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

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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.

Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds Hosts LOVELOUD Concert To Encourage Greater Love, Communication, And Understanding of Our LGBTQ+ Community

– The 2017 LOVELOUD concert will feature live music from Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Krewella, Nicholas Petricca of Walk The Moon (Acoustic), Joshua James and Aja Volkman –

– Tickets to the LOVELOUD concert start at $11.00 –

Press Release – OREM, UT – July 31, 2017 – Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Imagine Dragons announced today LOVELOUD (http://loveloudfest.com) a concert designed to ignite the relevant and vital conversation of what it means to unconditionally love, understand, accept, and support LGBTQ+ youth in our communities.

The LOVELOUD concert will be held on August 26, 2017 in Orem, Utah at the Brent Brown Ballpark at UVU. Tickets to the festival are available on the LOVELOUD website beginning July 31, 2017 at 10:00am MDT. General admission tickets start at $11.00. In addition to general admission, there is a special ticket package that comes with a swag bag that includes a t-shirt and other commemorative merchandise and a VIP ticket package.

“I want the LOVELOUD concert to engage a passionate and supportive audience in the fight against teen suicide and to bring communities together to start the conversation and celebrate individuality,” said Reynolds. “We want to offer hope to young people, let them know they’re not alone and encourage acceptance in the home and community.”

Click here to view a video of Reynolds talking about why he created the LOVELOUD concert.

One of the most troubling issues with a lack of communication or an absence of acceptance amongst young people in the LGBTQ+ community is teen suicide. The numbers are staggering. Consider the following:

  • Suicide is the leading cause of teen deaths in Utah.
  • LGBTQ+ youth that come from a home or community where they are not accepted are eight times more likely to commit suicide.

“LOVELOUD is committed to creating a community of inclusion,” continued Reynolds. “Our goal is to create support and resources for those in crisis, specifically by providing insight into recognizing and helping those in need, resources to those wanting to learn more, and guidance on how to more effectively start a conversation with family and friends.”

LOVELOUD Fest will feature live music from Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Krewella, Nicholas Petricca of Walk the Moon (Acoustic), Joshua James, and Aja Volkman; all of whom are donating their time and performances to this cause.

All proceeds from this concert will go to the LOVELOUD Foundation which lends support to various charities such as Encircle and Stand4Kind, as well as national charities, The Trevor Project and GLAAD.

Doors open for the LOVELOUD concert at 4:30pm and the music begins at 5:30pm. The festival will feature food, beverages, and a number of other activities for fans of all ages and interests.

The goal is to make the LOVELOUD concert an annual event in Utah, around the United States, and the world. For more information about the 2017 LOVELOUD concert or to purchase tickets now, visit www.loveloudfest.com.

ABOUT LOVELOUD:

LOVELOUD was founded in 2017 by Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons to help ignite the relevant and vital conversation of what it means to unconditionally love, understand, accept, and support LGBTQ+ youth in an effort to keep families together. LOVELOUD is the catalyst for bringing communities together to start the conversation and celebrate individuality. Talking, sharing and showing the realities of what teens in our society face daily is where it all begins. Find out more at, www.loveloudfest.com.


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Georgina and Michael Bloomberg to be Honored for Philanthropy at Ortho FOCOS Gala

Press Release – New York, NY (August, 2017)The Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine announced today that philanthropist, equestrian and author Georgina Bloomberg and her father, former 3-term New York City Mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, will be honored at the organization’s 10th Annual New York Gala on September 18, 2017 at the Mandarin Hotel. FOCOS’s mission is to provide comprehensive, affordable orthopedic care to those who would not otherwise have access to such treatment.

“No one should have to suffer from debilitating back and spinal conditions when treatment is possible, and the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine does inspiring work that is changing lives,” said Michael R. Bloomberg who is the founder of Bloomberg LP, a philanthropist and a three-term Mayor of New York City. “Georgina and are I honored to receive this award and glad to support such an important cause.”

