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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

Nonprofit

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

Last Chance for Advance Media Registration for 31st Space Symposium

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 3, 2015) – With just 10 days remaining before the start of the 31st Space Symposium, April 13-16, 2015, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., this is the last opportunity for reporters to register in advance before on-site registration.

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Due to a new badging system, on-site registration may take longer than in the past, so reporters are strongly encouraged to register now at http://www.spacesymposium.org/media/online-media-registration.

Reporters who register in advance may pick up a media badge upon arrival in the media center at The Broadmoor.

Reporters who wait for on-site registration will need to complete a form and may need to wait for security clearance before being issued a badge.

The media center is located on the second floor of Broadmoor Hall, above the parking garage. Media Center Hours are:

  • Monday, April 13, 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 14, 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 15, 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 16, 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Please note the following important items:

  • Official media badges are required to be worn at all times during the Symposium
  • For 2015, media will be excluded from two classified programs – Cyber 1.5 and Space Classified

See the current agenda and speakers at www.SpaceSymposium.org.

About the Space Foundation

Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium, in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.” Space Foundation World Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a field office in Houston, and conducts government affairs from its Washington, D.C., office. It annually publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space Certification and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit www.SpaceFoundation.org, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, and read our e-newsletter Space Watch.

Final State Budget Funds Statewide Health Information Network of New York

Funding Will Help to Drive Adoption and Usage of New York’s Electronic Health Records System

50,000 Healthcare Providers Already Participate in the SHIN-NY; Over 7 Million New Yorkers Have Given Consent for Their Medical Records to Be Shared

New York, NY – The New York State Legislature voted to support New York’s electronic health records system – known as the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (the SHIN-NY). The final New York State Fiscal Year 2015-16 Budget includes $45M in State funding for the SHIN-NY and its Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs), which will continue the work to build this public network, allowing healthcare providers and patients to seamlessly access electronic health records throughout the state.

“The Regional Health Information Organizations and New York e-Health Collaborative would like to thank Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Skelos and the entire Legislature for prioritizing the health of all New Yorkers by authorizing crucial funding for the Statewide Health Information Network of New York in the final budget. By enabling healthcare providers to securely share vital health information throughout the state, the SHIN-NY will help to improve the quality, efficiency and ease of treatment for patients,” said Dave Whitlinger, Executive Director of the New York eHealth Collaborative, which coordinates activities for the SHIN-NY.

“Already, over 50,000 doctors and healthcare providers participate in the SHIN-NY and over 7 million New Yorkers have given consent for their medical records to be shared. This year’s funding will build on the strong foundation the RHIOs have already built to drive further adoption and usage of the network. The New York e-Health Collaborative and RHIOs look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to continue the development of the SHIN-NY, an important public network that will help save lives and transform our state healthcare.”

In addition to driving adoption and usage of the network, the funding for the SHIN-NY in the budget will help to make a core set of standard services available to all participants. These services will allow doctors to look up individual patient records through a secure search engine, exchange direct messages with other doctors, and receive alerts when their patients have an important event such as entering an emergency room or being discharged from a hospital.

The SHIN-NY will also be a key component in to helping providers who are working together through programs such as the Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP) collaborate with each other to improve the quality of care while reducing costs.

New York has been at the forefront of health innovation and is the first large state in the country building a public network of interconnected electronic health records of this kind. Implementation of the SHIN-NY is poised to transform patient care, promote economic development, lower state healthcare costs and enhance overall public health.

About The New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC):

NYeC is a not-for-profit organization, working in partnership with the New York State Department of Health to improve healthcare for all New Yorkers through health information technology (health IT). The New York eHealth Collaborative is the State designated entity for coordinating the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), a network to connect healthcare providers statewide. Founded in 2006 by healthcare leaders, NYeC receives funding from state and federal grants to serve as the focal point for health IT in the State of New York. NYeC works to develop policies and standards, to assist healthcare providers in making the shift to electronic health records, and. www.nyehealth.org & @NYeHealth.

NBC Teams up with Walgreens and M&M’s® Brand around First-Ever U.S. “Red Nose Day” Telecast Thursday, May 21, 2015

Walgreens Will be the Exclusive Retailer of Red Noses in the U.S.

