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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: September 2015

Rachel Sacks, Sarah Strothkamp, and Emily Batun Join Leading Healthy Futures in Key Strategic Consulting Roles

Chicago-based Nonprofit Consultancy Welcomes New Talent, More than Doubles Size of Team

CHICAGO – September 29, 2015Leading Healthy Futures (LHF), a collaborative consulting practice that helps leaders shape the futures of health, K-12 education, and human services organizations, announced today that it has welcomed three consultants to its full-time staff: Rachel Sacks, MPH, most recently of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP), Sarah Strothkamp, MPH, who joins LHF after numerous roles at Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI), and Emily Batun, JD, who returns to LHF after practicing family law at Life Span: Center for Legal Services and the Law Practice of Sullivan Taylor & Gumina P.C. Sacks, Strothkamp, and Batun join Lauren Knap, MS, who recently celebrated three years with the consultancy, along with president and founder Pamela Xichel Cairns, MHA.

“I am so pleased to welcome Rachel, Sarah, and Emily to our consultancy,” said Cairns. “They will provide our clients with expertise and perspectives that will be invaluable as clients make decisions for the future of their organizations. They also significantly expand LHF’s capacity to build on our successful track record in grants acquisition, assessments, strategic planning, program planning, and fostering collaborations.”

At LHF, Sacks helps clients conceptualize, define, and actualize new program opportunities and partnerships. At ICAAP, she spearheaded the effort to incorporate the national health promotion initiative Bright Futures into Illinois Medicaid policy, culminating in the release of the revised Healthy Kids Handbook. Sacks holds a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Health from University of Illinois at Chicago.

Strothkamp’s background has placed her at the intersection of health and education. At SESI, she led a team of special educators, social workers and support staff to support students with complex social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Strothkamp brings her project management and data analysis skills to strategic planning initiatives at LHF. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of Richmond and a Master of Public Health from Boston University.

Batun brings to LHF strong skills in critical reading, financial analysis, and strategic planning. Her training as a lawyer makes her an ideal grant writer, as she writes clearly, concisely, and persuasively. She also reviews agency procedures and policies to ensure they are in compliance with local, state, and federal guidelines. Batun received her Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University and her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law.

“At Leading Healthy Futures, we are dedicated to ensuring that our clients have the funding to run their programs, the strategy to make those programs effective, and an actionable vision for the future,” said Cairns. “Our expanded team positions us to fulfill that promise to more clients.”

Economic Growth is Not Likely To Get Us To The UN’s Global Goals – New Deloitte Report

(28th September 2015) Even with sustained global economic growth over the next fifteen years the world will likely fall well short of meeting the UN’s Global Goals, and a “productivity revolution” in creating social value is needed if countries are to meet the UN’s new goals, according to Deloitte UK and the Social Progress Imperative.

‘Social Progress in 2030’ report published today by Deloitte UK uses data and assumptions from the Social Progress Index (SPI) to demonstrate the scale of the challenges ahead. It finds that:

  • Using the SPI as a proxy for the Global Goals the world needs to score 75/100 (based on SPI metrics) to meet the Goals. The world currently scores just 61/100.
  • Massive increases in real per capita GDP over the next fifteen years will still not get the world anywhere close to meeting the Global Goals. Global GDP per capita is forecast to increase 58% (from US$14k today to US$23k) by 2030 but the corresponding increase in social progress is projected to only be minimal. Global social progress will rise from a world average today of 61/100 to only 62.4/100.
  • Even if real per capita GDP doubled over the next 15 years – way above most forecasts – the world will still fall short, scoring around 63/100.
  • The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were met partly because economic growth was able to lift the least well off out of poverty. But Deloitte estimates that economic growth alone will not help the world come close to meeting the Global Goals – business as usual is not enough. Why? The Global Goals focus far more on metrics which correlate negatively with GDP (e.g. ecosystem sustainability which looks set to worsen in the coming years) than the MDGs.
  • The solutions to meet the Global Goals will be multiple and complex. They will  require a focus, for example, on the ‘Big Six’ countries (India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil), who are expected to have a combined 47% of the world’s population by 2030. Yet some of these countries have very low Social Progress Index scores (Pakistan and Nigeria are in the bottom 12 countries globally in the SPI rankings). Without these countries making a sustained effort, meeting the Global Goals becomes even more difficult.
  • More than economic growth, the countries of the world need a productivity revolution in the creation of social progress over the next 15 years if they are to stand any chance of meeting the UN’s ambitious vision for our world.

David Cruickshank, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, said: “We have a historic opportunity– to combine the policy power of government with the convening power of civil society and resources of business — to better target and tackle obstacles to social progress. This report highlights the need for these entities to look beyond GDP if they want to help achieve the UN’s Global Goals by 2030.”

