Trade In, Trade Up Program Rewards Customers for Giving Back
Press Release – DENVER, CO—eBags, the industry-leading e-tailer and travel gear expert, is making it easy for customers to enjoy the spirit of giving this holiday season. eBags believes that wonderful things can happen when a not-so-new bag gets a brand-new owner. Now, when an eBags customer has a backpack, business case, handbag or duffel that’s no longer getting the love it deserves, the company’s Trade In, Trade Up Program helps those bags stay out of the landfill.
eBags’ partnership with Goodwill and Give Back Box® makes it easy for customers to donate their bags to charity with any shippable box. The program is completely free and eBags customers automatically qualify for a 25% off coupon and a free eBags Connected Luggage Tag for giving back.
How it works:
All donations are tax-deductible for the customer. All items donated must be used, without stains, burns, tears or holes, and wheels, handles and zippers must be intact and in working condition.
“The community of wanderlovers who purchase eBags products is passionate and committed to helping others have a better journey,” said eBags CEO Mike Edwards. “We’re thrilled to launch our new Trade In, Trade Up Program, and to work with our community to provide an effortless and convenient way to share our good fortune, complement our 5% rewards program, and pay-it-forward to others.”
eBags’ Trade In, Trade Up Program also supports the environment by recycling shipping boxes and keeping them out of landfills, as boxes are shipped directly to the nearest Goodwill organization. It’s a win-win for all involved and a wonderful way for travelers to give back over the holiday season.
“The Give Back Box platform gives eBags shoppers a convenient way to donate to Goodwill and support our mission of providing employment, skills training and services to anyone facing challenges to finding employment,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International.
With more than 17 years in the travel goods industry and 27 million bags sold, eBags is the leading online retailer of luggage, backpacks and travel-related accessories. The company is devoted to helping its customers find the perfect travel gear for any journey. Ranked a top luggage retailer in 2016 by Consumer Reports, eBags features more than 90,000 products from over 900 brands, including Tumi, Samsonite, Bose, Kenneth Cole, Patagonia, The North Face, PrAna and more. For more information, visit eBags.com
About Goodwill Industries International:
Goodwill Industries International (GII) is a network of 164 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. GII is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is recognized by GuideStar with its Platinum Seal of Approval, the organization’s highest rating for charities. GII was also ranked by Enso as the #1 brand doing the most good in the world, and was the only nonprofit brand rated in Forbes’ 20 most inspiring companies for three consecutive years. Local Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement and other community- based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,200 stores collectively and online at shopgoodwill.com®. Local Goodwill organizations also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food services preparation, and document imaging and shredding. Last year, local Goodwills collectively placed 312,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 35 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills. To learn more, visit goodwill.org.
For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at Goodwill.org or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl or Instagram: GoodwillIntl.
Agora Partnerships Joins with UN Foundations’ Global Entrepreneurs Council at Impact Hub DC for a Global Entrepreneurship Week Launch Event
Press Release – Washington D.C. – Last Thursday, November 17, Agora Partnerships hosted the official launch event for their end-of-year campaign, DISRUPTORS. Agora Partnerships’ DISRUPTORS campaign is a seven-week, multi-media campaign designed to contribute to the organization’s 100K fundraising goal to support more DISRUPTORS.
DISRUPTORS are social entrepreneurs who are increasing underserved individuals’ access to basic services and necessities by replacing harmful industry practices with business models that respect people and the environment. Through the DISRUPTORS campaign, Agora Partnerships seeks to level the playing field for DISRUPTORS, increasing their impact with access to networks, knowledge, and capital. The campaign will highlight five focus areas- energy, education, fashion, health, and indigenous communities- examining current trends and lifting up the innovative, sustainable alternatives offered by DISRUPTORS.
“In the current climate, it is important to celebrate disruptive business models solving problems,” said Ben Powell, Founder and CEO of Agora Partnerships, “[Agora Partnerships] is trying to raise awareness of the role that entrepreneurs play in making our economy more sustainable and more inclusive. We want to support these DISRUPTORS who are solving key problems in the region. We need your support to shine the light on entrepreneurs’ work.”
“Entrepreneurs see a need and they go for it,” said Josh Slusher, of the UN Foundations’ Global Entrepreneurs Council, “Entrepreneurs are the ones creating change in the world.”
“We know that entrepreneurship is key to economic health and is changing this world,” added Jan Baker, of Impact Hub DC.
Press Release – NEW YORK, NY (November 17, 2016) – The Tourette Association of America (TAA), the premier nonprofit organization working to make life better for all people affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders, hosted its Annual Gala on Monday, November 14, 2016 at Gotham Hall in New York City.
The Annual Gala is the largest event geared toward raising awareness for Tourette Syndrome (TS), a disorder that is often incorrectly portrayed in the media, remains underdiagnosed, and is frequently stigmatized. The gala brought together celebrities, socialites and individuals with and without TS, to successfully raise more than $750,000 in support of the organization’s mission to identify the cause of, control the effects of, and to find a cure for, TS.
