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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.

Better Way Foundation Expands Support of Early Childhood Development Programs with Addition of Program Officer

Press Release – MINNEAPOLIS, June 21, 2017Better Way Foundation has added Daniel Yang as a program officer to help expand the foundation’s work with global and domestic early childhood learning programs to support improved student outcomes and stem the cycle of poverty.

With his strong background in childhood development initiatives, and work with refugees, children of color and American Indian children, Daniel will be a tremendous asset to Better Way Foundation and its partners in both Tanzania and Indian Country,” said Andreas Hipple, senior adviser for Better Way Foundation. “He is familiar with the factors impeding children’s personal and academic success, believes in our partnership approach and is motivated to apply our foundation’s funding, resources and networks to effect positive systems change.”

Yang previously worked for the Children’s Defense Fund-MN (CDF-MN), where he served as director of organizing, building a cross-sector early childhood coalition focused on creating opportunity and equitable outcomes for children of color and American Indian children in Minnesota. Before joining CDF-MN, he served the Native American Community Development Institute in Minneapolis as the director of organizing and community building. Yang has extensive experience working with refugee communities in East Africa and has worked on indigenous rights issues with governments, indigenous communities and social movements in Latin America.

Yang has been a Wellstone Action! Organizing Fellow and a Wilder Foundation Community Equity Pipeline – Public Policy Fellow. He has served on the boards of the Charities Review Council, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. In 2016, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed him to serve on the governor’s Early Learning Council.

Yang earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and social justice from Hamline University.

Better Way Foundation: Motivated by decades of research demonstrating that sound beginnings in children’s lives can help to break inter-generational cycles of poverty, Better Way Foundation helps others create healthy, sustainable, supportive environments where children can properly develop, learn and thrive.

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Kris Putnam-Walkerly Named Number 7 of “Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers” List

Press Release – CLEVELAND, June 21, 2017 — Kris Putnam-Walkerly, president of Putnam Consulting Group, Inc., was named the seventh top philanthropy speaker on America’s Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers for 2017 by Philanthropy Media and The Michael Chatman Giving Show. The Top 25 list was created from more than 25,000 survey responses from philanthropy experts, who submitted more than 2,200 nominees.

The criteria include thought leadership, excellence in communication, and significant contributions to the profession. Among her leading-edge approaches in the field is her concept of “Delusional Altruism℠”—misguided giving and lack of impact.

“It’s a great honor to be included on this list for a second year,” said Putnam-Walkerly, author of Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders. “Helping philanthropists and foundations transform lives and communities as is my passion, and taking part in the sharing of ideas as a speaker is both gratifying and inspiring.”

Putnam-Walkerly’s moved from number 17 in last year’s survey to number 7 this year. Others in the top 5 include Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation; Susan Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Amy Danforth, President of Fidelity Charitable.

“Kris’s presentation on grantmaking was one of the most valuable conference sessions I have ever attended, so this honor is well-deserved. She does much more than impart information; she fully engages her audience and makes us all think more strategically about our philanthropy,” said Maureen Sheehan Massaro, Executive Director, Wilson Sheehan Foundation.

About Kris Putnam-Walkerly

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW, is a global philanthropy advisor and president of Putnam Consulting Group, Inc. For over 18 years, top philanthropies have requested Kris’s help to transform their giving and catapult their impact. Her clients include the Robert Wood Johnson, David and Lucile Packard, Annie E. Casey, Charles and Helen Schwab, and California HealthCare foundations. She’s helped over 60 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over $350 million in grants and gifts.

A thought leader in transformational giving℠, Kris is the author of Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders, which was a finalist in the 2017 International Book Awards. She is a regular contributor to, and as well as the publications of leading philanthropy associations including the National Center for Family Philanthropy, Foundation Center, Southeastern Council on Foundations, Exponent Philanthropy, and AsianNGO Magazine. She provides expert commentary about philanthropy in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Washington Examiner,,, and others.

Prior to forming Putnam Consulting Group, she was a grantmaker at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and an evaluator at the highly esteemed Stanford University School of Medicine.

