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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
and corporate social responsibility.


SeedEquity Ventures


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.

Austin-Based Me & the Bees Lemonade and Its Kid Entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer, to be Featured on ABC’s 20/20

Episode will air on Friday, February 24th

Press Release – February 22, 2017 (Austin, Texas) – Austin’s own buzzworthy brand, Me & the Bees Lemonade and its twelve-year-old BEO will be featured on the February 24th episode of ABC’s 20/20. The episode: “Shark Tank on 20/20: The Road to $100 Million in Deals” will highlight the lemonade founder, Mikaila Ulmer and her success as a millennial entrepreneur following her 2015 appearance on the ABC hit show, Shark Tank. The 20/20 episode will also feature a handful of other business that have collectively closed $100 million dollars in deals during individual appearances on Shark Tank.

Me & the Bees, formerly known as Bee Sweet Lemonade, was conceptualized eight years ago, by a then four-year-old Mikaila. What started out as a local lemonade stand inspired by Makaila’s fascination with the prolific pollinators, is now a line of natural lemonades distributed throughout the Southern US and along the East Coast in retailers including Whole Foods Market and Wegmans. It is also available in Mikaila’s hometown of Austin at locations including W Austin and Fresh Plus. Me & The Bees line of all natural, sustainable products are distributed by United Natural Foods, Inc.

The 20/20 airing will profile, among others, the success of Me & the Bees which has grown more than 400% since debuting on Shark Tank. Success for the brand, also equates to saving bees – a passion of Mikaila’s that bloomed at the initial launch of her lemonade stand. A portion of proceeds from each sale goes to organizations invested in the future of the planet and supporting honeybees.

Mikaila and her friends and family will celebrate the TV appearance with a watch party at W Austin, one of many local supporters of the brand. Donations taken at the event will go to Sustainable Food Center (SFC) in Austin. Space at the event is limited and RSVPs are required. To find out more about the event, visit Me & the Bees’ Facebook page:
For more information about Me & The Bees Lemonade including how to become a retail partner please visit

GHR Foundation and OpenIDEO Launch $1M ‘BridgeBuilder’ Challenge to Identify Emerging Social Innovators in the U.S. and Globally

Three annual US$1 million Challenges seek to improve lives by building bridges between peace, prosperity and planet

Press Release – MINNEAPOLIS, March 6, 2017 – Working with open innovation platform OpenIDEO, U.S.-based GHR Foundation is seeking social innovators working to address urgent global challenges at the intersections of peace, prosperity and planet in radically new ways. The partnership’s first BridgeBuilder Challenge opens today – Monday, March 6 – kicking off a five-month collaborative process inviting the global community to contribute, test and improve upon ideas. Challenge participants will benefit from the OpenIDEO human-centered design process and connections to potential partners, with top ideas sharing a US$1 million prize as part of an ongoing cohort within the highly collaborative design-build philanthropy framework GHR is pioneering.

“Our partnership with OpenIDEO on the BridgeBuilder Challenge series will help us discover social innovators doing critical work often beneath the purview of traditional public or private funders,” said Amy R. Goldman, chief executive officer and chair of GHR Foundation. “We believe new ideas profoundly impacting global development concerns here in the United States and around the world will emerge from the BridgeBuilder initiative, as GHR practices design-build philanthropy and shares learnings from this innovative approach to grant-making.”

GHR Foundation is anchored by a belief in responsibility, action and the knowledge we are all deeply connected regardless of race, religion, nationality or economic status. GHR sees faith as a powerful resource for good—a unifier and lever for positive social change, and a driver for building more authentic connections between people, networks, issues and resources. Stemming from its own Catholic roots, GHR aims to leverage this Challenge as a means to answer the universal call of Pope Francis to “build bridges” and contribute to making the world a better place for all humankind.

“The global community’s ability to address open challenges, like GHR’s BridgeBuilder Challenge, reflects the power of creativity, collaboration and common purpose,” said Jason Rissman, managing director of OpenIDEO. “Radical solutions, unlikely partnerships and hope emerge through OpenIDEO challenges. We can’t wait to see the ideas presented for BridgeBuilder and how they get refined through open source collaboration. More importantly, we can’t wait to see the profound changes those ideas bring to our global society.”

OpenIDEO Challenge Process: The BridgeBuilder Challenge includes four phases before the Top Ideas are chosen:

  • Ideas Phase: A global call to action to share ideas that bridge solutions in two of the three issue areas: peace, prosperity and planet.
  • Beneficiary Feedback Phase: Contributors test ideas in their communities and apply feedback to their proposals.
  • Expert Feedback Phase: Shortlisted ideas receive feedback from issue experts and leaders in international development.
  • Improve Phase: All ideas have 2 weeks to apply expert feedback to their proposals.

