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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: February 2016

International Awards Program Commits $50,000 to Combat Child Exploitation and Abuse

New Award will provide multi-year funding and support to highly effective nonprofit leaders and their organizations focused on Child Protection

Dublin, CA – Jan 7, 2016 – World of Children Award, headquartered in Dublin, California, has issued an open call for nominations for a new Child Protection Award to be given in October 2016. The Protection Award will recognize, fund, and support an individual who has made significant contributions to children through anti-trafficking and anti-slavery intervention, rescue and rehabilitation, or protection from abuse. The Award comes with a minimum cash grant of $50,000 and in-kind strategic support tailored to the winning organization’s needs.

“Nobody really knows the full extent of trafficking in children around the world. It is conducted ‘in the dark’ but often involves the tacit or even explicit support of officials in police forces, corporations, and governments. Additionally, many millions more children around the world live in indentured servitude or slavery,” explains Harry Leibowitz, Co-Founder of World of Children Award. “It is time to bring this terrible issue into the light and put serious philanthropic and political will behind rescue and rehabilitation of victims and complete abolishment of practices that continue to rob children of freedom, health, happiness and sometimes even their lives. This new award represents a strong commitment by our organization – one we hope many others will follow.”

Leibowitz and the organization’s Board of Directors believe the new Award is an important step in ensuring the organization is focusing on the most pressing issues currently facing children around the world. In addition to actively soliciting nominations for the new Award, World of Children will work to raise awareness of these issues throughout the year, starting with a digital media campaign throughout January, which is Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the United States.

Awards from World of Children provide funding and in-kind support to visionary leaders who lead sustainable, high-impact programs for children anywhere in the world. Nominations for the Child Protection Award and 4 other award categories – Health, Humanitarian, Education, and Youth – are being accepted through an online platform until April 1, 2016.

Growth Potential For Aquaculture In Myanmar Explored In New Projects

(25 February, 2016) Two projects launched today in Naypyidaw will focus on promoting sustainable growth of aquaculture to improve food security, nutrition and income for communities in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Delta and Central Dry Zone.

The WorldFish implemented project, MYCulture, funded by the Livelihoods and Funds Trust (LIFT) will target small-scale household fish producers with potential to ‘step-up’ to become commercial smallholders. A second project, MYNutrition funded by IFAD, aims to increase production of indigenous small fish through small-scale aquaculture and community-based management of village ponds with increased stocking.

Fish is one of the most important sources of animal protein and micronutrients in Myanmar with average consumption levels estimated between 21 to over 51kg/person/yr. However, with significant levels of malnutrition in the country, these figures are likely to hide a large diversity of consumption patterns.

MYNutrition aims to improve nutrition and livelihoods of poor, rural households in Myanmar, through increased intakes of micronutrient-rich small fish and vegetables from homestead production, as well as through increased household income. Small fish, often eaten whole, are an excellent source of micronutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin B12, as well as fatty acids and animal protein.

New USAID-funded research finds that aquaculture is positively contributing to the country’s economy by creating jobs, income and improving the health and wellbeing of the people whose lives depend on it. The research, Aquaculture in transition: Value chain transformation, fish and food security in Myanmar also highlights how the sector has massive potential to grow and develop further by becoming more competitive, spatially diversified and smallholder-inclusive.

Aquaculture production accounts for around 22% of the total fish production volume in Myanmar and has grown significantly in the past decade, reaching 850,959 tonnes in 2010, according to government statistics provided to FAO. This is a long way behind neighboring Thailand and Bangladesh (about 80% and 55%, respectively); farmed fish already accounted for about 20% of the fish consumed in both these countries by the late 1980’s.

One of the most striking features of aquaculture in Myanmar is the absence of a vibrant small-scale aquaculture sub-sector. The Department of Fisheries (DoF) and a number of NGOs post-cyclone Nargis have attempted to stimulate small-scale aquaculture development across the Ayeyarwady Delta and in some areas of the Central Dry Zone (CDZ) but with mixed results.

MYCulture will aim to improve and extend the benefits from large to small-scale producers focusing on 5,000 households directly engaged in aquaculture value chains and a further 5,000 households that will benefit indirectly via awareness raising and exposure to knowledge, sharing and learning.

MYCulture will be facilitated through the core partnership involving Network Alliance Group (NAG), PACT, Groupe de Recherches et d’Echanges Technologiques (GRET) and Department of Fisheries (DoF) as part of the R&D network the Fishery Research and Development Network (FRDN). The announcement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between WorldFish and Myanmar’s Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development (MOLFRD) in 2014 signaling aquaculture development as a priority for the Myanmar government.

