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Devin D. Thorpe

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Monthly Archives: May 2015

When Children with Autism Grow Old

SDSU researchers receive NIH grant to study brain and cognitive changes in adults with autism.

SAN DIEGO (Thursday, May 28, 2015) — In the public consciousness, autism spectrum disorder only affects children. In truth, ASD is a lifelong condition. But how it affects older adults is a gaping unknown in autism research. Now, a new and significant grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will help researchers at San Diego State University understand how the disorder plays out across the lifespan.

“Developmental disorders do not end after childhood,” said Ruth Carper, a neuroscientist at SDSU and a co-investigator on the project. “Development is a lifelong process, and there is a real need to know what happens later in life for people with autism.”

Young diagnosis

For a variety of reasons, it’s a subject sorely in need of study, added SDSU psychologist and principal investigator Ralph-Axel Müller. For one, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was only recognized as a unique disorder about 70 years ago. Over the years, what we now describe as autism has been referred to as childhood schizophrenia or the catch-all, mental retardation. Only in recent years has medical and public awareness grown to the point where it can be reliably diagnosed.

“It’s hard to even find older adults who have been diagnosed with autism,” Müller explained. “Diagnostic criteria have changed enormously over the decades.”

Another reason is that research and treatment has typically focused on children, Carper added. Part of this has to do with the instinct to protect children, which plays out in research and funding, she said. But it’s also because behavioral treatments and interventions seem to work best in young children, making childhood autism a natural research target.

Educational systems also tend to serve as de facto mental health support systems, meaning children who are still in school receive more institutional attention. Once people with autism leave school, their welfare falls to their families and to the California Department of Developmental Services. Many wind up living with family members or in care facilities for the rest of their lives and those who are able to live independently often struggle with employment or social acceptance, but don’t qualify for support services.

“Fortunately, there’s nothing about autism that shortens the lifespan, as far as we know,” Carper said, but this also means that adults with ASD may require care and special assistance for many decades.

It remains completely unknown whether some of them may be at risk for accelerated cognitive or neurological decline later in life. This has been seen, for example, in the case of people with Down syndrome, who almost always develop Alzheimer’s disorder as adults, as well as in some people with Fragile-X related disorders.

Calls for help

For years, families and advocates have been calling for more research into older adults with autism so that caregivers can ground their support services in hard data and understand what’s happening cognitively and emotionally with their loved ones and patients.

“There’s really no literature to guide hypotheses in this area,” Müller said.

To that end, Carper and Müller recently were awarded a five-year, $3.5-million NIH grant to recruit older adults with autism and perform a series of cognitive and neuroimaging studies. In collaboration with scientists and health workers at the University of California, San Diego, and Alliant International University in San Diego, they are seeking to recruit 70 adults between the ages of 45 and 65 with autism spectrum disorder and an additional 70 control participants.

Using a variety of functional and anatomic brain imaging techniques, the researchers will explore the brain connections of adults with autism to see how they might differ from younger people with the disorder and from adult peers without ASD. They will also give participants assessments of cognitive, social, and language abilities, and measure their executive functioning, motor functioning and memory. Participants’ families and caregivers will respond to questionnaires about their daily living skills.

Though this work is still in its earliest stages, Carper said that people are excited about the research’s potential.

“Families are excited that anyone is looking into this,” she said. “A lot of them feel like they’ve been forgotten.”

Disorder progression

Even though very little scientific research has been done in adults with autism, there are smatterings of anecdotal reports that suggest certain aspects of the disorder might improve over time. For example, Carper noted, some parents have reported that their children’s language abilities continue to improve into older age, as do their social skills. Determining whether these improvements are related to normal aging or the natural course of the disorder could help guide therapeutic and support services and suggest new avenues of research.

“We don’t know what’s in the future for these folks,” Carper said, “but we know they need support. Understanding the brain mechanisms at work in older adults with autism can help us improve their lives and the lives of those who care about them.”

