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Winners of Second Annual Beau Biden Memorial Scholarship Announced

Ten recent Delaware high school graduates recognized for their accomplishments; will be awarded $22,000 in scholarship funds by Delaware-based philanthropic foundation, I Could Do Great Things

Press Release – Wilmington, Del. (May 19, 2017) – The I Could Do Great Things Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of its second annual Beau Biden Memorial Scholarship. The 2017 Scholarship recipients are all high school graduates from Delaware – Christie Little of Harrington, Alex Russo of Wilmington and Samantha Steeman of Bear. Additionally, seven applicants who have committed to attend the University of Delaware in the fall will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Little, a graduating senior of Lake Forest High School who will attend Swarthmore College in the fall, receives the Scholarship’s Gold Award of $10,000. Russo, a 2017 graduate of Concord High School, and Steeman, a 2017 graduate of Caravel Academy, are co-recipients of the Silver Award, each receiving $2,500. This coming fall, Russo will be a freshman at American University, while Steeman will be attending the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to the Gold and Silver winners, The Foundation has awarded $1,000 to seven Delaware high school seniors who will be attending the University of Delaware in the fall. Those winners include:

Michael Chaffinch – Laurel High School
Taylor Coleman – Appoquinimink High School
Skyler Hudson – Indian River High School
Anna McCarter – Charter School of Wilmington
Elana Montejo – Smyrna High School
Sansskruty Rayavarapu – Cab Calloway School of the Arts
Hayley Whiting – Caravel Academy

Named after former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who passed away in 2015 at age 46, the scholarship was established by the I Could Do Great Things Foundation, an independent Delaware-based philanthropy. The scholarship honors college-bound high school seniors from Delaware “who embody the virtues of Beau Biden, who exhibited qualities of leadership, community, civility, respect, and a strong moral compass.”

The Scholarship selection team, consisting of members of the Biden family, reviewed applications from more than 145 high school seniors before naming this year’s winners.

The Biden Family, who serve as members of the selection committee, commented that, “These graduates are seeking to build a future that exemplifies and continues Beau’s legacy of service and accomplishment. Christie, Alex and Samantha really demonstrated the highest standard of academics, leadership and compassion in their school and local communities. We are confident that they will each go on to do great things and are thrilled to help support their future success.”

Christie Little, who actively volunteers for numerous non-profit organizations while carrying a 4.3 GPA, wrote about her passion for service and community activism. “I know that to see a world of kindness and respect, I must embody the qualities of tolerance and compassion, and spread that message of love and civility to those around me,” said Little.

Alex Russo noted in his essay how Beau Biden chose justice over politics, “Compassion, justice, opportunity. These were all thing Beau fought for and what encouraged me to go into public service.”

Samantha Steeman has grown from a Special Olympics Delaware Unified partner to a certified coach. Samantha works with athletes in figure skating and soccer. Steeman knows that, “leadership is about acting upon talents and communicating to help improve your community or group, inspiring those around you to serve.”

More on the 2017 Beau Biden Memorial Gold and Silver Scholarship recipients:

Christie Little – Beau Biden Memorial Scholarship Gold Award

Christie Little, of Harrington, Del., is a 2017 graduate of Lake Forrest High School in Felton, DE. Ranked first in her class, Ms. Little earned Honors at Lake Forest, graduating with a 4.3 GPA in a curriculum that included 6 Advanced Placement courses. Christie’s leadership positions at school included her roles as Lake Forest Student Council President, Kent County Philanthropy Board, and Secretary of Lake Forest FFA. In 2016, Ms. Little was selected as Miss Lake Forest and received a National Merit Scholarship Program Commendation.

Alex Russo – Beau Biden Memorial Scholarship Silver Award

Alex Russo, of Wilmington, Del., is a 2017 graduate of Wilmington-based Concord High School. Graduating with a 3.7 GPA, Mr. Russo serves as President of Concord’s Educators Rising program and volunteered more than 250 hours toward community and school-based service initiatives during the 2015-2016 school year.

Samantha Steeman – Beau Biden Memorial Scholarship Silver Award

Samantha Steeman, of Bear, Del., is a 2017 graduate of Caravel Academy. Ms. Steeman is ranked first in her class and has earned both an AP Scholar Distinction and Scholar Athlete recognition. In her senior year, Ms. Steeman served as captain of the cross-country team, the President of Caravel’s National Honor Society and a project leader for the school’s Jefferson Awards program.

