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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: September 2016

Entrepreneurial Energy and Innovation are Necessary to Meet the Global Goals

Ben Powell Speaks on Entrepreneurs and the Sustainable Development Goals at Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) 2016 Annual Conference

Press Release – September 27, 2016 – Today during the ANDE Annual Conference, Agora Partnerships’ founder and CEO, Ben Powell, spoke on a breakout discussion entitled “SGBs and SDGs: The Role of Entrepreneurship in Attaining the Goals.” Joining Powell as lead discussants were Emilie Debled of Investisseurs & Partenaires, Alexis Geaneotes of the International Finance Corporation, and moderator Jon Shepard of EY.

During the session participants discussed the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to address global challenges, build consensus, and establish a common language of impact. In particular the discussants considered how entrepreneurs, with their nimble business models and local solutions ripe for global scaling, are uniquely equipped to lead in achieving the SDGs.

“There’s no way we will reach the global goals without engaging entrepreneurs,” said Powell during the discussion, “These goals present an exciting opportunity to galvanize a whole new generation of entrepreneurs serving as a common framework and a narrative to address impact. We want to make it easy for entrepreneurs to talk about how their businesses are creating impact.”

During the discussion Powell shared the trailer for a short film recently released by Agora Partnerships, The Disruptors, and lifted up the two feature companies, Suyo and Agruppa, as emblematic of entrepreneurs’ ability to chart the path to a more sustainable future envisioned by the SDGs.

“As the ANDE community, we have an opportunity — and responsibility — to figure out how entrepreneurs fit into the global goals framework and how they get credit for contributions they are making to achieve the goals,” Powell added.

ImpactAssets Introduces “100 Percent for Impact” Alternative to Traditional Money Market Fund

ImpactAssets Liquid Impact Portfolio provides donor advised funds with liquidity and yield while making a social impact.

Press Release – Bethesda, Sept. 14, 2016 – ImpactAssets announced today the launch of the ImpactAssets Liquid Impact Portfolio, a new 100% impact money market alternative that enables investors to “park cash” while benefitting low-income communities.

As an innovative solution, the ImpactAssets Liquid Impact Portfolio seeks to provide the ease and utility of a money market fund with the goal of safety of principal, liquidity and yield, and is available only within the ImpactAssets Giving Fund, a donor advised fund (DAF)*.

“With the introduction of the ImpactAssets Liquid Impact Portfolio, we now offer our clients liquidity and yield with significant impact,” said Tim Freundlich, President of ImpactAssets. “We’ve partnered with community development banks and other high impact financial institutions to generate ‘liquidity for impact’ while helping to finance affordable housing, small business and community facilities.

“With this product, we are tapping into a groundswell of investor interest in local community investing, while providing liquidity to our donors as they wait to make grants or allocate to longer term impact investment options.”

Reinvention of What It Means for Investors to “Park Cash”

The Liquid Impact Portfolio is constructed of short-term deposits and investments through Community Development Financial Institutions, and features laddered maturities across a relatively short duration with a targeted weighted average maturity of less than 180 days. No minimum balance is required.

The financial institutions receiving capital from the Portfolio are dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream. By financing community businesses – including, small business, microenterprise, nonprofit organizations commercial real estate, and affordable housing – the Portfolio sparks job growth and retention in hard-to-serve markets across the nation.

“Historically, money market funds and money market alternatives have been overlooked as a viable impact investment opportunity. We’ve changed that thinking with the Liquid Impact Portfolio,” said Gabe DiClerico, Director, Operations. “Now donors can tap additional sources of low-volatility liquid return while making a positive impact to targeted localities and communities.

A Full Suite of Impact Portfolios

Building upon ImpactAssets’ pioneering legacy of developing groundbreaking impact investment solutions, this new portfolio continues to fill out the organization’s wide spectrum of impact investment offerings, which also include a new suite of four 100% Impact Portfolios that uniquely blend public and private equity and debt impact funds and are targeted to investor time horizons.

The new 100% Impact Portfolio lineup includes Conservative, Moderate and Aggressive portfolios and provides donors easy access to world class impact fund managers spanning traditional asset classes while addressing the world’s most significant social and environmental issues. Many of these investments provide gap-filling financing to social enterprises that are too small or too “unconventional” to raise capital from traditional sources.

