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Devin D. Thorpe

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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Record Number of Peru Teachers Receive Training From Projects Abroad Volunteers

Teacher Training Project in Peru sees highest enrollment numbers to date

A local teacher receives his certificate signed by the Regional Director of Education after completing the Teacher Training Project in Peru

Press Release – NEW YORK – March 29, 2017Projects Abroad‘s annual Teachers Training Project in Peru has had a record number of enrollments this year, with 700 local teachers applying to participate. This is an increase of 300 teachers from previous years.

During the Peru summer break, Projects Abroad, in conjunction with the Peruvian Ministry of Education, holds a six-week training program for local teachers to improve the quality of their teaching, with the main aim being English-language improvement. Many teachers in Peru are primarily trained in other subjects, and also asked to teach English. The training program is therefore an excellent opportunity to improve an aspect of their teaching that receives less attention.

Projects Abroad volunteers are directly involved with the training, by facilitating individual workshops focusing on various topics. “Our volunteers teach vocabulary and pronunciation to beginners, and verbs and grammar to those with an intermediate to advanced level of English,” says Irazema Arizabal, Country Director for Projects Abroad in Peru. “The volunteers also provide them with new teaching materials and ways in which they can conduct their lessons.”

At this year’s event, participants not only benefitted by improving their English and teaching, but were also formally recognized and awarded an official certificate by the Regional Director of Education. This improves their prospects when applying for jobs at educational centers in the area.

The success of the teacher training leaves a lasting impact in local communities in Peru. Students, particularly those from underprivileged communities, will be the major beneficiaries of an improved teaching force in Peru. Through a higher quality of education, students will have improved career opportunities, and will be better equipped to become active participants in the global economy.

Projects Abroad’s mission to improve the lives of those in need through its Teaching Project in Peru for volunteers, is exemplified in the Teacher Training Project, something it hopes will grow in strength and in number in years to come.

About Projects Abroad

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

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

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

Hope For The Warriors Awarded Grant From Altria Group, Inc

Grant to Support Master of Social Work Internship Program and Staff Capacity-Building

Press Release – SPRINGFIELD, Va. (March 29, 2017)Hope For The Warriors has been awarded a three-year grant from Altria Group, Inc. to provide major support of its Master of Social Work (MSW) Internship Program. In addition, the grant will support staff capacity-building and leadership development activities.

Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for veterans, service members and military families.

The goal of the Hope For The Warriors MSW Internship Program is to train tomorrow’s military and veteran mental health service providers by ensuring that interns enter the social work profession with a thorough understanding of the unique needs of military families. The program provides a progression in skills training – starting from military cultural competency, critical care case management and family support culminating in the provision of clinical services to Hope For The Warriors’ clients.

During the MSW Internship Program, interns gain first-hand experience by working under Hope For The Warriors’ licensed social workers. Learning opportunities include formal and experiential military cultural competency training; one-on-one interaction with service members and veterans and training and application of trauma-informed practices to client care.

Lorraine Bolduc, a MSW intern at Hope For The Warriors, said that she has been gaining valuable work experience from the program. “Hope For The Warriors has provided me a safe, secure and trustworthy environment to explore my personal desire to restore hope in myself and in my future aspirations to effect national change for the betterment of American military, families and communities.”

Since it was launched in 2012, the MSW Internship Program has placed more than 40 students. These interns have provided more than 20,000 hours of program support in the clinical health area to Hope For The Warriors during this period.

“We’re extremely grateful to Altria Group for its three-year commitment to our Master of Social Work Internship Program,” said Robin Kelleher, co-founder, president and CEO of Hope For The Warriors. “Thanks to this grant, we’re able to substantially increase the quantity and quality of case management and care coordination services, allowing us to serve more military personnel and their families.”

For more information on Hope For The Warriors, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook or Twitter.

