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Devin D. Thorpe

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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Christiana Care Health System Partners with the Sunday Breakfast Mission to Help Homeless get back on their Feet

(WILMINGTON, Del. – Nov. 25) Christiana Care Health System’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is providing new shoes, socks and foot exams for free to nearly 150 people — many of them homeless — on Tuesday, Dec. 2nd, at the Sunday Breakfast Mission, a homeless shelter in Wilmington. The event is part of a campaign by a national organization known as Our Hearts to Your Soles, whose mission is to provide indigent people with shoes and free foot examinations.

Paul Kupcha, M.D., section chief of Foot and Ankle Surgery at Christiana Care and an orthopaedic surgeon with Delaware Orthopaedic Specialists, is the local coordinator for the event. Dr. Kupcha said that foot health provides a clue to a person’s overall health. Joint stiffness, for example, can indicate arthritis; tingling and numbness can be connected to diabetes; swelling can indicate high blood pressure or diseases of the heart and kidneys.

“By providing our most needy neighbors with shoes, they are able to get more physical activity and are protected from frostbite,” said Dr. Kupcha, who has volunteered with Our Hearts to Your Soles for seven years. “We also examine individuals’ feet and treat them if they are suffering from chronic foot-related problems. I am grateful for the partnerships that we have formed in our community that enable us to provide expert care and high-quality footwear to our neighbors.”

Red Wing Shoes is donating 100 pairs of new shoes for the local event, which is part of a national campaign to provide several thousand pairs of shoes to those in need during the holiday season. Since 2007, more than 24,000 people who have struggled with poverty have received shoes through Our Hearts to Your Soles.

Hypertension, respiratory illness and foot problems are the three most common health issues that the homeless face, says Rev. Tom Laymon, executive director of the Sunday Breakfast Mission.

“Homeless men and women are in such great need of care for their feet and good shoes,” Laymon said. “It is truly a blessing to be provided with these special gifts, particularly going into the winter period.”

About Christiana Care Health System

Christiana Care Health System is one of the country’s largest health care providers, ranking as the 22nd leading hospital in the nation and 12th on the East Coast in terms of admissions. A not-for-profit teaching hospital affiliated with Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Christiana Care is recognized as a regional center for excellence in cardiology, cancer and women’s health services. Christiana Care is home to Delaware’s only Level I trauma center, the highest capability center and the only one of its kind between Philadelphia and Baltimore. Christiana Care also features a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, the only delivering hospital in Delaware that offers the highest level of non-surgical care to the most critically ill newborns. Christiana Care includes two hospitals with 1,100 patient beds, a home health care service, preventive medicine, rehabilitation services, a network of primary care physicians and an extensive range of outpatient services.

For more information about Christiana Care, visit www.christianacare.org/whoweare.

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Bake Me A Wish! Unveils Gourmet Gifting Code Program To Honor Veterans This Holiday Season

Celebrate the Holidays and Honor Our Veterans with a Special Discount Code on All Purchases Over $25

New York, NY, November, 2014BakeMeAWish.com unveiled their holiday gourmet gifting code program for companies to reward customers and employees with a tangible symbol of appreciation while honoring our Veterans for their sacrifice and service. Through a long-standing partnership with Soldier’s Angels, Bake Me A Wish is offering corporations the unique opportunity to show a Veteran that he or she is in their thoughts too. For any purchase over $25 (shipping not included), using the code VETERANS, 15% will go towards donating a gift cake to a Veteran at a VA Hospital here in the U.S.

Organizations can reward and recognize customers and employees with a gourmet gift for the holidays with BakeMeAWish.com’s best sellers including:

  • The Solid Gold Bakery Tower – a stunning gold tower wrapped with an elegant purple ribbon and filled with the finest in gourmet bakery treats. Included is a 4-inch Cookies and Cream Brownie Cake, One Dozen Gourmet Cookies in Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Snickerdoodle, Almond Butter, Lemon Sugar and Ginger Molasses, an Orange Macadamia Brownie, a Raspberry Crumb Bar, A Cheesecake Brownie and a Fudge Walnut Brownie. To top it off, the tower includes 10 Hazelnut Chocolates in gold wrapping. ($49.99 + shipping)
  • Cookie Bites – Delicious little bite sized cookies your recipient will down by the handful. Includes 2 dozen Chocolate Chip and 2 dozen Oatmeal Raisin. ($34.99 + shipping)
  • Autumn Bakery Basket – Impress your recipients with this adorable bamboo basket keepsake in which we include 6 Assorted Brownie Bites, 1 Dozen Mini Oatmeal raisin Cookies and 4 Chocolate-Covered Oreos, ($27.99 + shipping)

This is an extraordinary and patriotic gesture to honor our veteran soldiers, and not the first time that BakeMeAWish.com has shown support for U.S. troops. BakeMeAWish.com began their military initiative back in 2008 by partnering with Soldiers’ Angels, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to families of enlisted soldiers, continuing support for veterans and immediate response for families of the fallen. Since then, BakeMeAWish.com, has been delivering cakes to many VA hospitals throughout the U.S. including Walter Reed in Virginia and the Veterans Hospital in the Bronx, New York, to name a few.

