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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.

Scentsy Grants Go To 17 Treasure Valley Charities

Press Release – Meridian, Idaho — June 14, 2018— Scentsy, an international fragrance and home décor company, has donated more than $135,000 to 17 local charities and organizations that help families thrive and strengthen our community.

Scentsy is a longtime supporter of many charitable causes such as The Salvation Army, One Stone and the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association, but many organizations were first-time recipients of a Scentsy grant. More than 100 organizations and individuals applied for Scentsy’s 2018 grants.

This year’s grant recipients include the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association, The Salvation Army Boise Corps, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho, JDRF, Children’s Home Society of Idaho, One Stone, Corwyn’s Cause, St. Luke’s CARES, Camp Rainbow Gold, Move Over MSA, Idaho Diabetes Youth Programs, Nampa Public Library Foundation, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise State Athletic Association, The Jesse Tree of Idaho, Life’s Kitchen, Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity and the Women’s and Children’s Alliance.

Scentsy’s donation to the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association will benefit the Treasure Valley iCan Bike Camp, which teaches special needs children how to ride a conventional two-wheeled bike independently in a safe, encouraging and supported environment.

“Scentsy’s support will help us provide an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to learn a new skill that will help them be more included in their community,” said Lucy Olmos, Treasure Valley iCan Bike Camp Director.

Generosity is one of Scentsy’s core values and the community “Direct Giving” grants are one facet of the company’s charitable giving efforts. Scentsy’s owners, Orville and Heidi Thompson, believe in “giving more than you take” and strengthening the community where they built their business. Since 2010, Scentsy’s Direct Giving Program has helped more than 150 Valley organizations and donated more than $1,167,000.00.

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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This New Social Network Changes Everything

Press Release – NEW YORK, June 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Over the course of your lifetime, you spend around 5 YEARS on social media – over 40,000 hours.

If that statistic gave you a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, it’s probably because your social media experience is mindless. You catch yourself scrolling through your feeds, clicking on articles you don’t care about, ‘liking’ things without a second thought.

But what if you could transform your time spent on social media into a purposeful, lifelong venture? What if you could immortalize your love and generosity? What if you could uphold meaningful connections with the people you love AND make a positive contribution to a charity of your choice without touching your wallet or really changing your daily routine?

Highlanders allows you to do all of that at once, for free. This revolutionary App will affect the way we think about our whole life and will also change the way we support charities and nonprofits.

The aim of the app is to create an everlasting digital presence. You can do this by building out your own profile, expanding your network by inviting friends and family to the app, and engaging with your community and interests.

The app uses ‘Hearts’ as a form of currency. You can acquire them by showing appreciation for any content on the app, as well as receiving some on stories you’ve posted. Once you’ve earned Hearts, you can use them to redeem Wishes by donating a chunk of them to your charity of choice.

You can use Wishes to create events that will be initiated after your passing. For example, you could leave a special message to your son that he’ll receive the next time he goes back to that lake up in the mountains where you used to camp together every summer. You could send flowers to your granddaughter when she graduates. Or have personalized videos sent to friends on their birthday each year. The goal is for your heart to live on even in your absence – for your friends and family to feel the love forever.

And the best part is all of your activity on the app positively contributes to society. 50% of Highlanders’ profits – plus $1 for every active user – goes to charity.

Social media isn’t going anywhere. So why not use those 40,000+ hours we’re going to spend scrolling feeds for something good?

SOURCE Highlanders, LLC


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The Drug Enforcement Administration And Discovery Education Name Grand Prize Winner Of Operation Prevention Video Challenge

— Utah teen to receive $10,000 for his public service announcement on dangers of youth opioid misuse —

Press Release – Washington D.C. (Thursday, June 14, 2018) – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA Educational Foundation and Discovery Education awarded Porter Christensen of Pine View High School in Utah (Washington County School District), the grand prize for the annual Operation Prevention Video Challenge. Christensen’s public service announcement entitled “Waiting to Die” elicits the visceral experience of opioid misuse while taking viewers inside the mind of one teen’s decision making.

