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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.

​JLens Hosts First Impact Investing Summit for Jewish Communal Leadership

The Jewish Impact Investing Summit is Tuesday December 5th in NYC

Press Release – NEW YORK, Dec 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — JLens, an investor network that explores a Jewish lens on investing and serves as the bridge between the Jewish community and the impact investing movement, is holding the first Jewish Impact Investing Summit in New York City at Fordham University this Tuesday Dec 5, 2017.

Summit partners include flagship Jewish institutions: the Jewish Federations of North America, UJA Federation of New York, Hadassah, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Funders Network, Federation of Northern New Jersey, and Hazon. Additional Summit partners include the Glazer Foundation, Leichtag Foundation, Morningstar Foundation, EJ Friedman Philanthropies, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Ford Foundation.

“Historically the values-based investing movement has not included the organized Jewish community,” says Julie Hammerman, JLens’ Executive Director. “The Summit seeks to change this by exploring impact investing through a uniquely Jewish lens.”

The summit begins with a session entitled “Rabbinic Insights on Investment and Business as a Force for Good” with respected rabbis Yitz Greenberg, Julie Schonfeld, and Aaron Panken.

Rabbi Jacob Siegel, JLens’ Director of Engagement, says: “While this summit will feature the first ever panel of rabbis on impact investing, Judaism actually has thousands of years of wisdom to navigate the balance between profit and impact.”

The next session, “Introduction to Impact Investing” features thought leaders Fran Seegull, Sir Ronald Cohen, Jonathan Greenblatt, and Joel Wittenberg. Other sessions focus on shareholder advocacy on social and environmental issues, BDS, multi-faith collaboration, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the impact investing ecosystem in Israel. Full list and biographies of speakers available here.

Nearly 300 lay and professional Jewish communal leaders will be in attendance. The idea for the summit originated at the 2016 Vatican Impact Investing Conference. To register, visit

About JLens

JLens is based in San Francisco and New York City. In addition to educational events and curriculum, JLens assists Jewish institutions with values-based investing, and conducts shareholder advocacy with public companies on behalf of Jewish communal concerns (social issues, environmental preservation, and support for Israel). Follow JLens on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Summit updates at #JIIS17

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World’s First Healthcare Development Impact Bond Aims To Reduce Mother And Baby Deaths In Rajasthan, India

  • The world’s first development impact bond in healthcare is focused on improving the quality of care among private maternity care providers in Rajasthan.
  • If successful, up to 10,000 maternal and newborn deaths could be averted over a five-year period.
  • Partners include USAID, UBS Optimus Foundation, Palladium, PSI, HLFPPT and MSD for Mothers.

Press Release – The world’s first healthcare development impact bond aimed at reducing the number of maternal and newborn deaths in Rajasthan, India, launches today.

Rajasthan has one of the highest maternal and newborn mortality rates in the country, with 244 maternal deaths per 100,000 births and 47 infant deaths per 1000 live births. The Maternal and Newborn Health DIB – known as the ‘Utkrisht bond’, taken from the Hindi for ‘Excellence’ – will support government efforts to reduce maternal and newborn deaths by improving access to, and the quality of care in, up to 440 private healthcare facilities in Rajasthan.

Impact bonds are an innovative way of financing international development. They are 100% focused on outcomes and have the potential to leverage private philanthropic capital to address some of the world’s greatest challenges.

For this impact bond, the upfront funder, UBS Optimus Foundation will provide up to USD 3.5 million initial working capital so service providers can begin their work with private facilities in Rajasthan.

Interventions will be delivered by NGOs Population Services International (PSI) and HLFPPT and will reach up to 600,000 pregnant women with improved care during delivery and could lead to up to 10,000 maternal and newborn lives being saved over a five year period. The impact bond was designed by Palladium, who will manage implementation throughout the three-year term.

PSI has adapted its Engage, Launch and Support quality improvement framework and will be implementing this in 14 districts of Rajasthan. HLFPPT will be working in 19 districts to support and engage private medical facilities through capacity building, mentoring and ongoing support.

In a further innovation, all implementation partners are also co-investors, contributing more than 20% of the capital required. USAID and MSD for Mothers* have committed a total of up to USD 8 million in outcome funding, provided a set of independently evaluated targets are met.

