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Monthly Archives: June 2016

CITGO Celebrates 30th Anniversary of National Partnership with MDA

Press Release – HOUSTON – June 1, 2016 – CITGO Petroleum Corporation and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) are celebrating a 30-year partnership that has raised nearly $200 million for the nonprofit health organization since the two began working together in January 1986. As MDA’s largest corporate sponsor, CITGO and its employees, along with its network of locally-owned Marketers and Retailers, will celebrate this milestone all year long through fundraisers and various community and employee events.

“We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support that CITGO, its employees, and Marketers and Retailers have provided MDA for the past 30 years,” said MDA President & CEO Steven Derks. “CITGO has set the standard in fueling the fight to find treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases that severely limit strength and mobility. We look forward to our continued partnership so we can help MDA families live longer and grow stronger.”

CITGO kicked off the year of celebration by contributing to each local MDA office where its annual Marketer Roundtable Meetings were held within the company’s marketing footprint. In addition to providing funds for 19 local offices during these meetings, the company also recognized those Marketers who raised more than $5,000 for their respective local MDA office throughout 2015.

Continuing throughout the year, CITGO employees, Marketers and Retailers will host multiple fundraisers and sponsor a number of local events including the following:

  • CITGO corporate employees will participate in a Rally Week at corporate headquarters in May and a picnic along with the annual MDA Flamingo Bowl fundraiser in October. In addition, CITGO held its annual MDA Corporate Golf Challenge in April with business partners and vendors.
  • CITGO terminal and refinery employees raise funds each year for MDA. Both the Corpus Christi and Lake Charles Refineries will host golf tournaments in May, and the Lemont Refinery hosted a bowling event for Valentine’s  Day along with its own golf tournament later in the summer. The terminal employees will organize separate fundraising events, including walks, golf tournaments, letter writing and donation jar campaigns.
  • CITGO Marketers and Retailers continued their participation in the MDA Shamrocks program which was held in February and March. They will also continue to host local events throughout the year.

“MDA shares a long history with CITGO and many of our branded Marketers. Our relationship has expanded over the years, and has since become an integral part of our corporate social responsibility and Fueling Good platforms,” said Rick Esser, Vice President, Supply and Marketing for CITGO. “Locally, working with MDA is a great way for our nearly 5,500 locally-owned stations to get involved in their communities, and on a corporate level, our employees can rally around and support this important cause.”

To learn more about MDA and how you can get involved, visit www.mda.org. For more about the partnership between CITGO and the MDA, visit www.citgo.com.

About MDA

MDA is leading the fight to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. We use our collective strength to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger by finding research breakthroughs across diseases; caring for individuals from day one; and empowering families with services and support in hometowns across America. Learn how you can fund cures, find care and champion the cause at mda.org.

About CITGO

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.

American Farmland Trust Announces John Piotti as New President

Press Release – Washington, D.C., June 1, 2016 — American Farmland Trust (AFT), the nation’s premier farmland conservation organization, announced today the appointment of John Piotti — a leading figure in farmland protection — as its new President effective July 1.

“Our nation relies on our farms and farmers for growing our food and providing tremendous environmental benefits for the country,” said Piotti. “I’ve dedicated my career to this cause, and I am thrilled to be joining AFT, where I have the opportunity to advance farm and ranch land conservation nationwide through programs that keep farmers on the land, protect the environment and permanently save working lands for future generations.”

Since 2006, Piotti has served as president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust, Maine’s only statewide organization focused on protecting farmland and supporting farming. There he brought creative vision and strategic focus to the organization’s efforts to save Maine farms — not only by protecting farmland but also through innovative efforts to support farmers while enhancing access to local food for Maine residents. In 2009, the organization was named one of the best-run organizations in Maine by the Maine Association of Nonprofits.

AFT Board Chair Buzz Thompson said Piotti is an articulate, thoughtful and visionary individual who brings tremendous talent and experience to advance AFT’s vital mission. AFT’s diverse board of directors — which includes large-scale mainstream crop and livestock operators, small-scale organic farmers, former state agriculture secretaries, and academic scholars from across the country — were unanimously impressed by Piotti’s executive leadership and passion for the issues that AFT has been devoted to for over 35 years.

“John brings phenomenal leadership skills and a passion for the issues that motivate AFT,” said Thompson. “Saving enough farmland for food production is a defining challenge for this century, underscoring the urgency of AFT’s mission. Equally critical is ensuring that there will be a next generation of farmers and ranchers to steward the land. John brings to AFT invaluable experience in developing creative solutions to these issues.”

From 2002 until termed-out in 2010, Piotti servedin Maine’s state legislature, representing eight rural communities and serving as House Majority Leader, chair of Committee on Taxation and chair of Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, & Forestry. As a legislator, Piotti gained a reputation as a non-partisan problem-solver, leading successful efforts to stabilize Maine’s dairy industry, fund the Land for Maine’s Future land protection program, and provide new state funding to protect working waterfront and preserve natural lands.