Michael and Georgina Bloomberg are devoted philanthropist for important causes both within the United States and abroad. Michael Bloomberg founded the New York City based Bloomberg Philanthropies and has pledged to donate the majority of his wealth to charity. FOCOS is honoring the Bloombergs to celebrate the depth and reach of their longtime commitment to helping others in need, public health and a variety of other essential causes including animal rights, the environment, the arts, government innovation and education.

“After a long history of back pain due to a condition I was born with, Dr. Boachie was able to correct my condition and change my life. I chose him not only for his reputation in the medical world but for the kind and generous person he was. I had a great deal of respect for his commitment to giving back and remembering where he came from,” said Georgina Bloomberg. “I knew immediately that I wanted to support him in his efforts to help others and give them the same pain-free existence that he was able to give me. It’s an honor to have had him as my surgeon but an even bigger honor to be a part of the great work he is doing in Ghana through FOCOS.”

The 10th Annual New York FOCOS Gala will highlight the many success of the organization over the past 19 years of work while also sharing our path forward towards sustaining our ability to provide life-saving treatment to patients from across the globe.

“We are elated to celebrate the incredibly important and far-reaching philanthropic work of Michael Bloomberg and his daughter Georgina Bloomberg, whose commitment to the welfare of people changes lives each and every day,” said Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, world renowned orthopedic surgeon and President and Founder of FOCOS. “In addition to many other vital causes, we want to recognize the Bloomberg’s for helping us make possible the opening of FOCOS Hospital with state of the art facilities including the Bloomberg Pavilion, the center of financial and administrative operations for our hospital.”

For more information about FOCOS and the 2017 Gala, visit www.orthofocos.org. And for more information about FOCOS Orthopedic Hospital visit www.focoshospitalgh.com.


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Personal PAC and Men4Choice Join Forces to Recruit Men in Fight for Women’s Access to Safe, Affordable Reproductive Health Care

Campaign designed to engage men to join fight to protect women’s reproductive rights, calling out anti-choice politicians and policies

Press Release – Chicago, IL – On August 9, the Illinois-based pro-choice advocacy organizations Personal PAC and Men4Choice have partnered to launch “CallBullshit” or “CallBS,” a first-of-its-kind campaign that employs provocative, creative tactics to empower men to join the fight to advance women’s reproductive health rights.

The campaign and website callbs.org employ creative content to depict an alternate reality in which male reproductive health is under attack, posing the question: “Men don’t have to put up with this BS – why should women?”

Three out of four Illinois men believe that abortion should remain legal and a private matter between a woman and her doctor, according to an April 2017 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling. But that figure has not always translated into grassroots action.

“We built this campaign to engage directly with the 75 percent of Illinois men who support women’s reproductive health access,” said Terry Cosgrove, President and CEO of Personal PAC. “We hope this campaign sparks men to take action and hold our elected officials accountable, creating a bigger wave of support for women’s reproductive rights here in Illinois, across the Midwest and even nationwide.”

In addition to social media engagement strategies, the campaign is organizing men to attend phone banks, canvass for women’s health issues and help raise funds for pro-choice candidates.

“When we talked to men here in Illinois about the challenges women face when they seek reproductive health care, their reaction was, ‘That’s BS,’” said Oren Jacobson, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Men4Choice. “Our campaign strives to build upon that disgust and the disbelief many man share around these unfair polices and scare tactics that rob women of their bodily autonomy and access to abortion.”

The CallBS campaign launches as the General Assembly prepares to send House Bill 40 (HB40) to Governor Rauner’s desk. HB40 would ensure that abortion remains legal in Illinois even if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade. The bill also would ensure that Medicaid and state employees’ health insurance policies provide coverage for abortion care.

Each year, thousands of women travel to Illinois to access safe reproductive health care unavailable in their home state. Even so, 92 percent of Illinois counties do not have abortion providers.

Launched in 1989, Personal PAC is a non-partisan political action committee dedicated to protecting and advancing reproductive rights for all women by recruiting, electing and holding accountable pro-choice candidates to state and local office in Illinois. Men4Choice is a political action committee created in 2015 to create an entry point where men can get engaged, get educated and take action to support women in the fight to protect reproductive health rights.


