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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Newly Discovered Gut Virus Lives in Half the World’s Population

Biologists at SDSU have found a previously unknown virus that is extremely widespread and could play a major role in obesity and diabetes.

The virus, named crAssphage, has about 10 times as many base pairs of DNA as HIV.

SAN DIEGO (July 24, 2014) — Odds are, there’s a virus living inside your gut that has gone undetected by scientists for decades. A new study led by researchers at San Diego State University has found that more than half the world’s population is host to a newly described virus, named crAssphage, which infects one of the most common types of gut bacteria, Bacteroidetes. This phylum of bacteria is thought to be connected with obesity, diabetes and other gut-related diseases. The research appears today in Nature Communications.

Robert A. Edwards, a bioinformatics professor at SDSU, and his colleagues stumbled upon the discovery quite by accident. Working with visiting researcher and corresponding author on the study Bas E. Dutilh, now at Radboud University Medical Center in The Netherlands, the researchers were using results from previous studies on gut-inhabiting viruses to screen for new viruses.

In the DNA fecal samples from 12 different individuals, they noticed a particular cluster of viral DNA, about 97,000 base pairs long, that the samples all had in common. When Edwards and his colleagues checked this discovery against a comprehensive listing of known viruses, they came up empty.

The researchers then screened for the virus across the database of the National Institute of Health’s Human Microbiome Project (HMP), and Argonne National Laboratory’s MG-RAST database, and again found it in abundance in samples derived from human feces.

To prove that the viral DNA they discovered in their computer data actually exists in nature, fellow SDSU virologist John Mokili used a technique known as DNA amplification to locate the virus in the original samples used to build NIH’s database.

“So we have a biological proof that the virus they found with the computer actually exists in the samples,” Mokili said.

This was a new virus that about half the sampled people had in their bodies that nobody knew about.

“It’s not unusual to go looking for a novel virus and find one,” Edwards said. “But it’s very unusual to find one that so many people have in common. The fact that it’s flown under the radar for so long is very strange.”

An ancient virus

The fact that it’s so widespread indicates that it probably isn’t a particularly young virus, either.

“We’ve basically found it in every population we’ve looked at,” Edwards said. “As far as we can tell, it’s as old as humans are.”

He and his team named the virus crAssphage, after the cross-assembly software program used to discover it.

Some of the proteins in crAssphage’s DNA are similar to those found in other well-described viruses. That allowed Edwards’ team to determine that their novel virus is one known as a bacteriophage, which infects and replicates inside bacteria—and using innovative bioinformatic techniques, they predicted that this particular bacteriophage proliferates by infecting a common phylum of gut bacteria known as Bacteriodetes.

Gut punch

Bacteriodetes bacteria live toward the end of the intestinal tract, and they are suspected to play a major role in the link between gut bacteria and obesity. What role crAssphage plays in this process will be a target of future research.

Further details about crAssphage have been difficult to come by. It’s unknown how the virus is transmitted, but the fact that it was not found in very young infants’ fecal samples suggests that it is not passed along maternally, but acquired during childhood. The makeup of the viral DNA suggests that it’s circular in structure. Further laboratory work has confirmed that the viral DNA is a singular entity, but it’s proven difficult to isolate.

“We know it’s there, but we can’t capture it quite yet,” Edwards said.

Once the virus is isolated, he hopes to delve into its role in obesity. It’s possible the virus in some way mediates the activity of Bacteriodetes colonies, but whether crAssphage promotes or suppresses obesity-related processes in the gut remains to be seen.

The virus might also be used to prevent or mitigate other diseases affected by the gut such as diabetes and gastroenterological maladies.

Once these processes are better understood, Edwards envisions one day the possibility of personalized medicine based on this virus.

“This could be a key to personalized phage medicine,” he said. “In individuals, we could isolate your particular strain of the virus, manipulate it to target harmful bacteria, then give it back to you.”

