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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.

Inhibitor Drug Improves Overall Survival in Older Radioiodine Resistant Thyroid Cancer Patients

Penn study is first to highlight drug’s impact in older patient population

Press Release – PHILADELPHIA – The drug lenvatinib can significantly improve overall survival rates in a group of thyroid cancer patients whose disease is resistant to standard radioiodine treatment, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is the first to show lenvatinib has a definitive impact on overall survival (OS). Researchers found OS improves in patients older than 65 years of age and that the drug is well-tolerated.

“Due to limitations of study design, it has been hard to prove that multikinase inhibitors improve overall survival, although we have suspected it,” said the study’s lead author Marcia Brose, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Otorhinolaryngology and a member of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. “These findings put that doubt to rest for the group of patients over 65 treated with lenvatinib.”

Most cases of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) are treated with radioiodine therapy. Since the thyroid absorbs nearly all of the iodine in the human body, radioactive iodine given to a patient will concentrate in thyroid cancer cells, killing them with little effect on the rest of the body. The treatment can be curative, but about 15 percent of DTC patients have cancers that are resistant to the therapy.

Levatinib is one of two first-line therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patients who are resistant to radioiodine treatment. The drug is a multi- kinase inhibitor (MKI) – meaning it targets the specific enzymes that are required for growth in DTC.

“It was approved based on previous trials that showed it had a benefit for progression-free survival, but until now, nobody has shown it also has a benefit for overall survival,” Brose said.

Brose and her team participated in the SELECT trial to study the effects of levatinib on DTC, and Brose directed the further analysis published in this report which specifically looked at OS and safety of lenvatinib in younger and older patients. Patients were divided into two groups: Those 65 or younger, and those older than 65. The median age of the younger group was 56. For the older group, it was 71. Each group contained patients on the drug and patients receiving a placebo.

Researchers found significant differences in overall survival between those on the drug and those on the placebo in the older age group. Among the older cohort, those on the placebo had an OS of 18.4 months. For patients receiving the drug, OS was not reached, but confidence intervals show the expected survival would exceed 22 months. In the younger cohort, overall survival was not reached for either group.

“There’s a belief that these drugs should be withheld from older patients due to concerns about toxicity and other medical concerns, but our results show just the opposite,” Brose said. “Not only do older patients benefit from these drugs, but they generally tolerate them well.”

Brose says the results of this study can have an immediate impact in clinical care, and several other studies are ongoing to find new uses for lenvatinib in other types of thyroid cancer.

This study was supported by Eisai, Inc., which manufactures levatinib.

Greens First KIDS Becomes Partner with Documenting Hope, Supporting New Approach to New Childhood Epidemics

Press Release – Boca Raton, FL., June 15 , 2107 — Wellness Watchers Global LLC, the parent company of www.GreensFirst.com, and makers of Greens First KIDS announced today that they have joined the ranks of some of the nation’s most forward-thinking companies in a partnership with Documenting Hope, endorsing their mission of a paradigm shift of the old-school medical model in the recovery of chronic childhood conditions, which have become modern day epidemics. The Documenting Hope Project seeks to inspire parents, physicians, and policy makers to think differently about children’s health and redesign a system that truly understands how to prevent and reverse chronic health conditions.

“We are extremely delighted to support this organization, which is genuinely committed to the cause of integrating new ideologies and looking beyond the scope of traditional medical protocols and institutional norms in treating childhood epidemic diseases. We share in their vision to discover and implement better recovery options and quality of life for the millions of children and their parents who are seek to find an alternative to the status quo,” said Ryan Benson, COO of Wellness Watchers Global.

Documenting Hope is a group of pioneering scientists, physicians, healers, parents and children’s health advocates who have assembled to scientifically demonstrate that recovery from chronic childhood conditions (even those as complex as autism and autoimmune conditions) is possible.

