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Social Entrepreneurship

This category includes articles about social entrepreneurs, typically about businesses with a for-profit model with a social mission embedded into the fabric of the business.

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Skoll Venture Award Winners Tackle Dementia With Virtual Reality

Press Release – The Skoll Centre at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School held the final pitching round for the fifth annual Skoll Venture Awards in June. Three early-stage ventures pitched to a panel of judges and a live audience. Current Oxford MBA team, VRTU, were awarded the winning prize of £15,000. The two runners up, Redbird Health Tech and PowerMarket won £7,500, each.

Oxford MBA 2016-17 Candidates, Arfa Rehman (CEO), Scott Gorman (CTO) and Christopher Larson (CMO) are the team behind VRTU, a healthcare start-up that uses virtual reality to help dementia patients. VRTU delivers simulated time-travel therapy through story based virtual reality content.

The Skoll Venture Awards provide funding to current Oxford Saïd students and alumni who have developed a social impact-focused venture. The Awards serve to supply the venture with catalytic funding, but the Skoll Centre also accompanies the businesses as they progress in their development, including identifying possibilities for further financial and non-financial support.

‘We’re incredibly excited to have won’ says Rehman. ‘Especially as we have not been working on this venture long, I feel validated that we’re going in the right direction. We’re trying to move fast to produce the VR content and develop our product so it can be out there as soon as possible. This grant is going to be instrumental in helping us do that.’

VRTU were recently unveiled as the most promising new app at the App Factor competition in London, winning 500 hours of design and development of their platform.


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“Challenging the Status Quo: Philadelphia’s Exploration of Pay for Success”

Social Finance Releases Pay for Success Feasibility Framework for Government; Highlights Public Impact Initiative to Amplify Impact

Press Release – Washington, D.C. June 22 – Social Finance launched Challenging the Status Quo: Philadelphia’s Exploration of Pay for Success today at the Urban Institute’s Pay for Success Initiative National Symposium. The paper details Social Finance’s work with the City of Philadelphia and provides a framework for governments looking to use the tools of Pay for Success (PFS) and outcomes-based approaches to improving their communities.

Read Challenging the Status Quo

Learnings from Social Finance’s work in Philadelphia informed the creation of Social Finance’s Public Impact Initiative

“Social Finance is focused on helping governments use the elements and lessons of Pay for Success to build effective social service initiatives based on data, evidence and high-quality execution, driving impact at scale,” said Jeff Shumway, Vice President of Advisory Services at Social Finance. “We hope the questions highlighted in Challenging the Status Quo will help governments adopt an outcomes focus using the full range of tools of Pay for Success.”

The City of Philadelphia engaged Social Finance to assess the feasibility of implementing a Pay for Success project. The city was focused on using PFS to reduce recidivism rates of citizens returning from jail or prison and to limit out-of-county placements of system-involved youth. Their goal was to understand the potential for PFS financing to complement ongoing efforts by driving public resources toward evidence-based, outcomes-driven programs.

“Enhancing the well-being of residents, including our most vulnerable citizens, requires a steadfast commitment to continuously improving government services,” said Mayor Michael Nutter, City of Philadelphia (2008-2016). “In order to achieve meaningful continuous improvement, policymakers must use data and evidence to drive decision-making. As importantly, policy-makers must be open to exploring new ideas that disrupt the status quo.”

Cities, counties, and states considering PFS financing face a number of questions about how PFS works. Each of these themes is explored in Challenging the Status Quo:

  1. DEFINING VALUE: What are the societal and fiscal benefits created for the city by the proposed PFS project?
  2. UNDERSTANDING GOVERNMENT FUNDING STREAMS: Which city agencies benefit from the proposed PFS project?
  3. DATA, DATA, DATA: What information does the city need to estimate and, ultimately, evaluate the impact of the proposed PFS project?
  4. A NEW KIND OF CONTRACT: How are PFS contracts different from other social services contracts and how can the city set them up for success?
  5. BEYOND THE ECONOMICS: How will PFS fit within existing initiatives and what new resources will the city need to support a PFS project?

In Philadelphia, the funding mechanism may have been Pay for Success, but the tools themselves are useful beyond projects financed with private capital. Governments focused on outcomes are increasingly employing the tools of Pay for Success to build outcomes-oriented contracts that clearly define and measure success; build in deep, data-driven program design; and invest seriously in active performance management.

About Social Finance

Social Finance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing capital to drive social progress. Social Finance is committed to using Pay for Success to tackle complex social challenges, facilitate greater access to services for vulnerable populations, and direct capital to evidence-based social programs – all with the goal of measurably improving the lives of people most in need. Social Finance has deep experience in the design and implementation of Pay for Success projects, from early-stage feasibility assessment, to project development and capital formation, to post-launch performance management and investment support.


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Scot Chisholm, Classy CEO And Co-Founder, Named A Glassdoor Highest Rated CEO In 2017

Press Release – SAN DIEGO, CA (June 21, 2017) — Classy CEO and co-founder Scot Chisholm has won a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award recognizing the Highest Rated CEOs for 2017 in the U.S. SMB category.

Based in San Diego, California, Classy aims to accelerate social impact by providing world-class online fundraising tools that fuel modern nonprofits. Recognized by Fast Company as a Top Innovative Company in Social Good, Classy is trusted by thousands of organizations that are solving the world’s toughest problems.