Teenagers across the nation were invited to submit 30-60 second video public service announcements that capture their unique voice in order to communicate the opioid epidemic as a national crisis. In “Waiting to Die,” Christensen connects peer-to-peer by displaying self-talk that can lead to poor choices teens later regret. His character in the video urges viewers to “please don’t make the same mistake.”

“Having to operate the camera while being the actor is challenging, but incredibly satisfying when I see my finished product. I hope that through my writing, editing and music, my peers are able to comprehend the emotion I tried to convey,” said Christensen.

The second-annual video challenge is a part of a joint nationwide education initiative titled Operation Prevention that educates students about the science behind addiction and its impact on the brain and body. Available at no cost, the initiative’s resources help promote lifesaving discussions in the home and classroom.

“Teens are agents of change, and their actions speak volumes to peers. Together, we can work toward raising awareness, and most importantly, prevention, among our youth population,” said Acting DEA Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “Congratulations to Porter for lending his voice to an important cause and producing a powerful portrayal of the pain opioid misuse causes.”

The winning video was chosen by a panel of educators and judges at Discovery Education, the DEA and DEA Educational Foundation. The other winners include:

  • Second Place: Palmer Williams of Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Georgia (Cobb County School District) will receive $5,000 for the video “One Bad Choice.”
  • Third Place: Calvin Simon, Elijah Mitchell, Hassiara McNeal, and Jessica Ohlsen of Atlantic County Institute of Technology in Atlantic County, N.J. (Atlantic County Vocational School District) will receive $1,000 for their contribution titled “This Isn’t You.”
  • People’s Choice Award: Garrett Miller, Ayanna Fourte, Robert Smith and ZaQuan Muhammad of Kenwood Academy in Chicago, Ill. (Chicago Public School District) earned the most votes in the People’s Choice Award category for “Don’t Do It.” Selected through a period of public voting online, the People’s Choice Award winners will receive an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the DEA Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

The prizes awarded to the first, second, third place and People’s Choice Award winners are provided courtesy of the DEA Educational Foundation.

The videos of the winners can be viewed at operationprevention.com/video-challenge. Winning public service announcements will be featured across DE and DEA digital and social media platforms.

“Porter’s ‘Operation Prevention’ video submission communicated an honest, connected and proactive stance on dangers of drug abuse,” said Kelly Thomas, fine arts teacher, Pine View High School, Washington County School District. “It’s vital that we raise conversations and inspire solutions in the fight against the opioid epidemic. He continues to use his art to help the world become a better place.”

“Congratulations to all challenge winners for starting an important conversation with teens across the nation. We’re humbled by the students, families and educators who have joined this tremendous effort to promote drug-free living in our communities and schools,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Discovery Education.

To learn more about Operation Prevention, visit operationprevention.com. For more information about Discovery Education’s Streaming Plus services, digital content and professional development services, visit discoveryeducation.com. Stay connected with Discovery Education on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DiscoveryEd.

To review the full press release, visit HERE.


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New Analysis Questions Impact Of Reform In Era Of Mass Incarceration

The report, from the Vera Institute of Justice, uses new measurements that reveal different trends in incarceration

Press Release – The rise of mass incarceration was characterized by near universal, continuous growth in jail and prison populations across state and county lines, and in jurisdictions of all sizes. While universal growth is finally a thing of the past, it has not been neatly supplanted by decarceration. Instead, the single trend of growth fragmented into distinct trends of decarceration, stagnation, continued growth, and jurisdictional shifts that vary from state to state and county to county. As a result, the “old standard” of using state prison population as the primary indicator of the state of mass incarceration has become ineffective – and even misleading.

The New Dynamics of Mass Incarceration, released today by the Vera Institute of Justice, provides a first-in-kind look at the multiplicity of incarceration trends that have emerged since the new millennium—which is widely recognized as an era of criminal justice reform. The report, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, moves beyond the convention of using state prison populations as the measure of reform and instead explores the complex relationship between local jails and state prisons. It illuminates both where decarceration has happened and where true reform has remained elusive, creating a fresh sense of urgency to end our national overreliance on incarceration.

