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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Global Sustainable Investment Alliance To Release Biennial 2016 Global Sustainable Investment Review On March 27

Media Web Conference Scheduled for 11:00 a.m. ET

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2017 – The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) will release its biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review 2016 on Monday, March 27 at 8:00 a.m. ET. GSIA leaders will host a media web conference at 11:00 a.m. ET the same day, featuring:

  • Flavia Micilotta, Executive Director of Eurosif: The European Sustainable Investment Forum
  • Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
  • Meg Voorhes, Research Director at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
  • Simon O’Connor, CEO of Responsible Investment Association Australasia

Now in its third edition, the biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review collates results from Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand. The report draws on in-depth regional and national reports from GSIA members—Eurosif, Responsible Investment Association Australasia, RIA Canada and US SIF—as well as reports and insights from the Principles for Responsible Investment, Japan SIF, Latin SIF and the African Investing for Impact Barometer. Together, these resources provide data points, insights, analysis and examples of the shape of sustainable investing worldwide.

To register for the media web conference or to be added to the GSIA news release distribution list, please email ussif@lowecom.com.

About The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance

The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) is a collaboration of membership-based sustainable investment organizations around the world. It includes US SIF, UK SIF, Eurosif, RIA Canada, VBDO (Netherlands) and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). The GSIA’s mission is to deepen the impact and visibility of sustainable investment organizations at the global level. Our vision is a world where sustainable investment is integrated into financial systems and the investment chain and where all regions of the world have coverage by vigorous membership based institutions that represent and advance the sustainable investment community. www.gsi-alliance.org

About US SIF

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Our mission is to rapidly shift investment practices towards sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations, nonprofit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners. US SIF produces a highly regarded conference each year. A New Climate for Investing in Impact will be held in Chicago from May 11-12. Learn more at www.ussif.org.

Martina McBride and Team Music Is Love Celebrate Young Mothers at Covenant House Shelter in New York City

Press Release – New York, NY — Country superstar Martina McBride – along with her fan driven charity initiative, Team Music Is Love – turned her 2017 Love Unleashed Tour into a philanthropic crusade. The tour, consisting of an all-female cast of artists, has served as a platform to spread positivity and empower others. On March 9th Martina and her team celebrated the young mothers who live at Covenant House, a homeless youth shelter in New York City, by hosting a baby shower for the group.

Martina partnered with Huggies Diapers, First Quality, and Cuties Diapers to stock the shelter with several essentials all new mothers need but may not have access to. Each mother received a gift bag full of bath supplies, books, and educational toys. Huggies also gave a one-month supply of Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers to each mom as a part of their “No Baby Unhugged” program. In all, over 18,000 diapers were donated to the Covenant House and the mothers.

After a lunch provided by Olive Garden and a memorable afternoon of meeting with the women and children, Martina surprised the mothers and Covenant House staff by inviting the entire shelter to her show that night at PlayStation Theater.

Through Team Music Is Love, Martina partners with non-profit causes to help many of the communities she’s performing in and invites fans to join her team in making the world a better place through the power of music. Since 2011, Team Music Is Love has been responsible for many successful fundraising and volunteer projects helping causes such as hunger relief, cancer research, combating domestic violence and helping children in need. For more information and to become a part of Martina’s team visit TeamMusicIsLove.com.

ABOUT MARTINA McBRIDE:

Multiple Grammy® nominee Martina McBride has sold over 18 million albums to date, which includes 20 Top 10 singles and six #1 hits. 2017 marks a milestone in Martina’s illustrious career – it is her 25th year of touring. She can currently be found touring North America on the LOVE UNLEASHED TOUR with special guest, Lauren Alaina. April 2016 Martina released RECKLESS, her thirteenth studio album. McBride has earned more than 15 major music awards, including four wins for Female Vocalist of the Year from the Country Music Association and won three Academy of Country Music for Top Female Vocalist. Martina has been awarded 14 Gold Records. Nine Platinum honors, three Double Platinum Records, and two Triple Platinum Awards. Martina was awarded the Covenant House Beacon of Hope Award and Music Business Association’s prestigious 2015 Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award for her philanthropic efforts on behalf of domestic violence. Martina released her first book, Around the Table, a full-color illustrated collection of her favorite recipes, hosting tips, practical menu planning advice, and themed décor inspiration.

