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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

Impact Investing

This category includes articles about people, firms and foundations that invest in social good by investing in social entrepreneurs, social impact or pay-for-success bonds, etc.

The American Cancer Society and Stand Up To Cancer Announce Collaborative Research Effort

First Joint Project Involves a $20 Million Dream Team Grant for Lung Cancer Research To Be Awarded in 2015

Bristol-Myers Squibb Becomes SU2C Donor in Support of SU2C-ACS Lung Cancer Dream Team

LOS ANGELES – January 29, 2014 — The American Cancer Society, the largest voluntary health organization in the world dedicated to eliminating cancer, and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the charitable initiative supporting groundbreaking research aimed at getting new treatments to patients in an accelerated timeframe, announced today an historic collaboration in the fight against cancer, which takes more than 585,000 lives in the U.S. each year and nearly 8 million worldwide.

“SU2C was started by the entertainment community and has had tremendous success in heightening the public’s awareness of the great promise of today’s cancer research,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. “This alliance marries the Society’s comprehensive cancer-fighting mission with SU2C’s high-impact funding model. Collectively, the Society and SU2C can push ahead more quickly with cutting-edge research on some of the most deadly cancers, all for the benefit of patients.”

“The American Cancer Society has been on the forefront of the battle against this insidious disease for more than 100 years; its millions of volunteers are literally the boots on the ground in this fight. We’re honored to collaborate with an organization with such a rich history in the research, education and advocacy arenas,” said Lisa Paulsen, an SU2C co-founder and president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the 501(c)(3) that serves as the fiduciary behind Stand Up To Cancer.

Stand Up To Cancer was launched in 2008. The initiative draws on the resources of the entire entertainment industry to encourage the public to support research conducted by teams of scientists, as well as by young, individual investigators. To date, more than 700 researchers from over 100 institutions have collaborated through SU2C.

The first project of the collaboration will be a $20 million research “Dream Team” focused on lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of men and women in the United States. The Society and SU2C together will fund the Dream Team over a three-year period to develop new therapies for lung cancer, with each group providing half the funding. Bristol-Myers Squibb will provide funding in the amount of $5 million to Stand Up To Cancer that will support the SU2C-ACS Lung Cancer Dream Team.

Later this year, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Stand Up To Cancer’s scientific partner, will issue a call for research proposals. The selection process will be conducted by a Joint Scientific Advisory Committee, composed of an equal number of experts nominated by SU2C and the Society. The team itself will be announced in 2015.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States,” said Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, who is chairman of SU2C’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). “More work is urgently needed to address the many unanswered questions about lung cancer and guide new directions in treatment.”

“By combining forces with SU2C, the Society looks forward to leveraging our combined resources with the extraordinary collaboration made possible by the Dream Team research model to transform the field of lung cancer research,” said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., F.A.C.P., chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. “We believe this translational research will enhance and further diversify our research portfolio.”

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, claiming the lives of approximately 160,000 people annually in the U.S. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 224,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed annually in the U.S. Overall, among both smokers and non-smokers, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 13; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 16, although for smokers, the risk is much higher.

“There continues to be a high unmet medical need in patients with lung cancer, which is a difficult disease to treat,” said Joseph Leveque, M.D., vice president, U.S. medical, oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to improving patient outcomes in lung cancer and we are proud to support this collaborative approach to research with Stand Up to Cancer to find innovative ways to treat this disease.”

The overarching collaboration also includes an advocacy component led by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, and SU2C (a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation). “ACS CAN is thrilled to bring its public policy expertise and nationwide network of advocacy volunteers to this collaboration to support increasing critical federal funding for lifesaving cancer research and prevention programs,” said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. As we mark our 100th birthday in 2013, we’re determined to finish the fight against cancer. We’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org/fight

About Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by film and media leaders who utilize the industry’s resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, and to increase awareness about progress being made in the fight against the disease. As SU2C’s scientific partner, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and a Scientific Advisory Committee led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., conduct rigorous, competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and provide expert review of research progress.