New York, NY, April 2, 2015 – NBC today announced its collaboration with Walgreens and M&M’S® Brand around its first-ever “Red Nose Day” broadcast. With a focus on driving change through powerful entertainment, Walgreens and M&M’S will be two of the presenting media sponsors of the three-hour “Red Nose Day” special on NBC, Thursday, May 21 (8-11 p.m. ET). The live broadcast special will feature stand-up performances, sketch comedy, videos produced by Funny Or Die, and music performances from A-list artists. ‘Red Nose Day’ is an enormously popular annual event in the U.K. and has raised more than $1 billion over the past 30 years for organizations addressing poverty.

As part of “Red Nose Day” on NBC, from April 17 through May 30, red noses will be available at Walgreens, the exclusive retailer of the emblematic noses in the U.S., for $1 each, with proceeds contributed to the Red Nose Day Fund.* The money raised during “Red Nose Day” will be used to fund programs that address the needs of children and young people living in poverty in the U.S. and internationally. The proceeds will be split between pre-selected domestic and international charity partners, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America; charity: water; Children’s Health Fund; Feeding America; Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund; LIFT; National Council of La Raza; National Urban League; Oxfam America; Save the Children and United Way.

“We are very excited to bring this internationally acclaimed live event to U.S. audiences to shine a light on the incredible efforts of poverty-fighting charities around the world,” said Dan Lovinger, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Advertising Sales Group, NBCUniversal. “‘Red Nose Day’ gives our advertising partners a unique opportunity to be a part of this first-ever national broadcast and harness the power of live programming for all the right reasons.”

Walgreens and M&M’S will have an on-air and online presence across NBC’s platforms, including the dedicated site for the NBC telecast at www.rednosedayusa.com.

“’Red Nose Day’ is all about being funny to raise money, and we’re delighted to work with NBC, Mars and Comic Relief to bring this fun charity event to the U.S. for the first time,” said Alex Gourlay, President of Walgreens. “The money goes to charities that help those who are less fortunate live happier, healthier lives – the same way Walgreens helps our customers be happy and healthy. While supporting Red Nose Day, I hope we’ll all have some fun with the Red Noses – a good laugh for a good cause.”

Richard Curtis, co-founder of ‘Red Nose Day’ and Comic Relief in the UK, will serve as an executive producer for the NBC telecast (a Universal Television production), along with Hamish Hamilton and Ian Stewart of Done + Dusted Productions. Henrietta Conrad and Lily Sobhani will also serve as executive producers, as will Mike Farah, Anna Wenger and Joe Farrell from Funny Or Die. Hamilton is set to direct.

“Red Nose Day has been an extraordinary success in the UK due to the amazing support of the public, the artists and our wonderful corporate partners. They provide a simple way for the public to get involved by buying a nose or product, each of which can help to save or change a child’s life,” said Curtis. “On behalf of the Red Nose Day charity, I am absolutely delighted that both Walgreens and M&M’s have come on board as the inaugural sponsors of this first ‘Red Nose Day’ event in America to complement the amazing support of NBC as our broadcast partner.”

Funny Or Die, the award-winning top destination for comedy on the web, and producer of high-quality content across numerous platforms, will partner with NBC to create original content for the special.

“Mars, Incorporated is already a proud partner for ‘Red Nose Day’ in the UK”, said Lee Andrews, Vice President, Corporate Affairs for Mars Chocolate North America. “The M&M’S® Brand is one of the world’s most beloved chocolate candies and a leader in colorful fun, so it’s a natural fit to leverage our brand and humor to help raise money through this partnership with ‘Red Nose Day.’ We’re very proud to be involved, and are looking forward to raising awareness and making a difference in our own, uniquely fun way.”

NBCUniversal is committed to moving people and communities forward with impact, ideas, and conversations that enable individual potential and spark collective action. As part of this companywide effort, NBCUniversal champions pro-social innovation and celebrates a portfolio of diverse pro-social initiatives.

*Noses are sold for $1 each, with 50 cents being contributed to the Red Nose Day Fund. No portion of purchase is tax deductible. Red Nose Day Fund’s objective is to lift children out of poverty in the US and internationally. For more information about Red Nose Day Fund, visit www.rednosedayusa.com.

About NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation. To learn more visit: www.nbcuniversal.com

About Red Nose Day

Red Nose Day was created to raise money to help children and young people living in poverty in the United States and some of the poorest communities around the world. The inaugural Red Nose Day will be held on Thursday May 21, 2015. The day’s events will culminate in a three-hour entertainment TV special on NBC, featuring the country’s favorite comedians, musicians and Hollywood stars. Money raised will go to the Red Nose Day Fund, a program of Comic Relief, Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) public charity. The Red Nose Day Fund will distribute the money raised by the Red Nose Day campaign to charity partners whose work helps to achieve Comic Relief, Inc.’s vision of a just world free from poverty.

About Walgreens

Walgreens (www.walgreens.com), the nation’s largest drugstore chain, constitutes the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,229 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com, SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com. Walgreens also manages more than 400 Healthcare Clinic and provider practice locations around the country.

About Mars, Incorporated

In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 75,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.

Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital, CESAR®, SHEBA®, DREAMIES® and NUTRO®; Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® and LIFESAVERS® mints. Food – UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA® and WISDOM PANEL®. For more information, please visit www.mars.com. Follow us: facebook.com/mars, twitter.com/marsglobal, youtube.com/mars, linkedin.com/company/mars.

National Association for the Self-Employed Announces Extension of Deadline for Education Scholarship

As Graduation Season Approaches, Deadline for NASE Dependent Scholarship Extended Until April 30th

DALLAS, TX – As graduation season approaches and the rising costs of higher education looms large for most Americans, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), the nation’s leading advocate and resource for the self-employed and micro-business community, today announced the deadline for the association’s scholarship program has been extended until April 30th, 2015.

The NASE Dependent Scholarship Program is an educational scholarship awarded to the dependent of NASE members to help ease the financial burden of tuition and other costs associated with attending college. This year, four winners will be chosen and each will receive $3,000 scholarships from the National Association for the Self-Employed.

“Since 1989, we have awarded more than $1.8 million to our members’ dependents through the NASE Scholarship Program,” said John Hearrell, Vice President of Membership and Affiliate Programs. “For the last twenty-five years, this scholarship has continued to help defray the costs and ease the burden for many self-employed members. Rising higher education costs continue to affect the bottom lines of all Americans, and for self-employed and micro-business owner that strain can sometimes be crushing for both the family and business’ budget.”

This award-winning program is open to legal dependents of NASE Members, ages 16-24. To apply, students need to be high school students or college undergraduates planning to enroll in college for the upcoming fall semester. Consideration is based upon:

  • Leadership abilities
  • Academic performance
  • Teacher recommendations
  • Career and educational background
  • School and community participation
  • Financial need

The application period for scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year has been extended from January 5th, 2015 until April 30th, 2015. Applications received after April 30th, 2015 will not be considered.

NASE members interested in applying for the scholarship or checking the status of an application can do so by going here and creating an account. To become a member of NASE, apply online here.

Further information about the NASE Dependent Scholarship Program can be viewed through this FAQ Document here or by sending an email with questions to info@applyists.com. (Note: Please include the name of the scholarship program or sponsor (NASE) and your username in your email.)

For more information on additional scholarships and grants available from NASE, please click here.

NASE members also enjoy a comprehensive list of benefits designed to help small business owners and sole proprietors start and grow their business. A complete listing of benefits available to NASE members is available, here. NASE members are offered a host of resources designed to help support entrepreneurs and small employers including access to professional “Ask the Experts” services in tax, health care and marketing, a navigational assistant health care portal, scholarships and grants, discounts on shipping rates and affordable email marketing systems and webhosting services. NASE’s newest member benefits continue the tradition of providing real-world, bottom-line assistance to small business owners.

GREENbike To Reopen For Third Season March 31st

New Discount Office Pass Program to Be Announced

Salt Lake City, UT (March 28, 2015) – On Tuesday GREENbike begins its third season in downtown Salt Lake City, with over 150 bikes available at 20 downtown stations. This marks the earliest date the system has opened, thanks to mild early spring temperatures and highly successful 2014 season. Last year 14,538 people rode 113 GREENbikes 46,264 times in 264 days, an average of 411 trips per bike.