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Scot Chisholm, Classy CEO And Co-Founder, Named A Glassdoor Highest Rated CEO In 2017

Press Release – SAN DIEGO, CA (June 21, 2017) — Classy CEO and co-founder Scot Chisholm has won a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award recognizing the Highest Rated CEOs for 2017 in the U.S. SMB category.

Based in San Diego, California, Classy aims to accelerate social impact by providing world-class online fundraising tools that fuel modern nonprofits. Recognized by Fast Company as a Top Innovative Company in Social Good, Classy is trusted by thousands of organizations that are solving the world’s toughest problems.

Glassdoor released its annual report honoring the Highest Rated CEOs, which highlights top leaders employees love working for at Small & Medium Companies in the U.S.

Among chief executives recognized by employees in the U.S., Chisholm received an impressive approval rating based on the anonymous and voluntary reviews Classy employees shared on Glassdoor throughout the past year. Out of the 700,000 companies reviewed on Glassdoor, the average CEO approval rating is 67 percent; Chisholm has a current approval rating of 97 percent.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by Glassdoor and the Classy team, and to appear on this list alongside so many other inspiring leaders,” said Chisholm. “We believe a healthy and thriving culture is paramount to growth, so it’s incredibly rewarding to see our Glassdoor reviews continuously reflect the transparent and inclusive environment we’re striving to create for every team member.”

“CEOs tell us the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award is one of the highest honors they can receive because it truly reflects employee opinion about the job they do every day. I congratulate all of the winners on this significant honor,” said Robert Hohman, Glassdoor co-founder and CEO. “We know that CEO approval ratings correlate to overall employee satisfaction and trust in senior leadership, which contributes to long-term employee engagement, ultimately helping an employer’s recruiting and retention efforts.”

When employees submit reviews about their company on Glassdoor, they are asked to rate various factors about their employment experience, including their overall satisfaction and other workplace attributes like senior management. As part of these ratings, employees are also asked to rate whether they approve, disapprove, or are neutral about the job their CEO is doing.

Earlier this year, Classy signed Glassdoor’s Equal Pay Pledge and was also recognized by Glassdoor as one of the Best Places to Work.

See the complete list of all Highest Rated CEOs in 2017 in the U.S. SMB category:,26.htm

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Prestigious Awards Honour The Stars Of Conservation Science

ZSL (Zoological Society of London) reveals annual prize winners

Press Release – Some of the brightest minds in conservation science were recognised last night (Tuesday 20 June) as international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) hosted its prestigious annual awards ceremony at its ZSL London Zoo headquarters.

ZSL’s scientific awards, established in 1837, recognise outstanding contributions to zoological research and conservation, rewarding individuals whose pioneering work helps us better understand and conserve animals and their habitats worldwide.

This year’s awards celebrated a diverse line-up of world class science, from a study of the mechanisms caterpillars use to attach themselves to plants, to the recognition of a distinguished career running international conservation partnerships designed to save the planet’s amphibians.

The Frink Award, ZSL’s highest award for zoologists, was this year presented to Professor Sarah Cleaveland from the University of Glasgow, whose major contributions to the study of infectious disease in wild ecosystems have led directly to reducing human deaths. Her work on rabies in northern Tanzania led to the creation of a rabies vaccination programme for domestic dogs in the Serengeti, which has not only protected humans but also local wildlife species such as the Endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus).

The ZSL Silver Medal, awarded for contributions to the understanding and appreciation of science, was presented to palaeontologist, natural historian, writer and television presenter Professor Richard Fortey for his seminal contributions to our understanding of the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ and the origin of animals and, in more recent years, to science communication and public engagement.

The evening also saw three notable winners of the highly-coveted ZSL Scientific Medal, which is awarded in recognition of 15 years of distinguished post-doctoral work in zoology.

Professor Ashleigh Griffin from the University of Oxford was recognised for her innovative research in the fields of both bacteriology and the social evolution of vertebrates, alongside her work promoting women in science. From the University of Edinburgh, Professor Sarah Reece was honoured for her internationally-recognised work on malaria parasites, and Dr Claire Spottiswoode from the University of Cambridge was recognised for her prolific work focusing on the co-evolutionary ‘arms race’ between brood-parasitic birds, such as cuckoos, and their host species.