Glassdoor released its annual report honoring the Highest Rated CEOs, which highlights top leaders employees love working for at Small & Medium Companies in the U.S.

Among chief executives recognized by employees in the U.S., Chisholm received an impressive approval rating based on the anonymous and voluntary reviews Classy employees shared on Glassdoor throughout the past year. Out of the 700,000 companies reviewed on Glassdoor, the average CEO approval rating is 67 percent; Chisholm has a current approval rating of 97 percent.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by Glassdoor and the Classy team, and to appear on this list alongside so many other inspiring leaders,” said Chisholm. “We believe a healthy and thriving culture is paramount to growth, so it’s incredibly rewarding to see our Glassdoor reviews continuously reflect the transparent and inclusive environment we’re striving to create for every team member.”

“CEOs tell us the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award is one of the highest honors they can receive because it truly reflects employee opinion about the job they do every day. I congratulate all of the winners on this significant honor,” said Robert Hohman, Glassdoor co-founder and CEO. “We know that CEO approval ratings correlate to overall employee satisfaction and trust in senior leadership, which contributes to long-term employee engagement, ultimately helping an employer’s recruiting and retention efforts.”

When employees submit reviews about their company on Glassdoor, they are asked to rate various factors about their employment experience, including their overall satisfaction and other workplace attributes like senior management. As part of these ratings, employees are also asked to rate whether they approve, disapprove, or are neutral about the job their CEO is doing.

Earlier this year, Classy signed Glassdoor’s Equal Pay Pledge and was also recognized by Glassdoor as one of the Best Places to Work.

See the complete list of all Highest Rated CEOs in 2017 in the U.S. SMB category: https://www.glassdoor.com/Award/Highest-Rated-CEOs-at-SMBs-LST_KQ0,26.htm


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ImpactAssets’ Giving Fund Closes 251st Impact Deal

“Custom Investments” feature enables donors to source and recommend investment into social entrepreneurs addressing the world’s biggest challenges.

Press Release – Bethesda, June 20, 2017 – What does the world’s first plant-based burger maker have in common with a direct trade company that works with women coffee farmers and roasters in Latin America?

Both Beyond Meat and Vega Coffee are among 251 businesses, social enterprises and funds that have received funding through the ImpactAssets Custom Investments option – a unique service that is part of The Giving Fund, a donor advised fund [i] with more than $350 million in assets and a 100% focus on impact investing.

The Custom Investments option uniquely enables donors to source and recommend direct investments in private, mission-driven businesses, impact funds and nonprofit organizations using philanthropic dollars as recoverable investment capital.

“This is a great milestone for ImpactAssets as we work to democratize impact investing and provide clients with unique ways to direct capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns,” said Tim Freundlich, president of ImpactAssets. “We understand that impact investing can be a personal commitment. Custom Investments allows clients to recommend the investments that matter most to them.”

To date, donors have sourced and recommended more than 200 direct company investments and 50 funds in the private debt and equity segment, with a minimum $25,000 investment. All entities that receive investment from ImpactAssets must have a commitment to measuring and reporting their social or environmental impact, as well their financial returns.

“The Custom Investments feature has been the perfect way for my wife and I to blend our impact investing and our charitable giving,” said Seth Goldman, Co-founder of Honest Tea and Executive Chairman of Beyond Meat. “We take a little more risk with our impact investments in the Giving Fund, because whether they succeed or not, we know we are supporting a social entrepreneur’s vision and we’re not getting money back personally whatever the outcome. We know that if our investments are successful, the money will be recirculated to support more mission-driven entrepreneurs.”

Custom Investments has been offered to ImpactAssets clients since 2011, but the service has seen a spike in interest and participation since the 2016 Presidential election, as investors seek to make a “hands-on” impact locally and globally. A series of ImpactAssets Roundtables with investment advisors found the post-election environment is generating greater investor activism.

Recent custom investments include:

  • Issue One: Bipartisan effort to reduce the influence of money in politics
  • PennyPass: A new revenue engine for digital media
  • Gigawatt Global: Renewable energy developer in emerging markets
  • Namaste Solar: Solar energy solutions for homeowners, businesses, and utilities
  • Translator: Tech-based provider of identity and empathy training in the workforce
  • OpenInvest: Technology platform to help align investments and values
  • BeyondMeat: The plant based meat alternative

“The donor recommended investment into OpenInvest represented a valuable source of capital in our venture round, which will help us scale our mission to mainstream impact investing and empower every day investors to fight for social progress,” said Josh Levin, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, OpenInvest.

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”), impact investment notes, and field-building initiatives enable philanthropists, other asset owners and their wealth advisors to advance social or environmental change through investment.

About The Giving Fund:

The Giving Fund is an innovative donor advised fund that empowers donors to increase the impact of their giving by combining it with strategic sustainable and responsible investing to build a sophisticated philanthropic endowment. Donors recommend how The Giving Fund’s assets are invested across a range of leading impact investment options including community investment, turnkey portfolios, private debt and equity funds, seed venture and custom investments. The Giving Fund currently has $350M in total assets.

[i] A Donor Advised Fund is a philanthropic vehicle that allows organizations, families or individuals to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time.