Key Collaborators

In addition to Edwards, SDSU researchers Katelyn McNair, Savannah Sanchez, Genivaldo G.Z. Silva, Lance Boling, Jeremy J. Barr, Victor Seguritan, Ben Felts, and Elizabeth A. Dinsdale worked on the project, in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. The study’s corresponding author, Bas E. Dutilh, shares an affiliation with SDSU, Radboud University Medical Center in The Netherlands, and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Contributing researcher Ramy K. Aziz shares an affiliation with SDSU and Cairo University in Egypt. Contributing researcher Noriko Cassman was at SDSU during the time of the study and now is at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.

San Diego State University is a leading institution for bacteriophage research. Its Viromics Information Institute, which has been identified as an SDSU Area of Excellence, is led by biology professors Forest Rohwer, Anca Segall, Edwards and Dinsdale, and takes a cross-disciplinary approach to learning more about bacteriophages and exploring their potential for medical usage.

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Marketing Guru and New York Times Bestselling Author Appointed to National Kidney Foundation Board of Directors

John Gerzema of New York, New York, has been named to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Board of Directors.

John Gerzema

Mr. Gerzema is a pioneer in the use of data to identify social change and help companies anticipate and adapt to new trends and demands. He is the Chairman and CEO of Y&R’s Brand Asset Valuator (BAV) Consulting, as well as an author, strategist, speaker and consultant. His three books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times, and his TED Talks have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. Mr. Gerzema received a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications from the Medill School of Journalism and was recently inducted into the Medill Hall of Achievement.

“One in three American adults is at risk for developing kidney disease and most don’t even know it because public awareness about kidney disease is low relative to other health problems,” says Gerzema. “From a marketer’s perspective, this reflects a brand challenge and I am committed to working with the National Kidney Foundation to increase awareness and inspire proactive behaviors to combat this growing public health epidemic.”

Mr. Gerzema is dedicated to helping the NKF build awareness and educate those at risk about the importance of early detection and leading a healthy lifestyle.

“Mr. Gerzema has previously worked with the NKF on a pro-bono basis, using the BAV dataset to better understand the public’s knowledge and attitude towards the NKF brand and I am pleased that he is now serving on our national Board of Directors,” says Bruce Skyer, Chief Executive Officer of the National Kidney Foundation. “As a marketing expert with deep business acumen, he is an ideal partner to help elevate the NKF brand and raise awareness about the role of the kidneys and the problem of kidney disease.”

The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families and tens of millions of Americans at risk. For more information, visit www.kidney.org.

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Walgreens “Way to Well” Health Tour Reaches Millionth Community Member with Free Health Tests

The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with the National Urban League and AARP provided free health tests to more than one million people nationwide

Cincinnati, July 24, 2014 – On the opening day of the National Urban League Annual Conference, Marc Morial, National Urban League president and CEO, and John Gremer, Walgreens director of community affairs, announced with AARP, more than one million people nationwide received free health tests and education through the Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour. The announcement recognizes a significant milestone for Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) (Nasdaq:WAG) and the National Urban League as they celebrate their eight-year effort to bring free preventive and early detection health services to urban and minority communities across the country.

To celebrate this important milestone, the Way to Well Health Tour’s mobile health testing vehicle and its certified wellness staff will be in the conference’s Health Zone & Expo Hall to administer the free health tests. In addition to receiving free health screenings, conference participants have the opportunity help assemble back to school kits with items donated by Walgreens for underserved children in the Cincinnati community.

“We are proud to provide more than one million people in thousands of communities nationwide access to free critical health screenings and education in collaboration with the National Urban League and AARP,” said John Gremer, Walgreens director of community affairs, “We look forward to reaching more individuals starting off right here in Cincinnati at the National Urban League Annual Conference.”

Walgreens, the National Urban League and AARP have a long-standing commitment to improving health outcomes in minority communities. Since 2006, the Way to Well Health Tour with the National Urban League has provided more than $12 million worth of free health tests to community members in hundreds of urban communities nationwide. The current health tour provides a series of tests to adults over the age of 18 including cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and more aimed at early detection of chronic diseases that disproportionately affect minority and urban communities. Collectively the bundle of free health tests is valued at more than $100.

“The National Urban League is pleased to continue its eight-year effort with Walgreens through the Way to Well Health Tour,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. “We share a commitment to improving the health outcomes in our communities and are looking forward to continuing to work together to empower people to live healthier lives.”