About ImpactAssets:

ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns. ImpactAssets’ donor advised fund (“The Giving Fund”), impact investment notes, and field-building initiatives enable philanthropists, other asset owners and their wealth advisors to advance social or environmental change through investment

About The Giving Fund:

The Giving Fund is an innovative donor advised fund that empowers donors to increase the impact of their giving by combining it with strategic sustainable and responsible investing to build a sophisticated philanthropic endowment. Donors recommend how The Giving Fund’s assets are invested across a range of leading impact investment options including community investment, turnkey portfolios, private debt and equity funds, seed venture and custom investments. The Giving Fund currently has $300M in total Assets.

*A donor advised fund is a philanthropic vehicle that allows organizations, families or individuals to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time.

Childcare Projects Make a Positive Impact, One Goal at a Time

Projects Abroad makes progress on literacy efforts through detailed Care Management Plans

A Projects Abroad volunteer reads with a young boy at a Care Project in Togo

A Projects Abroad volunteer reads with a young boy at a Care Project in Togo

Press Release – NEW YORK – September 28, 2016 – International Literacy Day celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month, and the steps taken to improve literacy levels worldwide were highlighted across multiple platforms. Literacy is the foundation for life-long learning, and innovative solutions are encouraged to boost reading and writing abilities.

Projects Abroad has always supported long-term development goals, and literacy is a core focus. Through Care Projects, the organization’s aim is to provide individualized care and educational support to children who lack mental stimulation. Volunteers are placed where there is a need for extra support, and they play an instrumental role in children’s physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development. “This is an area where every volunteer is able to contribute, and it has been encouraging to see the difference that our volunteers are able to make,” says Jenny Puyo, Program Developer for Projects Abroad. “Our hope is that in the long run, children will explore their natural curiosity and creativity while developing the vital skills they will need in the future.”

Projects Abroad continuously strives to develop and achieve results that benefit both the children they work with and the volunteers who contribute to the programs. Each Care Project has different needs, therefore individualized Care Management Plans have been implemented in the countries where these projects are based. These plans work towards achieving select long-term goals and focus on the actions needed to achieve them. The care facilities and partners that Projects Abroad works with on Care Projects can choose from the below goals, and focus their project activities around them:

  1. Increase literacy
  2. Increase numeracy
  3. Improve English
  4. Promote early childhood development
  5. Improve hygiene levels of the children
  6. Raise awareness of healthy living, the environment, and family planning
  7. Increase emotional support and care to children
  8. Improve the level of stimulation to each child
  9. Improve the quality of life for those living with disabilities

These plans define a clear purpose for each Care Project, and allow Projects Abroad to monitor the impact volunteers have had on the host community. The management plans have been a huge success in setting standards for literacy with a global improvement of 8.41% since the beginning of 2016. Cambodia (15.63%), Nepal (29.99%), Samoa (10.94%) and Senegal (20.31%) are among the destinations that have seen a significant increase in literacy levels. “We are delighted with the progress that has been made so far with our literacy efforts,” says Puyo. “Feedback from our partners have been very positive, and exceptional progress has already been made in assessing key areas of need. Thanks to the data being gathered, we are able to prioritize under-resourced placements and offer targeted support.”

The management plans also provide a sense of structure and direction to those working on a Care Project. It shows volunteers that their efforts in-country have a tangible impact, and knowing they are contributing to the bigger picture gives them a greater sense of purpose.

To learn more about volunteering with Projects Abroad on a Care Project, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/care.

About Projects Abroad

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

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

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

Nancy Gianni, founder of GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Centers, officially named a 2016 CNN Hero!

GiGi’s Playhouse is thrilled to announce that our fearless founder and GiGi’s Mom, Nancy Gianni, has been officially chosen as a CNN Hero!

12 years ago, Nancy envisioned a better world, one full of potential and acceptance. That is when the first GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center opened. Available to all, GiGi’s is a place for families and the community to learn about and celebrate the diagnosis of Down syndrome and benefit from free therapeutic, educational and career training programs that unleash one’s “Best of All”. Today there are 31 free-standing Playhouses throughout the United States and Mexico serving more than 25,000 participants and families. Programs are offered 100% free to all families so that cost will never be a barrier to achievement and acceptance. Going beyond Down syndrome, Nancy’s vision for global acceptance for ALL comes to life through GiGi’s Playhouse and the Generation G campaign.