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Rights, Safety, Tolerance Eroding Worldwide

Most countries, however, have improved over the past four years
Access to Information and Communications, Access to Advanced Education are driving progress

Press Release – WASHINGTON, DC / June 21, 2017—While quality of life is improving across the globe, world leaders must confront two deeply troubling trends: declining personal rights, personal safety, and tolerance and inclusion, as well as slow and uneven progress worldwide, according to new research, released today by the Social Progress Imperative in collaboration with Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School and Scott Stern of MIT.

For the first time, the Social Progress Imperative, which annually publishes the Social Progress Index, is able to compare 128 countries’ social progress performance across four years and reveal global, regional, and national trends.

“Millions of people are experiencing a shameful rolling back of their freedoms, more violence and injustice, and blatant discrimination and exclusion from life’s most meaningful opportunities. And despite having access to extreme wealth and other influence, the US along with other advanced nations have hardly made much progress since 2014,” Social Progress Imperative CEO Michael Green said. “This means we’re seeing incremental change and pockets of social progress rather than widespread transformation. Some countries are even backsliding in areas that are critical to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—like Environmental Quality, Health and Wellness, Personal Freedom and Choice, and Shelter.”

  • The 2017 Social Progress Index finds that since 2014, Personal Rights—which includes measures of political rights and freedom of expression—declined in more countries than it improved.
    • The Index detects a rapid deterioration of rights, especially marked in terms of falling political participation and worsening freedoms of expression and assembly, in six countries including Turkey, Thailand and Hungary.
    • Thirty-three countries experienced a deterioration in rights: Brazil saw the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, and Poland is increasingly restricting free speech and dissent.
  • Improvements in Personal Safety over the last four years remain stubbornly elusive. Almost as many countries experienced a fall as saw an increase in this category of social progress—which spans political terror and traffic deaths.
    • Inverse changes in the homicide rate and in violent crime are canceling out progress in many countries.
    • Latin America and the Caribbean accounts for many of the world’s largest declines in safety. Since 2009, Honduras has seen the most dramatic increase in homicides: from 44.5 to 74.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

“Divisive political rhetoric on asylum and migration issues, rising xenophobia, and restrictions on access to asylum have become increasingly visible in certain regions, and the spirit of shared responsibility has been replaced by a hate-filled narrative of intolerance,” said former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on World Refugee Day last year.

  • On the Index, countries diverge the most when it comes to Tolerance and Inclusion—a measure that includes acceptance of immigrants, homosexuals and religious minorities. Though relatively stable on average, country-level scores are the most volatile in the Index.
    • Most countries in Europe show consistent or gradually improving scores, but there have been substantial declines in the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Slovakia where they are experiencing signs of deteriorating tolerance towards immigrants and increasing discrimination against minorities. The United States has also declined for the same reasons. The ongoing movement of refugees and migrants, and subsequent pressure on resources have likely had a negative effect on this area of social progress.
    • There are some signs of improving tolerance towards homosexuals, however, particularly in regions where recorded levels of tolerance have been poorest. For example, in Nepal 83% of its population say it’s a good place to live for gay and lesbian people, compared to just 56% seven years ago.
    • Globally, the Index reflects a large decline in the percentage of people who indicate that they have relatives or friends they can count on, if they need help.

“During a time when trust is in free fall, the Social Progress Index can be a tool for government, business, and civil society to regain that trust, and make transparent the case for rebuilding the institutions that matter most to citizens, communities, and nations,” said Sally Osberg, Skoll Foundation President and CEO and Social Progress Imperative board member.

Generally, the world is underperforming on social progress compared to what the average GDP per capita suggests is possible. Despite progress in the last decade, our world is still failing most egregiously on Water and Sanitation (access to piped water and improved sanitation facilities) and Access to Basic Knowledge (adult literacy and secondary school enrollment).

One of the most blatant failures is the world’s most powerful countries have failed to make significant progress over the past four years. Despite having the greatest wealth, largest populations and strongest regional influence, G20 countries like France, the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey and China have been largely unsuccessful at improving social and environmental outcomes and continue to underperform compared to what their GDPs suggest is possible.

As the wealthiest G7 country, the US should have been able to make much more social progress over the past four years, but by all accounts, its progress has flat lined. Its modest improvement in rank and change at the component level shouldn’t overshadow the fact that the nation is significantly falling behind countries with similar GDP per capita on half of the Social Progress Index measures.

“The US is not only slow to produce social and environmental outcomes, it is failing to address basic human needs, equip citizens to improve their quality of life, protect the environment, and provide opportunity for everyone to make personal choices and reach their full potential,” said Social Progress Imperative CEO Michael Green. “Regardless of economic growth over the same period, a society which fails to meet its own social needs is not succeeding. And it is certainly not competitive on the global stage.”

“We have the resources to do better. The main problem is the inequality in wealth between rich and poor nations. Global aid flows are not sufficient to help the poorest countries to provide these basic needs for all,” Green said. “Greater income can easily and positively influence a country’s social progress performance in more than half of the areas measured on the Social Progress Index. But getting richer simply won’t move the needle far enough; the most stubborn challenges need innovation and other creative interventions, making social progress achievable by even the lowest resourced countries.”

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at stake. Social progress will need to accelerate, if our world is to see the step change required to achieve the SDGs. The world as a whole needs to reach a score of 75, an improvement of 10 points, on the Social Progress Index to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Thankfully, the issues highlighted in the Social Progress Index are solvable, and business is part of the solution.

