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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: October 2014

Renowned Artist Hersey Felder To Join Talent Lineup Of Apac Foundation Great Gatsby Gala Fundraiser In Anaheim Top Performers To Ramp Up For Headliner Debbie Reynolds

Anaheim, Calif. (October 2, 2014) The Anaheim Performing Arts Center Foundation (APACF) is proud to announce that renowned pianist HERSHEY FELDER will be performing at the organization’s Great Gatsby Gala Benefit Concert on November 1, 2014. Mr. Felder is a Canadian pianist, actor, playwright, composer, producer, and director, and will perform excerpts from his production of “Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin” at the gala, which will open in November at the Geffen Playhouse. In addition to Mr. Felder, the gala will feature performers JULIE GARNYE, JENNIFER SHELTON, ERIC LEVAN and SEAN LE VAN. Headlining the Great Gatsby Gala Benefit Concert will be beloved Hollywood legend, DEBBIE REYNOLDS.

As a performer in Los Angeles, JULIE GARNYE most recently appeared on the 85th Annual Academy Awards (THE OSCARS), singing in the Les Misérables Ensemble, along with the principals of the Academy Award winning film version on the Boublil-Shönberg musical. She also can be heard in the Disney animated film “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure” as the singing voice of the fairy Lyria and in the “Star Turn” episode in the final season of TNT’s “The Closer.” Live performances include “Les Misérables” at The Hollywood Bowl (directed by Richard Jay-Alexander), “CHESS” in Concert at the Ford Amphitheatre and with celebrated Tony Award winners Alan Cumming and Alice Ripley in “Open All Night: The Music of Lance Horne.”

JENNIFER SHELTON recently appeared in International City Theatre’s production of “LET’S MISBEHAVE: The Music and Lyrics of Cole Porter.”

ERIC LE VAN is an American classical pianist particularly known for his interpretations of the music of Brahms and Scriabin. An archivist of unusual repertoire, Mr. Le Van has been guest soloist and recitalist in major festivals and venues in the United States and in Europe, notably the Weimar Franz Liszt Festival and the Beethovenfest in Bonn, the Fetes Romantiques de Nohant Festival in France, and at the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

SEAN LE VAN is 13 years old and has given many professional concerts since the age of five, along with members of his family, the Le Van Family Musicians. He started as a singer in various styles and soon developed a passion for jazz improvisation and composition on the piano. He now embraces several musical genres, including jazz and classical. He was a laureate winner of the 2010 American Association for the Development of the Gifted and Talented competition, which led him to perform in the “Passion of Music Festival” at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and Bechstein Hall as a classical pianist.

The fourth annual Great Gatsby Gala Benefit Concert will be held on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Fox Pointe Manor, the magnificent estate residence of Dr. Howard and Linda Knohl in the Peralta Hills area of Anaheim.

Headliner DEBBIE REYNOLDS is known for her dramatic versatility, which has won her the respect of her colleagues and the affection of audiences all around the world who know her from her countless appearances in movies, on stage and TV. She is best known for her roles in “Singin’ in the Rain” and her Academy Award nominated portrayal as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Ms. Reynolds has also appeared in numerous television shows such as “Will & Grace,” “Perry Mason,” “The Love Boat” and many appearances on The Tonight Show.

Linda Knohl, president of the APAC Foundation board of directors, stated, “We recognize and appreciate Ms. Reynolds dedication to the performing arts. Her star power brings the Great Gatsby Gala to new heights and represents a crowning achievement for the Anaheim Performing Arts Center Foundation.”

As previously announced, Master of Ceremonies for the Great Gatsby Gala Benefit Concert, will be southern California broadcasting icon NBC4 Weathercaster FRITZ COLEMAN.

After only a few years, the gala is one of the most fashionable and eagerly anticipated fundraising events in Orange County.

VIP ticket holders will enjoy a cocktail reception followed by a sumptuous dinner and live auction. Following dinner, VIP guests will have front row seats to the concert on the Great Lawn with a line-up of stellar entertainment and celebrity guests under the stars at Dr. Howard and Linda Knohl’s Fox Pointe Manor. Guests are encouraged to dress in their best “Gatsby” attire.

All proceeds from the event will be used to support the building of a world class performing arts center in the city of Anaheim and its many programs, including the APACF senior outreach program. The mission of the outreach program is to create or reignite an appreciation of the performing arts by providing the community a series of lectures and quality educational entertainment.

Ticket prices to the Great Gatsby Gala Benefit Concert are $250 for VIP and $75 for concert only. Tickets and underwriting sponsorships are available online at www.apacf.org.

SAVE THE DATE! November 1, 2014. You won’t want to miss this fun-filled and exciting event!

For more information, please visit www.apacf.org or call 714-554-2711.

About Anaheim Performing Arts Center Foundation

The Anaheim Performing Arts Center Foundation, a 501(c) (3) Tax Exempt organization, has been formed to establish and maintain a signature building with state-of-the-art performance and educational facilities. Working with the City of Anaheim, corporate and private sponsors, we are dedicated to making the dream of a cultural center and performing arts theater in Anaheim become a reality.

