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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

General

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

The Neglected Capital in the Fight against Poverty and Injustice

Ann Cotton travels to Davos to ask the world to rethink capital. She discusses the transformational leadership provided by young women graduates in the poorest districts of sub-Saharan Africa, who help to develop the rich capital innate in their communities, delivering sustainable change.

Cambridge, UK and Davos, Switzerland – January 19, 2015. Camfed founder Ann Cotton travels to Davos this week, where she will ask the world to rethink what capital means in the fight against poverty and injustice. Armed with thousands of stories from over 20 years of Camfed’s work in girls’ education, she describes the transformational leadership provided by young African women graduates in the poorest districts of sub-Saharan Africa. Camfed alumnae in the CAMA network are helping to develop the rich capital innate in their communities, using their experience of exclusion, and their empathy, to impact on the lives of generations, delivering scalable, sustainable change at personal, community, school, national and international level.

“The world needs to listen to and learn from poor communities,” says Ann. “Camfed’s program was designed by the communities we serve, and has proven its scalability. In 1991, I supported 32 girls to go to school. By 2014, Camfed, our graduates and their communities had directly supported over 1.2 million girls through school.”

Ann Cotton

Ann Cotton

Saturday, 24 January, 9 AM CET: “Developing Capital for Girls’ Education in Africa”

On Saturday, 24 January, Ann Cotton, who is attending the World Economic Forum as a Schwab Foundation social entrepreneur, will lead a discussion on systemic change during the Schwab IdeasLab event “Sparking Systemic Change with Social Entrepreneurs.” In a succinct presentation, Ann will focus on the rich capital in poor communities, which is often neglected or ignored by international organizations, rather than developed for grassroots-led change. Ann will describe how Camfed’s holistic program creates respectful partnerships with communities, unlocking the knowledge, experience and empathy of families, local leaders, schools, students and officials in support of girls’ education, women’s leadership, and systemic change. The session taking place in the Flüela IdeasLab in the Congress Centre will be recorded for worldwide dissemination.

Financial Capital as a Trigger for Deepening Social, Institutional and Knowledge Capital

“We understand that poverty is the greatest barrier to girls’ education in the communities in which we work. We also understand that the way to build robust, transparent and sustainable systems of support is to involve all the people and institutions that have influence over a girls’ education and future life choices,” says Ann. This is the beginning of systemic change, where financial capital helps to grow social bonds, develop and improve institutions, and spread and build knowledge – all important forms of capital, which together help communities to generate new financial capital.

Experience of Exclusion Creates Powerful Mentors, Role Models and Philanthropists

“In sub-Saharan Africa Camfed is the community, and our young women graduates in the over 24,000-strong CAMA alumnae network, set to grow to 130,000 by 2019, are leading systemic change,” says Ann. “They are growing all forms of capital. They are using their personal experience of poverty and exclusion to mentor the next generation of vulnerable girls; to build bridges between families, civil society organizations, and government institutions; and to build social enterprises that lift their families out of poverty. The communal commitment to education, equality and justice releases a virtuous cycle of giving back.”

In 2013 alone, Camfed’s graduates and their communities supported 167,900 children in school through local philanthropic activities. This includes bringing child mothers back to school, volunteering to provide nutritious school meals, mentoring grieving children, and helping needy children with school fees and supplies.

Inspirational, Transformational Leaders – from Local to International Level

At Davos, Ann describes some of the young African women who are changing institutions from the inside. She introduces Ruka Yaro De-Liman, a leader of CAMA in Ghana, who last year became one of 500 Mandela Washington Fellows, and one of just 36 to receive an award in recognition of her entrepreneurship and community activism. Ruka set up an expanding agriculture and poultry business in her community, and plans to create jobs for thousands of young people in Africa. Ann then presents Abigail Kaindu, who had to drop out of school after losing both her parents at a young age. Having completed school with Camfed’s support, she is now a role model and mentor in her community, and part of the Youth Advocacy Group advising the UN Secretary General on global education policy. She describes Runyararo Mashingaidze, one of the first girls supported by Camfed through secondary school, who is now a medical doctor, saving lives daily. And she introduces Angeline Murimirwa, Camfed’s Regional Executive Director in Africa. Angeline, one of the first graduates of Camfed’s program, and co-founder of CAMA, uses her experience of poverty and marginalization to lead programs that ensure hundreds of thousands more girls have the same opportunity she did. Angeline recently addressed the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C on local leadership in girls’ education, alongside First Lady Michelle Obama.