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“This is not about me or GiGi. It is about all of us stepping up to make this world a better place. The real Heroes of GiGi’s Playhouse include the participants themselves, (they inspire me every day!), the volunteers who run 97% of all programming, the courageous families who embrace the journey of opening a Playhouse in their own community, and the believers who make this all possible.”

The entire segment and Nancy’s official CNN Hero profile can be viewed on CNN.com by CLICKING HERE.

Segments of Nancy’s story are tentatively scheduled to air LIVE on CNN and its family of networks in the next several days, subject to breaking news and other ongoing stories:

FRIDAY 6/17:
HLN (formerly Headline News) at 6AM and 1PM

SATURDAY 6/18:
CNN: 10AM, 3PM
HLN: 10AM

SUNDAY 6/19:
CNN: 4PM

MONDAY 6/20:
CNN: 3PM
CNNEE (CNN en Espanol): 5PM

From Richard Riley, a long-time Playhouse grandparent and supporter who nominated Nancy for CNN Heroes:

“Acknowledgment on the world stage should be but a beginning in recognizing the mission and the expectation of it’s success that Nancy Gianni has set. It could have easily been about her child, her struggle. Instead Nancy chose the word our…our children, our struggle. Millions are in need of feeling the touch of Love that is GiGi’s Playhouse!”

CNN Heroes is a year-long initiative that honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others. 2016 marks the tenth year of the Peabody Award-winning, Emmy-nominated campaign. Each year, CNN receives thousands of nominations from around the world.

In its first nine years, CNN Heroes has received more than 50,000 nominations from more than 100 countries. Since 2007, the campaign has profiled more than 200 CNN Heroes. They’re working in more than 80 countries around the world, helping hundreds of thousands of people.

CNN’s decision came after a month-long vetting process – including research, analysis and investigation into 501c3 standings with the IRS, our financials, our business model, our program model, location stability, executive board health, and more – across all 12 years of GiGi’s Playhouse existence – and we passed! To be verified and validated by an international news organization like CNN is pretty cool unto itself!

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Please join us in congratulating Nancy, her family and the GiGi’s Playhouse community on this very special honor!

View Nancy’s official CNN Hero story on CNN.com

Support families through FREE programs

Media Portray Veterans with Financial, Family Hardships, Rather Than Mentally Unstable, Study Finds

Veterans advocacy groups should promote positive veteran portrayals such as healing

Press Release – COLUMBIA, Mo. – A prevailing belief by many American military veterans’ advocacy groups is that veterans all too often are portrayed in the media as mentally unstable or violent. However, a new study from the University of Missouri has found that while media often do perpetuate negative stereotypes of veterans, it is rare that veterans are portrayed as mentally unstable. Douglas Wilbur, a doctoral student at the MU School of Journalism, says understanding how veterans are being portrayed can help veterans’ groups promote positive veteran stories to help raise awareness for veterans issues.

Douglas Wilbur, a doctoral student at the MU School of Journalism, found that while media often do perpetuate negative stereotypes of veterans, it is rare that veterans are portrayed as mentally unstable.

Douglas Wilbur, a doctoral student at the MU School of Journalism, found that while media often do perpetuate negative stereotypes of veterans, it is rare that veterans are portrayed as mentally unstable.

“Many veterans advocacy groups are spending time and money fighting negative stigmas that simply don’t persist in the media,” Wilbur said. “In reality, the media are more sympathetic toward veteran issues than many believe; they just need guidance in the best ways to present these issues. By understanding how these issues actually are being portrayed, advocacy groups can better advise media and promote positive veterans stories.”

Wilbur, a combat veteran, conducted his study by examining articles written about Iraq and Afghanistan veteran issues in major U.S. newspapers between 2011 and 2013. He found that these articles focused on three primary “frames,” or ways in which the stories are told. These frames include “bureaucratic enemy” frames, which portray veterans as fighting a war overseas and then returning home to fight a war against the federal government bureaucracies; “family hardship” frames, which portray families of veterans as casualties of the wars, as well as discussing the lack of support for families from government; and “financial hardship” frames, which portray veterans as undercompensated financially as well as struggling to find employment when they return home.

