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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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Warriors in Recovery Division Return to Love, Unites with Africa Heartwood Project by Sponsoring Water Well in Liberia, West Africa

Return to Love Gives first Clean Water Well to Soap Tree Community.

Return to Love Foundation (PRNewsfoto/Warriors in Recovery)

Press Release – ATLANTA, June 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Jeanette Falu- Bishop, Executive Director announces, Warriors in Recovery’s new division “Return to Love,” has sponsored the very first hand pump water well through a strategic partnership with the Africa Heartwood Project.

For the first time in history for the community of Soap Tree a clean water well is being provided by “Return to Love,” through the Africa Heartwood Project that supplies safe water to the people in Liberia, West Africa.

“My programs are all designed to assist the warriors in finding and bolstering their sense of purpose. The wells symbolize a three-prong approach toward warrior recovery, international welfare, and home front veteran care,” stated Jeanette Falu- Bishop.

Andy Jones, Executive Director of Africa Heartwood Project, along with his team began drilling the water well back in May of this year.

Mr. Jones ran into trouble while digging, they hit granite and were unable to continue, as their drill was not strong enough to break through the granite.

The only options they had were to quit, make it a personal pump for a single family to use or change the plan and do a hand dug well. They decided on a hand dug well and were able to ensure the village would be able to pump approximately 100 gallons of water a day, which is enough for the entire village.

Several weeks ago Ms. Falu Bishop announced a Kick off Fundraiser, helping warrior find purpose; whereby warriors can volunteer and through fundraising efforts raise money to travel to Liberia to help dig water wells.

The parent organization “Warriors in Recovery,” along with Mrs. Falu- Bishop next project is to go to Liberia, West Africa in March of 2018, alongside other warriors to experience the training, and dedication to a cause that military veterans bring to a mission.

During the latest mission in Soap Tree when history was made, the moment the first drop of water came flowing out of the spout. It was a remarkable moment and exactly what the organization Warriors in Recovery represents. Showing Warriors that they can make the impossible possible.

For more information on Warriors in Recovery or to support the Fundraiser to help send Warriors to Liberia in March 2018, please go to www.warriorsinrecovery.org

All media inquiries please contact Pam Pinnock at the Pinnock Agency at 213 864 1370.

Please join us on www.Facebook.com/WarriorsinRecovery
Twitter https://twitter.com/Returntolove501
Instagram http://instagram.com/warriorsinrecovery

ABOUT: WARRIORS IN RECOVERY/RETURN TO LOVE COMMUNITY PROJECTS

Warriors in Recovery is a nonprofit organization 501©(3), dedicated to helping wounded warriors and wounded Veterans heal from physical, mental and emotional injuries through alternate methods of care programs, that may not be covered by insurance -serving as a support system for veterans and their families.


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Open House to be Held August 5, 2017 by Local Orthodontist-Giving Children Needing Help with the Cost of Braces a Reason to Smile

Press Release – Salt Lake City, Utah – June 2017: Thanks to a partnership with the nonprofit Smiles Change Lives, local orthodontist Dr. Chase Dansie is giving local kids a reason to smile. Dansie Orthodontics will be holding an Open House to screen children in the surrounding communities for braces through Smiles Change Lives.

Smiles Change Lives is a national nonprofit that helps kids get braces who could not otherwise afford them. On average, braces cost $6,000 per child, making them out of reach for many hard working families. Further, orthodontic treatment has long been considered cosmetic by insurance companies, providing little assistance, even for those that are insured. As a result, many children and teens suffer unnecessary discomfort and embarrassment from their misaligned teeth. Smiles Change Lives’ mission is to provide these families with the opportunity to provide their children with braces through its network of over 800 volunteer orthodontists in the United States and Canada.

Established in 1997, Smiles Change Lives has had a presence in the Salt Lake City area for nearly a decade. Upon learning about the program in 2015, Salt Lake City area orthodontist Dr. Dansie stepped up to help in a major way. Dansie Orthodontics has renewed its commitment and agreed to treat 50 kids through his practice over the next year. An Open House will be held in order to screen children for the program.

