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

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe


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.

Miami Children’s Health Foundation Honors Armando Christian Pérez “Pitbull” At Diamond Ball: Diamonds Are Forever

The event raised more than $3 million including announced gifts in support of the children and families of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital

Armando Christian Perez Pitbull

MIAMI – (October 10, 2015) – Miami Children’s Health Foundation’s Diamond Ball: Diamonds Are Forever gala raised more than $3 million including announced gifts, for the children and families of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, formerly Miami Children’s Hospital, in a Diamonds Are Forever-themed black-tie affair that brought together more than 800 guests to the JW Marriott Marquis Miami.

Global music superstar, Armando Christian Pérez “Pitbull”, was recognized for his contribution to the community and his continued support to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital as celebrity Ambassador to Together For The Children, The Campaign for Miami Children’s. Armando was inducted into the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame for exemplifying his passion for helping children throughout the world. “Being honored in my hometown for supporting the children and families at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital means the world to me,” Armando said. “This is a tremendous honor. It’s an amazing feeling to have the opportunity to make a difference in our community, and most importantly in the lives of children everywhere”.

The evening also included an emotional testimonial by Amanda, a Nicklaus Children’s patient who survived a traumatic head injury. Amanda addressed the audience inspiring everyone to come Together For The Children in support of the hospital that saved her life. Television host and best-selling author, Alejandro Chabán served as emcee of the glamorous affair, which also featured a silent auction. VIP guests had exclusive access to the Bvlgari Privée sponsored by Kaufman Rossin, which transported attendees to the Casino de Monte-Carlo, where they enjoyed a unique showcase of Bvlgari jewelry pieces and a few more surprises.

“The Miami Children’s Health Foundation Diamond Ball gala pays tribute to building hope for our children and generates the funds needed for Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to continue providing world-class pediatric care, research and innovation,” said Lucy Morillo, president and CEO of Miami Children’s Health Foundation. “This year we are excited to honor Armando Christian Pérez ‘Pitbull’ for his support as celebrity ambassador of our Together For The Children campaign.”

The event included some of today’s most recognized influencers and celebrities, such as Laura Flores, Fabian Rios, Cynthia Olavarria, Kimberly Dos Ramos, Susan Krabacher, Adriana Lavat, Gabriel Valenzuela, Domingo Zapata, David Chocarro, Enrique Santos, Henry Santos, Carlos Muñoz, and the evening’s emcee Alejandro Chabán, as well as community leaders, philanthropists, physicians, friends, supporters, patients and families of Nicklaus Children’s.

The Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame was created in 1986 to recognize and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the health and happiness of children everywhere. It is the highest honor bestowed by the foundation. Past honorees into the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame include Beyoncé Knowles, Dwyane Wade, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Juanes, Romero Britto, and Walt Disney, among others.

About Miami Children’s Health Foundation

Miami Children’s Health Foundation (MCH Foundation) is a not-for profit 501(c)(3) organization established to support the creation of a world-class pediatric hospital so no child needs to leave South Florida for superior medical care. “Funding World-Class Care” and following the principle that all children deserve state-of-the-art pediatric care, MCH Foundation, now a part of the Miami Children’s Health System, has helped the 289-bed Nicklaus Children’s Hospital become a leader in pediatric healthcare with more than 650 attending physicians and over 130 pediatric sub-specialists. Currently, MCH Foundation is dedicating all its resources to Together For The Children, The Campaign For Miami Children’s, which aims to raise $150 million by 2017 and help fund priorities such as the expansion of the Emergency Department, construction of a new Advanced Pediatric Care Pavilion, enhancements to its three centers of excellence, and expanding global/telehealth endeavors. Other campaign priorities include research, pediatric outreach and special programs.

New Report Shows Napa Valley Early Learning Initiative Helped Nearly 1,500 in Napa County in 2014/15

Nationally recognized education leader Kris Perry addresses Napa leaders and educators about the importance of investing in early childhood development

10/12/2015 – St. Helena, CA – A new report from the Napa Valley Early Learning Initiative (NVELI) shows the program served 1,487 Napa County children, parents, caregivers and providers in 2014/15, the initiative’s second year. NVELI is a public/private partnership between the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) nonprofit trade association and First 5 Napa County established to help reduce the achievement gap between English-fluent and English language-learning students in Napa County. In 2013, NVV announced its commitment of up to $5 million over five years from Auction Napa Valley proceeds to support the initiative.

In tandem with the release of the NVELI Second Year Report, Kris Perry, a nationally recognized thought leader on early childhood education and executive director of the First Five Years Fund in Washington, DC, spoke to a group of 40 local childhood education professionals and community leaders on Friday in Napa. Perry discussed the critical importance of investing in early childhood development as the path toward preparing a child for success in school and in life, noting NVELI as a model program for achieving these goals.

“I’ve looked at the NVV/First 5 initiative and it’s outstanding,” said Perry during her talk. “The quality benchmarks are right where they need to be.” Perry went on to encourage the NVV and First 5 to continue their work through NVELI, and to partner with education leaders to address the achievement gap in Napa County. “Unless we all work together at the local, state and federal levels, we will never win on early childhood education,” Perry continued. “You are at an important time with the Napa Valley Early Learning Initiative. You need to keep going.”

Findings of the NVELI Second Year Report include:

  • 736 students, their 721 parents and 30 educators were served in the four high-need elementary school neighborhoods of Napa Junction in American Canyon, Calistoga Elementary in Calistoga, and Shearer Elementary and Phillips Elementary in Napa.
  • For the 2014-15 funding year, $765,265 was distributed to ten NVELI programs in the categories of Family Strengthening, to engage and support families; Child Access, to increase availability of high-quality preschool experiences; Provider Quality, to support early learning providers; and Systems Change, to support overall efforts to improve systems.
  • Each component of the program includes strategies and activities that are evidence-based or considered best practices that aim to reduce the kindergarten-readiness gap.
  • The initiative provided 34 quality preschool spots for English-language learners that would not otherwise have access to a quality preschool option.
  • Teachers completed 277 kindergarten readiness assessments demonstrating a 17 percent readiness gap between English-language learners and their English-fluent peers. This assessment will serve as the benchmark for measuring NVELI’s success in future years.
  • NVELI provided initial investment to Funding the Next Generation, a county-wide collaborative focused on capacity-building efforts to create a sustainable public funding stream to help marginalized youth and their families.

