporary artists who work with glass. Visitors can also experience the art of glassmaking, ceramics and flameworking in the Artists Studios, and the museum stores offer traditional and contemporary art in a variety of mediums.

1100 Village Drive
Millville,
NJ
US

The Youth Rally Committee creates a community for young people with rare medical conditions to bond over shared experiences, learn about symptom management, and find relief from the sense of alienation that accompanies these rare conditions. Kids aged 11–17 with bowel and bladder disorders such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and cancers of the bowel or bladder come together once a year for a weeklong rally on a college campus. During their stay, they take part in outdoor games and off-campus trips to local museums, and learn how to manage their conditions with activities overseen by nurses and counselors who also have similar conditions. Counselor skits and a camp dances relieve stress in the evenings, while off-campus events promote medical self-management in a public setting.

See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.

424 Bradford Ave
Haddon Township,
NJ
US

It was 1978. A college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant had just brought together their combined life savings to rent an old gas station. Their plan was to resurrect the empty station and open their own restaurant. Their specialty: ice cream. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries. Their brand easily attracted customers––homemade ice cream churned from wholesome, natural ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee Caramel Buzz.

Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with natural chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry’s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry’s plants generates energy to power farms. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.

777 Harrahs Blvd
Atlantic City,
NJ
US

Hosted by the Builders League of South Jersey, the 5th annual Run for Our Troops is a one-day event that challenges participants to walk or run a 5K race in order to raise funds and celebrate the service of America's troops. Special remembrance and celebration ceremonies honor all soldiers who have served in the United States armed forces, and funds raised through the race benefit Homes for Our Troops, a non-profit organization that builds and remodels homes to aid soldiers returning home.

114 Haddontowne Ct
Cherry Hill,
NJ
US

Sensory overload doesn?t begin to describe Philadelphia?s Magic Gardens. A seemingly boundless compilation of colors, textures, and shapes, the labyrinthine mosaic creation spans 3,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. The masterpiece originated in the brain of Isaiah Zagar, a Philadelphia native who grew up in New York. During his third year of art school, he stumbled upon Clarence Schmidt?s folk-art-inspired installations?assemblages of found objects and recycled materials?and the young artist?s view of the art world changed. ?I didn't know that I was looking at art,? Zagar reflects in his mission statement. Self-admittedly, Zagar has been somewhat ?copying? Schmidt?s dynamic, free-flowing style ever since.

The years after art school brought Zagar an onslaught of new opportunities. He spent time as an artist in China and India, joined the Peace Corps with his wife Julia, settled in Peru for three years, and even tried his hand at ceramics in Wisconsin. In the ?60s, he and Julia returned to his birthplace?specifically, the waning South Street neighborhood. Isaiah quickly leapt into action, renovating dilapidated buildings and often adding mosaics to formerly barren walls. Eventually, Isaiah?s imagination outgrew their projects, and in 1994 he began constructing a new piece in a vacant lot near his studio?the project would become Philadelphia?s Magic Gardens.

Isaiah spent 14 precious years, which he should have applied to Y2K preparations, scooping out tunnels, erecting multitiered walls, and splashing the entire space in colorful tile. The finished product stretches across half a block of South Street; the outside enclosure shimmering with vibrant tiles, the inside housing folk art, colored glass bottles, and countless sparkling mirrors. Now a nonprofit organization, Philadelphia?s Magic Gardens invites visitors to enjoy its visual candy with guided or self-guided tours.

1020 South St
Philadelphia,
PA
US

Philadelphia’s history fills the pages of textbooks across the world. William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, and the Liberty Bell fill the indexes. But these texts do little to educate people on and preserve the physical history of Philadelphia, specifically its buildings.

Enter the nonprofit Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Its volunteer team of tour guides leads architectural walking tours past downtown Philadelphia’s landmarks, buildings, and cityscapes, and its staff coordinates an array of events each month, which have previously included graveyard tours, concerts, and archaeological digs. Proceeds from these activities, along with various grants, are then used to preserve the Philadelphia region’s historical buildings, subsequently preserving its historical communities and the story of the city's influential past.

1616 Walnut St
Philadelphia,
PA
US