“We are so grateful for the immense show of support we witnessed at our Annual Gala by the individuals and families committed to making life better for all individuals affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders,” said Tourette Association President and CEO, John Miller. “As the largest fundraising event for Tourette Syndrome, the TAA gala gives us the opportunity to spotlight the need for awareness, while bringing us one step closer to better treatment options and a cure.”
The highlight of the Gala was a special video presentation featuring TAA Youth Ambassadors, teens trained to raise awareness for TS. Each teen gave the audience a unique glimpse into a day in the life of someone with TS, and shared inspirational stories of not letting Tourette define who they are.
The Gala featured performances by special guest David Friedman, a renowned film and theater composer. Despite his struggles to cope with TS all his life, Mr. Friedman has left a major mark in all areas of show business with multi-platinum recordings, Broadway shows, Disney Animated Films, television scores and a teaching and lecturing career that spans the nation. Most recently, David joined the team at the Today Show as a regular contributor to the “Everyone Has a Story” series. Mr. Friedman wrote a special song specifically for the TAA Gala that was performed by Alix Korey, who is currently in Fiddler on Broadway.
TAA also honored the Gnuse Family and Dr. Stanley Fahn. The Gnuse family story was captured in a video featuring Jeanne and Tom Gnuse, which showcased their perseverance, dedication and success despite the challenges that TS has brought them. Tom Gnuse lived with Tourette motor and vocal tics all his life until finally being diagnosed at the age of 42. In an effort to support research for earlier diagnosis, the Gnuse family has been generous supporters of TAA for over 30 years. Dr. Stanley Fahn has dedicated his professional career to advancing care, research and the development of treatments for adults and children with neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, tremors, as well as Tourette and other Tic Disorders.
About Tourette Association of America: Founded in 1972, the Tourette Association of America is dedicated to making life better for all individuals affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders. The premier nationwide organization serving this community, the Association works to raise awareness, advance research and provide on-going support. The Tourette Association directs a network of 32 Chapters and support groups across the country. For more information on Tourette and Tic Disorders, call 1-888-4-TOURET and visit us at tourette.org, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About Tourette Syndrome
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence. It is part of the spectrum of Tic Disorders and is characterized by motor and vocal tics. TS and other Tic Disorders are not rare. The current estimates are that 1 out of every 160 children between the ages of 5-17 in the United States has TS and that 1 out of every 100 children has TS or another Tic Disorder. There is no cure for TS, but thanks to years of dedicated research, much of it supported and funded by the Tourette Association of America, there are various treatment options.
Emmy-Nominated Chris Folkens to Direct the Evening
Press Release – LOS ANGELES (Nov. 22, 2016) – The Trevor Project today announced that Facebook will be honored with the 20/20 Visionary Award and Ingrid Nilsen will receive the Trevor Digital Innovator Award at TrevorLIVE Los Angeles on Dec. 4. TrevorLIVE LA, which will be special guest-directed by Chris Folkens, is an irreverent evening of comedy and music to help raise awareness of suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ young.
Attendees include special Trevor Hero honoree Kelly Osbourne, Dermot Mulroney, Kathryn Hahn, Jay Duplass, Ariel Winter, Lance Bass, Paula Abdul, Margaret Cho, Dan Bucatinsky, Joey Graceffa, Noah Galvin, Our Lady J, Lana Parrilla, Ross Mathews, Lisa Vanderpump, Pauley Perrette, Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman, Jay R. Ferguson, Shira Lazar, Chloe Grace Moretz, Hudson Yang, Bebe Wood, Chloe Grace Moretz, Brian Justin Crum, Ty Herndon, Matt Shively, Trace Lysette, Joey Pollari, Dana Goldberg, J.J. Totah, Paul Katami, Jeff Zarrillo, Hayden Byerly, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.
Facebook will receive The Trevor Project’s 20/20 Visionary Award, an honor that goes a corporation that publicly supports the LGBTQ community and works to advance an empowering future-focused message for LGBTQ young people and their allies nationwide.
“A leader in the ever-changing digital media landscape, Facebook has been a powerful social media tool for The Trevor Project to connect with LGBTQ youth,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project. “Facebook has been active in advocating for equality around the world and is committed to fostering a safe and trusted environment that gives people the freedom to express their opinions and viewpoints.”
In 2010, Facebook created a “network of Support” to help them effectively address issues faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, in which The Trevor Project was included as a team member in this educational initiative to provide better resources for LGBT teens. The company has gone on public record to oppose legislation limiting LGBTQ rights or to support their advancement, whether in different states or federally, U.S. Supreme Court proceedings, and in support of gay marriage.