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Women’s Fund of Central Indiana Invited to Join the Clinton Global Initiative

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 1, 2014 – Women’s Fund of Central Indiana has joined the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) – a community of international leaders dedicated to developing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Women’s Fund was invited to join based on the organization’s innovative approach to bringing a lifetime of economic security to at-risk young women. Women’s Fund of Central Indiana is one of the most influential funding organizations creating transformative and sustainable change for women and girls in Central Indiana.

Jennifer Pope Baker, Executive Director, Women’s Fund, returned this week from CGI’s Annual Meeting in NYC. The Annual Meeting brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists and members of the media. One of the key opportunities for Women’s Fund and their CGI membership will be connecting with potential national partners and funders for the NEXT Initiative – Women’s Fund’s ten-year commitment to help emerging adult women, ages 18-24, move from economic instability to economic stability.

Jennifer Pope Baker

“By being a member and present at the Annual Meeting, our credibility was immediate,” said Baker. “Everyone is looking to build partnerships and provide support to others in making a commitment to alleviating some of the world’s most pressing problems. The number of people focused on the well-being of women and girls was remarkable and the possibilities for Women’s Fund, our NEXT Initiative and our community are amazing.”

“Anytime one of our community’s residents, leaders or organizations can innovate at a national or international scale, it brings tremendous value to all of us in central Indiana,” said Brian Payne, President & CEO, Central Indiana Community Foundation. “We are excited Women’s Fund has this opportunity to share the work of NEXT and the program’s big ambitions and potential for innovative impact.”

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About Women’s Fund

Since 1999, Women’s Fund has awarded over $5.3 million through 347 grants to 109 women and girl serving nonprofit organizations in central Indiana. Women’s Fund of Central Indiana invests in the lives of women and girls in central Indiana and is an endowed special interest fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation. Learn more at womensfund.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. To date members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. Learn more at clintonglobalinitiative.org.

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Freshman Class is Highest-Achieving in SDSU History

The most competitive applicant pool in SDSU history has yielded its highest achieving freshman class.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2014) — The numbers are in and San Diego State University’s incoming class of freshmen is the highest-achieving in the history of the university.

Classes began on August 25, but a complete census could not be taken until after the final add/drop deadline. Final numbers show that among the 4,976 first-time freshmen, the average high school GPA is 3.69 with an average SAT score of 1112, up from 3.60 and 1103 the year before.

The incoming class is also highly diverse, 58.8 percent of first-time freshmen are students of color.

“We are delighted by this development as it shows that the strategic plan to advance student success, diversity and academic quality continues to yield the desired results,” said SDSU Provost and Senior Vice President Chukuka S. Enwemeka.

The application pool was more competitive than ever before, with a record 79,137 undergraduate applications received for the 2014/15 academic year.

First-time freshmen continue taking on high unit loads, averaging 15 units in their first semester. The most popular majors for freshmen are kinesiology (384), biology (381), management (314), psychology (305), mechanical engineering (293) and marketing (224).

SDSU’s one-year continuation rates also continue to climb with 87.5 percent of first-time freshmen from the 2013/14 academic year returning to campus. The one-year continuation rate for students of color is at an all-time high of 87.6 percent.

This semester, SDSU also welcomes the largest incoming class of University Honors students in the history of the university. In addition to a minimum high school GPA of 3.7 and SAT score of 1200, these 226 students from all over the country, also show a commitment to achievement and to giving back to the communities in which they live and work.

For more information on SDSU’s enrollment statistics, visit the university’s Analytic Studies and Institutional Research webpage.

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Projects Abroad Makes Significant Medical Contributions in Fiji and Cambodia

Volunteers and interns effect tangible and long-term change for disadvantaged communities and disabled patients abroad

A Projects Abroad Nutrition intern conducts a health check for a villager in Fiji

NEW YORK – October 1, 2014 – As a leading international volunteer organization, Projects Abroad is committed to improving the social and physical environment around the developing world. The projects that Projects Abroad offers all aim to benefit communities in need and each specific project is given its own unique set of goals. In the field of Medicine & Healthcare, the organization works toward improving the quality of life for those living with disabilities, as well as supporting communities where access to healthcare is irregular. With the help of interns and skilled volunteers, the organization is making noteworthy progress in meeting this goal, particularly in Fiji and Cambodia.

The Nutrition project in Fiji has gone from strength to strength since it began in May this year. So much so, that even the Prime Minister of Fiji has noticed the incredible work Projects Abroad interns are doing. In his speech to celebrate Senior Citizen’s Day and the festival of Eid earlier this year, he closed by saying that “I would also like to acknowledge the team from Projects Abroad that is providing free medical check-ups for all the senior citizens here today.”