The Open House will be held on August 5, 2017 from 8am-12pm at Dansie Orthodontics at 11996 S. Anthem Park Boulevard, Ste 100, Herriman, UT 84096. Families who meet the program qualifications for Smiles Change Lives are encouraged to attend and bring their child, a copy of their 2016 tax return (listing their child as a dependent) and a $30 application fee to the screening or they can submit an application in advance, which can be found at www.smileschangelives.org/apply.

To qualify for the program, a child must be between the ages of 7-21, have good oral hygiene, not be wearing braces currently, have a moderate to severe need for braces, and meet certain financial guidelines (e.g., for a family of 4, their household income must be below $61,500).

In the words of a mother whose daughter recently completed treatment, “On behalf of myself and daughter, please accept our deepest thanks for a life changing experience for my daughter. She smiles all the time now and has a sense of confidence I’ve never seen before. To everyone responsible please know that you have helped another child regain a huge part of herself back. She may go on to change the world in a better way now; just like SCL did for her.”

To date, Smiles Change Lives and its network of orthodontists have helped more than 10,000 kids receive braces in the United States and Canada. Please watch this short video to learn more: http://www.smileschangelives.org/scl-overview-video.


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“Challenging the Status Quo: Philadelphia’s Exploration of Pay for Success”

Social Finance Releases Pay for Success Feasibility Framework for Government; Highlights Public Impact Initiative to Amplify Impact

Press Release – Washington, D.C. June 22 – Social Finance launched Challenging the Status Quo: Philadelphia’s Exploration of Pay for Success today at the Urban Institute’s Pay for Success Initiative National Symposium. The paper details Social Finance’s work with the City of Philadelphia and provides a framework for governments looking to use the tools of Pay for Success (PFS) and outcomes-based approaches to improving their communities.

Read Challenging the Status Quo

Learnings from Social Finance’s work in Philadelphia informed the creation of Social Finance’s Public Impact Initiative

“Social Finance is focused on helping governments use the elements and lessons of Pay for Success to build effective social service initiatives based on data, evidence and high-quality execution, driving impact at scale,” said Jeff Shumway, Vice President of Advisory Services at Social Finance. “We hope the questions highlighted in Challenging the Status Quo will help governments adopt an outcomes focus using the full range of tools of Pay for Success.”

The City of Philadelphia engaged Social Finance to assess the feasibility of implementing a Pay for Success project. The city was focused on using PFS to reduce recidivism rates of citizens returning from jail or prison and to limit out-of-county placements of system-involved youth. Their goal was to understand the potential for PFS financing to complement ongoing efforts by driving public resources toward evidence-based, outcomes-driven programs.

“Enhancing the well-being of residents, including our most vulnerable citizens, requires a steadfast commitment to continuously improving government services,” said Mayor Michael Nutter, City of Philadelphia (2008-2016). “In order to achieve meaningful continuous improvement, policymakers must use data and evidence to drive decision-making. As importantly, policy-makers must be open to exploring new ideas that disrupt the status quo.”

Cities, counties, and states considering PFS financing face a number of questions about how PFS works. Each of these themes is explored in Challenging the Status Quo:

  1. DEFINING VALUE: What are the societal and fiscal benefits created for the city by the proposed PFS project?
  2. UNDERSTANDING GOVERNMENT FUNDING STREAMS: Which city agencies benefit from the proposed PFS project?
  3. DATA, DATA, DATA: What information does the city need to estimate and, ultimately, evaluate the impact of the proposed PFS project?
  4. A NEW KIND OF CONTRACT: How are PFS contracts different from other social services contracts and how can the city set them up for success?
  5. BEYOND THE ECONOMICS: How will PFS fit within existing initiatives and what new resources will the city need to support a PFS project?

