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Monthly Archives: August 2016

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Boulder Crest Retreat Recognized as a Model for Community-Based Veteran Programs

The Retreat’s breakthrough approach to PTSD and combat-related stress is worth replicating, according to the American Psychological Association’s The Military Psychologist

Press Release – BLUEMONT, Virginia – (August 31, 2016) – In the three years since opening, Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness has served more than 2,100 combat veterans and their family members. The Virginia-based retreat – the nation’s first privately-funded wellness center dedicated exclusively to combat veterans and their families – serves as a proving ground for a new and innovative approach to PTSD and combat stress.

In the recently-released summer edition of The Military Psychologist, a publication of the American Psychological Association’s military chapter, Dr. Richard Tedeschi and Dr. Bret Moore noted that, “We have found BCR to be unique in the level of comprehensive care it provides. We are also impressed with the potential the program has become a model for establishing and developing effective grassroots community based programs for veterans and family members.”

“With an estimated 700,000 combat veterans and approximately 1.4 million family members in need of support, we know that one location is not sufficient,” explains Ken Falke, chairman and founder of Boulder Crest Retreat. “Our programs and overall approach is replicable across the country, and based on our nation’s veteran populations, we hope to expand to at least nine more communities. We are grateful for the recognition from The Military Psychologist which speaks to how we can best serve those who have served us all.”

Boulder Crest Retreat honors its mission of healing heroes, one family a time, through its two, free signature programs – PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) and Family Rest Reconnection Retreats.

“It is now beyond question that the current, mainstream approaches to PTSD and combat stress are not as effective as they need be,” explains Josh Goldberg, director of strategy at Boulder Crest Retreat. “Our approach is based on a military styled training for posttraumatic growth (PTG). Our programs are designed and delivered by combat veterans for combat veterans, and feature extensive follow-on support. We are currently seven months in to an 18-month program evaluation and study and extremely happy with the preliminary results and we appreciate this early external validation of our efforts.”

The Military Psychologist feature article on Boulder Crest Retreat noted a number of differentiators that make the Retreat’s work worth replicating:

  • Combat veterans serve in leadership and staff positions.
  • The organization is led by Ken Falke, who possesses outstanding leadership and organizational capabilities and a track record of success in both for-profit and nonprofit work.
  • All members of staff believe deeply in the power of combat veterans and are passionate about the opportunity to serve the community.
  • “Unlike many clinic-based programs run by mental health professionals, at BCR, there is very little sense of separateness between program participants and staff.
  • It is an environment that is often characterized by participants as ‘being home and surrounded by loved ones.’”
  • Peaceful, rural setting allows for greater connection, focus, and reflection.
  • The staff is engaged with participants throughout the day (0730-2030), from meals to therapeutic training sessions.
  • The approach is growth-oriented and focuses on thriving post-combat rather than just living or existing.
  • Strong partnerships with community organizations across the country.
  • Extensive follow-on support to sustain benefits of short-duration, high-impact programs.

“We see the benefits of our peaceful setting and intensive, loving approach every single day,” adds Falke. “It is a tribute to the remarkable work, passion, and commitment of every member of our team that their efforts are recognized as a model for other communities. It is further proof that what we are doing is making a lasting impact on those we serve.”

The Military Psychologist reported that up to one third of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans battle some form of psychological ailment as a result of their service, including around 15 percent who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Once combat veterans depart BCR, they are supported for 18 months through videoconferences, conference calls, and a leading-edge technology platform – MY PATHH. This allows students to navigate re-entry and ensures they can thrive and continue to be the service-oriented leaders we desperately need here at home.

As the nation’s first privately funded wellness center dedicated exclusively to combat veterans and their families, Boulder Crest Retreat has developed the nation’s first non-clinical curriculum for combat stress, leveraging our breakthrough and innovative Warrior PATHH program. This effort will ensure that Warrior PATHH can be delivered in communities across the nation and also support our efforts to create similar world-class Retreats in communities featuring heavy concentrations of veterans. Boulder Crest Retreat is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that is funded entirely by private donations by individuals and organizations from around the country. For more information about the retreat, please go to www.bouldercrestretreat.org. View a video about the Boulder Crest Retreat here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KztgmScOQLw.