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The Environmental Media Association Announces 2017 Film And Television EMA Awards Nominees

Netflix and FOX Lead the Pack in Nominations; Winners to be Announced at the 27th Annual EMA Awards happening on September 23 in Los Angeles

Press Release – LOS ANGELES (Aug. 9, 2017) – The Environmental Media Association (EMA) has announced the 2017 film and television nominees for the 27th Annual EMA Awards that will take place on Sept. 23 at the historic Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport. The event will be Hosted by EMA Board Member Jaden Smith and Honor Russell Simmons with EMA’s Missions in Music Award amongst others to be announced.

“This year’s remarkable slate of nominees is a testament to the continued dedication and commitment that the entertainment community has on the environmental issues we are facing,” said EMA President & CEO Debbie Levin. “The EMA Awards will not only further amplify the voices and messages of each of these programs and films, but also inspire a new generation of activists in the film, television and new media community to produce environmental content; it is through these channels where storytelling has the power to educate and ignite change”

Nomination highlights include:

  • Netflix and FOX lead the pack with four nominations each, followed by National Geographic, Hulu, and HBO which each received three nods by EMA.
  • Netflix’s four nominations span four different categories including Reality Television and Feature Film, marking the first time a streaming original title breaks into the two categories.
  • The Documentary Film category includes titles from filmmakers such Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Bloomberg, Al Gore, Jeff Skoll, and winner of the category’s 2012 award Jeff Orlowski.
  • Returning winners:
    • FOX’s “The Simpsons” returns for the opportunity to win a third consecutive EMA Award for Television Episodic Comedy, and ninth win overall in the category.
    • Disney hopes to take home a second consecutive Feature Film award for “Moana” after winning the category in 2016 with “The Jungle Book”
    • Sony and NBCUniversal’s “The Blacklist” received a second consecutive nomination for Television Episodic Drama after taking the category in 2016.

Complete list of 2017 EMA Awards nominees:

FEATURE FILM
Moana
Disney

Okja
Netflix

DOCUMENTARY FILM
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Paramount Pictures
Participant Media, Actual Films
Executive Producers: Davis Guggenheim, Lawrence Bender, Laurie David, Scott Z. Burns, Lesley Chilcott
Producers: Jeff Skoll, Richard Berge, Diane Weyermann

Before The Flood
Fox & National Geographic
Appian Way
Producers: Leonardo DiCaprio, Fisher Stevens, Trevor Davidoski, Jennifer Davisson, Brett Ratner, James Packer

Chasing Coral
Netflix
Exposure Labs
Executive Producers: Jeff Orlowski, Larissa Rhodes

From The Ashes
Fox & National Geographic
RadicalMedia (Bloomberg Philanthropies)
Executive Producers: Jon Kamen, Joe Berlinger, Justin Wilkes, Katherine Oliver, Tim Pastore

TELEVISION EPISODIC DRAMA
The Blacklist
Season 4, Episode 4 “Gaia”
Sony/ NBCUniversal

The Crown
Episode 104 “Act of God”
Sony Pictures TV and Left Bank/ Netflix

The Handmaid’s Tale
Episode 106 “A Woman’s Place”
Hulu

The Path
Episode 203 “The Father and the Son”
NBCUniversal & Hulu

TELEVISION EPISODIC COMEDY
Casual
Episode 309 “Trip to Fresno”
Hulu

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
Episode 22101
Comedy Central/Viacom

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Episode 105 “Coal”
HBO

The Simpsons
Episode 601 “Trust But Clarify”
Fox

REALITY TELEVISION
Bill Nye Saves The World
Episode 101 “Earth is a Hot Mess”
Netflix

Scraps
Episode 101 “Charleston, SC”
A&E

VICE
“When The Earth Melts”
HBO

Years of Living Dangerously
Episode 205 “Collapse of the Oceans”
Fox & National Geographic

CHILDREN’S TELEVISION
Hello World!
Episode 1 “Usher Presents: Stronger”
Discovery Channel

Miles From Tomorrowland
Episode 213B “Blackout On Bloppsburgh”
Disney ABC Television Group

Sesame Street
Season 47, Episode 25: “The Recycling Fair”
HBO

This year’s EMA Awards will celebrate the 27th anniversary by looking toward the future, honoring exciting and innovative voices in the environmental world, and promoting solutions in innovation and activism to combat the current administration’s rollback on funding. The 27th annual EMA Awards will be presented by the Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen-fueled vehicle that’s only emission is water.