The aim of the Nutrition Project is for interns to determine the major health threats in the local community and their likely causes. The presence of this project in Fiji is crucial, as the prevalence of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and heart disease among adults in the Pacific Region is one of the highest in the world, according to the World Health Organization. Projects Abroad interns take on an important role in the poorer communities, as they can devise a nutrition and health program to counter the existing health issues and prevent the onset in avoidable cases, including running cooking and exercise classes. It’s a program that has the potential to reach and empower thousands of people: the hope is that, through education, Fijians will gain a better understanding of the causes of disease and the preventive steps they can take, which they can then teach their children.

Feedback from the Fijian villages where Projects Abroad interns work has been hugely positive so far. For the interns themselves, the experience has been equally helpful. Lindsay Benster and Victoria Murphy, two interns who recently took part on the project, commented that “through this internship opportunity, we have vastly expanded our own knowledge of nutrition and the importance of education.”

In Cambodia, Projects Abroad works with three different partner organizations on the ground in the fields of physical therapy and occupational therapy. The hope is to offer patients with the specialized stimulation that is severely lacking in medical institutions in Cambodia. One of these placements is Home of Hope, a center for children and male adults living with disabilities located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

This summer, Projects Abroad volunteers helped convert two disused rooms at the center into a physical therapy room and a sensory room. A wonderful group from Australia started the renovations by creating and decorating the physical therapy room. They then passed the baton on to diligent High School Special volunteers in July who finished constructing the sensory room and providing welcome shade over the playground. Projects Abroad are immensely grateful to both of these groups for their help with the transformation and the organization is now trying to ensure that their efforts have a long term impact.

The organization is now seeking qualified physical therapists and occupational therapists to help care for residents and improve their quality of life. Physical therapy and occupational therapy students with at least three years of training behind them can also make a substantial impact and will be very welcome.

For more information on Projects Abroad’s Medicine & Healthcare programs, please visit: www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/medicine-and-healthcare.

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 29 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org

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SDSU’s Sage Project Seeks New City Partner

Cities from all over San Diego County are invited to submit letters of interest to be the next Sage Project partner.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 1, 2014) — On the heels of a successful first year working to make National City more sustainable, San Diego State University’s Sage Project is seeking proposals from other San Diego County municipalities to partner with in the 2015-2016 academic year.

“It has been so exciting to see the amount and quality of work that the students have done, and to know that their work will have a real impact on National City and its residents,” said Jessica Barlow, the director of the Sage Project. “I am looking forward to seeing what we can do with our next partner city.”

The Sage Project is a partnership between SDSU and a local government that continues for one year with the possibility of renewal for a second year. Students, through their course work, engage in meaningful real-world projects and contribute to the quality of life of residents in the city partner’s community.

Today SDSU put out a request for interest, inviting cities in San Diego County to submit a non-binding statement of interest for consideration as the next Sage Project partner. Statements of interest, which are due by Nov. 15, will include brief descriptions of potential projects as well as information about available funding.

The partnership with National City, which runs through May 2015, has been tied to goals and initiatives in the National City 2013 Strategic Plan and included projects developed in consultation with National City staff and city council members including:

  • Street improvements to slow traffic, enhance pedestrian safety, address storm water runoff, and beautify the area with drought-tolerant landscaping
  • Land use analysis and designs for redevelopment of sites in a designated tourism district
  • Recommendations for enhancement of the city’s Emergency Operations Plan using social media, technology, and funding
  • Improved way finding and signage throughout parks, tourist attractions, and high-density areas
  • Energy calculations, engineering design and cost/benefit analysis for building-integrate solar cell installation at the public library
  • Policy recommendations for cost savings for the city’s general fund
  • Analysis of air quality and noise pollution due to industry and recommendations for mitigation of impact on the health and well-being of the city’s residents;
  • Needs assessment for community services related to health, safety and social well-being of residents

SDSU students from a wide variety of disciplines including anthropology, audiology, homeland security, city planning, engineering, graphic design, public health, recreation and tourism management and marketing, have participated in the Sage Project to date.

The program is based on the highly successful Sustainable City Year Program at the University of Oregon. Like the project in Oregon, SDSU’s Sage Project engages hundreds of students who invest thousands of hours assisting communities in the region as they seek to build a more equitable and sustainable future.

Barlow will be doing a series of presentations this week to the San Diego Climate Collaborative, the County City Managers Association, and the SANDAG Regional Planning Committee to present the program and the RFI. For more information and details on submitting a statement of interest, visit http://sage.sdsu.edu/dus/sage/partner_sage.aspx.

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Jackson Gabriel Silver Foundation and Heal EB Announce Merger

New organization named the EB Research Partnership

Creates Largest Non-Profit Dedicated To Finding a Cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Wife Jill Vedder among Founding Board Members

NEW YORK, October 1, 2014 – The Jackson Gabriel Silver Foundation and Heal EB announced today a merger of their organizations to form the EB Research Partnership (EBRP), creating the largest non-profit organization dedicated solely to funding research to cure Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

EB is a group of devastating life-threatening genetic skin disorders impacting children that is characterized by skin blisters and erosions all over the body. For a child with EB, even the most delicate touch can cause the skin to tear apart, blister and shear off the body. There is currently no cure, and treatment often comes in the form of wound care, intensive bandaging and managing debilitating pain and infection.