“Nothing says thank you like a gourmet gift from BakeMeAWish.com to show clients and employees that they are appreciated this holiday season,” says Joe Dornoff, President of BakeMeAWish.com “We are also thrilled to be able to continue to show our support and appreciation for our Veterans especially during this time of the year.”

For personalized assistance in ordering corporate gifts, please call the Bake Me A Wish! personal account manager at 888-987-9474. Cakes can be shipped to customers nationwide. On-time delivery is guaranteed via Fed-Ex. Online orders may be placed securely using a Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover Card. For more information on all of the holiday creations and gourmet cake ideas, visit www.BakeMeAWish.com.

About Bake Me A Wish!

Founded in 2004, BakeMeAWish.com is a premiere gifting service offering award-winning gourmet cakes. Each gift cake includes an imported Belgian Chocolate occasion plaque, Matching Greeting Card that can be personalized online and comes packaged in an elegant gift box. Cakes are priced between $25 and $75, including shipping, and can be sent overnight, nationwide. Giving back to the community we share is at the heart of each wish, with additional support to Friends of Island Academy – NY.

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FPWA Kicks Off Annual Holiday Toy Drive for Children in Need

Toy Drive is one of the largest in New York City

New York, NY: The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) will launch its Annual Holiday Toy Drive on December 1st to ensure that children in need across the five boroughs have a brighter, happier holiday season. One of the largest toy drives in New York City; FPWA has already received requests for toys, books and clothes from representing approximately 35,691 children – and expects to receive more.

On Tuesday, December 9, FPWA will co-host a holiday party with Sesame Street characters for pre-school children from FPWA member agency, Mary McLeod Bethune Day Care Center. Alan Muraoka who plays “Alan”, the proprietor of Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street, and Sesame Street puppeteer Pam Arciero will join in the fun as the pre-school children sing songs, play games and open generously donated gifts while spending time with Santa Claus. The festivities will take place at FPWA’s headquarters located at 281 Park Avenue South.

Each year FPWA, through its member agencies, receives tens of thousands of requests for toys, books and clothing. Since its inception, FPWA’s Annual Holiday Toy Drive has served nearly 1 million children and families in the New York metropolitan area. “New York is a big city with an even bigger heart. The holiday season in particular provides an opportunity for New Yorkers to show their tremendous generosity by giving to fellow New Yorkers in need, and especially to underserved children,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, FPWA’s Executive Director.

How to Donate:

Donations can be dropped off at FPWA’s offices located at 281 Park Avenue South, Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm. For large toy donations, please contact Karen Giacalone, Volunteer Coordinator at 212-801-1332 or kgiacalone@fpwa.org. Toy donations are being accepted through December 19. To make a monetary donation towards the toy drive, please contact Evelyn Rivera at 212-801-1304 or erivera@fpwa.org.

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New Proxy Resolution Urges Exxon Mobil To Return Capital To Shareholders In The Face Of Global Climate Change & Carbon Asset Risk

Arjuna Capital and As You Sow File Shareholder Proposal Asking Exxon Mobil to Return Capital to Shareholders Rather than Invest in High-Cost High-Carbon Projects.

BOSTON AND OAKLAND– (November 25, 2014) – In a first of its kind proposal, Shareholders Arjuna Capital/Baldwin Brothers Inc. and As You Sow seek increased dividends or share buybacks from Exxon Mobil given structural challenges facing the industry — historically high capital expenditures, decreasing profitability, and global climate change. This represents the first shareholder proposal asking a company to return capital to shareholders in light of climate change risk.

Exxon Mobil wrote a report in response to Arjuna Capital and As You Sow’s shareholder proposal this spring on the potential for stranded assets associated with climate change. Exxon ignored major risk factors projected by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Wall Street energy analysts regarding stranded carbon assets – i.e. that the company’s most-costly projects may become uneconomical in a low demand or low oil price environment.

The new shareholder resolution calls on Exxon Mobil (XOM) to protect investor value by “increasing the amount authorized for capital distributions to shareholders through dividends or share buy backs,” rather than invest in high-cost, high-carbon oil projects.

Exxon Mobil has maintained that none of its carbon assets will be stranded, based on projections of unabated global energy demand and a belief that global governments will not take meaningful action to curb global warming. Despite pressure from shareholders, the company has failed to stress test the impact of governments reacting appropriately to limit climate disruption to agreed upon international targets.

The recently announced U.S./China agreement to reduce carbon emissions stands in contrast to Exxon’s outlook and could cut demand substantially. The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that, “No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2° C goal” needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

In addition to the likelihood of reduced demand, the cost of oil and gas exploration and development is dramatically increasing and Exxon Mobil is making extremely risky bets on new energy exploration that run counter to the assessments of leading market experts.

According to Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI), 39 percent of Exxon Mobil’s potential capital expenditures through 2025 requires an oil price of $95 per barrel to be economical, and 17 percent requires a price of $115 per barrel. By the end of 2025, CTI expects high cost projects to represent 35 percent of Exxon Mobil’s potential future production.