About San Diego State University

San Diego State University is a major public research institution offering bachelor’s degrees in 91 areas, master’s degrees in 78 areas and doctorates in 22 areas. The university provides transformative experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom, for its 35,000 students. Students participate in research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities. The university’s rich campus life features opportunities for students to participate in, and engage with, the creative and performing arts, a Division I athletics program and the vibrant cultural life of the San Diego region. For more information, visit www.sdsu.edu.

MacArthur Announces 20 Jurisdictions to Receive Funding To Reduce Jail Use

Twenty $150,000 awards are part of $75 M Safety and Justice Challenge to foster Innovative reform in local criminal justice systems

Chicago, IL – After a highly competitive selection process that drew applications from nearly 200 jurisdictions in 45 states and territories, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today announced it is awarding 20 jurisdictions $150,000 grants and expert counsel to create plans that will lead to fairer, more effective local justice systems. The grants are a part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, the Foundation’s $75 million initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails. From this group, 10 jurisdictions will be selected in 2016 to receive a second round of funding – between $500,000 and $2 million annually, depending on the size of the jurisdiction – to implement their plans for reform.

The 20 jurisdictions range from large cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Houston to small localities like Mesa County, CO, and Pennington County, SD, as well as the State of Connecticut. Together, the selected jurisdictions represent 11% of the nation’s jails capacity. Therefore, the initiative has the opportunity to impact a large proportion of today’s jails population, as well as pioneer evidence-based alternatives to incarceration that other jurisdictions can successfully adopt and implement. (For a full list of the 20 recipients, see below.)

“Nearly 200 diverse jurisdictions responded to our challenge, reflecting nationwide interest in reducing over-incarceration,” said Julia Stasch, President of the MacArthur Foundation. “Each of the sites selected has demonstrated the motivation, collaboration, and commitment needed to make real change in their local justice systems. The aim is that local efforts will model effective and safe alternatives to the incarceration status quo for the rest of the country.”

Despite growing national attention to the large number of Americans confined in state and federal prisons, significantly less attention has been paid to local justice systems, where the criminal justice system primarily operates and where over-incarceration begins. Jail populations have more than tripled since the 1980s, as have cumulative expenditures related to building and running them. According to recent research from the Vera Institute of Justice, nearly 75 percent of the population of both sentenced offenders and pretrial detainees are in jail for nonviolent offenses such as traffic, property, drug, or public order violations. Further, low-income individuals and communities of color disproportionately experience the negative consequences of incarceration.

MacArthur created the Safety and Justice Challenge competition to support jurisdictions across the country seeking to build more just and effective local justice systems that improve public safety, save taxpayer money, and yield more fair outcomes. In light of the large-scale response received to the Challenge competition and in an effort to build a broad network of jurisdictions that are engaged in local justice reform, the Foundation plans to create new opportunities – open to jurisdictions across the country – for funding to support training, technical assistance, and promising local innovations that seek to reduce the misuse and overuse of jails.

As part of the initiative, the Vera Institute of Justice recently released a new report, The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration, showing that hidden costs make jails far more expensive than previously understood. The report finds that because other government agencies bear significant costs not reflected in jail budgets, taxpayers are spending more to incarcerate people than official statistics show.

Several of the nation’s leading criminal justice organizations will provide technical assistance and counsel to the 20 jurisdictions as they prepare their comprehensive plans for local reform: the Center for Court Innovation, the Institute for State and Local Governance at the City University of New York, the Justice Management Institute, Justice System Partners, the Pretrial Justice Institute, and the Vera Institute of Justice.