Wilbur also identified three “counter frames,” which he says are more positive portrayals of veteran issues. These frames are the “healing” frame, which acknowledges veterans have problems but they are healing and overcoming those problems; the “no problem” frame, which portrays veterans as being able to transition back into society well and without problems; and the “moral obligation to help” frame, which encourages the American public to do what they can to help veterans return home and live product lives.

“Veterans advocacy groups can make a big difference if they were to shift their focus to fighting the negative frames that do exist, such as bureaucratic enemy and financial hardship frames, rather than mentally unstable frames that are much rarer,” Wilbur said. “Also, if these groups can further promote healing frames and no problem frames to the media and the public, it will be much more effective in creating more positive sentiment about veterans across the country.”

Wilbur’s study, “Defining the Iraq-Afghanistan Veteran in American Newspapers,” was published in Sociology Study.

This article was originally published here.

 

 

2016 African Philanthropy Forum Convenes African Philanthropists and Leaders from Across Sectors to Leverage Philanthropy in Driving Solutions for the Continent’s Challenges

Press Release – RABAT, Morocco, September 27, 2016 – The 2016 African Philanthropy Forum (APF) will be held on October 17-18 at the Sofitel Jardin des Roses Hotel in Rabat, Morocco. The event will bring together African philanthropists and leaders from business, government and the social sector to discuss the ‘Bold Steps and Big Bets’ required to address the challenges facing the African continent, including those in science and technology, agriculture and nutrition, energy and climate change and governance.

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Speakers will include policy leaders such as Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade and New Technologies and Paulo Gomes of Guinea-Bissau; business leaders such as Tonye Cole, Co-founder of Sahara Group, Amina Benkhadra, General Director at ONHYM; philanthropic leaders such as Tsitsi Masiyiwa of Higher Life Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou of Dangote Foundation, Susan Mboya of Coca-Cola Foundation and Anthony Farr of Alan Gray Orbis Foundation; cultural leaders such as author and director Uzodinma Iweala and artist Mehdi Qotbi; social sector leaders such as Bongi Mlangeni, Paul Mbugua, Amma Sefa-Dedeh Lartey and many more innovators and social entrepreneurs. Select conference sessions include:

  • Making Big Bets in Agriculture and Nutrition – a showcase of social innovators who are making big bets to reverse the trends of growing malnutrition and hidden hunger across Africa
  • Supporting Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment in Africa – a panel examining initiatives that foster entrepreneurship and battle youth unemployment, an especially critical challenge for Africa’s young population
  • Nuts and bolts workshops on building a world-class family foundation and corporate foundation – breakout sessions that address the best practices and pitfalls to avoid in building each, achieving impact and ensuring long-term viability

APF will share key selections from the conference as it takes place – participate in the conversation by following @APForg and #APF16.

“We’re excited to be holding the third annual APF conference in Morocco, an important cultural and political center for Africa,” said Ndidi Nwuneli, Director of the African Philanthropy Forum. “The speakers for this year’s event represent some of the brightest minds from across the continent, and the agenda promises critically important discussions about progress.”

Attendance at the event is by invitation only. Members of the media interested in attending or covering the event are asked to contact the names listed at the top of this announcement. For more information, please visit https://philanthropyforum.org/conference/2016-apf/.

About the Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF)

GPF is a diverse community of individual philanthropists, grant makers, social investors and executives of private and public foundations committed to international causes. Through conferences, programs and matchmaking services, GPF seeks to inform, enable and enhance the strategic nature of its members’ giving and social investing. GPF has affiliates in Latin America (Brazilian Philanthropy Forum) and Africa (African Philanthropy Forum) for indigenous philanthropists committed to giving where they made their wealth.

About the African Philanthropy Forum (APF)

APF was launched in 2014 with the intention to build and continuously expand a peer learning community of African strategic philanthropists and social investors committed to inclusive and sustainable development throughout the African Continent. APF envisions a strong and dynamic homegrown philanthropic community on the African Continent, playing a catalytic role in Africa’s achievement of inclusive and sustainable development.

Exponent Philanthropy Honors Three for Outsized Impact

Press Release – (Washington, DC) Exponent Philanthropy, the country’s largest philanthropy association, is pleased to announce three honorees of its 2016 Outsized Impact Award. Created as part of the group’s 20th anniversary celebration, the award recognizes individuals and organizations whose contributions and service have achieved far-reaching effects—an outsized impact—on the association and the community it serves.

