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

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: January 2016

‘Commerce of Caring’ Podcast Series Highlights the Untold Stories of Children in Need, and the People of Retail Answering the Call

Produced by Aptos in Support of RetailROI, New Series Profiles Ordinary People Making Extraordinary Differences in the Lives of Children Around the World.

ATLANTA, January 25, 2016 – A young woman from New Jersey rushes headlong into the Liberian Ebola crisis when most westerners are racing to get out. A Congolese wife and mother has the chance to leave one of the most impoverished and dangerous communities in the world, to join her family in the U.S., but stays to build a future for orphaned children. These are just two of the remarkable stories of courage and commitment profiled in a new podcast series from Aptos, being launched today on commerceofcaring.org.

Commerce of Caring explores the power and possibilities of positive change, and the unsung heroes who are using it to create real opportunities for children in need. Through exclusive interviews and first-hand accounts, these humble agents of progress explain what led them to get involved, the choices they made to help, and how those same choices are available to everyone — through organizations that are connected directly to local needs and solutions.

For people within the retail industry, that organization is the Retail Orphan Initiative (RetailROI). As an established charitable group funded by dozens of companies, RetailROI channels financial support, material resources and hands-on assistance from retailers, analysts, and technology providers such as Aptos into a wide range of education, health and social projects that are making a real and often dramatic difference in the lives of orphans and vulnerable children around the world.

Commerce of Caring brings you their stories. Each episode in the series will showcase a different country and community, the context of their crises, and the impact they have had on children. But the focus is on transformation: on how, with the collective support of people half a world away, dedicated local leaders are succeeding against great odds to turn heartbreak into hope.

West Point, Liberia: A Community Re-Born

Episode one of Commerce of Caring tells the compelling story of people who have come together on the front lines in Liberia, West Africa to deliver children from the legacies of civil war and Ebola. They include Katie Meyler, a Time magazine “Person of the Year” in 2014. In her own words, Meyler explains how she went to Liberia to help build a school for children, and why, instead of fleeing from the Ebola crisis, she went back in. Her organization, More than Me, has been a life-changing force for the community’s children and the future of young girls. The first episode also features the experiences of Bishop Emmanuel and Ramona Jones of Lifesong for Orphans, an organization providing education, security and a future for children without parents, and of the people of RetailROI and Aptos who are supporting Lifesong’s work.

Conquering Crises in the Congo

The second episode in the series introduces listeners to the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the poorest and most dangerous countries the world. It is a story of pure commitment by the people of CongoVoice to build schools and opportunities for children while overcoming tremendous obstacles, including a legacy of poverty and oppression that has adversely affected not just how they live but also how they view themselves. This episode also showcases the Congo Animal Traction Initiative, another RetailROI-sponsored program that highlights how truly great changes can sometimes come from the most humble resources — such as an ox in a field.

The first season of Commerce of Caring will include six additional episodes. They will be produced by Aptos and released regularly on the website, commerceofcaring.org.

Aptos: Social Responsibility and a Commitment to Change

“At Aptos, we believe that success is defined by more than financial results; success means being an active part of a larger community and an agent of change,” said Noel Goggin, Aptos CEO and culture leader. “We see ourselves as part of a larger community responsible for supporting not only those who enjoy the rewards of education and good work, but also those who aspire to those same privileges, especially children who lack basic foundational resources such as education, clean water and secure home environments. This is why we are proud to support RetailROI.

“Through our Commerce of Caring podcast series, we hope to share these important and amazing stories of the people of retail as they expand their focus beyond the challenges of omni-channel commerce to make a difference in the world. Because when people hear these stories, we hope they will get involved — that they will donate, volunteer and take action,” he said.

About RetailROI

RetailROI is a charitable foundation that sits under the umbrella of the Giving Back Fund a 501c3 charity organization, and is supported by close to 50 leading retailers, technology suppliers, consultants and media organizations, as well as countless individuals who contribute to its fundraising initiatives. Its mission is to provide real solutions for vulnerable children worldwide by raising awareness; by leveraging their skills and networks to make a difference; and by channeling resources to proven, local organizations delivering frontline support directly to those in need.

Since its inception, RetailROI has raised millions of dollars for a diverse range of projects in 19 countries around the world helping over 185,000 children in need. These include programs to educate and empower girls in Liberia; to acquire cattle for farming in rural Congo; to provide education for orphans in Honduras; to combat child trafficking in Nepal and India; to establish computer labs for schools in many locations; and to deliver support and resources for foster families in the U.S. More than 94% of the funds raised go directly to the programs they are intended to support. For additional information, visit www.retailroi.org.