Piotti said he is optimistic about dramatically increasing support among people who care about their food, local farms, and the environment. His optimism stems from his successful track-record at Maine Farmland Trust, where he launched new programs to increase access to farmland and improve farm viability. Piotti shared that he is excited to lead the fight to save family farms and ranches nationwide.

“The agricultural community can look forward to working with AFT under John’s leadership,” said John Hardin, AFT board member and owner of Hardin farms, an Indiana hog and crop operation. “John clearly conveyed to our board that the first principle in keeping farmers on the land is making sure their farm businesses have an opportunity for profit. Science-based farming systems that improve soil health and resiliency, and keep topsoil and nutrients in place, are vital to increasing a farmer’s income and the value of the farm. By helping the nation’s farmers innovate and keep land in agricultural production, we can best protect the landscapes that we all depend on for food, fiber, economic and environmental benefits and sustainable communities.”

Beef Jerky Outlet Celebrates National Beef Jerky Day

Percentage of Sales from Entire Weekend to Benefit Wounded Warrior Project®

Press Release – KODAK, Tenn. (May 2016) – Beef Jerky Outlet locations across the U.S. are gearing up for National Beef Jerky Day, which takes place annually on June 12. This year, the Beef Jerky Outlet is celebrating the entire weekend leading up to National Beef Jerky Day with the $25 Extravaganza and a new charity partnership with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).

Five percent of the purchase price on all Beef Jerky Outlet transactions from June 10 through June 12, 2016, will be donated to WWP. The partnership is a natural fit because beef jerky is the number one favorite snack of the U.S. military. Jerky is easily transportable and a long-lasting food source, making it an ideal treat for our soldiers. In fact, NASA has sent beef jerky into space with our astronauts on multiple occasions.

“Our partners understand that wounded veterans need our compassion and support as they heal from the visible and invisible wounds of war,” said Gary Corless, chief development officer at WWP. “Thanks to the generosity of partners like Beef Jerky Outlet, we’re able to continue to provide the programs and services that meet injured service members, their families, and caregivers, wherever they are on their road to recovery. Whether its access to mental or physical health treatments, employment assistance programs, or continuing education opportunities, Wounded Warrior Project’s programs and services are offered free of charge, for a lifetime.”

In addition to partnering with WWP the Beef Jerky Outlet honors active and retired military personnel by offering them a 10 percent discount on any transaction, year round. The discount jumps to 50 percent for active and retired military franchisees purchasing their first Beef Jerky Outlet location.

“The Beef Jerky Outlet is a huge supporter of the U.S. military,” says Kathy Raines, Beef Jerky Outlet COO. “We’re proud to support our nations wounded veterans, by partnering with Wounded Warrior Project.”

The Beef Jerky Outlet specializes in more than 200 premium jerky varieties and sizes. Some popular specialty meats include alligator, elk, kangaroo and venison. They also offer a variety of exotic jerky flavors such as Moonshine and Cajun.

Jerky is lean, high in protein and nutritional value, and low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat (jerky is only 3 percent fat). It truly is the perfect treat for meat lovers of all ages and the popularity is rapidly growing.

  • IRI, a Chicago based market research firm, reports sales of jerky jumped 46 percent from 2009- 2015, catapulting it to a $1.24 billion industry.
  • In 2015 alone, Americans spent $2.8 billion on beef jerky
  • Jerky is in the beef snack category -the fastest growing segment of the snack food industry (Convenience Store Decisions, Nov. 2012).

The Beef Jerky Outlet will have specials available starting on Friday, June 10 running through National Beef Jerky Day, Sunday, June 12. The Beef Jerky Outlet is proud to offer their customers the following:

  • Register to win free jerky for a year!
  • $25 for three 4-ounce bags of jerky
  • $25 for a Wild Game Box
  • $25 for five bags of popcorn
  • Free PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) T-shirt to the first 10 customers each day
  • Launch of the BJO Loyalty Cards Program (spend $25 five times and get $10 off)

About the Beef Jerky Outlet:

The Beef Jerky Outlet was founded in 2010 and is the country’s first national jerky franchise. There are currently 57 franchise locations, including 6 founder-owned stores. Over the next 18 months, this number will grow to more than 100 locations across the US. The Beef Jerky Outlet specializes in more than 200 jerky varieties including kangaroo, alligator, venison and elk. It is available in various sizes, as well as exotic flavors ranging from Moonshine to Cajun. Today, jerky is one of the fastest growing snacks in the snack food industry. This dried, smoked meat is the number one snack of the military, including NASA, which has been sending astronauts into space with jerky since 1996. Jerky is lean, high in protein, low in calories, is very low fat and has a very long shelf life. Millions seek out and enjoy this very nutritious snack every day. IRI, a Chicago based market research firm, reports that jerky sales have turned into a $1.24-billion industry. Across the country people are literally eating it up!

