Directed by Academy Award-Winner Louie Psihoyos, Premiering Worldwide on Discovery Channel on December 2
SAN FRANCISCO (December 1, 2015) – When Racing Extinction, an eco-thriller that exposes the man-made issues fueling the mass extinction of endangered animals, debuts worldwide tomorrow night, December 2, on the Discovery Channel, much of its audience will be primed to receive its dramatic, eye-opening message thanks to the ground-breaking work of San Francisco-based creative studio Obscura.
Passionate about collaborating with visionaries to support global causes, Obscura partnered with Academy Award-winning filmmaker and activist Louie Psihoyos (The Cove), who ventured behind the scenes armed with hidden cameras to produce the hard-hitting documentary that exposes the rapid rate of extinction among the Earth’s endangered species and the black markets that profit from the ongoing slaughter. Psihoyos’ team boldly stalks and exposes these profiteers and their far-flung networks with a guerrilla style of filmmaking that unmasks the cruel, mercenary and largely unlawful practices that are rapidly bringing endangered species to the brink of extinction.
Intent on turning the film into a movement, on Saturday, August 1, 2015 Obscura took to the air, using 40 projectors stacked on top of each other to illuminate and transform the Empire State Building with gorgeous, 350-foot-high images of endangered animals. Covering 33 floors on the south façade of the iconic building, Obscura’s startling, immersive experience — the first time anyone had projected images onto the Empire State Building — literally stopped traffic as people stood in awe of the impressive display and its powerful message. This event reached more than a billion people across the world in 24 hours and was captured and edited as the uplifting ending of Racing Extinction.
“We used every creative and technical element we could devise to develop a street to sky environmental campaign,” said Obscura co-founder Travis Threlkel, a creative technologist and visual artist.
The street portion of the vision manifested in the form of an environmentally sustainable, high- performance Tesla car. Obscura equipped the Model S with a robotic video projection system that deployed out of the back window and a military grade FLIR camera to detect toxic emissions. Powered with custom media, the system could project toxic symbols on plumes of smoke at an oil refinery or images of endangered animals on fast food billboards. To add to the covert nature of the operation, the Tesla was decked out with electroluminescent paint and equipped with a disappearing license plate.
Also featured in Racing Extinction is a large-scale architectural projection mounted just prior to the People’s Climate March leading up to the United Nations Climate Summit in September 2014. Projected onto the UN General Assembly and Secretariat buildings in New York, it told the story of climate change and the need to preserve biodiversity.
“We were honored to work with Louie Psihoyos on the Discovery Channel’s Racing Extinction,” said Threlkel. “At Obscura, we use art as a message of mass instruction to inspire and engage people around the world. For Racing Extinction, we feel that as a society, we’ve been invading nature for centuries. We stopped to ask, ‘What if the animals invaded us?’ We took this notion of a ‘reverse invasion’ and projected staggering images of these endangered species onto the Empire State Building, a major symbol of capitalism and progress. The juxtaposition of the natural world against an urban icon was powerful.”
“It’s important for Obscura to collaborate with big thinkers and global changemakers who are champions of causes in which we believe – from saving endangered species to climate change and promoting world peace,” added Obscura co-founder and CEO Chris Lejeune.
Obscura is a creative studio based in San Francisco’s Dogpatch District, an emerging hotbed of technology and innovation. Founded in 2000, the company has collaborated with a broad range of forward-thinking corporations and cultural dignitaries. Organizations like the United Nations, United Arab Emirates, UNESCO, The Li Ka Shing Foundation, AT&T, Facebook, Genentech, Google, and Nike are among those who have enlisted Obscura’s talent to create a dialogue and develop solutions, whether bringing a new product to market or changing the way the world feels about a cause.
Racing Extinction airs tomorrow, December 2, at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time, and at 8 p.m. Central time, on the Discovery Channel. Here’s a link to the trailer for #RacingExtinction http://bit.ly/1zFlTbV
Here’s a link to Obscura’s impact on the Empire State Building: http://bit.ly/1Mqy7uf
Follow Obscura @Obscura_Digital
Founded in 2000, Obscura creates one-of-a-kind immersive experiences worldwide. Obscura works with the world’s most forward-thinking companies and public institutions to reimagine how they interact with their audiences. Obscura’s diverse team of 60 artists and technologists collaborates to produce award-winning experiences that transform physical spaces and deeply engage audiences. Obscura has worked with Fortune 100 companies including Google, Facebook, Nike and AT&T as well as global impact foundations such as UNESCO, Li Ka Shing Foundation, Oceanic Preservation Society and Vulcan Productions. Obscura was also the first to illuminate some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the Empire State Building, the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim Museum. A Certified Green Business, Obscura has offices in San Francisco, New York and Stockholm.