To learn more about the Commerce of Caring podcast series and to listen to the latest episodes, visit www.commerceofcaring.org.

Aptos: Engaging Customers Differently

In an era of virtually limitless choice, sustained competitive advantage only comes to retailers who engage customers differently – by truly understanding who they are, what they want and why they buy. At Aptos, we too, believe that engaging customers differently is critical to our success. We are committed to a deep understanding of each of our clients, to fulfilling their needs with the retail industry’s most comprehensive omni-channel solutions, and to fostering long-term relationships built on tangible value and trust. More than 500 retail brands rely upon our Singular Commerce platform to deliver every shopper a personalized, empowered and seamless experience…no matter when, where or how they shop. Learn more: www.aptos.com.

Follow Aptos on Twitter @Aptos_Retail

FL House Committee to Vote on a Bill that Could Lead to ​Extreme Anti-LGBT Legislation

Senate Judiciary Committee stated support for expanding the bill yesterday

(Tallahassee) After passing through its first Senate committee yesterday, the dangerous and so-called Pastor Protection Act (HB 43/SB 110) is already scheduled for another vote in the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.

The so-called Pastor Protection Act is allegedly designed to protect pastors and clergy from being forced to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. While presenting his bill to the Senate Judiciary committee on January 26th, Senate sponsor Aaron Bean clearly stated that this legislation is a direct response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and is designed to send a message of disapproval of same-sex relationships.

Pastors and clergy of all faiths are already fully protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, rendering this bill unnecessary, divisive, and a dangerous vehicle for even more extreme anti-LGBT legislation

In yesterday’s hearing, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee clearly stated their support for expanding the scope of this bill to include all individuals who may wish to assert their religious or moral objections to avoid providing services to certain customers. A bill that similarly allowed business owners to deny goods and services to gay and transgender customers in Indiana created a national uproar last year and cost the state over $60 million dollars in lost tourism revenue from conventions cancelled as a result.

Carlos Guillermo Smith, government affairs manager for Equality Florida, said in a statement, “The freedom of religion is important to all Americans, but the rule of law is also important, and these sorts of sweeping religious exemptions will allow folks to pick and choose which laws they will follow. Religious exemptions are ripe for abuse, and we can’t allow a can of worms like an expanded Pastor Protection Act to become law.”

House Bill 43 will be heard at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, January 28th in Room 404 in the House Office Building. This is the second hearing for the Pastor Protection Act in the House of Representatives, after passing through the House Civil Justice subcommittee in October 2015. The Judiciary Committee is the bill’s final stop before reaching the floor of the House for a full vote.

Silicon Valley Community Foundation Awards $50 Million In Matching Grants

December 2015 total represents funds sent to more than 24,000 nonprofit organizations

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Silicon Valley Community Foundation administered $50 million in matching grants by December 2015, representing support for 24,450 nonprofit organizations in the United States and 45 other countries, SVCF announced today.

The milestone was reached early last month, eclipsing the total from all of 2014, when SVCF administered nearly $23 million in matching grants.

Matching grants come from corporate funds and typically equal or “match” the amount donated to the charity by an individual employee of a company.

SVCF awards matching grants through its partnership with YourCause, the leading SaaS provider of employee engagement solutions. Together, SVCF and YourCause empower companies and their employees to make charitable contributions to an extensive network of fully qualified nonprofit organizations worldwide, at costs that are among the lowest in the industry.

“SVCF is proud to say that we sent more than $50 million in matching grants to nonprofit organizations around the world in 2015,” said Maeve Miccio, vice president of corporate responsibility for SVCF. “We applaud our corporate clients and their employees who have made philanthropy a priority through employee engagement programs in their workplaces. Their gifts support everything from education to the arts to hunger relief programs, and their generosity is inspiring.”

“This is an impressive milestone,” said Matthew Combs, founder and CEO of YourCause. YourCause’s services allow companies to establish a variety of employee engagement efforts, including volunteering and charitable giving. “The nonprofits receiving the matching gifts are the beneficiaries of SVCF’s and YourCause’s domestic and international grant making expertise.”