Current members of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) include Katie Couric; Sherry Lansing, Chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Board of Directors and Founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation; EIF President and CEO Lisa Paulsen; EIF Senior Vice President Kathleen Lobb; Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz of the Robertson Schwartz Agency; Pamela Oas Williams, President of Laura Ziskin Productions and Executive Producer of Stand Up To Cancer’s In-house Production Team, and Nonprofit Executive Ellen Ziffren. All current members of the CFA were co-producers of the 2012 televised special. The late co-founder Laura Ziskin executive produced both the Sept. 5, 2008, and Sept. 10, 2010, broadcasts. SU2C was formally launched on May 27, 2008. Sung Poblete, Ph.D., R.N., has served as SU2C’s president and CEO since 2011.

Major SU2C donors include founding donor Major League Baseball; Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Sidney Kimmel, the country’s largest individual contributor to cancer research; MasterCard; Genentech; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Cancer Research Institute; Melanoma Research Alliance; Prostate Cancer Foundation; The Safeway Foundation; Sean Parker Foundation; St. Baldrick’s Foundation; The Lustgarten Foundation: KWF; Wallis Annenberg & The Annenberg Foundation; Amgen; GlaxoSmithKline; Pfizer; Oakland A’s Owner/Managing Partner Lew Wolff; Comcast; The Island Def Jam Music Group and others.

Prior to the January 29, 2014 announcement, more than $260 million had been pledged to Stand Up To Cancer.

For more information on Stand Up To Cancer visit www.standup2cancer.org.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Applauds President’s Call For Investments In Job Preparedness And Access To Quality Education For America’s Working Families

Carla D. Thompson, vice president – program strategy, issued the following statement around President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address:

In tonight’s State of the Union, President Barack Obama demonstrated his administration’s commitment to helping families achieve economic security, while increasing investments and opportunities for high quality education for all Americans, efforts that will help children and families reach their full potential now and in our nation’s future.

President Obama said he’s seeking across-the-board reform of America’s job training programs to, “train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life.”

The president’s vision for connecting the dots between education and employment, transforming high schools to be STEM-ready and expanding partnerships between business, industry and community colleges to prepare youth to enter the workforce with much needed skills is right on target.

These proposed investments at all levels of the education continuum are made even stronger when connected with efforts that build the economic stability of families. The foundation is pleased with the president’s call for increasing the minimum wage, expanding apprenticeships and workforce skills development, and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), because if families achieve greater access onto and up the ladder of economic and social mobility, they can gain opportunities that will help both themselves and their children succeed in school, work and life. By helping two generations simultaneously (children and their parents), we can break the cycle of poverty and create a brighter future for children.

American families need every available resource to help them achieve economic stability by building skills for better-paying and more secure jobs. President Obama’s discussions on college affordability, job-driven training efforts at community colleges and launching retirement investments for all workers are welcome news. Too many families are out of work or only able to take jobs that barely get them by month to month. Building the assets of families now can create economic security for generations to come.

The president also reaffirmed his commitment to high-quality early childhood education for all students, saying, “Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.”

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) unequivocally supports stronger investments in early childhood education at the local, state and national levels. We know that these investments work – especially for children from birth to age 8 who face barriers based on race or income. Smart, targeted investments in early childhood education are proven to fight poverty by delivering strong educational, social and economic outcomes not just for children, but for their families and communities where they live. We are thrilled that the president recognizes the value in such investments that will give every child a fair chance at success in school and life and save communities money in the long run by increasing independence and self-sufficiency.

The president also touched on the specific need to support young males of color and set them on the path to success. WKKF has pledged to work nationally with a number of other leading foundations on a new initiative that the president said will “help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.” The foundation is already working with 25 community organizations in its priority place Mississippi to change the conditions that young males of color in that state face, by creating an environment and a comprehensive network of support from birth into adulthood that enables racial healing and eliminates barriers to opportunity.

