Buying Specialized Theme Presents: Unique Greek Gifts And More

What in the world do you get for the person who has everything? Although it might seem difficult to choose something special and meaningful, it can actually be quite easy. Consider paying homage to their heritage with personalized Greek gifts, a French themed gift basket, Italian decor or crystal from Ireland. No matter what country your recipient is from, you can be sure to find something they’re sure to love.

Find Unique Greek Gifts Such As Laser Engraved Frames For Friends And Relatives

Because the characters in the Greek alphabet are so unique, laser engraved frames with a special word spelled out is a one of a kind present. Gift givers can choose to spell out words like Grandma or Grandpa and even add in the names of grandchildren or include a special message on laser engraved frames. Other personalized Greek gifts include wooden wall signs with sayings that display gratitude or welcome someone into their home. If you’re the one throwing a themed party, consider sending guests home with personalized Greek gifts like a small keychain as a party favor. Your guests will appreciate the extra step you took to find them personalized Greek gifts.

Choose A French Themed Gift Basket

For the France lover in your life, a French themed gift basket can be a thoughtful present. Baskets can include wine or champagne, crusty bread, gourmet cheeses and chocolates. If your recipient is a fan of French cooking, consider a basket with ingredients like Dijon mustard, champagne vinegar, and herbs de Provence. One of the benefits of giving a basket is that you can usually find them pre-made or you can spend a little extra time and effort to create one that’s truly personalized.

Giving Italian Themed Home Decor

If your recipient is a fan of all things Italian, consider Italian themed home decor. For instance, in Italy, a ceramic Italian rooster pitcher symbolizes good fortune or good luck. It’s an Italian tradition to give one of these roosters to a couple on their wedding day or as a housewarming present. Although the basic design of the rooster pitcher is fairly standard, it’s possible to find some that are decorated with fruit, flowers or simply decorative scrolls.

Irish Crystal Creates A One Of A Kind Gift

Irish gifts range from Celtic themed jewelry, blankets and sweaters made from Irish wool and of course, crystal. Ireland is home to the Waterford Crystal factory and its crystal wine glasses, paperweights, Christmas ornaments, clocks, and more. If you’re looking for a more obviously Irish gift, consider Belleek china. These items are white with small green shamrocks sprinkled on the china.

Finding unique Greek gifts, French gift baskets, Italian home decor and Irish crystal for your friends and family is an easy way to let them know that you’re thinking about them. Whether the presents are for a special occasion or just because, you can’t go wrong with presents personalized to your loved ones.

Registering Foreign Companies in the US Can Present Challenges

The statutory/filing office requirement to submit a Certificate of Good Standing or existence when registering in the United States often presents a challenging predicament for entities from other countries who want to do business in the U.S. In the U.S., Canada and a number of other countries, a Certificate of Good Standing or Existence can be obtained quickly and easily. In many countries around the world, however, an official certificate that attests to the registration and status of an entity simply does not exist, causing a dilemma for foreign companies that want to register to do business in one or more U.S. states. The problem is compounded by the fact that the laws and regulations of each state vary, so that what is accepted as proof of existence in one state may be rejected in another.

Obtaining International Good Standing Certificate Not Always Possible

Australia, New Zealand, India, Germany, Mexico and Japan are just a few of the many countries where a certificate that is truly equivalent to a Certificate of Good Standing cannot always be obtained. While companies in these countries do need to verify their existence and status when engaging in financial and other transactions, the procedures for doing so do not match U.S. norms. For example, in Australia, a Current Company Extract is available online through an Information Broker. This extract, lacking any signature or seal, does not appear official to American eyes, but is routinely accepted in Australia as proof of a company’s existence. When the document is to be used in another country, Australian attorneys often attach a Certificate of Verification to the extract, confirming it proves that the company is in existence. They then notarize this verification and have the notary signature apostilled to make the extract more acceptable for use outside Australia.

When a good standing is required as part of due diligence in a financial transaction, procedures like this work well. According to Ellisa Habbart, Esq., of The Delaware Counsel Group LLP, “It’s important to consult competent local corporate counsel in the country of origin to determine what the accepted practice is whenever you are presented with documents from an international jurisdiction.” If an American attorney has a good understanding of the process and market standards in the country of origin, he or she can be comfortable accepting a document as proof of a company’s status and existence, even though it is not obtained in the same way as it would be in the U.S.

Certificates Not Issued by Government Official Often Not Accepted in the U.S.

When registering international companies to do business in a U.S. state, a certificate that is not issued by a government official will often not fit the bill. In June of 2011, there was an interesting e-mail exchange on this topic on the listserv of the International Association of Commercial Administrators, a trade association of filing officers. In the exchange, participants discussed the validity of a certificate from India presented with an Application for Authority.