Approximately one-fifth of the total matching grants SVCF distributed by December 2015 came from PepsiCo employees and matching grants from the PepsiCo Foundation. In partnership with YourCause and SVCF, the PepsiCo Foundation aims to give back to communities in which employees live and work.

“PepsiCo believes in investing in our people and in the communities where we operate,” said Andrea Seek, Director of Global Citizenship for PepsiCo. “It’s gratifying that our partnership with SVCF and YourCause has allowed us to help improve and strengthen our communities around the globe.”

About 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies have programs to match employees’ charitable donations with corporate charitable donations, according to data from DoubletheDonation.com. Approximately $2.1 billion was donated in 2014 by U.S. companies to charities all over the world through corporate matching gift programs, according to estimates gleaned from National Philanthropic Trust and CECP data (formerly the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy).

For more information about how SVCF can assist companies with corporate grantmaking and other social responsibility efforts, visit our corporate responsibility page or contact donate@siliconvalleycf.org.

About Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. As the largest community foundation in the world, we engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Announces $10 Million Gift to Name and Expand the Impact of the Anne and John McNulty Leadership Program

Philadelphia, PA, January 27, 2016 — The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is delighted to announce a $10 million commitment from Anne Welsh McNulty, (Wharton MBA Class of 1979), which will drive the expansion and global reach of the current Wharton Leadership Program, building on a foundation of over 20 years of innovation and impact in leadership development. In recognition of this transformative gift, the Wharton Leadership Program will be renamed the Anne and John McNulty Leadership Program at the Wharton School.

“We are honored to be able to announce Anne’s amazing gift to the McNulty Leadership Program,” said Wharton Dean Geoff Garrett. “Anne and John have shaped the history of Wharton and made a lasting impact on students by preparing them to lead and change the world. Wharton is deeply grateful for this gift, which embodies the McNulty family’s steadfast commitment to leadership.”

Anne McNulty

Anne McNulty

The McNulty Leadership Program at Wharton memorializes John’s legacy of bold impact and both John and Anne’s sustained passion for preparing individuals to lead in their fields and communities. Under its new name, the McNulty Leadership Program at the Wharton School will elevate the School’s approach to leadership learning and development. The Program maintains a holistic approach to coursework, coaching, mentoring, and experiential learning for students of all ages, instilling in them the tools needed to adapt their leadership styles through action, reflection, and experience, and to become global leaders of diverse workforces.

“This inspired gift from Anne and the McNulty Foundation gets to the core of what we do at the University of Pennsylvania,” said President Amy Gutmann. “Penn inspires enormously talented students along with many members of our University community, encourages them to challenge themselves to make a positive difference in the world, and provides an environment where they can take risks and grow to become their best possible selves. Anne will continue to change lives through her generosity and the Anne and John McNulty Leadership Program at the Wharton School.”

“I believe in the transformative power of developing each individual’s leadership capacity. Wharton’s Leadership Program is uniquely poised to make a real impact that will multiply from its students to businesses and communities and beyond,” said Anne McNulty. “Wharton was a turning point in our lives,” Anne reflected on her and John’s experience at the School. “It challenged us to think differently and taught us to be more thoughtful and more ambitious. Our time at Wharton motivated us to be active leaders, not only in running businesses, but also in our communities. It is a pleasure for me to support future students so that they may have a similar experience, so that they may reach their potential, and so that they may change the world through the lessons they learn at Wharton.”

This gift marks a new chapter in the McNulty family’s legacy of leadership at the Wharton School, throughout Philadelphia, and across the globe. The McNulty Foundation is investing generously in higher education and leadership development in the Philadelphia region, including grants to Villanova University and St. Joseph’s University in addition to the University of Pennsylvania. The Foundation awards the annual the John P. McNulty Prize to young leaders pioneering creative, sustainable market solutions to seemingly intractable problems in communities around the world.

“This major investment will accelerate and expand the impact of Wharton’s premier leadership development initiative by providing support for new program development and the adaptation of popular programs – like the Wharton Leadership Ventures and the Executive Coaching and Feedback Program – to new student audiences and the general public. We’re so grateful to enlist Anne and the McNulty Foundation as both a supporter and a partner in this next phase,” said Jeff Klein, executive director of the newly-named McNulty Leadership Program at Wharton.

