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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: February 2018

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Financial Solutions Lab Launches $3 Million Year-Four Competition to Support the Financial Health of Underrepresented Communities

Lab to focus on the next generation of financial technology products

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY — February 28, 2018 — Today the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding FinLab partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. officially launched its Fourth Annual $3 Million Challenge (Challenge) to identify fintech innovators and products that can help improve the financial health of underserved populations in the U.S. Given the diversity of Americans who struggle with financial health, in this year’s Challenge, the Lab is particularly interested in products developed by entrepreneurs of color, women and people with disabilities, and designed to meet the financial needs of often overlooked populations.

The FinLab’s continued focus on financial health for another year reflects research from CFSI which highlights how financial insecurity remains a barrier to economic mobility for millions of Americans. Research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute has deepened our understanding of these problems by highlighting that the majority of households face significant income and expense volatility and lack the buffer they need to manage these swings or unexpected shocks. Not only does this undermine their financial wellbeing, it can also adversely affect their health since research shows that households delay healthcare until they have the means to pay for it.

Applicants to the Challenge are encouraged to share how their products can help consumers improve their financial health, how their company or nonprofit will succeed in serving a diverse market and how their teams reflect this diversity. Despite improvements in recent years, all-women teams of entrepreneurs received just $1.9 billion of the $85 billion total invested by venture capitalists last year and only an estimated 3 percent of the venture capitalist workforce is black while only 4 percent is Hispanic or Latino. The FinLab believes that diversity among leaders and teams also leads to more inclusive products and services with the potential to scale to millions of customers.

Each winning organization will receive $250,000 in capital, professional services assistance from industry leaders such as ideas42, IDEO.org and Google, strategic guidance from the FinLab’s industry-leading advisory council, and resources from founding partners CFSI and JPMorgan Chase, including the JPMorgan Chase employee mentorship program.

“We continue to be blown away by the impact that FinLab companies are having on consumers,” said John Thompson, Chief Program Officer at CFSI. “The 26 organizations supported by the Lab so far have cumulatively grown to help more than 2.5 million Americans improve their financial health — more than 15 times the consumer base they served before joining the Lab.”

“Technology offers a tremendous opportunity to help us reach overlooked populations with financial products and services that can improve their long-term financial health,” said Colleen Briggs, Head of Community Innovation, JPMorgan Chase. “We want to see more innovation designed to meet the needs of underserved populations and teams of entrepreneurs that reflect this diversity. We believe that the FinLab’s continued focus on inclusive fintech will help us unlock this potential.”

Applying for the Challenge

FinTech innovators interested in joining FinLab’s fourth year class can now complete and submit an application at http://finlab.cfsinnovation.com. The deadline to apply is April 11, 2018. Winners will be announced on stage at the EMERGE Forum 2018, held June 6-8 in Los Angeles, CA.

A History of Success

In January, the FinLab celebrated the culmination of its third cohort of eight fintech innovators. FinLab companies have represented a wide swath of consumer-focused financial technology companies, and inform the Lab’s perspective on the developments in, and state of, the overall market.

To date, the Financial Solutions Lab has supported 26 financial technology companies offering innovative financial products that reach over 2.5 million Americans and have seen 15x growth since joining the Lab. Collectively, FinLab companies have raised over $250 million in capital since joining the program.

The three FinLab classes to date have included startups rethinking how to address such issues as expense tracking (Everlance), savings (nonprofit EARN), planning (Albert), debt restructuring (Lendstreet), payments management (EarnUp), robo-advising (WiseBanyan), automatic savings (Digit), income volatility assistance (Even), access to credit (Nova), and SNAP benefits management (Propel). One early FinLab company, Prism, was acquired by PayNearMe, now Handle Financial. More information about the impact of the first three years of the FinLab can be found in its recently released Impact Report.

