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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Honest Tea Increases Organic Ingredient Purchases To 4.9 Million Lbs In 2012-2013, A Six-Fold Increase In Six Years

HONEST® Tea’s Ongoing Innovation & Sustainability Efforts Detailed in Behind-the-Scenes Report

(Bethesda, Md. – October 22, 2013) – HONEST Tea®, the nation’s top-selling organic bottled tea company; today released its 2013 Mission Report.  The report is part of the business’s ongoing efforts to be transparent about its business practices and its mission “to seek to create and promote great-tasting, healthier, organic beverages.”  Using data for the calendar year of 2012, the company increased purchases of organic ingredients by more than 500,000 lbs. for a total of 4.9 million lbs., which is 13% more than the previous year and more than six times the amount purchased from 2007 which equaled 790,000 lbs. of organic ingredients.  The report also highlights the company’s efforts and challenges to promote organics and reduce its environmental footprint. The report highlights several new initiatives taken in the past year, including:

  • Honest Tea’s reformulated its HONEST Kids line by removing the organic cane sugar and increasing the organic fruit juice content. In order to implement such a major ingredient change, the company had to work with suppliers in Turkey, Argentina and the United States to procure enough juice. 
  • The Great Recycle campaign expanded since our inaugural event in New York City’s Time Square and by May 2013 had traveled to seven states collecting more than 70,000 beverage containers, keeping plastic, glass, and aluminum containers of all shapes and sizes out of landfills and recycled according to the guidelines of the specific jurisdictions.     
  • Since 2003, Honest Tea has contributed over $397,000 in Fair Trade premiums, reinvesting in education, agriculture and community projects where the tea is sourced.  In 2012-2013, the company increased the amount of its Fair Trade premiums by 19% over the previous year.

“There is no such thing as a socially responsible business because that term suggests that an enterprise has reached a destination and there is no more work to be done,’ said Honest Tea co-founder and TeaEO, Seth Goldman.  “Our annual mission report helps Honest Tea and its stakeholders understand where we’ve made progress, and how much more work we have to do.  Our progress in growing the demand and the supply of organic ingredients helps illustrate that our efforts to democratize organic and healthy beverages are bearing some fruit, but there is still more work to be done..”

Obamacare, Crowdfunding, And The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom

The Republicans and Democrats who have been fighting over whether Obamacare will be good or bad for business may be in for a surprise, since a new breed of crowdfunding is poised to change the equation.
Instead of debating whether Obamacare is good for business, the real question may be, “what kind of business will Obamacare help?” We may be on the verge of an entrepreneurial boom the likes of which America has not seen in recent history because of a one two punch of insurance freedom plus a new way to finance businesses. 
 
After sixteen days of shutdown, the federal government is up and running again and, despite a titanic political struggle, The Affordable Care Act is rolling out as planned. For the first time, needing health insurance is not a reason for aspiring entrepreneurs to hold on to their corporate jobs. 

At the same, some big cracks are forming in the glass ceiling of raising business capital thanks to the launch of an innovative crowdfunding platform called CuttingEdgeX (CEX) pioneered by two lawyers dedicated to strengthening communities through empowering businesses.

CuttingEdgeX is a relatively new concept called “investment crowdfunding.” The founders of CEX, John Katovich and Jenny Kassan, are attorneys who specialize in helping small to medium sized businesses. They have taken that expertise online with www.CuttingEdgeX.com, which is not donation-based like other crowdfunding websites. And CEX is open to ALL investors, both wealthy and non-wealthy. CuttingEdgeX “offers actual investments with the expectation of a financial return rather than a T-shirt or discounted item,” says Katovich. 