–Ready to Make a Difference – Kind-Hearted Compassion in Action Presents the ELEVATE GENIUS Concert and Charity Event December 12 at The Yost Theatre in Santa Ana–
Anaheim, CA, December 1, 2015 – Some promises are meant to be kept. When Orange County attorney Pamela Tahim’s brother, Jesse, asked for her help on his new project, she happily agreed. His dream was to create a movement to make popular mainstream hip-hop music more socially conscious. He saw the state of our world and knew the power of music and the arts could clearly make a difference with the issues society is battling. Sadly, Jesse passed away a few days later, at only 24 years-old, from a pulmonary embolism. In honor of her brother, Pamela, along with psychologist Dr. Sonia Singh, founded Kind-Hearted Compassion in Action Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to creating awareness and activism of critical social issues such as poverty, homelessness, genocides and human rights abuses.
Kind-Hearted Compassion in Action Foundation provides a platform to talented musicians, artists and activists who come from adverse circumstances to be able to share their work. Available services include mentoring, funding, partnering and providing a forum where their music can be shared with the world, through charity events such as their upcoming ELEVATE GENIUS, a charity concert featuring performances and presentations by:
Socially conscious Bizzy Bone from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will headline, legendary music manager Steve Lobel will keynote, deejay DJ Kiss will do a set and socially conscious artist Fatell will be performing along with other artists, Steven SweDozey and MC Imprint, Trademark and Mary Jane. The event will begin with DJ Royelle and ArtofJazz and hear poet Until. We will be honoring human rights activists Aj Redkey and Steven Sweetleaf of InLeague Press, filmmaker Lili Teplan, musician Trevous Millhouse and producer Mike Flowganic. The evening will be hosted by NufCed. ELEVATE GENIUS is being executive produced by entrepreneur David Naidu.
ELEVATE GENIUS Concert & Charity Event, spreading peace and compassion through music, art and activism, is sponsored by Power 106 FM, Garden Grove City of Compassion Mayor Bao Nguyen, Pinot’s Pallete, Vlado Footwear, Max Blooms Art Gallery & BaxSpace.org, Tahim and Associates, APC
The evening will include a VIP cocktail/guest reception, art show with socially conscious art depicting social issues, and the very special concert featuring socially conscious artists giving awards and grants to emerging artists, activists and musicians.
General Admission $25, VIP Package $150 per person, $250 per couple. www.elevategenius.eventbrite.com VIP and Sponsorships 714 853-9919
Jasdeep “Jesse” Singh Tahim was a lyricist and musician, and he believed that one person could change the world. His passion for music and heightened spiritual awareness enabled him to enlighten others and influence them to practice kindness, love and compassion. His music and messages live on through this non-profit.
Song: No Regrets – Jasdeep
For more information, visit www.KindHeartedCompassion.org.
The April 16, 2016 event raises funds to benefit adults with disabilities.
Anaheim, California (December 1, 2015) – Electron Beam Engineering, Inc. (ebeinc.com), an established precision electron beam and laser beam welding company, has announced its continued support and long-standing partnership with Vocational Visions, the influential nonprofit group who works to develop the special talents in adults who have intellectual/developmental disabilities. “I believe that Vocational Visions is a very worthwhile organization, and I know that any financial support they receive will be well spent,” said Richard Trillwood, founder and CEO of Electron Beam Engineering (EBE). “Their services provide disabled adults with needed support, life-skills training, and job placement coaching and assistance.”
Vocational Visions has various programs designed to provide the specific needs of each individual. “We believe in offering choices throughout our program so that we can promote self-direction and self-determination,” said Joan McKinney, Executive Director at Vocational Visions. “We also believe in life-long learning for the people we serve, and we believe their gifts and diversity bring value to the community and to the lives of the people they touch.”
Hilary Hurt, Executive Sales Manager of EBE, is on the Event Planning Committee for the Vocational Visions’ fundraiser, “An Enchanted Evening with Las Vegas Legends,” on April 16, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Irvine Marriot. In addition, Ms. Hurt is Vice Chairman of Vocational Visions’ board of directors, and further support for the nonprofit comes from Richard Trillwood, who has been a board member for many years.