“The uniqueness of this initiative is not in the individual services, many of which already existed,” said Michelle Laymon, NVELI program officer. “What makes NVELI so progressive and successful are the partnership with NVV and First 5, the combination and concentration of existing services that bring focus to the issue of closing the readiness gap and the inclusion of the family as part of the solution.”

According to an April 2015 U.S. Department of Education report on preschool in America, significant new investments in high-quality early education are necessary to help communities close school readiness gaps. Advances in neuroscience and research demonstrate the benefits of quality early education during the critical period in children’s learning and development. For English language learners, the unmet need is especially great. Without access to quality preschool, English language learners and children from low-income families are far less likely to be prepared to start kindergarten than their peers.

The California Department of Education finds that in the 2014-15 school year in Napa County, 54 percent of students were Hispanic/Latino and 23 percent were English-language learners. Napa County also has a slightly higher proportion of students with Spanish as their primary language, compared to the rest of California.

The NVELI Second Year Report Executive Summary is available here.

About the Napa Valley Vintners

The Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit trade association has been cultivating excellence since 1944 by inspiring its more than 525 members to consistently produce wines of the highest quality, to provide environmental leadership and to care for the extraordinary place they call home. Learn more at

About First 5 Napa County

California voters passed Proposition 10 in November 1998 establishing the 58 Children and Families Commissions later becoming known as First 5 emphasizing the importance of a child’s first five years. Proposition 10 added a 50 cent tax on all tobacco products to provide funds to support services for children 0-5 and their families. Proposition 10 was built on research showing investments in the first five years produce significant results – for the children, their families and society. In November 2013, First 5 celebrated its 15th Anniversary and the combined community investment of over $18 million for young children, families and early care providers. Learn more at

Star-Studded Lineup Announced For 2015 Gold Coast Int’l Film Festival

Fifth Anniversary Festival Spotlights Award-Winning Films and Hollywood’s Best with Films and Events from November 9 – 15, 2015

The 2015 Gold Coast International Film Festival announces an exciting slate of films for this year’s Festival taking place November 9 – 15, 2015 in venues throughout the north shore of Long Island, and once again – everyone’s invited to join us for an exciting week of films, parties, filmmaker Q&As, and glamour!

The Festival kicks off with an intimate conversation with award-winning writer, director and producer Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”) being held on the campus of LIU Post on November 9, 2015. This event will include a special screening of Spurlock’s new short film CRAFTED.

The fifth anniversary of the Festival will feature over 60 films and dozens of filmmakers at screenings and events in venues throughout the Town of North Hempstead region, including Soundview Cinemas in Port Washington, the Bow Tie Cinemas in Great Neck/Port Washington/ Manhasset/ Roslyn, the Gold Coast Arts Center in Great Neck and the campus of LIU Post.

Filmmakers scheduled to attend include: award-winning director/producer/screenwriter, Morgan Spurlock; actor Lou Diamond Phillips, star of Showtime’s Homeland, Navid Negahban; Patricia Riggen director of the new Warner Brothers film The 33, starring Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche and Lou Diamond Phillips; award winning filmmakers Michael Cuesta (Exec. Producer Homeland), Rick Goldsmith, Yael Melamede and Andrew Horn; WNBA superstar Chamique Holdsclaw; several members of the band Twisted Sister who will join us for the US premiere of a new film about their rise to fame, Emmy-winning journalist Kristin Thorne – plus many more filmmakers and special guests such as Michael Landers, the Long Island ping-pong champion featured in the film Top Spin.

Films this year showcase Hollywood’s best actors including Richard Gere, Oliver Platt, Rene Russo, Jason Sudeikis, Rebecca Hall, Christopher Walken, Amber Heard and many more industry stars. Award-winning films from the world’s most prestigious festivals (Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, Tribeca) will be screened, plus over 25 incredible short films, with Q&As with visiting shorts filmmakers. Once again we are offering FREE tickets to all screenings for veterans and current military personnel, courtesy of

For tickets visit The full list of films includes:


Dir. Matt Fuller | USA | English | 76 min | Documentary

Long Island Premiere With remarkable thoroughness and compassion, director Matthew Fuller examines the everyday realities of autistic adulthood, showing how the members of this often-misunderstood community cope with the challenge of keeping romance alive over the years. “…A relatable and winning celebration of accepting the differences in others and in ourselves.” Q&A with Pat Schissel, Asperger Syndrome & High Functioning Autism Assoc. and Kate Palmer, The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership, Inc. Sat 11/14, 1:00pm, Soundview PW




Dir. Andrew Renzi | USA | English | 92 min | Narrative

Long Island Premiere Richard Gere shines as Franny, an eccentric philanthropist trying to reconnect with his deceased best friend’s’ daughter (Dakota Fanning) and her young husband (Theo James). Although impossibly charming, Franny’s motives and lifestyle bring about larger moral questions, in this surprising and engaging debut drama from writer-director Andrew Renzi. Tues 11/10, 7:30pm, Soundview PW


Dir. William Wyler | USA | English | 172 min | Narrative

FREE VETERANS DAY SCREENING FOR ALL AUDIENCES We honor our veterans, from all wars, with this screening of one of Hollywood’s greatest films, which tells the stories of three veterans returning home after WWII who have trouble readjusting to civilian life. Winner of seven Academy Awards in 1946, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Wed 11/11, 1:00pm, Bow Tie Great Neck


Dir. Erik Shirai | USA | Japanese with English subtitles | 94 min | Documentary

In a world where most mass-produced goods are heavily automated, a small group of artisans must brave unusual working conditions to preserve a 2000-year-old tradition that we have come to know as saké. A fascinating, absorbing look into what it takes to make world-class saké at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in northern Japan. Sat 11/14, 6:30pm, Bow Tie Manhasset




