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Devin D. Thorpe

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Monthly Archives: January 2015

AmpliVox Supports Celebrity Catwalk Fundraisers for Animal Welfare

Northbrook, IL: January 2015 – AmpliVox Sound Systems will be at the center of the action at the February 14 Fire & Ice Gala to support animal welfare agencies. This exciting event, one of many presented by Celebrity Catwalk in New York City, will welcome several television personalities for a glamorous afternoon brunch and meet-and-greet with guests. AmpliVox is proud to donate its top quality portable sound system, the Titan SW800, to Celebrity Catwalk for this event and others like it.

According to Celebrity Catwalk, between six and eight million dogs and cats enter shelters each year, and many of these organizations are stretched to the financial breaking point Celebrity Catwalk supports these worthy efforts through fashion shows and other events in the New York City area. Past event hosts have included Jamie Foxx, Nicole Richie, and Melissa Rivers. At the February 14 Fire & Ice Gala, guests will have the opportunity to meet Emmy Award nominated journalist Jill Nicolini, Lori-Ann Marchese from Bravo TV’s Game of Crowns, and Chrissy Monroe from VH1’s Love & Hip Hop. Local volunteers Caroline Loevner and Stephanie A. Mattera will be honored for their extensive work on behalf of animals.

AmpliVox is providing Celebrity Catwalk with a Titan SW800 sound system to ensure that all the event guests will hear speeches and announcements with perfect clarity. The Titan packs a powerful 100-watt amplifier and eight-inch speaker into a compact, highly portable unit that covers audiences of up to 2500 people and rooms up to 10,000 square feet. The Titan can also be used to play music with its Bluetooth streaming capability.

“We are very happy to support Celebrity Catwalk’s work on behalf of homeless animals,” said Don Roth, CEO of AmpliVox. “They create exciting events that raise awareness and funds to support grassroots organizations, which is what our Community Contribution Club is all about. This donation will provide excellent sound amplification to support Celebrity Catwalk’s charitable efforts for years to come.”

The Celebrity Catwalk Fire and Ice Gala will be held on February 14 from 11:00am to 1:00pm at SPOT Chelsea, 145 West 20th Street in New York City. For more information about the event, visit www.celebritycatwalk.com. For information about AmpliVox Sound Systems, visit www.ampli.com.

About AmpliVox

AmpliVox ® Sound Systems products are predominantly made in the USA, meet stringent CE standards, and come with a warranty up to 12 years. Our wide selection meets every speaker’s sound coverage and style needs. Whether you’re in a small meeting room of 10 people or a large 20,000 square foot auditorium of up to 10,000 people, AmpliVox ® Sound Systems’ extensive range of superior quality, simple to operate and reliable electronics including our new integrated multi-media furniture line provide maximum satisfaction and ensure a crystal clear message. Through its AmpliVox Cares Corporate Contribution program, AmpliVox strengthens and improves the communities we serve through innovative programs that channel financial support as well as products to public service organizations. AmpliVox products are compliant with the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board (CARB) and our PA systems and lecterns are manufactured to be RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substance) and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Compliant. Visit http://www.ampli.com for more information.

BTIG to Host Annual Commissions for Charity Day

Celebrities and Industry Participants Join BTIG to Raise Funds for Child-Focused Charities www.btigcharityday.comhttps://twitter.com/BTIGCharityDay

January 26, 2015 08:30 AM Eastern Standard Time – NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)BTIG, LLC, a global financial services firm specializing in institutional trading, investment banking and related brokerage services, announced today that it will host its 13th annual international Commissions for Charity Day on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of this event, and the enthusiasm of our clients, celebrity partners and employees is a testament to the dedication of everyone involved in its success.”