Listing on CEX is currently free of charge, though in the future, a nominal monthly fee may be charged.  CEX also provides a fee-based white label platform that allows automated online investing on the issuer’s own website. Also, to be eligible to list on CuttingEdgeX, each business needs to have completed securities filings for a Direct Public Offering in the states where they want to be able to accept investors. The attorneys behind CEX can guide entrepreneurs through that process, if needed. The legal fees to complete the requirements for raising money from the public through a DPO usually add up to approximately $25k. That is a fairly modest investment when statistically the median net worth of business owners is almost 2.5 times higher than non-business owners. And that increases even more dramatically for minority owned companies. For a black woman, the difference is more than 10 times; and for a Latino man, the difference is 5 times.

CEX can help entrepreneurs avoid the scramble for Venture Capital dollars and the frustration of courting Angel Investors. CuttingEdgeX is like Match.com for investors and entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur creates a business profile and it remains online on CEX constantly pitching their business to investors day and night. 
 
The nonpartisan Urban Institute reports, “The Affordable Care Act will allow 1.5 million more Americans to self-employ.” And through a research project funded by Citi, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity discovered that if only “one in three micro-enterprises hired one employee, the U.S. economy would reach full employment.”
The combo of Obamacare and investment crowdfunding like CuttingEdgeX is a recipe for far more entrepreneurs entering the marketplace than ever before. And that may end up profiting all Americans. 

GP RENEWABLES & TRADING EXPECTS TO PURCHASE $15 MILLION IN OPERATING SOLAR PROJECTS IN NJ AND MD BEFORE YEAR’S END

Manhattan-based Energy Services Company Will Hit Reset on Stressed Solar Investments 

NEW YORK, NY (October 21, 2013) — GP Renewables & Trading (www.gprenew.com), a multifaceted energy services company, today announced its plan to acquire up to $15 million in operating commercial solar photovoltaic projects from system owners who took advantage of the 1603 Payments for Specified Energy Property in Lieu of Tax Credits before its expiration at the end of 2011. Its focus is projects in New Jersey and Maryland where the owners are struggling to recoup their investment.

“There are thousands of system owners in New Jersey and Maryland who have been negatively impacted by sharp SREC price declines and are now caught up managing complex activities to maintain the value of their investment,” said Gabriel Phillips, CEO of GP Renewables & Trading. “GP Renewables will purchase these commercial-scale solar projects, specifically in New Jersey and Maryland.” 

An incentives system, the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program, helped encouraged thousands of solar installations in New Jersey and Maryland. Now, both states are experiencing a slowdown in SREC-related projects, and existing system owners are finding themselves below earlier levels of profitability. 

At the time they were introduced, the high value of SRECs was driven by aggressive state and local policy measures and penalty prices intended to spur solar development. In its earlier days, the program caused what many now refer to as the “solar gold rush.” 

“Faulty assumptions led many installers and investors to ignore the need for hedging their investments with SREC futures contracts,” added Phillips. “Projects were built predicated on 3 – 4 year payoffs, but the new reality is a 10 – 15 year period.” 

GP Renewables & Trading will acquire the investors’ equipment and sell the power back to the investor at a discounted rate through a Power Purchase Agreement. This allows current owners to recover an upfront payment on their solar investments along with locking in a discounted power price into the 10 to 20 year horizon. 

The purchase plan, however, constitutes a limited window for system owners. The federal 50% bonus depreciation for renewables under the “Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System” in the Internal Revenue code is set to expire at the end of the year, at which point the value of purchasing a solar installation is likely to drop. At that point, according to Phillips, GP Renewables & Trading may not be able to offer as favorable prices to system owners.

STARKEY HEARING FOUNDATION RECEIVES ROYAL HELP IN LESOTHO

Sentebale, founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, joins fight for better hearing.

MINNEAPOLIS (October 17, 2013) – Starkey Hearing Foundation conducted a two-day hearing mission in Maseru, Lesotho last week, providing more than 1,000 customized hearing devices to people in need. The foundation partnered with Sentebale, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Prince Seeiso of Lesotho and Prince Harry.  