The Only Way to Solve Global Problems

“These are just four of thousands of young women who bear testament to the fact that we cannot solve global problems unless we listen to and learn from poor communities, respect and develop their capital, and support millions of young women to change institutions from the inside,” says Ann. “Camfed will be supporting one million more girls and their communities on this journey over the next five years. We ask the world to join us.”

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Decide on Freedom to Marry

Court to bring national resolution on marriage equality for all Americans

(January 16, 2015) Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging same-sex marriage bans in four states in the Sixth Circuit. A nationwide decision by the Court is expected by late June 2015.

Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, made the following statement:

“We are thrilled that the Supreme Court’s decision today brings us closer to national resolution granting the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.

“The ability to marry the partner you choose brings great joy and happiness, provides important protections for couples and their families, and has no negative impact on others.

“In Florida last week, when our own courts affirmed the freedom to marry, we saw an outpouring of thousands of couples ready to pledge their commitments and love. We look forward to the day when couples in every state have the same freedom that we Floridians now enjoy, and we will continue our work here to ensure the health and safety of all families.”

In October, the last time marriage cases reached the Supreme Court, the justices let stand decisions by three separate appeals courts that granted marriage to same-sex couples. That opened the door to marriage for same-sex couples in 11 more states, but it avoided a nationwide ruling.

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The decisions the Court agreed to review today come from the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, covering Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, from which a three-judge panel upheld those states’ bans on marriage for same-sex couples. That decision conflicted with favorable marriage rulings in four other appellate circuits. More than 50 federal and state courts have struck down discriminatory marriage bans in the past year and a half.

Briefs will now be filed on both sides, oral argument will be scheduled, and the Supreme Court will likely hand down a decision by next summer, potentially bringing an end to marriage discrimination in the United States. Currently same-sex couples can marry in 36 states including Florida, where marriages began statewide on January 6 and are proceeding while Attorney General Pam Bondi continues to appeal to the 11th Circuit to reinstate Florida’s discriminatory ban.

“This struggle has always been about winning the freedom to marry nationwide and today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case is a huge step towards equality,” Smith said.

David Miliband To Address Members Of Leading British-American Charity

NEW YORK, 14 January 2015 – David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a charitable organization that responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, will address the members of St. George’s Society of New York at its 2015 Kick-off Reception in New York City on 21 January 2015.

Mr. Miliband became President and CEO of the IRC in 2013 and oversees the agency’s relief and development operations in over 40 countries as well as its refugee resettlement and assistance programs throughout the United States. In addition, he heads the IRC’s advocacy efforts in Washington, Geneva, Brussels and other capitals on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people. Prior to joining the IRC Mr. Miliband had a distinguished career in British politics, culminating in his serving as the UK’s Foreign Secretary from 2007 to 2010.

St. George’s Society is a membership organization with a charitable purpose. It provides vital assistance to people of British and Commonwealth heritage in New York who are in need of financial and emotional support. For example the sick, elderly and disabled and students who have the ability to succeed but lack the funds to complete their studies. Its vibrant network of influential people and partnerships with key organizations in the British community make it the pre-eminent Anglo/American social and philanthropic group in the tri-state area.

Incoming St. George’s Society President Richard Sexton, MBE said “We are honored and pleased to have Mr. Miliband address the St. George’s Society. He represents the best of British expats in New York who are having a major impact on the lives of the underserved. This has been at the heart of our mission since our founding.”