The BTIG Commissions for Charity Day is a star-studded event. Throughout the trading day, all-star athletes, top-recording artists, celebrities from film and television and cultural icons join BTIG in an effort to raise money for a variety of charities worldwide. With celebrities working alongside the firm’s institutional traders, clients team up with some of their favorite stars to raise funds for meaningful causes. “Giving back is a cornerstone of the BTIG corporate identity and we work to build Commissions for Charity Day participation from our growing list of clients and celebrity partners each year,” said Scott Kovalik, Co-Founder of BTIG.

Celebrities committed to join BTIG this year so far include Eli Manning, Mark Cuban, Shaquille O’Neal, Tom Coughlin, Joe Girardi, Allan Houston, Petra Nemcova, Jeremy Roenick, Bobby Valentine, Woody Johnson, Victor Cruz, and Beth Ostrosky Stern. Previous participants have included Michael J. Fox, Michael Strahan, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, Reggie Jackson, John McEnroe, Carmelo Anthony, Joe Namath, Bode Miller, Kelly Ripa, Rex Ryan, Bridget Moynahan, Padma Lakshmi, Eduardo Garcia, CC Sabathia, Damaris Lewis, Matt Dillon, David Wright, David Diehl, Hannah Storm and Eric LeGrand in New York; Ronnie Lott, Joe Morgan, Marshawn Lynch and Vida Blue in San Francisco; Marcus Allen and Tony Gonzalez in Los Angeles; and Mike Gatting OBE, Chris Tarrant OBE, Brian Conley, Aled Jones MBE and Sinitta in London.

BTIG pioneered its first Commissions for Charity Day in 2003, raising funds for three charities. In the last twelve years, BTIG’s Commissions for Charity Day has grown into a global initiative, supported by the firm’s clients, celebrity partners and employees throughout its U.S., London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney offices. Since 2003, BTIG has raised more than US$30 million for hundreds of charitable organizations around the world, including over US$5 million from the May 2014 event last year. Charities are nominated by clients and the firm encourages the selection of child-focused charities.

“We are increasingly inspired by the charities that we collaborate with each year, many of them focused on helping children around the world,” said Steven Starker, Co-Founder of BTIG. “It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of this event, and the enthusiasm of our clients, celebrity partners and employees is a testament to the dedication of everyone involved in its success.” Additional celebrity participants and nominated charities for the 2015 event will be announced throughout the coming months.

About BTIG

BTIG is a global financial services firm specializing in institutional trading, investment banking and related brokerage services. With an extensive global footprint and more than 475 employees, BTIG, LLC and its affiliates operate out of 13 cities throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. BTIG offers execution, expertise and insights for equities, derivatives, fixed income, futures, commodities, foreign exchange, interest rates, credit, ETFs as well as convertible and preferred securities. The company’s core capabilities include global sales, portfolio, electronic and outsource trading, prime brokerage, capital introduction, investment banking, corporate access, research, commission management and more. Disclaimer: https://btig.com/disclaimer.php

Former Advertising Council Executive to Join Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy Board of Directors

~Peggy Conlon to serve as board member of Tallahassee-based non-profit~

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Retired President and Chief Executive Officer of the Advertising Council Peggy Conlon is joining the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s Board of Directors. Conlon will begin her three-year term on the Board immediately.

“Peggy Conlon retired as the President and CEO of the Ad Council just last month, and we’re elated that without pause, she will be joining us to amplify our message. Her expertise will enable us to strategize community efforts that expand the discussion on how low literacy impacts the lives of 36-million American families,” said Honorary Chair Doro Bush Koch.

Ms. Conlon served The Advertising Council as President and CEO from 1999 until her retirement in December of 2014. The Ad Council mobilizes more than $1.6 billion of advertising time and space annually to the creative services of more than 50 major advertising agencies and related financial support from hundreds of corporations.

During her tenure at the Ad Council, the organization tripled the work done on behalf of premier government and non-profit organizations, including the American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way of America, the American Heart Association, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, among others. She has worked closely with Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama on issues ranging from homeland security, obesity prevention, and high school dropout prevention.