Dir. Anne Le Ny | France | French with English subtitles | 91 min | Narrative

Long Island Premiere A crowd pleasing, screwball tragi-comedy featuring French moviestars and Michelin-starred cuisine. When Marithé, a professional career counselor, meets Carole, a rich ditz living in the shadow of her chef husband, the two form an unexpected bond. While the two both share a desire for something different and greater out of life, their motives end up being at odds with their friendship. Fri 11/13, 6:30pm, Bow Tie Roslyn


Dir. Yael Melamede | USA | English | 90 min | Documentary

Presented in partnership with the Nassau County Bar Association

Lying gets easier the more you do it—that is, until you get caught. This humorous and engaging documentary, inspired by the work of behavioral economist Dan Ariely, interweaves personal stories, expert opinions, behavioral experiments, and archival footage and creates a fascinating and insightful inquiry into why people lie and the very real effects it can have. Q&A with Director Yael Melamede and Ethics law experts Kevin Kearon, Esq., Steven Leventhal, Esq. and Omid Zareh, Esq.

Optional CLE credit will be offered at the event for practicing attorneys.

Thurs 11/12, 6:00pm, Soundview PW




Dir. G.J. Echternkamp | USA | English | 101 min | Narrative

Long Island Premiere A delightfully dark comedy about a young aspiring filmmaker who comes back home to his unpredictable mom (Rene Russo) and unexpectedly starts an online documentary about his stepfather (Oliver Platt), an overweight alcoholic who was in an 80s one-hit-wonder band. Ironically, what started as a joke evolves into something else: a brutal, but often hilarious look at a flawed family coming to terms with the past and each other. Sat 11/14, 8:30pm, Soundview PW




Dir. Maria Blom | Sweden | Swedish with English subtitles | 97 min | Narrative

New York Premiere This warm-hearted Swedish comedy follows Disa—40ish, a bit dumpy, and way too accommodating—who is stuck in a rut after her husband leaves her for a twiggy new model, and her mother and work colleague continue to boss her around. With the help of a new man in her life, she learns to take care of herself, but is she up for the challenge? Sun 11/15, 4:00pm, Soundview PW




Dir. Graham Townsley, Brad Allgood | USA | Spanish/English with Eng. subtitles | 84 min | Documentary

The Recycled Orchestra, a youth group playing instruments made entirely out of garbage, is catapulted into the global spotlight when their story goes viral and is featured on 60 Minutes. This amazing and inspirational doc is a testament to the power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.

Sat 11/7, 7:30pm, Gold Coast Cinema at LIU Post

Presented in partnership with LIU Post Department of Music of the College of Arts, Communications, and Design

Sat 11/14, 2:00pm, Soundview

PW Presented in partnership with Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington.

**Nov. 11 screening includes Interactive Q&A with Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck and the ECO Orchestra from the Waldorf School of Garden City


Dir. Stevan Riley | USA | English | 102 min | Documentary

“The definitive Brando. In his own words.” Marlon Brando was one of the most acclaimed and influential actors of all time. Featuring exclusive access to Brando’s previously unseen and unheard personal archive, including hundreds of hours of audio, this film sheds light on the artist and the man. “The greatest, most searching documentary of an actor ever put on film.” Sat 11/14, 3:30pm, Bow Tie Manhasset


Dir. Giulio Manfredonia | Italy | Italian with English subtitles | 100 min | Narrative

New York Premiere A unique mix of comedy and drama in the story of an unlikely group of volunteers in the South of Italy who form a farm collective on land confiscated from a jailed Mafioso, who unexpectedly returns and is not pleased with what’s become of his property. Q&A with Fabio Troisi of the Italian Cultural Institute. Sat 11/14, 8:00pm, Soundview PW




Dir. Rick Goldsmith | USA | English | 57 min | Documentary

Sponsored by the Katz Institute for Women’s Health of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

New York Premiere Two-time Academy Award nominee Rick Goldsmith crafts an intimate profile of Chamique Holdsclaw, who became the best and most famous women’s basketball player on the planet until her career was derailed by depression and near-suicide. Since leaving the WNBA, she has become a powerful mental health advocate and role model. Q&A with Director Rick Goldsmith, WNBA superstar and subject of the film Chamique Holdsclaw and North Shore-LIJ Health System distinguished experts in psychiatry, sports medicine and women’s health.

Sat 11/14, 3:30pm, Soundview PW




Dir. Matthew Silva | USA | English | 78 min | Documentary

Sponsored by the Amsterdam at Harborside Long Island Premiere The New York State Pavilion, once the shining symbol of the 1964/65 World’s Fair, now sits as a haunting reminder of what became of the age of optimism. Through surprising and informative interviews, we learn the story of the Fair, from its glory days to its brief iterations as a 60s concert venue and 70s roller rink, to the years of neglect and the recent grass-roots restoration advocacy efforts. Q&A with Director Matthew Silva and Joseph Tirella, author of Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America. Thurs 11/12, 2:00pm, Bow Tie Great Neck Includes lunch before film at the Gold Coast Arts Center


Dir. Asaf Galay, Shaul Bester | Israel | English and Hebrew with English subtitles | 72 min | Documentary

Long Island Premiere An entertaining and compelling film that looks at the women who inspired the Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer, a leading figure in the Yiddish literary movement. Featuring interviews and recollections of high art and gossip from these smart, beautiful and unforgettable “muses.” Q&A with Leah Napolin, playwright featured in film (Yentl). Sun 11/15, 1:30pm, Bow Tie Great Neck




Dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven | France/Turkey | Turkish with English subtitles | 95 min | Narrative

Long Island Premiere In this poignant, eloquent drama, five sisters in a Turkish village play with boys while walking home from school. The perceived immorality of their play has unexpected consequences, and when the girls’ parents begin to turn their home into a prison, they must band together to fight back against the limits imposed on them. Direct from the Cannes Film Festival, and France’s official submission to the Academy Awards. Sat 11/14, 6:00pm, Soundview PW