“The aim of this report is not to throw cold water on reform, but rather to add fuel to the fire”, said Christian Henrichson, Center Research Director at Vera. “Vera’s research shows there is an urgent need to rethink our approach to ending mass incarceration. While we celebrate the successes that have been achieved, the road to countering systemic injustice is difficult and complex. And failure comes at too high a cost. Mass incarceration leaves behind a long legacy that has stripped away the dignity of those behind bars, overly burdened people of color, ripped apart families and communities, and caused intergenerational harm that we cannot begin to quantify. We can and we must do better.”

This report comes as more and more states adopt legislation aimed at reducing prison and jail incarceration, and rhetoric from many policymakers continues to shift from “tough on crime” to “smart on crime. Between 2013 and 2015, at least 286 bills, executive orders, or ballot initiatives targeting sentencing or corrections reform were adopted across 46 states.

But the comprehensive metrics detailed in The New Dynamics of Mass Incarceration, including jail admissions, pretrial jail population, sentenced jail population, and prison admissions, illuminate where policy change and public narrative continue to fall short.

For example, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia continue to incarcerate people in both prisons and jails at all-time high rates that keep increasing. In fact, while much of the country is locking fewer people in jails and prisons, Kentucky is among a handful of states where prison and jails are growing so fast that, if they continued at their current rate, the entire state would be incarcerated in just 113 years.

Many jurisdictions that have enacted reforms to meaningfully reduce incarceration in one part of the system may have failed to look at the full picture, including both prison and jail. For example, Indiana has reduced prison admissions by 25 percent and seen county jail populations grow by 32 percent between 2015 and 2017. In this context, true decarceration remains elusive as states and counties shift populations between prison and jail custody—a kind of incarceration shell game.

“This report sheds new light on the many drivers of mass incarceration and shows that we must focus more on the relationship between prisons and jails, not just prison population numbers, to keep advancing justice system reform,” said Laurie Garduque, director of justice reform at the MacArthur Foundation. “When considering local strategies that better address the drivers of incarceration, researchers and reformers should include a wider set of metrics – including prison admissions, jail admissions, pretrial jail populations, and sentenced jail populations – that look at both jails and prisons in concert.”

Link to full report: https://www.vera.org/publications/the-new-dynamics-of-mass-incarceration


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Make-A-Wish® America CEO Announces Succession Plan

David Williams will depart the organization later this year after 14 years of distinguished leadership

Press Release – PHOENIX, June 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Make-A-Wish America today announced that David Williams, president and CEO, will depart the organization later this year after a successful 14-year career helping to drive the organization’s overall strategy and vision.

Make-A-Wish® America CEO Announces Succession Plan

Williams has served as the president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America since 2005. Under his leadership, the organization has realized record growth, with overall revenue doubling to more than $342 million. The organization has granted 195,000 wishes to children in the U.S. and its territories during Williams’ tenure.

“We express our gratitude to David for his dedication and invaluable contributions in leading the organization in its simple, but powerful mission to grant life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses,” said Brenda Yester Baty, Chair of the Make-A-Wish America Board of Directors. “We have built a strong foundation as an effective organization, and our seasoned senior leadership remains committed to exceeding the needs of our families, staff, partners and supporters.”

A search for Williams’ successor is already underway, and the organization anticipates naming a new CEO before the end of the year.

About Make-A-Wish America

Make-A-Wish® America creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. We seek to bring every eligible child’s wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child’s treatment journey. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight their illness. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish is the leading children’s wish-granting organization, serving children in every community in the United States. Together, generous donors, supporters, staff and more than 35,000 volunteers across the U.S., grant a wish every 34 minutes, on average, somewhere in the country. Since 1980, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 300,000 wishes to children in the U.S. and its territories; more than 15,400 in 2017 alone. For more information about Make-A-Wish America, visit wish.org.

SOURCE Make-A-Wish America


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Angel Tank, a Shark Tank for Purpose-Driven Seed Stage Investors and Entrepreneurs, Selects Winners in First-Ever Competition

Event drew a talented pool of social entrepreneurs and leading Bay Area venture investors at SEED 2018

Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO, June 12, 2018Real Leaders, the world’s first sustainable business and leadership magazine, and ImpactAssets, a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns, today announced the winners of Angel Tank, a first-ever event that matched impact investment with social entrepreneurs seeking solutions to pressing global problems.