ABOUT TEAM MUSIC IS LOVE:

Since 2011, Martina and her fans have partnered together on several successful fundraising and volunteer projects for various causes ranging from hunger relief to cancer research, combating domestic violence, and helping children in need. Team Music Is Love has attracted thousands of people from around the nation and the world to join Martina’s global charity movement. Some of the projects started by Martina and her team have included the initiation of a breast cancer research grant at Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, TN, the construction of a new playground for children of all abilities in Atlanta, GA, and a therapeutic music program providing musical instruments to orphaned children at Covenant House shelter in Guatemala City, Guatemala. For more information, please visit: TeamMusicIsLove.com.

ABOUT THE COVENANT HOUSE:

Covenant House was founded in 1972 with the simple, profound mission to help homeless kids escape the streets. Covenant House is the largest privately funded charity in the Americas providing loving care and vital services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth. They have locations 21 cities in the United States, Canada, and Central America.

Top 24 Announced in 2017 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Competition features the best high school entrepreneurs in the state competing for up to $30,000 in cash and prizes

Press Release – March 17, 2017 – High school entrepreneurs across the state of Utah, ages 14-18, are competing for $30,000 in cash and prizes in the 2017 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. This week, the competition announced the top 24 teams that will be moving on to the final stage of the competition. This competition is hosted by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

Each high school team faced the challenge of identifying a problem and proposing a creative solution.

“This completion has offered an opportunity to so many high school students to get creative and be introduced to entrepreneurship,” said Stephanie Gladwin, the student director of the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge and an international studies student at the University of Utah. “We are so impressed with the quality of the applications. We know that this year’s top 24 business ideas are even more competitive than last year.”

The top teams are competing with ideas ranging from hammocks and potato-chip dispensers to apps and healthcare devices. Find a complete list of the finalists with descriptions below.

These 24 teams will advance to the final round, where they will meet for a final judging event and a public awards ceremony on April 15 at Lassonde Studios on the University of Utah campus. All are invited to the public ceremony on that day at 4 to 6 p.m.

“We’re thrilled about the statewide growth and participation for HSUEC,” said Anne Bastien, a director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “We think this is the tip of the iceberg for high school innovation and entrepreneurship in the state. We can’t wait to host the top teams at the final award ceremony at the University of Utah.”

The High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is the youth version of the collegiate Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, which offers $100,000 of cash and prizes.

Learn more about the competition at lassonde.utah.edu/hsuec.

High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Season Timeline

  • Monday, Dec. 5, 2016: Submissions open
  • Wednesday, March. 1, 2017: Application submission deadline
  • March 2- 15, 2017: Online judging
  • Thursday, March 16, 2017: Top 24 announced.
  • Saturday, April 15, 2017: Private Judging & Mentoring at the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building from 7:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. Public Showcase & Awards at the Lassonde Studios from 4-6 p.m.

High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Top 24 Teams

Here are the top 24 teams in the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. These teams will advance to the final event. They are listed in alphabetical order:

