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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.

Cook County Land Bank Authority Putting Affordable Homeownership within Reach of Residents with New Homebuyer Direct Program

CCLBA makes available dozens of properties through program, launches free home giveaway

Press Release – CHICAGO, IL – This fall, the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) launched the Homebuyer Direct Program to break down barriers to homeownership and help transform communities by offering fixer-upper homes at below-market prices in neighborhoods across Cook County. As part of launching this program, the Land Bank will give away a fully rehabbed single-family home in Auburn Gresham.

The new initiative helps prospective homebuyers buy, rehab and ultimately move in to the home of their dreams. The program serves two important functions for buyers: it helps them build equity during the purchase process and lets them incorporate their own ideas into the design of their new home. Homeownership is one of the primary ways Americans accumulate wealth – buyers build equity as the home’s property value increases.

“In launching this new program, the Land Bank Authority will play a transformative role in building strong and sustainable communities,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Providing our residents with an affordable path to the American Dream – which for most is home ownership – can only serve a positive purpose for our County and City. I congratulate the Land Bank Authority’s staff and Board for their vision in seeking to better the lives of many.”

Traditionally, CCLBA has sold delinquent, vacant or abandoned properties to developers. This new initiative lets CCLBA reach out directly to the homebuyers, who then can guide the development process (including the schedule, choice of contractors and aesthetic choices about the rehab) in accordance with their preferences.

“One of the best ways to impact a neighborhood for the long term is to expand home ownership. Home ownership – especially when the mortgage is ethical – builds generational wealth. Families in neighborhoods across Chicago missed out on this opportunity over the last 40 years, and that has to change,” said CCLBA Chairwoman and Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer. “This initiative builds upon the Land Bank’s mission to reduce the number vacant buildings by filling them with not just residents, but homeowners, especially in communities hit hardest by the mortgage crisis.”

Homeownership is one of the primary ways Americans accumulate wealth, and a recent Harvard study shows black homeownership rates in Chicago have dropped to levels not seen since the 1960s. With this in mind, the CCLBA is offering properties throughout Cook County to prospective owner-occupants at below-market prices.

Through this new initiative, about 30 to 40 CCLBA properties are available to prospective owner-occupants at below-market prices. The homes, which primarily run between $50,000 and $170,000, are located in neighborhoods such as Avalon Park, Roseland and South Shore. Suburban properties are also available.

“The Homebuyer Direct Program lets us help folks who have thought about purchasing a fixer-upper before but may have been intimidated by logistical, financial or other obstacles,” said Rob Rose, Executive Director of the CCLBA. “This program helps those prospective homebuyers and targets neighborhoods where the mortgage crisis stifled a lot of community potential.”

All properties eligible for the Homebuyer Direct Program are available on the Land Bank’s website and will be updated on a daily basis. Answers to homebuyers’ frequently asked questions, recommendations for lenders and down payment assistance and an application for the program are all listed on the CCLBA website.

Potential homebuyers can work with a broker, and homes may be purchased via cash or financing. The Land Bank does not impose any income restrictions on buyers.

The Land Bank will start accepting entries for the home giveaway on October 2, 2017. Cook County residents can enter either online at the CCLBA website or in person at the Land Bank offices at 69 W Washington Street on the 29th floor.

The CCLBA is working to empower local developers, community groups and potential homeowners by giving them tools to transform their own communities from within. The Land Bank obtains tax delinquent properties for rehab and sells them at below-market rates to qualified, community-based developers to lead the rehab work. This not only helps keep revenue and jobs in the community, but it also helps these local developers grow their businesses. Then, these homes are sold to pre-qualified homebuyers, getting the once-vacant properties back onto the tax rolls.


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From Boston To Birmingham: 25 Historic Main Street Districts Across America Vie For $2 Million In Grants Decided By Public Vote During Partners In Preservation Campaign

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Have Provided $19 Million in Funding Through This Program

Press Release – New York, NY — September 25, 2017 — American Express and The National Trust for Historic Preservation, in collaboration with Main Street America, announced today that Partners in Preservation is headed to Main Street. Partners in Preservation is a community-based partnership to raise awareness of the importance of preserving historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. This year’s program, Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, will award $2 million in grants to Main Street districts in need of preservation support across America.

The public will determine which sites will receive preservation grants by voting for their favorite main streets today through October 31 at VoteYourMainStreet.org, hosted by National Geographic Travel. On November 2, the sites with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be announced and awarded grants for restoration projects. In addition, the public will also have the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip of their choice to New York, Los Angeles, or Miami, sponsored by this year’s media partner National Geographic.

“Historic preservation and the Shop Small Movement are cornerstones of American Express’ longstanding commitment to serving communities around the world,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “This campaign aligns these two commitments. By rallying citizens to learn about and vote for their favorite local historic treasures, we hope to create broad-scale awareness of the connection between preservation and our country’s thriving main streets.”

This year’s campaign coincides with the 40th anniversary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s work to revitalize main streets. Partners in Preservation: Main Streets emphasizes the importance of these districts around the U.S. and their positive impact on local communities and economies.

“From first dates to family dinners and shopping trips to nights on the town, America’s thriving historic main streets are where we come together and share experiences that shape our lives and communities,” said Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We are delighted to celebrate historic main streets across America through this year’s Partners in Preservation program. These historic downtowns are central to our local and national identity and should be preserved for generations to come.”

