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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

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.

For First Time, Two Districts Win The Broad Prize: Gwinnett County Public Schools, Orange County Public Schools Share $1 Million Award

NEW YORK — For the first time in its 13-year history, The Broad Prize for Urban Education has been awarded to two school districts: Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia and Orange County Public Schools in Florida, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation announced today. As co-winners of the 2014 award, the two districts will split the $1 million prize and each will receive $500,000 in college scholarships for their high school seniors.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad and Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, at Time Warner Center to announce the winners before an audience of more than 200 education practitioners from around the country, including representatives of the two winning districts.

“I am thrilled to celebrate the achievements of educators, students and families in two communities, who have accomplished a shared goal,” said Duncan. “There is no single solution to the challenge of ensuring a world-class education for every child. Gwinnett County and Orange County have taken very different paths. Yet the real winners in both places are the same: children. And both districts offer important lessons for the nation: success is possible anywhere, and getting there doesn’t look the same everywhere.”

A nine-member bipartisan jury of prominent leaders from education and public service — including two former U.S. secretaries of education, a former senator and two former governors — decided to award the 2014 Broad Prize to both districts after determining that honoring two districts with two different strategies might inspire more school leaders around the country to take note of varying ways to raise student achievement.

“We wrestled with performance versus improvement,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a member of the selection jury. “We were impressed with Gwinnett County’s steady, sustainable gains and with Orange County’s urgency and commitment to improve student achievement quickly. In the end, we decided that both finalists deserved to win the 2014 Broad Prize.”

The $1 million Broad (rhymes with “road”) Prize is an annual award that honors the large urban school districts that demonstrate the strongest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among low-income students and students of color. Seventy-five of the largest urban school districts in America are automatically eligible for the award each year.

This was the first year the review board that selects The Broad Prize finalists opted to advance only two school districts — rather than four or five as in previous years — on to the selection jury for consideration, reflecting their disappointment with the overall progress of urban school systems across America.

Orange County Public Schools is a first-time finalist, and Gwinnett County Public Schools won the 2010 Broad Prize after being a finalist in 2009. This was the first year Gwinnett County was eligible again for the award. Gwinnett’s prize winnings now total $1.75 million in college scholarships for its students.

“We may have a long way to go in this country to improve urban public education, but the school systems in Gwinnett and Orange counties give us good reason to celebrate what we’ve accomplished so far,” said Bruce Reed, president of The Broad Foundation. “Gwinnett County shows how a district can improve and sustain student performance over many years, while Orange County demonstrates that a sense of urgency and focus can improve student achievement in a hurry. These two winners have kept their eye on the prize, which is to help all students reach their potential.”

The two winning school districts this year share remarkably similar demographics. Gwinnett County Public Schools serves 169,150 students; Orange County has 187,193. Both districts’ student populations are fairly evenly divided across ethnicities and income levels: Gwinnett has 58 percent black or Hispanic students and 55 percent low-income students and Orange has 63 percent black or Hispanic students and 60 percent low-income students.

Both school districts have made strides in student academic performance and college readiness. Gwinnett County high school seniors had the highest SAT participation rate among the 75 Broad Prize-eligible districts. In 2013, 88 percent of all Gwinnett County seniors took the SAT, including 90 percent of black seniors and 70 percent of Hispanic seniors. That compares to an average participation rate of 43 percent for black students and 40 percent for Hispanic students among all eligible districts. In Orange County, between 2011 and 2013, participation rates and average scores on Advanced Placement exams increased for all juniors and seniors overall and notably for Hispanic students. AP participation by Hispanic juniors and seniors increased 7 percentage points over this period, while passing rates increased 3 percentage points.

But the districts’ achievements also differ in certain ways — Gwinnett boasts high academic performance, leaving it less room for improvement, while Orange has improved significantly in only a few years:

