(Bloomberg)  Sixteen employees in a small office a few blocks away from Berkeley are trying to make a difference in the world.  Their company, a Facebook application called Causes, has raised over $16 million for charities, connecting 119 million users to various philanthropic pursuits.  Founded by former Facebook president Sean Parker, Causes is a for-profit company that allows users to give money to various charities.  By selling giftcards in supermarkets, Mr. Parker hopes the name will become more well known and that the company will expand.

(Washington Post)  A 71-year-old philanthropist living in the Pennsylvania suburbs is working toward decreasing unemployment and promoting small businesses, one person at a time.  Gene Epstein has begun a $250,000 effort called Just Hire One.  If a company hires an unemployed person and keeps that person on payroll for at least 6 months, Mr. Epstein will donate $1,000 to a charity in the company’s name.  Mr. Epstein believes that charitable effort is a strong incentive and hopes that his plan will help small businesses get over the tough economic times.  “It’s an encouragement to businesses to not wait,” he said.  “This becomes like an incredible stimulus program.”