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

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Devin D. Thorpe

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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Turner Multifamily Impact Fund Acquires Four Additional Multifamily Properties in Key Texas and Nevada Markets

Acquisitions in Dallas, Austin and Las Vegas total more than 1,300 units of workforce housing;
Will address affordability crisis while generating strong risk-adjusted returns for investors

Press Release – LOS ANGELES (May 25, 2016) — The Turner Multifamily Impact Fund, a real estate investment fund managed by Turner Impact Capital designed to address the nation’s growing shortage of affordable workforce housing, has expanded its portfolio with the acquisition within the past three months of four multifamily housing communities, totaling more than 1,300 units in the key growth markets of Dallas, Austin, and Las Vegas. The acquisitions expand the fund’s total portfolio to nearly 2,500 units.

The new acquisitions are Legends on Lake Highlands, 356 units in a garden-style complex in the Lake Highlands community northeast of downtown Dallas; the View at Kessler Park, 299 units in an 11-story high-rise in the North Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas; the Park at Stone Creek, 420 units in a garden-style complex north of downtown Austin; and the Enclave, 258 units in a garden-style complex just east of the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas.

Each acquisition advances the fund’s objective of acquiring, enriching and preserving critically needed rental housing for families who earn less than the area median income and live in densely populated, ethnically diverse urban communities. Residents include community-serving professionals such as teachers, police officers, health care workers, service workers and others who earn too much to qualify for subsidized housing, but not enough to afford higher-cost apartments or home ownership in areas near their workplaces.

The Turner Multifamily Impact Fund seeks to address the nation’s acute housing affordability crisis by preserving the workforce housing status of the properties it acquires and implementing property management improvements and resident-focused services that enhance day-to-day operations and the quality of life for its residents – while generating strong risk-adjusted financial returns for leading private and institutional investors. These programs may include afterschool tutoring, community health and well-being services, and neighborhood watch programs.

The fund currently owns six multifamily properties, and is expected to eventually acquire and manage up to $1 billion in apartment communities in underserved urban communities throughout the country over the next two years. Previous acquisitions are located in the greater Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area, and Prince George’s County, Maryland near Washington, D.C.

“The demand for quality workforce housing continues to grow, driving rents higher in communities across the country,” said Bobby Turner, Principal and CEO of Turner Impact Capital. “Nearly half of all renters in America spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, and one quarter spend more than half of their income on rent. These figures are simply unsustainable over time. Our fund’s new acquisitions will make a big difference in the lives of more than 2,100 individuals in Dallas, Austin and Las Vegas.”

Legends on Lake Highlands consists of 356 units in 27 two- and three-story garden-style residential buildings built in 1971 and 1979. Amenities include two swimming pools, a fitness center and a dog park. The property is located near the “Telecom Corridor,” a large technology business center that accounts for more than 80,000 jobs, as well as Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, Texas Instruments, and NorthPark Center, a large regional mall.

The View at Kessler Park is an 11-story residential building with 299 units built in 1963 and renovated in 2012. Its amenities include a swimming pool, fitness center, resident activities center, theater with bar and billiards table, picnic area and dog park. The property is located near Downtown Dallas and the Bishop Arts District as well as UT Southwestern Medical Center and other employment centers in the medical field.

The Park at Stone Creek was built between 1981 and 1983 in North Austin, Texas, with 420 units spread across 18 acres. Amenities include two swimming pools, a fitness center, a community clubhouse, a lighted sports court, landscaped grounds with picnic and grill areas, a playground, a disc golf course, and a dog park. The property is located near public transit as well as a variety of employment drivers, including Samsung Austin Semiconductor, a GM Technology Center, Austin public schools and large retailers.

The Enclave was built in 1978 just east of the famed Las Vegas Strip, with 258 units spread across 11 acres. Amenities include two swimming pools, two sports courts, a gym, business center, remodeled clubhouse, three laundry facilities, and a dog park. The property is easily accessible by public transit, within walking distance of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and one mile from McCarran International Airport.

“These properties embody all the characteristics we look for in new acquisitions: they are strategically located in dense, high-demand areas, and are affordable to a workforce population that is highly diverse. Moreover, many are located near charter school campuses built by our affiliate, the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund,” said Gee Kim, President of Multifamily Housing Initiatives. “By enriching these properties with valuable resident-focused services in the areas of education, health care and security, we can help to strengthen these communities and ensure they remain affordable to working families – all while delivering consistent returns for investors.”

Earlier this month, Turner Impact Capital announced that celebrated actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria had joined forces with the firm as a partner and ambassador for the Turner Multifamily Impact Fund. In those roles, Longoria will help raise awareness about the critical need for workforce housing in the United States and help ensure that the fund is meeting the needs of residents in urban communities.