The resolution states: “In light of the climate change related risks of decreasing profitability and stranded asset risk associated with planned capital expenditures on high cost unconventional projects, Exxon Mobil commit to increasing the amount authorized for capital distributions to shareholders through dividends or share buy backs.”

Natasha Lamb, Director of Equity Research and Shareholder Engagement at Arjuna Capital said, “This proposal is breaking new ground by asking Big Oil not to break ground on high-cost, high-carbon projects. Exxon Mobil should return capital to shareholders rather than gamble with investor resources. A fossil fuel volume play in the face of global climate change is simple folly. We should not be in a rush to find and burn all the carbon we can, regardless of cost and irreversible climate impact, but instead focus on value, figuring out how to do more with less.”

“Exxon has taken a public position that demand for oil will continue to grow, no matter how warm the globe gets, no matter how harsh the impacts of that warming, and regardless of technology changes allowing for cheaper, cleaner renewable fuels,” said Danielle Fugere, President of As You Sow. “The recent U.S.-China accord on carbon emission reductions is just the latest indication that ExxonMobil’s view of the world does not square with reality. Our goal is to protect shareholders from the clear and inevitable changes to the global economy that mean ExxonMobil is likely to have substantial stranded carbon assets if it continues on its current path.”

The shareholder proposal notes that “(m)assive production-cost inflation over the past decade has made the industry particularly vulnerable to a downturn in demand.” The Arjuna Capital and As You Sow proxy resolution cites the following analyst reports:

  • According to Bloomberg, capital expenditures by the largest oil companies has risen five-fold since 2000, yet overall industry production is nearly flat.
  • Goldman Sachs notes in the past two years no major new oil project has come on stream with production costs below 70 dollars per barrel, with most in the 80-100 dollar range, raising the risk of stranded, or unprofitable, assets.
  • Kepler Cheuvreux declares a “capex crisis” as companies invest in higher cost, higher carbon unconventional crude to stem conventional crude decline rates. Since 2005, annual upstream investment for oil has increased 100 percent, while crude oil supply has increased 3 percent.

For the full text of the Arjuna Capital/As You Sow shareholder resolution, go to: http://www.asyousow.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/exxonmobil2015carbonbubble.pdf.

This proposal reflects increasing investor concern about the issue of stranded assets and builds on a shareholder initiative started in 2013 and coordinated by Ceres, in which shareholders representing $3 trillion in assets under management, asked 45 companies for increased disclosure about whether they are implementing strategies to address carbon-related risk and avoid stranded assets.

Last year, shareholders built on this campaign by filing resolutions at 10 fossil-fuel companies. The resolutions sought reports from companies on the risk of stranded assets associated with the increasing likelihood of action to prevent climate change. Filings included a successful withdrawal of a resolution to Exxon by Arjuna Capital and As You Sow in which Exxon agreed to prepare a report on its risk of stranded assets. Exxon released the report, acknowledged the growing problem of climate change, but failed to admit to any potential for stranded assets. Last year, As You Sow also filed carbon asset risk resolutions at Chevron, Anadarko, Hess, and CONSOL Energy.

This year, shareholders will continue to file resolutions seeking greater disclosure and action to address the risk of stranded assets from structural changes associated with higher cost supplies and reduced demand.

Arjuna Capital is the sustainable wealth management platform of Baldwin Brothers Inc., an SEC-registered independent financial advisory firm established in 1974. For more information visit www.arjuna-capital.com.

As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. For more information visit www.asyousow.org.

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FeedingNYC and LivePerson Announce Thirteenth Annual Event Providing Thanksgiving Dinners to Local Families in Need

NEW YORK, Nov. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — FeedingNYC, a nonprofit organization based in New York, announced plans for its annual event to be held on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014. LivePerson, the leading sponsor and organizer of FeedingNYC, will host employees and friends, along with more than 400 volunteers, to organize and hand-deliver over 3,000 Thanksgiving dinners to displaced families in New York City.

In the days leading to Thanksgiving, volunteers gather to assemble holiday meals, which are then distributed to shelters throughout the city. The shelters include those partnered with Women in Need, Jewish Federation, Catholic Charities, and City Harvest. Thanks to the generosity of FeedingNYC partners, sponsors and crowdsourced funding, nearly 35,000 Thanksgiving meals have been donated to families facing hunger during the holiday season.

“Every year, friends, family and members of the community come together for a day to pack thousands of meals and personally deliver them to local families who cannot afford a Thanksgiving dinner. Our goal is to take this opportunity to meaningfully connect with the local community, and thanks to the dedication of our sponsors and volunteers, we are able to host FeedingNYC for the thirteenth consecutive year,” said Robert LoCascio, Founder of FeedingNYC and CEO of LivePerson.

This year’s sponsors include BDO, Eisner Amper LLP, FlatRate Moving, The Gansevoort Hotel Group, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, Joyride Coffee, Manhattan Mini Storage, McGladrey LLP, Monster Savings, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Pier Sixty The Lighthouse, Proskauer Rose LLP, StructuredWeb, Wegmans, and William Gallagher Associates. FeedingNYC will once again be headquartered at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers. Volunteers will arrive at 6:00 AM to begin packing boxes, provided by Manhattan Mini Storage, with turkeys and fixings and then load them onto large trucks for delivery.