About Wounded Warrior Project®:

The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.

Announcing Finalists of 2016 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

Thirty-One Scientists and Engineers Working in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering and Chemistry Honored

Press Release – NEW YORK – June 1, 2016 – The Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists announced today the 31 National Finalists who will be competing for three spots as the 2016 Blavatnik National Laureates. The Finalists were selected from 308 nominations of outstanding faculty-rank researchers from 148 of the nation’s leading academic and research institutions.

The full list of 2016 National Finalists can be found below and online here.

The annual Blavatnik Awards, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation in 2007 and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, celebrate exceptional young researchers who drive the next generation of scientific innovation by answering the most complex scientific questions of today. The three National Laureates will be announced in June 2016 and will each receive an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000, the largest prize of its kind for early-career scientists.

2016 Disciplinary Trends

This year’s Life Sciences Finalists are addressing difficult scientific questions with transformative insight, innovative strategies, and revolutionary technologies. Their work includes uncovering unexpected cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for gene regulation and editing, and epigenetic phenomena; making breakthroughs in the understanding and management of infectious diseases, including HIV, Ebola virus, and Lassa fever; studying the human microbiome and microbial communities; and exploring the history of life on earth to reveal how species and populations have evolved.

The 2016 National Finalists in Physical Sciences & Engineering are helping to solve the mysteries of the universe and creating breakthrough technologies. Their achievements include advancing our understanding of fundamental physics; searching for planets and habitable worlds beyond the solar system and exploring the formation of galaxies; creating transformative imaging technology and algorithms to visualize objects as small as molecules and viruses; engineering materials with unprecedented properties, and designing a new generation of energy storage devices.

The 2016 National Finalists in Chemistry are performing revolutionary research that has the potential to improve lives around the globe. Their efforts include the development of novel synthetic methodology and RNA-based drug discovery; creating novel microscopy techniques and applying the technology to the design of solar cells and analysis of biological systems; developing more accurate computational models of chemical reactivity; tuning and scaling hard and soft nanostructures and investigating their materials-dependent properties; and elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which microbiota can influence their host.

The National Laureates and Finalists will be honored at an annual awards ceremony on Monday, September 12, 2016, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

In addition, on July 18-19, 2016, the Academy and the Blavatnik Family Foundation will host the third annual Blavatnik Science Symposium featuring research of the 2016 National Finalists and Blavatnik Awards honorees from previous years. The event will also include members of the Blavatnik Awards National Jury and Scientific Advisory Council, as well as other scientific luminaries.

Meet the 2016 Blavatnik National Finalists

2016 Life Sciences Finalists

  • Xin Chen (Johns Hopkins University): Dr. Chen is a developmental biologist working on some of the deepest questions about stem cells and their asymmetric division. She examines how epigenetic information is inherited using cutting-edge super resolution microscopy to visualize old and new histones during DNA replication.
  • Casey Dunn (Brown University): Dr. Dunn’s work in evolutionary biology explores the history of life on earth. His studies of the morphology and evolution of marine animals have challenged existing paradigms by being the first to show that comb jellyfish, not sponges, are the common ancestor or sister group to all animals.
  • Antonio Giraldez (Yale University): Dr. Giraldez’s research  in developmental biology seeks to understand how cells decode the language of life. He focuses on the mechanisms and regulation of microRNAs during early embryonic development.
  • Rob Knight (University of California, San Diego): Dr. Knight studies the human and environmental microbiome. He has pioneered the fields of comparative microbial genomics and metagenomics and developed bioinformatic tools to improve our understanding of microbial communities around the world.
  • Oliver Rando (University of Massachusetts Medical School): A physician scientist, Dr. Rando focuses on genetics and genomics, specifically studying paternal transgenerational effects in yeast and mice. His research asks questions about how a father’s diet (“Daddy effects”) may influence the metabolism of his children.
  • Michael Rape (University of California, Berkeley): Dr. Rape studies ubiquitin-mediated cell division and differentiation. He has made numerous fundamental discoveries related to the enzymes, substrates, processes, and regulation of the cell cycle influenced by ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis.
  • Antonina Roll-Mecak (National Institutes of Health): Dr. Roll-Mecak investigates the organization and movement of cells, focusing on cytoskeletal regulation and microtubules. She employs a unique approach combining biophysics, single molecule fluorescence, and structural and cell biology to crack the “tubulin code.”
  • Pardis Sabeti (Harvard University): Dr. Sabeti is a systems biologist and physician scientist studying infectious disease evolution. Her research utilizes computational genetics to develop clinical diagnostic methods for responding to deadly disease outbreaks, including the Ebola virus and Lassa fever.
  • Beth Shapiro (University of California, Santa Cruz): Dr. Shapiro studies “ancient DNA,” or paleogenomics to understand how changing selective pressures have affected species distributions and survival. Her work has reshaped evolutionary history and provided key insights on extinction and conservation practices for animals such as mammoths, bison, camel, brown and polar bears.
  • Leor Weinberger (Gladstone Institutes): Dr. Weinberger is a physicist-turned-immunologist studying gene expression in HIV and human herpes viruses. He has demonstrated the role of stochastic noise and signals in influencing cell fate decisions and discovered therapeutic targets for antiviral therapies.
  • Feng Zhang (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): Dr. Zhang has played critical roles in the development of revolutionary technologies including optogenetics and genome editing using the CRISPR system.