Prince Seeiso joined the foundation team to help fit hearing aids and open up the world of sound to many living in silence and isolation. “I have seen children wanting to talk to each other, and their eyes tell a thousand stories,” Prince Seeiso said. “On behalf of myself, Prince Harry and Sentebale, a big thanks goes to Starkey Hearing Foundation.” 

Patients, ranging from 4 to 101 years old, traveled from all parts of the small, landlocked country to have their hearing assessed and be fitted for hearing aids. For many it was an opportunity to hear for the very first time. 

Hearing loss is a global epidemic, with disabling hearing loss impacting more than 360 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Yet with the help of a hearing device, hearing loss can often be corrected in many cases, giving an individual the opportunity to better connect with family, the community and the world around them. 

“Hearing brings meaning and purpose to our lives, and we never stop wanting to connect with our loved ones,” Bill Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation, said. “With our inaugural mission in Lesotho, Sentebale, Prince Seeiso and Prince Harry, and the government of Lesotho have helped us open up the doors to the world of sound for thousands.” 

Starkey Hearing Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to improve the lives of individuals around the world. Its work in Lesotho is part of the dozens of domestic and international hearing missions conducted each year. The foundation has fit more than 165,000 hearing aids to people in need in the last year and has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. 

More information about the foundation’s work can be found on Starkey Hearing Foundation’s websiteFacebook and Twitter pages. 

About Starkey Hearing Foundation

Starkey Hearing Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to reflect caring and improve the lives of individuals, families and communities around the world, by helping them reach their full potential. Hearing loss affects one in 10 Americans, and 63 million children worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. Starkey Hearing Foundation fits and gives more than 100,000 hearing aids annually, and as a member of President Clinton’s Global Initiative, it has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully initiative and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.

About Sentebale
Sentebale was founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso from the Lesotho Royal family in response to the plight of the neediest and most vulnerable children of Lesotho – many victims of extreme poverty and Lesotho’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. Lesotho’s main operations are based in Lesotho with fundraising and management team based in London, headed up by Chief Executive Cathy Ferrier. Both Princes remain active patrons of Sentebale. For further information please visit www.sentebale.org.

TRUVIA® BRAND LAUNCHES NEW SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT ITS “SHARING A SWEET FUTURE” INITIATIVE TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD HUNGER IN BOLIVIA

In the First Year of Program, the Truvia® Business, through the United Nations World Food Programme, Has Provided 34,705 Bolivian School Children With Nutritionally-Balanced School Meals

WAYZATA, Minnesota, October 16, 2013 – Today, the Truvia® brand announced a new social media campaign to support its “Sharing a Sweet Future” $1 million charitable initiative, launched in 2012 to help reduce childhood hunger in Bolivia. With 66 percent of the Bolivian population living in poverty, the Truvia® team has created a series of video stories on www.sharingasweetfuture.com to shine the spotlight on the everyday hardships experienced by many Bolivian communities. The brand is encouraging consumers to view and share these videos with friends and family on Facebook or Twitter using #SweetFuture in an effort to help grow support behind the initiative and raise awareness for the need to help combat childhood hunger. Every dollar donated by the Truvia® business feeds four kids.

“I had the privilege of spending time with families in Bolivia and seeing firsthand the daily obstacles some endure to feed their families.  As a result, the Truvia® team feels even more proud of our program, and wants to share these stories with our consumers,” said Matthew Jacobs, international business development manager of the Truvia® brand. “Through our videos, consumers will be able to share Bolivian stories, while also helping to support the children and families of Bolivia.”  

In the first year of its three-year partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme, the Truvia® business has helped feed 34,705 Bolivian school children twice daily with nutritionally-balanced school meals through its funding of vitamin-fortified vegetable oil. Truvia®donations were also used to build 68 fuel efficient stoves in rural schools.