  • A greater percentage of low-income students are reaching advanced academic levels in Gwinnett County than in other districts in Georgia. In 2013, Gwinnett ranked among the top 20 percent of districts statewide for the percentage of low-income students at all education levels (elementary, middle and high school) performing at the highest achievement level in reading, math and science. For example, 33 percent of Gwinnett’s low-income middle school students reached the advanced academic level on the state math assessment compared with 19 percent of low-income middle school students in the rest of the state.
  • A greater percentage of black students are reaching advanced academic levels in Gwinnett County than in other districts in Georgia. In 2013, Gwinnett County ranked among the top 10 percent of districts statewide for the percentage of black students at all education levels who performed at the highest achievement level on state-mandated tests in reading, math and science. For example, 40 percent of Gwinnett County’s black elementary school students reached the advanced academic level on the state science assessment, compared with 20 percent of black elementary school students in the rest of the state.
  • Orange County raised achievement among low-income middle school students. In recent years, Orange County was more successful than at least 80 percent of Florida districts at raising the percentage of low-income middle school students who performed at the highest achievement levels on state tests in reading and math. For example, between 2011 and 2013, the percentage of low-income students performing at the highest achievement level rose 6 percentage points in middle school reading compared to only 1 percent for students in the rest of Florida.
  • Orange County narrowed income and ethnic achievement gaps. The achievement gap between Hispanic students in Orange County and white students in the rest of Florida narrowed in elementary, middle and high school reading and science and in elementary and high school math. The gap between Orange County’s low-income students and higher-income students elsewhere in Florida narrowed in elementary, middle and high school reading and math, and in elementary and middle school science.

For a full electronic press kit, including additional student outcomes and policies and practices of the two winners, please visit Video of the winning school districts featuring b-roll and interviews with their superintendents is available at

The nine-member selection jury that chose this year’s winner included:

  • Henry Cisneros, former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development
  • Christopher Dodd, former U.S. senator from Connecticut
  • Donald Graham, chairman and CEO, Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post Company)
  • James B. Hunt, Jr., former governor of North Carolina
  • Michael Lomax, president and CEO, the United Negro College Fund
  • Edward Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania
  • Richard Riley, former U.S. secretary of education
  • Donna Shalala, former U.S. secretary of health and human services
  • Margaret Spellings, former U.S. secretary of education

The selection jury evaluated quantitative data on the finalists that consisted of publicly available student performance data compiled and analyzed by RTI International, one of the world’s leading research institutes. In addition, the jury evaluated the finalist districts’ policies and practices, compiled following site visits conducted by a team of education practitioners led by RMC Research Corporation, an education consulting company. The site visits included classroom observations and interviews with administrators, teachers, principals, parents, community leaders, school board members and union representatives.

The 2014 finalists were selected this past spring by a review board of 13 prominent education researchers, policy leaders, practitioners and executives from leading universities, education associations, think-tanks and non-profit organizations that evaluated publicly available student performance data.

As winners of the 2014 Broad Prize, Gwinnett County Public Schools and Orange County Public schools will each receive $500,000 in college scholarships for their high school seniors who graduate in 2015. Broad Prize scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate significant financial need and who have improved their grades during high school. Scholarship recipients who enroll in four-year colleges will receive up to $20,000 paid out over four years ($5,000 per year). Broad Prize scholars who enroll in two-year colleges will receive up to $5,000 scholarships paid out over two years ($2,500 per year). For more information on the scholarship program, please visit

Founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a philanthropy that seeks to ensure that every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed. Bringing together top education experts and practitioners, the foundation funds system-wide programs and policies that strengthen public schools by creating environments that allow good teachers to do great work and enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive. For more information, please visit

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U.S. Bank Commits Funding to Sustainable Home Ownership Program in the Twin Cities

Program’s unique structure to serve as model for expanding homeownership opportunities

MINNEAPOLIS (September 19, 2014) – U.S. Bank closed on a $2.6 million investment in the Sustainable Home Ownership Program (SHOP) Bridge to Success Fund, expanding homeownership opportunity in the Twin Cities. The fund also received investment from clients of the bank’s high net-worth wealth management unit Ascent Private Capital Management.

SHOP, which is a partnership between Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation and Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services, provides alternative financing for potential homeowners who are otherwise ineligible for traditional financing with the primary purpose of allowing such borrowers to eventually resolve credit issues and equity challenges, and move into traditional financing.

“The SHOP Bridge to Success Fund is unique in that it utilizes a contract-for-deed structure to expand homeownership to those who do not qualify for traditional financing,” said Carolyn Olson, president of Greater Metro Housing Corporation. “Thanks to investors like U.S. Bank and its clients, we’re able to expand local homeownership opportunities and, in turn, better our neighborhoods in need.”

With the SHOP Bridge to Success Fund, homes are sold to buyers on a contract-for-deed basis, with the buyer agreeing to refinance into a traditional mortgage once they meet the necessary credit requirements. The fund’s investors, which also include the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the nonprofit Family Housing Fund, receive payment once the traditional mortgage is in place. SHOP is one of the first programs in the country to utilize this structure, which has been praised by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as a way to expand homeownership.

“SHOP is a prime example of business and community development partners coming together to develop a solution that meets the needs of our community,” said Phillip Trier, market president for U.S. Bank in the Twin Cities. “In addition to soliciting private business investment, SHOP provides an attractive, socially-responsible investment opportunity for individual high-net-worth investors. Hopefully, it can serve as a template and help generate capital to support homeownership nationwide.”