2016 Physical Sciences & Engineering Finalists

  • Andrea Alù (The University of Texas, Austin): Dr. Alù has made seminal contributions to the theory and design of metamaterials, including pioneering work on “invisibility cloaks” for making objects undetectable to radio waves or light, and theoretical studies of nanocircuits and nanoantennas.
  • Alexei Borodin (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): Dr. Borodin is a mathematician who has made influential interdisciplinary contributions ranging from probability theory to mathematical physics. He has authored important work on integrable probabilistic models, which describe a variety of real world phenomena.
  • David Charbonneau (Harvard University): Dr. Charbonneau made the first detections of a transiting exoplanet, exoplanet atmosphere, and light emitted from an exoplanet. He also pioneered numerous methods to discover and characterize exoplanets that have become standards in the field.
  • Yi Cui (Stanford University): Dr. Cui has pioneered the use of nanomaterials for energy storage devices and created numerous breakthrough materials-based solutions for high-performance batteries and battery electrodes, including nanostructured silicon anodes and stable lithium metal anodes.
  • Jenny Greene (Princeton University): Dr. Greene is an astrophysicist who has made important contributions to the observational studies of black holes, their lifecycles, and their role in galaxy evolution. She has made several discoveries of relationships between the properties of black holes and their host galaxies.
  • Julia Greer (California Institute of Technology): Dr. Greer has transformed the study of metamaterials by designing new methods to engineer 3D hierarchical nanolattices with remarkable mechanical, thermal, and optical properties.
  • Sergei Kalinin (Oak Ridge National Laboratory): Dr. Kalinin is a leader in scanning probe microscopy (SPM) for studying functionality of nanomaterials. He has developed unique SPM methods for characterizing nanoscale behavior of ferroelectric and multiferroic materials.
  • Aydogan Ozcan (University of California, Los Angeles): Dr. Ozcan has created photonics-based telemedicine technologies and built lens-free imaging devices for point-of-care diagnostics, sensing, and testing that may be integrated with cell phones.
  • Amit Singer (Princeton University): Dr. Singer has created methods for data analysis and optimization that have had a profound impact on empirical science methodology, digital data organization, and knowledge extraction used in medical diagnostics, hyperspectral imaging, and equipment monitoring.
  • Anastasia Volovich (Brown University): Dr. Volovich is a theoretical physicist working at the forefront of quantum field theory and gravity. She has authored influential studies of scattering amplitudes in 4D gauge theories, supergravity, and string theory, with applications ranging from fundamental theory to physics at particle colliders.

2016 Chemistry Finalists

  • Phil Baran (The Scripps Research Institute): Dr. Baran is transforming what was thought to be a mature field of natural product synthesis. He designs efficient, commercially-scalable syntheses of biologically active natural products and, in the process, developing new reagents and reactions.
  • Garnet Chan (Princeton University): Dr. Chan’s major discovery is the reformulation of DMRG method, which enables computational chemists to accurately model the electronic structure of complex molecules. This method shortens the time needed for certain simulations to complete from decades to months.
  • Matthew Disney (The Scripps Research Institute): Dr. Disney is focusing his research on RNA-based drug discovery. His work centers on developing general, rational approaches to design precision medicines from genome sequences by targeting the RNA product of genes.
  • Pieter Dorrestein (University of California, San Diego): Dr. Dorrestein, a chemical biologist, is the primary architect of the Global Natural Products Social Molecular Network, an algorithm that automatically deduces the relationship between natural products based on their fragmentation patterns.
  • Michael Fischbach (University of California, San Francisco): Dr. Fischbach’s research is on the human microbiome, focusing on the molecular mechanisms by which the microbiota influence the host organism. He developed an algorithm that identifies the biosynthetic genes in bacterial genomes and has applied this to the human microbiome.
  • David Ginger (University of Washington): Dr. Ginger works to develop and apply new methods of microscopy to probe heterogeneous chemical systems in nanostructured polymers and solar cells. He has developed technology that allows images to be rendered from humongous data sets in real time (earlier methods require at least four hours).
  • Bo Huang (University of California, San Francisco): Dr. Huang, a chemical biologist, has successfully repurposed CRISPR-Cas9 as a tool for visualizing the chromosomes in living cells. In addition, he developed and applied super-resolution microscopy to the study of various biological systems.
  • Nevan Krogan (Gladstone Institutes): Dr. Krogan uses biochemistry and structural biology to generate large-scale quantitative genetic and physical interaction maps in several organisms. The maps are used to formulate hypotheses about various biological processes.
  • Teri Odom (Northwestern University): Dr. Odom focuses on physical chemistry and has developed powerful new methods of nanofabrication on a multi-scale level. These tools focus on multi-scale, anisotropic, and 3D plasmonic materials for applications in imaging, sensing, and cancer therapeutics.
  • Edward Valeev (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University): Dr. Valeev does research in theoretical chemistry and is a pioneer in the development of accurate, many-body electronic structure methods for molecular simulations. The main focus of his work is on the development of mathematical and numerical models and their implementation in computer programs.