MYNutrition will adapt and pilot-test integrated aquaculture and fisheries/agriculture-nutrition linkages approaches, initially developed and practiced in Bangladesh. It is funded by IFAD.

For more information:

Web: worldfishcenter.org

Photography: flickr.com/photos/theworldfishcenter/

About WorldFish

WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty. Globally, more than one billion poor people obtain most of their animal protein from fish and 800 million depend on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. WorldFish is a member of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

About CGIAR

CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partners.

SDSU Library Awarded Grant for LGBT History Project

“OUT on the Left Coast: San Diego LGBT History” will be an online interactive image and sound resource documenting San Diego’s unique LGBT history.

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Feb. 24, 2016) — California Humanities recently announced San Diego State University’s Love Library as one of its 2016 Community Stories grant awardees. The library was awarded $10,000 for its project entitled “OUT on the Left Coast: San Diego LGBT History.”

Community Stories is a competitive grant program of California Humanities, a non-profit that promotes the humanities in California. Grants are awarded to projects that give expression to the extraordinary variety of histories and experiences of California’s places and people to ensure that the stories can be shared widely.

“OUT on the Left Coast: San Diego LGBT History” will be an online interactive image and sound resource documenting the emergence of LGBT social movements in the San Diego and Northern Baja California regions.

Project directors, Anna Culbertson and Lisa Lamont, plan to use the San Diego Pride Parade as the initial focus for the website. The SDSU Library will digitize the moving and provocative graphics this phenomenon has generated over the years, including T-shirts, posters, buttons and banners, and combine these striking images with photographs and oral histories of early community activists.

The original materials for the project date from the late 1960s to the present and are housed at the Lambda Archives of San Diego, the region’s most comprehensive archive of LGBT history.

“The resulting collaboration will be a website and discovery tool to provide unprecedented public access to ‘living history,’” said Maureen Steiner, director of the Lambda Archives.

“SDSU library and Lambda Archives have sought for several years now to partner in a way that will impact both campus and community,” said Culbertson, who is also assistant head of Special Collections and University Archives at SDSU. “This resource will allow us to connect and engage students, community members and scholars through a history told directly by its participants.”

The project team will include staff from Lambda Archives and humanities advisors from SDSU’s LGBT major, Mathew Keufler and Walter Penrose. The major, which launched in 2011, was among the first of its kind in the country and will benefit from the resources made available to the public by “OUT on the Left Coast.”

The website will be launched with a public lecture series beginning in October 2016 and will be cross-promoted through San Diego Pride events.

“We envision using this website as a foundation upon which to add more content, creating a growing and evolving resource to foster greater community understanding and engagement with this important part of Southern California history,” said Gale Etschmaier, dean of the SDSU Library.

“California’s population has such a rich and varied story to tell — and we can all benefit from knowing more about each other,” noted Margaret Shelleda, chair of the board of California Humanities. “We are proud to award grants to those who find creative and effective ways of sharing our stories with new audiences and help connect Californians whose histories and experiences deserve greater and deeper appreciation.”

Since 2003, California Humanities has supported approximately 477 story projects and granted nearly $3.8 million to enable communities to voice, record, and share histories — many previously untold or little known. Through video, photography, murals, zines, documentary theater, audio projects, and more, these collected stories have been shared with broad audiences, both live and virtual.

California Humanities is an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on California Humanities, please visit www.calhum.org.

The Little Orchestra Society Presents Tchaikovsky: Bigger Than Ballet, an imaginative musical adventure for families!

Featuring young dancers from both the school of American Ballet Theatre and Dancing Classrooms, alongside the musicians of LOS, and led by popular LOS guest conductor David Alan Miller

The Little Orchestra Society Presents Tchaikovsky  Bigger Than Ballet  an imaginative musical adventure for families    api.podder gmail.com   Gmail

February 24, 2016, New York, NY – The Little Orchestra Society® (LOS New York) presents Tchaikovsky: Bigger Than Ballet, featuring acclaimed Guest Conductor David Alan Miller, the Grammy Award-winning Music Director of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and presented as part of the new LOS KIDS series. Scheduled for March 5 and 6, this enchanting program focuses on the life and music of legendary Russian composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, with excerpts from some of his most famous works including Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and 1812 Overture. The music is magically woven together with choreography and hilarious characters to create an entertaining story about this versatile composer that will captivate children and adults alike. This program also features dancers from both the school of American Ballet Theatre and Dancing Classrooms, as well as 11 year-old urban street dancer Kai Rivera.

