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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
and corporate social responsibility.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

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.

Non-Profit Organization “Style Saves” Gives 675 Students Free Back to School Clothes

Davis Vision, Focus On America®, “Kid’s First” Provided Hundreds Of Miami-Dade Students In Need With Free Eye Screening And Prescription Eyeglasses At No Cost

MIAMI – Over the weekend, August 16th & 17th, the non-profit organization “Style Saves” hosted over 675 Miami-Dade students for free back to school clothing, haircuts and activities.

One of the weekend’s highlights was the participation by “Davis Vision, ”which presented its Focus on America “Kids First” program which provided free vision screenings to hundreds of underprivileged students. Over 25% of students screened were found to need additional testing, which will be done for free at a local Vision Works location. Those needing glasses will then receive prescription lens and frames at zero cost to kids or families.

Students from various programs in Miami including Big Brothers Big Sisters & Community in Schools (CIS), selected students to participate and “shop” for back-to-school clothes and accessories.

“Eighty Percent of what children learn is through their vision so, needless to say, this is so important to catch early on,” said Marcie Palacios from Davis Vision.

Founder of Style Saves, Rachel Russell poses with Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho

Photo Credit: Ralph Notaro

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, was also in attendance for the event to meet and greet the families who came out.

“It’s clear that partners like Vision Works, and many others, are elevating the quality of life in our community, and as a result the quality of education,” said Carvalho. “This is about collectively putting kids on our shoulder and helping them perform better, live better and be happier.”

Style Saves raised over $100,000 in donations at this year’s Miami Fashion Swim Week to make the event possible.

About Davis Vision, Focus on America, “Kid’s First”

Davis Vision is a total health care company and a leader in vision care benefits. The company is also a partner that believes in fostering the growth and the development of our future – our students and our community. Making a difference through quality vision care is Davis Vision’s way of paying it forward to our clients, members and community at-large. As part of Focus on America®, the Kids First program holds events at select schools and school districts. For those who qualify, the program provides vision care and vision wear which includes:

  • Free onsite vision screening for students (at school or school event)
  • Free comprehensive eye exam for students who may have a vision issue
  • Free pair of glasses, if needed, following the exam

Focus on America has provided over $10 million in products and services through Davis Vision and Visionworks outreach initiatives. Davis Vision looks forward to expanding efforts within the Miami-Dade community.

About Style Saves

Founded in 2011 by FORD Fashion Stylist Rachael Russell and a group of philanthropic fashion minded young professionals, Style Saves raises funds to provide underprivileged students from diverse organizations with brand-new clothes for back-to-school. With the credo of “building confidence through clothes, and giving a fresh start through fashion,”the mission of Style Saves is to imbue students with the self-confidence and assurance they need to succeed, both academically and personally. Style Saves is recognized as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit charity under The Miami Foundation.

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Egg Producer Permanently Removed From Industry in Settlement

Lawsuit Stems from Abandonment of 50,000 Hens by Egg Company

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is announcing a settlement on behalf of plaintiffs Animal Place, Farm Sanctuary, and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary in the animal groups’ lawsuit against egg industry defendants Andy Cheung and Lien Diep. The defendants abandoned 50,000 hens without food at a facility near Turlock, which led to the largest farmed animal rescue in California history. The settlement permanently prohibits Cheung, who managed the facility, from working directly with animals again—and places similar restrictions on Diep.

In February 2012, Cheung and Diep, doing business as A & L Poultry, abandoned 50,000 hens without food and left them to die. Tens of thousands of the birds starved to death while others drowned in giant manure pits under their cages. Animal Place, Farm Sanctuary, and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary were able to rescue approximately 5,000 birds.

“The court’s affirmation that A&L Poultry bears financial responsibility for their cruel mismanagement sends a message to agribusiness that it can no longer abuse animals without consequence,” said Animal Place executive director Kim Sturla. “These men left 50,000 individuals to suffer and die, and while it’s gratifying that Animal Place staff and volunteers saved nearly 4,500 lives and placed them in loving homes, this tragic situation should never have happened in the first place.”

