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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
and corporate social responsibility.

Nonprofit crowdfunding course

Devin D. Thorpe

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Monthly Archives: March 2015

American Social Entrepreneur Helps Businesses in India Move Beyond Compliance and Do More with Corporate Social Responsibility Investments

More than $2 Billion Will Be Invested in Indian NGOs this Year; Raffa and Vardaan Help Businesses Achieve Greatest Good for the Community and Brand

Washington, D.C. and Bangalore, India – After three decades of “doing well by doing good” in the United States, entrepreneur Tom Raffa is assisting some of the largest companies in India as they set out to invest billions in socially responsible projects.

The Indian government passed a law in 2013 requiring companies with a net worth of $81 million or net profits that exceed $800,000 to invest at least two percent of their net profits in socially responsible projects around the country.

“This amounts to more than $2 billion in annual giving that will transform the NGO (nongovernmental organization) community in India,” said Tom Raffa, CEO of Raffa, a B-Corp certified, national top 100 accounting, consulting and technology firm.

“Businesses in India have always given back to their communities, but this change in the law offers business owners and boards a chance to reevaluate what type of impact they want to have and how they should best invest those dollars for the greatest good – both for the community and for their brand,” said Raffa.

Tom Raffa is assisting business leaders in India as the Knowledge and Equity Partner at Vardaan. Vardaan means “giver of good fortune,” and the company is becoming a key partner to businesses across India as they invest dollars to do the most good and to help grow their own bottom lines.

“Corporate philanthropy can be an effective tool for companies that are trying to meet consumers’ rising expectations of the role that businesses should play in society, but not all companies are using that tool as well as they should and are learning through the process that it’s much more than just writing a check to charity,” said Raffa.

“My philosophy is that corporations have a powerful, positive role to play in our communities,” explained Raffa. “And, this investment is not simply a cost of doing business, it is a true investment in the corporation. Improving our communities improves our bottom lines. This has played out over and over again in my 30 years in business.”

“Today, our philanthropic activities at Raffa are driven not only by our commitment to support our own stakeholders in their effort to make a difference today, but also by our strong desire to catalyze and inspire others to build a better tomorrow for future generations,” added Raffa. “While the lion’s share of the firm’s philanthropy is driven by our most important stakeholders – our employees and clients – Raffa’s giving is also channeled through Companies for Causes ​(CforC), a collective impact model we conceived to drive more effective corporate philanthropy in our community, Washington, DC.”

Tom Raffa was recently recognized with a “Pillars of Excellence” 2014 P.E.A.R.L.S. Award for the creation of CforC, a new model for corporate giving aimed at moving social responsibility from good intentions to strategic impact in local communities.

The team at Vardaan offers businesses in India the financial expertise, corporate law domain expertise, management thought process, social responsibility knowledge and global practice of implementing social responsibility programs in organizations.

Vardaan is also helping build the capacity of the nonprofits to ultimately help both sectors make the most of their efforts and move the entire country toward sustainability. “Our common goal is to act responsibly on behalf of future generations to achieve economic, environmental and social progress,” said Raffa.

About Raffa

Founded in 1984, Raffa is an accounting, consulting and technology firm based in Washington, D.C. dedicated to service and community. As a B-Corp certified, national Top 100, “Best of the Best” CPA advisory firm specializing in nonprofits and socially-responsible businesses, Raffa performs high-quality audits annually and provides support to help organizations across the country effectively and efficiently manage their most critical processes. The firm’s highly specialized professionals provide planning, consulting and compliance services to entrepreneurs, families, nonprofits and social enterprises. Offering a deep bench of expertise across an array of services, including accounting and tax, human resources, technology and consulting, Raffa’s client-centric, customized approach helps each client meet its potential and ensures each client’s success is sustained and maintained. Learn more at www.raffa.com.

About Vardaan

Vardaan is a consulting company which enables businesses to achieve their social responsibility (SR) objective. Vardaan advises on all aspects of SR consulting. This includes the diagnostic process, deriving objectives, policy making, SR plan implementation, monitoring, assessment and impact measurement. The Vardaan team is comprised of successful serial entrepreneurs, management professionals and corporate leaders. Learn more at vardaan.co.

Madeira Global Partners With Wildlife Conservation Society

Nonprofit Elects Impact Investment Advisor to Help Further Mission

NEW YORK– March 30, 2015Madeira Global, a New York-based investment and advisory firm servicing qualified investors and institutions in the area of impact investing, today announced it has partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a non-profit organization founded in 1885. WCS selected Madeira to be the exclusive impact investment advisor to its conservation enterprise program in order to help further its mission to save wildlife and wild places across the globe.