About Hope For The Warriors:

Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for post-9/11 veterans, service members and military families. Hope For The Warriors has served approximately 10,000 through a variety of support programs focused on transition, health and wellness. The nonprofit’s first program, A Warrior’s Wish, has granted 162 wishes to fulfill a desire for a better quality of life or support a quest for gratifying endeavors. In addition, Run For The Warriors has captured the hearts of more than 22,000 since 2010. For more information, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook or Twitter.

Atria Group, Inc:

Altria’s wholly-owned subsidiaries include PM USA, USSTC, Middleton, Nat Sherman, Nu Mark, Ste. Michelle and PMCC. Altria holds an equity investment in AB InBev. The brand portfolios of Altria’s tobacco operating companies include Marlboro®, Black & Mild®, Copenhagen®, Skoal®, MarkTen® and Green Smoke®. Ste. Michelle produces and markets premium wines sold under various labels, including Chateau Ste. Michelle®, Columbia Crest®, 14 Hands® and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars™, and it imports and markets Antinori®, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte™, Torres® and Villa Maria Estate™ products in the United States. Trademarks and service marks related to Altria referenced in this release are the property of Altria or its subsidiaries or are used with permission. More information about Altria is available at altria.com and on the Altria Investor app.

NYC Culinary Community Gathers at Chelsea Market for Ninth Annual Sunday Supper; Benefit Dinner Aids Non-For-Profits Focused on Culinary Education

French-Inspired Fare raises approximately $250,000 to benefit the James Beard Foundation and The Jamestown Charitable Foundation

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY—March 28, 2017 – On Sunday, March 26th, distinguished members of New York City’s culinary community gathered at Manhattan’s Chelsea Market for the ninth annual Sunday Supper at Chelsea Market. An important component of the Friends of James Beard Benefit Program, the event brought together an esteemed group of chefs who each helped prepare a gourmet, family-style feast. The lavish yet informal dinner – which is held at one of the world’s leading food halls – raised approximately $250,000 for the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program, The Jamestown Charitable Foundation, and other not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organizations focuses on initiatives for culinary education.

“Sunday Supper at Chelsea Market continues its support for New York’s world-class pool of chefs while demonstrating our passion for grassroots community building,” said Michael Phillips, Jamestown, owner of Chelsea Market. “We are honored to partner with the James Beard Foundation to host an event that brings the public and culinary community together in celebration of this commitment. We are very proud of the success of this year’s event, and look forward to continuing our relationship with the James Beard Foundation to support our community in the future.”

As part of one of the city’s most popular culinary events, 300 guests were seated at three long communal tables in Chelsea Market’s avenue-long concourse, where they enjoyed a family-style meal served by NYC chefs. The host chefs included Mary Cleaver, The Cleaver Co. and the Green Table; Abby De La Rosa, the Green Table; JBF Award Winner Pastry Chef Sarabeth Levine, Sarabeth’s; Harris Mayer-Selinger, Creamline; David Seigal, Cull & Pistol; and Amy Scherber, Amy’s Bread.

“We are delighted to be back at Chelsea Market for the Sunday Supper, one of the most dynamic centers of food and community in New York City,” said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. “The Sunday Supper is a true celebration of gastronomy and generosity, as the money raised helps support the programs of our Foundation, whose mission seeks to help improve the quality and sustainability of food available to everyone by celebrating leaders like the chefs who made this year’s event so special and delicious. Our thanks go to Jamestown Properties and their continued vision and support.”