“We are thrilled to welcome Greens First KIDS as a partner to our growing community that understands and supports our ground-breaking work in the recovery of emerging childhood epidemics. As our research clearly shows, nutrition is a key factor in the healing process of all childhood illnesses and Greens First Kids provides outstanding USDA certified organic nutrition, with 30+ 100% organic superfoods, digestive enzymes as well as pre-and probiotics, which we now understand have a profound impact on gut health and immunity,” said Helen Conroy, Partnership Director of Documenting Hope.

The project will enroll 14 children in a healing and recovery program that will span 18 months. The children’s recovery journey will be documented on film and weaved into a powerful feature-length film that will provide an exposé on the environmental origins of the epidemics of autism, ADHD/ADD, asthma, allergies and other conditions skyrocketing in children. The Project will demonstrate that these conditions can often be reversed using cutting-edge healing modalities.

About Documenting Hope

Documenting Hope is a multi-year research and documentation project to demonstrate the effectiveness of changes in environment for children suffering from autism, ADHD, asthma, allergies and autoimmune diseases. Documenting Hope is sponsored by Epidemic Answers, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to finding healing solutions for the New Childhood Epidemics. The non-profit’s mission is to educate and empower parents and caregivers so that they can facilitate their child’s return to wellness.

For more information please visit: http://www.documentinghope.com and http://www.epidemicanswers.org.

Lata Reddy Elevated To Chair Of The Prudential Foundation; Company Aligns To Accelerate Growth And Advance Financial Security For All

Press Release – June 14, 2017 10:43 AM Eastern Daylight Time: NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU) has strengthened its longstanding commitment to address societal needs and champion financial security by moving its office of Corporate Social Responsibility to the C-Suite, reporting directly to Vice Chairman Mark Grier. The move affirms Prudential’s shared value approach to integrating CSR with business strategy under the leadership of Lata Reddy, who leads CSR and has been named chair of The Prudential Foundation.

Reddy, the architect of Prudential’s shared value approach, also serves as president of the Foundation. In these roles, she oversees the company’s efforts to harness capital markets to drive social and financial mobility and sustainable growth.

“Prudential was founded to serve working families. From our beginning, we have always believed that our higher purpose is to pursue inclusive growth that benefits shareholders, customers and society,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential.

“Lata is a transformative leader who has advanced Prudential’s mission to connect business growth with societal progress. The elevation of her role and this important organizational shift recognizes that the integration of Corporate Social Responsibility and business strategy is foundational to creating true long-term value,” Strangfeld continued.

Advancing social progress, creating business value

Prudential’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts tackle some of society’s most intractable problems and position the company for the future by building partnerships that lead to new markets or expand Prudential’s own workforce. Reddy leads these efforts by harnessing impact investments, philanthropy, corporate contributions and employee engagement, and leveraging Prudential’s full business capabilities.

Among examples:

  • A recent partnership with Leapfrog Investments, a private equity platform focused on promoting financial inclusion in emerging markets, began as a $15 million impact investment in a fund that invests in companies that provide insurance, savings, pensions, investment products and other financial services to emerging consumers in Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. By 2016, the effort grew to a $350 million investment to expand Prudential’s international business footprint in Africa.
  • A nearly $1 million commitment from The Prudential Foundation in El Paso, Texas, is helping to build the next generation workforce in the city, specifically providing math and technology training to military veterans and military spouses, and the city’s large Latino community. The commitment complements the company’s business technology solutions center, opened in 2014, and promises to create a pipeline for new talent at Prudential, aiming to make Prudential the city’s employer of choice.
  • Prudential is more than halfway toward meeting its pledge to build a $1 billion impact investing portfolio by 2020 that seeks to generate financial returns while creating social impact. As an example, Newark, N.J.’s iconic Hahne Building reopened in January after sitting abandoned for nearly three decades, thanks to a $174 million redevelopment project led by joint venture partners Prudential Financial and L+M Development. The project continues Prudential’s campaign of investments to build a walkable, thriving community in its hometown, and creates a blueprint for revitalizing similar cities throughout the country.
  • Most recently, Prudential announced a three-year, $5 million partnership with The Aspen Institute to advance solutions that increase financial security for all American workers. The partnership will promote broad reforms in labor and financial markets to help working people move from financial fragility toward resilience, mobility and prosperity.