Naveen Jain, Secretary for Rajasthan Ministry of Health and Mission Director of the National Health Mission said: “The Government of Rajasthan is committed towards improving maternal and newborn health and is working with the Government of India towards achieving the SDGs. We see innovative public private partnerships, and the engagement of private capital, as an essential strategy in our toolkit towards this goal. We look forward to working with the Utkrisht bond team and the private health facilities to enhance quality and develop the flexibility and the trust to allow services to be provided outside the public sector. In this way, impact bonds and their emphasis on results will benefit the public sector – and, of course, new mothers and their children”.

Administrator Mark Green, U.S. Agency for International Development, announcing the launch of the impact bond today said: “This results-based financing mechanism is ground-breaking in that it takes a business approach to development, while still targeting basic needs like improving the quality of care and private facilities. By leveraging the assets and skills of a diverse group of partners across the public and private sectors, we are stretching our investments further while saving more lives. This mechanism is just one example of how USAID is doing business differently.”

“We must be bold. We must challenge, innovate and create if we are to truly reframe the future for the millions less fortunate than ourselves, and the launch of the world’s first development impact bond in healthcare demonstrates how we are turning those words into actions,” said Phyllis Costanza, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation. “The model is proving increasingly attractive as people recognize its ability to secure new and much needed sources of finance and deliver significant and sustainable social returns.”

Kim Bredhauer, CEO of Palladium said: “This is hugely exciting because it could have a transformative impact on how development is financed in the future. Not only, if successful, does this first healthcare impact bond potentially unlock vast sums of private capital for other projects but ensures accountability and full transparency in the process. This new results-based financing mechanism, which in effect is a public private partnership, is bringing a commercial approach to international development and ultimately will save lives and taxpayer money.”

“We need innovative and sustainable financing models to help solve some of development’s most vexing challenges,” said Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of Population Services International. “The Utkrisht bond is bringing together new funding partners motivated by social and financial returns, with the goal of improving the quality of maternal and newborn health services in the private sector – where a majority of Indian women go for health solutions. It makes perfect sense for us to meet the consumer there, and try to better meet her needs.”

“Private sector investment in social enterprises helps to ensure quality services. The Utkrisht bond will strengthen health provisions in Rajasthan and will help to dramatically improve the well-being of mothers and their newborn children,” said Sharad Agarwal, CEO of HLFPPT. “We are committed to extending quality maternal and newborn services as we truly believe that no gift can be more precious than saving a life.”

Dr. Naveen Rao, Lead, MSD for Mothers, said: “We are committed to exploring novel ways to improve maternal health. We believe that innovative financing mechanisms, such as the Utkrisht bond, provide an opportunity to unlock additional funding across sectors as well as allocate resources more effectively to achieve desired health outcomes. This brings us one step closer to creating a world where no woman dies giving life.”

The private sector accounts for over 25% of hospital births in Rajasthan and is used by women across socio-economic levels. By developing new approaches to improve, assess and sustain private healthcare facilities, this new impact bond will support greater state-wide improvements in health outcomes.

The success of the Utkrisht bond will be judged on whether healthcare facilities are able to achieve the new certification standard developed by the National Accreditation Board of Hospitals and Healthcare Providers and the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India. This means that, for the first time, quality maternal care will be certified and fully transparent in private health facilities.

* MSD for Mothers is MSD’s 10-year $500 million initiative to help create world where no woman dies giving life. MSD for Mothers is an initiative of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A.

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Space Nation Prepares to Reach Maximum Velocity in 2018

After a record-breaking 2017 full of achievements, Space Nation is set to carry the momentum into 2018

Press Release – In 2017 Space Nation made several giant leaps forward in establishing itself as the world’s leading space media company. A historic agreement with NASA was signed, and Space Nation became the first space company to join the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization.

Space Nation also launched its first product, Space Nation Orbit (, an online space lifestyle magazine that makes space relevant and relatable to daily life. Space Nation Orbit was launched in early November 2017 at an event in the heart of New York’s art district that gathered together some of the city’s finest content creators. During the launch week Space Nation Orbit gained over 25 million social media impressions.

