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


SeedEquity Ventures



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.

Afaxys Pharmaceuticals Announces Partnership with Project Ruby (PRJKT RUBY), an Online Platform to Bring Affordable Contraceptives to Women Worldwide

A U.S. initiative dedicated to empowering women in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to choose and access their preferred contraceptive method

CHARLESTON, S.C. (February 12, 2015) – Afaxys Pharmaceuticals, a division of Afaxys, Inc., is proud to announce a first-of-its-kind partnership with Project Ruby (PRJKT RUBY), an innovative online platform to bring affordable contraceptives to women in the United States and the developing world.

Today, PRJKT RUBY launched an initiative to support women in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean by providing financial support for one month of pregnancy protection for every month of protection purchased by a woman in the United States. Women can purchase their oral or emergency contraceptives at PRJKT RUBY’s online platform, and no health insurance is needed. For each month of oral contraceptives purchased through PRJKT RUBY at a cost of $20, Afaxys will make a donation to support access to contraception for women in the developing world via Population Services International (PSI), a nonprofit global health organization.

The linchpin of the PRJKT RUBY program is an initiative called Take1Give1 – here’s how it works:

  • Take 1: A woman in the United States completes an online questionnaire at to determine which birth control option is appropriate for her needs. A licensed physician in the United States reviews the questionnaire and completes the prescription for either an oral or emergency contraceptive, which is then shipped to her by a licensed U.S. pharmacy.
  • Give 1: With support from Take1Give1, a woman in a partnering country chooses the contraceptive method of her choice through her local healthcare provider in a PSI-supported program with the costs or access subsidized by the PRJKT RUBY donation. Methods may include oral contraceptives, injectables, implants, IUDs or emergency contraceptives.

“Our collaboration with PRJKT RUBY is a perfect complement to Afaxys’ mission to serving women’s healthcare needs – whether in the United States or abroad,” said Ronda K. Dean, president and CEO of Afaxys. “The Take1Give1 initiative is an excellent opportunity to provide a woman in the developing world with resources similar to those many American women have.”

PSI will leverage support from Take1Give1 to improve access to women’s contraceptive method of choice in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. When women have the power to choose their method of contraception, they are more likely to use that method consistently.

Women who purchase contraceptives through the PRJKT RUBY online platform will be able to visually map the impact they are making – by cycle and country – by visiting

“We started this campaign with women’s healthcare needs in mind, and we wanted to revolutionize the way in which women have access to and receive their modern contraceptive method,” said Peter Ax, CEO of PRJKT RUBY. “Purchasing contraceptives through PRJKT RUBY in turn empowers a woman in the developing world with a choice and helps ensure access to her most basic healthcare needs – access that she otherwise would not have. We believe that investing in women’s health can spur long-term change and a more prosperous life for all.”

For more information about the program, and to stay up-to-date on the latest news, please visit

About Afaxys

Afaxys, Inc. is a mission driven, socially conscious business enterprise dedicated to serving the women’s healthcare needs of public health providers and their patients. An emerging leader in the public health sector, Afaxys manages the supply needs of public health providers, ensuring customers receive affordable, reliable access to the products and services they need to care for patients. Since 2005, Afaxys has operated a Group Purchasing Organization, which negotiates favorable pricing across a broad base of healthcare products and services so its customers have access to best-in-class suppliers and service providers. In 2013, Afaxys launched its pharmaceutical division, Afaxys Pharmaceuticals, bringing a strong portfolio of quality FDA-approved branded and generic oral contraceptives to the public health sector market. The Company has an expanding portfolio of quality FDA-approved pharmaceuticals, which are available exclusively through the public health sector including public health clinics, college and university health centers, community health centers, non-retail prescribers, as well as city, county, state and federal facilities, at prices intended to be consistently lower than those currently on the market. To learn more, visit


PRJKT RUBY makes a low-cost birth control option available to women in the United States through a convenient online platform – revolutionizing the way women order their oral contraceptives. It’s simple, safe, private – and totally meaningful. Each purchase of a cycle of birth control by a woman in the United States at PRJKT RUBY provides support to a woman in the developing world to purchase birth control. The movement aims to make birth control more accessible, empowering women worldwide. Learn more at

About Take1Give1

Take1Give1 is an initiative implemented by Take1Give1, Inc., a nonprofit organization created so those not in the market to purchase birth control can still make a difference by donating to the cause. Take1Give1, Inc. pledges support for current and future generations of women because investing in women yields long-term social and economic returns for all – an investment that can’t be overlooked.

