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

Nonprofit crowdfunding course

Devin D. Thorpe



This category includes articles about nonprofit organizations and NGOs that are actively working to accomplish a social mission. The work of foundations that primarily work as grantors to other nonprofits is covered in Philanthropy.

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Recovery Unplugged® Launches “What Track Are You On?” Powerful Digital Campaign During September’s “National Recovery” Month

“I Got This” track by Grammy-winning performance songwriter & guitarist, Richie Supa

Featured within video, thought-provoking Social media and display message campaign

Press Release – FT. LAUDERDALE, FL – (August 1, 2017) Today, as 23 million in the U.S. are currently addicted to drugs and alcohol which is now the leading cause of death to those under age 25, Recovery Unplugged®, an addiction treatment center that uses music as a catalyst towards the effective treatment of substance abuse leaps forward to showcase an effective solution by launching a powerful addiction awareness campaign capturing a thought provoking video, quick-wit phrased social media and display messages during September’s National Recovery Month.

The video opens to an on-screen caption, RECOVERY UNPLUGGED presents, while the camera shoots upward at New York City apartment complex while both the track name, I Got This appears on the screen and the track begins to play the soothing Island flare-guitar and vocal sounds by Richie Supa. I Got This, also written by Richie Supa, Creative Music Director at Recovery Unplugged® is a Grammy-winning performance songwriter & guitarist. Supa has written songs for Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink and many others has also been sober for 28 years. He describes meeting weekly with recovery clients, “They are in denial and I hear addicts say ‘I thought I had this, but they didn’t’ which is all part of the addiction disease.” Supa talks about his technique for songwriting describing that songs have to be relatable and unfiltered.

“I’ve lived every line in this song and focus on keeping it real,” says Supa. “The music approach at Recovery Unplugged® is making sustainable recovery a reality. Addicts can’t see living without a fix. By asking ‘what track are you on?’ we’re providing people with a choice. We’re saying, choose music.”

The overall campaign was created by Ari Merkin, advertising agency and brand development company which shot the video portion in New York City during June 2017 with the sense of urgency to help Recovery Unplugged launch an upfront direct message campaign during this heightened and escalated period of the country’s addiction issues.

The video begins with the sounds of a lighter flint wheel being rolled back as you hear the water bubbling of a marijuana bong – which grabs your attention as the video showcases a man inhaling and coughing on a bong hit as he leans back relaxed on the sofa singing the lyrics, “I get high seven days a week so damn twisted I can hardly speak, I’m fine – I ain’t worried – I got this…”

As the music continues to play and the lyrics start to match the subject profile, the video rolls into a variety of addiction vignette stories: From the stoner– to a male addict roaming the streets of New York City scratching his arms and hungry to make a purchase from his drug dealer. The video moves onto a girl who is dancing the night away at a nightclub and then seen stumbling down the nightclub halls to reach a bathroom as she hovers over a toilet. Music continues to play, “Yeah yeah – you can’t tell me nothing – yeah yeah, I ain’t got a problem – denial – It’s my style, I got this…”. From there, the video moves to a man wearing a collared shirt and tie as he’s typing on his office computer and begins to move through the empty hallways looking to make sure no one is nearby as he goes into a remote area to shoot up. “Oh I’m playing Russian roulette – oh, you know the higher I get – but swear I got this all under control – so leave me alone…”

As the scenes progress, the camera moves to an older woman in bed as she starts singing looking hung over and unhealthy as a man in the room starts to get dressed: “Last night I drank till I blacked out – my clothes fell off and I don’t know how – shit happens – I’m laughing – I got this”.

As the music continues playing, “Yeah yeah, I know I’m in trouble, yeah yeah – hand me a shovel, I’m fine – I GOT THIS….” Each vignette quickly shows individual stories reach the same place of overwhelming loss of control and emptiness: From the man roaming the streets being seized by undercover police officers; to the girl in the night club huddled over a toilet; to the woman in bed as she begins to grieve her loss of control; to the man on the sofa who goes outside to look over the city as he appears to be searching for himself; to the office worker, passed out on the floor of the private area who now appears he’s overdosed. The video closes with a message from Recovery Unplugged®, that says, “‘I Got This,’ is one of 60 original songs we’re using to help clients recognize and conquer their addiction.” And then, “What Track are you on?”

