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This category includes articles that apply to social good in general and may include policy, practice and other stories relevant to everyone.

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Defenders Of Wildife Joins People’s Climate Movement March

Press Release – WASHINGTON (Apr. 29, 2017) – Defenders of Wildlife is participating in the People’s Climate Movement March in Washington, D.C. today.

Aimee Delach, senior climate adaptation policy analyst for Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

Climate change is happening in our own backyard, but its effects are felt far and wide. Climate change does not discriminate; wildlife and their habitat, and communities here and around the world are all vulnerable to a changing climate.

“There are ways we can prepare for and respond to a warming climate. But we cannot implement these solutions if our leaders outright deny climate change. Our most imperiled wildlife and our global community don’t stand a chance without strong leadership on climate science and climate solutions. That’s why I’m marching today.”

Background

Defenders of Wildlife is a proud partner of the People’s Climate Movement March.

As carbon dioxide levels continue to increase, so does the planet’s temperature. This exacerbates severe weather and climate-related events, like the years-long drought in California, wildfires across the American West and strong cyclones that formed in the Pacific Ocean.

Devastating, severe weather and other climate-related events have become a leading threat to wildlife and their habitat. Erratic weather and severe drought have taken a toll on the monarch butterfly along its extensive migration route and in its winter range. Rising sea levels threaten habitat for the red wolf, North America’s most endangered wolf. Some populations of polar bears are in dire straits due to melting Arctic sea ice. Thousands of species daily contend with the effects of our warming planet.

Games For Change Announces The First “VR For Change” Summit As Part Of Its 14th Annual Games For Change Festival

Three Day Festival to Feature Keynote Presentations by Megan Smith, (former White House Chief Technology Officer); Gabo Arora, (Creative Director & Senior Advisor at the United Nations); Luke Crane, (Head of Games at Kickstarter) and Anjali Bhimani, (Actress/voice of Symmetra in “Overwatch” and Nisha in “Fallout: 4”)

Tickets Currently on Sale via https://g4c17.eventbrite.com

Press Release – (NEW YORK, NY) April 27, 2017Games for Change, the leading global advocate for the power of games as drivers of social impact, today announced the programming for its 14th Annual Games for Change Festival, with an expanded focus on virtual reality with their first VR for Change Summit. The Festival will take place from July 31-August 2, 2017, at Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York City.

The first of its kind, the VR for Change Summit will focus on advancing virtual technologies for positive social change, bringing together developers, artists, storytellers, journalists, researchers, activists and policymakers for dialogue, connections and debates focused on new initiatives to advance the field. Erik Martin, former Policy Advisor at White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Obama Administration, is the VR Summit’s curator.

“With over a decade of experience bringing together the gaming for social impact community and having established partnerships and credibility with nonprofits, foundations and government across a broad spectrum of issue areas, Games for Change is uniquely positioned to convene this emerging community,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. “Very little has been done to directly bring together the VR and social impact community, and organizations that are creating compelling VR experiences and tools to advance their cause-oriented missions have few opportunities to connect and engage in focused and relevant conversations. We are excited to create this new platform where the VR community can finally come together for good.”

“The state of VR technologies today presents an opportunity to affect positive social change in radically new ways,” said Erik Martin, former Policy Advisor at White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Obama Administration. “The emerging landscape of VR technology, such as new headsets and mobile capabilities, as well as augmented reality, are making new kinds of media content and storytelling techniques possible to engage people with critical issues and causes. We are excited to grow the community and amplify impact with the VR for Change Summit.”

The VR for Change Summit will drive pioneering discussions focused on the most exciting technology and experiences being built with VR and ways to support and grow a VR for Change community, with an emphasis on diversity throughout all programming. The Summit will build on Games for Change’s community-sourced model, providing opportunities for curated presentations and discussions, as well as demos, networking, and awards with topical themes around a few critical societal challenges.