About Population Services International

PSI is a nonprofit global health organization dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world by focusing on serious challenges like a lack of family planning, HIV and AIDS, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. A hallmark of PSI is a commitment to the principle that health services and products are most effective when they are accompanied by robust communications and distribution efforts that help ensure wide acceptance and proper use. PSI works in partnership with local governments, ministries of health and local organizations to create health solutions that are built to last. Learn more at

Afaxys Disclosure Notice

This press release was issued in the United States and is intended as reference information for U.S. journalists and customers. The information contained in this Afaxys press release is accurate at the time of issuance, and the company assumes no responsibility for updating forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent developments.

Deutsche Bank And Strive For College Partner To Provide Low-Income Students Access To Higher Education

Deutsche Bank today announced a partnership with Strive for College (Strive), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving access to higher education in the United States. Strive leverages the influence and knowledge of volunteer mentors to guide eligible students through the college application and financial aid process.

Working with Strive, Deutsche Bank will help 1,000 qualified, low-income high school students across the US apply to, enter and afford the college best fit for them. Among millennials ages 25 to 32, median annual earnings for full-time working college-degree holders are $17,500 greater than for those with high school diplomas only, according to the Pew Research Center. Some 400,000 college-qualified high school students graduating each year do not enroll in a higher education institution. Nearly 95% of Strive students enroll in college, with 68% not incurring any debt.

“Barriers to equal education still present a challenge for youth in lower-income communities,” said Jacques Brand, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Bank North America. “Ensuring that young people have access to education so that they are prepared to compete in today’s global marketplace is imperative to creating a diverse and dynamic workforce.”

“With partners like Deutsche Bank, Strive for College has a real chance to address the staggering unmet demand for college guidance that not only threatens to limit the success of high school graduates qualified to pursue college, but generations of families, their communities and our shared economy,” said Michael Carter, Chief Executive Officer of Strive for College. “We are sincerely grateful and excited for the work ahead.”

Through UStrive, a proprietary platform that unlocks data trends to match mentors with mentees and schools with students, Strive provides virtual mentoring nationwide.

To learn more about Strive, please visit

Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation Hosts 2015 Benefit Dinner at the Avalon Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD, CA (February 11, 2015) – The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) will host its annual Club100 Dinner on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at the Avalon Hollywood.

Now in its 11th year, Club100, sponsored by Chubb & Son, is a unique philanthropic event that brings together more than 250 insurance industry leaders in support of IICF’s Western Division Community Grants program. All proceeds from the event benefit community nonprofits located in Southern California, including featured nonprofit YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles.

The event will honor Frank Robitaille, Executive Vice President of Armstrong/Robitaille/Riegle as the 2015 Golden Horizon Award winner in recognition of his outstanding industry leadership and commitment to philanthropy. Having worked in the industry for forty-plus years, Robitaille has married his industry success with a philanthropic commitment. In addition to serving on various nonprofit boards across Southern California, Robitaille founded the Insuring the Children program that raises funds and awareness to fight child abuse.

“Club100 is an inspiring fundraising event that emphasizes the importance of the insurance industry’s commitment to community service. It is an opportunity to act as an industry to support nonprofits that dedicate their time and services to better our community,” remarked Jon Axel, senior vice president of Hub International Insurance Services and Club100 Chair. “The insurance industry recognizes our obligation to be of service and there is no better way than to come together through the leadership of IICF while enjoying an evening celebrating our common objective to make Southern California a better place to live and work.”

In conducting its grant program, IICF reinvests funds raised by a particular region back into that same region and its communities. This year, the IICF’s Western Division Community Grants program has provided $280,000 in grants to 29 local non-profits throughout the Western United States. Since 1994, the IICF has provided $23.5 million in grants to organizations that champion causes pertaining to child abuse prevention, disaster preparedness, education, and human and health services.