To apply for credentials please click on the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/iVTorfS2Uh0gHtaD2.

Applications must be completed by 5 p.m. PT on Friday, Sept. 8

About the Environmental Media Association

The Environmental Media Association (EMA) is a Non-Profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1989 to inspire solutions for the environment through our impact in media and pop culture.

The organization has grown into a diverse subsection of entertainment industry tastemakers, entrepreneurs in finance and technology, and green icons dedicated to the mission of promoting environmental progress and innovations through celebrity role modeling, campaign work, year-round programs and our two large scale annual events, The EMA Awards (http://www.green4ema.org/ema-awards/) and the EMA Impact Summit (http://www.makeanimpact2017.com/).

EMA serves as a valuable link between the world of media and the environmental community, working tirelessly to bring the planet’s most pressing issues to the forefront of pop culture and make true change by inspiring the next generation of filmmakers and entrepreneurs. To find out more about our programs and events visit us at www.green4ema.org and www.facebook.com/EMAOnline, Hashtag: #Green4EMA, Instagram @green4ema and Twitter @green4ema.


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Study Reports Extraordinarily High Return on Investment for Taxpayer Dollars in the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative Over Five Years

Program provides young, low-income parents with the career training needed to secure a high-wage, high-skill job

Press Release – LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – August 10, 2017 – The Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) published findings today that demonstrate a 179 percent return on investment of funds to Arkansas taxpayers. In other words, every dollar invested in CPI programming resulted in a return of $1.79 to taxpayers over the course of five years.

The full report is viewable here: http://www.collegecounts.us/results/

The Arkansas CPI program, initiated in 2005 to connect low-income Arkansans to education and career opportunities through community colleges, aims to breaks the cycle of poverty for families in the state. Arkansas is the third-poorest state in the nation and, compared to the rest of the nation, has one of the lowest postsecondary degree attainment rates. Citing this need, the project received sponsorship from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Annie E. Casey Foundation in 2015. The project is coordinated by the Arkansas Community Colleges.

The ROI study, conducted by Metis Associates in New York, combined with earlier findings of improved educational and financial outcomes for CPI participants, suggests that the Arkansas Career Pathway model is achieving success in helping low-income citizens break the cycle of poverty and achieve economic self-sufficiency. It considers financial factors including:

  • CPI participants’ wage increases after completion of the program
  • The increased tax revenue to the state
  • The reduction in public assistance benefits paid to participants as a result of their newfound financial independence

The CPI program utilizes federal funds to educate low-income parents and provide them with career training for a high-wage, high-skill job. The overall goal is to prepare participants for future opportunities and advancement rather than hourly-wage labor. CPI staff members provide full-service assistance to participants, including transportation and child care vouchers, case management, career coaching, and tutoring.

Sherece West-Scantlebury, CEO and President of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, said, “The ROI results clearly demonstrate that the Arkansas CPI program is worthy of additional state and philanthropic investment. Other states are now looking to Arkansas as a model for serving economically disadvantaged students.”

“In addition to the impressive returns for taxpayers, we are thrilled to see the difference CPI has made in participants’ lives—many of whom are parents looking to build good, family-sustaining careers,” said Allison Gerber, who oversees the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s investments in education, employment, and training. “These results show what’s possible when we tailor programs to the specific needs of employers and ensure students are equipped with the relevant skills to succeed in growing industries.”

Daryl Bassett, Director of the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, which helped oversee implementation of the program, said, “The CPI program is clearly paying off. Students are graduating with certificates and degrees that lead to high-wage, high-demand jobs that meet the needs of our state’s employers. And the state is seeing higher taxable incomes.”