To follow the progress of the Blavatnik Awards, please visit the Awards website (http://blavatnikawards.org), or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@BlavatnikAwards).

About The Blavatnik Family Foundation

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, Europe, and throughout the world. The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, an American industrialist and philanthropist. Mr. Blavatnik is the founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a privately-held U.S. industrial group with global interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, technology and e-commerce, life sciences, and real estate. For more detailed information, please visit: www.accessindustries.com

About The New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been driving innovative solutions to society’s challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. Please visit us online at www.nyas.org and follow us on Twitter at @NYASciences.

Back on My Feet Encourages All to Combat Homelessness with AmericaRuns Campaign

Lace Up Your Running Shoes and Sign the AmericaRuns Pledge from May 30 – July 4

Press Release – June 1, 2016 – PHILADELPHIA, PA – In celebration of Global Running Day, Back on My Feet, the national nonprofit that seeks to revolutionize the way society approaches homelessness through running, is launching its AmericaRuns campaign. The organization is encouraging runners and non-runners to give back to their communities by asking people across the country to sign a pledge to help raise awareness for the more than 500,000 homeless men, women and children in America. The campaign runs from May 30 – July 4.

For every pledge, Back on My Feet will receive a $1 donation and every participant is entered to win free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee for a year. To enter, people can sign the AmericaRuns pledge at http://www.backonmyfeet.org/americaruns. Participants can also enter by posting a picture of themselves running on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #AmericaRuns.

Back on My Feet operates in 11 major cities coast-to-coast, with a twelfth chapter opening in San Francisco this fall, and an ultimate goal to get sneakers on the ground in all major cities across the country. The organization’s unique running-based model demonstrates that if you first restore confidence, strength, and self-esteem, individuals experiencing homelessness are better equipped to tackle the road ahead. By dedicating themselves to early morning runs individuals earn the opportunity to move to the Back on My Feet “Next Steps” program which offers education, employment and housing opportunities through numerous corporate partnerships including AT&T, Marriott and Accenture.

“It only takes one run with our members who are experiencing homelessness to feel the power of what we do,” said Katy Sherratt, CEO of Back on My Feet. “Food and shelter alone are not enough to lift someone up from homelessness – through our comprehensive program members receive all the physical and mental health benefits of running, the support of thousands of community volunteers across the country who run with our members every week, as well as access to important training and employment opportunities. The AmericaRuns campaign marks a monumental time for Back on My Feet as we ask people across the country to join us on our journey to combat homelessness.”

“Back on My Feet has done so much for my re-acclimation into my community. After I returned home from Afghanistan in 2011, I found a foreclosure notice on my door, and I didn’t know where to turn,” said Eugene Hardy, Back on My Feet Atlanta member and military veteran. “Then I discovered Back on My Feet. With their support, I have completed dozens of races and even a marathon. Through Back on My Feet’s employment partner, The Home Depot, I now have a full-time job and am truly back on my feet.”

In addition to signing the AmericaRuns pledge, communities can also make a difference by participating in one or more of the following ways:

To learn more about the AmericaRuns campaign please visit http://www.backonmyfeet.org/americaruns and follow Back on My Feet on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

About Back on My Feet

Back on My Feet combats homelessness through the power of running, community support and essential employment and housing resources. Operating in 11 major cities coast-to-coast, Back on My Feet recruits members at homeless and residential facilities and begins with a commitment to run three days a week. The second phase of the program, Next Steps, provides educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources. Since 2007, Back on My Feet has served more than 6,000 individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness and engaged more than 100,000 volunteers and supporters. Our members have run a collective 500,000 miles and obtained more than 4,000 jobs and homes. Every $1 invested in Back on My Feet returns nearly $2.50 to the local community through increased economic output and cost savings. Through our innovative program, Back on My Feet proves that there is hope, that individuals can achieve things they never thought possible and that there are people who will support them along the way. For additional information, visit www.backonmyfeet.org.