The Society is well-known in transatlantic circles due to its longevity, record of good works and position in the New York British community. It enjoys a close working relationship with the British-Consulate in New York and for over a century each serving British Consul-General has held the position of Honorary President. The Society’s Royal Patron is HRH The Duke of Gloucester, KG, GCVO.

As a British person living in New York I am inspired by St. George’s Society’s charitable commitments” Miliband said. “I look forward to meeting the members and hearing their ideas about the humanitarian challenges in New York City and beyond.”

Mr. Miliband is the latest in a series of prominent Britons to address the Society. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, spoke about his book on Sir Winston Churchill at a St. George’s Society event last November and English rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson, OBE received the Society’s Anglo-American Cultural Award at a fundraiser in December.

A reception will precede Mr. Miliband’s remarks. Tickets may be purchased online at:

http://shop.stgeorgessociety.org/

Fresno State Receives $950,000 In Gifts For Doctor Of Physical Therapy Program

(January 15, 2015) – The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Fresno State received a $900,000 gift from the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation to support students enrolled in the program through 2018. The gift will be used to offset clinical fees and tuition, as well as laboratory upgrades.

An additional $50,000 in matching funds from the College of Health and Human Services’ Presidential Collaborative program brings the total gifts to $950,000. The Presidential Collaborative, a dollar-for-dollar matching fundraiser, was created to provide fellowship funding to students in the College’s two doctorate programs, as well as its Honors Scholars program.

“This gift will make a profound impact to the success of the students in our Doctor of Physical Therapy program,” said Dr. Peggy Trueblood, chair in the Department of Physical Therapy. “The physical therapy program was started in the 1970s to meet the demand for physical therapists here in the Central Valley. Ever since we moved to doctoral education, the cost of the program has increased drastically, making it even harder for students to reach their goal of being a physical therapist due to financial constraints alone.”

According to Trueblood, students pay approximately $65,000 in tuition for the three-year doctoral program. That amount does not include required books, uniforms, lab fees and traveling costs for conferences.

As of January 2015, students must hold a doctoral degree to become a licensed physical therapist according to the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education. One of only three doctorate programs at Fresno State, the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is the only one of its kind in Central California. Since 2012, an average of 32 students have been enrolled each year. The first class will graduate in spring 2015.

“Many of our students are first- or second-generation college students,” Trueblood said. “To graduate with a doctoral degree in physical therapy is an incredible accomplishment. This generous gift by the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation puts each student just one step closer to achieving their goal.”

The gift will be divided over the course of four years among first-, second- and third-year doctoral students to help cover program expenses and summer tuition. The inaugural cohort of 32 students will be the first to receive the funds this spring, with each student receiving $3,000. Another $5,000 will be given to first- and second-year students.

“This gift will facilitate my ability to finish my academic career at Fresno State, as well as support me throughout my final clinical internship, which will ultimately allow me to graduate,” said Brynne Altamirano, a third-year student from Hanford. “I will also be able to purchase books and school material, as well as begin to pay back some of the school loans I have taken out. I am very appreciative of this gift.”

In response to the gift, the Physical Therapy Alumni Chapter of the Fresno State Alumni Association and the Arnold Fellows will launch a fundraising campaign this spring in an effort to “pay it forward” for future students.

“As a graduate of the physical therapy program, Fresno State has afforded me the opportunity to do what I love in my professional life,” said Dr. Robert Bacci, a 1974 graduate. “I am proud to offer my support for future generations of physical therapists and invite my fellow alumni to join me in paying it forward.”

The Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation was established by Robert C. “Red” Arnold and his wife, Nancy P. Arnold of Madera. The Arnolds valued and appreciated the benefits of a college education, family members said. Red attended Fresno State for two years before transferring to the University of Southern California, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He made a living as a realtor, cattle rancher and businessman. Nancy was an alumna of Stanford University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Red passed away in 2006, followed by Nancy in 2010. Since 2010, the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation has donated major gifts to various organizations in the Valley including Madera Community Hospital, Hinds Hospice, Madera Animal Shelter and the Salvation Army.