This year’s Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation went to Professor Richard Thompson from the University of Plymouth, for his significant research over the last decade into the impacts of plastic pollution in the oceans, which directly informed both the introduction of the UK’s five-pence plastic bag charge and more recent legislation on the use of microplastics in cosmetics.

The Stamford Raffles Award, named after ZSL’s founder and presented to an individual from outside the scientific community who has nevertheless made an exceptional contribution to zoology or conservation science, was this year presented posthumously to editor Malcolm Tait. A renowned figure in the world of wildlife publishing, having published his own books and worked across titles ranging from The Ecologist to ZSL’s own members’ magazine WildAbout, Malcolm’s contribution to the understanding and appreciation of zoology, before his unexpected death last year, was prolific.

ZSL Director General Ralph Armond said: “I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to all of this year’s winners. As an international conservation charity, ZSL strives to celebrate and encourage work that broadens our understanding of the natural world and helps us to conserve it.

“Our annual awards are a great opportunity to honour many of the most influential and innovative individuals in this field, who through their work are really living our values of working for wildlife worldwide.”

To learn more about ZSL’s international conservation work, visit

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New Inhibitor Drug Shows Promise in Relapsed Leukemia

Penn researchers used gilteritinib to target a common mutation

Press Release – PHILADELPHIA – A new drug shows promise in its ability to target one of the most common and sinister mutations of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. The Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) gene mutation is a known predictor of AML relapse and is associated with short survival. In a first-in-human study, researchers treated relapsed patients with gilteritinib, an FLT3 inhibitor, and found it was a well-tolerated drug that led to frequent and more-sustained-than-expected clinical responses, almost exclusively in patients with this mutation. They published their findings today in The Lancet Oncology.

FLT3 is one of the most commonly mutated genes in AML patients. FLT3 mutations are found in about 30 percent of patients’ leukemia cells. Clinically, these mutations are associated with aggressive disease that often leads to rapid relapse, after which the overall survival is an average of about four months with current therapies. To avoid relapse, oncologists often recommend the most aggressive chemotherapy approaches for patients with FLT3 internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD), including marrow transplantation. But even that cannot always stave off the disease.

The FLT3 gene is present in normal bone marrow cells and regulates the orderly growth of blood cells in response to daily demands. When the gene is mutated in a leukemia cell, however, the mutated cells grow in an uncontrolled manner unless the function of FLT3 is turned off.

“Other drugs have tried to target these mutations, and while the approach works very well in the laboratory, it has proven very challenging to develop FLT3 inhibitors in the clinic for several reasons,” said Alexander Perl, MD, MS, an assistant professor of Hematology Oncology in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center and the study’s lead author. “First, we’ve learned it takes unusually potent inhibition of the FLT3 target to generate clinical responses. Second, many of these drugs are not selective in their activity against FLT3. When they target multiple kinases, it can lead to more side-effects. That limits whether you can treat a patient with enough drug to inhibit FLT3 at all. Finally, with some FLT3 inhibitors, the leukemia adapts quickly after response and cells can develop new mutations in FLT3 that don’t respond to the drugs at all. So ideally, you want a very potent, very selective, and very smartly designed drug. That’s hard to do.”

For this phase 1/2 clinical trial, Perl and his team evaluated the drug gilteritinib – also known as ASP2215 – at increasing doses in patients whose AML had relapsed or was no longer responding to chemotherapy. The team focused on dose levels at 80mg and above, which were associated with more potent inhibition of the FLT3 mutation and higher response rates. They found these doses were also associated with longer survival. Of the 252 patients on this study, 67 were on a 120mg dose and 100 were on a 200mg dose. Seventy-six percent (191) of the patients on the trial had a FLT3 mutation. Overall, 49 percent of patients with FLT3 mutations showed a response. Just 12 percent of patients who didn’t have the mutation responded to the drug.

“The fact that the response rate tracked with the degree of FLT3 inhibition and was so much lower among patients who did not have an FLT3 mutation gives us confidence that this drug is hitting its target,” Perl said.