ABOUT BOULDER CREST RETREAT

Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness is a rural sanctuary that provides free accommodations, recreational and therapeutic activities and programs to help our nation’s military and veteran personnel and their families recover and reconnect during their long journey of healing from physical and invisible wounds of war. The 37-acre retreat is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bluemont, Virginia, just 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. The Retreat is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is entirely funded through private donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information about Boulder Crest Retreat, please visit http://www.bouldercrestretreat.org.

Source:

The Military Psychologist. Summer 2016. Feature Article: A Model for Developing Community-Based, Grass Roots Laboratories for Postdeployment Adjustment.

SDSU Among Princeton Review’s Best Colleges

For the first time, SDSU is featured in the publication’s annual listing of top colleges.

Press Release – SAN DIEGO (August 31, 2016) — San Diego State University has been moving up the ranks as one of the nation’s top public universities. Now for the first time, the university is listed as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by the Princeton Review.

The listings, which are published in the 2017 edition of “The Best 381 Colleges,” are based on surveys of 143,000 students attending 2500 four-year colleges across the country. Students rated everything from their financial aid to on-campus food, and only about 15 percent of America’s four-year colleges made the cut.

“We are proud that the Princeton Review has recognized the quality of our programs,” said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman. “This ranking is a testament to the efforts of our faculty, staff and students and to our campus-wide focus on educational excellence.”

The Princeton Review rated SDSU highly for its admissions, academics, financial aid, quality of life and sustainability efforts. Key indicators in these areas include academic rigor of incoming students, student retention rates, six-year graduation rates, cost of attendance and diversity. The full SDSU profile can be viewed online here.

“San Diego State’s outstanding academics are the chief reason we chose it for this book and we strongly recommend it to applicants,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of the Princeton Review and author of “The Best 381 Colleges.”

“We make our selections primarily based on data we collect through our annual surveys of administrators at several hundred four-year colleges,” Franek continued. “Additionally, we give considerable weight to observations from our school visits, opinions of our staff and our 24-member National College Counselor Advisory Board, and an unparalleled amount of feedback we get from our surveys of students attending these schools.”

“Being recognized for the first time by the Princeton Review is a true testament to the success of our strategic plan, ‘Building on Excellence,’” said Chukuka S. Enwemeka, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs. “Through our campus-wide collaborative efforts, we have made remarkable progress in our core strategic areas of student success, research and creative endeavors, and community and communication that can be directly linked to the growth of our reputation among national universities.”

“The Best 381 Colleges” does not rank colleges 1 to 381, but rather highlights the top schools in the country. Published annually since 1992, it includes detailed profiles of the colleges with rating scores in eight categories.

Support Veterans by Joining the EOD 131WOD CROSSFIT Movement this Fall

Join others around the country to turn your workout into support for veterans

Press Release – NICEVILLE, FLORIDA – (August 31, 2016) – Veterans Day is November 11th and this day makes for a great time to consider how individuals, groups, businesses, and gyms can get involved and show their support for our nation’s veterans. While it’s estimated that there are over 19 million veterans in the country, there is one elite group of veterans in need of your support, because they have the most dangerous job in the military. This group is EOD or explosive ordnance disposal, or to many, bomb disposal. This Veterans Day, you can join a movement, and use your work out as a way to support these important members of our military.

Since September 11, 2001, there have been 131 EOD technicians killed while carrying out an EOD mission. Fellow EOD technicians designed a memorial workout to honor these fallen heroes. The EOD 131 is an EOD Memorial Crossfit workout of the day (WOD), and is a challenging workout dedicated to raising awareness for the EOD community and raising funds for the EOD Warrior Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting this elite community and their families.

“This nationwide workout to support EOD veterans is fun, it helps people get fit, and it helps to support one of the most elite groups defending our nation,” explains Nicole Motsek, the executive director of the EOD Warrior Foundation. “It’s easy to get involved, whether you are a gym, business, or individual, just sign up and enlist your friends. It’s a workout that will leave you feeling great physically and emotionally.”