Public Interest Organizations Join Forces to Protect Americans’ Retirement Savings

SaveOurRetirement.org will educate workers and retirees about the “Retirement Advice Loophole” – and mobilize public support to close it

Washington, D.C., January 15, 2014. A broad range of national public interest organizations have joined forces in a new campaign to protect Americans from the “Retirement Advice Loophole” that can drain away thousands of dollars of hard-earned savings from a single retirement account. As a focal point for their efforts, the groups are launching SaveOurRetirement.org, a new website that will educate workers and retirees about threats to their retirement security under current law and mobilize their support for long-delayed consumer protections that the U.S. Department of Labor is trying to adopt.

The organizations supporting the new campaign include some of America’s most prominent retiree, labor, consumer, and financial reform groups:

  • AARP
  • American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
  • Americans for Financial Reform
  • Better Markets
  • Consumer Federation of America
  • Pension Rights Center

The Problem:

Because of the Retirement Advice Loophole – which dates back to the 1970s – Wall Street brokers and other financial firms with major conflicts of interest are allowed to provide investment advice that serves their own interests instead of what’s best for their clients. For example, they can sell financial products that pay large commissions but hurt their clients with unnecessary fees, poor returns, or excessive risks. Millions of Americans are affected by this loophole every year without even knowing it, and it is draining away their retirement savings.

Right now, some advisers are required to put their customers’ interests first while others are not – and it is often extremely difficult for workers and retirees to know which type of adviser they are dealing with.

The existing, outdated rules were written during the Ford Administration, before 401(k) plans existed and when Americans had just $3 billion invested in IRA’s. Today, Americans have more than $12 trillion invested in IRAs, 401(k) plans, and other defined contribution plans. With $12 trillion in assets at stake, the Wall Street firms that reap huge profits by putting their own interests ahead of their clients’ best interest will spare no expense to obstruct reform.

The Solution:

The U.S. Department of Labor is expected to take action soon to update the rules for the first time in 40 years. The revised rules can close the retirement loophole by limiting conflicts of interest and requiring everyone who gives retirement investment advice to act solely in their client’s best interest – a common sense standard known as the fiduciary duty.

Taking Action:

Over the next several months, the participating organizations will use SaveOurRetirement.org as a focal point for broad-based public outreach. The goal is twofold: 1) educate Americans about the threats to their retirement from the current system and about ways they can protect themselves, and 2) mobilize public support for an effective consumer protection rule from the U.S. Department of Labor that will close the loophole for good.

Impact Investing: SRI Conference Organizers Announce 2015 Dates and Issue Call for Impact Investing Agenda Concepts

Long-Lead Calendar Item: November 3–5, 2015
The Sri Conference: Organizers Announce 2015 Dates And Issues Call For Presentation Concepts
Impact Investing To Be Focus Of 26th Annual Meeting Of Responsible Investors And Investment Professionals

SOURCE: First Affirmative Financial Network, Colorado Springs, CO.

FOCUS: The SRI Conference features educational sessions and focused opportunities to network with hundreds of like-minded individuals, organizations, and leaders in the field of Sustainable, Responsible, Impact investing. In 2015, The SRI Conference theme is “All In For Impact.” SRI Conference organizers have issued a detailed request for proposals (RFPs), calling for presentations concepts, speakers, and agenda items pertaining to this year’s theme.

DETAILS: The 26th annual SRI Conference will be held November 3–5, 2015 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The SRI Conference (http://www.SRIConference.com) is the largest, longest running, premier annual forum for investors and investment professionals engaged in sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI) investing. Conference participation is open to all SRI industry practitioners, investment professionals, institutional investors, and related organizations.

The RFP is available online at http://www.sriconference.com/47/2015-rfp.pdf. The RFP process generally results in three or four times as many proposals as there is space available on the conference agenda. Therefore, SRI practitioners and investment professionals with concepts and presentation ideas for The SRI Conference are encouraged to submit proposals early in the year.