According to 2016 data from Main Street America, investments in Main Street districts have a significant impact on local economies – encouraging real estate development as well as the creation of new businesses and jobs. In 2016, $4.65 billion reinvested in Main Street improvement programs resulted in 8,042 building rehabilitations, 5,616 business openings, and 27,462 new jobs. Main Street revitalization efforts also help to make our neighborhoods more interesting and welcoming places to live, work and play.

Since the program’s inception in 2006, Partners in Preservation has awarded over $19 million in support of more than 200 historic sites across the country.

From theaters and museums to plazas and marquees from Seattle to Miami, Partners in Preservation: Main Streets will inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places in Main Street corridors. Each local partner received a grant of $20,000 to increase public awareness of the importance of these historic places and build grassroots support for their Main Street district.

The 25 cities with Main Street districts in contention for Partners in Preservation: Main Streets grants include:

Atlanta, Georgia
Sweet Auburn Works seeks to transform Bryant Graves House into an information center for visitors. This project would help introduce visitors to the local businesses and organizations that define Sweet Auburn.

Birmingham, Alabama
REV Birmingham seeks to install a 42-foot vertical marquee on the Historic Alabama Theatre. This project would restore the façade of the theatre to its original appearance and light-up downtown Birmingham.

Boston, Massachusetts
Upham’s Corner Main Street seeks to transform the Pierce Building into a business incubator and convert the Streetcar Comfort Station into a bike repair store and coffee shop. This project would create a vibrant hub within Dorchester’s Arts and Culture Innovation District.

Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Old Town Cape, Inc. seeks to revitalize the bandstand and surrounding park landscape in Ivers Square. This project would honor the neighborhood’s history and attract visitors.

Casa Grande, Arizona
Casa Grande Main Street seeks to create a new Vintage Neon Sign Park by salvaging historic neon signs from throughout the community. The park would serve as a vibrant downtown destination for visitors.

Cincinnati, Ohio
The Cincinnati Preservation Association seeks to restore the Woodward Theater’s historic marquee. This project would attract visitors and make the theater a shining beacon in Over-the-Rhine.

Detroit, Michigan
Live6 seeks to transform The Treehouse into a unique gathering and performance space. This project would create a much-needed venue for the Livernois/6 Mile community to come together.

Franklin, Tennessee
The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County seeks to rehabilitate Dr. McPhail Office as a space for local programming and visitor services. This project would share Franklin’s history and highlight the positive impact of preservation on the community.

Greensboro, North Carolina
Downtown Greensboro, Inc. seeks to replace the iconic Carolina Theatre’s worn seats with art deco-style seats that increase capacity and restore historic charm. This project would ensure the theatre remains the “Showplace of the Carolinas” for years to come.

Hyde Park, Illinois
The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and Hyde Park Historical Society seek to complete renovations on the Cable Car Building. Through this project, the community would continue to have access to a museum and meeting space.

Las Vegas, New Mexico
Main Street de Las Vegas seeks to restore the E. Romero Hose and Fire Building to serve as a firefighting and acequia system museum. This project would commemorate the stories of the town’s founders and their efforts to protect their community.

Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Conservancy seeks to rehabilitate the trolley car of the Formosa Cafe along Route 66. This project would ensure a beloved West Hollywood icon is saved for future generations.

McKinney, Texas
Main Street McKinney seeks to rehabilitate the exterior of the McKinney Performing Arts Center in the Collin County Courthouse. This project would enhance visitors’ experiences for generations to come.

Miami, Florida
The City of Miami seeks to renovate and paint the exterior of the Manuel Artime Theater. This project would ensure the theater continues to be a place where the vibrancy of Little Havana comes alive.

New Orleans, Louisiana
Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Merchants and Business Association seeks to restore the façade of Old McCrory’s Store. This project would repurpose the space for retail and nonprofit business use and commemorate the 1960 boycott of discriminatory hiring practices.

New York, New York
Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation seeks to rehabilitate the façade and make structural improvements to the Sheffield Farms Bottling Plant in Restoration Plaza. This project would ensure that the plaza remains at the heart of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Downtown OKC Initiatives seeks to restore the Yale Theatre to its original appearance. This project would breathe new life into a key attraction, providing a draw for tourism and new entertainment opportunities to the surrounding area.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Germantown United CDC seeks to rehabilitate the façade and make structural improvements to significant 20th-century African-American landmarks in the Germantown neighborhood, including the Trower Building and Parker Hall. This project would increase visitation to Germantown and community pride.

Richmond, California
The Richmond Main Street Initiative seeks to install a marquee on the Market Street Mall’s Façade. This project would create a bright light illuminating the neighborhood’s charm and welcoming visitors.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Studio Elevn seeks to rehabilitate three historic buildings in the Granary District. This project would provide space for artists, designers and entrepreneurs to gather, work and celebrate.

San Diego, California
North Park Main Street seeks to reveal the original façade of the Stevens-Hartley Annex, which has been hidden behind a wall for decades. This project would further beautify one of San Diego’s most celebrated streets.

Seattle, Washington
Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area seeks to restore disappearing historic signs throughout Seattle’s historic Chinatown-International District. This project would help tell the story of this iconic, diverse neighborhood.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Main Street Steamboat Springs seeks to restore and repurpose a historic caboose as an artist-in-residence studio and gateway to Main Street. This project would serve as a landmark for the city’s Creative District.

Washington, D.C.
Shaw Main Streets seeks to restore the original storefront façade of the James Hughes Building. This project would transform a hidden treasure into a gem for visitors to Shaw.