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. A number of countries, for example Costa Rica and Rwanda are already experiencing higher levels of social progress than may be expected given their GDP per capita levels. If more countries managed to follow this path substantial achievements could be realised globally.”

The SPI is a proxy for measuring the effectiveness with which the Global Goals are being met because there is significant overlap between what the SPI measures and what the UN’s Global Goals measure. Deloitte UK used the observed relationships between GDP and the SPI to calculate the estimated levels of economic growth and social progress increases respectively that could be required to pull the world up to the point that the Global Goals can be met.

Michael Green, Executive Director, The Social Progress Imperative which publishes the Social Progress Index said: “The UN’s Global Goals are ambitious and achievable but as today’s findings starkly illustrate it will require far more than economic growth alone to meet them. Nothing short of a productivity revolution in the creation of social progress over the next 15 years is required if we are to stand a chance of meeting the UN’s ambitious vision for our world.

“The announcement of the Global Goals is just the beginning of the debate about how we improve the lives of millions of people around the world. The success of the Global Goals rests on ensuring policy-makers, citizens, civil society and businesses can all track countries’ progress and identify areas in need of improvement. The Social Progress Index provides the robust metrics with which to achieve this, making an impact on the wealth and wellbeing of all citizens in societies rich and poor as the world embarks on this ambitious journey to deliver sustained and inclusive development for all.

The Social Progress Imperative created the Social Progress Index working in collaboration with scholars from the Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as international organizations in social entrepreneurship, business and philanthropy led by the Skoll Foundation and Fundación Avina as well as Cisco, Compartamos Banco, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) and its member firms (Deloitte).

Harvard Study: With New Approach to Supporting Public Education, Business Community Can Deliver Better Results

First-of-its-kind Report Details the Ability of Collective Impact to Improve Public Education Ecosystem

BOSTON, September 28, 2015 — American businesses donate $3 to $4 billion dollars and countless volunteer hours to American public education every year. But according to a report released today by Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competiveness Project, business could greatly increase its impact if it adopted Collective Impact, an innovative approach to providing students impacted by poverty with essential services. The study focuses on communities across the nation that have implemented Collective Impact and have seen meaningful improvement in educational outcomes.

The report, Business Aligning for Students: The Promise of Collective Impact, provides a roadmap for how business leaders can actively participate in Collective Impact.

“Despite the sustained commitment of business leaders, they are often frustrated by the slow pace of education improvement in their communities. We found that if businesses join forces with others through Collective Impact – they can align and coordinate their efforts and together make more meaningful progress in improving students’ performance,” said Allen S. Grossman, Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School and author of the new report. “We encourage business leaders, who collaborate and rely on data to run their businesses, to take a similar approach to supporting public education. Collective Impact has the potential to be a game changer in American education.”

Collective Impact provides a process and structure to the system communities usually have for supporting their students. The approach brings together community leaders from the school district, business and nonprofit organizations, government, parent groups, and religious organizations. Collective Impact helps these diverse stakeholders work together to ensure pre-K-12 students are receiving services essential for learning from tutoring to nutrition to mentoring. By focusing on specific goals, improving the quality and coverage of services, identifying best practices and rigorously measuring results Collective Impact moves the current service delivery system from chaos to coherence.

The Collective Impact report builds on previous HBS research, which highlights for business leaders the current state of U.S. pre-K-12 education and identifies converging trends to improve the public education system. Business Aligning for Students provides a clear pathway for transforming the education ecosystem.

The report shares insights from the first national survey of CI initiatives focused on improving public education, and 70 interviews with initiative leaders and the business leaders involved with them. It challenges business leaders to rethink how they can be more effective through Collective Impact and provides a clear roadmap of how to get involved.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Collective impact is a relatively new approach to changing the results of public education that is gaining traction in communities across America.
  • Collective Impact efforts across the country are showing impressive gains including Cincinnati, Ohio, the Salt Lake City region, Dallas, Texas, Milwaukee Wisconsin and the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado.
  • In Colorado, a Collective Impact initiative helped make pre-school available to children who previously did not have access to it by retrofitting a school bus into a mobile preschool. Staffed with bilingual teachers, the bus spends two hours, two days per week for ten months in each of six rural neighborhoods, delivering high-quality preschool programs.
  • In Dallas and Milwaukee, after Collective Impact was implemented, students achieved improvements in seven of 11 and ten of 11 key indicators, respectively.
  • Collective Impact leaders overwhelmingly want business’ involvement.  96% of all initiative leaders (including those with no current business involvement) reported that business involvement was either critical or very important to achieving their goals. 95% of business leaders involved with Collective Impact who were surveyed agree.
  • 98 percent of business leaders surveyed cited their main reason for becoming involved in Collective Impact as the “potential to improve public education in our community,” whereas only 40 percent cited their reason as the “opportunity to improve the pool of potential workers in our community.”
  • 81 percent of the Collective Impact initiatives surveyed reported their business community was actively involved in their local Collective Impact initiative.
  • 78 percent of the Collective Impact initiatives surveyed had C-suite or senior executives active, 76 percent were owners or founders of companies and 54 percent were partners in a firm.
  • 65 percent of business leaders surveyed expected to remain involved in their respective Collective Impact initiatives for three years or longer.