Many of Bolivia’s children are consistently falling under the minimum daily caloric intake and suffering from nutritional deficiencies. “Sharing a Sweet Future” is helping to improve their lives and communities, through enhancing nutrition with micronutrient packets and decreasing health risks for familiesby establishing safer cooking conditions with clean stoves. The program will also continue to help build a sweeter future for Bolivian children in more ways than one, as enhanced nutrition motivates families to keep their children in school. By September of 2014, the Truvia® business will have provided school meals for 40,000 students, and an additional 70 fuel efficient stoves. 

“We are proud of and humbled by our participation in helping provide school meals to children in Bolivia—a region adjacent to where stevia originated,” said Mark Brooks, global business director of the Truvia® brand.  “With the impact we have already achieved in our first year, we look forward to continuing our relationship with WFP to establish sustainable, well-nourished communities in Bolivia.”

The “Sharing a Sweet Future” campaign is one element of the Truvia® brand’s comprehensive corporate responsibility program. As the leading stevia brand, the business is committed to sourcing responsibly, stewarding natural resources and working to improve communities.

About the Truvia® business

Truvia® natural sweetener is a great tasting, zero-calorie sweetener made with the best tasting part of the stevia leaf. Truvia® natural sweetener is #1 in its category of zero-calorie natural sweeteners in the U.S. and is also available to consumers in Europe and Latin America. Truvia® stevia leaf extract is also a versatile sweetening ingredient used to reduce calories and sugar in foods and beverages. The Truvia® business uniquely manages its stevia supply chain from Field to Table having established a global agricultural standard for stevia. For more information, visit www.truvia.com.

About Cargill

Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 142,000 people in 65 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. Through its longtime, $14 million partnership with World Food Programme, Cargill is working to improve the health and nutrition of people in need around the world.  For more information, visit http://www.cargill.com/corporate-responsibility/food-security/index.jsp 

About World Food Programme

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, reaching more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance last year. World Food Program USA builds support for WFP through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Learn more at: www.wfpusa.org.

NOMACORC ANNOUNCES LIFE CYCLE ANALYSIS RESULTS

Commitment to Continuous Improvement Has Led to Significant Environmental Improvements Across All Impact Categories

ZEBULON, N.C. (October 16, 2013) – Nomacorc, the leading producer of alternative wine closures, has completed its first full life cycle analysis (LCA) study on its flagship Nomacorc Classic+ product. The results show significant improvements across all environmental impact categories between 2008 and 2011. Reasons for these improvements include a more efficient product formulation, switching to local raw material suppliers, shipping efficiencies and greater use of renewable energy sources.

“This LCA study showcases the steady and remarkable progress that Nomacorc has made to minimize the environmental footprint of our closures,” said Lars von Kantzow, president & CEO, Nomacorc. “It also demonstrates Nomacorc’s commitment to understanding and continuing to address the full range of environmental impacts of our closures from a life cycle perspective.”

The LCA methodology examines a broad range of environmental impacts related to each phase of production, use and disposal of Nomacorc closures. The study was conducted for both of Nomacorc’s major manufacturing facilities; one located in the U.S. and the other in Belgium, in the years 2008 and 2011.

The core LCA study measures the environmental impacts for every step of the life cycle of a Classic+ closure from “cradle” (raw materials extraction), to “gate” (the distribution of finished closures to customers).  For closures produced in Belgium between 2008 and 2011, the study showed dramatic improvements, with a reduction of impacts ranging from 13% to 92%. The improvements achieved in Belgium are largely attributable to the company’s purchase of 100% wind energy to power the facility. For closures produced in the U.S., the study also showed a strong reduction of impacts of ranging from 10% to 23% across all environmental indicators between 2008 and 2011. 

Because the product is consumed in a variety of different countries, a number of possible scenarios exist for Nomacorc closures at end-of-life (“grave”), including incineration, landfilling and recycling. Therefore, rather than including end-of-life in the core study, this study tests three different potential end-of-life paths in a sensitivity analysis.

“The sensitivity analysis enables us to understand the environmental impacts associated with each potential end-of-life path and to quantify the environmental benefits from recycling, which was shown to be the most preferable end-of-life option for Nomacorc closures,” said Dr. Olav Aagaard, Nomacorc’s principal scientist.