In an effort to decrease the number of short distance downtown car trips, GREENbike has created a new Office Pass Program. The greater number of Annual Passes an office purchases for its employees, the more discounted the rate per pass. Annual GREENbike Pass rates can be reduced to as little as $25 per pass if an organization purchases passes for at least 41 employees. Smaller businesses can take part in the program as well to promote clean air and encourage healthy lifestyles to their employees.

Every GREENbike Annual Pass includes a free “I BIKE SLC” Bern Unlimited helmet, RFID card that allows the user to tap any dock to unlock any bike in 15 cities and an online profile that tracks the rider’s trips, calories burned and C02 avoided. An annual pass costs $75 and includes unlimited one-hour trips for a year. A 24-hour pass costs $5 and gives the user unlimited 30-minute trips.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

Bike sharing is an innovative, urban transportation solution that allows the public to access bicycles from a network of automated stations for short distance trips. The many benefits of bike sharing range from health and air quality improvements to decreasing traffic congestion, increasing transit ridership and extending the roadway life-cycle.

Over the last 5 years, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of U.S. bike share programs, with more than 40 currently operating in cities like Denver, New York City, Madison, Minneapolis, Boulder, Austin, Washington D.C., Boston, and San Antonio. Over 600 cities worldwide have instituted bike sharing as a comparatively inexpensive and quick-to-implement option for improving the mobility of city residents and visitors.

Salt Lake City launched its non-profit bike share, GREENbike, in April, 2013 with 10 stations and 55 bikes. By December, 2013, over 6,100 people had taken 25,361 trips, the equivalent of 390 trips per bike. Those figures made GREENbike the most successful small bike share system (less than 50 stations) in the U.S. GREENbike’s 2014 season began with 12 stations and 75 active bikes. In late July, the system added eight stations, 75 bikes and expanded four stations. This 87% growth resulted in a 184% increase in ridership.

GREENbike connects downtown office workers, visitors and residents with nearby employment centers, major transit stops and popular destinations for food, drink and entertainment. The program serves as a mechanism to improve community health, air, quality of life and increase the use of existing transit infrastructure.

The GREENbike organization grew out of a desire to create an active transportation alternative to single-occupant automobile trips and increase transit choices. Salt Lake City recognized the need for a sustainable transportation system that provides residents with safe, affordable, and efficient options to get around. GREENbike has become a key component of that system.

The GREENbike program has proved to be immensely popular and received support from the public, businesses, and regional/local governmental agencies. GREENbike is a non-profit, public/private partnership between Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Salt Lake City Downtown Alliance, Visit Salt Lake (Convention & Visitor’s Bureau), the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the Utah Transit authority, the Utah Department of Transportation, SelectHealth and a myriad of private sponsors.

Teams of Association CEOs, Members and Young Leaders Spent One Day with Other Teams to Craft Plans for Change

“Grand Challenges” Program Is Designed to Help Associations Reconnect with their Purpose to Drive Large-Scale Societal Change

Washington, D.C. – Association leaders from across the region participated in a day-long workshop on March 20 designed to spark big changes within individual organizations and across the association landscape.

Co-hosted by Tom Raffa and Seth Kahan, “Grand Challenges: Harnessing Your Association’s Unique Business & Social Value to Drive Membership and Benefit Society” brought together the CEO, a “rising star” staffer and a member from each of the day’s 17 participating associations to plan a Grand Challenge.

“A Grand Challenge is a skeleton key that opens three doors: growth; mission impact; and sustainable, profitable revenue,” says Seth Kahan, author of 2013’s Getting Innovation Right. “A Grand Challenge is especially valuable to scalable associations because it grows their stakeholder base exponentially. A Grand Challenge is a bold, audacious, socially beneficial goal aligned with the organization’s mission that captures the public’s imagination.”

“We were working on a Grand Challenge project ourselves, but to hear from a whole community of people about how they are coming at it and what their Grand Challenges are was helpful,” said participant David Gammel, executive director, Entomological Society of America. “I picked up so many ideas. The dynamic was invigorating. I got two or three ideas today that will materially help us have an impact and be successful.”