Notable speakers for the VR for Change Summit include:

  • A keynote by Megan Smith, the third White House Chief Technology Officer of the United States (U.S. CTO), who will be sharing a vision for how VR and AR technologies could empower people, improve civic engagement and create social change, sharing her experiences and stories as U.S. CTO in the Obama Administration.
  • Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, will illustrate that use of virtual reality and innovative apps have impacted empathy and continue to revolutionize the way people access reproductive health care.
  • Gabo Arora, Creative Director & Senior Advisor at the United Nations, is the founder of UNVR.org, the United Nations’ virtual reality lab. He has directed and produced a series of pioneering, and widely acclaimed, virtual reality documentaries focusing on vulnerable populations in crisis: “Clouds Over Sidra,” “Waves of Grace,” and “My Mother’s Wing.”
  • Ryan and Amy Green, founders of Numinous Games and the creator of award-winning autobiographical game, “That Dragon Cancer,” about their son who was diagnosed with cancer at 12-months old. They will discuss the game’s new VR experience.
  • Aldis Sipolins, Head of Virtual Reality and Game Design, IBM, will discuss why VR is good for science and give an overview of presence and ecological validity in psychological research.

In addition, programming for the VR for Change Summit will include:

  • The U.S. Department of Education EdSim Challenge winners will be featured. This challenge calls upon the VR, video game and edtech communities to submit concepts for VR and AR immersive simulations that strengthen students’ technical skills, preparing them for the 21st century workforce.
  • Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Student Game – Each year Games for Change challenges CMU students from the Entertainment Technology Center to design a game to be played at the annual Festival. This year’s game will be a live crowd-gaming experience using virtual reality to explore competitive social media.
  • VR Brain Jam – On Friday, July 28th – Sunday, July 30th, Games for Change will host an invitation only event, the VR and Neuroscience Game Jam. It will pair neuroscience experts with game developer teams and charge them with exploring the intersection of their domains.

The Games for Change Festival will once again feature three focused tracks: Games for Learning, Neurogaming & Health and Civics & Social Issues, to highlight the impact that games are having in these major sectors and beyond entertainment. Each track will feature Keynote presentations from:

Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute; Luke Crane, Head of Games at Kickstarter; Alan Lewis, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Take-Two Interactive Software; Anjali Bhimani, Actress/voice of Symmetra in “Overwatch” and Nisha in “Fallout: 4”; Louise Dubé, Executive Director of iCivics.

TRACK 1: Civics & Social Issues: The ability of games to inspire empathy and understanding make them a powerful tool for bringing people together and bridging gaps between perspectives. This track will highlight the gaming medium’s ability to engage with contemporary concerns regarding social justice and responsible citizenship.

Speakers Include: Tracy Fullerton, USC Game Innovation Labor; Paolo Pedercini, Professor at Carnegie Mellon University; Colleen Macklin, Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design; Mary Flanagan, Director of Tiltfactor Lab at Dartmouth College; Austin Walker, Editor-in-Chief of Waypoint, Vice’s gaming site; Nicole Rustad, Former Corporate Citizenship Program Manager at Disney.

TRACK 2: Neurogaming & Health: Advances in science and technology enable innovative collaborations between researchers and game makers to produce games with remarkable, measurable outcomes. Festival attendees will be able to take a deep dive into the interactive experiences that aim to improve our brains and bodies.

Speakers include: Luc St-Onge, Associate Producer at Ubisoft; Joseph Koziak, CEO of Amblyotech; Moran Cerf, TED Speaker, Neuroscientist and Behavioral Economist; Attila Szantner, Co-founder of Massively Multiplayer Online Science; Hugo Spiers, Neuroscientist; David Miller, Program Officer at the NIH; Seth Cooper of Fold It; Wolfgang Kampbartold, VP of International Marketing Communications at Deutsche Telekom.

TRACK 3: Games for Learning: The 3rd annual Games for Learning Summit will explore how games are transforming education. Festival attendees will have the opportunity to hear from emerging leaders in game-based learning and join in workshops.

Speakers include: Constance Steinkuehler, Professor at University of California Irvine; Ingrid Simone, Executive Editor of TocaBoca Magazine; Deborah Quazzo, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of GSV Acceleration; David Edery, CEO of Spry Fox; Neal Shenoy, CEO of Speakaboos; Nicole Neal, CEO of Noodle Markets; Jane Robinson, CFO of First Book.