About Turner Impact Capital

Turner Impact Capital is an investment management firm based in Los Angeles and one of the nation’s largest social impact investment firms, on course to surpass $2.5 billion in investment potential to help address some of the country’s most pervasive social issues through real estate and infrastructure-related solutions. The firm’s investment strategy is based on recognizing that making money and making positive societal change are not mutually exclusive and seeks to generate superior risk-adjusted financial returns by investing in markets with large existing mismatches in the supply and demand of relevant community infrastructure (i.e. workforce housing, public schools and preventative healthcare facilities). The Turner Impact Capital leadership team has over 100 years of relevant experience in facilitating more than $6 billion of socially impactful and environmentally responsible real estate investments over the past two decades. Turner Impact Capital seeks profits with a purpose. To learn more, visit www.turnerimpact.com and follow @TurnerImpact on Twitter.

A Terminal Diagnosis That Turned Into a Life-Affirming Journey

When diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2015, Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, PhD neuropsychologist and mother of two, was completely blindsided. Initially diagnosed with Stage II, she was later told her cancer was Stage IV metastatic—the most deadly form of the disease—and it had spread to other parts of the body. Later, a bone biopsy revealed normal tissue, and she was upgraded to Stage IIIC, the closest someone can be to the most advanced form of this type of cancer.

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In a matter of weeks, Timlin-Scalera went through the emotional and informational rollercoaster of experiencing nearly every stage of breast cancer before beginning treatment. Even as a neuropsychologist specializing in trauma therapy, she received an eye-opening crash course into the world of breast cancer research, treatments and communities.

Her research found that metastatic breast cancer (MBC) research receives only seven percent of federal funding for breast cancer research even though 30 percent of people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, eventually develop MBC. The average prognosis for patients with MBC is two to three years. In 2016, there are an estimated 2.8 million women living with a history of female breast cancer in the United States.

Shortly after her diagnosis, Timlin-Scalera began writing about her experiences through her professional lens as a neuropsychologist. Using her expertise on both sides of the psychological couch, she created her popular The Cancer Couch blog as an exploration of what it means to cope when prematurely faced with mortality. Her insights have struck a chord with cancer patients, family members, friends and even those who have had no direct experience with this disease. Her writing style gracefully balances humor and pathos, which she hopes will help not only herself, but others in similar situations, to see beauty in the ordinary and appreciate everyday life with or without cancer.

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Having looked the beast in the face, Timlin-Scalera resolved to take a stand to help prevent and cure breast cancer by creating The Cancer Couch Foundation (501c3). The financially transparent, volunteer-managed foundation will put donations to work directly for patients with MBC. The foundation’s goal is to fund research for advancements in metastatic breast cancer in the hopes of making this a chronic but manageable disease, not a terminal illness.

The Greenwich International Film Festival Announces Special Events And Jury for Second Edition

Will Arnett, John Turturro, Kristin Davis, Richard Brener, Neel Sethi and Peyton List to attend the 2016 Festival

Press Release – New York, NY (May 25, 2016) – The Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) announced today additional special events for its second edition, as well as its jury members for competition films. GIFF will be hosting special events such as “LOL: The Big Business of Comedy” and “Children’s Acting Workshop.” The festival will also be honoring John Turturro at a conversation series entitled “Spotlight On.”

Comprised of directors, producers, writers, and actors, “LOL: The Big Business of Comedy” is a conversation guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Panelists include Richard Brener (President of Production of New Line Cinema), Chris Bender (Producer of We’re The Millers, Vacation, Horrible Bosses), Peter Principato (Head of Principato-Young – Talent Manager; Producer of Wet Hot American Summer), Stuart Cornfeld (Partners with Ben Stiller; Producer of Dodgeball, Zoolander, Tropic Thunder), & comedian Will Arnett (Arrested Development). Moderated by Deadline Hollywood’s New York Editor Mike Fleming, this event will take place on Saturday, June 11th at 8:00PM and will be followed by an after party.

“Children’s Acting Workshop” reveals secrets from the pros on how to make it in the entertainment industry. Acting Coach, Matt Newton, Casting Director, Adrienne Stern, and Moderator and Acting Coach, David Gideon, along with some of Hollywood’s bright young stars including The Jungle Book’s Neel Sethi and actress Peyton List (of Disney Channel’s Bunk’d) will be participating in this engaging workshop on Saturday, June 11th at 1:00PM. The festival previously announced it will screen The Jungle Book on Friday, June 10th at 4:00PM.

