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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

Philanthropy

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.

You’re telling me technology is used for good? You’re crazy!

By Corey Harnish, CEO of Better World International.

A look inside a technology revolution that’s more about making a difference than just being the next billion dollar evaluation.

What would you say if I told you there was a shift happening in our society?

A shift to a more responsible world. A world where it’s more than just profits. Where companies are purpose-driven and leverage their influence for good.

Would you think I’m crazy? Or could you believe it?

Well you should, because it’s happening right now.

Meet #Tech4Good.

A social movement that Nissa Ramsay of Think Social Tech describes as,”a community of people, projects, organisations, and funders promoting the role of technology to improve social, environmental, and economic outcomes.”

Traditionally, it has mainly been the not-for-profit sector making a social impact, yet business acumen was low, and funding for technology was inexistent.

Millennials are changing that.

Social Entrepreneurs, Changemakers, Idealists, and Dreamers are showing up with passion and purpose for their careers, creating businesses that exist to make an impact.

This has put pressure on existing corporations to become more socially responsible.

So rather than producing technology just for profits, there are more and more products popping up that literally make a positive impact either as a by-product or directly.

Credit Tech for Good Hub.

Well that’s cool, but why’s it so important?

Look at the world around you.

There are many problems that face our communities whether it’s access to resources, equality, environmental degradation, shall I go on?

Without technological advancements it is hard to scale and create measurable social impact to alleviate these issues, let alone compete with profit-seeking competitors.

#Tech4Good focuses on making a tangible social impact first, and puts profits second.

By leveraging technology for good, we will create scalable impact, alleviate global problems, and have the means to measure a program’s effectiveness.

What’s more, technology is so versatile we can use it in an infinite amount of ways:

Data protection, community development, financial security, health and wellness, individualized education, sustainable living. The list can go on and on.

Awesome point! So what kind of impact has #Tech4Good had?

There’s this awesome app called Panda that uses artificial intelligence to help visually impaired people by bringing “eyes into ears.” By holding your camera up, your phone is able to identify what is in front of you and then speak it aloud to you.

Besides that, over 100 Syrian families in refugee camps have been helped by blockchain! Through AID.TECH, families received $10,000 transparently distributed as donations, used in partnership with a local supermarket, and provided security of personal identity. [1]

And just one more, it’s probably my favorite. PainSquad. These people are awesome. They had a hard time optimizing administration of pain medicine for young cancer patients. So they created a fun app where the child gets notifications to record pain levels and locations throughout the day. This allowed doctors to more effectively prescribe medicine.

But that’s just a little taste. There honestly are hundreds of programs out there using #tech4good.

Like these amazing organizations leading this technology revolution:

Better World International: We’re a tech not-for-profit that develops game-based social impact projects. Our flagship project, The Good Cards, is a real-time mobile app for doing good deeds where you can track your ripple effect of kindness. It is designed for Social Emotional Learning and Youth Participation within schools, as well as applications for cause marketing and customer engagement social impact initiatives in corporations.

Consensys: Builds decentralized applications and various developer and end-user tools for blockchain ecosystems, primarily focused on Ethereum. Consensys is an impact hub that is leveraging its network to help build successful companies that intend to make a social impact.

DoSomething.org: A digital platform powering offline action. DoSomething.org creates social change campaigns to mobilize youth all over the world, and has done things like: cleaning up 3.7 million cigarette buds and donating one million pairs of jeans in a single year.

I wanna join the movement!

There are so many ways you can get involved.

For starters, head on over to The Good Cards where you can grab a free Good Card and start your own chain reaction of kindness.

You can also check out this neat article on 7 projects that make real positive impact with technology.

Oh yeah, and if you know of some other really cool social impact projects, please share on the LinkedIn post for the rest of us to see.

#Tech4Good

Further reading

[1]: https://makesense.org/en/article/7-projects-that-make-real-positive-impact-with-technology/

This post was originally published here


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Delta Air Lines and KaBOOM! Build New Playground in Springfield Gardens

200 Community Volunteers Unite to Build Safe Place to Play at Merrick Academy Charter School

Press Release – Volunteers from Delta Air Lines, Merrick Academy Charter School and the community will join KaBOOM! on Saturday, June 23, to transform an empty site into a kid-designed, state-of-the-art playground in just six hours at Merrick Academy Charter School. The new playground will help make play the easy choice for kids and families in Springfield Gardens.