“I think it’s critical to take your headspace away from your daily work in order to think bigger and grander than you regularly can,” said participant Kate Ferrar, vice president, American Association of University Women Campus Leadership Program.

The goal of the event was not just to give individual associations the opportunity to think about their work in a different way, but also to build both a system to support change and a community of change agents who can work with and learn from each other to enhance what they would each be able to accomplish in their own space.

“We want to help associations transcend the ‘membership mindset’ and catalyze a movement aimed at leveraging the power of associations to solve the world’s greatest challenges,” said Tom Raffa, CEO of Raffa, a B-Corp certified, national top 100 accounting, consulting and technology firm. “My experience shows that early adopters will lead the transformation that is happening in this sphere and redefine what the association community can accomplish together.”

“There is a lot that the association world can give to the greater community. In some ways, the conversations today challenged people, but in other ways, they came to epiphanies that they would not have come to in their own work life,” said participant Tobin Conley of DelCor Technology Solutions. “They were both relaxed and outside of their comfort zone. That combination takes people places that they would never go to on their own.”

“Associations can scale in a way most people can’t. Most organizations are limited to their employees and their customers. Associations are not. They can scale in a grand way with almost no limit,” said keynote speaker Lisa Earle McLeod.

The March 20 event was the first step in creating a community of support and change within the association world. There will be additional meetings and smaller “meetups” to continue working with the day’s attendees. “Too often meetings like this are one-offs and people leave energized, but with no follow up. That is not what we have planned,” said Raffa.

Organizers also plan to coordinate a similar event for trade associations in the coming months.

About Tom Raffa

Tom Raffa helps nonprofit organizations and businesses build capacity and sustain excellence in all areas of their operation. He is the President and CEO of Raffa, PC, a B-Corp certified, national top 100 accounting, consulting and technology firm and founder of Companies for Causes, a collective of socially conscious CEOs whose mission is to solve the problems of their community using targeted philanthropy and hands-on engagement from member CEOs. Raffa is the recipient of the 2014 Pearl Foundation Award for Innovation in Philanthropy.

About Seth Kahan

Seth Kahan has worked with over 100 CEOs and agency heads in both the private and public sectors. He has led change initiatives working with the Peace Corps, World Bank, Shell, and Prudential, and is identified as a Thought Leader and an Exemplar in Change Leadership. Kahan is the bestselling author of Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out.

About Lisa Earle McLeod

Lisa Earle McLeod is a Sales Leadership expert for Forbes.com, and author of four bestselling books, including Selling with Nobel Purpose. McLeod is a sought-after expert, having appeared on NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. Her next book is entitled Leading with Nobel Purpose.

American Social Entrepreneur Helps Businesses in India Move Beyond Compliance and Do More with Corporate Social Responsibility Investments

More than $2 Billion Will Be Invested in Indian NGOs this Year; Raffa and Vardaan Help Businesses Achieve Greatest Good for the Community and Brand

Washington, D.C. and Bangalore, India – After three decades of “doing well by doing good” in the United States, entrepreneur Tom Raffa is assisting some of the largest companies in India as they set out to invest billions in socially responsible projects.

The Indian government passed a law in 2013 requiring companies with a net worth of $81 million or net profits that exceed $800,000 to invest at least two percent of their net profits in socially responsible projects around the country.

“This amounts to more than $2 billion in annual giving that will transform the NGO (nongovernmental organization) community in India,” said Tom Raffa, CEO of Raffa, a B-Corp certified, national top 100 accounting, consulting and technology firm.

“Businesses in India have always given back to their communities, but this change in the law offers business owners and boards a chance to reevaluate what type of impact they want to have and how they should best invest those dollars for the greatest good – both for the community and for their brand,” said Raffa.

Tom Raffa is assisting business leaders in India as the Knowledge and Equity Partner at Vardaan. Vardaan means “giver of good fortune,” and the company is becoming a key partner to businesses across India as they invest dollars to do the most good and to help grow their own bottom lines.

“Corporate philanthropy can be an effective tool for companies that are trying to meet consumers’ rising expectations of the role that businesses should play in society, but not all companies are using that tool as well as they should and are learning through the process that it’s much more than just writing a check to charity,” said Raffa.