On Saturday, June 11th, John Turturro will join GIFF for a conversation honoring his work as part of the festival’s “Spotlight On” series. The veteran actor will be discussing his craft and his career, which includes notable films such as Fading Gigolo, Transformers, Quiz Show, The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Narrative Shorts Juror David Negrin will be moderating this event. The conversation will support Community Access, an organization that provides housing, care, and training to the mentally ill, per John’s request.

“We are thrilled that these events will showcase some of the incredible talent participating in the Festival this year,” said Colleen deVeer, Director of Programming and one of the Founders of the Greenwich International Film Festival. “Film acts as a catalyst for a better understanding of a broad range of subjects. We hope to enlighten our audience and provide a basis for open and entertaining conversations.”

As part of GIFF’s sponsorship with Uber Technologies Inc., the company will be providing rides to and from various events throughout the festival, including the previously announced Opening Night Party and Changemaker Gala, as well as the above-noted comedy panel “LOL: The Big Business of Comedy.” There will be dedicated pick-up and drop-off locations at festival events, and first time Uber riders will receive $20 off their first trip if they sign up with code GIFF2016 at uber.com/app. Uber is the preferred ride for the 2016 Greenwich International Film Festival.

The festival also announced its juries for competition films. The Narrative Features jury will include writer/director Ned Benson, award-winning film editor Sarah Flack, and long time film critic Joe Neumaier. The Narrative Shorts jury will include producer Mark Lindsay, screenwriter David Negrin and host, producer Pouya Shahbazian. The Documentary Features jury will include casting director and producer Asli Coker, actress and producer Drena DeNiro, and director Nina Davenport. The Documentary Shorts jury will include producer Marie Therese Guirgis, director Ondi Timoner, and documentary filmmaker Jeffrey Tuchman. The Social Impact jury will include philanthropist Anne Bresnan, Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center Edie Demas, actress Kristin Davis, and actress Kuoth Wiel. The winners and awards will be presented at the Opening Night Party on June 9th. The Festival’s full line-up was announced on May 11th and can be found HERE.

The Greenwich International Film Festival would like to thank its 2016 Festival sponsors including: Absolut Elyx, The Avon Theatre, Barton & Gray Mariners Club, Betteridge, The Camuto Group, Coldwell Banker Preview International, Connecticut Department Of Economic and Community Development, Douglas Elliman, Empire City Casino, First Republic Bank, Getty Images, GIFFT Wine, Granoff Architects, Greenwich Magazine, Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Hollywood Pop Gallery, Hospital For Special Surgery, The J House Greenwich, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Pure Insurance, Roger Ferris + Partners, Stella Artois, Uber, WABC-TV, WhoSay.

The Greenwich International Film Festival will take place June 9th ‐ 12th, 2016. Tickets are now on sale and available for purchase at http://www.greenwichfilm.org/2016-box-office/ or at the festival’s box office.

About The Greenwich International Film Festival

Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that hosts a world-class film festival in Greenwich, CT. The goal of the festival is to bridge the worlds of film, finance and philanthropy. The second annual festival will take place June 9th to 12th, 2016, and will support important human rights initiatives, as part of its social impact focus. The four-day event will feature a star-studded Opening Night Party, film premieres, educational panels, a Children’s Acting Workshop, an honoree gala, and more. For additional information, please visit www.greenwichfilm.org.

HIV and Hepatitis C Co-Infection: What You Need to Know

Since the onset of the HIV epidemic, the medical community has worked diligently to understand how the virus is transmitted and develop innovative treatments to help HIV-positive people live full, healthy lives. A factor that often complicates the health of those living with HIV is being co-infected with Hepatitis C (HCV). And it’s more common than you think.

This Hepatitis Awareness Month, Amida Care is raising awareness about the relationship between the two viruses. Here are the top three things you should know about HCV and HIV co-infection:

  1. 25-30% percent of people with HIV are co-infected with Hepatitis C.
    People co-infected with HCV typically experience poorer outcomes, including liver-related diseases and death, as a result of HCV than those who aren’t co-infected. They also often have a weaker immune response to HCV compared to those who aren’t co-infected.
  2. HIV coinfection more than triples a person’s risk for liver disease, liver failure, and liver-related death from HCV.
    In the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, people with HIV usually died from AIDS-related causes. However, now that anti-retroviral medications are helping people live longer, many HIV-positive people survive long enough for HCV to affect their liver function.
  3. Chronic HCV is often silent.
    Many people can have the infection for decades without having symptoms or feeling sick. Compared with other age groups, people aged 46-64 are 4-5 times more likely to be infected with HCV. All people born from 1945-65 should be tested for Hepatitis C.