Eligibility: The Challenge is open to any nonprofit/nongovernmental or for-profit organization that has been operating within its sector for at least one year and is proposing a new approach to a problem or using an existing approach in a new way. For additional perspective on what comprises a winning idea, see the ideas phase criteria.

The BridgeBuilder Challenge: BridgeBuilder is a series of three innovation Challenges bringing increased collaboration and a human-centered design approach to development concerns. The program is a joint initiative of OpenIDEO and GHR Foundation, made possible through GHR funding.

OpenIDEO: OpenIDEO is a global open innovation platform that builds collaborative communities to address pressing social and environmental issues. In online Challenges, offline Chapters and targeted programs, OpenIDEO enables innovators anywhere to apply design thinking towards generating social impact.

GHR Foundation: GHR Foundation improves lives by working toward a just, peaceful and healthy future. Built on faith in entrepreneurial creativity, the foundation accelerates systemic change by nurturing promising new possibilities and partnerships in the areas of global development, education and health. For more than 50 years, the pioneering design-build legacy of Opus Group founders Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst has guided GHR’s philanthropic approach—collaborating with the world’s experts to design and build opportunities for change to take hold.

Awards Celebrate Technology As A Force For Good

  • 12 inspiring tech for good projects crowned winners at DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards
  • Barbican Awards ceremony, sponsored by Nominet Trust, recognises digital innovation making a positive change

Press Release – 2nd March 2017, London – A new national initiative celebrating digital innovations making a positive impact on the way the UK lives, learns and does business, announced 12 winners at its inaugural awards ceremony today.

The winners of the 2017 DigitalAgenda Impact Awards, sponsored by Nominet Trust, have been recognised for the meaningful contribution they are making to change the world for the better.

The 12 winners, picked from more than 200 entries across three overarching categories – people, places and business – include literacy support software helping over 3.5 million children overcome everyday reading and writing challenges in classrooms worldwide, a network connecting businesses to ensure no edible food goes to waste and a new platform harnessing blockchain technology to ensure aid reaches its desired destination.

A panel of 12 judges* with extensive experience in startups, investment and impact technology chose the winning projects based on the innovative nature of their idea, project and their team, as well as their potential for scalability and impact.

The award-winning projects are:


  • Education (sponsored by Edtech UK) – Texthelp provides literacy support software for reading, writing and language learning in classrooms worldwide, helping students to overcome everyday reading and writing challenges.
  • Employment & skills (sponsored by ConnectTVT) – Founders4Schools is a charity that helps students aged 10 to 18 bridge the skills gap that bars them from entering work, connecting schools and students to an impressive network of digital business leaders.
  • Health (sponsored by Digital Catapult) – Babylon was created to put an affordable health service into the hands of everyone. As well as video GP appointments and free medicine delivery, Babylon uses artificial intelligence, which is always learning, to provide a 24/7 symptom checker service.
  • Money (sponsored by BWB Compliance) – Squirrel is a simple bank account controlled by an app that makes it easy to budget, save, and avoid running out of money. It aims to empower users to take control of their money by putting money away so that it’s spent on what’s needed.


  • Cities (supported by Future Cities Catapult) – Pavegen is a clean technology company looking to redefine sustainability in the built environment, with the creation of a pioneering flooring technology that generates electricity and captures data from footsteps.
  • Climate (sponsored by The Planet Mark) – Bulb is a technology-led, renewable energy supplier on a mission to transform the way energy is bought, used and produced. It gives UK homes and businesses a choice of low-cost renewable energy alongside excellent customer service.
  • Food – FoodCloud is a social enterprise connecting businesses that have surplus food with local charities and community groups, helping ensure no edible food goes to waste.
  • Smart (sponsored by Design for Social Change) – Wayfindr is a non-profit on a mission to empower the 285 million people living with sight loss worldwide to take new journeys, increase confidence and open up new opportunities for relationships, employment and cultural experiences. Its open standard is designed to help make places and spaces more accessible.


  • Business transformation – Saberr creates happy, high-performing teams through software that helps people work well together, using data collection and algorithms to predict and improve performance.
  • Investment (sponsored by GP Bullhound) – ClearlySo ATLAS is a digital platform created to assess the social and environmental impact of businesses and investment portfolios. Developed jointly by ClearlySo and Reason Digital, ATLAS encourages more ethical and sustainable investment by making it easy to produce investment strategies that are not just for financial gain but also for the greater good.
  • Sharing & partnership – Neighbourly is a social platform that connects local projects with people and businesses that want to help. It connects local community and charity projects with companies and people that can help by giving donations of time, money or surplus food.
  • Social and economic transformation (sponsored by ClearlySo) – AID:Tech harnesses blockchain technology to ensure that every donated resource – financial, medical supplies, food or blankets – is traceable at the point of use, ensuring that the right people receive the right help at the right time.

Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech funder, was the headline sponsor for the DigitalAgenda Impact Awards. Vicki Hearn, director of Nominet Trust, said: “We’re incredibly proud to support DigitalAgenda in championing the pioneers using digital technology to enable positive change, and in raising the profile of the flourishing tech for good sector in the UK. Through our grant funding, partnerships and annual NT100, it is clear that Nominet Trust shares with DigitalAgenda a belief in the transformative power of digital technology when creatively applied to social challenges. It has been an honour to recognise these inspiring entrepreneurs and to celebrate their achievements.”

DigitalAgenda director and editor Julian Blake, who has led the creation of the Impact Awards, said: “Technology isn’t seen by everyone as a force for good. There’s actually a tense relationship between the public and technology, with understandable fears about its effect on fundamentals like privacy, work and even happiness. But digital offers to answer some of the big challenges we face. Digital has the potential to deliver positive change fast, and at scale. It is changing the way children learn. It is making people healthier. It is improving public services. It helps us respond to people movements and floods. And it helps us understand global trends.

“The Impact Awards highlight the extraordinary potential for technology to be a positive force and celebrate technology that is being used for impact, not just for profit.”

The ceremony took place at London’s Barbican Centre, with speakers including:

  • Sir Tim Smit – co-founder of the Eden Project
  • Mike Bracken – head of digital from Co-op
  • The team from BBC2’s Big Life Fix
  • Sue Black from #techmums/Saving Bletchley Park – and the winner of a special editor’s Impact Award on the day for her outstanding contribution to technology for good.
  • The event also featured a Nominet Trust innovator showcase featuring groundbreaking tech for good startups GiveVision and Open Bionics.


Tourism Cares Welcomes New Chairman And Officers, Adds Three New Strategic Corporate Partners

Press Release – Canton, MA—March 3, 2017—Tourism Cares—the philanthropic community of the travel industry—is pleased to announce Derek Hydon as the new chairman of the board, along with other newly elected board positions.

“I am humbled to lead our talented board of directors; Tourism Cares has such an important role to play uniting us all to protect the heart of travel,” said Hydon, “It is fantastic to see our members, partners, sponsors and volunteers freely give back and our industry be recognized as a powerful force for good.” Hydon served as the vice chair of Tourism Cares from 2013 to 2016 and has been actively involved with Tourism Cares since 2003. He is the president of MaCher, a certified B Corporation, based in Los Angeles.

Other newly elected officers of Tourism Cares are:

  • Vice Chairs: Greg Takehara, senior vice president of business development and industry relations at Trip Mate and Carolyn Cauceglia, vice president of strategic sales and account management at Amadeus;
  • Secretary: Martha Troncoza, vice president of air operations for Viking Cruises;
  • Treasurer: Jessica Patel, consultant.

Tourism Cares thanks outgoing Chairman Brad Finkle for his leadership and continued support of the organization. Finkle is the president of Trip Mate and has served on the board for nine years, remaining as immediate past chairman.

In addition to the new board positions, the organization has also welcomed Mayflower Tours, Marriott and AIG as strategic partners, who join Delta Air Lines, The Travel Corporation, Travel Weekly, and Trip Mate in supporting Tourism Cares at the highest level.

Membership to Tourism Cares is based on voluntary contributions starting at $1,500/year, with chairman’s circle members investing more than $10,000 in membership, programs and activities and strategic partners’ investments exceeding $40,000 a year.

“Strategic partners play an important role in leading our community by example,” said Tourism Cares CEO Mike Rea, “They also help us make an impact by investing in programs and destinations and by promoting meaningful travel.”

A list of member companies can be found at:

A complete list of Tourism Cares’ 20-member board of directors is at:

About Tourism Cares

Tourism Cares, Inc., a US 501(c)(3) public charity, maximizes travel’s potential to be a global force for good by leveraging the care that travelers and the industry feel for the places we love. We unite the travel industry to make a greater impact on shared priorities, and to help each company fulfill its giving goals. Together, with leading travel and tourism companies and associations, we make a greater difference on three shared issues: helping destinations in need, supporting our workforce, and improving our corporate social responsibility. Learn more at and @TourismCares.

Top 20 Startups Announced in the 2017 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Competition features the best college entrepreneurs in the state vying for $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a $40,000 grand prize

Press Release – March 3, 2017 – Utah’s best college entrepreneurs are competing for $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a $40,000 grand prize, in the 2017 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, one of the biggest student-business competitions in the country. Today, the competition got a lot more interesting with the top 20 teams being announced.

Hundreds of students from all colleges in the state compete in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, a business-model competition requiring teams to submit a full business plan. The competition is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a nationally ranked division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

“We had a record number of teams entering the competition this year, and we are looking forward to seeing who wins the grand prize,” said Jaron Hall, the student director of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge and a business student at the University of Utah. “This is the biggest business-plan competition in the state, and we invite everyone to get involved by voting for their favorite teams in our video voting contest or attending our final showcase and awards ceremony.”