“At Facebook, we value the impact that every individual can have when being true to themselves, and we aim to build a community where everyone can express themselves as who they truly are,” said Alex Schultz, Facebook’s VP of Growth Marketing, Analytics & i18n. “We stand proudly behind the LGBTQ community as we fight together for fairness and equality, and we are humbled to accept an award that recognizes this effort.”
The Trevor Project will also present the Trevor Digital Innovator Award to Ingrid Nilsen, a lifestyle expert, online video personality, and advocate for LGBTQ equality.
“With a powerful social presence, Ingrid has used technology for the better and built a platform and voice to advocate for equality,” said Land. “She is a role model of her generation and truly is a beacon of hope. She continues to push boundaries and believes in the mission of The Trevor Project, making her the perfect fit for the Trevor Digital Innovator Award.”
Nilsen was named a Change Ambassador to the UN focusing on the global fight for gender equality and was recently featured in the 2016 OUT 100 list. She has amassed over 7 million followers across all her social channels and over 4 million subscribers on her YouTube channel alone.
Award-winning filmmaker and Emmy-nominated commercial and music video director Chris Folkens will guest-direct the evening. Under his banner of Mystic Films, he has made films that have appeared in leading film festivals worldwide and garnered several awards. Folkens also directs and edits on-air and in-cinema promo content for a variety of clients, including Disney/ABC Television Group and has worked with a broad array of A-list talent. Folkens’ vision is to utilize his work to bring compelling transformational messages that unify and inspire the world.
To apply for press credentials, click here.
Press Release – WASHINGTON (November 22, 2016) — The Urban Land Institute has received a grant totaling $250,000 from the Colorado Health Foundation to support a range of institute efforts to promote building for health and wellness through its Building Healthy Places initiative. The initiative leverages the power of ULI’s global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities. The new grant builds on generous support provided by the Colorado Health Foundation to advance ULI’s health-related work, including an emphasis on communities in Colorado.
The grant will support an expansion of ULI’s Healthy Corridors project, which seeks to transform isolated, auto-dependent commercial strip corridors into healthy, vibrant and inclusive mixed-use places. The project, which started in 2014, currently involves demonstration corridors in four U.S. cities, including Federal Boulevard in Denver. ULI worked with its district council in that city as well as those in the other cities – Los Angeles, Boise and Idaho — to engage local stakeholders in developing strategies to revive the corridors as appealing hubs that add economic and quality-of-life benefits to the communities.
A new ULI publication, Building Healthy Corridors: Transforming Urban and Suburban Arterials into Thriving Places, provides guidance on the revitalization process based on lessons learned from each of the four corridors. The grant from the Colorado Health Foundation will include more work specific to Federal Boulevard as well as additional activities related to the other corridors.
ULI will also encourage the adoption of health-promoting practices by creating a new network of institute members as well as leaders from philanthropic, land use and health-focused organizations. The Health Leaders Network will reflect ULI’s tradition of strong member and partner engagement and knowledge-sharing, and will nurture a group of leaders who are grounded in health data and are committed to using their expertise and influence to support the development of healthier places.
ULI will conduct additional outreach for two existing reports, the Building Healthy Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment and Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier. The Building Healthy Places Toolkit, available as a publication and a website, offers practical, evidence-based strategies that the development community can use to meet consumer demand for healthier living environments and increase property values in the process. Active Transportation and Real Estate examines the impact of the growing interest in active transportation alternatives such as cycling on economic development, public health, air quality, community design and real estate design and investment.
The funding will also be used to support ULI’s work related to the relationship between access to healthy food and real estate development, which is highlighted in the Institute’s new publication, Cultivating Development: Trend and Opportunities at the Intersection of Food and Real Estate. In addition, the funding will promote the development of healthy affordable housing.
“We are extremely grateful for this generous support from the Colorado Health Foundation. It will help greatly to advance ULI’s work on creating healthy, prosperous and sustainable communities,” said ULI Foundation President Kathleen Carey.
“Our daily life has a direct impact on our health and is shaped by where we work, worship, shop and socialize,” states Karen McNeil-Miller, Colorado Health Foundation president and CEO. “In order for communities to thrive and residents to live healthy lives, creative and deliberate design is a must. As a strong leader in their industry, we are honored to support ULI.”
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has nearly 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit uli.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Press Release – JAMAICA, NY (November, 2016) – Garden Lites®, the delicious vegetable company, announces their alliance with GrowingGreat, a non-profit organization with a mission to empower every child to grow up healthy through science-based garden and nutrition education. Both GrowingGreat and Garden Lites® share the mutual goal to help children and families understand where our food comes from; appreciate that food serves a purpose in our overall health and how it has an impact on our longevity and well being. Garden Lites® partnership with GrowingGreat is to further advance their mutual mission to families across the U.S.
This new alliance will help raise awareness of the goals and also funds for non-profit GrowingGreat. To that end, Garden Lites® will support GrowingGreat through both in-kind and financial support, development of educational outreach and consumer engagement programs.