In leukemia cells, FLT3 itself can mutate again to a form called a D835 mutation that is resistant to several FLT3 inhibitors treatments. Gilteritinib, however, remains active against D835 mutations in laboratory models of leukemia. Clinical response rates from the trial appeared to be the same, whether patients had a FLT3-ITD alone or both a FLT3-ITD and a D835 mutation. The response rates also were similar in patients in whom gilteritinib was their first FLT3 inhibitor and those who previously were treated with other FLT3 inhibitors.

The drug was also generally well-tolerated. The three most common side effects attributed to the drug were diarrhea in 41 patients (16 percent), fatigue in 37 (15 percent), and abnormal liver enzyme tests in 33 (13 percent). These generally were mild in severity and discontinuation of gilteritinib for side effects was uncommon (25 patients, 10 percent).

“These look like data you want to see for a drug to eventually become a standard therapy,” Perl said, though he noted more research will be necessary.

A new multicenter trial, which compares gilteritinib to standard chemotherapy in patients with FLT3 mutations who relapsed or did not respond to initial therapy, is now underway, and Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center is one of the sites.

There are also studies underway that give the drug in combination with frontline chemotherapy and as an adjunct to bone marrow transplantation in hopes of preventing relapse altogether.

Astellas Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which manufactures gilteritinib, provided funding for this study and performed statistical analysis of the data gathered by the investigators. Additional funding was provided by a National Cancer Institute Leukemia Specialized Program of Research Excellence Grant (CA100632) and by an Associazione Italiana Ricerca sul Cancro award.

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In Celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, Amida Care and NYC Community Organizations Publish “Sexual Health + Pleasure” Magazine

Special Community Publication Aims to Drive Conversation
Around Combatting Stigma, HIV and STI Prevention, and Other Sexual Health Issues

Press Release – New York, NY (June 20, 2017) — In honor of Pride Month 2017, Amida Care has published a special community publication called “Let’s Start a Conversation: Sexual Health and Pleasure,” produced in partnership with The Ali Forney Center, Callen-Lorde, Housing Works, Iris House, The LGBT Center, and SAGE. The magazine takes an open, honest, affirming approach to exploring sexuality and sexual health. Community members, health care providers, and other contributors share everything from intimate details about sexual preferences to practical knowledge about safer sex. Topics include boosting sexual self-confidence, transgender sex, sex after 50, sexual health exams and screenings, and HIV and STI prevention methods.

“Sexuality is such an important part of physical and emotional health. Our goal for this magazine is to celebrate and honor the variety and authenticity of sexual experience in our communities,” said Doug Wirth, president and CEO of Amida Care. “This is a forum that gives diverse voices the opportunity to freely express themselves in a sex-positive way. We’re delighted that so many community members and partners participated and shared their views and knowledge.”

The magazine also explores strategies to end the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, including the use of PrEP and PEP to prevent HIV transmission, substance use harm reduction that supports safer sex, and combatting HIV stigma. Also featured is the campaign launched by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “Undetectable = Untransmittable,” to raise awareness that people living with HIV and taking treatment that keeps the virus suppressed to an undetectable level cannot transmit HIV to sexual partners.

Read the Sexual Health + Pleasure magazine.

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Mastercard and Western Union Explore Digital Model for Refugee Camps

Research indicates need to integrate access to goods, services and finances in digital format

Press Release – Purchase, NY and Englewood, CO – June 20, 2017 – With more than 65 million people around the world currently displaced from their homes due to political conflict and natural disasters, there is a growing need to find better ways for refugees to achieve self-sufficiency and become economic engines in their host countries.

On World Refugee Day, Mastercard and Western Union announced a collaboration to explore the development of a digital model to help refugees more easily access basic human goods, services and finances within refugee settlements. The aim is to enable refugees, their host communities and donors to send and receive funds digitally, allowing for more transparency and long-term empowerment of refugees.

Over the last year, Mastercard and Western Union examined the needs, challenges and opportunities for refugees and their host communities at two settlement camps in northwestern Kenya. The findings have led to the development of Smart Communities: Using Digital Technology to Create Sustainable Refugee Economies, a blueprint that would combine digital access to remittances, banking, education, healthcare and other basic needs in way that is unified and trackable.

