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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.

YSI INVESTS IN GROWTH MOSAIC AND MENTORnetwork

TORONTO, ON, December 2, 2013 – Today, Youth Social Innovation Capital Fund (YSI) announced it has invested in two social enterprises: Growth Mosaic and MENTORnetwork. YSI investments will contribute to the successful growth of these ventures.

                             image

Founded by Wayne Miranda, Growth Mosaic prepares West-African social enterprises to access and manage growth capital. Growth Mosaic offers services to their clients that improve operational efficiency, lower costs, and increase the viability of becoming attractive investment opportunities. With five years of business development experience in sub-Saharan Africa, Wayne is a strong believer in the hypothesis that job creation is the ultimate poverty reduction tool. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Wayne held numerous positions at Engineers Without Borders Canada prior to launching Growth Mosaic.

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YSI’s second investment is in Jeremy O’Krafka’s MENTORnetwork, a social enterprise committed to creating a culture of mentorship across Canada. MENTORnetwork develops programs and resources to support individuals accessing mentorship. Their online mentor-matching platform called MENTORup provides a network of mentors to support entrepreneurs and social innovators in the Greater Toronto Area. Jeremy is a member of CSI Regent Park, client of ventureLAB, graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, past-President of JCI (Junior Chamber International) Toronto, acted as the Corporate Partnerships Lead for BizLaunch, and produced a Guinness World Record setting event with the Ontario Centres of Excellence for the “World’s Largest Business Mentoring Event”.

Growth Mosaic and MENTORnetwork create powerful positive impact in the societies in which they operate. YSI is looking forward to playing a pivotal role in supporting the financial, social, and environmental goals of these social enterprises. We are proud to add an investment with local impact and an investment with international impact to our portfolio. 

                                                      -Jory Cohen, Managing Director

YSI invests in young social entrepreneurs and their social enterprises to drive the creation of sustainable financial, social and environmental value. For more information, go to www.youthsocialinnovation.org or contact info@youthsocialinnovation.org.

Overstock.com Has Compensated Worldstock Artisans $100 Million

Twelve years of selling international artisan goods online

SALT LAKE CITYNov. 20, 2013 – Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) this month reached the milestone of having paid over $100 million to Worldstock.com’s artisan suppliers around the world. Worldstock Fair Trade® is one of Overstock.com’s socially responsible stores, found on the Overstock.com online shopping website and atwww.worldstock.com. Patrick M. Byrne, Overstock.com chairman and CEO founded Worldstock.com in 2001 after he met a small group of artisans in Cambodia that are land-mine survivors. 

Through Worldstock.com, Overstock.com provides international market exposure to third-world artisans’ handcrafted products. Between 60 and 70 percent of the sales price on each item is returned to artisans or their suppliers located in over 50 countries. The handmade crafts, furniture, home decor and jewelry items come from small villages in Afghanistan, Colombia, Nepal, Malawi, Guatemala, Ghana and Kenya, to name a few. 

Among the 20,000 products on Worldstock.com are handmade bronze singing bowls from Nepal; handcrafted brass and copper hammered cuff bracelets from India; wooden, hand-carved walnut oil twist stools from Thailand; and leather messenger bags from Colombia.

“When you buy handmade crafts from Worldstock, you do much more than just shop for unique gifts, you help people in these countries support their families, gain dignity and develop their villages while maintaining their ancient cultural traditions,” states Byrne. “Overstock is proud to pay artisans or their suppliers double the customary amount returned by other importers. Overstock is not looking to make any profit from these sales and any profits we have made we have donated to charity.”

Overstock.com has donated Worldstock.com profits to charities such as Solace International that support international humanitarian efforts by bringing schools, clinics, drinking water and sustainable cottage industries to these communities.

All Worldstock.com orders have Carbon Neutral Shipping at no additional cost to customers. This process balances the carbon emissions of shipping to promote clean energy and reforestation. All orders over $50 ship free.

This week, USA Network releases its spotlight of Worldstock.com in its “Character with a Cause” on-air vignette series. This series spreads the word about good corporate citizens that make a difference in the world by supporting a worthwhile cause. “Character with a Cause” offers an opportunity for a real person working on behalf of the cause or a beneficiary of the cause to relay the pro-social message to USA viewers in a positive, uplifting and inspirational way.