ALDF and the law firm Schiff Hardin provided pro bono counsel, suing A & L Poultry on behalf of the sanctuaries that rescued and rehabilitated the surviving hens. At the sanctuaries, these hens were able to engage in natural behaviors and feel the earth beneath their feet for the first time in their lives and most have been adopted into loving homes.

Cheung and Diep still face criminal prosecution for felony animal cruelty. Each defendant faces up to three years in prison and fines of up to $20,000 under California Penal Code section 597(b), which makes it a crime to deprive animals of proper food, water, or shelter, or to inflict needless suffering and unnecessary cruelty.

“The egg industry is rife with routine animal suffering, but today’s settlement ensures that those responsible for the tragedy in Turlock are permanently out of the business of raising animals,” said Matthew Liebman, senior attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Copies of the lawsuit and the documentary film “Turlock,” which chronicles the dramatic rescue of the hens, are available by request.

ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit aldf.org.

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Build-A-Bear Workshop Honors Young Huggable Heroes

Company Selects 10 Charitable Youths Awards Prizes Totaling $75,000

ST. LOUIS (August 19, 2014) – Millions of extraordinary children have come through the doors of Build-A-Bear Workshop® stores over the years, and today, the Company honors 10 incredible children as its 2014 Huggable Heroes – a long-running Build-A-Bear Workshop initiative that recognizes and rewards charitable-minded youths who are making the world a better place.

“When you take a moment and absorb the selflessness, generosity, energy and compassion of our Huggable Heroes, one can’t help but feel optimistic about the younger generation and what they will build well into the future,” said Sharon John, Build-A-Bear Workshop chief executive officer. “It is truly inspiring to see what these 10 boys and girls have contributed to society at such a young age. Build-A-Bear is very proud to be associated with such warm, caring and accomplished individuals.”

Build-A-Bear Workshop is awarding each of the Huggable Heroes a $5,000 scholarship and a $2,500 donation to a charity of his or her choice. Since its inception in 2004, Build-A-Bear Workshop has invested more than $1 million in recognizing and honoring the heroic efforts of more than 100 “Huggable Heroes” in the United States, Canada and the U.K.

“Huggable Heroes is a rewarding program in every sense of the word,” said Gina Collins, Build-A-Bear Workshop chief marketing officer. “Our 2014 Huggable Heroes have given so much of themselves, and it seems only fitting for Build-A-Bear to award each of the winners scholarships which will benefit their future education, while still giving each of them the opportunity to once again help their very worthy cause.”

The 2014 Huggable Heroes contest was open to children ages eight to 18 in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Build-A-Bear Workshop received more than 500 nominations, which were narrowed down to 48 finalists in July. An independent judging organization oversaw the selection of the 10 Huggable Heroes.

Since 2004, more than 12,000 kids have been nominated for the Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes program. The 100-plus winners through the years have collectively raised more than $10.3 million and gathered 300 million items for their causes.

The Build-A-Bear Huggable Heroes “Class of 2014” is being honored for making an incredible impact through fundraising, volunteerism, granting wishes and lifting the hearts and spirits of the less fortunate in our society. From supporting children who are battling cancer to providing relief and appreciation to military veterans, to raising funds and awareness for issues faced by teenage girls around the world, this group of amazing young people has raised more than $800,000 in support of a variety of unique causes.

“Build-A-Bear is once again so pleased to be recognizing and honoring young social engineers who have proven – year in and year out – that energy and heartfelt determination can go a long way in bettering the lives of others,” Collins said. “The 10 winners are all very worthy of their newest and hard-earned accolade – 2014 Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes.”

2014 Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes

Zachary Abel, 14, Sewickley, PA

Zachary is a former Make-A-Wish recipient who created Make A Move for Make-A-Wish – a bike, walk and run event to support wish kids in his community. Now cancer free, Zack organized the Make-A-Wish fundraiser to give back to the organization that granted his wish for a T-Rex Dinosaur statue for his backyard when he was ill. To date, Zack has raised more than $65,000 for Make-A-Wish and helped grant 16 wishes for children battling cancer.

Michael Bervell, 16, Snohomish, WA

Michael started an organization called Hugs for Ghana to mobilize students in his community through volunteering, fundraising, and collecting in-kind donations. In 2013 and 2014, he organized two Ghanaian culture night fundraisers in his community and collected more than $12,000. Additionally, Michael partners with a range of organizations and dozens of schools to organize donation drives that have garnered more than $20,000 worth of sports gear and collected nearly 4,000 books, all to benefit Ghanaian youth.