“We are honored that on the cusp on its 120th anniversary, WCS chose Madeira as its impact investment advisor,” stated Christina M. Alfonso, Founder and CEO of Madeira Global. “Impact investing goes beyond traditional philanthropy – we believe it is the foundation for solving global problems – and the aim is for our partnership with WCS to enable valuable funds to be strategically allocated in order to create lasting change.”

WCS’ collaboration with Madeira is part of its Conservation Enterprise Development Program (CEDP), which was launched in February 2012 to help sustainable market-based conservation enterprises across the world that benefit both people and wildlife. Madeira and WCS will combine organizational resources and experience to create an advisory committee focused on evaluating and implementing the further development of CEDP and identifying other appropriate opportunities for collaboration across the WCS global network, with the ultimate goal of creating an investment fund tailored to conservation-friendly businesses across WCS’s biodiversity-rich landscapes and seascapes.

“In light of rising private capital support for environmental solutions, we believe Madeira’s expertise in strategic product development for impact investments uniquely positions our partnership to further innovation in both financial services and wildlife conservation,” stated Todd Stevens, WCS Executive Director of Global Initiatives. “By pooling our collective knowledge, our partnership will enable us to impact countless communities and wildlife worldwide.”

SimpleCitizen Wins $40K at Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Statewide student startup competition at the University of Utah concludes with more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes awarded

March 28, 2015 – A student startup providing an online service to help people secure green cards won first place and the $40,000 grand prize at the annual Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at the University of Utah tonight.

“Winning the $40,000 is critical to helping us reach our first milestone of launching our website by this summer,” said Sam Stoddard, a team member of SimpleCitizen and student at Brigham Young University. “The event provides each team with a mentor. Our mentor was amazing and gave us input and advice that will be crucial to helping SimpleCitizen be successful.”

The statewide, business-plan competition is hosted by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah and sponsored by Zions Bank. The grand prize was part of more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes awarded to help the students launch their businesses. More than 200 teams competed in the annual competition with business ideas ranging from medical devices and aluminum skateboard decks to hydroponic farming.

“Our goal is to encourage creativity and provide an opportunity for these bright students to create companies that will shape the future of business and economy in Utah,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank, who attended the award ceremony and presented the grand prize.

Other event sponsors include: Actium Partners, Beehive Startups, Deloitte, Flint Design, Impact Hub, Stoel Rives and USTAR.

Four University of Utah teams made it to the final eight and won $1,000 apiece. Those teams included: Blyncsy, S3 Innovative Glaucoma Solutions, Scott Composites and Light Line Catheter.

“The University of Utah is one of the best schools in the nation for student entrepreneurs,” said Dane Money, a co-chair of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge and a business student at the University of Utah. “There are so many opportunities for students to create and launch their ideas here.”

The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is one of many business-plan competitions provided by the University of Utah, which is currently ranked as the No. 2 school in the nation for cash awarded to student entrepreneurs, according to the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. Last year, the University of Utah provided $744,550 in prizes to student entrepreneurs.

“The mentorship and prize money are critical to the development of new student businesses,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business.

The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is part of a student-run series of competitions called the Utah Entrepreneur Series. They began with Innovation Tournaments in the fall followed by Opportunity Quest competitions at universities across the state. The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is the final event in the series.

For more information about the Utah Entrepreneur Series, go to ues.utah.edu. Learn more about student entrepreneurship at the University of Utah at lassonde.utah.edu.

