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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 stories about philanthropy, typically covering the generosity of individuals, families, groups of individuals and foundations (nonprofits primarily in the business of funding other nonprofits.

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Starlight Children’s Foundation Reveals Three Finalists And Their Inspiring Design Stories For Nationwide Design-A-Gown Contest

Winner Will Be Featured on 30,000 Children’s Hospital Starlight Gowns in Partnership with Niagara Cares

Press Release – LOS ANGELES, Calif. (March 21, 2018) – Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization committed to bringing joy and comfort to hospitalized kids and their families, today announces the finalists for its inaugural Starlight Design-a-Gown contest. Starlight Gowns are revolutionizing children’s hospital gowns by replacing traditional, ugly and uncomfortable gowns with ones that are fun, comfy and colorful – and best of all, kids love to wear them.

Starlight received a blitz of more than 6,000 creative submissions from kids, families, hospitals, schools and supporters across the US. Participants created unique designs in hopes of having their art be featured on 30,000 Starlight Gowns in partnership with Niagara Cares, the philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling. Many of the submissions were motivated by a person’s desire to bring happiness to a hospitalized child in their life.

“We were blown away by all of the fantastic design submissions and went through a year’s supply of tissues in just one month reading the inspiring stories that Starlight has received from the Design-a-Gown contest,” said Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “Thank you to the kids, families, All Star ambassadors and our generous corporate partners for the outpouring of support for the Starlight Gowns program, this contest and for making year one such a smashing success. We encourage America to vote for their favorite Starlight Gown and see the designs come to life, bringing joy and comfort to hospitalized kids.”

The first finalist is six-year-old Jack of Crystal Lake, Illinois who wants to help his little sister, Everly, seven months, who was born with a congenital heart defect. Jack created his Starlight Gown complete with hearts and tons of glitter. He hopes Everly will be able to wear his gown for her life-saving open-heart surgery this summer. Ava, 13, a determined Girl Scout, and brother Maxwell, 10, of Torrance, California are the second finalists who designed a cool, comfortable and out-of-this-world Starlight Gown for their cousin Benny, who lives in Redwood City, California outside of San Jose. Benny was diagnosed at six months with a rare form of cancer. They hope the fun space inspired gown will bring joy to Benny and other children who undergo frequent hospital visits. The third finalist is Kimberly, 36, from San Luis Obispo County, California who is a wife and mother of three who dedicated her design to her six-year-old daughter, Violet, who suffers from three rare genetic conditions and faces many hospitalizations. Kimberly, a self-taught artist, drew a majestic elephant to symbolize strength. Her light-hearted design features elephant ears on each sleeve and an elephant’s behind on the back to bring laughter to hospitalized kids and their families.

Design-a-Gown celebrity All Star, Hall of Fame Sportswriter and media personality, Rick Reilly, traveled around the country to interview and produce short featurettes on each of the finalists. Watch the videos and vote for a finalist on

Public voting is now open on and will close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 6. The winner will be announced on April 9. Starlight’s generous partner Niagara Cares will provide 30,000 of the winning designs to children at Starlight’s network of more than 800 children’s hospitals and other health care facilities nationwide.

Starlight Gowns replace ugly and uncomfortable traditional children’s hospital gowns with ones that are soft and comfortable, tie down the side instead of open in the back and feature brightly colored fun designs that transform kids into astronauts, deep sea divers or their favorite movie characters. Originally launched in the fall of 2016, the program has already provided more than 145,000 Starlight Gowns to hospitalized children across the United States thanks to the generosity of partners and grassroots donors. The gowns were originally conceived and designed by LA-based entrepreneur Summer Germann to honor her 10-year-old brother who passed away from pediatric cancer in 2002.

Additional support and funding has been provided by The Michaels Companies, Inc., the national retail partner for the Design-a-Gown contest, and The Joy in Childhood Foundation, the charitable foundation supported by the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands.

Starlight’s Design-a-Gown All Stars, a prominent team of more than 50 actors, athletes, musicians, fashion icons, tech leaders and business gurus such as Coldplay front man Chris Martin, personalities Martha Stewart, Rick Reilly, Kristin Cavallari, actor and director Elizabeth Banks, actors Neil Patrick Harris, Melissa Joan Hart, Noah Schnapp, and Bryce Dallas Howard, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and cast members of Modern Family, among many others, have all supported Starlight as ambassadors throughout Starlight’s Design-a-Gown contest.