West Des Moines, Iowa
The Historic Valley Junction Foundation seeks to restore the façade, first-floor storefront and marquee of the Lyric Theater. This project would further emphasize the historic gathering place as an icon of main street.

For more information and to vote daily through October 31, the public is encouraged to visit VoteYourMainStreet.org.


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Launch of the 2nd Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Industry Report

Cultivating growth

Online alternative finance in the Asia-Pacific region grew 136 per cent last year to $245.3 billion, says the second Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Industry Report.

The online alternative finance market in the Asia-Pacific region grew 136 per cent last year to $245.3 billion, led by strong growth in China, the 2nd Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Industry Report reported today (20 September).

The report, entitled Cultivating Growth, was produced by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, the Australian Centre for Financial Studies at the University of Monash Business School in Australia and Tsinghua University in China. Financial support was provided by KPMG Australia, CME Group Foundation and HNA Capital.

China was by far the region’s largest alternative finance market in 2016, at $243.3 billion (up from $101.7 billion in 2015), including $136.5 billion in marketplace/peer-to-peer consumer lending and $57.8 billion in marketplace/peer-to-peer business lending.

After China, Australia emerged as the second largest market in the Asia Pacific with $610 million – a sizable increase on the $398 million from 2015. Combined with New Zealand, which totalled $223 million in 2016, Oceania was the largest regional market in the Asia Pacific outside of China. The Australian market largely consisted of balance sheet business lending ($217 million), peer-to-peer consumer lending ($158 million) and invoice financing ($130 million), while peer-to-peer consumer lending led the way in New Zealand with $163 million in 2016.

Other key markets in the Asia Pacific region in 2016 were Japan at $398 million, South Korea at $376 million, Singapore at $164 million, and India at $124 million.

The alternative finance sector in the Asia-Pacific totalled $102.8 billion in 2015, the first year for the survey, rising to $245.3 billion in 2016.

“The online alternative finance platforms that have emerged across the Asia Pacific since around 2013 have changed the way people, businesses and institutions can access, raise and invest money,” the report says, noting that there was continued growth across most alternative finance platforms across the region last year.

The report is based on data collected from 628 platforms across the Asia-Pacific region, including 463 from China and 165 platforms from the wider region. The data covers around 20 parameters which have been standardised by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance since 2013.

Among the report’s other findings:

  • China continues to see “distinctively low levels” of institutional participation in alternative finance compared to other markets such as the US and UK, with only five per cent of peer-to-peer business lending coming from institutions in 2016. Online lending models in China are led by individual retail lenders.
  • In the Asia Pacific outside of China, about $1.5 billion was raised by businesses through alternative finance channels, up 72 per cent from the previous year, with an estimated 43,000 business entities utilising alternative channels of business finance.
  • In China, 72 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer lending platforms see cyber-attacks as the biggest threat to the industry, while more than 50 per cent across all platforms in China see current and proposed regulatory norms to be adequate.
  • Outside of China, 69 per cent of platforms in Japan see existing regulation as inadequate or too relaxed, while in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia around two thirds of platforms see current regulations as adequate.

“Reviewing these market trends, the alternative finance industry is fast taking root across the Asia Pacific region although with quite divergent and distinct characteristics,” the report says. “The question now going forward is what type of growth must now be cultivated across the Asia Pacific region over the coming years to realise the benefits offered by the alternative finance industry.”

Bryan Zhang

Bryan Zhang, Co-Founder and Interim Executive Director of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, said: “As the online alternative finance market continues to grow, it is perhaps more imperative than ever to explore what kind of growth is desired and needs to be achieved…. To have a long-term, sustainable and inclusive growth, online alternative finance industry needs to adhere to best practices and cultivate trust, keep innovating in products and services and provide returns to investors.”

Ian Pollari, Global Co-Leader, KPMG FinTech Practice, added: “The innovative digitisation of financial services by Alt-Fi platforms is lowering transaction costs, enhancing convenience for customers, and increasing access to credit and investments for underserved segments. Australia has an opportunity to lead the way, but we must proceed mindfully. Regulation can have a profound impact on the development of the sector. For example, the uncertain regulatory environment for equity crowdfunding, ahead of legislation taking affect this year, no doubt contributed to a notable drop in activity in 2016. This underscores the vulnerabilities that might impede future growth which need to be identified, understood and prudently managed for the long-term viability of Australia’s alternative finance industry,” he said.

Kieran Garvey

Kieran Garvey, Head of Regulation & Policy at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance said: “The Asia Pacific region was the world’s largest online alternative finance market in 2016 as in 2015. This report however demonstrates vast differences between countries in this region. China leads the alternative finance industry in terms of total market activity and this has no doubt led to increased financial inclusion amongst businesses and consumers there. Perhaps one of the most interesting developments over the coming years will be the extent that China’s leading platforms can export their alternative finance models to the wider Asia Pacific region – a trend that is really yet to emerge.”

Link:

https://insight.jbs.cam.ac.uk/2017/cultivating-growth/


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PressureStim a Leonhardt Ventures Co. Announces Licensing of Patent Portfolio for Bioelectric Blood Pressure Management from Neuro Code Tech Holdings LLC Expanding Its Intellectual Property Estate.