If you have HIV, it’s important that you are tested for Hepatitis C. If you do not have HCV infection, you should take precautions in order to prevent contracting HCV. You can lower your risk of contracting HCV and other blood borne viruses by not sharing toothbrushes, razors, or other personal items that may come into contact with an infected person’s blood. It’s also recommended to abstain from intravenous drug use, as this is one of the most common ways of contracting HCV. If you are at risk for Hepatitis C, it is important to get tested so that the virus may be detected early and you may be linked to care and treatment.

Beyond just preventing the spread of HCV, expanded access to treatment is critical to helping those with HCV maintain control of their health and prevent liver-related illnesses. Through proper use of antiretroviral medication, many HIV-positive individuals can become virally suppressed and live longer, healthier lives. HIV treatment may also slow the progression of damage from Hepatitis C by boosting the immune system; likewise, through the latest advances in HCV treatment, those with Hepatitis C can also become virally suppressed and cured if treated soon enough, before liver disease has progressed too far.

At Amida Care – New York’s largest Medicaid special needs health plan (SNP) for people living with chronic health conditions such as HIV/AIDS – we have a 98 percent cure rate for HCV. We understand the importance of providing access to HCV medications and prioritizing early treatment. We have the resources and treatments to cure HCV – it’s time to make sure it’s accessible to all.

For more information, please visit www.amidacareny.org.

Projects Abroad Offers Opportunities for Volunteers Looking To Support Families

By joining a Care Project, volunteers can indirectly support families through caring for and educating children in orphanages, day care centers, and other care facilities

A Projects Abroad Care volunteer reads to children at a care facility in Togo

A Projects Abroad Care volunteer reads to children at a care facility in Togo

Press Release – NEW YORK – May 25, 2016 – Since 1996, International Day of Families has raised awareness of the numerous issues affecting families across the globe. This year, the focus is on the importance of healthy lives, sustainable futures, and giving family members of all ages the support they need. For international volunteer organization Projects Abroad, providing this kind of support and care is a crucial component of Care Projects, offered throughout the developing world.

Behind each Care Project is a fundamental goal: to provide sustainable educational support and individualized care and protection to underprivileged children and vulnerable groups to enhance their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Projects Abroad volunteers work toward this goal in orphanages, day care centers, kindergartens, special needs centers, and homes for the elderly. Each volunteer is guided by a Care Management Plan that monitors progress and gives their work purpose and structure.

While not working directly with families, volunteers give the support that benefits them indirectly, comments Alejandra Estrada Guzman, a Program Advisor for Projects Abroad USA.

“In the communities where we work, many families are struggling and lack the resources to give their children opportunities. By creating an environment of safety and support and actively promoting education and development, our volunteers are building a foundation for sustainable futures and ensuring that children thrive. With this support, we hope that children will grow up with access to more opportunities and eventually be in a position to help themselves and their families.”

The Care Project in Cambodia is a prominent example of the support volunteers can give to families. Here, Projects Abroad partners with Khemara, a local NGO that has played a significant role in the advancement of Cambodian women and children since 1991. Together, both organizations run nine day care centers that are designed to be safe places for the children of garment workers, where they can receive education, medical care, and three nutritious meals a day. Knowing that their children are safe and well-cared for while they work is an enormous relief for parents. In addition, the long-term impact of children receiving education, regular healthcare, and improved nutrition will help the family for years to come.

There are various ways to support families as a volunteer with Projects Abroad year-round. Volunteers can get involved on a General Care Project and work in different care facilities with children of all ages or the elderly, or participate in an HIV/AIDS Project to help support children and adults affected by the virus. In general, volunteers can start any day and choose how long they want to stay abroad.

For more information on how to get involved on a Care Project, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/care.

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.

Istation Releases Updates for Istation Reading and Istation Reading en Español

Istation announces updates to Istation Reading and Istation Reading en Español, Available May 23, 2016.

Press Release – Dallas, Texas May 24, 2016: Istation announces updates to Istation Reading and Istation Reading en Español. Available May 23, 2016, these updates include the following additions:

Istation Reading:

  • Emergent and Early Readers – new phoneme lessons with Miss Mousely and new rhyming lessons with Rhymin’ Ralph teach word sounds and phonemic awareness.

Istation Reading en Español:

  • Six new transitory- and developed-stages books and accompanying activities and lessons teach reading strategies such as vocabulary, sequence, and fluency.

Vice President of Curriculum Tracey Roden said, “With this May release, we continue to strengthen our reading programs. Our experienced educators and talented creative team have worked hard to bring new lessons and books that make learning as meaningful as it is fun.”