Report Warns Shareholders: Some of Japan’s Biggest Companies are Misreporting Their Sustainability Compliance

On first anniversary of Japan’s Corporate Governance Code, Rainforest Action Network exposes lack of progress towards transparency and oversight

*** View Report Here: http://www.ran.org/shareholders_beware ***

Press Release – TOKYO – The introduction of Japan’s Corporate Governance Code in June 2015 was heralded as a major step forward in helping to open up Japanese corporations to greater transparency and oversight. But a new report released today by Rainforest Action Network documents that while the Code appears to be having some positive impact on governance issues such as board independence, the same cannot be said of the Code’s effect on improving the transparency and integration of sustainability issues into corporate business operation.

“The findings in this report suggest that companies are either systematically misreporting compliance on sustainability issues, or, have a fundamental lack of understanding as to the difference between genuine sustainability reporting and superficial Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) statements,” said Toyo Kawakami with Rainforest Action Network. “For Japan’s Corporate Governance Code to provide any confidence to shareholders interested in corporate sustainability performance, a major overhaul of the Code’s sustainability reporting obligations, guidance and compliance monitoring is urgently needed.”

According to a recent Tokyo Stock Exchange synthesis report of corporate compliance in the Code’s first year of implementation, more than 99% of companies self-reported to be complying with the Code’s sustainability and stakeholder provisions.

In today’s report, titled Shareholders beware: How major Japanese companies are misreporting sustainability under the Corporate Governance Code, Rainforest Action Network tested these claims by evaluating the Code reports of ten major Japanese companies known to have direct links to tropical deforestation risks. The report finds that while companies reported an awareness of generic sustainability issues, few identified the specific environmental and social risk factors they faced from their direct links to tropical deforestation, and none demonstrated how they are practically addressing these issues. In all cases, the companies were found to be linked to significant on-going environmental and social conflicts.

“The provision of clear and accurate sustainability information related to business operations, including through supply chains and investment relationships, is a critical part of assessing a company’s investment potential,” said Tom Picken with Rainforest Action Network. “The omission or concealment of such information can cause unforeseen losses to investors from company links to harmful environmental and social impacts, which in turn can result in brand reputation loss, cancellation of supplier contracts, shutdowns in production or legal action.”

The report recommends that the Code’s standards and guidelines for sustainability and stakeholder issues be strengthened and company reports be subjected to more active compliance monitoring by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). The report also concludes that concerted actions by all companies with business relationships linked to tropical forest-risk commodities will be essential for making progress to protect and conserve these unique and threatened ecosystems, while also respecting and upholding the rights of key stakeholder groups, particularly local communities.

Subaru And The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Celebrate Gestures Of Hope For Subaru Love Promise

– LLS and Subaru Send Well Wishes and Warm Blankets to Cancer Patients in June, Subaru Loves to Care month –

Press Release – Rye Brook, NY (May 31, 2016) – Subaru of America and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) announced a collaboration to provide much needed support and “warmth” to patients fighting cancer and their families in communities across the country.

During Subaru Loves to Care month this June, LLS and participating Subaru retailers across the country together will provide blankets and messages of hope to patients undergoing cancer treatment at local hospitals and treatment centers. Visitors to Subaru retailers will be given the chance to share personalized messages of hope to patients in their local communities, which will be delivered alongside blankets to provide comfort and warmth as they continue their fight against cancer. Those who write a message of hope will receive a Subaru and LLS awareness bracelet, to help spread awareness of LLS and Subaru of America’s goal to provide hope and care, one gesture at a time.

“Through our Subaru Love Promise we aim to make the world a better place and our owners care deeply about giving back in their local communities,” said Alan Bethke, senior vice president of marketing at Subaru of America. “We are proud to team up with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for Subaru Loves to Care month to help provide care and support to patients battling cancer and their families.”

Where Love Meets Hope

Subaru and LLS are bringing to life the Loves to Care month in close to 400 Subaru retailers across the country. By the end of June, Subaru retailers will donate more than 30,000 blankets and thousands of messages of hope to patients fighting cancer across the country.

LLS will be featuring inspiring stories and photographs of survivors and patients fighting cancer, like the hundreds of patients in communities across the country who will receive blankets and messages of hope through the month.

Three-time cancer survivor 38-year-old Christopher Jenkins’ story is a beacon of hope among the many others fighting cancer in the Subaru community. An outdoor enthusiast, Christopher believes in the healing power of nature. While battling cancer, it was important for Christopher to have his Subaru Outback to brave the Michigan winters as he traveled to his treatments and drove with his dogs off the beaten path.

“It’s really hard when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer to think about the future, but something about nature and seeing my dogs run around in the woods gave me hope,” Christopher shared.