“Addressing the complex challenges society faces, globally and locally, is a critical role for business. That is why Deloitte has been working alongside Social Progress Imperative to empower communities with new ways to think about and measure what matters most for society to advance and prosper,” said David Cruickshank, Deloitte Global Chairman and Social Progress Imperative board member. “Today’s business leaders want to better understand the societal forces shaping our world. I believe this Index has the ability to help enable these leaders, alongside those in government and civil society organizations, to systematically identify a strategy towards responsible and inclusive growth through prioritizing the most pressing needs of their communities.”

Other global findings

  • Denmark tops the 2017 Social Progress Index ranking, boasting strong performance across all the components of the Index. It leads the world in Shelter (94.27) and Personal Rights (97.89), ranks second on Access to Information and Communications (98.49) and Personal Rights (97.89), and places third on Personal Safety (93.75).
  • If the world were a country, it would rank between Indonesia (rank 79) and Botswana (rank 80) on the 2017 Social Progress Index. It would fall within the Lower Middle Social Progress Tier.
  • In the last four years, social progress has advanced worldwide but not fast or far enough. The average world score rose from 63.19 in 2014 to 64.85 in 2017—a 2.6% increase on the Social Progress Index. Out of the 128 countries measured on the Social Progress Index, 113 countries improved since 2014. The average improvement was 1.37 points.
  • Access to Information and Communications and Access to Advanced Education are driving global social progress.
    • More than 87% of people globally have mobile phone subscription and 95% of people live in an area with a mobile-cellular network—with lower-income countries increasingly gaining widespread access. The increase in Internet users globally has also increased over the last five years: more than 49% of the world’s population use the Web—up over 8% in just four years.
    • Better access to advanced education has contributed to social progress gains over the last four years: 89 countries boast globally ranked university up from 75 in 2014. Although most world-class universities are in Europe, North America, and Australia; East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa can now claim top quality university education. In 2014, only South Africa had any globally ranked universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, that list now includes Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda.
  • The top improvers (moving up their scores by three or more points) over the past four years are low and lower middle-income countries, which have the most areas to improve: Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Ghana, Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Nigeria.
  • The countries that have shown the most decline (moving down their scores by more than one point) in the past four years include: Nicaragua, Hungary, Central African Republic, and Republic of Congo.
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is far from being the sole determinant of social progress. Across the spectrum, from rich to poor, we see how some countries are much better at turning their economic growth into social progress than others.
  • Costa Rica, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Nepal, Senegal and Chile are identified by the 2017 Social Progress Index as the nations that most overperform on measures of social progress.
  • Angola, Saudi Arabia, Central African Republic, Kuwait, Chad and Afghanistan are identified by the 2017 Social Progress Index as the nations that most underperform on measures of social progress.

“Economic growth alone is not sufficient to advance societies and improve the quality of life for citizens. True success, and growth that is inclusive, requires achieving both economic and social progress,” said Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School, who co-authored the 2017 Social Progress Index report and leads the Social Progress Imperative’s scientific team. “The US is the wealthiest G7 country in terms of GDP per capita, for example, but it is lagging behind other leading countries in areas like education, health, personal safety, and inclusion. America’s failure to advance social progress is limiting our economic growth and standing in the way of prosperity that is widely shared. Countries must rethink how they measure success. Benchmarking social progress and taking the steps needed to advance it will be the key to national and local success in this century.”


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Cambridge Associates And The Intentional Endowments Network Outline A Blueprint For Action For Investors Wishing To Uphold Aims Of Paris Climate Agreement And Implement Environmental Factors Into Portfolios

Press Release – Though the United States government is no longer supporting the Paris Climate Agreement, hundreds of American institutions – including endowments and foundations – have joined businesses, philanthropists, cities and states across the country in remaining committed to the international accord.

Many institutions struggle to integrate environmental objectives and considerations (including ESG factors) into their investment portfolios, and the language of the Paris Agreement provides a good framework for moving forward. To integrate this framework effectively, they would do well to focus investment decision-making around three elements of their organizations and missions – their Purpose, Priorities and Principles – and to ensure their investment policies reflect those guideposts, according to the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN), a non-profit peer learning network, and global investment firm Cambridge Associates. IEN and CA have created related resources for institutions, “Considerations for ESG Policy Development” and “Paris Agreement in the Investment Policy.”

“The investment risks and opportunities associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy remain salient for many long-term investors, and the U.S. exit from the Paris Agreement should not prevent them from integrating environmental factors into their investment decisions,” says Georges Dyer, Principal of the Intentional Endowments Network.

“Long-term investors understand that climate change and human responses to it will present both risks and opportunities for their portfolios,” says Tom Mitchell, Managing Director in the Mission-Related Investing Practice at Cambridge Associates. “The guiding objectives of the Paris Agreement provide investors a sound framework for integrating sustainability factors and considerations within investment policy, which serves as a blueprint for action and support our longer term view on the importance of resource efficiency and sustainability.”

Dyer and Mitchell explain how articulating Purpose, Priorities, and Principles in a well-designed investment policy can help institutions effectively incorporate environmental concerns into their investment portfolios. Questions investors should explore include:

  • What is our institution’s purpose? That is, what are our primary goals and core beliefs – and how should they inform our investment decisions? An institutional purpose usually takes an aspirational, longer-term time horizon. For example, an investor’s Purpose statement may simply be to support the transition toward a low-carbon economy.  Ultimately, defining a purpose ensures that the institution knows what it is striving toward with its investments.
  • What are our core environmental or social priorities, and how can we express them in policy language? Thinking about priorities allows investment committees to link their broad purpose to specific investment areas. If an institution’s purpose is to support the transition toward a low-carbon economy, for example, its investment priorities may exist in areas like renewable infrastructure, clean transportation and smart energy management.
  • What are the principles that inform our investment decision-making? Endowments and foundations should think of these principles as overarching guidelines that help ensure the investments they make are in line with their purpose and priorities. For instance, a guiding principle for some investors may be that all investment opportunities should be viewed through a sustainability lens.