Modeled after “Shark Tank,” the reality TV business series, Angel Tank debuted at the SEED 2018 Conference and featured leading Bay Area venture investors as judges, and a select group of six social entrepreneurs who competed for prizes to help bring their world-changing ideas to market.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to support and showcase this exceptional group of social entrepreneurs,” said Real Leaders Founder Mark Van Ness, an active impact investor and advocate for gender-balanced leadership. “Their fresh ideas and inspiring vision are helping to transform business as a force for good—for profit, people and planet.”

And the winners are:

  • Legworks, Inc., a Toronto and Buffalo-based social enterprise that is revolutionizing access to high-quality prosthetics for amputees around the world. Winner of The Angels Choice Award, a $10,000 cash investment prize selected by the panel of angel judges.
  • Roots Studio, which digitizes the work and stories of traditional artists in India, Indonesia, Panama, and Jordan, among other regions, enabling artists to participate in the global economy without having to be in an urban center. Winner of The Audience Choice Award, a $10,000 cash investment prize for the venture that receives the most votes cast live during the competition.
  • Countable, a political media company that helps voters contact their elected representatives about issues that matter. Winner of the Real Leaders’ Spotlight Award, a media package that was selected by attendees who cast votes for social entrepreneurs participating at SEED 2018. Countable is also a custom impact investment being made through ImpactAssets.
  • In addition, a tech-enabled Live Investing Marketplace raised more than $25,000 for the entrepreneurs. The Forum allowed attendees to make tax-deductible investments of $25 or more into social ventures through the ImpactAssets Giving Fund.

Other social entrepreneurs participating in the Angel Tank included Designing Justice & Designing Spaces, which use innovations in architecture, design, and real estate development to attack the root causes of mass incarceration; Thrive Natural Care, creator of the first regenerative supply chain in the personal care industry; and Yellow Leaf Hammocks, a hand-woven hammock company that is breaking the cycle of extreme poverty through sustainable job creation by hiring artisan weavers and their families in developing countries. The six ventures also received offers of help and advice from over 100 attendees at the event.

Angel Tanks also featured a powerhouse panel of venture investors who evaluated and counseled social entrepreneurs, including:

  • Anders Aabo, Sorenson Impact
  • Jorge Davy-Mendez, Kapor Capital
  • Keith Ippel, Spring Activator
  • Sayuri Sharp, SV2
  • Beth Stelluto, Gnu Foundation

“The opportunities for investing in social enterprises has never been greater—or more critical,” said Tim Freundlich, President of ImpactAssets. “Angel Tank represents a smart and surprising platform for uniting investment capital with world-changing ideas. We look forward to the next Angel Tank, which will take place around SOCAP 2018 In October.”

About Real Leaders

Real Leaders is the world’s first sustainable business & leadership magazine. We aim to inspire better leaders for a better world; a world of far-sighted, sustainable leadership that helps find solutions to the problems that 7.5 billion people have created on a small planet. We want to ensure that the next generation of leaders, in all spheres of influence, are exposed to the best and brightest minds in the hope that they are inspired to find profitable business solutions that benefit humankind. Real Leaders advises and positions leaders to thrive in the new economy.

About ImpactAssets

ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns. ImpactAssets’ donor advised fund (“The Giving Fund”) and field-building initiatives enable philanthropists and other asset owners and their wealth advisors advance social or environmental change through impact investment and philanthropy. The Giving Fund currently has upwards of $450M in assets from a community of more than 1,000 donors.


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REPORT: The Number of Black Women-led Startups Has More Than Doubled Since 2016 According to digitalundivided’s Latest Research, ProjectDiane 2018

With ProjectDiane 2018, digitalundivided is Single-Handedly Impacting the Narrative About Black Women in the Startup Ecosystem

Press Release – (ATLANTA, June 13, 2018) – digitalundivided, a social enterprise that takes a transformative approach to economic empowerment by boldly empowering Black and Latinx women to own their work through entrepreneurship, today released the ProjectDiane 2018 report in collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, the Case Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The study is part of digitalundivided’s ongoing proprietary research initiative ProjectDiane.