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 80 open enrollment Executive Education programs and more than 60 custom programs. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who have shaped the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.

About the HBS U.S. Competitiveness Project

The U.S. Competitiveness Project is a research-led effort by Harvard Business School to understand and improve the competitiveness of the United States – that is, the ability of firms operating in the U.S. to compete successfully in the global economy while supporting high and rising living standards for Americans. The Project focuses especially on the roles that business leaders can and do play in promoting U.S. competitiveness. Current faculty research focuses on improving PK-12 education; closing the middle skills gap; and improving America’s aging infrastructure for moving people, goods, and information. For more information about Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project, please visit: www.hbs.edu/competitiveness & www.hbs.edu/competitiveness/survey/.

World Of Children® Award Announces 2015 Honorees

“Nobel Prize for Child Advocates” to Recognize Six Heroes for Transforming the Lives of the World’s Most Vulnerable Children

Inaugural Education Award to be Presented at Ceremony

 

NEW YORK – Sept. 28, 2015 – Six extraordinary individuals who have dramatically improved the lives of children around the world will be honored in New York City on November 5 by World of Children® Award (www.worldofchildren.org/2015honorees). Hailed by the media as the “Nobel Prize for Child Advocates,” the annual Award honors the most effective changemakers for vulnerable children worldwide and funds and elevates their work.

Each of the 2015 Honorees has created life-changing programs that benefit children in countries around the world. They are working on a wide range of issues, including homelessness, teen pregnancy, and life-threatening medical issues. This year, the first-ever Education Award will be presented. The World of Children Award includes a minimum cash grant of $50,000.

World of Children Award is led by Co-Founders Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, retired senior executives from Procter & Gamble and Victoria’s Secret respectively. Since they founded the organization in 1998, with the goal of setting the gold standard in child advocacy award programs, World of Children Award has granted more than $7 million in cash grants and program support to more than 100 Honorees who are the driving force behind programs that have served tens of millions of children worldwide.

“It is, indeed, humbling to be in the same room with all of these people who have given up so much of themselves to tackle some of the most difficult and challenging issues facing children today,” said Harry Leibowitz. “We look forward to helping these heroes continue their missions.”

World of Children Award uses a uniquely rigorous vetting process to identify the world’s most effective changemakers for children. This year, World of Children Award received hundreds of nominations from 95 countries around the world. A program team considers every nominee, and passes their first-round selections to a National Selection Committee, a Youth Award Review Committee and an International Advisory Committee to select finalists. A private agency then performs an on-site investigation and independent audit of each final applicant. These investigators make sure Awards go only to the most impactful child advocates.

At this year’s Awards Ceremony, World of Children Award will present Miriam Mason-Sesay with the first ever World of Children Education Award. Asked about the decision to add an Education Award to the program, Leibowitz shared that the Board of Governors recognizes education as a key component of elevating young people out of poverty, out of trouble, out of dependency, and on to a better life. He pointed out that 60 million children worldwide do not receive even basic education and that, in view of the magnitude of the issue and the large number of education-related nominations the organization receives each year, it was vital to establish an education award category.

The 2015 World of Children Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 5, at 583 Park Avenue in New York City. (www.worldofchildren.org/awardsceremony)

Introducing the 2015 World of Children Award Honorees:

2015 World of Children Education Award: Miriam Mason-Sesay
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Co-Founder and Country Director, EducAid Sierra Leone
www.worldofchildren.org/miriam

Miriam Mason-Sesay and her co-founders established EducAid Sierra Leone in 1995 as a scholarship program. Two years later, when Miriam visited the country to see the students’ progress, she realized the hardships facing students extended far beyond an inability to pay school fees. As a teacher herself, Miriam saw the need for higher quality schools and better-equipped and trained teachers if children were ever going to be able to fully establish personal, social and economic wellbeing. In 2000, she moved to Sierra Leone to establish EducAid’s first school. Since then, she has devoted her life to serving orphans and vulnerable children, including many former child soldiers and victims of the country’s brutal civil war. During her 15 years in Sierra Leone, Miriam has surmounted myriad challenges associated with effecting change in a war-ravaged country. Most recently she faced, perhaps, her biggest challenge with the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone in 2014. Despite the danger facing everyone in the country, Miriam chose to stay and continue her work, keeping her promise to students that their education would continue.