Details about the Beau Biden Memorial Scholarship can be found on the Foundation’s site at

Grey Announces UNICEF Partnership And The Formation Of The UNICEF + Grey Global Kids Council

As Grey turns 100 years old, the agency works with UNICEF to focus on the next generation, solving world problems with creativity

Press Release – NEW YORK, Friday, May 19, 2017 – Building on a long tradition of pro bono work to better the world, for its 100th year anniversary, Grey has partnered with UNICEF to help improve the lives of children around the world. Together they will create the UNICEF + Grey Global Kids Council for mentorship and marketing initiatives and, more immediately, a back-to-school pro bono campaign, launching in the fall.

The UNICEF + Grey Global Kids Council is a nod to Grey’s longstanding Global Creative Council that comes together each year to discuss work. The kids version will comprise young people from six countries across six continents – the USA, The Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, India and Turkey – paired with Grey global offices as they are trained in the fundamentals of marketing, offering them knowledge and resources to create meaningful change and rally around children’s causes in their countries, in preparation for World Children’s Day on November 20, 2017.

“Grey has always been an agency that values diversity of experiences and ideas using our colorful minds for the greater good, and we are honored to formalize a partnership with UNICEF to continue that tradition,” said Grey’s Global President, Michael Houston. “Diversity is borderless, and knows no bounds, and it’s this philosophy that we hope to instill in these children – empowering them to make an impact on the world as their unique perceptions and perspectives will help to achieve both local and global insights to problems facing youth today, and ideas for how to solve them.”

To highlight and support UNICEF’s work to ensure that every child has access to education, Grey will create a back-to-school pro bono campaign launching in late summer. The campaign will aim to educate and fundraise for UNICEF’s programs to put children first. This integrated marketing movement will combine the organization’s channels and resources with Grey’s creative expertise around a key moment for many families.

“This partnership speaks to some of the core ideas that UNICEF USA has worked to support for more than 70 years – kids helping their peers around the world and empowering the next generation of global citizens – along with shared ideals around creative problem solving and using global reach to support local communities,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO, UNICEF USA. “This new partnership model allows kids the valuable opportunity to improve their lives and shape their futures – we can’t wait to see the results.”

About Grey

Grey is the advertising network of Grey Group, which is led by James R. Heekin III, Chairman and CEO. Grey Group ranks among the largest global communications companies. Its parent company is WPP (NASDAQ : WPPGY). Under the banner of “Grey Famously Effective Since 1917,” the agency serves a blue-chip roster of many of the world’s best known companies: Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Kellogg’s, Pfizer, Canon, NFL, Boehringer Ingelheim, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Nestlé, Papa John’s and T.J. Maxx. Grey was named ADWEEK’s “Global Agency of the Year” for 2015. (


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. (

Niagara University Receives Estate Gift Totaling More Than $4 Million

Press Release – NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Niagara University has received a gift from the estate of the late Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko. The gift, which will exceed $4.1 million, will be used for several university projects and initiatives.

“We are incredibly humbled and thankful for the gift that Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko has left for Niagara University,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “As an immigrant, Rose was familiar with the struggles of people who live on the margins of our society, and Niagara’s Vincentian mission resonated strongly with her. We are incredibly thankful to her for her generosity, and it is our mission to uphold the wishes and the legacy of Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko.”

Through the estate gift, the following initiatives have been established at Niagara University:

  • The Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Chair in Professional Ethics will initially be dedicated to ethical issues in the context of medicine and healthcare. This work will include hosting academic conferences and workshops on campus and fostering new research opportunities for students interested in medical ethics.
  • Beginning this fall, the Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race and Equality will focus on race and equality, generating and applying research to cultivate exchange among faculty and students, engaging meaningfully with the broader community on initiatives that apply research to action, and integrating issues of race and equality into the teaching/learning environment at Niagara.
  • The associate director of equity and inclusion, a new positon at the university, will serve as the Title IX coordinator and be responsible for training and communication as mandated by New York’s “Enough is Enough” legislation, the biannual campus climate survey, annual reporting and affirmative action oversight.

In addition to these specific initiatives, Niagara will also use funding from the Ostapenko estate for student scholarships, further enhancing the university’s mission of providing an affordable, high-quality education to students from all walks of life.

Ostapenko was a native of Germany who immigrated to the United States in the 1930s before becoming a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. Utilizing her talents as a clothing designer, Ostapenko opened The Sewing Shop in Washington, D.C., the precursor to The House of Fine Fabrics, a 17-store corporation. She sold the fabric store chain in 1978 to Fabri-Center of America.

