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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: July 2017

Arcos Dorados Releases its 2016 Social and Environmental Impact Results in Latin America and Caribbean

  • The 2016 Social and Environmental Impact Report details achievements across key categories: People, Community, Supply Chain, Food and Planet.
  • Providing employment and training opportunities for young people is a key focus.
  • Arcos Dorados is aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Press Release – Montevideo, Uruguay, July 24, 2017 – Arcos Dorados, the world’s largest McDonald’s franchisee operating in 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, announces the publication of its 2016 Social and Environmental Impact Report, titled “Preparing the Recipe of the Future”, which outlines significant progress the Company has made against its key sustainability objectives.

The Company’s plan to create shared value for its business and society focuses on five main areas: People, Community, Supply Chain, Food and Planet. In the report, the Company details its commitment to youth employment, emphasizing its work with labor ministries, private organizations, and initiatives such as the Inter-American Development Bank’s New Employment Opportunities for Youth Program, which seeks to provide young people with their first formal job opportunity.

“As operators of the largest quick service restaurant chain in Latin America and the Caribbean, we are taking an industry leadership role regarding sustainability,” said Sergio Alonso, CEO of Arcos Dorados. “Sustainability is an important component of our strategy and identity. I am proud of the progress we have made and we are guided by clear sustainability goals as we strive to operate our business in a manner that benefits the environment and the communities we serve. Our extensive footprint spanning twenty countries means we are agents of change in Latin America and the Caribbean, and our actions have widespread benefits.”

  • People: Arcos Dorados offered more than 73,000 young people across Latin America their first job opportunity in 2016, providing its youngest employees with broadly applicable technical and leadership training. The Company also works with labor ministries and private organizations to act as a catalyst for social mobility for young people who wish to enter the labor market.
    More broadly, Arcos Dorados partners with academic institutions to provide ongoing training for managers. McDonald’s University in São Paulo offers a Master’s in Strategies for Sustainable Development in conjunction with the FIA Business School in São Paulo and the prestigious Getulio Vargas Foundation. With respect to gender diversity, 53% of the Company’s restaurant managers and corporate associates are female. Arcos Dorados Mexico was recently ranked as one of the top companies for gender equality. The Company is also committed to creating an inclusive culture for employees with disabilities and in 2016 there were almost 1,300 people employed with disabilities.
  • Community: Among its activities to support the communities in which it operates, the McHappy Day is a day on which Arcos Dorados donates 100% of Big Mac sales to charitable causes in each market, including Ronald McDonald House Charities, which helped over 122,000 families in 2016. In addition, as of the end of 2016, Arcos Dorados employed approximately 1,300 people with motor and/or intellectual disabilities in its restaurants, and in Colombia in particular, 150 young people with impaired hearing as well as approximately 1,200 vulnerable youths, including those displaced by violence.
  • Supply Chain, Food and Planet: Many of Arcos Dorados’ products are sustainably sourced. For example, in Brazil – Arcos Dorados’ largest market – all the coffee and fish served is certified as sustainably produced. The Company also utilizes paper packaging that is developed in a sustainable manner and recyclable where possible. By the year 2020, Arcos Dorados has committed to sustainably sourcing all of its packaging, coffee, palm oil and fish. Since 2012, Arcos Dorados has implemented efficiencies which enable restaurants to reduce energy consumption by roughly 5% each year. Restaurants in the Company’s seven largest markets are also implementing the Natal program, an initiative in which the water condensation from air conditioners is repurposed for other uses in order to reduce the restaurant’s total water usage. In addition, initiatives to support communities in which the Company operates include local sourcing, with over 90% of the restaurant chain’s suppliers comprising local producers. The Company strives to promote the transparency of its operations, and in 2016 invited over 3.1 million guests into its kitchens as part of the ongoing Open Doors Program.

Woods Staton, Chairman of Arcos Dorados noted: “As a particular area of focus, we are dedicated to providing employment opportunities for young people and ensuring they have access to the most comprehensive training programs in the region. Our employees are the face of the Arcos Dorados family and we are proud to work together to support the communities in which we operate.”

