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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Nonprofit

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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Cannes Lion Win for Plan International Finland and hasan & partners

‘Raised by Words’ campaign wins for PR of Sheboard initiative and app

Press Release – [Friday 22 June 2018. Cannes] Global girls’ rights organization Plan International Finland launched its Sheboard app in November 2017. Developed in conjunction with creative agency hasan & partners and with support from Samsung Electronics Nordic, Sheboard challenges the way we talk to and about girls.

The ‘Raised by Words’ videos, website and PR campaign, created by hasan & partners with The Honey Partnership, was awarded a Bronze PR Lion at this week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Aimed at young and adolescent girls who spend a lot of time texting friends, as well as parents and older siblings that text their children on a regular basis, Sheboard uses predictive text technology to raise awareness of the impact of gender-typical speech.

Katariina Harteela and Tobias Wacker from hasan & partners with Eva Anttila from Plan International Finland in Cannes

Eva Anttila, director of sales, marketing and loyalty for Plan International Finland said: “Sheboard’s purpose is to bring attention to this issue both in Finland and internationally. It helps people see the impact that words have, and make them consider ways they can change how they talk in order to empower girls.

“Cannes Lions are the most prestigious awards in the creative industry and this is an important acknowledgement of the innovative approach that Plan International Finland, in partnership with hasan & partners, adopts to communicate the really important messages around gender equality globally.”

Katariina Harteela, the creative from hasan & partners who conceived the concept explains: “Girls are raised by words. What we say to and about them affects their thoughts, self-esteem and confidence. The words we use are important. This initiative shows how Sheboard can be used to choose the right ones.”

The winning campaign received media attention all over the world; in more developed, relatively equal countries, and in those where girls’ rights are neglected. From Finland to Turkey, Australia to India. Editorial reach was more than 712 million across consumer, business, tech, social and trade media and 10.3 million on social channels.

Eva Anttila added: “When money is limited and behaviour change is difficult to achieve the message needs to be spread far and wide and PR played a vital role in reaching a global and diverse audience. It’s fantastic that Sheboard has been recognised in Cannes and we’re delighted that a whole new audience will be exposed to the app and keen to try it for themselves.”

Raised by Words

The language used to talk to and about girls is different to boys, which impacts on how girls perceive themselves and their abilities. Sheboard suggests words that empower girls and swaps stereotypical expressions with ones that pack a punch.

Strict gender roles affect both girls and boys from birth, all over the world. However, gender roles have a particularly negative effect on girls. According to a recent study, by the time girls are six years old they are likely to have internalised dated stereotypes that suggest boys are better suited for areas that require a certain type of intellectual capability such as maths and physics.

Sheboard is available for free download from the Google Play Store.


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WITS Summer Program In CPS Schools Build Young Readers’ Confidence In Time For First Day Of Kindergarten

When most elementary schools are closing their doors this summer, Chicago’s widest-reaching literacy non-profit WITS (Working In The Schools) will be helping seven CPS schools stay open for an extra five weeks for their summer program.

Press Release – Since 2012, WITS has run the Early Childhood Summer Program (ECSP), an immersive five-week experience that provides literacy support to rising kindergarten students. Primarily low-income families receive this free service. The WITS “kindergarten readiness” model focuses on proficiency in early literacy skills, such as: book and print concepts, first sound fluency, letter identification, letter sound identification, phonological awareness and rhyming.

WITS utilizes best practices to implement ECSP successfully:

  • Each day, the young readers rotate through short activities that hold their attention, like daily read-alouds and four learning centers (reading, sound, play and observation).
  • WITS builds in time for play, an essential component to students’ development.
  • Fairytales embedded in the ECSP curriculum spark students’ curiosity. Each week, staff and students explore a modern version of a classic tale, such as Goldilocks and Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood and Little Red Hen.
  • ZOOphonics, a kinesthetic method of teaching the alphabet, helps students build phonemic awareness and letter recognition skills.