In alphabetical order, the 20 jurisdictions are:

  • Ada County, ID
  • Charleston County, SC
  • Cook County, IL
  • Harris County, TX
  • Los Angeles County, CA
  • Lucas County, OH
  • Mecklenburg County, NC
  • Mesa County, CO
  • Milwaukee County, WI
  • Multnomah County, OR
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York City, NY
  • Palm Beach County, FL
  • Pennington County, SD
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pima County, AZ
  • St. Louis County, MO
  • Shelby County, TN
  • Spokane County, WA
  • State of Connecticut

The MacArthur Foundation has been active in promoting justice reform for more than 20 years. Through its Models for Change juvenile justice reform initiative, the Foundation supported reform in more than 35 states in an effort to create a more rational, fair, effective, and developmentally appropriate juvenile justice system. MacArthur also supported seminal research on the effects of modern neuroscience on criminal law and has a rich history in international justice, including helping to establish the International Criminal Court. During the exploration of a strategy for criminal justice reform, the Foundation supported the National Academies of Sciences 2014 report The Growth of Incarceration in the United States.

American Sentinel University’s MBA Healthcare Project-based Program Caters to Professionals Focused on Career Advancement

– Program Provides Students with Tools to Thrive in Rapidly Changing Healthcare Industry –

AURORA, Colo. – May 27, 2015 – American Sentinel University, an accredited, career-focused online university, announces one of the industry’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) Healthcare project-based programs designed to be responsive to the needs of working healthcare professionals who want to develop the practical business skills and management expertise needed to advance their careers and lead the healthcare revolution.

American Sentinel’s MBA Healthcare is a Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)-approved pilot project-based program and is aligned with President Obama’s higher education agenda for colleges to embrace innovative ways to prepare students for the 21st-century economy.

“American Sentinel’s MBA Healthcare is an outstanding example of a project-based program designed to prepare students and employers for the future,” says Leah Matthews, executive director at the DEAC. “American Sentinel exemplifies excellence in teaching and learning through quality faculty, seasoned academic coaches and flexible, innovative learning outcomes which are aligned to provide the forward-thinking and effective management skills business executives need to lead healthcare into the 21st century.”

Management Skills for Rapid Career Advancement

The self-directed program offers students the flexibility to complete four projects at a rate that fits their learning needs and experience. Students may also apply the knowledge they already possess to complete the program faster (in some cases in less than a year) to save on tuition. The project-based delivery format is cutting edge and builds on the strength of the MBA Healthcare program that American Sentinel has offered for many years.

“A focused professional that works faster than average can complete their MBA in less than 12 months,” says Rick Oliver, Ph.D., founder and CEO of American Sentinel University. “The project-based program offers serious professionals the shortest and most economical path (under $15,000) to earn a meaningful, accredited degree that can help them address a business need in their company, bring a comprehensive healthcare solution to market or enhance their career to move into a senior management position.”

The project-based program is ideal for a mid-career healthcare professional or entrepreneur that aspires to gain the business skills needed to assume management roles and become a health service manager, administrator or executive.

Students use current, real-world problems as a subject to complete four market-value projects that demonstrate their mastery of the knowledge, skills, values attitudes and tools needed to lead in today’s healthcare industry. Projects include organization analysis, marketing plan, organizational performance improvement plan and strategic implementation plan.

Graduates of the MBA Healthcare program will master the following skills:

  • Lead and collaborate with other professionals and communities in planning, providing and improving healthcare services and systems.
  • Effectively manage the performance of healthcare professionals in diverse organizational environments.
  • Integrate multiple functional and professional perspectives to create innovative solutions to complex problems in healthcare organizations.
  • Use theoretical knowledge and contemporary research for evidence-based decision-making in healthcare organizations.
  • Lead others in the acceptance of accountability, responsibility and stewardship for a healthcare organization’s action and judgments.
  • Address the legal, regulatory and ethical challenges of the healthcare industry.

Tools to Thrive as Leaders in Healthcare

American Sentinel’s MBA Healthcare project-based program offers students an extensive network of faculty coaches, subject matter experts, Student Success Advisors, and healthcare peers to help them master the skills in real-world healthcare scenarios and complete their degree. Upon completion, each student will have an electronic market-quality portfolio to present to current and future employers and showcase their mastery of their knowledge.