Dir. Jean-Paul Civeyrac | France | French with English subtitles | 95 min | Narrative Long Island Premiere Adapted from a story by Nobel-laureate Doris Lessing, My Friend Victoria is a complex, poignant portrait of a black woman in contemporary Paris whose destiny is shaped by France’s attitudes on class and privilege. This superbly acted, distinctly fresh take on racial identity is an acutely intelligent achievement by a director whose time has surely come. Sun 11/15, 1:30pm, Soundview PW


Dir. Duki Dror, Chen Shelach | Israel | Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles | 60 min | Documentary

Long Island Premiere In the midst of the ever-fraught Israeli-Palestinian political landscape, two women—one Israeli and one Palestinian—attempt the seemingly impossible: to build a business together. Suspenseful, moving, and not without humor, this is the story of a very special bond facing challenges of all shapes and sizes. Q&A with film subjects Anat Shelach and Rola Srouji Thurs 11/12, 7:30pm, Bow Tie Great Neck Followed by dessert reception at LOLA




Dir. László Nemes | Hungary | Hungarian, Yiddish, German, Russian and Polish with English subtitles | 107 min | Narrative

Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes and lauded at festivals worldwide, Son of Saul tells the story of Saul Ausländer, a Hungarian prisoner at Auschwitz. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son, and decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi, and offer the boy a proper burial. Wed, 11/11, 7:00pm, Bow Tie Great Neck




Dir. Mina T. Son, Sara Newens | USA | English and Mandarin with English subtitles | 81 min | Documentary

Long Island Premiere An inside look at an offbeat sport, Top Spin turns one of America’s favorite pastimes on its head and reveals a coming-of-age story where success and failure come down to mere millimeters. The film follows three fiercely committed teenagers as they battle their way through the world of elite, competitive table tennis and trade dreams of the prom and graduation for the Olympics and winning Gold. Q&A with film subject Michael Landers – who is from Long Island. Sun 11/15, 4:30pm, Soundview PW




Dir. Sean Mewshaw | USA | English | 103 min | Narrative

Long Island Premiere A delightful rom-com anchored by charming lead performances. In friendly yet frosty Maine, Hannah (Rebecca Hall) is trying to get over the death of her beloved folk-singer husband. When New York professor Andrew (Jason Sudeikis) starts poking around with questions about her husband, she reluctantly agrees to partner with him on a book, opening up new chapters for both. Fri 11/13, 8:45pm, Bow Tie Roslyn




Dir. Javier Fuentes-León | Peru | Spanish with English subtitles | 109 min | Narrative

A crime novelist receives a vital clue to the whereabouts of his long-missing fiancée, in this original, mind-bending mystery that pays homage to Hollywood film noir and the reality-twisting fictions of Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar. Sat 11/14, 8:30pm, Bow Tie Manhasset




Dir. Andrew Horn | USA | English | 139 min | Documentary

US Premiere The mesmerizing, wickedly appealing, and never-before-told story of the first ten grueling years leading up to Twisted Sister’s legendary career, as they cross-dressed their way to headlining every club from Long Island beach bars to New Jersey bowling alleys, recounted by the band themselves, their managers and some of their most devout fans. Q&A with Director Andrew Horn and Twisted Sister members Jay Jay French, Mark “The Animal” Mendoza & Co-Manager Joe Gerber

Fri 11/13, 7:30pm, Bow Tie Port Washington




Dir. Robert Edwards | USA | English | 98 min. | Narrative

In this warm comedy of music, career comebacks and family dysfunction, aspiring artist Jude (Amber Heard) heads to the Hamptons home of her father (Christopher Walken), an over-the-hill crooner desperately charting his musical comeback.

Sat 11/14, 5:00pm, Soundview PW

SHORT FILM SCREENINGS on Tues 11/10, 1:00pm, Roslyn Library (FREE) and Sat. 11/14, 1:00pm, Bow Tie Manhasset

FAMILY FILM DAY An afternoon of short films, curated especially for kids, and hands-on movie related art activities at the Gold Coast Arts Center on Veteran’s Day. A great day of fun for kids and caregivers when schools are closed. Includes pizza courtesy of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza! Wed 11/11, 12:00 – 3:00pm, Gold Coast Arts Center


Meet the team from the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development for a roundtable discussion re: producing in New York State – tax credits, location scouting, finding stages and crew, and more. An invaluable opportunity for first time filmmakers and veteran producers. Tues 11/10, 2:00pm, Gold Coast Arts Center (FREE)

About the Gold Coast International Film Festival

Over the past five years, the festival has brought the latest Hollywood hits and Indie favorites to standing room only audiences throughout the fabled Gold Coast of Long Island. Add A-list celebrities and unforgettable events to the mix and it’s easy to see why GCIFF has become the “go to” Festival for film buffs and the public (it is also the last major film festival on the East Coast before Awards season). The Festival is produced by the Gold Coast Arts Center.

Previous honorees and special guests of the festival and the Gold Coast Arts Center include film industry VIPs Francis Ford Coppola, Hugh Grant, Baz Luhrmann, Brian Dennehy, Paul Sorvino, Ed Burns, Bruce Dern, Isabella Rossellini, Eli Wallach, Gabriel Byrne, Bill Plympton, Phil Donahue, Phylicia Rashaad, Joan Allen, Jay McInerney and Michael Cuesta, as well as composer Morton Gould, artists James Rosenquist, Oleg Cassini, Edwina Sandys and Bob Gruen, comedian Susie Essman, Broadway stars Kelli O’Hara, Melissa Errico and Savion Glover, and 4-time Oscar winner for production and costume design Catherine Martin.

Sponsors and partners of this year’s GCIFF include founding partners the Town of North Hempstead and Douglas Elliman Real Estate, longstanding major partners LIU Post and Nassau County IDA as well as AMC Networks, Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, Panavision, A.L. Sarroff Fund, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, J.M. Kaplan Fund, The Katz Center of North Shore –LIJ Health System, LVR Rental, Samar Hospitality, The Andrew Hotel, Stella Artois and The Amsterdam at Harborside as well as 1-800-Flowers, WLIW21, New York Women in Film & Television, Anton Publications, Blank Slate Media, Care Connect and many others.