The top teams are competing with ideas ranging from a peer-to-peer solution for storage and an app for finding casual events to an innovative baby monitor and fanny packs to keep your food cool. (Find a complete list of the finalists with descriptions of their ideas below.)

The next step will be online video voting, which is open to the public from March 28 at 8 a.m. until April 14 at 5 p.m. Vote online here: The top teams also advance to the final event, where they will meet for the last judging round and a public showcase and awards ceremony on April 15 at Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah. All are invited to the public showcase and awards ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m.

“We are always impressed by the quality of ideas we see in this competition, and I think we have one of our best groups of finalists ever,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, the executive director at the Lassonde Institute and an assistant dean at the David Eccles School of Business. “Last year, we had a medical device company win with a new way to insert breathing tubes. It will be interesting to see who wins this year.”

The top 20 startups in the 2017 competition come from colleges including: Brigham Young University (3 startups in the top 20), Dixie State University (1), LDS Business College (1), Salt Lake Community College (1), Snow College (1), Southern Utah University (1), University of Utah (7), Utah State University (2), Utah Valley University (1), Weber State University (1) and Westminster College (1).

Student startups advanced to the top 20 in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge by either winning a qualifying event at their individual colleges in the Opportunity Quest competition series or by entering the open round that was judged by professionals across the state through an online process.

Learn more about the competition at

Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Season Timeline

  • Monday, Nov. 28, 2016: Submissions open
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017: Application submission deadline
  • Thursday to Wednesday, Feb. 23 to March 1, 2017: Online judging
  • Friday, March 3, 2017: Top 20 announced
  • Friday, March 24, 2017: Top 20 videos due
  • Tuesday, March 28, 2017: Public online video voting begins at 8 a.m. at
  • Thursday, April 13, 2017: PowerPoint presentations submitted by 11:59 p.m.
  • Friday, April 14, 2017: Top 20 dinner at 6 p.m. at Zions Bank
  • Friday, April 14, 2017: Public online video voting concludes at 5 p.m. at
  • Saturday, April 15, 2017: Private judging and mentoring at the Spencer Fox Eccles Business building from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Public showcase and awards ceremony at the Lassonde Studios from 4-6 p.m.

Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Top 20 Teams

Here are the top 20 teams in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. These teams will advance to the final showcase and awards event. They are listed in alphabetical order:

  • Breathe Easy Mat (BYU) – A thin pad that delivers oxygen to infants at night
  • Cedar Sports (SUU) – Provides Cedar City and surrounding areas with high quality new and used outdoor recreational equipment
  • Coverall Homecare (Westminster) – A subscription-based monthly home maintenance service
  • Course Credit (USU) – Offers affordable online courses to non-traditional students who then transfer the credits they earn to online universities and community colleges
  • Courtney’s Dresses (LDSBC) – A formal dress company designed to cater to a growing market
  • Dentium Club (BYU) – Dental-grade whitening delivered to your door for a few bucks a month
  • EMJ Medical (UofU) – Creating a simple, mechanically driven medical device that will be applied to laparoscope lenses and restore the vision field of the operating team while the device is still in the patient
  • Gingerbracket Company (Weber) – A mess-free product that makes snapping gingerbread houses together easier
  • Hashtaggy (UofU) – Provides a new and innovative way for students to find fun stuff to do with their friends
  • LIT Outdoors (UofU) – An outdoor company that focuses on the emerging opportunities in the outdoor recreation industry
  • Lunch Money (Snow College) – A fanny pack company that will design and sell multiple lines of hip and cool packs for people of all ages
  • Neiybor (UofU) – A peer-to-peer marketplace for storage
  • OverPowered (USU) – A junior sports league for the players of League of Legends
  • PerkNow (UVU) – Streamlines the acquisition, implementation, promotion and distribution of convenient on-site services and desirable company perks
  • Portal Cord (UofU) – Portal Cord creates a simplistic portable charger
  • Savor Life (SLCC) – A food truck that meets the needs of vegan diners who want to “savor life” by enjoying the food truck experience
  • SunShine Sync (UofU) – App improving transfers of value between medical salespeople and physicians
  • Sweet Heart (BYU) – A maternity band-like wearable fetal monitor that can provide expectant mothers with real-time data to their smart phones about their baby’s kick count, heart rate and fetal position
  • Tenant Joy (Dixie) – A web app that helps with onboarding each student, making payment transactions easy and will also contain many more features
  • XLynk Surgical (UofU) – A faster more effective postoperative adhesion barrier

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages the Lassonde Studios, a new $45 million innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at

Home Depot Agrees To Investor Demands For Widespread Lead-Safety Action In Wake of EPA Fine

Shareholders of Largest US Home Improvement Retailer Take Action to Protect Children from Leading Cause of Lead Poisoning; Will Lowe’s Follow Suit?