While India does have a central Ministry of Corporate Affairs, each Indian state has its own corporate registry. Only some corporate registries, such as the registrar in Delhi, will issue a certificate attesting to a company’s existence and current status. India does have a central online database, but the records of this database are generally considered to be unreliable and, unlike Australia, a printout of those records is not accepted in India as proof of a company’s existence and status.

In India, common practice is to have a Private Company Secretary manually search the records of the registrar and provide an attestation regarding the company’s status. A Company Secretary in India is a prestigious professional position requiring completion of a specialized training course and certification by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. By definition of that Institute, Company Secretaries are experts “in corporate laws, securities laws and capital market and corporate governance [and] responsible for all regulatory compliances of a company.” [1] As such, a Company Secretary’s attestation that a company is in existence and in compliance with applicable laws has the same validity in India as a Certificate of Good Standing does in the U.S.

A Company Secretary, however, is not a public official, and so one’s attestation is not likely to be accepted by a corporate filing officer in the U.S. To meet U.S. requirements, a company may scramble to find some sort of document issued by a public official in its home jurisdiction that will be accepted in the U.S. as the equivalent of a Good Standing Certificate. As the e-mail discussion mentioned above progressed, it became clear that what states will accept varies greatly.

Approaches Taken by U.S. Filing Offices

State filing offices generally take one of three approaches when a jurisdiction does not have an exact equivalent to a U.S. Good Standing Certificate. These approaches can be categorized as stringent, moderate and lenient. Which approach is taken depends on the laws, regulations and procedures of a particular filing office.

In the stringent approach, filing officers strictly interpret the statutes of their jurisdictions that require a document issued by a public official, even when such an approach could discourage foreign companies from registering to do business. New York State takes a stringent approach. N.Y. Business Corporation Law, 1304, requires that a certificate by an authorized officer of the jurisdiction of its incorporation indicating that the foreign corporation is an existing corporation must be attached to the application for authority. Indian documents accepted by New York in the past include a Certificate of Incorporation or a Certificate of Commencement of Business. New York, however, requires that the certificate presented is no more than one year old, so this solution works well only for recently formed companies. Another certificate that has been accepted is a Fresh Certificate of Incorporation Consequent on Change of Name. Occasionally, companies even go so far as to change their names simply to meet New York’s requirements.

Illinois, on the other hand, is an example where the statutes allow for a more moderate approach. A limited liability company can present an affidavit from an official from its jurisdiction stating that a Certificate of Good Standing does not exist. [2]

The third approach is the mostlenient. A state may accept whatever is offered as proof of existence, as long as it is translated into English. Some states are allowed by law or regulation to consult the country’s database for proof of existence. For example, Oregon enacted legislation (Bill 2254) on May 27, 2011, which indicates that a foreign corporation need not submit a certificate of existence or document of similar import if the official who has custody of corporate records in the state or country under whose law the foreign corporation is incorporated provides free access via the Internet to a searchable database that contains evidence of corporate registrations.[3]
The variation in what will be accepted in different states creates confusion for international companies looking to do business in the United States and, in many cases, what is accepted does not actually prove a company’s registration and continued existence. Some have argued that it is more logical for U.S. filing offices to accept the document that is considered to be proof of a company’s good standing in its home country. To do so, however, state officials would need to somehow consult with a disinterested attorney from the company’s home jurisdiction to discover what that document would be. The time and expense involved in attempting to find and consult with such a person, as well as the fact that statutes often require a document issued by a public official, means that foreign companies wishing to register to do business in the U.S. will likely be faced with this dilemma for some time to come.

As it can be time consuming and expensive to obtain certificates in foreign jurisdictions, it is wise to contact the filing office first to determine what will be acceptable before beginning the process of obtaining the best possible equivalent to meet that office’s filing requirements. A knowledgeable service provider that is familiar with the types of documents available in the country of origin, as well as the filing requirements and practices in the intended state of registration, can save time, money and avoid a great deal of frustration while accomplishing the objective of properly registering the international company to do business in a U.S. state.

6 Ways to Effectively Present Need in Your Grant Applications

The statement of need for your proposed project in a grant application is often referred as the “framework” of your proposal. Why is this? Because without proving need for your project in the community, grant funders feel there is no need for your project. Period.

You know that your organization’s services are needed but convincing a grant funder can sometimes be confounding which is why I’ve come up with six ways on how to present your need. Follow these guidelines and see what a difference they can make in your applications. Don’t skip any steps! Remember, your grant application is always vying for the title of “cut” or “off to the next round” against a sea of other proposals. Yourscan be the stand out.


Decide which facts and statistics will best support your grant project. Even though there are volumes of information available online detailing national statistics about community areas of improvement, try to stick more to local data especially when presenting your proposals to local and statewide funders. Information that is too generic or too broad won’t help you develop a winning argument for your project. Even in seeking support from more nationally oriented funders, supplement national statistics with details of your local experience. Plus, be sure that the data you present is accurate. Few things are more embarrassing than having a potential funder tell you that your information is incomplete, out of date or just plain incorrect.