“All honorees have played an instrumental role in the development and success of this organization,” said Henry L. Berman, chief executive officer, Exponent Philanthropy. “Our organization is indebted to them for their tremendous foresight, dedication, and leadership, and the outsized impact they have created.”

The recipients of the 2016 Outsized Impact Award, as chosen by the Exponent Philanthropy board of directors, are:

  • Alan Egly, Doris & Victor Day Foundation
  • Winsome and Michael McIntosh, The McIntosh Foundation
  • William S. (Bill) White, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

The late Alan Egly served as executive director of the Doris & Victor Day Foundation from 1987 until his retirement in 2014. He served as the first chair of the association’s board of directors and was among its most vocal advocates. He is remembered for his strong ethics, principles, and priorities. Alan passed away in January 2016.

Winsome McIntosh has served on the board of The McIntosh Foundation since 1972. She and her late husband Michael were instrumental in the creation of the group that later became the Association of Small Foundations, as Exponent Philanthropy was previously known. They provided key early funding for the organization and have remained supporters and advisors for the past 20 years. Michael passed away in May 2015.

Bill White is chairman and chief executive officer of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which has provided constant support throughout Exponent Philanthropy’s 20-year history. Bill, who has been with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation since 1969, was instrumental to Exponent Philanthropy’s startup and professionalization. Throughout his career, he has led the way in developing and strengthening community foundations across the country and around the world.

The 2016 Outsized Impact Awards will be presented today at Exponent Philanthropy’s 2016 National Conference.

About Exponent Philanthropy

Exponent Philanthropy is the country’s largest association of funders—more than 2,000 members strong—and the only one dedicated to serving foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors. Our vibrant network has in common lean operations and a style of philanthropy motivated by personal passion, community needs, and the strong desire for better outcomes. We provide high-quality and cost-effective programs, resources, and connections that maximize our members’ dollars and time for the benefit of diverse communities and causes.

Can Technology Solve The Refugee Crisis?

ANNIE EPSTEIN | SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

Around the world, more than 60 million refugees have abandoned their homes to flee from desperate circumstances. Notably, six of every 10 Syrian citizens, an estimated 12.5 million people, have become refugees, an unprecedented number for a single country, according to the Pew Research Center.

The Syrian refugee crisis is a complex political and humanitarian issue that has left many policymakers and public citizens searching for answers and desperate for a solution. Naturally, in our increasingly digital age, that has raised the question: What role can technology play?

It turns out, a big one.

A number of innovative mobile apps and online platforms have emerged in the U.S. and elsewhere to help migrants connect with lost loved ones, find aid, and even assimilate into new countries. Here are five startups that are using technology to help refugees.

EmergencyBnB

Inspired by Airbnb’s sharing model, Washington, D.C. resident Amr Arafa built a website for refugees and victims of domestic violence to find free, safe places to stay. EmergencyBNB has 8,000 users and is growing fast. As of now, there are hosts in 30 states and Washington, D.C., and the service has expanded across the globe to countries including the U.K., France, Egypt, and Turkey. Arafa argues that the sharing economy matches perfectly with the needs of the people the website serves.

“It is important for the victim to connect with a caring neighbor, rather than being lonely in a sterile hotel room,” Arafa explains. “Human interaction lets them know that they are not alone and that there are people out there who are empathetic, who care and, who want nothing from them in return.”

Emergency BnB

Emergency BnB

Arafa immigrated to the United States from Egypt over 10 years ago. When he got his green card in 2015, he realized his position enabled him to help others.

“Having lived in the U.S. since 2005, as a graduate student and as a professional, I have realized that an immigrant’s journey is not an easy one – let alone that of a refugee,” says Arafa. “It has not been an easy ride, but at least it was what I chose. At least I knew in the back of my mind that I could just return home at any point if things didn’t work out. Refugees, on the other hand, don’t have that luxury. They have lost their countries and their lives as they knew it, all so suddenly. They have no place to fall back on. They have no plan B.”