Press Release – Santa Monica, California and Albuquerque, New Mexico, September 22nd, 2017 – PressureStim, an emerging leader in bioelectric blood pressure management announced today that the Company has entered into an option agreement that leads to an exclusive license with Neuro Code Tech Holdings LLC for key pioneering patents in the field of bioelectric management of blood pressure. PressureStim is a unit of Leonhardt Ventures which is incubating in Leonhardt’s Launchpads by Cal-X Star Business Accelerator, Inc. and Leonhardt’s Launchpads Utah, Inc.

Implantable method to regulate blood pressure by means of coded nerve signals

Patent number: 6957106
Abstract: A method and device for modulating blood pressure. The method comprises selecting waveforms from a storage area that are representative of body organ function. The selected waveforms are then transmitted to a treatment member, which is in direct contact with the body, and which then broadcasts the waveforms to a blood pressure regulatory points within the body to modulate blood pressure. A control module is provided for transmission to the treatment member. The control module contains the waveforms which are selected and transmitted to the treatment member, and computer storage can be provided for greater storage capacity and manipulation of the waveforms.

Type: Grant
Filed: February 18, 2004
Date of Patent: October 18, 2005
Inventors: Eleanor Schuler, Claude K. Lee

Implantable method to regulate blood pressure by means of coded nerve signals

Publication number: 20040236238

Abstract: A method and device for modulating blood pressure. The method comprises selecting waveforms from a storage area that are representative of body organ function. The selected waveforms are then transmitted to a treatment member, which is in direct contact with the body, and which then broadcasts the waveforms to a blood pressure regulatory points within the body to modulate blood pressure. A control module is provided for transmission to the treatment member. The control module contains the waveforms which are selected and transmitted to the treatment member, and computer storage can be provided for greater storage capacity and manipulation of the waveforms.

Type: Application
Filed: February 18, 2004
Publication date: November 25, 2004
Inventors: Eleanor Schuler, Claude K. Lee

“By licensing these patents that relate to PressureStim bioelectric blood pressure management technology, PressureStim continues to build upon its emerging technology and defend its platform technology platform as we simultaneously move forward step by step to meet all requirements with regulatory authorities to be able initiate studies that will investigate the PressureStim device in both OUS and U.S. clinical trials.” stated Howard J. Leonhardt, Founder, Executive Chairman and CEO.

“Hypertension is an enormous healthcare problem, with 30% of American adults having hypertension. About half of hypertensive adults in the US have their blood pressure under control while the other half remain at an unhealthy level. Hypertension is a major and independent contributor to cardiovascular events, increasing the risk of CHD, heart failure, and stroke from two- to four-fold. Isolated systolic hypertension is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular mortality and is the most prevalent precursor to heart failure in the elderly population. Treatment of isolated systolic hypertension has been shown to decrease the incidence of stroke, MI, heart failure, and kidney failure in a number of clinical trials in older patients. The high rate of un-manageable hypertension despite all the drugs on the market targeting this condition strongly suggests that a better alternative is needed. We are prepared to enter careful pre-clinical and then clinical studies over the next many years to determine whether PressureStim is indeed a worthy alternative. Independent studies in China and other locations by earlier investigators of bioelectric stimulation have demonstrated improvement in blood pressure management – see https://leonhardtventures.com/pressurestim/ for additional information. We believe, based on our internal lab studies, we have refined the preciseness of bioelectric signaling beyond those earlier studies to have more accurate control of expressions of particular beneficial proteins on demand.” stated Dr. Leslie Miller, Chief Medical Officer, PressureStim

“This additional intellectual property from Neuro Code Tech Holdings LLC and Science Medicus, Inc. expands the breadth of the Company’s already comprehensive bioelectric organ regeneration and recovery patent portfolio, which portfolio includes inventions relating to critical aspects of bioelectric stimulation controlled stem cell homing, proliferation and differentiation as well as more than 16 different regeneration promoting proteins, cancer tumor treatment and accelerated tooth movement and stabilization.” states Asli Gozoren Director of Investor Relations.

About PressureStim LTP

PressureStim LTP is a Licensable Technology Platform startup incubating within the Leonhardt’s Launchpads innovation and startup accelerators in California and Utah. It is focused on bioelectric treatment of hypertension via a patented and patent pending bioelectric stimulator technology platform. PressureStim LTP is majority owned by Leonhardt Ventures (Leonhardt Vineyards LLC DBA Leonhardt Ventures). See https://leonhardtventures.com/pressurestim/

About Leonhardt’s Launchpads by Cal-X Stars Business Accelerator, Inc.

Leonhardt’s Launchpads is an innovation and startup launch accelerator focused on regenerative medtech innovations which began operations in Northern California in 2008 and opened up in Santa Monica, California in 2012 and in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2015. Cal-X Stars Business Accelerator, Inc. was incorporated in California in 2013 and in Leonhardt’s Launchpads Utah, Inc was incorporated in Utah in 2016. The accelerator/incubators in three locations currently have 26 regenerative medtech and 4 regenerative economy startups and licensable technology platforms (LTP’s) in their 2017 portfolio. Nearly all of the organ regeneration and recovery startups are based on the same core patented and patent pending technology of a bioelectric stimulator often combined with a micro infusion pump and a multi component stem cell + growth factor based organ regeneration composition. The business model of our innovation and startup accelerators is to advance each organ specific startup through first-in-man studies and then seek a strategic buyer/parter preferably with a 3% royalty forward on net sales. The maximum amount of time a startup normally stays within the innovation & startup accelerators is 5 years. The innovation accelerators have access to research labs in Santa Monica, Salt Lake City and Petaluma California. In Utah we are a member of USTAR’s BioInnovation Gateway laboratory with access to a number of other research facilities. See www.calxstars.com + www.leonhardtventures.com for more information.