Prior to his untimely passing, John McNulty was a historic figure at Goldman Sachs. He rose through the ranks, named first as a partner and then co-head of the Asset Management Division, later leading its newly-created Investment Management Division. Throughout, he was a dedicated mentor to young associates, many of whom have since risen to leadership positions in the industry. He served on Wharton’s Graduate Executive Board, on the Board of Trustees at Saint Joseph’s University, and as a board member of the New York University Child Study Center. John earned his undergraduate degree from Saint Joseph’s University and his MBA (in 1979) from the Wharton School.

Anne McNulty is the co-founder and managing partner of JBK Partners, with businesses ranging from investment management to a private philanthropic foundation. She was previously a managing director at Goldman Sachs and a senior executive of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies Group. She is a current member of the Board of Overseers at the Wharton School, a member of the Wharton Leadership Advisory Board, and a past member of the Undergraduate Executive Board. In addition to her leadership engagements at Wharton, Anne serves as a trustee of the Aspen Institute and the Metropolitan Opera of New York, and a member of both the Board of Directors of the Child Mind Institute in New York and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. She is a former trustee at Villanova University, where she was valedictorian of her class. Anne earned her MBA from the Wharton School.

About the Wharton School

Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 participants in executive education programs annually and a powerful alumni network of 94,000 graduates.

About the McNulty Leadership Program at Wharton

Since 1992, the newly-named Anne and John McNulty Leadership Program at the Wharton School has pushed the boundaries of traditional education in the fields of leadership and teamwork. Leadership development at Wharton bonds together scholarship, relationships, and experiences to link knowledge to action and provide structured opportunities for learning and growth. At the core of all programming is an opportunity to test, reflect, learn, and apply the intellectual foundations of accomplished faculty. The McNulty Leadership Program at Wharton joins the Center for Leadership and Change Management and the Lipman Family Prize as the cornerstone of the School’s leadership development initiatives.

Trend Report: Impact Investing & Social Entrepreneurship in 2016

A while ago, I had the distinct opportunity to speak with Mr. Joel Solomon, Renewal Funds, Chair & Co-founder and Hollyhock, Chair. He had been so generous with his time and advice for PATHFINDER. Imagine my excitement when he accepted my recent request for a more detailed follow-up interview.

A quick note first: I cannot overstate the importance of the information here, certainly for investors and entrepreneurs alike, but also for various leaders, influencers and for impending decisions that will shape the future of our world.

What are the greater trends?

Is more money being diverted to socially driven businesses? Are people catching on to the benefits of investing for social impact alongside financial gain? Are financiers looking into the feasibility of creative new models?

In general, we are now past vision, invention, and seeding of these ideas. We are in early growth stage. Awareness still remains largely limited to those who are directly involved. However, social entrepreneurship, enlightened investors, the questioning of conventional wealth management assumptions, and emergence of a new generation of values are combining in a powerful formula. This formula is gaining momentum, credibility, proof of concept and initial mainstream acceptance.

There is tremendous opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs to benefit financially from creating ways for people to align their money closely with their values.

Wealth managers are the first to feel the trend via pressure from clients. They’ve struggled to provide comprehensive, satisfactory solutions. Firms are repackaging solutions to highlight their efforts in these directions. New products are being launched. Wealth management firms that understand this demand, its value to the world, and how to relate to clients are gaining strength and growing.

In fact, we are now at an inflection point and cannot be stopped. Socially conscious business and economic practices are to become a given.

Where are the biggest opportunities?

What areas are investors most excited about? Clean energy has had a lot of the focus thus far. Is that to remain the case for now, or are financiers starting to notice other parts of the industry?

The “Clean Money Revolution”

Every sector of the economy, indeed of how people live on the planet, needs overhaul. Yes, clean energy will be massive.

But so will clean transportation, clean buildings, clean water, clean air, clean food, clean mining, logging, clothing…

Take organic food for example. Decades of early adopters persevered with businesses that grew, processed, manufactured, distributed and retailed organic foods. They worked in virtual obscurity. Only a small committed consumer helped this early stage. Organic food began to show up on grocery shelves. For several decades, organics outgrew conventional food by multiples of sales. Growth steadily picked up velocity. In the last decade it has become a major industry. And yet, in 2015, organic food remains under 10% of the North American food sales. It may be under 2% globally.

Organic food is now unstoppable. The common sense is too compelling. Health, worker safety, chemical runoff into water systems, depleted soil, and an entire system of damaging practices are now facing the threat to reform or die.