About the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF)

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation was established in 1994 and is completely directed and funded by the insurance industry. The foundation helps communities and enriches lives by uniting the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service and leadership. Since its inception in 1994, IICF has contributed more than $23.5 million in grants to charities and nearly 200,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of community nonprofit organizations. IICF is a registered not-for-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Learn more at about the IICF at

The Machine Gun Preacher, Sam Childers, Raffles Off Two Custom Motorcycles To Raise Funding For His Angels of East Africa Humanitarian Organization

Ticket sale proceeds and donations to go towards the completion of the Ethiopian Children’s Building and help fund the Northern Uganda farm project

Central City, PA (February 10, 2015) Sam Childers, the inspiration for the 2011 movie ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ starring Gerard Butler, announces the raffle of two custom motorcycles to benefit his Angels of East Africa (AOEA) humanitarian organization dedicated to rescuing, restoring and enabling children caught in the crossfire of rebel atrocities in South Sudan and Northern Uganda from 1981 through today.

Both motorcycles on the raffle block have a special place in Sam’s heart. The Machine Gun Preacher (MGP) Rat Bike, rode by Gerard Butler in the movie that chronicled the life of Sam Childers and his tireless work towards the improvement of children’s lives in East Africa, is valued at $50,000. Sam is also donating his own personal chopper, which is a 2003 Ironhorse Texas Chopper built by Ironhorse, and customized by Machine Gun Preacher (MGP) Rat Bikes.

Only 5,000 raffle tickets were made available for the opportunity to win the two custom motorcycles. Tickets can be purchased for $250 each by visiting or by calling the Angels of East Africa office at (814)-754-5702. Phone lines are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST. Donations will be accepted as well. The raffle is going on now and will culminate with a live, public drawing on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at Angels of East Africa’s United States headquarters in Central City, Pennsylvania.

“After seeing the atrocities of the Sudanese Civil War firsthand, I decided that my lifelong mission is to relentlessly build and create the infrastructure necessary so each and every child in East Africa has a shot at living a long, fulfilling and prosperous life,” said Sam Childers. “I’ve had this chopper for 7 years and I just LOVE it; it’s my baby. We’ve gone through a lot together and it will be hard to give her up, but seeing the completion of these two projects finish on time is most important to me, the Angels of East Africa and the children of the region. I just hope whoever wins my chopper allows visitation rights so I can take it for an occasional ride.”

Pic MGP Movie Rat bike that Gerry Butler rode in the movie

Pic GB on MGP Rat 2010 on set
Proceeds from raffle ticket sales will go directly towards two current initiatives spearheaded by Sam Childers and Angles of East Africa including Nazret: The Ethiopian Children’s Building, and The Machine Gun Preacher Farm in Nwoya, Northern Uganda.

The Ethiopian Children’s Building is a massive project that will house over 60 children. An Ethiopian manager will run the 6-story building containing a bakery, café, hotel accommodations, conference center, small shops, bank and mini-supermarket. This is Sam Childers’ biggest building project to-date. The Ethiopian Children’s Building will also provide job opportunities for older children attending the nearby school and university. Childers purchased the land in September 2012 and the project is on track to be completed by early 2016.

“It’s been an amazing journey to get to where we are now in Ethiopia,” added Childers. “We’ve had a lot of favor from the local government there and they believe in what we are doing to help the children and community district.”

The Machine Gun Preacher Farm in Nwoya, Northern Uganda, when completed, will serve as a nature school of agriculture, farming and irrigation for the children who live in the orphanages building established by Angels of East Africa in 2013. Childers and AOEA recently purchased approximately 1,000 acres in Nwoya, about two miles from the Blue Nile River which can be seen clearly from the farm as the land has a gentle slope to the river. Once finished, the Machine Gun Preacher Farm will provide food for thousands of Ugandan families and children.