2015 World of Children Youth Award: Winnifred Selby, Age 20
Kumsai, Ghana
Founder, EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative
Co-Founder, Ghana Bamboo Bikes
www.worldofchildren.org/winnifred

In 2010, Winnifred Selby visited the Northern region of her native Ghana and encountered children who faced incredible obstacles to pursuing their education. She saw children who walked barefoot several miles to school, exposing their feet daily to injury and soil-transmitted diseases. She learned about the horrible lengths some girls had to go to procure sanitary pads and the health risks they faced by using improvised supplies. Moved to help these children meet their basic needs, she founded EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative to empower young people from deprived communities by breaking down barriers to education. The three main projects of the initiative focus on decreasing menstruation-related absentee days for secondary school girls by providing them with feminine hygiene products; providing shoes for students who must walk long distances over rough terrain to reach their schools; and connecting young Ghanaian women to scholarships that enable them to continue their education. Winnifred is also a successful social entrepreneur. At the age of 15, Winnifred co-founded Ghana Bamboo Bikes, a socio-ecological green initiative that employs and trains youth in building high quality handcrafted bamboo bikes. Ghana Bamboo Bikes directs 15% of profits to funding EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative projects.

2015 World of Children Youth Award: Nicholas Lowinger, Age 17
Rhode Island, United States
Founder and Creator, Gotta Have Sole Foundation
www.worldofchildren.org/nicholas

Nicholas Lowinger began volunteering at a local homeless shelter with his mother at the age of 5 years old. Working with homeless youth, he recognized that something as simple as shoes can make the difference between a child attending or not attending school, between feeling self-confident or ashamed, and even between being accepted by peers or ostracized at school. To help, he founded Gotta Have Sole Foundation in 2010. The Foundation has donated new footwear to over 42,000 children living in homeless shelters in 36 states. Nicholas has expanded his efforts to involve peers in collecting and donating footwear. The Gotta Have Sole student clubs raise awareness of the problems facing homeless youth and provide young people with an opportunity to support and empower their homeless peers.

2015 World of Children Health Award: Amalia García Moreno
Mexico City, Mexico
Founder, Casa de la Amistad para Niños con Cáncer
www.worldofchildren.org/amalia

When one of her children was diagnosed with cancer, Amalia García Moreno became intimately aware of the hardships faced by cancer patients and their families. Though she had the economic means to give her son the best treatment available, Amalia recognized that not all families had the same ability to access these kinds of resources. Amalia established Casa de la Amistad para Niños con Cáncer in 1990 to provide access to oncological treatment and support to low-income children diagnosed with cancer, with the goal of increasing the childhood cancer survival rate in Mexico. Initially, the organization was dedicated solely to providing a space for children and their families to stay when they traveled to the city for cancer treatment. Now in its 25th year, the organization has served over 7,800 children and has expanded its programming. It still provides accommodations for children and their families and now also provides emotional support classes, educational programs, and medicine banks that help patients access antibiotics, food supplements, or other medication prescribed by their doctors.

2015 World of Children Humanitarian Award: Catalina Escobar
Cartagena, Colombia
Founder and President, Juan Felipe Gómez Escobar Foundation
www.worldofchildren.org/catalina

In 2000, two tragic events changed Catalina Escobar’s life – the death of her 16-month-old son, who fell from an eighth story window and died and the death of another child, a 12-day-old baby who passed away in her arms while she was volunteering at a neonatal clinic. The second child died because the baby’s mother, a teenager herself, had not been able to afford the $30 medical treatment her child needed. Reeling with grief and determined that no mother should lose a child for want of money for medical care, Catalina quit her job in the private sector and dedicated her life to launching and planning a social initiative, which became the Juan Felipe Gómez Escobar Foundation, named after her son. Through the Foundation, Catalina works with teenage mothers and their children to provide them with the tools they need to survive and to thrive. Teenage mothers receive education, psychosocial intervention, healthcare and vocational skills training. The Foundation has served more than 2,800 teenaged mothers and teenage pregnancy rates in Cartagena have decreased by 50%. Their work has helped reduce the infant mortality rate by 80% in Cartagena.