Tonight, we heard strategies for moving our country forward. We hope these efforts will build on what’s currently working in communities across the country and ensure that our youngest Americans and their families can learn and thrive economically together.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to help break the cycle of poverty by removing barriers based on race or income that hold back children, so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

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Contact:

Wade Nelson, 269-969-2166
Wade.Nelson@wkkf.org

National Small Business Association (NSBA) Appoints Dealstruck As Exclusive Lending Partner

San Diego, Calif. and Washington, DC – January 29, 2014 – Dealstruck, Inc, announced today that it has signed an exclusive agreement with the National Small Business Association (NSBA) to provide NSBA members with valuable benefits and resources, including small business lending products and services. The Dealstruck crowdlending platform is now the business advocate’s preferred lending solution, available to the small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that comprise the NSBA’s membership.

The NSBA already offers many valuable benefits and resources to its members, including federal advocacy for small business, healthcare plans for its members, and discounts on small-business products and services.

“NSBA is excited to have this exclusive partnership with Dealstruck, which addresses the critical need by smaller firms to have access to capital,” said Todd McCracken, President of the NSBA. “NSBA members will now have access to assistance in finding the right loans at loan terms that work for them, quickly and safely. We were approached by several alternative lenders, but found Dealstruck uniquely positioned to best serve our members, which are established and healthy companies looking to continue their growth efficiently and responsibly. Together, the NSBA and Dealstruck can now jointly provide support and resources to businesses to help them overcome these challenges.”

“Dealstruck is thrilled to be chosen as the crowdlending partner by one of the leading advocacy groups for small businesses, the majority of which are underserved and largely in need of healthy loan options,” said Ethan Senturia, co-founder and CEO of Dealstruck. “We look forward to providing NSBA members with fair, transparent and affordable capital to enable them to better compete in today’s marketplace. Our role as the exclusive provider means we will be able to develop financial education and loan programs tailored specifically to the needs of its membership base.”

Dealstruck is committed to educating the small business community on affordable business line of credit programs, flexible financing solutions and access to working capital options. The company is practiced in setting businesses on the path to becoming bankable.

About Dealstruck

The Dealstruck lending marketplace connects profitable, small- and medium-sized businesses with innovative credit solutions funded by individual and institutional accredited investors. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach offered to them by banks and the high-cost, short-term credit offered to them by alternative lenders, Dealstruck provides growing small businesses with a suite of products that give them a credible and transparent path to bankable. Dealstruck is the first crowdlending platform to offer multiple products to small- and medium-sized businesses and to allow investors the freedom to choose specific investments. For more information, please visit https://www.dealstruck.com/.

About NSBA

Celebrating more than 75 years in operation, NSBA is a staunchly nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs. NSBA’s 65,000 members represent every state and every industry in the U.S., and we are proud to be the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization. Please visit www.nsba.biz.

Nomacorc Launches First Plant-Based Wine Bottle Closure Using Braskem’s Green Polyethylene

ZEBULON, N.C. (January 28, 2014) – Nomacorc, the leading producer of alternative wine bottle closures, is the first to create a plant-based closure, Select® Bio, using Braskem’s I’m greenTM Polyethylene. Green PE is made from sugarcane ethanol, a 100 percent renewable material. Its major advantage is the fact that it is made from raw materials derived from renewable resources, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I’m greenTM Polyethylene not only removes CO2 from the atmosphere due to its renewable feedstock but also contributes to reducing the use of fossil fuel. For each ton produced, “green” polyethylene sequestrates more than 2.0 tons of CO2, a significant gain compared to traditional polyethylene*.

Select® Bio closures are 100 percent recyclable. The closures mirror Nomacorc’s current Select® Series portfolio in oxygen management performance. As with other Select® Series products, Select® Bio minimizes the environmental impact of wines by preventing spoilage and waste from wine faults such as oxidation and reduction. By consistently delivering the right amount of oxygen into the bottle using a carbon neutral closure, sustainability-minded wineries will now be able to deliver their wines just as they intend.

“Braskem is a strong organization with a history of creating reliable, sustainable polymer materials for leading manufacturers around the world,” said Dr. Olav Aagaard, Nomacorc’s principal scientist. “By using Braskem’s sugar-cane based green polyethylene, we can confidently offer to our customers a carbon neutral wine closure which will not only be consistent and optimal for their wines, but also now allows them to create a more sustainable packaging solution.”