“We are excited to work alongside Walgreens to achieve healthier communities nationwide,” said John Wider, president and CEO of AARP Services, Inc. “This health tour enables us all to come together and serve America’s growing population of people over the age of 50 and supply those with the help they need to achieve optimum health.”

The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour is one of the charitable components of the Walgreens Way to Well Commitment®, which began in 2011 as a four-year, $100 million initiative to improve the everyday health of Americans nationwide. The initiative is also dedicated to providing accessible, affordable resources for prevention and early detection of chronic diseases – heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in the U.S., while diabetes is the nation’s fastest-growing disease over the past decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To learn when the Way to Well Health Tour is serving a neighborhood near you, visit Walgreens.com/WaytoWell.

About Walgreens

As the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2013 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to be the first choice in health and daily living for everyone in America, and beyond. Each day, in communities across America, more than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with online and mobile services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,215 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com, SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that manages more than 400 in-store convenient care clinics throughout the country.

About the National Urban League

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, the National Urban League has 95 affiliates serving 300 communities, in 35 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide. For more information, visit: www.nul.org

About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Espanol, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.

About AARP Services, Inc.

AARP Services, Inc., founded in 1999, is a wholly-owned taxable subsidiary of AARP. AARP Services manages the provider relationships for and performs quality control oversight of the wide range of products and services that carry the AARP name and are made available by independent providers as benefits to AARP’s millions of members. The provider offers currently span health products, financial products, travel and leisure products, and life event services. Specific products include Medicare supplemental insurance; credit cards, auto and home, mobile home and motorcycle insurance, life insurance and annuities; member discounts on rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and lodging; special offers on technology and gifts; pharmacy services and legal services. AARP Services also engages in new product development activities for AARP and provides certain consulting services to outside companies.

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TCU’s Frogs For The Cure In New York City July 27 To Shoot National Breast Cancer Music Video Featuring Josh Groban’s Hit, “Brave”

NEW YORK CITY (July 24, 2014) — Texas Christian University’s (TCU) Frogs for the Cure will be in New York City on Sunday, July 27, to shoot footage for its 2014 music video featuring Josh Groban’s hit song, “Brave,” in honor of TCU’s 10-year partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the fight against breast cancer. The shoot will take place from 9 a.m. – noon at Hunter’s Point South Park, located along the East River off Center Boulevard between 50th and 54th Avenues in Long Island City in Queens.

The third of five national shoots, the New York City production will feature a giant pink ribbon that will be pulled from Washington, D.C. to Chicago, and then making its way to New York City, then Los Angeles, and finally back to Fort Worth, Texas, as a symbol of the community spirit in the fight against breast cancer.

TCU’s Frogs for the Cure, in partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and video sponsor, BNSF Railway Company, will join professional dancers, musicians, breast cancer survivors, TCU alumni, students, friends, and celebrities including:

  • Linda and Bob Carey, professional photographer, founder of The Tutu Project™ and The Carey Foundation, and author of the bestseller, “Ballerina”;
  • Karen Newman, breast cancer survivor and seven-time All-American triathlete and Team USA World competitor;
  • Tim Federlebestselling Simon & Schuster author and Broadway dancer; and, 
  • David Epstein, investigative reporter at ProPublica and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance.”

In 2005, TCU became the first college in the United States to officially partner with international breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, in the fight against breast cancer. In 2010, Frogs for the Cure pioneered the concept of an annual music video honoring survivors. The 2014 video is the fifth music video produced by Frogs for the Cure with the support of pro bono videography, photography and production talent to demonstrate the University’s commitment to the cause.

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of TCU’s partnership with Komen, the Frogs for the Cure video shoot is moving nationwide, engaging the community and empowering those affected by cancer to feel hope and encouragement. The 2014 video will debut at the Sing for the Cure Gala on October 29, 2014, at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall, with special guests including former First Lady Laura Bush; CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer and his Washington, D.C.-based band, Honky Tonk Confidential; as well as Tony Award-winning headline artist, Bernadette Peters; and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The video will also be featured during the halftime celebration at the annual TCU Frogs for the Cure “pink out” football game against Kansas State University on November 8, 2014.