  • 123Hammock by eMBe – Skyridge High School (Lehi) – Aims to revolutionize the hammock industry by providing a hammock that has easily attachable parts.
  • AptiTekk – Bingham High School (South Jordan) – All-in-one business solution makes it easy to book rooms, equipment and more.
  • BacteriaPets – Maser Prep Academy (Orem) – A fun classroom lab designed for elementary school classrooms. Using bacteria, students can create their own “pets,” or bacteria cultures, in a safe environment, while learning about bacteria at the same time.
  • Bird Scare Device – Air Dancer – Beehive Science & Technology Academy (Sandy) – Innovative small, portable and nonpolluting air dancers (ADs) make a positive impact by making air travel safer and saving birds’ lives by scaring them away from airports.
  • CoderKeys – Pine View High School (St. George) – An app to teach kids how to type more efficiently for computer programming – and it’s fun.
  • ColoClean – Rowland Hall (Park City) – ColoClean is an alternative colonoscopy preparation kit. Their mission is to provide an effective, humane, personalized colonoscopy prep kit that keeps prep less burdensome for the patient.
  • DeFlame Wrap – West High School (Salt Lake City) – The wrap will provide support and compression on muscles during exercise. After exercise, the wearer may chill the wrap to ice any inflamed muscle areas.
  • Discount Driver – West High School (Salt Lake City) – An app that tracks phone usage while driving through the use of accelerator and NFC sensors.
  • GovGush – Riverton High School (Riverton) – GovGush is a unified technology platform, via mobile and web engagement app, for the public, political representatives and governments.
  • HeadShot: Concussion Diagnosis – Hillcrest High School (Midvale) – Help athletes know how to better care for and handle their concussions. The technology used measures brain activity of regions of the cortex.
  • Health For All – Park City High School (Park City) – A line of clothing and accessories that integrates a type of subwoofer (tactile transducers or bass shakers) to be used for new-age healing techniques as well as a cutting-edge musical experience.
  • Multi-Use Backpack – Timpview High School (Provo) – A backpack with an inflatable mattress and pump. Allows buyer to be able to sleep more comfortably on the go.
  • My Lunch – Herriman High School (Herriman) – Parents and students can pre-order delicious, wholesome lunches from the My Lunch app and select a nutritious meal with quality fruits and vegetables.
  • PocketFab – Skyridge High School (Lehi) – This is a simple product: a pocket. This pocket will be able to hold your phone and other items in a place of your choice.
  • pRaise the Pringle – Park City High School (Park City) – Created a lift so that as Pringles are removed from the top, the lift pushes new Pringles to the top of the can.
  • Puzzle Panels – Academy for Math, Engineering & Science (Salt Lake City) – Portable solar panels that would eventually be able to be sent to emergency sites and set up very quickly.
  • Self-Image Mirror – Timpview High School (Provo) – What if instead of only providing our reflection, our mirror could let us know that we’re looking good, that our hair is impeccable and our outfit stunning? The Self-Image Mirror will provide this service.
  • Snowboard Dots – American Preparatory Academy (Riverton) – Snowboard Dots makes it impossible for beginner snowboarders to catch their edge. The product is made of hard plastic that prevents the riders downhill edge from touching the snow.
  • Stadium Chair – Skyridge High School (Lehi) – Seats in the stadium that are heated and cooled for when it is cold or hot outside.
  • StraightShot Apparel – Kearns High School (Kearns) – Adaptive apparel/clothing company to provide ease in accessing areas to administer medications by injection, port, feeding tube or other ways.
  • The Curb Climber – Copper Hills High School (West Jordan) – A base that will be built into the bottom of motorized chairs that will use motors and wheels to lift the chair over the curb.
  • The Great Traffic Stop De-escalator – Skyline High School (Millcreek) – A robot that acts as an intermediary between the police officer and the civilian for traffic violation stops.
  • Tiny Homes for the Homeless – Kearns High School (Kearns) – It starts by giving the homeless a place to call home, and a community they care about maintaining. The primary goal is to design and construct tiny homes for those who have no place to go.
  • Valle – Bingham High School (South Jordan) – Valle is a high-end clothing brand for urban and street wear designs.

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages the Lassonde Studios, a new $45 million innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.

Lifehouse Announces Retirement of Dori McDonnell After 23 Years of Service

Michelle Condit Promoted to Director of North Bay & Autism Services

Press Release – SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (March 17, 2017)Lifehouse, a Marin County-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support services to individuals with developmental disabilities, today announced the retirement of Dori McDonnell, Manager of North Bay Programs. Dori has been a valuable member of the Lifehouse team for the past 23 years, providing exceptional care to the individuals served.