About Overstock.com

Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) is a discount online shopping retailer based in Salt Lake City, Utah that sells a broad range of products including furniture, rugs, bedding, electronics, clothing, jewelry and cars.  Worldstock.com, a fair trade department dedicated to selling artisan-crafted products from around the world offers additional unique items.  Main Street Revolution supports small businesses across the United States by providing them a national customer base.  The Nielsen State of the Media: Consumer Usage Report placed Overstock.com among the top five most visited mass merchandiser websites in 2011.  The NRF Foundation/American Express 2011 Customer Choice Awards ranked Overstock.com #4 in customer service among all U.S. retailers.  Overstock.com sells internationally under the name O.co.  Overstock Shopping (http://www.overstock.com andhttp://www.o.co) regularly posts information about the company and other related matters under Investor Relations on its website.

About USA Network

The #1 network in all of basic cable for an unprecedented seven straight years, USA Network is seen in over 102 million U.S. homes.  USA is a leader in scripted programming with a powerful stable of originals, spectacular live television and is home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, a broad portfolio of acquired series and entertainment events.  A trailblazer in digital innovation and storytelling, USA is defining, driving and setting the industry standard for Social TV.  USA is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal. The award-winning website is located at http://www.usanetwork.com.  Characters Welcome.

12 Elite Business and Civic Leaders to be Honored with 2014 Horatio Alger Award

Since its inception in 1947, Horatio Alger Association has annually inducted Members who have demonstrated exceptional perseverance and achieved great success despite significant personal adversity.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 18, 2013) – 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 recipients of its prestigious 2014 Horatio Alger Award. This annual award recognizes exceptional leaders – all with a commitment to philanthropy and higher education – who have overcome significant personal challenges to achieve success. 

Based upon their demonstrated perseverance, work ethic and determination to succeed, Horatio Alger Association will honor the following 12 individuals with lifetime membership into the organization:

  • Lee R. Anderson Sr., owner and chairman, APi Group, Inc.
  • David M. Cote, chairman and CEO, Honeywell
  • N. Murray Edwards, chairman, Canadian Natural Resources Limited
  • Robert Blyth Goergen, founder and chairman, Blyth, Inc.
  • Patricia L. Herbold, vice president and secretary, Herbold Foundation and Former United States Ambassador, Republic of Singapore
  • Randall Dee Hubbard, chairman, managing director, BIGHORN Golf Club
  • Mike Jackson, chairman and chief executive officer, AutoNation, Inc.
  • Jerral (Jerry) Wayne Jones Sr., owner, president and general manager, Dallas Cowboys
  • Thomas  V. McKernan, chairman of the board, Automobile Club of Southern California
  • David L. Steward, founder and chairman, World Wide Technology, Inc.
  • Peter W. Stott, president, Columbia Investments, Ltd.
  • J. Ronald Terwilliger, chairman emeritus, Trammell Crow Residential Company 

“Horatio Alger Association is built on the key principle that with hard work, determination and resilience, one can succeed despite facing incomparable personal hardships,” said Tony Novelly, president and CEO, Horatio Alger Association and 2000 Horatio Alger Award recipient.  “The 12 new Horatio Alger Members selected for the Class of 2014 are extraordinary individuals who reflect the truth of that principle and who will inspire our Scholars to pursue their dreams.  We could not be more pleased to welcome this impressive class into the Association as lifetime Members.  Undoubtedly, each will uphold and perpetuate the mission of this proud organization.” 

Each Horatio Alger Award recipient will be inducted as a new Member during the Association’s annual three-day induction ceremonies, which will be held in Washington, D.C., in April 2014.  In addition to honoring these outstanding leaders, Horatio Alger Association will also recognize its 2014 National Scholarship recipients, providing an opportunity for Scholars and Members to meet and exchange stories of their respective perseverance and success. 

In addition to presenting its annual award, Horatio Alger Association administers one of the largest, privately-funded scholarship programs for at-risk students in the United States and Canada.  Funding for its scholarships, which annually provides more than $9 million to selected students in need, is wholly supported by private donations from Association Members and friends.  

