WTF Fun Fact 13649 – God Bless America

Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” is a continuous benefactor to youth in New York City. Written in 1940, this iconic song’s royalties were dedicated by Berlin to a special fund.

Named the “God Bless America Fund,” its sole purpose was to support America’s youth, with a particular focus on the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of New York City. Over the years, this fund has channeled over $10 million into local scouting groups, significantly impacting young lives.

God Bless America Supporting the Scouts

The tragic events of September 11, 2001, led to a renewed popularity of “God Bless America.” As the song echoed across the nation, royalties surged, directly benefiting scouting organizations in NYC. Victoria G. Traube, a trustee of the fund, noted that annual royalties, typically exceeding $200,000, were expected to triple that year. This increase meant more resources for scouting programs, especially in the poorest neighborhoods of New York.

Both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of New York City have been beneficiaries of this fund. They’ve historically used these funds to expand programs into underserved communities and offer opportunities to disabled and troubled children. Activities like nature hikes, cookouts, and educational field trips are just some examples of how these funds have been utilized.

A notable aspect of this support is the commitment to inclusivity. Over a year ago, the “God Bless America” fund trustees requested both scouting groups to confirm their non-discriminatory policies, including attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community. Both groups affirmed their commitment to inclusivity, with the Boy Scouts of New York actively working to reverse national policies against gay scout leaders.

Berlin’s Enduring Impact

Irving Berlin’s decision to donate his song’s royalties was more than a financial gesture; it was a commitment to American youth’s future. Linda Emmet, Berlin’s daughter, reflected that her father viewed children as the country’s future and believed in supporting them.

Berlin’s involvement with scouting wasn’t just financial; he was actively engaged on the boards of both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, highlighting his dedication to these organizations.

As “God Bless America” continues to resonate across the nation, its impact on New York’s scouting programs grows. Plans are underway to use these funds to help children, including scouts, cope with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. With at least nine troop leaders lost in the tragedy, the need for support and healing is evident.

Berlin’s vision extended beyond a single song or moment in time. His commitment to America’s youth, especially in fostering outdoor education and life skills through scouting, has left an indelible mark on generations. As “God Bless America” plays on, its royalties will continue to fund adventures, learning, and growth for countless children in New York City, ensuring that Berlin’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of America’s youth.

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Source: “Irving Berlin Gave the Scouts A Gift of Song” — NYT

WTF Fun Fact 13142 – Use of Telemedicine in the U.S.

Telemedicine use skyrocketed during the pandemic, and now it seems poised to become a regular part of the healthcare landscape. A CDC report from October 2022 revealed just how much Americans relied on telemedicine in the previous year.

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is the use of electronic means (telephones, text messages, voice and video chats, etc.) to deliver healthcare to patients remotely. While it may occasionally involve in-office testing, most of the doctor-patient relationship takes place over a device like a phone or a computer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic State of Emergency, the U.S. expanded legislation to allow more providers to deliver a broader range of care options via telemedicine. Healthcare providers had been relatively limited in what they could do for patients without seeing them in person before this.

A CDC report using 2021 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data to assess the use of telemedicine provided interesting insight into just how many Americans over age 18 took advantage of what it had to offer in the second year of the pandemic.

The rise of telemedicine use

In 2021, 37% of American adults reported using telemedicine in the previous 12 months.

The report also found that the older people were, the more likely they were to use it. On some level, that makes sense since older people are more vulnerable to severe cases of COVID. However, it hasn’t often been the case that technology use increases with age in the past.

Women were also more likely to use telemedicine. 42% of women said they used it in 2021, compared to 31.7% of men. (However, women are more likely to see doctors than men.)

Other statistics

Adults in the U.S. West were the most likely to use telemedicine, and those in the Midwest were the least likely.

Telemedicine use increased with patients’ urbanization level – those living in large metropolitan areas were more likely to use it. This is interesting because the technology was initially used to reach those who lived far from hospitals and clinics. However, during the pandemic, people in urban areas may have been more reluctant to head to hospitals and seek care due to crowded public transportation and waiting rooms.

Those with a GED or higher education level were also more likely to get on the phone or computer to “visit” their doctor. As education levels go up, so does the use of this technology.

And while those with a below-average or average income are equally likely to engage with healthcare providers electronically, its use increases among those with higher incomes.

It appears that if telemedicine is going to be part of the future of medicine, it will be important to ensure a broader range of people have access to it and knowledge about its benefits.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Telemedicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2021” —