The EOD131 takes place between October 1 and November 30, 2016, with proceeds benefitting the EOD Warrior Foundation. Each repetition in the workout symbolizes the sacrifice of one of the 131 EOD heroes who have been killed during combat operations since 9/11. How it works: gyms, military commands or individuals register to participate in the workout. The workout is done as a two-man team, as EOD technicians are trained to work in pairs. Each person who officially registers receives an EOD 131 Memorial T-shirt, and their donation goes directly to the EOD Warrior Foundation.

Workout participants wear a 20 pound vest or body armor, and do the following:

  • 65 Front Squats at 135lb Men/95lb Women
  • 65 Kettle Bell Swings at 72lb M/54lb W
  • 16 Partner Over Burpees
  • 65 Hang Power Cleans at 135lb M/95lb W
  • 65 Single Arm Kettle Bell Press at 54lb M/34lb W
  • 16 Partner over Burpees
  • 65 Chest to Bar Pull-ups
  • 65 Box Jumps at 30″ M/24″ W
  • 16 Partner over Burpees
  • 65 Push ups (Chest to Deck)
  • 65 “Pendlay” Barbell Rows at 135lb M/95lb W
  • 16 Partner over Burpees
  • 400 Meter Run-In Honor of SSGT Lyon

*Participants can scale the workout to their ability level.

The workout was started three years ago by EOD technicians who wanted to honor their fellow comrades and help those still battling injury. The workout is modified each year if another hero is memorialized. This year a 400 Meter run is added to the end of the workout to honor Marine SSGT David Lyon who recently died of wounds sustained during combat operations in Afghanistan.

It’s estimated that there are over 36,000 health clubs around the country, and over 55 million people that belong to them. In 2015 alone, there were over 64 million Americans who utilized a health club.

“The EOD Memorial Workout helps people to make a difference. Imagine the good we could do if even a small percentage of the nation’s health clubs and gyms get involved in this,” added Motsek.

EOD warriors spend their days defusing explosive devices on and off the battlefield. Many of them leave the military in need of some type of assistance, including financial, physical, or psychological. Some are missing limbs, while others suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and still others have traumatic brain injuries. Workout participants make a $35 donation to the cause and get a T-shirt for participating, they also get in a challenging workout as well as the satisfaction of knowing they have helped EOD warriors. Those interested in supporting the cause and getting involved in the nationwide workout can find more information and register their gym or group at: www.eodmemorialworkout.com and the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DetonatorThrowdown.

About EOD Warrior Foundation

The EOD Warrior Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help EOD warriors and their family members to include families of fallen EOD warriors. Specific programs include emergency financial relief, college scholarships, hope and wellness retreats, and care of the EOD Memorial located at Eglin AFB, FL. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.

Sources:

IHRSA. About the industry. http://www.ihrsa.org/about-the-industry/

U.S. Census Bureau. Veterans Day. http://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2015/cb15-ff23.html

Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer Abroad as a Teacher

With the new academic year starting next week, Projects Abroad shares the most important motivations to volunteer as a teacher in the developing world

A Projects Abroad volunteer teacher leads an English class at a school in Senegal

A Projects Abroad volunteer teacher leads an English class at a school in Senegal

Press Release – NEW YORK – August 31, 2016 – Next week, hundreds of thousands of North American students and teachers are returning to school for the new academic year. For international volunteer organization Projects Abroad, staff and volunteers are also gearing up for the start of school in underdeveloped areas around the world. Teaching Projects are vital for development and uplifting communities, and volunteers are needed urgently to fill the gaps and raise literacy levels.

Here are the top five reasons to get involved at a Teaching Project in a developing country:

Make a tangible difference in underprivileged schools

Many of the schools that Projects Abroad is partnered with are located in severely disadvantaged areas. These schools lack resources and the majority of students have never had the chance to interact with a native English speaker. There are endless ways that volunteers can have a significant impact, from giving individual attention to students that are being left behind in overcrowded classes, to introducing educational games and creating engaging materials that make learning more fun. Some volunteers also go the extra mile and run afterschool programs such as English clubs to give children a safe space to learn and have fun in the afternoons.