FeedingNYC is still accepting donations. To make a donation, please visit www.crowdrise.com/FeedingNYC2014. For more information on FeedingNYC, please visit www.feedingnyc.org.

About FeedingNYC

FeedingNYC is an annual charity event sponsored by The Dream Big Foundation, a nonprofit organization that was conceived by LivePerson CEO Rob LoCascio in the aftermath of 9/11 when the employees and friends of LivePerson first assembled and hand-delivered turkey dinners to disadvantaged families around New York City for Thanksgiving. With the support of the local community and corporate sponsors, the project which began with serving 40 families in Harlem in 2001 has since grown to deliver meals to more than 35,000 families throughout the five boroughs. Please visit www.feedingnyc.org to learn how to get involved.

About LivePerson

LivePerson, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPSN) offers a cloud-based platform that enables businesses to proactively connect in real-time with their customers via chat, voice, and content delivery at the right time, through the right channel, including websites, social media, and mobile devices. This “intelligent engagement” is driven by real-time behavioral analytics, producing connections based on a true understanding of business objectives and customer needs. For more information, please visit www.liveperson.com. To view other global press releases about LivePerson, please visit pr.liveperson.com.

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BurgerFi Celebrates #GivingTuesday, December 2 By Supporting The American Red Cross

Every dollar spent on a BurgerFi gift card will be matched for a minimum $10,000 donation to the American Red Cross

West Palm Beach, FL – November 24, 2014 – Call it the gift that gives twice. In celebration of #GivingTuesday on December 2, BURGERFI will launch a charity program tied to this ever-growing popular social media holiday.

After a marathon weekend of shopping, and scoring deals in-store and online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, BURGERFI customers will now have the opportunity to purchase something that is meaningful by giving back to the community and ultimately, to better the lives of those in need.

Kicking off on #GivingTuesday, December 2 and continuing through December 31, BURGERFI will match in-store gift card purchases dollar for dollar, committing to a minimum donation of $10,000 to the American Red Cross. While customers are in the giving spirit, donations may also directly be made through the American Red Cross – BURGERFI website.

Now, in its third year, #GivingTuesday provides a platform for organizations to rally support of nonprofit organizations at the start of the holiday season immediately following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2013, more than 10,000 organizations in 46 countries came together to celebrate #GivingTuesday.

“Giving back to the communities we serve is a core value of the BURGERFI culture and we are thrilled to partner with the American Red Cross which has built its legacy on helping communities and individuals when they need it most,” said Corey Winograd, Chief Executive Officer. “As BurgerFi continues its rapid growth, organizations like the American Red Cross will benefit from the financial support of BURGERFI fans throughout the United States.”

The American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need through their mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas: disaster relief, supporting America’s military families, lifesaving blood, health and safety services and international services.

“We are proud to call BURGERFI a partner starting this #GivingTuesday. Our communities are better and safer places for all of us because of their support of our mission,” said Amy Mauser, Chief Development Officer for the Red Cross in South Florida.

BURGERFI is committed to being better in a world of quick serve hamburgers through its “Never Never Program,” which means no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals, or additives are ever used. The rapid expansion of BURGERFI across the United States is continuing with 61 locations open nationwide and an additional 50 locations slated to open by the end of 2015.

About BURGERFI

BURGERFI is one of the fastest growing better burger franchises in the U.S. Currently with 61 units open, the company is expected to almost double its size by the end of 2015 as well as expand internationally. Known for its fresh, all natural, hormone-free Angus burgers as well as its fresh-cut fries, frozen custard, signature hot dogs and craft beer, BURGERFI was recognized in the Top 50 “Movers & Shakers” by Fast Casual.com The company began in 2011 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and became quickly popular with burger lovers everywhere who were looking for fresh, quality, all-natural options in their favorite food. To learn more, visit www.BurgerFi.com

About The American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication

Nigeria, January 2013 – September 2014 – Andrew Etsano, DLSHTM1, Rajni Gunnala, MD2, Faisal Shuaib, DrPH3, Eunice Damisa, MPH1, Pascal Mkanda, MBBS4, Richard Banda, MPH4, Charles Korir, MA4, Ogu Enemaku, PhD5, Melissa Corkum, MICD5, Samuel Usman MBBS6, Lora B. Davis, DVM2, Gateiwa Nganda, BVM2, Cara C. Burns, PhD7, Frank Mahoney, MD2, John F. Vertefeuille, PhD2 (author affiliations at end of text)