Ostapenko’s philanthropy supported many types of educational, religious, health, and community service organizations. She was introduced to Niagara University by her friend, 1951 NU alumnus Jim Keenan, and developed a friendship with the Rev. Francis X. Prior, C.M., who served as NU’s vice president for institutional advancement. Ostapenko received an honorary doctorate from Niagara in 1986. Upon her passing in 2014, a portion of her estate was designated to support Niagara University.

To learn more about Niagara University, please visit

Niagara University

Founded by the Vincentian community in 1856, Niagara University is a comprehensive institution, blending the best of a liberal arts and professional education, grounded in our values-based Catholic tradition. Its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, and Hospitality and Tourism Management offer programs at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral level.

As the first Vincentian university established in the United States, Niagara prepares students for personal and professional success while emphasizing service to the community in honor of St. Vincent de Paul. Niagara’s institutional commitment to service learning has led to its inclusion on the President’s Honor Roll for Community Service every year since its inception in 2006, and its recognition with the Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement.

National Museum of Women in the Arts Wins Prestigious Media and Technology Award for #5WomenArtists Campaign

Press Release – WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a 2017 MUSE Award for the entry “Can You Name #5WomenArtists? A Viral Campaign for Women’s History Month.”

NMWA was presented with the top prize, the Gold MUSE Award, in the Digital Communities category during a reception on Sunday, May 7, 2017, at the 2017 American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. There to receive the award was Stacy Meteer, NMWA’s Communications and Marketing Manager, along with Emily Haight, Digital Editorial Assistant, Mara Kurlandsky, Project Coordinator for Digital Engagement and Amy Mannarino, Director of Communications and Marketing. This award recognizes NMWA’s high achievement in the application of media and technology to Gallery, Library, Archive and Museum (GLAM) programs.

The MUSE Awards competition received more than 200 applications from a wide variety of institutions in North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. This year’s entries included videos and films, interactive kiosks and installations, virtual reality experiences, applications and APIs, digital communities, websites, audio tours and more. Over 90 GLAM professionals from across the globe participated as jurors in the process of reviewing and scoring entries. Winning programs were expected to demonstrate outstanding achievement in their content, interface, design, technical merit, innovation, utility and appeal.

“It is an honor and a privilege for the Media & Technology Professional Network to host the 28th annual MUSE Awards,” said Neal Johnson, Chair, AAM Media & Technology Professional Network. “The quality of this year’s entries demonstrates an ever increasing sophistication in the way GLAM’s are leveraging both traditional and cutting edge technologies in service to their public audiences.”

“We are thrilled to receive this honor and recognition from the American Alliance of Museums for our #5WomenArtists campaign,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “Thank you to the MUSE jurors and a special thank you to all who joined us in our #5WomenArtists initiative. By sparking conversations around the globe on gender parity in the arts, we are working together to increase awareness of and promote positive action on this important issue.”

The #5WomenArtists social media campaign began with a simple idea: If you ask someone to name five artists, they will likely name prominent male artists, but how many people can list five women artists? What started as a viral campaign turn into a self-sustainable, digital community with global reach and impact. It provides a platform for both institutions and individuals to share stories and have dialogue.

No matter what the size of a digital community is, two-way communication is essential between institution and audience. The community that was created after the launch of this campaign is still expanding and growing in international influence and taps into a wider audience. By building this community, the museum has confirmed its relevance and is an example to other institutions on an international level.

Digital Communities, or online social spaces moderated and hosted by a GLAM, offer a virtual space for people to gather around a common experience, exhibition or interest. Entries in this category have included blogs, badging, social media campaigns/projects and micro-sites created for on-going community engagement. The 2017 MUSE Awards for this category are as follows:

  • Can You Name #5WomenArtists? A Viral Campaign for Women’s History Month, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gold
  • The Stinkiest Thing You Ever Watched, The New York Botanical Garden, Silver
  • Tattoo Stories, The Field Museum, Bronze
  • #ChihulyTO, Royal Ontario Museum, Honorable Mention