“As a partner with Vocational Visions, we are committed to improving the lives of those who need a helping hand, and EBE has been proud to support their efforts for many years,” said Hilary Hurt. “The Enchanted Evening fundraiser is a wonderful community event, with good food, fine wine, and entertainment, and we are very excited to help Vocational Visions reach their goals for the year. The success of this annual fundraiser is extremely important because Vocational Visions relies so heavily on the donations we raise. Also, the need for Vocational Visions in the community is even greater than before due to the growing population, so we are having to expand and enhance our services.” For more information about Vocational Visions, to make reservations for the Enchanted Evening event, or to make a donation, please go to vocationalvisions.org or call 949.837.7280, ext. 214 and ask for Tammy Jensen.
“Our family has a special, personal connection with Vocational Visions,” added Trillwood. “My daughter, Frances, has benefitted greatly being part of one of their day activity programs for many years.”
To learn more about Electron Beam Engineering and their wide range of electron beam and laser beam welding services, please visit ebeinc.com or call 1.800.EB.WELDS (1.800.392.3537). You can also follow EBE on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Electron Beam Engineering
Electron Beam Engineering provides precision electron beam welding and laser beam welding services throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. EBE is located in Anaheim California and specializes in working with complex components for a variety of applications including medical, sensor, aerospace, and automotive. Richard Trillwood founded EBE in 1991 and is the designer of the world’s first compact production electron beam welding machine from which he has developed a wide range of precision laser and electron beam welders. In 2010, EBE was awarded “Manufacturer of the Year” by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and has earned a number of certifications in the welding, medical, and aerospace industries. ebeinc.com.
Vocational Visions is a nonprofit agency located in Mission Viejo, California that provides vocational and life skills training and support services for adults with Intellectual/Developmental and other disabilities. Vocational Visions started its program in 1974 with 30 participants and a staff of five. Today, Vocational Visions serves almost 600 participants annually and has a staff of 220, comprised of company employees and instructional aides. vocationalvisions.org.
Following months long campaign, Immigration Equality proclaims victory
New York, NY – Today Immigration Equality, the nation’s leading organization representing and advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and HIV-affected immigrants, celebrated news from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that it would no longer pursue using Adelanto Detention Facility in California as a center for detaining transgender immigrants.
The news comes after a months long campaign by the National LGBTQ Immigration Working Group headed by Immigration Equality, which included sending an open letter to President Obama from the group’s more than 100 LGBTQ, immigration, and civil rights organizations, including CIVIC, National Center for Transgender Equality, and United We Dream.
“Adelanto would have kept transgender immigrants hours away from legal counsel and community support, making it nearly impossible for advocates to ensure accountability at the facility,” said Aaron C. Morris, Immigration Equality’s Legal Director. “While we continue to advocate for alternatives to detention as the only safe option for LGBT immigrants, taking Adelanto off the table is an enormous victory for our community.”
Marco A. Quiroga, Immigration Equality’s National Field Officer who leads the National LGBTQ Immigration Working Group added, “Adelanto is a terrible facility that should be shut down because is not a safe place for anyone. We will continue to work with grassroots leaders in Southern California and across the country to advocate on behalf of the thousands of immigrants still trapped in inhumane detention centers. Fundamentally, vulnerable individuals such as pregnant women, families with children, people living with HIV, and LGBTQ people should not be detained in the first place.”
The Adelanto Detention Facility in Southern California is geographically remote and poorly suited for transgender immigrants. The facility is in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, which is a four-hour round trip from Los Angeles and where the nearest legal community is based. Placing transgender immigrants in the facility would have effectively prevented any independent oversight by advocates and would have severely limit transgender immigrants’ access to attorneys.
On August 13, 2015, LGBT advocates toured the Adelanto Detention Facility and spoke to individuals detained there. “We met a trans woman from Guatemala who had been placed in the men’s housing unit. The government did not even seem to know she was there,” said Morris.
A June 23rd Congressional Letter delivered to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, and endorsed by 35 U.S. House of Representatives called for the end to LGBTQ detention and immediate release on parole to their community. In an endorsement letter signed by over 100 organizations across the U.S. and delivered to the White House, DHS, and ICE on August 24th, advocates condemned the plan by citing reports of abuses including solitary confinement, denial of medical care, and pervasive sexual harassment by GEO Group facilities, the same for-profit corporation that runs the Adelanto facility. Adelanto Detention Facility’s documented failure to prevent or address sexual assault was a particular concern for advocates who pointed to the fact that transgender women in detention experience sexual assault 13 times the the rate of all persons in detention facilities according to frequently cited California study.