Year after year, the night’s carefully curated menu speaks to Chelsea Market’s reputation as a destination that continues to set the standard for exceptional food experiences across the globe. This year, the four-course fare was inspired by the simplicity of French-style home cooking. Highlights from the French-themed dinner consist of an eclectic assortment of dishes and beverages, including:

  • Bone Marrow Croquettes with Chile Aïoli; Duchess Potatoes with Crème Fraiche and Fines Herbs; and Smoked Bluefish Rillettes with Sour Cream on Chive Blini – Mary Cleaver and Abby De La Rosa, The Cleaver Co. and the Green Table, NYC
  • Broiled Oysters with Kale, Gruyère, and Pastis – David Seigal, Cull & Pistol, NYC
  • Saucisse de Fruit de Mer en Brioche – Jeremiah Stone, Contra and Wildair, NYC
  • Assorted Breads, French Baguette, Miche, and Walnut-Raisin Bread – Amy Scherber, Amy’s Bread, NYC
  • Warm White Asparagus with Chive Fondue, Egg, and Ham – Cédric Vongerichten, Perry Street, NYC
  • Koulibiac – Daniel Rose, Le Coucou, NYC
  • Coq au Vin – Laurent Gras, Tim Dornon, and  Alex Leonard, , ALT, NYC
  • Potato Gratin – Daniel Eddy, Rebelle, NYC
  • Honey-Roasted Carrots with Toasted Pistachios and Pickled Persimmons – Cedric Tovar, Bobo, NYC
  • Le Pommier Camembert, Comté Grand Affinage, and Roquefort– Anne Saxelby, Saxelby Cheesemongers, NYC
  • Hazelnut-Chocolate Tart – Fabian von Hauske, Contra and Wildair, NYC
  • Ninth Street Espresso

This year’s guest chefs were: Daniel Eddy of Rebelle, NYC; Laurent Gras, Tim Dornon, and Alex Leonard of ALT, NYC; Daniel Rose of Le Coucou, NYC; Jeremiah Stone + Pasty Chef Fabian von Hauske of Contra and Wildair, NYC; Cedric Tovar of Bobo, NYC; and Cédric Vongerichten of Perry Street, NYC.

Sunday Supper at Chelsea Market was sponsored by Jamestown and Chelsea Market. The event’s diamond sponsor was Gibson Dunn and the platinum sponsor was Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. The gold sponsors were: Chicago Title Insurance Company; Duval & Stachenfeld LLP; Fried Frank; King and Spalding; Marcus & Pollack; Studios Architecture; and Vornado Realty Trust. The silver sponsors were: AMA Consulting Engineers, p.c.; Archetype Consultants Inc.; Goulston & Storrs; and Marino. Bronze sponsors were: Belvedere Capital; Capital One; Chelsea Wine Vault; George Comfort & Sons, Inc.; Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg; Lincoln Property Company; Peace of Mind Technologies; S9 Architecture; and VerTerra Dinnerware. Copper sponsors were: AKRF; GACE Consulting Engineers dpc; and JTC Associates.

Supporters of the event included: The Lobster Place; Ninth Street Espresso; Palm Bay Imports International; Saratoga Spring Water; and Saxelby Cheesemongers.

Durreen Shahnaz Honored by the ‘Nobel Prize for Business’ for Creating a Social Capital Market

Press Release – Singapore — March 28th, 2017 — Durreen Shahnaz, Founder of Singapore-based Impact Enterprise IIX (Impact Investment Exchange) and the IIX Foundation, was selected as a 2017 Business for Peace Award Honoree for her commitment to promoting an evolved form of capitalism that values both financial returns and positive social and environmental impact. IIX, through its work over the last eight years, has effectively created a social capital market in Asia, connecting investment to development and unlocking millions of dollars for high-impact enterprises, resulting in impacting over eight million lives.

Durreen Shahnaz is no stranger to redefining the status quo. She was the first Bangladeshi woman to work on Wall Street and to graduate from the renowned Wharton School of Business. Shahnaz’s first entrepreneurial venture was in 1999 when she began an e-commerce company that connected rural artisans worldwide to an online global marketplace with oneNest. After growing and selling oneNest, she continued her pursuit of sustainable growth and equitable markets by founding IIX, the Impact Investment Exchange, and creating not only the world’s first social stock exchange but also a global ecosystem and various innovative financial structures and capital-raising platforms to support the growth of impact investing. Under Shahnaz’s leadership, IIX continues to be a pioneering force and leader in the impact investing space that pushes the boundaries of innovation when it comes to involving players from the private, public, and philanthropic sectors in solving today’s most pressing issues.