U.S. Bank is proud to support neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, its headquarters market. Last year the bank committed more than $264 million to the Twin Cities in the form of community development loans, tax credit investments, U.S. Bank Foundation grants, corporate giving and nonprofit sponsorships.

That funding helped spark urban development, create new affordable housing and foster entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the bank’s employees in the Twin Cities spent more than 64,000 hours volunteering in the community.

About Sustainable Home Ownership Program

SHOPTM (Sustainable Home Ownership Program) is a socially responsible not-for-profit homeownership lending program of Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation in partnership with Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services. Together, we share a vision of affordable housing and increasing the quality of life within our communities. While our partnership serves the entire Minneapolis St. Paul area market, our primary mission is to provide products for underserved individuals and families. We offer a wide range of mortgage lending programs including FHA, VA, conventional mortgages, MHFA programs, various down payment assistance programs, and our exclusive Bridge to Success Contract-for-Deed program. SHOP also focuses on outreach efforts into the community. We have built extensive networks with community not-for -profit agencies, faith-based organizations and financial institutions to reach families who desire to become homeowners or who want to remain in their existing homes. SHOP emphasizes home owner sustainability. We believe in getting you in the home and providing the resources that allow you to succeed in homeownership. The SHOP Team is a group of seasoned professionals that combine years of mortgage lending experience with a deep understanding of community needs.

About U.S. Bank

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with $389 billion in assets as of June 30, 2014, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the 5th largest commercial bank in the United States. The Company operates 3,174 banking offices in 25 states and 5,005 ATMs and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at

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NFIB Urges House to Pass Package of Bills

Jobs and Energy Bills Would Help Small Business

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 16, 2014 — National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Vice President of Public Policy Amanda Austin made the following statement in advance of this week’s expected vote on H.R. 4, the Jobs for America Act and H.R. 2, the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act:

“Small businesses have been struggling to rebound following the recession,” said Austin. “Between rising health care costs, mounting red tape, and increases to energy prices – entrepreneurs are feeling the pinch at every level. The numerous provisions presented in the Jobs for America Act and the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act would help alleviate this burden and go a long way to making sure Main Street remains vibrant. We urge the House of Representatives to act on these important bills and encourage the Senate to take up and pass them as well.”

NFIB will be on Capitol Hill Wednesday and Thursday this week to present Guardian of Small Business Awards to members of Congress that served as a true champion of small business, supporting the votes that matter in the 113th Congress. Included in H.R. 4 and H.R. 2, are several of NFIB’s Key Votes for the 113th Congress, including H.R. 2575, H.R. 2804, H.R. 4457, H.R. 3, and H.R. 2728.

In all, NFIB will present Guardian awards to 45 Senators and 233 Representatives who stood up for small business. Click here for How Congress Voted for the 113th Congress.

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Peloton Announces Social Good Promise with World Bicycle Relief Partnership

For every Peloton bike sold, a portion of profits is donated to World Bicycle Relief to provide bikes in developing communities

New York, NY (September 17, 2014): Peloton, the only at-home fitness solution for live and on-demand indoor cycling classes, announced today a partnership with World Bicycle Relief (WBR), a 501c3 nonprofit that provides bikes to help people prosper. With the company’s new commitment to social good, for every Peloton bike sold, Peloton will donate a portion of proceeds to World Bicycle Relief to provide bikes to those in need.

“Both Peloton and World Bicycle Relief were born from a common desire to use a bike as a way to better the world,” stated Evan Freed, Director of Social Giving at Peloton. “As we continue to grow, we believe it is important to support those in need through our partnership with World Bicycle Relief. We are excited to welcome WBR into the Peloton family and improve so many people’s lives with the help of our global community.”

Peloton’s partnership with World Bicycle Relief will help the nonprofit meet the growing demand for high-quality bicycles in the developing world. The additional support from Peloton will improve access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity. The bikes increase carrying capacity and accessible travel distance while decreasing the time it takes to commute to schools, clinics and markets.

“All of us at World Bicycle Relief are very excited for the partnership with Peloton. Peloton and WBR both understand that a bicycle can be a tool to improve people’s lives and it’s so rewarding to see that Peloton wants to give back – and make an impact via that tool – to the communities that WBR serves in rural parts of the world,” said Katie Bolling, Director of Corporate Partnerships at World Bicycle Relief. “We look forward to mobilizing thousands of more people through the Power of Bicycles in thanks to Peloton’s commitment to our mission.”