Other Notable Sessions include Minecraft Game Jam; a screening of the film Gaming in the Real World; Ad Council + National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Challenge; Games for Change Student Challenge Awards program.

Additional speakers and programming information can be found on the Games for Change website. To purchase tickets, please visit https://g4c17.eventbrite.com.

Registration includes access to the full Games for Change program on July 31st – August 2nd 2017 at Parsons School of Design. The Games for Change Festival runs daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

About Games for Change

Since 2004, Games for Change (G4C) has been empowering game creators and innovators to drive real-world change, using games that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. G4C partners with technology and gaming companies as well as nonprofits, foundations and government agencies, to run world class events, public arcades, design challenges and youth programs. G4C supports a global community of game developers working to use games to tackle real-world challenges, from humanitarian conflicts to climate change and education.

About Parsons School of Design

Parsons School of Design is one of the world’s leading institutions for art and design education. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. www.newschool.edu/parsons/

Dream Foundation and Amedisys Foundation Fulfill Hospice Patient’s Final Dream

Sixty-nine-year-old to receive new scooter

Press Release – Santa Barbara, Calif. — Dream Foundation, in partnership with the Amedisys Foundation, will fulfill the final Dream of Carolyn Essien, 69, when she receives a new motorized scooter that will enable her to regain her mobility.

Essien, who is a patient at Amedisys Hospice in West Virginia, has relied on a scooter to help her get around with the oxygen she needs to help her breathe for the last five years. When her scooter stopped working, she lost her mobility.

Essien, who is described as feisty and spunky, writes, “I would be so appreciative if you could grant my Dream so I can go outside and visit my friends.” Thanks to the partnership between Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, and Amedisys Foundation, Essien’s Dream will become a reality when she receives a new Golden Technologies Buzzaround XL 4-wheel scooter.

In December 2016, Amedisys, Inc., One of the nation’s leading home health, hospice and personal care companies, announced a partnership between the Amedisys Foundation and Dream Foundation enabling Amedisys hospice care centers across the nation to have an opportunity to turn patients Dreams into reality.

About Dream Foundation:

Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 25,000 final Dreams over the past two decades and has never turned down a qualified applicant. The Foundation is proud to maintain Charity Navigator’s four-star rating—its highest—for sound fiscal management ensuring its donors and partners that their investment will be used wisely. Dream Foundation receives no state of federal funding—we rely solely on private donations. To support our mission please visit DreamFoundation.org/donate.

The Role of Pediatric Services in Mental Health Treatment

SDSU researchers find that providing mental health care to young people in a primary care setting can help fight stigma, other barriers to receiving treatment.

Press Release – SAN DIEGO, Calif. (April 27, 2017) — Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems in children and adolescents. Youth with these disorders often go to their primary care physicians for referrals, but only a small number of them obtain much-needed mental health care. A new study led by researchers at San Diego State University suggests that providing a brief behavioral therapy in the pediatric primary care setting can help more young people get the help they need. The brief intervention’s benefits were especially noteworthy in Latino youth, more than three quarters of whom showed significant improvement.

About three in ten children and adolescents suffer from significant anxiety and/or depression that affects their ability to learn in school, form and maintain meaningful relationships, and engage in activities. The study’s lead author, V. Robin Weersing, professor in SDSU’s Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, said that our mental health system is not currently suited to identify and successfully treat this many youth. Additionally, families report barriers to pursuing mental health referrals that they might receive, including stigma, limited time, transportation and financial difficulties. However, statistics show that nine out of ten kids and teens do regularly see a pediatrician, presenting an opportunity to piggyback mental health services on top of their existing medical care.

To learn how effective that approach may be, Weersing and colleagues recruited 185 ethnically diverse children and adolescents ages 8 to 16 who were identified by their pediatrician as struggling with anxiety and/or depression. The study occurred at several pediatricians’ offices in San Diego and Pittsburgh. Half of these youth received outpatient referrals to standard outpatient mental health care, with the researchers continuing to contact families to help ensure that they followed through with referrals. The other half of youth received brief behavioral therapy (BBT) involving between eight and twelve weekly 45-minute therapy sessions at their doctor’s office. The BBT intervention involved learning and practicing strategies that would help youths face their fears and participate in daily life activities—school, social, and family—that they had previously avoided. No psychiatric medications were prescribed as part of BBT.