With the new alliance between the two green organizations announced, a vibrant community driven, new social media campaign is being launched, encouraging users to add an icon to their profile image to support the cause. Besides creating a dynamic social media campaign to create engagement for the GrowingGreat and Garden Lites® new alliance to encourage and support wholesome eating for children, there will be an added bonus to anyone sharing the social media icon. For every share of the icon, Garden Lites® will donate $1 to GrowingGreat. This program will run from November 1, 2016 through February 28, 2017. To donate go to http://twibbon.com/Support/1-donated-to-growinggreat
“We at Garden Lites® are honored to support GrowingGreat in its mission to create a healthier world for all our children and families,” says Andy Reichgut, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Garden Lites. “Our goal at Garden Lites® is to create products that are a great source of vegetables, taste delicious and make it easier for families to help feed their families healthy foods in spite of the hectic lives most families lead. We hope to further that message with this partnership,” adds Reichgut.
“At GrowingGreat we seek partnerships that speak our “healthy” language,” says GrowingGreat Executive Director Jennifer Jovanovic. “Garden Lites® understands the mission of GrowingGreat and we are so happy to have their support to help our non-profit continue to grow to help”grow” a healthier America.”
About Garden Lites:
Garden Lites® is a Classic Cooking, LLC brand based in Jamaica, Queens, NY that produces delicious vegetable snack foods. Since 2008, Garden Lites has raised the bar in healthy foods by delivering full flavor that’s also veggie rich. Garden Lites has the Good Housekeeping Nutrition Seal of Approval and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2016 Cooking Light – The Healthiest Frozen Foods in the Supermarket: Breakfast; 2016 Grocery Headquarters Trailblazer Award; 2016 Parents Magazine 25 Best Frozen Food for Families; 2016 – Gluten Free Digest Chocolate Muffins and 2015 Pioneers of Better For You: Refrigerated and Frozen Foods.
About Growing Great:
GrowingGreat was created from a mutual passion for educating families and community about the importance of food for their health. Their initial step building school gardens encouraged students to discover the magic of eating food grown by their own hands. They added interactive science and nutrition education to further students’ understanding of the link between fresh food and their health. Explore all the great programs GrowingGreat has to offer, and even apply for a nutrition program in your own community! www.growinggreat.org
Press Release – NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Julie Menin, chair of the newly formed public-private partnership NYC Kids RISE, and the Gray Foundation’s Mindy and Jon Gray today announced the launch of NYC’s Child Savings Account (CSA) initiative, a new child savings account program to help thousands of New York City public school children save for college. The first phase will fund accounts for 10,000 children over three years.
“The steep cost of higher education has left too many New Yorkers unable to afford a college degree. Creating a savings account early in life dramatically increases the likelihood of a child going to college, so we’re going to help New York City families do just that. I am thrilled the City is partnering with NYC Kids RISE and the Gray Foundation to give New York City’s public school children a chance to obtain a college degree and reach their dreams. With this initiative, every child – regardless of their family’s economic status – will have a fighting chance to access higher education,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We need to invest in the future of our children. Research confirms that by creating these savings accounts, we will be dramatically increasing the chance that our children not only enroll in college, but graduate. Through this program they will see first-hand the benefits of long term savings, helping families to move up the economic ladder and enabling our students to secure their futures,” said Commissioner Julie Menin, who will serve as Chair of the public-private partnership NYC Kids RISE.
“We believe that all children should have an opportunity to reach their highest potential. By making college scholarship investments early in life, the New York City CSA initiative is sending the message to New York City public school students, their parents, their teachers, and their communities that they can pursue higher education and will be supported in realizing that goal. We are excited to help Mayor de Blasio and NYC Kids RISE pilot this impactful program,” said Jon Gray, co-Founder of the Gray Foundation.
With up to $10 million in seed funding contributed by the Gray Foundation, and working in collaboration with NY’s 529 College Savings Program, the CSA initiative will enable children to have access to financial resources to be used to obtain a post-secondary education. The initiative will encourage positive financial behaviors and life-long savings, through improved financial education and literacy, and will democratize the benefits of long-term investing.
The three-year pilot program will kick off in one City school district with approximately 3,500 kindergarteners in year one. Starting in fall 2017, kindergarteners in the participating school district will each start with $100 allocated to them in scholarship accounts, plus up to an additional $200 in matching funds during the program’s first three years. There is no cost to participate in the program, and all kindergarten students in that district will be automatically enrolled.
According to the Center for Social Development, a low- or moderate-income child with a college savings account of up to $500 is more than three times more likely to enroll in college than a child with no savings account. With savings of $500 or more, that same child is five times more likely to graduate from college than a child with no savings account.
“For even the brightest and best-prepared high school graduates, financial barriers too often place college beyond reach. That should never be the case, especially when our high school graduation rate is at an all-time high,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “CSAs can be a powerful tool – not only for encouraging college saving, but for inspiring families to believe that college is in their future. This is a shining example of government and the private sector working together to put our children first.”