Interested parties should email proposal concepts to SRI Conference Coordinator, Krystala Kalil, at Krystala@SRIconference.com with a copy to info@SRIconference.com. Submission deadlines are: Plenary Sessions/Speakers: February 13, 2015; and Breakout Session Proposals: February 27, 2015.

SRI Conference producer and First Affirmative Financial Network President, Steve Schueth, said: “Our 2014 Advisor Survey showed that SRI/ESG has never been in such high demand with investors and investment professionals across a wide spectrum, including a larger percent of women advisors and institutional investors. US SIF’s 2014 ‘Trends Report’ on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing in the U.S. showed that overall SRI assets under management have grown by 76 percent just over the past two years, from $3.74 trillion in 2012 to $6.57 trillion. There is growing interest, growing demand, and growing opportunity for investors to go All In For Impact.”

The SRI Conference (http://www.SRIConference.com) is produced by First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC (http://www.firstaffirmative.com), an independent Registered Investment Advisor (SEC File #801-56587) offering investment consulting and asset management services through a nationwide network of investment professionals who specialize in serving socially conscious, impact-oriented investors.

Goody Awards Launches New Global Good and Local Impact Awards

To honor local and global brands, heroes and nonprofits doing good, the Goody Awards announces an expansion from 5 to 20 Social Good Awards. Anyone can nominate using 1 of 20 #GoodyAwards categories year-round through social media.

Santa Monica, CA (PRWEB) January 15, 2015 – The Goody Awards™ (http://goodyawards.com) announces the launch of 15 new Global Good and Local Impact Awards (starting with Los Angeles) to magnify good 24×7, 365 days per year. These social good awards are online and offline awards that recognize brands, people and non-humans making an impact, and are sponsored by Goody PR.

As the Number 1 social good awards driven by social media, anyone can tweet a nomination using 1 of 20 different categories using hashtags (ex. #BusinessGoody) for Goody Awards of the Quarter and Year.

“We feel fortunate to have fans tweeting Goody Awards from 25 different countries, and have 100% engagement on Twitter. We appreciate their compassion for our Eco Social focus on education, the environment, health and women empowerment,” Liz H Kelly, Goody Awards Founder.

Each tweet counts as a vote towards Goody Award of the Quarter and Year, and fans can immediately see the voting results on a LIVE Leaderboard on GoodyAwards.com. Brands can then “crowdsource for good news” by asking fans to vote for them. http://goodyawards.com/winners-leaderboard/

Votes are cast daily through tweets that looks like this: “I nominate @BroadlyTweeting for a #CharityGoody #GoodyAwards for raising funds & awareness for women’s & youth causes through comedy.”

New Global Good Goody Awards – The new global awards include: #AthleteGoody, #AuthorGoody, #BusinessGoody, #CelebrityGoody, #CharityGoody, and #RAKGoody. Ian Somerhalder (“Vampire Diaries”) is currently leading the Celebrity Goody Award category for his Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) that is focused on protecting the planet and its creatures.

New Local Impact Goody Awards – As part of the Silicon Beach tech community, the Goody Awards™ also launched 10 Local Impact Awards to recognize brands doing good in Los Angeles. Local companies such as JukinMedia, Los Angeles Makerspace, and WeAreLATech have already been nominated. The new awards include: #BrandGoodyLA, #EduGoodyLA, #EmployerGoodyLA, #EntrepreneurGoodyLA, #FilmGoodyLA, #GreenGoodyLA, #HealthGoodyLA, #SocEntGoodyLA, #SportsGoodyLA, and TechGoodyLA.

Goody Awards™ of the Year – The top 2014 winners were just announced on Jan 1, 2015, and included: GO GREEN Mobile Power (Eco Goody Award of the Year), Dina Khayal (aka ISF Inspired, Teacher Goody Award of the Year) and Free 2 Luv (Good Deed Goody Award, Hero Goody Award and Team Goody Award of the Year).