“In these interventions, kids learn not to withdraw from what’s upsetting them,” Weersing said. “Slowly they learn to approach and actively problem solve. Step by step, they re-engage with the tasks that they need to do or want to do, but previously struggled to do, because negative emotions were in the way.”

After 16 weeks of receiving either outpatient referrals or the BBT intervention, youth and their parents completed interviews and questionnaires that assessed anxiety and depression symptoms. While 28 percent of youth in the outpatient referral group improved significantly, more than twice as many (57 percent) in the BBT group showed significant improvement.

The results were even more dramatic for Latino children and adolescents: An impressive 76 percent showed significant improvement in the BBT group, while only 7 percent showed significant improvement in the outpatient referral group. The researchers recently published their results in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

“Overall, we view this study as providing really promising evidence that anxious and depressed kids can be treated safely and effectively within their pediatricians’ offices,” Weersing said. “This has great promise for improving access to care, particularly for Latino youth.”

An editorial accompanying the paper in JAMA Psychiatry notes that use of brief behavioral techniques in the medical setting might be the only realistic way to meet the mental health needs of young people.

“Bringing mental health care to pediatric primary care is the only chance we have to meet the behavioral health needs of the approximately 20% of children and adolescents who are likely to develop mental health problems before graduating from high school,” write the editorial’s authors. “Although we still have a long way to go, the pioneering intervention … is a big step in the right direction.”

About San Diego State University

San Diego State University is a major public research institution that provides transformative experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom, for its more than 36,000 students. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in 91 areas, master’s degrees in 78 areas and doctorates in 22 areas. Students participate in research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, internships and mentoring, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities. The university’s rich campus life features opportunities for students to participate in, and engage with, the creative and performing arts, a Division I athletics program and the vibrant cultural life of the San Diego region. For more information, visit www.sdsu.edu.

Projects Abroad Continues Earth Month Momentum

Conservation Projects available for volunteers to protect the environment

Projects Abroad conservation volunteers inspect a reforestation nursery in Peru

Press Release – NEW YORK – April 26, 2017 – Earth Day was celebrated by more than 1 billion people in nearly 200 countries around the world on Saturday April 22nd. As the world celebrates Earth Month throughout April, Projects Abroad recognizes the importance of collective action to protect the environment.

Projects Abroad offers 12 Conservation & Environment volunteering programs in destinations around the world. Through service work, volunteers contribute to ongoing conservation efforts in specific areas of need. The types of projects available vary, and take place in destinations across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the South Pacific.

Climate change and global warming were major focuses of hundreds of campaigns in support of Earth Day. Many of Projects Abroad’s conservation programs directly address the realities of climate change. Reforestation efforts in Madagascar, research into recent major global coral bleaching events, and protecting biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest, are among the projects a volunteer can be exposed to during a trip.

A number of projects also focus on protecting specific threatened animal species. The Shark Conservation Project in Fiji produces groundbreaking research to better understand these predators at the top of our oceans’ food chain. On the African Savannah Project in Kenya, volunteers work in a team to monitor and count endangered giraffe.

“As we start to realize the severity of our planet’s condition, protecting the environment has to become a priority for all,” says Tom Pastorius, Head of Global Recruitment for Projects Abroad. “From the tiniest of hatched sea turtles, to the vast Amazon jungle, our conservation projects make it possible for someone to do their bit to make a difference.”

Earth Month ends next week, but the need to protect the planet does not end with it. Volunteers of all ages can sign up and join a passionate Projects Abroad team of conservationists in a destination abroad, to contribute to saving planet Earth.