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its newly selected Class of 2014, please visithttp://horatioalger.org/news_pr_members2014.cfm.

BMO Philanthropy Day Report: Affluent Americans are Leaving Seven Percent of Their Estates to Charities

  • High-net worth Americans will be donating an average of $8,845 to charitable causes this year; affluent women tend to be more generous than men
  • Ninety-four percent expect to make a donation in 2013
  • Half are donating more than they did before the 2008 recession
  • Religious institutions, health and community programs are among their favorite causes to support

CHICAGO, November 14, 2013 – To mark National Philanthropy Day (November 15), BMO Private Bank today released the results of a study which reveals that affluent Americans plan on leaving, on average, seven percent of their estates to charitable causes in their wills.  The study also shows that the nation’s wealthy plan on donating, on average, $8,845 to charities in 2013.

The study is the third in a series by BMO Private Bank examining trends among high-net worth Americans (those with investible assets of $1 million or more). The study also found: 

•  Half (48 percent) of high-net worth Americans are donating more to charities than they did before the onset of the recession five years ago. Forty-one percent reported that they are donating the same amount and 11 percent are donating less.

•  Almost all (94 percent) expect to make charitable contributions this year, with an average donation amount of $8,845.

•  High-net worth women are, on average, more generous in supporting charitable causes than their male counterparts ($12,478 vs. $6,685).

“Previous studies we’ve conducted have shown that high-net worth Americans have rebounded well from the 2008 recession.  It’s encouraging to see that this is being reflected in their support for charitable causes as well,” said Terry Jenkins, President & CEO, BMO Private Bank. “Their philanthropy has returned to pre-recession levels and almost half are donating even more than they did before the economic downturn.  Moreover, many are planning on leaving substantial portions of their estates to charity; this bodes well for the future of the communities in which they live.”  

Religion, Health and Community Top List of Charitable Causes

Almost half (49 percent) of affluent Americans are giving to religious institutions while 46 percent are donating to health programs and disease research. Other popular causes include:

•  Local community programs (36 percent)

•  Children’s charities (31 percent)

•  The arts (28 percent)

•  Education programs (27 percent)

•  Animal welfare (27 percent)

•  The environment (25 percent)

•  Political causes (22 percent)

•  Foreign aid (11 percent)

Affluent women are more likely than affluent men to donate to religious institutions (53 vs. 47 percent). However, affluent men are more likely than affluent women to donate to local community programs (41 vs. 27 percent) and foreign aid (15 vs. 5 percent).

“Rather than giving on an ad-hoc basis, people should consider maximizing the impact of their generosity by working with a financial professional to develop a philanthropic strategy that is part of an overall financial plan,” said Claudia Sangster, Director, Philanthropic Services, CTC Consulting | Harris myCFO, a part of BMO Financial Group.  “Not only will their giving have a more lasting impact, but it will also enable them to leave a legacy for their family, their community and future generations.”

Ms. Sangster noted that BMO Private Bank has just released a report on women and philanthropy.  The report, entitledSparking the Flame for the Next Generation, provides an in-depth look at the unique philanthropic traits of women, with a particular focus on the behaviors that drive the decision making of female philanthropists. To view a full copy of the report, please visit: https://www.bmo.com/privatebank/pdf/TeachingMyFamilytoGive-PR.PDF

About BMO Private Bank, a part of BMO Financial Group

BMO Private Bank offers a comprehensive range of wealth management services that include investment advisory, trust, banking and financial planning to meet the financial needs of high net worth clients. Through integrated teams of experienced financial professionals, BMO Private Bank helps its clients realize their financial and lifestyle goals with solutions that are custom tailored and delivered with the highest level of personalized service.

BMO Private Bank is a brand name used in the United States by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC.  Not all products and services are available in every state and/or location.