As a Title I school and the first charter school in Queens, Merrick Academy serves a diverse population of students, most of which are from low-income households. Its students have varied social and emotional needs that require play as therapy. In 2003, Merrick Academy moved to Springfield Gardens and adopted a smaller playground as part of the new property. However, this playground was not age appropriate and needed more equipment to adequately serve the needs of the student population. Merrick Academy believes in fostering kids holistically and understands that kids without access to play are at greater risk for suffering from depression, anxiety, asthma, diabetes and obesity. This new playground will serve an essential role in the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being of the students.

In April, kids from the surrounding community came together to draw their dream playground. The playground is based off their drawings and will provide more than 600 kids in Springfield Gardens with a great, safe place to play.

This playground is part of a broader effort led by Delta Air Lines and KaBOOM! to ensure communities have great PLAYces for kids and families. It will be the 23rd KaBOOM! build by Delta Air Lines, and the second one the airline’s employees have helped to build in New York City. Through this partnership, Delta Air Lines and KaBOOM! are creating places where kids feel valued and loved, and where their potential is supported, nurtured and celebrated.

About Merrick Academy Charter School

Founded in 2000, Merrick Academy is one of the first charter schools to open in New York City and the very first to open in Queens. Merrick Academy is located in Springfield Gardens and serves nearly 500 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. An extended school day with classes from 8:00 AM to 3:45 PM allows parents greater flexibility and ensures that children’s learning time with their teachers is maximized. Our academic program is built on the Core Knowledge curriculum, which covers history, science, geography, literature, and the fine arts. Parents receive regular student progress reports, and students are held to high academic and behavioral standards, abiding by a behavior management plan that fosters social development and maturity. Every day, our teachers and staff give their best and lead our students in a community committed to lifelong learning.

About Delta Air Lines in New York

Delta is New York’s largest carrier with more than 500 peak-day departures to more than 130 destinations worldwide from its hubs at LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport – including more destinations from New York State than any other airline. Delta has invested more than $2 billion in New York airport infrastructure over the past seven years and is currently building a new, $3.9 billion, 37-gate facility at LaGuardia. Delta and its more than 10,000 New York-based employees are part of the fabric of the New York community, acting as the official airline of Madison Square Garden, the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, Chelsea Piers and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The airline also partners with more than 40 community organizations. In 2018, Delta paid out more than $110 million in profit sharing to its New York employees and contributed 1 percent of its net income from the previous year to key charitable organizations, including organizations in New York.

About KaBOOM!

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – especially those living in poverty – the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or improve more than 17,000 playspaces, engaged more than 1.5 million volunteers and served over 9 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit kaboom.org and join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom, facebook.com/kaboom and instagram.com/kaboom. #playmatters #PLAYceforKids


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Nina Simone’s Childhood Home Honored as a National Treasure

National Trust for Historic Preservation Joins New Effort to Reimagine Home’s Future

Press Release – Washington, D.C. – The childhood home of Nina Simone, Civil Rights icon and revolutionary musician and singer, was named a National Treasure today by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Trust will bring its nearly 70 years of expertise to develop and implement a new use for this now-vacant and deteriorating yet nationally-significant property, purchased recently by four African American artists to maintain Simone’s legacy. This campaign will be undertaken through the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, an initiative with the Ford Foundation and actress Phylicia Rashad to uncover and uplift stories of African American achievement, activism, and community.

“Nina Simone’s distinctive voice and social critique in the mid-20th century was unlike anything America had ever heard before,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “And while her musical and social justice legacy burns bright, her childhood home has been neglected. We’re delighted to work with the home’s new owners and the local community to chart a new future for the property that will honor her tremendous contributions to American society and inspire new generations of artists and activists to engage with her legacy.”

Born Eunice Waymon in 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina, it was here she taught herself the piano at age 3, performed in public for the first time at the neighborhood church where her mother preached, and where she experienced the constraints placed on black females in the rural Jim Crow South—a theme that would deeply inform her music and political activism. In recent years, the three-room, 660-square foot clapboard pier and beam house had fallen in disrepair. The vacant property was put on the market in 2016. Alarmed by the condition of the home and the risk of losing this connection to Nina Simone entirely, four African American visual artists—conceptual artist and painter Adam Pendleton, the sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, the collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher, and the abstract painter Julie Mehretu—purchased the property in 2017.

“Last year, my fellow artists and I felt an urgent need to rescue Nina Simone’s childhood home—a need sprung from a place of political activism as well as civic duty,” said artist Adam Pendleton. “A figure like Nina Simone—an African American woman from a small town in North Carolina who became the musical voice of the Civil Rights Movement—is extraordinarily relevant to artists working today. She constantly expressed her commitment to the democratic values our country espouses by demanding that we live up to them. We are honored to partner with the National Trust to further protect her legacy.”