To view the Arcos Dorados 2016 Social and Environmental Impact Report: Preparing the Recipe of the Future, please visit: http://www.arcosdorados.com/img/editorial/comunidad/AD_informe_eng.zip

About Arcos Dorados

Arcos Dorados is the world’s largest McDonald’s franchisee in terms of systemwide sales and number of restaurants, operating the largest quick service restaurant chain in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has the exclusive right to own, operate and grant franchises of McDonald’s restaurants in 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries and territories, including Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. The Company operates or franchises over 2,100 McDonald’s-branded restaurants with over 90,000 employees and is recognized as one of the best companies to work for in Latin America. Arcos Dorados is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ARCO). To learn more about the Company, please visit the Investors section of our website: www.arcosdorados.com/ir


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Carcel Is Launching In August: Danish Design Manufactured By Women In Prison

Press Release – Carcel paves the way for the future of fashion where impact, quality design and smart business meet. This combination shows that it is possible to run a fashion company while making the world a better place.

Each piece is manufactured by imprisoned women in countries with high rates of poverty-related crime. The production is set up inside a women’s prison in Cusco, Peru made from 100% baby alpaca wool. By providing the women with good wages and new skills, they can support their families, save up for a crime-free beginning and ultimately break the cycle of poverty. Each style carries the name of the woman who made it, which creates a relation between the producer and the customer.

“We want to give people a new fashion alternative, where every item solves a problem instead of creating one, without compromising on quality or design” says CEO and founder Veronica D’Souza.

Setting up this new type of production, that improves live without compromising on quality or design, requires a different business model. Carcel calls it: ‘No stores, No seasons and No compromise”. By selling exclusively online, which gives customers access to quality without paying the retail mark-up, allows Carcel to only produce what is demanded. Rather than following the conventional seasons, Carcel launches limited drops of new styles throughout the year, which minimises waste and keeps each style and colour relevant.

Carcel is using only natural materials native to the country of production, which keeps sustainability ingrained at the core of everything they do. Carcel’s vision is global and the company is already investigating to set up a the next production in a women’s prison in Thailand with pieces made from 100% silk.

Driven by a tireless ambition for merging high quality design with sensible production, Louise van Hauen, the creative director and partner at Carcel has a fancy for balancing the beauty of classic elements and current relevance with a cool, considered and casual attitude.


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Rare Genomics Institute Announces Winners of BeHEARD (Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries) Rare Disease Challenge

– Finalists receive over $650,000 worth of cutting-edge technologies –

Press Release – Washington, D.C. July 24, 2017. The Rare Genomics (RG) Institute is delighted to announce the winners of the 2017 BeHEARD (Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries) science challenge, a global competition that offers rare disease researchers, who traditionally have difficulty attracting funding, grants of the latest life science innovations and technologies. This unique crowdsourced biotechnology competition allows companies to contribute their technology to make a difference for the rare disease community.

“This year alone, the competition received hundreds of outstanding quality submissions on 84 rare diseases, coming from 94 universities and foundations located in 20 different countries”, said Danielle Fumagalli, BeHEARD Director. “Over $650,000 worth of cutting-edge technologies were awarded to study 21 rare diseases globally.”

Rare diseases affect more than 300 million worldwide, yet less than five percent of the 7,000 known rare diseases have treatments available. The winning scientists from BeHEARD 2017 will use their awards to potentially yield key medical research insights on rare diseases and have profound impact on therapeutic developments for patients.

One example is a mouse model, sponsored by Taconic Biosciences, that was awarded to Dr. Teresa Luperchio at Johns Hopkins University. This technology grant will allow her lab to test therapy options for a subtype of Kabuki syndrome, a rare disease characterized by facial deformities, growth deficiency, and intellectual disabilities. There are currently no effective treatments, and testing in the Taconic mouse model will be one of the last steps before the first-ever clinical trials for a treatment.

Winners of previous BeHEARD contests have already used the technologies to make novel discoveries. Dr. Roser Urreizti of the University of Barcelona was awarded genetic sequencing services in last year’s BeHEARD competition for her work on Opitz C Syndrome, a condition in which the skull is a triangular shape and patients suffer from mental retardation and loss of muscle tone. Using the technology, Dr. Urreizti says, “We have identified the disease-causing mutation. We have already started functional studies for every one of the genes associated with the diseases. None of them had been previously associated with Opitz C syndrome. We hope we will be able to test therapeutic approaches (molecular chaperones) in one year. We have started a collaboration to test selected FDA approved drugs on a patient’s cells in a search for therapies once the functional studies confirm the relation between the mutation and the disease.”