Press Release – BOSTON (March 1, 2017) – The Home Depot, Inc., (NYSE: HD) has responded to shareholder pressure from Arjuna Capital by agreeing to undertake a wide range of steps to improve consumer awareness about the danger posed to children and others by lead paint. In exchange, Arjuna Capital has agreed to withdraw a shareholder resolution that called on The Home Depot to respond in the wake of a recent penalty imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Arjuna Capital withdrawal letter and proposal is available online at

While public awareness of lead poisoning has been heightened in the wake of the Flint water crisis, the reality is that lead paint in buildings (often disturbed as a result of renovation and repairs) remains the leading cause of poisoning. A 2016 investigation identified over 3000 communities with poisoning rates in children higher than those in Flint at the height of the crisis.

In a letter to Arjuna Capital, The Home Depot committed to a national lead-safety campaign, including in-store awareness events, online messages, digital and social media, and enhanced lead-safety training for new employees. After receiving official confirmation that steps would be taken to address shareholder concerns on Tuesday, February 28, Arjuna Capital rescinded its proposal, which asked The Home Depot to produce a detailed report on how these unsafe practices pose a risk to its employees, contractors and customers. Arjuna Capital has filed a similar shareholder proposal at Lowe’s Company Inc. Lowe’s paid a record-setting EPA fine in 2014 for allegations of similar violations.

Natasha Lamb, managing partner at Arjuna Capital, said: “Lead exposure is endemic in our society, and not only in water. It is a persistent and often invisible toxicant. While the Flint water crisis has hit the headlines, we can’t ignore the 37 million homes in this country with legacy lead paint. Disturbing that paint through home renovation leads to new cases of lead exposure every day. We simply cannot underestimate the public health threat and potential for consumer backlash presented by lead poisoning. Given children are incredibly vulnerable to lead exposures, a failure to manage this issue can place a company’s reputation at serious risk.”

Lamb added: “Fortunately, The Home Depot responded to our engagement with a very specific plan to address the issue head-on. It is not often we see a company make this type of sweeping commitment to address a problem. The Home Depot could be on the front lines of promoting lead-safety awareness. As a result, we are withdrawing our shareholder proposal.”

The Home Depot will take the following specific steps to improve lead safety awareness and take a leading role in requiring and promoting safe practices and lead testing among its customers in the construction industry, homeowners and landlords. With more than 3.5 million customers per day visiting stores, The Home Depot will: host in-store lead paint awareness events; highlight water & lead testing kits; make lead safety pamphlets available in every store; enhance lead safety information for new employees with training; provide free stir stick at the end of every paint sales transaction with message about lead safety; announce lead safety messaging over the loud speaker in stores; and include a lead-safety hold message on general phone lines. Online, The Home Depot has pledged to put lead safety messages on all paint landing pages in the center of the page. In addition, The Home Depot has committed to a lead safety awareness social media campaign.

In 2016, The Home Depot paid a penalty to the EPA for Repair Renovations and Repair (RRP) Rule violations after allegations that its services in Colorado failed to ensure proper management of lead contaminated waste debris and dust. This spurred Arjuna Capital to engage The Home Depot by filing a shareholder resolution calling for transparency on risks and corporate practices linked to lead safety awareness.

The huge societal costs of lead exposure are borne not only by the victims, but by the economy at large. In the United States, the loss of economic productivity due to childhood lead exposure is pegged at over $50 billion annually. Preventing such exposures would result in $1.2 trillion in savings. Most investors today are “universal owners”—investors with highly diversified long-term portfolios whose returns reflect the success or failure of the broad economy. The societal costs resulting from lead exposure hurt those returns.

Though sources of lead contamination have been regulated or banned, lead persists in many older buildings. Nearly 35 percent of U.S. homes have lead paint and lead contaminated dust — the leading cause of lead poisoning.

No level of lead exposure is considered safe at any age. But for children with developing brains, early exposure to this “cumulative toxicant” can cause severe neurological problems, decrease IQ rates, and produce poor behavioral outcomes. In January, the CDC’s advisory panel voted to recommend lowering what is considered an elevated lead level in children by 30 percent, to 3.5 micrograms of lead, which could lead to even greater awareness regarding the scope of the problem.

Lamb said: “As the largest US home improvement retailer, The Home Depot has a responsibility to act in good faith to ensure its customers’ safety. A failure to do so could carry severe repercussions for the brand. Our agreement with The Home Depot represents a common-sense approach to maximizing the flow of information to people most in harm’s way from lead exposure from paint and building materials. Our engagement has fostered meaningful action.”