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28th and April 11th, 2013 with a sample of 482 American adults who have $1M+ in investable assets.  The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

Nation’s Most Robust STEM Competition Provides Thousands of K-12 Students with Real-Life Engineering Experience

Hands-on STEM education and training highlight “Battle of Brains” contest as students compete for $155,000 in grants and a chance to have their exhibit built at a science museum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Nov. 8, 2013 – Instead of vying to bring home a blue ribbon, the top 20 teams competing in the “Battle of the Brains” are aspiring to walk away with a bigger prize – $50,000 for their schools and the opportunity to design and build the next exhibit alongside local engineers at Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City. The top 20 proposals represent the best design ideas out of more than 500 entries submitted for the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition and are up for a national public vote through Nov. 14 to determine the grand prize winners. The public is encouraged to show support for the students and STEM programming by voting for their favorite idea.

“Battle of the Brains” is a scholastic competition created by the Burns & McDonnell Foundation that seeks to encourage K-12 students to become inspired by STEM education at an early age. The contest helps foster creative thinking and better equips students for future STEM learning by giving them the opportunity to see firsthand what it is like to work in a STEM profession and incorporating national education standards into the curriculum – the Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Involving more than 3,500 students from Kansas and Missouri as they compete for grand prizes totaling $155,000 and the opportunity to design a real science exhibit for the public, the Kansas City-based contest is most robust STEM competition in the nation.

“Studies show that kids are most open to STEM learning in first through fourth grades, so one of our missions is to capture the imaginations of students at young ages and open their eyes to careers they may not have known existed,” said Greg Graves, chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City-based architectural, construction and engineering firm. “The ‘Battle of the Brains’ offers the opportunity to give students experiential and hands-on learning they wouldn’t otherwise get in a traditional classroom setting. We applaud all the educators and students on their entries – the quality of the proposals are phenomenal.”
Grand prize winners will be announced on Nov. 20 after a panel of experts from Burns & McDonnell and Science City, along with a public vote, helps select the best proposals in the K-6 and the 7-12 grade divisions. The judges’ rankings will account for 70 percent of the final score while the public vote will account for 30 percent. The winner in each division will earn a $50,000 grant to support STEM education; two runner-ups in each division will earn $5,000; and 14 honorable mention winners will receive $2,500 each for their schools. One group of students will see their proposal brought to life as an exhibit at Science City.

“Battle of the Brains” is the brainchild of engineers at Burns & McDonnell and was developed and funded by the Burns & McDonnell Foundation to address the declining number of students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Science City at Union Station was selected as the 2013 beneficiary of the program. The Burns & McDonnell Foundation has made it a priority to become a leader in developing, organizing and funding STEM education and training initiatives both locally and nationally. The foundation has invested $4.5 million over the past few years in grant programs that support both STEM education and thriving educational environments like at Science City. The 2013 “Battle of the Brains” represents the second competition hosted in Kansas City.

To view the top 20 winners and for your chance to vote, visit www.battleofthebrainskc.com/vote.

Joyful Heart Foundation Launches Campaign to ‘End The Backlog’ Of Unprocessed Rape Kits

November 7, 2013 – Every year, thousands of individuals report their rape to the police. Many are asked to have a rape kit collected, a process that can take four to six hours to complete. And yet, hundreds of thousands of times, a decision is made not to process the evidence. Even when law enforcement does send a kit to the crime lab for testing, it can sit for months, and in some cases years, before being tested. 

The nationwide backlog of untested rape kits allows rapists to get away with their crimes and, in many cases, to rape again. We do not know the exact size of the backlog because few jurisdictions count or track their untested kits, but the federal government estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in police and crime lab storage facilities throughout the United States. 

Today, the Joyful Heart Foundation is proud to share the new ENDTHEBACKLOG.org, our website dedicated to shining a light on and ending the rape kit backlog nationwide. 

ENDTHEBACKLOG.org includes an interactive map displaying everything we know and do not know about where the backlog exists, an extensive media and resource archive of news and reporting about the backlog from across the country, an integrated blog with updates and commentary about the backlog and more. 

With the new ENDTHEBACKLOG.org, the Joyful Heart Foundation will continue to raise awareness about the backlog and share vital information about what jurisdictions and our partners are doing to end it, all with the aim of improving our collective response to sexual violence. Four states have implemented comprehensive rape kit reforms, investigative reports have uncovered backlogs in cities across the country and officials have made the number of untested kits in their communities publicly known. We are beginning to see a clearer national picture of the rape kit backlog. We are seeing the immense value that rape kit testing brings.