Frustrated that audiences assume that he only composes ballets, Tchaikovsky, with the help of the zany Professor Treblemaker and the Orchestra, proves once and for all that he’s “bigger than ballet.” Using elements of dance, story and live music, children are introduced to a wide range of musical masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, in an exciting and educational way. Excerpts of his work will be performed alongside dances ranging from ballroom to ballet to hip-hop!

LOS KIDS is The Little Orchestra Society’s brand new concert series for children ages 3-7. It’s everything New Yorkers loved about Lolli-Pops™ presented in an up-close and fun format, and featuring characters that today’s kids (and grown-ups) are sure to enjoy, with new lower ticket prices. Treat your family to an introduction to great music and renowned composers!

Tchaikovsky: Bigger Than Ballet
David Alan Miller, Guest Conductor
Craig Shemin, Writer
Steven Cardona, Director/Choreographer
Students from:
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School/American Ballet Theatre
Dancing Classrooms
Kai Rivera, Urban Street Dancer

Saturday, March 5, 2015, 10:00 AM & 11:30 AM
Sunday, March 6, 2015, 11:30 AM & 1:00 PM

Tickets: $15, $25 and $45

Call The Little Orchestra Society to learn about Conductor’s Circle memberships, a great way to support the work of LOS while getting the best seats and other special membership benefits.

The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College

East 68th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues)

About The Little Orchestra Society® (LOS New York)

The Little Orchestra Society/Orpheon, Inc., now in its 68th season, performed its inaugural concert at The Town Hall on October 20, 1947, and has since been devoted to performing innovative concerts of classical music for both adults and children. The Orchestra performs dynamic repertoire using multiple art forms with a variety of artists to create meaningful musical experiences for today’s audiences. Last season, more than 32,000 individuals enjoyed the Orchestra’s programming.

The Orchestra’s productions include the new series, LOS KIDS, and have previously included the Lolli-Pops™ series for children ages 3 to 5, the Peabody Award-winning Happy Concerts for Young People for children ages 6 to 12, the adult concert series Vivaldi’s Venice and Sound Discoveries, as well as Music Under the Big Top in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center.

The Orchestra has given many important premieres—more than 65 throughout its history—and launched the careers of major musical talents in its concert programming for adult and family audiences. Past guest artists include iconic rock star Patti Smith as the narrator in Tubby The Tuba, academy-award nominated actress Sigourney Weaver as the narrator in Music Takes Flight, internationally acclaimed actor James Earl Jones and world renowned violinist Mark O’Connor in Honest Abe: Four Scores and More, violinist Lara St. John and multiple-time Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin in the critically-acclaimed Vivaldi’s Venice series, the popular children’s book author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) narrating the New York Premiere of The Composer is Dead, and Metropolitan Opera soprano Angela Meade in the exquisite Candlelight Cathedral Concerts, as well as many more.

The Little Orchestra Society is also committed to music education and public service. Last year alone, its public service programs, Musical Connections: The School Partnership Program®, after-school programs, Live in Concert!, Project 65Plus, and other community engagement activities in libraries, senior centers and other community spaces brought music education and live concert experiences to nearly 11,000 New York City public school children, families and seniors. These participants attend LOS New York concerts free of charge. As part of Musical Connections, public school children participate in an in-school music composition program that provides music education for the youngest elementary school students. These important public service and music education programs, as well as community engagement opportunities, are at the core of the Orchestra’s mission and vision. For more information, please visit www.littleorchestra.org or call 212-971-9500.

About James Judd, Music Director

Music Director of The Little Orchestra Society New York, the Israel Symphony Orchestra, and from 2017/18 season the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, British born conductor James Judd is sought after for both his passionate musicianship and his charismatic presence on and off the podium. Known for his extraordinarily communicative style and bold, imaginative programming, repeat engagements in concert halls from Prague to Tokyo, from Istanbul to Adelaide, attest to his rapport with audiences and musicians alike.

During his eight years as Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Judd brought the ensemble to a new level of visibility and international renown with acclaimed recordings for the Naxos label, tours of Europe and Australia and the orchestra’s first appearance at the BBC Proms. Other music directorships have included Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille in France and a ground breaking 14 years as Music Director of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.