To view a one-minute teaser of the 2014 music video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d67rxLW_ZWs.

For more information on Frogs for the Cure, visit www.FrogsfortheCure.com.

ABOUT FROGS FOR THE CURE

Frogs for the Cure is a partnership between Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas, and international philanthropy, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, to enhance awareness, provide education, raise funds and support those in the fight against breast cancer. In 2005, TCU initiated the idea of a “pink out” celebration at the halftime of a home football game, and, 10 years later, the pink ribbon game tributes are now established traditions at high school, college and NFL football games across the U.S. during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

To date, TCU’s Frogs for the Cure has raised more than $250,000 for Susan G. Komen® Greater Fort Worth affiliate. Under the longtime leadership of Ann Louden, a breast cancer survivor and member of the TCU Chancellor’s executive team, Frogs for the Cure has grown into a nationally known awareness, educational and fundraising campaign that runs year-round. For more information, visit www.FrogsfortheCure.com.

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New Launch Angels Affinity Fund to Back Early Stage

Boston, MA, July 16, 2014 — Today Launch Angels announces a new affinity venture fund, VentureOut. The Fund backs early stage ventures with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) founders and management team members, and it will help create the next generation of LGBT entrepreneurs.

The Fund: Invest with Impact

The Fund will leverage the power of the LGBT community to source opportunities and provide high-quality LGBT-led deal flow. Additionally, the fund will support LGBT entrepreneurs by connecting them to resources and mentors who can provide senior-level counsel and advice.

Targeting a close of $2 million, the VentureOut Fund will pool capital from 15-20 investors in order to have a large impact. It will invest in about 10 to 15 promising, scalable seed-stage companies and utilize the proven management capabilities of Launch Angels to provide investor relations, back office and investment support. A portion of the fund proceeds will be donated to a non-profit supporting LGBT businesspeople.

The Team: Rich Experience, Proven Expertise

Greg Wiles, Managing Director of the VentureOut Fund, will head the team of experienced investors and entrepreneurs who will source deals for the Fund. As a small business consultant based in Los Angeles and former investment professional at US Renewables Group, Wiles offers rich experience in strategic decision-making, fundraising and M&A. Wiles noted, “We’re hoping this will be a win for entrepreneurs, the LGBT community and fund members alike. LBGT entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly common, and every year we see many promising new scalable businesses started by LGBT founders. With this growing opportunity, I envision an abundance of promising deals for investors at the seed round and early stage.”

Fund management, administration and monitoring will be handled by Launch Angels, who will also organize investment decisioning. Launch Angels is a specialist in creating personalized Affinity Venture funds, and has the experience of helping groups set up, administer and track custom funds. “We’re applying a disruptive model to the venture funding field. We start with groups, we identify their passions and interests, and then we craft the backbone management engine to fuel their vision,” said Shereen Shermak, Launch Angels CEO. “Creating an LGBT Affinity Fund is a natural evolution of this model, and we’re excited to help empower the next generation of LGBT entrepreneurs.”

In addition to Wiles, the Investment Committee will include Shermak, who brings a deep background in financial services and entrepreneurship, Heidi E. Lehmann, New York-based digital media entrepreneur and investor, co-founder at SWSIMedia, Principal at MQM Ventures, and mentor in StartOut’s Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program, as well as other prominent LGBT investors and entrepreneurs.

Upcoming Events

The fund will be promoted through a series of networking events on both coasts. The first event will take place in NYC on July 29. For more information, please contact info@launch-angels.com.

Investment Risks

Investors should consult with their financial and tax advisors before considering an investment. Early stage companies are risky investments, not suitable for all investors—even accredited ones.

About Launch Angels

Launch Angels custom tailors Affinity Venture Funds to your group’s unique structure, investment goals, desired engagement level, and investment process. We work with you to define fund size, budget for each investment, and deal criteria, then handle all management, reporting, filing, and tracking.

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Recently-Launched Buildfire Gaining Momentum as Premier Mobile App-Building Platform for Small to Medium-Size Businesses!