Howard Tischler, co-founder and CEO of FinLab member EverSafe, said, “We were excited to be part of the Financial Solutions Lab, and our experience in the program opened up many doors for us as we work to protect seniors and their families from financial fraud. During our time in the Lab, we more than tripled our user base and as we move forward, we expect to significantly increase the number of older adults and families protected as a result of relationships derived from the Lab.”

“At Nova Credit, we’re committed to helping immigrants access the credit they deserve and be treated as equals,” said Nicky Goulimis, co-founder of Nova Credit, part of the Lab’s 2017 class. “Our participation in the Lab vastly exceeded our expectations, by not only significantly accelerating our core business, but also providing us with invaluable access to the leaders of the financial services ecosystem.”

About the Financial Solutions Lab

The Financial Solutions Lab is a $30 million, five-year initiative managed by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding Lab partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. to identify, test and expand the availability of promising innovations that help Americans increase savings, improve credit, and build assets. The lab will launch a series of competitions to identify solutions to specific consumer financial challenges. It will provide incentives for entrepreneurs, businesses, and nonprofits to enhance financial products and services that address these challenges and improve consumers’ financial health. For more information, visit http://finlab.cfsinnovation.com.

About the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI)

CFSI is the nation’s authority on consumer financial health. CFSI leads a network of financial services innovators committed to building a more robust financial services marketplace with higher quality products and services. Through its Compass Principles and a lineup of proprietary research, insights and events, CFSI informs, advises, and connects members of its network to seed the innovation that will transform the financial services landscape. For more on CFSI, go to www.cfsinnovation.com and follow on Twitter at @CFSInnovation.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.


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SDSU Professor’s Mural Welcomes Airport Visitors

The vibrant mural is part of San Diego International Airport’s Arts Program.

Picture: Pablo Mason, Courtesy of San Diego International Airport

Press Release – SAN DIEGO, Calif. (February 23, 2018) — Visitors to San Diego International Airport (SAN) may notice a new artistic addition to the scenic airfield by the bay.

Starting in late February, travelers have the chance to take in a mural by Eva Struble, associate professor of painting and printmaking at San Diego State University.

Stretching 144-feet-wide and 6-feet-tall, the mural is a combination of Struble’s previous works with an added digital component. The piece, printed on vinyl and attached to aluminum sheeting, also incorporates scenes of endangered local plants and animals.

“The project taught me a different type of ideation” said Struble. “I needed to imagine the project from a moving vehicle, from a plane taxiing in the distance, and also on a human scale.”

The art installation is located on Admiral Boland Way, between Sassafras and Palm Streets.

“We’re thrilled that Eva Struble’s vibrant mural will enliven a busy corridor on the airport campus, one that’s passed by hundreds of travelers each day,” said Lauren Lockhart, Airport Arts Program Manager at SAN. “Since the mural site will turnover annually, this new public art project presents an exciting opportunity for multiple regional artists to have their work showcased at SAN.”

This is not the first time the airport has called on an SDSU professor to curate artwork. The airport art exhibition, “Point of Entry,” which ran through late 2017, was curated by faculty member Norma Iglesias-Prieto and featured the work of Professor Matthew Higgins.

The mural is a part of the airport’s Temporary Exhibition Program and just one element of SAN’s larger commitment to realizing original, integrated public artwork to enhance the airport environment and showcase the talent and culture of the San Diego region. In addition to public art, the Airport Arts Program includes temporary exhibitions and performing arts components, aimed at engaging travelers and creating an ambiance unique to San Diego. For more information about the Airport Arts Program, visit http://arts.san.org/.

The mural will remain on display until January 2019.