About the Gold Coast Arts Center

The Gold Coast Arts Center is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts through education, exhibition, performance and outreach. For over 20 years we have brought the arts and arts in education experiences to tens of thousands of people throughout our region through our 1) School for the Arts, which offers year-round classes in all visual and performing arts to students of all ages and abilities, (2) Free public art gallery, (3) Concert and lecture series, (4) Outreach programs, which each year bring artist residencies, after-school programs, school assemblies, teacher training workshops and parent-child workshops to students, senior citizens, teachers and others in underserved communities throughout our region, (5) Year round film screening and discussion series and (6) Gold Coast International Film Festival, now in its 5th year. The Arts Center is an affiliate of the John F Kennedy Center for the for the Performing Arts: Partners in Education Program, and National Gallery of Art, both located in Washington DC.

Match Reveals the Hottest and Healthiest Single Trainers in America to Benefit The American Heart Association

The heart wants what the heart wants! Match has searched high and low to find the hottest (and healthiest) eligible trainers in America to get your heart racing.

According to a survey from Match, a quarter of singles would sign up with a personal trainer who they think has sex appeal and more than half of singles would be willing to turn a sweaty strength training session into a steamy afternoon rendezvous.

And while a ripped bod can get anyone’s heart pounding, a healthy lifestyle and being passionate about helping others achieve their fitness goals makes these trainers beautiful inside and out. Whether you’re looking for a volunteer firefighter with a heart of gold, a globe-trotting fitness model who dives with sharks or a parkour expert straight out of a James Bond film, Match has gathered the sexiest, healthiest and most eye-catching trainers, and now, we’re asking you to help us decide: Who’s really the hottest one of all?

Starting today, Match will donate $1 to the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease for every unique profile view of the 11 Hottest Trainers on the site. The trainer with the most profile views through Oct. 18 will receive the ultimate fitness prize package including a $5,000 cash prize to help further his or her career in fitness, an opportunity to work out with top celebrity trainer, Jeanette Jenkins, and the chance to be a featured expert on AHA’s digital properties.

Jon-Erik Valetti


Jon-Erik Valetti: Washington, D.C.

Volunteer Firefighter/Total Body Conditioning Trainer

Specialty: weight training

Ask about: my Medal of Valor nomination

Fun fact: I’m a volunteer firefighter

Mantra: I stay fit to save people’s lives

His heart health inspiration: My grandfather died from heart disease and I’ve seen how an unhealthy lifestyle leads to heart disease on a weekly basis as a volunteer firefighter. In fact, I was nominated for a valor award for my part in resuscitating an individual who was in cardiac arrest.

Drew Swithin


Drew Swithin: Chicago, IL

Group Fitness/Wellness Trainer

Specialty: strength training

Biggest turn-on: a confident woman

Biggest turn-off: a flat butt

Fun fact: Used to be a police officer

His heart health inspiration: My maternal grandmother had a great “heart,” but her physical heart gave her problems.

Amanda Carneiro


Amanda Carneiro, Los Angeles, CA

Owns Personal Training Company

Specialty: TRX training

Biggest turn-on: mutual trust

Biggest turn-off: cheating

Favorite things: wine, chocolate, sleepovers

Her heart health inspiration: My father died from heart complications. Many of my clients come from families that were affected by heart disease, which is why they have sought out personal training in the first place.

Lynne Hajjar


Lynne Hajjar: Boston, MA

Group/Personal Trainer

Specialty: kettlebell-certified

Biggest turn-on: self-awareness

Favorite things: Arabic food, dark chocolate

Fun fact: I’m lead singer in a cover band

Her heart health inspiration: My passion for health and fitness led me to become a professional trainer. I love working with various types of people, setting a good example for and motivating others, and helping them grow stronger while also educating them about heart disease prevention.

Joe Pepe


Joe Pepe: Philadelphia, PA

Personal Trainer

Specialty: post-pregnancy training

Biggest turn-on: selflessness

Mantra: I’m passionate about helping others

Favorite things: Phillies and/or Eagles games

His heart health inspiration: I have several people in my life who have suffered from heart disease. My goal is to help them as much as I can to prevent it before it begins to damage their bodies.

Tommaso Sanna


Tommaso Sanna: Chicago, IL

Personal Trainer and Studio Owner

Specialty: race preparation for non-athletes

Biggest turn-off: bad breath

Favorite things: Nutella, ponytails on women

Fun fact: ran my first half-marathon at 12

His heart health inspiration: I lost my grandmother to heart disease.

Nicole Reinhardt


Nicole Reinhardt: Denver, CO

Personal Trainer

Specialty: Nutrition as preventive health

Biggest turn-off: immaturity

Fun fact: I’m an adventurous thrill-seeker

Looking for: someone to show me around Denver

Her heart health inspiration: I know countless people who have suffered from strokes, including family members who are now deceased. It saddens me that the proper course of preventative health and healing never got the chance to save them.


Shelana Poindexter: Atlanta, GA

Spin Instructor and Fitness Model Competitor

 Specialty: certified spin instructor

Biggest turn-on: open-mindedness

Ask about: my shark-diving experience

Favorite things: rain, snuggling, hot cocoa

Her heart health inspiration: My grandfather passed away from a massive heart attack when my mother was 14 and my grandmother has also had a few strokes. My father has hypertension and A-fib, so heart conditions occur on both sides of my family. That is why it is so important for me to stay physically fit.

Mike Buchanek


Mike Buchanek: Houston, TX

Group/Personal Trainer

Specialty: parkour/natural movement

Biggest turn-on: being family-oriented

Fun fact: I’ve found love before on Match

Favorite things: horses, musical instruments

His heart health inspiration: My paternal grandfather died of a heart attack when I was young. My stepdad also dealt with hypertension and my maternal grandfather had surgery to correct atherosclerosis.