Techfugee

Sometimes, the problem in a major crisis isn’t a lack of volunteers—it’s that everyone wants to work on a problem, and no one knows exactly what to do. Enter Techfugees, a nonprofit organization that aims to focus the volunteer efforts of the tech community. The organization, founded by TechCrunch Editor-at-Large Mike Butcher in London, has hosted hackathons and conferences in an effort to galvanize a global network of tech-oriented minds to create and build solutions to the problems plaguing refugees.

“We’re not saying tech can be a magic wand waved over this huge issue,” Butcher told The Telegraph. “But it’s 2015, not 1939, and smartphones and the web have the capability to find lost families, report human rights abuses and perhaps even disrupt the smugglers.”

The group has more than 15,000 members and chapters across the globe. It has produced solutions such as GeeCycle, an online platform that helps visitors donate their old smartphones to Syrian refugees, and Info Bus, a mobile tech hub that provides Internet access and legal resources in refugee camps.

Refugee Maps

Refugee Maps screen

Refugee Maps screen

Launched a year ago, Refugee Maps is an online platform that plots the locations of donation hubs and fundraising events around the world, as well as links for those interested in learning more. Co-founders Pranay Manocha and Magdalena Gajewska built the map after working with nonprofits to learn how he could best apply his skills as a developer and her skills as a geospatial consultant.

“[My co-founder and I] went in knowing that we’re not the best people to help refugees, but we’re the best people to help others helping refugees,” Manocha, based in the U.K., tells Free Enterprise.

Over the past year, Manocha says that around 200,000 people from around the world have used the site, not just to look for resources in their own area, but also in cities around the world. The map often directs visitors to Facebook groups, where they can engage with like-minded volunteers in other countries. Though the platform was built to help with the Syrian refugee crisis, Manocha notes that the technology behind the map could easily assist in natural disasters and other emergencies.

“We were just thinking about what we can do to help, not about how big it might get or if we’d help enough people,” Manocha says. “When we launched, we thought that even if we could just help 20 people, that would be enough.”

EmpowerHack

EmpowerHack is a collective focused on supporting the needs of women and children refugees. The group organizes hackathons and has launched a volunteer-run accelerator geared toward finding solutions to very specific problems regarding health, gender-based violence, employment and education. EmpowerHack makes a concerted effort to partner with non-governmental organizations and nonprofits that work on refugee issues to ensure that the technology built during hackathons and through the group’s accelerator are solving real problems.

“Not only is it a new way of working for us, it’s a new away of working for our partners as well,” says co-founder Han Pham. “We’re learning as we go. I think the lessons we’re coming away with are completely applicable in any business environment: learning how you build relationships and stretch each other, and streamlining and optimizing the way that innovation occurs.”

Most of the British group’s volunteers are female, and not all of them are tech experts. Doctors, scientists and humanitarian aid workers all consult on the technologies being built. One project that exemplifies how the collective works is the health app HaBaby,which is designed to assist pregnant refugees by providing information about potential health issues, aiding in doctor-patient communication and recording a limited patient history.

EmpowerHack

EmpowerHack

Based on insights from their NGO partners, the app is being redesigned to better support field doctors trying to standardize healthcare for pregnant women in Greece’s refugee camps. Meanwhile, the web platform Breaking Barriers helps refugees overcome obstacles by teaching courses on employment, language skills and the British working system, as well as partnering with other organizations that can help secure work placements for refugees.

ReDI School of Digital Integration

Since February 2016, this German non-profit has been attempting to “digitally integrate” asylum seekers by teaching them to code and other digital skills. ReDI’s goal is to help refugees find jobs in Germany’s growing IT sector.

Some of the school’s graduates have gone on to launch apps to help their fellow refugees. Let’s Integrate is an online platform that arranges meetups between Germans and refugees, so that both sides can better understand one another. Ultimately, the platform aims to expand across Europe. ReDI graduates are also working on an app called Bureaucrazy, which will help Syrian newcomers navigate the complexities of the German government. Of course, refugees aren’t the only ones who have a hard time dealing with bureaucracies, and the team is exploring ways the tool can be used to help German citizens, too.

“If we want to help the people stuck in refugee camps around the world or getting trafficked, we need to empower and collaborate with people like [Bureaucrazy’s developers],” ReDI co-founder, Anne Kjær Riechert, told The Guardian. “They know firsthand what the situation is like, and hence can be part of building the real solutions.”

This article was originally published here.