Braskem has been making I’m greenTM polyethylene since 2010 in its Triunfo Plant in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the south region of Brazil. The plant’s capacity is 200 kton/year and the total investment amounts to U.S. $290 million. Using agricultural products as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel to produce materials has great potential in Brazil. Brazil has approximately 330 million hectares of arable land of which 67% is in use. Sugarcane cultivation uses 9.2 million hectares which is highly concentrated in the state of Sao Paulo (which is located more than 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) from the Amazon region). Expansion of sugarcane fields is highly regulated to be done in a sustainable way. Brazil is producing annually more than 8 billion gallons (30 billion liters) of bio-alcohol of which only 2.3% is used to make I’m greenTM polyethylene.

“Braskem is excited that Nomacorc, the global leader in wine closures, has chosen Braskem’s I’m greenTM Polyethylene to develop a more sustainable wine closure solution. With this, Nomacorc is showing its leadership position in the market and their drive to innovate in developing more sustainable solutions for their customers,” said Marco Jansen, Braskem’s Renewable Chemicals Commercial Director for Europe and North America.

ABOUT NOMACORC

Nomacorc is a worldwide leader in wine closures and the No. 1 closure brand for still wines in many countries including France, Germany and the United States. Dedicated to technological innovation, Nomacorc manufactures its portfolio of products using a patented co-extrusion process. As a result, Nomacorc closures provide consistent, predictable oxygen management and protect against off-flavors due to oxidation, reduction or cork taint. Nomacorc’s 100 percent recyclable products are available through a vast network of distributors and sales agents on six continents. With 500 employees worldwide and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, Belgium, China and Argentina, Nomacorc produces more than 2 billion closures annually. Working with renowned wine research institutes worldwide, the company leads the wine closure industry in fundamental and applied research into oxygen management in wine. For more information, visit nomacorc.com or follow Nomacorc on Twitter (@Nomacorc) and Facebook (Nomacorc).

ABOUT BRASKEM

Braskem is the largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas and the world’s leading biopolymers producer, manufacturing green polyethylene from sugarcane-based ethanol. With 36 industrial plants in Brazil, the United States and Germany, the company produces over 35 billion pounds of thermoplastic resins and other petrochemicals per year, creating more environmental-friendly, intelligent and sustainable solutions through chemicals and plastics that improve people’s lives.

Braskem is a component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Emerging Markets, the Carbon Efficient Index (ICo2) and the Corporate Sustainability Index of the BM&FBovespa – Securities, Commodities and Futures Exchange. Braskem is a member of the United Nations’ platform for more sustainable industries and its sustainability annual report is rated level A+.

Braskem America is the leading producer of polypropylene in the United States, with five production plants located in Texas, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and a Technology and Innovation Center in Pittsburgh. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Braskem America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Braskem S.A. For more information, visit www.braskem.com

*based on Braskem cradle to gate Eco efficiency analysis done by Fundação Espaço Eco, 2007

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Media Contacts:

Katie Myers

1-214-766-4566
kmyers@nomacorc.com

Whitney Rigsbee

1-919-460-2274
wrigsbee@nomacorc.com

Stacy Torpey

1-215-841-3194
stacy.torpey@braskem.com

The US SIF Foundation Releases New Sustainable Investment Guide for Foundations

Report documents current trends in sustainable investing among foundations, provides practical resources

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the US SIF Foundation released Unleashing the Potential of US Foundation Endowments: Using Responsible Investment to Strengthen Endowment Oversight and Enhance Impact.

The report, using extensive data from primary and secondary sources, assesses the current range and state of foundation involvement in sustainable and responsible investing (SRI). It suggests that the number of foundations engaged in SRI, often employing such terms as mission-related investing and impact investing, has been growing in the last few years.

The guide encourages foundations to adopt SRI strategies in order to have tools, in addition to grantmaking, with which to generate positive impact and to fulfill their fiduciary duties. It profiles a number of foundations whose approaches to SRI—including shareholder advocacy at publicly traded companies and investments in vehicles supporting community development, land conservation and other sectors— have resulted in meaningful environmental, social or corporate governance (ESG) outcomes. Another strategy foundations employ is to consider ESG criteria in addition to traditional financial indicators when selecting companies for their portfolios. Many of the foundations profiled in the guide provide background on the process they followed—with staff, trustees and consultants—to develop or update their responsible investing policies and procedures.