Testing determined that in 2017 ECSP students made major strides. The number of letter sounds that students could correctly identify in one minute’s time rose from seven sounds (pre-ECSP) to 15 sounds (post-ECSP). Comparatively, non-ECSP students’ performance increased only three letter sounds per minute. ECSP students also outperformed their peers in gains in book and print awareness, first sound fluency, rhyme recognition and more. All of this takes place in a space that is safe and inviting to students. Last year, 90 percent of parents reported they strongly agree their children were excited to attend the program.

Without universal access to early childhood programs for all CPS students, WITS’ ECSP is an important model that prepares students for the structure of a kindergarten classroom. For many students, this summer program is their first exposure to the learning environment and interaction with adults and peers outside of familial relationships. ECSP excels at building early literacy skills as well as building students self-regulation, learning stamina and interpersonal knowledge – key developmental components for students in this age group.

For WITS and each partner school, it’s imperative that kindergarteners show up ready to succeed on their first day. Schools that will host WITS this summer include: George Manierre Elementary, John A. Walsh Elementary, John B. Drake Elementary, Jose de Diego Elementary Community Academy, Mancel Talcott Elementary, McAuliffe Elementary and William G. Hibbard Elementary.

About WITS:

WITS is a Chicago non-profit that sets students on a trajectory for success by building critical literacy skills and developing positive self-identity through teacher-led professional development and volunteer-powered mentorship. Through an inter-connected network of staff, teachers and volunteers across 80 CPS schools, WITS has the largest footprint of any literacy organization in Chicago. Private funds cover 100 percent of WITS work, with zero reliance on school or city budgets. WITS believe the model of pipelines of mentors across different schools can establish the tone and culture in schools for all students to become literate. Using these models, WITS staff, teachers and volunteers have built and sustained a community that creates opportunities for thousands of CPS students to become literate.


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Urban Street Angels Declared Winner of Mission Edge’s Social Enterprise Accelerator + Impact Lab Final Pitch Night

Press Release – June 20, 2018 – San Diego, CA – A panel of local social enterprise moguls have officially named Urban Street Angels the winner of Mission Edge’s Social Enterprise Accelerator + Impact Lab (SAIL) Pitch Night on June 12th at The Honor Foundation. Urban Street Angels also received the Audience Choice Award at this Shark-Tank style pitch event. Throughout the evening, five program finalists pitched their social enterprise business models to a live audience of community members, funders, and the panel of expert judges.

During and following the event, more than $65,000 in funding was committed to SAIL participants through The San Diego Foundation (TSDF) Social Enterprise Fund. A sponsor of SAIL, TSDF established the Social Enterprise Fund to support the nonprofit community by empowering organizations to develop and grow sustainable, revenue-based business models in alignment with their social missions. At the pitch event, Kathlyn Mead, TSDF President & CEO, announced that TSDF would match up to $25,000 in contributions made to participating SAIL organizations through the Social Enterprise Fund through June 20th.

Urban Street Angels’ social enterprise, 8 West, produces and sells premium soap handcrafted in San Diego by homeless youth working to leave the streets behind for good. Its name refers to the western end of Interstate 8 at Ocean Beach, which has one of the largest homeless population of youth in San Diego. 8 West provides employment, vital job skills, and soft skills to create a more employable workforce and, most importantly, hope for the future of homeless youth. Their soap and candles are available for purchase online at 8west.org, at the Holistic Science Co. in Ocean Beach, and at Seaside Market in Encinitas.

“I’m blown away,” said Urban Street Angels Founder and Executive Director Eric Lovett. “If I could say one thing about this experience, it would be to urge other organizations to participate in the SAIL program. The lessons we learned were invaluable, and the connections made throughout the experience continue to impact our organization in a way that we didn’t realize was possible. This truly is a great program.”