Ms. Conlon serves on the Board of Trustees of the United Way Worldwide and served for six years on the United Way of America board. Ms. Conlon was appointed by former President George Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush to lead the national media initiative for C-Change, formerly the National Dialogue on Cancer and served on its Board of Directors for six years. Ms. Conlon was also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Media, Entertainment and Information Global Agenda Council for six years.

Prior to joining the Ad Council, Ms. Conlon was Vice President, Group Publisher of the Broadcasting & Cable Group for Cahners Business Information. She was Group Publisher for the Electronics Division of CMP publications. Her experience has also included work at advertising agencies and as a corporate advertising director.

Ms. Conlon earned her B.A. in communications from the California State University at Fullerton and her M.A. from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California. She was awarded the New York Women in Communications Matrix Award for Advertising in 2002, and she was named “2005 Advertising Woman of the Year” by Advertising Women of New York (AWNY).

The Barbara Bush Foundation is the nation’s leading advocate for family literacy. The goals of the Foundation are simple: we want children to start school ready to excel and help parents improve their literacy skills. To learn more about the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s commitment to promote family literacy in homes across America, please visit www.helpthemread.org or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter (@BarbaraBushFdt).

The Hollywood Reporter & Hollywood Foreign Press Association Co-Hosted Next Gen Cocktail Party at The Sundance Film Festival Presented by American Airlines

On Friday, January 23rd The Hollywood Reporter (THR) and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) co-hosted an intimate event at the Sundance Film Festival presented by American Airlines. The event was held at Main & Sky Rooftop Lounge and celebrated the next generation of young actors of the upcoming 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The party coincided with the launch of a collaboration between the Sundance Film Festival, and THR, which is now the official industry media publication of the Festival through 2017.

Guests included: Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch, Brie Larson, Tye Sheridan, Thomas Mann, Avan Jogia, Bel Powley, Gail Bean, Olivia Cooke, RJ Mitte, Tony Revolori, Alex Gibney, Jill Soloway, Edgar Wright, Jay Duplass, HFPA President Theo Kingma and THR’s Janice Min.
*Additional names bolded

ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER:

The Hollywood Reporter is the entertainment industry’s flagship media brand. With in-depth reporting, analysis, unprecedented access, world-class photography and video, and feature exclusives, The Hollywood Reporter is the definitive source for breaking entertainment and business news. Founded in 1930 as a trade-only publication, The Hollywood Reporter reached an all-time high of 17.1 million individuals worldwide online at thr.com in August 2014, and over 236,000 readers in its weekly magazine, delivering news to an audience of industry power players and consumers deeply invested in entertainment content. In 2014, The Hollywood Reporter staff won a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award for The Hollywood Reporter in Focus: The Wolf of Wall Street. The Hollywood Reporter’s platforms include an award-winning weekly magazine, dynamic web and mobile sites, festival and awards season apps, tablet, iPad editions, social media, and branded events. The Hollywood Reporter and A&E Network partnered together in 2014 to co-produce and broadcast The Hollywood Reporter Roundtables, an in-depth look at the contenders for the Emmys and Awards season. Follow The Hollywood Reporter on Twitter @thr and on Facebook at facebook.com/HollywoodReporter.

ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION:

Founded in the 1940s during World War II, the HFPA was originally comprised of a handful of LA based overseas journalists who sought to bridge the international community with Hollywood, and to provide distraction from the hardships of war through film. Seventy years later, members of the HFPA represent 55 countries with a combined readership of 250 million in some of the world’s most respected publications. Each year, the organization holds the third most watched awards show on television, the Golden Globe® Awards, which have enabled the organization to donate more than $20 million to entertainment related charities and scholarship programs. For more information, please visit www.hfpa.org and www.goldenglobes.com and follow us on Twitter (@goldenglobes) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/goldenglobes).