Working in partnership with the property owners, the local community, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, and World Monuments Fund, the National Trust will seek new protections, evaluate preservation needs, and conduct market and feasibility studies to develop a sustainable new use for the home that was once a symbol of Simone’s parents’ middle-class success.

“The artistic and social impacts of Nina Simone reach every corner of the world, and her birthplace is an important symbol of that legacy,” said Joshua David, president and CEO, World Monuments Fund. “We are proud to join forces with the National Trust and other partners to underscore the global cultural significance of the Nina Simone House and help ensure it can become a beacon for future generations.”

“Standing for something one believes in often requires great courage in the face of harsh criticism and judgement,” said her daughter, Lisa Simone. “My mother chose to be an outspoken warrior for that which she believed in. Her birthplace now being named a National Treasure is confirmation that no effort put forth, with true authenticity, goes unnoticed. As her only child, it brings me great joy to see my mother, Dr. Nina Simone, honored and remembered as mightily as she lived.”

The National Treasure dedication will be celebrated in Tryon, North Carolina on June 19, featuring guided tours of the home, remarks by representatives from the Trust and the ownership group, and culminating with a free live concert. More information can be found at: https://celebratenina.eventbrite.com.

To access the audio recording from today’s telepress conference, please go here.


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Costco Introduces Apeel Avocados To Improve Quality & Prevent Food Waste

  • Apeel avocados are rolling out at Costco, marking Apeel Sciences’ first U.S. supplier and retailer partnerships.
  • Avocados with Apeel have double the ripe time, which means a better quality avocado with more time to enjoy and less food waste.
  • Plant-derived Apeel naturally slows down produce spoilage — without the use of refrigeration or preservatives.

Press Release – SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA (JUNE 19, 2018) — Apeel Sciences, recently named a 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50, today announced Del Rey Avocado Company is supplying Apeel avocados to Costco Wholesale (COST) stores in the U.S Midwest. Additionally, Apeel avocados supplied by Eco Farms are now available at Harps Food Stores, an Associated Wholesale Grocers chain of supermarkets in the Midwest. The announcement marks the company’s first U.S. fresh food supplier and retail partnerships and an important moment in the battle against the $2.6 trillion dollar per year global food waste crisis [1].

The U.S. retail food sector generates eight million tons of waste annually in distribution centers and stores, or $18 billion a year in lost value for retailers [2]. What’s more, Americans throw away more than 400 pounds of food per person, costing a household of four an average of $1,800 annually [3]. Apeel is the first plant-derived solution for extending produce shelf life, which dramatically reduces food waste at the supplier, retailer, and consumer levels. Additionally, since avocados with Apeel maintain quality and optimal ripeness twice as long, without requiring the use of refrigeration or preservatives, it’s now possible to bring better quality avocados to supermarkets across the U.S.

“We’re excited to be working with exceptional partners as they share our vision of a food system that provides better quality food for all and less waste. With our partners, we believe we can increase the availability and accessibility of high quality, nutritious produce while simultaneously preserving our natural resources and environment,” said James Rogers, CEO and Founder of Apeel Sciences.

“Del Rey Avocado is excited to provide the first Apeel Avocados to Costco. Del Rey Avocado takes pride in ensuring that the highest quality avocados make it to the consumer each and every time,” said Jessica Hunter, Vice President of Production for Del Rey Avocado Company.

HOW APEEL WORKS

Every plant on earth has a peel or skin that protects it. From oranges to apples to tomatoes and raspberries, the materials found in the skins and peels of plants are ubiquitous and consumed in the human diet in high quantities every day. Made of these same materials, Apeel adds a little extra peel to the surface of fresh produce that naturally reinforces the plant’s own peel and slows the rate of water loss and oxidation — the primary causes of spoilage. Produce with Apeel stays fresh two to three times longer, which promotes more sustainable growing practices, better quality food, and less food waste from farm to retail shelf to home. For suppliers and retailers, Apeel is the only plant-derived postharvest solution that creates an optimal microclimate inside of every piece of produce, which leads to improved quality, extended shelf life, and transportability — without requiring refrigeration, controlled atmosphere, or preservatives.

For more information, see the Apeel FAQ.