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The Dodo’s Wildly Popular Series Comeback Kids: Animal Edition Returns For A Second Season

Top Digital Show with 140MM Views To Launch New Season on March 24

Press Release – New York, NY – March 21, 2018 – The Dodo, the no. 1 animal brand on digital, is bringing back its popular series Comeback Kids: Animal Edition for a second season across multiple platforms. The first of the five-episode series will go live on Facebook Watch on March 24 and air on YouTube and Twitter the following day. New episodes will premiere each week through the end of April.

The show features determined animals with a lot of heart who manage to beat the odds and make incredible comebacks — all thanks to the devoted people who refuse to give up on them. Each episode takes viewers on one animal’s individual rescue and rehabilitation journey, and captures what it means to be truly resilient through the stories of these inspiring comeback kids.

Here is the official trailer for Season 2 of Comeback Kids: Animal Edition; the second season follows:

  • Jeri, an orphaned baby monkey who was found all alone in South Africa with a badly broken leg. Rescuers took her to a sanctuary so she could get better, and in this episode, The Dodo builds up to the moment where she meets her new monkey mom for the very first time.
  • Lazarus, a kitten found frozen in a winter storm. A loving family went above and beyond to rescue little Lazarus as a kitten, and in this episode we relive the rescue as well as his path to recovery.
  • Pumpkin, a mini foal who has trouble walking and is much smaller than the other horses. In this episode, The Dodo shows her receiving new leg braces and finally getting the chance to live her life to the fullest.

The Dodo is the no. 1 media publisher on Facebook Watch with 3 of the top 6 shows on the platform for views per episode (Source: CrowdTangle). The Dodo has 3 of the top 5 shows on Watch for shares per episode and engagements per episode (Source: CrowdTangle).

About The Dodo:

The Dodo is the number one digital media brand for animal people. The Dodo is a mission-driven publisher — we tell stories that connect people to animals and empower people to help animals in need. We’re committed to looking at the world through animals’ eyes and engaging our audience through a combination of entertaining, uplifting, meaningful content that inspires people and helps pave the way for progress. The Dodo is part of Group Nine Media — a top 10 global publisher.

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Community College Students’ Housing And Food Insecurity Subject Of Two Significant Studies By Temple University

Press Release – PHILADELPHIA, PA (March 21, 2018) — Programs serving community college students in Houston, TX, and Tacoma, WA, struggling with homelessness and food insecurity are the subject of two major studies led by Sara Goldrick-Rab at Temple University’s College of Education.

An estimated half of all college students struggle with food insecurity at public and private institutions, and with the cost of higher education at an all-time high, more students are facing the challenges of homelessness as well. Community college students face the highest rates of hunger and homelessness in college. With fewer social programs available to help them, fewer financial aid dollars available from federal, state and local governments, and families’ standards of living declining, even community college is slipping beyond the reach of most people.

Led by Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, an expert in the field, these two studies will examine whether programs put into place to combat these problems are having success in doing so. Helping students address the real price of attending college—which range far beyond just tuition—will help them stay in school, finish their studies, and have a much better chance of reaching the middle class.

“We have to move from identifying problems to assessing the most effective solutions,” said Dr. Goldrick-Rab. “I’m grateful for the philanthropic support to make these evaluations of ‘what works’ possible.”

In Houston, Dr. Goldrick-Rab is working with Dr. Daphne Hernandez at the University of Houston and M. Davis and Company of Philadelphia on a $557,691 grant funded by the William T. Grant Foundation to study “food scholarships.” In cooperation with the Houston Food Bank’s Food for Change program, this program seeks to help Houston Community College (HCC) students by providing them with at least 60 pounds of food every two weeks, including seasonal produce, frozen meat, dry goods and some canned goods.

In Tacoma, Dr. Goldrick-Rab is working with Sarah Cordes of Temple University, Katharine Broton of the University of Iowa, Christine Stevens of the University of Washington-Tacoma, and M. Davis and Company of Philadelphia on a $330,000 grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to examine the effectiveness of the first program in the United States to offer housing vouchers to homeless college students. This three-year study is following the College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) operated by the Tacoma Housing Authority (THA), in partnership with Tacoma Community College (TCC). One hundred and fifty vouchers are being awarded to homeless and near-homeless students through this program, and the study is following the recipients, to evaluate whether government-funded housing vouchers can improve the educational and social outcomes for these students.

In both cases, these programs are a response to a growing need observed by both colleges and the communities around them. In Tacoma, the THA sees the voucher program as mechanism that can not only help the people it houses succeed in school/college, but also to promote the success of schools and colleges serving low-income students. In Houston, a similar goal is envisioned.