Photo Credit: Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

Photo Credit: Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

UEC Award Winners

  • Grand Prize ($40,000, sponsored by Zions Bank) – SimpleCitizen, Brigham Young University.
  • Best Presentation ($5,000, sponsored by Zions Bank) – KiLife Tech, Brigham Young University.
  • Best Tabling ($1,000, sponsored by Zions Bank) – KiLife Tech, Brigham Young University.
  • Emerging Entrepreneur ($1,000, sponsored by Zions Bank) – LuerLite, University of Utah.
  • Emerging Entrepreneur ($1,000, sponsored by Zions Bank) – Paper Trail, Brigham Young University.
  • Best Speed Pitch ($1,000, sponsored by Zions Bank) – KiLife Tech, Brigham Young University.
  • Best Video ($2,500, sponsored by Zions Bank) – KiLife Tech, Brigham Young University.
  • People’s Choice Award, Video ($1,000, sponsored by USTAR) – Accidental Gentleman, Dixie State University.
  • Best Technology ($5,000, sponsored by Stoel Rives) – Align Skate Decks, Utah State University.
  • Deloitte Services Prize ($3,000 in-kind, sponsored by Deloitte) – SimpleCitizen, Brigham Young University.
  • Best Product ($1,000, sponsored by Flint Design) – KiLife Tech, Brigham Young University.
  • Social Impact Award ($1,000 in-kind, sponsored by Impact Hub) – Align Skate Decks, Rental On Me, SimpleCitizen, Urban Yield.
  • Beehive Startup Award (in-kind, sponsored by Beehive Startups) – Align Skate Decks.
  • Top-20 Award ($500 each, sponsored by Zions Bank) – See list below.
  • Top-8 Award ($1,000, sponsored by Zions Bank; $1,000 each in-kind, sponsored by Deloitte) – Align Skate Decks, Blyncy, KiLife Tech, Light Line Catheter, S3 Innovative Glaucoma Solutions, Scott Composites, SimpleCitizen, Urban Yield.
  • Bootstrap Award ($2,500, sponsored by Actium Partners) – Align Skate Decks.

UEC Top-20 Team Descriptions

  • Accidental Gentlemen (Dixie State University) – Provides opportunity for self-expression through customizable ties and neckwear.
  • Align Skate Decks (Utah State University) – Aluminum skateboard decks that have longer life span and unique look.
  • Blyncsy (University of Utah) – Device that tracks electronic signals to track traffic and movement of cities on a macro scale, helping you get where you need to go faster.
  • Brighter House Electric, LLC (Weber State University) – Economical and energy-friendly light-bulb-replacement service for your home.
  • Candor (Snow College) – Mobile app dedicated to connecting college students stuck in their apartment contracts with those who want to buy them.
  • Haedrian (Brigham Young University) – Mobile app that connects investors with investees in developing countries to help microfinance companies make informed investments.
  • Hungry Media, LLC (Westminster College) – Student owned digital-content production company providing video production, photography and graphic design.
  • KiLife Tech (Brigham Young University) –Wearable child-safety device that helps track children in public or crowded places.
  • Light Line (University of Utah) – Catheter that uses high-intensity laser to kill infection-causing microorganisms and prevent infections caused by catheter use.
  • Luerlite (University of Utah) – Medical device using UV-C technology to help eliminate bloodstream infections.
  • Paper Trail (Brigham Young University) – Website and mobile app used to track financial and accounting records without the mess of physical receipts and records.
  • Pura (Utah Valley University) – Smart-home company that marries home air fresheners with a mobile app.
  • Rental On Me (Utah State University) – Peer-to-peer online marketplace that allows users to make money by sharing items in their community.
  • S3 Innovative Glaucoma Solution (University of Utah) – Implantable medical device used to prevent vision loss in glaucoma.
  • SimpleCitizen (Brigham Young University) – Online do-it-yourself solution for people who need to file for a green card or other basic immigration forms.
  • Swap Top (Southern Utah University) – Patented customizable shoe design to fit unique style of users on a day-to-day basis.

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally-ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides engagement opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include graduate seminars, business plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute is also building a new facility for student entrepreneurs due to open in fall 2016. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.

New Morgan Stanley Report Challenges Misperceptions Regarding Sustainable Investing and Performance

Although some investors may believe sustainable investing requires a financial sacrifice, a new report from the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing finds that investing in sustainability has usually met and often exceeded the performance of comparable traditional investments, both on an absolute and risk-adjusted basis, across asset classes and over time.

“We believe sustainable investing will be a key in the mobilization of private capital towards addressing global challenges, but the growth and development of this space remains hampered by a lingering perception that sustainable investments require a financial trade-off. Our review addresses the investment performance concern head-on, and the findings are very positive,” said Audrey Choi, CEO of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing.

The Sustainable Reality report involves a review of 10,228 open-end mutual funds and 2,874 separately managed accounts over the last seven years, and highlight findings include:

  • Sustainable equity mutual funds met or exceeded the median return of traditional equity funds for 64% of the time periods examined1;
  • Sustainable equity mutual funds also had equal or lower median volatility for 64% of the time periods examined1;
  • For the longest time period (seven years trailing, 2008-2014), sustainable equity mutual funds met or exceeded median returns for five out of six different equity classes examined (for example, large-cap growth) 1; and
  • Long-term annual returns of the MSCI KLD 400 Social Index, which comprises firms scoring highly on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, exceeded the S&P 500 by 45 basis points, between its inception in 1990 to the end of 20141,2.