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Appetite Increases for Green Bonds but Investors Demand More Education and Transparency

  • Survey by Natixis and the California State Treasurer’s Office reveals challenges and opportunities of green bond market
  • 78% of California residents believe it’s important to make the world a better place while growing assets [1]
  • Misconceptions around ESG present barriers to investing; 72% want greater transparency and standardization of reporting

Press Release – BOSTON and SACRAMENTO, Feb. 28, 2018 – Individual investors in California are keen to make the world a better place while growing their personal assets, but engaging investors in the green bond market will require a deeper understanding of their motivations, perceptions and knowledge gaps. Natixis Investment Managers’ Center for Investment Insight and the California State Treasurer’s Office announced today the findings from a new survey of 500 California residents during the California State Treasurer’s Green Bonds Symposium. The study explores the challenges and opportunities of engaging investors in the state’s growing green bond market.

The survey polled individual investors from California on their investment preferences and expectations, their commitment toward environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment principles, and their predisposition to act on green intentions. Key to motivating investors to participate in the California green bond market will be education, transparency and the development of an investment proposition, the study finds. While 66% of California respondents say they would invest in green bonds because of their potential environmental impact, only 53% say they are knowledgeable about ESG investing and merely 29% claim to know what green bonds are.

“The majority of California residents want their investments to have a positive social and environmental impact,” said David Goodsell, Executive Director of Natixis’ Center for Investor Insight. “But many need guidance before they can act on their preferences when it comes to investing in green bonds. Public outreach and education will be critical in dispelling some of the misconceptions associated with ESG investing, and we can jumpstart these initiatives by having conversations with the broader advisor community.”

The research offers four key insights on California residents’ sentiment towards green bonds:

  • Californians want to use their assets to make a difference: Survey respondents said they want their investments to reflect their personal values (77%), to know their assets are doing social good (76%), to invest in companies that are ethically run (82%), and to invest in companies that have a positive social impact (77%).
  • Investors have misconceptions around ESG investing: Some individuals perceive limitations around ESG investments, with 46% believing they have to give up return potential to invest in green bonds and 55% believing that costs will be higher without green bonds delivering adequate returns. However, green bonds are generally not limited in their return potential, nor do green bonds generally come at a higher cost. Three-quarters of respondents say they believe there is a lack of standardized guidelines on what constitutes as a green investment, therefore we believe public education will be essential to dispelling such misconceptions.
  • Californians are prepared to act with enlightened self-interest: Californians emphasize the potential investment benefits of municipal bonds over their community impact. When asked for their main reasons for investing in municipal bonds, they first focus on direct portfolio advantages, citing tax-free income (55%), low risk (51%) and stability (39%) as the main drivers. Investors in California may not fully understand the potential tax benefit these securities could provide given that only 11% said they would invest to manage tax liability.
  • Financial and non-financial variables factor into green investing: Top considerations when selecting a green bond investment include return on a bond over its lifetime (50%), how long it takes to mature (40%) and amount paid at maturity (36%). However, 66% say they would invest in green bonds because of their potential environmental impact.

“It’s not surprising that nearly four out of five Californians believe it’s important that their investments shape a better world. This research demonstrates there is strong momentum for the leadership role we are taking in California to find solutions to pay for projects that generate solar and wind power, reduce methane emissions, provide clean drinking water, and more,” said John Chiang, California State Treasurer. “At a time when the White House has abandoned its leadership role in the fight against global warming, California stands with the rest of the world that has declared climate change is an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet.”

Success Factors for California’s Green Bond Market

The survey findings indicate that many worry about accurate reporting and verification around green investing. Nearly three-quarters of investors (72%) say that greater transparency and standardization of reporting would increase their desire for green bonds, and six in ten would be willing to pay more for their investment if it meant greater transparency. Californians are willing to accept validation on a wide range of public and personal sources in order to achieve transparency, starting with the media (58%), reports from the issuer (47%) and a financial advisor (45%). Another factor is access to green issuances; overall, more than half of investors say they would prefer buying green bonds through a fund (59%) compared to individual securities (41%).

“As the green bond market matures, we are pleased to see that issuance is growing in tandem with investors’ interests,” said Chris Wigley, Portfolio Manager at Mirova, a responsible investing affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers. “This symbiotic relationship indicates that both governments and corporations are making the effort to transition to a lower carbon world, which is also motivating the individual investor to consider incorporating ESG into their portfolios.”


