Community leader and expert on transit equity, affordable housing, engagement in low-income communities joins the Foundation’s executive team
Press Release – Denver – The Denver Foundation, Colorado’s largest and most experienced community foundation, today named Dace West as its Vice President of Community Impact.
West will step down from her role as Executive Director of Mile High Connects, a Denver Foundation partner, on March 23. Beginning April 5, West lead The Denver Foundation’s community grantmaking and programmatic activities in four areas of focus: Basic Human Needs, Economic Opportunity, Education, and Leadership and Equity. She will also oversee Strengthening Neighborhoods, technical assistance, leadership development, and directed grantmaking programs. The Vice President of Community Impact will steward strategic relationships with key partners Mile High Connects, Social Venture Partners Denver, and the Colorado Nonprofit Loan Fund.
West, who was selected following an extensive national search, is recognized as a uniquely qualified, connected, and forward-thinking leader on transit-oriented development, affordable housing, economic development, resident engagement, transit equity, and other issues that have a direct impact on low-income and vulnerable communities in Metro Denver and across the region.
“Throughout her career, Dace has developed deep knowledge about the issues The Denver Foundation is committed to, including economic development, affordable housing, education, and more,” says Christine Márquez-Hudson, President and CEO of The Denver Foundation. “She has demonstrated extraordinary talents in community leadership. We are very fortunate to have her join us in this new capacity.”
“Dace believes deeply in collaboration, and as a leader she is able to bring out the best in her colleagues,” says Patrick Horvath, The Denver Foundation’s Director of Economic Opportunity. “She is also deeply committed to the Foundation’s core values of community leadership and racial equity, and brings concrete experience in both of these areas to our work.”
Since West joined as Executive Director three years ago, Mile High Connects has built a network of more than 300 community partners including Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Denver Office of Economic Development, The Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust, Enterprise Community Partners, and FirstBank, among others. Under West’s leadership, Mile High Connects has achieved multiple policy wins including reinstatement of bus routes in low-income neighborhoods, strengthening of affordable housing preservation policies, prioritization of jobs for local workforce on construction projects, and significant advocacy around affordability of bus and light rail fares.
West was instrumental in creating and expanding the Denver Transit Oriented Development Fund, an acquisition fund to preserve affordable housing near transit that has grown to $24 million. She also led the launch of the Regional Equity Atlas, a nationally recognized data tool used to demonstrate disparity in the region. Mile High Connects provides nearly $1 million in grants to the Denver region’s nonprofits annually.
West previously served as the Director of the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships, an office created by Denver’s Mayor in 2004 to serve as a liaison between the City and its nonprofit sector. She has also served as Executive Director of HealthBridge Alliance and Director of Organizational and Resource Development at Front Range Economic Strategy Center.
“In my work, I’m devoted to pulling together diverse partners across a variety of issues to work toward common, comprehensive goals and create real change for stronger communities,” says West. “I’m thrilled to bring my skills to this new role within The Denver Foundation, which has been doing this work for more than 90 years.”
West has served on a number of nonprofit governance and advisory boards, including the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center, Denver Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Abusive Men Exploring New Directions (AMEND), Denver Center for Crime Victims, Denver Mayor’s Children’s Cabinet, Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute, Denver Small Business Support Coalition, National Council of Nonprofits Government Contract Reform Task Force, and Colorado Nonprofit Association Education Committee.
West holds a Masters of Nonprofit Management from Regis University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder, graduating Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
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 www.denverfoundation.org.
America’s Cinema Brewery® will donate a portion of sales to combat cyber and in-school bullying
Press Release – Round Rock, TX – February 2017 – Flix Brewhouse, based in Round Rock, TX, furthers their community involvement by pledging a dollar from every sale of their Hero Beer Series to the STOMP Out Bullying™ organization. The group has been recognized as the most influential anti-bullying/ cyberbullying organization in America. The STOMP Out Bullying program addresses modern day bullying between school-goers and educates parents and teachers about ways to help students better understand each other.
Based on a recent study by StopBullying.gov, between 25 and 33 percent of students have experienced some form of bullying. The site explains that children can be targeted for many different reasons, but the most common is being different from what is considered the norm by others. This can include seemingly trivial differences such as being underweight, new to a school, or for wearing glasses. These staggering numbers reinforce the need for anti-bullying coalitions such as STOMP Out Bullying who provide children, parents and school administrators with the tools they need to decrease bullying in schools.