A survey of individual investors released last month by Morgan Stanley demonstrates why these latest findings are of particular importance for sustainable investing. According to the Sustainable Signals survey, investors appear to place a premium on sustainability yet believe sustainable investments require a financial sacrifice:

  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of those surveyed believe that companies with good ESG practices can achieve higher profitability and are better long-term investments; but
  • At the same time, 54% believe that sustainable investing involves a financial trade-off.

“Sustainable investing presents the opportunity for individuals and institutions to align their investments with their values, but there are clearly many investors who have reservations over whether sustainable investing will require them to sacrifice investment performance,” said Choi. “Ultimately, we believe that sustainable investing is simply a smart way to invest, and our review shows preconceptions regarding subpar performance are out of step with reality.”

For more information, please see Sustainable Reality: Understanding the Performance of Sustainable Investment Strategies and Sustainable Signals: The Individual Investor Perspective.

The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing maximizes capital to build a more sustainable future – seeking both competitive financial returns and positive social and environmental impact. The Institute is dedicated to accelerating mainstream adoption of sustainable investing by developing industry-leading insights and scalable finance solutions to address global challenges. For more information about the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, visit www.morganstanley.com/sustainableinvesting.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. With offices in more than 43 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.

1 Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

2 An index is unmanaged and not available for direct investment.

Rescuing Dogs So They Can Rescue Veterans With PTSD – That Is Where There Is a Need

PLEASANTON, CA — (Marketwired – March 27, 2015) – One out of every eight returning soldiers suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, less than half of veterans with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) seek help, mostly out of fear of being disparaged.

Lindsey Stanek, the co-founder and CEO of Paws and StripesT, learned firsthand what it was like to live with someone who struggled with PTSD and TBI when her husband Jim returned home after his third tour of duty in Iraq. After months of therapy, Lindsey realized that nothing comforted Jim as much as being in the presence of a therapy dog.

After learning how difficult (and incredibly expensive) it was for veterans to qualify for most service dog programs, Lindsey and Jim founded Paws and Stripes. The nonprofit organization rescues unwanted dogs from kill shelters, trains them and pairs them with wounded U.S. military veterans at little or no cost. Their efforts were documented on Dogs of War, a television show that aired on A&E Network last November.

“As I watched the first episode of Dogs of War, with tears sliding down my face, I thought about not only the Veterans in my family, but those across the country,” said Danielle Cook, Corporate Responsibility Officer at Visioneer. “It was then that I knew Paws and Stripes was going to be the next beneficiary of our Where There Is a Need program. Lindsey, Jim and his dog Sarge are not only changing lives for the better, but they are creating a much needed awareness of what life is like for veterans who struggle to complete everyday tasks.”

According to Paws and Stripes, the usual costs of getting a service dog are great: from $10,000 to $30,000 and sometimes up to $60,000, and would often include countless months seeking grant money to fund the purchase. The cost to complete canine training for a Paws and StripesT veteran and dog team is funded by Paws and Stripes through donations. The veterans are never obligated to pay a penny for successfully completing the program. Paws and Stripes will be Visioneer’s beneficiary for Q2.

About Where There Is A Need

Where There Is A Need is a philanthropic program that helps nonprofit organizations across the globe that provide assistance to people and places in need. For every customer who registers a Visioneer or Xerox® DocuMate® scanner, Visioneer will donate $1 to an international disaster relief, cause, or environmental program each quarter on their behalf. Both Visioneer and our customers can now have a direct impact on helping individuals in need around the world.

“The goal of Where There Is A Need is to embrace responsibility for our company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through our activities on the people that develop, manufacture and sell our products, the businesses and families that use our products, and the communities and environment we all live and work in,” added Cook. “It is our goal that Visioneer’s social responsibility is not merely words on our website, but a fundamental part of how we conduct our business, make decisions, and set our priorities.”

How Our Customers Can Help

Customers can easily register their scanner at www.visioneer.com or www.xeroxscanners.com clicking on the “Register Your Product” link, and filling out a short form. Registering a new scanner will also keep customers current on special product offerings, tips on how to best use their scanner, driver updates, and to receive all warranty benefits. To keep up with the current need that is being helped each quarter by this program, visit www.visioneer.com/wheretheresaneed or follow us on Facebook.