This is the second cohort of Mission Edge’s SAIL program, which empowers nonprofit organizations and purpose-driven businesses to develop sustainable business models based on earned revenue. SAIL provides a rich curriculum with content, tools, workshops, and lectures that help social entrepreneurs build and test their ideas. During the 14 week accelerator leading up to this event, 10 participating organizations completed five modules of curriculum, ranging from business model validation to professional pitch training, in preparation to launch or scale their social enterprises. Participants in the program worked closely with hand-picked mentors, subject matter experts, and Mission Edge’s advisory services to propel their social enterprise businesses forward.

“Being a lead mentor in Mission Edge’s SAIL program has been an incredible, mutually beneficial experience for me as an individual, a representative of Qualcomm, and as a lover and supporter of all things entrepreneurial,” says Kyle Moss, Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach program manager. “The organizations that earned their spot in the accelerator are all of such high-caliber that it has demanded an incredible network of players to come together for major, positive impact; the time spent has been well worth it and will have long-lasting beneficial impact waves throughout San Diego and beyond.”

Urban Street Angels received a $4,500 cash prize, three months at The Muse for Social Good co-working space, 10 hours of pro bono consulting from Diamond and Branch Marketing Group, and 18 hours of Mission Edge’s social enterprise consulting services. All participating organizations will receive 5 hours of Mission Edge’s consulting services, and one month of co-working space at The Muse for Social Good.

Finalists in the SAIL final pitch night included Urban Street Angels, iSAFE, YOUME Clothing, East County EDC, and TutorChat. SAIL is sponsored by The Qualcomm Foundation, The San Diego Foundation, The Walmart Foundation, San Diego Workforce Partnership, Mitchell International, Cox, First Republic Bank, The Honor Foundation, ResMed, Procopio, Tablecloth, and Diamond and Branch Marketing Group,. To learn more about SAIL, please contact Mission Edge at sail@missionedge.org, and connect with us on social media @MissionEdgeSD and by using #SailwithMissionEdge.


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Discovery Education and Arconic Foundation Launch ‘Manufacture Your Future Teacher Challenge’

— Nationwide challenge invites educators to design an in-school experience that inspires the next generation of manufacturing leaders —

Press Release – Silver Spring, Md. (Tuesday, June 19, 2018) – The accelerated advancement of technologies like 3-D printing, robotics and artificial intelligence welcomes a new realm of career possibilities in manufacturing for K-12 students. Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms and Arconic Foundation, the independently endowed philanthropic arm of Arconic, announced today the first-ever Manufacture Your Future Teacher Challenge. The program calls upon educators to inspire students in grades 3-12 to take the first step toward exploring and pursuing modern manufacturing careers.

Teachers working alone or in teams will create a video pitch and a written proposal for an in-school experience that will bring manufacturing careers to life for their students, and support them in exploring different career pathways in advanced manufacturing. The winner will receive a $5,000 grant to put the proposal into action at their school.

As manufacturing continues evolve and require new skill sets, employers are in need of qualified workers who are passionate about the industry. The Manufacture Your Future Teacher Challenge empowers educators to connect classroom-based STEM lessons to enriched, real-world career experiences so that students have opportunities to gain valuable workplace skills prior to graduation.

“Innovation is fundamental to manufacturing and this challenge aims to open students’ eyes to the endless possibilities available to them in advanced manufacturing,” said Arconic Foundation Vice President of Global Communications and Program Development Suzanne van de Raadt. “Teachers foster design thinking and creativity in the classroom that lends itself to innovation. We’re proud to partner with a like-minded organization like Discovery Education to inspire next wave of future manufacturing leaders.”

Written proposals from applicants must include the following:

  • A description of the proposed in-school experience;
  • A description of how a $5,000 grant would be used to implement the experience;
  • Information about the individuals who will plan and host the event;
  • A description of the intended student audience for the event;
  • A list of critical resources, including at least one Manufacture Your Future resource; and
  • An explanation of how the students will benefit from the experience, including how it will inspire them to explore different career pathways in advanced manufacturing.