Peloton bikes are currently sold in 8 retail locations across the United States including: Garden State Plaza and Short Hills Mall in New Jersey; The Westchester Mall in White Plains, New York; Main Street in East Hampton, New York; The Natick Mall in Boston, Massachusetts; Tysons Corner, VA; and Century City Mall in Los Angeles. Bikes are also available online at

To learn more about Peloton’s partnership with World Bicycle Relief, visit Peloton’s Social Purpose page.

About Peloton

Founded in 2012, Peloton has transformed the at-home fitness experience by creating a bike that merges high-design with modern technology to provide access to live streaming and on demand classes by top instructors. In the spring of 2014, Peloton opened a flagship studio in Chelsea to offer riders the opportunity to experience their favorite classes in-person. With a state of the art studio, the best instructors and content distribution, Peloton delivers an efficiently intense workout that motivates, while positively changing the mind and body. Current retail locations include: Garden State Plaza and Short Hills Mall in New Jersey; The Westchester Mall in White Plains, New York; Main Street in East Hampton, New York; The Natick Mall in Boston, Massachusetts; Tysons Corner, VA; and Century City Mall in Los Angeles. For more information, visit:

About World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief is dedicated to mobilizing people through The Power of Bicycles®. World Bicycle Relief accomplishes its mission by designing and distributing high quality bicycles that withstand the challenging conditions in rural Africa. Since 2005, World Bicycle Relief has distributed 200,000 bikes in developing countries around the world with a focus on rural Africa. Entrepreneurs use the bikes to increase productivity and profits. Students with bikes attend class more regularly which improves performance and graduation rates. And, health care workers visit more patients in less time, providing better, more consistent care. For more information visit:

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U.S. Chamber Foundation Hosts SAIS Annual Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom

U.S., International Business, Government Leaders Recommend Business-led Initiatives to Advance Boardroom Diversity

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Women in Business (CWB) today hosted the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Center for Transatlantic Relations 5th Annual Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom. The full day plenary brought together CEOs and board chairs of publicly traded companies, leaders of business organizations, stock exchange executives, government officials, institutional investors, search firm executives, academics, and international experts, to assess progress in the United States and abroad on achieving gender balance on corporate boards.

“Despite the United States having the largest pool of talented women in the world, women comprise only 16.9% of the boards of directors of Fortune 500 companies, and that number has moved at a glacial pace,” said Susan Ness, chair of the SAIS Global Conference. “Other countries have recognized the competitive advantage of diversity and have made great strides, with a number of countries approaching 30% or above. The SAIS Conference has tapped the collective wisdom of a wide-ranging group of business and other leaders to develop a roadmap for practical, business-led solutions to accelerate progress in the United States.”

The discussion highlighted the role that institutional investors, stock exchanges, board nominating committees, and government can play to advance gender diversity in the boardroom.

“We believe that women’s advancement in business and in the Boardroom is indisputably a significant economic issue,” said Gov. John R. McKernan, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “With women comprising half of our workforce today, the simple truth is that the business community needs to actively engage more women on Boards and in executive leadership for the American economy to prosper. Only by utilizing the full potential of all our talent will we keep America competitive in the global economy.”

The event also featured keynote remarks from Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White, and Ambassador of the European Union to the United States João Vale de Almeida, as well as interviews with CEOs and board chairs, and panel discussions.

The SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations is a think tank within the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. The Center has been rated as the top university affiliated think tank in Washington, DC and one of the top ten university-affiliated think tanks globally.

The Center for Women in Business (CWB) promotes and empowers women business leaders to achieve their personal and professional goals by increasing opportunities for women to serve on corporate boards and in the C-suite; mentoring women in the early stages of their careers or re-entering the workforce; and building a network of women entrepreneurs to encourage peer-to-peer networking, education, and professional growth.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness by addressing developments that affect our nation, our economy, and the global business environment.

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NATAN Announces the Launch of Amplifier: The Jewish Giving Circle Movement

A global initiative designed to expand and strengthen Jewish giving circles and to support inspiring changemakers around the world

New York, NY – (September 16, 2014)The Natan Fund, a giving circle of young professionals in New York, today announced the launch of Amplifier, a global network of giving circles inspired by Jewish values. Amplifier is the first concerted effort to unite Jewish giving circles into a field, catalyze the creation of new circles, educate circle members on best practices in philanthropy, and connect giving circles to each other and to grantseekers of all types efficiently and effectively through an innovative new web platform.

Giving circles are groups of people who pool their charitable donations and decide together where to allocate their money. Research shows that members of giving circles give more, give more strategically, and are more engaged in their communities than non-members. This past summer’s Connected to Give: Community Circles report (Jumpstart, 2014) demonstrated that giving circles are also particularly strong among affinity groups, such as those connected by religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or age.