2015 Alumni Award: Adi Roche
Belarus, Ukraine
Founder, Chernobyl Children International
www.worldofchildren.org/adiroche
Providing Hope and Life-saving Care to the Children of Chernobyl

Five years after the devastating 1986 Chernobyl disaster, Adi Roche was volunteering with a nuclear disarmament group when they received a desperate fax from Belarusian and Ukrainian doctors working in the impacted area. “SOS appeal. For God’s sake, help us to get the children out.” Galvanized by that haunting plea, Adi has dedicated the last 24 years to the forgotten children of the Chernobyl region. In 1991, she established Chernobyl Children International (CCI), which works tirelessly to provide care and offer hope to the thousands of children in the Chernobyl region that continue to be born with disabilities like Chernobyl Heart. CCI arranges for doctors perform life-saving surgeries for child victims and flies some of them to Ireland for post-surgery treatment and recovery. Since 2010, when Adi received the World of Children Health Award, Chernobyl Children International has saved the lives of 1,200 children born with congenital heart defects. In total, the organization has provided 25,000 children with desperately needed medical care. We honor her again this year for the incredible impact she continues to have in the lives of the children of the Chernobyl region.

Gunter Wilhelm® Partners With NJREF’s ProStart Program: Provide Scholarships, Knives & Knife Kits To Aspiring Young Chefs

TRENTON, NJGunter Wilhelm®, one of the world’s leading knife manufacturers based in Fair Lawn, NJ is partnering with the New Jersey Restaurant Educational Foundation’s (NJREF) ProStart Program to invest in our youth’s future. Gunter Wilhelm® will provide a $4,000 donation, knives and knife kits to the NJ ProStart Program and become an official sponsor of the ProStart state-wide annual competition.

“I’m excited to work with NJREF to support the youth in New Jersey,” said David Malek, CEO of Gunter Wilhelm®. “For a better future to our industry and community, it’s important to support young students, teach them skills that will serve them for a lifetime, promote their talents, give back to the community and help them discover a new passion for cooking.”

Established in 1997, the NJREF is the educational arm of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association headquartered in Trenton, NJ. ProStart is New Jersey’s only educational curriculum and program geared at high-school-aged students who show interest in pursuing a career in the restaurant or hospitality field. The annual competition is open only to NJ high school students enrolled in the ProStart Program. In 2015, more than $785,000 in college scholarships was awarded to the top 5 teams in the competition. In addition, over $10,000 in academic scholarships was awarded to ProStart Students in May 2015.

“When a company like Gunter Wilhelm® partners with our Educational Foundation, they not only support a fabulous educational program but they are also investing in New Jersey’s future,” said Marilou Halvorsen, “Many of our ProStart students are ‘at risk’ kids who have discovered a passion which becomes a skill for life, thus helps them enter an industry that really wants and needs them,” Halvorsen added.

Gunter Wilhelm® is also the official knife of the World Food Championships and was awarded the Hall of Fame Award for Specialty Products and Services from the NJRHA this year.

For more information on the NJREF and how to get involved. www.njra.org

Citymart Now Helping Major U.S. Cities Tackle Urban Challenges

Firm Opens Door for Start-ups and Other Innovative Companies to Provide New Solutions

New York, N.Y. – Manhattan-based firm Citymart has signed contracts with several major U.S. cities—including New York, Philadelphia and Long Beach—to improve their access to innovative and entrepreneurial ideas from businesses and citizens. By opening up city government to new players, Citymart offers the possibility of transforming the way these urban areas solve problems and “has almost single-handedly taken the concept from a neat idea to something cities all over want to figure out how to do,” according to the New York Times.

“We are delighted to be working with these cities to help them learn how to use the open market to find proven, innovative solutions addressing the pressing needs of their citizens,” said Citymart CEO Sascha Haselmayer. “We look forward to helping governments access more innovative solutions so they become more efficient and responsive to citizens, improving city life for everyone.”

In the past two months, the firm has launched collaborations with New York City, Philadelphia, Long Beach and New Orleans, working on innovation-focused initiatives in all three cities. The groundbreaking nature of Citymart’s work has been recognized as a force for serious work and is supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Citymart helps cities rethink their contracting process so they focus not just on buying goods and services, but on solving problems. Citymart starts by working with a city to help them define their problems and capabilities. Then the firm conducts intensive research and outreach to identify the market leaders and proven innovators with possible solutions and issues an open challenge – to those leaders, to local businesses and citizens, and to a global network of businesses, entrepreneurs, and universities – in a search for the most effective and affordable solution.

From London to Paris, Citymart has been helping cities solve problems since 2011. Now, the company is applying its methods to American cities across the country.

“We are able to tackle any problem—from helping a city make it easier to find parking to changing the way they deliver care to the elderly,” Haselmayer said.

Citymart’s ultimate goal as a company is to teach cities how to adopt its methods and run its challenge-method process without Citymart’s help. “If we’ve done our job well, the city eventually doesn’t hire us back,” Haselmayer said.

Citymart plans to announce additional U.S. city partnerships in the coming months and will announce the results of its first challenges later this year. To learn more about the company go to www.citymart.com.