From One Nice Guy to Another

“I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.” Andrew Carnegie

“The raising of extraordinarily large sums of money, given voluntarily and freely by millions of our fellow Americans, is a unique American tradition… Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely… call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition.” John F. Kennedy

San Diego, CA – Community before self: Three simple words that truly define philanthropy in the San Diego region and the individuals who have dedicated themselves to this principal. The kindness and generosity that donors have shown to our community have helped fund education, research, health and environmental causes and a wide range of nonprofit social service agencies. Every year The Nice Guys, an all-volunteer group made up of 140 local philanthropists and business leaders who raise money for needy San Diegans — $14.7 million since 1979 —honor a worthy individual who has made a difference for all San Diegans.

In 2013, Papa Doug Manchester, owner of U-T San Diego, was named Nice Guy of the Year for his 40 years of philanthropy that has totaled more than $40 million. In 2014, the honor went to an individual that Manchester himself introduced to San Diego, and with whom he shares a true passion for philanthropy: T. Denny Sanford.

Sanford, 78, is a retired banker and credit card company chief who has given away more than $1 billion to hospitals, clinics and medical research centers across the world. Sanford’s philanthropy in San Diego though has come more recently, thanks in part to Sanford’s friendship with Papa Doug Manchester.

“Papa Doug’s a dear friend,” said Sanford. “Most important to me, he embodies belief of “Community before Self,” and I’m especially honored to follow him as the next Nice Guy of the Year.”

Sanford added, “I am truly impressed by the motto of the Nice Guys, ‘Offering a hand up and not a handout.’ That’s consistent with my own philanthropic and business philosophy of providing people with an opportunity to get their lives on track. My goal is to donate 100 percent of my wealth during my lifetime to the medical, research and children’s programs I believe in.”

The award truly punctuates a lifetime dedicated to philanthropy for Sanford. In recent years, he has donated $30 million to San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, now known as the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine; several gifts totaling $70 million to the Burnham Institute of Medical Research, now the Sanford | Burnham Medical Research Institute; and $100 million to UC San Diego to found the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center.

Papa Doug stated, “The one thing people don’t know about Denny is that instead of waiting for people to ask him for contributions to help, he gets a tear in his eye and sees a particular need and creates a gift to fulfill that need.” He added, “Denny has already given away a billion dollars to other parts of the country, and he told me he wanted to die broke; so I introduced him to San Diego to help him do exactly that.”

NCCD Leaders Attend White House Office of Social Innovation Regional Conference on Pay for Success Models

National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s (NCCD) Alex Busansky and Kathy Park available to discuss Pay for Success models and NCCD’s Pay for Success projects

Salt Lake City, UT – On January 21st, the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation hosted its third and final regional summit on Pay for Success. The regional summits – in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Chicago, Illinois, and Salt Lake City, Utah – sought to highlight and advance regional activity underway across the country, build the longer term Pay for Success infrastructure to catalyze future projects and facilitate an open, transparent dialogue among public, private and philanthropic stakeholders.

Pay for Success projects bring together government agencies, private investors, service providers, and other stakeholders to finance, implement, and evaluate programs that have proven to be effective in meeting an identified social need.

National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) President Alex Busansky and Vice President Kathy Park, both experts on Pay for Success and its application in criminal and juvenile justice systems and social welfare systems, participated at each summit and moderated discussions on NCCD’s Pay for Success projects. The Pay for Success approach combines NCCD’s commitment to innovation and its expertise in evidence-based problem solving.

In October 2014, NCCD received a Pay for Success grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) Social Innovation Fund (SIF). NCCD’s PFS project aims to assess feasibility and develop Pay for Success capacity in jurisdictions from the states with the highest rates of racial and ethnic disparities in these systems. Those states are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, DC and Wisconsin.

Currently, in collaboration with Third Sector Capital Partners and two California counties, NCCD is also exploring the feasibility of two promising Pay for Success projects: one to implement a restorative justice project that has already proven successful at keeping youth out of detention by directing them to programs that reduce recidivism; and the second to identify child welfare-involved youth who are at increased risk of delinquency and targeting prevention services to prevent juvenile justice system crossover.