“The value that our MBA Healthcare project-based program brings to a student and their employer is quite significant,” says Dr. Oliver. “Our faculty coaches and subject matter experts have been carefully chosen for their abundance of practical healthcare and business knowledge to provide students with a rich array of expertise relevant to developing their integrated healthcare and business focused competencies.”

Dr. Oliver says a coach’s key role is to guide assist, drive and motivate the student to look at the broader picture and work with students on a personal level so that they gain a tailored management education that helps them master key competencies needed to successfully drive corporate initiatives.

He says that the electronic portfolio that students have once they complete their MBA is their most valuable asset for advancement. “The student’s projects will be stored electronically in a portfolio to document their capabilities for their employers and serves as a tool for employers to demonstrate their employee’s competencies within the organization.”

For more information about the Project-based MBA Healthcare at American Sentinel, please visit http://www.americansentinel.edu/management/mba-healthcare/mba-hc-projectbased

About American Sentinel University

American Sentinel University delivers accredited online degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA HealthCare, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), of One Dupont Circle, NW Suite 530, Washington, D.C., 20036. The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) of 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Ga., 30326. The university is accredited by the. American Sentinel University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, DEAC (Formerly Distance Education and Training Council-DETC), 1601 18th Street N.W., Suite 2, Washington D.C. 20009, (202) 234-5100, www.deac.org. For required student consumer information, please visit: www.americansentinel.edu/doe

Poetry Foundation Announces Winner of the 2015 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism

This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray, by Mark Ford

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation is honored to announce that Mark Ford’s 2014 publication This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray, from Eyewear Publishing, is awarded the annual $7,500 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, which honors the best book-length works of criticism, including biographies, essay collections, and critical editions that consider the subject of poetry or poets.

“If more literary criticism were like this,” John Lanchester has said of Ford’s essays, “more people would read it.” The 13 vivid, lucid, refreshing, and unfailingly surprising pieces in his collection range from the canonical (Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Charles Baudelaire, and T.S. Eliot) to the overlooked (James Thomson, Samuel Greenberg, and Joan Murray). Randall Jarrell believed that a critic writing at his or her best makes people see what they might otherwise never have seen; in this enriching and rewarding book, Ford is at his very best.

FINALISTS ($1,000)

Breathturn into Timestead:The Collected Later Poetry, by Paul Celan, translated and edited by Pierre Joris. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A collection nearly 50 years in the making, Pierre Joris’s Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry is a monumental achievement in translation and textual scholarship. This edition brings together the final five volumes of Celan’s poetry translated from the German, with an authoritative introduction and a trove of notes that illuminate Celan’s innovative and polysemous language. Considered one of the greatest German-language poets of the 20th century, Celan presents myriad difficulties in his poetry, both semantic and philosophical, as he renders a new language able to speak to the horrors of the Holocaust. This edition proves Joris to be one of those rare translators whose work possesses both rigorous scholarship and an intuitive understanding of poetic language.

James Merrill: Life and Art, by Langdon Hammer. (Knopf)

The lives of all great artists are inevitably singular, but the complex givens of James Merrill’s life—astonishing talent, fabulous wealth—render his history almost impossible for us to focus with the same mysterious candor, aesthetic daring, and alertness to multiple perspectives that Merrill brought to his own finest poems, many of which, such as “Days of 1964,” “Lost in Translation,” “The Book of Ephraim,” and “Self-Portrait in Tyvek™ Windbreaker,” are among the most surprising and important of the past century. Yet in James Merrill: Life and Art, Langdon Hammer emerges as Merrill’s perfect chronicler—and more. A nuanced and capacious observer, he is a deft prose writer, as well as a fine-grained analyst of poems. Biography as literature, craft, and art, this is a captivating and essential book.

Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet’s Art and His Nation, by Khaled Mattawa. (Syracuse University Press)

Khaled Mattawa examines the work of Mahmoud Darwish, arguably Palestine’s most famous poet, within the context of the political strife that marked the region throughout Darwish’s life and continues today. Darwish’s struggle to be both “a spokesman for his people and a private lyrical poet” is illuminated through close readings of poems that chart notable shifts in aesthetic, technique, and subject. Mattawa’s keen insights into Arabic poetry and Palestinian history provide vital context for understanding Darwish’s work and its importance.

The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind, edited by Claudia Rankine, Beth Loffreda, and Max King Cap. (Fence Books)

The Racial Imaginary is the result of Claudia Rankine’s Open Letter Project, which called for responses on ways race and writing share space in the imagination. The responses in this selection take various forms—epistolary, essayistic, and poetic—that offer intimate portraits of how race and writing meet. The result is an anthology that traces how, through figures such as James Baldwin and Gertrude Stein, racial imaginary has been discussed or ignored and demonstrates how relevant these conversations are to the contemporary moment. As the editors write, “the racial imaginary changes over time, in part because artists get into tension with it, challenge it.” This timely collection challenges everyone to foster these changes.

Where Have You Been? Selected Essays, by Michael Hofmann.
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Discerning and personable, the lively essays in Where Have You Been? chart a broad, essential map across 20th-century and contemporary poets. It is a travelogue filled with insights, observations, and opinions that could come only from a critic who is himself a gifted poet and a masterful translator. Most remarkably, Hofmann’s deep understanding of his subjects and his supple sensitivity to the workings of language never weigh him down but instead keep his critical imagination ever fresher for succeeding discoveries. Fortunate readers, both seasoned and new, will find Where Have You Been? an enriching roam; they’ll want to know where Hofmann might take them next.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Angels of the Americlypse: An Anthology of New Latin@ Writing, edited by Carmen Giménez Smith and John Chávez. (Counterpath Press)

Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, Series. (Center for the Humanities, the Graduate Center, the City University of New York)

Selected Letters of Langston Hughes, edited by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel with Christa Fratantoro. (Knopf)

The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination, by Carl Phillips. (Graywolf Press)

Metaphor, by Denis Donoghue. (Harvard University Press)

Upcoming 2015 Pegasus Prize Announcements
Young People’s Poet Laureate: June 2015

About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit poetryfoundation.org.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation or on Twitter @PoetryFound.

The Rainforest Alliance Announces New Vice President of Development

May 26, 2015 New York, NY – The Rainforest Alliance announces Anika Rahman has joined the organization as Vice President of Development, based out of the New York City headquarters. In this role, Rahman will oversee the development team in creating and implementing long and short-term strategies that support the Rainforest Alliance’s mission. A Bangladeshi-American lawyer with a distinguished career as a leader for human rights and social justice, Ms. Rahman’s expertise has been focused on women, health and economic development.

Previously Ms. Rahman served as President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, the President of Friends for United Nations Population Fund (INFPA) and the founding Director of the International Legal Programs at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Earlier in her career, Rahman practiced law for a New York based law firm. She specializes in strategic planning, philanthropy diversification, advocacy and policy, nonprofit governance and brand promotion. A prominent authority on human rights and social justice, Ms. Rahman speaks and writes frequently on a range of issues.

“Anika brings with her a diverse and dynamic career as an advocate for human rights and the advancement of economic development,” said Ana Paula Taverse, Executive Vice President for the Rainforest Alliance. “We are thrilled to have her onboard to help champion our mission as we work not only to address critical environmental issues but also to ensure sustainable livelihoods for communities around the globe.”

Ms. Rahman earned her Bachelor of Arts from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and her Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School. A recipient of the prestigious Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility from Columbia Law School and the 2009 Women’s eNew “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” award (2002), Anika is also a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Rainforest Alliance is a global nonprofit that works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily. For more information, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org.