About Projects Abroad

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

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

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

USCIRF Releases 2017 Annual Report

USCIRF Recommends Russia be Designated a Country of Particular Concern

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2017 Annual Report on the state of religious freedom in selected countries. “Overall,” said USCIRF Chair Thomas Reese, S.J., “The Commission has concluded that the state of affairs for international religious freedom is worsening in both the depth and breadth of violations. In the 2017 report, the Commission calls for Congress and the administration to stress consistently the importance of religious freedom abroad, for everyone, everywhere, in public statements and public and private meetings.”

The International Religious Freedom Act requires the U.S. government to designate as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, any country whose government engages in or tolerates particularly severe religious freedom violations that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious. To fulfill USCIRF’s mandate to advise the State Department on which countries should be designated as CPC, the Commission researches and monitors religious freedom conditions abroad and issues an annual report on countries with serious violations of religious freedom.

This year’s report calls on the Secretary of State to designate Russia as a CPC partly due to its continued use of its “anti-extremism” law as a tool to repeatedly curtail religious freedoms for various faiths, most recently the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ right to religious freedom is being eliminated through a flawed application of this law,” commented USCIRF’s Chair, Thomas Reese, S.J. “The recent Russian Supreme Court ruling bans the legal existence of the group throughout Russia.”

In 2017, USCIRF recommends that the State Department again designate the following 10 countries as CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. USCIRF also finds that six other countries meet the CPC standard and should be so designated: Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.

In 2017, USCIRF places the following 12 countries, where religious freedom violations are severe but do not fully meet the CPC standard, on the Commission’s Tier 2 list: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, and Turkey.

USCIRF remains concerned about the “securitization” of religious freedom, citing Bahrain as an example where the government has cracked down on the Shi’a Muslim majority yet the U.S. administration is lifting human rights conditions on weapons sales to that country. USCIRF Chair, Thomas Reese, S.J., said that “Religious freedom should not suffer under the guise of seeking to ensure national security.”

Some governments have made efforts to address religious freedom concerns. For example, USCIRF does not recommend Egypt and Iraq for CPC designation in 2017, as it had for Egypt since 2011 and Iraq since 2008. In Egypt, while ISIS affiliates increasingly targeted Coptic Christians, the government took some positive steps to address religious freedom concerns, although the rest of its human rights record has been abysmal. In Iraq, while the Iraqi government has sought to curb sectarian tensions, ISIS has committed genocide, ruthlessly targeting anyone who does not espouse its extremist ideology.

For years, USCIRF has recognized and documented how non-state actors are some of the most egregious violators of religious freedom. The Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016 requires the President to identify non-state actors engaging in particularly severe violations of religious freedom and designate each as an “entity of particular concern” (EPC). The act defines a non-state actor as “a non-sovereign entity that exercises significant political power and territorial control; is outside the control of a sovereign government; and often employs violence in pursuit of its objectives.”

Accordingly, for the first time, USCIRF recommends that the following three non-state actors be designated as EPCs: the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria; the Taliban in Afghanistan; and al-Shabaab in Somalia.

To view the full USCIRF 2017 Annual Report visit www.USCIRF.gov.

Major US Investors Oppose Legislation That Would Stifle Filing of Shareholder Resolutions with Companies

“Most severe attack on shareholder rights in 50 years,” says one investor; new investor research paper outlines wide-ranging benefits of shareholder proxy tool

Press Release – WASHINGTON, DC, April 24, 2017 – Many of the country’s largest investors are coming out strongly against proposed legislation that would prevent most investors from being able to file shareholder proposals with companies on key issues they want further action on, such as board governance matters, corporate policies or emerging risks like climate change.

The proposal, part of a larger bill aimed at replacing the Dodd-Frank Act, would sharply raise the ownership threshold for investors who could file shareholder proposals that are voted on at corporate annual meetings. Shareholders would need to hold a minimum of 1 percent of the company’s outstanding stock for three years to file resolutions. Currently, shareholders with as little as $2,000 in shares for a year or more can do so.

The proposal by House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) would undo a shareholder proposal process that has been in place for a half century. In effect, even the nation’s largest institutional investors, including the nation’s largest public pension funds, would not be able to file shareholder resolutions with companies. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26.