Your impact will continue after you have left

One of the most important aspects of the Teaching Project is the help given to local teachers. Volunteers spend a lot of time at their projects helping their colleagues improve their English fluency and introducing new ideas and techniques for English education into the classroom. By helping local teachers, volunteers are indirectly influencing the futures of thousands of children – as well as contributing to sustainable development! Projects Abroad has had excellent results with these types of programs, especially at the Teaching Project in Peru, where the organization runs a specialized training program for Peruvian teachers from January to March each year.

Gain practical experience in the classroom

At each project, volunteers spend several hours in the classroom each day, assisting with or leading English classes, as well as teaching other subjects like music, art, or drama if they are up to the challenge. The experience of being in an actual classroom setting and working alongside qualified teachers is an invaluable one, especially for volunteers interested in pursuing careers in teaching or ESL. For university students, an international volunteer program can also potentially be used for academic credit. A previous Projects Abroad volunteer even used her experience at the Teaching Project in Costa Rica to contribute to research for her graduate study project!

Get support in the classroom when you need it

For Projects Abroad, giving volunteer teachers the support they need is a vital part of the program. Each volunteer has access to a database of lesson plans and classroom management techniques and experienced Projects Abroad staff are always on hand to give advice when needed. In addition, the organization holds regular workshops specifically for Teaching Projects where volunteers can ask questions and discuss what they can do to improve themselves as teachers. This is extremely helpful for teachers of all levels and volunteers find it especially useful to talk to each other about their classes and exchange ideas.

Build on the work of other volunteers, lay the foundation for the future

At a Teaching Project, volunteers join throughout the year and commit for however long they can. Even if you are only able to spare a short period of time, you can be confident that you are continuing the work of previous volunteers or laying the foundations for the volunteers that come after you. If you choose to volunteer at a time when the school is on a break, Projects Abroad organizes vacation classes and camps that you can teach.

Projects Abroad offers Teaching Projects in more than 30 countries across the developing world in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific. Volunteers can choose from various types of programs aside from teaching English, such as teaching French, IT, or Physical Education. For more information on how to get involved with international teaching programs, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/teaching.

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.

Ten Percent of Earth’s Biodiversity Depends on Colombia’s Water

International NGO Rare Supports Water Conservation with Caracol Media Partnership & Joint Session at Stockholm International Water Institute’s World Water Week

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Press Release – ARLINGTON, VA (PRWEB) AUGUST 31, 2016: Thirty-five million Colombians rely on the water sources found in the Andes Mountains. This diverse landscape is also home to more than 1,800 species of birds, nearly two million species of plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms, and ten percent of the planet’s biodiversity. And, it is the heart of Rare’s clean fresh water program.

To raise awareness around the dire importance of water conservation during international World Water Week, Rare is partnering with Caracol, Colombia’s largest media organization, to execute an in-country media campaign that illuminates the critical link between clean water resources and the health of the communities, animals and ecosystems that depend on them. This media campaign will run throughout World Water Week and will include a series of radio spots and a televised public service announcement.

In addition to the campaign in Colombia, Rare co-hosted a session on August 30th at the Stockholm International Water Institute’s World Water Week summit along with The Nature Conservancy and International Union for Conservation of Nature that engaged attendees in discussion around Rare’s Colombia program. The topic of the session, “Catalyzing Natural Capital Financing for Water Security, Management and Infrastructure,” aimed to catalyze a dialogue around the need to unlock financial streams for water security.

Manuel Bueno Vera, Rare’s Director of Sustainable Markets and key facilitator in Rare’s engagement with World Water Week noted, “This is an excellent opportunity to showcase how well-targeted and creative investment products can help develop scalable and sustainable grassroots solutions to water security, alongside our partners in the ground.”

To learn more about SIWI World Water Week 2016, please visit, http://www.worldwaterweek.org.