Shahnaz explains, “If we are going to achieve an equitable and peaceful society, it is imperative for us to have a financial system that is inclusive and works for all. Thus, crazy as it may have been, I committed myself eight years ago to revolutionizing capital markets to promote equal and sustainable growth worldwide. It was a ‘quixotic dream’ equivalent to boiling the ocean of financial change. Well, that quixotic dream is a reality now and that ocean is lukewarm, so we are definitely getting there!”

The 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award highlights exceptional individuals who are able to ethically create economic value while generating value for society. Recipients are selected by a committee of Nobel Prize winners and past award recipients include Sir Richard Branson of Virgin (2014), Ratan Tata of Tata Group (2010), Mo Ibrahim of Mo Ibrahim Foundation (2009), and Paul Polman of Unilever (2015). This year, the four honorees, including Durreen Shahnaz, will be presented to the public and the media at an Award Ceremony on Tuesday 16 May, 2017 in Oslo City Hall, the same location as that of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

“Impact Investing has been growing rapidly in recent years and I am honored to be recognized as an innovator at the forefront of this movement. I view this award as a celebration of both the progress we have made to date as well as an encouragement to continue to dedicate myself and IIX to this mission and impact 100 million lives by 2020 by changing finance and financing change for social and environmental good.” Shahnaz shares.

About IIX

IIX is a Singapore-based impact enterprise that bridges the gap between finance and development, carving out third space for global social and environmental solutions by unlocking investment capital. As a pioneer of impact investing, IIX builds pathways to connect the Wall Streets of the world with the backstreets of underserved communities. IIX platforms and innovative financial products enable impact enterprises to accelerate their business and positive impact, while pushing the impact investing space from the margins to the mainstream. To date, the work of IIX has spanned 20 countries and continues to expand with the mission of improving 100 million lives by 2020.

About IIX Foundation

IIX Foundation focuses primarily on the program management of grant-funded projects. With IIX Foundation’s flagship program IIX ACTS, the foundation supports early and growth stage social enterprises to raise capital so that they can thrive, grow, and impact more lives. In addition, IIX Foundation creates opportunities for blended capital to leverage philanthropy funding to unlock investment capital.

Source: http://iixglobal.com

Elon Musk wins the Oslo Business for Peace Award 2017

Press Release – Tuesday, 28 March 2017 16:35: Elon Musk is one of four winners of this year’s Oslo Business for Peace Award. He is given the prize for his pioneer work within sustainable transportation. The Honourees will receive the award in a ceremony in Oslo City Hall on the 16th of May.

The three other winners are Durreen Shahnaz, Dr Harley Seyedin and Murad Al-Katib.

Durreen Shahnaz receives the award for her work in spearheading the transformation of the way financial and capital markets work, focusing on purpose and maximising impact. Her work in Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX), the world’s first stock exchange dedicated to social enterprises – which she founded in 2009, has positively impacted 10 million lives to date.

Dr Harley Seyedin is an Iranian immigrant to USA, who has spent his life building a multi-national electricity and low carbon infrastructure development business with great success in China and the Philippines. He has lived more than 20 years in China and for the past nine years he has held the position as president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China.

Murad Al-Katib, son of Turkish immigrants to Canada, receives the Award for his entrepreneurship in leading the way in sustainable agriculture and contributing to feeding millions of refugee families in the Syrian crisis.

Elon Musk receives the Award for his leadership of the way forward in the automotive industry, and for his showcasing of business’ ability to help confront and solve the world’s most demanding and complex problems. The battery technology of Tesla has recently been successfully combined with solar energy in his company SolarCity, USA’s second largest provider of solar systems.

The full justification from the Award Committee can be read here.