Candice Kilpatrick, Head Editor of Space Nation Orbit and former Front Page Editor, Yahoo News: “I like that to read and enjoy Space Nation Orbit you don’t have to have a high baseline of space or science knowledge. You can learn new things even if you don’t consider yourself a “science person”. Space Nation Orbit is a genuine first in that it focuses on how the new space era can benefit people’s lives right now in all sorts of unexpected ways.”

Navigator app testing results exceed all expectations

One of the core components of the Space Nation Astronaut Program, the Space Nation Navigator app, underwent the first phase of user testing. Approximately 1,000 testers from around the world took part, among whom was one actual astronaut. The user retention rate was 31%, more than double the industry average. Based on the testing feedback, several updates and improvements to the Navigator app were implemented.

Testers were asked to play for one week, but many chose to continue playing for longer. Giulia Bassani, an astrophysics student from Turin, Italy, was one of the testers. Her life goal is to become an astronaut. When asked for her opinion of the Space Nation Navigator app she was emphatic in her response: “I honestly loved it. Space Nation Navigator gave me motivation and a better understanding of what aspiring astronauts need. I just can’t wait for the final release.”

Space Nation in brief

Founded in 2013, Space Nation is enabling a global audience to have previously unattainable space experiences.

Space Nation’s partners and advisors include Michael Suffredini, President and CEO of Axiom Space; John Barbera, former president of Turner Broadcasting Sales & 24/7 Realmedia; and Peter Vesterbacka, former Mighty Eagle at Rovio Entertainment, the creator of Angry Birds.

Space Nation has received numerous media accolades. The company was ranked first in Forbes’ 10 European Growth Businesses to Watch in 2017.

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Cornerstone Capital Group Hires Alison R. Smith as Head of Business Development

Smith brings over a decade of related financial marketing and communications experience

Press Release – New York, November 28, 2017 – Cornerstone Capital Group (“Cornerstone”) today announced that Alison R. Smith has been appointed to lead the Company’s global business development efforts. Ms. Smith will be based in Cornerstone’s New York City headquarters and will report to Chief Investment Officer Phil Kirshman.

Prior to joining Cornerstone, Ms. Smith served as vice president of marketing and membership at TIGER 21, a peer-to-peer learning network for high-net-worth investors, where she managed several promotional and communications programs and coordinated outreach for the organization. She also worked at Marina Maher Communications and the United Nations Association in various roles. She holds a B.A. from Ithaca College and earned an M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from Fordham University Graduate School of Business.

Erika Karp, Chief Executive Officer at Cornerstone, commented on today’s news, “We are delighted to welcome Alison to the team and look forward to leveraging her years of experience working with high net worth individuals to advance Cornerstone’s platform of sustainable finance. We see significant opportunities across the globe that align with our socially responsible objectives, and Alison will play a key role developing and maintaining relationships that spur growth across the impact investing landscape.”

Cornerstone’s mission is to apply the principles of sustainable finance across the capital markets, enhancing investment processes through transparency and collaboration. For investors looking for financial returns and to make the world a better place, Cornerstone is dedicated to systematically integrating the dimension of sustainability into investment decisions, delivering financial performance along with positive social impact.

Ms. Smith commented: “As sustainable finance gains momentum throughout the financial-services industry, Cornerstone continues to demonstrate significant market leadership. I look forward to working with the team and promoting the firm’s superior sustainable investing opportunities and ESG analysis.”

About Cornerstone

Founded in 2013, Cornerstone Capital Group is a financial services firm based in New York. The mission of the firm is to apply the principles of sustainable finance across the capital markets enhancing investment processes through transparency and collaboration. In offering investment consulting and advising, investment banking, and strategic consulting services, Cornerstone works with asset owners, corporations and financial institutions, promoting new research in the field of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) analysis, and facilitating capital introductions for organizations around the world engaged in sustainable business practices.

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DKT International Contraceptive Social Marketing Programs in 24 Countries Work to Eliminate HIV/AIDS

World AIDS Day 2017 highlights results and transparency of DKT’s partnerships/educational campaigns that encourage safe sex

Press Release – Washington, D.C.: The theme of World AIDS Day 2017 recognizes the importance of transparency, accountability of results, and the significance of partnerships in increasing overall impact. These core values are exemplified in the work of DKT International to influence behavior change through innovative social marketing and safe sex education.