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Exponential Technology Startups From Across The Globe Join Norway’s Katapult Accelerator To Solve Global Challenges

Press Release – 28 February 2018, OsloKatapult Accelerator selected 12 exponential technology startups in their second cohort to join the three-month accelerator programme in Oslo, Norway. The Katapult Accelerator made a selection from 1,500 impact-focused startups from all over the world. The 12 chosen startups will use exponential technology to solve the grand challenges of the world and with founders from and operations in India, Kenya, Nigeria, Singapore, USA, Spain, UK, Turkey, South Korea, Morocco, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, they represent nearly all continents. 50% of the selected startups have female founders.

The Katapult Accelerator Fund invests up to USD 150,000 in each startup. Katapult Accelerator also provides a network of global investors and partnerships that can boost the startups in their next phase of development.

“The Katapult Accelerator is a fast-paced and hands-on program to help build and scale startups that can solve environmental or societal challenges through exponential technologies. Our goal for each company is to prepare them for their next round of investment, so that they achieve two to three times their original valuation,” says Haakon Brunell, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Katapult Accelerator.

Katapult Accelerator delivered on its goals for its first batch of companies. Of the original 12 startups, 11 raised additional funding, and 5 officially closed, or are in the closing process of their rounds.

“The Katapult Accelerator helped us understand and define our reason-for-being and we became laser focused on the next steps of the startup journey,” says Martin Majlund Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Sky.Garden, one of the startups accepted by Katapult in 2017. Sky.Garden recently closed their USD 1.2 million funding round, at a valuation of USD 4 million.

To ensure the same success with the 12 new companies, Katapult Accelerator is inviting the new startups to spend three months in Oslo, Norway and go through an intensive program to leverage their impact. The startups have access to 120+ international mentors, and hands on support from the Katapult Accelerator team.

At the end of the three months, the startups will have defined their vision, strategy, impact orientation, growth marketing and business model. A unique element in the Katapult Accelerator is the focus on team ‘body and brain’ improvement, to further enable the startups to build on their greatest asset; their mission-driven team. Katapult Accelerator’s partner network includes PWC, Amazon Web Services, IBM, and Microsoft.


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Where Do Donor-Advised Fund Grants Go?

Education and religion attract the most dollars, Special Report on Donor-Advised Funds from Giving USA Foundation™ and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy finds

Press Release – CHICAGO — Donor-advised funds are frequently identified as one of the fastest-growing vehicles for charitable giving, but the question of where those donor-advised fund grant dollars go has remained largely unanswered until now. A new report is the first to uncover these answers. Among other findings, it identifies education, religion and public-society benefit organizations as the types of nonprofits that attracted the most donor-advised fund grant dollars, based on a sample of donor-advised fund sponsoring organizations from 2012 to 2015.

The Giving USA Special Report, The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know, released today was researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI with support from Giving USA Foundation™ and the Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative. The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative is a grantmaking program overseen by the trustees of Fidelity Charitable with a focus on increasing knowledge, information and resources that donors and nonprofits need to achieve their intended impact.

The report presents new and important information about grants from donor-advised funds that financial advisors, nonprofit professionals including fundraisers, and philanthropists can learn from and apply.

“Despite the growth in donor-advised funds in recent years, there has been little quantitative research on where the dollars go. The findings of this report can help demystify this important vehicle for charitable giving, including offering a clear comparison between how donor-advised funds’ granting patterns compare with the distribution of all types of charitable giving in Giving USA,” said Aggie Sweeney, CFRE, Chair of Giving USA Foundation.

“This report offers insight into the granting patterns of donor-advised funds,” said Amir Pasic, Ph.D., the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the school. “At a time when there are more questions than ever about how the growth of donor-advised funds is changing the field of philanthropy, this new, quantitative research offers some much-needed perspective.”