“We deeply appreciate all the dedication and hard work that Dori has contributed to Lifehouse over the past 23 years, and we wish her the best of luck on her next journey,” said Nancy Dow Moody, Lifehouse President and CEO.

McDonnell started the first Supported Living Program at The Meadows in Novato’s Lark Court. She also implemented a new Community Living Program in Sonoma, and two Supported Living Programs and a Senior Independent Living Program in Novato. With an educational and professional background in psychology and counseling, McDonnell also joined Hope Counseling in Petaluma in 2007, aiming to restore physical, emotional and spiritual balance to individuals, couples and families. She plans to continue her work as a marriage and family therapist after her retirement and has graciously offered to collaborate with Lifehouse to offer group therapy for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Michelle Condit has been promoted to Director of North Bay & Autism Services, which will include leadership of the North Bay programs.

Announcing the promotion of Michelle Condit, Nancy Dow Moody said, “Michelle’s seasoned expertise in the industry, education and certifications continue to serve as a great asset to our programs for people with autism and developmental disabilities at Lifehouse.”

Condit brings a wealth of experience and skills to her new position at Lifehouse, where she will oversee all of the North Bay programs. Condit is completing her Ph.D. in Organizational Systems and is certificated as a TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children) practitioner through the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. TEACCH is an evidence-based service, training, and research program for individuals of all ages and skill levels with autism spectrum disorders. Condit was the Director of Autism Services at Lifehouse for the past two years and has been with the company for 10 years.

About Lifehouse

Lifehouse, a 501©(3) nonprofit, provides support services to individuals with developmental disabilities, enabling them to be productive members of the community. The organization began as a parent-led effort more than 60 years ago and is now one of the Bay Area’s most respected nonprofit organizations, dedicated to improving the quality of life of the people it serves through life skills training, community integration, advocacy and referral information. Independent living homes, intermediate care facilities, day support services, assessment, recreation and vacation travel for adult residents, as well as teen recreation integration programs, autism specialists, and in-home support for families are among Lifehouse’s many offerings. Additionally, Lifehouse provides support to individuals living in Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco counties and continues to grow. For more information about Lifehouse, please visit www.lifehouseagency.org.

Cristiano Ronaldo Posts Drawing by Syrian Refugee Teen and Barber-In-Training, Gets Haircut Advice

Press Release – FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Mar. 15, 2017) — Save the Children global artist ambassador Cristiano Ronaldo is known for his sweet soccer skills and his ever-changing haircuts. Now, he is getting hairstyle advice from Omar*, a Syrian refugee teen in barber training at Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.

Today, on the six-year mark of the Syrian conflict, Ronaldo posted a photo of himself and his son on his social media channels holding a picture of Omar in an attempt to remind people about those who are most vulnerable in the devastating conflict. In the photo, Omar is holding a drawing of himself in barber training, a picture he drew through Save the Children’s art therapy program – called Healing and Education through the Arts (HEART) – that helps kids process and communicate feelings related to their experiences.

Cristiano Ronaldo Facebook

Cristiano Ronaldo Twitter

Cristiano Ronaldo Instagram

Omar regularly attends Save the Children’s drop-in center for adolescent and teen boys, many of whom who work odd jobs in and around the camp to bring money home to their families. The center offers a place for boys to learn and to play. This is where Omar enrolled in a six-month barber training course. Most boys complete the course and take a barbershop kit home to start their own business and earn a living. But Omar had a different purpose in mind. He made a good cause out of it.

“I shave and cut hair for old and disabled people and for people who cannot make it to a barbershop,” Omar said. “They call me and I take my kit and go to their house for free,” he added. When asked how he would style Ronaldo’s air if given the chance, Omar said, “Whatever he likes. I think ‘fading’ would suit him.” Fading is the most popular and basic haircut among boys at Za’atari.

This “goodwill barber of Za’atari” is just one child among many impacted by the ongoing conflict in Syria. Ronaldo’s post of Omar comes in the wake of a recent report by Save the Children and its Syrian partners.