Phoneme Pairs and Rhyming Sounds with Miss Mousely and Rhymin’ Ralph

Istation’s early reading content continues to grow with four new phonological/phonemic awareness activities featuring Rhymin’ Ralph and Miss Mousely. Joining the Rhymin’ Ralph lineup is Anticipatory Rhyming, sometimes referred to as predictive rhyming, where students will help fix the broken Rhyme-O-Rama by choosing the correct rhyming word to complete a poem. Students will play Ralph’s Rhyme Snag Grab Bag game as a final culminating rhyme activity.

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Miss Mousely continues to teach young learners about first phoneme recognition in her new Sound Sort game and Four-Square game. Each new activity was carefully designed to include purposeful scaffolding and embedded reteaching, and to give learners the opportunity to apply learned skills in different scenarios.

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Story Comprehension and Literacy en Español

Additions to Istation Reading en Español include six new books and activities that increase student literacy and comprehension skills. Leonor and Scribi teach students about main idea, cause and effect, inference, and character analysis. These resources contain lessons, books, and reading passages that can be accessed through Istation en Español both at school and at home.

For more information about Istation, visit us at www.istation.com

About Istation

Istation is an award-winning comprehensive e-learning program used by more than four million students across the world. Known for its accurate assessments, engaging curriculum and trusted teacher tools, Istation helps students in prekindergarten through 12th grade achieve academic growth. Istation’s computer-adaptive assessments (known as ISIP™) immediately place students on personalized instructional paths unique to their needs. An animated, game-like interface effectively engages students so that they don’t even know they’re being evaluated. Along with its highly interactive digital curriculum, Istation provides teachers with access to thousands of lessons perfect for instructing small groups or an entire class. Comprehensive progress reports are also immediately available for educators, administrators and parents. Istation offers its ISIP assessment in Early Reading, Advanced Reading, Reading en Español and Math. Istation instruction is available in Reading, Reading en Español and Math. Students can also use their Istation subscriptions at home. Since its founding in 1998, Dallas-based Istation has seen tremendous growth. The company’s animated program is now helping students in 44 states and four countries learn and grow.

DKT International Releases 2015 Impact Data for Family Planning and HIV Prevention

Serving over 30 Million couples, helping prevent over 5 million unwanted pregnancies, 14,000 maternal deaths and 3.8 million unsafe abortions in 21 countries

Press Release – WASHINGTON, DC (May 25, 2016): DKT International, one of the largest private providers of family planning services and products in the developing world, is pleased to release their 2015 global impact data. In 2015, DKT served over 30 million couples, helped prevent over 5 million unwanted pregnancies, almost 14,000 maternal deaths and 3.8 million unsafe abortions across 21 countries worldwide.

“We are proud to announce that our organization collectively crossed the 30 million CYP mark in 2015, as a direct result of the exceptional work of our dedicated team members on the ground throughout our 21 country programs across the developing world,” says Chris Purdy, President & CEO, DKT International. “The growth in Nigeria over the past year is especially encouraging and has seen an 85% increase in CYPs since 2014. Strong social marketing campaigns, increased distribution of Sayana Press, related outreach activities, and targeted distribution all propelled this new program. Our programs in Pakistan, Mexico, and Tanzania also experienced solid gains.”

DKT is pleased to announce many “firsts” this past year including:

  • In Myanmar, the first Lydia brand emergency contraceptive pill was sold.  DKT Myanmar has been operating since 2014 and also sells two Lydia-branded oral contraceptive variants (Lydia Rosa and Lydia Clair), LydiaIUDs, and Kiss and Kiss MOJO condoms.
  • In Francophone West and Central Africa, DKT FWACA, the newest regional program experienced its first sales in Senegal, which sold 27,216 Kiss Condoms to pharmacists in the first week of its launch.
  • In Iran, which hosts a refugee population of more than 1 million, is currently facing a strong need for family planning. DKT is working to launch its first condom and IUD product.

During the current refugee crisis, DKT has been working to deliver goods to refugees in Lesbos, Greece to ensure a diversity of contraceptive products.

“Whether it is effective use of social media to reach young people at concerts and sports events or on-the-ground tactics to reach underserved populations where they live, DKT International continues to identify and implement effective strategies to reach our clients through creative social marketing,” adds Purdy.

CBS Correspondent DeMarco Morgan & Miss Haiti Universe Lisa Drouillard to host the 6th Annual Haiti Cherie Fundraiser Event

Press Release – NEW YORK – On Saturday, June 4th 2016, the 6th annual Haiti Cherie charity event will bring together hundreds to raise funds for local nonprofit organizations in Haiti still working to recover from the 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people. The event will honor the accomplishments of Haitian professionals, who have excelled in their fields, and serve as a reminder of Haitian pride, culture and resilience.