The general public will get their first glance at both custom motorcycles and the chance to purchase raffle tickets at two upcoming bike shows – the Easyriders 2015 Bike Show Tour, Saturday, February 21 and Sunday, February 22, 2015 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio and the Piston Power Show from Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Sam Childers will be in attendance to meet and greet fans on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22 at the Piston Power Show.

The inspiring story of Sam Childers was first told through his biography ‘Another Man’s War,’ published in March 2009. It didn’t take long for Hollywood to come calling, turning the book into the feature film ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ in September 2011 starring Gerard Butler and directed by Marc Forster. Childers, a Pennsylvania native and former Outlaw biker, turned his life around while visiting Southern Sudan on a mission retreat to help repair damage done during the conflict of the ongoing second Sudanese Civil War and Joseph Kony’s LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) Rebels. He then made the decision to dedicate his entire life to saving the lives of the thousands of children and renewing hope in a region of East Africa where it had all but vanished.

Since its inception in 1998, Sam Childers and Angels of East Africa has helped rescue more than 1,000 children, operating the humanitarian organization in order to rescue, restore and enable children of the region who are not able to protect themselves. For more information, please visit

Salsa Labs Releases Solis – New Software Provides Guided Best Practices for Online Fundraising

Designed for growing nonprofits, Solis helps users make smart choices to achieve the best results from online engagement efforts.

Washington, DC – February 10, 2015Salsa Labs, Inc. (Salsa), creator of the all-in-one online engagement platform, announces the release of its newest software, Solis. Designed to help growing nonprofit organizations take full advantage of online communications, outreach and fundraising, Solis guides users step-by-step and encourages best practices to ensure success. Users can control email, donation, social sharing and online CRM tools – all in one application.

“By integrating all the tools nonprofits need as well as proven best practice guides and tips within the application, we save organizations more than just time. We can lead even the smallest nonprofit to success,” said Charles Parsons, director, product development.

Solis’ features include:

  • Manageable forms and layouts that allow users to easily move from set-up to a published fundraising form within minutes. Plus, the ability to post the forms on any site, not just their own.
  • Integrated social media platforms and email communications for sharing forms with supporters.
  • Pre-defined email messaging that prompts organizations to welcome their new supporters.
  • Built-in online CRM features to help organizations see at-a-glance which supporters are most active and which supporters contribute through fundraising pages.
  • Automated segmentation to easily individualize supporter communications for higher response rates and supporter retention.

Parsons added, “Research shows that online giving is growing exponentially each year. We have been providing online engagement best practices education in addition to all-in-one software for years. Solis is the next big step in our overall product strategy to bring it all together in one interface and put more emphasis on driving results for our clients.”

Solis pricing starts at just $99 a month. For more information about Solis, visit

Solis complements Salsa’s flagship online engagement software, now called Cosm, which also provides best-in-industry email delivery, fundraising, and online CRM tools as well as advocacy features. Geared to more tech-savvy online organizers, Cosm provides complete control through custom fields, reports and templates as well as chapter management.

For a more in-depth look Salsa’s products, please visit

About Salsa Labs

Salsa Labs (Salsa) helps nonprofits and political campaigns ignite action and fuel change around the world by growing and engaging a base of support online. With Salsa, groups of all sizes can easily organize their supporters and chapters, fundraise, advocate, communicate through email and social media, host events and measure results. Salsa provides more than technology; it offers strategic best practices, training, highly rated support and a strong online community, so its clients can focus their energy on their mission. The company currently empowers more than 3,000 organizations’ and their more than 92 million donors, members, activists and fans across the globe. Visit Salsa online at

The Philanthropy Workshop’s Dr. Glen Galaich Joins GuideStar’s Board of Directors

Washington, D.C. (February 10, 2015) — GuideStar today announced the appointment of Dr. Glen Galaich to its board of directors, effective late January. As GuideStar focuses on a new strategic vision to provide stakeholders of social change with the critical information they need to make good decisions, Dr. Galaich fills a vital role on the board with his extensive expertise in the field, particularly because of his of experience in philanthropy education.