New Documentary Food For Thought, Food For Life From Award-Winning Director Susan Rockefeller To Be Released Nationwide On Food Day This October 24, 2015

Newest Documentary From Filmmaker and Creative Conservationist Who is Using Short Films to Get More People Turned Onto Important Causes

FOOD DAY inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies through more than 8,000 events nationwide

Screening at EatingWell.com From October 5-12 ahead of Nationwide Release; Entire Film Available for Screening Online at Media Sites Upon Request

WASHINGTON, DC – Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies. This year Food Day is partnering with award-winning filmmaker, designer and philanthropist Susan Rockefeller to release her acclaimed new documentary Food For Thought, Food For Life for free online and in conjunction with thousands of events nationwide.

The mission of the 20-minute film – which was an official selection at the Short Film Corner at Cannes 2015 and at the 2015 Sarasota Film Festival and other top festivals – and its extensive nationwide outreach campaign is to start a conversation about the food system, bringing everyone to the table to address how we think about, produce, and choose what we eat, and to make lasting changes as individuals, communities, and for our earth as a whole.

“We are thrilled to partner with Susan Rockefeller on the online release of this remarkable film,” said Food Day campaign manager Lilia Smelkova. “By providing our partners at over 8,000 events nationwide with access to the film we can ensure Food Day will impact in even greater ways in 2015. This film is inspiring and will serve to energize those who will be participating in Food Day events across the country.”
“It’s an honor to partner with Food Day and to play a role in helping reach millions about the food issues that affect each one of us,” said Susan Rockefeller.

ABOUT THE FILM

We want our food fast, convenient and cheap, but at what cost? As farms have become supersized, our environment suffers and so does the quality of our food. Food for Thought, Food for Life, a new documentary from director Susan Rockefeller (HBO’s Christopher Award-winning documentary Making The Crooked Straight, Planet Green’s A Sea Change) explains the downsides of current agribusiness practices, and also introduces us to farmers, chefs, researchers, educators, and advocates who are providing solutions. The film is both poetic and practical; its powerful examination of the connections between our planet and our well-being is accompanied by specific strategies that protect both. With an eye towards a sustainable and abundant future, it offers inspiration for communities that are ready to make a difference.

Punctuated by the words of environmentalist Wendell Berry, earth-inspired artwork, and uplifting music, the film highlights organizations and people doing things right. From the forward-thinking practices of Chef Dan Barber and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture to guerrilla gardener Ron Finley’s transformation of urban neighborhoods, the ways we can start a revolution are varied and exciting.

“I sought out to develop a film that educates people about the negative impact our current methods of agriculture have on the earth,” said Rockefeller, a creative conservationist and social entrepreneur. “In addition to providing vital information, the film gives viewers the necessary tools to make a difference in their own lives. It explores the connection between the planet and our health and suggests that strengthening that connection will only benefit our future.”

“In everything I do – from my previous documentary Mission of Mermaids to my jewelry collections – my goal is to start a conversation about the things I’m most passionate about and empower people to take small actions that produce big changes,” Rockefeller continued. “Conversation leads to collaboration, and together we can find local and global solutions that help the planet and ourselves. Food Day is the perfect partner in our work to bring attention to these vitally important issues.”

ABOUT SUSAN ROCKEFELLER

 

Susan Rockefeller is a principal of Protect What Is Precious, a company that creates documentaries and inspires fashion accessories to elevate awareness about protecting what is precious to her: family, art and nature. Susan’s jewelry and accessories can be found at London Jewelers, Bernie Robbins, Takashimaya and on the company’s website. Her films have explored a range of contemporary issues, often using both real life heroes and those of myths to confront issues such as ocean acidification and the future of ocean health, PTSD and the use of music to heal, the confluence of race, poverty and illness, global food sustainability. The films have aired on HBO, PBS, and the Discovery Channel. Susan sits on the boards of Oceana, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, We Are Family Foundation and is a member of Natural Resources Defense Council Global Leadership Council. She received her undergraduate degree from Hampshire College and her master’s degree from NYU.

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION

Food For Thought, Food For Life is a production of Protect What Is Precious. Susan Rockefeller established the Protect What Is Precious brand in 2013 to make the world a more loving, peaceful and healthy place by protecting family, art and nature. Food For Thought, Food For Life produced in association with Louverture Films, the film production company co-founded by Danny Glover and Joslyn Barnes. Rockefeller is a partner in the production company. The film features the music of Cloud Cult. This Minneapolis-based indie art rock group is led by Craig Minowa, who also heads up the environmentally-conscious Earthology Records.

ABOUT FOOD DAY

Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies. Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies. October 24 is a day to resolve to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level. In 2015, Food Day will have a special focus on greener diets as a way to address both health and environmental issues.

In 2014, Food Day reached hundreds of thousands of Americans through 8,000+ events across all 50 states. The hashtag #FoodDay2014 was used in 10,800 tweets with the potential to be seen 50.6 million times. Hundreds of national and regional media outlets from coast to coast covered Food Day 2014.