In 1988, the World Health Assembly resolved to interrupt wild poliovirus (WPV) transmission worldwide (1). By 2013, only three countries remained that had never interrupted WPV transmission: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Since 2003, northern Nigeria has been a reservoir for WPV reintroduction into 31 previously polio-free countries. In May 2014, the World Health Organization declared the international spread of polio a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Nigeria’s main strategic goal is to interrupt WPV type 1 (WPV1) transmission by the end of 2014 (2), which is also a main objective of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s’ Polio Eradication and End game Strategic Plan for 2013–2018(3). This report updates previous reports (4-6) and describes polio eradication activities and progress in Nigeria during January 2013–September 30, 2014. Only six WPV cases were reported in 2014 through September 30 compared with 49 reported cases during the same period in 2013. The quality of supplemental immunization activities (SIAs)* improved during this period;the proportion of local government areas (LGAs) within 11 high-risk states with estimated oral polio vaccine (OPV) campaign coverage at or above the 90% threshold increased from 36% to 67%. However, challenges remain as the number of reported circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases increased from four in 2013 to 21 to date in 2014; surveillance gaps are suggested by genomic sequence analysis and continued detection of WPV1 in environmental surveillance. Interrupting all polio virus circulation in Nigeria is achievable but will require continued attention to stopping cVDPV2 transmission,improving the quality of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance, increasing vaccination coverage by strengthened routine immunization (RI) services, continuing political support from all levels of government, and undertaking special initiatives to provide vaccination to children in conflict-affected areas of the northeast.

Vaccination Activities

Routine immunization for infants and children in Nigeria includes vaccination with trivalent OPV (tOPV) at birth and at 6, 10, and 14 weeks of age. The 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey reported national coverage with 3 doses of trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV3) § of children 12–23 months of age at 38.2% (7). OPV3 coverage estimates among the northern 11 high-risk states ranged from 2.6% for Sokoto to 43.7% for Kaduna.

During January 2013 – September 2014, 24 SIAs were implemented; three national SIAs used tOPV (the last one occurring in August 2014), two national SIAs used bivalent OPV (bOPV),) and 19 subnational SIAs used bOPV mostly in high-risk states. A major focus for SIA implementation is in two “transmission zones:” the “Kano zone,” which includes LGAs (equivalent to districts) in the south of Kano as well as LGAs in northeastern Kaduna and northwestern Bauchi, and the “Borno/Yobe zone,” which includes Borno and Yobe(8).In Kano, intensified SIA plans include state-wide microplanning validated by walk-through and responding to any new WPV case as to an outbreak. During June–October, three outbreak response campaigns were implemented in response to the three most recent WPV1 cases detected in Kano, supplementing subnational SIAs, which were already scheduled. In Borno and Yobe, the innovations being implemented to address challenges caused by insecurity include the use of ‘permanent health teams’ comprised of women who deliver OPV to households within their own communities, transit-point vaccination, vaccination in camps for internally displaced persons and ‘short-interval’ SIAs that take advantage of transient access to inaccessible areas. In June and August 2014, inactivated polio vaccine (IPV)was included along with tOPV in SIAs conducted in 27 LGAs of Borno and Yobe,vaccinating an estimated 1.7 million children aged 14 weeks to 5 years (8).Plans are underway to include IPV along with OPV in two SIAs during November –December 2014 for the remaining 12 LGAs in Borno/Yobe and 13 high-risk LGAs in the Kano transmission zone. A national strategy to increase SIA implementation quality has also included multi-intervention Health Camps** to build community confidence in government health programs.

The quality of SIAs is assessed using lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS) †† surveys to estimate whether OPV coverage thresholds have been met. From February 2013–September 2014, the number of LGAs conducting LQAS in the 11 high-risk states increased from 168 to 218; the proportion of LGAs at the ≥90% OPV coverage threshold increased from 36% to 67%, the proportion of LGAs at the 80%–89% threshold decreased from 29% to 25%, and the proportion of LGAs below the 80% threshold decreased from 36% to 7%. (see figure of LQAS data).

Poliovirus Surveillance

AFP surveillance. Polio surveillance relies on AFP case detection and confirmation of polio by laboratory viral isolation. The two primary performance indicators for AFP surveillance are a non polio AFP (NPAFP) rate of ≥2 cases per 100,000 children aged <15 years per year and collection of adequate stool specimens in ≥80% of AFP cases (4). The annualized NPAFP rate for 2014 was 14.4 per 100,000, and 98.8% of AFP cases had adequate stool specimen collection. This is higher than the 2013 NPAFP rate of 12.1 cases per 100,000, and 96.9% of AFP cases with adequate stool collection. All of the 11 high-risk states exceeded both indicator standards in 2013 and have continued to do so in 2014. The proportion of LGAs within these states that met both indicators increased from 91.8% in 2013 to 99.3% in 2014.

Environmental surveillance. AFP surveillance is supplemented by environmental surveillance, with samples taken from effluent sewage sites every 4–5 weeks for polio virus testing. By September 2014, environmental surveillance was conducted in 27 sites: Borno (four sites), Kaduna (three sites), Kano (three sites), Lagos (five sites), Sokoto (four sites), the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) (two sites), Kebbi (three sites), and Katsina (three sites). During January–September 2014, WPV1 was identified in one sewage sample collected in May in Kaduna. In 2013, WPV1 was detected in four sewage samples(one from Kano in February, two from Sokoto in March and April, and one from Borno in October). WPV type 3 (WPV3) was last detected in a sewage sample from a site in Lagos in November 2012. cVDPV2 has been detected repeatedly in sewage samples from Sokoto and Borno since mid-2013, and in Kano and Kaduna since April 2014.