Over the past several years Nomacorc has worked to build supplemental recycling programs for wine closures. Recycling programs are currently available in France and the Western United States, and the company plans to expand to other geographical regions in the coming years. “This study further substantiates our continued efforts to expand our regionalized retail recycling programs around the world, and it’s something that the entire industry should collaborate and improve upon,” said Dr. Aagaard.

The LCA study also provides recommendations for future sustainability improvements on Nomacorc’s product lines, including continuing to increase the use of renewable energy and minimizing ancillary packaging where possible.

Nomacorc is committed to continuing to measure, improve and communicate the company’s sustainability performance. In 2012, Nomacorc installed solar panels at its North Carolina facility and released its first annual Corporate Social Responsibility report, disclosing the company’s overall performance on economic, environmental and social sustainability measures for the year 2011. And earlier this year, Nomacorc announced the development of the world’s first zero carbon footprint wine closure, Select® Bio. Made with plant-based biopolymers derived from sugar cane, the Select Bio Series will be commercially available for the 2014 bottling season.

For more information about Nomacorc’s sustainability progress and objectives, or to view the executive summary of the LCA report, visit http://www.nomacorc.com/nomacorc-sustainability.php.

About Nomacorc

Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, China and Argentina, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc on Twitter (@Nomacorc) and Facebook (Nomacorc).

Wender Weis Foundation for Children Announces Fourth Annual Holiday Heroes at AT&T Park

Families to Experience Memorable Moments at Holiday Spectacular Benefitting Five Bay Area Children’s Charities

WWFC to Honor Joe and Jennifer Montana with Inspiration Award

SAN FRANCISCO (October 15, 2013)  – Wender Weis Foundation for Children (WWFC) has announced its fourth annual Holiday Heroes event, an exciting evening of holiday joy and fun for San Francisco Bay Area families and children.  Holiday Heroes’ attendees will enjoy an exclusive opportunity to meet local athletes while experiencing a holiday celebration featuring children’s games, activities, a silent auction, and behind-the-scenes access to AT&T Park, home of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.  Current and former Bay Area athletes scheduled to attend Holiday Heroes include San Francisco Giants’ relief pitcher George Kontos; NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana; U.S. figure skater and Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi; U.S. hockey player, Olympian, and Stanley Cup Champion Bret Hedican; and U.S. skier and Olympic Gold medalist  Jonny Mosely.  Holiday Heroes, one of WWFC’s most highly-anticipated events to raise funds for children in need, will kick off the holiday season on Monday, December 9, with festivities from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m.

“Holiday Heroes is as much a grand party with everyone’s favorite, caring athletes as it is an event that is dedicated to raising funds for the ultimate holiday gift – access to resources that help children grow their confidence and self-esteem so they can ultimately realize all their dreams,” said Amy Wender-Hoch, WWFC founder.  “This year, we are thrilled to introduce the Wender Weis Foundation for Children’s first-ever Inspiration Award as a way to recognize how important positive contributions are in helping to build up our community’s kids.”

WWFC is honoring Joe and Jennifer Montana with its first Inspiration Award for the couple’s philanthropic efforts and positive impact on the community through their Four Rings Family Foundation.  This special recognition also celebrates the launch of Jennifer Montana Design’s Chain Reaction Key Necklaces, casual yet elegant handmade jewelry that inspires people to be positive while providing economic opportunity and support for individuals in need. 

In addition to raising funds and awareness for children’s charities, Holiday Heroes is an extraordinary experience for children, enabling them to create wonderful holiday memories that last a lifetime.  WWFC will invite over 600 children to attend the event, including 300 children from the foundation’s benefitting organizations.  They, their families, and donors will enjoy rare access to the San Francisco Giants’ dugout and batting tunnels, ballpark fare, beverages, plus activities such as holiday cookie decorating, teddy bear stuffing, face painting, photo/video booths, and a silent auction.  Holiday Heroes is a one-of-a-kind, magical evening where children will meet local sports heroes while celebrating the season, and where parents may enjoy mingling with friends and/or sipping a glass of wine knowing their kids are having a wonderful holiday experience in a safe, fun environment. 