About Leonhardt Ventures

Leonhardt Ventures was originally founded in 1982 as H.J. Leonhardt & Co. and was formed into a California LLC (Leonhardt Vineyards LLC DBA Leonhardt Ventures) in 2005. It is 100% owned by Howard J. Leonhardt and is the origin firm for his innovations, patents, concepts and startups. Howard J. Leonhardt is an inventor with over 20 issued patents and dozens of new patent claims pending. In the 1980’s he patented and developed a market leading predictably compliant cardiovascular balloon catheter – PolyCath, in the 1990’s the first percutaneous heart valve – ValveStent, the first intravascular lung catheter – PENSIL, one of the first stem cell delivery catheters – ProCell, a electromagentic radiation delivery catheter – RadiCath and the first commercially successful stent graft – TALENT and one of the first biological pacemakers – BioPace. In 1995 he led a team the completed the world’s first percutaneous repair of an aortic aneurysm in Australia with Dr. Kenneth Thomson. In 1998 he lead a team that published the first paper in the New England Journal of Medicine with Dr. Christof Niebaber of endovascular repair of aortic Type B dissections, in 1999 he helped lead a team that published the first paper on bioelectric regeneration of blood flow in ischemic legs in CIRCULATION and resulting U.S. issued patent claims working with Dr. Shinichi Kanno, In 2000 he began filing the first series of patents on bioelectric driven organ regeneration combined when necessary with a micro infusion pump and repeat deliveries of a mixed stem cell + growth factor organ regeneration composition. In 2001 he helped lead the historic landmark world’s first non-surgical stem cell repair of a human heart in The Netherlands with Prof. Patrick Serruys. Over 400,000 patients have been treated with Leonhardt inventions to date in over 40 countries.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements reflect management’s current expectations, as of the date of this press release, and involve certain risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include statements herein with respect to the successful execution of the Company’s business strategy, the Company’s ability to develop and grow its business, the successful development of bioelectric or cellular therapies with respect to the Company’s research and development and pre-clinical + clinical evaluation efforts in connection with the Company’s bioelectric organ regeneration and recovery programs (including whether or not PressureStim will successfully be developed to treat metastatic melanoma or any other cancer indications), Ischemic Repair Program, Immune Modulation Program and other cell therapies, the future of the regenerative medicine industry and the role of stem cells and cellular therapy in that industry and the performance and planned expansion of the Company’s contract development and manufacturing business. The Company’s actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors. Factors that could cause future results to materially differ from the recent results or those projected in forward-looking statements include the “Risk Factors” described in the Company’s Annual Report, Private Placement Memorandums and newsletter updates and in the Company’s other periodic filings with the SEC and state agencies. The Company’s further development is highly dependent on future medical and research developments and market acceptance, which is outside its control. The innovation accelerator business model based on simultaneously developing 30+ products and startups at once with a small staff and a small budget leaves the company at greater risks than other stand alone startups. Information on all associated web sites may not always be up to date and accurate. If you have any specific questions please write directly to our CEO at howard@leonhardtventures.com or Asli Gozoren our Director of Investor Relations at asli@leonhardtventures.com

Link to Leonhardt Ventures 2017 Annual Report > http://2ho06i23weps2hx3g346udzo-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/cal-x_stars_annual-report_2017_v12_web.pdf


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Creating Jewish Leadership in Impact Investing: LAVAN Announces First Fellowship Cohort!

Press Release – From large financial institutions to the world’s most influential philanthropic foundations, impact investing has emerged as powerful tool for social change, and a decisive point of attraction for the next generation. Building on this momentum, LAVAN’s newly launched Impact Investor Fellowship brings together a select group of 28 Jewish leaders committed to aligning their individual and communal assets with their values.

See the full list of LAVAN Fellows

Demonstrating the broad relevance of impact investing for the Jewish community, the Fellowship has drawn leaders from fields spanning government, philanthropy, social change, tech, entertainment, and finance. These individuals are seeking to make a positive impact using not only their own assets, but also those of the organizations, synagogues, and philanthropic foundations they influence.

“Like many members of my generation, I want to make sure that my investments are true to what I believe in”, says Jonah Mink, MD, a member of the Schusterman ROI Community and one of the co-creators of the Fellowship. “I’ve been looking for a way to learn about impact investing for many years, and the opportunity to do so among a cohort of Jewish leaders and within a framework of Jewish learning makes the process all the more meaningful”.

Over the course of the next eight months, the Fellows will utilize Jewish texts and teachings to explore their personal and communal values, and learn how to tackle large social and environmental challenges using market mechanisms, in their personal lives, and as a community.

The launch event held in New York on the eve of September 11th outlined the journey on which the Fellows are embarking. Centered on the question of ‘What type of person do I want to be in light of the great challenges around us?’, the participants explored notions of individual and collective responsibility in Judaism, using the text of the Viddui (confession), a part of the Yom Kippur prayer. The event concluded with a keynote address by Ron Cordes, co-founder of the Cordes Foundation and a leader in the impact investing movement. Cordes described his journey from starting a large asset management firm to co-founding one of the first foundations to align 100% of its capital with its mission.