Wild Poliovirus Incidence

WPV and cVDPV Incidence.As of September 2014, six WPV cases have been reported nationally, compared with 49WPV cases for the same period in 2013. Reported cases decreased from 122 in 2012 to 53 in 2013. No WPV3 cases have been reported since November 2012 (Ref: figures of epi curve and map). WPV1 cases in 2014 have been limited to five cases in the “Kano transmission zone” (onset of most recent case on July 24, 2014) and one case in the “Borno/Yobe transmission zone” (onset of most recent case on April 19, 2014).cVDPV2 case incidence varied from 10 in 2012 to four in 2013 to 21 in 2014 to date (12 in Borno, eight in Kano, one in Katsina).

Genomic Sequence Analysis. WPV genetic diversity in Nigeria declined during January 2013 to September 2014. Eight genetic clusters of polio virus were detected in 2012; of these, four were detected in 2013. Two genetic clusters detected in 2013 have been detected so far in 2014. Genomic sequence analysis can also be used to indicate AFP surveillance gaps not otherwise shown by surveillance performance indicators if polio virus isolates have a nucleotide difference of ≥1.5% in the coding region of the major capsid protein, VP1, from the closest matching sequences of previously identified isolates (4). The proportion of WPV1 isolates with a nucleotide difference of ≥1.5% was 10% (10/103) in 2012, 19% (10/53) in 2013, and 33% (2/6) to date in 2014.

Discussion

WPV incidence declined substantially in Nigeria during 2013–2014 through a concerted effort of the national polio eradication program in coordination with global partners. In particular, during the high transmission season of June–September, reported cases declined 96% from 24 cases during 2013 to one case in 2014 (8). No WPV3 cases or environmental isolates have been identified since November 2012, indicating potential interruption of WPV3. SIA quality as assessed by LQAS surveys of OPV coverage has improved nationally, and multiple strategies are being implemented to target hard-to-reach communities and decrease vaccine refusals. Intensified implementation of SIAs is being focused on the“Kano”and “Borno/Yobe” transmission zones,with the intention of interrupting the last remaining chains of WPV1 transmission by the end of 2014.

However, to sustain this momentum, some challenges require continued attention and can be overcome with current programmatic improvements. Despite meeting AFP surveillance performance indicators at national and sub national levels thus far in 2014, genomic sequencing analysis and continued detection of WPV1 in environmental surveillance strongly suggest that surveillance gaps at sub national levels remain. Improved standardization of surveillance activities at state and LGA levels is warranted.

With the main focus on prioritizing interruption of WPV transmission and the predominant use of bOPV during the majority of SIAs conducted from January 2013 to September 2014, cVDPV2 incidence has increased. Two SIAs planned for the remainder of 2014 will use tOPV, and IPV will be added in highest risk LGAs in transmission zones to boost population immunity to levels needed to interrupt cVDPV2 transmission.

Some longstanding challenges to achieving polio eradication in Nigeria remain and new challenges have emerged. Though the proportion of children nationally who received all vaccines based on national age-specific recommendations has increased from 13% in 2003 to 25%in 2013(7) and OPV3 coverage has improved nationally, routine vaccination coverage has remained well below targeted coverage levels. The 11 high- risk states in particular have historically low coverage and will likely benefit from planned RI intensification strategies, including a “Hard-to-Reach” project. This project aims to increase coverage in vulnerable and underserved areas by delivering polio vaccine along with other interventions aimed at preventing and treating childhood pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and other vaccine-preventable disease.

The strong political support from all levels of government for polio eradication will need to be sustained and intensified during and after the February 2015 presidential and general elections, particularly as issues of insecurity continue to restrict access to children during SIAs in areas of Borno, Yobe, and northern Adamawa where insurgent forces have taken control.Lastly, the emergence of widespread Ebola viral disease (EVD) throughout West Africa has put a strain on healthcare infrastructure and personnel across the region. The recent EVD outbreak in Nigeria was successfully interrupted in part because the polio eradication response infrastructure was used; in particular, members of the Nigeria Polio Emergency Operations Center were deployed to coordinate the multi-agency Ebola response(9). Continuing active management and addressing ongoing challenges as seen with the recent progress toward polio eradication in Nigeria and in outbreak countries, and the success in containing EVD spread within the country, will create the potential for a WPV-free African continent in the near future.

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Local Companies Gathered At OC Food Bank In Celebration Of National Family Volunteer Day

Families Break Food Bank Record for the Largest Numbered of Food Boxes Assembled in One Day

GARDEN GROVE, CA [November 24, 2014] – On Saturday, November 22nd, more than 1,500 volunteers representing ten of Orange County’s local companies broke the OC Food Bank record for the largest number of food boxes assembled in one day. Families assembled 34,887 (prior record was 32,435) food boxes that will be delivered to at-risk local seniors throughout the holiday season.