U of U’s Lassonde Studios One of ‘World’s Best New University Buildings,’ says Architectural Digest

Recognition is the latest example of ongoing praise and international attention for the new $45 million facility for aspiring entrepreneurs


Press Release – Feb. 24, 2017 – Scan the world from Norway to China and you won’t find a new university building much better than Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah, according to Architectural Digest, a premier publication for architecture news and trends. In a new report, the publication identifies Lassonde Studios as one of the nine best new university buildings around the globe.

“One of the first design elements guests of the University of Utah’s Lassonde Studios will notice is an all-copper façade,” Architectural Digest reported. “The $45 million project by Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design in association with EDA Architects opened in August 2016, and its copper exterior is made to fade and change color as it ages. … The structure is built on a grid system, which will allow rooms to be easily reconfigured as demands for the space fluctuate.”

The recognition is the latest in a wide variety of international praise and attention for Lassonde Studios. All students on campus are invited to live, create and launch new companies here. The building houses 400 residents above a 20,000-square-feet innovation space on the first floor that is open to all students on campus.

Lassonde Studios is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business that was recently ranked as the No. 1 program in the nation for aspiring entrepreneurs by LendEDU and the No. 15 graduate and No. 18 undergraduate program for entrepreneurs in the nation by the Princeton Review. Together, the Lassonde Institute and the Eccles School offer many programs, degrees and scholarships for students interested in entrepreneurship.

“We had a great team with a vision to accomplish Pierre Lassonde’s goal to build an iconic structure that would enhance the experience of our students and create more entrepreneurs,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Institute and an assistant dean at the David Eccles School of Business. “It’s great to see his dream being recognized.”

Architectural Digest acknowledged Lassonde Studios alongside buildings in the United States, Norway and China. These buildings function as everything from classrooms and technology centers to student unions and dorms.

“Just as education around the world continues to evolve and innovate, so do the campuses that house the brightest future artists, scholars and financiers,” Architectural Digest reported. “These new structures make the grade for state-of-the-art technology, adherence to historic detailing and architecturally significant design.”

International attention for Lassonde Students began as soon as the project was announced. Months before the groundbreaking in October 2014, for example, Bloomberg Businessweek published an article titled “University of Utah’s New Dorm Mimics Google Headquarters.” In the article, the publication reported: “In a move it hopes will lure budding entrepreneurs who dream of souped-up Silicon Valley workspaces, the University of Utah plans to build a residence hall that blurs life and work the same way technology giants Facebook and Google do at their headquarters.”

In a more recent article from August 2016, The New York Times featured Lassonde Studios in a story about how “universities are investing in big, high-tech buildings in the hope of evoking big, high-tech thinking.” The New York Times reported: “The residential component has been absorbed into this live-work building, anticipating the early lifestyle of dot-com employees, whose living quarters usually resemble walk-in closets. The Utah version is more plush, however.”

Other notable attention includes articles by Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, The Associated Press, ArchDaily and many construction trade publications.

On top of attention from journalists and news agencies, Lassonde Studios received an award as the most outstanding public building over $10 million from Utah Construction & Design in 2016 and an “Award of Excellence” from the Associated General Contractors of Utah. Lassonde Studios is also a finalist for the South by Southwest Education (SXSWedu) Learn by Design Awards.

Learn more about Lassonde Studios and take a virtual tour at

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages the Lassonde Studios, a new $45 million innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at

Developing World Markets’ Social Impact Note Lends $60.8 Million for Off-Grid Solar and Climate Action

Funds on-lent to 11 microfinance institutions and off-grid solar companies operating in Latin America (Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua), Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania), and Asia (India, Kazakhstan, Mongolia)

Press Release – February 28, 2017 — Veteran U.S. social impact investment manager, Developing World Markets (DWM), has invested $60.8 million in 11 businesses promoting renewable energy and climate solutions across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Anchor investors in DWM’s ORCA (Off-Grid, Renewable and Climate Action) Impact Note include two faith-based pension funds, The Church Pension Fund and Wespath Benefits and Investments, with each contributing $30 million. Developing World Markets structured the transactions; the investees include off-grid solar operating companies, D.light, Kingo Energy, and Off-Grid Electric, as well as microfinance institutions Saija Finance, Satin Creditcare Network, KMF (Kazakhstan), XacBank, FDL (Nicaragua), Produbanco (Ecuador), Banco Procredit (Ecuador), and FINCA Nicaragua. Invested funds are earmarked for solar home solutions and other forms of renewable energy, as well as CO2 and greenhouse gas mitigation activities. DWM estimates the funding will enable some 200,000 families to access solar home solutions. Worldwide more than 2.2 billion people live without reliable access to electricity.

“The companies financed by the ORCA Note are employing innovative, market-based mechanisms to solve critical development needs. For the equivalent price of what was previously spent on outdated energy sources such as kerosene, low-income individuals in developing countries can access clean, modern renewable energy technology for their homes and families; addressing not only energy, but health issues as well,” said Peter Johnson, Managing Partner of Developing World Markets. “DWM is honoured to support these pioneering organizations, and we are in turn grateful for the support of our investors.”