Hero Goody Award Tag – As an offline award, anyone can give a Hero Goody Award Tag to recognize global citizens. The person who honored their hero can then send a photo and tribute letter to the Goody Awards for the website. These Special Awards can be seen in this video made by a fan: Goody Awards 2014 Everyday Heroes Recap VIDEO. http://youtu.be/1ESnvPpm1IM

Golden Goody Awards – The other offline award is the Golden Goody Award (aka Oscar for social good). These awards are given about 6 times per year. These lifetime achievement awards are voted on by the board, and are often part of a cause marketing campaign. Some of the people honored with this top award include Joel Bach (Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously” Co-Producer), Ian Somerhalder (Ian Somerhalder Foundation), John Stewart (Director of Green School Bali) and Barbara Corday (Former President of the Writer’s Guild Foundation.)

About Goody Awards

Goody Awards™ facilitates social good awards via social media, special awards and cause marketing campaigns, similar to the brand advertising campaigns that we managed while working for Fox Interactive Media/MySpace for clients such as Toyota and University of Phoenix. To help companies show appreciation for employees, volunteers and fans, Goody PR and Goody Awards™ offer promotional services to brands that include building recognition programs, custom awards and cause marketing campaigns. http://goodyawards.com

About Goody PR

Goody PR is proud to be the primary sponsor for the Goody Awards™, and has extensive experience working with media agencies to build multi-million dollar marketing campaigns. This agency specializes in marketing, PR, social media marketing and cause marketing services for clients such as experts (doctors, financial services, authors), filmmakers, brands and tech companies, who are making a difference through their work and charities. Recent cause marketing campaigns have included a Comedy Gives Back Campaign to benefit Malaria No More and a WorldCup4Good Campaign to promote love.fútbol. http://goodypr.com

Counterpart International Appoints Tom Magnani as Chief Financial Officer

Arlington, VA (January 15, 2015) – Counterpart International is pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Magnani as Chief Financial Officer.

“We are thrilled to add Tom’s talents to Counterpart’s leadership team,” said Joan Parker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Counterpart International.

“In addition to extensive financial expertise, Tom brings experience managing global organizations. As Counterpart continues to expand programs to more countries and more local partners, Tom’s experience will help to guide our effective implementation,” added Parker.

As Chief Financial Officer for major professional services companies and government contractors, Magnani spent his professional career improving the financial planning and management of growing businesses, and enhancing organizations’ responsiveness to customers. He brings experience in accounting, contracts infrastructure, banking relations, financial reporting and external audits.

Magnani has more than 30 years of industry experience, most recently serving as the Chief Financial Officer for Triple Canopy, Inc. He successfully expanded Triple Canopy’s geographic footprint, customer base and service offerings, managing an increase of more than 300 percent in revenues during his tenure. Other positions previously held include Vice President of ManTech International, Gray Hawk Systems and Veridian Corporation.

“I was contemplating a move toward retirement until I was contacted about this position,” noted Magnani. “It’s a very exciting time for Counterpart as it celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, and the organization looks forward to the next 50 years of helping people build better lives and more durable futures. I wanted to be part of that,” said Magnani.

Magnani holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Maryland and is a CPA.

Malala Yousafzai, Bono, Ben Affleck & Bill and Melinda Gates Join action/2015

  • Almost a billion lives hang in the balance at crucial summits in New York & Paris
  • Famous names back one of the biggest campaigns ever launched
  • New figures show poverty could increase for the first time in a generation

According to new research, almost a billion extra people face a life of extreme poverty if leaders duck key decisions on poverty, inequality and climate change due to be taken at two crucial summits in New York and Paris later this year, with billions more continuing to face a life of hardship.

That’s the warning by more than a thousand organisations around the world which are launching a new campaign called action/2015 calling on local and world leaders to take urgent action to halt man-made climate change, eradicate poverty and address inequality.

The new calculation released by the action/2015 coalition shows that, even using relatively conservative scenarios, the number of people living in extreme poverty – on less than $1.25 a day – could be reduced dramatically from over a billion to 360 million by 2030. Based on work by the University of Denver, in the year 2030, about 4 % of the global population would live in extreme poverty, (compared to 17% today) if critical policy choices on inequality, poverty investment and climate change are made this year and implemented thereafter. Estimates of other researchers, looking at a longer list of variables, show that the eradication of extreme poverty is achievable for the first time in history – a key objective of the campaign.