EBRP, which utilizes groundbreaking venture philanthropy funding models to support leading research institutions such as Stanford University and the University of Minnesota, has set their initial fundraising goal at $5 million dollars per year to exclusively fund research and find a cure for EB.

Eddie Vedder, founding board member of EBRP said, “My wife Jill and I are thrilled to be able to support the brilliant work of leading doctors and researchers committed to identifying better treatments, and ultimately a cure for this cruel disease. Our close family friends have a young son with EB and we want to do everything we can to ensure a better quality of life for him and all children living with these types of genetic disorders.”

“As families impacted by rare diseases know all too well, it is difficult to access sufficient research dollars to make a true impact on the development of new treatments and cures. As a combined organization, EBRP can command the scale to fund aggressive research and accelerate a cure for EB,” commented Alex Silver, Chairman of EBRP. “We are thrilled to join forces with Jill and Eddie Vedder and Heal EB – founded by Heather and Ryan Fullmer and Jill Vedder – with the goal of finding a cure for EB and bringing hope to thousands of children who suffer from this horrific condition,” added Silver.

EBRP is pleased to announce that Jessica Scheer will serve as Executive Director. She will oversee day to day leadership of the organization and will be responsible for its financial development. Scheer brings more than a decade of experience in non-profit leadership, including her work with DoSomething.org and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

Microsoft Employee Giving Campaign

Kicking off an initial push towards their $5 million fundraising goal, EBRP is teaming up with Microsoft during the month of October during the Microsoft Employee Giving Campaign, including a grassroots movement “Heal EB: Cause the Wave” to raise awareness about EB and create a ripple effect of support. Some of the money raised during this year’s campaign will go to fund the work of Dr. Jakub Tolar at the University of Minnesota who is working to advance gene and cellular engineering research, efforts which have the potential to drastically transform the quality of life for individuals with EB.

Commenting on the opportunities presented by this campaign, Dr. Tolar states, “Funding from the EB Research Partnership can shorten the time from the lab to the clinic by more than 50%, which helps those most in need. In addition, this type of treatment is potentially the key to treating not just EB, but 5,000+ other genetic disorders.”

About the EB Research Partnership

EB Research Partnership (EBRP) is the largest 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to funding research aimed at treating and ultimately curing Epidermolysis Bullosa, a group of devastating and life-threatening skin disorders that affect children from birth. EBRP was formed in October 2014 through the merger of Jackson Gabriel Research Foundation and Heal EB. To learn more about Epidermolysis Bullosa and to donate to research for a cure, please visit www.ebresearch.org.

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Guinness & Co. Raise A Glass – And More Than Half A Million Dollars – In Support Of The Leary Firefighters Foundation And Firefighters Nationwide

Guinness Donates Over Half a Million Dollars in Support of America’s Unsung Heroes

NORWALK, Conn. (October 1, 2014) – Last night in New York City, Guinness & Co. raised a glass of the iconic beer in honor of the Leary Firefighters Foundation (LFF) during a special event to present the LFF a check for more than half a million dollars in support of firefighters nationwide.

Actor and founder of the LFF, Denis Leary, joined Guinness and Diageo executives to celebrate their combined efforts to support firefighters across the U.S. Throughout the past year, Guinness raised over $500,000, in partnership with the LFF, to help provide quality equipment, education, training and technology for firefighters everywhere. Guinness and the LFF received an outpouring of personal donations and contributions from adult supporters through the brand’s fundraising efforts to support the foundation as well as a significant contribution from Guinness itself.

“At Guinness, we celebrate those who are Made of More; those who carry on the legacy of our founder and our company and who demonstrate great character without asking for recognition. Firefighters showcase these qualities with the commitments and sacrifices they make every day,” said Guinness Brand Director Doug Campbell. “We’re very proud of the work we’ve done alongside the LFF and we’re excited to continue that initiative to recognize individuals who do more for their communities throughout the next year.”

Guinness’ St. Patrick’s Day 2014 program hosted a variety of fundraising initiatives through its philanthropic online hub www.GuinnessGivesBack.com, including a limited-edition firefighter themed t-shirt sold online and in select bars across the country. The makers of Guinness beer also released the Extraordinary Irish Beers Variety Pack, saluting firefighters’ extraordinary character, which included Guinness® Draught, Guinness® Black Lager, Smithwick’s® Irish Ale and Harp Lager. A percentage of the proceeds from sales of the t-shirts and variety packs were donated to the LFF. The program has been part of the brand’s ‘MADE OF MORE’ campaign, which celebrates the service and selflessness of firefighters.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Guinness for a third year,” said actor Denis Leary, founder of the LFF. “Since beginning our partnership two years ago, we’ve raised more than $650,000 to help firefighters nationwide. It’s an honor for the LFF to be recognized for its tireless efforts in support of all the men and women who put their lives on the line every day; the funds raised by Guinness will help our firefighter brothers and sisters in uniform across the country.”