One of Flix Brewhouse’s greatest attributes, along with being America’s only cinema brewery, is its dedication to promoting a family-friendly environment. As part of its Flix Junior program, on select Saturday’s each month the theater brings back old favorites like ‘The Land Before Time’ and “Shrek” to give families a reason to go out together and enjoy a movie free from electronics and video games. “Flix makes a commitment to enhance family relationships at all of our locations across the country”, said Greg Johnson, Director of Sales and Marketing for Flix Brewhouse. “The STOMP Out Bullying organization allows us an opportunity to take that commitment one step further and support children in our ‘Flix cities’, and across the Nation.”
Brings extensive experience in mission and fund raising
Press Release – MINNEAPOLIS (March 9, 2017) – Greg Voss is bringing more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership talent to the American Lung Association in Minnesota as the organization’s new Executive Director.
“In addition to the combination of a high degree of professionalism and easy to talk to style, Greg has a strong balance of both mission and fund raising experience, and a strong understanding of engaging and supporting volunteer leaders, corporations, and staff,” said Lew Bartfield, CEO of the Lung Association of the Upper Midwest.
Voss will be responsible for sustaining the Lung Association’s programs and services in Minnesota. He will also lead fundraising strategies and oversee the implementation of programs.
“I’ve never been more excited to be in a new role as I am now. The Lung Association has a long history of success, strong community ties and making a difference in the lives of Americans,” said Voss.
“Whether it’s helping smokers quit, educating children how to manage their asthma, advocating for commonsense public policy or investing millions in finding a cure for lung disease, the Lung Association is relentless in achieving its mission: to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease,” he said.
Voss hit the ground running as he assumed the Executive Director position just days before hundreds participated in the Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb at U.S. Bank Plaza on February 25th.
Voss has 20 years of YMCA leadership positions in five Midwest states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Iowa. He served as the Executive Director of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis from 2005 to 2008. He also served as the Regional Executive Director for the American Red Cross for Minnesota and the Dakotas from 2008 to 2011.
Most recently, he was the Regional Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the 7 Rivers Region from 2014 to 2016. He has a B.S. in Health Education from the University of Wisconsin – Lacrosse.
Voss lives in Apple Valley, Minn. with his wife Suzanne.
About the American Lung Association in Minnesota
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association focuses on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
Online Auction Platform Amplifies Charities’ Reach to Boost Fundraising Capabilities
Press Release – NEW YORK, NY – Paddle8, the leading online auction house, has marked a milestone 1,000th charity auction. The landmark was reached on February 27 at The Bronx Museum Spring Gala and Auction, which raised more than $370,000 exceeding their fundraising goals by more than $100,000. Since Paddle8’s founding in 2011 as an online auction platform, benefit auctions have been a cornerstone of the business. Paddle8 has partnered with more than 350 nonprofit organizations worldwide to present their benefit auctions to a global community of more than 600,000 collectors. Paddle8 amplifies from 200 to 250 auctions every year boosting fundraising efforts to maximize impact.
“We’re thrilled to achieve this major milestone,” says Holly Greenfield, Senior Director of Benefits Auctions who has helmed the business since 2011. “In the fifteen years I’ve been working to organize charity auctions, I’m so pleased to have helped grow Paddle8 from a pioneer in the charity auction landscape to a real industry leader. We offer our partners unmatched amplification, service and a dynamic online and mobile platform to host their benefit auctions. It’s so gratifying to know that we’re helping charities worldwide surpass their fundraising goals.”
In 2016, Paddle8 raised $17M for charities worldwide. Some highlights from the past year include:
This month’s Henry Street Settlement silent auction, which raised more than $130,000.
Paddle8’s October 2016 benefit sale of the Robin Williams Bicycle Collection saw 100% sell through rate that more than doubled the sales estimate and raised more than $600,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Paddle8’s sale benefitting the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation (HOCA) with 120% sell through rate by value and exceeding pre-sale estimates.
Paddle8’s partnership with MTV Re:Define in Dallas, Texas raising over $2 million for the Staying Alive Foundation and Dallas Contemporary.
Paddle8’s BFG Dream Jars auction had 100% sell through rate and raised more than £200,000 to benefit Save the Children and the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. These giant bespoke sculptures, exhibited across London and around the UK, brought to life the dreams of a celebrated group of VIP’s including Steven Spielberg, Professor Stephen Hawking, Sir Quentin Blake, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, the Delevingne sisters, and many more.
Press Release – The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has partnered with PORTRAITS FOR GOOD adding a framed limited edition print by artist Mike Natter to each “Bag of Hope,” which is distributed to children first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at New York City hospitals. Mike Natter, whose work is featured on the website, has Type 1 Diabetes – when customers purchase Natter’s work on portraitsforgood.com, charitable contributions are made to JDRF. Funds from Natter’s sales enabled the execution of this project from printing to framing to creating smiles.