In the 2018 BeHEARD Challenge, in addition to BeHEARD’s usual competition open to all rare disease proposals, Rare Genomics will collaborate with the INADcure Foundation to support the development of treatments for INAD (Infantile Neuro Axonal Dystrophy) by awarding $100,000 total in INAD Discovery Grants specifically for research on the disease.

INAD is a storage disorder where accumulation of lipids in nerve endings causes progressive damage. The symptoms of INAD usually start to appear between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. A common pattern in young children is the steady loss of previously acquired skills, and mental and physical ability. Most children with INAD do not survive beyond the age of ten, and there are currently no effective treatments for the disease, although there has been some promising initial research. “BeHEARD and INADcure hope that by offering the Discovery Grants, we may be able to increase research on INAD. INAD has good potential for treatments, but has had difficulty attracting research and funding due to the relatively low number of sufferers,” says Ms. Fumagalli.

“We want to congratulate the winners and thank everyone who participated: our sponsors, the reviewers, and all the applicants, and we invite everyone to participate again in our upcoming BeHEARD challenge,” noted Dr. Arvin Gouw, Rare Genomics Vice President for Research & Development. “We at INADcure foundation are thrilled to work with Rare Genomics on the next BeHEARD challenge focusing on Infantile Neuro Axonal Dystrophy,” said Leena Panwala, INADcure President and Founder.

A full list of 2017 BeHEARD winners can be found on the RG website:

http://raregenomics.org/beheard-2014-sponsorship-overview/beheard-2015-science-challenge-winners-overview/

For more information about the 2017 BeHEARD challenge, please visit:

http://www.raregenomics.org/beheard-competition/

2017 BeHEARD Technology Sponsors:

Taconic Biosciences

Biovista

The Jackson Laboratory

Cyagen

DNA Software

Collaborative Drug Discovery

Addgene

SnapGene

Charles River

More information on INADcure Foundation:

http://inadcure.org/

About the Rare Genomics Institute

Rare Genomics is an international 501(c) 3 non-profit that makes cutting edge research technologies of genome sequencing, physicians and scientists around the world accessible to rare disease patients. Rare Genomics helps families source, design and fund personalized research projects for diseases not otherwise studied helping rare disease patients find hope for a cure. By providing an expert network and an online crowdfunding mechanism Rare Genomics works alongside patients and their families, providing them with the necessary tools, knowledge, and connections so that they can better understand the cause of their disease.

For further information on Rare Genomics, please visit http://www.raregenomics.org.


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Kool Smiles Donates $8,000 to Indiana University Dental Student Outreach Clinic

Donation Will Expand Dental Service Offerings to Local Residents in Need

Press Release – INDIANAPOLIS – Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care for children and families in Indianapolis, recently donated $8,000 to the Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) to expand service offerings at its Dental Student Outreach Clinic. The donation will help the clinic provide free root canals to Near Eastside adults in need.

The IUSD Dental Student Outreach Clinic opened in 2009 and is run by volunteer dentists, faculty and students from the dental school. The clinic helps an average of 20-25 patients every other Saturday and remains open for 11 months of the calendar year.

Many of the clinic’s patients who required root canals were previously unable to receive them due to cost barriers, faculty said.

“In the past, a lack of consistent funding made it difficult for patients to receive root canals, no matter how badly they needed them,” said Dr. Karen Yoder, a clinic faculty advisor. “We are pleased to finally be able to give members of the Near Eastside community convenient and sponsored access to this service.”

“Kool Smiles is proud to support the Student Dental Outreach Clinic and the next generation of dental professionals who are donating their time and talents to make a positive impact in the local community,” said Dr. Kayla Dawson, Area Dental Director for Kool Smiles and IUSD alum. “We are pleased to play a small role in helping more of our neighbors receive the dental care they need.”