Official film website:

http://foodforthoughtfilm.com/

Official film trailer:

Official Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/foodforthoughtfilm

Twitter hashtag: #foodforthoughtfilm

Official Food Day website:

http://www.foodday.org/

About Protect What Is Precious:

http://protectwhatisprecious.com/

Palestinian Non-Profit Welfare Association Commits $7.3 Million to Boosting Youth Employment in Palestine and Tunisia

The Welfare Association (WA) is pleased to make a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, committing $7.3 million to support youth employment initiatives in Palestine and Tunisia.

WA is a leading independent Palestinian non-profit civil society organization headquartered in Ramallah, Palestine, and one of its major focuses is education and employment for Palestinian youth. WA will now expand the scope of that program within Palestine, and in the spirit of regional collaboration, extend its youth employment funding to other Arab countries starting with Tunisia. In a region devastated by internal strife and civic insecurity, WA believes that creating opportunity for young people is key to a brighter future.

Through a three-year program and a total investment of $7.3 million, WA will expand the existing Youth Employment Services (YES) program in Palestine to create 1,800 additional internships in the Palestinian territories emphasizing equal opportunity for both men and women. In addition, WA is committed to a new workforce development program to create 200 new jobs for Palestinian youth in local and international markets. Training of new college graduates will help prepare them for jobs in fields such as information technology, web development, and web design.

Since 2009, more than 3,000 young adults (58% female) have benefited from YES’s training and apprenticeships. The participation of 1,300 local employers in sharing the cost with WA reflects positively on the acceptance of the program by the local communities. Approximately 70% of the YES program youth landed full-time jobs shortly after completing the program, and the program incubator helped 400 youth start their own businesses and 150 expanded their existing businesses, creating 700 new jobs. The YES program’s cumulative efforts over 3 years led to an aggregate annual income increase of $20 million through creating and filling job opportunities and entrepreneurships.

WA hopes to replicate the success of the YES program in other Arab countries. Tunisia is a great place to start as it has been successful in exercising democratic practices during the elections that followed the Arab Spring, and is in need to support its youth to seek a better future. YES Tunisia will help create jobs for young women and men, especially those with university degrees, through sharing best practices and establishing partnerships with active organizations. To accomplish this, WA will partner with Education for Employment-Tunisia to reach 1,000 youth over three-years providing fresh Tunisian graduates with skills development and job placement.

Of the $7.3 M needed for the Commitment, WA has provided $2.5 M and is seeking the remainder. WA would like to connect with philanthropists, donors and social investors who believe in investing in young people of all genders as a catalyst for change and advancement. We are ready to join hands to provide young men and women in Palestine and in other neighboring countries in the Middle East with this life-changing opportunity. Through this joint venture, Arab youth will be encouraged, trained, coached, mentored, challenged, and mobilized to “be the change” they want to see in their communities.

About the Welfare Association

WA is registered in Switzerland as a Swiss Charity and maintains offices in Geneva, London, Amman, Beirut, Jerusalem and Gaza. WA is best known by its Arabic name, Taawon, which translates to “collaboration,” a concept that defines the organization’s culture and governs its everyday operations in development.

Since its founding in 1983 by a group of Palestinian business leaders and intellectual figures, the WA has been supporting the development of Palestinian people and communities in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, 1948 Areas, as well as the refugee camps in Lebanon.

The WA has been recognized for its rigorous performance, transparency and accountability. It gained the Global Reporting Initiative level and the Equivalency Determination (“ED”) certificate in 2014, and got its ISO 9001:200 renewed as well. In addition, WA won several international awards including the Agha Khan Award for Architectural Renovation of Historic Building and the Campden Charity & Philanthropy Award.

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.

For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

Fossil Fuel Free Week Begins

DENVER – Imagine not being able to use a smartphone, enjoy a beer or take basic medications–that’s the reality of life without fossil fuels. Today, the chance to test drive that life has arrived in the form of Fossil Fuel Free Week, organized by Western Energy Alliance. This week, take the Challenge to fully experience what environmental activists and policymakers promote through protests, social media campaigns and overreaching regulations that squeeze out production.

Challenge Video “Environmental groups have actively promoted ending fossil fuel consumption,” said Tim Wigley, president of Western Energy Alliance. “Recently, more than 400 groups organized in front of the White House to call on Pres. Obama to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Taking these groups at their word, we created the Challenge to show that oil and natural gas products are not easily dispensable. In fact, it’s quite the contrary; fossil fuels make modern living possible. They power our economy and provide the basic feedstock used to manufacture smartphones, clothing and medicine and make our world safer, healthier and more convenient.”