Don’t paint too grim of a picture. The grant reader wants to know that there is hope for the problem presented. An overly emotional appeal or overstatement of the problem can turn grant reviewers off quickly and make them wonder if an investment in your solution would be worthwhile. Here’s an example of a solid statement of need “Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. But statistics prove that educating the public on risk factors such as smoking, regular exercise and healthy eating will reduce the risk of death due to heart disease.”


Have you thought about presenting your project as a model for replication? Serving as a project model to others in neighbor communities only works for certain types of projects but grant funders love to see this and could significantly open up your grant funding resources. If you do go the model route, you can document how the problem you’re addressing is also experienced in other communities. Be sure to include a replication plan (how you will disseminate the “how to” information) that others can follow in your proposal should you choose to offer your project as a model.


Think about if it’s reasonable to portray your need as particularly acute or urgent. Is a national problem particularly worse in your community therefore the funder should pay more attention to it? This is an example of how you might could word such a problem: “While heart disease is this nation’s number one killer, in the state of Georgia, statistics prove that Georgians are more at risk for developing heart disease due to fatty diets, more smokers per capita and a more sedentary lifestyle.”


Distinguish your organization as different or better than competitors without being disparaging. Grant funders don’t appreciate other organizations being criticized – besides, they might have strong feelings about your competitor. But there’s a way to get your own strengths and accomplishments noted without being critical. Besides, when the only way you can seem to make your organization shine is by demeaning your competition, grant funders will tend to place the magnifying glass more closely on you – and not in a good way.


Don’t state your community’s problem as the absence of your solution. In other words, this makes it seem to the grant funder that the only solution to the problem is yours and that appears to make you desperate. Instead, focus on trending reports and needs assessments in your community to make your case for the problem and then offer your solution as a step to solving that need or problem. For instance, it could be that a sedentary lifestyle, used in the above example, is a problem contributing to heart disease leading to unusually high incidences of death. It could be that this community lacks adequate or affordable exercise options such as safe walking trails, a community pool or ball fields. Thus, if your goal is to stimulate more activity, you have a good argument, supported by the appropriate statistics, to build a pool or walking trail.

Betsy Baker is a grant writer, consulting coach and national speaker and is founder of Your Grant Authority. She is dedicated to helping people jumpstart their own work-from-home career and helping nonprofits find a solution to finally end their financial struggles.

The Thoughtful 18th Birthday Present

Struggling to think of a good 18th birthday present for your mate? Want something distinctive and eye-catching? Think that everything seems to lack that personalised touch? Why not opt for cool and individual canvas prints of your very own photos? Get them a photo of their favourite football team, car or cityscape professionally made into canvas prints of the highest standard! Choose whichever photo you think fits their personality and interests and make it into a canvas – you are sure to have given them something meaningful!

Birthday gifts for your mate

They could like deserts, oceans, beaches, animals, vehicles, sports or music – it doesn’t matter. The canvas will definitely look terrific and you will know that you have bought your friend something that is actually going to make them happy. Your friend will really appreciate your gesture and will surely value your thoughtfulness. He or she may have paper posters or pictures of films or bands on his or her wall, but a canvas print is just something else. The quality will blow you away and even mediocre images can look truly awesome on a canvas print. The sentimental and artistic value of canvas prints makes them a unique gift for an 18 year old. Canvas prints are a lifelong and exciting gift and they look absolutely wicked on a bedroom wall.

This gift will not be chucked out or hidden away in a cupboard like many unwanted presents. So don’t get them something boring. Don’t get them something obvious. Go for a canvas – something genuinely memorable and significant that will be valued. Once you see the result, you may well be persuaded to get one for yourself!

Birthday gifts for your kid

As a parent you should know that this awesome gift will be appreciated and treasured by your teenager for years to come and will be a sparkling, exciting addition to their bedroom wall! Give them a present that they will truly value – a picture of their musical instrument or their favourite football team or even of them and their friends hanging out together. Or what about a funky image altered into the style of artists such as Banksy or Warhol? Your very own photos will be transformed into professional, high quality canvas prints that will spice up your teenager’s wall, adding a bit of elegance and flair amidst the probable mess on the floor!

Creating canvases has never been easier, and with just a few clicks online you will receive a fabulous panoramic image delivered straight to your door. Canvas prints are different, distinctive gifts that are painless and unassuming but undoubtedly very classy and fashionable. But, most importantly, they are extremely cool. You will be astounded at the transformation of simple photos into chic and trendy pieces of art. Do not be surprised if you find yourself getting more and more prints after your first purchase! They are fantastic presents that are inexpensive, unforgettable, and extraordinary. They will immortalise your memories and will be cherished by your teenager. Just wait to see the huge grin spread across their faces when they open up their present of a stylish canvas print!