The event also kicked off the brand’s goal to raise $1 million for local firefighters by St. Patrick’s Day 2015, in the third year of its partnership with the LFF. For the next several months, Guinness will publicly recognize those who make great contributions to their communities by raising a Guinness to them at a community event. The brand will carry out additional fundraising activities throughout the year to reach its $1 million fundraising goal.

Join the conversation and share Made of More moments on Twitter at @GuinnessUS. Select images and stories will be featured on the brand’s Instagram feed which celebrates those who are Made of More.

To learn more about Guinness’ partnership with the LFF, visit www.GuinnessGivesBack.com. To learn more about the work LFF does in support of firefighters, visit www.learyfirefighters.org.

Guinness reminds everyone while raising your glass in support of firefighters, and all the men and women who do more for our communities, to do so responsibly.

About Guinness®

The Guinness® brand enjoys a global reputation as a uniquely authentic beer and the best-selling stout in the world. Famous for its dark color, velvety smooth head and unique surge and settle, this distinctive beer has been brewed at the St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin, Ireland since 1759. Over 10 million glasses of Guinness beer are enjoyed every single day around the world, and 1.8 billion pints are sold every year. Guinness beer is available in well over 100 countries worldwide and is brewed in almost 50. Also from the makers of Guinness, Smithwick’s, Ireland’s oldest and best selling ale and HARP Lager, whose name pays tribute to the Guinness logo and the national symbol of Ireland. Additional information about the Guinness brand can be found at www.guinness.com.

About Diageo

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

About The Leary Firefighters Foundation

The Leary Firefighters Foundation (LFF) provides funding and resources for fire departments to get the best available equipment, technology and training necessary for the health and safety of firefighters and in turn, the public they serve. Founded in 2000 by actor Denis Leary in response to the 1999 Cold Storage Warehouse fire tragedy in his native Worcester, Massachusetts, LFF has raised more than $10 million for first responders in Worcester, Boston, New York, New Jersey and New Orleans. The Leary Firefighter Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as designated by the Internal Revenue Code. Please visit us at www.learyfirefighters.org.

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BiddingForGood First in its Industry to Reach $250 Million Fundraising Milestone

Charitable e-commerce and mobile bidding makes fundraising for schools and non-profits more effective and fun

Cambridge, Mass., October 1, 2014 — BiddingForGood, the leader in online charity auctions and the industry’s first cause-related e-commerce company, today announced that it has passed a milestone of $250 million in funds raised to support non-profits, schools and charities across the United States. BiddingForGood is the first charitable commerce marketplace – where nearly 100 percent of transactions benefit charity – to reach $250 million raised on its platform by charities.

Credited with creating a new category of shopping called Charitable Commerce™, BiddingForGood connects consumers and marketers to thousands of charitable auctions, which increasingly have moved from the physical to the online world in an effort to attract and reach more bidders. The company provides a way for fundraisers to extend auctions to a greater community of charitable supporters who might otherwise not have the time or opportunity to attend traditional events and give to new causes.

“By melding technology innovations with traditional fundraising auctions, we have dramatically changed the world of charitable events,” said Jon Carson, CEO of BiddingForGood. “Reaching this quarter of a billion dollar milestone supports our belief that consumers remain diligent about making their dollars go further, are committed to giving back and supporting charitable causes, and enjoy finding unique items and hard-to-get experiences.”

BiddingForGood has altered the fundraising landscape by bringing together a powerful community of cause-minded shoppers who can bid on charitable auctions all year round. The company’s bidding community is unique: they are affluent, female boomers, 41 percent of whom have served on boards, and are opinion makers with significant influence over their household’s discretionary budgets. Using innovative technologies, BiddingForGood has opened charitable auctions to supporters who can now bid wherever and whenever regardless of the device.

Mobile Bidding – Fun, Excitement, and Good-Natured Competition

In response to event organizers’ desire to find new ways to attract and engage donors, BiddingForGood offers mobile auction capabilities that have transformed the traditional, 100 year old clipboard bidding process and made bidding fun, more immediate, and interactive.

Mobile Bidding allows event attendees to bid on items directly from their smartphone after registering payment information, which they can complete prior to arrival. While this streamlines event registration and checkout processes, it also allows guests to start socializing upon arrival.

Instant alerts notify supporters on their device when they have been outbid. Alerts and the convenience of bidding from wherever they are – in line at the bar or buffet, mingling with guests, etc. – encourages a friendly, competitive element to the bidding process while making it more fun and the fundraising efforts, ultimately, more successful.

“We have a wonderful network of donors who regularly support our efforts. After running many traditional auction events, we were looking for ways to make the events more engaging and fun for our guests,” said Shana R. Wallenstein, development specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. “Mobile bidding provided us exactly what we were looking for. This new and innovative approach to bidding allowed us to move away from the traditional auction format with clipboards and bid sheets, and try something new. We used it for our annual gala and were delighted with the technology – its ease of use – and our overall results.”