“Learning experiences that encourage students to imagine unique solutions for their world outside the classroom are those that last a lifetime,” said Discovery Education Vice President of Corporate Education Partnerships at Discovery Education Kristin Hirst. “The ‘Manufacture Your Future’ program embodies our mission to transform learning by partnering with a leading organization like Arconic.”

In the fourth year of the program, the Arconic Foundation and Discovery Education escalate a collaborative effort to inspire the next generation of manufacturing leaders and innovators by introducing the teacher challenge. Through the Manufacture Your Future partnership, Arconic employees will also guide students through the development of 3D printed parts for commercial and space vehicles during a Virtual Field Trip on October 5 in honor of Manufacturing Day.

The Manufacture Your Future Teacher Challenge opens on June 18, 2018 and closes on October 19, 2018. To learn more, visit: manufactureyourfuture.com. For more information about Discovery Education’s digital content and professional development services, visit discoveryeducation.com. Stay connected with Discovery Education on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DiscoveryEd.


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Bangladesh: International Community Assistance Urgently Needed For Rohingya Refugees

Press Release – On World Refugee Day, Amnesty International calls on the international community to urgently step up international assistance for more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District as they face severe monsoon weather.

More than 200,000 Rohingya refugees are at risk of landslides and floods during the current monsoon season, according to the United Nations. Over the past five weeks, more than 28,000 people have been affected as 133 landslides have damaged more than 3,000 shelters.

“The Rohingya refugees languishing in the overcrowded and threadbare camps in Cox’s Bazar are in urgent need of international assistance. A mere fifth of the United Nation’s appeal has been committed so far. The world cannot stand by while Bangladesh is left to shoulder the responsibility alone,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

Camp conditions

The assistance is needed to provide for the Rohingya’s most basic needs in the camps, including access to adequate housing. Almost all of the shelters are currently composed of flimsy bamboo and tarpaulin, many of them perched precariously on mud hills. The Bangladesh government has imposed restrictions on building more permanent structures within the refugee camps.

In anticipation of the extreme weather, these settlements have merely been reinforced with further layers of bamboo and tarpaulin. While humanitarian workers have mounted operations to repair damaged settlements, the camps stretch over such an expanse that they cannot reach everyone. In almost all of the camps, there are no durable settlements, leaving them vulnerable to further weather events.

The camps are also extremely congested. The area where most of the Rohingya refugees have taken shelter is large enough to count as Bangladesh’s fourth largest city, with nearly a million people, including the local host community.

At its most dense, the camps have 95,000 people per square kilometre – surpassing the population density of any city in the world. And the camp population consists of 80% women and children.

The United Nations’ refugee agency has warned that “given the scope of the refugee population, the sheer size of the settlements and the challenging terrain, we fear that the extreme weather will cause further damage, destruction and potential loss of life.”

To avert further disaster, the refugees will have to be relocated to less congested areas on flat land – something that will also mitigate security and medical risks.

Long-term needs

While many Rohingya refugees have expressed a desire to return to their homes in northern Rakhine State, the prospect of them being able to do so under dignified, safe and voluntary conditions in the near future remains remote.

Until they can return to Myanmar without the risk of serious human rights violations, the refugee response will have to shift from one that has been near-exclusively focused on a humanitarian crisis response to one that meets the refugees’ needs for protection, including safe and sustainable living conditions.

With the camp population segregated from the local host community, there are limited education opportunities for the children, who make up more than half the refugee population. Since being driven out of their villages by the Myanmar military’s crimes against humanity, they have already lost a full school year and are not able to attend formal schools in Bangladesh.

Another concern is the right to work and the opportunity to become self-sustaining. Their ability to find work is limited by restrictions on freedom of movement within Bangladesh, with refugees required to remain within designated areas.

To be able to mount an effective and sustainable response to the refugee situation in Cox’s Bazar, the children need to have access to education and the adult population needs to be have the right to freedom of movement and the right to work.

“This is not a crisis that is going to disappear any time soon. We need to confront the fact that the Rohingya may have to remain in Bangladesh for years to come. The international community has a duty to support these victims of the most horrific human rights violations accordingly, and not wait until further disasters visit them before taking action,” said Biraj Patnaik.