“Today’s camps were not built to sustain a global refugee crisis of this magnitude,” said Tara Nathan, executive vice president of public-private partnerships at Mastercard. “Our plans to reinvent the existing model can help the world’s refugee populations achieve self-sufficiency faster, while also contributing to the economic growth of their host communities.”

“Refugees across the world want to be empowered to break the chains of dependence and to rebuild their lives in meaningful ways, while also contributing positively to their host communities,” said Maureen Sigliano, head of customer relationship management at Western Union. “The new digital infrastructure model would focus on solutions that might include the delivery of mobile money, digital vouchers, prepaid cards, and track other goods and services. The goal is to drive personal empowerment, stimulate growth and promote social cohesion among the world’s refugee populations, while driving better governance and transparency.”

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that the average length of a refugee settlement dependency is approximately 26 years. Many of today’s refugee camps founded in the 1960s and 70s, were built as a temporary solution and are unable to sustain today’s systemic long-term dependence.

The qualitative research conducted at the Kakuma and Kalobeyei camps in Kenya uncovered the complexity of needs in the camps and the surrounding community. The Mastercard and Western Union blueprint would address these various needs by:

  • Laying the groundwork for a set of multipurpose transactional tools that refugees and residents can access, which are optimized to work in low infrastructure areas.
  • Giving residents greater control over their livelihoods, well-being, and dignity, while providing agencies access to data that informs community planning and development.
  • Providing a digital platform which would serve as a unique identifier for both local and refugee populations, advancing the critical goals of social cohesion and cooperation across the settlement.
  • Encouraging adoption of digital payments as an entry point to the formal financial system and can be extended to incorporate a wider set of use cases.

Both Mastercard and Western Union are founding members of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a coalition of more than 70 companies committed to addressing the global refugee crisis.

“The private sector is uniquely positioned to bring greater innovation and ingenuity to this crisis,” said Gideon Maltz, executive director of Tent. “Today’s announcement offers an exciting new approach to helping refugees, and reflects the contributions that companies can make when they identify problems, collaborate with each other, and work tirelessly to find and fund scalable solutions to fix them. It’s our hope that initiatives such as these encourage even more companies and entrepreneurs to step up.”

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of March 31, 2017, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 550,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 150,000 ATMs and kiosks, and included the capability to send money to billions of accounts. For more information, visit


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Rights, Safety, Tolerance Eroding Worldwide

Most countries, however, have improved over the past four years
Access to Information and Communications, Access to Advanced Education are driving progress

Press Release – WASHINGTON, DC / June 21, 2017—While quality of life is improving across the globe, world leaders must confront two deeply troubling trends: declining personal rights, personal safety, and tolerance and inclusion, as well as slow and uneven progress worldwide, according to new research, released today by the Social Progress Imperative in collaboration with Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School and Scott Stern of MIT.

For the first time, the Social Progress Imperative, which annually publishes the Social Progress Index, is able to compare 128 countries’ social progress performance across four years and reveal global, regional, and national trends.

“Millions of people are experiencing a shameful rolling back of their freedoms, more violence and injustice, and blatant discrimination and exclusion from life’s most meaningful opportunities. And despite having access to extreme wealth and other influence, the US along with other advanced nations have hardly made much progress since 2014,” Social Progress Imperative CEO Michael Green said. “This means we’re seeing incremental change and pockets of social progress rather than widespread transformation. Some countries are even backsliding in areas that are critical to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—like Environmental Quality, Health and Wellness, Personal Freedom and Choice, and Shelter.”

  • The 2017 Social Progress Index finds that since 2014, Personal Rights—which includes measures of political rights and freedom of expression—declined in more countries than it improved.
    • The Index detects a rapid deterioration of rights, especially marked in terms of falling political participation and worsening freedoms of expression and assembly, in six countries including Turkey, Thailand and Hungary.
    • Thirty-three countries experienced a deterioration in rights: Brazil saw the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, and Poland is increasingly restricting free speech and dissent.
  • Improvements in Personal Safety over the last four years remain stubbornly elusive. Almost as many countries experienced a fall as saw an increase in this category of social progress—which spans political terror and traffic deaths.
    • Inverse changes in the homicide rate and in violent crime are canceling out progress in many countries.
    • Latin America and the Caribbean accounts for many of the world’s largest declines in safety. Since 2009, Honduras has seen the most dramatic increase in homicides: from 44.5 to 74.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

“Divisive political rhetoric on asylum and migration issues, rising xenophobia, and restrictions on access to asylum have become increasingly visible in certain regions, and the spirit of shared responsibility has been replaced by a hate-filled narrative of intolerance,” said former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on World Refugee Day last year.