Now in its 28th year, the MUSE awards competition recognizes outstanding achievement in GLAM media and technology efforts. The competition is administrated by the American Alliance of Museums Media & Technology Professional Network.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the world’s only major museum solely dedicated to celebrating the creative contributions of women. The museum champions women through the arts by collecting, exhibiting, researching and creating programs that advocate for equity and shine a light on excellence. NMWA highlights remarkable women artists of the past while also promoting the best women artists working today. The museum’s collection includes over 5,000 works by more than 1,000 women artists from the 16th century to the present, including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Alma Thomas, Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Chakaia Booker and Nan Goldin. NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., in a landmark building near the White House. It is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, noon–5 p.m. For information, call 202-783-5000 or visit Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA members and youths 18 and under. Free Community Days take place on the first Sunday of each month. For more information about NMWA, visit, Broad Strokes Blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

For more information about the MUSE awards, please visit:

New Research Finds Tax Reform Proposals Would Significantly Decrease Charitable Giving

But expanding the charitable deduction to 100 percent of taxpayers would result in an estimated $4.8 billion in donations to charitable organizations, including religious institutions

Press Release – (WASHINGTON, May 18, 2017) – Current tax reform proposals by Republican lawmakers and the Administration would decrease charitable giving by an estimated $13.1 billion, according to new research commissioned by Independent Sector and conducted by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

The study also found that when those proposals incorporated an expanded charitable deduction for all taxpayers, including people who do not currently itemize on their taxes, charitable giving would actually increase by an estimated $4.8 billion.

Americans are generous but research has consistently shown that people do give more when they are incentivized to do so through the tax code. In 2015, Americans gave more than $373 billion to charitable organizations to fund strong arts and culture organizations; increase access to education and healthcare; create opportunities for escaping the cycle of poverty; help military veterans; mentor youth; and protect the natural world.

The new tax study used the 2014 Tax Reform Act introduced by then House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) to estimate the potential effects of tax policies on charitable giving. The tax proposal released by the Trump Administration last month and the Republican proposal both closely mirror the Camp proposal with respect to reducing the top marginal tax rate and increasing the standard deduction.

“We took the position last year that expanding the charitable deduction to 100 percent of taxpayers would encourage all Americans to give more and ensure that more dollars were being put back into communities for local, effective solutions,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “We are encouraged that the research shows that expanding the deduction has the potential to more than offset the estimated loss in charitable dollars resulting from current reform proposals. Those charitable dollars improve lives and the natural world for all Americans.”

“When talking about changes in tax policy, it is important that the debate is informed by research. This study provides important information about the expected effects of the proposed tax policy changes and the extension of the charitable deduction to non-itemizers,” said Patrick M. Rooney, associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

“On the face of it, the tax reform blueprint from the Administration and Republican lawmakers appears to preserve the charitable tax deduction, which is good news,” noted Susan Dreyfus, chairman of Leadership 18 and president and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. “However, there are unintended consequence of reducing the incentive for charitable giving, according to this new research. Fortunately, this study provides data that indicates there is a simple fix. By making the charitable deduction available to all, including non-itemizers, the incentive to give will be preserved.”

“America is recognized around the world for our charitable spirit and ability to come together as a nation in times of need to solve social problems,” said Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide and standing vice chair of Leadership 18. “Americans will never stop giving, but we know that tax incentives are important to how much they give. And for the human service organizations that comprise Leadership 18, charitable giving represents a majority of our funding, which enables us to fill the gaps in social services for vulnerable families.”

In addition to looking at overall giving, the study looked at how changes to tax policy affects giving to religious institutions and found proposed tax reform plans would reduce charitable giving to religious organizations by 4.7 percent compared to 4.4 percent to other types of charities.

In March, IS also conducted a public poll of 800 registered voters and found that 75 percent of American voters wanted to expand the charitable deduction to taxpayers who do not itemize on their taxes. IS will be continuing to work closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure that tax policies strengthen the charitable community’s ability to meet missions, provide services, and improve lives for every American.

Learn more about Independent Sector’s public policy work and this study at

Learn more about the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s research at

Independent Sector thanks Leadership 18 for supporting this work.

Eleven Female Israeli Founders Selected to Participate at Silicon Valley Open Doors Conference

WEACT To Host their Second Delegation to the Silicon Valley As Part of a Movement for Equal Opportunity In Innovation Ecosystem and Investment Industries

Press Release – MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 17, 2017: WEACT (Women Entrepreneurs ACT) is hosting 11 Israeli female entrepreneurs recently selected in either Tel Aviv or by SVOD for the opportunity to participate at Silicon Valley Open Doors Conference May 24 and 25. Out of 1000 applicants, 37 were accepted to compete in SVOD’s pitch competition. 7 (out of the 37) of the attending WEACT founders will pitch for seed to series B funding in front of 2000 people, including 300 top angel investors and venture capitalists. In SVOD’s 13 year history, every 2nd participating company has been funded and over $750M has been raised to date from funds such as Draper Associates, Founders Fund, Salesforce, Yuri Milner and Y Combinator.