In recent weeks, Adelanto has become the fourth immigrant detention facility in the United States where detainees have gone on hunger strike, refusing food to protest the worsening conditions at the facility.
Special Holiday Trains Featuring Santa and His Friends To Run November 30 through December 17
NAPA VALLEY, Calif. (December 1, 2015) – The Napa Valley Wine Train, offering guests a 36-mile round-trip journey from Napa to St. Helena through beautiful Wine Country vineyards and past famous and historic wineries, is pleased to announce the return of its popular Santa Express Trains. Transforming the regular Wine Train experience into a Polar Express-like journey of delight for both kids and grown-ups, the magical holiday trains will run Monday through Thursday, November 30 to December 17, with festivities starting at 3 p.m. and the train returning at 5:30 p.m. A morning train will also be available December 14 to 17, with festivities starting at 9 a.m. and the train returning at 11:30 a.m.
In the spirit of holiday giving, the Napa Valley Wine Train will continue its annual tradition of sponsoring children from local charities — such as Family Services, Napa Foster Children, COPE and the Boys & Girls Club — to experience the holiday Santa Express trains free of charge. Over the past six years, the Napa Valley Wine Train is pleased to have provided more than 900 rides to children through local charities spanning the greater Bay Area.
The Santa Express Train experience begins when Santa Claus greets everyone in the station and happily poses for professional photos. Upon boarding the train, Santa and his friends will join guests for a 90-minute ride from Napa to Yountville. All on board will enjoy the scenic vineyards of Napa Valley while indulging in a festive holiday menu that includes, for the adults, some of Napa Valley’s finest wines.
“We are thrilled to create lifelong memories for families and all on board,” said Kira Devitt, director of marketing at The Napa Valley Wine Train. “Sharing the Santa Trains with the sponsored children that could not have experienced it otherwise is our holiday tradition and very important to us.”
Train fare for the Santa Express Train is $25 per person or $45 per person to ride in the Vista Dome Car. For an additional $12, guests can enjoy a prix fixe holiday menu of non-alcoholic beverages and treats. An a la carte menu with items ranging from chicken tenders to lox & toast points with caviar is also available, as are cocktails and fine Napa Valley wines. For reservations, please call (800) 427-4124. For more information about the Napa Valley Wine Train, please visit www.winetrain.com.
About the Napa Valley Wine Train
One of the few active historic passenger railroads in the United States, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers an engaging and memorable experience that echoes the glory days of train travel, with fine dining service, multi-course meals cooked to order, Napa Valley scenery and ultimate relaxation aboard exquisitely restored antique rail cars. The Napa Valley Wine Train features vintage Pullman rail cars faithfully restored with Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions and luxurious armchairs that evoke the spirit of luxury rail travel at the beginning of the 20th century. Conveniently located in downtown Napa and easily accessible, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers car-free transportation options that bring guests to Napa Valley without having to drive.
About Noble House Hotels & Resorts
A privately held company for more than 30 years, Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Ltd. was founded in 1979 by owner Patrick R. Colee as a commercial property development group, transitioning in 1994 to a hotel ownership management company. Headquartered in Seattle, Wash., the corporation owns and manages an upscale portfolio of 18 distinct and visually captivating properties spanning the U.S. From luxury resorts in Seattle, Wash. to Jackson Hole, Wyo. and the Florida Keys, each property maximizes and showcases its physical setting. Noble House is continuously growing, operating 45 hotel restaurants, bars and lounges, showcasing local culture and inspiration from local surroundings. With a philosophy that emphasizes “location, distinction and soul,” Noble House Hotels & Resorts exemplifies individuality, dedicating itself to creating and managing exceptional properties that contribute to their communities, staying true to local history, culture and ambiance.
Washington D.C. / Mumbai: Nov 30/Dec 1, 2015: YES BANK, India’s 5th largest Private Sector Bank has signed an agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, for debt financing of $245 million to increase lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India. U.S.-based lender Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. will act as sponsor and co-lender to the project, providing a loan of $20 million, bringing the total facility amount to $265 million. Specifically, half of the financing will be used to support either Micro-SMEs or SMEs in underserved rural and urban markets.
Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO, signed the loan agreement underscoring OPIC’s commitment to growing the small and medium business sector in India. Loan guarantee support from OPIC allows YES BANK, an experienced local lender with a broad network in India to more confidently extend their financing to MSMEs.