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Phyllis Easton, Bill O’Brien And Janet Evans Named To LA84 Foundation Board Of Directors

Trio of civic-minded business and sports leaders join forces with leading youth development organization

Press Release – LOS ANGELES – March 20, 2018 – The LA84 Foundation announced today that Phyllis Easton, Bill O’Brien and Janet Evans have joined the non-profit organization’s Board of Directors.

The trio joins an illustrious group of continuing Board Members. They include: Chair of the Board, Frank M. Sanchez, LA84 Foundation President & CEO Renata Simril, Yvonne B. Burke, John F. Chavez, Debra Kay Duncan, Jonathan Glaser, Robert V. Graziano, Mariann Harris, Stan Kasten, Maureen Kindel, Patrick McClenahan, Peter V. Ueberroth, Walter F. Ulloa, Gilbert R. Vasquez and John Ziffren.

“The LA84 Foundation is honored to welcome Phyllis Easton, Bill O’Brien and Janet Evans as Board Members, and to the #PlayForAll Movement that we lead,” said Frank M. Sanchez, Chair of the Board. “These three iconic and inspirational individuals share a deep commitment to the Olympic Movement, youth development and working together to build a better and more just world.”

The #PlayForAll Movement is part of the LA84 Foundation campaign to promote the concept and practice of “Play Equity.” The Foundation is working hard to close the Play Equity Gap. Play Equity means fairness. Play Equity means opportunity. Play Equity means that the amount of exercise kids get must not be determined by their income or their zip codes.

Phyllis Easton is a member of the UCLA Anderson School of Management Board of Advisors, the Easton Technology Management Center at UCLA Anderson Board of Advisors and the UCLA Neurology Board of Advisors. She served on the LA 2024 Board of Directors’ Los Angeles 2024 Exploratory Committee. She has shared international experiences and partnered with her husband Jim Easton during his tenure as IOC Member in the USA and International President of the World Archery Federation. Jim is an LA84 Foundation Board Member Emeritus, having served from 1992-2017.

“At this time when enthusiasm is high and the global passion for sport has been so obvious during the recent Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, we feel and understand the power of sport,” said Phyllis Easton. “It is an honor and privilege to be asked to serve on the LA84 Board and be part of the legacy from the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games that has elevated sport and has had such a positive impact on the youth of the city of Los Angeles.”

Bill O’Brien serves as Chief Executive Officer for Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling (RCCB), a West Coast Coca-Cola bottler and distributor operating in California and Nevada. Bill currently serves as a board member of the Los Angeles Sports Council. He formerly served on the boards of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and 2015 Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles.

“Coca-Cola has a proud history of supporting the Olympic movement. As the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympics, we are excited to continue building upon the legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games in communities that we serve and care about deeply.”

Janet Evans is the LA 2028 Director of Athlete Relations. Widely considered to be the greatest female distance swimmer in history, Evans earned four Olympic gold and one silver medal. She also broke seven world records during her swimming career.

Evans is returning to LA84 for a second stint, having previously sat on the Board from 2005-2010. Evans also has been a keynote speaker during each of the past two years at the annual LA84 Foundation Summit. (This year’s Summit will be held October 18, 2018.)

“I have always admired the LA84 Foundation and the work that Renata Simril and her team do every day here in our city. The work is nothing short of amazing.” Added Evans: “We all know the statistics about what sports does for young people, and what great contributions those young people make to our society. As an athlete myself, I’m a great believer in the mission of the LA84 Foundation and the opportunity it gives young people to participate in sport.”

About LA84 Foundation

The LA84 Foundation is a nationally recognized leader in support of youth sports programs and public education programs about the role of sports in positive youth development. The Foundation, with more than 30-years of on-the-ground experience, has supported thousands of Southern California youth sports organizations through grant making, while also training coaches, commissioning research, convening conferences and acting as a national thought leader on important youth sports issues. The LA84 Foundation levels the playing field so that spots is accessible to all children, while elevating the field of youth sports as an integral part of American life. To learn more, visit and @LA84Foundation on Instagram and Twitter.