“This misguided legislation would greatly diminish shareholders’ ability to protect and enhance their investments and drastically reduce corporate accountability,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, trustee of the $186 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, which has filed dozens of resolutions in recent years asking companies to assess their climate change risks and develop mitigation strategies. “The Common Retirement Fund’s positions in individual companies are in the tens or hundreds of millions, with some over $1 billion, which makes it outrageous and inequitable that we would not be able to make requests of corporate boards through shareholder resolutions.”

“It makes no sense to dramatically change a process that doesn’t need changing, seeks to undermine the fundamental right investors’ have to ensure their publicly invested dollars are being used ethically and is in every shareholder’s and the company’s best interest,” added Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). “The damage it will do to shareholder/company relations is just chilling.”

“This is the most severe attack on shareholder rights in 50 years. It would virtually end investors’ ability to file shareholder resolutions with companies,” added Timothy Smith, director of environmental, social and governance shareowner engagement at Walden Asset Management.

A research paper released today by three investor groups, collectively managing trillions of dollars in assets, outlines numerous benefits investors have seen from the shareholder proxy tool, including inclusion of more independent board directors, stronger disclosure on political spending, widespread adoption of international human rights principles and wide-ranging actions to mitigate climate change risks. Last year, investors filed about 1,000 shareholder proposals with companies, including about 500 focused on corporate governance issues and more than 400 focused on environmental and social issues.

“The process as currently structured and administered works well for investors and issuers; it is fair, efficient and effective,” concludes The Business Case for the Current SEC Shareholder Proposal Process, issued by Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk and Sustainability, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. “We believe the proposed modifications would harm the interest of investors, companies, society and the capital markets.”

“For seven decades, the shareholder proposal process has worked for companies and investors,” Sheehan said. “It’s been an equitable way for large and small investors to communicate their concerns to public companies.”

“The shareholder proposal is a critical tool to help us get the attention of senior management,” said Adam Kanzer, managing director of Domini Impact Investments, adding, “The quality of one’s ideas is not correlated with the size of one’s investment.”

“The shareholder proposal language in the bill is clearly an overreach,” said Jonas Kron, senior vice president at Trillium Asset Management. “For example, raising the ownership requirement to 1% would leave only 11 investors with enough shares to file shareholder proposals at Wells Fargo. None of those investors have ever filed a shareholder proposal. In the meantime, smaller, but no less important, institutional investors in Wells Fargo have filed strongly supported proposals on a range of very important governance and management issues that should be raised with Wells Fargo management and directors.”

About US SIF

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Our mission is to rapidly shift investment practices towards sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations, nonprofit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners. US SIF produces a highly regarded conference each year. A New Climate for Investing in Impact will be held in Chicago from May 11-12. Learn more at www.ussif.org.

Presented By First-Time Sponsor Presence Health: Komen Chicago Honors More Than Pink Heroes, Including Actor Jon Seda, In Celebration Of 20th Anniversary Mother’s Day Race For The Cure On May 14

Press Release – CHICAGO: Susan G. Komen Chicago is announcing its More than Pink Heroes who are being honored for their bravery and compassion, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Mother’s Day Race for the Cure Presented by Presence Health: where cancer treatment becomes cancer care. The iconic 5K Fun Run/Walk will be held May 14 and has been moved to a new lakefront location, Montrose Harbor, as part of the grand anniversary celebration.

Komen Chicago is thrilled to have Jon Seda, formerly a star of NBC’s “Chicago PD” and currently on “Chicago Justice,” as the celebrity guest of honor and a More than Pink Hero. “He’s the perfect choice, as he plays a hero on TV and is our real-life hero, thanks to his commitment to Race for the Cure,” says Bonnie Gordon, Komen Chicago executive director.

Seda is being recognized along with others who have lost loved ones to breast cancer or faced the disease themselves, activists and volunteers, and caregivers who compassionately support patients through diagnosis and treatment. This includes Chicago Police Lieutenant Jessica Jones, 39, and Chicago Police Sergeant Melinda Linas, 41. Both are mothers of young children and are currently fighting breast cancer. As real-life police heroes, Jones and Linas are thrilled to join TV police hero Seda to raise awareness and funds and help Komen achieve its goal of reducing the number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026.