According to LLS president and CEO, Dr. Louis J. DeGennaro, “This initiative with Subaru is a perfect fit for LLS. Through our network of 56 chapters and Subaru’s presence in communities across the country, together, we are reaching and supporting even more patients, families and caregivers in their time of need. Through this initiative to raise awareness for the urgent need to find cancer cures and ensure patients have access to lifesaving treatments, Subaru is helping us make someday, today, for blood cancer patients.”

Visit www.lls.org/subaru to learn more about LLS’s mission and impact, and how to help Subaru and LLS make someday, today, for blood cancer patients.

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 620 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in a zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information, visit media.subaru.com.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

The Atlantic Philanthropies Announce the Atlantic Fellows Program and Creation of the Atlantic Institute to Sustain Global Network of Changemakers

Initiatives will empower and connect dynamic individuals committed to working together across disciplines and borders to advance fairer, healthier, more inclusive societies.

Press Release – NEW YORK, June 1, 2016 — THE Atlantic Philanthropies today announced two multi-decade investments, totaling nearly $200 million, to equip innovative leaders and thinkers with the tools they need to redress inequality and enhance opportunity both in their own communities and collaboratively on a global scale.

“From its inception, Atlantic has invested in people and in their vision and ability to realize a better world,” said Christopher G. Oechsli, president and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies. “In our final year of grantmaking, we are making our largest philanthropic investment ever, in people. Our vision for the Atlantic Fellows programs is to connect and empower a new generation of people who are committed to working together across disciplines and borders to advance fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies.”

A £64.4 million ($91 million) grant to the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) will establish an Atlantic Fellows program at its International Inequalities Institute. The program is the latest in an interconnected set of fellowship programs – the Atlantic Fellows –designed to address some of the world’s most critical challenges.

“No theme has been more basic to the work of LSE throughout its history than addressing and trying to moderate inequality,” said Professor Craig Calhoun, who has served as LSE’s director since 2012. “No issue is more important to the UK or the world today. This remarkable grant will enable LSE’s new International Inequalities Institute to scale up faster, join students and researchers across departmental lines, and prepare generations of engaged practitioners to have an even more profound impact.”

Dynamic, accomplished leaders and thinkers, Atlantic Fellows at LSE’s International Inequalities Institute will be researchers, teachers, health professionals, activists, scholars, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, government officials and others dedicated to tackling global challenges to health, equity, opportunity and removing barriers to inclusion. The program will offer emerging leaders residencies, seminars, mentoring programs, practical project work and networking relationships. It will draw on LSE’s international faculty and work in close collaboration with other institutions, including the University of Cape Town in South Africa and Cornell University in the United States.

A second grant will create a convening and knowledge-sharing hub for the global network of Atlantic Fellows. The Atlantic Institute, established with a 15-year, £75 million ($106 million) investment, will serve as a nexus for Atlantic Fellows, maximizing their collaboration and impact in tackling persistent challenges to societies locally and globally.

The Atlantic Institute will be based in Oxford and operated by the Rhodes Trust.

Sir John Hood, chairman of the Rhodes Trust, said: “The Rhodes Trust is delighted to be announcing the launch of the Atlantic Institute. This is a significant development in the Trust’s 113-year history and allows us to advance our goal of promoting collaboration among global leaders.”

The Atlantic Institute will also provide additional support to Atlantic Fellows and alumni throughout their careers. Activities will include global convenings to allow participants and alumni across programs to connect, as well as annual innovation prizes for Atlantic Fellows and alumni to develop and implement particularly creative and effective ideas.

Taken together, the network of Atlantic Fellows programs and institutions represents a $600 million initiative by The Atlantic Philanthropies. Not only is this the foundation’s largest collective investment in its 35-year history, but the creation of the Atlantic Fellows program and the Atlantic Institute marks the first and only time that Atlantic has given its name to an initiative or institution.

These two new initiatives are the foundation’s latest and biggest bets on people. Additional programs are still being developed and will be announced in the coming months.

For over three decades, The Atlantic Philanthropies’ work on five continents has been focused largely on combating systemic inequality and achieving lasting impact for those who experience bias and barriers to advancement. From overcoming health disparities and the impact of dementia to promoting equal rights and representation regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, income or age, Atlantic Fellows will be a network of changemakers challenging discrimination and disenfranchisement, and committed to enhancing the health and cohesiveness of communities and countries all over the world.

The Atlantic Philanthropies

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to advancing opportunity, equity and human dignity. Established in 1982, when Chuck Feeney quietly committed virtually all of his assets to the foundation, Atlantic has since made grants approaching $8 billion. In keeping with Mr. Feeney’s “Giving While Living,” big bet philosophy, Atlantic invests in systemic change to accelerate improvements in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The foundation, which has operated in Australia, Bermuda, Cuba, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam, will complete all grant making in 2016 and conclude operations shortly afterward.