Dyer and Mitchell add that decision-makers at endowments and foundations should also proactively study sustainability themes to remain aware of potential opportunities to align their portfolios with their environmental goals.

Ultimately, note Dyer and Mitchell, open discussions among key stakeholders are essential for defining and refining an institution’s investment purpose, priorities and principles. If institutions do not seek input and build consensus internally, they will be more likely to fall short of their sustainable investment goals.

Cambridge Associates’ Mission-Related Investing Practice works with institutions to design and implement their mission-related investing programs.

To learn more about how investors can organize their investment decision-making around their purpose, priorities and principles, please click here.


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10 Nonprofits Win Classy Awards for Groundbreaking Innovations in Social Good

Winners were recognized in Boston at the Collaborative, the social sector’s leading annual event, hosted by Classy

Scot Chisholm, Classy’s CEO & Co-Founder, addresses the crowd during the 2017 Collaborative in Boston, Massachusetts.

Press Release – BOSTON, June 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — It was a night to remember for ten organizations who took home a Classy Award—recognizing the most innovative solutions to the world’s toughest social issues.

Classy, the leading online and mobile fundraising platform for social enterprises, created the Classy Awards to bring much-needed attention to the work nonprofits are doing across the globe.

“For-profits have many opportunities for recognition through award shows and industry accolades,” said Pat Walsh, Classy’s Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer. “But as we deepened our connection to the nonprofits and social enterprises we serve, including those outside of our network, we realized there wasn’t a formal way to recognize their progress or achievements across the sector—so we created one.”

Out of hundreds of program nominations, 100 finalists were selected based on rigorous judging criteria. The winners were then chosen by the Classy Leadership Council, an honorary board of 100 industry leaders and cause experts including Kim Rubey, Head of Global Social Impact at Airbnb; Kate Brandt, Lead for Sustainability at Google; Jesse Schultz, Manager of Social Innovation at Warby Parker; and Steve Davis, President & CEO at PATH.

From global poverty and hunger relief, to health services, educational advancement, and social justice, the Classy Award winners are tackling some of the world’s most complex problems through the specific programs that were nominated.

This year’s winning programs and respective organizations are:

  • Days for Girls by Days for Girls International
  • Lending Circles by Mission Asset Fund
  • MicroBuild Fund by Habitat for Humanity International
  • Missing Maps by Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
  • Protecting Children from Cybersex Trafficking by International Justice Mission
  • Safe Access by OpenBiome
  • Samasource by Samasource
  • SHE28 by Sustainable Health Enterprises
  • SKILLZ Street by Grassroot Soccer
  • The Shoe That Grows by Because International

To learn more about the winners and their innovative programs, click here.

In addition to the ten program winners, Classy recognized Ray Offenheiser with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his unmatched dedication to advancing the sector. As President and CEO of Oxfam America, Ray grew the organization eightfold, became one of the strongest members of the global Oxfam confederation, and established its influential presence in Washington, D.C. promoting a social justice approach to the fight against global poverty.

The Classy Awards ceremony capped off the Collaborative—Classy’s three-day experience that convenes top social innovators from around the world to incite meaningful dialogue and accelerate progress in the social sector. Hot-button issues were discussed by a range of influential speakers, including Boston Bombing Marathon Survivor, Adrianne Haslet; Linda Sarsour of the Women’s March; Laurie Barnett, Managing Director Communications & Outreach at Southwest Airlines; Vox’s Liz Plank, and more.

The Collaborative + Classy Awards will return to Boston next year from June 12-14, 2018; visit classy.org/collaborative to get involved.

The 2017 Collaborative was presented by Classy, Fluxx, Plenty, Southwest Airlines and The Boston Foundation, in partnership with Appirio, Benevity, Omatic Software, Qlik, TripAdvisor, Twilio, and other sponsors.

About Classy

Classy is the world’s leading fundraising platform for social enterprises with the goal of solving social problems more effectively and efficiently. Since launching in 2011, Classy has helped more than 3,000 social enterprises including Oxfam, World Food Program USA, and National Geographic to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Classy also hosts the Collaborative, a three-day summit and awards ceremony that convenes impactful social enterprises and celebrates achievements in the sector. Based in San Diego, California, Classy employs a staff of over 200 people and was recognized by Glassdoor in 2017 as one of the Best Places to Work. Other recent recognition includes Fast Company’s 2016 10 Most Innovative Companies for Social Good, Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2016 10 Most Brilliant Companies for Social Impact, and a “Rising Star” recognition in the first-ever Forbes Cloud 100 list. Classy is backed by investors including JMI Equity, Mithril, and Salesforce Ventures. For more information, visit www.classy.org or follow Classy on Twitter: @Classy.