However, if leaders fail to deliver and build on the growing momentum for ambitious deals at the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September and the UN Climate talks in Paris in December, and scale back their efforts, the number of people living in extreme poverty could actually increase to 1.2 billion by 2030. This increase would be the first in a generation (since 1993) and almost a billion higher (886 million) than if resolute action is taken. Under this scenario 1 in 3 of the world’s population would live under $2 a day.

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Malala Fund co-founder, who put her life on the line for the right to education said;

‘People globally want an end to injustice, poverty and illiteracy. Our world is interconnected and youth are ready and mobilised more than ever to see real change take place. Together, we are demanding our leaders take action in 2015 and we must all do our part. I will continue to work tirelessly to call on world leaders to seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality primary and secondary education for every child. That is my goal and I hope that my voice will be heard as it is the voice of millions of children who want to go to school.’

Alongside Malala, dozens of high profile activists from Queen Rania of Jordan and Bono to Ben Affleck, Bill and Melinda Gates and Mo Ibrahim have backed the coalition of over a thousand organisations in more than 120 countries around the world. The campaign is calling on world leaders to agree plans to eradicate poverty, prevent dangerous climate change and tackle inequality at these summits.

action/2015 – announced by Malala when she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize – is one of the biggest campaigns ever to launch – combining environmental, human rights, development organisations and faith networks. From household names like Amnesty International and Save the Children to grassroots NGOs working with local communities, the movement aims to make sure the agreements of 2015 are shaped by the people.

Speaking for action/2015, Amitabh Behar, Indian anti-poverty activist said:

“If we get this wrong, we could see the number of people living in poverty increase for the first time in our generation. But if we get it right – tackle poverty, inequality and climate change – we could eradicate extreme poverty within a generation. With two summits of this importance within just months of each other, 2015 could be one of the most important years for our planet since the end of the Second World War, but only if we rise to the occasion.”

At part of the launch, activities are taking place in more than 50 countries all around the world from Lebanon and Liberia to Nigeria and Norway to South Africa and Sri Lanka.  Many of these are spearheaded by 15 year olds – a constituency who will be among the most affected by the agreements:

  • In Bolivia, three coordinated rallies in Laz Paz will bring together younger and older people, each one representing one of the core issues of the campaign – climate change, inequality and poverty.
  • In Costa Rica, young people will take to their bicycles to raise the profile of the campaign in a cycle rally which will deliver the message of the campaign to leaders and the public.
  • In India, young people are meeting their leaders in 15 states and over 150 districts to deliver their messages of hope for 2015.
  • In New York, the Secretary- General of the United Nations Ban Ki- moon will meet a group of 15 year olds to discuss why we need global action in 2015.
  • In Nigeria, 15 year olds will present their hopes for the future to Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at a live concert;
  • In Norway, a delegation of 15 year old campaigners from across the country will meet with Prime Minister Erna Solberg to challenge her to play her part in the summits and secure a safer future for people and planet in 2015;
  • In Tanzania, 15 year olds will meet Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal to discuss their aspirations for the future and the action they want from political leaders in 2015;
  • In Uganda young people will challenge the Speaker of Parliament to listen to their demands when they hand over a petition signed by over 10,000 young people;
  • In the UK, some of Britain’s leading youth activists will meet Prime Minister David Cameron and Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to urge them to seize the opportunities of 2015.

Speaking about why she got involved in the campaign, Maryam, a Nigerian child rights activist, who will turn 15 this year said:

“By 2030 I will be an adult, and may have children of my own. My generation might not be the ones making decisions today, but we will be the ones to make sure that our leaders take full responsibility for the actions they take this year. I and thousands like me are demanding they make the right choices, because our future is at stake. We ask that they make choices which are dictated by the needs of future generations and not choices that are dictated by short-term politics.”