“MSMEs are the growth engines and employment generators of our economy, and access to banking credit is one of the key enablers. This significant co-financing agreement of YES BANK with OPIC and Wells Fargo will help further accentuate YES BANK’s ability to address the unique needs of SME and MSME sectors. It is also extremely encouraging that world’s leading development finance institutions have reiterated their faith in YES BANK’s business and financial model and have in fact further enhanced the loan amounts post due diligence,” said Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES BANK.
“I’m proud to finalize a commitment first initiated on the occasion of President Obama’s visit to India earlier this year. OPIC’s exciting partnership with YES BANK, a proven Indian lending institution, and Wells Fargo will spark inclusive economic growth in India,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “By choosing the portfolio growth strategy of a large number of impactful loans to micro and small businesses, YES shows their commitment for broad-based business growth in India and to spreading OPIC’s development reach. I look forward to the lasting effects of our work in India.”
“Wells Fargo is pleased to sponsor this important facility on behalf of YES Bank and work with OPIC as they continue to support YES Bank’s lending to the small and micro businesses vital to economic growth in India,” said Richard Yorke, head of Wells Fargo’s International Group.
The World Bank estimates that viable and addressable demand for MSME lending in India debt surpasses supply by $48 billion, a shortfall that holds back the transformative effect a thriving entrepreneur class can have on a developing economy. This gap is particularly pronounced in India’s low income states, where approximately two-thirds of the MSME debt gap resides.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.
All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker’s rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.
About YES BANK
YES BANK, India’s fifth largest private sector Bank with a pan India presence across all 29 states and 7 Union Territories of India, headquartered in the Lower Parel Innovation District (LPID) of Mumbai, is the outcome of the professional & entrepreneurial commitment of its Founder Rana Kapoor and its Top Management team, to establish a high quality, customer centric, service driven, private Indian Bank catering to the future businesses of India.
YES BANK has adopted international best practices, the highest standards of service quality and operational excellence, and offers comprehensive banking and financial solutions to all its valued customers.
YES BANK has a knowledge driven approach to banking, and offers a superior customer experience for its retail, corporate and emerging corporate banking clients. YES BANK is steadily evolving as the Professionals’ Bank of India with the long term mission of “Building the Finest Quality Large Bank of the World in India” by 2020
“I Have A Dream” Foundation Students Twice as Likely to Receive Bachelor’s Degree As Low-Income Peers
New York, NY (December 1, 2015) – CBS Cares is airing Public Service Announcements (PSAs) focused on the “I Have A Dream” Foundation (IHDF) which will reach an estimated 75 to 100 million viewers over the holiday season. CBS celebrities who are featured in the PSAs include: Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), LL Cool J (NCIS: Los Angeles), Luis Guzmán (Code Black), Jeff Probst (Survivor), Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds), Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods), Chi McBride (Hawaii Five-0), Tea Leoni (Madam Secretary) and more.
Through its national office and 16 affiliates across the country, including locations in Miami, New York City, Newark, L.A., D.C., Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin, IHDF focuses on supporting students in under-resourced public schools. But this isn’t a typical financial assistance or scholarship program. IHDF chooses entire classes of students and supports them from early elementary school all the way through college. This long-term support program is aimed at increasing high school graduation and college completion.
Every student in the program receives guaranteed tuition assistance for higher education as well as continued support on their college journey. Since 1981, “I Have A Dream” programs have operated in 28 states, Washington, D.C., and New Zealand, together serving nearly 17,000 students.
“Educational success doesn’t happen overnight. It results from ongoing support, beginning early in life. In addition to financial support, we provide students academic support, life skills, mental and social encouragement,” said Donna A. Lawrence, President and CEO of the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation. “We’ve put the dream of a college education within reach for tens of thousands of our Dreamers across the country.”
The “I Have A Dream” Foundation’s mission is more urgent than ever. Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that just nine percent of students from low-income families receive a Bachelor’s degree, and a new national study by the Southern Education Foundation found that more than half of public school students are from low-income families. Research from the Hamilton Project demonstrates that low-income students who never go on to receive a Bachelor’s degree are likely to remain in poverty all their lives.
In contrast, students who have passed through IHDF’s program (dubbed “Dreamers”) are approximately twice as likely to receive a Bachelor’s degree as their low-income peers, drastically improving a student’s likelihood of landing a higher paying job.
“The ‘I Have A Dream’ program was monumental for me,” says Dreamer alumna Zairia Benjamin, an accomplished social worker. “My earliest memories always involve the volunteers who made me feel important because of how much they invested in me. I am lucky to be a product of their investment, and appreciative and aware of how much I was given and the kind of support a person needs to do well.”