Breast Cancer Survivor Launches Business With Giveback to Cancer Research

Press Release – Park City, Utah (September 19, 2016) – Gift giving options for consoling friends who just been diagnosed with breast cancer are about to get a lot better. Uplift Gift, a company started by a breast cancer survivor, is launching October 1 tied to Breast Cancer Awareness Month and each gift ordered will give a boost to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

“The gifts we will be offering at our launch,” explains Kirsten Fox, founder and CEO of Uplift Gift, “are all items that personally were meaningful for me when I was going through the trauma of diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer. These are many of the items that friends brought over to my house to share with me.”

The gorgeously wrapped items include a soft scarf to wrap up in in bed or use in chilly hospital waiting rooms, hand-crafted chocolates, gourmet tea and sipping cocoa, essential oils and red or white wine.

Fox says, “I am a sommelier so wine in my life is a comfort, a tool to use to connect with the earth, the winemakers, the food I’m eating, and most importantly, my friends and family surrounding me.”

Many of Uplift Gift’s suppliers are small business owners, some of whom have also been touched by breast cancer.

“Phyllis Robinson, the chocolatier and owner of Tandem Chocolates, grew up with a mother who dipped chocolate in their kitchen while battling breast cancer. Twice.,” says Fox. “The custom-designed art on our greeting cards came from the hand of Amy Chin at Sassypants Designs, a breast cancer survivor herself.”

Fox continues, “One of the reasons I created this company is that after my own breast cancer experience, I began receiving calls, emails, texts from friends who needed a suggestion as to what to send a newly diagnosed friend. They were struggling with what was appropriate and comforting.”

The UpliftGift.com website provides three curated packages for assisting supportive friends in their quest to find the right gift to show their love, each at different price points. In addition, as long as it is legal to receive wine in the recipient’s state, the customer has an option to add a bottle of wine to the package.

Uplift Gift is the answer for those who can’t find the words to comfort a friend in distress.

Uplift Gift is a company located in Park City, Utah, that provides meaningful gifts to support female friendship, especially when women have friends going through challenging times. Uplift Gift is a trusted resource for women who want their friends to receive the highest quality gift items in a gorgeously wrapped box. For more information, visit UpliftGift.com

New Good Travels Advisor Certification Helps Travelers Give and Volunteer Better

The travel agent industry unites to better serve today’s clients – and help tourism destinations.

Press Release – RENO, NV – SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 – For the first time, travelers who want to make a difference will have access to hundreds of travel agents certified in good travel giving. Good Travels Advisor (GTA) is an online training platform that gives travel agents the knowledge and tools to support clients interested in giving and volunteering.

Tourism Cares launched the program today at the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) Global Convention.

Demand for meaningful and authentic travel experiences is exploding, and the value of giving and volunteering was illuminated in the 2015 Good Travels research conducted with Phocuswright. The study found that 55% of travelers gave back in some way in the last two years, contributing to trip satisfaction and especially important to millennials, families and the affluent.

Travelers can search for certified agents at www.goodtravels.org (launching December 1, 2016), and find specialists familiar with:

  • Finding and funding a cause, at any level
  • Tips for finding a volunteer project—and for being a good volunteer
  • How to best help a place you love that was hit by a disaster
  • Ideas for engaging kids and family
  • Examples of what other travelers are doing

Agents become certified through the $22 multimedia course at www.GoodTravelsAdvisor.org.

“We have a number of clients who want to make sure that their children will be good global citizens and they see travel as a way of expanding the experience their children have in life by exposing them to different thoughts, ideas and cultures,” said Joshua Bush, CEO of Avenue Two Travel in Villanova PA. “That breeds and creates understanding. By having those experiences, it exposes them to a broader understanding of the way the world works, that it’s okay to be different and to have differences, but at the end of the day we are all still basically the same.”

Tourism Cares designed GTA with the help of The Travel Institute and ChildSafe, and the program is endorsed by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and by travel agent associations such as ASTA, IATAN and NACTA.

The certification is made possible by the generosity of Marriott International, AIG, and Fathom as well as other sponsors committed to responsible travel and stewardship: Abercrombie & Kent, Amadeus, Collette, Cox & Kings, Micato Safaris, Monograms by Globus, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Rovia, the TreadRight Foundation, Avanti Destinations and TripAssure.

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