In Philadelphia, the funding mechanism may have been Pay for Success, but the tools themselves are useful beyond projects financed with private capital. Governments focused on outcomes are increasingly employing the tools of Pay for Success to build outcomes-oriented contracts that clearly define and measure success; build in deep, data-driven program design; and invest seriously in active performance management.

About Social Finance

Social Finance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing capital to drive social progress. Social Finance is committed to using Pay for Success to tackle complex social challenges, facilitate greater access to services for vulnerable populations, and direct capital to evidence-based social programs – all with the goal of measurably improving the lives of people most in need. Social Finance has deep experience in the design and implementation of Pay for Success projects, from early-stage feasibility assessment, to project development and capital formation, to post-launch performance management and investment support.


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City Accelerator Expands To Five More U.S. Cities With A Focus On Strengthening Local Procurement Practices To Promote Economic Opportunity

With Support by the Citi Foundation and Living Cities, $500,000 Distributed to Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Milwaukee

Press Release – NEW YORK, JUNE 22, 2017 – The Citi Foundation and Living Cities today announced the expansion of the City Accelerator program to five additional U.S. cities – Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Milwaukee. The five cities will work together over the next year to refine their approach to procurement spending, pursuing at least one new strategy to increase the diversity of municipal vendors and contractors and direct more spend to local minority-owned businesses. This collaboration supports the goal of City Accelerator, to support innovative local government projects within and across cities that have a significant impact on the lives of residents, especially those with low incomes.

“These cities are taking a hard look at how they purchase goods and services for their communities,” said Ed Skyler, Citi’s Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs and Chairman of the Citi Foundation. “They recognize that there is an opportunity to strengthen their procurement practices–and cities overall—by connecting directly with the diverse businesses and ideas within their communities. We are excited to see the ideas and approaches that come from this year’s City Accelerator.”

To date, City Accelerator has worked with 12 municipalities in the U.S. to test new ways to drive sustainable growth while increasing opportunity for lower-income residents. For example, the city of Philadelphia tested the use of various messages and attention-grabbing mailings to ensure that low-income seniors were signing up for subsidies offering a 25 percent reduction in their water bills. As a result of financial and technical assistance provided by City Accelerator, participation in the program doubled, and hundreds of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable seniors are now receiving a discount that will make managing their household bills easier. Philadelphia’s success with City Accelerator led to the launch of GovLabPHL, a multi-agency team headed by the Mayor’s Policy Office focused on developing innovative and evidence-based practice in city government.

The city of San Francisco is using its City Accelerator support to develop a financing plan to reinforce the city’s coastal seawall, which protects vital public transportation assets and land designated for affordable housing on a parcel adjacent to the Port of San Francisco.

“By opening up the procurement process to small and diverse businesses owned by people of color, cities have an incredible opportunity to realize the publics’ vision of a thriving, vital economy,” said Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities. “These five cities were asked to lead the way, and we are excited to lift up their work as examples of how we can create a new urban practice dedicated to getting dramatically better results for low income people faster.”

“The City of Charlotte is committed to providing equal access and opportunities for all businesses to grow, especially businesses owned by people of color,” said Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts. “Through the City’s Charlotte Business INClusion Policy, we have made significant strides, achieving $41 million in spending with local Minority, Women, Small Business Enterprises in Fiscal Year 2016. I am proud of our accomplishments to date, and I look forward to working with the Citi Foundation and Living Cities to accelerate our work in this area. The expertise and funding from City Accelerator will help us grow our small, women- and minority-owned businesses.”

“My administration has made it a priority to create opportunities for businesses of all sizes to grow and thrive while strengthening our procurement processes,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Our selection by the Citi Foundation and Living Cities as one of five cities to participate in this program reflects the fact that Chicago is a national leader in procurement reform, and I commend our Chief Procurement Officer and her team for pursuing new opportunities and partnerships that will continue to strengthen our procurement practices and ensure those who do business with the City reflect Chicago’s rich diversity.”