Daniella Cohen, 16, Highland Park, IL

Daniella founded GIVE, a letter writing exchange, to promote cultural understanding and education. GIVE pen pals learn to empathize and interact with a different culture that they otherwise would not have been exposed to. GIVE has sent thousands of letters and flip-flops, signed with messages of hope, to schools in India, Uganda, Rwanda, Israel and Iraq. Daniella has also spearheaded an effort to provide Internet service and laptops to students in Uganda.

Sarah Gordon, 16, Portland, OR

Sarah’s passion for learning led her to motivate adolescent girls in her community to come together to raise funds and awareness for teenage girls around the world. Sarah brought the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign to Oregon. Girl Up gives American girls the opportunity to support UN programs that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls through education and inspiration. Thanks to Sarah, there are more than 200 students volunteering for the six different chapters of Girl Up in Oregon.

Izzi Hickmott, 16, Brighton, UK

Diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 10, Izzi became eager to share her experiences to help others. In addition to supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) through fundraising, Izzi has supported other young people with Type 1 diabetes by becoming an advocate in the Houses of Parliament. Additionally, Izzi has collaborated with local Council officials and representatives from the National Health Service to put in place relevant and proper support for young people with T1 diabetes in schools.

Kylie Kuhns, 17, Mifflinburg, PA

After losing her sister to leukemia in 2005, Kylie wanted to help other children and families diagnosed with cancer. She founded Kelsey’s Dream, and recently developed and introduced Hopper the Cancer Crusher, a fluffy green frog play therapy toy for children undergoing cancer treatment. To date, the play therapy toy has been delivered to 24 hospitals throughout the nation, with a goal of distributing Hopper the Cancer Crusher to all pediatric oncology hospitals across the U.S. Kelsey’s Dream has mobilized 400 volunteers, raised approximately $265,000, and produced 8,000 therapy play toys to date.

Rachel Ley, 17, Stevens Point, WI

Rachel started Literacy for Little Ones, an early literacy program that encourages parents to read to their infants and provides book packages to newborns’ families. What began at Rachel’s local community hospital in 2009 has expanded to four additional hospitals in Wisconsin, one hospital in Minnesota, and one hospital in Nicaragua, impacting approximately 520 infants per month. Thus far, Literacy for Little Ones has distributed book packages to 7,400 families, and has over 700 volunteers.

Brodie Meredith, 13, Walsall, UK

Brodie and family launched Livvy’s Smile, a charitable endeavor in memory of Brodie’s sister Livvy. Livvy’s Smile’s mission is to create memory making days for children with disabilities, together with their families. Brodie does many things to help Livvy’s Smile including coordinating events and sending mailings. In addition to her own time and effort, Brodie inspires friends to fundraise and challenges them to support children with disabilities.

Casey Sokolovic, 16, Winterville, NC

Casey inspires at-risk students to get involved, raise awareness and learn the plight of the world’s sea turtle population through STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) environmental camps. She also hosts a year-round community calendar of learning and service activities. Over the last three summers, the camps have provided 340 at-risk youth opportunities to participate in STEM-focused, nature activities. In total, Casey’s efforts have raised more than $350,000 to help fund these camps and calendar of activities.

Alexis Werner, 18, Pittsburgh, PA

Alexis created an organization called Seeds of Hope, which provides relief for veterans and their families affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Through Seeds of Hope Alexis has planted 15 self-sustaining gardens nationwide, to provide veterans and their families access to fresh and healthy produce. She has also created a children’s book about veteran appreciation, and a documentary that describes the psychological effects of war.

For more information, please visit buildabear.com/huggableheroes.

About Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.

Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. There are approximately 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and Mexico. The Company was named to the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for the sixth year in a row in 2014. Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $379.1 million in fiscal 2013.

For more information, call 888.560.BEAR (2327) or visit the Investor Relations section of its Web site at buildabear.com®.