Additionally, the unique thought-provoking social media and display message campaign includes:

  1. Nobody Ever Died from a Music Overdose.
  2. Heroin enters through a single vein, music enters through all of them.
  3. You’ll Swear we should sell music by the gram.
  4. Long Live Rock & Roll. And You.
  5. The first step is admitting you Hate Smashmouth.
  6. Heroin, $50 | Music .99
  7. Come on Over. We’ll Do Some Lines (with a visual of a music sheet)

v Needle: A medical device used to illegally inject Heroin

Needle: A stylus used to play phonographic records

v Score: To succeed in buying or obtaining an illicit drug

Score: The written form of a musical composition

v Hit: The single dose of an illegal drug

Hit: A highly successful song

v Refrain: To abstain from having that which one desires, such as drugs or alcohol

Refrain: A recurring melody such as the chorus of a song

v Rock: Slang for crack cocaine

Rock: A popular form of music

While the campaign showcases the drug addiction epidemic in reality, Recovery Unplugged® showcases the solution. “We’re providing further awareness options of effective and unique treatment,” says Chief Strategy Officer of Recovery Unplugged, Paul Pellinger.

“The challenge with traditional treatment is that clients are forced to rely on fear, consequences and relapse protocols versus a more proactive approach that includes recovery triggers”. The music helps them learn to communicate emotionally. The process of utilizing music becomes a catalyst for an emotional connection to the soul where long lasting change occurs. When we work with addicts using all aspects of music, from the lyrics, the vibration, live performances, etc. … it breaks down defenses, motivates and facilitates the recovery process,” adds Pellinger.

In addition, the Recovery Unplugged® program is designed to adapt to individual needs. Although addicts tend to have much in common, people’s fundamental differences can be overlooked in some treatment environments. Recovery Unplugged® works to establish a better understanding of the individual and his or her needs for a full recovery. Clients engage in a full continuum of care including detox, residential treatment day/night treatment intensive outpatient programming including community housing and transitional living. Many people working in addiction rehabilitation report that recovering from drug addiction often involves at least one relapse, and that many users will backslide multiple times. A frequently used and often misleading National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) statistic states, “40-60% of people addicted to substances recover and remain sober. However, there is no precise statistic that calculates an average relapse rate after addiction rehab program completion. Professionals do agree that most addicts will enter addiction treatment programs that use some form a “12 Step” program again and again without achieving long-term sobriety.

About Ari Merkin, LLC:

Ari Merkin LLC is a handful of highly recognized agency types who have received countless accolades for creativity and effectiveness and “best of show” honors at virtually every major advertising award competition. The agency helps to solve big problems and accelerate growth for a select number of brands – working closely with in-house brand teams to deliver inspired thinking from planning through production. Ari believes that every brand has a voice, that creativity can solve anything and that you don’t need a big agency system to deliver big brand ideas.

About Recovery Unplugged®:

Recovery Unplugged® Treatment Center is an addiction treatment organization with facilities in Florida and Texas offering a music-based approach to treatment and recovery from chemical dependency. The centers combine traditional and cognitive behavioral approaches that use music, performance and appreciation as catalysts to break down emotional barrier to inspire and motivate the change necessary for lasting sobriety. Recovery Unplugged® is committed to providing hope and healing, using music to help individuals suffering from addiction all over the United States.

Since opening in 2013, Recovery Unplugged® has achieved client completion and long-term sobriety rates of over 90 percent and a long-term sobriety rate over five-times the national average. Independent studies confirm over the last two years that the Recovery Unplugged® treatment model is a proven method. Research has revealed an extremely low AMA rate (the rate at which patients leave a program against medical advice) of less than 9% compared to the national average of 39%. For more information call (855) 906-2980 or visit

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Common Threads’ Nationwide Pop-Up Dinner Series Honors Julia Child In New York City

The non-profit, along with presenting partner Circuit of The Americas, hosts Tamron Hall, Gail Simmons, Adam Richman and an impressive roster of celebrity chefs, announces fundraising event in New York City

Press Release – AUSTIN (AUGUST 16, 2017) – Common Threads, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing health and wellness to children, families and communities through cooking and nutrition education, is headed to New York to master the art of French cooking at the Common Threads Chef Takeover Fueled by Circuit of The Americas. This five city, one-night-only, pop-up dinner will take over Manhattan on Wednesday, October 11 at Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark (450 E. 29th St.) from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Each dinner in the series features a line-up of celebrated chefs from across the country and tasks them with creating dishes that reflect the evening’s theme. TV personality and author Adam Richman, award-winning journalist Tamron Hall and Food & Wine Magazine’s Gail Simmons will play host at the New York dinner bringing together an impressive list of chefs to honor the legendary Julia Child. Participating chefs include:

  • Chef Govind Armstrong – Post & Beam, Los Angeles
  • Chef Andrew Smith – Riverpark, New York
  • Chef Silvia Barban – LaRina Pastificia & Vino, Brooklyn
  • Chef Fany Gerson – Dough, New York
  • Chef Umber Ahmad – Mah Ze Dhar, New York
  • Chef Daniel Serfer – Mignonette, Miami
  • Chef Christian Apetz – The Driskill, Austin

Additionally, the evening will include an opening reception with small bites prepared by Common Threads students, a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind experiences and a special musical guest performance. The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts Trustee, author and grand-nephew of Julia Child, Alex Prud’homme, who has penned two books about his grand-aunt, will also be speaking at the dinner. The Julia Child Foundation supports Common Threads programs and provided permission for this event to be held in Julia’s honor.