“Los Angeles is a city of opportunity, and we are committed to connecting Angelenos to the good-paying jobs being created every day in our resurgent economy,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “City Accelerator will help us explore ways to increase equity among City contractors, and support our small business community. I thank Citi Foundation and Living Cities for engaging us in this partnership.”

“We know that for our economy to work, it must work for all,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “That’s why improving the City of Memphis’ performance with minority and women-owned businesses has been a priority of mine since becoming mayor. Citi Foundation and Living Cities’ inclusion of Memphis in this cohort of City Accelerator shows that we’re turning heads nationally with what we’re doing. This program will only make our efforts stronger.”

“I’m pleased Milwaukee has been selected by Citi Foundation and Living Cities to be part of City Accelerator as we continue to advance our goals of creating opportunities for local businesses and residents. Our downtown is the heart of the city, and it’s going strong. I want our downtown to pump that energy and vitality into every one of our neighborhoods,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “We have long emphasized connecting our work on the city with jobs and businesses in the city. Working with the City Accelerator on our procurement strategies will help connect us to more city businesses, and support business growth throughout Milwaukee.”

In addition to a $100,000 grant, the cities will receive a combination of coaching, technical assistance and implementation resources in the coming year. Cities may consider local policy reform, changes in standard procurement practice, staff training, leadership and accountability structures, communications, outreach and relationship building with local vendors, and capacity building for diverse local suppliers.

“Addressing disparities in the local economy has always been at the heart of our work,” said Rodney Strong, founder and CEO of Griffin and Strong P.C., a law and public policy consulting firm providing coaching and expertise to participating cities. “We are excited to help bring our expertise from decades of national public policy research and implementation to these five leading cities as we ensure that opportunity and economic growth go hand-in-hand as part of a comprehensive strategy that benefits all residents.”

To track the progress and work of these City Accelerator cities in the coming year, visit Governing Magazine, Citi’s blog and follow #CityAccelerator on Twitter.


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Dream Foundation & Headspace Announce Partnership

Meditation app teams with national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults to introduce an essential element of palliative care

Press Release – Santa Barbara, Calif., June 21, 2017 — Today, Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, announced its partnership with Headspace as a part of their Get Some / Give Some™ program, which donates free subscriptions of the meditation and mindfulness app to nonprofit partners. Headspace has generously provided 13,000 annual subscriptions to Dream Foundation Dreamers, their families, nurses, doctors, caretakers, and social workers as well as the organization’s staff and volunteers. The partnership will provide guided meditation thoughtfully curated by Headspace co-founder, Andy Puddicombe, to assist Dreamers at the end of their lives, becoming an essential element of their palliative care while also providing a supportive resource for their communities of caregivers and loved ones.

A variety of meditation content currently available on Headspace, including a Health category which includes themed meditation packs to assist people of Health-related issues. Dreamers, whose life expectancies are 12 months or less, can benefit from these specialized packs including pain management, cancer, depression, self-esteem, stress, anxiety, and sleep. Dream Foundation Dreamers struggle with these realities on any given day.

“I believe this partnership to be groundbreaking as an additional element to palliative care treatment,” says Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Kisa Heyer. “Together, we are offering another platform for our Dreamers to help manage pain management, loss of self, and quality of life. I look forward to witnessing the positive effects that mindful meditation has on bringing inspiration, comfort and closure to those we serve.”

Nearly 30 percent of Dreamers have young children living at home that can also benefit from the partnership. Headspace for Kids, a category of the app which is designed specifically for children, not only introduces them to the process of meditation but can offer support and stability through calm, focus, kindness, sleep, and wake up packages. The app even allows the user to program the meditation for three different age groups beginning with toddler up through pre-teen.

Consistent meditation has revealed a stronger personal foundation, thoughtfulness, and compassion for oneself and others, key elements of palliative care mindfulness. This extra layer of support will improve quality of life for Dreamers and those around them.