“We undertake a wide range of activities at DKT International; and, every campaign launched by our country programs is specifically designed to provide a deeper understanding of our target audience so that we may reach them more effectively,” says Chris Purdy, CEO and President of DKT International. “If an activity, strategy or tactic does not result in the uptake of a product or service, our teams in country work tirelessly to consider new messaging or activities that will resonate. Prioritizing our target audience is one of DKT’s most important organizational values – it informs the work we do and guides us to do more and do better.”

Below is a snapshot of World AIDS Day efforts and partnerships within DKT programs around the world:

  • DKT Thailand is participating in a parade with The Population and Community Development Association (PDA), the leading and most diversified NGO in Thailand, and promoting safe sex using large hand signage and social media content.
  • In Cameroon, DKT is hosting a Hot Kiss Condom Party at the University of Douala with popular music artists, a football game between DKT employees and the University students, and Kiss condom sampling on major streets, in high schools, and around college campuses – all filled with social and connected youth.
  • DKT Indonesia’s new Sutra condom commercial raises awareness of the importance of practicing safe sex to prevent the transmission of HIV, while emphasizing empathy and kindness towards those affected by the virus.
  • DKT Kenya and Uganda will spearhead a #LetsEndIt digital campaign to end isolation, stigma, and ultimately, the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Condoms will be distributed along trucking routes where there is a high prevalence of HIV transmission. Kiss condoms will also be distributed during “office invasions” around major cities. DKT Kenya and Uganda will partner with the Ministry of Health to promote World AIDS Day on a national scale.
  • All employees from DKT Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay will volunteer at Instituto Canto de Luz, a nonprofit organization that serves underprivileged children in São Paulo, Brazil. Through their partnership with Barong, an NGO that promotes sexual and reproductive health education, DKT Brazil will offer HIV and Hepatitis B/ C testing and distribute products and educational materials in a busy shopping center.

“While there is much work to be done in eliminating HIV/AIDS all together, we are proud that contraceptive social marketing continues to promote safe sex– DKT Brazil’s condom distribution recently reached 1.75 billion!” adds Purdy.

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VascuStim Announces Launch of Diabetic Ulcer Clinical Research Program

Multi-site, prospective studies, and a patient registry, to commence in multiple countries with a total of 150 patients to be enrolled – titled the HEAL Registry Study

Press Release – Salt Lake City, Utah and Playa Vista, CA – November 27th, 2017 — VascuStim an emerging leader in advanced bioelectric innovations and technologies for peripheral vascular diseases, today announced the launch of a clinical research program which will comprise multiple studies and an international patient registry.

VascuStim is a class II medical device, produced on OEM private label basis, by Mettler Electronics of Anaheim, California, that has been 510(k) cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is intended to improve blood circulation, accelerate healing and provide mild pain relief. The device is programmed with Vascustim’s patented and patent pending signals and sequence designed for optimally improving blood circulation and healing.

The international registry study will seek to gather data to better understand VascuStim’s utilization as tool for accelerating the healing of diabetic foot and leg uclers, improving blood circulation so that the wounds do not return, to ensure complete wound closure, and relieving the patients of associated wound related pain,

“Up until now, we’ve seen encouraging case studies showing individual patient results following treatment with bioelectric stimulation and amniotic fluid membranes” stated Dr. Leslie Miller, Chief Medical Officer for VascuStim “While those studies have yielded valuable information, the completion of this 150 patient prospective research program will provide wound care clinicians with important clinical data regarding how VascuStim and amniotic fluid membrane dressings may be utilized in specifically for diabetic foot and leg ulcer care and management”

“We are very excited to be at the forefront of this important research initiative to further our understanding of the full therapeutic potential this unique product,” stated Howard Leonhardt, Executive Chairman and CEO of VascuStim.