ProjectDiane 2018 builds on the findings from ProjectDiane 2016, which was the first research project to quantify the entrepreneurial experience of Black women founders in the U.S. and sparked a national dialogue about inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship. It includes updated data on access to funding, new findings on the impact of location and education on startup success, and a fresh quantitative lens on Black women founders and their startup journey. The 2018 study also revisits the $1MM founders club and examines key changes to this much anticipated list of Black women who have raised over $1MM in outside capital. The report represents data and findings from ongoing quantitative and qualitative analysis by a dedicated team of researchers and scholars led by digitalundivided.

“We are proud to be continuing the push toward a world where all women own their work through entrepreneurship, because that’s the path to real power and economic stability for Black and Latinx communities. digitalundivided understands the impact of data on policy and startup ecosystems which is why we’re committed to using ProjectDiane to further develop data-driven programs for Black and Latinx women founders and shape the narrative about women of color in startups,” says Kathryn Finney, CEO and Managing Director of digitalundivided.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The number of innovative startups founded by Black women has more than doubled since 2016. There are 2.5 times as many startups in the ProjectDiane 2018 database (227) compared to 2016 (84).
  • The median funding raised by all Black women founders is $0. While there is a growing number of Black women crossing the $1MM venture threshold, a majority of Black women-led startups do not raise any money.
  • After the release of ProjectDiane 2016, the amount raised by Black women founders increased 500%, from $50 million in 2016 to $250 million in 2017.
  • Still, Black women raised only .0006% of all tech venture funding since 2009.
  • At the undergraduate level, Howard University, a historically black college and university (HBCU) in Washington, D.C. produced more Black women-led startups than Harvard University. The larger population of Black women may be a factor in Howard outperforming Harvard, however Harvard has significantly more resources than Howard and a strong, long term history of producing successful startups (Microsoft, Facebook).

JPMorgan Chase has invested $500,000 in digitalundivided as part of the firm’s $150 million Small Business Forward initiative to invest in businesses owned by minorities, women and veteran entrepreneurs. The funding includes support for the 2018 ProjectDiane report, as well as a nine-month cohort for 40 startups founded by women of color at digitalundivided’s BIG incubator.

“Women of color are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs. While some progress has been made, ProjectDiane underscores the economic opportunity left on the table when good ideas and small businesses led by women of color do not get the resources they deserve,” said Janis Bowdler, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “digitalundivided is doing incredible work in their goal to elevate women of color as business leaders and entrepreneurs. Thanks to their efforts, we are beginning to change the face of entrepreneurship in the tech industry.”

“Expanding access to capital for women and entrepreneurs of color nationwide – segments that have traditionally been overlooked – is good for entrepreneurs and for the overall U.S. economy,” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation. “digitalundivided is breaking down barriers to economic growth and lifting up new innovators who are driving ingenuity and building more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems that are critical to our nation’s economic future.”

“We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality, regardless of who they are or where they’re from,” said Chris Harris, senior program officer at the Kauffman Foundation. “digitalundivided has demonstrated uncommon solutions to leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs who have been excluded due to demographic, socioeconomic and geographic barriers.”

For the full ProjectDiane 2018 report and findings and to learn more about the research visit the interactive site www.projectdiane.digitalundivided.com.


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Tech Entrepreneur Pledges 10% of his Company to Raise Millions for Nonprofits

Press Release – Boston, MA: That’s the message from Boston Tech Entrepreneur Barry Hinckley, who today launches his innovative new growth mechanism in a play on words termed “IPO” or Initial Philanthropic Offering.

In what is considered the first of its kind, Hinckley’s IPO will see him pledge at least 10% of his company, to nonprofit organizations that partner with Yotme during its initial rollout and brands that support charities via their Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

The launch pad for Hinckley’s pioneering IPO mechanism is the Yotme social relationship management and experience marketing platform. For the uninitiated, Yotme is a new and truly social network that allows nonprofits and brands to engage their customers and supporters while creating the world’s largest and most effective social impact platform.