“This groundbreaking public private partnership between the City of New York and the Gray Foundation will help to get our city’s kids on the right path by giving New York families a head start on saving for higher education. The de Blasio Administration wants every child to have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their economic situation or their zip code. With the generosity of our partners in the private sector, I know we can give students the support they need to reach higher and stretch farther,” said Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships Gabrielle Fialkoff.
“As the first person in my family to go to college, I understand the barriers that stand in the way of our low-income or first-generation students getting there and succeeding. This Administration has taken powerful steps to address those barriers, and the new Child Savings Accounts represent one more step in the right direction. I look forward to working with the Mayor and our partners as we build up this program and start our youngest learners on the path to college and careers,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.
A top priority for the de Blasio Administration is to create equity and excellence in education for all of New York City’s children. This Administration is creating a path to college and careers starting with Pre-K for All – which is in its second year of providing every 4-year-old in the city with a free, full-day, high-quality pre-K seat – and continuing through elementary, middle, and high school. The City’s high school graduation rate is over 70 percent for the first time, the dropout rate is the lowest ever recorded, and college readiness and enrollment rates are also at record highs. As the City builds on this progress through the Mayor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda – including the College Access for All initiative, which will provide every student with the awareness, resources, and support to graduate high school with an individual college and career plan – the child savings program will better prepare children to save for higher education options including college, vocational programs and other postsecondary educational options.
The project, led by Commissioner Julie Menin, is supported by several City agencies including the Department of Education, the Department of Information, Technology, and Telecommunications, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Center for Economic Opportunity, and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. In addition to their generous contribution of up to $10 million, the Gray Foundation has also played a leadership role in the development of the initiative. The Gray Foundation’s gift will provide funding for a three-year pilot period as well as start-up funding for the CSA program’s infrastructure and personnel. Pending a successful pilot program and a fundraising campaign to raise the necessary private funding, the initiative will expand to fulfill its goal of providing a universal scholarship account to every child in the New York City public school system.
The City worked with leading social policy research firm MDRC to conduct six focus groups of 60 low- to moderate-income parents in New York City. MDRC found that while families care deeply about their children having the opportunity to go to college and were excited to learn about 529 accounts, almost no participants were previously aware of the tool. Further, the City conducted data analysis to determine that in NYC, a child growing up in a neighborhood in the top 20 percent of income is 20 times more likely to have a 529 College Savings Direct account than a child growing up in a neighborhood in the bottom 20 percent of income.
As part of the partnership, NYC Kids RISE will oversee the scholarship accounts and programs within the guidelines of NY’s 529 College Savings program. The nonprofit will function independent of the City and have a full-time Executive Director and a Board of Directors. The Board will have representation from both City Hall and the private sector, and will include Commissioner Julie Menin as Chair, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, and Executive Director of the Gray Foundation Dana Zucker. NYC Kids RISE plans to launch efforts to raise additional funds to support the ongoing costs of the initiative and to explore opportunities to scale. Commissioner Menin will assume the new responsibility of chairing the nonprofit, and continue in her role as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
The Department of Consumer Affairs and its Office of Financial Empowerment will also be involved with the initiative, utilizing its Financial Empowerment Centers to help families create their financial savings plans.
NY’s 529 College Savings programs are investment vehicles designated for saving for higher education. The CSA initiative will leverage the 529 platform and enable New York City students, regardless of circumstance, to take advantage of the benefits of investment and compounding growth.
The City worked to create an innovative account structure to enable all students entering participating schools to be in a position to benefit from the program’s philanthropic dollars. Under this structure, the funds invested in the scholarship component will be held in an omnibus account, and each participating student will be automatically assigned a portion of the total regardless of the families’ income or immigration status.
Through a unique hybrid structure, students will be able to participate in both a scholarship component and a family savings component of the program. Both the scholarship and family savings components will be invested in the 529 plan, so all funds will have the opportunity to benefit from compounding earnings. The family savings option will allow family members, relatives, and others to contribute to students’ education funds and have those funds be invested in a 529 plan.
“We must do everything in our means to ensure equitable opportunities for all NYC’s children and the City’s Child Savings Account initiative does just that,” said Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest. ”Our agency is honored to be a partner in this very important endeavor and we are proud to be providing the technology behind this initiative to further Mayor de Blasio’s vision for a just and equitable city.”
“Child savings accounts create the foundation for our public school students to plan for and complete post-secondary education, which increases the equality of opportunity,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “By fostering savings starting in kindergarten, not only will our kids be exposed to and develop savings habits, but they will be better prepared to plan for their college education.”
“The 529 Savings Plan helps build a foundation needed for life. I can think of no better investment than an education. The NYC Kids RISE initiative will benefit families who need seed money to get their college savings off to a good start.” said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “As the cost of obtaining a college education continues to rise, saving now helps offset the costs of future expenses.”