The CBS Cares attention comes at a crucial point for the foundation’s future; IHDF, which celebrates its 35th anniversary next year, is gearing up to launch an ambitious growth plan to significantly increase the program’s reach and capacity. Over the next five years, IHDF intends to triple the total number of active Dreamers in the program from 3,200 to 10,000 and double their footprint by doubling their network from 16 to 32 local “I Have A Dream” affiliates around the country. Since 1986, nearly 17,000 Dreamers have completed the IHDF program. If successful, IHDF’s growth plan will help thousands of students break the cycle of poverty.
The CBS Cares PSA campaign airs nationally and locally in Denver, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Southern California Nonprofit to Provide Homes of the Steel for the Brave of Heart
MIDWAY CITY, CALIF. (November 30, 2015) – American Family Housing (AFH) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to permanently ending the cycle of homelessness – is proud to announce its visionary new project in Midway City, Calif., called Potter’s Lane. Estimated for completion in 2016, the energy-efficient and sustainable housing site will fulfill one of the community’s greatest needs: permanent housing for chronically homeless veterans. Simultaneously, AFH will join a revolution that is bringing an end to chronic homelessness among our nation’s veterans in major metropolitan centers throughout the U.S.
“While Orange County and Los Angeles have made great strides with the provision of some 4,000 units of permanent housing for the homeless, an additional 5,000 is needed if we are to succeed in achieving our goals,” says AFH president and CEO Donna Gallup. “The truth is, however, that while many areas of our country are experiencing decreases in the numbers of homeless veterans, Southern California is seeing an unsettling and unacceptable increase. Bleak as this may sound, there is still hope, and AFH plans to take the lead with Potter’s Lane.”
By leveraging valuable partnerships with state, county and AFH benefactors, AFH is fulfilling that goal, bringing to life an eco-friendly housing project that utilizes modified-steel shipping containers—upcycling them into beautiful housing units that meld seamlessly with surrounding areas. The project is comprised of 16 480-square-foot units and has the potential to reduce development costs and inefficiencies, increase sustainability and energy efficiency, create opportunities to leverage scarce resources, and provide a solution to increase access to affordable permanent supportive housing without the long development cycles associated with conventional site-built construction and financing. In addition to housing, AFH will provide comprehensive wrap-around services to help these veterans achieve stability and self-sufficiency.
The 16 units at Potter’s Lane will offer both indoor and outdoor spaces, with beautiful gardens and native plants to provide a sustainable environment that soothes the soul. Through tranquil common areas, residents will interact with each other and help build a sense of community.
“Countless veterans deal with the effects of war—commonly known as PTSD—and other life-changing conditions that for most of us are a distant proposition,” adds Gallup. “Lost in traumatic memories and suffering alone on the streets, veterans are in their minds still soldiers on the front lines yet remain ill-equipped to face this battle without our help—which they so richly deserve. We couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity to provide them with a road home.”
This project has already drawn wide support from corporate and other large-scale donors who will be recognized for their contributions with their names on structures in the community. AFH welcomes additional donors, and in gratitude for their assistance, AFH is offering further naming opportunities within the Potter’s Lane development.
For more information or with interest in getting involved, visit us at www.afhusa.org/potterslane
ABOUT AMERICAN FAMILY HOUSING:
Founded in 1985, American Family Housing (AFH) is a nonprofit organization that provides a continuum of housing and a broad spectrum of services to vulnerable populations facing barriers to achieving housing stability, including war veterans and adults with disabilities and mental illness. Operating 63 housing sites, with 267 units that serve more than 1,000 unduplicated adults and children each year in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, AFH is committed to permanently ending the cycle of homelessness, helping low-income families and adults achieve a self-sustaining way of life and become active members of their communities.
Local politicians, families and friends joined hands and hearts with staff and volunteers to prepare and deliver meals for the organization’s most vulnerable neighbors
NEW YORK, NY – November 30, 2015 – More than 1,400 generous volunteers joined God’s Love We Deliver staff, celebrities, local elected officials and Board members in preparing and delivering 4,200 Thanksgiving meals for people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life altering illnesses in New York City, Westchester and Nassau Counties and nearby Hudson County, New Jersey. This year’s meal delivery included more than 1,500 guest meals, so that each client could invite a friend to spend the holiday with them. The God’s Love holiday meals were delivered in cheerful, hand-decorated bags designed by local school children. Each household also received a holiday gift basket, containing crackers, oatmeal, nuts, raisins and other treats to help make the day special.