“Common Threads envisions a world where people embrace healthy cooking, healthy eating and healthy living as both a life choice and a human right,” said Linda Novick O’Keefe, founding CEO of Common Threads. “Chef Takeover Fueled by Circuit of The Americas is a great way to bring our mission to life. We are thrilled to unite some of the restaurant industry’s top chefs to create a special experience over the dinner table while raising awareness for the importance of health and wellness.”

Common Threads Chef Takeover Fueled by Circuit of The Americas has already visited Chicago and Los Angeles and will be in Miami on Thursday, September 7 at the Mondrian South Beach Hotel where it will celebrate “Food as Art.” After the New York event, the series wraps up in Austin, TX during Formula 1 United States Grand Prix race weekend.

“It’s our pleasure to support Common Threads’ mission of extending nutrition education into schools located in underserved communities across the country. By serving as presenting sponsor for these unique fundraising dinner events, not only are we able to support the cause nationwide, but we are particularly honored to assist in launching Common Threads’ programs in our neighboring school district, Del Valle ISD,” stated Circuit of The Americas Chairman, Bobby Epstein.

All funds raised will benefit Common Threads programs, teaching children in underserved communities how to lead healthier lives. The Common Threads Chef Takeover Fueled by Circuit of The Americas will help fund the organization’s growth goal of getting one million children cooking for life by 2020.

General tickets cost $175 per person and Chef’s Table tickets (which include a welcome gift, elevated wine pairing and celebrity chef dish presentations) cost $250 per person. For additional information and to purchase tickets visit

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Central Florida Foundation’s “Better Together Fund” Continues Mission Of Healing For Pulse Survivors, Community

Fund Invests in Nonprofit Relief, Long-term Aid

Press Release – ORLANDO, Fla. (August 16, 2017) – The Better Together Fund, an initiative at Central Florida Foundation created in response to the Pulse nightclub tragedy, continues to provide support and aid to the community on its road to healing.

Since launching in June 2016, the Fund has received more than $1.1 million in contributions. During its first year of grant-making through the Fund, Central Florida Foundation has made the following investments in the community:

  • $14,000 to Barry University to provide cultural competency training for LGBTQ+ Affirmative Care to mental health and community providers.
  • $30,000 to Equality Florida to hire Central Florida Safe and Healthy Schools coordinators to launch programs in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola County public schools that ensure the safe and equal treatment of LGBTQ students.
  • $50,000 to the “Friends Talking Faith” radio show to share stories of the community and how it’s been transformed by the events at Pulse.
  • $272,000 to Heart of Florida United Way to provide gap funds for emergency needs and mental health care, as well as to support those directly impacted by the tragedy with basic needs, like rent, mortgage, utilities and monthly expenses.
  • $1,500 Mental Health Association of Central Florida to provide mental health care for survivors through weekly support groups.
  • $5,000 to Orlando Youth Alliance to provide educational scholarships.
  • $20,000 to Pulse of Orlando to develop a plan and strategy to formalize the One Orlando Alliance and provide ongoing assistance.
  • $5,000 to The 49 Fund to provide educational scholarships.
  • $41,000 to Trauma Resource Institute to train lay leaders across our community on the biological response of trauma using the Community Resiliency Model to help participants heal themselves and help the community.
  • $91,854 to Two Spirit Health Services to provide gap funding for the community’s infrastructure for mental health services.
  • $5,000 to UCF Foundation to provide educational scholarships through the Dively-Dupuis LGBTQ Leadership Award.
  • $5,000 to Valencia Foundation to provide educational scholarships through the Pulse Memorial Foundation.
  • $5,000 to Zebra Coalition to provide educational scholarships through the Jefferson R. Voss Education Fund.

These recipients were selected based on the Fund’s four key areas of support: nonprofits that support victims and families; the LGBTQ, Hispanic, faith and other affected communities; underlying causes of the event; and other unanticipated needs. The Foundation distributes grants through an accountable, transparent grant-making process that enables the public to see where funds are directed.

“During one of Central Florida’s darkest moments in history, we saw incredible support as generous individuals and organizations came forward to help rebuild our community,” said Mark Brewer, president and CEO of Central Florida Foundation. “This is only the beginning of a long process, and we will continue to work closely with those on the front lines to identify and respond to our community’s needs in the time ahead.”