Supported by a pilot grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Natan convened dozens of partners from across the Jewish philanthropic and nonprofit sectors over several months to co-design Amplifier’s web platform and in-person training and mentoring programs. More than 30 giving circles and over 100 nonprofit organizations have registered on the web platform during its beta phase, and the number is growing every day.

“People are craving a meaningful experience with giving, and giving circles can provide just that,” says Felicia Herman, Natan’s executive director. “So much of giving is reactive – we give because we get a solicitation in the mail or our friends ask us to donate to their favorite cause. Giving circles, by contrast, are proactive: they enable members to discover their giving passions and then to give in way that is transparent, intentional, hands-on, and social – no matter how much money they have or what types of causes they want to support.”

Amplifier’s in-person and online resources make it as simple as possible for anyone to start, grow, and sustain a giving circle and to connect with excellent potential grant recipients and with other giving circles. Trainings, coaching, conferences, and events complement a unique interactive web platform,, that offers searchable directories of giving circles and nonprofit organizations, giving circle management tools, a growing Resource Library, and a Common Grant Application for grantseekers.

“Giving circles are for everyone,” says Lynn Schusterman, chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “They inspire people at all levels of giving to come together with a community of friends or family and to wrestle with how to bring Jewish wisdom to bear on contemporary issues of all kinds. We are investing in Amplifier because we believe that giving circles can be a powerful pathway for engaging with Jewish life and values, as well as for ensuring a vibrant future for Jewish philanthropy. ”

Amplifier is also intended to benefit nonprofit organizations, to make it easier for them to raise funds from giving circles and even to start their own circles. “The Common Grant Application and Organization Directory make spreading the word about our work and connecting to potential sources of support incredibly efficient,” says Rachel Ishofsky at Innovation: Africa “Submitting one application on Amplifier’s site not only saves us time but also showcases our work to a broad landscape of potential supporters.”

For further information on Amplifier, guidance on starting or joining a giving circle or submitting a Common Grant Application, please visit


In the fall of 2002, a group of young professionals came together in New York City to imagine a new approach to Jewish philanthropy: a thoughtful, engaging experience of strategic, collective giving, where they could use both their minds and their money to support new ideas and transform the Jewish world and Israel. They wanted to give together, in a community of like-minded peers, brought together by their generosity and their commitment to Jewish philanthropy. They wanted control over where their money was going and transparency about how it was being used by those who received it. And they wanted to have real impact – to support new ideas with the potential to make systemic change. They created The Natan Fund, a giving circle focused on supporting Jewish and Israeli social entrepreneurs and startup nonprofit organizations.

Ten years later, nearly 200 members – almost all under age 45 – have participated actively in Natan’s grant making process and events. Natan has allocated over $9.6 million to more than 160 innovative Jewish and Israeli social entrepreneurs and startup nonprofits around the world. After growing as a giving circle for over a decade, Natan is expanding into a field-building role by partnering with dozens of organizations to create Amplifier: The Jewish Giving Circle Movement.

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The G8’s Social Impact Investment Taskforce Issues Recommendations to Spur Billions of Dollars in Impact Investment Worldwide

US National Advisory Board’s Policy Recommendations Are Incorporated to Spur Investment in the United States

WASHINGTON, DC (September 15, 2014) – The Social Impact Investment Taskforce, created by the governments of the G8 in June 2013 to catalyze a global market for impact investing, released a global report today outlining its recommendations to unleash billions of dollars of private sector investment to address social problems. The report, The Invisible Heart of Markets: How Impact Investing is Harnessing Innovation and Capital for Public Good, represents the most comprehensive initiative to date to define what is needed from all stakeholders in the effort to advance the tremendous potential of impact investment to improve society and the environment.

“This is not about increasing or reducing public expenditure, but helping government to benefit from innovation and private sector capital in order to achieve more impact with the money it has. In driving the achievement of impact, social impact investment harnesses the forces of entrepreneurship and capital and the power of markets to do good. It brings the invisible heart of markets to guide their invisible hand,” said Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman of the Taskforce.

In June, the US National Advisory Board (NAB) on Impact Investing released its report of policy recommendations to mainstream impact investing within the United States. The report, Private Capital, Public Good: How Smart Federal Policy Can Galvanize Impact Investing — and Why It’s Urgent, was incorporated into the work of the global taskforce.

“We look forward to working together to support the promise of impact investing worldwide. This report represents a joint effort of many stakeholders, including government, business, the social sector and foundations, institutional and private investors, and most importantly impact entrepreneurs, to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations that are critical to the success of impact investing on a global scale,” said Matt Bannick, member of the Taskforce and co-chair of the US NAB.