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Bikes and Beer Used To Probe the Conversation about Prostate Health

1,400 Mile Supported Bike Ride from Austin, TX to Denver, CO During National Prostate Awareness Month

DENVER, CO (August 21, 2014) — 1,400 miles seems like a long way in a car, how about riding 1,400 miles on a bike to probe the difficult conversation about prostate health. 1400 Miles is not just about riding your bike, it is about getting men, and their loved ones to open up about men’s health. What better way to do that than beer and bikes. Partnering with microbreweries in Austin, Albuquerque and Denver, some of the largest cities in the country with microbreweries. PROSTATE CANCER IS THE SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF CANCER DEATH IN AMERICAN MEN and is largely preventable. Prevention is easy, but it starts with being comfortable talking about it and getting tested.

1400 Miles was born from Davis Tucker’s inspiration from his Brewmaster and longtime friend, Don Thompson at NxNW Restaurant and Brewery in Austin and his recovery from Prostate Cancer. He decided to create an annual 1400 Mile trek from Austin to Denver arriving in time for the Great American Beer Festival… on his bike.

“I’ve been lucky in life. I have never been infected with any form of cancer. Prostate Cancer nearly took the life of my friend and brewing mentor, Don Thompson. If facing the daily challenge of pushing cadence on the bike for 1400 miles can save the life of one father, brother or friend, I will feel I have done my part and opened the door for more conversation and action,” Comments Davis Tucker, Founder of 1400 Miles.

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Starting on Sunday, September 14th – Ending on Sunday, September 28th, the 1400 Miles ‘Big Ride’ is a fully supported journey of a lifetime on a road bike spanning 1,400 miles from Austin, Texas to Denver, Colorado. 5 legs comprised of 3 days for each leg, averaging 100 miles/day. You can either participate in the whole ride (all 1400 miles, 5 legs), or break your journey down to 1 or a series of legs. Each team can have up to 5 riders or you may select to do all 1400 miles solo.

Proceeds will be split between Pints for Prostates and Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC).

The money raised for PCEC will go towards Men’s Health Blood Test Screenings: “Men’s Health Blood Testing Value: Each man being screened at a 1400 Miles/PCEC Men’s health screening are receiving over $800 in free blood testing including: PSA, Lipids, Testosterone and Glucose”.

FREE prostate health assessments will be available in Denver on September 23rd and 25th and October 8th and 9th and in Austin, Texas on September 23rd. Visit 1400miles.com under events for more details.

If 1400 Miles or even one leg is too much, join us in Austin, Albuquerque and Denver for community rides. Choose from 14, 28, 42 or 76 miles. All donations are tax deductible.

More details on community rides are available on 1400miles.com

More About 1400 Miles

1400 Miles uses a bike and a beer to spark difficult conversations with stubborn guys about prostate health.

How are we making the conversation more comfortable? We are pedaling 1,400 miles on a bicycle from Austin to Denver. Along the route, we are hosting Community Rides and Refueling Parties. All proceeds will be split between Pints for Prostates and the Prostate Conditions Education Council.

Want to get involved? You can sign up for The Big Ride, participate in a Community Ride, attend the Refueling Parties, support a Big Ride Rider or Team by funding a mile or become a Virtual Rider and raise money!

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Impact Makers Makes the Inc. 500 for the 3rd Year

Ranks No. 463 on the 2014 Inc. 500 with Three-Year Sales Growth of 1,024%

Richmond, Virginia, August 20, 2014 – Inc. magazine ranked Impact Makers No. 463 on its Inc. 500, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs.

Impact Makers’ rank is based on three-year sales growth of 1,024%. This is the third consecutive year that Impact Makers has made the list. In 2013, the company ranked 514th with 887% growth and in 2012, the company ranked 360th with 1,030% growth. This growth is especially significant due to the company’s social entrepreneurship model: Impact Makers is a for profit company but has no shareholders and contributes all profits to local charities.

“Impact Makers is honored to be named to the Inc. 500 for the third year,” says CEO and founder Michael Pirron. “This three-peat proves that companies can be doing well while doing good. Impact Makers is successful because of our model, not despite it. We create goodwill for clients and economic value through social impact.”

A founding Certified B Corporation, Impact Makers also was honored for the second year in a row as a ‘Best for the World’ company by the nonprofit B Lab, for creating most overall positive social and environmental impact.