Contributors to the Better Together Fund include Universal Orlando Foundation, Winter Park Health Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation, The Delta Air Lines Foundation Nationwide Insurance Foundation, and Wells Fargo Foundation.

To see the full list of contributors and for updates on grants from the Fund, visit

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Cedars-Sinai Awards $4.8M to Support Community Clinics and Other Safety Net Organizations for the Underserved

Grants Help Strengthen Financial, Administrative and Management Effectiveness at Clinics and Other Sites That Bring Medical Care, Mental Health Services and Other Critical Assistance to Communities in Need

Press Release – LOS ANGELES (Aug. 16, 2017) — Cedars-Sinai is bolstering an ongoing effort to strengthen the social safety net in the Los Angeles region with a third year of grants — totaling $4,827,930 — to programs that address the physical and mental healthcare needs of many underserved populations, including the homeless, at-risk youth, immigrants and others.

The funding represents Cedars-Sinai’s latest steps to increase financial, administrative and leadership effectiveness at community clinics and mental health organizations. The goal is to increase access and reduce disparities to those in need of health services.

“Hundreds of thousands of people in Los Angeles receive care at community health centers. In this time of healthcare uncertainty, the role of these community clinics has only grown in importance,” said Jonathan Schreiber, director of Community Engagement at Cedars-Sinai. “We believe we can impact the efficiency and quality of care given to LA’s most vulnerable populations with ongoing support for local healthcare institutions.”

The Cedars-Sinai Community Clinic Initiative was launched three years ago to strengthen the leadership and effectiveness of local clinics with a two-pronged approach.

Cedars-Sinai invested strategically in broad community-wide efforts to improve quality care, financial benchmarking, data analysis and leadership development at clinics in the Los Angeles area. The community partners involved in this initiative include Capital Link, the Center for Care Innovations, the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, Healthforce Center at UCSF, the Institute for High Quality Care, the L.A. Trust for Children’s Health and the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers.

Cedars-Sinai also provided grants directly to individual clinics to improve their quality of care and patients’ experience. This component of the Community Clinic Initiative benefited a diverse set of partners, including The Achievable Foundation, a health center that treats children and adults with developmental disabilities; Los Angeles Christian Health Centers, whose Joshua House location serves the homeless population in downtown Los Angeles; and the Korean Health, Education, Information & Research (KHEIR) Center in Koreatown.

Through the Community Clinic Initiative, partners such as KHEIR have been able to participate in programs focused on quality improvement and the efficient management of clinic and health data. In addition, a grant from Cedars-Sinai allowed KHEIR to expand its successful chronic care program to promote diabetes self-management for Spanish-speaking patients. KHEIR’s community health center also is implementing new medical record software to track diabetes patients’ health.

Additionally, this year’s grants went to 13 mental health partner organizations that treat uninsured and undocumented patients who have a variety of mental health issues, substance use disorders and other challenges. The partner organizations include the Los Angeles LGBT Center, where Cedars-Sinai grants have helped fund a domestic violence prevention program, as well as Amanecer Community Counseling Services, which provides mental health counseling for low-income Latino parents and children. Treatments provided by these organizations include psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy and medication management for people who cannot obtain these necessary services through other means.

Funds from Cedars-Sinai also have been disbursed to several other nonprofits, including Step Up on Second, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, March of Dimes and the United Way’s Home For Good program to reduce chronic homelessness.

Art Ochoa, senior vice president of Community Relations and Development and chief development officer at Cedars-Sinai, said the institution remains committed to the many clinics and organizations that provide crucial services to underserved populations in the Los Angeles area.

“These efforts on the part of Cedars-Sinai take us back to our roots in 1902 as a community hospital serving a vulnerable population with the intent, then as now, to provide healthcare, support and services to those who need it most,” he said.

For a list of the Cedars-Sinai grantees, please see

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LGBTQ Community Endowment Fund Making A Big Impact

Over $300,000 in grants awarded since 2011 to organizations committed to supporting LGBTQ Community

Press Release – Salt Lake City, Utah – Established in 2011, with an aim to strengthen Utah’s LGBTQ community and our state as a whole, the LGBTQ Community Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of Utah has awarded grants totaling $318,000 to organizations throughout the state. This year alone, $34,000 has been awarded to 11 organizations that were selected from a record number of competitive applicants.

In an effort to further spotlight and celebrate the efforts of these organizations, the fund selection committee members (Jane Marquardt, Jim Dabakis, Carol Gnade, Michelle Turpin, Jeffrey Mathis, and Lauryn Hansen) are hosting a reception on August 29th at the S.J. Quinney College of Law building at the University of Utah. Open to the public, the reception will help foster collaboration, raise awareness, and provide extra support for nonprofits serving the LGBTQ community in Utah. In addition to receiving their grant awards, the 2017 grantees will each have an opportunity to give a five-minute pitch to compete for a share of $10,000 in additional funding available.