New Feature-Rich Tool Perfect for Those with Limited Time, Resources, or Expertise

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – July 16, 2014 – BuildFire™, a recently-launched innovative mobile app creation and management platform designed for small to medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations, is quickly becoming a compelling alternative for entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, and app creators around the globe. BuildFire has a quick and easy sign-up process, can be used for free, and offers templates for multiple business categories. The platform also provides a compelling White Label program, which allows everything from the client dashboard to the mobile apps to be completely branded by the client.

Via the BuildFire dashboard, users can work with a simple interface to build feature-rich mobile apps—no coding is required. BuildFire’s technology platform includes everything users need to develop, manage, and update apps.

“Our platform removes the coding headache for companies, but still enables them to create engaging apps that help increase sales and grow their business,” notes Ian Blair, co-founder of BuildFire.

The easy-to-use, feature-rich environment provides the ability to implement and change colors, layout, style, icons, designs, and ongoing customization. No other platform has BuildFire’s selective push capability, which is a powerful differentiator and an advantageous tool for a wide range of businesses. Other app features include cross platform capability, mobile website creation, rich multimedia, eCommerce, easy customization, event calendars, and integration with third party tools (such as enabling Open Table reservations).

For non-profits, BuildFire offers a unique giving program, which comes at no extra cost (many non-profits would pay more for this feature alone at competitors). Additionally, BuildFire delivers some of the industry’s best customer support. From tutorial videos and marketing resources to live chat, BuildFire helps users along every step of the way.

Nathan Keating, BuildFire’s other co-founder, says, “We are striving to help small to medium-size business take control of their technology and market. By creating apps on BuildFire, our customers can save valuable resources and produce the apps and marketing tools they need to succeed.”

For more information, please visit buildfire.com.

About BuildFIRE

BuildFire™ is an innovative mobile app creation and management platform designed for small to medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations. With the industry’s easiest-to-implement, no-coding-required iPhone, iPad, and Android app creation process—alongside a feature-rich platform with advanced functionality and marketing tools—BuildFire is the efficient, smart choice for those with limited time, resources, or technical expertise. For more information, please visit buildfire.com.

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A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts Partners With World Vision and Premier Yarns to Help Children Living In Poverty around the Globe

BERLIN, N.J. (July 23, 2014) — Just Imagine being a child and living in a world where food, water, and clothing are not readily available. According to UNICEF, nearly 19,000 children under the age of 5 die every day mainly due to unmet basic survival needs. Now Imagine, being able to help such children around the globe, currently living in poverty, with your knitting needles. A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts will partner with Premier Yarns and World Vision for the launch of the 2014 Knit for Kids program.

Knit for Kids is a nationwide program that unites thousands of volunteer knitters to fight poverty with knitted items such as blankets, hats, and sweaters. Through World Vision’s international distribution network, knitters touch the lives of children across the U.S. and in 20 different countries of Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Starting in July, Premier Yarns’ Knit for Kids Yarn Line will begin selling in A.C. Moore arts & crafts stores and the 140 store retailer will also set up donation boxes in their stores to collect the knitted items to donate to the World Vision, Knit for Kids Cause.

As the official drop off center for the Knit for Kids program, A.C. Moore seeks to succeed its goal to reach over 100,000 items to donate to the cause. As a way to engage local communities to help out, A.C. Moore will host a Mommy N’ Me event on Wednesday July 30, 2014 from 1-3pm as a part of their annual Summer Fun Wednesday’s program for children. The Mommy N’ Me Knit For Kids event is about local children helping children all around the world and essentially instilling in them a sense of pride that they will have contributed to such a great cause. Along with their Mother’s, Kids can knit hats, sweaters, or blankets using the Premier Yarns’ Knit for Kids Yarn line to donate to Knit for Kids.

For more details on A.C. Moore visit www.acmoore.com

About A.C. Moore

With now over 140 stores along the East Coast, A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, Inc. brings families together for fun through creativity. Named by Parents Magazine as one of the top 10 places for birthday parties, A.C. Moore offers a wide range of programs to engage adults in crafting, including workshops, demonstrations and “Make & Takes.” In addition to traditional craft products, A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts is also well-known for its selection of scrapbooking, jewelry, floral, yarn, art supplies, children’s crafts kits and educational toys, along with ready-made frames and custom framing. To locate your local A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, visit http://www.acmoore.com/, www.facebook.com/acmoore, twitter.com/officialacmoore and www.youtube.com/officialacmoore.