The ORCA Impact Note is U.S. dollar denominated with a coupon of 5.85%. Its four year term will run through December 27, 2020. The structuring of the Note was unique in its transparency, as borrowers were pre-identified and noteholders were certain of where and how the proceeds would be used, prior to investment. Since its founding in 1994, DWM has structured and invested over $1 billion into more than 170 companies across more than 50 developing countries.

“The Church Pension Fund was pleased to serve as an anchor investor, which helped bring other investors to the table to provide renewable energy finance loans to social businesses in the developing world. This investment will impact the lives of people on three different continents and is reflective of our commitment to earning a competitive rate of return. We look forward to building our relationship with Developing World Markets as we continue to explore future SRI opportunities,” said Roger Sayler, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of The Church Pension Fund.

“Wespath was pleased to commit to the DWM ORCA Impact Note, an investment that focuses on providing critical energy access in the developing world,” said Dave Zellner, Chief Investment Officer of Wespath Benefits and Investments. “This impact investment, which continues a more than decade-long relationship with DWM, reflects the intent that our global investment activities have a positive impact on society and the environment while earning a market rate of return.”

Additional investors in the Note include King & Shaxson (London), Invethos (Switzerland) and Developing World Markets (United States). Law firms McGuire Woods, LLP in the United States and Arendt & Medernach in Luxembourg advised on the transaction.

About Developing World Markets

Developing World Markets (DWM) is an emerging and frontier markets focused, impact investment firm. DWM seeks investments that provide risk-appropriate returns and measurable social or environmental benefits. Since its founding in 1994, DWM has structured and invested over $1 billion into more than 170 companies across more than 50 developing countries. The firm is headquartered in Stamford, CT, USA. For more information visit:

About Wespath Benefits and Investments

Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) is a general agency of The United Methodist Church with fiduciary responsibility for the benefit plans it administers and the assets it invests.

Wespath supports benefit plans for more than 100,000 participants around the world, and investments for more than 100 United Methodist-affiliated endowments, foundations and other institutions. Wespath manages approximately $21 billion in assets, proactively incorporating environmental, social and governance factors. Our activities reflect the stated values of the Church and help strengthen financial sustainability across all investments, consistent with our fiduciary obligation to all.

Wespath is the largest reporting faith-based pension fund in the world, and among the top 100 pension funds in the United States. As a sustainable investor, Wespath is committed to active ownership through corporate and public policy engagement, proxy voting and the management of excessive sustainability risk. Wespath’s sustainable investment activities are carried out by Wespath Investment Management, the agency’s investments division. Learn more at

About The Church Pension Fund

The Church Pension Fund (CPF) is an independent financial services organization that serves the Episcopal Church. With approximately $12 billion in assets, CPF and its affiliated companies, collectively the Church Pension Group (CPG), provide retirement, health, and life insurance benefits to clergy and lay employees of the Episcopal Church. CPG also offers property and casualty insurance as well as book and music publishing, including the official worship materials of the Episcopal Church. Learn more at

Hartford Funds Launches Hartford Global Impact Fund, Expanding Socially Responsible Investing Lineup

Press Release – March 01, 2017 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time – RADNOR, Pa. — Hartford Funds today announced that it has launched the Hartford Global Impact Fund (A-share: HGXAX). Sub-advised by Wellington Management, the Hartford Global Impact Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in companies that focus their operations in areas that the Fund believes are likely to address the world’s major social and environmental challenges.

The Fund invests in companies that the sub-adviser believes are likely to address major social and environmental challenges including, but not limited to, health, clean water and sanitation, financial inclusion, alternative energy, and resource efficiency, as determined by Wellington.

“We’re delighted to expand our socially responsible investment solutions for investors who want to align their portfolios with their values,” said Anita Baldwin, Managing Director and Head of Research for Hartford Funds.

The Hartford Global Impact Fund complements Hartford Funds’ existing socially responsible investing solution, the Hartford Environmental Opportunities Fund (HEOMX). Launched in February 2016, the Environmental Opportunities Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by identifying companies it believes represent attractive investments and also address environmental challenges and/or seeks to improve the efficiency of resource consumption.

“The design and launch of the Hartford Global Impact Fund aligns with our human-centric investing philosophy and is a direct response to increasing advisor and investor demand for more products that take ESG factors into consideration,” Baldwin added.

Wellington Management’s Eric Rice, PhD., Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, and Patrick Kent, CFA, CMT, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, will manage the Hartford Global Impact Fund.

About Hartford Funds

Founded in 1996, Hartford Funds is a leading provider of mutual funds and 529 college savings plans. Using its human-centric investing approach, Hartford Funds creates strategies and tools designed to address the needs and wants of investors. Leveraging partnerships with leading practice management experts, Hartford Funds delivers insight into the latest demographic trends and investor behavior.