“My philosophy is that corporations have a powerful, positive role to play in our communities,” explained Raffa. “And, this investment is not simply a cost of doing business, it is a true investment in the corporation. Improving our communities improves our bottom lines. This has played out over and over again in my 30 years in business.”

“Today, our philanthropic activities at Raffa are driven not only by our commitment to support our own stakeholders in their effort to make a difference today, but also by our strong desire to catalyze and inspire others to build a better tomorrow for future generations,” added Raffa. “While the lion’s share of the firm’s philanthropy is driven by our most important stakeholders – our employees and clients – Raffa’s giving is also channeled through Companies for Causes ​(CforC), a collective impact model we conceived to drive more effective corporate philanthropy in our community, Washington, DC.”

Tom Raffa was recently recognized with a “Pillars of Excellence” 2014 P.E.A.R.L.S. Award for the creation of CforC, a new model for corporate giving aimed at moving social responsibility from good intentions to strategic impact in local communities.

The team at Vardaan offers businesses in India the financial expertise, corporate law domain expertise, management thought process, social responsibility knowledge and global practice of implementing social responsibility programs in organizations.

Vardaan is also helping build the capacity of the nonprofits to ultimately help both sectors make the most of their efforts and move the entire country toward sustainability. “Our common goal is to act responsibly on behalf of future generations to achieve economic, environmental and social progress,” said Raffa.

About Raffa

Founded in 1984, Raffa is an accounting, consulting and technology firm based in Washington, D.C. dedicated to service and community. As a B-Corp certified, national Top 100, “Best of the Best” CPA advisory firm specializing in nonprofits and socially-responsible businesses, Raffa performs high-quality audits annually and provides support to help organizations across the country effectively and efficiently manage their most critical processes. The firm’s highly specialized professionals provide planning, consulting and compliance services to entrepreneurs, families, nonprofits and social enterprises. Offering a deep bench of expertise across an array of services, including accounting and tax, human resources, technology and consulting, Raffa’s client-centric, customized approach helps each client meet its potential and ensures each client’s success is sustained and maintained. Learn more at www.raffa.com.

About Vardaan

Vardaan is a consulting company which enables businesses to achieve their social responsibility (SR) objective. Vardaan advises on all aspects of SR consulting. This includes the diagnostic process, deriving objectives, policy making, SR plan implementation, monitoring, assessment and impact measurement. The Vardaan team is comprised of successful serial entrepreneurs, management professionals and corporate leaders. Learn more at vardaan.co.

Madeira Global Partners With Wildlife Conservation Society

Nonprofit Elects Impact Investment Advisor to Help Further Mission

NEW YORK– March 30, 2015Madeira Global, a New York-based investment and advisory firm servicing qualified investors and institutions in the area of impact investing, today announced it has partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a non-profit organization founded in 1885. WCS selected Madeira to be the exclusive impact investment advisor to its conservation enterprise program in order to help further its mission to save wildlife and wild places across the globe.

“We are honored that on the cusp on its 120th anniversary, WCS chose Madeira as its impact investment advisor,” stated Christina M. Alfonso, Founder and CEO of Madeira Global. “Impact investing goes beyond traditional philanthropy – we believe it is the foundation for solving global problems – and the aim is for our partnership with WCS to enable valuable funds to be strategically allocated in order to create lasting change.”

WCS’ collaboration with Madeira is part of its Conservation Enterprise Development Program (CEDP), which was launched in February 2012 to help sustainable market-based conservation enterprises across the world that benefit both people and wildlife. Madeira and WCS will combine organizational resources and experience to create an advisory committee focused on evaluating and implementing the further development of CEDP and identifying other appropriate opportunities for collaboration across the WCS global network, with the ultimate goal of creating an investment fund tailored to conservation-friendly businesses across WCS’s biodiversity-rich landscapes and seascapes.

“In light of rising private capital support for environmental solutions, we believe Madeira’s expertise in strategic product development for impact investments uniquely positions our partnership to further innovation in both financial services and wildlife conservation,” stated Todd Stevens, WCS Executive Director of Global Initiatives. “By pooling our collective knowledge, our partnership will enable us to impact countless communities and wildlife worldwide.”