“We are thrilled to have Glen join our board of directors,” said GuideStar president and CEO Jacob Harold. “Glen’s deep experience in the nonprofit sector and leadership in philanthropy education makes him an asset to the team. We are very much looking forward to watching how Glen’s leadership supports GuideStar’s continued evolution.”

Dr. Galaich is Chief Executive Officer of The Philanthropy Workshop (, the leader in ongoing strategic philanthropy education and networking—inspiring individuals and families to give better. With offices in San Francisco, New York, and London, TPW’s member network of more than 350 philanthropists is the largest of its kind and unique to the field of philanthropy. TPW members hail from the United States and the United Kingdom with significant numbers from Canada and countries throughout Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.

“I’ve long admired GuideStar as a provider of critically important resources and products within the social sector,” Dr. Galaich said. “I’m thrilled to work alongside some of the brightest minds in the collective philanthropy, nonprofit, digital media, and technology space in an effort to continue to affect positive change.”

Dr. Galaich’s work on behalf of human rights and philanthropy has spanned more than a decade. He served as Chief Executive Officer of San Francisco-based The Philanthropy Workshop West from 2009 until its merger with the London-based Institute for Philanthropy in 2014. His career in strategic philanthropy started with the founding team of the Global Philanthropy Forum where he was responsible for launching the first and second Conferences on Borderless Giving. He also served at Human Rights Watch as the deputy director of development for North America. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a B.A. in political science from the University of California at San Diego.

Living Water International Pilots Water Sustainability Program in Rwanda

New Sensors Transmit Rural Hand Pump Status over Cellular Networks in Real Time

HOUSTON, February 10, 2015 – Living Water International ( is bringing new, real-time monitoring technology to community leaders in Rwanda as part of a large-scale water sustainability program. The 501(c)(3) organization is using technology developed by Portland State University and SweetSense, Inc., which uses specialized water pump sensors and cell phone data to expedite water pump maintenance. Nearly 200 of sensors have been installed on rural hand pumps to date. Living Water is the first organization to use the technology at this scale. The pilot program in Rwanda is part of Living Water’s work in 23 countries and its mission to provide water, for life, to the 748 million people who lack access to improved water.

Since 2007, Living Water International has worked alongside the Government of Rwanda to equip and train communities to drill and maintain clean water hand pumps. In 2014, Living Water, Portland State University and SweetSense Inc. introduced the sensors as a way to improve maintenance response and anticipate well repairs before they escalate. The sensors utilize the country’s 95-percent rate of cell phone coverage to send information about pump performance and any needed repairs to Living Water’s local maintenance teams, which are then dispatched to maintain water quality and flow in the community.

“Currently, hand pump check-ins and maintenance is a full-time job,” said Moses Chinyama, Project Coordinator for Living Water Rwanda. “We are excited to be the first to use this new technology, which helps us repair pumps before they break down and lets us share information quickly and easily between community and government maintenance teams.”

As part of its mission to bring clean water for life, Living Water partners with organizations like SweetSense Inc., the leader in low-cost remote sensors specifically designed for the global development sector. Living Water, Portland State and SweetSense Inc. are committed to training community managers to use these sensors for proactive pump repairs and cross-organization transparency.

“Decades of experience show that community ownership and government involvement are crucial to sustainable water solutions,” said Mike Mantel, president and CEO of Living Water International. “We are eager to see how open communication – made possible with tools like the SweetSense sensors – increases the sustainability of our water projects in Rwanda.”

As the first implementing organization to deploy the SweetSense sensors on hand pumps, Living Water will work with Portland State and SweetSense to evaluate the technology for potential use across Living Water’s 15,471 water projects worldwide. This project was funded by the GSM Association with support from the UK Department for International Development.

The Magnificent Mile® Association Elects John McCarthy Chairman of the Board of Directors

CHICAGO, IL – The Magnificent Mile® Association will elect John McCarthy Chairman of the Board of Directors during the association’s Annual Meeting on February 9 at the Westin Michigan Avenue. The longtime civic leader brings more than 40 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry.

McCarthy is President and CEO of Continental Air Transport dba Go Airport Express, which operates a fleet of over 125 vehicles in the Chicago land area. McCarthy is also a founder and president of The GO Group, LLC, an transportation enterprise serving over 65 airports worldwide.