“These two distinctions show Impact Makers success by both pure capitalist metrics and also by social enterprise standards, where we have been successful at making a community impact,” says Pirron.

Founded in 2006, Impact Makers is a management and technology consulting company, providing Management and IT Consulting, Program and Project Management, Digital Services, Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Healthcare Solutions.

See Impact Makers’ Inc. 500 profile: http://www.inc.com/profile/impact-makers.

To see the complete Inc. 5000, visit: http://www.inc.com/inc5000/index.html.

About Impact Makers

Impact Makers is a management and technology consulting company based in Richmond, Virginia. We provide Management and IT Consulting, Program and Project Management, Digital Services, Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Healthcare Solutions. We are a for profit company whose corporate charter requires us to contribute 100% our net profits to local nonprofits. For more information, visit www.impactmakers.com.

About Inc.

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 6,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

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Paving the Way for Sustainable Futures through Education

Projects Abroad Volunteers Touch the Lives of Thousands of Students by Helping Peruvian Teachers Improve English Skills

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A Projects Abroad volunteer teaches an English class in Urubamba, Peru

NEW YORK – August 20, 2014 – In the developing world, an education is the gateway to employment and a better quality of life. Add the ability to speak English and a booming tourism industry to the mix, and creating sustainable development becomes a reality! This is especially true in Peru, where international volunteer organization Projects Abroad is working toward sustainable futures by developing education and helping local teachers and students.

Projects Abroad have worked hand-in-hand with the Peruvian Ministry of Education to design and implement an English curriculum that will benefit schools long-term in the Sacred Valley area of Peru. With a wealth of resources to draw on and the support of Projects Abroad staff (including former UNICEF education specialist and current director of Projects Abroad Peru, Tim DeWinter), volunteer teachers are able to build upon the work of volunteers before them and ensure that students have a meaningful classroom experience. This is a great project for volunteers new to teaching who feel they need more guidance and support.

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For experienced teachers who want to volunteer abroad, we run an innovative teacher training program for improving local teachers’ English skills during school vacation. This program takes place over six weeks, with volunteers working in conjunction with the Ministry of Education to help develop education in Peru. This training is crucial as it is often the only in-service training that local teachers will receive all year. It is an excellent opportunity for teachers to learn from fellow professionals and share ideas and classroom techniques, as well as develop their Spanish skills.

“Both volunteers and the teachers benefit from our teacher training program,” says Rachel Macmillan, a Program Advisor for Projects Abroad USA. “The volunteers leave with a huge confidence boost from teaching in a classroom and learning from fellow teachers and a unique experience in Peru that touches the lives of thousands of students. Local teachers leave the program with improved English, new classroom techniques, and knowledge that they can impart on their students.”

The teacher training program runs for six weeks at the start of January each year, while regular projects run throughout the year. For more information, visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/teaching/volunteer-peru/.

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 29 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, 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

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Sequencing at Sea

Scientists overcame equipment failure, space constraints and shark-infested waters to do real-time DNA sequencing in a remote field location.

SDSU graduate student Yan Wei Lim exploring coral reefs in the southern Line Islands.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (August 19, 2014) — Daylight was breaking over the central Pacific and coffee brewing aboard the MY Hanse Explorer. Between sips, about a dozen scientists strategized for the day ahead. Some would don wetsuits and slip below the surface to collect water samples around the southern Line Islands’ numerous coral reefs. Others would tinker with the whirring gizmos and delicate machinery strewn throughout the 158-foot research vessel. All shared a single goal: Be the first research group to bring a DNA sequencer out into the field to do remote sequencing in real time. Against an ocean of odds, they succeeded.

This three-week, five-island expedition took place last year with a research crew including San Diego State University computer scientist Rob Edwards, biologist Forest Rohwer, postdoctoral scholar Andreas Haas and graduate student Yan Wei Lim. They were accompanied by several other researchers from the San Diego region and around the world. The researchers published an account of their trip and methods today in the journal PeerJ.

Line Island investigations

Biologists and computer scientists at SDSU have been traveling to the Line Islands for the last decade, collecting and analyzing the coral habitat to better understand what organisms live there, how they compete for resources, and what effects their presence has on the reef’s ecosystem. It always bothered Edwards that they had to wait until they were back home, on the other side of the world, before they could look at their data and develop new hypotheses.