The evening kicks off at 4:30 p.m. with a special reception for Sponsor Hero and Major Sponsor ticket holders in the Giants’ Clubhouse.  These guests will have a chance to view the World Series Trophies, get early access to the batting tunnels and dugout, as well as enjoy beverages and appetizers.  Doors open for the main event at 5:45 p.m. on the Club Level.

The cost to attend Holiday Heroes is $195 to $385 for individual tickets; $425 to $775 for tickets at the Sponsor Hero level; and $1,750 to $50,000 for Major Sponsor level.  A $75 donation sponsors one child from one of WWFC’s benefitting children’s organizations.  Proceeds for this year’s Holiday Heroes will benefit the Junior Giants Baseball Program, 49ers Foundation, Holy Family Day Home, Raphael House, San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, Always Dream Foundation, Fit Kids, and Four Rings Family Foundation.  Tickets are available for purchase at www.wenderweis.org or by calling (650) 321-4142.

Holiday Heroes Event Chairpersons are Meg and Craige Bertero along with Christine and Kevin Considine.  WWFC is thrilled to have Shannon and Dan Cronan; Trish and Charlie Loucks; Susan Solinsky and Paul Duryea; and Lori Puccinelli Stern and Peter Stern as Honorary Chairpersons for the event.

About Wender Weis Foundation for Children

Bay Area-based Wender Weis Foundation for Children (WWFC) is a nonprofit organization committed to encouraging underserved and low-income children throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in order to help them develop their confidence and self-esteem.  WWFC raises funds for and awareness about charitable organizations that provide assistance to children in need.  WWFC donates proceeds from fundraising efforts, including its annual Holiday Heroes event, to sponsor various outreach programs.  Amy Wender-Hoch founded WWFC in 1994 in honor of her family.  More information is available at www.wenderweis.org.

Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation Kicks Off Annual Week of Giving

Insurance Industry Demonstrates Commitment to Early Literacy Through Annual Volunteerism and Philanthropy Campaign

Walnut Creek, CA  –  October 14, 2013 – The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), a non-profit organization funded by the insurance industry, has officially begun its annual Week of Giving. Held October 12-19, 2013, the Week of Giving is an eight-day, industry-wide volunteer and personal giving event where teams of insurance industry volunteers provide three or more hours of volunteer service at neighborhood and community nonprofit organizations across the country.

During the week, teams of volunteers from the insurance industry head out into communities to donate their time for service projects at local non-profit organizations. More than 125 agencies, 141 volunteer teams and 2,637 volunteers have already signed up to participate in this year’s volunteer activities.

Volunteer teams can sign up to participate in various activities at www.weekofgiving.iicf.org.

2013 Personal Giving Campaign to Support Sesame Workshop

In addition to volunteerism, the Week of Giving also includes a personal giving campaign. The IICF Week of Giving provides an opportunity for insurance professionals to join together to make financial contributions that collectively make a significant impact on a national, social cause.

This year, the IICF selected Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, as the beneficiary of the campaign. IICF has partnered with Sesame Workshop on a new early literacy program called “Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day” as a part of the IICF Early Literacy Initiative. This three year  partnership with Sesame Workshop will support the IICF’s goal to develop a united industry strategy to impact early literacy for the most vulnerable children ages 0-5.

Thoughout the month of October, individuals can donate $5 by texting INSURANCE to 50555. Alternatively, contributions of all sizes and company matching  can be made online at www.weekofgiving.iicf.org. 100 percent of donations designated to Week of Giving will go to support Sesame Workshop and  the IICF early literacy program.