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Salsa Labs Opens its FUSE 2014 Digital Marketing Conference to Nonprofits Nationwide

Formerly Salsa Labs’ annual users conference, this year, FUSE 2014 invites all nonprofits to participate in the 2-day marketing, networking and learning event.

Washington, D.C.Salsa Labs, Inc. (Salsa), creator of the all-in-one online engagement platform is hosting its annual marketing conference for nonprofits, FUSE 2014, August 6-7, at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale. Previously a Salsa users conference, this year, the company has opened its doors to all small to medium-sized nonprofits interested in attending.

As in years past, Salsa’s line-up of speakers comprise many well-known thought leaders in the nonprofit community. From advocacy and fundraising experts to outreach and social media mavens, some of the FUSE 2014 speakers include: Ritu Sharma, Social Media for Nonprofits; Heather Mansfield, Nonprofit Tech for Good; Aaron Sherinian, United Nations Foundation; Justin Perkins, Care2; Henry Timms, 92nd Street Y; Colin Delany, e.politics; and Erin Viray, change.org.

The two-day conference offers an opportunity for those members of the nationwide nonprofit community to network, learn and gain insight into the most updated online organizing practices. As with previous years, Salsa users will still have the opportunity to obtain technical product training and communicate with experienced staff to address specific questions.

The scheduled sessions focus on everything involved in nonprofit online marketing from how to craft a practical online advocacy strategy and becoming a citizen journalist, to how to improve email marketing, social media best practices, #givingtuesday planning, constituent engagement, and much more.

Christine Schaefer, Salsa’s vice president of marketing and community said, “We are really excited about FUSE 2014 – especially because of our decision to open it up to all nonprofits. Our session schedule is packed with so much more than Salsa-user specific sessions. So much of it is informative and timely discussions on organizing, fundraising, communicating and advocacy that attendees may not have gotten at other industry events. Our speakers are all experts in their respective fields and we are grateful they have agreed to share their knowledge.”

Scholarship opportunities are available via an online application for those who need assistance. Kids & Art Foundation (San Francisco, CA), Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) (Portland, OR), US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (Washington, DC), Interfaith Peace-Builders (Washington, DC), and Missouri Recovery Network (Jefferson City, MO) are among some of the recipient organizations.

Online registration and scholarship applications are still available at fusecon.org. Individuals also may register day-of at the Ernst Community Cultural Center on the Annandale campus. Follow Salsa on Twitter or like them on Facebook. Follow FUSE2014 with the hashtag #FUSECON2014.

About Salsa Labs

Salsa Labs (Salsa) helps nonprofits and political campaigns ignite action and fuel change around the world by growing and engaging a base of support online. With Salsa, groups of all sizes can easily organize their supporters and chapters, fundraise, advocate, communicate through email and social media, host events and measure results. Salsa provides more than technology; it offers strategic best practices, training, highly rated support and a strong online community, so its clients can focus their energy on their mission. The company currently empowers more than 2,000 organizations’ and their more than 92 million donors, members, activists and fans across the globe. Visit Salsa online at www.SalsaLabs.com.

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Joan Garry Consulting Expands Services for Nonprofit Leaders, Hires Seth Rosen

Garry, Former Director of GLAAD, Provides Strategic Advice & Coaches Nonprofit CEOs and Board Chairs

New Senior Associate Seth Rosen Will Expand Firm’s Footprint to Development Directors

NEW YORK – Nonprofit consultant Joan Garry announced this morning an expansion of strategic advisory services at Joan Garry Consulting:

  1. Garry has hired accomplished development director Seth Rosen to join her team as a senior associate, marking her first senior staff hire and the firm’s expansion to support and provide strategic advice to development/fundraising directors.
  2. Garry also introduced two new online services on her blog JoanGarry.com. The Couch, a new online tool which allows nonprofit leaders a new platform to anonymously “rant, cheer and vent” about their problems and their successes..1-on-1 with Joan allows prospective those who need a direct and confidential level of engagement with Joan about a current challenge they’re facing to schedule inexpensive, 50-minute videoconference sessions with Garry.

