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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: November 2013

Joyful Heart Foundation Launches Campaign to ‘End The Backlog’ Of Unprocessed Rape Kits

November 7, 2013 – Every year, thousands of individuals report their rape to the police. Many are asked to have a rape kit collected, a process that can take four to six hours to complete. And yet, hundreds of thousands of times, a decision is made not to process the evidence. Even when law enforcement does send a kit to the crime lab for testing, it can sit for months, and in some cases years, before being tested. 

The nationwide backlog of untested rape kits allows rapists to get away with their crimes and, in many cases, to rape again. We do not know the exact size of the backlog because few jurisdictions count or track their untested kits, but the federal government estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in police and crime lab storage facilities throughout the United States. 

Today, the Joyful Heart Foundation is proud to share the new, our website dedicated to shining a light on and ending the rape kit backlog nationwide. includes an interactive map displaying everything we know and do not know about where the backlog exists, an extensive media and resource archive of news and reporting about the backlog from across the country, an integrated blog with updates and commentary about the backlog and more. 

With the new, the Joyful Heart Foundation will continue to raise awareness about the backlog and share vital information about what jurisdictions and our partners are doing to end it, all with the aim of improving our collective response to sexual violence. Four states have implemented comprehensive rape kit reforms, investigative reports have uncovered backlogs in cities across the country and officials have made the number of untested kits in their communities publicly known. We are beginning to see a clearer national picture of the rape kit backlog. We are seeing the immense value that rape kit testing brings.

“The rape kit backlog is one of the most shocking demonstrations of how we regard the crime of sexual assault in our society. Rape kit testing can bring justice, often an integral part of a survivor’s healing, and it is vital in keeping rapists off the streets,” said Mariska Hargitay, President & Founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation. “We must eliminate this backlog. We must give survivors the justice they deserve. We must hold perpetrators accountable. The stakes are simply too high.”


Future of Food Hackathon Invites Food Lovers and Techies to Solve Global Food Issues for Second Year in a Row

SAN FRANCISCO (November 5, 2013) — The world’s largest food hackathon, “Future of Food,” will take place November 16-17 in San Francisco and will bring together food lovers, entrepreneurs and investors to build, prototype and share innovative solutions to challenges in our food system. 

“Our food system is broken and in desperate need of repair. The solutions are going to come when we all start working together at the table. The Future of Food hackathon is working to do that by building relationships and community with all stakeholders around the usefulness of technology in our food system,” said Future of Food Hackathon co-founder Tim West. 

The event will take place November 16-17 at the Tagged headquarters in San Francisco, CA and will be followed by an after-party at TCHO New American Chocolate on Pier 17. Tagged is the 5th largest social network with 300MM+ users and TCHO is a pioneer in applying technology to chocolate production. Additional support comes from Yummly, which is building the digital kitchen platform and has the #1 free recipe app on iTunes.

A hackathon is an event where technologists and stakeholders gather to rapidly and collaboratively build software solutions to identified challenges. Along with the hackathon, there will be a Sunday forum comprised of industry experts and includes panel discussions on themes such as technology, sustainability and scalability. Top Food Hackathon teams will have an opportunity to demo their products and receive feedback from notable judges with a chance to win prizes and awards, gain recognition among the global food and tech community, and network with notable movers and shakers in Silicon Valley. 

For more details and ticket information please visit:

About The Future of Food Hackathon + Forum

The Future of Food Hackathon + Forum unites designers, developers and entrepreneurs for a world class hackathon competition to build networks, cross pollinate ideas and create new products and tools to innovate and improve the food ecosystem.

George Soros pledges $1 million to support a robust global response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria

Soros honored at International Rescue Committee’s annual Freedom Award Dinner in New York. Event raises almost $3.5 million to support the IRC’s life-saving work.

New York – The International Rescue Committee hosted its annual Freedom Award Dinner last night,raising almost $3.5 million to support the organization’s lifesaving humanitarian aid work around the world. The dinner, held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, honored democracy and human rights supporter, philanthropist and businessman George Soros, who received the IRC’s Freedom Award.      