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McGraw Family Pledges $3 Million for New Learning Center at Norwalk Hospital

– New Center Will Enhance Patient Care and Train Next Generation of Healthcare Clinicians –

Sue and Terry McGraw meet with Jonathan Fine, MD (left), Director of Medical Education at WCHN, to review plans for the new McGraw Family Center for Advanced Learning.

Press Release – (NORWALK, Connecticut) – July 21, 2017 – The McGraw family, founders of global multimedia publishing company McGraw-Hill, is continuing its legacy of investing in community health by pledging up to $3 million in a challenge gift to establish the new McGraw Family Center for Advanced Learning at Norwalk Hospital.

Of the McGraw family’s $3 million pledge, $2 million is in the form of a challenge grant to encourage community support by having individual donations matched dollar for dollar. The hospital’s fundraising goal for the project is $5 million.

Featuring a modern health science library, state-of-the-art medical simulation facilities, and dedicated space for group and distance learning, the new McGraw Family Center will provide Norwalk Hospital with an optimal learning environment for tomorrow’s healthcare providers.

“We believe the ongoing education of our entire staff is essential to high-quality care at Norwalk Hospital and across our Network,” stated John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN), which includes Norwalk Hospital. “This project will modernize our teaching and learning facilities to keep pace with new technology and clinical advancements. It will also enable us to combine the latest in life-saving technologies with the medical expertise and personalized care the community has come to rely upon.”

More than 1,300 students, residents, and fellows in healthcare disciplines such as internal medicine, radiology, nursing, pharmacy and social work rotate through Norwalk Hospital annually from institutions throughout the region. This number is expected to grow with the State of Connecticut’s recent approval of WCHN as a clinical branch campus of the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, making the Network the State’s newest medical school. In addition to serving the learning needs of the next generation of healthcare providers, the new learning center will be the nexus for training current hospital staff in state of the art practices and interdisciplinary care.

The McGraw Family Center is the second major gift to Norwalk Hospital championed by the McGraw family. In 2015, Harold W. “Terry” McGraw III, Robert “Bob” McGraw, and Suzanne “Sue” McGraw made a transformative $10 million gift in memory of their parents to build the Anne P. and Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Center, the largest expansion project in the Hospital’s nearly 125- year history. The Center houses the Bauer Emergency Care Center, the C. Anthony and Jean Whittingham Cancer Center, the James F. Guthrie, MD Center for Digestive Diseases, the Ambulatory Surgery Center, and the Christian J. and Eva W. Trefz Lobby.

“Much of our Foundation’s focus is on promoting education,” stated Sue McGraw. ”Through this cutting-edge facility, and with programs and curricula that place value on teamwork and clinical skill, the goal of the new Center is ultimately to improve the safety and quality of patient care.”

According to Norwalk Hospital President Michael Daglio, the new McGraw Family Center for Advanced Learning would not be possible without philanthropic support. “Thanks to the McGraw family and its exceptional commitment to our Hospital and the greater community, we can build upon our 50-year legacy of learning and innovation. This extraordinary gift from the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation will bring Norwalk Hospital’s learning facilities to the forefront of educational practice.”

About Norwalk Hospital

Norwalk Hospital is a progressive, patient-centered regional teaching hospital serving residents of southwestern Connecticut and adjacent New York. The 328- bed acute care, not-for-profit hospital offers cardiovascular, cancer, orthopedic, neurologic and digestive disease care with advanced diagnostics, innovative therapies and state-of-the-art surgery. The Hospital’s mission is advanced through philanthropic donations to the Norwalk Hospital Foundation.

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region’s premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, and their affiliated organizations. The continuum of care offered includes numerous Western Connecticut Medical Group medical and sub-specialty practices, home health care services, a nationally renowned biomedical research institute, the Danbury Hospital & New Milford Hospital Foundation, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation and other affiliates. For more information, visit WCHN.org. Share your comments with us at Facebook.com/DanburyHospital; Facebook.com/NewMilfordHospital and/or Facebook.com/NorwalkHospital.


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River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen Makes Donation to America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia and Kids Cafe

First Annual National Praline Day partnership yields big results for at-risk youth

Press Release – Savannah, GA, July 20, 2017 – River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, Savannah’s signature candy franchise, along with parent companies River Street Sweets® and Savannah’s Candy Kitchen are proud to announce the results of the 2017 National Praline Day fundraiser. Together the companies raised $3,342.25 in support of at-risk youth by donating a percentage of all praline sales online June 23- 24, and in store June 24th to the Kids Cafe program of America’s Second Harvest.