“Increasingly, successful not-for-profit CEOs, Executive Directors, Board Chairs and Development Directors are looking for strategic advice and support to enable them to better lead their organizations more effectively,” said Joan Garry, principal of Joan Garry Consulting. “But nonprofits are hardwired to be messy, creating unique leadership challenges for even the most capable professionals. Having been every one of my clients — a nonprofit ED, a board member, etc. – I help leaders use that “mess” to their organization’s great advantage. And I started my blog, and now The Couch, because there simply weren’t enough authentic, practical and funny resources for everyday nonprofit leaders to turn to for support.”

Garry has been consulting with leaders throughout the nonprofit sector since leaving her post at GLAAD — where she served for nearly a decade — in 2005. She launched her blog 18 months ago and is now read by thousands of nonprofit leaders every week.

“When I served on the board of an NYC nonprofit, I suggested that Joan be brought in to help that organization build a more effective management team. That was a home run,” said Kevin Jennings, Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation, which last year launched a major capacity-building initiative to provide grantees the ability to retain strategic consultants. “Today at Arcus, Joan’s blog is a go-to for me and my staff and for every single grantee we have. I often find myself sending links to her blog to ED’s struggling with the challenges of nonprofit management — it may be the single most practical resource for ED’s I have ever seen.”

“After spending over a decade for nonprofits, I know firsthand that there is a real thirst for strategic advice and coaching among nonprofit leaders who want to conquer the challenges in front of them,” said newly hired Senior Associate Seth Rosen. “That’s why I couldn’t be more thrilled to join Joan’s team and begin working with development directors around the country. Just like EDs and board chairs, development directors are critical to ensuring organizational success.”

“What impresses me about Seth and Joan’s business model is that it mirrors my own philosophy of generosity,” said philanthropist/nonprofit expert Jeffrey C. Walker, author of The Generosity Network and a longtime advocate for the professionalization of the nonprofit sector. “It’s not about asking for help. It’s about exploring how all of us can work together in pursuit of a common vision using the unique resources we each have to offer. And it’s about understanding that true generosity is rooted in relatedness. This is what Seth has always understood as a development professional. Clients can benefit greatly from Seth and Joan’s expertise, and the passion and joy they feel about meeting our society’s most difficult challenges.”

Teresa Younger, the new ED of the Ms. Foundation for Women, one of the nation’s leading feminist organizations, had this to say about why she has hired Joan: “Running the Ms. Foundation for Women is my dream job – it’s like making the finals at Wimbledon. Would Billie Jean King have ever walked onto that grass court without a strategic coach by her side? Why would I walk solo? I plan to succeed fabulously and several women I trusted pointed me to Joan. She has sat in every seat at the conference table – board, CEO, donor, fundraiser – and has begun working with me with intelligence, humor, authenticity and a deep commitment to both my personal success and that of the success of the Ms. Foundation.”

To learn more about Joan Garry Consulting’s services, visit her blog at www.joangarry.com

About Joan Garry

For nearly a decade, Joan Garry served as the Executive Director of GLAAD, one of the largest gay rights organizations in the country, where she launched many successful media campaigns, including GLAAD’s successful campaign to lobby the New York Times to include same sex wedding announcements in its Style section. She later served as co-chair of Barack Obama’s LGBT Finance Committee during his 2008 presidential campaign. Today she works with nonprofit leaders, assisting executive directors, CEOs and Board Chairs with crisis management, executive coaching and the building of strong management teams. She also teaches nonprofit media strategy as an Adjunct Professor at the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Her nonprofit work followed 14 years in executive positions in corporate entertainment, including as a member of the management team that launched MTV in 1981.