Reddy is credited with leading Prudential’s advancement of the revitalization of its hometown, Newark, N.J., by combining investments in the physical redevelopment of the city with philanthropic funding to support programs that enable social and economic mobility for its residents. In addition to the Hahne & Co. project, she has been instrumental in the renovation of Military Park, the epicenter of the historic downtown corridor; the creation of a free ultra-high speed Wi-Fi network in Newark’s downtown district; the development of the Teachers Village live-learn-work-play community; and bringing next-wave manufacturing to the city through the innovative vertical farming company AeroFarms, among numerous other projects and programs.

Reddy originally joined Prudential in 1997 to manage The Prudential Foundation’s education grants and became vice president of the Foundation in 2002. She left in 2008 to launch a consulting practice and returned—to her current role—in 2012. For her entire career, she has been dedicated to promoting equity—exemplified through her work as a civil rights attorney with the U.S. Department of Education.

Reddy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Emory University School of Law. She currently serves on the boards of Living Cities and Local Initiatives Support Corporation and is on the advisory board for the California Organized Investment Network.

About Prudential

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of March 31, 2017, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.

More Than $82 Million Awarded for Arts Projects Nationwide

~Includes $60,000 awarded to The Metropolitan Opera Guild ~

Press Release – New York, NY [June 14, 2017]—National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $60,000 to The Metropolitan Opera Guild to support opera-based teaching and learning in public elementary schools in New York City and New Jersey. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as The Metropolitan Opera Guild, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

“We are so grateful to receive this grant, and to expand the reach of our educational programs,” said Thomas M. Martin, Managing Director at The Metropolitan Opera Guild. “Our opera-based learning programs allow students and educators to build skills in the arts while also exploring creativity, communication and collaborative problem solving. It has been proven time and time again to drastically increase students’ test scores and engagement.”

The project emphasizes partnerships between classroom teachers and Metropolitan Opera Guild teaching artists, who collaborate to design and deliver a year-long program of arts instruction that is integrated with classroom curriculum. Composers, librettists, and other opera professionals will collaborate with classroom teachers to guide students through writing, composing, staging, and performing their own operas at a culminating event. Classroom teachers and music specialists will receive professional development in the principles of opera-based training, build their own music skills and knowledge of opera, and learn to facilitate the creative process with students. Many of the students and teachers will also have an opportunity to attend a final dress rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera.

A recent four-year research project (The Comprehensive Opera-Based Arts Learning and Teaching (COBALT) program), studied the link between increased student achievement due to participation in opera-based learning. The COBALT study demonstrated the overwhelmingly positive impact of the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s arts education programs in New York City public schools. For more information about the study click here.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to arts.gov.

About The Metropolitan Opera Guild:

The Metropolitan Opera Guild is the world’s premier arts education organization dedicated to enriching people’s lives through the magic and artistry of opera. The Guild fosters personal expression, confidence, literacy and collaboration in children with customized education programs integrated into the curriculum of their schools, and builds a deeper appreciation of opera in adults through workshops and community programs, and by publishing Opera News, the world’s leading opera magazine. Through its unique relationship with the Metropolitan Opera, the Guild offers all audiences unique access to the artists, performances and majesty of one of the world’s most renowned performing arts companies. For more information about The Metropolitan Opera Guild and its programs, visit metguild.org.

Artist Pension Trust To Partner With Art For Amnesty

Artists to Donate Distributions to the Human Rights Organization

Press Release – LONDON/NEW YORK (June 13, 2017)MutualArt, the world’s leading source of art market information and manager of APT (the Artist Pension Trust®), announced it will be teaming up with Art for Amnesty to support the efforts of Amnesty International. The partnership follows an acceleration in APT’s sales and distributions, which will see artists in its New York and LA trusts each receiving up to $5,500 this year — increasing from $1,700 in 2016.