The 2016 honorees include Judge Sybil Elias, 1st female Haitian judge from New Jersey. JP Alfred, Head of Business Development from the US from GETT transportation.

According to Fabrice Armand, founder of Haiti Cherie, the event has become a unifying moment for the Haitian diaspora and friends of Haiti in New York City. The event presents an opportunity for successful Haitian Professionals to network and build with people from all over the Diaspora. “Haiti Cherie is not just about raising funds for worthy charities back home,” said Armand. “It is also about bringing the Haitian community together and raising awareness of Haiti’s significance in history and its beauty and richness as a culture and a nation.

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The fundraiser is scheduled for June 4, 2016 at Landmark on the Park in Manhattan with a red carpet event beginning at 6:00pm. CBS News Correspondent DeMarco Morgan will serve as master of ceremonies. Host for this event includes Kevin Thompson from BET and Miss Haiti Universe Lisa Drouillard. Invited guests include New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, designer Carly Cushnie of Cushnie Et Ochs and Donna Karan, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Garcelle Beauvais, Tamara Tunie, Harry Belafonte, Mica Hughes, Demetria Lucas MSNBC Anchor Tameron Hall among others. Guests will enjoy open bar courtesy of Hennessy and authentic Haitian dishes created by Chef Stephan Berrouet founder of the Haiti Food and Spirits Festival & Chef Dimitri Lilavois Proceeds generated by the Haiti Cherie fundraiser will be distributed to, and utilized in, furthering the efforts of Development Roots of Development’s mission is to support and promote a community-driven approach to development—an approach that is based on strengthening local capacity in order to improve the quality of life in marginalized communities. To follow the conversation use #HaiticheriePLC

About Haiti Cherie

Haiti Cherie is the brainchild of Fabrice J. Armand, a philanthropist, producer, and President Fabrice J. Armand Group, to raise funds for charities creating sustainable change in his native Haiti. The event was first launched in 2010 following the devastating earthquake in Haiti and has continued to maintain support for the reconstruction of the country. The event honors professionals who have excelled in their fields have been supporters of Haiti.

Past honorees of Haiti Cherie include Ambassador Paul Altidor, Haiti’s Ambassador to the U.S.; Harriet Michel, Former CEO of New York Urban League; Karen Civil, Founder of Live Civil; Andre Berto, 3 Time Welterweight Champion; Dr William Pape, Founder of les Centres Gheskio; Ralph Giles, President of SRT Department and Senior Vice President of Chrysler; Dr. Jean Orelien, CEO of Scimetrika; Jimmy Jean-Louis, NBC Heroes; Mona Scott-Young, Founder of Monami Ent; Katleen Kelix, Fonkoze; Rodney Leon, Principal of Rodney Leon Architects; Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste, Chicago Circuit Court Judge; Mathieu Eugene, NYC City Council; Wallace Ford, Former Commissioner of Ports and Trade and President of Fordworks.

Sid Meier, Cofounder of Firaxis Games, Graeme Devine, Chief Creative Officer at Magic Leap, William Adams, the Chairman of the Neh, And Chris Weaver, the Founder of Bethesda Scheduled To Speak At the 13th Annual Games for Change Festival

NYC’s Largest Gaming Event Will Focus on Three Tracks: Games for Learning, Neurogaming & Health, and Civics Issues

Tickets Currently on Sale via https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-2016-games-for-change-festival-tickets-23185067160

Press Release – (NEW YORK, NY) May 25, 2016Games for Change, the influential organization that catalyzes social impact through digital games, today announced the programming for its 13th Annual Games for Change Festival, the largest gaming event in New York City, which will take place on Thursday and Friday June 23-24, 2016 produced in collaboration with Parsons School of Design at The New School. Games for Change is also announcing a new partnership with the Entertainment Software Association as it integrates the Games for Learning Summit into the main Festival.

For the first time, the festival will feature three focused tracks: Games for Learning, Neurogaming & Health, and Civics & Social Issues, as a way to highlight the impact that games are having in these major sectors and beyond entertainment. Each track will feature keynote presentations including Sid Meier (Cofounder of Firaxis Games), William Adams (Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities), Chris Weaver (Founder of Bethesda Softworks), Graeme Devine (Chief Creative Officer and Game Wizard, Magic Leap), Anna Maria Chávez (CEO of Girl Scouts of America), Annie Duke (winner of the World Series of Poker, Author and Philanthropist), Dr. Adam Gazzaley (Chief Scientist, Akili Interactive), Erik Huey (SVP Government Affairs for the Entertainment Software Association) and Seth Andrew (Senior Advisor, to the US Chief Technology Officer).