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The Gordon Parks Foundation Hosts Its Annual Awards Dinner & Auction Celebrating The Arts & Humanitarianism

2018 Celebration to Honor Director Ava DuVernay, Philanthropist Ronald O. Perelman, Author Ta-Nehisi Coates, Civil Rights Attorney Sherrilyn Ifill, Photographer Sally Mann, and Documentary Photographer Jamel Shabazz

Press Release – March 20, 2018 – Pleasantville, New York – On Tuesday, May 22, at Cipriani 42nd Street, The Gordon Parks Foundation will host its Annual Awards Dinner and Auction celebrating Parks’ rich legacy and honoring those that continue to make an impact in the performing and visual arts and humanitarianism. Honorees for the 2018 Awards include: director, screenwriter and filmmaker Ava DuVernay; businessman and philanthropist, Ronald O. Perelman; author Ta-Nehisi Coates; civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill; photographer Sally Mann; and documentary photographer Jamel Shabazz. Each of the honorees was chosen for their dedication and support of arts and humanitarianism and overall embodiment of Parks’ commitment to social justice. Previous honorees include: Congressman John Lewis, GRAMMY award-nominated singer-songwriter and producer Janelle Monáe, photographer Annie Leibovitz, and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson. The gala will feature performances by rhythm and blues singer-songwriter Mavis Staples.

“We’re pleased to recognize this year’s group of distinguished honorees and the impact that they continue to have in matters of social justice through their work in the arts, philanthropy and more as we again come together to celebrate the lasting legacy of Gordon Parks.” says Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director of The Gordon Parks Foundation.

The evening will be co-chaired by Karl Lagerfeld, Kendrick Lamar, Valerie Jarrett, Alicia Keys and Kassem Dean, Usher IV, Janelle Monáe, Common, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Kenneth and Kathryn Chenault, Judy and Leonard Lauder, and Alexander Soros. As part of the gala celebration a group of Gordon Parks photographs will be auctioned off with all proceeds from the evening to support the Foundation’s ongoing artistic and educational programs.

In addition to recognizing this year’s distinguished honorees, the Foundation will also highlight the 2018 recipients of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship–photographer Deana Lawson and multidisciplinary artist Derrick Adams. Now in its second year, The Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship Program supports artists working across a range of artistic disciplines – from photography and music to film and beyond – by providing grants of $10,000 and an exhibition at the Foundation’s space in Pleasantville, New York. Fellowships are awarded to artists working within themes of social justice.

For the past decade, The Gordon Parks Foundation has provided scholarships to help further the exploration of visual and performing arts to students across the country whose artistic talent reflect the passion, vision and humanity of Gordon Parks. The Foundation’s longtime partner institutions include: the Fashion Institute of Technology, Ghetto Film School, Harlem School of the Arts, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Purchase College (SUNY), Pratt Institute, and National YoungArts Foundation. This year, the Foundation is proud to add Columbia Journalism School to its list of partners.

For more information about The Gordon Parks Foundation, please visit: To purchase tickets for the 2018 Gordon Parks Foundation Awards & Auction, please contact Buckley Hall Events at 914-579-1000 or

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The Origin Of The Faeces? How Sharks Nourish Coral Reefs

Marine predators play vital role in supplying nutrients to coral reef ecosystems

Press Release – Sharks transfer vital nutrients from their open ocean feeding grounds to shallower coral reefs via their faeces, according to a pioneering study that has mapped this important contribution to these fragile ecosystems for the first time.

Published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the study – led by Imperial College London alongside partners including international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) – focused on grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), a predatory species commonly associated with coral environments but whose wider ecological role is not fully understood

Working in the waters surrounding Palmyra Atoll – one of the Northern Line Islands and a US National Wildlife Refuge, situated south of Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – the team used acoustic tags to map the sharks’ movements across the atoll, combining these insights with existing knowledge about their feeding habits in the open ocean (pelagic) environments where they consume much of their prey.

Scientists then analysed this tracking data as a spatial network of movements and were able for the first time to estimate the quantities of nitrogen deposited around the remote, unfished reef of Palmyra Atoll via the sharks’ faecal material. As a result, they estimate that this specific population of grey reef sharks – believed to number around 8,300 individual animals – contributes a combined total of 94.5kg of nitrogen onto the reef ecosystem per day, an amount that is likely to contribute substantially to reef primary productivity.

Commenting on this study, senior co-author Dr David Jacoby from ZSL’s Institute of Zoology said: “While estimating quantities of shark poo may not sound like the most glamorous of pastimes, the findings of this research have fascinating implications for our understanding not only of fragile coral reef ecosystems but also the ecological significance of grey reef sharks – a species currently classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List.