The same cycle is steadily evident in renewable energy, efficient transportation, green buildings, carbon pricing, local production, regulations to protect the commons, worker’s rights, taxation and many more systems. Every part of the economy will shift.

Essentially, all solutions that lend to responsible, sustainable living while generating profits?

Yes, exactly.

What Are the Biggest hurdles?

Is seed capital likely to remain limited and competitive?

Seed capital will likely always remain competitive. If it were in easy supply, the demand for it would only grow.

Do financiers remain nervous about the risk associated with models in this industry? What advice might best help overcome?

Investors are always nervous about risk. Two things are slowly changing that dynamic. One, wealth holders are learning to ask themselves, “How much is enough?” The other is that the marketplace of socially relevant products and services is getting bigger and smarter.

My advice is to practice reflective inquiry as a first step. Find the meaning of ones’ life. Use a little money for basic security and the rest as a tool for doing good in the world.

What is your best guess for when the concepts of Impact Investing and Social Entrepreneurship will become the mainstream trends everyone wants to get in on?

I do see money rapidly aligning with core values and high purpose. The signs are showing up everywhere and picking up velocity. Smart people are seeing how post-WW2 industrial values were naive and unsustainable. New experimentation are underway around the world, more than that can be tracked, in fact. Demand for sustainability degrees in universities is beating supply. Socially driven businesses are proliferating and expanding. Capital sources that seek these businesses are growing. People who want these products and services are growing even faster.

The visionary, early-adopting risk takers are often the originators of major changes. These are the people who transform the conversation from “it’s impossible” into “that was obvious.” If we can find our way to fair taxation, carbon pricing, regulations to protect the commons, universal health care, education, welfare for those in need, livable minimum wages, responsibility in manufacturing, recycling all waste, protecting natural systems, and terminating machinery that pushes rabid consumption, we may, just may become the ancestors who turned trends towards caring for our future generations.

Ten years from now, we won’t have this conversation. It will all seem redundant. That’s how social change works. Once enough people accept a premise, it is hard to remember how things were ever done differently.

Joel Solomon is President of Renewal Partners and Chairman of Renewal Funds, he is also the co-author, with Tyee Bridge, of the upcoming book by New Society Publishers.

About PATHFINDER

Singh and van Thiel, co-founders of PATHFINDER, may be best described as highly specialized consultants. They engage financial organizations and impact investors, including venture capitalists, private equity firms and CSR departments who are committed to making a social impact via sustainable, scale-able and profitable business models, and they connect them to local social entrepreneurs with demonstrably compelling ideas that need financing and direction.

They provide lasting strategy and management consulting by way of relationship governance and business education among other facets of leadership and guidance.

Impact Makers Raises More than $1.5M in Equity Capital

Richmond, Virginia, January 27, 2016 — Impact Makers has raised over $1.5 million in a distinct equity investment to support the growth of its unique business and technology-consulting firm. This influx of capital will enable the company to expand its service offerings, intellectual property and geographic coverage, and ultimately provide even greater community impact. Impact Makers is a for profit Virginia benefit corporation that is committed to helping members of the community by contributing 100% of its net profits to charities over the life of the company.

Investors participated both as a solid business investment and to support Impact Makers’ social enterprise business model. Nationally, the investors include Ben & Jerry’s ice cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield and Mike Hannigan, co-founder and president of Give Something Back, a California-based office supply company that donates profits. “I see Impact Makers as potentially very successful,” Hannigan said. “There is a philanthropic attitude within the company, but there is also a hard-nose competitive interest within the company that puts the customer’s interests first, which is always necessary to succeed.”

“A number of well-known social enterprise leaders and organizations that were the original inspiration for me to start Impact Makers – Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s and Mike Hannigan among them – have now invested in Impact Makers,” states Michael Pirron, Impact Makers’ Founder and CEO, “This is a huge compliment and very meaningful for me and our whole team. Those that inspired us now believe in our model enough to support it.” Pirron and other members of Impact Makers’ board and leadership team also joined the investors and Virginia Community Capital, who provided additional debt financing to complement the capital raise.