The following National Council on Crime and Delinquency Staff are Available for Comment or Background on Pay for Success Models:

Alex Busansky, President

Alex Busansky joined NCCD as president of the organization in 2010. In 2011 he also served as a member of the Los Angeles County Commission on Jail Violence. He is a former prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC, attorney for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, executive director of the Vera Institute’s Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, and founding director of Vera’s Washington, DC, office. Alex is an expert on creative research, policy, and programming in justice and social welfare systems; and under his leadership, the organization has expanded its leadership and work on Pay for Success models.

Kathy Park, Vice President

As vice president of NCCD, Kathy Park provides oversight and accountability for programmatic efforts and organizational operations across NCCD’s offices in Madison, Wisconsin; Oakland, California; and Washington, DC. Most recently she has played a key role in NCCD’s Pay for Success feasibility assessment projects in California and its Pay for Success grant from the CNCS Social Innovation Fund. Kathy has devoted her entire professional career to making a difference in the lives of adults and children impacted by abuse and neglect. Her experience includes provision of direct services, technical assistance and training, and research and policy in child and adult protection.

About the National Council on Crime and Delinquency

NCCD promotes just and equitable social systems for individuals, families, and communities through research, public policy, and practice. For more information about NCCD, visit www.nccdglobal.org.

Celebrities Give The Gift Of Hearing In Phoenix During The Big Game Weekend

Professional athletes and entertainers will join Starkey Hearing Foundation on January 31 in Phoenix to help change lives

MINNEAPOLIS (January 21, 2015) — With help from professional athletes and other celebrity supporters, Starkey Hearing Foundation will give the gift of hearing to people in need in Phoenix. On Saturday, Jan. 31, the Foundation’s team of hearing professionals will fit more than 75 prescreened patients with free, state-of-the-art, digital hearing devices. Garth Brooks, Pete Wentz, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, Marlee Matlin and Daymond John are just a few of the special guests expected to be on hand to help.

For over three decades, Starkey Hearing Foundation has used hearing as a vehicle to reflect caring and to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities around the world. This hearing mission will help the Foundation fulfill its commitment to provide more than 100,000 hearing aids to people in need annually, and one million by 2020. In the last year alone, Starkey Hearing Foundation provided more than 175,000 free hearing aids domestically and internationally.

The January 31 event will take place at Phoenix Municipal Stadium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST. The Foundation will provide free, customized hearing devices to pre-selected Phoenix-area patients ranging in age from nine to 83. This event is just one of dozens of domestic and international hearing missions they conduct each year.

Celebrity volunteers regularly assist at the Foundation’s hearing missions, where they help fit patients with new hearing aids and experience the life-changing impact that comes with helping to restore hearing for both the young and old. As part of the mission, recipients also receive audio testing, counseling and instruction on how to care for their new devices, all courtesy of Starkey Hearing Foundation.

Celebrity supporters expected to volunteer in Phoenix include: recording artists Garth Brooks, Pete Wentz and Sam Moore; current and former NFL players Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Greg Jennings, A.J. Green, Kyle Rudolph, Jasper Brinkley and Tommie Harris; and actors/television personalities Marlee Matlin, Daymond John, J.R. Martinez and Katie Leclerc; and many more.

“There is no greater gift than being able to be help connect someone to life and empower them to reach their full potential,” said Bill Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation. “Hearing brings people together, and we are excited to have so many of our wonderful supporters join us in Phoenix.”

More information about the Foundation’s work can be found at Starkey Hearing Foundation’s website, as well as its Facebook and Twitter pages.

About Starkey Hearing Foundation

Starkey Hearing Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to reflect caring and change lives around the world. Disabling hearing loss affects more than 360 million people, including 32 million children, worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. Starkey Hearing Foundation fits and gives more than 100,000 hearing aids annually, and as a member of President Clinton’s Global Initiative, it has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully campaign and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.

RBS Partners With Alternative Finance Providers To Support Thousands Of UK Businesses

RBS has today announced that it is set to give thousands of small British businesses greater access to finance by formally referring customers to Funding Circle and other alternative finance providers.