An overview of the three tracks and other notable speakers are below:

  • Games for Learning Summit: During this year’s Summit, organizers will launch a new partnership with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which will explore how games are transforming education and redesigning the learning process. Festival attendees will have the opportunity to hear from emerging leaders in game-based learning and join in workshops.
    • Speakers include: Graeme Devine (Chief Creative Officer and, Magic Leap), Deirdre Quarnstrom (Director, Microsoft Education), Seth Andrews, (Senior Advisor, to the US Chief Technology Officer), Minerva Tantuco, (NYC Chief Technology Officer), Celia Hodent, (Epic Games), Erik Huey (SVP Government Affairs for the Entertainment Software Association), Porter Stowell (Head of strategy and business development, IBM Serious Games) as well as executives from Valve, Google Education, and Blippar on a panel on VR in the classroom. Workshops include: Minecraft Education, “includification” advocates AbleGamers, and the live-action roleplayers at Classcraft.
  • Neurograming & Health: Advances in science and technology enable innovative collaborations between researchers and game makers to produce games with remarkable, measureable outcomes. Festival attendees will be able to take a deep dive into the interactive experiences that aim to improve our brains and bodies.
    • Speakers include: Dr. Adam Gazzaley (Chief Scientist, Akili Interactive), Mike Ambinder (Experimental psychologist, Valve Corporation), Stanley Yang (CEO, NeuroSky), Wolfgang Kampbartold (VP Deutsche Telekom – Sea Hero Quest) Adrian Hon (CEO and founder, Six to Start), Karen Palmer (Film director and digital artist, SyncSelf)
  • Civics & Social Issues: The ability of games to inspire empathy and understanding make them a powerful tool for bringing people together and bridging gaps between perspectives. This track will highlight the gaming medium’s ability to engage with contemporary concerns regarding social justice and responsible citizenship.
    • Speakers include: William Adams (Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities), Chris Weaver (Founder of Bethesda Softworks), Anna Maria Chávez (CEO of Girl Scouts of America), Carolyn Petit (Managing editor, Feminist Frequency), Sam Barlow (Developer, Her Story), Navid Khonsari (Creator and Director of 1979 Revolution)

“Games for Change is known for bringing together the brightest minds that are incorporating gaming into every aspect of life to advance society, and this year’s festival really demonstrates the evolution of Games for Change as a sector,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. “This year we are establishing new programming verticals as games are touching and impacting different social human categories. The partnership with the ESA on the Games for Learning Summit directly demonstrates how commercial games industry is recognizing how important games are to the education sector.”

Erik Huey, SVP of Government Affairs for the Entertainment Software Association said “For the past 7 years now, the ESA has been actively convening stakeholders in the games for learning space at the E3 Expo, and it made sense at this time to expand upon this ongoing conversation by partnering with Games for Change to help scale the discussion and bring in further stakeholders who can help drive change in education using the power of games.”

This year’s Games for Change Festival will also feature the Games for Change Climate Challenge, a new initiative aimed to inspire people to tackle the problem of climate change at the local, regional, and global level. Four finalists will present their prototypes for digital games that focus on scientifically-grounded climate solutions, and/or promoting public awareness and understanding.

A panel of judges live on stage at the festival and one winner will receive a $10,000 prize to support further development of their game. The challenge, which was announced in April, is presented by G4C, PoLAR Partnerships, Autodesk with support from Dell, Intel and Nvidia.

The Games for Change Festival remains the leading international event that unites game creators with organizations and thought leaders who are incorporating gaming into diverse industries including: education, health and civic society. Over the years, the festival has played host to notable speakers ranging from Vice President Al Gore to the Honorable Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. For additional information on keynote speakers and the latest news on all programming, please visit http://www.gamesforchange.org/festival.

To purchase tickets, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-2016-games-for-change-festival-tickets-23185067160. The costs for the two-day festival pass are $379 for general tickets; $329 for non-profits and government employees; and $179 for students.

Registration includes access to the full Games for Change program on June 23 and 24 at Parsons School of Design. The Games for Change Festival runs daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

Students’ Concept for Mobility App for the Blind Wins National Challenge from Toyota and Net Impact

Summer Internship for Winning Team to Advance App Concept and Support Toyota’s Partner Robotics Work

Press Release – Plano, TX (May 25, 2016) – Imagine an average commute. Perhaps you wait for a bus, walk through crowded streets and ride an elevator up to your office. Now, imagine doing it without being able to see clearly or even at all.