“When we made our first distribution last year, some of the artists we work with asked that their sum be donated to a charitable organization,” said Al Brenner, CEO of MutualArt Group. “That’s why, this year, we will be working with Art for Amnesty so that artists may donate their distribution amount directly through APT. We are proud to do our part to support this critical organization.”

Art for Amnesty is a global community of artists of all disciplines and nationalities who share Amnesty International’s vision of a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. MutualArt joins a community of artists including U2’s Bono and the Edge, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Yoko Ono, all engaged in lending their support to Amnesty International’s campaigns to end human rights abuses.

APT Co-Founder David A. Ross, Chair of the MFA Art Practice Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts and former director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, SFMOMA and ICA Boston, commented: “Twelve years after its foundation, it’s great to see APT yielding such significant results, and generating meaningful income for artists. For some to be at a stage where they can donate their income to such a worthy and important charity is fantastic.”

APT artist Laura Parnes, who has exhibited at institutions including MoMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art, said: “With democracy under threat globally, increasing awareness of human rights issues is more vital than ever, and we all need to find ways to integrate activism into our everyday lives. Donating my distribution to Art for Amnesty was one way for me to do this. I’m excited to see APT partner with Art for Amnesty and am happy to lend my support.”

“We are very grateful for the support of MutualArt,” said Bill Shipsey, Founder of Art for Amnesty. “Donations from the APT artists they work with will go directly to some of Art for Amnesty’s biggest projects, such as the Art for Amnesty-Atelier Pinton Tapestries, which pay tribute to figures including Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.”

About MutualArt

MutualArt provides unrivalled insight into the art world. Trusted by over half a million members, our comprehensive art information database provides objective price analysis, content and events listings for over 300,000 artists, as well as 17,000 museums, galleries and auction houses.

Learn more at mutualart.com and aptglobal.org.

Facebook: MutualArt | Instagram: @artist_pension_trust | Twitter: @MutualArt

Poetry Foundation Appoints New Member to Board of Trustees

Press Release – CHICAGO – The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Cecilia Conrad, PhD, to its Board of Trustees. Conrad is a Managing Director at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Her portfolio includes the MacArthur Fellows Program, the MacArthur Award for Effective and Creative Institutions, and 100&Change, a new program that will make a single grant of $100 million to a project that promises measurable progress in solving a critical problem. Conrad has also guided working groups on the MacArthur Foundation’s open access policy and its investments in people as a mode of philanthropic work.

“Dr. Cecilia Conrad cares deeply about society and how to guide ‘big picture’ progress,” said Henry Bienen, President of the Poetry Foundation. “We are fortunate to have her insights as we continue our work of raising poetry to an ever more influential place in American culture.”

Before joining the MacArthur Foundation in January 2013, Conrad had a distinguished career as both a professor and an administrator at Pomona College. She joined the economics faculty at Pomona College in 1995, and contributed to the curriculum of interdisciplinary programs in women’s studies, public policy, and black studies. In 2002, Conrad was named California’s Carnegie Professor of the Year, a prestigious national award that recognizes faculty members for their achievement as undergraduate professors. She served as Associate Dean of the College (2004–2007), Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College (2009–2012), and Acting President (Fall 2012). From 2007–2009, she was interim Vice President and Dean of the Faculty at Scripps College. She is currently a trustee of Bryn Mawr College.

Dr. Conrad graduated from public schools in Dallas, TX, received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College, and earned her doctorate in economics from Stanford University. She is married to Llewellyn Miller, who is Manager of Financing and Business Development at CMF Global. Her son, Conrad Miller, is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Haas School of Business, University of California,Berkeley.

Project Abroad Answers Call To Curb Effects of Coral Bleaching

Marine Conservation Volunteer Projects to help protect threatened coral reefs

Projects Abroad volunteers collect samples on their Diving & Marine Conservation Project in Thailand

Press Release – NEW YORK – June 14, 2017Projects Abroad is responding to a worldwide series of coral bleaching events through its own Diving & Marine Conservation volunteering programs. Volunteers can join Projects Abroad in Belize, Cambodia or Thailand, to contribute to efforts to alleviate the effects of coral bleaching and maintain coral reef health.