The announcement of the 2017 Honourees was made by Secretary General John Danilovich of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at an event in Oslo City Hall on the 28th of March, hosted by the governing mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen.

Committee of Nobel Laureates

An independent committee of five Nobel Laureates in peace and economics selects the Honourees from a pool of nominees put forward by the UN Development Program, UN Global Compact and the International Chamber of Commerce. The Award Committee members are Nobel laureates Ouided Bouchamaoui, Dr Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee, Finn Kydland and Michael Spence.

The four Honourees will receive the award in a ceremony in Oslo City Hall on the 16th of May, as part of the annual Business for Peace Summit. The theme for this year’s Summit is “Brundtland + 30 – Breakthrough Ideas for Futureproofing the Global Economy.” Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland herself will give the key note speech.

About the Business for Peace Foundation

The Oslo Business for Peace Award is granted by the Business for Peace Foundation. The Oslo based Foundation honour individual leaders who in an ethical and responsible way create value for business and society, and thereby help to build a peaceful and prosperous environment where all can thrive. The Foundation’s vision is that all business leaders have as their purpose to improve society — to be businessworthy.

The Boston Foundation Announces Action Response Grants To Protect The Legal Rights Of Immigrants And Other Vulnerable Communities

Press Release – BOSTON, Massachusetts (March 28, 2017) – In keeping with its commitment to a fostering a diverse, just and equitable community, The Boston Foundation announced 11 grants of close to $170,000 to organizations that provide legal services and community outreach to Boston area residents.

“Regardless of one’s politics, the current policy shifts have created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, and organizations that support our diverse population are under increased stress to carry out their mission,’ said Boston Foundation President and CEO Paul Grogan. “These grants support a cohort of organizations whose missions include the protection of legal rights of immigrants, LGBTQ, and other vulnerable communities. Our Foundation was created to build and sustain a vital, prosperous city and region, where justice and opportunity are extended to everyone, and that work is as important now as it has ever been over the past 100 years.”

The grant recipients are as follows:

  • GLAD
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice
  • Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
  • Hyde Square Task Force
  • Jewish Community Relations Council
  • International Institute of New England
  • Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
  • Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center
  • Greater Boston Legal Services, Asian Outreach Unit
  • Student Immigrant Movement
  • African Community Economic Development of New England (ACEDONE)

“As our communities face an unprecedented wave of hate, the legal resources for civil rights enforcement are limited,” said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. “Support from the Boston Foundation will allow us to rapidly mobilize and advocate for hate crimes investigations and civil rights enforcement in response to the growing number of incidents in Greater Boston.”

“This grant could not have come at a better time,” said Yusufi Vali of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. “Our Center is the symbol of Islam in Boston, and now more than ever, both the Muslim community and our broader Greater Boston community are reaching out to us to understand the impact of the new administration’s policies and to establish policies to fight threats together. This kind of support and partnership from the Boston Foundation will help ensure the fabric of our diverse city remains strong no matter what happens elsewhere.”

“As the voice of the organized Jewish community in the public square, JCRC remains committed to advocating for policies supporting immigrants and refugees, civil rights, and religious tolerance,” said Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council. “Our ability to inform and mobilize our constituents and allies is greatly enhanced by the support from the Boston Foundation and will have a direct and profound impact on the participation of the Jewish community in Greater Boston at this critical time.”

“These investments are not only a response to current events, but a measure of our long-term support for vulnerable populations and preserving an inclusive and welcoming community, said Orlando Watkins, Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation.

US SIF Lisa Woll Issues Statement In Response To The Administration’s Executive Order To Roll Back The Clean Power Plan

Press Release – Washington, D.C., March 28, 2017 – Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment released the following statement today in response to the Trump Administration’s executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan:

“On behalf of our 300 plus members, US SIF believes the Administration should be working aggressively to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and that this executive order accomplishes the opposite.