In commemoration of the donation, on July 20th River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen co- founders Jennifer, Tim, and Stan Strickland will present a check to the Kids Cafe program at America’s Second Harvest Headquarters (2501 E. President Street Savannah, GA 31404) with Mary Jane Crouch, Executive Director of America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia. The presentation will start at 1pm.

“It’s incredibly important that we continue to support the programs that serve the Savannah community in such an impactful way,” said Jennifer Strickland, co-founder and co-CEO of RSS•SCK. “We can’t thank those enough that joined us to make National Praline Day an even sweeter occasion in 2017!”

Originating in Savannah in 1989, Kids Cafe provides evening meals with tutoring, homework assistance, and a safe haven for at-risk youth in the Savannah area. America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia works in collaboration with various non-profits and faith-based organizations at Kids Cafe sites to provide tutors, mentors, supervision, and activities for the children.

To learn more about this ongoing partnership, visit www.ilovepralines.com.

About Kids Cafe and America’s Second Harvest:

Kids Cafe is a nationally recognized program that originated in Savannah in 1989. Kids Cafe was designed to provide children at-risk for hunger a nutritious evening meal along with tutoring, homework assistance and a safe haven. Participating children are served hot, balanced meals at an after-school program where they are safe and supervised during the afternoon hours.

America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia works in collaboration with various non-profits and faith- based organizations at the Kids Cafe sites to provide tutors, mentors, supervision and activities for the children.

The Kids Cafe program has proven to increase participants’ likelihood to stay in school until graduation. Additionally, children nourished with nutritious evening meals are strengthened and fortified to participate in both physical and academic activities. More than 3,200 children at-risk for hunger receive a hot, balanced evening meal after school each day at one of the Kids Cafe sites in Appling, Bulloch, Chatham, Evans, Liberty, Tattnall, and Wayne counties. This past year, 398,229 meals were served to children at-risk for hunger through our Kids Cafes.

If you would like more information or need assistance to include a Kids Cafe program in your organization,  visit http://www.helpendhunger.org/program/kids-cafe/.

About River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen

River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is a marriage of two well-known and highly respected gourmet candy brands based in the Southeastern U.S, River Street Sweets® and Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. After operating the two companies separately for nearly two decades, the Strickland family, the proprietors of both candy stores, reunited to offer the River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen franchise opportunity, offering a variety of handmade Southern candies crafted right in front of guests.

With more than a dozen corporate-owned locations across Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and a strong mail and web-ordering program, River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen’s expansion calls for further growth in Georgia, Florida, and Texas, as well as in targeted tourist locations in Colorado and across the country. For more information regarding the River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen franchise opportunity, visit www.RiverStreetCandyFranchise.com


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More Domestic Violence Victims and their Pets Can Seek Safety Together

Five Safe Housing Grants Awarded for On-Site Pet Housing at Domestic Violence Shelters

Press Release – Sacramento, CA – RedRover©, a national animal welfare organization based in Sacramento, California, has awarded more than $15,000 in grant funds to five domestic violence shelters across the United States, enabling the shelters to create on-site space to house pets through their Safe Housing program.

According to Sheltering Animals and Families Together (SAF-T), a national initiative that guides family violence shelters on how to welcome families with pets, only a fraction of the 2,500 domestic violence shelters in the United States report having the ability to house animals onsite.

RedRover President & CEO states, “RedRover is here to help – too many victims stay in abusive relationships out of fear of leaving their beloved pets with their abuser. Our goal is to ensure that there are pet-friendly domestic violence shelters in every state so that they aren’t faced with the horrible choice of leaving their animals behind.”

RedRover is helping to bridge a huge gap by providing essential funding to domestic violence shelters to enable them to create on-site space to house pets. The following shelters received Safe Housing grant awards during this application period:

  • YWCA Glendale – Glendale, CA for $760
  • Faith House, Inc. – Lafayette, Louisiana for $1,519
  • Women’s Transitional Living Center, Inc. – Fullerton, California for $6,000
  • WEAVE, Inc. – Sacramento, CA for $3,879
  • RISE San Luis Obispo County – Paso Robles, CA for $3,500

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 70 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their batterer had injured, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or psychological control. Up to 48% percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they fear what will happen to their pets when they leave.