“By foraging for prey in deep pelagic waters, often miles offshore, it’s increasingly clear that these mobile predators can act as vital ‘nutrient vectors’ to shallow reefs – bringing with them precious sources of nutrients like nitrogen, which in turn effectively act as a fertiliser for the thousands of other species that call these reef environments home.

“Coupled with their better-known role as predators, our study underlines another, less obvious role played by reef sharks in improving the resilience of these fragile habitats and again underlines the vital importance of conserving these and other wide-ranging predators.”

ZSL scientists including Dr David Jacoby will be showcasing their tracking and monitoring work at the 2018 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition – further information here:

* Jessica J. Williams, Yannis P. Papastamatiou, Jennifer E. Caselle, Darcy Bradley and David M. P. Jacoby. 2018 Mobile marine predators: an understudied source of nutrients to coral reefs in an unfished atoll. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. RSPB-2017-2456.R1

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HealthCorps Living Lab Sharpstown High School’s Healthy Bites Apollo Aid Project to be Featured at National Conference

Press Release – HOUSTON, Texas (March 20, 2018) – HealthCorps® (, a national health and wellness non-profit, is pleased to announced that Sharpstown High School, a HealthCorps Living Lab, will be featured for its Healthy Bites Apollo Aid Project at’s national conference in Dallas, TX on March 20th.

The Healthy Bites Apollo Aid Project was started by Sharpstown High School teacher Carlos Quintero to provide immediate relief to families affected by Hurricane Harvey. HealthCorps partnered with Mr. Quintero to help him create this student-led service learning project. Funds for the project were raised by HealthCorps at the Healthy Bites to Save Lives events in October 2017. Mr. Quintero also crowdfunded online and received a generous match from With funds from this project, Sharpstown High School students are able to execute ongoing monthly student-led distribution events of goods/supplies for affected families in the community.

To date, Mr. Quintero, his students and HealthCorps coordinator Rachel Carey have:

  • Helped two families in Katy, Texas rebuild their homes to a livable condition.
  • Accompanied 20 families to local grocery story, Fiesta, to purchase $2,000 worth of specific food and goods needed.
  • Opened up potential partnership with Fiesta to donate to future distribution events.
  • Created, marketed and launched a monthly “Apollo Aid” event (February 27th) at the school where: 54 families in need attended and 922 items (food and household items) were distributed to those families.

“HealthCorps is about real-world relevance for young people. Our partnership with Mr. Quintero and the Sharpstown High School students created a platform for immediate response to a natural disaster that impacted the well-being of thousands of young lives. Thanks to our terrific Healthy Bites Festival sponsors as well as, students became an active part of rebuilding Houston ,” said HealthCorps President Michelle Bouchard.

Mr. Quintero, his students and HealthCorps coordinator Rachel Carey will present the Healthy Bites project and be recognized at’s national conference. Southwest Airlines has provided 30 free plane tickets to fly students and staff into Dallas for the event.

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Freedom Solar Travels To Haiti, Installs Donated Sustainable Solar Project For Orphanage

Daunting challenges didn’t dissuade team from finishing project for lost, abandoned children

Press Release – Texas-based Freedom Solar Power recently installed an off-grid solar system for A Child’s Hope, an orphanage in La Montagne, Haiti that did not previously have electricity. The completed 20-kilowatt solar array and battery backup now provide a sustainable source of electricity that meets 100 percent of the orphanage’s electricity needs.

“Thanks to the new solar power system, we’re now able to light our facilities. The ultimate goal is to make the orphanage self-sustaining, and solar power was the critical first step to achieving that mission,” said Raleigh Jenkins, founder of A Child’s Hope, the nonprofit that built the orphanage, and owner of ABC Home & Commercial Services’ Houston branch.

“The new solar array also powers the aquaponics farm we’re currently building at the orphanage, allowing us to raise fresh fish and grow nutritious, organic produce. And the project will ultimately allow us to refrigerate or freeze that food so the children have a constant, reliable source of food. It’s a life-changer,” said Jenkins.

Freedom Solar donated the labor for the project, and SunPower donated the solar panels. Freedom Solar also paid for additional costs for the project including international customs and trans-oceanic shipping costs for equipment. The estimated total value of the project is $100,000.

Four Freedom Solar team members made the trip to Haiti to install the system: Adrian Buck, founder and chief installation officer; Brian Gamez, lead installer; Louis Edwards, installer; and Clay McKelvy, system designer.

“Haiti has the world’s largest population living in energy poverty, with more than 7 million people lacking access to electricity. We’re humbled and honored to have been able to complete such a meaningful charitable project,” said Buck.