Demand for the services of God’s Love is up by 94% in the last eight years. To accommodate this growth, God’s Love recently completed an expansion and renovation of their home in SoHo so that they can more than double the number of meals they cook and deliver. This was the first holiday celebration out of the new Michael Kors Building at God’s Love We Deliver.
“We are grateful to celebrate Thanksgiving with our God’s Love community,” says Karen Pearl, President & CEO of God’s Love We Deliver. “Thanksgiving is a special holiday for our clients, and their families, and our volunteers. We are pleased to be able to meet the growing demand for our services, reaching a new milestone of cooking and delivering 4,200 traditional Thanksgiving meals for people in the New York City metropolitan area who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. We thank every volunteer and supporter who made today – and every day at God’s Love – possible.”
About God’s Love We Deliver
God’s Love We Deliver (God’s Love) is the New York metropolitan area’s leading provider of life-sustaining meals and nutrition counseling for people living with severe illnesses. Begun as an HIV/AIDS service organization, today God’s Love provides for people living with more than 200 individual diagnoses. God’s Love cooks and home delivers the specific, nutritious meals a client’s severe illness and treatment so urgently require. Meals are individually tailored for each client by one of the organization’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, and all clients have access to unlimited nutrition counseling. God’s Love supports families by providing meals for the children and senior caregivers of its clients. All of the agency’s services are provided free of charge, and in its history of 30 years of cooking and delivering more than 16 million meals, God’s Love We Deliver has never had a waiting list. This year, God’s Love will cook and deliver more than 1.4 million meals to 6,000 vulnerable New Yorkers. For more information, visit godslovewedeliver.org. God’s Love is a non-sectarian organization.
State College, PA – Centre Foundation’s annual round of competitive grants have been finalized and checks totaling just over $42,000 will be released! These grants are funded by “field of interest funds,” which were set-up by the original donors to support a various causes or geographic areas in Centre County. There are currently 13 of these funds, which open for applications each September.
“We received 78 applications from 42 organizations across Centre County,” explained Executive Director, Molly Kunkel. “The decisions were tough, but our staff and our board members ultimately decided these were the right projects to fund at this time.”
This annual granting cycle will distribute funds to communities and projects in each of the five Centre County school districts. It will fund programs that focus on education, health and social services, animal welfare, at-risk youth, and the performing arts. People across the county will be able to feel the impact of these numerous grants.
The Philipsburg Area Fund’s $1,540 grant will go to the Child Development and Family Council’s summer camp program for school age children in Philipsburg. With the rising costs of food, gas, housing, and other daily living items, many low-income families are unable to travel. The grant will help assist with the cost of travel to Washington, D.C., affording 30 children an opportunity to visit The Smithsonian Institution and other national museums.
The Counseling Service Fund, which supports organizations that provide behavioral and mental health counseling services in Centre County, made two grants totaling $4,800.
Park Forest Village Day Nursery will use its $800 grant to provide parenting education classes as an extension of the services offered to students and their families. The courses are designed to meet the developmental needs for children, adults, and families by focusing on emotion regulation, copying with stress, and building distress tolerance. Parents going through these classes will be in a better position to reduce and manage their children’s mental and behavioral issues.
Housing Transitions, Inc. will receive a $4,000 grant to provide a Life Skills Training program to the residents of the 24-hour staffing of the Centre House emergency shelter. The Life Skills Training program teaches residents with mental health concerns crucial life skills like healthy living practices, budget management, job search, parenting, and conflict resolution.
The Centre County Medical Society Fund promotes healthy lifestyles for children, making its $1,090 grant a perfect partner for Child Development and Family Council’s Strong Bodies = Strong Minds program. Having created an inside environment with an emphasis on healthy nutrition, the grant will provide the necessary funds to purchase playground equipment to help children develop motor skills, get moving, and have opportunity for creative and imaginative play.
The Patricia Farrell Music Fund supports all types of music programs – especially those focused on children – and is named after a former chair of Centre Foundation, an active community volunteer, a Penn State professor, and a musician. This year, the $5,255 was split among two grant applications.
The Pennsylvania Centre Chamber Orchestra will receive a $2,000 grant for an educational musical performance of “Peter and the Wolf.” The orchestra will tour local elementary schools throughout Centre County reaching over 1,500 children.
Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania will receive a $3,255 grant to support its new preschool program, Music Makers. The program will include a music class along with exhibits that explore the science of music and sound. Early exposure to music and rhythm impact brain development in young children and may help when it comes time to learn reading and math in school. Parents and children alike will benefit from this innovative musical themed program and exhibit.
J. Alvin and Vera E. Knepper Hawbaker Memorial Endowment Fund will grant $3,829 to the Penns Valley Youth Center. The youth center operates an after-school program for at-risk students in 6th through 12th grade where traditional services such as homework help and tutoring are offered as well as gym time, healthy snacks, and fun workshops. This grant will help provide a safe place for students to continue their learning experience while building positive relationships.
The Carolyn A. Petrus Memorial Seeing Eye Dog Fund will grant $11,496 to The Seeing Eye. This grant will provide first-time guide dog users and users of replacement guide-dogs with an intense instruction curriculum. Approximately five to seven individuals will directly benefit from this grant, providing them with increased confidence and independence to navigate their way through daily life in our community.
The Ruth E. Rishel Charitable Fund focuses on Rishel’s home community of Penns Valley. This $1,969 grant to the Centre County Youth Services Bureau for the Street Outreach Program in Centre Hall will provide a once-a-week after-school evening program for youth ages 5-17. Youth in the program are provided a safe place with structured activities that promote healthy starts and futures, and includes community service feature.
The Centre Children’s Fund, supporting services to at-risk children, will be divided among two organizations.
Home Nursing Agency Community Services will receive a $1,200 grant for Books for Babies program. Approximately 60 families served by the Nurse-Family Partnership program receive educational home visits regarding child health and development. The visits will emphasize the importance of daily reading to infants and toddlers. Books purchased through this grant will be used during the lessons and then be given to the family to read to the baby between session visits.
Centre County Youth Services Bureau (YSB) will receive a $433 grant to support the Wingate Homework Club that meets once a week after school at the Wingate Elementary School in the Bald Eagle Area School District. YSB provides a consistent, stable presence for up to 30 youth who are facing adversity. The Wingate Homework Club promotes ongoing relationships with caring adults in a safe and structured environment.
The Louis E. and Patricia H. Silvi Fund was established to support at-risk children, especially in the areas of early childhood education programs that improve the health, care, and education of young children. This year, the fund’s $1,032 grant will go to two organizations.
Park Forest Preschool knows that early childhood education offers a host of benefits for children, not just in academic skills, but also in health and emotional development. Park Forest Preschool will use a grant for $582 to support their work by providing free, high-quality, and structured preschool education to qualifying families.
Centre County Library & Historical Museum will receive a $450 grant for the One Book, Every Young Child learning initiative that highlights the importance of early literacy development to preschoolers ages three to six. The library will distribute 300 books to preschool children and their families while offering related literacy materials and special programming throughout Centre County.
Centre County PAWS will receive $922 from the Mattil Family Fund. In keeping with the animal welfare spirit of this fund, this grant will provide support to the orphaned kittens program which assists the youngest and neediest kittens brought to PAWS.
The Proud to be an American Fund will grant $1,314 to the Central Pennsylvania July 4th Festival. The grant will help expand the popular family-orientated Firecracker 4k race, which will celebrate its 15th year anniversary in July of 2016.
The William W. and Helen S. Litke Memorial Fund was established for the aid and assistance of the deaf and hearing impaired. Two organizations were awarded grants for this fund.
The high costs of hearing aids often make them out of reach for uninsured and low-income adults and seniors. Centre Volunteers in Medicine will receive $2,500 to help qualified hearing impaired patients apply for funding to receive hearing aids through the Starkey Hear Now Program.
Schlow Centre Region Library will use $3,000 from the Litke Memorial Fund to upgrade the library’s audio equipment in the community room. The library offers over 1,000 programs a year in the community room space and the planned audio improvements will provide microphones and speakers, thereby making the space more accessible to the hearing impaired.
The Ben Franklin Fund supports community projects with a broad reach, carrying out Franklin’s commitment to giving back to one’s community. Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will receive $1,891 to support a glass armonica concert during First Night, held in downtown State College and attended by people from all over central Pennsylvania. The glass armonica was invented by Ben Franklin in 1761 and is credited as the first American musical instrument. The concert will combine music, history, art, and science into an unforgettable experience to help ring in the New Year.
Centre Foundation is committed to helping donors fulfill their philanthropic goals by building and maintaining a permanent collection of endowment funds. The Foundation champions the betterment of Centre County for both present and future generations with trustworthy leadership in shaping effective responses to community issues and opportunities.