The More than Pink Heroes, sponsored by Presence Health, are available to share their inspiring stories with the media (contact Jenny Quinn, jquinn@mekkymedia.com, to arrange) and will be honored on Race Day during the Survivor Parade. In addition to Seda, Jones and Linas, Heroes include:

  • Anthony Braglia, an Illinois State University student and president of his Sigma Nu fraternity, who lost his mother, Heidi, to breast cancer. He shared her story on Twitter, and for every re-tweet, his fraternity donated $1 to Race for the Cure, raising $3,600.
  • Toya Cannon, a nurse who has cared for those with cancer and suddenly found herself with her own breast cancer diagnosis, no job and no insurance. A Komen Chicago grant to Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center helped her get treatment.
  • Kathy Webb, founder of Komen Chicago and now a breast cancer survivor. Webb participated in the first National Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C., shortly after her friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. When Webb moved to Chicago, there was no local affiliate, so she established one.

Gordon says she’s thankful for the significant support from Presence Health, which will help Komen Chicago provide screenings for those who can’t otherwise afford them, fund global research and empower people with knowledge. “More than 1,000 Chicago-area women and men die each year from breast cancer, and there is a large disparity in the city, with the mortality rate of African-American women being 40 percent higher than white women,” according to Gordon. “Funds raised through Race for the Cure will help close this gap by making sure more women have access to early detection, which is the key to survival.”

“Komen Chicago shares the Presence Health mission of compassionate care to save lives, and many of our patients at Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center have benefitted from health services made possible by Komen grants. This wonderful event also creates further awareness regarding the new Cancer and Specialty Care Center at Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, serving many in need of cancer care and treatment on Chicago’s West and North sides where previously there was a cancer care desert,” says Michael Englehart, president and CEO Presence Health. “We are proud to partner with Komen and sponsor Race for the Cure and the More than Pink Heroes helping to make this one of the most successful events ever and to have a truly positive impact on the lives of many.”

At the event’s Presence Health tent, public and participants will have the opportunity to learn more about Presence Health’s oncological care and treatment programs, and how they can sign-up for mammography testing. In addition, Presence Health physical therapists will be available to provide participants information on injury prevention and orthopedic care.

Registration is now open at www.KomenChicago.org (for teams or individuals). Participants are asked to commit to raising at least $180, the average cost of a mammogram in Chicagoland. Any participant who donates a minimum of $180 will be part of the national Pink Cape Campaign and receive a hero cape to wear during the Race, plus be invited to brunch at the Hero Cafe. Registration fees are $40 for adults, $35 for survivors and $25 for kids (four and under are free). The Race will feature a 5K Fun Run/Walk that kicks off at 9 a.m. Main stage program begins at 8.This year’s Race includes an optional Shades of Pink Powder Path.

About Komen Chicago: Susan G. Komen’s promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by energizing science to find cures, ensuring quality care for all and empowering people with knowledge. Komen Chicago donates 75 percent of net funds raised to community grants and dedicates 25 percent to global research.

About Presence Health: Presence Health is the largest Catholic health system in Illinois, serving over 4 million people in 11 counties. With over 150 sites of compassionate care including 12 hospitals, over 17,000 associates and more than 4,000 medical professionals, Presence Health has annual revenue of $2.6 billion.

Independent Sector Releases New Value of Volunteer Time of $24.14

The national value of volunteer time increased by 2.5 percent;

Nearly 63 million Americans volunteer about 8 billion hours of time, talent, and effort

Press Release – (WASHINGTON, April 20, 2017) – Today, Independent Sector announces that the latest value of a volunteer hour is $24.14 – up 2.5 percent from the previous year. That figure, estimated from data collected in 2016, shows the incredible contributions volunteers make to our communities and our country.

Currently, 63 million Americans volunteer about 8 billion hours of their time, talent, and effort to improve people’s lives and the natural world. With the new value of volunteer time, these Americans are contributing approximately $193 billion to our nation. According to data from the Corporation for National and Community Service, religious organizations were cited as the type of organization that volunteers worked in the most (34%), followed by educational or youth service (26%), and social or community service organizations (15%).