BookMentors Uses Micropatronage and Social Networking to Solve Book Access Problems in Underserved Schools

(San Francisco, CA) — With budget cuts to public and charter schools throughout the country, new and relevant books have become a valuable and scarce commodity in classrooms and libraries. Connecting teachers, librarians, and students in need of books with donors supporting literacy, reading, and education, BookMentors uses micropatronage to solve book access problems in high-poverty schools.

A space for anyone passionate about the power of books, the Web site enables readers, writers, publishers, and teachers to connect and share information about children’s and YA literature. Unique features include virtual book drives, which allow parent, teacher, and community organizations to request and donate books, using leaderboards as a charitable gamification incentive.

The site was founded by former urban teacher and literacy coach Jen Soalt, but is run through a board of dedicated volunteers located across the country.

“We wanted to create a space where readers, donors, and teachers could connect and feel like the gift of a particular book to a particular classroom mattered,” Soalt says. “They can share the pleasure of an exchange entirely focused on literature and reading — bookworms and teachers who love teaching reading can affirm their joy in sharing books with children.”

BookMentors allows teachers to ask for the particular book or books they really need, not just any donated old books that won’t meet the needs and preferences of individual students or teaching curriculum.

“For reluctant readers, a bright new book, specifically chosen by a teacher for them can make a huge different to motivation,” Soalt says.

Lack of access to books constrains the literacy development of students in poor communities. There are about 13 books per child in middle-income neighborhoods. In low-income neighborhoods, this ratio has been estimated to be approximately 1 book at home for every 300 children.

While e-books may be trending across some schools, most can not afford to provide e-readers for each student. Additionally, there has been increasing research suggesting students have better comprehension, attention span, and even sleep patterns with print books.

The site was founded by former urban teacher and literacy coach Jen Soalt, but is run through a board of dedicated volunteers located across the country.

Learn more at www.bookmentors.org.

New Freeplay Energy Hub Offers Ideal Lighting Solution for Off-Grid Communities

26 May 2015: Freeplay Energy, the leading manufacturer of self-powered, clean energy technology for people living off-grid, has launched a brand new product: the Energy Hub.

The Freeplay Energy Hub is designed to provide much-needed light and power for families, small businesses, schools and communities who live without reliable access to a regular electricity supply. It is also an ideal item for inclusion in emergency preparedness kits for those living in regions where extreme weather can result in power blackouts.

The Freeplay Energy Hub is an all-in-one solar system that powers lights, charges mobile phones and delivers energy to a wide range of portable devices. It is simple to set up, relies on a dedicated solar panel (included) and features a rechargeable and replaceable battery, a battery level indicator, bulbs with a high/low/off switch, and a USB port to enable the charging of mobile phones.

Energy Hub 4 Bulbs on black lr

John McGrath, Managing Director of Freeplay Energy, says:

“We are delighted to be launching this latest addition to Freeplay Energy’s wide range of solar and dynamo-powered products. It is tough, safe and highly efficient, and is therefore ideal for sustained use by the 1.3 billion people worldwide who are currently living without electricity. Furthermore, once it has been installed, this life-changing technology has no additional running costs.

“With up to 25% of their income being spent on lighting by ‘off-grid’ families, the Freeplay Energy Hub offers the potential to alleviate poverty. In addition, by replacing kerosene-fuelled lamps and candles, it can help prevent fire hazards and improve health through reduced exposure to toxins.

“The Energy Hub can also help to improve educational attainment by enabling students to study after dark without straining their eyes, boost family incomes by increasing opportunities for working in the evenings, and empower women by providing a lighter, safer environment.”

The Freeplay Energy Hub is available in two models – the Freeplay Energy Hub 4 and the Freeplay Energy Hub 8. Freeplay Energy Hub 4 comprises a stylishly-designed charging unit, two 100 lumen super-bright LED bulbs with a lifespan of 50,000 hours, a 4-watt polycrystalline solar panel, a five-metre solar panel cable and a five-metre LED bulb cable. It offers eight hours’ shine time when using two bulbs on a high setting, or up to 32 hours’ shine time using one bulb on a low setting. In addition, it offers a constant voltage supply for charging mobile phones.