Rescuing Dogs So They Can Rescue Veterans With PTSD – That Is Where There Is a Need

PLEASANTON, CA — (Marketwired – March 27, 2015) – One out of every eight returning soldiers suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, less than half of veterans with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) seek help, mostly out of fear of being disparaged.

Lindsey Stanek, the co-founder and CEO of Paws and StripesT, learned firsthand what it was like to live with someone who struggled with PTSD and TBI when her husband Jim returned home after his third tour of duty in Iraq. After months of therapy, Lindsey realized that nothing comforted Jim as much as being in the presence of a therapy dog.

After learning how difficult (and incredibly expensive) it was for veterans to qualify for most service dog programs, Lindsey and Jim founded Paws and Stripes. The nonprofit organization rescues unwanted dogs from kill shelters, trains them and pairs them with wounded U.S. military veterans at little or no cost. Their efforts were documented on Dogs of War, a television show that aired on A&E Network last November.

“As I watched the first episode of Dogs of War, with tears sliding down my face, I thought about not only the Veterans in my family, but those across the country,” said Danielle Cook, Corporate Responsibility Officer at Visioneer. “It was then that I knew Paws and Stripes was going to be the next beneficiary of our Where There Is a Need program. Lindsey, Jim and his dog Sarge are not only changing lives for the better, but they are creating a much needed awareness of what life is like for veterans who struggle to complete everyday tasks.”

According to Paws and Stripes, the usual costs of getting a service dog are great: from $10,000 to $30,000 and sometimes up to $60,000, and would often include countless months seeking grant money to fund the purchase. The cost to complete canine training for a Paws and StripesT veteran and dog team is funded by Paws and Stripes through donations. The veterans are never obligated to pay a penny for successfully completing the program. Paws and Stripes will be Visioneer’s beneficiary for Q2.

About Where There Is A Need

Where There Is A Need is a philanthropic program that helps nonprofit organizations across the globe that provide assistance to people and places in need. For every customer who registers a Visioneer or Xerox® DocuMate® scanner, Visioneer will donate $1 to an international disaster relief, cause, or environmental program each quarter on their behalf. Both Visioneer and our customers can now have a direct impact on helping individuals in need around the world.

“The goal of Where There Is A Need is to embrace responsibility for our company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through our activities on the people that develop, manufacture and sell our products, the businesses and families that use our products, and the communities and environment we all live and work in,” added Cook. “It is our goal that Visioneer’s social responsibility is not merely words on our website, but a fundamental part of how we conduct our business, make decisions, and set our priorities.”

How Our Customers Can Help

Customers can easily register their scanner at www.visioneer.com or www.xeroxscanners.com clicking on the “Register Your Product” link, and filling out a short form. Registering a new scanner will also keep customers current on special product offerings, tips on how to best use their scanner, driver updates, and to receive all warranty benefits. To keep up with the current need that is being helped each quarter by this program, visit www.visioneer.com/wheretheresaneed or follow us on Facebook.

About Paws and Stripes

Nonprofit Paws and StripesT provides service dogs for wounded U.S. military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The dogs come only from shelters, and highly trained service dog trainers work with the veteran/dog teams. We believe in training the veterans and dogs together. For more information, please visit them online or follow our latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

About Visioneer

Visioneer, Inc., a leader in scanner and document management solutions, offers a broad range of digital imaging hardware products for the desktop, distributed and departmental markets as well as the mobile and remote business scanning segments. In 2003, Visioneer combined its leading scanner technology with the Xerox brand recognition to develop the Xerox® DocuMate® product line. Visioneer and Xerox DocuMate high-performance business scanners and imaging software solutions offer users speed, image quality, advanced paper handling and ease-of-use with exclusive Visioneer OneTouch® technology. For additional information please visit Visioneer and Xerox scanning solutions. For open commentary and industry perspectives visit Facebook or Twitter.