The LAVAN Impact Investor Fellowship was made possible with the generous support of the Schusterman Foundation’s ROI Community, EJF Philanthropies, and several private donors. “I’m so honored and thankful to be able to support this program” says Simone Friedman, Head of Philanthropy and Impact Investment for EJF Philanthropies. “The opportunity that the program is providing is not just for the participants to become impact investors in their private lives, but leaders for the Jewish community and for the rest of the world”.


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Gene Editing Technology Developer Awarded $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize

Feng Zhang Recognized for Commitment to Invention, Collaboration and Mentorship

Press Release – CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (September 19, 2017) – Dr. Feng Zhang, a pioneer of the revolutionary CRISPR gene editing technology, TAL effectors, and optogenics, has just been announced as the recipient of the 2017 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the largest cash prize for invention in the United States. Zhang is a core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, James and Patricia Poitras Professor in Neuroscience at MIT, and associate professor in the departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering at MIT.

Zhang and his team were first to develop and demonstrate successful methods for using an engineered CRISPR-Cas9 system to edit genomes in living mouse and human cells and have turned CRISPR technology into a practical and shareable collection of tools for robust gene editing and epigenomic manipulation. CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, has been harnessed by Zhang and his team as a groundbreaking gene-editing tool that is simple and versatile to use. A key tenet of Zhang’s is to encourage further development and research through open sharing of tools and scientific collaboration. Zhang believes that wide use of CRISPR-based tools will further our understanding of biology, allowing scientists to identify genetic differences that contribute to diseases and, eventually, provide the basis for new therapeutic techniques.

Zhang’s lab has trained thousands of researchers to use CRISPR technology and since 2013 he has shared over 40,000 plasmid samples with labs around the world both directly and through the nonprofit Addgene, enabling wide use of his CRISPR tools in their research.

Zhang began working in a gene therapy laboratory at the age of 16 and has played key roles in the development of multiple technologies. Prior to harnessing CRISPR-Cas9, Zhang engineered microbial TAL effectors (TALEs) for use in mammalian cells, working with colleagues at Harvard, authoring multiple publications on the subject and becoming a co-inventor on several patents on TALE-based technologies. Zhang was also a key member of the team at Stanford that harnessed microbial opsins for developing optogenetics, which uses light signals and light-sensitive proteins to monitor and control activity in brain cells. This technology can help scientists understand how cells in the brain affect mental and neurological illnesses. Zhang has co-authored multiple publications on optogenetics and is a co-inventor on several patents related to this technology.

Zhang’s numerous scientific discoveries and inventions, as well as his commitment to mentorship and collaboration, earned him the Lemelson-MIT Prize, which honors outstanding mid-career inventors who improve the world through technological invention and demonstrate a commitment to mentorship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Feng’s creativity and dedication to problem-solving impressed us,” said Stephanie Couch, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “Beyond the breadth of his own accomplishments, Feng and his lab have also helped thousands of scientists across the world access the new technology to advance their own scientific discoveries.”

“It is a tremendous honor to receive the Lemelson-MIT Prize and to join the company of so many incredibly impactful inventors who have won this prize in years past.” said Feng Zhang. “Invention has always been a part of my life – I think about new problems every day and work to solve them creatively. This prize is a testament to the passionate work of my team and the support of my family, teachers, colleagues and counterparts around the world.”

The $500,000 prize, which bears no restrictions in how it can be used, is made possible through the support of The Lemelson Foundation, the world’s leading funder of invention in service of social and economic change.

“We are thrilled to honor Dr. Zhang, who we commend for his advancements in genetics, and more importantly, his willingness to share his discoveries to advance the work of others around the world,” said Dorothy Lemelson, chair of The Lemelson Foundation. “Zhang’s work is inspiring a new generation of inventors to tackle the biggest problems of our time.”

Zhang will speak at EmTech MIT, the annual conference on emerging technologies hosted by MIT Technology Review at the MIT Media Lab on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

Nominations for 2018 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize

The Lemelson-MIT Program is now seeking nominations for the 2018 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. Please contact the Lemelson-MIT Program at awards-lemelson@mit.edu for more information or go to: http://lemelson.mit.edu/prize.

ABOUT THE LEMELSON-MIT PROGRAM

Celebrating invention, inspiring youth

The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.

Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering at MIT, an institution with a strong ongoing commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for K-12 STEM education. For more information, visit Lemelson.MIT.edu.

ABOUT THE LEMELSON FOUNDATION

Based in Portland, Oregon The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives. Inspired by the belief that invention can solve many of the biggest economic and social challenges of our time, the Foundation helps the next generation of inventors and invention-based businesses to flourish. The Lemelson Foundation was established in the early 1990s by prolific inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy. To date the Foundation has made grants totaling more than $200 million in support of its mission. For more information, visit http://www.lemelson.org.


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New Digital Marketing and Social Giving Technology, Aidbox, Launches in Partnership with Beyond Type 1, Degoo, Care2

Press Release – NEW YORKAidbox, a Swedish-founded digital marketing and social giving technology that will allow everyone with an email address to give back to charity, launched today in the U.S. Using a new algorithm, Aidbox is an email signature technology that leverages partnerships between nonprofits and businesses to create a new ad space for businesses and a fundraising mechanism for nonprofits. Aidbox is reshaping the future of charitable giving by turning your email signature into a tool for raising awareness and funds for charity.