The prospective international HEAL Registry will examine and assess the use of VascuStim’s bioelectric stimulation protocol in real world clinical settings. Study objectives seek to evaluate the effectiveness of VascuStim as a diabetic foot and leg ulcer wound management product as indicated by percent reduction in wound size, time to complete wound closure, and improvements in wound bed condition. The Heal Registry will also assess increases in healthy granulation tissue, reduction in biofilm, and readiness for advanced therapy applications such as amniotic fluid membrane dressing changes. Patients will be followed for a for a minimum of 24 weeks.

The HEAL Registry will also collect patient reported pain and quality of life information before and after the use of VascuStim, as well as economic outcome information.

“VascuStim is committed to developing and manufacturing innovative products backed by sound clinical research and scientific data, that serve our customers’ needs,” noted Brett Burton, Director of R&D. “We look forward to sharing the valuable findings of both the VascuStim clinical research program and the HEAL Registry with the entire diabetic foot and leg ulcer wound care community.”

About VascuStim: VascuStim (formerly MyoStim Peripheral) was founded in 2013 by Leonhardt Ventures and is currently incubating in the Leonhardt’s Launchpads innovation and startup accelerators in California and Utah. Howard Leonhardt the Founder and Lead Inventor has over 21 issued U.S. patents related to organ regeneration and recovery and dozens more patent claims pending. The Leonhardt team has helped lead dozens of electrical stimulation, stem cell and growth factor related studies for improving blood circulation and promoting organ regeneration and recovery since 1988. VascuStim was formed in 2013 to focus all this accumulated knowledge, experience, technology platform and building patent portfolio on treating peripheral vascular diseases. The Leonhardt team previously patented, developed and brought to market the leading aortic stent graft utilized by peripheral vascular physicians around the world today. Over 400,000 patients have been treated with Leonhardt cardiovascular related inventions to date.

About Leonhardt Ventures: Leonhardt Ventures (Leonhardt Vineyards LLC) was originally formed as H.J. Leonhardt & Co. in 1982. It is the commercialization arm for inventor Howard J. Leonhardt. Leonhardt has 21 issued U.S. patents focused on organ regeneration and recovery and has dozens more new patent claims pending with the U.S.P.T.O. Leonhardt is most well known for improved cardiovascular balloon catheters patented and developed in the 1980’s, stent grafts, percutaneous heart valves and biological pacemakers developed in the 1990’s and stem cell and bioelectric organ regeneration devices and therapies developed since 2000. See for more information and our Annual Report.

About Mettler Electronics: Founded in 1957 by engineer and inventor, Hal Mettler, the firm is the world leader in portable ultrasound and electro-stimulation therapy equipment used in sports medicine, physical therapy, chiropractic and podiatric health care. Mettler’s customers include US Olympic Trainers, professional teams like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Dallas Cowboys, as well as countless health care institutions and individual practitioners.

For more information, please visit and for more information.

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The U.S. Charitable Gift Trust® Adds Calvert Responsible Investing Funds as Options in Donor Advised Funds

Press Release – Boston, MA, November 27, 2017 – The U.S. Charitable Gift Trust® (USCGT), announced today the addition of three responsible investing funds managed by Calvert Research and Management (Calvert), a subsidiary of Eaton Vance, as investment options in its Donor Advised Funds. The USCGT is a tax-exempt public charity that offers a range of planned giving vehicles through its Donor Advised Funds and Pooled Income Funds. Individuals interested in donating to charity through tax-deductible contributions to the Donor Advised Funds now have the option to invest in the following Calvert funds:

  • Calvert Responsible Investing Conservative Fund: Seeks to provide current income and capital preservation and, as a secondary objective, long-term capital appreciation.
  • Calvert Responsible Investing Moderate Fund: Seeks to provide current income and moderate long-term capital appreciation.
  • Calvert Responsible Investing Growth Fund: Seeks to provide high long-term capital appreciation and, as a secondary objective, current income.

“We are excited to offer individuals and families an expanded set of investment choices to help them align their investments with their values,” said Jeffrey P. Beale, USCGT President. “Through the Calvert responsible investing funds, donors can increase the positive impact of their gift while maintaining broad portfolio diversification.”