In addition to his international conducting career, James Judd has led the orchestras of the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Guildhall School, Trinity College of London, Aspen Music Festival and the National Youth Orchestras of Australia and New Zealand. Since 2007 he has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Asian Youth Orchestra, an ensemble of the most gifted musicians from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Korea.

An outstanding exponent of the works of Gustav Mahler, Judd’s performances of this monumental composer have been praised the world over. His recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 was awarded the Gold Medal by France’s Diapason as well as the Toblacher Komponierhäuschen for the best Mahler recording of the year. Judd’s many orchestral recordings are also featured on the Decca, EMI and Philips labels.

Recent concert highlights have included performances of Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ in Bucharest and Bernstein’s ‘Mass’ at the Radio France Festival, staged performances of ‘Carmina Burana’ at the spectacular desert ruins of Masada, a concert with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Palace in Monaco and a tour of Asia celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Asian Youth Orchestra. In addition to his commitments with his own orchestras, the new season features concerts with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony, University of Southern Californian Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles, the Slovenian National Orchestra and the horn quartet of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Noord Nederlands Orchestra and Vadim Repin, and three concerts in Berlin as part of the celebrations in the famous Konzerthaus of Yehudi Menuhin’s centenary.

About David Alan Miller, Guest Conductor

Grammy Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller has established a reputation as one of the leading American conductors of his generation. Music Director of the Albany Symphony since 1992, Mr. Miller has proven himself a creative and compelling orchestra builder. Through exploration of unusual repertoire, educational programming, community outreach and recording initiatives, he has reaffirmed the Albany Symphony’s reputation as the nation’s leading champion of American symphonic music and one of its most innovative orchestras. He and the orchestra have twice appeared at “Spring For Music,” an annual festival of America’s most creative orchestras at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Other accolades include Columbia University’s 2003 Ditson Conductor’s Award, the oldest award honoring conductors for their commitment to American music, the 2001 ASCAP Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming and, in 1999, ASCAP’s first-ever Leonard Bernstein Award for Outstanding Educational Programming.

Frequently in demand as a guest conductor, Mr. Miller has worked with most of America’s major orchestras, including the orchestras of Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, as well as the New World Symphony, the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet. In addition, he has appeared frequently throughout Europe, Australia and the Far East as guest conductor. He made his first guest appearance with the BBC Scottish Symphony in March, 2014.

Mr. Miller received his Grammy Award in January, 2014 for his Naxos recording of John Corigliano’s “Conjurer,” with the Albany Symphony and Dame Evelyn Glennie. His extensive discography also includes recordings of the works of Todd Levin with the London Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon, as well as music by Michael Daugherty, Kamran Ince, and Michael Torke for London/Decca, and of Luis Tinoco for Naxos. His recordings with the Albany Symphony include discs devoted to the music of John Harbison, Roy Harris, Morton Gould, Don Gillis, Peter Mennin, and Vincent Persichetti on the Albany Records label.

A native of Los Angeles, David Alan Miller holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School. Prior to his appointment in Albany, Mr. Miller was Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. From 1982 to 1988, he was Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony, earning considerable acclaim for his work with that ensemble. Mr. Miller lives with his wife and three children in Slingerlands, New York.

About Craig Shemin, Writer

Craig Shemin is delighted to be working once again with The Little Orchestra Society, having previously adapted their productions of “Hansel and Gretel” and “Babes in Toyland.” He began his career with the Jim Henson Company and spent 14 years writing for the Muppets. His television credits include “Dora and Friends,” “Lou and Lou: Safety Patrol,” “Tasty Time with ZeFronk,” and “The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss” (WGA Award Nominee). His plays “The Green Room” and “Panophobia” have had several New York City readings. A reading of Shemin’s screenplay, “Dick Cavett Ruined My Life,” was presented by the WGA-East, featuring Dick Cavett as himself. In 2012, he wrote “Jim Henson’s Musical World,” a New York Pops concert presented at Carnegie Hall and recently wrote The Muppets Character Encyclopedia for DK Books. He serves as president of the Jim Henson Legacy, a nonprofit organization celebrating the life and work of Jim Henson.

About Steven Cardona, Director

Steven Cardona is from Orlando, Florida and received a BFA in Musical Theater with an emphasis in Direction and Choreography. Immediately after college, he moved to New York where he began to work as an Assistant and Associate Choreographer for Wendy Seyb. Additionally, Mr. Cardona served as the Assistant Director to Wendy Seyb, Mark Adam Rampmeyer and Kent Nicholson. He now works as a Director/Choreographer, developing new musicals. He is currently creating several theatrical projects including book musicals and original dance narratives.