The goal of Rare’s clean, fresh water program in Colombia is to ensure cleaner and more reliable water supply for Colombians throughout communities like El Rincon. There, Rare works with partners and local leaders to encourage community participation in resource management decision-making and solutions for sustainable land-use and water conservation. See a powerful photo series by Jason Houston which captures the stories of the Colombian people and their water ecosystems and learn more about how Rare is partnering with communities in Colombia.

Benjamin Ferencz, Last Surviving Nuremberg Prosecutor, Donates $1 Million to U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide

Annually renewable gift made through Planethood Foundation to establish the Ben Ferencz International Justice Initiative

Press Release – WASHINGTON – Benjamin Ferencz successfully prosecuted one of the world’s first convictions of crimes against humanity as a Chief Prosecutor for the United States during the trials of Nazi perpetrators at the Nuremberg Trials. Now, almost seven decades later, he secures his investment in the future of genocide prevention with the creation of the Ferencz International Justice Initiative at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Through the Planethood Foundation Ferencz established to promote international law as an alternative to war and crimes against humanity, Ferencz will donate $1 million on an annually renewable basis to the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide.

“I have witnessed holocausts and I cannot stop trying to deter future genocides. You cannot kill an entrenched ideology with a gun. Compassion, tolerance and compromise must be taught at all levels,” Ferencz said. “Crimes are committed by individuals; culpable leaders should be held to account civilly and criminally in national and international courts. The rule of law must be applied universally to protect humankind universally. ‘Law, not war’ is my slogan and ‘Never give up!’ is my mandate.”

Ferencz, 96, the last living Nuremberg prosecutor, spent his career building the architecture of international justice. At 24, Ferencz was tasked with setting up the United States’ first war crimes branch while the Allies were still fighting Germany. At 27, in his first criminal trial, Ferencz secured guilty verdicts against 22 high-ranking members of Hitler’s SS accused of murdering over a million innocent men, women and children. Oct. 1 will mark the 70th anniversary of the first verdicts in the trials in Nuremberg.

After the trials, Ferencz dedicated his legal expertise to securing restitution for Holocaust survivors, who as Ferencz described them, “had survived with only their tattoos and scarred memories.” He also worked to recover stolen Jewish properties, businesses, art and religious objects and return them to rightful owners.

Ferencz’s deep belief that the law can be used to deter war and crimes against humanity fueled his lifelong search for justice for atrocities committed after the Holocaust. His writings became the basis for the International Criminal Court, established in 1998 to prosecute cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute the perpetrators. In recognition of his lifetime of achievements, the Museum honored Ferencz with its highest honor in 2015, the Elie Wiesel Award.

This gift is only the latest contribution Ferencz has made over decades to the Museum. He donated one of the largest collections of documents to the Museum’s archives, including diaries, documents from his war crimes work and the Einsatzgruppen Trial and family history.

“A witness to the aftermath of horrors of the Holocaust, Ben Ferencz made preventing and punishing the crime of genocide and mass atrocities the guiding principal of his career,” said Cameron Hudson, Director of the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. “He shares our conviction that genocide can be prevented but when it does occur, its perpetrators must be held accountable. His pioneering work and passion for international justice will continuously inform and inspire our efforts in genocide prevention.”

The Ben Ferencz International Justice Initiative seeks to strengthen the rule of law for atrocity prevention and response, promote justice and accountability in countries where genocidal crimes have been committed, and foster research and policy aimed at using international justice to deter, prevent and respond to mass atrocities.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide is dedicated to ensuring that governments have the structures and tools to prevent genocide and to catalyze an international response when it occurs. Its goal is to make the prevention of genocide a core priority for leaders around the world through a multipronged program of research, education, and public outreach. It works to equip decision makers, in the United States and abroad, with the knowledge, tools, and institutional support required to prevent — or if necessary, halt — genocide and related crimes against humanity.

This gift from the Planethood Foundation is part of the Museum’s $540 million campaign “Never Again: What You Do Matters,” that will enable the Museum to make critical investments to keep Holocaust memory alive as a relevant, transformative force in the 21st century. The campaign will create a stronger endowment, increased annual fund and build a new collections and conservation center. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org/campaign.