  • On the Index, countries diverge the most when it comes to Tolerance and Inclusion—a measure that includes acceptance of immigrants, homosexuals and religious minorities. Though relatively stable on average, country-level scores are the most volatile in the Index.
    • Most countries in Europe show consistent or gradually improving scores, but there have been substantial declines in the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Slovakia where they are experiencing signs of deteriorating tolerance towards immigrants and increasing discrimination against minorities. The United States has also declined for the same reasons. The ongoing movement of refugees and migrants, and subsequent pressure on resources have likely had a negative effect on this area of social progress.
    • There are some signs of improving tolerance towards homosexuals, however, particularly in regions where recorded levels of tolerance have been poorest. For example, in Nepal 83% of its population say it’s a good place to live for gay and lesbian people, compared to just 56% seven years ago.
    • Globally, the Index reflects a large decline in the percentage of people who indicate that they have relatives or friends they can count on, if they need help.

“During a time when trust is in free fall, the Social Progress Index can be a tool for government, business, and civil society to regain that trust, and make transparent the case for rebuilding the institutions that matter most to citizens, communities, and nations,” said Sally Osberg, Skoll Foundation President and CEO and Social Progress Imperative board member.

Generally, the world is underperforming on social progress compared to what the average GDP per capita suggests is possible. Despite progress in the last decade, our world is still failing most egregiously on Water and Sanitation (access to piped water and improved sanitation facilities) and Access to Basic Knowledge (adult literacy and secondary school enrollment).

One of the most blatant failures is the world’s most powerful countries have failed to make significant progress over the past four years. Despite having the greatest wealth, largest populations and strongest regional influence, G20 countries like France, the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey and China have been largely unsuccessful at improving social and environmental outcomes and continue to underperform compared to what their GDPs suggest is possible.

As the wealthiest G7 country, the US should have been able to make much more social progress over the past four years, but by all accounts, its progress has flat lined. Its modest improvement in rank and change at the component level shouldn’t overshadow the fact that the nation is significantly falling behind countries with similar GDP per capita on half of the Social Progress Index measures.

“The US is not only slow to produce social and environmental outcomes, it is failing to address basic human needs, equip citizens to improve their quality of life, protect the environment, and provide opportunity for everyone to make personal choices and reach their full potential,” said Social Progress Imperative CEO Michael Green. “Regardless of economic growth over the same period, a society which fails to meet its own social needs is not succeeding. And it is certainly not competitive on the global stage.”

“We have the resources to do better. The main problem is the inequality in wealth between rich and poor nations. Global aid flows are not sufficient to help the poorest countries to provide these basic needs for all,” Green said. “Greater income can easily and positively influence a country’s social progress performance in more than half of the areas measured on the Social Progress Index. But getting richer simply won’t move the needle far enough; the most stubborn challenges need innovation and other creative interventions, making social progress achievable by even the lowest resourced countries.”

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at stake. Social progress will need to accelerate, if our world is to see the step change required to achieve the SDGs. The world as a whole needs to reach a score of 75, an improvement of 10 points, on the Social Progress Index to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Thankfully, the issues highlighted in the Social Progress Index are solvable, and business is part of the solution.

“Addressing the complex challenges society faces, globally and locally, is a critical role for business. That is why Deloitte has been working alongside Social Progress Imperative to empower communities with new ways to think about and measure what matters most for society to advance and prosper,” said David Cruickshank, Deloitte Global Chairman and Social Progress Imperative board member. “Today’s business leaders want to better understand the societal forces shaping our world. I believe this Index has the ability to help enable these leaders, alongside those in government and civil society organizations, to systematically identify a strategy towards responsible and inclusive growth through prioritizing the most pressing needs of their communities.”