PORTRAITS FOR GOOD is a platform that allows artists to create custom art and sell limited edition prints under the same overarching charitable mission: With each purchase made, we donate a portion of the proceeds to the nonprofit organization of your choice (which is why we are for good!).
The founder, Alix Greenberg, was born and raised in New York City. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornell University in 2009 with a focus on painting and portraiture, and holds a Master’s degree in History of Art and the Art Market. She began her professional career at Christie’s and has held positions working for artist Peter Tunney, at Skarstedt Gallery, and for the American Friends of the Israel Museum in development. Inspired by the culture of giving back, she founded PORTRAITS FOR GOOD in 2015.
Having devoted her professional and academic life immersed in the fine art world, she created this company as a forum for artists to make art and simultaneously do good. Alix’s artwork has been featured in several publications including the ‘Sconset Limited and the Horace Mann Review – she is excited to share her passion project with you.
Portraits of note – Alix has been commissioned by several people of note including Josh Beckerman (aka The Foodie Magician) and FOX 5 reporter Baruch Shemtov.
PORTRAITS FOR GOOD represents the following artists Denton Burrows, Joey Feldman, Harley Langberg, and Mike Natter.
PORTRAITS FOR GOOD’s charity partners include ASPCA, American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood, and JDRF, and many more.
Most recently, PORTRAITS FOR GOOD has partnered with FRAMEOLOGY to handle custom framing.
Press Release – ATLANTA (March 8, 2017) – Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care for underserved children and families nationwide, today announced its dentists have provided more than $111 million in uncompensated dental care to uninsured children and adults since 2005. The uncompensated dental care program has helped more than one million patients in 16 states and the District of Columbia receive necessary dental treatments in instances where they did not have access to the Medicaid dental benefit or other dental insurance, and could not afford to pay out of pocket for needed dental services.
“At Kool Smiles, we believe every child and family deserves high-quality, affordable and compassionate dental care,” said Dr. Dale Mayfield, Chief Dental Officer for Kool Smiles. “Our mission is to provide a dental home to every family who needs one by accepting insurance plans – including Medicaid and TRICARE – that many dentists do not. We also know there are times when insurance does not cover needed treatments, and families can’t afford to pay out of pocket for those services. We believe it’s our moral and professional duty to provide uncompensated care in those situations so that all patients receive the dental care they need, regardless of their insurance coverage.”
Access to affordable dental care remains a challenge in many communities throughout the United States. Only about one-third of all dentists accept Medicaid or other public insurance, according to a 2014 survey from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute. Without access to preventive dental care, many patients are left to seek expensive emergency dental care for unaddressed oral health needs. According to a 2015 report from the ADA, in 2012 there were more than two million dental-related visits to hospital emergency rooms, which accounted for about $1.6 billion in health costs.
According to a 2016 Pew Charitable Trusts report, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among U.S. children – five times more prevalent than asthma – and dental care is one of the nation’s greatest unmet health needs among children, especially in low-income, minority, and rural communities. Nationwide, more than four million children did not receive needed dental care because their families could not afford it. Even when controlling for insurance status, low-income and minority children remain less likely than higher income children to receive preventive dental care, according to the report.
As a leading dental health provider, Kool Smiles’ mission is to improve lives by providing high-quality dental care in a fun, compassionate environment. Founded in 2002, Kool Smiles has more than 120 dental practices in 14 states and the District of Columbia, primarily in underserved communities that have historically lacked access to dental care. Kool Smiles dentists are proud to offer care to children and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and TRICARE. Kool Smiles also provides oral health education and outreach programs through partnerships with community schools and organizations. For more information, please visit www.mykoolsmiles.com.
Press Release – Reston, Va. – Len Forkas, a Reston-based entrepreneur, will once again tackle the grueling ultra-cycling challenge, Race Across America (RAAM), to raise money for Hopecam, a nonprofit he founded to help children undergoing cancer treatment stay virtually connected to their classmates, friends and support networks.
“Last year Hopecam hit the milestone of connecting its 1,000th child. My goal between now and June is to raise $1 million dollars so that we can help 1,000 more kids,” Forkas said. “Racing RAAM helps me raise nationwide awareness about childhood cancer and the help Hopecam provides.”
Despite RAAM’s excruciating demands, Forkas says his hardest journey started in 2002, when his son Matt was diagnosed with Leukemia at age nine.