2017 has seen the continuation of mass coral bleaching incidents that started to intensify around the world last year. The world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, has experienced two back-to-back bleaching events in the past two summers, leading some scientists to declare a third of the reef dead.

“Historically there have been very few bleaching events recorded, up until the last 20 years,” says Roger Bruget, Project Manager for Project Abroad’s Conservation Project in Cambodia. “They are now happening more frequently and with greater force for each event.”

Coral bleaching occurs when algae living on coral reefs dies due to rises in seawater temperature, leaving coral exposed and extremely vulnerable to disease and subsequent death. Through its marine conservation volunteer programs, Projects Abroad volunteers do vital work to address these issues and help keep coral reefs healthy.

After completing a PADI diver certification course, volunteers conduct regular survey dives to monitor reef conditions, including observation of the rich biodiversity around the reef, keeping a close watch for invasive species. Volunteers also conduct reef cleanups, where they remove discarded fishing nets and trash that smother reefs. Since December 2014, volunteers have removed nearly three tons of waste from coral reefs in Cambodia. Beach cleanups are other important activities volunteers take part in to prevent harmful waste being washed to see to pollute corals.

Raising awareness around marine conservation is a major point in the goals set out by each Diving & Marine Conservation program. Volunteers run campaigns to inform local community members about marine pollution, offer advise on how to recycle, responsibly discard their waste, and what the fishery regulations are. Local community members also join on beach cleanups, which has seen several tons of waste removed from beaches across all three destinations.

Bruget believes that coral reefs need all the help they can get, as global warming and climate change intensify each year. “We must make sure that we have as healthy and as many corals around as possible, so for the next bleaching event there is a bigger chance that more corals will survive.”

Project Abroad acknowledges that the time to act to take action for the environment and help protect the oceans’ coral reefs is now. Through its marine conservation programs, ordinary citizens can be active participants in the solution to saving the oceans’ forests.

About Projects Abroad

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

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

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

Russell Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Hosts “Midnight At The Oasis” Annual ART FOR LIFE Benefit

Art For Life Honorees Include Sanford Biggers, Esi Eggleston Bracey, Chuck D & Bozoma Saint John

Hosted By Russell Simmons & Danny Simmons

Special Performance By Tony & Grammy Winner Cynthia Erivo

Press Release – NEW YORK (June 13, 2017)Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation (RPAF) today announced the honorees for the 2017 ART FOR LIFE Benefit on July 15th at Fairview Farms in Bridgehampton, NY. RPAF which is dedicated to providing underserved inner city youth with significant exposure to the arts, as well as developing and supporting under-represented artists will honor Former President Consumer Beauty Division, Coty Inc., Esi Eggleston Bracey; rapper, author and producer, Chuck D; Chief Brand Officer, Uber, Bozoma Saint John and 2017 Featured Artist, Sanford Biggers for their support of the arts, career achievements, and overall commitment to our communities.

Hosted by Russell Simmons and Danny Simmons, guests will experience a night of fantasy opulence, magic and wonder at the “Midnight at the Oasis” themed private event which will feature a special performance by multiple award winning artist and actress, Cynthia Erivo. Honorary Chairs include Xin Li and Lyor Cohen. Event Chairs include Shannon Curtin, Kimberley Hatchett, Kelli Richardson Lawson, and Racquel Oden. Luxury Auction Chairs include Coppy Holzman, Chloe Flower, and Camilla Olsson. Art For Life Art Auction Chairs include Franklin Sirmans and Andrea Fiuczynski. This year’s benefit is supported by sponsor Merrill Lynch, online charity partner CharityBuzz and many more! This year’s media partners include Artsy, Hamptons Magazine, and Hamptons.com.