The USCGT, established in 2000, helps individuals and families to realize their charitable goals while receiving tax benefits from gifts. Donor advised funds have been steadily growing in size and popularity over the last few years with contributions to reaching an all-time high of $22.26 billion in 2015.* Simultaneously, responsible investing is gaining traction with $8.72 trillion in assets under management in socially responsible strategies in the U.S. at the start of 2016.**

“Many advisors are working with their clients to determine the most effective ways to positively affect society, while managing the tax implications on portfolios,” said Mr. Beale. “We are pleased to be able to offer philanthropists new, increasingly popular responsible investing options that meet their needs and advance their giving objectives,”

According to Eaton Vance’s most recent Advisor Top-of-Mind Index (ATOMIX) survey, 93% advisors indicated charitable giving is a topic of conversation with their clients. Seven in ten (69%) advisors are discussing how donations fit within their clients’ overall plans, while 63% said they discuss the tax implications of charitable contributions. Advisors also indicated that the primary reason their clients select responsible investing strategies is the desire to align investments with their values.

When individuals make a donation within the USCGT’s Donor Advised Funds, they have the option to invest in a range of investment funds managed by Eaton Vance Management, its affiliates, and Calvert Research and Management. Once an investment is made, the earnings of the Donor Advised Fund account may grow tax-free while the individual chooses which charities to support. The suite of Calvert funds will invest in a diversified mix of Calvert investment companies, each of which generally implement the Calvert Principles for Responsible Investment that guide the investment research and decision-making process. Since inception, the USCGT has raised more than $1.049 billion in contributions and gifted more than $640 million to charities.

*National Philanthropic Trust’s 2016 Donor-Advised Fund Report

**U.S. Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends 2016, US SIF Foundation


The USCGT is a tax-exempt public charity established in 2000 which receives donations from individuals, corporations and others, and makes grants to numerous charitable organizations throughout the United States, including charities selected by the USCGT and those recommended to the USCGT by donors and others authorized by the donor to make grant recommendations. The USCGT was established to provide support to a broad range of charities over time, without incurring the costs and administrative burdens associated with the creation and operation of separate charitable foundations, while at the same time allowing donors to determine when and how to make their charitable gifts. All gifts made to the USCGT are under the exclusive legal control of the USCGT and its board of directors. For more information about USCGT, visit

About Calvert

Calvert Research and Management is a leader in Responsible Investing, with approximately $10.7 billion of mutual fund and separate account assets under management as of October 31, 2017. The company traces its roots to Calvert Investments, which was founded in 1976 and was the first to launch a socially responsible mutual fund that avoided investment in companies that did business in apartheid-era South Africa. Today, the Calvert Funds are one of the largest and most diversified families of responsibly invested mutual funds, encompassing actively and passively managed strategies, U.S. and international equity strategies, fixed-income strategies and asset allocation funds. Calvert Research and Management is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eaton Vance. For more information, visit

About Eaton Vance

Eaton Vance (NYSE: EV) is a leading global asset manager whose history dates to 1924. With offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, Eaton Vance and its affiliates managed $422.3 billion as of October 31, 2017, offering individuals and institutions a broad array of investment strategies and wealth management solutions. For more information, visit

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Students Across The Globe Will Connect Virtually To Solve Entrepreneurial Challenges

Press Release – ANN ARBOR—A new virtual exchange program will allow undergraduate students at the University of Michigan the chance to address social entrepreneurship challenges from opposite sides of the world.

The MENA-Michigan Initiative for Global Action Through Entrepreneurship (M2GATE) is a program launched through the William Davidson Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization at the Ross School of Business that aims to provide solutions to low- and middle-income countries.

Through M2GATE, U-M undergraduate students will have the opportunity to collaborate with students from Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia to compete in a social entrepreneurship challenge.

The students from U-M and the other countries will team up to identify a social problem within one of the international locations. Their projects could range from solving a health or sustainability problem to offering a means where people can get job training to start a business that locals can run. It is hoped that teams will come up with scalable solutions.

From there, the teams will work to create a solution and a pitch video. The teams will be split up in three cohorts over three separate eight-week periods. The winning team from each cohort will travel to Ann Arbor, where they will meet each other and participate in joint activities such as meeting with professors, investors, and incubators and startups in Detroit.