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The OC Food Bank, a program of Community Action Partnership of Orange County, is ensuring that thousands of seniors living on fixed incomes will receive the food they need to remain healthy this holiday season and live independently in their own homes. With this year’s drought, many seniors have been unable to pay for the rising cost of groceries. The OC Food Bank’s National Family Volunteer Day is dedicated to providing nutritious shelf-stable food to Orange County’s most vulnerable seniors.

The family members of employees from the Disneyland Resort, Wells Fargo, Ingram Micro, First American, Experian, KPMG-LLP, Edison International, Broadcom, Pacific Life, and Traneworked side by side to package 506 tons of food, making this one of the largest National Family Volunteer Days events in the country.

“It is so inspiring to see families from Orange County’s most successful companies come and spend their Saturday giving back to the community,” said Mark Lowry, Director of the OC Food Bank. “The turnout was beyond impressive and we hope many more families follow their lead and get involved in supporting our holiday campaign this year.”

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With nearly one in four Orange County residents struggling to put food on the table this Thanksgiving, the OC Food Bank is calling on the public to support hungry children, working families, and seniors by participating in their Hope for the Holidays Campaign. If you are interested in more information on how you can help end hunger this holiday season and feed Orange County’s most vulnerable, please contact (714) 897-6670 x3404, mmorrill@capoc.org, or visit www.capoc.org/h4h. Together, we can eliminate hunger and poverty in Orange County.

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God’s Love We Deliver Races To The Finish At The 21st Annual Race To Deliver

God’s Love We Deliver Celebrates the 21st Annual Race to Deliver

BROOKLYN, NY, Nov. 24, 2014 — On Sunday, November 23rd, God’s Love We Deliver held its 21st Annual Race to Deliver in Central Park. The Park was bursting with over 5,300 runners, and 200 children joined in the Kids’ Races. The festive pre-Thanksgiving mood lit the morning.

Celebrating its 21st year, the Race to Deliver is one of God’s Love We Deliver’s largest annual fundraisers. It is a 4 mile run/walk in Central Park, followed by multiple-distance Kids’ Races. The Race to Deliver symbolizes the daily race to ensure that no one faces the dual crises of hunger and illness. The 21st Annual Race to Deliver was a huge success for God’s Love We Deliver. It was a beautiful morning in Central Park as everyone raced for a wonderful cause.

This year, money raised at the Race will fund 40,000 meals and nutrition education and counseling for our clients living with severe illness. A $10 donation to www.racetodeliver.org funds one nutritious meal.

Many wonderful individuals and organizations supported this year’s Race to Deliver. Noah Neiman, Celebrity Fitness Personality, Nike sponsored trainer, and Master Trainer For Barry’s Boot Camp led invigorating warm-ups for the participants. Fox 5 anchor Ben Simmoneau welcomed Race participants and congratulated the winners at the awards ceremony. God’s Love would also like to thank New York Road Runners and event sponsors M.A.C AIDS FUND, Global Brands Group, Fox 5, Gramercy Tavern and Simon & Schuster.

At the Kids’ Races, runners ages 2 to 12, dashed in their own races, by age. At the end of each Race, the children involved in the Kids’ Races received their own awards. God’s Love Leadership Council members Katy and Greg Williamson and God’s Love Board members Scott Bruckner and Sylvia Vogelman cheered on and congratulated the runners of the Kids’ Races.

God’s Love We Deliver is continuing to raise necessary funds from the Race to Deliver. Donations can be made at www.racetodeliver.org and the Race to Deliver website will be available until December 21.

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About God’s Love We Deliver

God’s Love is the New York metropolitan area’s leading provider of life-sustaining meals and nutrition counseling for people living with severe illnesses. Begun as an HIV/AIDS service organization, today God’s Love provides for people living with more than 200 individual diagnoses. God’s Love cooks and home delivers the specific, nutritious meals a client’s severe illness and treatment so urgently require. Meals are individually tailored for each client by one of our Registered Dietitians, and all clients have access to unlimited nutrition counseling. God’s Love supports families by providing meals for the children and senior caregivers of its clients. All of the agency’s services are provided free of charge, and in its 29 year history, God’s Love We Deliver has never had a waiting list. For more information, visit www.godslovewedeliver.org. Follow God’s Love on Facebook and follow them on Twitter, @godslovenyc. God’s Love is a non-sectarian organization. For more information on the Race to Deliver, visit racetodeliver.org.

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Campaign Celebrates 10 Years, 22,000 Child Adoptions

New PSAs focus on the importance of adopting siblings

WASHINGTON, November 18, 2014 / PR Newswire / — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council announced today the release of a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to encourage the adoption of children from foster care with an emphasis on the importance of keeping siblings together.

“As a mom, I know personally the joy of parenthood. My husband and I adopted our son internationally, and he, like our daughter, is a blessing in our lives,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “There are nearly 102,000 children in foster care who are currently waiting for the stability, love and protection of a permanent adoptive family. That’s why HHS is joining AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council to launch a new series of public service announcements designed to encourage prospective parents to consider adopting from foster care.”