For its launch, Aidbox is partnering with Beyond Type 1, a nonprofit founded by Nick Jonas, Juliet de Baubigny, Sarah Lucas and Sam Talbot that is working to raise awareness and educate the global community about the Type 1 diabetes as well as Degoo, a free, automatic, online backup solution where users get up to 100 GB of free backup, and the online advocacy site, Care2.

Beyond Type 1 is leveraging the power of social media and technology to create a new brand of philanthropy fit for the modern age. Beyond Type 1 is partnering with Aidbox for POWER UP – Beyond Type 1’s fall fundraising campaign. POWER UP will highlight the energy of the Type 1 diabetes community through themed days, fundraising challenges, and special prizes – all to raise donations for Type 1 diabetes research and advocacy. Beyond Type 1 will also receive donations made possible through the Aidbox platform. In addition, Aidbox will allow people to take action by signing a Care2 petition, launched by Beyond Type 1, urging the Center for Disease Control to release data segmented by diabetes type. More than 5,300 supporters have already signed on.

“Our goal at Aidbox is to raise awareness and funds for our charity partners by creating a symbiotic relationship between nonprofits and businesses. Aidbox will also give anyone with an email address the ability to become a philanthropist – no matter what time or money constraints they might be facing,” said Aidbox Founder & CEO Daniel Lundh. “As an Aidbox user, you will become an ambassador for charity and make an impact for free with a technology you’re already using everyday: your email.”

“The partnership with Aidbox will provide a new avenue for Beyond Type 1 to advocate for and educate about Type 1 diabetes, in addition to raising funds to support our programs and initiatives. Aidbox will allow our community to include warning signs and information about Type 1 diabetes in their e-mail signatures – putting life-saving information in front of a massive audience every day,” said Beyond Type 1 CEO and Co-Founder Sarah Lucas

“We’re excited for the opportunity to start working with the ground-breaking platform Aidbox has designed. Both Aidbox and Beyond Type 1 embody the cutting edge thinking that we’ve made a priority at Degoo,” said CEO, Carl Hasselskog. “We welcome new ways of looking at what it means to be a philanthropist.”

“Care2 is committed to teaming up with partners who are on the forefront of creating technology that connects people to ways to make a difference in the world,” said Randy Paynter, Founder & CEO of Care2. “Aidbox will allow everyone with an email address to raise money and awareness for great causes like Beyond Type 1 with every email they send.”

With Aidbox, nonprofits will increase their revenue and name recognition through a previously untapped line of communication with the public. Businesses can tap into a new advertising space that is personal, uncluttered and organic in personal email signatures. Aidbox is continuing to grow its network of charities and corporate sponsors. Daniel Lundh and his partners at Aidbox are also committed to bettering the world through philanthropy, which is why Aidbox will donate 50 percent of its revenue to nonprofits.


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Unitus Seed Fund’s Investments Impact 1.2 Million Lives Across India

Revenues have grown 106 per cent YoY and Investees have raised 3.64x additional capital

Press Release – 18 September 2017, Bangalore: Unitus Seed Fund, India’s leading impact venture fund investing in early-stage startups innovating for the masses, today released its semi-annual impact report, which is now mapped to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As of 30 June 2017, Unitus Seed Fund’s active portfolio of 14 companies have directly impacted over 1.2 million BoP (Base of the Economic Pyramid) lives across 29 states in India and created over 6, 200 sustainable, quality jobs. The fund’s portfolio companies have registered a 106 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in revenues and have raised 3.6x additional capital since Unitus’ initial investment.

Will Poole, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Unitus Seed Fund said, “We are incredibly excited that we’ve crossed this important milestone of directly impacting over 1 million lives as a result of the work of our fast-growing portfolio companies. Unitus Seed Fund’s one million landmark is significant for the entire investing ecosystem: we’ve now shown the scale of impact a seed-level fund can achieve in a short span of four-and-a-half years.”

Since founding in 2013, Unitus Seed Fund has adopted a holistic, well-defined methodology of tracking and advancing portfolio companies’ progress and impact using industry standard IRIS metrics, now mapped to the SDGs:

Social (scale) – 1.2 mn BoP lives impacted and 6,227 jobs created
Portfolio companies are selected to have the potential to impact at least 100,000 BoP families through their products and services, and/or directly provide BoP individuals 1,000 formal jobs in 5 years.

Financial – 3.6x additional capital raised
Portfolio companies are on a path to financial sustainability through increased revenues and raising additional capital, enabling them to thrive and scale.

Ecosystem – 75+ advisors & 40+ strategic partners
Portfolio companies are continually engaged with local and global network of advisors, skilled service providers and strategic partners such that every company benefits from, influences, and accelerates the functioning of the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem in India.
Aligning Impact with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In a first-of-its-kind move within the Indian investment ecosystem, Unitus Seed Fund has aligned its impact outcomes with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which provide a universal language to communicate impact to a wide range of investors and other stakeholders. This standardized framework lets investors track cumulative progress across each SDG target and assess where capital can best flow to improve people’s lives and the planet while at the same time providing market rate financial returns.