Optimizing Bid Engagements

Working in conjunction with a Harvard Business School professor, the company has developed 120+ proprietary algorithms to send to bidders Intelligent Bid Alerts that vary competitive versus charitable messaging based on auction characteristics to optimize bid engagements, and to predict auction outcomes.

With an average auction size of $11,500 and a recent auction raising $251,565 in just five days, BiddingForGood supports auctions that typically range from $5,000 to $250,000, though there is no limit to the upper range. The top five grossing clients have raised between $1-2 million each. Contributing to fundraising totals is revenue realized from incremental bidding, provided items, sponsorships, cash donations, ticket sales, and BiddingForGood’s bid extension feature, which allows bidding for contested items to continue until someone wins the item.

Other notable highlights from auctions run on BiddingForGood:

  • Most bids of any auction: 83,510
  • Most bids in a day: 56,891
  • Most bids in an hour: 15,842

Carson continues, “Our platform, services, and Mobile Bidding application have increased participation in fundraising auctions that have yielded higher fundraising totals by making it easier and more fun for supporters to engage with events. Quite literally supporters can bid anytime, anywhere.”

BiddingForGood’s e-commerce platform helps causes tap into household discretionary spending budgets for things like travel, dining, and gifts, while providing participating merchants with exposure to a highly desirable, affluent, influential, and community minded audience.

According to Chris Bitonti, development and special events manager, Nevada Public Radio, the station “has seen great success with the BiddingForGood auction platform over the last nine years. The money raised has been crucial to our ability to sustain our mission. We have seen a substantial amount of our revenue come from the BiddingForGood bidding community and continue to invest our resources to make this a vital part of our fundraising strategy. Our business partners and donors continue to support this effort as well, realizing great marketing benefits from supporting us online, whilst being good corporate citizens.”

Other highlights:

  • Upward Trend Continues – It took BiddingForGood 45 months to run its first 1,000 auction events, 14 months to run the next 1,000, and has run 2,400 auctions in the first eight months of 2014.
  • Revenue – BiddingForGood reached the first $1 million in funds raised in six months, reached $50 million after five years. It took only six more years to reach $250 million total funds raised for charities. 
  • Frequency of consumers shopping/bidding – In 2011, 30 percent of registered bidders placed bids online at least three times per year. In 2014, 59 percent of registered bidders placed bids online more than 11 times per year.
  • Unique Customer Service Model – The company’s customer service team assigns each account a dedicated auction expert who works with their accounts from beginning to end of their online fundraising experience. Having helped run over 22,000 auctions, the team, which consistently receives satisfaction scores of 4.5 out of 5.0, has advised on more auctions than any other provider.

Auction Highlights – Top Causes, Categories, & Items

The top causes using BiddingForGood are schools (K-12), arts & culture, healthcare, and human services. Clients include ALS Association, American Cancer Society, Aspen Education Foundation, Broadway Cares, Center Stage, Fox Sports, Girls, Inc., Habitat for Humanity, Kimberly-Clark, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Nevada Public Radio, Rotary, South Beach Wine and Food Festival, and WXXI Public Radio, as well as many local organizations and schools, both private and public.

Top selling auction categories include travel, tickets, dining, and one-of-a-kind experiences like dinner on the 50-yard line of the Cleveland Browns’ stadium. While bidding on trips and jewelry are a draw, many bidders have competed for their opportunity to win:

Flight in an A-4 Skyhawk

  • Trip to the Galapagos about MS National Geographic Endeavor
  • George Clooney’s Academy Awards goodie bag
  • One year tuition to Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy
  • Full treatment packages, including braces, at an orthodontist
  • Custom Lasik treatment
  • Ten-year renewal for a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise
  • Horseback safari in Botswana
  • Two tickets to the Super Bowl XLVIII (2014)

Items with the most bids of all time include:

  • Meet and Greet with the police chief and LAPD “fly along”
  • 2006 Ford Explorer
  • Harrison Ford “Experience” – lunch and a flight with actor/pilot Harrison Ford

Year to date (2014), top items sold have raised as much as $30,000:

  • Invitation to a private party thrown by Elton John
  • Recording session with Jeff Tweedy
  • FOX News studio tour
  • VIP parking spots at a private school and a university
  • 2014 Ford Focus
  • 6-day private yachting in the Mediterranean
  • Washington Redskin’s Owner’s Box level suite for a game
  • Vintage 1955 Ford F150 Truck (restored)

About BiddingForGood

Founded in 2003, BiddingForGood is a charitable e-commerce company that connects fundraisers, cause-conscious shoppers, and socially responsible businesses. Its unique platform allows nonprofits, consumers, and businesses to converge to create dynamic and exciting fundraising events that result in higher levels of funds raised. Over 8,000 customers ranging in size from large national organizations to small, local nonprofits and schools, and 460,000+ shoppers make up the BiddingForGood Community and create a new category of shopping – Charitable Commerce™. For more information, visit www.biddingforgood.com. Follow on Twitter @BiddingForGood or on Facebook.