“The rape kit backlog is one of the most shocking demonstrations of how we regard the crime of sexual assault in our society. Rape kit testing can bring justice, often an integral part of a survivor’s healing, and it is vital in keeping rapists off the streets,” said Mariska Hargitay, President & Founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation. “We must eliminate this backlog. We must give survivors the justice they deserve. We must hold perpetrators accountable. The stakes are simply too high.”

FOOD HACKING FOR GOOD IN SILICON VALLEY

Future of Food Hackathon Invites Food Lovers and Techies to Solve Global Food Issues for Second Year in a Row

SAN FRANCISCO (November 5, 2013) — The world’s largest food hackathon, “Future of Food,” will take place November 16-17 in San Francisco and will bring together food lovers, entrepreneurs and investors to build, prototype and share innovative solutions to challenges in our food system. 

“Our food system is broken and in desperate need of repair. The solutions are going to come when we all start working together at the table. The Future of Food hackathon is working to do that by building relationships and community with all stakeholders around the usefulness of technology in our food system,” said Future of Food Hackathon co-founder Tim West. 

The event will take place November 16-17 at the Tagged headquarters in San Francisco, CA and will be followed by an after-party at TCHO New American Chocolate on Pier 17. Tagged is the 5th largest social network with 300MM+ users and TCHO is a pioneer in applying technology to chocolate production. Additional support comes from Yummly, which is building the digital kitchen platform and has the #1 free recipe app on iTunes.

A hackathon is an event where technologists and stakeholders gather to rapidly and collaboratively build software solutions to identified challenges. Along with the hackathon, there will be a Sunday forum comprised of industry experts and includes panel discussions on themes such as technology, sustainability and scalability. Top Food Hackathon teams will have an opportunity to demo their products and receive feedback from notable judges with a chance to win prizes and awards, gain recognition among the global food and tech community, and network with notable movers and shakers in Silicon Valley. 

For more details and ticket information please visit: http://futurefoodhack.com.

About The Future of Food Hackathon + Forum

The Future of Food Hackathon + Forum unites designers, developers and entrepreneurs for a world class hackathon competition to build networks, cross pollinate ideas and create new products and tools to innovate and improve the food ecosystem.

Morgan Stanley Establishes Institute for Sustainable Investing

Institute to Drive Capital Toward Investments Supporting Global Sustainability and Advance Innovation and Scholarship to Broaden Market-Based Approach

Nov 1 2013 | New York

Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman today announced the establishment of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing.  The Institute will build on Morgan Stanley’s ongoing work to advance market-based solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges, operating from the foundational principle that sustainable investment can only achieve significant scale by attracting a broad range of private sector capital.  Through product innovation, thought leadership and scholarship aimed at expanding opportunities for sustainable investing, the Institute will seek to drive capital toward investments promoting sustainable economic growth. 

The Institute for Sustainable Investing will pursue three focus areas: financial products and solutions that enable clients to invest in sustainability-focused strategies seeking risk-adjusted financial returns; groundbreaking thought leadership that will help mobilize capital toward sustainable investing opportunities; and strategic partnerships with the public, private and nonprofit sectors designed to build capacity and best practices within the field of scalable sustainable investing.

The Institute’s first major commitments include:

  • Setting a goal of $10 billion in total client assets through Morgan Stanley’s Investing with Impact Platform in the next five years.  By developing new products, innovative thematic portfolios and sustainable investing thought leadership, this platform will meet rapidly increasing client demand for opportunities to invest for positive environmental and social impact in addition to the goal of achieving risk-adjusted financial returns.
  • Creating new products − in coordination with Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Long-Only and Alternative Investment Partners businesses − in which positive social and/or environmental impact is a core part of the underlying investment strategy.
  • Establishing an annual Sustainable Investing Fellowship program at Columbia Business School that will enable a select group of graduate students to pursue thought leadership in sustainable investing, coupled with an internship at Morgan Stanley to gain hands-on experience in product innovation, thought leadership and investment strategy.
  • Investing $1 billion in a sustainable communities initiative to provide rapid access to capital for the preservation and enhancement of quality affordable housing units that are at risk of deteriorating into uninhabitable conditions or becoming unaffordable to low- and moderate-income households.  The initiative will also seek to drive the integration of affordable housing with access to health care, healthy foods and other vital services.  Morgan Stanley is partnering with leading community groups, including the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and NCB Capital Impact, on the sustainable communities initiative.