Published in advance of the six-year mark, “Invisible Wounds” includes findings from interviews with more than 450 children, adolescents and adults inside Syria in the largest study of its kind conducted during the course of the conflict. It found that children are living in an almost constant state of fear, terrified by shelling, airstrikes and ongoing violence, with devastating psychological consequences.

For more information on Save the Children’s work on the Syrian crisis, go here. To donate to Save the Children’s Syrian Relief Fund, please visit Savethechildren.org/Syria or text SYRIA to 20222 donate $25.

*A $25 donation will be added to your mobile bill. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. Terms: www.hmgf.org/t. Privacy Policy: www.savethechildren.org/privacy.

*Name has been changed for protection

Save the Children invests in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

This article was originally published here.

Administration’s Budget Priorities Eliminate Funding For Those With Most Need

STATEMENT BY CASEY HARDEN, INTERIM CEO, YWCA USA

“YWCA USA finds the administration’s proposed FY 2018 budget priorities cause for serious concern and immediate action. The budget includes massive cuts to programs that directly impact YWCAs and the families we serve while funneling funds into troubling initiatives like a border wall and increased deportation efforts.

“The full elimination of the Community Development Block Grant will pull the rug out from under community safety nets across the country. These funds support a variety of critical local YWCA projects from emergency and permanent housing for survivors of domestic violence, to after school programs, adult education, and career training for women and girls. This $3 billion grant is a slim percentage of the discretionary spending budget, but has a huge impact in the communities we serve. Further, the nature of the funding allows states and local municipalities the use the funding in a way that best serves the unique needs of their community. Eliminating block grant funding will not only eliminate critical services, it will eliminate an effective federal government funding model.

“We are also deeply troubled by the 18 percent cut to the Department of Health and Human Services and the 21 percent cut to the Department of Labor. These departments are responsible for administering programs that are crucial to the health, safety and economic security of women and families.

“Across-the-board cuts to social safety net programs will have a serious impact on low income families like the 2 million people helped in local YWCAs each year. These families will face even greater barriers to financial self-sufficiency if funding for supportive programs like housing, childcare, and job training is slashed at the federal level. Specifically, the elimination of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) will further endanger the many women and children experiencing domestic violence and who rely on LSC to assist them in finding safety from abuse and violence. While we are concerned about cuts to federal work study funding, we are glad to see that the Pell Grant program was protected. All similar support programs should be protected and their funding maintained.

“YWCA will continue to push back against the administration’s racially motivated policies and the funding that could make them a reality. This includes funding for a border wall, increased efforts to detain and deport undocumented immigrants, increased policing without plans to reduce profiling, discrimination, and excessive force faced by communities of color, and counter-terrorism efforts that profile Muslims or any other religious, racial, or ethnic group.

“YWCA USA is a part of a global movement of 25 million women and girls engaged with YWCAs around the world. As such, we believe that maintaining funding for important United Nation’s initiatives, such as those related to climate change, is crucial for women here in the United States and across the globe. Women and girls have been and will continue to be those most affected by climate change impacts on every continent.

“YWCA USA calls on Congress to pass a federal budget that supports women and families who are trying to make ends meet, that helps build a fair and equitable United States, and that does not fund and promote policies that further marginalize communities of color. The budget priorities we see today, do not meet that aim.”

About YWCA USA

YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The organization is one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families each year. Learn more: www.ywca.org.