Darian “Hatch” Hatcher: Los Angeles, CA

Fitness Coach and Mentor

Specialty: all-ages training

Biggest turn-on: intelligence

Favorite things: riding my motorcycle, music

Fun fact: I played football for 13 years

His heart health inspiration: Two of my clients have had mild heart attacks.

Nicole Kiernan


Nicole Kiernan: New York, NY

Group/Personal Trainer

Specialty: I train long-distance runners

Biggest turn-off: smoking

Looking for: someone to give me butterflies

Fun fact:  die-hard Jets fan!

Her heart health inspiration: Fitness has been a large part of my life so long that I wanted to share my passion with other and help make a difference in my clients’ lives.

GRID Alternatives San Diego Announces Multi-Home Veteran’s Day Installation for “Operation: Solar for San Diego Troops”

Four Wounded Lakeside Veterans to Receive Solar Power in Refurbished Habitat for Humanity Homes

SAN DIEGO (October 8, 2015) – GRID Alternatives San Diego, a non–profit organization making renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities, has announced a four-home installation on Veteran’s Day in conjunction with its “Operation: Solar for San Diego Troops” campaign. The initiative has provided solar power to eight veteran families so far in 2015 and is helping to lead San Diego toward a brighter environmental future through solar energy.

GRID Alternatives San Diego, with help from a $30,000 grant and volunteer time from Willis Allen Real Estate, will install solar panels in veterans’ homes – recently completed by San Diego Habitat for Humanity – in an effort to transition the veterans to clean and renewable energy while lowering their monthly energy bills. Area veteran volunteers, including Willis Allen Real Estate agents who have served themselves, are participating in the projects.

“Veteran’s Day is truly the perfect time for this multi-home installation; it’s a way for community members, servicemen and women and city officials to come together in an effort to make green energy accessible to four deserving veterans,” said Tom McSorley, regional development director at GRID Alternatives San Diego. “Many of the economic issues faced by veterans are more significant than the general population and we are honored to be able to give back to these service members by reducing their monthly energy costs through solar.”

The three veterans who will be receiving the solar energy are: Angela and Lawrence Linam – Lawrence is a veteran of the United States Navy; Stephanie Scott, also a Navy veteran, and David Brannon, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. The fourth home will be solar-powered and awaiting another wounded veteran to make it his or her home.

The installations will occur Monday, November 9 through Wednesday, November 11 on Lakeshore Drive in Lakeside, CA. On the final day of the build, Veteran’s Day, the organizations will hold a sunrise breakfast to honor local area veterans at 6:30, and at 10 a.m., local dignitaries – including San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob – will give remarks.

“Operation: Solar for San Diego Troops” is ongoing and GRID Alternatives San Diego encourages the public to suggest low-income veterans or active duty service men and women who may benefit from the program. GRID Alternatives San Diego also provides no-cost solar installation training for veterans, allowing them to develop the skills local solar contractors seek.

To learn more about GRID Alternatives San Diego or to get involved in “Operation: Solar for San Diego Troops,” please visit

Billion 4 Charity

Meet Richard Hill: The District Philanthropist Raising $1 Billion for Charities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Richard Hill, Washington, D.C. based Investment Banker aims to raise $1 billion for charity. Hill plans to reach this goal via his brainchild, Billion4Charity. What is Billion4Charity? Billion4Charity offers users to buy raffle tickets towards winning various prizes (and a whopping grand prize of $1 million), while their $1 or $5 goes towards a charity of their choosing.

Billion4Charity aims to harness the power of millions of people who want to “do good” around the world by allowing them to participate in a fun game of skill in which the proceeds will directly impact the most critical issues facing our world today. These issue include but are not limited to saving and improving the lives of vulnerable children, helping those affected by rare diseases, protecting our planet’s natural resources, and alleviating homelessness and poverty. #Billion4Charity gives people (over the age of 18) the chance to help make a real difference, as well as the chance to win a $1 million prize as Game Ambassador!

The following nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive funds raised through Billion4Charity ticket sales: UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity International, Soles4Souls, Stand Up To Cancer,The Global Food Banking Network, Gates Foundation The Global Fund, JUCONI Foundation, Li Ka Shing Foundation, Mercy Worldwide, Human Trafficking Foundation, Skoll Foundation, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), World Health Organization, WaterAid, The Asia Foundation. Billion4Charity will work through nonprofit organizations to issue small grants to individuals and families who apply for financial help. These grants are available worldwide.

JASA Appoints Amy Chalfy to Chief Program Officer

New York, NY – September 10 – JASA, one of New York’s most comprehensive and trusted agencies serving older adults, has appointed Amy Chalfy, LMSW, to Chief Program Officer. In her new role, Ms. Chalfy will report directly to JASA’s Chief Executive Officer, Kathryn Haslanger, and will be responsible for managing key programs as well as developing new approaches to meet emerging needs and opportunities to serve the New York metropolitan area’s senior population.

Ms. Chalfy will draw from a wealth of experience having worked at JASA for nearly 30 years, most recently as Director of Programs. Ms. Chalfy has been instrumental in the growth of JASA’s innovative services for older adults, particularly in the areas of elder abuse, legal services, NORCs (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities), case management, and mental health.

“We are thrilled to appoint Amy Chalfy to Chief Program Officer,” says Haslanger. “Her dedication to older adults and her years of professional leadership have played a significant role in giving JASA its reputation as the client-centered, go-to agency for New Yorkers as they age. Her work has benefited our City’s seniors in many ways and made New York a better place to grow old, and I know she will make an even greater impact in her new role.”

“I am honored to continue my service at JASA as Chief Program Officer,” says Chalfy. “I am eager to help JASA continue to provide high-quality services as well as enhance programs to meet the growing needs and preferences of the aging population.”

Ms. Chalfy is a seasoned leader in the field of aging in place and helping seniors thrive. She is a frequent presenter at national professional conferences and is the co-author of two recent articles in professional journals. She often represents JASA at media events and was recently featured on WABC’s NY Viewpoint and NY1 News. She is a graduate of Hunter College School of Social Work and holds a certificate from the Columbia Business School/Institute for Not for Profit Management in Jewish Communal Service.