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

“We are thrilled to welcome John McCarthy as our new Chairman,” says John Chikow, President/CEO of The Magnificent Mile Association. “His appointment comes at a time when Chicago is ready to welcome record-breaking numbers of visitors in 2015 and beyond. We represent a diverse membership and an iconic destination, and John offers a global perspective that is critical to market The Magnificent Mile to an international audience.”

John’s high-profile resume of association leadership includes The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce (Past Director) and Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (Past Director). In addition, he is an active philanthropist, serving as Past Board Chairman of Mercy Hospital, St. Xavier University, and Heartland Human Cares Services. He was the Vice Chair of the Finance Committee for Catholic Charities and Chair of the Finance Committee for St. Thomas of Canterbury Parish.

John has also sat on the Board of Directors of SKAL Chicago, Hudson Technologies, Midway Airport Shuttle Service, LLC. He is a member of the World Presidents Organization.

The Magnificent Mile® Association

The Magnificent Mile® Association is a private, non-profit membership organization with a mission of preserving, promoting and enhancing one of Chicago’s most unique, multi-use neighborhoods. In addition to international marketing and planning popular consumer programming year-round, the Association also serves its 750+ members with district planning and beautification and incomparable networking opportunities. Members include real estate properties, retail shops, hotels, restaurants, entertainment establishments, institutional and residential properties and various professional services. For more information, visit

Holiday Inn® Brand Awards Manhattan-Based Harlem Grown A “Small Business In A Box” To Expand Work In Harlem Community

Grand Prize Includes $25,000 to Support the Organization’s Extraordinary Journey in 2015

ATLANTA (February 9, 2015) – Greater New York City area non-profit Harlem Grown has been named as the winner of the Holiday Inn® brand’s “Small Business in a Box” contest, receiving a $25,000 grant from the brand to expand its work in the local community. The contest, created to give one visionary entrepreneur the gift of possibility, launched in late December in celebration of the finale of the Holiday Inn and HLN co-created series Growing America: A Journey to Success. The Holiday Inn brand recognized Harlem Grown for its mission to inspire youth in Harlem to live healthy lives through hands-on education and mentorship in urban farming, sustainability and nutrition. Harlem Grown operates several local urban farms in Harlem and plans to use the funds to further its impact in the community it serves.

“Ninety percent of the families of the children we serve are at or below the poverty line, living in public housing and may not otherwise be able to afford access to fresh, organic food,” said Tony Hillery, founding director, Harlem Grown. “Winning the Holiday Inn brand’s ‘Small Business in a Box’ contest affords us the funds to not only reach more families in need, but also clean up areas in the community that are overridden with crime and trash, and transform them into thriving sustainable urban farms, instilling healthy habits in young kids for generations to come.”

Harlem Grown is an organization that understands the importance of children and helping them make smart decisions as they grow into adulthood. Children and their families are also at the heart of the Holiday Inn brand, which was conceived as a way to bring the joy of travel to families in a fun, affordable and comfortable way. Since the first hotel opened more than 60 years ago, Holiday Inn hotels have been committed to providing family-friendly travel options, including the Kids Stay and Eat Free programs. For today’s traveler, the Holiday Inn name stands for more than just a hotel, but for the contemporary design, modern amenities and warm, welcoming service that distinguish the brand.

“Kemmons Wilson created the Holiday Inn brand to change the way people travel, and the brand has a history of supporting and enabling entrepreneurs working to accomplish their goals and positively impact their community,” said Maurice Cooper, vice president, Holiday Inn® brand, the Americas, IHG. “Harlem Grown’s mission and focus on families closely aligns with the values on which the Holiday Inn brand was built, and we look forward to seeing them use the grand prize funds to support their continued extraordinary journey.”

As the winner of the Holiday Inn “Small Business in a Box” contest, Harlem Grown will receive the $25,000 grant, as well as the opportunity to work hand-in-hand for one week with Casey Gerald and Michael Baker, co-founders of MBAs Across America (MBAxAmerica), an innovative program that takes MBA students from some of America’s most prestigious universities and challenges them to take a journey across the U.S., learning from and working with visionary entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their communities. The organization will also receive 140,000 IHG® Rewards Club points to be applied towards future stays at a Holiday Inn property.