From next week the bank will refer businesses to Funding Circle for small business loans, where the online marketplace is better placed to help. The high street bank accounts for 33% of the small business lending market, so is set to become the largest lender to refer small business customers.

Funding Circle allows small businesses to borrow directly from investors. To date, more than 7,000 businesses have borrowed £490 million, thanks to a rigorous and proven credit assessment process. Investors are currently lending £35 million per month, making Funding Circle’s marketplace the fourth largest net lender to small businesses in the UK.

This move demonstrates how RBS is leading the industry at a time when the Government is looking at introducing legislation. Funding Circle and RBS have been part of the Treasury’s working group examining how best to encourage greater collaboration between high street banks and alternative finance providers.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said: “A key part of our long term economic plan is to ensure that British businesses are able to access the finance they need to grow and succeed. And it’s only through harnessing innovations in finance, alongside our existing world class knowledge and skills in financial services, that we’ll ensure Britain’s financial sector continues to meet the diverse needs of businesses here.

“That is why I announced a further package of measures to support peer-to-peer platforms at last month’s Autumn Statement, including a new bad debt relief to create a level-playing field for the industry. It is great to see companies like Funding Circle forging a new partnership with RBS to ensure that small British companies have the best access to funding.”

The bank aims to expand choice for customers whose loan applications do not currently meet the bank’s criteria, by signposting them to a number of alternative finance providers. Referrals will take place during conversations that the customer will have with a relationship manager or through documents included with correspondence. The pilot begins next week in Scotland & South-West England; with a national roll-out in Business Banking following over the next 3 months.

Alison Rose, CEO Commercial and Private Banking commented: “We are committed to doing the right thing for our customers by helping them access finance where we cannot help them within our current risk appetite. I am delighted to see RBS partnering up with both Funding Circle and Assetz Capital. We are dedicated to supporting SMEs, whether they are an existing customer of RBS or not.”

Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle said: “This partnership recognises our role as the largest marketplace for unsecured and secured small business lending. Partnering with the UK’s biggest small business high street lender is a huge vote of confidence in our model, and we look forward to working together to create thousands more opportunities for small businesses to access finance and grow.”

Pajama Program Is Asking You to OPEN YOUR HEART This February and Have Children in Need Be Your Valentine

The organization launches a nationwide campaign for Valentine’s Day to continue its mission to provide pajamas and books for children in need across the country

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January 22, 2015 (New York, NY) – In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Pajama Program will be launching a nationwide fundraising and awareness campaign, ‘OPEN YOUR HEART.’ The purpose of this campaign is to encourage individuals, companies and groups across the country to continue providing love and comfort for children in need throughout the remainder of ‘Danger Season.’

Danger Season is a term that Pajama Program created to represent the six months during the year when the temperatures across the country are often at their lowest – October through March. With freezing weather and record-low temperatures this year, Pajama Program is asking everyone to OPEN YOUR HEART this Valentine’s Day and provide love and warmth to underserved children in need of warm, cozy sleepwear.

Donations are most common during the holiday season posing a problem for children and teenagers that enter the system after December – especially in the brutally cold winter months. It is during this time that shelters, group homes and orphanages see an increase in capacity with limited resources.

Genevieve Piturro, Founder/Executive Director of Pajama Program says, “Giving a child in need a pair of warm pajamas and a book to read is like giving them a hug right before they go to bed. So as we all celebrate Valentine’s Day with loved ones – and especially during the cold month of February – our volunteers and supporters hope to send these cuddly, loving hugs to thousands of kids.”

Pajama Program and the millions of children in need of warm, cozy pajamas at bedtime are asking for YOUR help in spreading the word on OPEN YOUR HEART. Through this initiative, we remind those to continue donating because at Pajama Program, our ‘giving season’ is all year round.