Within the new framework, Unitus Seed Fund’s portfolio companies’ work aligns with four UN SDGs –

  • SDG #1 – End poverty
    487, 329 BoP lives directly impacted
  • SDG #3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being
    225,370 BoP lives directly impacted and US $2.8M revenues generated
  • SDG #4 – Ensure quality education for all
    67,390 BoP lives directly impacted and US $5.4M revenues generated
  • SDG #8 – Promote decent work for all and sustainable economic growth
    427,294 BoP lives directly impacted and US $11.6M revenues generated

“The UN SDGs are critical as they provide a common framework for any player creating impact to align with – from donors, to traditional and impact investors on one end and non-profits to impact businesses on the other. Through this move, we deeply encourage other ecosystem investors to utilize this framework as this multi-sector collaboration at the investment and impact level will enable us to improve the lives of millions of low-income people globally”, said Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner at Unitus Seed Fund.

In its first Fund of USD $23 million, Unitus Seed Fund made a total of 23 investments across education, healthcare, financial technology, retail and e-commerce, mobile, consumer internet and agriculture. Unitus Seed Fund is currently raising its second fund of USD $50 million and plans to deploy it in across 25 – 30 startups in education, healthcare and financial technology by 2021.

Read all our previous years’ Impact Reports here >

About Unitus Seed Fund

Unitus Seed Fund is the leading impact venture fund investing in startups innovating for the masses in India. Unitus invests in sectors including healthcare, education, mobile & consumer, retail & eCommerce, financial services, and agriculture. Founded in 2012, Unitus Seed Fund is managed by Capria Ventures which is part of the Unitus Group, a premier financial services group operating in India and other emerging markets since 2000. Unitus Seed Fund is based in Bangalore and Seattle, and is a member of the Capria Network.


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US SIF Foundation Releases Resource Guide For Retail Investors: “Getting Started In Sustainable And Impact Investing”

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C., September 14, 2017 – In response to rapidly growing demand for sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing, the US SIF Foundation today released a new guide for retail investors, “Getting Started in Sustainable and Impact Investing.” This resource is a concise guide for retail, non-accredited investors exploring investment options such as mutual funds, ETFs, and direct ownership of stocks, as well as information on seeking professional investment help.

The US SIF Foundation reports a 33 percent growth in SRI assets under professional management in the United States from $6.57 trillion in 2014 to $8.72 trillion in 2016. However, most of this activity has been among institutional investors, which have ready access to professional SRI expertise, networks and associations.

“As interest in sustainable and impact investing expands, our goal in creating this guide was to provide a starting point for individuals who want to make a positive societal impact with their investments but aren’t sure where to begin,” said Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF.

A 2017 study by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing found 75 percent of individual investors expressing interest in sustainable investing. Similarly, the findings of a 2016 survey by Natixis Global Asset Management of 401k and other defined contribution plan participants also demonstrated interest in sustainable investments—64 percent were concerned about the environmental, social and ethical records of the companies in which they invested, while 74 percent said they’d like to see more socially responsible investments in their retirement plan offering.

The guide includes information on mutual funds, ETFs, direct ownership of stocks, and community-oriented cash and fixed income products, including banks and credit unions. The guide concludes with information on the best ways to seek investment advice from a financial professional.


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SRI Conference Showcases Best Practices, as SRI Goes Mainstream

Pioneering Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing Conference Convenes for 28th Consecutive Year

Press Release – (Denver, CO) September 12, 2017The SRI Conference will host its 28th annual gathering at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California November 1–3, 2017. It is expected to draw a large, diverse group of progressive investment advisors, investment managers, and change agents who are creating positive impact throughout public and private businesses and capital markets.

The SRI Conference will equip attendees with the knowledge and tools they need to integrate sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investment principles into their practices. They will learn how to better serve clients interested in aligning their investments with personal values. Attendees will also hear from experts who will discuss how investment portfolios can address concerns about topics such as climate change, corporate diversity, water conservation, and human rights.

Participants will also learn first-hand about complex SRI investing themes and strategies, and how to leverage environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data and analysis to reduce risk, enhance returns, and deliver positive impact to society at large.

“The Conference is designed to connect investment professionals with issue experts and facilitate education about how sustainable, responsible, and impact investment strategies can be applied across asset classes,” said Steve Schueth, president of First Affirmative Financial Network and producer of The SRI Conference. “It is clear that SRI and ESG are important to a rapidly broadening base of investors. This year’s speakers and sponsors reflect this significant growth across the industry spectrum.”

Session topics will include:

  • Stewardship, Sustainability, and the Metrics of Materiality
  • The Cost of a Climate Change Comb-Over
  • ESG Data / Rankings: New Kids on the Block
  • What Every Advisor Should Know About Running a Successful SRI / ESG Practice
  • Investing for A Better World: How the SDGs Are Reshaping Companies and Investing
  • Active and Passive, International and Domestic: Perspectives on ESG Integration at the Portfolio Level
  • Impactful Matchmaking: How Advisors First Talk Impact with Clients

This is the first time in the conference’s history that it will be held on the West Coast.

Investment professionals who attend the conference can earn 7 to 16 hours of continuing education (CE) credits if they hold CFP, CFA, and CIMA designations.

Special training is available before and after the 2017 SRI Conference:

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by following @SRIConference and #AllInForImpact. View the full conference agenda, and sign up to receive conference and agenda updates via email.

To register for The SRI Conference, please visit www.SRIconference.com.

About The SRI Conference

The 28th annual SRI Conference will be held November 1–3, 2017, at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA. The SRI Conference is the premier annual forum for investment professionals and investors engaged in sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI) investing. Conference participants include investment professionals, institutional investors, and related organizations. The program features educational sessions and opportunities to network with hundreds of like-minded individuals, organizations, and leaders in the field of sustainable, responsible, impact investing.


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