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.

Campaigners Rejoice As Barbaric Elephant Bullhooks Are Banned From California

Governor Jerry Brown Signs SB1062 Into Law, Protecting Elephants from Brutal Bullhook Abuse

Press Release – Sacramento, CA (August 30, 2016) – California-based international animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals, has welcomed new legislation to prohibit the use of brutal bullhooks to dominate and try to control elephants in California that has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The move follows a statewide ban on ivory sales that came into effect on July 1.

Senator Ricardo Lara, D Bell Gardens, set the legislative campaign for elephants in motion in 2015 when he introduced the first bullhook ban bill, and has now gained success with his second bill, S.B. 1062.

The new law states that as of January 1, 2018, captive elephants residing in, or passing through the state of California, will no longer be tormented, controlled, and dominated by the use of the cruel and archaic bullhook.

The bullhook or “ankus” is a steel rod resembling a sharpened fireplace poker. It is used to prod, hook and strike elephants, to dominate and try to control elephants through fear, pain and injury. This barbaric device is frequently used by circuses, elephant rides and some zoos.

“This new law is an important step in the protection of elephants,” said Dr. Marilyn Kroplick, President of In Defense of Animals. “We now know so much about these incredible animals and it is a great start to see states like California changing laws to better reflect our growing understanding. Elephants suffer greatly in zoos and traveling elephant performances, so please support sanctuaries and genuine conservation efforts to protect their wild homes.”

“Bullhooks are outdated, barbaric weapons; other methods such as protected contact and positive reinforcement are more humane and ultimately, safer for humans”, said In Defense of Animals elephant scientist, Toni Frohoff, Ph.D. She continued, “We applaud the efforts of our associates at the Performing Animal Welfare Society and the Humane Society of the United States for cosponsoring the bill, and Senator Ricardo Lara for initiating this momentous change in the State of California. We encourage other states to update their laws to join the progress being made for elephants.”

California is the second state in the nation, following Rhode Island, to ban this abusive weapon. Los Angeles and Oakland, CA, Richmond, VA; Austin, TX; Spokane, WA; and Minneapolis, MN are among the other major cities that have already banned the bullhook. San Francisco is one of many cities that has prohibited the use of all wild animal performances, joining over 30 countries that have restricted animals performing in traveling shows.

In Defense of Animals produces the respected Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants List, now in its twelfth year: http://www.idausa.org/2015tenworstzoos

JPMorgan Chase and Employees to Donate up to $200,000 to Aid Italy Earthquake Relief Efforts

Firm provides $100,000 to the Italian Red Cross and will match employee donations dollar-for-dollar to reach up to $200,000 in total

Press Release – August 30, 2016 (London) – JPMorgan Chase & Co. will donate up to $200,000 from the firm and its employees to support earthquake relief efforts in Italy, the firm announced today. The grant and employee donations will go to the Italian Red Cross.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Italian communities that have suffered significant loss of life and devastating damage,” said Guido Nola, Senior Country Officer for Italy, J.P. Morgan, which has about 160 employees in the country. “J.P. Morgan has a 100 year history in Italy, and we are deeply committed to supporting the Italian Red Cross’ relief efforts in this dramatic moment for the regions hit by the earthquake and the whole country.”

In addition to a $100,000 grant, JPMorgan Chase’s special employee giving campaign will match employee donations dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000, for a total of up to $100,000, to the Italian Red Cross.

The Italian Red Cross will use the funding to support search and rescue teams and establish mobile kitchens for people forced to leave their homes.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

New Report Finds Connection Between Student Debt & Shrinking Levels of Young Adult Entrepreneurship

Young entrepreneurs are far more likely than their peers to earn incomes at the extremes

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C.Young Invincibles, the nation’s leading research and advocacy non-profit focused on economic opportunity for young adults, today released a new issue brief, At the Extremes: Student Debt and Entrepreneurship. The report uses Department of Education survey data to examine the potential effects of student debt on entrepreneurship among young adults with college degrees.