As of October 24, 2016, the firm’s line-up includes more than 55 mutual funds in a variety of styles and asset classes, and five strategic beta ETFs. Its mutual funds (with the exception of certain fund of funds) are sub-advised by Wellington Management or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. The strategic beta ETFs offered by Hartford Funds are designed to help address investors’ evolving needs by leveraging a unique risk-optimized approach, which identifies risks within each asset class and then deliberately and systematically re-allocates capital toward risks more likely to enhance return potential. Hartford Funds has mutual fund assets under management of $81.5 billion as of December 31, 2016 (excluding assets used in certain annuity products). For more information about our investment family, visit

Important Information

All investments are subject to risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee the Fund will achieve its stated objective. The Fund’s share price may fluctuate due to market risk and/or security selections that may underperform the market or relevant benchmarks. Foreign investments can be riskier and more volatile than U.S. investments due to the adverse effects of currency exchange rates, differences in market structure and liquidity, as well as political and economic developments in foreign countries and regions (e.g., “Brexit”). These risks are generally greater for investments in emerging markets. Small-cap securities can have greater risk and volatility than large-cap securities. Investing in companies that seek to address major social and environmental challenges may cause the Fund to forego certain investment opportunities and underperform Funds that do not have a similar focus. By investing in cash and money market investments, the Fund may lose the benefit of market upswings. Because it invests in a master portfolio, the Fund is also subject to the risks related to a master-feeder structure.

Hartford Funds refers to Hartford Funds Management Group, Inc., and its subsidiaries, including the mutual funds’ investment manager, Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC (HFMC), the mutual funds’ distributor, Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC, Member FINRA, as well as Lattice Strategies LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of HFMC, which serves as the adviser to exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Certain funds are sub-advised by Wellington Management Company LLP or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. Schroder Investment Management North America Ltd. serves as a secondary sub-adviser to certain funds. ETFs are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. (ALPS). Hartford Funds is not affiliated with any fund sub-adviser or ALPS. The MIT AgeLab is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Hartford Funds.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of a fund before investing. This and other information can be found in the fund’s prospectus, which should be read carefully before investing. To obtain a mutual fund prospectus or summary prospectus, please call 888-843-7824 (retail) or 800-279-1541 (institutional); ETF prospectuses can be obtained by calling 415-315-6600.

“The Hartford” is The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (“HFSG”) and its subsidiaries. HFD is a subsidiary of The HFSG.


Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in The Hartford’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings The Hartford makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

From time to time, The Hartford may use its website to disseminate material company information. Financial and other important information regarding The Hartford is routinely accessible through and posted on our website at In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about The Hartford when you enroll your email address by visiting the “Email Alerts” section at

Sunpower By Freedom Solar Announces New Incentive For Rural Texas Residents To Go Solar In Effort To Become A Carbon Neutral Business

Press Release – AUSTIN — Freedom Solar, the leader in turnkey solar installations in Texas, has announced a substantial new incentive for homeowners serviced in rural electric cooperatives (outside of Austin and San Antonio) to install solar on their homes.

Freedom Solar is offering qualifying homeowners an up-front rebate of 15 cents per watt, up to $3,000. A qualifying homeowner is anyone who lives in a utility territory that does not currently offer a rebate for solar.

“Our commitment as a company is to increase solar adoption across all areas of Texas, especially to the 75 rural electric cooperatives that serve more than 3 million residents but do not offer any economic incentives for solar generation,” says Kyle Frazier, director of sales.

The discount represents the value of renewable energy credits generated by the residential solar system, which Freedom Solar will purchase from the customer and retire as part of the company’s commitment to building a more sustainable future for generations to come.

Freedom Solar started utilizing the policy of purchasing renewable energy credits to offset the carbon footprint associated with its operations last year, and hopes to become entirely carbon-neutral by 2018.

Bret Biggart, managing director, says: “Over the past decade we’ve seen solar prices decrease and solar efficiency increase dramatically; however, the upfront cost of solar installations often makes it impossible for rural Texas residents to transition to renewable energy because they don’t have access to the same substantial solar rebates offered by municipal city utilities. We’ve introduced this new program to change that and make solar accessible to all Texans.”

Freedom Solar’s innovative rural rebate program is made possible by their partnership with SunPower as a master dealer, the only company with that distinction in Texas.

Freedom Solar will be able to provide 40 homeowners with this incentive to per quarter, for a total of 160 budgeted per year.

“For us, the best part of solar energy is that doing the right thing environmentally is also the right thing to do financially. This program is a small part of our efforts to help build a more economically and environmentally sustainable future for Texas and one more step towards making that dream a reality,” says Frazier.

For more information, visit

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