“From providing shelter and other resources for LGBTQ homeless youth, to mentoring through art, and much more, the grant recipients are making a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of everyone in our state,” said Jane Marquardt, one of the founding committee members and donor to the LGBTQ Community Endowment Fund. “Hearing of the work that these innovative organizations are engaging in is impressive. We are honored to support them with a modest, but hopefully significant, grant to help advance their efforts.”

“The LGBTQ Community Endowment Fund allows donors to pool their donations in order to make a greater difference in our state,” explained Community Foundation of Utah CEO Alex Eaton. “These investments not only make an immediate impact on the issues facing the LGBTQ community today, but they also provide a foundation to address the future needs of the LGBTQ community as they evolve.”

2017 grants awarded to:

Comunidades Unidas, Community Promise/Promesa Comunitaria

Encircle, Youth, Family and Community Programming, and Therapeutic Services

Equality Utah, Wellstone Action Boot Camp

Plan-B Theatre, The world premier of THE ICE FRONT by Eric Samuelsen

Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC), 2017/2018 productions of HIR and FUN HOME

U of U College of Health – Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Utah Speech-Language Hearing Clinic, Giving Voice to the Person Inside: A Voice Therapy Program for Persons in Transition

Utah Film Center, Damn These Heels

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA), Out Loud

Utah Pride Center, Survivors of Suicide Attempts (SOSA)

Utah Public Radio, A UPR Original Series – Off the Grid

Youth Futures, Program Operations

About The LGBTQ Community Endowment Fund

The LGBTQ Community Endowment Fund was created to pool giving from members of the LGBTQ community and their allies. The fund has awarded $318,000 in grants since its inception in 2011. Individual donations are combined to make an even greater impact and to identify and support programs that may be smaller, innovative, or just starting established. You can find more about the LGBTQ Community Endowment fund at or by emailing .

About the Community Foundation of Utah

The Community Foundation of Utah is a catalyst for philanthropy that is strategic, collaborative, and forward-thinking. For more information visit


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The Womanity Foundation Welcomes A New Generation of WomenChangeMakers Fellows in India and Brazil

  • The WomenChangeMakers Fellowship continues its work in social entrepreneurship across India and Brazil
  • The flagship program, which helps social entrepreneurs become a catalyst for large scale social change for women and girls, has selected four social enterprises to join the WomenChangeMakers (WCM) Fellowship in India and Brazil

Press Release – Following a high number of nominations from WCM program partners and a rigorous selection process, the Womanity Foundation is delighted to welcome four new social entrepreneurs to the WCM Fellowship. The WCM Fellowship aims to identify, support and connect leading social entrepreneurs, who are addressing women’s access to education, healthcare as well as economic and political participation.

In India, Armman and Swayam Shikshan Prayog were selected WCM Fellows.

Armman was founded in 2008 in Mumbai, India, by urogynecologist and pelvic floor reconstructive surgeon Dr Aparna Hegde. The social enterprise offers a range of technological and human interventions that plug the gaps in the public health system. It does this by forming a complete wellness circle around women and children, to reduce morbidity and mortality among India’s poorest populations. As part of the fellowship program, Aparna and Armman will be receiving support from the WCM program in developing their delivery model and strengthening their organizational effectiveness to better enable their scaling efforts. WCM will be working with them for the next three years.

Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) was founded in 1998 by Prema Gopalan as a grassroots learning and development organization, focused on empowering women in disadvantaged and underserved communities across India. Together with its beneficiaries, SSP is transforming communities by nurturing and helping develop rural female social entrepreneurs, who are working in clean energy, sanitation, basic health services, nutrition and safe agriculture. WCM will be working closely with Prema and SSP in creating a long-term growth strategy as well as conducting an assessment of their organizational needs, to enable a deeper and broader impact on women’s socio-economic empowerment.

In Brazil, the WCM program also welcomes two new Fellows – Denise Dora of Themis and Juliana de Faria of Think Olga/Think Eva.

Denise Dora, a lawyer and co-founder of Themis has been working for over 20 years to provide women with effective access to justice. Most recently, Themis showcased their innovative use of technology through the development of one app that connects victims of violence to emergency support services and community leaders. Behind the app there is a vast network of people from civil society and law. These types of developments have put the social enterprise at the forefront of the debate on the use of technology and other tools and methodologies to democratize access to the justice system. Themis intend to use their WCM fellowship to build on the capability they already have and maximize their impact.