The global effort was initiated at the June 2013 G8 meetings in London to explore how impact investing can accelerate economic growth and solve the world’s most pressing social challenges. At that time the Social Impact Investment Taskforce (Taskforce) was created and charged with recommending policies to accelerate impact investing, establish a common global approach for measuring social outcomes, and encourage greater engagement across foundations, institutions and private investors with input from the G8 countries.

The report lays out eight high-level recommendations devised by government and private sector experts from across the G7, EU and Australia to increase impact investment worldwide:

  1. Set measurable impact objectives and track their achievement.
  2. Investors to consider three dimensions: risk, return and impact.
  3. Clarify fiduciary responsibilities of trustees: to allow trustees to consider social as well as financial return on their investments.
  4. Pay-for-success commissioning: governments should consider streamlining pay-for-success arrangements such as social impact bonds and adapting national ecosystems to support impact investment.
  5. Consider setting up an impact investment wholesaler funded with unclaimed assets to drive development of the impact investment sector.
  6. Boost social sector organizational capacity: governments and foundations to consider establishing capacity-building grants programs.
  7. Give Profit-with-Purpose businesses the ability to lock-in mission: governments to provide appropriate legal forms or provisions for entrepreneurs and investors who wish to secure social mission into the future.
  8. Support impact investment’s role in international development: governments to consider providing their development finance institutions with flexibility to increase impact investment efforts. Explore creation of an Impact Finance Facility to help attract early-stage capital, and a DIB Social Outcomes Fund to pay for successful development impact bonds.

The full report may be viewed at

US National Advisory Board on Impact Investing

The US National Advisory Board on Impact Investing was formed to coordinate with and advise the global effort while actively reaching out to key stakeholders and communities to get feedback, ideas and input about what policy changes are necessary to drive social impact investing in the United States.

Private Capital, Public Good Recommendations:

The US NAB’s report, issued in June and incorporated into the Taskforce report, offers policy recommendations on opportunities in the short-term, as well as supporting policy ideas that would encourage the impact investing market over the long-term. The recommendations are focused on executive and legislative strategies for updating existing regulations and laws to make it easier for social impact investors to work with government agencies. Although the policies are focused on opportunities at the federal level, the report does intentionally include both examples and opportunities at the state and local level. Most recommendations are budget neutral and sometimes even result in cost-savings. They include:

  • Remove regulatory barriers to unlock private impact investment. Innovative impact-oriented businesses are in need of investment, and unnecessary regulatory barriers stand in the way—leaving much private capital on the sidelines.
  • Increase the effectiveness of government programs. Government agencies frequently lack the flexibility and range of tools needed to achieve social and environmental goals.
  • Provide incentives for new private impact investment. Some markets need a push to get off the ground. By putting the first dollar on the table, government can attract private investment to support important social and environmental goals. More federal agencies should have the authority to replicate successful impact investing programs such as the Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) Fund, which marshals $20 of private capital for every $1 of federal funds invested.
  • Support innovative impact enterprises. Every entrepreneur needs support to get off the ground. Congress, the White House, and government agencies command powerful public platforms for spreading the word about the benefits of impact investing. They can support the development of field-building organizations.
  • Standardize metrics and improve data access. Measuring the impact is critical to the development of the impact investment field. The government can support and accelerate private sector standards while promoting open access to data.

The report can be viewed at

About the Social Impact Investment Taskforce

The Social Impact Investment Taskforce is an independent taskforce launched in 2013 under the UK’s Presidency of the G8. Over the last fourteen months, it has brought together government and sector experts from the G7 countries, the European Commission and Australia to fulfill its mandate to report on “catalyzing a global market in impact investment.”

About the NAB

The US National Advisory Board (NAB) to the Social Impact Investment Taskforce aims to catalyze the development of the global social impact investment market. It was established following the June 2013 G8 Social Impact Investment Forum in London. The NAB was formed to focus on the US domestic policy agenda. The NAB is comprised of 27 thought leaders, including private investors, entrepreneurs, foundations, academics, impact-oriented organizations, nonprofits, and intermediaries.

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GLG Celebrates 2014 Social Impact Fellows

World’s Largest Membership for Professional Learning and Expertise Convenes Social Sector Leaders at Innovative New Global Headquarters Designed by Clive Wilkinson

New York, New York; September 15, 2014 — GLG, the world’s largest membership for professional learning and expertise, on Monday celebrated its inaugural class of Social Impact Fellows at its new global headquarters in Manhattan. The GLG Social Impact Fellowship gives twelve promising nonprofit leaders access to one-to-one learning from GLG’s 400,000 teaching members, without cost. These creative problem-solvers are among the most promising and gifted social sector leaders. The Fellowship allows them to move beyond the advice and mentorship typically provided by board members and donors.