The report is based on original research by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The school analyzed granting data from a small number of organizations that represented roughly half of all granting dollars from donor-advised funds between 2012 and 2015. The school used IRS Schedule I data and also collected direct granting data from donor-advised fund sponsoring organizations for the sample. Subsector categories were assigned to the organizations that received grants using National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) codes, the same process used to identify contributions to subsectors in Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy.

Compared to the distribution of total U.S. giving as identified by Giving USA, grants from donor-advised funds give a greater share of their giving to education and less to religion.

Giving to education comprised 28 percent of giving from donor-advised funds from 2012 to 2015. For the same time period, giving to education in Giving USA comprised only 15 percent of total giving.

In contrast, grants to the religion subsector represented 14 percent of giving from the donor-advised fund sample, while giving to the religion subsector represented 32 percent of total giving in Giving USA.

The distribution patterns by donor-advised funds track more closely with the trends of high-net-worth donors, who tend to give a larger share of their giving to education than to religion, a trend that was echoed in the study.

“The data clearly identify education and religion organizations as the types of nonprofits that are most likely to attract grant dollars from donor-advised funds,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “We need more data to discover how those trends may unfold over a longer period of time, especially as donors and nonprofits continue to learn about and explore the possibilities of donor-advised funds.”

The study found that granting patterns from donor-advised funds are relatively stable, with each different type of nonprofit receiving a similar percentage of total donor-advised fund giving from year to year.

The report also features new aggregate estimates for donor-advised fund assets, number of donor-advised fund accounts in the U.S., and total dollars contributed to donor-advised funds, finding strong growth in every category between 2008 and 2014. Other sections of the report include a focus on the history of donor-advised funds, costs and benefits, and the future of donor-advised funds in light of recent changes to tax policy.

“In addition to the unique research findings, this report offers important history and context to help stakeholders better understand the landscape of donor-advised funds,” said Keith Curtis, Immediate Past Chair of Giving USA Foundation and president of The Curtis Group, a fundraising consultancy. “This report will help readers develop their organizations’ strategy for how they can work most effectively with donor-advised funds.”

Granting patterns from donor-advised funds are often difficult to track, in part because there is no single source of data that can be used to identify them. Although IRS Form 990 Schedule I requires organizations that house donor-advised funds to record granting data, the grants from donor-advised funds are not separated from other grants the organization makes, so studies must work with individual donor-advised fund sponsors to get accurate data that tracks the grants solely from donor-advised funds. In addition, there are other issues associated with Schedule I data, including that the forms may not be available in machine-readable format, meaning someone would have to enter granting data by hand.

Expert Panelists to Discuss Special Report during Live Webcast on March 1

The Giving Institute and Giving USA Foundation will host a live webcast on Thursday, March 1, from 1:00-2:30 p.m. Central, where expert panelists will discuss the new Giving USA Special Report The Data on Donor-Advised Funds: New Insights You Need to Know. During the free webcast, attendees can ask their most pressing questions about donor-advised funds and how to incorporate this giving vehicle into their fundraising plans. Learn more and register here: https://gi.peachnewmedia.com/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=108673

About Giving USA Foundation

Advancing the research, education and public understanding of philanthropy is the mission of Giving USA Foundation, founded in 1985 by The Giving Institute. Headquartered in Chicago, the Foundation publishes data and trends about charitable giving through its seminal publication, Giving USA, and quarterly reports on topics related to philanthropy. Published since 1956, Giving USA is the longest running, most comprehensive report on philanthropy in America. Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016 is available now at www.GivingUSA.org. Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 will be available on June 12, 2018. Read more about Giving USA Foundation’s history, as well as the history of Giving USA and philanthropy in the U.S. in the Giving USA 2015 Spotlight: Celebrating Service to Philanthropy (available as a free download on www.GivingUSA.org).

About the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow us on Twitter @IUPhilanthropy and “Like” us on Facebook.