“The close collaboration and getting a bird’s eye view of challenges in other countries is hugely valuable for U-M students. It’s great as an eye opener, for networking, and as an international experience,” said Amy Gillett, vice president of the William Davidson Institute’s Education Initiative.

Gillett noted that the program is structured as a virtual exchange, an approach that is not only useful for learning new skills, but also is relevant in today’s modern world, where many corporations are using virtual teams.

The teams will complete online learning modules that will give them the skills needed to work towards their end goal of creating a scalable product or service as a solution the problem they have identified.

WDI was one of 13 organizations selected by the Stevens Initiative to be invited to participate in this program. The Stevens Initiative, housed in The Aspen Institute, aims to foster leadership, ideas, and action within others.

“We want to bring together a rich collective of students and have them identify issues in a wide range of areas. This could span from health issues to unemployment to dealing with waste to more,” Gillett said.

The deadline for students to apply is Dec. 1.

William Davidson Institute

Follow us on Twitter: @UMichiganNews

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South African Non-Profit Helps ONE And Camfed Raise Funds For Girls’ Education

Press Release – Tragically, 130 million girls globally are not in school. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, up to 28 million girls do not attend school. This is why a new campaign from ONE, an advocacy organization of eight million members, is saying that “poverty is sexist”.

And they’re shouting it from the rooftops because the world will not be able to beat extreme poverty until the barriers holding women and girls back are broken down.

To try and make this happen, ONE has teamed up with Camfed and The Relate Trust to ensure as many girls as possible can go to school – because every girl has the right to an education.

ONE is a global movement of people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Camfed is an international non-profit organization tackling poverty and inequality by supporting marginalized girls to go to school, to succeed, and to lead.

South African not-for-profit social enterprise The Relate Trust makes handmade products to benefit causes around the world and to create jobs in South Africa. For this partnership, Relate has made beaded bracelets which will be sold through ONE’s online platform.

Proceeds from every bracelet sold will benefit Camfed’s work in the poorest rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Simply put, for every bracelet sold, Camfed will be able to get more girls in school.

Why girls? Camfed’s philosophy is: “When you educate a girl, everything changes”.

The sad truth is that education is not freely available globally, and often girls are the first to drop out or to be failed by the system. Access to education gives the promise of a life beyond poverty, where girls can become women who start their own businesses, have the careers they dream of, and where they can live the life they deserve.

“In South Africa, we have significant job shortages and a lack of opportunities available for young people. We empower the young people who work for us in production by putting them through training in their chosen careers beyond Relate. They receive a salary so that they can provide for themselves and their families, while working towards the future they want,” says Relate Trust CEO Neil Robinson.

“Helping young people achieve their goals is part of the core of who we are at Relate. It is startling that so many girls in sub-Saharan Africa, and the world, are lacking basic education. We believe it is our duty to try and help change that.”

Camfed has proven through their work that quality education can reap significant and long-lasting benefits for girls, and transform communities.

Since 1993, Camfed’s innovative education programs in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi have directly supported almost two million students to attend primary and secondary school, and more than four million children have benefited from an improved learning environment.

Bracelets will be sold online through ONE’s website, Visit,, or to learn more. Together, we all have the power to sound the alarm on the global girls’ education crisis!

About The Relate Trust:

The Relate Trust is a proudly 100% not-for-profit social enterprise which predominantly sells handmade beaded bracelets to raise money for charities globally, while creating jobs for people in low income communities.

In the last three years alone, Relate has raised more than R26million for causes in health, education, conservation, social upliftment, and children’s and women’s empowerment, while raising close to R50million since it became a Trust in 2010.

For more information on The Relate Trust, please visit

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New York City Area Entrepreneurs Announced As Winners At WeWork Creator Awards

14 New York-Based Startups And Nonprofits Secure $1.1MM In Funding & Head To Global Finals In January 2018

Press Release – (NEW YORK) Last night, WeWork announced 14 New York City area entrepreneurs as winners at The New York City Creator Awards, a new global initiative awarding more than $20MM to entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits, and artists who are thinking in new ways, building fresh projects, and achieving real change. Photos available here.