A team of students did just that and came up with an idea for a solution that won first prize in the Next Generation Mobility Challenge, a new competition to inspire millennials to address critical mobility needs from Net Impact, Toyota and the Toyota Mobility Foundation. The students’ winning concept, StreetSmart, is an app that would help people who are blind or visually impaired navigate their surroundings with greater confidence. The winning students are: Esther Kim (Rhode Island School of Design), John Mathai (Olin College), Ayush Singhal (Babson College) and Niklaus Sugiri (Babson College).

Activated by voice command, the StreetSmart app would provide users with audio alerts about upcoming hazards or changes to their commute, such as broken escalators, bus service changes and construction sites. It would rely on existing GPS location services, crowd-sourcing traffic technologies and real-time updates from users on routes’ conditions.

The team envisions that the app would work in tandem with Project BLAID, a wearable device in development by Toyota that also works to improve the mobility of people who are blind and visually impaired. For a preview of Project BLAID, visit TheToyotaEffect.com to access a short video of an early-stage version of the device.

“Toyota launched the Next Generation Mobility Challenge with Net Impact because we want to inspire millennials to join us in solving the most critical mobility issues facing us all,” said Latondra Newton, Chief Program Officer, Toyota Mobility Foundation. “We loved the StreetSmart concept because it builds on our work to help communities with limited mobility do more so they can go more places and live better lives. We congratulate the winners and thank them for their creativity, smarts and hard work!”

“We are thrilled that Toyota is leveraging the talents and passions of young people through this challenge,” says Liz Maw, CEO, Net Impact. “We applaud the StreetSmart team for designing a solution with an eye towards scaling for social impact.”

Nearly 670 students from 60 colleges and universities across the country participated in fifteen campus events during the Challenge, pitching 154 ideas. A panel of judges from Toyota and Net Impact selected StreetSmart’s winning concept from three finalist teams, based on the clarity of goal, project design, social impact, feasibility, creativity and the results of a public vote. StreetSmart’s video pitch garnered 63.6% of the public vote.

The winning team has been offered internships to delve into a deeper understanding of the mobility needs of the blind community, build the business case for the StreetSmart app and support Toyota’s Partner Robotics work to advance the freedom of mobility for all. Kim, Mathai, Singhal and Sugiri – along with two finalist teams – will have the opportunity to attend the 2016 Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia this November on behalf of Toyota.

In addition to local faculty and experts, more than 50 Toyota team members engaged with the Challenge, including Kristen Tabar, vice president of the Technical Strategy Planning Office at Toyota Technical Center (TTC). In addition to being on-the-ground at the chapter events to help students develop their solutions, Toyota team members served as judges, selecting the chapter winners, the three finalists and the ultimate winner. The three finalists had the opportunity to meet with Toyota mentors to refine their proposals.

The other finalist teams were:

  • University of Oregon and Oregon State students Carolyn Taclas, Keala Verigan, Sydney Quinton-Cox and James Greisen, who conceived a mobile community center to offer a range of pop-up services to meet community needs; and
  • Northwestern University and University of Illinois students Maria McKiever, Szymon Gluc and Shangyanyan Li, who devised a system that would allow drivers to offer their car trunks to others for hire as mobile mailboxes.

About the Next Generation Mobility Challenge

Launched in 2015, The Next Generation Mobility Challenge is a competition from Toyota and Net Impact to inspire millennials to develop solutions for critical mobility needs in local communities and around the world. Held at fifteen university campuses across the country, the challenge invites multi-disciplinary teams of students to participate in half-day design sprints to develop solutions for mobility issues that address community, connectivity, or sustainability. Local transportation and technology experts from Toyota and universities provided feedback and real-world perspective to the students’ concepts.

Toyota is executing the challenge through Toyota Motor North America and the Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF), which was created by Toyota in 2014 to help more people go more places – safely, easily and sustainably – so they can live better lives no matter where they are.

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.8 million cars and trucks (nearly 2.5 million in the U.S.) in 2015 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.

About Toyota Mobility Foundation

The Toyota Mobility Foundation was established in August 2014 to support the development of a more mobile society. The Foundation aims to support strong mobility systems while eliminating disparities in mobility. It utilizes Toyota’s expertise in technology, safety, and the environment, working in partnership with universities, governments, non-profit organizations, research institutions and other organizations to address mobility issues around the world. Programs include resolving urban transportation problems, expanding the utilization of personal mobility, and developing solutions for next generation mobility.

About Net Impact

Net Impact is the world’s best training ground for the next generation of change agents. Our programs—delivered from our headquarters in Oakland, CA, as well as globally through our 300+ chapters—connect our members to the skills, experiences and people that will allow them to have the greatest impact. With over 100,000 members, Net Impact takes on social challenges, protects the environment, invents new products and orients business toward the greater good. In short, we help our members turn their passions into a lifetime of world-changing action. Visit www.netimpact.org.

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