“If only we had had that data out in the field, we could have asked those questions there and then,” Edwards said.

That inkling grew into an ambitious plan to somehow, some way bring out to sea a cumbersome and expensive piece of equipment designed to analyze a sample’s DNA makeup and spit out detailed information about its genome.

The project initially had its doubters.

“People are a little bit hesitant to take a half-million-dollar piece of equipment into the middle of the Pacific if you’re not sure it’s going to be coming back,” Edwards said.

Undeterred, he and his colleagues devised a protocol for how to run a DNA sequencer on a ship. Finally, the team headed to Tahiti with a sequencer provided by San Diego–based biotech company Life Technologies. As the Explorer headed south en route to an eventual rendezvous with Antarctica, it picked up the researchers and their sequencer and set course for the Line Islands.

Problems and solutions

The problems and hurdles were manifold.

First, the touch screen needed to operate the machine broke during transit. Edwards had to hack into the sequencer’s software to make it operable with his laptop.

Next, they had to find room for all the various pieces of equipment. They set up the sequencer itself in the laundry room because it was the lowest point in the ship and it would sway the least as the Explorer rocked. The microbiology lab was set up on the upper aft deck. The DNA isolation station found its home in a cabin. The mess deck (or dining room, to landlubbers) hosted the PCR machine used to amplify the DNA samples into analyzable chunks.

Once everything was in place, Lim, a doctoral student, was tasked with calibrating the sequencer. Normally, this takes about 15 minutes in a lab. Due to the boat’s sway, however, it took about five hours.

Then there were the sharks. Lim recalls that every time the researchers dove to the reef to collect samples, she counted between 20 and 30 curious sharks milling about.

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“I wasn’t afraid,” she said. “They would just swim away if you got too close.”

Despite the setbacks, the researchers managed to make it all work. They successfully collected samples, sequenced their DNA, and developed new research questions on the fly. In all, 26 bacterial genomes were sequenced, along with two metagenomes, which take into account all the DNA present in a given region.

Not a bad haul for a proof-of-concept voyage, but Edwards said next time they hope to collect even more data and develop and test more complex hypotheses out in the field.

“At the end of the day, we were able to come up with the data we needed,” Edwards said. “But when we go back next time, we’re going to be better prepared.”

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Ad Council and United Way Continue Campaign to Inspire Americans to LIVE UNITED and Make a Difference;
 Collaborate with the NFL on Youth Health and Wellness

New extension utilizes online interactive map that shows the impact of local United Ways on education, income and health in their communities

NEW YORK — United Way and the Ad Council, in collaboration with the National Football League, have announced an extension of their successful LIVE UNITED campaign, including a new series of public service ads (PSAs) featuring NFL players promoting health and wellness, and ads showcasing the true outcome of United Way’s work in local communities. The new campaign also includes an online interactive map that illustrates local impact stories from United Ways around the country.

LIVE UNITED, first launched in 2008, was created to motivate and inspire individuals to get involved within their communities through United Way. The new PSAs, created pro bono by McCann Erickson New York, include television, radio, print, outdoor and digital advertising. The spots demonstrate how local United Ways work with partners in their communities to address pressing social issues and create real, lasting change in the areas of education, income and health.

“United Way has been integral in engaging citizens in their own communities and serving as a rallying cry for issues ranging from hunger to education,” said Brian A. Gallagher, president & CEO of United Way Worldwide. “Through new online initiatives and leveraging the NFL relationship, we hope to display our diversity as an organization, allowing us to further expand our footprint around the country and continue making a difference in real social issues facing our nation.”

The campaign includes companion PSAs developed in conjunction with the NFL – a longstanding partner of United Way – to encourage kids to be active for at least 60 minutes a day, the key message of PLAY 60, the NFL’s youth health and wellness campaign. The television and radio PSAs feature Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, and outdoor billboards feature players from each of the 32 NFL teams.

The central component of the campaign is an interactive story map on UnitedWay.org that features stories highlighting the success and impact United Way has had in addressing the education, income and health needs of communities across the country.