“We’re privileged to be partnering with Dream Foundation as part of our Get Some / Give Some program, which donates free subscriptions to support a wide range of human needs,” said Rich Pierson, Co-Founder and CEO of Headspace. “This is the first time we’ve partnered with such inspiring end-of-life experts and it’s an absolute honor to offer meditation and mindfulness to their community of Dreamers, families and phenomenal network of caregivers.”

The families, caretakers, social workers, and medical professionals who support Dreamers, as well as Dream Foundation employees and volunteers who work with those at the end of life, will also benefit from the Relationship category that offers meditation packs for patience, kindness, generosity, relationships, change, appreciation, and acceptance that can assist with personal nourishment and growth.

About Dream Foundation:

Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 27,000 final Dreams over the past two decades and has never turned down a qualified applicant. The Foundation is proud to maintain Charity Navigator’s four-star rating—its highest—for sound fiscal management ensuring its donors and partners that their investment will be used wisely. Dream Foundation receives no state of federal funding—we rely solely on private donations. To support our mission please visit DreamFoundation.org/donate.

About Headspace, Get Some / Give Some™:

Founded in 2010 by Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson, Headspace was created with one mission in mind: to improve the health and happiness of the world. With 16 million users in more than 190 countries, the Headspace app offers hundreds of guided meditations designed to help with everything from stress and anxiety to relationships and sleep. To learn more, go to https://www.headspace.com or download the Headspace app on the App Store or Google Play.

To help fulfill our mission of improving the health and happiness of the world, Headspace’s Get Some / Give Some program makes a free Headspace subscription available to our nonprofit partners for every subscription we sell.

So far, Get Some / Give Some recipients have included those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, long-term unemployment and mental health problems. We’re also working with people recovering from serious illness and abuse, families of cancer patients, frontline charity workers, trauma counsellors, human rights organizations and communities facing economic and social hardship. We’re even trialing getting Headspace to the elderly and to people in prison.


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AIDS Services Foundation Launches Social Media Campaign To Fight HIV/AIDS Stigma

#ImPositive Gives Faces to the Epidemic and Highlights ASF’s Transformational Work

Press Release – IRVINE, Calif. (June 2017) – In an effort to raise awareness, eliminate stigma and end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, AIDS Services Foundation Orange County (ASF) is putting a face to its transformational work through its new #ImPositive social media campaign. Social media posts tagged with #ImPositive will feature ASF staff, volunteers, donors and general community members, who see themselves as allies to people living with HIV/AIDS in Orange County. Holding pre-made white board signs that say “#ImPositive…” participants can either identify themselves as being HIV-positive or simply write down something that makes them a positive ally to those effected by HIV/AIDS. Photos are then tagged and shared across ASF’s social media channels as well as with personal networks to show how an entire community is rallying around ending the epidemic in Orange County.

“We’re working to ensure this campaign promotes awareness and helps demonstrate that you can’t tell someone’s status just by looking at them,” said Philip Yaeger, ASF’s executive director and CEO. “That is why it is imperative that everyone get tested and that the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS needs to be eliminated.”

Having launched a soft introduction last month in tandem with ASF’s 31st Annual AIDS Walk Orange County, several ASF staff and volunteers, including Yaeger, have already been featured holding #ImPositive signs on ASF social media posts. Yaeger, with a huge smile, holds a white board that reads: #ImPositive … we can end the HIV epidemic in Orange County. ASF board member and 2017 AIDS Walk chair Wesley Sasser-Brandt, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2004, displays his board that says: #ImPositive…ASF cares and shows me I’m not alone.

Everyone that participates in #ImPositive will receive an invitation to ASF’s Triumph Tuesday (a monthly informational event at ASF’s headquarters that includes wine and hors d’oeuvres) as well as more information on how to become involved with ASF, and its many services, which include food, transportation, housing, emergency financial assistance, kids and family programs, mental health counseling, support groups and HIV education and prevention services.

For more information about the #ImPositive campaign, please visit ASF’s social media channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also visit http://www.ocasf.org/triumphtuesday.html.