“Already, the United States is paying a high economic price from the ravages of severe drought, wildfires and storms associated with increased atmospheric levels of carbon. This is not the time to retreat from the call to protect current and succeeding generations from the catastrophic implications of further, unrestrained climate change.

“The electrical power sector is the source of one-third of US greenhouse gas emissions and is a key part of any plan to curb emissions and address climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will advance public health and benefit US consumers by helping to unleash investment in clean energy sources. It is also key to America’s international commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

“The US SIF Foundation’s 2016 survey of sustainable and impact investment assets in the United States found that money managers with $1.42 trillion in assets under management and institutional asset owners with $2.15 trillion in assets consider climate change risk in their investment analysis, more than three times the assets so affected in 2014.

“Today’s decision sends the wrong signal to the investment community, to the American people and to America’s international partners in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of retreating, this Administration should be leading the charge to unleash investment in clean energy sources, drive innovation and bolster international efforts to curb climate change. It is critical that the Environmental Protection Agency can move forward on the Clean Power Plan and maintain the necessary staffing and expertise to protect our air, water and land for future generations.”

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.

First GREEN Bank Recognized as Certified B Corporation by B Lab

Values-based bank honored for exceeding rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency

Press Release – Orlando, Fla. – March 28, 2017First GREEN Bank, a local bank with a global mission, announces today its recognition as a Certified B Corporation by B Lab, a nonprofit organization that supports a global movement of people using business as a force for good. This prestigious certification is a verified benchmark for companies supporting positive global impact through responsible professional practices. First GREEN Bank is one of 15 Certified B Corporation companies in Florida and is now helping lead the movement for other companies to become certified nationwide.

“This accreditation serves as a testament to First GREEN Bank’s ability to be successful and generate profit through a values-based business approach, proving that companies can benefit without compromising ethical standard,” said Ken LaRoe, founder of First GREEN Bank. “The environmental and social mission of First GREEN Bank was greatly influenced by the book “Let My People Go Surfing,” written by the renown environmentalist and founder of Patagonia. It is a great milestone in our company’s history to receive B Lab recognition for turning a simple inspiration into a business that successfully embraces holistic practices.”

Each of First GREEN Bank’s seven locations is considered a “values center” for its strong commitment to advance positive change in the banking sector. Buildings are built or renovated to meet the highest level of sustainability possible, and each location offers customers discounts on solar energy loans. For the community, the bank lends in excess of $422 million to local Florida businesses and citizens, and hosts an annual Art of Medicine Gala to benefit those affected by brain injuries. The bank also has some of the best benefits of any company, including a Living Wage Program that ensures employees earn a wage of at least $32,000, and a Parental Leave Policy to give both mothers and fathers additional time to bond with their newborn.

“We are extremely honored to join the more than 1,000 other Certified B Corporation companies across America that are working together to make the world a better place,” said Keith Costello, CEO of First GREEN Bank. “We hope to redefine standards and build an enterprise that is without ethical compromise through our continued efforts in sustainable energy, employee benefits, charity donations and community involvement.”

To learn more about First GREEN Bank, visit www.firstgreenbank.com. For more information on B Lab, Certified B Corporations and to view First GREEN Bank’s B Lab evaluation score card, visit www.bcorporation.net.

About First GREEN Bank

Since its opening in 2009, First GREEN Bank has led an impactful and successful charge to prove there is a better way to do business — one that is financially, environmentally and socially responsible. Committed to incorporating a strong sense of social responsibility into its business, founder Ken LaRoe and CEO Keith Costello are one of the only two leaders and friends in the banking industry to promote environmentally responsible behavior through its own business and employees. LaRoe and Costello coincidentally received the last and second to last bank charters in the state of Florida and, together, plan to use that certification to promote their global mission.

Headquartered in Orlando, with additional locations in Mount Dora, Clermont, Ormond Beach, Winter Park, Fort Lauderdale, and, most recently, Altamonte Springs, First GREEN Bank offers personal and commercial banking services.