ABOUT APEEL SCIENCES

Apeel Sciences is a company that’s fighting the global food waste crisis by utilizing nature’s tools to prevent waste in the first place — a sustainable approach to the world’s growing food demands. The company’s plant-derived technology helps USDA Organic Certified and conventional fresh food growers, suppliers, and retailers improve product quality and extend shelf life, which minimizes food waste from the farm to the retail shelf to the kitchen.

Apeel Sciences was founded in 2012 with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help reduce postharvest food loss in developing countries that lack access to refrigeration infrastructure (i.e., a cold chain). Today, Apeel formulations have been proven effective at reducing the rate of spoilage for dozens of USDA Organic Certified and conventional produce categories, and the company works with partners ranging from smallholder farmers and local organic growers to the world’s largest food brands and retailers.

Founded by CEO James Rogers, PhD, Apeel Sciences investors include Andreessen Horowitz, DBL Partners, Upfront Ventures, S2G Ventures, Powerplant Ventures, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation. The company is recognized as a Friend of Champions 12.3 and a 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50, and recently won a 2018 AgFunder Innovation Award for its plant-derived technology.

Visit Apeel’s website for information on the company’s partners and partnership inquiries.

[1] FAO, Global Cost of Food Waste, 2018.
[2] reFED, Retail Food Waste Action Guide, 2018.
[3] NRDC, Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill, 2017.


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Amida Care Hosts “A Day for PRIDE” Family Fitness Event in Brooklyn with Support of NYC Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr.

Free Community Wellness Event Promotes Healthy Living

Press Release – New York, NY – On June 16, Amida Care, a not-for-profit New York community health plan, hosted a free community family and fitness event at Brooklyn Stuy Dome. The event included a fun fitness class with instructor Nakisha Ross of Alwayz Fit 4 Lyfe in addition to face painting and activities for kids in solidarity with Brooklyn’s LGBTQ Pride Month’s celebrations. This event is part of Amida Care’s “Live Your Life” program, a concerted effort to keep healthy and active lifestyles at the center of people’s everyday lives. The event was made possible with support from Brooklyn Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

“At Amida Care, we believe that a holistic approach is necessary for healthy living. To live a healthy life, you need more than medication and doctor’s check-ups. We feel it is extremely important that our members’ social, physical, and emotional needs are being met. Our ‘Live Your Life’ events were created exactly for that purpose: to encourage people to be physically active, eat healthy, and to take care of their social and mental wellbeing. We’re thankful to have the support of Council Member Cornegy to help Brooklynites live healthy and active lives,” said Doug Wirth, President and CEO of Amida Care.

Amida Care holds monthly Live Your Life wellness events throughout the five boroughs of New York City, where members and their guests learn about ways to get and stay healthy. In addition to fun and active fitness classes, the events cover topics such as healthy cooking, art therapy, dance, meditation, aromatherapy, and more.

“Health is extremely important for our community, and we are glad to be able to support Amida Care with this Life Your Life wellness event. It is a great way to bring the community together during Pride Month and get everyone, from young to old, to celebrate while being active and having fun. Amida Care is truly going above and beyond to make sure its members and our community meet their health needs with a holistic approach,” said New York City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

Amida Care Inc. is a not-for-profit health plan that specializes in providing comprehensive health coverage and coordinated care to New Yorkers with chronic conditions, including HIV and behavioral health disorders, and people who are of transgender experience or homeless (regardless of HIV status). Amida Care has a wide network of health care providers throughout New York City and is the largest Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan (SNP) in New York State. For more information, visit www.amidacareny.org.


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Impact Entrepreneur Center And Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors To Host International Leadership Summit In The Berkshires From July 10-12, 2018.

Philanthropy Transforming Finance: Building an Impact Economy gathers 45 leaders from the philanthropy sector and impact economy systems thought leaders from North America, South America and Europe for a two-day conference. The summit focuses on how philanthropy can better support effective systems change that creates a sustainable and equitable economy.

Press Release – SHEFFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS: Berkshires-based Impact Entrepreneur and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors are gathering several dozen of the leading figures in philanthropy, impact investing, and systems thinking in the Berkshires to grapple with major global challenges that are impacting communities in every part of the world. As outlined in the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were unanimously approved by the UN’s 193 member states, including the U.S., massive investment is necessary to address the cumulative effects of a growing global population, ecological degradation and rampant social inequities. The impact investing sector grew by 17% in 2017 to $114 billion, according to the Global Impact Investing Network. Yet, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, $5-$7 trillion is needed to achieve the SDGs.