“When Matt got sick, he went through so much physically and emotionally. The best advice we received was to help Matt feel like a normal kid while he endured treatment,” Forkas said. “Since Matt’s compromised immune system kept him out of school and away from his friends, he grew lonely and depressed. At the toughest time in his life, when he needed his friends the most, he was stuck at home undergoing treatment. We came up with the idea of connecting him virtually, using webcams at school and at home. ”
In 2003, witnessing the positive effects Matt’s friends and classmates had on his recovery, Forkas founded Hopecam to help other kids undergoing cancer connect to their support networks. Since then, Hopecam has helped more than 1,000 children connect to 10,000 classmates in 46 states. Forkas turned to exercise to cope with the stress of his son’s illness. By competing in ultra endurance races, he has raised more than $1 million in sponsorship contributions.
The RAAM is one of the longest annual endurance events in the world, spanning 3,089 miles over the Rocky Mountains, through the desert and over the Appalachians. From California to Maryland, it is about 1,000 miles longer than the Tour de France and has to be completed in half the time. The bicycle race is also unique because there are no stages; cyclists rest only as needed, averaging 18-20 hours on the bike per day. The race must be completed in 12 days for solo riders. The 2017 RAAM begins Tuesday, June 13. Based on the race’s 35-year history, only half of solo riders will make it to the finish line.
Forkas successfully completed RAAM in 2012 when he was 52 years old, winning his age division and coming in 10th overall out of 47 cyclists from 20 countries. Leading up to the race he raised $300,000 for Hopecam. He dedicated each day of his ride to a child with cancer being helped by Hopecam.
“As hard as the race was, I knew the pain I was experiencing wasn’t anything compared to what these kids endure for months or years, and that kept me going,” Forkas said.
“Hopecam was founded before Skype and Facetime were invented. Our technology and interactions with schools were immensely important to helping kids who were feeling isolated and depressed,” Forkas noted. “While technology advances have made it easier for kids today to stay connected, Hopecam is committed to helping those who can’t afford those solutions.” Seventy percent of the children Hopecam helps attend “Title One” schools, meaning the majority of students need assistance and are entitled to receive subsidized meals. Half of them receive treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Hopecam now provides tablets with built-in webcams and Internet access, for kids who don’t have them. The nonprofit also liaises with the child’s school to establish a regular connection so he or she can participate in classroom activities and see and talk with their friends.
“This connection is invaluable for the child in recovery, but it is also a lesson for the other children in the class. They learn a lot about empathy and it removes some of the mystery of the illness when their classmate is gone,” Forkas said.
Each year, approximately 15,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer, and more than 40,000 undergo treatment for cancer.
Today, Forkas’ son Matt is a graduate of Stetson University in Florida. He works in the real-estate industry, lives in Arlington, Virginia and is completely cancer free.
Len Forkas is the founder and CEO of Milestone Communications, a wireless tower company based in Reston, Virginia. He is also the founder and chairman of Hopecam, a nonprofit that helps kids undergoing cancer treatment stay connected to their classmates, friends and support networks. In 2014, he authored, “What Spins the Wheel,” a book about the leadership lessons he gained from his Race Across America.
New Youth First report, endorsed by artist & activist John Legend, highlights successful efforts and provides guidance to advocates working to end reliance on youth incarceration
Press Release – WASHINGTON – Youth First, a national advocacy organization working to end the unconscionable practice of youth incarceration, today released a report highlighting the achievements of youth, families, and advocates working to change the focus of youth justice from incarceration to alternatives that more effectively rehabilitate young people, keep communities safe, and save taxpayer money. The report, “Breaking Down the Walls: Lessons Learned From Successful State Campaigns,” is available here.
The report analyzes the successful tactics deployed by leading advocates and has the endorsement of prominent national movements such as John Legend’s #FREEAMERICA. By providing an overview of the multi-year strategies employed in states such as California, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Texas, and the District of Columbia, the report serves as a playbook for activists working to end the juvenile justice system’s reliance on incarceration.
“Abusive, costly and ineffective youth prisons have been the signature feature of our juvenile justice system for far too long,” said Sheila Bedi, attorney and author of the report. “Over the years, undeniable evidence has shown that locking up our young people does more harm than good. Thanks to the work of dedicated youth, families and advocates around the country, both red states and blue states in every region of the country have rejected youth imprisonment in favor of youth justice systems that create safer streets while building upon the strengths of young people, their families and their communities.”