Academy Award-Nominated Film LION to Be Honored at International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children’s 2017 Gala for Child Protection

Harvey Weinstein to Accept Award

Thursday, May 4

NBC News Anchor Kate Snow to Emcee

(from L to R) Facebook’s Director of Trust and Safety Emily Vacher, LION Screenwriter Luke Davies and ICMEC President and CEO Maura Harty

Press Release – February 22, 2017 (Alexandria, Va.) — The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), a non-profit organization that advocates, trains and collaborates with global partners to protect children from sexual abuse, exploitation and abduction, will host the 2017 Gala for Child Protection: Because All Children Deserve a Safe Childhood on Thursday, May 4 at 6 p.m. at Gotham Hall in New York City. The third annual gala will honor the 2017 Academy Award-nominated film LION in recognition of its critical role in raising the global community’s awareness of the issue of missing children. Celebrated movie producer Harvey Weinstein, the co-founder of The Weinstein Company which released LION, will accept the 2017 Champion for Children award in honor of the film. ICMEC also will honor Facebook with its 2017 Global Impact for Child Protection award for their longtime support of ICMEC’s global programs and introducing child alert systems. NBC News and MSNBC anchor Kate Snow will serve as the evening’s emcee.

LION, starring Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman and Oscar-nominated actor Dev Patel, is based on the true story of Saroo Brierley. At the age of five, Brierley was separated from his brother in a train station and ultimately was forced to survive on the streets of Calcutta before being adopted by an Australian family. Later, as a grown man, played by Patel, he used Google Earth to reunite with his biological family in India. LION was nominated for the 2017 Best Picture Oscar, and actors Patel and Kidman both received Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominations this year. In addition, Australian screenwriter Luke Davies was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. In citing the work, Ambassador Maura Harty, ICMEC President and CEO, said: “The compelling film not only tells Saroo Brierley’s story, but it also captures the tragic pain and loss suffered by missing children and their families anywhere in the world. We are grateful that Harvey Weinstein and LION unsparingly, but eloquently, helps raise awareness of this critical issue.”

Facebook has long been an active and engaged partner, supporting ICMEC’s global training programs, and recently introducing emergency child alert response systems to help locate children around the world. “Facebook could not be more proud of our longtime partnership with the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children,” says Emily Vacher, Facebook’s Director of Trust and Safety. “Two years ago, in partnership with ICMEC, we were excited to announce that we would begin distributing missing child alerts on Facebook in several countries around the globe – empowering the Facebook community to aid in reuniting missing children with their families. We look forward to many more years of collaborative efforts to help reunite families and protect children around the world.”

Proceeds from this fundraising gala will be directly invested in The Global Impact Fund. For ticket information, please visit the event website at gala.icmec.org.

About ICMEC

The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children is a private 501(c)(3) non-governmental, nonprofit organization. For more than 16 years, ICMEC has been a leader in identifying gaps in the global community’s ability to protect children from abduction, sexual abuse and exploitation, and expertly assembling the people, resources and tools needed to fill those gaps. ICMEC focuses on programs that have an impact on addressing the issues surrounding missing children, child abduction, child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Independent Sector Statement on Trump Administration Budget Proposal

Press Release – (WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017) — The following is a statement by Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO, Independent Sector:

“Independent Sector, the leading voice of the charitable community in the United States, is gravely concerned about the budget blueprint sent to Congress by the Trump Administration.

The Administration’s opening budget proposal, while non-binding, is at odds with our recently- adopted Statement of Beliefs Regarding Federal Tax and Spending Policies. Using this framework as a lens to assess the Administration’s budget, we find the deep cuts proposed to non-defense discretionary programs threaten the vitality of the charitable sector’s enduring partnership with the federal government.

More importantly, the blueprint seeks to strengthen other Administration priorities at the expense of agencies and programs that help communities address the needs of the diverse makeup of their constituencies — from celebrating cultural achievements to offering critical, life-sustaining support.

We believe that societies thrive when all people have an opportunity to prosper and succeed, and it is therefore vital that national investment and spending policies prioritize programs that are demonstrating their promise and effectiveness in increasing economic mobility and enriching the lives of all Americans. As spending debates move forward and difficult decisions about spending cuts are made, we urge policymakers to strive for and shape fiscal priorities that recognize the inherent value of all individuals, families and communities, and the institutions that work with them to build their potential as agents of positive change and renewal in our nation.

We stand ready to work in deep partnership with both the Administration and Congress to achieve that goal for the American people.”