Credits include: International; The Wiz (Scotland), Click Clack Moo (Canada/national tour). Regional; “The Untitled John Mayer Project” (The Merc) Altar Boyz (Theater Barn), Strike Up The Band (Boston Conservatory), Ragtime (Dr. Phillips), Guys and Dolls (Act III Pro.) Money$hot: a new musical (Rush Theatrical productions) Asst. Choreographer: Murder For Two (Second Stage/ New World Stages/ National Tour).

Rice U. Study Identifies Factors That Affect State-Owned Enterprises’ Welcome Overseas

HOUSTON – (Feb. 24, 2016) – When a multinational company is a state-owned enterprise, the choice of where to expand may hinge on more than just economic considerations, according to a new paper by strategic management experts at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

A Geopolitical Perspective Into the Opposition of State-Owned Enterprises in Target States” argues that potential opposition from target countries can also play a role. Most notably, the authors said, these countries may see the foreign enterprises as agents of their home countries and the enterprises’ expansion onto their soil as a threat to their national security. The United States, for example, in 2005 blocked a Chinese state-owned oil company, China National Offshore Oil Corp., from acquiring the U.S. firm Unocal on the grounds that the company represented the interests of the Chinese Communist Party, according to the paper.

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The paper was co-authored by Wei Shi, a doctoral candidate in strategic management at the Jones School; Robert Hoskisson, the George R. Brown Professor of Management; and Yan “Anthea” Zhang, the Fayez Sarofim Vanguard Professor of Management.. It was published in Global Strategy Journal.

“Our foundational argument in this paper is that the geopolitical perspective can provide new insights into understanding the level of opposition faced by globalizing state-owned enterprises as well as their location choices,” the authors wrote. “Such a perspective is important because global financial turmoil has spurred governments throughout the world to take ownership in what previously were private businesses and more and more traditional state-owned enterprises are expanding beyond their national borders.”

The authors created a conceptual model to analyze the level of potential opposition from target countries. Their model proposed five geopolitical factors that can shape the level of welcome a state-owned enterprise can expect from its potential new home:

Geographic distance

From a geopolitical standpoint, close neighbors may pose greater threats to each other’s national sovereignty than countries that are comfortably far apart. Neighbors may also have a track record of conflict. For a state-owned enterprise, moving into a nearby neighborhood may threaten the target country’s sense of sovereignty or even national security and thus spark opposition.

Similarity of religious beliefs

Shared religious beliefs can boost levels of trust, and dissimilar belief systems can sow distrust and conflict, the authors said. When a state-owned-enterprise’s home country and its target destination share religious beliefs, the path to expansion may be smoother.

Similarity of governments

In today’s world, government types range from full autocracies to full democracies, with a variety of models in between. Countries with similar government forms, however, are more likely to identify with each other and agree upon how governments should work. That mutual identification and acceptance can lower opposition to a foreign state-owned enterprise’s investment.

Resource complementarity

Resource complementarity refers to the degree to which a target country needs resources that a foreign state-owned enterprise can offer. They might be natural resources, such as sources of energy; they might be technological savvy or financial strength. If the state-owned enterprise has resources that the target country wants, a welcome is more likely, the authors said.

Nationalist politics in the target country

A target country’s political leaders can muffle or amplify the other four factors to influence their country’s reception of the foreign state-owned enterprise. For example, if a state-owned enterprise is seen as a threat, the target country’s political leaders might urge official visits or foster economic cooperation. If they can calm nationalistic friction, these leaders can help open the doors to the state-owned enterprise. Political leaders can also use the nationalistic feelings to stoke opposition.

“Increasing global expansion by state-owned enterprises suggests the need for a more systematic framework to examine these enterprises’ location choices in international business,” the authors said. They believe that their geopolitical model focused on state-owned enterprises’ global expansions and potential opposition from target states “not only adds value to understanding the global distribution of state-owned enterprises’ business activities, but also can shed light on private multinational companies’ global location choices.”

For a copy of the study, go to http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gsj.1105/abstract.

For more information about Jones School faculty research, visit the school’s Business Wisdom at Rice website, http://ricebusinesswisdom.com.

Ranks of Accredited Land Trusts Grow

342 Land Trusts Now Hold National Mark of Distinction

Saratoga Springs, New York (Feb. 24, 2016) – The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a program promoting public trust and ensuring permanence in the conservation of American lands, announced today that 37 land trusts across the United States have achieved initial or renewed accreditation.