**This press release is also available here: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/06/refugee-day-bangladesh-rohingya/


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Kimora Lee Simmons and Family Join Intimate Health Nonprofit The Unmentionables to Aid Refugees in Greece

Press Release – Athens, Greece, June 20th, 2018: In an impassioned show of support for today’s World Refugee Day, fashion designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Kimora Lee Simmons and her family are on the ground in Greece with international nonprofit The Unmentionables working with refugees, listening to their stories and learning what can be done to help this vulnerable population. In April of this year, Simmons was named Global Ambassador to The Unmentionables, and together with her family she is helping protect refugees from exploitation and trafficking. Coupled with her business acumen and passion for empowering others, she has emerged as a powerful voice for human rights via her desire to bring awareness to the annual World Refugee Day on Wednesday, June 20th.

Simmons and her family are taking a hands-on approach to giving, dedicating time this summer to migrant and refugee families on behalf of The Unmentionables, who provide training, supplies and education to the refugee community in Greece. Through funds raised on 2017’s Giving Tuesday and a generous personal donation from Simmons, a new resource center for refugees in Athens, Greece was opened earlier this year. Simmons and her family will work from the center and along the migrant path, providing safe and consistent access to basic, important intimate health products as well as sexual health and reproductive education and care to refugees.

According to the International Rescue Committee, Greece, a popular European entry point to migrants escaping perilous conditions in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, currently hosts approximately 50,000 refugees. Earlier this year, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), expressed grave concerns for the safety of women and children in what are known as “hotspots” on Greece’s islands — specifically focusing on overcrowding and lack of hygiene and sanitation. Five camps on Greek islands close to the Turkish coast have surpassed double their capacity as reported by Public Radio International in May 2018.

UNICEF warned that in 2017, over 1,800 unaccompanied children were without proper shelter and care in Greece alone. The number of children arriving separated from their families is unprecedented, and currently more than 75% of migrant and refugee children trying to reach Europe via the Central Mediterranean route face appalling levels of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

EU border agency, Frontex, has reported that human trafficking has been on the rise over the past few years (April 2018, ANSA). Human trafficking is prevalent for refugees, especially on the Central Mediterranean route according to an IOM report— 76% of male and 67% of female respondents answered “yes” to at least one of four human trafficking indicators. The indicators include experience of physical violence, work without payment and imprisonment. 80% of males and 66% of females experienced physical violence of any sort during their journey, while 64% of male and 56% of female were held against their will (2017, IOM).

Trafficking and sexual exploitation is not just limited to girls. Although adolescent boys comprise a substantial majority of the population of unaccompanied and separated children, they are rarely the focus of policy discussions and are consistently left out of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts (2018, PLoS Med). The majority of unaccompanied minors in Greece particularly are boys between ages 14-17, stranded and awaiting decisions on asylum and processing, without adequate shelter or ways to generate income. As a result of increasingly dire circumstances, sexual exploitation of minors is rapidly increasing everywhere from encampments to public spaces, where young boys desperate to survive are exploited by older men for payment.

“It’s incredibly important to me to expose this global crisis and bring attention to the level of deep, humanitarian need that exists to support persecuted people around the world,” comments Simmons. “I am deeply grateful to support World Refugee Day and that I can expose my own children to opportunities to make true, hands-on impact for the greater good. There are so many strife-torn families and separated children that need our collective protection as fellow humans to ensure their safety – how can we turn a blind eye? These kids look a lot like mine – they are young, hopeful, beautiful souls.”

World Refugee Day, founded by the UN and held annually every June 20th, was designed to spotlight the plight of migrant refugees fleeing for their lives. A staggering 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home, and among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. Nearly 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution across our world (UNHCR).

Simmons’ partnership with The Unmentionables initially began in 2017, and her role in the organization has steadily grown. She will further her philanthropic commitment to this cause throughout the year, dedicating fundraising efforts to further the impact of the humanitarian global aid The Unmentionables provides to those most in need. Along with her unwavering commitment, Simmons will continue to advocate for refugees at risk of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.