19th Annual JVS Strictly Business L.A. Awards Luncheon Spotlights Military Veteran Employment Issues; Celebrates Corporate Partners Putting Veterans To Work

JVS partners and donors helped raise nearly $500,000 to support JVS programs 

Press Release – May 2016 (Los Angeles, CA) – Military veteran employment issues were front and center at the 19th Annual JVS Strictly Business L.A. Awards Luncheon that took place Thursday, May 12, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, as Dan Goldenberg, a highly regarded national advocate for veterans, addressed hundreds of business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs and philanthropists gathered to support a luncheon with a purpose. Award-winning NBC4 broadcaster Fritz Coleman returned for his 4th year as event host.

One of the city’s premiere networking events, JVS Strictly Business highlights the life-changing work of JVSLA, a nonprofit, non-sectarian agency dedicated to lifting people out of poverty by helping them overcome barriers and challenges to employment. Critical funds raised through Strictly Business help support the life-changing programs of JVS that give its many diverse clients the training, tools and resources they need to become economically self-sufficient.

This year’s event raised over $400,000, with $120,000 of that amount donated during an urgent appeal at the event.

Dan Goldenberg is executive director of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty Endowment, a leading funder of veteran employment-focused organizations nationwide, establishing best practices, promoting veteran hiring, and supporting organizations like JVS that are helping former service members transition into civilian careers.

Since 2009, Activision Blizzard, through the Call of Duty Endowment, has provided more than $18 million in grants to veteran organizations throughout the U.S. These gifts have helped place 22,752 veterans into high-quality careers.

The JVS Veterans First program is a multiple-year recipient of Call of Duty Endowment funding and a partner in the regional effort to place military veterans into high-quality jobs.

In his keynote address that provided insights into the state of veteran employment in L.A. and in the United States, Goldenberg cited a 2015 government report said that young, post-9/11 veterans are three times more likely to be unemployed than the average American, despite the fact that their military skills, experience, and accomplishments are sought after in the civilian job market.

Goldenberg pointed to a schism between statistics presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that says veteran unemployment is down and what veterans are actually experiencing regarding civilian employment.

“We know government unemployment numbers are off because our grantees from across the country—that serve upwards of 5,000 veterans each quarter—have seen a 15 percent increase in demand for their employment services compared to this time last year,” said Goldenberg, who has 24 years of active and reserve military service and over a decade of corporate experience. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Harvard Business School and the Air Command and Staff College.

“Something just doesn’t add up when the organizations on the ground are experiencing a significant uptick in demand for their employment services,” Goldenberg said.

Goldenberg said, however, that Call of Duty Endowment grantee partners, all of whom are carefully vetted to assure they are effective in their mission, are reporting tremendous success in their work: the six-month retention rate for vets placed by Call of Duty Endowment grantees is 89 percent, which outpaces the average, and starting salaries of the vets placed by its partners average above $50,000. “Considering that the national average starting salary for new college graduates is $45,000, it’s fair to say our grantees are doing a terrific job,” he said, adding, “JVS is one of the very special organizations we’ve worked with for some time that’s had great impact.”

During the luncheon JVS also honored Universal Protection Service, one of the largest American-owned security services providers, with its Corporate Partnership Award for its significant contributions to a public-private-nonprofit partnership that creates meaningful change in the community. A division of Universal Services of America, the Santa Ana-based company works closely with JVS to put veterans and other job seekers back to work.

A military-friendly employer, Universal Protection Service is committed to offering opportunities to job seekers in underserved communities as well as to hiring veterans who bring unique skills and training to the industry. They are partners in the national 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and locally in Mayor Garcetti’s 10,000 Strong Veterans Hiring Initiative.

Regional Recruiter Richard S. Lopez, Jr., representing the company, said: “The relationship between JVS and Universal Protection Service is grounded in our shared commitment to workforce development. Over the past eight years, we have come together to meet the changing staffing and employment needs throughout the greater Los Angeles Region.”

JVS presented its Inspiration Award to three JVS clients whose successes illustrate the mission of the agency to help lift people out of poverty and over significant barriers to employment. This year’s recipients included Roland Williams, a formerly homeless veteran now employed as an apartment maintenance technician; Deborah Smith, a survivor of domestic violence who now works for Wells Fargo, and James Acosta, a formerly out-of-school and unemployed youth now employed at Starbucks and working toward his high school diploma. A video about the honorees can be viewed here: www.jvsla.org/strictlybizla

In 2016 JVSLA marked a significant transition in its leadership as it installed new Board President Harris Smith and welcomed new CEO Alan S. Levey.

INFO ON JVS LOS ANGELES

JVS is a nonprofit, non-sectarian organization celebrating its 85th anniversary of service this year. www.jvsla.org

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