Private foundations in the United States alone hold approximately $1 trillion in endowment assets, yet only spend approximately 5% of that figure each year on their grant-making and other charitable distributions. Contributions that this capital is making to anything more than incremental change is limited. Viewed and deployed using a wider, systemic perspective, with a more ambitious and courageous agenda, and with an emphasis on transformation, the sector’s resources can meaningfully contribute to building an impact economy. This would represent a proactive approach to solving complex social and environmental challenges, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, by putting economies and finance in service of the well-being of people and the planet.

According to Heather Grady, vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the convening “will bring together funders and leaders in systems thinking who have a commitment to working collaboratively and proactively to move the impact economy agenda forward. We will explore the landscape, problems, gaps, opportunities, resources, and action steps, aiming to define approaches and build momentum that can be maintained both as a group, and through our respective networks.“

Laurie Lane-Zucker, founder and CEO of Impact Entrepreneur, which has 18,700 members in 150+ countries in its global network of systems-minded entrepreneurs, investors and scholars, adds that “this gathering of major players in sustainable development and financing from three continents furthers our goal of establishing our Center and the Berkshires as a gathering place for the global thought leaders of impact, and assists our efforts to establish a regional impact economy in the Berkshires and the northeastern United States.”

Participating organizations include the Ford Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic institutions in the world and a leader in impact investing; Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the global leader in circular economy advancement, based in the UK; The B Team, a global group of business leaders including co-founder Richard Branson that was formed to catalyze change for the well-being of people and planet; Porticus, an international organization headquartered in the Netherlands that manages and develops the philanthropic programs of charitable entities; the Aspen Institute’s Network of Development Entrepreneurs; as well as Massachusetts-based Boston Impact Initiative and Solidago Foundation (Northampton). View the full list of participating organizations here.

ABOUT THE SPONSORS

IMPACT ENTREPRENEUR

The Impact Entrepreneur Center for Social and Environmental Innovation’s mission is “to create and support a global movement of impact entrepreneurs who are building an “impact economy” populated by triple bottom line businesses fueled by impact investments.” IEC is a regional & global epicenter for entrepreneurs, investors, scholars and students of social and environmental impact, as well as others passionate about creating, accelerating and scaling profitable enterprises that drive measurable, impactful change. IEC is active in education, incubation and the overall building of the social impact space — partnering with thought-leading companies, organizations and institutions in an effort to transform the business landscape so that it is more responsive to the epochal social and environmental challenges facing humanity. The Center’s work is supported by the Impact Entrepreneur Network, a global network of systems-minded entrepreneurs, investors and scholars of social and environmental innovation (18,700 members), and Impact Entrepreneur, LLC, a consulting company that works with early and growth stage impact companies, impact investors and educational institutions. www.impactalchemist.com

ROCKEFELLER PHILANTHROPY ADVISORS

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) is a nonprofit organization that currently advises on and manages more than $200 million in annual giving by individuals, families, corporations and major foundations. Continuing the Rockefeller family’s legacy of thoughtful, effective philanthropy, RPA remains at the forefront of philanthropic growth and innovation, with a diverse team led by experienced grantmakers with significant depth of knowledge across the spectrum of issue areas. Founded in 2002, RPA has grown into one of the world’s largest philanthropic service organizations and, as a whole, has facilitated more than $3 billion in grantmaking to nearly 70 countries. RPA also serves as a fiscal sponsor for more than 50 projects, providing governance, management and operational infrastructure to support their charitable purposes. For more information, please visit www.rockpa.org.


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USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education Announce 2018 IWitness Video Challenge Winners

– Fifth Annual IWitness Video Challenge Inspires Students to Take Action to Counter Hate, Bias and Intolerance Nationwide –

Press Release – Silver Spring, Md. (Monday, June 18, 2018) – In an effort to spark a social movement against hatred in all forms, USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education – and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, today announced the winners of the 2018 IWitness Video Challenge. A group of Chicago, Ill. students have inspired their classmates and community to embrace each other’s unique differences, specifically as it relates to the challenges of American immigrant communities. This year’s first-place winners of the short video contest, which invited students to be inspired by testimony of survivors of genocides and mass atrocities to make a positive contribution to their communities, are FanXuan Peng, Israel Gomez, Jennifer Tegegne, and Yannie Wang of Northside College Preparatory High School (Chicago Public Schools). The team will be generously donating their $5,000 grand prize to Northside’s “DREAMers & Allies Club” to be put towards educational initiatives and programming related to immigration.