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“Cast On Tour” With Demi Lovato Launched In San Diego With Special Guests From Parkland, Florida

Students Julius Castillo, Mackenzie Marie Chapman, Samantha Megan Deitsch, Maia Hebron, Eden Hebron and Sarah Stricker Joined Lovato Onstage to Bring Awareness and Support to Mental Health Recovery and Raise Money for Mental Health Resources for the Students

Press Release – San Diego, CA (February 27, 2018) – Shining a spotlight on mental health with the goal of erasing the stigma around seeking help, CAST on Tour kicked off yesterday prior to the Demi Lovato concert at Viejas Arena in San Diego. Joining Lovato for the second year on her North American tour, CAST on Tourhosted a pre-show session for concertgoers led by Mike Bayer, Founder/CEO of CAST Centers and Chairman of the CAST Foundation, where they spoke on the topic of mental health awareness and provided support for attendees who shared their own personal stories.

Traveling from the east coast to take part were five students who survived the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida: Julius Castillo, Mackenzie Marie Chapman, Samantha Megan Deitsch, Maia Hebron, Eden Hebron and Sarah Stricker. During the concert, Lovato brought the students onstage and spoke about how much she admires them for coming together as a community in a time of devastation. The audience had the opportunity to show support by texting donations to the CAST Foundation who will apply that money towards mental health resources for the students.

“I’ve spent my entire career working to raise awareness of mental health issues so those affected can seek out the help they need, and feel safe in doing so. As we launch another CAST on Tour, our mission of promoting societal changes to destigmatize mental health is a critical need in our society and city-by-city we’re doing everything we can to put it at the forefront of the conversation so that we can continue to make this change,” said Mike Bayer. “The courage and resolve that the students from Stoneman Douglas have is truly inspiring. It was an honor to meet them and I’m glad they were able to join us tonight.”

“Bringing CAST on Tour was very important to me because I want to be able to reach and inspire my fans. Tonight was our first night of the tour and it was incredibly special,” said Demi Lovato. “I was able to bring out and meet a few of the students that had to experience the shooting in Florida on the 14th. It was such an honor to meet them and hear their courageous stories. I want to make sure their voices are being heard and we can provide them with the mental health and post trauma care they need.”

“Last night we heard some very personal stories and advice on a breadth of important issues. We need to make mental health something we can all talk about, because that’s the first step toward recovery,” said Dr. Cecelia Mylett, executive director/clinical director of CAST Centers.

CAST on Tour is sponsored by CAST Foundation, the nonprofit arm of CAST Centers, the nation’s premier mental health and wellness advocate. Now a part owner of CAST Centers, Demi Lovato made the brave decision to be vocal about her recovery, aiming to help as many people as possible through her advocacy. Bayer is a wellness expert with over a decade of experience in mental health, addiction recovery, interventions and personal coaching, and played a critical role in Lovato’s treatment and continues to support her in active recovery.

Produced by Live Nation and featuring special guests DJ Khaled and Kehlani, the 20-city CAST on Tour wraps March 31 in Tampa. Bayer and Lovato partnered to bring CAST Centers on Tour for the first-time last year when CAST Centers joined Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas on the Honda Civic Tour: Future Now.

Air travel for the students was provided by JetLux, a premiere jet charter company.

About CAST Centers

CAST Centers offers comprehensive mental health and wellness services to help people become their best selves. Founder and CEO Mike Bayer has spent over a decade changing the lives of executives, professionals, and celebrities as a personal development coach. Located in Los Angeles, CAST Centers delivers health and wellness coaching as well as treatment and recovery for addiction and mental health issues. To learn more, visit the website and CAST Centers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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PlaySight Expands Partnership Agreement with the USTA National Campus

Press Release – LAKE NONA, FL (February 26th, 2018) – Today, PlaySight (www.playsight.com) and the USTA National Campus are announcing an extension and expansion of their technology partnership. PlaySight first installed its SmartCourts last year at the USTA National Campus, and this new, seven-year agreement will further incorporate PlaySight and its latest technology throughout the campus. The new partnership initiatives include high school and collegiate tournaments, an Innovation Lab inside of the Welcome Center, the piloting of PlayFair video line calling technology and the addition of PlaySight’s new SmartCourt PLAY to the existing PRO and LIVE courts.