Local investors are Richmond’s James E. Ukrop and Robert Mooney of New Richmond Ventures; Bobby Thalhimer with The Monument Group; Richard Hood, owner of Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, and John Whitlock, founder and chairman of technology firm The Whitlock Group. Mrs. Patricia Pusey also invested and her son, William A. Pusey, Jr., JD, a Senior Wealth Advisor with Keel Point, shared that “we believe in Impact Makers and its people, processes and prospects. The opportunity for their success in business is real as demonstrated by operations to date and the pipeline of deals coming in the near future. “

The equity raise is another step in leveraging Impact Makers’ unique business structure. The investors become preferred shareholders with a market-priced, but capped, return on investment. “I’ve been a long-time volunteer board member because I recognize the tremendous value our business model has to the community; and I’ve made loans to help fund growth because I have confidence the management team and associates will produce a fair return with modest risk. Everyone wins,” said David Wade, Impact Makers’ Board Member.

Impact Makers’ revenue grew 53 percent last year compared with 2014. It has contributed about $1.2 million in donations and pro bono work to the community since its inception. The company currently provides financial support and pro bono services to nonprofits including Rx Partnership, Family Lifeline, Peter Paul Development Center and Future Leaders in Project Management.

Entering its 35th Year, Momentum Continues to Grow for The All Stars Project

Privately Funded Nonprofit Leader in Afterschool Development is Transforming Lives, Building Community for Inner City Youth and Poor Communities

NEW YORK, NY – January 25, 2016: Now entering its 35th anniversary year, the All Stars Project, Inc. (ASP) is pleased to report, for the first time in its history, having raised over $10M in cash gross income for the calendar year (ending 12/31/2015) from a total of 3925 donors; an achievement marking 25 years of annual income growth. Based in New York City with additional locations in five other cities across the U.S. – Newark, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and San Francisco, California – the ASP is a privately funded national nonprofit organization founded in 1981 whose mission is to transform the lives of youth and poor communities using the developmental power of performance, in partnership with caring adults.

In addition, the All Stars Project raised the most it ever has online this past year, nearly $1M; which is almost triple the amount raised since the organization began taking online donations in 2010. In total, the income of the All Stars Project in 2015 was made up of: 58% individual giving, 33.2% corporate giving, and 8.8% foundation giving.

As the All Stars Project’s approach to Afterschool Development grows more mainstream as a new way of engaging poverty, it is gaining more buy-in from the corporate and foundation community for its vision, and experienced a significant increase in corporate giving in 2015.

The increased corporate giving seen this past year is especially meaningful for the organization, as it demonstrates the embodiment of ‘involvement philanthropy’. This growing trend has captured the energies of corporate professionals, who are not only writing checks, but also becoming personally involved in transforming the lives of inner-city youth. In the process, they are doing new things, having new experiences, and growing themselves alongside the youth.

“What is unique about the All Stars Project’s approach to Afterschool Development is that they bring together people from very different backgrounds, with different ideas about how to create a sense of community,” said Hunter Hunt, CEO of Hunt Consolidated Energy and Vice-Chair of the All Stars Project’s Board of Directors. “It is not only the young people that benefit from All Stars programs; business leaders find that when they interact with the young people (for example, through the Development School for Youth), it energizes everyone. The benefit is felt throughout their companies.”

To that end, this year ASP created Boards dedicated to serving its centers in Bridgeport, Dallas, and New York City, expanded the Boards in its other markets; and also expanded its Development School for Youth (DSY) program, where a record 381 young people across the country partnered with major companies including AIG, MetLife, JPMorgan, and Tiffany & Co.

The DSY’s afterschool development model connects inner-city youth between the ages of 16 and 21with corporate America, enabling them to learn to perform as professionals, create new relationships and new possibilities for themselves. The program partners with corporate professionals and over 180 major corporations to provide training experiences and internships for DSY graduates. JP Morgan is a standout example as the largest DSY internship sponsor, having hosted 50 interns in 2015.

In 2016, the All Stars Project seeks to significantly increase the number of American businesses participating in the DSY, as well as the number of internships available for youth in the program, and marked the start of this effort at its 2016 National DSY Internship Campaign Kickoff Breakfast on January 20, 2016. Hosted by MetLife, Inc., ASP’s 2015 National Afterschool Development Partner, the event offered an opportunity to learn more about the program, sponsoring internships for DSY graduates, and to meet and hear from some of the young people themselves about the impact the DSY program has had on their lives.

“We are honored to have MetLife, our largest corporate donor, partner with us in leading the charge to encourage others in the business community to get involved with the All Stars Project,” said ASP President and CEO Gabrielle Kurlander. “MetLife employees in New York City and New Jersey were among the first wave of business professionals personally investing in our programs and coming together with inner-city youth. They helped to create the bridge between very different worlds needed to transform the lives of young people and poor communities.”