Makers Unite and The Refugee Nation Join Forces to Create Jobs for Refugees

Refugee support flags made from life-vests help commemorate the Syrian Revolution

Press Release – New York, NY – March 17, 2017 – To mark the week of the sixth anniversary of the Syrian revolution, Makers Unite and The Refugee Nation today announce a partnership to generate employment opportunities for refugees that honor the Syrian Journey.

Makers Unite is gathering thousands of life-vests used by migrants crossing into Greece and hiring refugees themselves to create refugee support flags. Each flag serve as a powerful symbol of hope and solidarity with refugees around the world, and proceeds go directly to further refugee employment.

“It is our hope that by hiring refugees to create the refugee flag, we will help both to provide people in need with the necessary means to start a new life, and increase global awareness for this important cause” said Thami Schweichler, Director and Co-Founder of Makers Unite. “We are honored to work with The Refugee Nation on this initiative to stand with the thousands of displaced people around the world who have bravely escaped war, persecution or natural disasters.”

The Refugee Flag made by refugees can be purchased by visiting www.makerunite.eu/therefugeenation

About Makers Unite

Makers Unite, is an Amsterdam based social initiative, that connect newcomers and local makers to create job opportunities for the displaced. Together, they recycle life vests turning them into new objects, and most importantly, facilitating refugee integration with their host society. Makers Unite recently won the #RefugeeChallenge, organized by What Design Can Do, UNHCR and Ikea Foundation.

www.makersunite.eu

About The Refugee Nation

The Refugee Nation is the creator of the refugee flag. The life vest-inspired flag was designed by the refugee artist Yara Said during the Rio 2016 Olympics to represent the refugee athletes competing in the games and engage the world to support them. The refugee flag ended up transcending the Olympics and became a symbol of hope for 65 million displaced people worldwide. According to Yara, “orange and black is a symbol of solidarity with all these brave souls that had to wear life vests to cross the sea looking for safety in a new country.” The flag, which was considered to be one of the most headline-making designs of 2016 (Dezeen) was acquired a few months back by the Victoria & Albert museum in London.

www.therefugeenation.org

The Colorado Health Access Fund’s Year One Impact, Results Released In New Report

$40 million fund provided behavioral health services to 32,000 high-risk Coloradans; sustainability, geographic reach vital to future success

Press Release – Denver – On Thursday, March 16, The Denver Foundation and Colorado Health Institute jointly released “Building from the Baseline,” an evaluation of the Colorado Health Access Fund’s activity and impact in its inaugural year.

Founded at The Denver Foundation with an anonymous $40 million gift, the Colorado Health Access Fund (CHA Fund) seeks to increase access to behavioral health care statewide. From August 2015-September 2016, the CHA Fund distributed nearly $2.2 million to 28 grantees from across Colorado. “Building from the Baseline” is an analysis of results from that one-year period.

Prepared in partnership with the Colorado Health Institute (CHI), Colorado’s experts in health policy and evaluation, the analysis was designed to measure how well the CHA Fund is increasing access to behavioral health services across the state, and to measure how well it adheres to the donor’s intent. “Building from the Baseline” is the first of what will become an annual evaluation of the activity and impact of the CHA Fund.

“The CHA Fund is supporting important work at a time of major developments in the field of behavioral health in Colorado, including the opening of the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; the implementation of the State Innovation Model; and the launch of a statewide crisis hotline championed by Governor John Hickenlooper,” says Christine Márquez-Hudson, President and CEO of The Denver Foundation. “The findings from this evaluation will inform how we progress towards goals in 2017 and beyond. They also advance the Fund’s objectives by contributing to a collective body of knowledge on behavioral health programming in Colorado.”