“There is great value in accreditation,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Commission, “in that it makes each land trust stronger and better able to serve their community.”

In total, 342 land trusts are now committed to the professional excellence that accreditation represents. The steady growth of that number across recent years – up from 301 in early 2015 and 254 in early 2014 – means that more than 15 million acres of conservation lands and easements are now stewarded by an accredited land trust.

Land trusts achieving first-time accreditation are Silicon Valley Land Conservancy (California), San Diego Habitat Conservancy (California), Save Mount Diablo (California), Colorado Headwaters Land Trust (Colorado), Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas (Colorado), Roxbury Land Trust (Connecticut), Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land (Georgia), Kaniksu Land Trust (Idaho), Kentucky Natural Lands Trust (Kentucky), Upper Saco Valley Land Trust (New Hampshire), Ridge and Valley Conservancy (New Jersey), Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust (New Mexico), Finger Lakes Land Trust (New York), North Salem Open Land Foundation (New York), Oblong Land Conservancy (New York), Otsego Land Trust (New York), Wallkill Valley Land Trust (New York), RiverLink (North Carolina), Licking Land Trust (Ohio), Wallowa Land Trust (Oregon), Western Rivers Conservancy (Oregon), French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust (Pennsylvania), South Kingstown Land Trust (Rhode Island), Beaufort County Open Land Trust (South Carolina) and West Wisconsin Land Trust (Wisconsin).

Land trusts achieving renewed accreditation are Marin Agricultural Land Trust (California), Pacific Forest Trust (California), La Plata Open Space Conservancy (Colorado), Kent Land Trust (Connecticut), The Trustees of Reservations and its affiliates (Boston Natural Areas Network, Hilltown Land Trust and Massachusetts Land Conservation Trust, all in Massachusetts), Potomac Conservancy (Maryland), Maine Coast Heritage Trust (Maine), Little Forks Conservancy (Michigan), Mianus River Gorge, Inc. (New York), Eno River Association (North Carolina), Mainspring Conservation Trust (North Carolina, formerly the Land Trust of the Little Tennessee) and Piedmont Land Conservancy (North Carolina).

The total number of accredited land trusts fluctuates due to factors such as consolidation among land trusts. For the most current list, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

The Commission is an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. Andrew Bowman, the Alliance’s president, cheered today’s announcement.

“Before coming to the Alliance, I helped drive funding for the accreditation program through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation,” he said. “It’s exciting, gratifying and encouraging to see the success that so many accredited land trusts have found through this program.”

Each accredited land trust meets extensive documentation requirements and undergoes a comprehensive review as part of its accreditation or renewal application. The process is detailed, thorough and helps transform land trusts. More information about the process and benefits are detailed at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, New York, inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing land trust organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and that strive for continuous improvement. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. More information about the Commission is available at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C. and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.

OPIC and Greenlight Planet Partner to Expand Off-Grid Energy Access in the Developing World

WASHINGTON – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution, signed an agreement with Greenlight Planet to finalize $5 million in OPIC financing to support the scaling up of Greenlight Planet, Inc, a provider of affordable off-grid solar energy systems to homes and businesses across the developing world. Greenlight Planet’s global development starts with a passion for delivering clean, affordable energy to underserved communities, paired with a sustainable business and distribution strategy. Today, they impact 15 million users across 40+ countries.

Greenlight Planet, with its products branded as Sun KingTM, provides high quality affordable solar lighting and phone charging devices to populations living off the electric grid in emerging markets throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. With this OPIC growth financing, Greenlight Planet will expand its global distribution network in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Photo: Anish Thakkar, CEO and Co-Founder of Greenlight Planet, shakes hands with Loren Rodwin, OPIC’s Managing Director of Small and Medium Enterprise Finance, after finalizing $5 million of OPIC support to Greenlight Planet, a provider of affordable off-grid solar energy systems to homes and businesses across the developing world.

Photo: Anish Thakkar, CEO and Co-Founder of Greenlight Planet, shakes hands with Loren Rodwin, OPIC’s Managing Director of Small and Medium Enterprise Finance, after finalizing $5 million of OPIC support to Greenlight Planet, a provider of affordable off-grid solar energy systems to homes and businesses across the developing world.

“We’re building the world’s largest rooftop solar consumer base in emerging markets and are delighted to have OPIC’s expertise on-board. This financing enables us to massively expand distribution globally and commercialize a much demanded pay-as-you-go solution by our consumers,” says Anish Thakkar, Greenlight Planet’s CEO and Co-Founder. “We are targeting an aggressive penetration of 30% of the off-grid households by 2020.”