At Skylight Clarkson Square startups, small businesses, and nonprofit finalists pitched before a live audience and competed with finalists from across the east and west coasts of the United States. 21 total winners in three categories were awarded $1.86MM in funding for projects ranging from a food startup that employees refugee chefs to a fashion line that celebrates women in STEM fields.

The top $360K prize in the “Scale” category went to Karim Abouelnaga of New York City for his peer-to-peer summer education program Practice Makes Perfect.

“I was the first person in my family to go to college,” Abouelnaga said in his 45-second pitch. “And I left a career in investment banking to make sure I wasn’t the last.”

During the summer slump, kids who aren’t given access to programs can fall three months behind, “compounding interest on the achievement gap,” he said.

“With this money, I’ll experiment with cutting our price point to schools this year to saturate the market more this year and reach more kids. This year we’ll train close to 200 people, and we’re always looking for space. To be able to do that in an environment like WeWork would allow us to expose college kids to what work could look like in the future.”

The awards ceremony was open to the public and hosted by the sister of WeWork Co-Founder & CEO, Adam Neumann, Israeli supermodel Adi Neumann. The evening event also featured masterclasses with legendary Harlem couturier, Dapper Dan, founder & CEO of AKT, Anna Kaiser, and more. Earlier in the evening, the event began with a job & skills fair with top nonprofits and tech startups like the ACLU and Morning Consult, a pop-up Creator Market featuring local makers, a performance by Beatbox Collective, free food and cocktails, and an after party with a surprise performance from T-Pain.

Before coming to New York City, the Creator Awards were held in Washington, D.C., Detroit, Austin, London, Berlin, and Tel Aviv. Winners from the scale and launch categories will compete for additional prizes — with a grand prize of $1MM — at the Creator Awards Global Finals in New York City in January 2018. Interview opportunities with Creator Awards winners are available upon request.


SCALE: Businesses/nonprofits with proven success, ready for next level

  • KARIM ABOUELNAGA, Practice Makes Perfect – A peer-to-peer summer learning program that utilizes high achieving teens to teach and mentor fellow students in underserved communities – $360K
  • KAREN YOUNG, Oui Shave – Brooklyn-based Oui Shave is the first women’s shaving system designed to be irritation-free – $180K
  • MANAL KAHI, Eat Offbeat – Fills the gap in authentic and off-the-beaten-path ethnic food, all the while alleviating unemployment among refugees resettled in the US – $180K

LAUNCH: Businesses/nonprofits launched and still learning

  • GEORGES CLEMENT, JustFix.NYC – Brooklyn Based organization helps New Yorkers repair their homes – $180K
  • SAEED JABAR, Inclusion – The Queens-based company prepares underserved young adults of color for careers in technology – $72K
  • GONI LIGHT & YONATAN SELA, SoCo – Seeds of Collaboration – Brooklyn-based SoCo brings all natural tahini to health conscious customers – $72K

INCUBATE: Ideas/projects that need funding

  • ALLISON HAUSER, Girls on the Run NYC – A Brooklyn-based physical activity-based positive youth development program that is designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences – $18K
  • AMANDA PHINGBODHIPAKKIYA, ATOMIC by Design – A Brooklyn-based fashion line and community for curious girls and women who aren’t afraid to wear their smarts on their sleeve – $18K
  • TRACEY COLEMAN, Purpose Driven Passports – The Brooklyn-based company creates opportunities for travelers to donate their time, money and resources to underserved schools, orphanages and programs abroad- $18K
  • ALEX ETLING, Cave Theater Co. – An indie theatre company dedicated to telling powerful stories with vigor, innovation, and artistic integrity in New York City- $18K
  • ERICA BUDDINGTON, Langston League – The Brooklyn based company seeks to create a curriculum for agencies and organizations to connect to their diverse students and their learning styles – $18K
  • GABRIELLE ROSSI, Discover Outdoors Foundation – Provides life-changing, educational, and fun outdoor experiences to kids in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – $18K
  • JOHN OQUIST, Dialogue Theory – A growth agency bridging the art and science of interaction – $18K
  • LAUREN BIENVENUE, Once Upon a Laurén – Once Upon a Laurén gives new life to old leather by transforming the discarded and forgotten into wearable, usable art by hand-painting vintage leather jackets and clutches

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