Past honorees and supporters have included Soledad O’Brien, Star Jones, Frank Cooper III, Debra L. Lee, Alex Waislitz, Nari Ward, Ava DuVernay, Dave Chappelle, Simon & Michaela de Pury, Michael R. Bloomberg, Kimora Lee Simmons, Tyler Perry, Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey, Grant and Tamia Hill, Mary J. Blige, Edward Norton, Tamara Mellon, Oprah, President Bill Clinton, Will Smith, Deepak Chopra, Martha Stewart, Kelly Ripa, Ruby Dee, Jamie Foxx, LA & Erica Reid, Swizz Beatz, Vanessa Williams, Christy Turlington Burns, Patrice and Precious Motsepe of African Rainbow Minerals, Serena Williams, Kerry Washington, Rachel Roy, Tim Gunn, Forest Whitaker, Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker, Donna Karan, Susan Sarandon, Magic Johnson, Shepard Fairey, Alec Baldwin, Anna Wintour, Jerry Seinfeld, Arianna Huffington, LL Cool J, Billy Joel, Jay-Z, Coldplay, Gayle King, Alicia Keys, Sean “Diddy” Combs, John Legend, Gordon Parks, and Tommy Hilfiger among others.

This year’s Art For Life will again feature a coinciding Art For Life online auction via Charitybuzz launching on July 13th to support and bid please visit charitybuzz.com/artforlife.

Proceeds from ART FOR LIFE benefit the Foundation’s signature arts education and gallery programs, which have directly served tens of thousands of inner-city youth over the past 21 years.

For additional information or to purchase tickets for 2017 ART FOR LIFE, visit http://artforlife.rushphilanthropic.org/.

National Museum of Women in the Arts Receives $9 Million Bequest Largest Single Gift in Museum’s History

Press Release – WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is pleased to announce the largest single financial gift in the museum’s history. On its 30th anniversary, NMWA has been honored by a major gift of $9 million from the Estate of Madeleine Rast. The bequest will bolster the museum’s endowment, strengthening in perpetuity NMWA’s mission to bring recognition to the achievements of women artists.

“We are inspired and truly grateful for this extraordinary gift. Madeleine was absolutely convinced of the importance of establishing a museum for women in the arts. Her conviction never wavered and, over time, she became a steadfast advocate for our mission as well as a dear friend,” said NMWA Founder Wilhelmina Cole Holladay. “Her generous gift to the museum will enable future generations to enjoy the highest standards of exhibitions and programs and help make us more visible throughout the world.”

In 1993 when NMWA announced her intention to create a charitable remainder trust, Madeleine Rast said, “The achievements of women artists of the past have generally been overlooked and ignored, yet many women persisted, developing their talents and producing magnificent works of art. Today’s artist still faces the same set of problems. She needs the time and place to develop her art. She needs a responsive audience also capable of constructive criticism. She needs a peer group for support and collaboration. And, yes, she needs recognition for her work.”

Rast (1924–2017) was born in Zurich, Switzerland, and came to the United States as a young woman, settling in California. She was attracted to the entrepreneurial spirit and openness to new ideas in the U.S., and she worked hard to establish herself, working clerical jobs while pursuing a second degree in accounting. She began to excel professionally, eventually becoming a successful management auditor in the public and private sectors, but she was aware of not having the same support or opportunities as men in the field.

She became a savvy businesswoman, excelling as an investor and in her accounting career, but she never forgot that she—and other women—faced barriers to their goals. Rast said that she chose to support NMWA because it is an institution that inspires and encourages women in a way that she would have appreciated in her own career. She told the museum, “Giving is a very personal act, but if you believe as strongly as I do in advancing the cause of women, then there’s no question about it.”

Friends from Rast’s life and involvement with the museum remember her as a thoughtful and pragmatic woman. In addition to her belief in equity for women, she also believed strongly in taking action on her principles. Always interested in hearing about NMWA’s exhibitions and programs, Rast was also constantly thinking of its future and financial health.