The new PSAs will be unveiled at an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the National Adoption Campaign and will be distributed to media outlets nationwide this week.

“The bond between brothers and sisters is critically important, particularly for children in foster care. Being with their siblings can enhance their sense of safety and well-being and provide natural, mutual support,” said JooYeun Chang, associate commissioner of HHS’ Children’s Bureau. “The message of this new round of PSAs is essential, and I look forward to the continued success of the campaign.”

Since the launch of the original campaign in 2004, more than 22,000 children who were once photo-listed on the AdoptUSKids website now live with their adoptive families, and over 35,000 families have registered to adopt through AdoptUSKids.

“Adopting Deanta and Ranija is the most important thing that I have done in my life,” said Raenell Crenshaw, an adoptive parent who adopted her two children out of foster care. “I am so glad that my husband and I were able to keep them together. Having a brother or sister is such an influential and life-defining relationship. I want to encourage all prospective parents to think about the importance of keeping siblings together. I am so happy that I welcomed them both into our family.”

The foster care system in the U.S. currently holds 402,000 children, and nearly 102,000 children (under 18 years of age) are waiting for adoption. Approximately 23 percent of children and youth actively photo-listed on the AdoptUSKids website and waiting for placement in adoptive homes were registered with one or more siblings. Sibling relationships are often the longest-lasting relationships for children in foster care.

Created pro bono by advertising agency Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners (kbs+), and Hinge Digital, the new English and Spanish television, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs conclude with the well-known tagline: “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” The PSAs feature parents participating in activities with their children such as a father trying to build a tree house without carpentry skills, a mom roller blading with her sons even though she is not a skilled skater and a mom and dad accidentally burning their daughter’s favorite breakfast. The objective is to reassure potential parents that all kinds of people have the potential to make a positive impact on a child’s life. All of the PSAs direct audiences to visit AdoptUSKids.org or to call 1-888-200-4005 (English) or 1-877-236-7831 (Spanish) to receive the latest information about the foster care system and the adoption process.

“This campaign has one of the hardest asks in a PSA and the results in the last ten years have been truly extraordinary,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Thousands of parents have welcomed children into their homes, their families and their hearts. By reminding parents that they don’t have to be perfect to make a lifelong difference in somebody’s life, we look forward to continuing to see the transformative impact of this campaign on families throughout the country.”

Since its initial launch in 2004, the campaign has received more than $430 million in donated media support across television, radio, print, outdoor and digital media.

“Working on this campaign over the last several years has truly been a rewarding experience for many at KBS,” said Ed Brojerdi, CEO of KBS NY. “We hope the campaign and this new, comical series of PSAs helps bring greater awareness to issues surrounding adoption and draws attention to the importance of keeping siblings together.”

“It was a pleasure to bring this important adoption message to life,” said Roland Gauthier, executive producer and founder of Hinge Digital. “We are seeing clients that want original creative, in part because of the popularity of independent animation on Vimeo, YouTube and other social media platforms. We are very proud to be part of such an important and emotionally touching campaign and want to help spread the word.”

For more information about adoption or about becoming an adoptive parent to a child from foster care, please visit www.AdoptUSKids.org or visit the campaign’s communities on Facebook and Twitter.

Campaign Partners

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families

Within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is the agency that is responsible for federal programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. The Children’s Bureau focuses on improving the lives of children and families through programs that reduce child abuse and neglect, increase the number of adoptions, and strengthen foster care. For more information on ACF’s adoption programs, please visit the Children’s Bureau website.

AdoptUSKids

AdoptUSKids is a multi-faceted, federally funded project whose mission is to raise public awareness about the need for families for children in foster care, and assist States, Territories and Tribes to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families and connect them with children. The project is managed through a cooperative agreement with the Children’s Bureau at ACF.

KBS (kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners)

KBS (kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners) is the brand agency for an inventive world. We are an integrated creative, advertising and marketing agency committed to inventing the highest value ideas for our clients and for ourselves. Our team of passionate inventors and creative entrepreneurs is dedicated to doing things that matter and making things that matter. Today KBS serves a diverse roster of clients that includes American Express, BMW, Harman, HomeGoods, Simmons Bedding Company, William Grant & Sons, Boar’s Head, TE Connectivity and Vanguard. For more information on KBS a member of the MDC Partners Network, please visit www.kbsp.com or follow us @kbsp_agency.

Hinge Digital

Hinge Digital (Hinge) is an integrated creative production studio and digital agency, specializing in dynamic visuals for broadcast, film, out-of-home, digital and print. Our work spans from strategy and concept development through live action production, animation and post-production visual effects. Our team of passionate and experienced storytellers is dedicated to bringing your ideas to life. Hinge serves a diverse roster of clients that includes adidas, Intel, UPS Store, Dunkin’ Donuts, Microsoft, Merck, Nike, UPMC, NVIDIA, and EA. For more information on Hinge, please visit http://www.hingedigital.com or follow us @hingedigital.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit http://www.adcouncil.org/, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube.

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