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said, “The NYC Kids RISE program will provide a wonderful benefit for thousands of New York City’s public school kids. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Menin, and the Gray Foundation for this effort to ensure that more of our students – particularly those from needy families – will have a better opportunity to go to college.”
“More American jobs are requiring a college education,” said Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Ernest Logan. “We applaud Commissioner Menin for this meaningful attempt to help more New York City families develop the financial discipline needed to pursue a college degree, and encourage New Yorkers take advantage of this program.”
“These accounts will serve as a tool to encourage both savings and the belief that post-secondary education is attainable across income levels. CEO will continue to be a partner in this exciting initiative that seeks to reduce poverty by broadening college access and success,” said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Center for Economic Opportunity and Senior Advisor for Service Innovation in the Mayor’s Office of Operations.
“Creating the expectation that all of our city’s children can pursue post-secondary educational opportunities is powerful; but taking steps to create a true pathway to help make that a reality is transformational. The Mayor’s Fund is proud to have a played a role in supporting the work of our City agency partners as this evidence-based approach was explored and developed, and we applaud Jon Gray and the Gray Foundation for this tremendous civic investment that will be a true opportunity-equalizer for generations to come,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
“Too many New York families are struggling to make ends meet and pay for basic necessities, let alone able to set aside savings for their children’s futures,” said Representative Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and the author of federal legislation to create a national child savings program. “Every child, regardless of their economic background, deserves the opportunity to start their financial future on the right foot. By giving kids a head start and creating a culture of saving, child savings accounts can help put a higher education back in reach for more families. I applaud the City for making this commitment and for giving New Yorkers the opportunity to save for their children’s future. I will continue my efforts in Congress to help make saving for the future a possibility for more American families.”
“Investing in our students is never a mistake,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Giving New York City’s children a head start by seeding college savings accounts is an exciting idea that’s absolutely worth testing with a pilot program.”
“Financial empowerment has been a hallmark of my administration, and I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Julie Menin for launching NYC’s Child Savings Account,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I am so heartened to be part of the launch of this effort, which I supported greatly through recommendations of my administration’s report on combating consumer debt. This seed capital will be investing in the most secure of start-ups, our city’s children. I look forward to working with City Hall and all of our young people to grow this important endeavor.”
“Every child deserves to make their dream of college and careers come true. One of the most important things we can do to help them to succeed is to plan in advance for their financial future,” said State Senator Carl L. Marcellino, Chair of the NY State Senate Education Committee.
“Every child should have access to the resources and tools they need to achieve their full potential,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “With this program New York City is providing students and families with the access and tools they need to support getting to college. I commend the City on the start of the Child Savings Accounts initiative and thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Menin for their commitment to education.”
“Nothing can be more important than early financial literacy and showing young people the importance of starting early on securing your future,” said Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick, Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. “I applaud Commissioner Menin and the Administration’s forward thinking and commitment to children.”
“The Child Savings Account initiative will help our students afford the college education they need for a successful career,” said City Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. “At a time when many young people are hindered from pursuing higher education because of financial constraints, I am pleased that our city is actively taking steps to remove these barriers. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Menin and NYC Kids RISE for their leadership and offer them my full support.”
“This is an incredibly exciting launch that will give thousands of New York City students the incentive and motivation to go to college,” said Andrea Levere, President of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that works with public and private organizations across the country to establish CSAs. “Providing automatic enrollment in these accounts to kindergarteners starting school will automatically brighten their futures.”
“There is evidence to suggest that Children’s Savings Accounts are one of the few interventions that work on multiple dimensions – early education, affordability, completion, and post-college financial health – to improve outcomes and catalyze opportunity. Importantly, these effects are consistently strongest among lower income children and their families. New York City has taken the care and diligence to design a program that will improve children’s outcomes along all of these dimensions while building a culture of saving and going to college,” said William Elliott III, Director of the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion, University of Kansas School of Social Welfare.
“The Financial Clinic applauds the City for its adoption of one of the most innovative savings vehicles in the city’s history. Our financial coaches at Financial Empowerment Centers focus on long-term savings – like 529 accounts and Child Savings Accounts – as a critical part of building financial security. The City’s accomplishment is an important step to help the city’s youngest and most financially vulnerable children find and fund a path to college,” said Mae Watson Grote, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Financial Clinic.
“CCC has been a strong, long time champion for children’s savings accounts. We know in New York City that the majority of public high school graduates report plans to attend college or a post-secondary program; yet, only about a half of our City’s young adults between 25 to 34 years of age go on to hold an Associate’s degree or higher. We also know from years of research, that even a small amount of savings can foster a child’s college-oriented identity and dramatically improve their likelihood of applying for and completing college. We applaud Mayor de Blasio’s administration and the Gray Foundation for taking an important step that addresses income inequality and improves outcomes for New York City’s children and families,” said Jennifer March, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Citizens’ Committee for Children of NY.