The new ROI study included an examination of how CPI participants belonging to different demographic groups benefited from completing the program. The average CPI participant is:

  • 31 years of age
  • Overwhelmingly female (89 percent)
  • A single parent

45.2 percent of African American participants who enrolled in the program earned a postsecondary degree – nearly three times the success rate of African American community college students living below the poverty line who were not enrolled in CPI (16.9 percent). Hispanic participants in CPI saw a success rate of 55.6 percent, compared to the 14.2 percent of Hispanic community college students in poverty who did not participate in CPI.

“The results for minority students are particularly impressive,” said Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director Maria Markham. “This is clear evidence that investing in programs like CPI that serve nontraditional students is good for Arkansas as a whole. This achievement demonstrates the impact that student success can have on the lives of Arkansans.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “The results of the study are outstanding. This is another great example of how investments in our community colleges pay dividends in both the short and the long term. Investments like the Career Pathways Initiative improve the education and career readiness of Arkansans and are a vital step toward achieving our economic development goals.”


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Volunteerism – A Powerful Tool For Corporate Growth

Projects Abroad offers corporate group trips for team building and social impact

A group of Projects Abroad volunteer help upgrade facilities at a local school in Jamaica

Press Release – NEW YORK – August 9, 2017 – Volunteering as a corporate group can be highly beneficial to a company, according to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte. Projects Abroad acknowledges the impact that conducting service work through volunteerism can have on a team, and therefore offers the opportunity for corporate groups to customize their own trip to volunteer in a destination abroad.

The benefits of doing volunteer service work as a group of colleagues stretch beyond what regular team building activities achieve. When a team joins forces to help in a specific area of need and witnesses the positive results first-hand, group morale can be boosted significantly. Through volunteering abroad, corporate social responsibility can be fulfilled while achieving substantial team growth.

Projects Abroad’s volunteering opportunities are diverse, and can including anything from building schools in developing communities, to protecting the environment through conservation work, to teaching English. Spanning across 30 destinations in five continents, prospective volunteer groups have many options when choosing the right destination country for their interests and trip goals.

“We have received tremendous feedback from previous corporate groups who volunteered in a destination abroad,” says Projects Abroad’s Human Resources Director, Guillermo Cogorno. “People from a structured work environment get to experience working together in a vastly different one, in a space they would not necessarily be used to. Participants are encouraged to be innovative in places with limited resources, they get to develop leadership skills, and importantly, are exposed to issues faced in developing countries. This creates a greater sense of compassion as participants learn to see the value in helping others,” says Cogorno.

Deloitte’s survey revealed that most people consider companies that offer volunteering opportunities to their employees to have a better work environment than those who do not. The majority of participants in the survey also believes that volunteering enhances a sense of purpose in the attitudes of employees.

A company who chooses to make volunteering available to its employees can spread its network by creating relationships with organizations in other countries, build a legacy of positive action in developing communities, develop a global outlook among employees, encourage social consciousness among staff, and open the door for future group service experiences.

While the main beneficiaries of Projects Abroad’s volunteer programs are the people and environments in the locations where volunteers serve, the return for participants is extremely positive. Companies and corporate groups are encouraged to capitalize on this unique opportunity offered by Projects Abroad to grow as a work force.

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.


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Stackla Launches Stackla for Good Program to Power Advocacy for Nonprofit Organizations with User-Generated Content

Stackla for Good Will Help Nonprofits Engage with Advocates and Inspire Activism with Scalable UGC Platform

Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO, CA. August 9 , 2017 — Today Stackla, the leading enterprise user-generated content (UGC) platform, announced Stackla for Good, a new program focused on empowering nonprofit organizations to engage advocates, drive contributions, and inspire activism with authentic, social content. Now, nonprofits can use Stackla at a reduced rate, and Stackla will donate 10 percent of Stackla for Good proceeds to charity.