SOURCE Classy

Related Links

http://www.classy.org


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Financial Solutions Lab Announces Winners of $3 Million Fintech Competition to Improve Financial Health of Overlooked Populations in America

Eight financial technology entrepreneurs focused on delivering innovative financial health solutions chosen to join lab created by CFSI and JPMorgan Chase

Lab to continue focusing on helping startups improve and scale solutions for populations who face difficulty managing their financial lives, such as people of color, low-income women, aging Americans and individuals with disabilities

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY, June 15, 2017 — Today the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding Lab partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) announced eight financial services innovators as the winners of its third competition, aimed at identifying solutions that can help Americans improve their financial health. Each winner will receive $250,000 in capital and additional resources to test, enhance and scale their products, many of which are designed to address the needs of often overlooked populations, such as people of color, low-income women, aging Americans, and individuals with disabilities. For more information and graphics, visit http://finlab.cfsinnovation.com/press-room/

“Over the last three years, we have been incredibly impressed by both the quality and volume of applicants to the FinLab,” said Jennifer Tescher, CEO and founder of CFSI. “This year was perhaps the most competitive yet. We are encouraged to see so many talented startups and nonprofits focused on finding truly innovative solutions that can help the 57 percent of Americans who struggle with financial health.”

“At JPMorgan Chase, we are incredibly proud to mentor and support a data-driven community of innovators who are focused on helping more Americans achieve financial health,” said Karen Keogh, Head of Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We are delighted to see the progress that FinLab alumni have made over the past two years, with their products now serving over a million American consumers, and are confident that this year’s winners will continue to help us reach and empower overlooked populations.”

The broader issue of financial health was selected as this year’s challenge because 57 percent of Americans – some 138 million adults – have difficulty managing their daily financial lives, establishing a cushion for financial resilience, and positioning themselves for financial security and mobility according to CFSI’s Consumer Financial Health Study. Research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute found that expenses fluctuate by 29 percent – nearly $1,300 – on a month-to-month basis for median-income households and that income volatility affects Americans across the income spectrum, with older families exhibiting a wider range of income and expense volatility.

The 2017 winners were selected from more than 300 applicants from across the United States. Winners were announced Thursday morning at the EMERGE Forum in Austin, TX, an event which gathers more than 800 banks, credit unions, fintech innovators and other financial services providers to generate ideas around the new era of financial services.

Meet the Winners:

  • Blueprint Income (New York, NY) is creating the future pension – a simple, pre-determined income stream backed by insurance companies. Blueprint Income makes it easy for anyone, regardless of employer, age, or wealth, to head into retirement with guaranteed, lifelong income.
  • Dave (Los Angeles, CA) alerts consumers ahead of an upcoming overdraft and can instantly advance up to $75 at 0% interest to prevent overdraft fees.
  • EverSafe (Columbia, MD) offers protection for aging Americans and their families by monitoring bank and investment accounts, credit cards and credit reports, alerting them to any sign of irregular activity.
  • Grove (San Francisco, CA) delivers personalized financial advice that is accessible and affordable. By pairing technology with advisors, Grove puts a comprehensive financial plan within reach for everyone.
  • Nova (San Francisco, CA) has built the world’s first cross-border credit reporting agency by building data partnerships across the globe. Nova’s Credit Passport accompanies immigrants on all their moves, so they need never start building credit from scratch again.
  • Point (Palo Alto, CA) is an alternative to traditional home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. Point buys into a fraction of a consumer’s property, paying today for a share of the home’s future appreciation. There are no monthly payments, no interest rate, and consumers can buy Point out or sell the home at any time.
  • Token Transit (San Francisco, CA) is a mobile app to pay for public transportation that enables low-income riders to have convenient access to the transit passes they need. Riders are able to pay using a credit, debit, or a prepaid debit card. Token Transit also partners with pass programs to distribute free or subsidized passes to qualifying riders.
  • Tomorrow (Seattle, WA) is aimed at providing long-term financial security to busy millennials and working families.

Each company will receive networking and advisory opportunities to grow and scale their business, $250,000 in capital, as well as the following benefits:

  • Access to the CFSI Network and partnership opportunities that can help innovators increase product reach
  • 1:1 ongoing mentorship and expertise provided by CFSI and JPMorgan Chase executives and other industry leaders, including FinLab’s own Entrepreneur-In-Residence and FinLab year-one member Tyler Griffin, founder and CEO of Prism (acquired by PayNearMe)
  • Professional services assistance from industry leaders including CFSI, ideas42, IDEO.org, Paul Hastings, Promontory Financial, Google and others
  • Peer learning opportunities via in-person retreats throughout the year and regular virtual working sessions

Beyond the support it offers startups selected for its FinLab program, the Lab also recently issued a $100,000 grant to nonprofit GreenPath Financial Wellness, a national financial counseling organization, to support its work creating partnerships with Lab winners and other fintech providers. In partnering with providers of innovative financial health solutions, GreenPath plans to offer complementary tools that enhance its ability to serve and impact financially struggling Americans.

FinLab’s First Two Years

FinLab alumni make up a who’s who in fintech innovation, and include Year One alums Ascend Consumer Finance, Digit, Even, LendStreet, PayGoal by Neighborhood Trust, Prism (now part of PayNearMe/Handle), Propel (which recently closed a $4 million funding round led by Andreesen Horowitz), Puddle and SupportPay, as well as Year Two companies Albert, Bee, EARN, EarnUp, eCreditHero (now CreditHero, which recently participated in Tech Crunch Disrupt), Everlance, Remedy, Scratch and WiseBanyan. A profile of FinLab’s Year One winners is here, and Year Two winners can be found here.