“For the United States to succeed in the long run, our children must grow up to become educated and effective citizens,” said Michael Sherraden, Director of the Center for Social Development. At the Center for Social Development, we work on strategies to sustain positive futures for all children. Today, New York City is taking a crucial step to ensure a better future for its children. “There is enormous potential for CSA’s to attract contributions from multiple sources: gifts from family and friends, proceeds from fundraising projects at the school, contributions from local community organizations, gifts from philanthropy, and so on. A culture of saving for college can grow in the community.”
Marketplace Helps Advisors Integrate High-Impact Philanthropy, Improving Access, Efficiency and Engagement for Donors
Press Release – San Diego, November 21, 2016 – Chris Blunt, President of the Investments Group of New York Life, has joined the Board of Benefunder, an organization that integrates with donor advised funds (DAFs) to connect donors directly with top research causes across the nation.
Benefunder is a unique marketplace of philanthropic opportunities in research and innovation, offering a highly efficient approach for targeted, high-impact giving by donors working with financial advisors.
“Chris Blunt is distinguished not only for his long-established leadership at New York Life but also for a demonstrated commitment to novel charitable giving solutions,” said Christian Braemer, Benefunder Chief Executive Officer. “We are extraordinarily pleased to now have the benefits of Chris’ experience and insight, and we look forward to his help as we explore new opportunities to advance the Benefunder mission and broaden our network of advisors, philanthropists and academic institutions.”
Solving the “Donor Problem”
Over half of all wealth creation since World War II can trace its roots back to a research grant, yielding such fundamental innovations as the Internet, lasers, gene sequencing, and countless medical advances. Though funding research importantly generates vital breakthroughs addressing a broad range of societal problems, identifying and supporting the best research opportunities can be expensive and time consuming. Also, publicly funded research has been stagnant for more than a decade, and less than 4 percent of the approximately $358 billion in annual U.S. philanthropy goes to support research.
Benefunder seeks to reduce this deficit with a new, scalable channel for funding research that can lead to key innovations, while also offering a new, smarter way for donors to support their passions. Advisors can help clients fulfill their legacy in a way that also engages the next generation – maintaining and growing assets while also providing a major societal benefit. Donors gain access to the best and brightest minds in whatever category interests them, with dramatically reduced overhead costs and funding cycles as well as ongoing engagement with the researchers and their work.
More than 650 researchers from top institutions nationwide, including seven of the eight Ivy League universities and the nation’s top medical and technological schools, are represented on the Benefunder platform, focusing on research and innovation in life science, new technology, the environment, and the arts and humanities. The programs reflect all stages of research and innovation, including proof of concept, pre-commercialization, clinical trials, and on-campus incubators and accelerators.
“Donors and advisors increasingly are seeking ways to enhance the focus and impact of philanthropy, and Benefunder offers one of our industry’s most powerful platforms for that goal,” said Mr. Blunt. “I’m gratified to have the opportunity to help Benefunder extend its impact within the advised donor community, particularly its efforts to establish new distribution partnerships that will expand the access of both advisors and donors to the Benefunder approach.”
Senior Leadership Roles at New York Life
Mr. Blunt has served as President of New York Life’s Investments Group, currently with more than $500 billion in assets under management, since May 2015. He joined New York Life in 2004 as Executive Vice President at New York Life Investment Management. In March 2007 he became Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Life and Annuity, and in 2008 was appointed Executive Vice President in charge of Retirement Income Security. Prior to his current role and starting in February 2012, he served as Co-President of New York Life Insurance Company’s Insurance and Agency Group. He was appointed to New York Life’s Executive Management Committee in September 2007.
Before joining New York Life, Mr. Blunt was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GivingCapital, Inc., a firm focused on partnering with leading financial services companies to provide asset-based charitable giving solutions to their clients.
Before that he spent 14 years in senior marketing and distribution roles in the investment management industry. He was Chief Marketing Officer – Americas, for Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, and President of Mercury Funds Distributors, and also was a Managing Director with Goldman Sachs & Co., and the National Sales Manager for Goldman Sachs Funds. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Benefunder is a unique funding channel for research and innovation, providing financial advisors with a better solution for targeted philanthropy and donors with a smarter and more meaningful way to give. Benefunder is the U.S.’s largest donor platform for active research, offering the opportunity to directly support more than 650 top researchers working toward breakthrough treatments and solutions that will greatly impact and benefit society. For more information, please visit www.benefunder.com.
Press Release – New York, New York – The Big Apple Circus, a New York and national cultural treasure for nearly four decades, announced today that it has filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
During the bankruptcy case, the Big Apple Circus intends to continue operating some of its community programs, which may be transitioned to other suitable nonprofit organizations, and to sell certain of its assets. In the meantime, the bankruptcy filing preserves the opportunity to restart the Big Apple Circus’ one-ring show, either with new financial support or through a sale of the circus to a buyer interested in doing so.