    “This program takes our long partnership with Morgan Stanley to a new level,” said Michael Rubinger, LISC President and CEO.  “It doesn’t just finance buildings; it fuels opportunity and focuses on quality of life.  Together, we will be able to help low-income families live better and make their communities stronger and healthier.”  

    Terry Simonette, President and CEO of NCB Capital Impact, said, “The sustainable communities initiative is the type of transformative investment that will help ensure the financing so desperately needed to provide access to healthy foods and other critical resources in our poorest communities.   We are proud to partner with Morgan Stanley on this effort.”

Through these and future initiatives, the Institute for Sustainable Investing will further Morgan Stanley’s commitment to providing individual and institutional investors with products and strategies that address sustainability challenges at scale.

Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman launched the Institute in a speech at Columbia Business Schooltoday.  Mr. Gorman said: “Morgan Stanley is in a unique position to harness the capital markets to help address the most pressing challenges facing society today, connecting governments, investors and businesses with the capital to execute at scale.  Our philosophy is clear – the most effective solutions to sustainability challenges are those that can be brought to scale.  Our clients are increasingly turning their attention to what it takes to secure the lasting and safe supplies of food, energy, water and shelter necessary for sustainable prosperity.”

Mr. Gorman will chair the Institute’s Advisory Board, which will include individuals from the private and nonprofit sectors with expertise in various aspects of sustainable investing including finance, policy and management (for a list of members, see the note to editors below).

Audrey Choi, who leads Morgan Stanley’s Global Sustainable Finance group, will be CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Investing.  “As the world’s population grows toward 9 billion and beyond, meeting the exponentially growing needs for quality education, healthcare, housing and security will far outstrip current models of business, government or philanthropy,” said Ms. Choi.  “The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing is committed to playing a catalytic role in forging innovative cross-sector partnerships that develop solutions to mobilize capital efficiently and effectively to meet these challenges at scale.”

Learn more about the Institute at www.morganstanley.com/sustainableinvesting.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services.  The Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals from more than 1,200 offices in 43 countries.  Since 2006, Morgan Stanley has committed more than $7.8 billion to strengthen underserved communities.  For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.

City Of Philadelphia Launches Fastfwd; Challenges Entrepreneurs To Address Public Safety Issues

Philadelphia, October 30, 2013–  Mayor Michael A. Nutter officially launched FastFWD, an Urban Innovation Refinery, a partnership between the City of Philadelphia, GoodCompany Group, a social enterprise accelerator, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  FastFWD, formerly known as the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, is an initiative that seeks to recruit and support entrepreneurs in developing solutions to urban challenges.  In its inaugural year, FastFWD will focus on public safety.

“Our Administration is committed to public safety, spending $1.8 billion last year on behalf of our citizens,” said Mayor Nutter.  “FastFWD is a unique approach to engage and utilize public-private partnerships and to encourage private sector to work with government in the public interest.  In FastFWD’s first cycle, our goal is to harness entrepreneurial talents, resources and innovative ideas to create solutions to the most pressing public safety challenges that our city, and other cities, face every day.”

FastFWD invites entrepreneurs to offer their most innovative public safety solutions, services and products for consideration.   Entrepreneurs that submit the most promising ideas will be given capital, development support and access to experts to help refine and implement their ideas.

“As cities face greater challenges with increasingly fewer resources, the need for entrepreneurial innovation has never been greater,” said Story Bellows, Co-Director, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. “With the launch of FastFWD, we are calling on entrepreneurs to submit their brightest and boldest ideas for consideration.  We look forward to seeing the depth of talent and creativity they have to offer.”

Applications are due by December 20, 2013.

Ten finalists will be selected in spring 2014 to participate in an intensive, twelve-week accelerator program.  During the program, finalists will refine their proposal under the guidance of legal counsel, investors, industry experts and fellow entrepreneurs.  Finalists who enter the accelerator program will receive $10,000 stipends provided by FastFWD.