“The expansion of off-grid energy solutions at scale is crucial to bring connectivity, opportunity, and security to populations that live away from the grid,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “Greenlight Planet’s strategy draws together clear development impact goals with a sound business plan and innovative partnerships to open up wider distribution. I’m looking forward to the results of OPIC’s support to them.”

OPIC’s support to Greenlight Planet is a product of the Portfolio for Impact, an OPIC financing innovation designed to support highly-developmental impact investment projects that, due to size and structure, would otherwise face difficulty in obtaining financing.

https://www.opic.gov/press-releases/2016/opic-and-greenlight-planet-partner-expand-grid-energy-access-developing-world

Morgan Freeman To Receive The Karma Award At Unite4:Good And Variety’s 3rd Annual “Unite4:Humanity” Event Presented By Karma On Thursday, February 25, 2016

Adam Pally To Host, Sarah Silverman And Wilmer Valderrama Slated To Present And A Special Performance By DNCE

February 24, 2016 – (Los Angeles, CA) Academy Award®-winning actor Morgan Freeman will receive the Karma Award for his philanthropic work with the Tallahatchie River Foundation at unite4:good and Variety’s 3rd annual unite4:humanity event on Thursday, February 25th at The Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. The evening will be hosted by Adam Pally, presenters include Sarah Silverman and Wilmer Valderrama and there will be a special performance by DNCE.

Freeman joins previously announced honorees including Academy Award®-winning actor Matthew McConaughey who will be receiving the Creative Conscience Award for his work with his foundation just keep livin; Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller who will be receiving the unite2gether Award for their work with Hilarity for Charity; Olivia Wilde who will be receiving the unite4children award for her work with Save the Children and Gina Rodriguez who will be receive the Young Humanitarian Award for her work in creating her We Will Foundation.

“We are honored to recognize Morgan Freeman and his organization that helps promote educational opportunities for youth in Mississippi,” said Jim Taylor, Chief Marketing Office of Karma Automotive. “We are dedicated to ‘Acting with Intention’ for a better future in our industry and supporting those who also do this in their organizations and personal lives.”

Karma Automotive is the presenting sponsor of the event. Premiere Sponsors include American Airlines, who will be gifting miles to each of the honoree’s charities; Ketel One® vodka, celebrating 325 years of distilling excellence at the Nolet Family Distillery this year, will be curating specialty cocktails for the evening; Saint Vintage, who will award the Saint Vintage Love Cures award to Dorian Murray for his #DStrong movement shedding light on childhood cancer; and Shutterstock who will be taking backstage portraits of the honorees.

Please join the conversation online at u4g.com and on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at unite4good and use hashtags #unite4good #whatsgood and #unite4humanity

24-Hour Fundraising Cycling Event Returns to Columbia

Registration is now open to join the 2016 ride

COLUMBIA, Md. – 24 Hours of Booty is back in Columbia for its ninth year. Registration is now open at http://www.24hoursofbooty.org/register.

The annual non-competitive bicycling event for people of all ages and abilities will take place at Columbia Gateway Business Park from Saturday, August 20 at 2:00 p.m. to Sunday, August 21 at 2:00 p.m.

Funds raised from the event will benefit The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and LIVESTRONG Foundation. The event is anticipated to raise more than $250,000 for cancer survivorship and navigation programs.

“We look forward to another great year ahead and appreciate all the support from our riders, volunteers, sponsors and the local community,” said Peter Davis, executive director of 24 Hours of Booty. “Together, we are continuing to make an impact in supporting top-notch cancer survivorship and navigation programs locally and nationally.”

The route, a closed and police-secured 2.1-mile loop, rolls through the green space at Columbia Gateway Business Park. Riders can ride “The Booty Loop” as much or as little as they want during the 24-hour period.

At the heart of the action is “Bootyville,” the event’s headquarters where riders can camp, socialize and enjoy music as they recharge from riding. Along with three catered meals, riders receive access to unlimited snacks, energy bars, water and sports drinks.

“Bootyville” is also the site of the exposition area where corporate sponsors offer a range of services including 24-hour bike support, raffles for special items and information about their services.

To participate in the Columbia event, each rider is required to pay a $45 registration fee and raise a minimum of $200 prior to the event. Participants can register as an individual or as part of a team. Those who raise $10,000 or more will receive a 24 Hours of Booty branded orange jersey.