About JASA

Founded in 1968, JASA is one of New York’s largest and most trusted agencies serving over 43,000 older adults each year. JASA’s mission is to sustain and enrich the lives of the aging in the New York metropolitan area so that they can remain in the community with dignity and autonomy.

Introducing Public Good: The New Face of Fundraising

Online Donation Platform and Social Network For Discovering and Contributing to Not-For-Profits Makes National Launch with Over One Million Charities

CHICAGO, IL – September 2, 2015 – Technology startup veterans Jason Kunesh and Dan Ratner are announcing the national launch of Public Good, the new online donation platform and social network that brings awareness to countless causes to elicit activism.

Kunesh and Ratner, the CEO and Executive Chairman respectively, were both leaders of the technology team who revolutionized grassroots online giving for Obama for America in 2012. They were also members of the founding teams of business successes including Orbitz, SitterCity and Groupon. Public Good has been funded by notable investors including WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, OpenTable founder Chuck Templeton and former Orbitz COO Mike Sands.

After operating on a local level with Chicago/Illinois-based not-for-profits in its hometown, Public Good will house over one million charities under one online roof starting this month, creating a new online category.

“This is the third social network,” said Ratner. “There’s Facebook for your social life, LinkedIn for your professional life, and we have created Public Good for your civic life.”

Public Good, a benefit corporation, empowers a person or business to easily “Take Action” by contributing to a cause about which they are passionate — anything from violence prevention to hunger and nutrition to cancer support to STEM. In the process they can discover great local nonprofits working on these causes. All of the nonprofits are verified by Public Good and are 501(c)(3)s registered with the IRS.

“People want to take action to make their communities better but it’s hard to find, vet and connect with great local organizations working on the causes they care about,” said Jason Kunesh, co-founder and CEO of Public Good. “Organizations can’t sustain themselves looking for a social marketing gimmick or the next ice bucket challenge. They need to build lasting relationships with committed supporters, who in turn need to feel respected and engaged.”

American citizens donate around $300 billion per year to charities and 6.5 percent of this amount is donated online. According to a report released jointly by The Giving USA Foundation and The Center on Philanthropy, this percentage is expected to rise to 10 to 20 percent within the next five years.

“The question is, how do you give so it will matter most? How do you find organizations that match your values? And how do you participate in ways other than donations, like volunteering or spreading the word? Giving has changed and continues to evolve. Let’s raise awareness for organizations you might not know about but that are doing something about what you care most,” explained Ratner.

It’s free for both donors and organizations to join Public Good. In addition to registering on the site for free, within their own profile users can favorite a charity and donate to it, ultimately seeing the history of their donations in one portal; they can also download receipts at tax time. Soon, while they are on the site, they will be able to watch a video, sign a petition, learn more about a cause, take some type of action related to advocacy or call a member of congress, to name a few, and selectively share their activities with others.

Public Good Empowers Readers to “Take Action”

Public Good also extends beyond its own website. When a reader is inspired by an article or news story about a charity, Public Good empowers him/her to “Take Action” and truly connect with that charity rather than just “Like” or “Tweet” the article.

Since people seldom hit “like” on hard news stories about tragedies or disasters, they can now simply hit the “Take Action” button instead from any screen, noted Kunesh. “That message fits in with this mode you’re in. The goal is to start a connection.”

That connection begins by being directed to the Public Good page to learn about a specific nonprofit, subject or article/news story, discover charities supporting that specific issue, learn about many ways to actively participate in the cause and/or donate to the charity on the spot.

Currently being used by Sun Times Media and The Chicago Reader, Public Good has plans to launch “Take Action” with other media partners in the coming months.

Kunesh added, “We not only want to raise awareness. We really want to make an impact. There was no way to bridge this gap before, and if you wanted to learn about these organizations, there just wasn’t a way to do it. Trying to knock down those barriers is the goal.”

A Better Alternative to Donation Pages

Using Public Good as the Civic Social Network also has many benefits to not-for-profits, who are suffering from lack of increased donor spending and slashed government funding.

Public Good offers a more directed experience than “crowdfunding” or social fundraising. People using Public Good are actively there to find organizations working on the causes they care about and build substantial relationships. They aren’t just giving a few dollars to a friend’s birthday or charity run. Also, using a common platform has many other benefits including stored payment information to make donations easy and donor insights and campaign recommendations to make the fundraiser’s job easier.

“Public Good has been a wonderful partner for the Chicago Literacy Alliance. They have created a platform that allows others to come to know our cause and follow our organization,” commented the organization’s executive director Mike Ban. “Additionally, we have linked our website to the Public Good site allowing people from around the country to make donations in support of our work. The team from Public Good has been knowledgeable and responsive, creating solutions to meet our needs as well as new features to help us gather support in new ways. We are pleased to be working with Public Good and to “do more good” together,” he added.​

Jason Kunesh, Co-Founder and CEO

Jason Kunesh, a technology startup veteran, has worked as director of user experience at Obama for America in 2012 and was a lead member in developing Orbitz and Orbitz for Business. In addition, he was a key designer of the site, The Point, that eventually became Groupon. Kunesh also co-founded Fuzzy Math, a user experience design, strategy and innovation firm in Chicago. As a speaker and consultant, he’s worked with numerous organizations such as Google, Microsoft, Xerox and IBM and has taught design at DePaul University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

Dan Ratner, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman

Also a technology startup veteran, Dan Ratner has worked as co-director of engineering at Obama for America in 2012 and a founding member and CTO/COO of, America’s first and largest service dedicated to finding quality childcare online. He’s also a board member for Open Books, Chicago’s biggest literacy non-profit, Fulcrum Point, Chicago’s new music arts organization and OperaModa, an opera company dedicated to featuring young and emerging artists. This co-author of two books about nanotechnology lives in Chicago with his wife and twin sons.

Mental Health Of Students Of Color Is Focus For First-Of-Its-Kind Non-Profit

The Steve Fund announces partnership with a tech startup and two other projects to support the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color.