To learn more about ASF, please contact Leslie Licano at 949.733.8679 ext. 101, or visit the ASF website at www.ocasf.org.

AIDS Services Foundation Orange County (ASF) is a nonprofit AIDS service organization that has helped more than 8,000 people living with HIV disease in Orange County since 1985. ASF serves the local community impacted by HIV and AIDS by providing food, transportation, housing, emergency financial assistance, counseling, education and preventative services. You can learn more about the organization by visiting www.ocasf.org.


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In Celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, Amida Care and NYC Community Organizations Publish “Sexual Health + Pleasure” Magazine

Special Community Publication Aims to Drive Conversation
Around Combatting Stigma, HIV and STI Prevention, and Other Sexual Health Issues

Press Release – New York, NY (June 20, 2017) — In honor of Pride Month 2017, Amida Care has published a special community publication called “Let’s Start a Conversation: Sexual Health and Pleasure,” produced in partnership with The Ali Forney Center, Callen-Lorde, Housing Works, Iris House, The LGBT Center, and SAGE. The magazine takes an open, honest, affirming approach to exploring sexuality and sexual health. Community members, health care providers, and other contributors share everything from intimate details about sexual preferences to practical knowledge about safer sex. Topics include boosting sexual self-confidence, transgender sex, sex after 50, sexual health exams and screenings, and HIV and STI prevention methods.

“Sexuality is such an important part of physical and emotional health. Our goal for this magazine is to celebrate and honor the variety and authenticity of sexual experience in our communities,” said Doug Wirth, president and CEO of Amida Care. “This is a forum that gives diverse voices the opportunity to freely express themselves in a sex-positive way. We’re delighted that so many community members and partners participated and shared their views and knowledge.”

The magazine also explores strategies to end the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, including the use of PrEP and PEP to prevent HIV transmission, substance use harm reduction that supports safer sex, and combatting HIV stigma. Also featured is the campaign launched by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “Undetectable = Untransmittable,” to raise awareness that people living with HIV and taking treatment that keeps the virus suppressed to an undetectable level cannot transmit HIV to sexual partners.

Read the Sexual Health + Pleasure magazine.


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Common Threads Launches Summer Health Initiatives to Fight Childhood Food Insecurity

Programs throughout the country will fight for the 16 million children left without nutritious food over summer break

Press Release – AUSTIN (JUNE 20, 2017) — Summer is anything but a vacation for children in underserved communities who lose access to nutritious meals when the school year ends. The USDA’s National School Lunch Program provides free and reduced priced meals for more than 30 million low-income children during the school year. However, only one in seven of those same children receives healthy food over the summer, even before proposed budget cuts to education are put into motion.

The lack of access to healthy school meals, as well as healthy snacks and nutrition education provided by after-school programs, makes summer a dangerous time for these students. It often results in negative health and development outcomes for children, including weight gain and a “summer slide” in academic learning.

This summer, nonprofit Common Threads is fighting the summer slide by implementing its Small Bites nutrition education program in partnership with community organizations, schools, summer camps, youth clubs, educational and recreational programs in Austin, Jacksonville, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.

Small Bites teaches children about nutrition and healthy cooking through a series of lessons combining math, language arts and science concepts with knife-free cooking. The lessons are aligned to National Health Education Standards and support Common Core State Standards Next Generation Science Standards. Throughout the summer, Common Threads will serve over 212,000 healthy snacks to more than 26,000 children.

“Our Summer Health partnerships provide a joyful, nurturing environment for kids to learn the knowledge and skills they need to live healthier lives in a safe space they might not otherwise have over the summer. Our goal is to ensure that healthy cooking, healthy eating and healthy living are both a life choice and a human right for every child,” says Common Threads co-founder and CEO Linda Novick O’Keefe.

Common Threads’ nutrition education programs empower children with the nutrition knowledge they need to make healthy eating choices, succeed in the classroom and prevent diet-related diseases. In addition to improving their own personal health, they can then become change agents in their families, schools and communities.