While ultimately successful, the project came with plenty of obstacles along the way.

Freedom Solar spent two days assembling the majority of the equipment at their headquarters in Austin before it was packed up for shipment to the port in Haiti. The shipping process took about five to six months because of delays and difficulties with import taxes and customs.

The orphanage’s solar installation took three days from start to finish. One full day was spent unpacking the shipping containers, which proved to be more difficult than anticipated.

“We had almost no tools, and dismantling the bracing was difficult. Members were spiral-nailed to the decking, impeding the removal of our heaviest equipment. The batteries had fallen onto precious, valuable items. Toys we brought for the children were smashed during transport, and our equipment was in disarray. A saw, a failing sledgehammer, two claw hammers, and some violence got the job done,” said McKelvy.

By end of day two at the orphanage, the Freedom Solar team had almost all of the racking installed, and six modules trickling a charge into the batteries. On day three, the team ran into several more snags including with shoddy wiring, circuit shorts, and a malfunctioning junction box yet still ended up successfully completing the installation.

“Somehow, we overcame each obstacle by luck, fortune, or providence— depending on who you talk to,” said McKelvy.

“It’s a first class implementation that will provide reliable power for years to come. We’re overwhelmed with gratitude for Freedom Solar Power. The new donated solar array they installed will help us build a sustainable future for lost and abandoned children in Haiti for generations to come,” said Jenkins.

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MDIF Closes $6 Million Media Impact Fund

Press Release – New York, 19 March: Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) today announced final close of MDIF Media Finance I, a $6-million impact fund investing in independent news media in select emerging and frontier markets.

“We are delighted to have closed MMF I and ramp up financing for companies that provide the news, information and debate that people need to build open societies,” said Harlan Mandel, MDIF Chief Executive Officer. “MMF I loans will help build companies that expose corruption, hold governments to account and provide balanced coverage of elections.”

MMF I provides affordable debt to independent news companies in a range of countries where access to free and independent media is under threat. The fund will invest in companies in countries such as India, Ukraine, Bolivia and Lesotho.

MMF I notes pay 4% annual interest and, under a pioneering agreement with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), MDIF and Sida provide investors with 55% first-loss protection. Sida also provides technical assistance grants to help investees to build their management capacity.

MMF I investors include the Open Society Foundations (Soros Economic Development Fund), Dreilinden, a Dutch family office and Antonis Schwarz.

“MMF I will finance investments in software, equipment, content production, workspace, as well as working capital and short-term cash-flow needs ? all vital for company growth,” said Mr. Mandel. “With the successful close of MMF I, we are now looking forward to launching MMF II later this year.”

About MDIF

MDIF is a New York-based not-for-profit investment fund for independent media in countries where independent media are under threat. It has 22 years’ experience of helping build quality news and information companies? print, digital and broadcast ? in emerging markets. It has:

  • invested more than $166 million in 114 media companies
  • worked in 39 countries on 5 continents
  • a current portfolio of more than $60 million invested in over 50 media organizations

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The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Trees for the Future sign Memorandum of Understanding

Press Release – SILVER SPRING, MARCH 19, 2018 — In support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNITAR and Trees for the Future (TREES) subscribed a Memorandum of Understanding which will serve as a cooperative framework to develop and implement training activities. Plans for an initial collaboration are already underway and set to take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this coming June.

The training session Ending Poverty, Hunger & Deforestation will be open to all UN members and special guests. TREES will share knowledge and experience in the implementation of the Forest Garden Approach and how to overcome challenges in diversifying smallholder farming systems.

TREES work impacts the following Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss
  • Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

TREES is honored to support UNITAR’s mission “To develop the individual, institutional and organizational capacities of countries and other United Nations stakeholders through high-quality learning solutions and related knowledge products and services to enhance decision making and to support country-level action for overcoming global challenges.”

About Trees for the Future

Trees for the Future (TREES) is an international development non profit that meets a triple bottom line: poverty alleviation, hunger eradication, and healing the environment. Through our Forest Garden Approach we train farmers to plant and manage Forest Gardens that sustainably feed families and raise their incomes by 400 percent. We receive donations to implement our work in areas where we can have the greatest impact. Since 1989, TREES has planted nearly 150 million trees. Learn more at


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is an autonomous UN body established in 1963 as a dedicated training arm of the United Nations System, and has the mandate to enhance the effectiveness of the UN through diplomatic training, and to increase the impact of national actions through public awareness-raising, education and training of public policy officials.

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