Food-Tech Start-Ups Take Note: Applications Open for Innovative Companies to Participate in USA Pavilion Business Accelerator Program at 2015 World’s Fair

Select Teams will Receive Strategic Consultation from Leading American Technology and Food Science Experts

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 is calling for entrepreneurs to apply for a chance to change the world of food with Feeding the Accelerator during the next world’s fair in Milan, Italy. On March 28, the online application process will open during a pitch competition at Seeds&Chips, an event in Milan bringing together enthusiastic innovators, companies and investors who are eager to revolutionize the way food is produced, distributed, consumed and depicted. The winning team from this preliminary competition will automatically enter the Accelerator review process and be one step closer to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete and collaborate in the largest gathering of food system experts and investors in history who will incubate pioneering solutions to global food challenges.

“As an entrepreneur who has spent the last several decades in Silicon Valley, I understand how critical innovation and technology are when it comes to meeting the challenge of feeding more than nine billion by 2050,” said Doug Hickey, USA Pavilion Commissioner General. “Our Accelerator program will play an essential role in uncovering the ideas and people needed to tackle this global food issue.”

Feeding the Accelerator is a USA Pavilion program giving the world an opportunity to see American collaboration at work, as leaders in industry look to support the most innovative food and tech entrepreneurs. The Accelerator program will feature a series of workshops, seminars, lectures and discussions with guest lecturers and mentors from across the entire food system spectrum. Additionally, hackathons will be held during which competing teams will race to create innovative, network-based solutions to specific food and technology problems. The Accelerator will help eight to twelve upcoming food-tech stars reach their full potential through a curated program by the innovation and development company AtelierSlice and supported by Microsoft Corporation. Copernico, a cutting-edge Silicon Valley-inspired technology innovative hub, is also a partner serving as host of the workspace in Milan.

“We are proud to contribute to this project with the USA Pavilion by offering our technological know-how and our organizational expertise to develop a winning initiative able to boost the creativity of young people and entrepreneurs. We believe that innovation is a must-have lever to allow the food industry to grow and successfully cope with the current food challenges. That’s why we’re committed to coach these teams and to empower them with new technologies able to turn their ideas into reality,” noted Fabio Santini, Developer Experience and Evangelism at Microsoft Italy.

The ideal Accelerator applicant is a highly capable team working with a groundbreaking concept or assets at the intersection of food and technology. The selection committee will look for a significant X-factor and existing traction. In line with the theme of Expo Milano 2015, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” teams should have the potential for rapid impact on a global scale. The Accelerator will run a virtual bootstrapping program for the selected teams July through August and a physical accelerator during September in Milan. Participants will bear the cost of their travel, but the program is free for selected teams and the Accelerator will take no equity. Think your team has what it takes to join Feeding the Accelerator? Click here to apply!

About Friends of the USA Pavilion Milano 2015

The U.S. Department of State has selected the Friends of the USA Pavilion Milano 2015 as its private sector partner to work with the U.S. government to develop and implement an official American presence at the Expo. Friends of the USA Pavilion Milano 2015, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a collaboration between the James Beard Foundation (JBF) and the International Culinary Center (ICC), in association with the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy, whose mission is to conceive, design, fundraise for, and produce the USA Pavilion and programs at Expo Milano 2015.

Current partners include GE, NUSSLI, Uvet, Brand USA, PepsiCo, Microsoft, DuPont, Boeing, illy, Research Frontiers, 3M, Dow, Uber, McKinsey & Company, FleishmanHillard, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, U.S. Sustainability Alliance, U.S. Soybean Export Council, U.S. Grains Council, American Hardwood Export Council, North American Export Grain Association, USA Rice Federation, USA Poultry & Egg Commission, Food Export USA-Northeast, Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, and U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Through the leadership of Commissioner General Doug Hickey and the overall direction of the U.S. Department of State, the Friends organization will oversee every aspect of the project in consultation with a team of experts across the science, business, technology, agriculture, sustainability, design and other fields. The pavilion’s management and program is directed by President Dorothy Hamilton (founder and CEO of ICC), Chief Executive Officer Charlie Faas, and Chief Creative Officer Mitchell Davis (EVP of JBF). Biber Architects has been selected to design the USA Pavilion, and Thinc Design is serving as USA Pavilion exhibition designer.

For more information, visit: www.usapavilion2015.net and www.expo2015.org/en.

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