“Supporting organizations like Common Threads helps keep students well-nourished, safe and active throughout the summer. In Miami we have seen firsthand the power of these programs in helping our students try more new foods and make healthier eating choices.” says Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent and Common Threads national board member, Alberto Carvalho.

Common Threads continues to scale and grow its summer program with the support of generous contributors who share their passion for making America’s children healthier. For every $25 donation, one child can participate in the Common Threads Small Bites summer program. To learn more, visit www.commonthreads.org.

About Common Threads

Founded in 2003 in Chicago, Common Threads was created to bring health and wellness to children, families and communities through cooking and nutrition education. By integrating preventative health programs into school districts and community organizations, Common Threads not only helps combat the rising number of diet-related diseases, but also cultivates a culture that embraces a healthier lifestyle and celebrates diversity through food. The organization envisions a community of learners that embraces healthy cooking, healthy eating and healthy living as both a life choice and a human right.

Common Threads currently operates in nine major cities including Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Jacksonville, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; Pittsburgh, PA and Washington D.C. During the 2015-16 school year and summer, it provided hands-on cooking skills to more than 70,000 students, worked with over 500 schools and partner sites and served 498,000 healthy meals and snacks.

The non-profit is committed to reaching 1 million children by 2020 and hopes to eventually make its programs an integral part of childhood education for all.


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CARE Announces Letter-Writing, Social Media Campaign in Support of Refugees around the World

Letters of Hope initiative connects American youth with refugee children, invites others to express solidarity using #LettersOfHope

Forced from her home in Somalia in 2010, 11-year-old Safiyo lives with her family in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp, one of the largest refugee camps in the world. On World Refugee Day, June 20, the UN announced a record number of displaced people worldwide: 65.6 million. CARE works with families in Dadaab and refugees in other parts of the world to deliver clean water, food, heath care, critical financial assistance and other support. Carey Wagner/CARE.

Press Release – ATLANTA (June 20, 2017) — To mark World Refugee Day, the global poverty-fighting organization CARE today announced its Letters of Hope campaign, which connects American youth with young refugees around the world and invites the public to share expressions of solidarity using #LettersOfHope. The campaign comes as the UN announces that the number of refugees worldwide has swelled to another record: 65.6 million.

Through the Letters of Hope campaign: fifth-graders in Boulder, Colo., exchanged letters with children in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp; Stanford University students wrote Syrian refugees in Jordan; middle school students in New York City sent letters to Afghan refugees in Greece and displaced families in Yemen; and fourth-graders outside Atlanta traded letters with South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. Now CARE is asking individuals of all ages to show their support for refugees by sharing their expressions of hope and solidarity through their favorite social media channels using #LettersOfHope.

“In providing lifesaving food, water and shelter around the world, CARE staff often see another tremendous need: Refugees want to know if the rest of world sees their struggle and cares about their fate,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE president and CEO. “Amid increasing anti-refugee rhetoric and fewer open doors for displaced people, a simple message of solidarity and hope can boost the spirits of people living in limbo — giving them real hope.”

In one exchange between grade-schoolers in Boulder and Dadaab, several students used personal drawings in their letters. From her Dadaab school, Safiyo drew a beautiful blue-and-pink flower and wrote: “One day we will meet and I will draw a flower on your hands and legs. This is the flower I will draw on you.” CARE converted her artwork into temporary tattoos that the kids in Boulder affixed to their arms and legs. Two weeks later, Safiyo smiled with pride as she flipped through photos of these children, from thousands of miles away, with her flower all over them. One of the Boulder students even responded with his own drawing — of a giant yellow sun — at the end of his letter. “Everyone sees the sun,” he wrote underneath. “The sun brings us all together.”

Letters of Hope stems from a similar CARE letter-writing initiative in 2016 called Special Delivery, in which original CARE Package recipients in America — themselves former child refugees after WWII — wrote to Syrian refugee children. Though separated by seven decades and thousands of miles, the connections between child refugees of yesterday and those of today inspired people around the world to send their own heartfelt messages.