Nonprofits across the globe like Better Make Room, ONE, Greenpeace, ACLU and World Wildlife Fund already rely on Stackla to discover and curate social content from existing advocates and showcase it across all their marketing channels. With Stackla, nonprofits have been able to amplify advocate voices with significant results:

  • No Kid Hungry – Boosted donations by 30 percent year over year and provided 10,000 more Maryland students with healthy breakfasts
  • WWF’s Earth Hour Event – Aggregated over 150,000 social posts for Earth Hour, increased new website visitors by 72 percent and grew social audiences by over 30 percent
  • British Heart Foundation – Achieved 152 percent of their Big Stitch campaign goals, driving charity shop sales and supporter engagement

“Everyday our UGC platform helps organizations connect with people in real, engaging ways that cultivate communities, launch movements and promote action,” said Damien Mahoney, CEO and co-founder of Stackla. “With the Stackla For Good program, we’re expanding the scope of what’s possible, making our technology more accessible for those who need it most – where it can help power outreach, promote advocate stories and affect significant change.”

Nonprofits Inspire Change with Stackla

“When we set out to create the Better Make Room campaign, we knew if we wanted to engage the next generation in a conversation about education, we needed to give them a space where they could drive those conversations themselves,” said Eric Waldo, Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative. “Stackla’s platform helps us power authentic, interactive experiences for young people on Bettermakeroom.org and display these students’ stories across digital billboards in Time Square.”

As Jason Wilson, Director of Digital Communications at No Kid Hungry, points out, their campaign could be the difference between a child having a healthy meal or going without food. “Human connections are at the heart of nonprofit organizations, and Stackla helps us put these kids and communities’ stories front and center – sparking true compassion that has created a movement with people of all ages coming together to fight child hunger.”

“WWF’s Earth Hour began in Sydney ten years ago and has grown into a worldwide movement. Given its ten-year history, it can be challenging to come up with new ways to engage our audiences,” said Kerri Major, Climate and Earth Hour Engagement Manager at WWF-Australia. “Stackla has allowed us to build a stronger sense of community among Earth Hour participants. The interactive website and social competitions have enabled us to successfully engage people during, before and after Earth Hour, helping us broaden awareness and support for this important cause.”

According to Athar Abidi, Social Media Manager, at British Heart Foundation, it’s more critical now than ever for charities to tap into social content to get people more emotionally connected with important causes. “The British Heart Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness of and donations for our life saving research into cardiovascular disease, which is an issue that affects so many lives. With Stackla, we’re able to harness personal stories from our volunteers, fundraisers and shops shared on social media to create emotional engagement with our charity and grow support.” Hear how the British Heart Foundation is inspiring and engaging supporters with UGC in this September 6 webinar.

To learn more or apply to the Stackla for Good Program, visit Stackla.org.

About Stackla

Stackla is the user-generated content (UGC) platform that puts customer stories at the heart of brand marketing. Through predictive intelligence and automation, Stackla helps brands identify authentic, compelling customer content across the social web and showcase them at scale throughout their core marketing channels – increasing engagement, strengthening customer trust and driving sales. Trusted by more than 450 brands across travel, hospitality, CPG, retail, sports and nonprofits, Stackla is designed to meet the content personalization needs of enterprise-level organizations such as Disney, McDonald’s, Toyota, Sony, Expedia, Heineken and Virgin Holidays. For more information, please visit www.stackla.com and follow us on Twitter at @stackla.


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Where the wild things are… ZSL London Zoo unveils new Wildlife Garden

Opens to the public on Tuesday 15 August 2017

Press Release – From hedgehogs and frogs to beetles and butterflies, visitors to ZSL London Zoo will go home armed with ways of welcoming wildlife into their own gardens, picking up tips at the brand new Wildlife Garden, opening on Tuesday 15 August.

The brand new exhibit highlights the work of international conservation charity ZSL’s (Zoological Society of London) Garden Wildlife Health project – a citizen science initiative launched in 2013 and co-ordinated by ZSL vets – which identifies and investigates the health status of Britain’s garden wildlife, through the support of the general public.

Full to the brim with handy hints and guidance on how to make your garden an oasis for native wildlife, ZSL’s new Wildlife Garden will equip green-fingered visitors both young and old with ideas to help encourage creatures into their outdoor spaces.