Collectively, the members of FinLab’s first two classes have raised more than $120 million in funding and acquisition deals, and today serve more than 1.3 million American consumers. In addition, more than 100 JPMorgan Chase employees have volunteered their expertise and leveraged their networks to help winners improve their products and increase their reach.

STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT

“Protecting older Americans from financial exploitation is everyone’s responsibility,” said Debra Whitman, Chief Public Policy Officer, AARP. “We applaud the CFSI and JPMorgan Chase at the Financial Solutions Lab for their support of innovative fintech solutions that protect consumers as they age. Taking steps like using technology to monitor accounts and create alerts are essential to stop this growing form of abuse before it ever happens.”

“Access to money and financial management tools are key for lower-income households to achieve greater financial health and economic stability,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza (NCLR). “The Financial Solutions Lab enables innovators to offer new products and services to help Latino households manage their finances, thanks to the expertise of CFSI, and the mentorship and expertise offered by JPMorgan Chase.”

“National Disability Institute has long admired the work of CFSI and JPMorgan Chase at the Financial Solutions Lab, and the Lab’s dedication toward advancing the financial health of all Americans, especially those from underserved populations, through technology-based solutions,” said Chris Rodriguez, Director, ABLE National Resource Center. “Moreover, we could not be more excited about the Lab’s recent pursuit to address the challenges facing Americans with disabilities with respect to financial well-being.”

“It’s exciting to see more entrepreneurs innovating through technology to build solutions that have the potential for transformational impact on the financial health of the underserved community,” said Ash Hassan, Strategic Partnerships, Fintech, Google Play. “Together with CFSI and JPMorgan Chase, we look forward to helping improve more Americans’ financial health.”

“We are proud to lend our behavioral science expertise to the Financial Solutions Lab for the third year,” said Josh Wright, Executive Director, ideas42. “Thanks to its data-driven approach and mentorship offered by JPMorgan Chase and CFSI, the Lab has helped so many organizations both improve their products using insights into human behavior and better reach the growing number of people trying to achieve financial health. This year’s winners will only add to the Lab’s legacy of using fintech to improve the lives of many.”

“We are thrilled to join JPMorgan Chase and CFSI in their work to help so many innovative companies design breakthrough solutions to meet the needs of often overlooked populations,” said Jocelyn Wyatt, Executive Director, IDEO.org. “We look forward to helping advance the Lab’s mission to promote financial health for these communities.”

About the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab)

The Financial Solutions Lab is a $30 million, five-year initiative managed by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding Lab partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. to identify, test and expand the availability of promising innovations that help Americans increase savings, improve credit, and build assets. The lab will launch a series of competitions to identify solutions to specific consumer financial challenges. It will provide incentives for entrepreneurs, businesses, and nonprofits to enhance financial products and services that address these challenges and improve consumers’ financial health. For more information, visit http://finlab.cfsinnovation.com.

About the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI)

CFSI is the nation’s authority on consumer financial health. CFSI leads a network of financial services innovators committed to building a more robust financial services marketplace with higher quality products and services. Through its Compass Principles and a lineup of proprietary research, insights and events, CFSI informs, advises, and connects members of its network to seed the innovation that will transform the financial services landscape. For more on CFSI, go to www.cfsinnovation.com and follow on Twitter at @CFSInnovation.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

Baker-Polito Administration Launches Workforce Development Pay for Success Project

Program will address barriers to employment for limited English speakers

Press Release – BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration, along with Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), and Social Finance, a Boston-based non-profit, launched the Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement Project, a Pay for Success (PFS) initiative that will help limited English speakers in Greater Boston make successful transitions to employment, higher wage jobs, and higher education.

“One of our administration’s top priorities has been to expand workforce development opportunities for everyone in the Commonwealth and to help individuals obtain the skills needed to participate in Massachusetts’ nation-leading innovation economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Pathways to Economic Advancement Project is a forward-thinking public-private partnership that will help match employers with potential employees, and employees with the skills employers need, strengthening the Commonwealth’s workforce.”

“Providing critical English-language skills and vocational training limited English speakers will bolster our workforce and increase economic development opportunities across the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We are excited for this collaborative program to launch, and look forward to working with our project partners.”

Shortly after taking office, the Baker-Polito Administration created the cross-secretariat Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet (WSC) to align education, economic development and workforce issues, and to strategize around how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers in each region of the state. Through the WSC and initiatives like the Pathways to Economic Advancement Project, the administration has worked to advance economic opportunities for all in Massachusetts.

“This is another example of our administration’s investments to address workforce skills needs across the Commonwealth,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore. “The project’s funding model is an innovative way to address the workforce skills gap in Massachusetts, and with the results based payment structure, we are ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent in a responsible way.”

“This is a great example of how a public-private partnership can help close the workforce skills gap using outcome oriented approaches,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald L. Walker II.

“We’re proud to be the home of the first PFS project dedicated to workforce development,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “As a leader in innovation, the Commonwealth understands how important workforce investments are to build a strong, talented workforce and remain competitive. This program will provide limited English speakers with new opportunities to succeed.”

This innovative program will combine nonprofit expertise, private funding, and independent evaluation to increase access to workforce development services, including vocational training, English language classes, job search assistance, and college-transitioning programming for approximately 2,000 adults over three years.