New this year is a Child Rider Type for children 8 to 11 years old. Registration is $25 and the fundraising minimum is $100. The Kids Fundraising Award winners for children ages 8 to 17 will be announced on Sunday, August 21st at the lunch program.

In the event’s 15-year history, more than 15,000 riders have raised more than $15 million in select cities. In addition to Columbia, 24 Hours of Booty holds cycling events in Charlotte, N.C. and Indianapolis, IN and brings in participants from around the country.

About 24 Hours of Booty

24 Hours of Booty is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charity located in Charlotte, NC that provides extraordinary 24-hour cycling events that are safe, fun and open to all levels of cycling ability. Its purpose is to increase public awareness, funds and support for organizations dedicated to cancer navigation and survivorship, including : The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Its mission is to inspire communities to be active in the fight against cancer. Currently, 24 Hours of Booty hosts events in Charlotte, N.C., Columbia, Md., and Indianapolis, IN and attracts participants from around the country. For more information, call 704-365-4417 or visit http://www.24hoursofbooty.org.

Get updates and the inside scoop about 24 Hours of Booty on Twitter at @24hoursofbooty, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/24HOB and on Instagram at https://instagram.com/24hoursofbooty/.

New Research by MIT and Dana Farber Shows How Wall Street-Style Financial Engineering Could Make Life-Saving Cancer Drugs More Available And Affordable

Securitized consumer healthcare loans spread the cost of therapies over many years

Cambridge, Mass., February 24, 2016 — At a time when breakthrough therapies for certain types of cancers, hepatitis C, and rare diseases exist but remain out of reach for many patients due to their prohibitive cost, new research* by MIT Sloan Prof. Andrew W. Lo, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s David Weinstock, MD, and MIT post-doctoral fellow Vahid Montazerhodjat offers a practical remedy: securitized consumer healthcare loans (HCLs). The team’s research is published today in Science Translational Medicine.

HCLs, the equivalent of mortgages for large healthcare expenses, spread the cost of drugs and curative therapies over many years, making them more affordable to the people who need them. Financing HCLs through securitization—a financial engineering technique that involves pooling loans and converting them into securities—would allow more patients to have access to the drugs while generating attractive returns to investors.

“This is an instance where financial engineering could benefit the entire ecosystem,” says Lo. “It helps patients by providing them with affordable access to therapeutic drugs and cures. It helps biopharmaceutical companies by enabling them to get paid back for the substantial investments in R&D they make to develop the therapies in the first place. And it helps insurance companies by linking payment to ongoing benefit.”

Scientists have recently developed several breakthrough cures for diseases, but often the medicine’s cost is stratospheric. Case in point: Glybera, a gene therapy that cures the highly rare disease lipoprotein lipase deficiency, was recently approved in Germany. Its price tag: nearly $1 million. The benefit from Glybera may last for the patient’s remaining lifetime but the entire cost is paid upfront.

“The stark reality is that many patients don’t have access to transformative therapies like Glybera solely due to affordability,” says Weinstock. “This is a problem that will only grow as scientists create more cures. In the next five to seven years we could see cures for diseases like ALS, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and many types of cancer, but those therapies could be too expensive for the average patient.”

Securitized HCLs may also be profitable investments. Based on numerical simulations and statistical models, a large, diversified fund of HCLs generated hypothetical annual returns of 12%. For comparison, over the ten-year period from January 2006 to December 2015, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index saw a compound annual return of only of 7.3%.

“As an investment, securitized HCLs have another important advantage—they are not likely to be highly correlated with the stock market,” says Lo. “This makes them even more attractive for investors such as pension funds, mutual funds, and life insurance companies.”

Lo and his co-authors acknowledge that using financial engineering techniques in healthcare is not without risk—especially as securitization was chief among the techniques that precipitated the recent global financial crisis. While securitization is actively used in many markets today and plays a critical role in financing mortgages, student loans, and consumer credit, it can still be abused if proper protections, including regulatory oversight, are absent.

“But to argue that securitization is simply ‘too risky’ without a reasonable alternative is to relegate patients in desperate need to the status quo,” says Lo. “Securitized HCLs make expensive breakthrough therapies more affordable right now. The science is here and it’s moving at breakneck speed. Now we need the financial models to catch up.”

* Vahid Montazerhodjat, David M. Weinstock, Andrew W. Lo. “Buying Cures vs. Renting Health: Financing Healthcare via Consumer Healthcare Loans.” Science Translational Medicine 24 Feb. 2016. Print.

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