From creating mini-beast hotels to building hedgehog highways through fences, the Garden showcases some of the ways ZSL’s horticulturalists strive to make the grounds of ZSL London Zoo as much of a home to native wild animals as it is to the many endangered species within its care.

ZSL’s Zoological Director, David Field said: “There are incredible creatures all around us right here in the UK, often in our own back gardens. We want to inspire the public to step outside and admire these small marvels of British wildlife – and then help us protect them.

“From amazing insects such as stag beetles and peacock butterflies to hedgehogs and blue tits, no matter how large or small your own outdoor patch, the Garden has plenty of ideas to help make it a welcoming home for wildlife.”

ZSL wildlife veterinarian, Dr Becki Lawson said: “Through the Garden Wildlife Health project we aim to monitor the health of the UK’s native wildlife and educate the public about any issues their local species are facing.

“There are so many simple ways that people can help their local wildlife thrive –ZSL’s new Wildlife Garden aims to share these ideas with our visitors so that they can transform their own gardens into a haven for native species.”

Since its launch, the Garden Wildlife Health project has received reports from more than 7,000 members of the public, which has helped to document a number of infectious diseases affecting populations in the UK – including the recent identification of snake fungal disease in UK snakes for the first time.

Visit the new Wildlife Garden at ZSL London Zoo, and enjoy a really great day out that makes a real difference. Head to www.zsl.org for more info and to book tickets.


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Joyful Heart Welcomes First-Ever National Standards For Handling Sexual Assault Kits

Press Release – NEW YORK – The Joyful Heart Foundation, which has made eliminating the rape kit backlog its top advocacy priority since 2010, welcomed today’s release by the federal government of national standards for the handling and processing of sexual assault kits. The National Institute of Justice – the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice – has released “National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach,” which includes 35 recommendations that provide a guide to victim-centered approaches for responding to sexual assault cases and better supporting victims throughout the criminal justice process.

“For the first time, the federal government has issued best practices that reflect what we have long believed – when you test all sexual assault kits, when you follow up on investigations, and when you engage with survivors using a trauma-informed approach – you improve the criminal justice system and make communities safer,” said Ilse Knecht, Joyful Heart’s Policy & Advocacy Director. “We are so grateful to the experts who contributed their time and knowledge as part of the workgroup that developed these recommendations. Today’s report provides key tools to help law enforcement and state legislatures make important policy changes to implement comprehensive rape kit reform.”

DNA evidence is an invaluable investigative tool. Yet too often, the decision is made not to test sexual assault kits. There are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits sitting in police and crime lab storage facilities across the country. We cannot know the true extent of the backlog because federal agencies and most state governments do not require police departments to count or track the kits in their possession.

Today’s report provides recommendations not just on the mandatory testing of all kits, but on developing critical tracking systems to monitor testing progress, retention and investigation protocols, and survivor-centered policies to allow victims greater access to information.

Joyful Heart has developed a national campaign to pass comprehensive rape kit reform legislation in all 50 states by 2020. Learn more at endthebacklog.org.


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The Art Of Elysium Turns 20! Celebrating 20th Anniversary With Art Auction & Exhibition

Press Release – Los Angeles, CA – it was announced today that The Art of Elysium will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with an Art Auction and Exhibition on Thursday, August 17th, 2017 from 7:00pm-10:00pm at the there-there (4859 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029) gallery in Hollywood. In celebration of this milestone, the organization looks back at having started its non-profit program to inspire others through artistic expression with their very first workshop which took place on August 17th, 1997.

The 20th Anniversary event sponsors include Postmates with support from Moët & Chandon. The affair anticipates hosting approx. 200-250 supporters and influencers in the arts and entertainment community exhibiting 20 pieces of art including works from Gary Baseman, George Byrne, Shepard Fairey, James Georgopoulos, Rives Granade, Lauren Greenfield, Todd Hido, Oliver Jeffers, Sebastien Leon, Ryan McCann, Wayne Pate, Enoc Perez, Fay Ray, Rob Reynolds, Gregory Siff, Cole Sternberg, Jordan Sullivan, James Verbicky, Nathan Wong and Russell Young.