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Tourette Association Of America Names Amanda Talty As President And CEO

Former Executive Vice President and Interim CEO of the TAA

Amanda Talty

Press Release – (June 19, 2018 – Bayside, NY) – The Tourette Association of America (TAA), the premier national non-profit organization serving the Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Tic Disorder community, today announced that its Board of Directors has named Amanda Talty as President and Chief Executive Officer effective June 1, 2018.

“Amanda has continuously exhibited the leadership, knowledge, and passion for the mission of the organization,” said TAA Board Chair Rovena Schirling. “As President and CEO, we are confident that Amanda will continue to build upon the momentum and solid foundation that she has helped to achieve for the organization and will take the TAA to the next level of growth.”

Amanda Talty brings over a decade of experience developing and implementing strategic programs. In her previous role as Executive Vice President & Interim CEO at the Tourette Association, Amanda was responsible for executing activities that served to generate awareness and revenue and develop programming in support of the organization’s mission. The scope of her oversight included chapter services, development strategy, special events, membership, corporate and foundation engagement, individual giving and marketing.

“I am honored and grateful to the board and TAA community to be given the opportunity to lead this incredible organization that provides such crucial support to individuals struggling with Tourette Syndrome and other Tic Disorders,” said Amanda Talty. “This demonstrated belief in me is something I do not take lightly and I am committed to fulfilling our mission each and every day. In this new role at the TAA, I will continue to elevate awareness, combat ignorance and foster social acceptance of this neurological disorder that effects 1 in 100 school-aged children and countless adults.”

Prior to joining the Tourette Association of America, Amanda served as Senior Major Gift Officer at the American Red Cross on Long Island where she facilitated over $1 million in new revenue within the first year. Her development experience encompasses organizations big and small, public and private and she is passionate about bringing values to life through philanthropy. Amanda received her BA in Sociology and Communications from Hofstra University and her MPA from Baruch College. Her greatest achievement and source of pride are her two children.

About Tourette Syndrome and Tics

Tourette Syndrome is part of a spectrum of hereditary, childhood-onset, neurodevelopmental conditions referred to as Tic Disorders. These conditions affect both children and adults, causing them to make sudden, uncontrollable movements and/or sounds called tics (e.g. head bobbing, arm jerking, shoulder shrugging and grunting). Non-tic features, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning difficulties, often develop in affected individuals. Symptoms in Tic Disorders can range from mild to severe and, in some cases, can be self-injurious, debilitating and markedly reduce quality of life.

While some treatments are available for people with TS and other Tic Disorders, approaches to care are inconsistent, medications are often ineffective and there is no cure.

About the Tourette Association of America

Founded in 1972, the TAA is dedicated to making life better for all individuals affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders. The premier nationwide organization serving this community, the Association works to raise awareness, advance research and provide on-going support. The TAA directs a network of 32 Chapters and support groups across the country. For more information on Tourette and Tic Disorders, call 1-888-4-TOURET and visit us at tourette.org, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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Delta Air Lines and KaBOOM! Build New Playground in Springfield Gardens

200 Community Volunteers Unite to Build Safe Place to Play at Merrick Academy Charter School

Press Release – Volunteers from Delta Air Lines, Merrick Academy Charter School and the community will join KaBOOM! on Saturday, June 23, to transform an empty site into a kid-designed, state-of-the-art playground in just six hours at Merrick Academy Charter School. The new playground will help make play the easy choice for kids and families in Springfield Gardens.

As a Title I school and the first charter school in Queens, Merrick Academy serves a diverse population of students, most of which are from low-income households. Its students have varied social and emotional needs that require play as therapy. In 2003, Merrick Academy moved to Springfield Gardens and adopted a smaller playground as part of the new property. However, this playground was not age appropriate and needed more equipment to adequately serve the needs of the student population. Merrick Academy believes in fostering kids holistically and understands that kids without access to play are at greater risk for suffering from depression, anxiety, asthma, diabetes and obesity. This new playground will serve an essential role in the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being of the students.