About Paws and Stripes

Nonprofit Paws and StripesT provides service dogs for wounded U.S. military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The dogs come only from shelters, and highly trained service dog trainers work with the veteran/dog teams. We believe in training the veterans and dogs together. For more information, please visit them online or follow our latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

About Visioneer

Visioneer, Inc., a leader in scanner and document management solutions, offers a broad range of digital imaging hardware products for the desktop, distributed and departmental markets as well as the mobile and remote business scanning segments. In 2003, Visioneer combined its leading scanner technology with the Xerox brand recognition to develop the Xerox® DocuMate® product line. Visioneer and Xerox DocuMate high-performance business scanners and imaging software solutions offer users speed, image quality, advanced paper handling and ease-of-use with exclusive Visioneer OneTouch® technology. For additional information please visit Visioneer and Xerox scanning solutions. For open commentary and industry perspectives visit Facebook or Twitter.

Food-Tech Start-Ups Take Note: Applications Open for Innovative Companies to Participate in USA Pavilion Business Accelerator Program at 2015 World’s Fair

Select Teams will Receive Strategic Consultation from Leading American Technology and Food Science Experts

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 is calling for entrepreneurs to apply for a chance to change the world of food with Feeding the Accelerator during the next world’s fair in Milan, Italy. On March 28, the online application process will open during a pitch competition at Seeds&Chips, an event in Milan bringing together enthusiastic innovators, companies and investors who are eager to revolutionize the way food is produced, distributed, consumed and depicted. The winning team from this preliminary competition will automatically enter the Accelerator review process and be one step closer to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete and collaborate in the largest gathering of food system experts and investors in history who will incubate pioneering solutions to global food challenges.

“As an entrepreneur who has spent the last several decades in Silicon Valley, I understand how critical innovation and technology are when it comes to meeting the challenge of feeding more than nine billion by 2050,” said Doug Hickey, USA Pavilion Commissioner General. “Our Accelerator program will play an essential role in uncovering the ideas and people needed to tackle this global food issue.”

Feeding the Accelerator is a USA Pavilion program giving the world an opportunity to see American collaboration at work, as leaders in industry look to support the most innovative food and tech entrepreneurs. The Accelerator program will feature a series of workshops, seminars, lectures and discussions with guest lecturers and mentors from across the entire food system spectrum. Additionally, hackathons will be held during which competing teams will race to create innovative, network-based solutions to specific food and technology problems. The Accelerator will help eight to twelve upcoming food-tech stars reach their full potential through a curated program by the innovation and development company AtelierSlice and supported by Microsoft Corporation. Copernico, a cutting-edge Silicon Valley-inspired technology innovative hub, is also a partner serving as host of the workspace in Milan.

“We are proud to contribute to this project with the USA Pavilion by offering our technological know-how and our organizational expertise to develop a winning initiative able to boost the creativity of young people and entrepreneurs. We believe that innovation is a must-have lever to allow the food industry to grow and successfully cope with the current food challenges. That’s why we’re committed to coach these teams and to empower them with new technologies able to turn their ideas into reality,” noted Fabio Santini, Developer Experience and Evangelism at Microsoft Italy.

The ideal Accelerator applicant is a highly capable team working with a groundbreaking concept or assets at the intersection of food and technology. The selection committee will look for a significant X-factor and existing traction. In line with the theme of Expo Milano 2015, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” teams should have the potential for rapid impact on a global scale. The Accelerator will run a virtual bootstrapping program for the selected teams July through August and a physical accelerator during September in Milan. Participants will bear the cost of their travel, but the program is free for selected teams and the Accelerator will take no equity. Think your team has what it takes to join Feeding the Accelerator? Click here to apply!

About Friends of the USA Pavilion Milano 2015

The U.S. Department of State has selected the Friends of the USA Pavilion Milano 2015 as its private sector partner to work with the U.S. government to develop and implement an official American presence at the Expo. Friends of the USA Pavilion Milano 2015, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a collaboration between the James Beard Foundation (JBF) and the International Culinary Center (ICC), in association with the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy, whose mission is to conceive, design, fundraise for, and produce the USA Pavilion and programs at Expo Milano 2015.