Rast was also moved by the building itself, which she saw as a prominent, elegant home for a worthy mission. She saw the museum as the physical manifestation of the dream of supporting and celebrating women’s achievements in the arts. For Rast, her bequest provided an avenue to combine her love for the arts, her staunch belief in women’s independence and her financial prowess. Her gift supports the institution in an exceptional and unprecedented way.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the world’s only major museum solely dedicated to celebrating the creative contributions of women. The museum champions women through the arts by collecting, exhibiting, researching and creating programs that advocate for equity and shine a light on excellence. NMWA highlights remarkable women artists of the past while also promoting the best women artists working today. The museum’s collection includes over 5,000 works by more than 1,000 women artists from the 16th century to the present, including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Alma Thomas, Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Chakaia Booker and Nan Goldin.

NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., in a landmark building near the White House. It is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, noon–5 p.m. For information, call 202-783-5000 or visit nmwa.org. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA members and youths 18 and under. Free Community Days take place on the first Sunday of each month. For more information about NMWA, visit nmwa.org, Broad Strokes Blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

The Best Finish Line in all of Chicagoland: GiGi’s Playhouse Runs, Walks, Dashes and Parties for Individuals with Down syndrome

Press Release – Hoffman Estates, IL, June 12, 2017 – Thousands of children, families, volunteers, sponsors and friends crossed the finish line together in support of individuals with Down syndrome at GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Centers 14th Annual Chicagoland 5K fun run, 1-mile walk and Dash for Down syndrome. For the second year in a row, MB Financial Park in Rosemont, IL graciously hosted the GiGi’s Playhouse community for a day of racing, and to celebrate global acceptance and kindness for people of all abilities.

Over 2,000 participants raised more than $200,000 to help fund FREE, purposeful programs. These vital programs help kids and adults with Down syndrome improve their speech, literacy, math, fitness, career skills, and self-confidence. Guests enjoyed bounce houses, face painting, recreational and therapeutic games, dancing from music by DJ Dave; also, snacks and beverages courtesy of event sponsors. Many guests also enjoyed brunch discounts at discounts at Hofbrauhaus, Park Tavern, Sugar Factory, Bub City, Kings Bowl and Adobe Gila’s. A special thank you once again to Hofbrauhaus for donating all course-side tables on their expansive patio to GiGi’s Playhouse teams and families to use as basecamps for the day.

GiGi Gianni, the organization’s namesake and global ambassador, led guests in the singing of the National Anthem and helped start both the 5K fun run and walk. GiGi and her friends also greeted and congratulated runners as they crossed the finish line. Hugs & Mugs mentor and Special Olympics champion Christine Maxwell led guests in warm-ups for the 5K and walk with the partnership of Infinity Fitness, and shared inspirational words for all at the starting line. Adult interns Chris Tucker and Tim helped supervise the Hugs & Mugs mobile pop-up store. Perhaps most inspirationally, dozens of children with Down syndrome dashed to victory during the fan-favorite Dash for Down syndrome!

GiGi’s Mom and Chief Belief Officer welcomed a 6-week old baby with Down syndrome and her courageous parents to their very first GiGi’s Playhouse event. Nancy shared, “Every year at the 5K run, walk and Dash, we see families raise the bar for what their kids can achieve. We see recent graduates of GiGi University walking the 1-mile course. We see children overcoming low-muscle tone in the Dash for Down syndrome. We see acceptance from our hosts and sponsors. We greet and welcome new families. And, we see people who just come to discover all that GiGi’s Playhouse offers. People transform around our kids and we literally see acceptance grow. There is always something for everyone at this family and sponsor friendly event, and with our continued partnership with MB Financial Park we know this events will help advance our mission and programs!”

For a full gallery of event photos please click here. GiGi’s Playhouse thanks MB Financial Park, Mid-America Tile, G.M. Sloan Tile, Comprehensive Marketing, Industrial Source, Wickstrom Auto Group, Aspire Health Beverage, eDOC printing, Wi-Tronix, Aspire Healthy Beverage, American Eagle Packaging, GoGo Squeez, Hanger Clinic, PepsiCo, Infinity Fitness, Blistex, and the Windy City Bulls for your acceptance and generosity! Individual and team donations along with all sponsorships will fund educational, therapeutic and career training programs at GiGi’s Playhouse. All programs are 100% free to Playhouse families.

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