When CARE launched its original Letters of Hope campaign last year, requests to write letters poured in from schools and children. “Now we’re channeling that energy to raise the world’s collective voice in support of refugees,” Nunn said. Learn more at care.org/lettersofhope.

About CARE

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education and health, create economic opportunity, respond to emergencies and confront hunger. Last year CARE worked in 94 countries and reached 80 million people around the world. Learn more at care.org.

ImpactAssets’ Giving Fund Closes 251st Impact Deal

“Custom Investments” feature enables donors to source and recommend investment into social entrepreneurs addressing the world’s biggest challenges.

Press Release – Bethesda, June 20, 2017 – What does the world’s first plant-based burger maker have in common with a direct trade company that works with women coffee farmers and roasters in Latin America?

Both Beyond Meat and Vega Coffee are among 251 businesses, social enterprises and funds that have received funding through the ImpactAssets Custom Investments option – a unique service that is part of The Giving Fund, a donor advised fund [i] with more than $350 million in assets and a 100% focus on impact investing.

The Custom Investments option uniquely enables donors to source and recommend direct investments in private, mission-driven businesses, impact funds and nonprofit organizations using philanthropic dollars as recoverable investment capital.

“This is a great milestone for ImpactAssets as we work to democratize impact investing and provide clients with unique ways to direct capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns,” said Tim Freundlich, president of ImpactAssets. “We understand that impact investing can be a personal commitment. Custom Investments allows clients to recommend the investments that matter most to them.”

To date, donors have sourced and recommended more than 200 direct company investments and 50 funds in the private debt and equity segment, with a minimum $25,000 investment. All entities that receive investment from ImpactAssets must have a commitment to measuring and reporting their social or environmental impact, as well their financial returns.

“The Custom Investments feature has been the perfect way for my wife and I to blend our impact investing and our charitable giving,” said Seth Goldman, Co-founder of Honest Tea and Executive Chairman of Beyond Meat. “We take a little more risk with our impact investments in the Giving Fund, because whether they succeed or not, we know we are supporting a social entrepreneur’s vision and we’re not getting money back personally whatever the outcome. We know that if our investments are successful, the money will be recirculated to support more mission-driven entrepreneurs.”

Custom Investments has been offered to ImpactAssets clients since 2011, but the service has seen a spike in interest and participation since the 2016 Presidential election, as investors seek to make a “hands-on” impact locally and globally. A series of ImpactAssets Roundtables with investment advisors found the post-election environment is generating greater investor activism.

Recent custom investments include:

  • Issue One: Bipartisan effort to reduce the influence of money in politics
  • PennyPass: A new revenue engine for digital media
  • Gigawatt Global: Renewable energy developer in emerging markets
  • Namaste Solar: Solar energy solutions for homeowners, businesses, and utilities
  • Translator: Tech-based provider of identity and empathy training in the workforce
  • OpenInvest: Technology platform to help align investments and values
  • BeyondMeat: The plant based meat alternative

“The donor recommended investment into OpenInvest represented a valuable source of capital in our venture round, which will help us scale our mission to mainstream impact investing and empower every day investors to fight for social progress,” said Josh Levin, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, OpenInvest.

About ImpactAssets:

ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns. ImpactAssets’ donor-advised fund (“The Giving Fund”), impact investment notes, and field-building initiatives enable philanthropists, other asset owners and their wealth advisors to advance social or environmental change through investment.

About The Giving Fund:

The Giving Fund is an innovative donor advised fund that empowers donors to increase the impact of their giving by combining it with strategic sustainable and responsible investing to build a sophisticated philanthropic endowment. Donors recommend how The Giving Fund’s assets are invested across a range of leading impact investment options including community investment, turnkey portfolios, private debt and equity funds, seed venture and custom investments. The Giving Fund currently has $350M in total assets.

[i] A Donor Advised Fund is a philanthropic vehicle that allows organizations, families or individuals to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time.


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