Since its founding in 1977, the Big Apple Circus has performed its annual one-ring show under the Big Top for millions of children, families, and fans of all ages and means, in its New York City home at Lincoln Center and on tour. Over the years, the nonprofit organization expanded its mission to include special performances for children who are blind, deaf, on the autism spectrum, and/or have other physical or cognitive disabilities, as well as a variety of community programs, like Clown Care®, which brings laughter and joy to aid the healing process of patients in leading pediatric hospitals nationwide.
In June, Big Apple Circus launched an emergency “Save the Circus” campaign with hopes to raise sufficient funds to begin production of a show for the 2016-2017 season. Despite receiving contributions from more than 1,400 donors, the Big Apple Circus fell short of its fundraising goal and made the difficult decision not to proceed with the upcoming performance season. The Circus determined that the best course of action to honor its mission and maximize value for its creditors was to commence a Chapter 11 case to effect an orderly wind down of the Circus’ affairs.
“We are eternally grateful for the support provided by audiences and donors over almost 40 years, and to all of the artists, crew, staff, and Clown Doctors who have provided joy, wonder, and inspiration to so many. Thanks, Paul and Michael. And thanks to founding board chair Alan Slifka and to the amazing board members who are with us still,” said Big Apple Circus executive director Will Maitland Weiss. “We are working to ensure that the spirit of the Big Apple Circus will live on.”
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is serving pro bono as Big Apple Circus’ legal counsel in the bankruptcy case.
About Big Apple Circus
Conceived and founded by Paul Binder and Michael Christensen in 1977 as a leading presenter of live family entertainment, the nonprofit Big Apple Circus is renowned for its performances and community programs. The Circus engages the communities it serves through the joy and wonder of classic circus arts, creating direct, shared connections in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools in its NYC home and in cities across America.
CLOWN CARE brings laughter and joy to aid the healing process of patients in leading pediatric hospitals, while its sister program, VAUDEVILLE VISITS, engages seniors in residential care facilities. CIRCUS AFTER SCHOOL teaches life skills such as teamwork, responsible risk-taking, and perseverance, through a structured program of learning and performing circus arts. For more information, visit www.bigapplecircus.org.
Press Release – (New York, NY) – Emmy Award-winning Eyewitness News and WABC-TV Reporter and News Anchor Bill Ritter has joined FPWA’s inaugural “Lift Up NYC” Campaign as the official Media Ambassador. In his role Mr. Ritter will lend his support to the campaign by participating in key events, and helping to distribute 25,000 gifts this holiday season to children across the five boroughs.
“I am thrilled to be part of Lift Up NYC”, said Mr. Ritter. “FPWA has a long, rich history of supporting families and communities across New York City, and this campaign truly embodies the New York and holiday spirit. It’s about New Yorkers coming together and rolling up their sleeves to help all families and communities rise.”
FPWA impacts the lives of 1.5 million low income individuals and families living in New York City by advocating for just policies and strengthening human services. Lift Up NYC is an inaugural campaign to harness NYC’s community spirit to lend a helping hand and give all New Yorkers the opportunity to rise. Lift Up NYC is an invitation for New Yorkers to create a city where children and youth are well educated, families are adequately housed and fed, workers are employed at a living wage, seniors have the means to live comfortably and stay engaged with their community, quality health care is accessible to all and neighborhoods are thriving.
Mr. Ritter was named co-anchor of Eyewitness News at 6 p.m. in February of 2001. He has been the co-anchor of the 11 p.m. news since September 1999 and is also a correspondent for the ABC News program “20/20.” He started at Eyewitness News in the summer of 1998 as a weekend anchor, the culmination of a robust career in broadcast and print journalism. He has reported on a wide variety of pressing topics for ABC including the Israel and Palestine conflict, drug use among teenaged Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, and problems with the dramatic increase in the number of building scaffoldings in New York. Bill also covers fire safety and prevention for Eyewitness News and hosts the annual “Operation 7 Save A Life,” a special and campaign.
In addition to delivering 25,000 gifts in response to overwhelming requests from New York city’s youth in the hardest to reach communities during the holiday season, Lift Up NYC will raise funds for FPWA’s advocacy work. The campaign also encompasses opportunities for corporations to jump in and get involved. In mid-December, just in time for the holiday season, Lift Up will host the “Miracle on Broad Street,” a 3-day event during which all gifts will be packaged and delivered to children and families across the five boroughs.
FPWA is an anti-poverty, policy, and advocacy nonprofit with a membership network of nearly 200 human-service and faith-based organizations. Each year, through its network of member agencies, FPWA reaches close to 1.5 million New Yorkers of all ages, ethnicities, and denominations. FPWA strives to build a city of equal opportunity that reduces poverty, promotes upward mobility, and creates shared prosperity for all New Yorkers. Visit us at www.fpwa.org