Current partners include GE, NUSSLI, Uvet, Brand USA, PepsiCo, Microsoft, DuPont, Boeing, illy, Research Frontiers, 3M, Dow, Uber, McKinsey & Company, FleishmanHillard, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, U.S. Sustainability Alliance, U.S. Soybean Export Council, U.S. Grains Council, American Hardwood Export Council, North American Export Grain Association, USA Rice Federation, USA Poultry & Egg Commission, Food Export USA-Northeast, Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, and U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Through the leadership of Commissioner General Doug Hickey and the overall direction of the U.S. Department of State, the Friends organization will oversee every aspect of the project in consultation with a team of experts across the science, business, technology, agriculture, sustainability, design and other fields. The pavilion’s management and program is directed by President Dorothy Hamilton (founder and CEO of ICC), Chief Executive Officer Charlie Faas, and Chief Creative Officer Mitchell Davis (EVP of JBF). Biber Architects has been selected to design the USA Pavilion, and Thinc Design is serving as USA Pavilion exhibition designer.

For more information, visit: www.usapavilion2015.net and www.expo2015.org/en.

ReWalk Robotics Announces Expansion to India with Saimed Innovations

Agreement Will Launch First Ever Exoskeleton Rehabilitation Programs, Distribution in Northern India

(Marlborough, MA/Kolkata, India) — Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today a new partnership with Saimed Innovations, a leading medical technologies provider, to distribute the ReWalk exoskeleton systems in Northern India. This agreement marks a milestone for exoskeleton technology and the spinal cord injury community, as ReWalk becomes the first company to provide the robotics devices in India.

Saimed Innovations staff have begun the training process with ReWalk, and will start more extensive clinical and technical service training in the coming weeks. The staff will begin working with eligible users in the rehabilitation setting in Q2 of this year.

“Expansion to India has been both a goal and priority for ReWalk, as we assess the global need for exoskeletons,” said Larry Jasinski, CEO of ReWalk Robotics. “This landmark partnership with Saimed Innovations will provide first-time access to this technology for the spinal cord injured community across India. We believe there is potential to help a great number of people in this key geography,” he added.

“This will be a miraculous technology for eligible users in India,” said Rishi Kapoor, Partner of Saimed Innovations. “We look forward to beginning this partnership with ReWalk.”

The distribution agreement expands the ReWalk footprint into a crucial market and economy; this partnership is another important step in ReWalk’s international growth, which also expanded distribution to Australia in late 2014. In addition, ReWalk has received regulatory clearances for their exoskeleton systems in several global geographies including: North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.

ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk. The system provides user-initiated mobility through the integration of a wearable brace support, a computer-based control system and motion sensors. The system allows independent, controlled walking while mimicking the natural gait patterns of the legs. ReWalk is the only exoskeleton system cleared by the FDA for both personal use as well as use in a rehabilitation setting in the United States.

Saimed is a professionally managed organization focused relentlessly on innovation in health care. The company’s present business areas include: cardiology, endovascular, neurological intervention, urology and clinical management, among many others. Since the firm’s inception Saimed is committed to providing state of the art innovative technologies and clinical management services to health care providers. The cumulative expertise and experience of more than 15 years in the global field of medical device management are the strong pillars of Saimed’s excellence.

ReWalk plans to launch its inaugural programs in India in Spring 2015, with distribution of systems already underway across Northern India.

About ReWalk Robotics

ReWalk Robotics (formerly Argo Medical Technologies) develops, manufactures and markets wearable robotic exoskeletons for people with lower limb disabilities, such as paraplegia. ReWalk’s mission is to fundamentally change the health and life experiences of individuals with spinal cord injury. ReWalk is proud to offer the only FDA cleared exoskeleton systems in the United States, for rehab and personal use respectively. Founded in 2001, ReWalk Robotics is a global company with headquarters in the US, Germany, and Israel. For more information on ReWalk Robotics and the ReWalk Systems, please visit http://www.rewalk.com.

The Desegregated Prayer

On the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s Speech in Montgomery, Gov. George Wallace’s Daughter Prays with Leaders of The Reconciled Church

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – March 26, 2016 — Fifty years after the march from Selma ended with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech from a flatbed truck—there to bar him from the capitol steps—the then-governor’s daughter, now Peggy Wallace Kennedy, prayed on those steps with leaders of The Reconciled Church (TRC), a multiracial and non-denominational movement to restore Civil Rights through changed lives.