Freeplay Energy Hub 8 also offers a stylishly-designed charging unit. However, it includes four 100 lumen super-bright LED bulbs with a lifespan of 50,000 hours and an 8-watt polycrystalline solar panel, as well as a five-metre solar panel cable and a five-metre LED bulb cable. It offers up to eight hours’ shine time when using four bulbs on a high setting, or up to 32 hours’ shine time using one bulb on a low setting. It also provides a constant voltage supply for charging mobile phones.

Under good sunshine, both models can be fully charged in six hours, with a 70% charge taking four hours and a 50% charge taking three hours.

The Energy Hub is the latest in a series of new product releases from Freeplay Energy. The Encore Player range of solar and dynamo-powered radios are now providing access to information, communication and light for millions of people around the world. The Tuf radio’s dynamic styling and multiple features are attracting outdoor sport and leisure customers, as well as those living off-grid. And the Buddy radio, which was launched in March and features a seven-channel Weather Band function, is being welcomed by customers in North America.

The Freeplay Energy Hub is available in Europe from www.freeplayenergy.com. Retailers and wholesalers in the US and Canada should visit www.leiproducts.com.

MobileCause Launches the “Nonprofit Insider,” An Online, Social and Mobile News Service Specifically For Nonprofits

A Trusted Source of Daily Curated Trending News with a Fundraising and Technology Focus

(LOS ANGELES, CALIF., May 22, 2015) – MobileCause, a leader in nonprofit fundraising and communication solutions, is proud to announce the launch of its new nonprofit information resource aptly named “Nonprofit Insider”. The Nonprofit Insider is set to be a leading mobile, social and online technology news source that organizes and summarizes the most relevant information in the nonprofit industry. Trending stories for nonprofit professionals are curated each day based on global shares and likes across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Featured articles include tips and best practices from fundraising experts. The Nonprofit Insider is a free subscription service with no advertising where subscribers additionally receive weekly roll ups of trending news by email, text message and/or social media feed.

“We make it as easy as possible for nonprofit leaders to benefit from trending fundraising and technology thought leadership from across the globe.” – Sean MacNeill, MobileCause CEO

Services such as the Nonprofit Insider will change the digital landscape by providing relevant news to its readers while gaining their trust with credible insights, like-mindedness and timely delivery. Americans are changing where they are getting their weekly news with 50% coming from electronic alerts, 42% from original sources, 28% from social media sharing, and 25% from aggregated news sites.

“We post trending topics that are most relevant to fundraisers in a way that is summarized and highly visual.” – Jeremy Koenig, MobileCause Director of Marketing

The MobileCause mission is to put the most powerful tools into the hands of those doing the most good. They are a cloud based fundraising platform designed to help organizations gain donors, increase recurring gifts and engage supporters. MobileCause launching the Nonprofit Insider is an exciting step towards continuing to help nonprofit professionals by providing fundraising and technology news with the easiest and most organized delivery systems. MobileCause is dedicated to helping customers strengthen campaigns across mobile, social and online fundraising channels.

About MobileCause:

MobileCause provides cloud based online fundraising and communication software for nonprofit organizations enabling them to raise more money at a lower cost. Each solution is designed to mobilize networks of volunteers, donors and staff while making it easy for people to give and stay connected from any device. Our suite of products including: crowdfunding for nonprofits, comprehensive online giving, dynamic event fundraising, text to donate keywords, mobile communication and smart data records, is designed for a new generation of giving for mobile, online and social. Customers can be up and running in hours with no technical skills required. MobileCause provides turnkey merchant and payment services at a simple flat rate that includes a specialized mobile payment app for nonprofits. Each plan includes dedicated strategy support from fundraising experts. Featured clients include United Way, The Salvation Army, American Heart Association, University of Southern California, Habitat for Humanity and many more. Visit us at www.mobilecause.com