“We started our work to end mass incarceration after years of working to improve the quality of K-12 education for the most disadvantaged,” added artist and activist John Legend. “We saw again and again that, far too often, kids who look like me and who come from poor and working class neighborhoods like my own, find that instead of getting a good education and a chance to go to college, they get prison. Instead of giving youth a real chance to turn their lives around after making a mistake, we escalate the problem by relying on the blunt tool of incarceration. Even more egregious is the fact that the United States is the only country on earth that sentences children to life in prison without parole. Our campaign, #FREEAMERICA, has always stressed the importance of local and state initiatives to implement change, and this report clarifies the steps we need to take to shut down the outdated and obsolete youth prisons which harm our young people and the long-term health of our communities.”
The fight to close youth prisons and the broader issue of juvenile justice reform is supported by a vast majority of Americans of all backgrounds and political stripes. In fact, a recent poll shows that 78 percent of Americans support keeping young people out of prison and instead investing in community-based alternatives that are proven to lead to better outcomes. As a result, a broad coalition of advocates are working to change the system at the local, state and national levels by addressing the root causes of delinquency and helping ensure those who are involved in the system have the resources they need to break the cycle.
“A lot of families walk away from this work with the knowledge that when something is wrong, we can band together and fight it,” said Grace Bauer-Lubow, Executive Director of Justice for Families. “We may not always win, but we just don’t have to sit idly by. We can change things for our children.”
The report is available here.
Press Release – NEWARK, N.J., March 10, 2017 – The Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) at Rutgers Business School is pleased to announce Karen J. Kessler as Chair of its Ethics Executive Business Cabinet. Ms. Kessler, President and Founder of Evergreen PR, is recognized for her sound counsel and creative communications approach to handling ethical dilemmas faced by a high-profile client base. She recently ranked among NJ Biz’ 2017 most powerful executives.
“Karen’s deep sense of integrity and her expertise in addressing a broad range of ethical crises will be valuable to the Institute as it grows as a resource for corporations, nonprofits, academic institutions and government. We look forward to her direction and leadership”, said James Abruzzo, IEL Co-founder.
Rutgers IEL Executive Business Cabinet provides a forum for C-suite leaders to network, gain knowledge, share concerns and progress the collective ethical leadership agenda. The Cabinet also guides the Institute in developing and enhancing its programs, services and operations. Members include Cabinet Vice Chair, Damien Atkins, Panasonic North America; Robert Marino, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield; Robert Garrett, Hackensack University Health Network; Bernard Flynn, NJM Insurance; Ralph LaRossa, PSEG; William Heller, NY Football Giants, Inc.; Scott Kobler, McCarter & English; Linda Willett, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield; Fred Bertoldo, Wells Fargo Bank; Michael Ullmann, Johnson & Johnson; Douglas Eakeley, Lowenstein Sandler; and Stephen Pelletier, Prudential Financial.
“Perhaps now more than ever, we need to invest in developing the ability and character of those who will guide us forward, and I am honored to collaborate with the Institute in this work”, stated Kessler.
Press Release – LONDON – OneSqin CIC (http://www.onesqin.org/) is a new social enterprise, and the world’s first business to donate 100 percent of its profits to charities helping girls at risk into life-changing education.
Founded by luxury asset manager Neil Richmond FRSA and former superyacht captain Sinisa Jovic, OneSqin manufactures and sells premium-quality, 100 percent natural skin cream and certified organic cotton tampons.
“The odds are always stacked against girls who grow up in poverty,” said Richmond. “Every three seconds a girl somewhere in the world becomes a child bride. The number one cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19 is childbirth. And four out of five victims of human trafficking are girls.”
OneSqin supports projects that give girls the chance to stay in school, access health services and delay marriage and childbirth, helping them escape the cycle of poverty and shape a brighter future.
“Neil and I both worked in the luxury sector,” Jovic said. “We did well, and now we want to put something back. We wanted to make change an easy choice, so we chose products that most women use regularly. They’re very high quality, with pure, natural ingredients and no harmful chemicals.”
Richmond added: “As consumers, we hold great collective power. We asked ourselves, what if that power was directed toward fighting inequality – what if the purchase of premium-quality products could help correct the balance? What if women could help other women just by buying the things they need?”
OneSqin is a Community Interest Company registered in the UK. All of the work done to get the brand up and running has been provided by volunteers. It is a certified member of Social Enterprise UK and is supported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).
OneSqin products will be launching via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in April. Its certified organic cotton tampons will be sold online, on subscription as well as on demand in the UK and the USA. Its natural, all-purpose skin cream will be sold online worldwide. Early adopters can register online now at www.onesqin.org and win free products as a thank you for helping the social enterprise to launch.
The brand currently supports pupils at the SEGA Girls School in Tanzania through the charity Nurturing Minds Africa http://nurturingmindsinafrica.org/