On March 25, ceremonies marking the 50 anniversary of the Selma March to Alabama’s state capital, Bishop Harry Jackson, a founder of the TRC movement—standing with Prison Fellowship President Jim Liske, Bishop Kyle Searcy of Montgomery’s Fresh Anointing Church, and Bishop J. Alan Neal of the International Communication of Evangelical Churches—prayed for Mrs. Kennedy.

On March 25, 2015, following ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma March ending at the Montgomery statehouse, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of Gov. George Wallace, who famously worked to preserve segregation, prays with leaders of The Reconciled Church. Left to right: Bishop Kyle Searcy of Fresh Anointing Church in Montgomery; Jim Liske, president of Prison Fellowship; Bishop Harry Jackson, The Reconciled Church founder (and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church near Washington, D.C.); and Bishop J. Alan Neal of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches.

On March 25, 2015, following ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma March ending at the Montgomery statehouse, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of Gov. George Wallace, who famously worked to preserve segregation, prays with leaders of The Reconciled Church. Left to right: Bishop Kyle Searcy of Fresh Anointing Church in Montgomery; Jim Liske, president of Prison Fellowship; Bishop Harry Jackson, The Reconciled Church founder (and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church near Washington, D.C.); and Bishop J. Alan Neal of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches.

At age 13, in June 1963, Peggy Wallace watched on TV as her father barred the University of Alabama doors to black students. The spirit of Governor Wallace’s later reconciliation with the same black students echoed in TRC’s three Montgomery events on March 25. In the morning two panels of experts broached the bookends of prison reduction—youth empowerment and criminal justice reform. That night Bishop Kyle Searcy’s Fresh Anointing church overflowed with a citywide service.

“Then and now, the soul of Civil Rights is the Church because the law can only change the rules,” Bishop Jackson said. “Changed lives happens through unity, action and prayer—concentrated in seven ‘bridges to peace’ to influence programs and people across the U.S. through a wide network of best practices.”

Seven-Point National Program

In its first national meeting in January 2015, The Reconciled Church set Seven Bridges to Peace: prayer, civic engagement, youth empowerment, community outreach and service, marriage and family, criminal justice, and economic development.

“Our jails and prisons hold 2.3 million adults and we spend some $80.5 billion a year to keep them there,” Jackson said. “The U.S. is 5 percent of the world population and has 25 percent of its prisoners. It’s time to turn the car around.”

“For 40 years we’ve asked how to get bad people from our neighborhood. It’s time to ask, ‘How do we bring good people home?’” said panelist Liske, whose organization, Prison Fellowship, restores families through faith-based reentry programs.

Montgomery’s 15th Circuit Court Judge Johnny Hardwick drove home the problem. “Once you get out of prison you’re never free from prison,” he said of released prisoners’ long-term restrictions. Hardwick advocates a federation of prison ministries to accelerate the path from prison to fruitful life, asking, “Why suffer a civil death for a mistake you made when you were 19?”

Montgomery’s Searcy, meanwhile, is driving funds for a new state-of-the-art Youth City, a comprehensive and model center to prepare all kids for all of life and “keep them out of the system.”

Civil Rights History Still Being Written

The Reconciled Church is a multiracial, non-denominational movement of congregations united to restore communities and the people in them. Bishop Harry Jackson, with Bishop T.D. Jakes and evangelist James Robison, assembled the first meeting of movement leaders–including Bernice King and Andrew Young–in Dallas this January. Leaders representing more than 40 million Christians signed a reconciliation covenant, and committed to immediate action to heal the racial divide in the U.S.

“In the wake of the Ferguson and New York City deaths, a solution to national racial tension must transcend government action alone. We must rekindle King’s Dream of fairness and justice for all–black, white and brown; rich and poor; educated and uneducated,” Jackson said.

The first Reconciled Church meeting at T.D.Jakes’ Potter’s House church in Dallas included private prayer and information-sharing with Christian leaders and a panel discussion on best practices for racial reconciliation. The next meeting, in Orlando, on April 29, 2015 unveils a national strategy to mobilize the church to change both hearts and heads about laws, church collaboration, and how the average Christian can make a difference. TheReconciledChurch.org

‘Global Health Now’ Launches Website

–New site features original articles and commentary, news headlines and comments sections

Global Health NOW, an e-newsletter started last year by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has launched a website. The site will cover the most pressing global health stories of the day, as well as serve as a convening news forum for global health professionals — from practitioners to policymakers — academics, students and journalists.