While the analysis does not demonstrate causality, it does show higher student debt corresponding with lower levels of entrepreneurship. This trend reverses for borrowers with the highest debt loads, suggesting the relationship is more complicated than previously thought. YI’s analysis also revealed that college-educated young entrepreneurs with student debt are more likely to come from opposite ends of the income spectrum, and generally less likely to come from middle-income backgrounds. The data has broad potential implications for economic growth and job creation.

“We know that a majority of Millennials currently own or are interested in owning a business, yet we’ve seen them shrink from the largest cohort of new entrepreneurs to the smallest over the last two decades. That should be cause for concern as our nation’s small business create the majority of new jobs in our economy,” said Tom Allison, deputy director of policy and research at Young Invincibles and co-researcher on the report. “Student debt has now reached 1.3 trillion dollars nationally, and our latest analysis found that higher student loan debt generally corresponds with lower rates of young adult entrepreneurship.”

“We found in our analysis that more than half of young entrepreneurs are women, a quarter are people of color and more than a quarter are children of immigrants or immigrants themselves, debunking a number of myths about young adult entrepreneurship today. While we found some connection between lower rates of entrepreneurship among young adults from middle-income families, we need more student-focused data tracking to truly understand the impact of student debt,” added Laura Checovich, policy fellow at Young Invincibles and co-research on the report.

During a briefing on the results at Young Invincibles’ national headquarters in Washington, attendees also heard from two young entrepreneurs who shared their stories and talked about the role student debt has played in their entrepreneurship journey.

Rahama Wright is founder of Shea Yeleen, a social enterprise empowering women in Northern Ghana through the sale of shea butter beauty products distributed across the world offered, “I know a lot of people struggle with student debt. I avoided that for the most part by attending a less-costly state school back home. Even so, I took risks to build my company. I deferred the loans I did have for about a year so I could take the money I saved, leave my job and pursue a path to social entrepreneurship.”

Trevor Witt of Kansas, president and founder of Witt Tech LLC, a FAA-approved company providing quality aerial photography to meet the needs of individuals and businesses, joined the event by phone.“I developed my aerial photography company while pursuing a degree in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) at Kansas State University. It has been an incredible environment to nurture my desire to be an entrepreneur,” said Witt. “My wife and I are expecting our first child, and I’m excited to continue to build Witt Tech, LLC and watch it grow. While I am taking on some student debt now to complete my certifications, I view it as an investment in my business and in my family’s future.”

Some additional key findings in the report include:

Young entrepreneurs are somewhat more diverse than the Silicon Valley myth of young, white men with technology start-ups suggests.

  • Most new entrepreneurs are older than 35, and among young entrepreneurs more than half are women and more than a quarter are people of color.
  • At least 45 percent of new businesses don’t have a website and more young entrepreneurs work as artists or personal care professions than in technology.
  • Young entrepreneurs are less likely to come from middle income families than from families with high or low incomes.

Student loan debt corresponds with lower rates of young adult entrepreneurship (except, paradoxically, at the highest levels of debt, where the trend reverses.)

  • Young entrepreneurs are slightly less likely to borrow student loans than their peers, but debt loads are more likely to borrow at the extremes.
  • Just over 68 percent of young entrepreneurs took out student loans compared to more than 72 percent of traditionally employed young adults.
  • When young entrepreneurs take out student loans, they are most likely to borrow less than $17,000 but also more likely to borrow more than $59,050.

Nearly half of young entrepreneurs feel that student debt impacted their employment plans in some way.

  • Young entrepreneurs reported taking less desirable jobs and/or taking a job outside their field due to their debt.
  • Over 46 percent of young entrepreneurs reported that student loan debt caused high or very high levels of stress.
  • Nearly 25 percent of self-employed young adults reported not being able to meet their essential expenses each month.
  • Nearly 16 percent had at least part of their student loans paid for by their family or friends at higher rates than non-entrepreneurs.

Young entrepreneurs are far more likely than their peers to earn incomes at the extremes.  

  • Young entrepreneurs are more than three times as likely to have annual incomes below $16,000 than their peers and are more likely than their traditionally employed peers to earn more than $76,000.