Other global findings

  • Denmark tops the 2017 Social Progress Index ranking, boasting strong performance across all the components of the Index. It leads the world in Shelter (94.27) and Personal Rights (97.89), ranks second on Access to Information and Communications (98.49) and Personal Rights (97.89), and places third on Personal Safety (93.75).
  • If the world were a country, it would rank between Indonesia (rank 79) and Botswana (rank 80) on the 2017 Social Progress Index. It would fall within the Lower Middle Social Progress Tier.
  • In the last four years, social progress has advanced worldwide but not fast or far enough. The average world score rose from 63.19 in 2014 to 64.85 in 2017—a 2.6% increase on the Social Progress Index. Out of the 128 countries measured on the Social Progress Index, 113 countries improved since 2014. The average improvement was 1.37 points.
  • Access to Information and Communications and Access to Advanced Education are driving global social progress.
    • More than 87% of people globally have mobile phone subscription and 95% of people live in an area with a mobile-cellular network—with lower-income countries increasingly gaining widespread access. The increase in Internet users globally has also increased over the last five years: more than 49% of the world’s population use the Web—up over 8% in just four years.
    • Better access to advanced education has contributed to social progress gains over the last four years: 89 countries boast globally ranked university up from 75 in 2014. Although most world-class universities are in Europe, North America, and Australia; East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa can now claim top quality university education. In 2014, only South Africa had any globally ranked universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, that list now includes Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda.
  • The top improvers (moving up their scores by three or more points) over the past four years are low and lower middle-income countries, which have the most areas to improve: Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Ghana, Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Nigeria.
  • The countries that have shown the most decline (moving down their scores by more than one point) in the past four years include: Nicaragua, Hungary, Central African Republic, and Republic of Congo.
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is far from being the sole determinant of social progress. Across the spectrum, from rich to poor, we see how some countries are much better at turning their economic growth into social progress than others.
  • Costa Rica, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Nepal, Senegal and Chile are identified by the 2017 Social Progress Index as the nations that most overperform on measures of social progress.
  • Angola, Saudi Arabia, Central African Republic, Kuwait, Chad and Afghanistan are identified by the 2017 Social Progress Index as the nations that most underperform on measures of social progress.

“Economic growth alone is not sufficient to advance societies and improve the quality of life for citizens. True success, and growth that is inclusive, requires achieving both economic and social progress,” said Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School, who co-authored the 2017 Social Progress Index report and leads the Social Progress Imperative’s scientific team. “The US is the wealthiest G7 country in terms of GDP per capita, for example, but it is lagging behind other leading countries in areas like education, health, personal safety, and inclusion. America’s failure to advance social progress is limiting our economic growth and standing in the way of prosperity that is widely shared. Countries must rethink how they measure success. Benchmarking social progress and taking the steps needed to advance it will be the key to national and local success in this century.”

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National Hands-On Preservation Training Program Reaches Milestone 100th Project

Program empowering the next generation of historic preservationists to launch 100th project with Juneteenth commemoration at Virginia’s Fort Monroe National Monument

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 13, 2017) — Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s HOPE Crew, a nationwide initiative connecting hundreds of young people to preservation trades and breathing new life into historic structures across our public lands, announced Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia, as the site of the program’s 100th project. In partnership with the National Park Service and the Fort Monroe Authority, HOPE Crew will deploy a team of national experts and young, local participants from The Corps Network’s member corps to rehabilitate Fort Monroe National Monument’s historic quarters this summer.

“The success of HOPE Crew highlights a hands-on approach to saving places that—beyond addressing deferred maintenance at historic sites—is making a positive difference in the lives of future preservationists and the communities where they serve,” said Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We’re excited to continue broadening the preservation movement with our partners and to kick-off HOPE Crew’s 100th project at Fort Monroe National Monument, a National Treasure and site of one of our country’s most extraordinary chapters in the fight for freedom.”

At Fort Monroe National Monument, known to many as “Freedom’s Fortress” for being the place where more than 500,000 African Americans took the first step in ending their enslavement during the American Civil War, HOPE Crew participants working on former living quarters built in 1834 will have an opportunity to discover the site’s history while acquiring advanced preservation skills that make them competitive in the job market, including: foundation stabilization; wall assessments; re-pointing; masonry; painting and refinishing; and carpentry.