The report concludes with a list of practical steps that foundation staff and trustees can take to help their institutions align a broader portion of their assets with their programmatic or broader institutional goals. To assist these first steps, an extensive appendix of resources provides links to:

  • organizations offering assistance in sustainable and responsible  investing, including such specialties as impact investing, community investing and shareholder engagement;
  • research papers on SRI and financial performance and on fiduciary duty for foundations; and
  • investment policies, proxy voting guidelines and case studies of several foundations that are active sustainable and responsible investors. 

US SIF Foundation CEO Lisa Woll said: “This guide provides compelling examples of foundations that have made the commitment to utilize their endowments for positive social and environmental impact. We hope that the information and tools provided in this report will motivate many more foundations to follow their example.”

The US SIF Foundation is grateful to The J.A. and H.G. Woodruff Charitable Trust, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and Goodfunds Wealth Management for their generous support of this report.

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The US SIF Foundation is a 501c3 organization that undertakes educational, research and programmatic activities to advance the mission of US SIF. The US SIF Foundation offers an online course on the Fundamentals of Sustainable and Responsible Investment, a resource for investment advisors, financial planners and other financial professionals who want to learn the basics of sustainable and responsible investment.

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the US membership association for professionals, firms, institutions and organizations engaged in sustainable and responsible investing. US SIF and its members advance investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. US SIF’s members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, banks, credit unions, community development organizations, non-profit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners. Learn more at www.ussif.org.

Contact: Megan Smith, msmith@ussif.org, 202-747-7820

Lutheran World Relief and Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Assist 100,000 Farmers in West Africa

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Grant from Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Builds on LWR’s Successful Resilience Plus Model

Baltimore, January 28, 2014 – Lutheran World Relief (LWR) has received a $1.5 million grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation to scale up community-based resilience building work in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. The project, “Community Led Food Crisis Recovery in the Sahel,” will run through January 2016.

During the last four years, the Sahel region of West Africa has experienced three severe food crises due to poor rains, inflated food prices and limited pasture for animal grazing. These food crises force poor families to sell land, livestock or other assets, go into debt, and limit food consumption just to survive, creating a cycle of food insecurity.

LWR’s successful “Resilience Plus” program in West Africa takes a long-term view, prioritizing community recovery and resilience even during an immediate crisis response. By bridging the delivery of humanitarian assistance with sustainable development approaches, the program lays a foundation to break the recurring cycle of low agricultural productivity and low farm incomes and has already helped make more than 300,000 people less vulnerable to future food shortages.

The grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation builds on this success and enables LWR to reach more than 100,000 additional farmers in the Sahel region.

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The project, which runs through January 2016, addresses the underlying factors contributing to persistent poverty and food insecurity by providing livestock such as goats and sheep, and training farmers on their care; helping farmers access certified seeds for staple crops like millet, sorghum and cowpeas; training farmers on improved crop production techniques; providing short-term opportunities to earn income by contributing labor to soil and water conservation projects such as terraces, trenches and stone walls; building warehouses for crop storage; and training farmers on business and marketing skills and helping them access financial services.

“We know this approach works – we’ve seen it improve countless lives in West Africa,” said Jeff Whisenant, LWR’s interim president and CEO. “It’s possible to break the cycle of extreme poverty, and this grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation will help to do that by investing in making communities more resilient.”

WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief, an international nonprofit organization, works to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the world’s most impoverished communities to help themselves. With partners in 36 countries, LWR seeks to promote sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communities bring about change for healthy, safe and secure lives; engage in Fair Trade; promote peace and reconciliation; and respond to emergencies. LWR is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. and has worked in international development and relief since 1945.

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas.

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Media Contact:

Emily Sollie, 410-230-2802 office, 443-220-3269 cell, esollie@lwr.org

Crowdentials Launches Best-in-Class Investor Accreditation API and Announces Key Partnerships

Growing equity crowdfunding compliance provider attracts the attention of investors, crowdfunding platforms.