Juliana de Faria was only 11 years old when she started experiencing harassment on the streets of Brazil. This is what prompted her activism and inspired the numerous publications in which she writes about those experiences. This is something that Brazilian women and girls have to live through on a daily basis. Juliana chose to use her stories to help raise awareness around the problem and provide women with the recognition of the violence being committed. With that in mind, she co-founded Think Olga and later Think Eva. Being part of the WCM Fellowship, will enable Juliana and her team to build a stronger strategy and organizational structure to deal with the fast growth they are experiencing.

On this year’s Fellows, RafiaQureshi, Executive Director of the Womanity Foundation stated:

‘This is an incredibly exciting time for female social entrepreneurship and we are delighted to be working with such innovative women, who have already had a significant impact within their communities and are looking to scale that impact. All of our Fellows have founded organizations that are going through significant growth and this is where the WomenChangeMakers program is at its best, when working with these social enterprises to strengthen their strategy and organizational capabilities to better support their growth.’

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Social Entrepreneurship Offers Answers To Gaps In Youth Employment Across Africa: Opinion

By Amma Sefa-Dedeh Lartey and Fiona Munezero Buchanan, Reach for Change

Young Africans hold immense untapped potential. This isn’t the first time it’s been said, and it surely won’t be the last. As the International Day of Youth was celebrated around the world once again last Saturday, we are compelled to examine the opportunities, the challenges and the changes that are needed for Africa’s most valuable resource: our youth.

Across Sub-Saharan Africa, young people aged 15 – 24 make up more than 20 per cent of our population, and represent more than 30 per cent of working-age population (in most developing countries), according to reports from the International Labour Organization. Yet the African Development Bank (AfDB) reports that 60 percent of the region’s unemployed population are youth. And nearly 70 percent of youth fall into the category of “working poor”: in other words, they make less than US $3.10 per day, due to underemployment, low pay, etc.

AfDB has warned that increasingly educated youth and stagnating job creation throughout the region is extremely risky and could lead to increased inequity and undermining Africa’s social fabric, citing unemployment among youth with secondary school education or higher at 3 times the rate of youth with no formal education. With well over 200 million youth in Africa – a population that is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years – addressing barriers to gainful youth employment must be a top priority for all sectors of society.

A number of initiatives have been introduced to address this predicament, most recently, the massive Jobs for Youth in Africa effort, led by AfDB that seeks to generate 25 million jobs for African youth over the next 10 years.

While major initiatives like this will undoubtedly make a substantial contribution towards youth employment, efforts will be required to fill gaps that will inevitably arise while responding to a challenge of such magnitude. Social entrepreneurship is an essential piece of the puzzle in this quest to improve job prospects for African youth, and also to reduce poverty, and promote economic growth at a critical time for our region.

Social entrepreneurship is a burgeoning sector that combines the ingenuity and innovation of start-ups with the business savvy of sustainable business, with the primary objective being to create social change. In Ghana alone, an 26,000 social enterprises are estimated to be operating in the country, a recent study from the British Council asserts. The study found that 60% of the social enterprises it surveyed focused on employment opportunities as a primary objective. This study, while not representative of the entire social entrepreneurship landscape across Africa, highlights a major opportunity in solving the youth employment challenges we face in Africa, if we play our cards right.

Tesfanesh Tadesse, an Ethiopian social entrepreneur supported by Reach for Change, provides an example of how local innovators can harness social enterprise to address job creation for youth. She runs a social enterprise, called Akinbalo Trading PLC, that focuses on creating jobs for a highly vulnerable population – young, single mothers – by providing them with training and supporting them to run businesses. Her work helps a subsection of youth who are often left out of societal discourse on youth employment and empowers them to provide for themselves and their families.

In Tanzania, Brenda-Deborah Shuma works to reduce the proportion of youth who are not in employment, education or training – one of the targets of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal no. 8 – with a special focus on disabled youth. She provides vocational and skills training to youth with autism and learning disabilities, including livestock keeping, gardening, cooking, tailoring, carpentry, handicrafts and more. This program takes into account the unique needs of disabled youth and helps to increase their chances of accessing employment.

James Kofi Annan runs a social enterprise that creates economic empowerment in impoverished Ghanaian fishing communities to help prevent child slavery. His organization, Challenging Heights has established a women’s economic empowerment program in coastal communities with a high risk of child trafficking. Many young women in the program receive training in fish smoking and storage, soapmaking, horticulture and are able to access micro-financing needed to start businesses and establish stable income, which reduces the risk that children will be trafficked. James’ organization also runs a youth empowerment program that offers IT and employability skills to young people, with the majority of graduates finding employment or setting up their own businesses.