RedRover is partnering with SAF-T to work toward the goal of having at least one pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in each state. Shelters in the following states do not house pets onsite and are encouraged to apply for Safe Housing grants: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

Deadlines to apply for Safe Housing grants are May 15 and October 15 each year. To learn more visit: https://redrover.org/SafeHousing.


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BELL (Building Educated Leaders For Life) Receives 10-Year $30 Million Grant From Ballmer Group

Largest grant in nonprofit’s history to expand educational access to reduce summer slide

Press Release – BOSTON – BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), the largest evidence-based summer learning provider in the U.S. and a national leader in PK-8 out-of-school time (OST) education, received a 10-year $30 million grant from Ballmer Group. It is the largest grant in BELL’s 25-year history. Founded by former Microsoft CEO and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie, Ballmer Group supports organizations and initiatives aimed at improving economic mobility for children and families in the U.S.

BELL estimates that 7.5 million K-8 students from underserved communities are performing significantly below grade level. Up to two-thirds of the nation’s academic achievement gap is due to lack of access to quality summer learning programs. Students who are not proficient readers by third grade are four times as likely to drop out of high school and face lower lifelong earnings.

Ballmer Group’s grant will support BELL’s mission to eliminate summer slide by strengthening the capacity of school districts and youth-serving nonprofits to deliver BELL’s high-quality, measurable and sustainable summer learning programs on a larger scale. Ballmer Group’s support will allow BELL to increase programmatic efficiencies to better meet the needs of scholars, parents and teachers, while developing technology solutions to enable greater scale of the BELL model.

“Education inequity is a national crisis that has long-term repercussions for our economy. It leaves underserved students at risk of being caught in a downward spiral of lower graduation rates, decreased lifelong earnings and generational poverty,” says BELL CEO Lauren Sanchez Gilbert, Ed.D. “Ballmer Group’s contribution allows us to further refine and replicate BELL’s holistic, data-driven summer programs to reach exponentially more underserved children living in urban, suburban and rural communities.”

Ballmer Group chose organizations that support individuals and families at key life stages, use evidence-based practices, track outcomes and utilize data for continuous improvement. “Many of our nation’s largest evidence-driven organizations are reaching less than 5 percent of their target population,” says Tonya Dressel, Executive Director of Ballmer Group. “In response, we are investing in national organizations like BELL with demonstrated impact that align with our interest in improving economic mobility for children and families.”

Students spend 80 percent of their time outside of the confines of the school day. Young people whose families cannot afford expensive summer and after school programs are at risk of suffering higher learning loss that is difficult to regain. Studies show that by fifth grade, summer learning loss can leave underserved children two and a half to three years behind their peers.

BELL’s academic and enrichment programs have been shown to reverse summer slide. Nationwide, more than 14,500 BELL students, known as scholars, experience an average of two month gains in reading and three month gains in math annually.

“We are grateful for Ballmer Group’s long-term investment in children and families across the nation,” said Dr. Gilbert. “They understand the challenges facing nonprofits and the importance of flexible funding to meet the complex needs of underserved communities. Their support will enable us to be more agile and responsive, and it will serve as an anchor to raise additional funds required to expand summer learning across the U.S.”

BELL transforms the life trajectories of scholars by empowering their circles of support, including parents and teachers. According to a 2016 survey, 92 percent of participating teachers say BELL helped them develop their professional skills, and the majority reported using BELL strategies in the classroom. Parents become more engaged as well, with 89 percent of those surveyed saying BELL programs made them more involved in their child’s education.

BELL supports program partners through all stages of their summer or after-school programs, including program design, curriculum development, professional development, measurement and technical assistance. BELL continuously applies and shares best practices and innovations as they are tested and refined in classrooms and other learning environments across the country.

About BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)

Founded in 1992, BELL is a national leader in evidence-based out-of-school time learning programs for PK-8 students that close the achievement gap in underserved communities. BELL partners with schools, school districts and other youth-serving organizations to reach 14,500 public school students annually across the country through its summer and after-school programs. Visit www.experienceBELL.org for more information.

About Ballmer Group:

Ballmer Group strengthens organizations and initiatives that increase economic mobility for children and families in the United States. Founders Steve and Connie Ballmer envision a country where the promise of the American Dream –that every child has an equal opportunity to build a better life –is within reach.


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French’s® Mustard Hosts The No More Kids With Cancer “Mustard Challenge” At National Mustard Day

Press Release – (MIDDLETON, WI) July 2017— French’s Mustard is once again an official sponsor of National Mustard Museum as it hosts its 27th annual National Mustard Day celebration on Saturday, August 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s big squirt will host the world’s biggest Mustard Challenge.

French’s Mustard has teamed up with The Mustard Museum and the childhood cancer research accelerator No More Kids with Cancer to support the “Mustard Challenge”. The Challenge encourages people to eat a spoonful of French’s mustard, film themselves, share their videos on social media, and donate to www.mustardchallenge.com. One hundred percent of donations from the Mustard Challenge will fund pediatric cancer research, and funds raised at the Mustard Challenge on National Mustard Day at the Mustard Museum will be matched by French’s Mustard. This is part of the French’s “We Promise” program that appears on French’s products and across all of its communications, promising “great taste, real ingredients, and true commitment to our communities”.

Beginning at 1:00 p.m., mustard lovers, led by the French’s mascot, will gather in front of the Main Stage at the Mustard Museum on Hubbard Ave in Middleton, WI to participate in world’s biggest Mustard Challenge. Those that cannot attend the National Mustard Day Festivities at the National Mustard Museum can participate in the Mustard Challenge by taking the following steps:

  • Film yourself eating a spoonful of hot mustard, challenge four friends to do the same, and donate at www.mustardchallenge.com.
  • Post your video on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feed.
  • Tag your friends, set your post status to “Public” and include #MustardChallenge #NoMoreKidswithCancer in your post.
  • Most importantly, donate to mustardchallenge.com and help cure childhood cancer.
  • Visit www.mustardchallenge.com for more detail.

The Mustard Challenge is a grassroots campaign that raises awareness and funds to discover safer, less toxic and more effective treatments for children with cancer – the leading cause of death by disease of children in the U.S.

“We believe kids, like adults, deserve treatments that are safer, less toxic and more effective than therapies developed from as far back as the 1950s,” said No More Kids with Cancer co-founder Amy Summy. “We thank French’s Mustard for their support and we hope that live Mustard Challenge events like the one at the Mustard Museum on Mustard Day will raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research, expand treatment options, decrease suffering and improve outcomes for children with cancer.”

For more information on No More Kids with Cancer, visit www.nomorekidswithcancer.org.

“We are French’s are proud and honored to support No More Kids with Cancer and The Mustard Challenge,” Says Abigail Powell, Vice President of The French’s Food Company. “We hope this event and other efforts help to drive awareness and funds for this wonderful organization.”

French’s has been a proud supporter of the National Mustard Museum and National Mustard Day for over 20 years. Beyond the Mustard Challenge — National Mustard Day will feature a family-friendly salute to the King of Condiments featuring live music, mustard games, lots of hot dogs (to be slathered with mustard), frozen mustard custard , French crepes as well as family friendly games including “Hoops for Koops” Mustard Ring Toss, Fishing for Mustard, the Mustard Wheel of Fortune, Mustard Bowling, and the always popular “Feed the Curator.” The POUPON U Accordion Band will kick off the day’s activities and local favorites The Red Hot Horn Dawgs, followed by Marcy and the Highlights, will fill the stage.

The National Mustard Museum celebrated its first National Mustard Day in 1991 with only a small gathering of friends in the Curator’s back yard. It has grown to a major festival known around the world for its surreal dedication to a condiment that millions may take for granted – though not the mustard fanatics at the Mustard Museum. Last year, more than 6,000 fans of the Golden Condiment attended National Mustard Day and even more are expected this year.