Inspired by Pledge 1% and the work of The Boston Foundation, Hinckley conceived of a way to donate to not just 1% of his personal shares in Yotme, but 10% of the entire company to nonprofit organizations.

With Hinckley’s goal being to build a “billion dollar business” and the market opportunity there to do it, early adopting nonprofits that begin leveraging Yotme’s platform, will be eligible to share in a potential equity stake of tens of millions of dollars.

Tim Smith & Paul Grogan of The Boston Foundation, Barry Hinckley and Bridget Beer of Yotme

Under the terms of the IPO, nonprofits that use the Yotme platform to sell tickets to their events, may be eligible to a 5% credit against the revenue they generate. These credits will be tracked internally by the Yotme team. On the occasion of a liquidity event, the Boston Foundation, as the custodian of the Yotme Charitable Fund, will be responsible for distributing grants to eligible charities based on the resulting available funds.

“The Boston Foundation has a long history of working with business and other organizations to strengthen and expand their philanthropy,” said Paul Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “This IPO concept is a unique way for Yotme to demonstrate its commitment to the nonprofit sector and potentially drive millions of dollars in charitable donations in years to come.”

And the great news for 501(c)3 charities, who Hinckley has noted are often budget constrained and “under-teched”, is that Yotme is giving access to its platform for free. With Yotme, organizations can do everything from invites, ticketing, event and consumer relationship management, event marketing and real-time messaging.

Yotme enters a social networking market, which thanks to the dominance of Facebook and the big 4 social networks, have seen many tech entrepreneurs head for the hills. But not Hinckley and his team:

“In a sadly divided world, I want to create a social network that brings people together and rewards them for positive social activity,” said Hinckley. “By sharing our technology and growth with nonprofits and brands, we believe we can nurture an ever increasing society of people and businesses who strive to combine commercial viability with social responsibility.”

Hinckley launched his IPO this morning at the The Boston Foundation’s headquarters.


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U-Michigan Social Venture Fund Invests in Six Foods

Press Release – ANN ARBOR, Mich.— The Social Venture Fund, the nation’s first student-led impact investing fund, based in the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, today announced that it has invested in Six Foods, an insect-based food company headquartered in San Francisco. Six Foods will be using the investment to hire a director of sales and expand their advocacy training program, which teaches students who are passionate about food systems and sustainability how to speak to the broader community about the current food system and create events to engage more people in solutions for food sustainability.

When the average American thinks of protein, they often think of meat—but that’s not necessarily the case for nearly two billion people around the world who include insects in their diet. In addition to being nutritious, insects are more sustainable: it takes about a gallon of water to produce one pound of insect protein, as compared to two thousand gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. Founded in 2013 by three Harvard graduates, Six Foods’ goal is to introduce insects into the average Western diet. Its main product, Chirp Chips, have as much protein as an egg white and 20 percent of the total daily value of vitamin B12 per 1 oz serving, in addition to providing a more sustainable source of nutrition.

“If there will be a move toward insect-based proteins, this is the company that will do it,” said Sahar Omrani, MBA ’18, director of investments at the Social Venture Fund.

Founded in 2009, the Social Venture Fund is managed by a team of nearly 40 MBA and BBA students who source and manage due diligence for deals for innovative, for-profit companies that place social and environmental impact at the heart of their business models.

“Impact means something different to everyone, depending on your industry—but it’s definitely becoming a more common part of the conversation,” Omrani said. “Even traditional investment funds are figuring out how to measure both impact and positive returns. We’re seeing our understanding of the impact investment landscape evolving. Working on the Social Venture Fund has given us a front-row seat to that, as well as equipping us with some of the best learning experiences of our careers.”

“The students who run the Social Venture Fund apply the best of their knowledge and skills to funding companies that are tackling some of the biggest problems that we as a society face—while also advancing the field of impact investing as a whole,” said Gautam Kaul, the Social Venture Fund’s faculty director. “Often, our due diligence teams evaluate companies that can make an impact in a local community or address a more niche problem. In this deal, the fund has done an excellent job in identifying a company that has the potential to take over an entire market and fundamentally change the way we think about food sustainability.”