With 100 tennis courts spread across 64 acres, the USTA National Campus offers unparalleled playing, training and educational experiences for recreational players, competitive players, coaches and spectators, and PlaySight’s suite of technology – PRO, PLAY and LIVE SmartCourts – are enhancing the on-court enjoyment, engagement and overall tennis experience.

“We first selected PlaySight over a year ago to power the USTA National Campus with their SmartCourt technology, and we’re excited to take the partnership to the next level,” said Tim Cass, General Manager, USTA National Campus. “We will be further integrating PlaySight throughout the campus – from training the next generation of American tennis players to recreational and league players benefitting from the live streaming, video and data analytics.”

The USTA is currently constructing an Innovation Lab inside of the USTA National Campus’ Welcome Center. The Lab will enable all campus guests to learn about the cutting-edge technology powering the campus and American tennis, including PlaySight.

“The USTA has been a great partner in tennis and we’re thrilled to solidify our relationship with them over the long term,” said Chen Shachar, PlaySight’s CEO. “There is no better tennis facility in the world than the National Campus for us to connect with the next generation of tennis players – and players of all ages. We’re excited to add our latest SmartCourt technology – the PLAY – to the campus, as well as to bring our PlayFair video replay and line calling technology to competitive matches and tournaments across all levels of the sport.”


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USITT Welcomes Wendall K. Harrington as 2018 Keynote Speaker

Press Release – SYRACUSE, NY (February 27, 2018) — The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) is pleased to announce that Wendall K. Harrington, the “godmother of modern projection design” and head of the MFA program in Projection Design at the Yale School of Drama, will be delivering the keynote speech at the USITT 2018 Conference & Stage Expo.

Harrington’s career has embraced diverse disciplines including theatre, publishing and multi-image/video design, and production. She is well known for her work in Projection design and has been the recipient of numerous theatrical awards, including the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the American Theatre Wing Award, the TCI Award for Technical Achievement, the Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Projections, and was a USITT Distinguished Achievement Award winner in 2015.

Harrington is stepping in for Joseph Haj, artistic director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, who was previously scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the 2018 USITT Conference. As the Guthrie continues to focus attention internally on issues specific to workplace culture, Haj remains deeply committed to and engaged in internal dialogue and actions, and his schedule has changed in support of that ongoing priority.

Wendall K. Harrington

The USITT 58th Annual Conference & Stage Expo keynote address will take place Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), is a national non-profit association for the live entertainment production industry. It provides hands-on learning, mentorship, and networking opportunities for emerging and working professionals in the backstage arts. Its Annual Conference and Stage Expo is the only complete production event in North America, featuring over 250 training sessions and 280 exhibitors of the latest tools and resources for creating live entertainment. More information is available at usitt.org.


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Charitable Giving Boosts SMEs Bottom Line

Yet only 20% give regularly, and 1 in 4 SMEs are not interested in giving to charity

Press Release – New research shows that the more SMEs give to charity, the better their business performs. On average, SMEs give 1.8% of their turnover, equivalent to £32,000 a year. SMEs that give more than 0.5% turnover are 20% more likely to see an increase in profits, twice as likely to report benefits to company reputation, and almost 50% more likely to improve recruitment and staff retention. Overall, 67% of businesses who give to charity reported a positive impact on profitability.

Not all SMEs are aware of the benefits, with 1 in 3 SMEs (30%) avoiding charitable giving because they fail to see any benefit. But, there is hope – 44% of SMEs would give more if they saw a direct benefit.

The research marks the launch of a new giving platform, Work for Good, which enables businesses to give to good causes in a way that’s good for business too.