About The French’s Food Company

The French’s Food Company, a global food company with offices and manufacturing locations in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, France and Mexico, has been bringing great flavor to people for more than 100 years. The company still crafts trusted foods using simple ingredients of the highest quality. www.frenchs.com

About The French’s Promise

Signaling this commitment, a “We Promise” appears on French’s products and across all of its communications, promising “great taste, real ingredients, and true commitment to our communities.”

About No More Kids with Cancer

No More Kids with Cancer is a nonprofit research accelerator dedicated to funding groundbreaking childhood cancer research. We serve children with cancer – and the doctors and researchers working to save them – who urgently need alternatives to the 50s era, inhumane, side-effect-laden standard treatments used today. Collaborating with leading scientists – who share our belief that more research leads to more options – we’re working toward our vision of No More Kids with Cancer. One hundred percent of public donations fund groundbreaking research thanks to the generosity of private donors. For more information on No More Kids with Cancer, visit www.nomorekidswithcancer.org

No More Kids with Cancer was inspired by Naya Summy, a determined, caring, intelligent and funny 11-year-old with a brilliant energy that rubbed off on anyone who knew her. She was diagnosed with high-risk medulloblastoma (brain cancer) when she was nine. She endured brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, only to relapse one year after her diagnosis. A cure didn’t exist for Naya. In less than two years, her disease overtook her body, and her brightness and smile left our world. Naya’s parents, Amy and Hank Summy, founded No More Kids with Cancer to carry out Naya’s goal to end childhood cancer.

About The Mustard Museum

The nonprofit National Mustard Museum holds the world’s largest collection of mustards (approaching 6,000) and mustard memorabilia. Founder and Curator Barry Levenson reminds food lovers that mustard is not only a versatile condiment but a healthy one, too. “With no more than 10 calories per serving and no fat or cholesterol, it really is the King – and Queen – of Condiments.”

With the help of Confidential Condiment Counselors, visitors can taste more than 450 different mustards, on National Mustard Day and every day, in the Museum’s Gourmet Gift Shop. The Museum is also the home of America’s tongue-in-cheek Mustard College: POUPON U.


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New Conference Aims to Grow Nonprofit Impact, Spur Innovation

Press Release – Frisco, TX, July 20, 2017 – The Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit will kick off its 2nd annual event in Fort Worth, TX on September 21-22. Aiming to increase generosity and multiply nonprofit impact, the NIO Summit will bring in leading for-profit marketers to train fundraisers with cutting-edge optimization strategies.

After working for many years at both a nonprofit and a fundraising agency, Tim Kachuriak – Chief Innovation & Optimization Officer for NextAfter – had become frustrated with the lack of innovation in the nonprofit industry. According to Kachuriak, nonprofit marketers and fundraisers are being left in the dust by their for-profit counterparts in the area of innovation.

“The lack of innovation in nonprofit fundraising is systemic. Organizations use the same tactics over and over, hoping that they will sustain them until the next campaign,” Kachuriak said. “Marketing has evolved dramatically over the past decade, but nonprofits haven’t caught up. Either we innovate, or we die.”

Today’s nonprofit conferences and events only perpetuate this lack of innovation. Most nonprofit marketing and fundraising speakers repeat the same best practices of 10 years ago, all while trying to sell you on their agency’s services or their latest book.

Kachuriak and his team at NextAfter launched the first Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit in 2016 with the intent of breaking this trend. Rather than have an open application for speakers like many of today’s nonprofit events, they hand-select the leading marketing and optimization speakers from the for-profit industry.

“By hand-selecting and actually paying our speakers, we can ensure that organizations are empowered with the most innovative strategies in order to systematically grow their revenue and impact,” said Kachuriak.

This year’s Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit is back in Fort Worth, TX on September 21-22 and promises to help organizations discover more innovative ways to multiply their impact. Bringing in speakers like Bart Schutz from Online Dialogue, a Netherlands native and a world-wide leader in A/B testing and persuasion psychology, the NIO Summit aims to equip fundraisers to utilize the web as the world’s largest behavioral testing lab to gain a deeper understanding of their donors and why they give.

Other speakers include Jessica Jackley, co-founder of KIVA; Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce.com; Austin McCraw of MECLABS; Annie Cushing, founder of Annielytics.com; and many more.

For more information about the 2017 Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit, visit: https://www.niosummit.com/


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