The Global Health NOW e-newsletter will continue to publish Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. (Eastern time). It is available, at no cost, by subscription.

“Thousands of people all over the world subscribed to the e-newsletter in our first year, but the format had significant limitations. We were hermetically sealed in a network of people who happened to hear about us,” says Brian W. Simpson, MPH ’13, director of content at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and founding editor of Global Health NOW. “With the website, we’re excited to have a much wider venue that matches our ambitions to be the essential read in global health by delivering smartly curated news and valuable original content.”

Global Health NOW’s website will build on the e-newsletter’s editorial tradition of aggregating the important global health news articles of the day while expanding original features, commentaries and Q&As. In addition, the site will regularly run articles from journalists supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and the weekly webcast This Week in Global Health, as well as a Photo of the Week showcasing photographs from PhotoShare, a collection of international health and development photographs.

Global Health Now will also allow readers to become part of the conversion in its comments section.

Inaugural content includes a Q&A with Joanne Liu, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders); a webcast from This Week in Global Health featuring global health advocate Hans Rosling; and a Pulitzer Center-sponsored feature on pregnancy prevention in the Dominican Republic.

Another regular feature is an online book club run by Dayna Kerecman Myers, Global Health NOW’s associate editor. The book club is currently asking readers to vote on its first book.

The site, which is mobile-ready, uses tags so viewers can easily search for topics of interest. Content can be shared to social media channels and via email.

“We’re building more collaborations with others working in this space and look forward to providing even more critical reads to the global health community in the coming months,” Simpson says.

NOTE: If you’re attending the Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference in Boston this week (March 26 – 28), please visit the Global Health NOW exhibit in Liberty Ballroom B of the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

Trident Case™ Partners with Autism Speaks For Autism Awareness Month

Leading manufacturer and marketer of rugged, eco-friendly smartphone and tablet cases offers a 10% price discount on its Autism Speaks Kraken A.M.S. iPad case and pledges 20% of the case’s web sales during the month of April as a donation to Autism Speaks.

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ONTARIO, CALIFORNIA, March 26, 2015 — April is Autism Awareness month and leading smartphone and tablet case manufacturer Trident Case™ is marking the occasion by strengthening its existing partnership with Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization.

For the entire month of April, customers purchasing the Autism Speaks edition of the company’s popular Kraken A.M.S. iPad Case will receive 10% discount off the regular manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

What’s more, for every Autism Speaks Trident case that’s purchased, Trident will donate 20% of the case’s web sales to the organization.

“Trident Case is proud to continue our partnership with Autism Speaks in 2015,” says Trident Vice President of Marketing Vickie Achee. “By both providing the Autism Speaks case at a discounted price and donating 20% of the case’s sales to the organization, our customers can promote autism awareness while also knowing that their purchase is contributing to autism-related research. It’s this type of dedication to a pro-social cause that embodies our Live With Impact corporate mission.”

Trident Case has a strong supportive relationship with Autism Speaks. In December 2014, the company donated 2,000 of their ultra-tough and durable Kraken A.M.S. iPad cases to the recipients of the “Autism Speaks 2014 iPad Grant Program,” which awarded iPad 4s to 1,000 financially disadvantaged individuals with an autism-spectrum disorder.

What’s more, to both further promote Autism awareness and raise additional funds for Autism Speaks, the Trident team will participate in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks that will take place on April 26, 2015 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

“Our commitment to both Autism Speaks and raising autism awareness goes beyond product discounts and corporate donations,” continued Achee.” “Our entire Trident team has whole-heartedly embraced the organization and is eager to spread their passion for the cause through an organized Autism Awareness Community Walk.”

For more information about either the Autism Speaks edition of the Kraken A.M.S. iPad case or the Autism Awareness Walk, visit tridentcase.com.

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception,

Autism Speaks has committed more than $500 million dollars to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 60 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.

About Trident Case™

Founded in 2010, Ontario, California-based Trident Case™ (www.tridentcase.com) designs, engineers and manufactures the world’s toughest, most heavy-duty cases for mobile devices of all makes, models, shapes and sizes. With seven series of protective cases that offer unparalleled protection from drops, scratches, water and dust in environments ranging from classrooms to construction sites, the company manufactures the ideal protection solution for every mobile device. The cases also offer bio-enhanced plastic, which are degradable, compostable and recyclable. Trident Case has been committed to manufacturing in the USA since its inception, with plans to grow this program in the coming years.

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