“We’re proud to  represent an industry that is focused on philanthropy and committed to dedicating its resources and efforts towards volunteerism, service and leadership,” said Bill Ross, CEO of the IICF. “This year’s Week of Giving marks a milestone for IICF as we continue to build awareness and support for our first national program . Through our Week of Giving and  early literacy initiative we will  continue to grow a meaningful discussion regarding the importance of early childhood literacy.”

For more information about the IICF Week of Giving, to register a volunteer team or to make a donation, please visitwww.weekofgiving.iicf.org. If you’re interested in learning more about Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day, please visitwww.sesamestreet.org/literacyYou can also contact the Foundation office at (925) 280-8009.

About the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation was established in 1994 and is directed and funded by the insurance industry. The Industry Foundation helps communities and enriches lives by uniting the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service and leadership. The Industry Foundation has contributed over $20 million and 166,000 volunteer hours to community nonprofits. IICF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.

Horatio Alger Association Publishes ‘Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century’

With greater scrutiny of nonprofit governance in recent years, this publication presents new and practical ideas for leaders who are stewards of the public trust

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 8, 2013) – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced the release of its self-published book titled, “Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century.”  This publication seeks to fill a void in the nonprofit sector by highlighting effective governance practices and by stimulating new ideas for nonprofit success.

“The Members of Horatio Alger Association possess a strong philanthropic commitment to provide scholarships for deserving young scholars who are otherwise unable to pursue higher education,” said Terrence Giroux, Executive Director of Horatio Alger Association.  “Based on the experiences and insights of Horatio Alger Members, this book was published to inspire other charitable leaders to uphold the highest governance standards – regardless of the cause – and to provide best practices for effective leadership. Together with Brian Foss, the Association is proud to promote principles that contribute to effective nonprofit governance.”

Nonprofit boards of directors and other key leaders can significantly influence a charity’s governance and performance by adhering to the success factors outlined in “Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century.”  As the book illustrates, the role of a board is to make strategic decisions that help to create exemplary nonprofit organizations, and based on insights from experts, the publication proposes strategic methods to fulfill charitable missions.

“As leaders of innovative enterprises, the Members of Horatio Alger Association understand the importance of good governance strategies.  Through this book, the Association provides other nonprofit leaders with tools to effectively govern their own charitable organizations,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO, United States Chamber of Commerce and an Association Member, who authored the introduction for “Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21stCentury.” “With $1.2 trillion expended annually in the nonprofit sector, one in ten Americans is currently employed by nonprofit organizations.  The guidelines presented in the book will enhance the charitable sector by fostering success and engaging the trust of the community.”

While the concept of governance remains the same for all nonprofits, factors such as size, level of staffing and geographic scope influence the principles of governance as well as leadership styles. As a result, the book clearly states that one size does not fit all.  It suggests a personalized approach to the key fundamentals that distinguish exemplary organizations, which include:

  • Developing a clearly defined mission statement endorsed by the organization’s leadership and members.
  • Selecting directors to serve on the board based on the needs of the organization and its mission
  • Engaging board members to promote ownership, commitment to financial success, and effective governance.
  • Planning strategically for the future of the organization with a tactical mission-centered focus.
  • Ensuring the long-term success of the organization by focusing on the board’s fiduciary responsibility in planning for the future.

With more than 35 years of executive experience, “Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century author Brian E. Foss offers valuable insight regarding mission-centered, nonprofit governance and management tactics. Working closely with Horatio Alger Association, Foss has advised the Association on best practices for nonprofit governance and philanthropic efforts.  Foss also authored the Association’s book, “Investing in People and Communities,” to stimulate new ways of thinking by board and staff members of nonprofit organizations.  Two more books in this series by Brian Foss are planned for the future.  Their titles will be “Adversity and Leadership” and “Adversity and Philanthropy.”

To download a copy of “Governing Effective Nonprofits in the 21st Century,” please visit https://www.horatioalger.org/publications.cfm.