Ms. Kurlander continued: “Looking back, we have accomplished so much this past year – milestones that could not have been achieved without the generous support of our growing community of champions who have made a difference not only financially, but by becoming personally involved with All Stars Project programs. I am confident that our supporters will rise to the challenge with us to continue to share All Star’s work and engage poverty through our proven approach to Afterschool Development.”

About All Stars Project, Inc.

The All Stars Project is a privately funded national nonprofit organization founded in 1981 whose mission is to transform the lives of youth and poor communities using the developmental power of performance, in partnership with caring adults. By 2020, the All Stars Project will be recognized as America’s leader in afterschool development, a new way of engaging poverty.

From engaging young people with corporate America through its Development School for Youth (DSY), to the All Stars Talent Show Network (ASTSN), to building better police-community relations through Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids, the All Stars Project has seen the power of performance to change lives. ASP is supported by some of America’s leading companies including DIRECTV, EY, MetLife, PWC and Viacom. Led by President and CEO Gabrielle Kurlander, the ASP involves over 10,000 young people every year in its afterschool programs in six cities across the country. Learn more at www.allstars.org, on Facebook and on Twitter @AllStarsProject.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Honors Nerium International as the Nation’s Top Corporate Fundraising Partner

TAMPA, Fla.(January 27, 2016) – Big Brothers Big Sisters is pleased to honor Nerium International and its Nerium Ripple Foundation for outstanding dedication to mentorship. Nerium is the largest corporate fundraising partner in the country, raising $1.3 million in support for the 112-year-old youth mentoring organization in 2015.

“From top corporate leadership to local partner involvement – Nerium helps further our mission through nearly every facet of their organization,” said Pam Iorio, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “Their financial support and ability to encourage more brand ambassadors means that we can help match even more children with a strong adult mentor.”

In addition to the $1.3 million raised in 2015, Nerium generated more than $2 million in support of the Big Brothers Big Sisters youth mentoring program in the United States and Canada from 2012 to 2014, bringing the total to $3.5 million over four years. These generous gifts come from corporate funds as well as donations from Nerium’s Independent Brand Partners, the company’s external sales force. The financial gifts have allowed Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide approximately 3,500 at-risk youth with carefully monitored one-to-one mentoring. This program model has been proven by independent studies and recognized by the federal government for keeping youth in school and out of trouble so they can achieve their greatest potential in life.

Pictured from left to right: BBBS Lone Star President Keith Rhodes, Nerium Chief Leadership Officer Renee Olson and Ryan, her “Little,” BBBS Lone Star CEO Pierce Bush and Nerium Co-CEO Jeff Dahl.

Pictured from left to right: BBBS Lone Star President Keith Rhodes, Nerium Chief Leadership Officer Renee Olson and Ryan, her “Little,” BBBS Lone Star CEO Pierce Bush and Nerium Co-CEO Jeff Dahl.

Nerium’s dedication goes beyond the outstanding financial contributions, however. More than 300 of Nerium’s Independent Brand Partners have served as volunteer mentors with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Leadership begins at the top, and Nerium’s executives demonstrate this daily. Chief Leadership Officer Renee Olson has been a Big Sister to Ryan for more than two years, and Co-CEO Jeff Dahl was matched with Little Brother Angelo a year and a half ago.

“The missions of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Nerium International are nearly identical,” said Nerium founder and CEO Jeff Olson. “Both organizations work to make lives better with caring individuals gently modeling the way.” Mentorship is one of the keys to the corporation’s rapid success, achieving $1 billion in cumulative revenue in only four years. The concept is featured heavily in Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge.

Nerium has gained international recognition for its passion for community outreach, including four PR News Community Social Responsibility Awards and the 2015 DCEO Magazine Corporate Responsibility Award. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America honored Nerium in 2013 with its Community Spirit Award and in 2015 with the President’s Award, the highest award for corporate partners. Nerium has set a goal for raising $2 million in charitable giving in 2016.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network, provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course. The Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey substantiates that its mentoring programs have proven, positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth — areas linked to high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency, and college or job readiness. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 112-year history. With more than 300 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves approximately 170,000 children, their families and 170,000 volunteer mentors. Learn more at www.BigBrothersBigSisters.org.