GLG convened the Fellows in New York today to learn from each other and from GLG’s community of top professionals. The two-day summit and its Monday evening reception represent GLG’s first major gatherings in its new global headquarters, designed by award-winning architect Clive Wilkinson, which opened for business midsummer. GLG’s office is the first of its scale in the United States to embrace activity-based working, an innovative concept that eschews assigned personal workspaces for a more flexible and productive approach to work life.

“Our mission is to transform the way the world’s top professionals share expertise, learn, and make decisions. This vital one-to-one learning has been available to top professionals across the private sector, and now we’re making it available to the best and brightest innovators in the social sector, where the need for learning is particularly acute, and the opportunity for innovation especially rich,” said GLG President and CEO Alexander Saint-Amand. “And we couldn’t be prouder to start this new chapter in our new headquarters with these promising leaders.”

Jen Field, Director of Social Impact at GLG, explained, “The 2014 GLG Social Impact Fellows were chosen from a diverse group of leading early-stage and growing nonprofits and social enterprises invited to apply and interview. The competitive selection process, which occurs annually, was based on organizations’ missions and models and on applicants’ articulation of how GLG’s resources would help them increase efficacy and scale at key moments in their organizational growth.”

The Fellows have joined GLG’s community of leading investors, entrepreneurs, corporations, and consulting firms, who learn every day from academics, current and former C-suite executives, scientists, policy specialists, former public sector leaders, and other professional leaders. Fellows and their teams work collaboratively with GLG research teams to leverage the breadth and depth of the GLG network to inform their strategic decisions and increase their impact. GLG’s total in-kind donation to the Fellows and their organizations is estimated at $1.5 million.

The Fellows and their organizations tackle a range of social challenges around the world – from community health and entrepreneurship to extreme poverty in Africa and disaster response in the U.S. They are:

  • Rachael Chong, founder & CEO, Catchafire; New York, New York (U.S. skills-based volunteering)
  • Aaron Fishman, founder & Director, East Bali Cashews; Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia (cashew processing social enterprise)
  • Christina Lewis Halpern, Founder & President, All Star Code; New York, New York (men of color in technology)
  • Jake Harriman, Founder & CEO, Nuru International; Palo Alto, California (sustainable global development)
  • Leila Janah, Founder & CEO, Samasource; San Francisco, California (global enterprise digital service jobs for underserved women and youth)
  • Leticia Jáuregui, Founder & Executive Director, Crea Comunidades de Emprendedores Sociales; Mexico City, Mexico (business support for marginalized women entrepreneurs in Mexico)
  • Manmeet Kaur, Founder & Executive Director, City Health Works; New York, New York (community health services in East Harlem)
  • Oliver Libby, Co-Founder & Board Chairman, The Resolution Project; New York, New York (global youth social entrepreneurship)
  • Ben Powell, Founder & CEO, Agora Partnerships; Washington, District of Columbia (early-stage impact entrepreneurship in Latin America)
  • Zack Rosenburg, Co-Founder & CEO, St. Bernard Project; Chalmette, Louisiana (US long-term disaster recovery)
  • Eugenie Teasley, Founder & Chief Executive, Spark+Mettle; Brighton, England (career support for marginalized youth in England)
  • Andrew Yang, Founder & CEO, Venture for America; New York, New York (post-college entrepreneurship in US cities)

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StartOut & Launch Angels Announce Strategic Relationship to Support VentureOut LGBT Capital Fund

Boston, MA, September 11, 2014 — Today StartOut and Launch Angels announce a strategic relationship with Launch Angels’ latest affinity venture fund, VentureOut. The Fund backs early stage ventures with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) founders and management team members, and it will help create the next generation of LGBT entrepreneurs.

“The VentureOut Fund supports a central part of StartOut’s core mission: connecting LGBT entrepreneurs to sources of funding. StartOut seeks to build and empower the next generation of LGBT entrepreneurs and business leaders,” said Gene Falk, CEO of StartOut. “We’re delighted that Launch Angels has focused their newest affinity fund on the LGBT community, creating a new source of investment capital for gay-owned and managed business ventures nationwide.”

“It’s a privilege to be supported by a forward-looking organization like StartOut,” said Shereen Shermak, Launch Angels CEO. “Together we have the opportunity to build something meaningful and make a real impact on the LGBT entrepreneurial community.”