Some key findings from the evaluation:

  • The Fund provided nearly 32,000 Coloradans with access to behavioral health services.
  • In partnership with a wide range of community-driven programs, the CHA Fund addressed varied, specific, and local needs. Examples include telehealth projects in rural communities in Salida and southeastern Colorado, which reduced geographic barriers to treatment; substance use disorder services for Denver Public Schools students, provided by Denver Health; behavioral health services offered to seniors, via Senior Resource Center; and services offered in multiple languages for non-English speakers at Clinica Tepeyac, Rocky Mountain Immigrant Action Network, and Jewish Family Services.
  • Donor intent is being met by supporting programs that serve Coloradans with high health care needs and who are at risk of facing barrier to care.

“We found that the fund is generally on track to meet its mission of expanding behavioral health care access to Coloradans with high health care needs,” says Jeff Bontrager, Director of Research on Coverage and Access for Colorado Health Institute. “But despite the overall positive findings, grantees did cite some recurring challenges like finding and retaining behavioral health staff and financing their programs.

“Based on our evaluation findings, we made some recommendations,” Bontrager continues. “The intent of those recommendations is to help meet the intent of the donor, and to help grantees be successful.”

Among CHI’s recommendations:

  • The Denver Foundation should place even greater importance on where the behavioral health demand and need is greatest.
  • The Denver Foundation should work to set up programs for success by encouraging grantees to plan for long-term sustainability. The majority of grantees will need to strengthen their long-term sustainability plan. The Foundation should consider strengthening its assessment of grantee sustainability and scalability.
  • Grantmaking should represent all parts of the state.  The eastern plains are underrepresented at this time.

Click here for “Building from the Baseline,” the complete report

Click here for the executive summary

About The Colorado Health Access Fund

Providing behavioral health services in Colorado, especially in rural and underserved communities, is no easy endeavor. The Colorado Health Access Fund was created in 2015 with an anonymous $40 million gift as a Field of Interest fund at The Denver Foundation. The intent of the fund is to support programs/activities that generally increase access to health care and strive to improve health outcomes for populations in Colorado with high health-care needs. The fund will help to ensure health care services are equitably available to all Coloradans with high health needs by distributing the funds to organizations throughout the state. The Colorado Health Access Fund will distribute approximately $5 million per year through 2022.

Background: The CHA Fund’s Focus on Behavioral Health Care

Providing behavioral services in Colorado—especially in rural and underserved communities—is no easy endeavor. According to a 2014 analysis of the health care landscape conducted by the Colorado Health Institute and commissioned by The Denver Foundation, 15 of the 21 Colorado Health Statistic Regions included mental/behavioral health as a top local public health priority. Furthermore, mental and behavioral health care was cited as a community priority in every community dialogue conducted by CHI. Discussions with health and community foundations identified access to mental health and substance abuse as the most pressing issues statewide. For these and other reasons, the Colorado Health Access Fund is focused on increasing access to behavioral health treatment.

Overall, the Colorado Health Access Fund seeks to:

  • Reduce and remove barriers for Coloradans with high behavioral health care needs in accessing behavioral health care treatment.
  • Build on innovations and investments already in place around behavioral health care treatment and support strategies for sustainability within the communities.
  • Support treatment solutions that will benefit and meet the needs of the local community, as well as explore how those solutions could be replicated and/or scaled to meet the needs of communities across the state.
  • Widely share solutions and approaches that improve access to behavioral health care treatment, as well as openly convey “lessons learned.”

About The Colorado Health Institute

The Colorado Health Institute is a Denver-based health policy research organization that believes better information leads to better-informed decisions—and a healthier Colorado. We are nonprofit and nonpartisan. We are a trusted source of independent and objective health information, data, and analysis for health care leaders. Funding comes from the Caring for Colorado Foundation, Rose Community Foundation, The Colorado Trust, and the Colorado Health Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.coloradohealthinstitute.org/.

About The Denver Foundation

The Denver Foundation is a community foundation that inspires people and mobilizes resources to improve life in Metro Denver. In 2015, the Foundation and its donors awarded more than $97 million in grants. The Denver Foundation has three roles: stewarding an endowment to meet current and future needs for Metro Denver, working with community leaders to address the core challenges that face the community, and managing more than 1,000 charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit http://www.denverfoundation.org/.

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