Former eBay Corporate Citizenship Leader Named Executive Director of DocuSign Impact

SAN FRANCISCO — May 21, 2015 — DocuSign, Inc. (DocuSign®) announced today that Amy Skeeters-Behrens has been appointed Executive Director of DocuSign Impact, DocuSign’s corporate citizenship initiative launched in March at DocuSign MOMENTUM in San Francisco. Amy joins DocuSign following 10 years at eBay where she led numerous citizenship and cause marketing initiatives.

“DocuSign has a tremendous opportunity to transform the world by transforming the nonprofit sector,” said Skeeters-Behrens. “With the power of our products and the passion of our people, we can make a profound difference in the way that nonprofits operate and in their ability to scale their impact.”

“DocuSign Impact is the platform for our employees to integrate their passion for making a difference in the world and their work,” said DocuSign’s Chief Human Resources Officer Peter Navin. “We are excited to have a seasoned citizenship leader like Amy on board to lead it.”

During her tenure at eBay, Skeeters-Behrens held various leadership positions in the company’s philanthropic units. As director of marketing and social innovation, she was responsible for driving cause marketing and sustainable shopping initiatives for eBay North America. Previously, Skeeters-Behrens served as the GM for eBay Giving Works, eBay’s award-winning fundraising platform that enables buyers and sellers to easily support causes they care about through transactions on eBay. She began her career at eBay as the GM for half.com, an eBay-owned specialty site for physical media.

Skeeters-Behrens has been on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity, Greater San Francisco for the past four years, and previously served as a founding board member of the PayPal Giving Fund. She has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from Stanford University.

To learn more about the DocuSign Impact Foundation, please visit http://www.docusignimpact.org/. Companies interested in DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform may visit http://www.docusign.com.

Maine Startup & Create Week Releases 2015 Event Schedule

(Portland, Maine – May 21, 2015) Maine Startup & Create Week (MSCW) – a national conference and celebration of innovators, entrepreneurs and startups – has released its schedule of events and keynote speakers. Presented by Norton Insurance & Financial and Blackstone Accelerates Growth, MSCW will take place in Portland, Maine from June 22-28, 2015, with the aim of showcasing Maine’s vibrant, growing startup eco-system to the wider Maine community and attendees from around the country.

Beginning on Monday, June 22, MSCW will host three to four sessions each morning, that are focused on three tracks – Small Business, Food Innovation, Scale & Growth; while very afternoon there will be a featured keynote speaker:

MONDAY, June 22

Tuesday, June 23

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24

THURSDAY, JUNE 25

FRIDAY, JUNE 26

  • Food Branding, Design and Marketing: How to tell your story while staying true to your brand and finding the right audience.
  • Legacy Business Model Innovation: How entrepreneurs are financing and changing the growth of legacy businesses.
  • The Abundance Cycle: Jay Friedlander discusses how he is helping sustainable companies reign supreme through an innovative and holistic framework.
  • Food Incubator Models: A panel will discuss what food incubators are, citing some examples from around the country.
  • When to Innovate: A discussion on when it makes sense for small companies to take on the risk and overhead to introduce product innovation.
  • Build a Killer Team: A panel will discuss how industry leaders are recruiting and managing talent that they need to beat the competition.
  • Scalable Restaurant Opportunities: How can you grow your restaurant to be a scalable business with retail, multiple locations and franchising?
  • Building Culture: A discussion on the way people use space to enhance culture.
  • East versus West: Why someone should start a business in Maine versus Silicon Valley or Boston.
  • John Gosier: Keynote Speaker

SATURDAY, JUNE 27

For additional information with regard to Maine Startup & Create Week, or to sign up for particular workshop, visit http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/.

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