WEACT’s mission is to promote an equal opportunity ecosystem and supporting women’s efforts to build global corporations. According to founder Darya Shaked, “In an era of exponential technology growth and rapid innovation processes, gender equality means more diverse solutions to a vast range of challenges. Furthermore, more female success stories will bring more women to the innovation and investment industries.” Participating in SVOD, Shaked believes will provide the entrepreneurs the best possible opportunity for awareness, funding and growth, beyond the possibilities available in Israel.

WEACT’s Pitching Founders:

Feelter, Smardar Landau: combats the 98% churn rate of eCommerce websites by automatically curating the most valuable and authentic social mentions that usually get lost in the noise (Facebook statuses, Instagram, tweets, and over 150 other sources) and unlocks the wisdom of the crowd on the site – increasing conversion by ~40%. Recently raised $4.5M in seed and series A funding

Splacer, Lihi Gerstner and Adi Biran: helps space owners monetize their space. The centralized platform allows space owners to manage their short term rental businesses and access a robust marketplace of booking opportunities for events. Splacer has raised over $7M in seed and series A funding

Julbox, Maya Caspi Schliesser: redefines the fashion jewelry industry by empowering everyone to design, sell and shop for affordable, one of a kind pieces

MyMylk, Ravid Shechter: personal diagnostic platform and information system for optimizing breastfeeding, based on unique direct-to-customer human milk tests

@gameofwhales, Maya Gurevich Kagan (with Co-Founder Doron Kagan): helps mobile game/ app developers and publishers increase revenue by easily identifying and profiling their users, analyzing usage patterns and spending habits, and presenting compelling incentives specifically tailored to keep everyone—from the tiniest fish to the mightiest whales—engaged and buying more

Listen App (IMNA Solutions), Merav Naor-Weinstock: a solution that makes mobile on-call interaction secure, transparent, and easy to manage while preserving functionality and end-user privacy. The app helps protect the corporate world from information larceny by securing companies’ communication on mobile devices. Listen App has raised over $1M in funding.

One (formerly Zuznow), Rachel Batish: AI-powered rapid mobile application development platform enables enterprises to quickly implement a sustainable, successful mobile strategy. The platform produces premium enterprise apps for customers, employees, and partners, serving as a single resource for mobility needs, with speed and scalability not otherwise humanly possible. One has raised $2.65M funding

WEACT’s Participating Founders:

Safedk, Ronnie Sternberg: offers a mobile SDK management platform to help app developers stay on top of the multiple SDKs their apps increasingly rely on. Recently raised $3.5M in Series A funding

Awear Solutions, Liron Slonimsky Shemy: introduces a smart tag technology that enables fashion brands to discover, engage and even mobilize their consumers and reward them for being their real brand ambassadors. Through a fashion frequent flyer program consumers are incentivized to wear specific products in order to unlock VIP experiences, perks and promotions in real-time, while the brand gets post-sale analytics on product usage http://

Sunbit, Omit Dweck-Maizel: Sunbit is a fundamentally new way to pay, that eliminates financial waste while providing the best possible experience for retailers and customers. Sunbit is the simplest and quickest way for retailers to split a purchase into multiple payments, increasing sales and extending the buying power of customers so that retailers to earn more while customers pay less. Sunbit has raised $3M funding to date

Papaya Global, Yael Herbst will be representing founder Eynat Guez: Papaya Global provides fast and flexible workforce solutions for companies and startups looking to grow their teams and expand globally. Currently offering Employee leasing, Payroll, Immigration, Recruitment,

OutSourcing and HR administration services in 70 countries. Papaya Global has received $1.2M in seed funding

SVOD will be WEACT’s second initiative in the US. Their first Israeli delegation to the Silicon Valley resulted in one founder selling her start up to Apple. 220 founders have applied to WEACT in its first year. Their next Silicon Valley mission is planned for October 15, 2017.

WEACT: is dedicated to supporting female entrepreneurs and building an equal opportunity ecosystem. WEACT is the main initiative of Stride Ventures.