The Holiday Inn brand launched the “Small Business in a Box” contest via Twitter on December 22, 2014, asking entrepreneurs across the U.S. to tweet how their small businesses give back to their local communities, using the hashtag #SmallBizWishContest. Ten finalists were chosen from the pool of initial entries and asked to submit a two-minute video highlighting their positive social impact within their hometown, their business vision and what the prize would mean to them. A panel of judges from the Holiday Inn brand and MBAxAmerica then chose Harlem Grown as the overall contest winner from the ten finalists’ videos.

“Small Business in a Box” is the culmination of the Holiday Inn / HLN (a Turner Broadcasting network) co-created series, Growing America: A Journey to Success. The six-episode original series followed teams of MBA students from the MBAxAmerica program, who were given one week to use their expertise to transform small businesses and positively affect communities in cities across the U.S. Throughout the series, the Holiday Inn brand provided hotel accommodations for the MBA teams, giving them a place to relax, refresh and collaborate, and enable their journeys across the country. The brand also documented and shared the extraordinary journeys of these MBA teams and the entrepreneurs through a “Signature Stories” series as part of the Holiday Inn brand’s Journey to Extraordinary campaign.

$1 M in New Funding for SDSU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

An endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation will support learning opportunities for the San Diego community.


SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2015) — San Diego State University is now part of an exclusive network of universities whose lifelong learning programs have received significant private support.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at SDSU is one of 117 in the nation to receive a $1 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation to secure its future and support continued growth.

The gift coincides with the 10th anniversary of OLLI at SDSU, which offers university-quality courses without tests or grades to San Diego community members 50 years of age or “better.” SDSU President Elliot Hirshman announced the gift during an anniversary celebration Saturday morning at the university’s Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.

“We are deeply grateful to Bernie Osher, Mary Bitterman and the entire staff of The Bernard Osher Foundation for their extremely generous support of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Diego State,” said Hirshman. “Through their endowment support, San Diego State will provide opportunities for lifelong learning and enrichment to members of our community in perpetuity.”

More than 145 courses

In the last decade, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SDSU has expanded to include 700 members and more than 145 course offerings annually.

Many SDSU faculty are among the instructors, lecturing on a wide variety of subjects including history, theatre, world affairs, literature, political science, cultural studies and creative arts.

Courses are offered through SDSU’s College of Extended Studies, and the OLLI is operated by CES staff and supported by Osher Institute volunteers, including an advisory board and four committees.

“The Bernard Osher Foundation is delighted to recognize the accomplishments of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Diego State University with this endowment gift,” said Mary Bitterman, president of The Bernard Osher Foundation. “We applaud the Institute’s dedicated volunteers and staff—as well as the leadership of the University—for developing such an exceptional educational program.”

Local history and wine-tasting

The 2015 spring course schedule highlights local and state history with a lecture and a book club about the Panama-California Exposition staged in San Diego a century ago.

Another new offering for OLLI members affords an opportunity to join the College of Extended Studies’ October 2015 study abroad program in Spain. The nine-day course examines the wine and cuisine of Spain’s Catalan, Rioja and Basque regions.

At the celebration Saturday morning, students and prospective students had an opportunity to meet course instructors and view video highlights from the first decade of the OLLI.

More about the Bernard Osher Foundation

The Bernard Osher Foundation makes grants and endowment gifts to colleges, universities, and other non-profit organizations in four program areas: post-secondary scholarships, lifelong learning institutes for seasoned adults, select integrative medicine programs, and arts and educational organizations.

The foundation currently supports 119 lifelong learning programs on university and college campuses across the country, with at least one grantee in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Initial grants of $100,000 have been made with the understanding that once a lifelong learning institute is launched, the foundation would consider renewal of the grant for two or more years with a view to providing an endowment gift of no less than $1 million if the institute was able to demonstrate potential for success and sustainability.

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