Looking ahead, the report calls for the development of a dataset that can help more clearly define the relationship between student debt and entrepreneurship. Currently, a lack of student data hinders understanding of the diverse experiences of young entrepreneurs, the potential long-term effects of student debt on entrepreneurship, and its impact on job creation. Further, understanding whether or not potential entrepreneurs are able to plan their borrowing accordingly will also help policymakers create better policies to support aspiring young entrepreneurs with student debt.

3rd Annual Healing Heroes Ride Scheduled for October 1, 2016

Press Release – BLUEMONT, Virginia – (August 30, 2016) – Hundreds of motorcyclists will take to the country roads participating in the third annual “Healing Heroes Ride.” The 100-mile motorcycle ride through the scenic Piedmont and Shenandoah Valleys is a popular “high stakes” poker run, which raises money to support Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness in Bluemont, Virginia. This year’s ride takes place on October 1, 2016, with a rain date of October 2, 2016.

“This is a favorite ride for so many local motorcyclists,” shared Ken Falke, chairman and founder of the Boulder Crest Retreat. “It’s a beautiful scenic ride with great prizes and entertainment and a great way to support the health and wellness of our military veterans and their families.”

The 3rd Annual Healing Heroes Ride goes from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and begins at either Patriot Harley Davidson in Fairfax, Virginia or at VFW Post 9760 in Berryville, Virginia and ends at Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, Virginia. Hundreds of bikers, spend the day riding through the beautiful scenery, and spending time with fellow riders. The day includes riding, a BBQ, and live entertainment. All of the funds raised are donated to Boulder Crest Retreat to support military members, veterans, and their families.

Since the inaugural ride, over $60,000 has been raised. The entry fee is $30 for a rider and $60 for rider and passenger, and includes a poker hand, breakfast, lunch, drinks, and entertainment. Many of the riders and passengers are veterans themselves, and come out annually to support fellow brothers and sisters.

“The excitement within the motorcycle community is building as local riders and riders from as far away as Florida are getting ready to participate in the 3rd Annual Healing Heroes Ride to support BCR,” says ride chairman Jack Causa. “Bikers, many of whom are veterans, are avid supporters of this ride and the great work being done by Boulder Crest Retreat to support our combat veterans and thei families.”

For the second year in a row, John Marshall Bank is the Presenting Sponsor for this ride.

“As a locally owned and managed financial institution, John Marshall Bank participates in a number of worthwhile community events throughout the Washington region,” added Bill Ridenour, president of John Marshall Bank. “This particular event is important to me because I am the father of a wounded Iraq War veteran. I have also been a motorcycle enthusiast for over 45 years. The Healing Heroes Ride provides a unique opportunity for me to enjoy the Northern Virginia countryside with fellow riders while supporting the exceptional programs that Ken Falke and his Boulder Crest staff provide to our warriors and their families.”

More individual and corporate sponsors are being sought for this event. To learn more and to register for the ride, log online to: 3rd Annual Healing Heroes Ride.

As the nation’s first privately funded wellness center dedicated exclusively to combat veterans and their families, Boulder Crest Retreat has developed the nation’s first non-clinical curriculum for combat stress, leveraging our breakthrough and innovative Warrior PATHH program. This effort will ensure that Warrior PATHH can be delivered in communities across the nation and also support our efforts to create similar world-class Retreats in communities featuring heavy concentrations of veterans. Boulder Crest Retreat is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that is funded entirely by private donations by individuals and organizations from around the country. For more information about the retreat, opened in September 2013, please go to www.bouldercrestretreat.org. View a video about the Boulder Crest Retreat here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KztgmScOQLw.

ABOUT BOULDER CREST RETREAT

Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness is a rural sanctuary that provides free accommodations, recreational and therapeutic activities and programs to help our nation’s military and veteran personnel and their families recover and reconnect during their long journey of healing from physical and invisible wounds of war. The 37-acre retreat is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bluemont, Virginia, just 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. The Retreat is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is entirely funded through private donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information about Boulder Crest Retreat, please visit http://www.bouldercrestretreat.org.

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