New York City (October 8,  2015) More than a year ago, the family of Stephen C. Rose established in his memory The Steve Fund, the nation’s first organization focused on improving the support for the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color. After an initial year of convening experts, surveying the research landscape, and building strategic partnerships, the Fund, on occasion of World Mental Health Day (Oct 10),  now announces three new projects to support the mental health of students of color:

  1. A text/SMS-based crisis support line in partnership with Crisis Text Line
  2. A partnership with one of the nation’s leading organizations for student mental health, the JED Foundation, to create guidelines for colleges to better support student mental health
  3. The second national conference on mental health of students of color, at Stanford University on November 20, 2015

“Research shows that differences in the ethnic background of students require culturally-sensitive approaches to fully support their mental health and emotional well-being,” says Stephanie Bell-Rose, Stephen C. Rose’s mother and a co-founder of the Steve Fund. “But these needs are understudied, and underserved.”

Studies show that students of color at American colleges and universities are often less likely to seek help when they feel depressed or anxious. They report more micro-aggressions than their European American counterparts. According to a Harris poll (source: – p. 27), they are almost twice as likely to be not sufficiently prepared to deal with the stresses of higher education . Only 49% of African Americans students complete their 4-year college education, compared to 71% of white, non-Hispanic students, according to a CollegeBoard report (source: – p. 5).

“All we have is anecdotal data when it comes to the mental health determinants for students of color,” says Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University. “You would be hard-pressed to find any research, large-scale, conducted in a rigorous fashion.”

The mission of the Steve Fund is to grow knowledge and thought leadership among researchers, practitioners, young people and national leaders, work in partnership with other charitable organizations and educational institutions to promote mental and emotional well-being of students of color, build awareness and voice among students, and help introduce culturally sensitive best practices for mental health support at colleges and universities.

During its first year the Fund has co-convened top mental health scientists and college administrators at a national conference at Brown University and organized a well-attended series of expert Webinars. The Fund also developed a team of experts in research, education, and mental health to create a knowledge base of existing research and inform the Fund’s directions and activities. The Webinars and videos based on the symposium are available on the Fund’s Web site at The Fund will hold its second national conference at Stanford University on November 20, 2015.

The Steve Fund has teamed up with a text/SMS-messaging-based crisis hotline to provide support. Through Crisis Text Line, the fund will recruit, select, and train a group of young people of color to become crisis counselors. A unique keyword for communities of young people of color will provide access to free, 24/7 support when in crisis – all via text. The service is scheduled to launch in winter 2015. For more information visit

The Steve Fund has also partnered with the JED Foundation to jointly create a comprehensive set of recommended practices to help college leaders, professionals, students and families support the emotional and mental health of college students of color. The JED Foundation is a leading national non-profit working to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among young adults and college students.

Evan Rose, Stephen Rose’s brother, tech entrepreneur, and Fund president, says: “JED has an impressive record of accomplishment in its work with colleges on behalf of students, and together we will build and implement a program that reaches students from every background, especially those who are underrepresented in our higher education system.”

For more information about the partnership, please visit

“The Steve Fund is not ‘just’ about helping students of color deal with mental stress,” continues Evan Rose. “With minorities forming the majority of Americans by 2044, and the majority of children by 2020, the future success of our nation will depend on the mental health and emotional well-being of all student populations, and on colleges and universities providing support appropriately.”

Avanade and The Aspire Foundation Announce Ambitious partnership to Empower Women in the Digital World

Partnership aims to impact more than a billion women by 2020 through business counsel and technology donations

NEW YORK/LONDON – 7 October, 2015Avanade and The Aspire Foundation today announced a new partnership to help empower and upskill a billion women by 2020. The partnership, announced at the opening of Avanade’s new innovation center in New York, will provide aspiring women working in charities and social enterprises access to quality business and technology mentoring, which is critical in today’s digital world. Avanade will work with The Aspire Foundation to pair volunteers from across its organization with women seeking to learn more about management, leadership and technology. Avanade will also leverage its innovation centers and capabilities across the globe to help these women take an innovative and unique approach to solving problems.

This partnership is part of Avanade’s corporate citizenship program, which aims to close the gender, technology and income gaps for women worldwide. “We are delighted to partner with The Aspire Foundation to help women around the world make a difference in their communities and families,” said Adam Warby, Avanade CEO. “I am personally passionate about helping women tap into the potential that technology and innovation offer. Through the donation of our expertise in helping guide charities and social enterprises on their digital journeys, we hope to help The Aspire Foundation reach its goal of positively impacting one billion women by 2020.”

To showcase their commitment to this partnership, Adam Warby and The Aspire Foundation CEO & Founder, Dr. Sam Collins, have agreed to be the first mentorship pairing. In addition, as part of the new office celebrations in New York, the team is encouraging employees, clients and partners to sign up as mentors.

“We strongly believe that women are the change enablers within their communities, and, with the right training, can help influence positive change,” said Dr. Sam Collins. “This partnership with Avanade will provide valuable support to help women make a difference whilst allowing us to grow together and tell rich, compelling stories that encourage others to make an impact.”

The Aspire Foundation currently has 500 mentees ready to participate in the program. Avanade and The Aspire Foundation will continue to identify mentees as part of the ongoing partnership. If you are interested in being a mentor or mentee, please visit the The Aspire Foundation application page.

About Avanade

Avanade leads in providing innovative digital services, business solutions and design-led experiences for its clients, delivered through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem. Our professionals combine technology, business and industry expertise to build and deploy solutions to realize results for clients and their customers. Avanade has 27,000 digitally connected people across 23 countries, bringing clients the best thinking through a collaborative culture that honors diversity and reflects the communities in which we operate. Majority owned by Accenture, Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation. Learn more at

About Aspire Foundation

The Aspire Foundation, the not-for-profit organizational arm of Aspire, seeks to make a difference to women leading change all over the world. The Foundation achieves this by offering pro-bono mentoring and coaching programs for senior influencers of change and aspiring leaders working in not-for-profit organizations including charities, social enterprises, government and community projects that are supporting women and girls across the world.

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