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“The PSAs, NFL relationship and interactive map provide a strong representation of the resonance United Way has all over America. The latest iteration of this campaign brings to life the powerful stories and impactful work of passionate volunteers that make United Way a key organization in the everyday lives of so many,” observed Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of The Advertising Council. “We are proud to contribute to this meaningful mission.”

Per the Ad Council model, the PSAs will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media. Since the campaign initially launched in 2008, media outlets have donated more than $303.2 million in time and space for the ads.

“Through our call to action, ‘Because great things happen when we LIVE UNITED,’ we are calling upon volunteers everywhere to log on and identify how they’ve made a difference in people’s lives,” said Erica Yahr, EVP, Executive Strategy Director, McCann New York. “The map interface becomes an interactive, ever-growing record of the tangible differences that United Way has made.”

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LIVESTRONG Foundation Gift to Dell Medical School Allows UT Austin to Surpass $3 Billion Campaign Goal

AUSTIN, Texas — With a $50 million gift from the LIVESTRONG Foundation to the Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin has exceeded its goal of raising $3 billion during the eight-year Campaign for Texas.

This gift will be used to establish the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, an innovative enterprise designed in collaboration with cancer patients and survivors to break new ground in patient-centered care by developing and promoting innovative teaching practices and research.

“The LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes will bring to the Dell Medical School the cause of patient-centered care that has been at the heart of the foundation’s work since its beginning 17 years ago. I am so thankful to LIVESTRONG and so excited about the groundwork this lays within the Dell Medical School,” said University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers. “Revolutionary advances will flow from this partnership. Lives will be saved, and lives will be made far better because of the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s generosity and strategic vision.”

Building upon the years-long effort to bring a world-class medical school to Central Texas, this landmark contribution from the LIVESTRONG Foundation demonstrates the innovative advancements that underscore the mission of the Dell Medical School. The school was launched after Travis County voters elected in 2012 to increase their property taxes, in part to support the medical school and make Austin a center for comprehensive cancer care. The Dell Medical School will enroll its first class of students in the summer of 2016.

“Our partnership with The University of Texas’ Dell Medical School will allow the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes to reach more patients, not just here in Texas but around the world, as we create a replicable and scalable model of care that’s centered on the needs and lives of patients,” said Doug Ulman, LIVESTRONG Foundation president and CEO. “This is not about new buildings, but rather about radically shifting a culture of care to be more inclusive, providing care for all who need it. The Institutes are a game-changer for us and a game-changer for the cancer community.”

The Campaign for Texas has enabled The University of Texas at Austin to foster student success and build on the university’s standing as one of the best public research universities in the nation.

The more than $3 billion that the university has received in gifts, pledges and donations is the most ever by a higher education institution in Texas and among the largest amounts raised by a public university in the U.S. in a single campaign. The campaign ends Aug. 31.

Collectively, 260,000 students, alumni, faculty members, staffers and friends and more than 12,000 organizations have contributed to this milestone, making gifts both large and small to support the university’s teaching and research missions in every area from the sciences and engineering to medicine and health care, education and leadership, business and the economy, policy and law, and the arts and humanities.

This $50 million gift epitomizes many of the values behind the Campaign for Texas, empowering the university to conduct world-changing research, pioneer new areas of educational excellence and transform the lives of thousands of individuals. UT Austin and LIVESTRONG will advance the treatment and quality of life for cancer patients and survivors in ways that will make a difference in Central Texas and that can be replicated all over the world.

Created in 1997, the LIVESTRONG Foundation is known for providing free cancer support services and advocating for policies that improve access to care and quality of life. The foundation has served 2.8 million people affected by cancer and raised more than $580 million to support cancer survivors.

“We have an enormous opportunity to design the Dell Medical School from the ground up around the challenges and opportunities of 21st century health care. The innovations that start here truly will change our community and the world,” said Dr. Clay Johnston, dean of the Dell Medical School. “The LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes show how innovative and important our work can be. We can do more than heal — we can improve the process of healing. This important gift will help us do just that.”

President Powers will announce the gift at a news conference on Tuesday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. in The Lee Hage Jamail Academic Room (Main 212) in UT Austin’s Main Building. The announcement will be broadcast live on the Web, with video streaming at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/utaustin.

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