About Seth Rosen

Seth is a seasoned nonprofit executive with over ten years of experience raising significant funds for a variety of domestic and international nonprofit organizations. Most recently, Seth served as Managing Director of Development, Communications and Marketing at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the world’s first HIV/AIDS organization. Before that he was the Assistant Vice President of Development at New York Law School where he oversaw all aspects of the Law School’s fundraising activities, including the management of the Law School’s $100 million endowment campaign. Seth also served as the first Director of Development of two sister organizations, Millennium Promise and Malaria No More, and was the Director of Major Gifts at Amnesty International USA and Manager of Fundraising for International Direct Service Programs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

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Goqii Partners With Oxfam India to Raise Awareness of Global Injustice and Poverty with “From Couch to 100 Km” Fitness and Social Aware Initiative

July 23, 2014 – GOQii Inc., an innovator in the wearable technology industry, and Oxfam India, one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations, announced an exciting new initiative today for the Trailwalker events set to take place in India in December 2014 and January 2015. The program, “From Couch to 100 km”, will intertwine GOQii’s mission to improve lives through social causes with Oxfam India’s drive to overcome and raise awareness of global poverty.

Participants in Trailwalker endurance events will tackle 100 km of Indian terrain within a 48-hour timeframe, with teams of four raising funds from Oxfam’s efforts to eradicate inequality. GOQii (“Go-Key”) is the leading sponsor of the “From Couch to 100 km” events in Mumbai (December 5-7, 2014) and Bengaluru (January 23-25, 2015), and will provide onsite assistance for all participants on event days as well as offering an extended, free three-month training period.

The GOQii Band is the most unique development of the wearable technology industry. What makes GOQii wholly unique is that it integrates a wrist-worn device with a day-to-day personal relationship with an actual coach who will interpret the data, set goals, identify challenges and motivate the users to reach permanent and health lifestyles changes. In real time. GOQii’s advanced fitness tracker comes with a bevy of features including a full touch display, a vibrating alarm, automatic wireless syncing via Bluetooth and many more facets. There is a system of Karma points that users earn for “good work” that are then used as donations from GOQii to charities around the world, such as Oxfam.

GOQii coaches will interact with captains of all participating teams for both motivational and physical support, as well as physical training for the 100 km walk, throughout the endurance events. The coaches will serve as guides and also provide training on various aspects of the event. GOQii will also organize off-line events for the teams that will further enhance their capabilities to complete the walk.

“We are honored to take part of such an important event that raises awareness of Oxfam India’s mission to eliminate poverty worldwide,” said Vishal Gondal, CEO and Founder of GOQii. “We believe that everyone possesses boundless potential for healthy, sustainable living which perfectly aligns with Oxfam’s mission to create better lives for everyone around the world.”

Dr. Nisha Agrawal, CEO of Oxfam India, noted, “Our vision of ‘right to life with dignity for all’ begins at the grassroots level, and this event will demonstrate Oxfam’s commitment to create a more equal, just and viable world. GOQii exemplifies the partnership that is needed to make a lasting impact upon the world.”

Training for the Mumbai Trailwalker event begins September 1; for Bangalore it commences October 15. The first Oxfam Trailwalker in India was conducted in 2012 in Bengaluru. The inaugural Mumbai Trailwalker was conducted in 2013.

About GOQii Inc.

GOQii Inc. is based in northern California (USA) with offices in India and China. It is dedicated to enabling a permanent shift to a healthier lifestyle with the combination of advanced wearable technology, the world’s leading experts, coaches and karma. GOQii focuses on sustained engagement and goal reinforcement, offering a complete ecosystem as a single integrated solution. GOQii is a collaboration of some of the world’s leading experts and management teams who are driven by a passion for healthy sustainable living and who believe in boundless potential. The company launched a “first mover program” with 1,000+ users based in India in early 2014. By the end of 2014, GOQii systems will be rolled out in the U.S., U.K., Singapore and the UAE. For more information, log on to www.goqii.com

About Oxfam India

Oxfam India’s vision is to create a more equal, just, and sustainable world. It works in partnership with over 180 grassroots NGOs to address root causes of poverty and injustice in the four areas of 1) Economic Justice, 2) Essential Services, 3) Gender Justice and 4) Humanitarian Response and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Oxfam India’s program is focused on seven States – Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand – and four social groups – Dalits, Tribals, Muslims and Women. For more information, visit www.oxfamindia.org.

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