DARYA SHAKED: founded WEACT as part of her passion for impact investing, philanthropy and promoting female entrepreneurship. She is formally Communications Specialist for the Prime Minister of Israel and spent the last decade working at the largest impact investment fund focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. She is a lawyer and recent graduate of Singularity University and Stanford’s Executive Program for Women. She is a mother of 3 http://

SVOD: is an international startup investment conference (May 24 and 25, 2017) where early startup founders meet successful founders, investors and industry legends, who are shaping our lives today and influencing our future. Conference includes fireside chats and keynotes about technology innovation with the leaders in technology, venture capital, and entrepreneurship.

Center For Nonprofit Management Connects Top Civic, Philanthropic And Nonprofit Leaders At 2017 Conference

“Creating CommUNITY Out of Chaos” 501(c)onference takes place June 13 & 14 

Press Release – Los Angeles, CA – In a political climate awash with uncertainty and anxiety, the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) announces their 501(c)onference, this year titled: “Creating CommUNITY Out of Chaos.” This annual event brings together nearly 400 nonprofit, philanthropic and civic leaders working on many issues, from overcrowded prisons and homelessness to immigration and threats to our environment. They will gather for two days to share knowledge and combine forces to better serve their community within these challenging and chaotic times.

The sixth-annual event takes place Tuesday, June 13, and Wednesday, June 14, at the Center for Nonprofit Management in Downtown Los Angeles. The only nonprofit sector conference of its kind in Southern California, the event will draw nonprofit leaders from around the region to share successes, draw strength from diverse viewpoints, unite around common goals and transform dialogue into meaningful change for people and places being left behind.

“In the midst of the noise and chaos, the day-to-day work still has to be done. People are depending on health clinics, after school opportunities and job training programs regardless of the political climate,” said CNM CEO Regina Birdsell. “Nonprofit executives and board members are straddling how to meet current needs and prepare for what might happen given the current environment. The conference offers a safe space where people leading community based organizations can talk about their concerns. It gives leaders in Southern California the chance to forge new relationships, learn new tactics and create alliances with other great organizations leaders trying to solve problems.”

Attendees will hear from experts across a range of fields such as Dowell Myers, professor at USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and director of Population Dynamics Research who will discuss key demographic shifts that are influencing communities and what these trends might signal for the future of the nonprofit sector.

They will explore innovative and emerging business models such as social enterprises and B Corporations that are part of a growing spectrum of mission-driven businesses advancing social causes.

Breakout sessions on both conference days will explore such critical nonprofit topics as unconscious bias; using data to measure impact; jumpstarting advocacy; board members as advocates; leadership transitions; tapping into corporate philanthropy and more.

Attendees will learn how their organizations can promote equity-focused strategies and policies by delving into findings from the 2017 Equity Profile of the Los Angeles Region, a report developed by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at USC.

Birdsell, who through CNM works closely year-round with nonprofits to improve their effectiveness and impact, said she remembers the fear that engulfed organizations during the 2008 recession. “People were stressed then but not personally distressed as they are now. As leaders, how do you plan when you don’t know where we are headed?”

And yet, Birdsell is excited that in the political uncertainty there’s an opportunity to talk about challenges that may not have otherwise emerged.

“Operating in South California we have a diversity of perspectives. It’s instructive to bring people around the table to welcome these perspective, to say this is what makes this community rich, that’s why we are such a strong economy and lead many efforts around the nation that make others look to California to see what we are doing here. We certainly see that at the conference, how we can learn from each other to have an even greater impact if we are more connected.”

This year’s almost 40 presenters include: Alex Cohen, public radio host; Sebastien Gendry, CEO, The Laughter Consultants; Shane Murphy Goldsmith, president & CEO, Liberty Hill and Commissioner, Los Angeles Police Commission; Alex M. Johnson, managing director, Californians for Safety and Justice Group; Laurie Lipper, co-founder/senior advisor, Children’s Partnership; Nona Randois, Southern California director, Bolder Advocacy Program, Alliance for Justice; Karla Salazar, senior director, sustainability, California Community Foundation; Hector Villagra, executive director, ACLU Southern California

What: “Creating CommUNITY Out of Chaos” 501 (c)onference, presented by Center for Nonprofit Management
When: Tuesday, June 13, and Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Where: Center for Nonprofit Management, 1000 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Center for Nonprofit Management

For nearly 40 years, the Center for Nonprofit Management has stood as the premier resource for the Southern California nonprofit community. By providing assistance in a variety of areas, the Center has supported thousands of organizations as they meet the needs of their communities.