In order to harness the impact that entrepreneurs like Tesfanesh, Brenda and James can make in the realm of youth employment, support for social entrepreneurs is essential. There is a need for more structured support programs like accelerators and incubators to provide social entrepreneurs the support they need to get started and to help them to grow and maximize their impact on society. There is also great need for more funding channels, particularly to establish a conducive environment in which African social enterprise can thrive. Finally, there is a need to build stronger social enterprise ecosystems in African countries – environments that foster social enterprise research, advocacy, learning & innovation and impact investment.

Social entrepreneurship by nature drives job creation. With every successful social enterprise that is established and begins to scale, a multitude of new jobs will become available. When social enterprises focus on solving youth unemployment and underemployment, as part of their core mission, they become powerful tools in dealing with youth unemployment in systematic and effective ways.

About Reach for Change Africa

Reach for Change Africa is a non-profit organization that invests in innovative, early-stage social entrepreneurs who are addressing problems faced by children, youth and women in seven countries across the continent; Ghana, Senegal, Chad, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Reach for Change runs innovation competitions and provides Accelerator and Incubator programs to exceptional social entrepreneurs who are supported to scale their innovations through funding, access to technical and organizational management expertise, and networking opportunities. Reach for Change Africa is a part of the global organization Reach for Change which operates in 18 countries worldwide.

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The Great Americans Shoot 2017 Aims for another Record-Breaking Event for Special Forces Charitable Trust and Other Military Nonprofits

Three American Military Heroes Join Patriotic Americans Outside of Los Angeles for Skilled Sporting Clays Shoot and Other Competitions as a Salute to Our American Warriors

Press Release – NEWHALL, CA – The Fourth Annual The Great Americans Shoot will take place at the Oak Tree Gun Club in Newhall, CA from September 29th through October 1st, 2017.

Once again, the event organizers and participants are aiming to surpass the previous Great Americans Shoot’s fundraising record, making this year’s event the largest fundraising clay shoot in history. This philanthropic sporting clay shoot benefits the Special Forces Charitable Trust (SFCT) ( and multiple other military nonprofits that provide support to active duty Service Members, Veterans, and their Families. Nearly $4 million has been raised for charity since the Shoot’s inception in 2014.

Half of the proceeds from this one-of-a-kind event will go to SFCT to support its mission to provide meaningful and sustainable support, through programs and services, to the United States Army Special Forces, past and present, and their Families. The other half of the proceeds will be given to the designated charities of the top five fundraising teams. The event is comprised of 20 five-person shooting teams that have each committed to raising $50,000.00. Each team also includes a “6th Man” from within the Special Operations Community, who will join the shooting competition as an honorary team member. In addition to the main event, there will be a 3-Gun Competition where lucky civilians will be able to support military charities of their choice and compete with teams of two “professionals” from the Special Operations Community.

The Great Americans Shoot 2017 ( is co-chaired by three American military heroes: former Special Forces Nate Boyer, retired Navy SEAL George Severence, and retired Marine Reconnaissance Master Gunnery Sergeant John Croft. Each of these inspirational men expresses a deep appreciation to all participants and donors, who show incredible patriotism for our great country.

“You are the reason we are so brave,” says Boyer, who has had multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan during his 10 years with United States Army Special Forces. “We know that people like you have our backs while we are downrange, and that our families will be taken care of while we are deployed.”

This is exactly what these American citizens aim to do through this event; they fundraise to support these Soldiers and their Families as they sacrifice to protect the freedoms that we enjoy every day.

Severence, who served on the front lines in the War on Terror, explains:

“This is not like World War II, when just about every American family was directly touched by the conflict. To all potential donors, many of whom have no direct relationship with the military, I say thank you for understanding what our families face.”

As conflict in the world increases, deployments have become significantly more frequent; yet, many Americans have been fortunate enough not to have had their lives directly impacted by this global change: this is because of the strength, sense of duty, and sacrifices of the United States military and their Families. As Americans, it is our duty and our privilege to support them, though they do not ask for anything.

Croft, who spent 20 of his 27 years in the United States Marine Corps in Marine Reconnaissance, elaborates:

“We are trained to do our job and to be self-sufficient. If there is an issue at home, we are not the types to go looking for assistance. Organizations like the Special Forces Charitable Trust and other military nonprofits provide critical resources in a quiet and respectful way, and we are extremely grateful to them and their donors.”

“The Great Americans Shoot continues to grow each year, raising money and awareness for these deserving military nonprofits,” said David T. Guernsey Jr., Executive Director of the Special Forces Charitable Trust. “We are proud to have great co-chairs like Nate, George and John this year, and we anticipate a record turnout. It’s a wonderfully patriotic and meaningful way for people to say “thank you” to our military warriors and their families.”