Cleveland, OH (PRWEB), January 21, 2014 – Crowdentials (http://www.crowdentials.com), a leading provider of investor accreditation and equity crowdfunding compliance software, today announced the official launch of its API solution for crowdfunding platforms to help companies, investment firms and other issuers seamlessly verify investor accreditation status. Two crowdfunding platforms, AlumVest and GroundBreaker, have already signed on as early adopters of the Crowdentials technology.

Crowdentials designed its software to bring transparency and efficiency to the tedious investor verification process required for companies that solicit investment capital from investors under the JOBS Act. With privacy being a key concern for individuals, the company utilizes provisions from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that allows an investor’s CPA, broker or investment advisor to verify status on their behalf. Crowdentials’ white-label API solution and services include maximum protection of investor information, early detection of suspicious applications and automation tools to provide seamless investor support. The company also offers a “pre-accreditation” service for investors to verify their status through its website, which can take as little as an hour.

“After the SEC’s general solicitation rules went live, we canvassed the market and were very excited to find a partner in Crowdentials, which offers an innovative way to comply with the SEC’s new general solicitation rules with no requirement for investors to provide their confidential personal information,” says Lynn Chen, CEO of AlumVest, an equity- and rewards-based crowdfunding platform connecting entrepreneurs from leading U.S. universities with their alumni investors.

Crowdentials Co-founder and CEO Richard Rodman worked with CTO Max Heckel and CDO Rohan Kusre to develop a program that goes above and beyond the minimum “reasonable” steps outlined by regulators. “As an entrepreneur, I recognized the inherent obstacles in getting attention and funding for new ventures. We don’t believe that platforms and issuers should be weighed down by legislation that ultimately affects the quality of deal flow. Crowdentials covers the most ground in the verification process to give investment platforms and businesses peace of mind in a highly scrutinized regulatory environment,” says Rodman.

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“Crowdentials’ software lets us focus on our core business and grow it knowing that Rich and the Crowdentials team are taking care of an important aspect of our operations,” according to Stefano D’Aniello, a securities attorney by trade and the co-founder of GroundBreaker, an equity-based real estate investment platform. “We were impressed and found Rich to be very knowledgeable, and we’re confident that his services will match our growing and evolving needs.”

Crowdentials is a graduate of the FlashStarts accelerator program founded by noted entrepreneur and angel investor Charles Stack, who launched the first online bookstore. The company intends to introduce bad actor checks and Title III unaccredited investor crowdfunding tools pending the finalization of SEC regulations.

About Crowdentials

Crowdentials is a provider of regulatory compliance tools for equity crowdfunding and private placement platforms that help companies efficiently manage their financial compliance. Crowdentials’ investor accreditation service eases the burden of complying with the JOBS Act by offering platforms a “plug-and-play” white-label API option and pre-accreditation services for investors. Investors are able to verify accredited status without disclosing personal financial information.

106 Remarkable and Resilient High School Students Awarded $21,000 through 2014 Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program

Celebrating more than $100 million in need-based scholarships, the Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program recognizes young men and women from across the United States and Canada who have demonstrated exceptional perseverance to achieve educational success 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 6, 2014)Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced the 106 recipients of its prestigious 2014 Horatio Alger National Scholarships. These annual scholarships recognize outstanding students, who, in the face of great adversity, have exhibited an admirable commitment to continuing their education and serving their communities.

Since the establishment of its scholarship programs in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has awarded more than $100 million in undergraduate, graduate and specialized scholarships to students from across the United States, including all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and Canada. The Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program is one of the nation’s largest privately-funded, need-based financial aid programs, and in 2014 alone, the Association will award $9 million to its National Scholars.

“Horatio Alger Scholars possess remarkable strength and resilience,” said David Sokol, chairman of Horatio Alger Association. “We are immensely proud to support these young people who have not let adversity or financial need hinder their pursuit of a good education. Horatio Alger Association is confident of their success and proud to assist as they seek to share in the American Dream.”