In our changing world there is greater expectation from consumers and customers for businesses to make a difference, not just make a profit. This purpose-led approach to business is increasingly important and Work for Good empowers businesses to give to grow – a third (37%) of SMEs claim that charitable giving has helped to attract new clients.

Sir Harvey McGrath, Chair of Big Society Capital comments: “Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the importance of giving back, and Work for Good is a great way to help them do it.”

Ben Davies, Managing Director, The Web Kitchen says: “We like how Work for Good helps us tell our giving story, to inspire and engage others. Whether that’s to motivate our people who appreciate working for a company with soul, or starting interesting new conversations with customers who may be that bit more loyal as a result.”

Helen Mabberley, Head of Fundraising at Malaria No More UK commented, “Securing corporate support can be very difficult. Work for Good’s magic lies in their ability to bring us interest we wouldn’t otherwise find, freeing up more of our time to focus on the fight against malaria.”

Work for Good also provides the solution for businesses faced with complicated Commercial Participation Agreements (CPAs), as required by the Charities Acts to set out an agreed partnership between business and charity.

Danny Witter, CEO and Co-Founder, Work for Good comments: “Our platform is a catalyst for more businesses to make a real and tangible change in the world. Today clients, suppliers, customers and employees now expect the brands and businesses they engage with to do more. Those that do will prosper. The Work for Good platform helps businesses of all shapes and sizes to give whilst growing their business.”

For more information on Work for Good, or to sign up, visit www.workforgood.co.uk


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TEACH Expands to Second Hospital in Michigan

The non-profit now has volunteer college students and medical students conducting science experiments with sick children in hospitals in five different states

Press Release – NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — TEACH (Together Educating All Children in Hospitals), a nonprofit organization that creates an outlet for hospitalized children to passionately engage with the sciences through fun, interactive experiments, announced its expansion to a second hospital in the state of Michigan, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, which is located in Detroit. Volunteers have already been conducting science experiments with ill children in C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, in 2012, there were nearly 5.9 million hospitalizations for children in the United States. Without the educational and social environments that schools and day-to-day life provides, the days spent stuck in hospitals seem to be endless for pediatric patients. Children are often left isolated from their family and peers, with little opportunity to nurture the curiosity that so often defines childhood.

“One child asked if we could come back tomorrow, because it was so much fun,” said Jared Silverberg, President of the Michigan TEACH branch. TEACH plans on reaching over 100 children a year between the two hospitals. TEACH has been able to serve over 1700 children in 22 hospitals in the U.S. and Israel but hopes to expand in the coming year, to reach even more children. To support this endeavor, a campaign has been launched to spread TEACH’s mission and to secure the financial support necessary to bring educational and entertaining activities to hundreds of additional children: https://teach4kids.networkforgood.com/projects/45491-teach

Children use everyday objects to understand biological concepts such as, respiration by using household materials, balloons and plastic bottles to build models of lungs. In many cases, the children save the instructions to continue to perform the experiment even after the volunteers leave. Student volunteers sign-up to visit hospitals and perform these and other science modules with the pediatric patients, bringing education, energy and excitement to pediatric patients.

In addition to expanding to additional hospitals, TEACH is looking for more students who would like to get involved with the organization. If you are looking for a way to make a difference in a child’s life, please consider joining TEACH! If you would like to become a hospital leader, volunteer, bring TEACH to a hospital near you, or you are an organization that would like to collaborate with TEACH, contact the President at Isaac.Snyder@TEACH4Kids.org.

About TEACH

TEACH (Together Educating All Children in Hospitals) is an international not-for-profit organization that brings exciting, hands-on, educational programming to children in hospitals. Its mission is to create an outlet for children of all ages to passionately engage with the sciences through the medium of fun, interactive experiments. For more information about TEACH, to donate, or to learn how to get involved, please visit the website TEACH4kids.org, and follow TEACH on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/studentsTEACH.


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