To participate in or to support the Great Americans Shoot 2017, please contact SFCT at 860-767-1510 or donate via the SFCT website:

About Special Forces Charitable Trust:

The mission of Special Forces Charitable Trust (SFCT) is simple but direct. Special Forces Charitable Trust provides meaningful and sustainable support, through programs and services, to the Special Forces Community, past and present, and their Families. SFCT is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, please call 860-767-1510, email or


Kerbey Lane Donates 18,669 Meals to Central Texas Food Bank

Press Release – AUSTIN — Kerbey Lane Cafe donated a total of 18,669 meals to Central Texans in need through its “Hot Cakes for Hunger” drive benefiting Central Texas Food Bank (CTFB), which took place at all seven of its locations July 16-29.

During the campaign, Kerbey Lane donated all proceeds from its specialty pancakes to the food bank, as well as an additional 824 pounds of pancake mix. Kerbey Lane team members presented CTFB with the check from the proceeds and boxes of pancake mix, and helped sort nearly 6,700 pounds of food during their team-building volunteer day at the food bank on August 8.

Amanda Kuda, director of marketing, says: “We’re thrilled to continue our support for the Central Texas Food Bank, and to have provided more than 18,600 meals to Central Texans in need through this year’s Hot Cakes for Hunger campaign.”

Kerbey Lane is a longtime supporter of CTFB (formerly Capital Area Food Bank of Texas). Since 2010, Kerbey Lane has supported the food bank with annual food drives, cash donations, and company-wide volunteer days.

“We focus our support for CTFB in July and August each year because volunteers and donations are most needed during the food bank’s busy summer months when children don’t have access to free or reduced-price school lunches and electricity bills are high,” says Kuda.

Last year, Kerbey Lane’s donations provided 11,948 meals for Central Texans in need and sorted 7,650 pounds of food on its team member volunteer day at CTFB.

For more information, visit

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Maternity Clothes For 12 Year Olds Unveiled

Child mothers’ campaign created by hasan & partners for Plan International Finland


Press Release – Every year in developing countries seven million children under the age of 18 become mothers. To raise awareness of the issue, child rights organisation Plan International Finland has commissioned a clothing collection that the world should not need – maternity wear for 12-year olds.

The fashion-inspired campaign was conceived by communications agency hasan & partners to highlight the shocking facts about child mothers and to drive donations to Plan International.

The collection features a set of six maternity dresses designed by one of Finland’s most respected fashion designers, Paola Suhonen. The mood for the collection, called “Hamptons”, is a familiar theme often seen in kids’ clothing: fringes, bright, bold colours and soft blues. The playful prints of kittens on light cotton are a stark contrast to the severity of the life child mothers live.

The collection is unveiled on Monday 14 August in Esplanadi, a Helsinki street famed for its designer brand shops, where the clothes are displayed on child mannequins.

Two online films (75 seconds and 45 seconds), billboards, international social media and PR programme support the campaign. The clothes are modelled by a Zambian girl called Fridah who became pregnant at the age of 12. Her baby is due in September.

The campaign was shot by award-winning photographer Meeri Koutaniemi whose images brought worldwide attention to female genital mutilation.

The campaign was conceived by Anu Niemonen, senior creative at hasan & partners, who said: “Designing a maternity wear collection for young children is unnatural and disturbing, which is exactly the point we want to make. The clothes expose a shocking truth about the seven million children who become pregnant every year. This is a collection that shouldn’t exist or even be needed in the first place.”

In the west, women joyfully carry their unborn child, but every day 5,500 very young girls become mothers when they themselves are still children. In the worst cases, child pregnancies cause the girl to commit suicide because she doesn’t want to bring any shame to her own family.

These girls also have to stop going to school and stay home under the burden of motherhood. Fridah’s case is typical – she will miss out on a year of school and fall behind in her education. She may also likely drop out completely due to peer pressure, even though she loved learning English and wanted to become a nurse.

Eva Anttila, CX Lead – Marketing, Fundraising & Loyalty for Plan International Finland, said: “Plan International tackles tough issues such as child marriage, child labour and girls’ lack of access to education. We wanted to bring the issue of childhood pregnancy closer to the Finnish audience in a way they could relate to, which is why we chose to develop a maternity fashion collection for kids. hasan & partners’ thought provoking campaign tackles the problem in an unconventional but effective way.”

Paola Suhonen, one of Finland’s most well regarded fashion designers who created the clothes, commented: “I designed a collection that I wish is not needed and that I don’t want to sell. This campaign brings together two very important issues – children’s and women’s rights. I hope that people will wake up to the circumstances in which millions of girls live in developing countries.”

Photographer of the year Meeri Koutaniemi added: “Our aim was to use the frame and visuality of a classical fashion spread to create these images emphasising a very dark and distressing issue. I hope the campaign will make people think about the vulnerability of children in developing countries. For many years I have witnessed the efficiency of Plan International’s work to improve the position of the girls.”

See here for the campaign page –

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