Scholars come from households with an average income of $15,000 per year. These students average a 3.8 GPA and a mean SAT score of 1,684, which is more than 100 points above the national average. Each deserving recipient is awarded $21,000 to apply toward the tuition of the college or university of their choice. Additionally, National Scholars will have access to a variety of resources including assistance for the selection of and preparation for college, access to guidance and crisis counselors as well as mentoring programs.

A full list of Horatio Alger Association’s Class of 2014 National Scholars is available here.

“I am honored and privileged to be part of an organization that is providing comprehensive support to brave and intelligent young men and women,” said Tony Novelly, President and CEO of the Horatio Alger Association. “Our Scholars have an intense desire to succeed even as they face incomparable odds. My fellow Members and I strongly believe that our scholarship support is truly an investment in America’s Future.”

Each new National Scholar will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. where they are invited to attend the Association’s annual three-day event. Here, the Association will induct 12 new Members – ranging from CEOs to philanthropists to a former United States Ambassador – in addition to recognizing the 2014 National Scholarship recipients. During these events, Scholars will learn more about the Association and the various support programs in which they can take partake. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to meet and learn from the Horatio Alger Members – all of whom are elite business, civic and philanthropic leaders who, like the Scholars, have overcome significant adversities. It is the Members of the Association who wholly support the National Scholarship Program through private donations.

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its 2014 National Scholars, please visit https://www.horatioalger.org.

                                                                  ###

About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., fulfills its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. Horatio Alger Association supports students through annual undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships and mentoring programs across the United States and Canada. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $100 million in college scholarships to deserving young people. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.

Crowdlending Platform Dealstruck Announces Seed Funding

Company appoints VP operations, sets plans to develop additional financing products for SMBs

San Diego, Calif. – January 17, 2014 – Dealstruck, Inc., the first crowdlending provider to provide multiple financing products, announced today that it has successfully closed a $1.2 million seed-stage investment round. Southern California-based angels filled the round.

The seed round represents the first funding for Dealstruck and will enable the company to enhance its online platform, build out its underwriting team, offer additional products to its already growing borrower population, and streamline the company’s technology for institutional and accredited individual investors.

CEO Ethan Senturia co-founded Dealstruck when he saw that small businesses struggled to secure financing and was limited to highly selective banks or costly alternative fast cash alternatives. Dealstruck’s technology helps those businesses stuck in the middle to graduate to consecutively healthier financing options over time. To date, Dealstruck features “Crowd-Loan,” a term-loan product and “Crowd-Line,” an asset-based, working-capital line of credit.

“It’s easy to endorse a crowdfunding platform and an asset-based line of credit for growing small businesses that aren’t yet bankable,” said Giles Raymond, investor. “Dealstruck is uniquely positioned to meet the unmet needs of millions of profitable SMBs across their financing lifecycle, while offering investors compelling opportunities and increased control.”

In addition to its funding announcement, Dealstruck has appointed Rudy Navarro as the company’s Vice President of Operations. Previously Executive Vice President at Capital Partners, the largest factoring company in the nation, Navarro will lead Dealstruck’s efforts to streamline and automate the underwriting, documentation and compliance process.

“Building on the momentum from our newly expanded line of capital finance products for the unmet market, we’re thrilled to announce our seed round as well as Rudy’s appointment,” said Senturia. “Our support by experienced experts keen on pioneering the future of finance options for profitable small business is exciting and inspiring. We look forward to funding many new loans and receiving Rudy’s contribution to our own growth during this next quarter.”

Winner of the Best Pitch award at San Diego Tech Coast Angel’s 2012 Quick Pitch Competition, Dealstruck launched its funding marketplace in June 2013 and has quickly expanded its team and product line to meet growing market demand. To learn more about the company and its SMB credit products, please visit www.dealstruck.com.

About Dealstruck

The Dealstruck lending marketplace connects profitable, small – and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with innovative credit solutions funded by individual and institutional accredited investors. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach offered to them by banks and the high-cost, short-term credit offered to them by alternative lenders, Dealstruck provides growing SMBs with a suite of products that give them a credible and transparent path to bankable. Dealstruck is the first crowdlending platform to offer multiple products to SMBs, and the first to allow investors the freedom to choose specific investments. For more information, please visit https://www.dealstruck.com/.

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