Learn more and pledge to take the Challenge at www.FFFChallenge.com.

Each day this week, visit the site for details on how attempting to live free of fossil fuels in reality means forgoing the basics of daily life. Follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and The Source Rock blog.

“Since announcing the Fossil Fuel Free Challenge two weeks ago, we’ve challenged numerous environmental groups to practice what they promote. We’ve called on companies like Starbucks, Nike, Walmart and others that have pledged to do away with fossil fuels to try going just one week without. The reaction we get is people saying they’ll ride a bike to work or that they already drive a hybrid. However those still use considerable amounts of fossil fuels and components that only come from oil and natural gas. If you take the Challenge, you’ll see how protests against fossil fuels clash with reality,” added Wigley.

GolfTEC Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Charity Promotion Benefitting PGA REACH

Complimentary Lesson Offered at U.S. Locations from Oct. 9-11

(Centennial, Colo.)GolfTEC – the world leader in golf lessons – is commemorating its 20th anniversary, by providing one complimentary 30-minute lesson from Oct. 9-11, to any interested individuals who first make a donation to PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America.

Offered at all GolfTEC locations in the United States, this unique instruction opportunity allows golfers to sign up online at www.golftec.com/20years. To complete the process, customers will follow instructions on making a donation to PGA REACH, and must show their receipt upon arrival at GolfTEC. Each lesson is valued at more than $50 and individuals are asked to make a $20 suggested minimum contribution, but can donate more, if preferred.

Through the game of golf, PGA REACH fosters inclusion and positively impacts youth, military veterans and diverse communities. Aligned with the PGA’s 41 Section offices and charitable partners, PGA REACH leverages the game of golf to make a difference in the communities it serves.

“Over the past 20 years GolfTEC has grown from a small, regional operation to the largest provider of golf lessons in the world, and we’re just getting started,” says Joe Assell, Co-Founder and CEO of GolfTEC. “Our goal is to grow the game by helping golfers improve and enjoy golf more, which creates a devoted consumer base excited to play and share this amazing sport.”

Highly efficient and boasting a 96 percent success rate, GolfTEC lessons are taught one-on-one by Certified Personal Coaches, mostly in indoor bays that utilize proprietary teaching technology. Developing a comprehensive improvement plan for each student is the foundation of GolfTEC’s philosophy. This is embodied by the company’s popular game plans and lesson packs, which are available in a variety of options to suit all budgets.

“As the largest employer of PGA Professionals, it’s evident that GolfTEC shares a common goal with the PGA of America to grow the game of golf,” said Scott Kmiec, Senior Director of PGA REACH. “We are excited that PGA REACH will serve as the beneficiary of GolfTEC’s 20th anniversary celebration, in order to make an even more meaningful impact on the lives of youth, military and diverse communities.”

Since 1995, GolfTEC has taught more than 5.7 million lessons at nearly 200 locations worldwide. Committed to strengthening the industry and hiring only the best staff, GolfTEC coaches are comprised of experienced professionals, most of whom have taught thousands of lessons. Each goes through a rigorous multi-week certification at GolfTEC University, including continued advanced training to master the analysis of golf swing mechanics, the technology of the GolfTEC system and the most productive teaching techniques.

Among the technologies currently employed:

  • g-SWING teaching technology – This patented software program displays real-time video with motion measurement, while capturing body positions throughout the swing. Coaches use the information to diagnose, communicate and measure the changes that will lead to improvement.
  • TECfit – Using Foresight® launch monitors to capture critical performance data – ball flight, ball speed, clubhead speed, launch angle, sidespin and backspin – coaches cross-reference this information with GolfTEC’s proprietary SwingLabs® database to help select ideal clubs for each student’s swing. They can then accurately illustrate changes in ball performance that result from club adjustments.

To learn more about the GolfTEC 20th Anniversary promotion, please visit www.golftec.com/20years

About GolfTEC

The world leader in golf lessons has a 96 percent success rate among its students. The more than 600 GolfTEC Certified Personal Coaches at nearly 200 centers worldwide, including nearly 80 within Golfsmith stores, have given over 5 million lessons since 1995. All lessons are based on the company’s “Five Factors:” Fact-Based Diagnosis, Sequential Lessons, Video-Based Practice, Advanced Retention Tools, and TECfit club fitting. GolfTEC Improvement Centers can be found in almost all major U.S. cities, Canada, Japan and Korea.

More information: www.golftec.com,

About PGA REACH

PGA REACH serves as the charitable foundation of the PGA of America. Through the game of golf, PGA REACH fosters inclusion and positively impacts youth, military veterans and diverse communities. Aligned with the PGA of America’s 41 Section offices and charitable partners, PGA REACH leverages the game of golf to make a difference in the communities we serve. For more information please visit www.pgareach.com.

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