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Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation Announces First Grants

Grants total more than $900,000 in Oregon and Washington, including $100,000 match for State of Oregon’s stORytime program

Portland, Ore., September 30, 2014 – Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation (UMPQ), today announced the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation first four grants with commitments to organizations in Oregon and Washington State and an education partnership with the State of Oregon.

The Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation recognizes the integral connection between educational success and economic prosperity. Through targeted investments in organizations focused on children’s education and wellbeing, the Foundation works to create economic opportunity for all in the communities Umpqua Bank serves. It was initially funded with $10 million in April 2014 to demonstrate the company’s deep commitment to the communities it serves as the West Coast’s largest community bank.

“As a community bank, Umpqua Bank’s commitment to investing in the communities we serve runs deep – in fact, we believe we have an obligation to give back in meaningful ways,” said Ray Davis, president and CEO of Umpqua Bank. “Now, through the Foundation, we’ll be able to take our commitment to a new level with larger, multi-year partnerships that advance our ability to help make a difference in the lives of children and families, and our communities’ economic wellbeing and success long into the future.”

Oregon Education Partnership

Studies show that a child’s ability to read by 3rd grade is one of the single-greatest predictors of lifelong success. In partnership with the state of Oregon’s Literacy Campaign, stORytime, the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation will match community book donations with a goal of putting more than 80,000 books in the homes of families in communities across Oregon. From October 1 through December 15, Umpqua will match every book purchased by the community through the stORytime website, up to $100,000. Donations can be made by going to storytimeoregon.com/books or umpquabank.com, or by visiting any Oregon Umpqua Bank store to learn more.

Initial Grants

With its first four grants, the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation is taking a lead role in four pivotal initiatives in Douglas County, Ore., and Spokane County, Wash.

Family Development Center

Through the Foundation’s $350,000 grant, Family Development Center will be able to expand its services to serve an additional 75 at-risk children across Douglas County. Family Development Center is focused on providing child abuse and neglect intervention and prevention services to extremely high-risk families. The organization delivers therapeutic early childhood education, training and skill building to parents; and meals, transportation and more for families with children 0-5 years old. The intensive services provided to children at the Family Development Center help ensure children arrive at school ready to learn, which is a critical milestone in their development.

SMART

Children who are proficient readers by the end of third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school, better positioning them for lifelong economic success. The Foundation’s $85,000 grant will allow SMART to expand its reading support to PreK – third-grade students across Douglas County with nine new school and Head Start sites to serve an additional 220 children over a three-year period. In addition, SMART will be able to hire new staff to increase volunteer efforts immediately.

Second Harvest

Research has shown consistently that hungry children are at a distinct disadvantage in school. Through the Foundation’s $300,000 grant, Second Harvest will be launching a new program to ensure food security at three low-income elementary schools in Spokane County. By combining access to food over weekends, supplemental food distributions through mobile food banks and in-class snacks, the goal is to positively impact academic success for individual students and the school overall.

Excelerate Success

This unique program uses an innovative model to convene complementary organizations, streamline and leverage existing resources and work toward common outcomes. With the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation’s grant of $120,000, Excelerate Success will implement strategies – both broad-based, impacting the whole of the county, and targeted tactics focused on three selected schools – to increase kindergarten readiness in Spokane County. The program includes elements ranging from distribution of books to creation of parent support networks.

Ongoing Commitment

Going forward, the Foundation will also fund Umpqua’s ongoing Community Giving grants – typically between $2,500 and $10,000 – to organizations focused on youth development and education, community development and arts access. Grants are available to nonprofit organizations in Umpqua’s five-state presence in California, Idaho, Northern Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Organizations can submit an application at www.umpquabank.com/communitygiving; the company’s associate-led Community Giving team reviews and approves all grants.

In addition, Umpqua Bank also invests in the communities it serves through its Connect Volunteer Network, which provides every Umpqua associate with up to 40 hours of paid time off each year to volunteer. Since the program’s inception, Umpqua associates have volunteered more than 300,000 hours at organizations across the company’s footprint, with more than 82% of all associates serving 43,000 hours in 2013 alone.

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About Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation

The Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation recognizes the fundamental connection between education and economic prosperity. It works to strengthen the communities Umpqua Bank serves by investing in organizations and initiatives that expand access to education and create economic opportunity for children and families.

The Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation was initially funded with $10 million in April 2014, and was formed to demonstrate the company’s deep commitment to the communities it serves.

About Umpqua Bank

Umpqua Bank, headquartered in Roseburg, Ore., is a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, and has locations across Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and Northern Nevada. Umpqua Bank has been recognized for its innovative customer experience and banking strategy by national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fast Company and CNBC. The company has been recognized for the past eight years in a row on FORTUNE magazine’s list of the country’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” and was recently named by The Portland Business Journal the Most Admired Financial Services Company in Oregon for the ninth consecutive year. In addition to its retail banking presence, Umpqua Bank owns Financial Pacific Leasing, Inc., a nationally recognized commercial finance company that provides equipment leases to small businesses.