Domenica Dunlap and Eli Consilvio have curated the art for the 20th Anniversary Auction. The auction lots will be previewed online Monday, August 14th via Paddle8.com. Paddle8 and The Art of Elysium have partnered for 5 years running.

Online bidding for the auction lots will open at the anniversary event on August 17th and will end on Tuesday, August 29th in conjunction with a private cocktail gathering for the donating artists and the Charity’s strongest supporters.

Additionally, the D. Michael Rust Foundation will be hosting a special showcase highlighting works of art from those served by volunteer artists in the community. It is an exhibition of empowerment through art for all of the communities the organization serves.

AOE Founder Jennifer Howell had this to say, “It is emotionally overwhelming to reflect on the past 20 years of The Art of Elysium. Remembering the patients, the parents, the elders, and the people on the street that we have been able to serve through artistic expression is humbling to say the least. From the very first workshop on August 17, 1997, one thing has never changed and that is my belief in the artists who create and use that act of creation to inspire others. We have always been an artist’s charity first and foremost because without their gifts then we would have nothing to bring to those we are fortunate enough to serve. These artists dedicate their creative process, time, heart and soul to inspire people who are facing some of the most difficult challenges in life. As we look towards the next 20 years of service and growth, we remember all of the beautiful moments of both spiritual and human connections made over the years, keep in mind the hurdles, obstacles and challenges that have taught us to persevere and always hold to the vision of what we are trying to accomplish and call for the artistic community to come together and make certain that art and creation is available to everyone.”

About there-there

Founded as a partnership between artist Anthony James and curator Lauri Firstenberg, there-there is a gallery space in East Hollywood positioned as a platform to produce exhibitions, films and editions. Fueled by a mutual desire to support artists and the local community there-there is delighted for this collaboration. The Art of Elysium’s 20th Anniversary will be there-there’s inaugural event.

About Paddle8

Founded in 2011, Paddle8 brings the tradition-bound auction world into the 21st century. Offering a seamless online process, Paddle8 makes collecting and selling art online an easy, efficient, and enjoyable experience. Paddle8 features specialist-curated auctions, nonprofit auctions, private and buy-now sales in the categories of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Prints and Multiples, Photographs, Street Art, and Collectibles. Paddle8 is especially proud to partner with more than 350 nonprofit organizations worldwide to present their benefit auctions to a global community of 500,000 collectors, helping each organization expand its fundraising results.

About Postmates

Postmates is transforming the way goods move around cities by enabling anyone to have anything delivered on-demand. Their revolutionary Urban Logistics platform connects customers with local couriers who can deliver anything from any store or restaurant in minutes. They empower communities to shop local without waiting and empower businesses to deliver through their API: www.postmates.com

About The Art of Elysium

The Art of Elysium is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization, founded by Jennifer Howell. 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the charity which encourages actors, artists and musicians to voluntarily dedicate their time and talent to programs dedicated to hospitalized youth, special needs education centers, homeless shelters, elder care homes and hospice care facilities. The programs include Visual Arts, Fashion & Design, Music & Movement as well as Theatre & Film. Each program is designed to support individuals in the midst of difficult emotional life challenges like illness, hospitalization, displacement, confinement, and/or crisis by providing a variety of creative tools to help them realize relief, happiness, liberation and self-empowerment through exploration and expression. The Art of Elysium incorporates a full circle approach by engaging emerging artists in inspiring acts of service helping them to forge opportunities for them to share their creativity in diverse and meaningful ways. They support and acknowledge their volunteer artists by providing platforms to showcase their art within the community. Last year, The Art of Elysium formed Elysium Bandini Studios (EBS) a film studio and video streaming platform featuring films, documentaries and interviews produced and distributed by EBS to raise funds and awareness in support of young artists and filmmakers as well as The Art of Elysium’s charitable programs. Launched by Jennifer Howell, alongside co-founders James Franco and Vince Jolivette, EBS offers curated content that combines emerging filmmakers with all-star talent to promote the arts and freedom of expression while benefiting the community For more information, please visit: www.theartofelysium.org and on EBS click here.


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