Here are some shocking statistics to provide insight on just how many children need our help:

  • 1 in 5 American children live in poverty – a higher rate than any other developed country except for Romania. (2013)
  • Each year, over 800,000 children and youth in the United States experience homelessness. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Education)
  • More than 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. (Source: National Center for Children in Poverty)
  • More than 3.5 million people are homeless every night, and 1.35 million are children. (Source: National Coalition for the Homeless)
  • Of the 31.1 million people living in poverty, more than 12 million are children. (Source: Open Door Mission)
  • The average age of a homeless person in the United States is 9 years old. (Open Door Mission)

For more information about Open Your Heart, please visit Pajama Program at: www.pajamaprogram.org

About Pajama Program

Pajama Program is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to delivering new, warm pajamas and books to children in need, many of whom are without parents and/or permanent homes. Pajama Program serves children ranging in age from newborn to 18 who live in group homes, shelters and temporary housing. Since 2001, Pajama Program has provided over 3 million new pajamas and books to children through 60 chapters across the United States. Pajama Program has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities. Pajama Program meets the Better Business Bureau’s 20 charity standards, the highest ranking for non-profits.

Videojuice.Com Announces Extension Of NFL Hall Of Famer Mike Ditka’s Prancercise® Challenge

To Benefit Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, Challenge Will Conclude April 30th during the NFL Draft In Chicago

NEW YORK– January 22, 2015VideoJuice.com, the first-of-its-kind social fundraising platform, has announced that it will extend NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka’s Prancercise® Challenge to conclude April 30th, kicking off the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago. The NFL legend and Super Bowl-winning coach vows to Prancercise® during the draft if he can raise $100,000 for the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund (GGAF), a charity providing medical and financial assistance to retired players in need. This extension will commemorate the draft’s new location in Chicago, the hometown of the Chicago Bears, which Coach Ditka played for and coached to victory in Super Bowl XX.

“It is so important that we help support the great NFL players who have contributed to this game becoming the renowned sport it is today,” Coach Ditka said. “My goal is to influence as many people as possible with the VideoJuice.com Prancercise® Challenge. While we celebrate the newly eligible players at the 2015 NFL Draft, I would like to raise awareness for the veteran players who need our help.”

Coach Ditka will be joined in the challenge by Prancercise® founder Joanna Rohrback, who has become a viral sensation for her “springy, rhythmic exercise.” She has received over 10 million views on a YouTube video demonstrating the movement defined as being “similar to a horse’s gait and ideally induced by elation.”

To further raise the stakes, Coach Ditka declares that if he can raise more than $100,000, he will recruit his NFL friends to Prancercise® with him in support of the cause that greatly improves the lives of fellow NFL heroes. Additionally, the highest bidder will be treated to a private dinner with Ditka and Rohrback and featured in an actual Prancercise® video.

The proceeds donated to GGAF through VideoJuice.com will benefit retired NFL players and provide hands-on assistance with hardships faced after football. Donations will provide retired players with medical and financial support, as well as the coordination of services for food, automotive payments and childcare.

To donate to the Prancercise® Challenge, visit VideoJuice.com. For more information about Gridiron Greats, visit GridironGreats.org.

About VideoJuice.com:

VideoJuice.com is an online fundraising platform that showcases the creative and sometimes outrageous things people are willing to do to raise money for their favorite charity. The mission at VideoJuice.com is to provide a platform and a community that encourages people to tap into their creativity and find new ways to increase funds and awareness for their favorite cause through personal challenges. VideoJuice.com asks the question, “What are you willing to do for your favorite cause?”

About Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund:

The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund’s mission is to assist retired NFL players and their families in dire need. Gridiron Greats provides hands-on assistance to help retired players and their families deal with hardships they face after football. The services include medical assistance, transportation costs for medical evaluations and surgeries, dental assistance, housing assistance, financial assistance for utilities, medication, and coordination of services for food and other day to day necessities. Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, Inc. (GGAF) is a Wisconsin nonprofit corporation that has received recognition of federal tax-exempt status as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to GGAF are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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