The project is being carried out by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, represented by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, and the Executive Office of Education, in conjunction with partners including JVS, Social Finance, the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab (GPL), Economic Mobility Corporation, and Jobs for the Future.

PFS provides a tool for results-based government financing, leveraging private capital to fund experienced service providers and enable government to respond to identified needs. Investors are repaid based on the level of measurable success of the program. This data-intensive approach helps governments target funding towards approaches that work, while limiting risk on new policy programs.

This is the third PFS initiative launched in Massachusetts, and the first PFS project in the nation to focus exclusively on workforce development.

JVS, one of Greater Boston’s largest community-based workforce development and adult education providers, will offer four distinct program tracks that draw on its expertise integrating adult education with job readiness and employer relationships. Each program track will accommodate varying language levels, personal resources, employment objectives, and educational goals among program participants.

“This innovative source of private and public capital, where government pays only for what works, enables JVS to scale our proven workforce development model, reduce waiting lists, and prepare thousands of talented immigrant workers to meet the demands of our booming economy. We are thrilled to be part of the Commonwealth’s groundbreaking effort to creatively expand funding for high-quality human service delivery, and look forward to successfully delivering great results for our clients, investors, and partners,” said Jerry Rubin, President & CEO of JVS.

Social Finance raised $12.43 million from 40 investors including financial institutions, donor advised funds, individuals, and foundations, to fund JVS services.

“Social Finance is proud to be a part of the nation’s first Pay for Success project to focus exclusively on workforce development,” said Tracy Palandjian, Social Finance co-founder and CEO. “This public private partnership would not have been possible without the support of impact investors committed to using their capital to advance the core values of our country, including Prudential Financial, Maycomb Capital, CJP, Living Cities, and others. This initiative will contribute to the economic mobility of immigrants and refugees and to the vitality of the Massachusetts economy for years to come.”

Since 2011, GPL has provided technical assistance to the Commonwealth in developing and launching three of the nation’s 17 Pay for Success projects.

“The Massachusetts Pay for Success project not only allows the Commonwealth to expand important services for English language learners, it will serve as a model for other jurisdictions seeking innovative solutions to developing their workforce,” said Professor Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and GPL Director.

For more information on the Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement Pay for Success Project, please visit: http://socialfinance.org/content/uploads/MAPathways_FactSheet.pdf

For additional quotes from project partners, please visit: http://socialfinance.org/content/uploads/MAPathways_QuoteSheet.pdf

Protix Receives 45M€ in Funding to Scale Production of Insect Proteins

Press Release – Dongen, The Netherlands (June 13, 2017) – Today, the insect supply industry reached a significant milestone with Netherlands-based Protix, the leading insect company, closing 45M€ in funding-delivered by Aqua-Spark, the first investment company focused on sustainable aquaculture, Rabobank, BOM and various private investors.

Protix breeds insects for animal feed, as insects offer a low-impact protein alternative that can be cultivated on a variety of food scraps. This is of the utmost importance as global populations continue to grow and the demand for meat, fish and dairy surges. Food production is increasingly under pressure, with added challenges of deforestation and over-fishing.

Protix is a highly technological and data driven insect producer, regarded for its automated breeding and rearing process. The company has turned insect production into a commercial success by serving the animal feed industry, while also developing food applications for consumers. Their products are used in over 12 countries to date – in feed applications ranging from pig and poultry to pet food specialties.

The driver behind Aqua-Spark’s interest is Protix promising uses for aquaculture. Fish raised using sustainable aquaculture methods offer a solution to the global food crisis because they have the least environmental impact of any animal protein. However, as the industry continues to improve overall, feed is still a key concern. 33% of all wild caught fish is processed into animal feed, and alternatives like soy contribute to deforestation and do not reflect a natural diet. Protix has the potential to further elevate aquaculture, while solving feed challenges across multiple industries at a large scale and sustainably disposing of food scraps.

The Potential for Insects

Protix was founded in 2009 by two former McKinsey & Company colleagues, Kees Aarts and Tarique Arsiwalla. “Due to increasing demand from our loyal and valuable customers, we’re ready for the upcoming acceleration made possible by investments and our partners. With 45M€ in funding, we plan to expand Protix’s production capacity, especially within the aquaculture industry where the main challenge is creating a sustainable, healthy feed. Protix will also deepen its biological and technical R&D and diversify to other markets like food. We are very excited to serve our existing and new customers and we will be seeking great M&A opportunities, work with great organizations and hire the best people,” said Protix CEO Kees Aarts.

Aqua-Spark

Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, founders of Aqua-Spark have a clear reason for investing. “We’ve been researching the insect industry for many years, and Protix stands out because of its potential to be pivotal in the development of a sustainable aqua-feed solution. We’re selective about the companies we invest in; and Protix fits well with Aqua-Spark’s portfolio and aligns with our mission and values. Combined with excellent potential returns and through its partnership with Buhler, Protix is expected to enable industry acceleration globally. We’re thrilled to be the lead investor in this latest round of funding, which will contribute to the company’s continued growth.”

Rabobank

Rabobank has been involved with Protix from its start, and continues to support the insect company today as the core bank in its latest round of funding. The bank was introduced to Protix through the Dutch Green Tech Fund (currently Shift Invest). As the leading Food & Agribusiness Bank worldwide, with Banking for Food as its core-strategy, Rabobank is concerned with future challenges surrounding world food production.

 

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