To find out more about First GREEN Bank, visit www.firstgreenbank.com.

About B Lab

B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies will compete to be best for the world and that society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity. B Lab drives this systemic change by: (1) building a global community of Certified B Corporations; (2) promoting Mission Alignment using innovative corporate structures like the benefit corporation to align the interests of business with those of society; (3) helping tens of thousands of businesses, investors and institutions Measure What Matters, by using the B Impact Assessment and B Analytics to manage their impact — and the impact of the businesses with which they work — with as much rigor as their profits; and (4) inspiring millions to join the movement through compelling storytelling by its multi-platform branded media company B the Change Media.

For more information, visit www.bcorporation.net.

New Report Highlights Job Opportunities in Green Infrastructure

Training, certification could professionalize, enhance the field

Press Release – March 27, 2017 (Boston, MA) ­– Jobs linked to the growth of green infrastructure are expected to expand in coming years and will provide valuable opportunities for urban residents seeking entry-level work with advancement potential, according to a report released today. Industry-led efforts to develop the first national green infrastructure certification program can professionalize the field and accelerate job growth.

The report, Exploring the Green Infrastructure Workforce, found that the projected employment growth represents a chance for low-income, low-skilled workers currently underrepresented in the workforce to earn competitive wages. Jobs range from park maintenance to stormwater management and installation of environmentally friendly products like pervious pavement. The brief includes profiles of seven cities that highlight the different approaches municipalities are taking to the expansion of green infrastructure and its impact on workforce development. A video about the project and report findings has also been released.

The report was authored by Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit working to increase educational and economic opportunity for all, as part of NatureWORKS, a national initiative to understand the jobs, careers, skills, credentials, and potential of the U.S. green workforce. The initiative was funded by The Kresge Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program as recommended by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council.

“The results of the report tell us that there is an opportunity for entry-level jobs with the possibility for advancement, as well as the chance to develop the certificates that will allow people to have marketable credentials,” said Mary V.L. Wright, senior director of Jobs for the Future. “It is a win-win for cities to invest in sustainability and achieve both a healthier, greener community and a job development program.”

Studies on green infrastructure initiatives have documented their ecological, economic, and public health benefits. But there has been little examination of the workforce needed to install and maintain green infrastructure systems. There is particular interest in understanding the potential to provide employment opportunities for low-income residents and other underserved populations. These opportunities can cut across both urban and rural communities.

The findings highlight opportunities for low-income workers in urban areas where green infrastructure is becoming more common as a cost-effective strategy to control storm water, filter pollutants, and enhance livability.

“Communities across the nation are benefiting from clean, efficient, and cost-effective natural solutions to high-heat, flooding, and pollution—problems that will become more persistent with a warming planet,” said Jalonne White-Newsome, senior program officer with The Kresge Foundation’s Environment Program. “It only stands to reason that the people in those communities should benefit from the jobs and economic activity taking place in their neighborhoods.”

Jobs in the green infrastructure workforce are typically comprised of a small portion of broader, more traditional occupations such as construction, landscaping, and water quality protection. Researchers broke down the portion of jobs in 30 occupations that were devoted to green infrastructure activities such as maintaining wetlands and bioswales in a public park, or disconnecting downspouts from combined sewer systems. The equivalent of roughly 239,000 full-time workers nationwide are employed in green infrastructure, the report concluded.

As the number and scope of jobs in this field increases, there are opportunities to develop distinct, specialized green infrastructure jobs. Some contractors have already begun this specialization, such as installing pervious pavement or living green roofs.

Existing green infrastructure jobs typically require high school completion. Wages are in line with other entry-level positions, with a median wage of $15.78 per hour. There also are opportunities for career growth within the industries that employ workers in these fields, particularly in management and business ownership.