“We cannot understand the Civil War—the most significant event in American history—without knowing what happened at Fort Monroe,” said Terry E. Brown, National Park Service superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument. “In helping us preserve historic Building 50 this summer, HOPE Crew participants are also helping us commemorate the courage of Civil War-era freedom seekers and allowing future generations to understand the full American story.”

Since the start of the program in 2014, HOPE Crew (named for “Hands-On Preservation Experience”) has completed 99 projects around the country, trained more than 600 young people and veterans in preservation trades and recruited over 2,000 volunteers to protect places that are significant to their communities. In just three years, aligning the National Park Service with The Corps Network membership of over 130 Corps across the country, the program has contributed 80,000 hours and $14.3 million worth of preservation work at an array of historic sites, including: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s boyhood home in Georgia; Painted Desert Community Complex in Arizona, the last remaining structure in the National Park Service designed by modernist Richard Neutra; and the White Grass Dude Ranch in Montana where cabins were restored for use as a future training facility for the Western Center for Historic Preservation.

“We are proud to have played a role in the development and growth of the HOPE Crew program and are excited to celebrate the 100th project at a site bearing as much historical significance as Fort Monroe,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network. “The mission of Corps is to provide young adults the opportunity to learn job and life skills through service to our country. HOPE Crew allows Corpsmembers to also learn about our country’s history and engage in keeping America’s past alive.”

At an event on Monday, June 19, 2017, 1PM ET, at Fort Monroe National Monument, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Fort Monroe Authority, and The Corps Network will host a public event to launch the program’s 100th project and honor the Juneteenth holiday that celebrates the ending of slavery in the United States. The public and members of the media can join a roster of special guests, government officials, local leaders and HOPE Crew participants to learn about what makes Fort Monroe National Monument an essential landmark of African American history, as well as the wide-ranging importance of engaging young people across the country through preservation work on public lands.

Additionally, the National Trust for Historic Preservation will collect and curate the multifaceted stories of descendants of Fort Monroe’s Civil War-era freedom seekers. Individuals with special connections to Fort Monroe, in the Hampton Roads area and across the country, are encouraged to share their family stories at:

For more info on HOPE Crew, please visit:

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New Species of Extinct Giant Tortoise Discovered on Caribbean Island of Hispaniola

Fossil evidence suggests the giant chelonians were impacted by climate change which restricted their habitat

Press Release – The Caribbean island of Hispaniola, today divided between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, was once home to a now-extinct species of giant tortoise that helped shape the landscape we see today, according to a study led by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London).

The paper, published in the journal Zootaxa, highlights the discovery of a previously-undescribed species of giant tortoise (Chelonoidis marcanoi) in the Dominican Republic, which lived during the last 100,000 years (also known as the Late Quaternary period). The study raises important new questions about how wildlife adapts to the challenges of climate change and human hunting.

Fossil evidence of giant tortoises was first recovered from Hispaniola almost 35 years ago, but prior to this research they were too poorly-known to be formally described, and their past distribution across the island could not be reconstructed.

Extensive new finds of giant tortoise fossils from the dry forests of south-eastern Hispaniola now suggest the species was originally adapted to open habitats, which were common across the island during the last Ice Age glaciation.

However, it is now thought that subsequent climate-driven environmental changes led to the expansion of tropical forests and restricted the tortoise to a small remaining “refuge” of dry forest, where it would also have been more vulnerable to prehistoric human hunters.

Lead author Dr Samuel Turvey from ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, said: “Giant tortoises are more usually associated in the public imagination with the Galápagos Islands, but increasing fossil evidence shows these creatures were once widespread across the northern Caribbean too.

“Our findings from several cave sites in Pedernales Province, which contain the fossilised bones of at least seven individual tortoises, are significant because remains of these large animals are almost completely absent from other geological deposits of similar age elsewhere on Hispaniola.

“This suggests that these dry forests in the south of the island were potentially the final refuge for Hispaniola’s giant tortoises, as climate changes at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary – around 11,000 years before the present – replaced their former semi-arid habitats with tropical forests unsuitable for tortoises.”

To learn more about how ZSL’s scientists are exploring the effects of climate change on today’s wildlife, visit:

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