The release of this important figure comes ahead of National Volunteer Week held April 23-29, 2017, a program of Points of Light.

“All Americans should take immense pride in our collective spirit and commitment to volunteerism,” said Dan Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “Giving of our time, talent, and effort is hugely consequential and we hope this value of volunteer time is just one way we can help measure the enormous contributions we all make toward improving our communities, our country, and our planet.”

“Volunteerism empowers people to support causes they care about. When changemakers work together to tackle tough problems, our world becomes a better place,” said Tracy Hoover, CEO of Points of Light. “By sharing concrete data that highlights the impact of volunteers, we can inspire and mobilize more individuals and organizations to realize their potential and power to become active participants in sparking change.”

Independent Sector also updated the state-level breakdown for the new value of volunteer time. Most states saw increases over the previous year’s numbers. The highest value of volunteer time is in Washington, DC at $39.17, and Delaware saw the biggest increase over the last year. An interactive map is available on the Independent Sector website, as well as a table showing data for each state, where the value of a volunteer hour is highest and lowest, and how much the figure has risen or fallen since the previous year. Also included in the map is the complete dataset for the value of volunteer time for all 50 states and DC from 2001-2016.

To access state-by-state values of volunteer time and learn more about the national figure, visit independentsector.org/volunteer-time.

Audubon Taps Claire Douglass as National Campaign Director

Bipartisan Campaign Trailblazer is the Latest to Join Growing Policy Team

Press Release – NEW YORK (April 20, 2017) – Today, the National Audubon Society announced the appointment of Claire Douglass as Director of National Campaigns. In this role Douglass will oversee public engagement for Audubon’s policy campaigns that advance its conservation priorities across the country to build the most effective conservation network in America.

“Claire has built a reputation as a strong campaign leader who cultivates bipartisan support by building strong relationships with grassroot supporters and grasstop decision-makers,” said David O’Neill, Chief Conservation Officer and Senior Advisor to the CEO at Audubon. “Her knowledge, coupled with her passion for the issues that matter to Audubon, make her a great fit for this important leadership role and will add critical experience to Audubon’s growing and influential national policy team.”

Douglass brings extensive campaign experience having most recently served as the U.S. Campaign Director for Climate and Energy at Oceana. In that role, Douglass led a bipartisan campaign that helped reverse offshore drilling plans in the Atlantic Ocean. The campaign included 120 East Coast municipalities, more than 200 members of Congress, 1,000 state and local elected officials, and 35,000 businesses — all of which publicly opposed offshore drilling and exploration. Prior to Oceana, Douglass worked in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations that supported sustainability and clean energy. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado.

In addition to leading Audubon’s Washington-based advocacy strategies for the 112-year-old centrist organization, Douglass will help ensure that Audubon succeeds in achieving its ambitious climate change objectives and will guide policy campaigns at the local, state and federal levels. She will be based in Audubon’s Washington, DC office.

About Audubon

With total revenues in 2016 of $102.6 million (25% increase since 2010), Audubon is one of the nation’s largest conservation organizations, comprising 23 state offices, 41 nature centers and 23 wildlife sanctuaries and representing 463 local chapters. Audubon – which focuses on the protection of birds and the places they need throughout the Americas – has been transformed in recent years, according to Crain’s New York Business, through cutting edge technologies, a sharpened conservation focus and operational overhaul that has increased revenue and decreased overhead expenses.

As written in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Inside Philanthropy and GreenBiz, that strategic and operational transformation has attracted new funders and broadened the organization’s reach to younger and more diverse audiences as Audubon expands its international work and achieves conservation victories. For the first time in nearly two decades, Audubon has also earned Charity Navigator’s highest ranking of four stars, twice in a row.

Audubon’s main Facebook page has more than 1,071,000 followers and reaches approximately 4.1 million people each week as the organization’s supporters share and interact with Audubon’s posts. And the organization’s 2014 birds and climate change campaign, which earned more than two billion media impressions, recently won a Diamond SABRE award from public relations industry leaders.

To learn more about Audubon and its new strategic direction, please visit here.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

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