Sesame Street Partners With The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation To Promote Early Childhood Literacy

Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day Continues  Sesame Street’s Mission Helping Every Child Reach their Highest Potential…

October 11, 2013. Research shows that prior to starting school, children from high-income families benefit from 400 hours more literacy-related activities than children from low-income families[1].  Furthermore, by age four, a high-income child is exposed to 35 million more words than a low-income child[2].  In response to the wide gap in literacy rates that prevails between children of high and low-income families, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, has partnered with the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), a non-profit organization funded by the insurance industry and focused on community development across the United States, to launch Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day.

This new bilingual, digital resource includes tips, games, and activities that parents, caregivers, and volunteers can engage children with to improve their reading and writing capabilities from an early age. The resources were unveiled today at the New York City Public Library and are available, for free, to parents across the country atwww.sesamestreet.org/literacy.

In concert with the united insurance community, theIICF and Sesame Workshop will be promoting Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day at events nationwide and will be working to reach as many families and volunteers as possible through both local and national programming.

The project aims to:

  • Help parents and caregivers realize the important role they play in creating the foundation for literacy in their children.
  • Provide volunteers with engaging, fun-filled, and educational resources that they can use to positively impact the literacy development of undeserved children across the United States.
  • Present children with games and activities that will stimulate their interest in talking, reading, and writing from an early age.

“From the very beginning, Sesame Street has promoted the importance of early-childhood education. However, children from low-income families do not have access to the same educational opportunities as children from high-income families,” says Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President for Community and Family Engagement at Sesame Workshop at Sesame Workshop. “With support from IICF, we are excited to bring Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day to young children. Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day will provide families, parents, caregivers, and volunteers with materials that draw from everyday life, thus giving adults an easy way to implement literacy into their daily interactions with children.”

The program includes:

  • Video segments that draw from everyday life and model ways for parents to easily engage their children in activities around vocabulary, reading, and writing.
  • Materials volunteers can use to plan fun-filled literacy-based experiences for children and families.
  • A Parent/ Caregiver guide bursting with information and activities to encourage literacy development for children ages two to five. The guide also includes additional material that parents can use to help form the building blocks for literacy in children ages zero to two.
  • A new mobile site with videos, games, and activities for parents and volunteers to enjoy with children on-the-go, as well as an online section dedicated to Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day on sesamestreet.org.

“Together with our insurance industry partners we are proud to collaborate with Sesame Workshop on such an important initiative that will positively impact thousands of children in the communities where we live, work and serve,” said Bill Ross, chief executive officer for IICF. “The IICF and insurance industry are committed to improving early childhood literacy rates across America, but we know change will not happen overnight. This is why we felt it was so important to make a long-term, active, commitment to Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day, where we support and sponsor Sesame Workshop, but more importantly, engage the nationwide network of insurance professionals across the country to serve as advocates, stewards and volunteers for this wonderful program.”

All materials are free to download at www.sesamestreet.org/literacy.

About Sesame Workshop: Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the landmark television program that reaches millions of children every day in more than 150 countries. The Workshop’smission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, Sesame Workshop develops research-based content – including television programs, books, games, mobile apps and community engagement initiatives – that supports early childhood learning, helps prepare children for school, and addresses developmental needs. The Workshop’s programs are tailored to the needs of specific regions and focus on topics that help young children and families develop critical skills for lifelong learning. For more information, visit us at www.sesameworkshop.org.

About the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF): The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation was established in 1994 and is completely directed and funded by the insurance industry. The foundation helps communities and enriches lives by uniting the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service and leadership. Since its inception in 1994, IICF has contributed more than $20 million in grants to charities and 166,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of community nonprofit organizations. IICF is a registered not-for-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Learn more at about the IICF at www.iicf.org.

Visit Sesame Street at:

http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/

www.facebook.com/SesameStreetInCommunities

Sesame Street on Facebook

Sesame Street on Twitter

Sesame Street on Youtube

http://www.sesameworkshop.org/press-room/literacy/

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