About Nerium International

Nerium International, LLC, headquartered in Addison, Texas, is a relationship marketing company that markets breakthrough anti-aging products validated by science. Since its August 2011 launch, Nerium has reached record-breaking sales and earned industry accolades while building a loyal customer base of millions in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South Korea. Led by an award-winning executive team with more than 220 years of collective industry experience, Nerium International is committed to developing and distributing anti-aging products that are rooted in real science, produce real results and improve consumers’ lives. For more information, please visit www.nerium.com.

For more about the Nerium Ripple Foundation, please visit www.NeriumRipple.org.

Spring Break Plans Fall Through At The Last Minute? Volunteer

Projects Abroad facilitates various Alternative Spring Break Trips for college students and accepts late applications

A Projects Abroad Public Health volunteer assists with a medical checkup in Mexico

A Projects Abroad Public Health volunteer assists with a medical checkup in Mexico

NEW YORK – January 27, 2016 – Spring break is a couple of weeks away and there are still options available if your plans have fallen through. Projects Abroad, an organization with more than 20 years of experience in the industry, has a diverse range of worthwhile Alternative Spring Break Trips and does accept late applications. With different travel options to choose from in February and March, and the opportunity to help someone in need, students will have a lot to look forward to over the upcoming spring break.

2016 is gearing up to be an especially exciting year, according to Elizabeth Cauchois, Program Advisor for Projects Abroad USA. “This is the first year we’ll be welcoming spring breakers to Argentina, Belize, and Fiji. In our other spring break destinations, students have consistently used their short time abroad to learn as much as possible and make as big an impact as they can. We’re looking forward to seeing students do the same in our newest destinations.”

The projects facilitated by Projects Abroad cover a wide variety of interests. Medicine or Public Health projects are ideal for pre-med students wanting to enhance their medical knowledge or medical students looking to give back on outreach activities. Early Childhood Development, Education, or Social Work majors can have a significant impact working with children at a Care placement. For students eager to work outdoors or those with a passion for wildlife, Building or Conservation placements are ideal. However, as Cauchois emphasizes, students can sign up for any project that interests them, regardless of their field of study.

“A lot of our spring breakers are specifically looking to branch out and experience something new and different while having fun and meeting new people. We also find that the majority of students volunteering in our Spanish-speaking destinations seize the opportunity to learn some of the language or improve their conversational ability by chatting with staff at their placements and their local host families.”

Students whose plans have fallen through or who decided to travel at the last minute can contact the Projects Abroad USA office directly to see how quickly staff can arrange a trip. Alternatively, learn more about Alternative Spring Break Trips by visiting www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/alternative-spring-break.

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 30 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org.

Global Release of the Documentary: Revolution of the Present A Primer for Global Citizenship

“The Planet is Being Shaped By Human Intention and Action. It is Radically Different Than Anything We’ve Ever Seen.” – Revolution of the Present

Featuring twenty international thought leaders, Revolution of the Present, the documentary feature film by Director Marc Lafia, dares the viewer to begin examining a profound new present, this revolution of the present, so that we can better shape our collective future. Just released on Vimeo, iTunes, and Amazon Prime this January (coming soon to GooglePlay), the film unravels the complexity of the contemporary moment, examining western presumptions and narratives. In the post colonial world of identity politics, social media, global warming, screen and algorithmic computational technologies, it asks if there is room for the individual and participatory politics in the networked cultures of today.

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The Film for Those Who Want to Break Free of the Matrix

Revolution of the Present examines the strange effects —on cities, economies, people— of what we might call accelerated capitalism. Set against a visually striking array of sounds and images, twenty international thinkers speak to the complexity and oddity of this contemporary moment as they discuss what is and what can be.

“We do need new concepts. New ways of thinking about what is a profoundly new reality.” – Revolution of the Present

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“The film is meant to begin a global conversation,” says Lafia. “It’s a series of building blocks that together give description to the increasing complexity and inter-dependence of our networked world. Perhaps as Columbia University Professor Saskia Sassen says in the film, ‘We are on the other side of the curve of liberal democracy.’ If we take the time to examine where we are, we have no choice but to be a part of the future. You can either act to change things, or your inaction will decide for you. But how do we take action and what do we do? That is the heart of the film.”

As the impact of human civilization makes our planet more and more precarious for her inhabitants, our need to collaborate and dialogue has never been greater. Be a part of the conversation. View the trailer and film for FREE here. Get info at www.revolutionofthepresent.org and share thoughts @RevOfThePresent.

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