Upon completion of the accelerator program, the finalists’ proposals will be eligible for implementation as a fast-track funded pilot.

Professor Katherine Klein, Vice Dean for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative added, “Wharton Social Impact Initiative is thrilled to be helping the city in spurring entrepreneurial solutions to urban challenges. The FastFWD process represents a cutting-edge approach, linking business, city government and the University to create sustainable solutions.  There’s a palpable sense of excitement and optimism among all who are participating in this process, including the Mayor – a Wharton alum – and his team.” 

“Above all, FastFWD will offer entrepreneurs access. The program will provide access to the core problems, prioritizing and presenting them as target of entrepreneurial opportunity, said Garrett Melby, Founder and Managing Director, GoodCompany Group. “FastFWD will also provide access to expertise for entrepreneurs to refine their ideas with subject-matter experts, and hone their business model with finance experts from The Wharton School.”

In addition, the City announced that FastFWD will partner with Impact Hub on entrepreneur engagement and Code for America on procurement reform.

For more information on FastFWD, including applications, log onto http://fast-fwd.org

US SEC Proposes Policy Highlighting the Importance of Proper Company Recordkeeping and Disclosure to Equity Crowdfunding

BoardSuite, a leader in cloud-based solutions to manage, organize and share corporate information securely applauds announcement

October 30, 2013 –NEW YORK, NY – BoardSuite (www.boardsuite.co)

BoardSuite a secure cloud-based board portal and shareholder recordkeeping solution for private companies is delighted to see the leadership taken by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission headed by Commissioner Kara M. Stein in its recent proposals on equity crowdfunding. The proposal if implemented would significantly help small U.S. companies to raise money in the private securities market. BoardSuite sees as critically important specific provisions in the proposed SEC  regulations regarding company recordkeeping and disclosure of company information about owners, officers and directors, how proceeds from the offering will be used, and financial statements.

“There is substantial discussion in the release with respect to an issuer’s responsibility to keep complete and accurate records of its security holders. I believe this is a critically important issue that could have far-reaching implications for the (equity crowdfunding) marketplace. A business simply must be able to track who its owners are. While I understand that requiring a registered transfer agent would increase the costs to an issuer, I would like to hear from commenters about possible third-party, cost-effective solutions to help crowd funding issuers manage their recordkeeping responsibilities.” —Statement Regarding the Proposing Release on Crowd funding, Commissioner Kara M. Stein, Washington, D.C., Oct. 23, 2013

BoardSuite secure portal has been used by private companies in 40 countries to help them manage their capital structure and their shareholder communications.  BoardSuite combines simplicity for the issuer and good governance, compliance.

“Proper recordkeeping is critical for the success of equity crowdfunding and managing the owner/shareholders is a great step forward,” commented Oscar A Jofre, President / CEO, BoardSuite Corp. BoardSuite provides a cost effective solution to the issue identified by Ms. Stein, by helping companies manage their shareholder share structure, corporate information and records.”

Gil Michel Garcia, a Partner at Blue HF a boutique law firm advising Canadian companies on venture and private equity transactions, including US based Equity Crowd Funding by Canadian companies, shares the enthusiasm of Mr. Jofre stating: “Proper documentation and disclosure is a critical component to a company being able to properly take advantage of the enormous funding opportunities now available through equity crowdfunding. By engaging an experienced registrar and recordkeeping agent like Boardsuite, companies can show to potential investors that they are serious about record keeping and compliance, and therefore that they are worthy of their investment.”


We are pleased to see the advancement of equity crowd funding in the US and around the world. BoardSuite offers private companies an opportunity to also manage their complete minute and additional governance and compliance requirements. BoardSuite’s roots are in governance and compliance.

We support the views of the SEC and are here to help companies to take advantage of the growing crowdfunding market.

About BoardSuite

Provided as a FREE SaaS-based service, BoardSuite enables management to manage, organize and share their corporate information securely.  BoardSuite enables management to manage their documents, calendaring, people committees, contracts, and capitalization table.

BoardSuite was created to mitigate risk by providing directors, officers and shareholders a simple yet powerful solution to address their responsibilities surrounding good governance and compliance, thus allowing them to devote more time towards helping their organizations improve overall business performance.

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