Initiated by USC Shoah Foundation in 2013 and designed to provide actionable ways to promote empathy and empowerment while also challenging bias and intolerance, the 2018 IWitness Video Challenge encouraged students to make a change in communities nationwide. To participate in the contest, students first listened to the testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide. They then completed a research-based and standards-aligned activity, which inspired the development of community action projects to counter hate. To enter the Challenge, students were required to document their experiences in video essays for submission. This year’s winning video essay starts with the testimonies of two Holocaust survivors, Herman Cohn and Liesl Loeb, who immigrated to the United States as children.

“Following our reflection on the IWitness testimonies, we were propelled to improve our school community by helping immigrants avoid experiencing fear and discrimination,” said FanXuan Peng, Northside College Prep student and IWitness Video Challenge winning team member. “The perception of America shouldn’t be of a divided country between natives and immigrants, but rather a melting pot where different ethnicities have endured some form of discrimination yet have thrived.”

After viewing the testimonies, FanXuan, Israel, Jennifer, and Yannie were inspired to create a project that brings awareness of the ongoing struggle immigrant students and their families face, and tackles the important topic of discrimination in modern society.

The winning “Stronger Than Hate” project showcases an “immigration timeline” that connects historical experiences of bias, intolerance, and marginalization from one community to another, with the overall goal of demonstrating how discrimination is a collective struggle rather than a personal one. The project ultimately underscores how impacted communities have managed to lead fulfilling and successful lives after migrating to the United States.

“The students from Northside focused on the timely subjects of immigration and discrimination with great sensitivity,” said USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education Claudia Ramirez Wiedeman. “I was particularly impressed with how inclusive their work was by demonstrating that any group can be marginalized.”

This year’s contest, the fifth annual, offers prizes for scholarships and additional money for educators and schools. In all, $10,000 in prizes are being awarded courtesy of Ford Motor Co., which sponsors the event as part of its commitment to innovative educational outreach. The contest was open to middle and high school students across the U.S. and in Canada, with the exception of Quebec.

Also helping to make this year’s challenge successful was the Institute’s partner Discovery Education, which administered the Challenge, and helped maximize reach and impact through its deep partnerships with school systems, administrators and educators worldwide.

In addition to splitting a $5,000 college scholarship, the winning students have secured a $2,500 grant for their school to be used to improve their community. Their teacher, Charles Milbert, will receive a $1,000 grant to help cultivate tolerance and empathy among the student body.

A $1,000 scholarship went to second-place winners Anthony McArdle, Kristian Morris, Shawnee Cranfill and Trenton Grace of Northern High School in Dillburg, Pa. (Northern York County School District). Their “Northern High School Pen Pal Project” aided students in leveraging the power of the pen to celebrate each other’s similarities instead of one another’s differences. After uniting project participants, students felt more connected and enjoyed getting to know students they otherwise may not have met. A $500 scholarship also went to Bernadette Carney, Emma Foursha, Kiera Songhurst, and Rebecca Bornstein from Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Moorestown, N.J. for their project “Acceptance,” which encouraged students to anonymously reveal their struggles and work together to publicly accept and celebrate their differences.

“Discovery Education’s collaboration with the USC Shoah Foundation connects students with powerful ways to promote equality and challenge bias through immersive, peer-to-peer educational experiences that motivate them to build a better future, said Discovery Education Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President Lori McFarling. “We congratulate this year’s IWitness Video Challenge winners for underscoring that discrimination and intolerance is not a personal struggle, but rather a collective one, and we applaud their thoughtful approach to discouraging bigotry in all its forms.”

The contest is based on one the more than 200 activities found in IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s free educational website. The website brings the human stories from the Institute’s Visual History Archive – the world’s largest repository of testimony from survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides – to teachers and their students via engaging multimedia learning activities.

Last year’s winners inspired their fellow classmates to celebrate their diverse identities with a project called, “Who Are You? Embracing Identity in Our Community.” Previous winners wrote kind notes to every student in their school, while the first winner documented her determination to stand up for undocumented workers after being moved by testimonies of Holocaust survivors who described their struggles being undocumented immigrants themselves.

“I have observed growth, development and an enhanced understanding of the importance of human rights and advocacy after encouraging my students to participate in the IWitness Video Challenge,” said Karen Wells from Midland High School in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas. “For many students, participating in the experience is transformative and has proven to be a catalyst for stronger relationships within our school community.”

For more information, visit the IWitness Video Challenge website.

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital content and professional development services, visit DiscoveryEducation.com. Stay connected with Discovery Education on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DiscoveryEd.