Umpqua Holdings also owns a retail brokerage subsidiary, Umpqua Investments, Inc., which offers services through Umpqua Bank stores and in dedicated offices throughout Oregon. Umpqua’s Wealth Management Division serves high net worth individuals and nonprofits by providing customized financial solutions and offerings. Umpqua Holdings Corporation is headquartered in Portland, Ore. For more information, visit http://www.umpquabank.com.

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Guinness & Co. Raise A Glass – And More Than Half A Million Dollars – In Support Of The Leary Firefighters Foundation And Firefighters Nationwide

Guinness Donates Over Half a Million Dollars in Support of America’s Unsung Heroes

NORWALK, Conn. (October 1, 2014) – Last night in New York City, Guinness & Co. raised a glass of the iconic beer in honor of the Leary Firefighters Foundation (LFF) during a special event to present the LFF a check for more than half a million dollars in support of firefighters nationwide.

Actor and founder of the LFF, Denis Leary, joined Guinness and Diageo executives to celebrate their combined efforts to support firefighters across the U.S. Throughout the past year, Guinness raised over $500,000, in partnership with the LFF, to help provide quality equipment, education, training and technology for firefighters everywhere. Guinness and the LFF received an outpouring of personal donations and contributions from adult supporters through the brand’s fundraising efforts to support the foundation as well as a significant contribution from Guinness itself.

“At Guinness, we celebrate those who are Made of More; those who carry on the legacy of our founder and our company and who demonstrate great character without asking for recognition. Firefighters showcase these qualities with the commitments and sacrifices they make every day,” said Guinness Brand Director Doug Campbell. “We’re very proud of the work we’ve done alongside the LFF and we’re excited to continue that initiative to recognize individuals who do more for their communities throughout the next year.”

Guinness’ St. Patrick’s Day 2014 program hosted a variety of fundraising initiatives through its philanthropic online hub www.GuinnessGivesBack.com, including a limited-edition firefighter themed t-shirt sold online and in select bars across the country. The makers of Guinness beer also released the Extraordinary Irish Beers Variety Pack, saluting firefighters’ extraordinary character, which included Guinness® Draught, Guinness® Black Lager, Smithwick’s® Irish Ale and Harp Lager. A percentage of the proceeds from sales of the t-shirts and variety packs were donated to the LFF. The program has been part of the brand’s ‘MADE OF MORE’ campaign, which celebrates the service and selflessness of firefighters.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Guinness for a third year,” said actor Denis Leary, founder of the LFF. “Since beginning our partnership two years ago, we’ve raised more than $650,000 to help firefighters nationwide. It’s an honor for the LFF to be recognized for its tireless efforts in support of all the men and women who put their lives on the line every day; the funds raised by Guinness will help our firefighter brothers and sisters in uniform across the country.”

The event also kicked off the brand’s goal to raise $1 million for local firefighters by St. Patrick’s Day 2015, in the third year of its partnership with the LFF. For the next several months, Guinness will publicly recognize those who make great contributions to their communities by raising a Guinness to them at a community event. The brand will carry out additional fundraising activities throughout the year to reach its $1 million fundraising goal.

Join the conversation and share Made of More moments on Twitter at @GuinnessUS. Select images and stories will be featured on the brand’s Instagram feed which celebrates those who are Made of More.

To learn more about Guinness’ partnership with the LFF, visit www.GuinnessGivesBack.com. To learn more about the work LFF does in support of firefighters, visit www.learyfirefighters.org.

Guinness reminds everyone while raising your glass in support of firefighters, and all the men and women who do more for our communities, to do so responsibly.

About Guinness®

The Guinness® brand enjoys a global reputation as a uniquely authentic beer and the best-selling stout in the world. Famous for its dark color, velvety smooth head and unique surge and settle, this distinctive beer has been brewed at the St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin, Ireland since 1759. Over 10 million glasses of Guinness beer are enjoyed every single day around the world, and 1.8 billion pints are sold every year. Guinness beer is available in well over 100 countries worldwide and is brewed in almost 50. Also from the makers of Guinness, Smithwick’s, Ireland’s oldest and best selling ale and HARP Lager, whose name pays tribute to the Guinness logo and the national symbol of Ireland. Additional information about the Guinness brand can be found at www.guinness.com.

About Diageo

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

About The Leary Firefighters Foundation

The Leary Firefighters Foundation (LFF) provides funding and resources for fire departments to get the best available equipment, technology and training necessary for the health and safety of firefighters and in turn, the public they serve. Founded in 2000 by actor Denis Leary in response to the 1999 Cold Storage Warehouse fire tragedy in his native Worcester, Massachusetts, LFF has raised more than $10 million for first responders in Worcester, Boston, New York, New Jersey and New Orleans. The Leary Firefighter Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as designated by the Internal Revenue Code. Please visit us at www.learyfirefighters.org.

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