More information:

Poetry Foundation Announces Kristen Tracy Winner of 2017 Emily Dickinson First Book Award

Award recognizes an American poet who is at least forty years of age

Press Release – CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce that poet Kristen Tracy has won the 2017 Emily Dickinson First Book Award for her manuscript Half-Hazard. The occasional prize (last awarded in 2012) is designed to recognize an American poet at least 40-years-old who has yet to publish a first collection of poetry. Tracy’s manuscript Half-Hazard, which was previously a finalist for the Yale Younger Poet Prize and a semi-finalist for the Walt Whitman Award and Sarabande Books’ Kathryn A. Morton Prize, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2018. Tracy will be honored at the Pegasus Awards ceremony at the Poetry Foundation on June 12.

Kristen Tracy grew up in a small Mormon farming community in Idaho. She earned an MA in American Literature from Brigham Young University, an MFA from Vermont College, and a PhD in English from Western Michigan University. Her poems have appeared in more than two dozen literary journals.

“The Poetry Foundation is proud to recognize Kristen Tracy, whose manuscript was selected from more than one thousand submissions to this year’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award contest, and to partner with Graywolf Press in publishing these distinctive poems,” said Poetry Foundation President Henry Bienen.

In describing Half-Hazard, Jeff Shotts, Executive Editor at Graywolf Press, noted that it is “full of warnings and dangers, as well as wry observations, and also full of a kind of joy made sweeter by its being earned, lived, and perceived.” Shotts continued, “It’s a great honor for Graywolf to publish Tracy’s unusual and accomplished debut through our ongoing collaboration with the Poetry Foundation and the Emily Dickinson First Book Award. Discovering important new voices is at the heart of this award and the missions of both the Press and the Foundation.”

Tracy’s book, Half-Hazard, is scheduled to be published by Graywolf Press in fall of 2018. The Poetry Foundation will release a press announcement upon publication.

Student Startups Pitch For $100,000 In Capital At VentureCat Competition

Northwestern’s best, brightest and most promising student startups to compete May 24

  • Winning team will take home $35,000 in prize money “with no strings attached” 
  • 25 semifinalist teams participating in four-week pitch prep program
  • Students benefit from “system of controlled chaos” and entrepreneurial ecosystem at Northwestern

Press Release – EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern University VentureCat, the annual competition that brings together the best, brightest and most-promising student-founded startups from across the University, will take place May 24 on the Evanston campus.

“Unlike many other similar competitions, the prize money at VentureCat is non-dilutive capital, meaning there is no equity taken nor any strings attached,” said Melissa Kaufman, executive director of The Garage, Northwestern’s hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation.

Northwestern’s most promising student startup teams will pitch their ventures to a panel of judges, clearly articulating problems they are solving and their solutions. They also need to prove they have assembled the right team and have a clear go-to-market strategy. The winning team will take home $35,000 in non-dilutive prize money.

New this year, all 25 semifinalist teams are participating in a four-week-long semifinalist pitch prep program. The program includes: pitch coaching from University faculty and staff, advice from industry experts and professional graphic design support. This will level the playing field, allowing undergraduates, graduates and Ph.D. students to compete on equal footing. (See the VentureCat feature page with a video clip of The Garage’s Melissa Kaufman, offering top tips to semifinalists.)

Keynote speakers

This year’s keynote speakers are Nathan Cooper and Rebecca Sholiton, who won third place in the competition last year for Eat Pakd, a company that creates fresh, custom lunches for children and adults, delivered directly to their homes.

Eat Pakd was built at Northwestern while Cooper and Sholiton were students at the Kellogg School of Management. As student entrepreneurs, they grew their venture and incubated their startup at The Garage. Eat Pakd has since grown into a successful Chicago-based startup, offering weekly delivery of wholesome meals.

VentureCat and Chicago landscape difference compared with Silicon Valley

VentureCat also is distinguished by its organization of competitors in industry-specific tracks, which leverages the rich expertise of distinct schools from across the University in both graduate and undergraduate programs.

“Northwestern student startups span many different industries, as exemplified in VentureCat’s six distinct tracks,” Kaufman said. “Chicago, like Northwestern, thrives in a number of industries. There are also many students building physical products, whereas in Silicon Valley a lot of startups are pure software. This speaks to Chicago’s strong manufacturing roots and the evolution of new product-focused spaces like mHUB. Chicago is well positioned to thrive at the intersection of software and hardware, which has been discussed in the media lately as the “Chicago Maker-Entrepreneur.”