Six Foods, which has won funding from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank and whose co-founders Rose Wang and Laura D’Asaro have been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30, had both the vision of creating impact through a sustainable food ecosystem, and the early traction needed to make that vision a reality.

“As a carnivore, I didn’t realize the impact eating has on the environment,” said Luke Sawitsky, MBA/MS ’18, who led the due diligence process on the Six Foods investment. “We were impressed with how Six Foods saw themselves fitting into the food of the future, and the depth of thought in their short-term and long-term strategies. In the course of evaluating this deal, we gained every confidence that Six Foods will create and own their category.”

In addition to seed money, the investment will provide Six Foods with a member of the Social Venture Fund to act as a board observer, as well as a team available for consulting projects that would benefit the business.

“Working with the Social Venture Fund has been a rewarding and seamless experience,” said Rose Wang, co-founder and CEO, Six Foods. “We feel so lucky to have a partnership with such passionate, mission-driven, hardworking, communicative and talented individuals. As we explore larger strategy questions of where the industry is headed and building out advocacy programs, we’ll be working closely with the Social Venture Fund team to identify the right directions for us to build.”

For more information about Six Foods, visit www.chirpschips.com. For more information about Six Foods’s advocacy training program, email meghan@chirpschips.com. For more information about the Social Venture Fund, visit www.umsocialventure.com.

About the Social Venture Fund

The Social Venture Fund is a leader in university-based impact investing, with several active investments. The Fund’s previous investments include Conversa Health, Powerhouse Dynamics, LearnZillion, Mytonomy, Loveland Technologies and Jack and Jake’s. To learn more, visit www.umsocialventure.com.

About the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Institute and its Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance bring together an impactful combination of deep-seated knowledge, enriching experiences and strategic opportunities from the front lines of entrepreneurship and alternative investment. Students’ learning experiences are further enhanced through internships, entrepreneurial clubs, business competitions and campus-wide events that foster valuable networking and engage the business community. The School’s five student-led investment funds, with $8.5M under management, immerse students in the entrepreneurial business sourcing, assessment and investment process. Founding Zell Lurie advisory board members include Samuel Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments, and Eugene Applebaum, founder of Arbor Drugs Inc. For more information, visit the Institute’s website at www.zli.bus.umich.edu.


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NoVo Foundation Announces Grantees of $34 Million Radical Hope Fund

Culmination of year-long, global call for bold social justice partnerships

Investments in radical, community-led, innovative solutions

Press Release – 13 June 2018, NEW YORK – The NoVo Foundation today announced $34 million—up from $20 million committed originally—in Radical Hope Fund grants to 19 organizations from among 1,000 applicants doing bold and transformative social justice work in the United States and around the world.

“We launched the Radical Hope Fund as a radical experiment—can a time of increasing repression and darkness also serve as a springboard for deep collaboration and transformative change?” said Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo’s co-presidents. “The answer has been overwhelming: feminist grassroots advocacy, activism, and organizing are thriving across the globe, new partnerships are growing, and justice leaders everywhere are planting the seeds for a radical new world based in equity, possibility, power, and dignity for all.”

NoVo launched the Radical Hope Fund in July 2017 with a global call for projects grounded in new partnerships, bold experimentation, and a deep commitment to social justice. What might be possible, NoVo asked, if movement leaders had the support they needed not only to defend against daily attacks, but also to dream of new possibilities, experiment with new collaborations, and guide us to new solutions?

The result is a diverse array of grants to organizations driving systemic social change in communities around the world, from women Nobel Peace Prize laureates influencing the Korean peace process, to Gen Z and Millennial Latinx feminist organizers in Texas combining protest with performance, to an international network devoted to eliminating the root cause of violence against girls and women.

Like all of NoVo’s work, the fund is grounded in the belief that meaningful change happens from the community level up—informed by lived experience, powered by movement building and activism, and guided by the leadership of marginalized people as the best experts of their own lives and futures.

