Love Your Melon:Fighting Cancer Head-On
Zachary Quinn and his business partner, Brian Keller, founded Love Your Melon in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN in 2012 with the goal of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America. Through selling headwear and apparel, they were able to create programs that bring college kids dressed as Superheroes into children’s hospitals in their communities. Currently Love Your Melon is at over 375 different schools nationally with over 5,500 college students representing the organization as Love Your Melon Crew Members.
Holiday Giving Tips
According to the nonprofit charity guide Charity Navigator, about 50 percent of all annual charitable donations come during the so-called “Giving Season,” between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as donors make last-minute gifts to take advantage of charitable tax deductions.
Maintain proper records. You must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity in order to deduct donations, regardless of the amount. Monetary donations include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. Donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2015 count for 2015—even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2016. As long as checks were mailed in 2015 (and clear shortly thereafter), they’re good for the year.
Do your homework. You can only deduct donations to charities that are eligible. The IRS offers Select Check on IRS.gov, which helps find organizations that are eligible to receive deductible contributions. Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible to receive deductible donations, the IRS says, even if they are not in the tool’s database.
Itemize your deductions. The IRS reminds taxpayers that only individuals who itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A can claim deductions for charitable contributions. Those who choose the standard deduction don’t have this option. And if you’re in the position to donate a car, boat or an airplane, that deduction is usually limited to the gross proceeds from its sale.
Love Your Melon has to date reserved more than 45,000 hats to donate to children battling cancer in the United States through its original buy one, give one program, which is equal to the number of children currently undergoing cancer treatment in the country. To celebrate reaching this goal and to further expand its impact, Love Your Melon has recently launched a new for-profit business model to replace its previous non-profit buy one, give one program, now pledging fifty percent (50%) of net proceeds on every Love Your Melon product sold towards the Pinky Swear Foundation to provide immediate support for children battling cancer and to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer to fund research initiatives to beat childhood cancer completely. Every year there are 15,000 children in the country given new cancer diagnoses. Through funding from future product sales, Love Your Melon will continue to give hats to all of these kids in addition to the 45,000 it has already committed to.
One of Love Your Melon’s biggest initial challenges was finding manufacturing facilities inside the United States. Sticking completely to United States made products has been one of the company’s most important commitments. They have long believed that it is important to support not only programming in communities and children inside those communities, but also to support the same communities by giving jobs to people and providing support to their own infrastructure. Through an extensive network of US manufacturing facilities, Love Your Melon has been able to stay true to this commitment, even as their business has grown dramatically in recent years.
This holiday season, consider purchasing a Love Your Melon product for a friend or loved one in order to support the fight against pediatric cancer, promote US manufacturing, and keep them warm in the winter months. So far they’ve donated $400,000 to the Pinky Swear Foundation and CureSearch for Children’s Cancer on their way to a Million Dollar Donation Goal this holiday season.