“StartOut has built an incredible community of entrepreneurs, successful professionals, and investors in just five short years,” said Greg Wiles, Managing Director, VentureOut Fund. “The organization is a testament to the power of how the LGBT network can support one another within the small business community. We are excited to work with them in furthering our shared vision.”


About VentureOut

The VentureOut Fund leverages the power of the LGBT community to source opportunities and provide high-quality LGBT-led deal flow. Additionally, the fund will support LGBT entrepreneurs by connecting them to resources and mentors who can provide senior-level counsel and advice.

Targeting a close of $2 million, VentureOut will pool capital from 15-20 investors in order to have a large impact. It will invest in about 10 to 15 promising, scalable seed-stage companies and utilize the proven management capabilities of Launch Angels to provide investor relations, back office and investment support. A portion of the fund proceeds will be returned to the LGBT business community.

For more on VentureOut, please visit:

Investment Risks

Investors should consult with their financial and tax advisors before considering an investment. Early stage companies are risky investments, not suitable for all investors—even accredited ones.

About StartOut

Founded in 2009 with chapters in New York City and San Francisco, and now Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, and more in development, StartOut is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to fostering and developing entrepreneurship in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) community. It helps aspiring entrepreneurs to start new companies, empowers current entrepreneurs to grow and expand their businesses, and engages successful LGBT entrepreneurs as role models and mentors for up-and-coming business ventures. StartOuts’ goals are to educate, inspire, and support members of the LGBT community around entrepreneurship and business leadership through mentorship, education, and access to capital. For more information, visit

About Launch Angels

Launch Angels custom tailors Affinity Venture Funds to your group’s unique structure, investment goals, desired engagement level, and investment process. We work with you to define fund size, budget for each investment, and deal criteria, then handle all management, reporting, filing, and tracking. Follow us @Launch_angels

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From Addict to Entrepreneur: 25-Year-Old Conquers Drugs, Opens Women-Only Center to Help Others

Brittany Ringersen shares her advice for other entrepreneurs and what inspired her to start her own business.


Brittany Ringersen started doing opiates when she was 16 and quickly became hooked. But as a 20-year-old college student, she came to the realization that something had to change. “I knew if I didn’t do something, I would die,” Ringersen says.

Ringersen eventually entered treatment and has now been clean for 2½ years. As part of her recovery, she sponsored women who were in AA and saw that many of them were kicked out of treatment centers because of insurance issues. “The more I learned, the more I didn’t like it and wanted to change it,” she says.


Ringersen, 25, had launched several other businesses before, including a magazine, a website consulting company and an interactive dating site, so she decided to launch a business that had personal meaning to her. This spring, the Lighthouse Recovery Institute in Delray Beach, Fl., opened its doors.

“Helping people with addictions is the only thing I’ve enjoyed,” says Ringersen.

Ringersen was inspired to open her own business while she was working a 9-5 underwriting job because she wanted to get her hands dirty. “I wanted to help with business development, marketing strategies and improving policies and procedures. When my boss told me to stay in my lane, I knew I had to do something else,” Ringersen says. “The day I walked into my office and had the ability to grow my company was the day I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.”

Brittany says one of the biggest challenges of running her own business is the unpredictability. “You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. No one can actually account for every variable, so my biggest challenge has been accounting for these variables and overcoming them. Running a business is a lot like everyday life – you never know what it’s going to throw at you.”

Her best advice to other entrepreneurs: “There are a lot of financial fears and interference with your free time. I would compare it to raising a child – it is something you have to care about and put a lot of time, energy and focus into.”

The Lighthouse Recovery Institute has 35 beds and is one of the only centers in Palm Beach County that focuses specifically on women. Ringersen believes there are different reasons women become addicted to drugs or alcohol and thinks it’s easier to build relationships in an all-female setting. The center also focuses on issues beyond treatment unique to women, including family, legal and career issues that will affect them after they leave. Lighthouse also has uniquely positioned itself to also treat eating disorders, which, many times, accompany or lead to substance abuse.


The center has a staff of 15, including a clinical director, therapists, nutritionist/dietician, yoga instructor and marketing team. Twelve of the staff are in recovery themselves.

“We all have the ability to be great at what we do,” Ringersen says. “Life does not come with ceilings – you can go as far as you’re willing to sacrifice.”

About the Lighthouse Recovery Institute

At the Lighthouse Recovery Institute (, our mission is to help each client attain peace, happiness and permanent sobriety. With more than 30 years of experience in the treatment of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, eating disorders and trauma, our passionate team of doctors, therapists, and specialists provide nothing but the highest quality of care for every woman who walks through our doors.

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