To read the full press release and for IWitness Video Challenge images, visit HERE.


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Power of Positive Music Movement Brings a Powerful, Universal Message for Change

Press Release – Los Angeles, CA – The Power of Positive Music Movement (PoPMM), a non-profit organization launched in August, 2017, is on a mission to make a positive impact on the world through the power of music. Inspired by the many recent tragic events that have created so much grief, anger and negativity across the globe, PoPMM has started a movement to encourage artists and musicians to become the catalyst for change through music.

“Music is a universal language that has the power to build bridges, to heal, and to make us feel safe,” says founder Keyonne Brooks. “This movement has the potential to change the world, but we need all the support we can get.”

PoPMM has several objectives. Artists and musicians are being challenged to create music that has a positive message, and program directors and radio hosts are asked to play and promote music that has a positive message, using the hashtag #PoPMM.

The organization has plans to lobby for changes in the regulations on music content allowed to be played over the airways, and there are also plans to target children by implementing music programs and special events in schools. An annual PoPMM festival with various acts to support the message is also in the works.

PoPMM has already attracted the attention and support of various celebrities, including Grammy award winner Donald Lawrence, Tata Vega and Brenda Lee Eager:

“Research has proven that music has unmatched power on the body. It can heal, it can impact the immune system in a positive way and it can bring back lost memories in Alzheimer patients.” ~ Grammy Winning Producer, Donald Lawrence

“I whole heartedly stand in support… Music is extremely powerful. It can transform people’s lives… Thank you PoPMM!” ~ Tata Vega

“Music is such a universal energy and can transform, inspire, heal so many situations far better than low frequencies. I love to write positive music that touches heart to heart, Spirit to Spirit.” ~ Brenda Lee Eager

The Power of Positive Music Movement is registered as a 501c3 non-profit, and would be happy to work in partnership with other organizations to help create awareness of their message. Musicians, artists, and anyone involved in the music industry are invited to help change the world and give their support.

For more information, visit the website at www.powerofpositivemusicmovement.org


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Scentsy Awards Scholarships to Students Across the Country

Press Release – Meridian, Idaho — June 14, 2018 — Several Scentsy employees and Consultants who have college-bound children just got a boost from the home office. Scentsy owners Heidi and Orville Thompson awarded 13 $2,000 scholarships to recipients across the country.

Students and their parents were notified earlier this month.

Alan Sturtevant, a manager in Scentsy’s Consultant Support deparment, expressed his gratitude for the scholarship.  “With three children in college, funds are tight; every bit of financial assistance is a huge help.”

Scentsy Consultant Tammy Frazier from Beavercreek, Ohio,is transitioning from the military into retirement.  She said the timing of the scholarship couldn’t be better.  “This scholarship will be a HUGE boost to my daughter’s confidence, and assurance that all the hard work she has put in is paying off.”

Since 2013, the Thompsons have awarded $173,000 in scholarships. Applicants are evaluated on their GPA, record of community service and leadership, parents’ income and an essay in which they describe how they bring value to the world. The scholarships will be distributed over two semesters.

Scholarship recipient Uilisolomon Kipukai Tuifua , the son of a Scentsy manufacturing employee, wrote a three-page thank-you letter to Scentsy. In it, he said, “My family are all blue-collar people that don’t mind the grind of daily work.  We have been through so may battles throughout life, and I really want you to understand how much this opportunity means to me and my family.”

Generosity is one of Scentsy’s core values, and the scholarship program is just one facet of the company’s charitable giving efforts.

About Scentsy

Scentsy, Inc. (www.scentsy.com) offers innovative and customizable products that Warm the Heart, Enliven the Senses and Inspire the Soul. Scentsy features safe, fragrant alternatives to traditional wicked candles, on-the-go fragrances, laundry care, inventive cleaning solutions and luxurious personal care products for women, men and kids. Scentsy products are sold through a network of Independent Consultants running home-based businesses throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.


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INFINITI Donates More Than $8 Million To Charity Throughout NCAA Partnership, Over $1 Million During The 2018 Season

  • INFINITI donates $1.1 million to various charities through INFINITI’s relationship with the NCAA®, which includes a donation of $774,180 to the American Cancer Society in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
  • INFINITI donated an additional $349,000 to various philanthropies through the INFINITI Coaches’ Charity Challenge and the INFINITI sponsored CBS Round-by-Round Bracket Challenge.
  • Dave Rose, head coach at Brigham Young University, who won the INFINITI Coaches’ Charity Challenge, received a $100,000 donation to benefit the Simmons Center for Cancer Research at BYU.