“A system of controlled chaos” at Northwestern

VentureCat is a coordinated effort with the Kellogg School of Management, The Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurial Law Center, The Garage and the Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO). Faculty, staff and students from across the University also contribute as event organizers, volunteers and pitch coaches.

VentureCat and The Garage were developed to allow for “a system of controlled chaos,” said Alicia Löffler, executive director of INVO. They capture the projects and startups that rise to the top, showcasing nearly all the promising student ventures that may one day change the world.

“Students play a central role in our strategy to support a vibrant and distinctive entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Löffler said.

VentureCat is a game changer

For Alexei Mlodinow, a member of the SurgiNet team that competed last year, VentureCat was a game changer.

“Not only did the format force the story to be sharper for future investor presentations, it provided an early bonus of non-dilutive capital at a time when I hadn’t even finished the MBA program,” he said. “That helped us get up and running in the summer and contributed to the development of the product that is now finished and ready for preclinical trials starting next month.”

More News at Northwestern Now

Investors Call for Climate Action through Forestry Investment

New Forests’ investment symposium featured former VP Al Gore, California Senate President Kevin de Leόn, investors, and Native leaders at the forefront of climate mitigation

Press Release – May 17, 2017, SAN FRANCISCO – A diverse group of more than 100 institutional investors, impact investors, businesses, and NGOs gathered in San Francisco to explore investment opportunities in the forest sector that will help mitigate climate change. The investment symposium was convened on May 16 in San Francisco by New Forests, an international investment manager specializing in strategies for sustainable forest management and conservation. As the global community increasingly seeks to mobilize capital for climate solutions, the event highlighted the important role of forests in both removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere as well as the contribution of the forest sector to a rising bio-economy.

Former Vice President Al Gore opened the event with his keynote speech on the Case for Optimism in the Climate Crisis. Gore is chairman of Generation Investment Management, which has been invested in New Forests since 2008.

Kevin de León, the President pro Tempore of the California State Senate and a leader in legislative action on climate change, also spoke at the event. Senator de León noted, “California has been leading the transition to a low carbon economy for decades. We know we don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We’ve already adopted some of the most ambitious clean energy and emissions targets in the world and we’re not done yet.”

Alongside the business case for investing in forest-climate solutions, New Forests’ symposium explored the experience of Native American communities who have enrolled their forests to provide carbon offsets for California’s emissions trading scheme. Through its Forest Carbon Partners program, New Forests is currently working with several tribes in California, Alaska, and New Mexico as part of its forest-carbon investments on more than 445,000 acres of forests in the United States.

Chairman Thomas O’Rourke of the Yurok Tribal Council, who also spoke at the symposium, said, “The Yurok and other Native American tribes across the United States are taking the lead in managing forests to address our climate challenge. Partnering with New Forests to develop a forest carbon offset project on Yurok lands has supported our long-term sustainable forest stewardship, the re-acquisition of ancestral Yurok territory, and the re-patriation of important cultural heritage.”

The Forests as a Climate Solution event also highlighted the experience of foundations, corporations, and institutional investors in integrating climate impacts within their timberland investments and broader objectives to decarbonize businesses and investment portfolios. The symposium is an important step in furthering the dialogue around how to best direct private capital into forest-climate solutions.

“The forest sector, alongside renewable energy, will be critical in transitioning the global economy to a low carbon future,” said New Forests’ CEO David Brand. “We increasingly see our investors looking not only to understand the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their investments but also to understand how forestry assets in their portfolio can decrease emissions and play a role in the growing bio-economy.”

Brand continued, “We believe the emergence of new uses for timber and innovation in the forest sector will be able to provide attractive opportunities for investors while also providing the public good of climate change mitigation. Ultimately we are at a critical point in which the investment community can address the greatest challenge of our time – climate change – while still meeting their needs for financial return.”

About New Forests

As global demand for resources grows, there is a need to increase productivity while ensuring the conservation of the world’s remaining natural forests. New Forests seeks to create investment strategies that provide lasting solutions to this challenge. Through responsible management of forests and other real assets, we create shared benefit for investors and local communities alike. We believe that meeting the needs of a broad range of stakeholders will provide better returns over the long term.

New Forests has international reach, with offices and assets in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and the US. This gives us a global perspective combined with local expertise that allows us to understand and manage our assets more effectively. Wherever we operate in the world, our strength lies in our people and their drive to make investments that create the best possible outcomes. By investing with integrity and transparency we aim to generate strong returns while helping tackle some of the world’s great sustainability challenges.

Learn more at

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