In April, kids from the surrounding community came together to draw their dream playground. The playground is based off their drawings and will provide more than 600 kids in Springfield Gardens with a great, safe place to play.

This playground is part of a broader effort led by Delta Air Lines and KaBOOM! to ensure communities have great PLAYces for kids and families. It will be the 23rd KaBOOM! build by Delta Air Lines, and the second one the airline’s employees have helped to build in New York City. Through this partnership, Delta Air Lines and KaBOOM! are creating places where kids feel valued and loved, and where their potential is supported, nurtured and celebrated.

About Merrick Academy Charter School

Founded in 2000, Merrick Academy is one of the first charter schools to open in New York City and the very first to open in Queens. Merrick Academy is located in Springfield Gardens and serves nearly 500 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. An extended school day with classes from 8:00 AM to 3:45 PM allows parents greater flexibility and ensures that children’s learning time with their teachers is maximized. Our academic program is built on the Core Knowledge curriculum, which covers history, science, geography, literature, and the fine arts. Parents receive regular student progress reports, and students are held to high academic and behavioral standards, abiding by a behavior management plan that fosters social development and maturity. Every day, our teachers and staff give their best and lead our students in a community committed to lifelong learning.

About Delta Air Lines in New York

Delta is New York’s largest carrier with more than 500 peak-day departures to more than 130 destinations worldwide from its hubs at LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport – including more destinations from New York State than any other airline. Delta has invested more than $2 billion in New York airport infrastructure over the past seven years and is currently building a new, $3.9 billion, 37-gate facility at LaGuardia. Delta and its more than 10,000 New York-based employees are part of the fabric of the New York community, acting as the official airline of Madison Square Garden, the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, Chelsea Piers and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The airline also partners with more than 40 community organizations. In 2018, Delta paid out more than $110 million in profit sharing to its New York employees and contributed 1 percent of its net income from the previous year to key charitable organizations, including organizations in New York.

About KaBOOM!

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – especially those living in poverty – the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or improve more than 17,000 playspaces, engaged more than 1.5 million volunteers and served over 9 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit kaboom.org and join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom, facebook.com/kaboom and instagram.com/kaboom. #playmatters #PLAYceforKids


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Nina Simone’s Childhood Home Honored as a National Treasure

National Trust for Historic Preservation Joins New Effort to Reimagine Home’s Future

Press Release – Washington, D.C. – The childhood home of Nina Simone, Civil Rights icon and revolutionary musician and singer, was named a National Treasure today by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Trust will bring its nearly 70 years of expertise to develop and implement a new use for this now-vacant and deteriorating yet nationally-significant property, purchased recently by four African American artists to maintain Simone’s legacy. This campaign will be undertaken through the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, an initiative with the Ford Foundation and actress Phylicia Rashad to uncover and uplift stories of African American achievement, activism, and community.

“Nina Simone’s distinctive voice and social critique in the mid-20th century was unlike anything America had ever heard before,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “And while her musical and social justice legacy burns bright, her childhood home has been neglected. We’re delighted to work with the home’s new owners and the local community to chart a new future for the property that will honor her tremendous contributions to American society and inspire new generations of artists and activists to engage with her legacy.”

Born Eunice Waymon in 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina, it was here she taught herself the piano at age 3, performed in public for the first time at the neighborhood church where her mother preached, and where she experienced the constraints placed on black females in the rural Jim Crow South—a theme that would deeply inform her music and political activism. In recent years, the three-room, 660-square foot clapboard pier and beam house had fallen in disrepair. The vacant property was put on the market in 2016. Alarmed by the condition of the home and the risk of losing this connection to Nina Simone entirely, four African American visual artists—conceptual artist and painter Adam Pendleton, the sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, the collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher, and the abstract painter Julie Mehretu—purchased the property in 2017.