Press Release – NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 14, 2018) – INFINITI is proud to announce it has donated $1,160,680 to charitable organizations as part of the brand’s ongoing corporate partnership with the NCAA and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Today, Phil O’Connor, director of Marketing Communications and Media at INFINITI Americas, presented the checks to the winning philanthropies at INFINITI’s North American headquarters.

INFINITI also donated an additional $349,000 to multiple charities individually selected by participating NCAA Division I men’s basketball coaches through the INFINITI Coaches’ Charity Challenge, in which fans voted for their favorite coaches on social media and online. Head coach Dave Rose of Brigham Young University won the challenge, and $100,000 was donated to Simmons Center for Cancer Research at BYU.

“We’re proud to partner with INFINITI, the NABC and our NCAA coaches on the INFINITI Coaches’ Charity Challenge, which provides funding to organizations who in turn help individuals in need,” said Ellen Lucey, director of NCAA championships and alliances, corporate relations, marketing and branding. “The charity challenge is a great example of how the NABC and INFINITI support coaches around our NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It’s great when we can use sports as a platform to provide assistance to deserving organizations and communities.”

Additionally, INFINITI donated $700,000 through the CBS Round-by-Round Bracket Challenge. During March Madness, fans were encouraged to create their brackets using the Round-by-Round Bracket, the only bracket that donated money per correct pick to Coaches vs. Cancer. More than 14 million fans participated, with 9 million correct picks. By participating, fans also entered to win tickets to the 2019 Final Four game.

“For the eighth year in a row, INFINITI is proud to support the NABC, NCAA and Coaches vs. Cancer, by bringing fans, coaches and players together in the fight against cancer,” O’Connor said. “We’re honored to be a part of the ‘madness’ every March and take the opportunity to donate to a very important cause.”

INFINITI also hosted its third annual Hardwood Heroes Game. Consisting of two teams of cancer survivors, each coached by legendary NCAA coaches, the game kicked off the Final Four weekend at the Alamodome to raise awareness for cancer research. The team coached by Jim Calhoun, along with Assistant Coach Shelley Smith, scored three more points than the team coached by Bo Ryan, with Assistant Coach Kayce Smith, but all were winners at this inspirational game.

Outside the Alamodome, INFINITI presented the Charity Stripe Challenge at Tailgate Plaza, an on-site fundraiser throughout the Final Four weekend. INFINITI donated $74,180 towards Coaches vs. Cancer through a free throw contest with fans.

Since its partnership with the NCAA began in 2009, INFINITI has donated more than $8 million to a variety of charitable organizations.

About INFINITI

INFINITI Motor Company Ltd. is headquartered in Hong Kong with representations in 50 markets around the world. The INFINITI brand was launched in 1989. Its range of premium automobiles is currently built in manufacturing facilities in Japan, the United States, United Kingdom and China. INFINITI design studios are located in Atsugi-Shi near Yokohama, London, San Diego and Beijing. INFINITI is in the middle of a major product offensive. The brand has been widely acclaimed for its daring design and innovative driver-assistance technologies. From the 2016 season, INFINITI is a technical partner of the Renault Sport Formula One team, contributing its expertise in hybrid performance.

Find more information about INFINITI, its industry leading technologies and the all-new 2019 QX50 midsize luxury crossover at www.INFINITIUSA.com. You can also follow INFINITI US on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and see all our latest videos on YouTube.

About NCAA

The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 450,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.NCAA.org and www.NCAA.com for more details about the Association, its goals, members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. [NCAA is a trademark of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.]

About the National Association of Basketball Coaches

Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Forrest “Phog” Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC currently has nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men’s basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today’s student-athletes. The four core values of being a Guardian of the Game are advocacy, leadership, service and education. Additional information about the NABC, its programs and membership, can be found at www.nabc.org.

About Coaches vs. Cancer

For the last 25 years, the Coaches vs. Cancer program has united basketball coaches and fans nationwide in collaboration with the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches to defeat a common enemy: cancer. With your passion and dedicated support, the impact has been felt in communities nationwide. Through fundraising and education initiatives including Suits & Sneakers Week and the 3-Point Challenge, Coaches vs. Cancer has worked together with the Society to help increase the number of cancer survivors to more than 15 million strong. The fight isn’t over, and we need you on our team. To learn more about the Coaches vs. Cancer program, visit coachesvscancer.org or visit us on social media at @CoachesvsCancer.


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