Debora Souza, a Brazilian campaigner for action/2015 said:

“The world has tested and proven strategies which have successfully lifted millions out of poverty, and the global transition from the dirty fuels driving climate change to 100% clean renewables is already under way. Now it’s up to governments to accelerate those positive trends and make 2015 the year that brings the world closer to a safe and prosperous future for everybody.”

action/2015 is calling on the public to join them in their calls to ensure world leaders commit to a better world. Throughout 2015, the campaign will provide ways for everyone everywhere to get involved in influencing the outcomes of these global debates that could achieve:

  • An end to poverty in all its forms;
  • The meeting of fundamental rights, tackling inequality and discrimination;
  • An accelerated transition to 100% renewable energy
  • A world where everyone can participate and hold their leaders accountable.

 

Sprout Greenlights Newest Original Series Terrific Trucks

Network Orders 26 Half Hour Episodes of Live Action Series, Reinforcing Its Commitment to Original Programming

Pasadena, CA — January 15, 2015 — Sprout, the first 24-hour network for preschoolers, has green-lit Terrific Trucks, the newest addition to its increasing portfolio of original series. Produced by Toronto-based Breakthrough Entertainment, Terrific Trucks is a live action series that celebrates preschoolers’ fascination with big construction vehicles. The stars of the new series are actual life-size trucks with big personalities: a dump truck; a front end loader; a digger; a semi; and a mini front-end loader – each truck is customized and has its own unique personality. The series is slated to join Sprout’s schedule in 2016 and reinforces the network’s continued push to original series. As Sprout celebrates its 10th birthday in 2015, the network will finish out the year doubling its current volume of original programming.

“We know that preschoolers love trucks- we see it in our research and hear it from our viewers. With ‘Terrific Trucks’ we will show the real world of real trucks doing real work – and make it BIG.” said Sandy Wax, President, Sprout. She added, “’Terrific Trucks’ is a BIG show with BIG trucks going on BIG adventures, and we believe that our audience will fall in love with it in a BIG way.”

Each episode of TerrificTrucks follows five truck friends from their morning meeting at their quarry homebase to actually doing the work on site – whether grading a highway, digging a tunnel, or moving houses. In a fun, exciting and immersive environment that showcases the trucks in a close up style, important lessons will be shared as the trucks overcome obstacles and work together as a team on tough projects. Production has begun and principle photography commences in May 2015 in Canada.

The series is produced by Breakthrough Entertainment. Ira Levy and Joan Lambur serve as Executive Producers and Ethan Banville is show runner and head writer for the series.

About Breakthrough Entertainment

Headquartered in Toronto, Breakthrough Entertainment Inc. (BEI) is a world-class studio, being a leading global producer and distributor of acclaimed primetime comedy and drama series, as well as factual entertainment, documentaries, television movies, feature films, family entertainment and children’s animation. As one of Canada’s largest television production and distribution companies, BEI has licensed programs to major broadcasters in over 200 territories. With a catalogue of over 3000 half-hours of programming, the company handles distribution as well as worldwide pre-sales, co-productions and third-party acquisitions.

In addition to its dedicated program development, production and distribution divisions, Breakthrough’s digital media division ranks among one of the industry’s most respected producers of high quality digital entertainment including ebooks, webisodes and online and mobile games.

About Sprout®

Sprout is the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online for children ages 2-6 and their parents and caregivers. Available in over 57 million homes with programming structured to follow the day of the child from morning to night, Sprout features original programming, including The Chica Show and Noodle and Doodle, a library of gold standard series, including Caillou and Sesame Street, and U.S. exclusives including Lazytown and Tree Fu Tom. Sprout’s hosted programming blocks, including The Sunny Side Up Show and The Good Night Show, serve as tools to guide parents as they help children prepare for their days and nights with activities, user generated content, stories, and more. Viewers are encouraged to submit artwork, birthday wishes, videos and more through SproutOnline.com, which has received over five million viewer interactions to-date. Sprout’s VOD offering is the #1 on demand service for younger children with over 1.8 billion views. Sprout was fully acquired by NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment in November 2013.

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