“Last year, my fellow artists and I felt an urgent need to rescue Nina Simone’s childhood home—a need sprung from a place of political activism as well as civic duty,” said artist Adam Pendleton. “A figure like Nina Simone—an African American woman from a small town in North Carolina who became the musical voice of the Civil Rights Movement—is extraordinarily relevant to artists working today. She constantly expressed her commitment to the democratic values our country espouses by demanding that we live up to them. We are honored to partner with the National Trust to further protect her legacy.”

Working in partnership with the property owners, the local community, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, and World Monuments Fund, the National Trust will seek new protections, evaluate preservation needs, and conduct market and feasibility studies to develop a sustainable new use for the home that was once a symbol of Simone’s parents’ middle-class success.

“The artistic and social impacts of Nina Simone reach every corner of the world, and her birthplace is an important symbol of that legacy,” said Joshua David, president and CEO, World Monuments Fund. “We are proud to join forces with the National Trust and other partners to underscore the global cultural significance of the Nina Simone House and help ensure it can become a beacon for future generations.”

“Standing for something one believes in often requires great courage in the face of harsh criticism and judgement,” said her daughter, Lisa Simone. “My mother chose to be an outspoken warrior for that which she believed in. Her birthplace now being named a National Treasure is confirmation that no effort put forth, with true authenticity, goes unnoticed. As her only child, it brings me great joy to see my mother, Dr. Nina Simone, honored and remembered as mightily as she lived.”

The National Treasure dedication will be celebrated in Tryon, North Carolina on June 19, featuring guided tours of the home, remarks by representatives from the Trust and the ownership group, and culminating with a free live concert. More information can be found at: https://celebratenina.eventbrite.com.

To access the audio recording from today’s telepress conference, please go here.


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Amida Care Hosts “A Day for PRIDE” Family Fitness Event in Brooklyn with Support of NYC Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr.

Free Community Wellness Event Promotes Healthy Living

Press Release – New York, NY – On June 16, Amida Care, a not-for-profit New York community health plan, hosted a free community family and fitness event at Brooklyn Stuy Dome. The event included a fun fitness class with instructor Nakisha Ross of Alwayz Fit 4 Lyfe in addition to face painting and activities for kids in solidarity with Brooklyn’s LGBTQ Pride Month’s celebrations. This event is part of Amida Care’s “Live Your Life” program, a concerted effort to keep healthy and active lifestyles at the center of people’s everyday lives. The event was made possible with support from Brooklyn Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

“At Amida Care, we believe that a holistic approach is necessary for healthy living. To live a healthy life, you need more than medication and doctor’s check-ups. We feel it is extremely important that our members’ social, physical, and emotional needs are being met. Our ‘Live Your Life’ events were created exactly for that purpose: to encourage people to be physically active, eat healthy, and to take care of their social and mental wellbeing. We’re thankful to have the support of Council Member Cornegy to help Brooklynites live healthy and active lives,” said Doug Wirth, President and CEO of Amida Care.

Amida Care holds monthly Live Your Life wellness events throughout the five boroughs of New York City, where members and their guests learn about ways to get and stay healthy. In addition to fun and active fitness classes, the events cover topics such as healthy cooking, art therapy, dance, meditation, aromatherapy, and more.

“Health is extremely important for our community, and we are glad to be able to support Amida Care with this Life Your Life wellness event. It is a great way to bring the community together during Pride Month and get everyone, from young to old, to celebrate while being active and having fun. Amida Care is truly going above and beyond to make sure its members and our community meet their health needs with a holistic approach,” said New York City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

Amida Care Inc. is a not-for-profit health plan that specializes in providing comprehensive health coverage and coordinated care to New Yorkers with chronic conditions, including HIV and behavioral health disorders, and people who are of transgender experience or homeless (regardless of HIV status). Amida Care has a wide network of health care providers throughout New York City and is the largest Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan (SNP) in New York State. For more information, visit www.amidacareny.org.


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