The first-of-its-kind fund is a direct response to alarming worldwide trends: the resurgence of hate speech and violence, escalating assaults on human and civil rights, widening wealth inequality, and the rise in nativism.

“We hear a lot about innovation in the social sector, but the truth is that marginalized communities are rarely granted the trust, support, and space they need to experiment and dream,” said Pamela Shifman, executive director of the NoVo Foundation. “The Radical Hope Fund grantees show us that radical innovation is already happening, feminist organizing is already leading our way, and the answer so many are looking for in these challenging times is already in front of us, if only we are willing to back it up with the trust and support it deserves.”

Beginning today, NoVo is also launching a new Radical Hope Blog Series (live June 13) to chronicle the work of partners around the world in their own voices, to share learning and insights, build solidarity, and increase support for their work. Amid daily headlines of division, the blog series is intended to serve as an active and dynamic beacon of hope, possibility, resistance and resilience.

Radical Hope Fund grantees will drive systemic progress through the following projects. For a full list of Radical Hope Fund project descriptions, visit the foundation’s website at novofoundation.org/radicalhope/grantee-partners (live June 13; before then, click here).

Radical Hope Fund Grantees, Projects, Locations, Grants

  1. African Women’s Development Fund
    The Flourish Project
    Africa
    $985,090
  2. Allied Media Projects
    Create, Connect, Transform
    Detroit, Michigan
    $3,000,000
  3. Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project
    Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project
    Minneapolis, Minnesota; Oakland, California; Washington, DC
    $300,000
  4. Blackbird, with Matters of the Earth
    Blackbird Global Black Victory Lab
    Africa, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, United States
    $2,640,000
  5. Center for Justice at Columbia University
    Women Transcending
    United States
    $2,530,000
  6. Collaborative Media Advocacy Platform (CMAP), with Jire Dole and Amnesty International Nigeria
    Chicoco Collective
    Port Harcourt, Nigeria
    $865,000
  7. Florida Immigrant Coalition
    Radical Hope Florida
    Florida
    $2,000,000
  8. Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, with Climate Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Right to the City Alliance
    It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance
    United States, Canada
    $3,500,000
  9. Grassroots International, with Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and World March of Women Project
    Strengthening Grassroots Feminist Movements Collaborative
    Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Palestine, Puerto Rico, United States
    $4,000,000
  10. Jolt, with Deeds Not Words
    Movement Mujeres
    Texas
    $2,000,000
  11. Masimanyane Women’s Rights International
    International Network to End Violence Against Women and Girls
    International (member representatives from Australia, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Samoa, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States)
    $1,240,000
  12. The Movement for Black Lives
    Electoral Justice Project
    United States
    $500,000
  13. Movement Strategy Center
    Decolonizing Race
    United States
    $2,000,000
  14. National Domestic Workers Alliance
    Women’s Rematch
    United States, with a focus on Georgia
    $2,000,000
  15. The Nile Forum Project
    Regenerating a Nile Community of Communities
    Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
    $1,280,000
  16. People’s Action Institute
    Rural Women’s Collaborative: Uniting Across Race and Place for Racial and Economic Justice
    Alabama, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wisconsin
    $1,800,000
  17. Tewa Women United
    Healing Justice and Radical Self-Care
    United States, with a focus on New Mexico
    $900,000
  18. Water Protector Legal Collective
    Strengthening Indigenous Voices for Unci Maka
    North America
    $1,061,000
  19. Women Cross DMZ, with Nobel Women’s Initiative, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and Women’s Action for New Directions
    Women Led Korea Peace Treaty 2020 Campaign
    Canada, China, Japan, North Korea, United States, South Korea
    $2,000,000

About NoVo Foundation

NoVo Foundation is dedicated to building a more just and balanced world. Founded in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo has become one of the largest private foundations in the world to support initiatives focused explicitly on girls and women, including a dedicated focus on ending violence against girls and women and supporting adolescent girls. NoVo also works to advance social and emotional learning, support Indigenous communities and promote local living economies.

Website: www.novofoundation.org

Facebook: /NoVoFoundation
Twitter: @NoVoFoundation


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