The report found that existing certifications and credentials in the field have not been broadly adopted and are typically not tightly focused on the skills necessary for specialization. Advocates are optimistic that a national certification program under development will enhance job training and education, help professionalize the workforce, increase green infrastructure development, and expand the number of jobs available.

Profiled Cities

Seven cities’ green infrastructure workforce, practices, and goals are examined in individual case studies included in the report. The cities were selected for diversity in geography, climate, regulatory contexts, and approaches to green infrastructure. The cities are:

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Austin, Texas
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Portland, Oregon

Each city profile includes key green infrastructure goals of the city, selected activities that illustrate progress toward those goals, and an estimate of the workforce employed in the field.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations in the United States. JFF develops innovative programs and public policies that increase college readiness and career success and build a more highly skilled, competitive workforce. With over 30 years of experience, JFF is a recognized national leader in bridging education and work to increase economic mobility and strengthen our economy. Learn more at www.jff.org.

Julia and David Koch Make Visionary $10 Million Gift to Establish New Clinical Research Unit for Allergy and Asthma at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University

Press Release – (Palo Alto, Calif. – February 15, 2017) – Julia and David Koch have announced a generous gift of $10 million to establish a new unit at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford for clinical research. The unit will operate within the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University, which is home to the groundbreaking allergy and asthma clinical trials led by Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD.

Nadeau directs the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research, one of the world’s first coordinated efforts to combine lab research, clinical research, and compassionate patient care across all types of allergies. While Nadeau conducts lab research on the Stanford University campus, she currently conducts clinical research off campus at a Packard Children’s-licensed unit within El Camino Hospital in Mountain View.

Thanks to the Kochs’ generous gift, Nadeau and her team will expand their clinical research to a redesigned unit within Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in 2018. Packard Children’s is currently nearing completion on a major expansion which will subsequently free up space for Nadeau’s research. With its location on the Stanford campus, the new site for clinical trials will enable Nadeau’s team to expand research to better understand the underlying cause of allergies and to develop a lasting cure. It will also bring them within walking distance of Nadeau’s research lab and other physicians and researchers working together at Stanford to advance allergy and asthma research.

“We made this gift with the goal of bringing better and safer treatments to more children and adults suffering from dangerous allergies,” said Julia F. Koch, whose family has experienced firsthand the anxiety of living with food allergies, as well as the life-changing effects of a clinical trial to safely desensitize the allergies. “Through this gift, we hope to advance innovative research and allow more individuals and families to enjoy fuller lives.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Koch’s thoughtful investment will have a tremendous impact on the care and treatment we provide for children and families with allergies and asthma,” says Nadeau. “Children and families with food allergies often live in constant fear of life-threatening reactions. We are determined to use innovative research and provide compassionate care to move the science forward in a transformative way to ensure a safer future. I am tremendously grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Koch for their gift to establish a new clinic, which will play an integral role in advancing this work at the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research. Together, we will make a difference not only for those participating in clinical trials at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, but for all individuals with allergies who may one day benefit from research toward better, safer, and lasting therapies.”

Allergies and asthma are on the rise around the world, including in the United States. Allergies occur in all ages and can range from allergic conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, and allergic gastrointestinal disease to drug allergies and food allergies. Severe food allergies are a growing epidemic, with rates having doubled in the last decade. About one in three Americans suffer from some form of allergy, and doctor-diagnosed food allergies affect one in 12 American children under the age of 21 and one in about 50 adults. Of those individuals with a food allergy, approximately 25 percent will have a near-fatal anaphylactic reaction at some point in their lives. It is estimated that $25 billion is spent annually on reactive food allergy care.

Nadeau, who is also the Naddisy Foundation Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, developed the first combination multi-food-allergy therapy for patients with more than one food allergy. The new unit at Packard Children’s will put her team within closer proximity to colleagues in immunology, gastroenterology, otolaryngology, chemistry, bioengineering, pathology, pulmonology, and genetics at Stanford University who are contributing to this important collaborative work.

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