Soros described the Syria crisis as a glaring failure of international governance and called for a more robust humanitarian response. 

“Right now we are witnessing a major unresolved humanitarian crisis in Syria,” Soros said. “People are starving. Soon they will be freezing, children are malnourished and the first cases of actual starvation have been observed.”  Soros warned that if the situation stretches into winter the death toll could well begin to exceed the victims of violence.

“The IRC is as much needed today as it was when it was founded in 1933 to assist the victims of Nazi persecution,” Soros said.  He announced he was donating $1 million “to encourage the IRC to step up its efforts with the dual aim of activating global public opinion and mobilizing a meaningful response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria.” (View video of George Soros’ speech here.)

The evening’s program also included former President Bill Clinton, founding chairman of the Clinton Global Initiative.  Introducing David Miliband, the IRC’s new president and CEO, Clinton joked that he was “just a tad jealous” when he heard that Mr. Miliband was joining the IRC.  “I couldn’t tell whether I was jealous that he wasn’t running my foundation or that I wasn’t asked to run yours,” Clinton said. Clinton went on to describe the IRC as an “astonishingly active partner” with CGI.  He expressed appreciation that the IRC goes to the world’s most difficult places, like Syria and Jordan and deals with the most complex of problems with “a commitment to be fast and lean and good.”

David Miliband in his remarks to approximately 950 IRC donors and supporters said, “The world has never more needed the IRC. Fewer wars than ever before, yet more refugees than ever before; the average refugee out of their home for 17 years; more than 70% of refugees not in refugee camps. We need new ways of rebuilding and saving lives and that is what the IRC does best. The IRC is ready to do things that few others dare to do in the 40 countries we operated in. Private donations help us back innovation so we can pioneer the ideas that help us change lives right around the world.” (View video of David Miliband’s speech here).

The evening’s program also featured remarks by CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, former U.S. secretary of stateMadeleine Albright, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, and JS Capital CEO Jonathan Soros and a performance by acclaimed jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, with pianist Aaron Goldberg.

Also in attendance were musician Debbie HarrySarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”), Reshma Shetty (USA Network “Royal Pains”), Danushka Lysek (Food Network), Brad Raider (“Kensho at the Bedfellow”), Kathryn Erbe (“Law & Order”), Kaley Ronayne (“Carrie Diaries”), Sahr Ngaujah (“Fela!”), and IRC New Roots Spokespeople and celebrity chefsDavid Burke and Viet Pham and The Cooking Channel host Eden Grinshpan.              

About the International Rescue Committee: A global leader in humanitarian assistance, the International Rescue Committee works in more than 40 countries offering help and hope to refugees and others impacted by violent conflict and disaster. During crises, IRC teams provide health care, shelter, clean water, sanitation, learning programs for children and special aid for women. As emergencies subside, the IRC stays to revive livelihoods and help shattered communities recover and rebuild. Every year, the IRC also helps resettle thousands of refugees admitted into the United States, in 22 cities across the country.  A tireless advocate for the most vulnerable, the IRC is committed to restoring hope, dignity and opportunity. For more information, visit Follow the IRC on Twitter: @theIRC@IRCPress.

Emma Now Accepting Applications for Emma 25, Granting Free Email Marketing Services to 100 Nonprofits Worldwide

Small nonprofits can now apply to receive lifetime access to free, fully-featured email marketing system and support services

(NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nov. 7, 2013) Emma, provider of simple, stylish and smart web-based email marketing, today announces that it is accepting applications for Emma 25, its annual program that grants free email marketing services to small nonprofits. In celebration of the program’s tenth year, Emma will be granting 100 lifetime accounts in 2013/2014, rather than its customary 25 accounts. Eligible nonprofits can now apply at

Emma 25 grantees receive free Emma services for a lifetime, including: a fully-featured Emma account, up to 5,000 emails per month and unlimited surveys and forms. In addition, Emma 25 recipients receive unlimited support, account help and special assistance classes to master the fundamentals of email marketing.

“The WellHouse won an account from Emma last year. The impact we have been able to make has been monumental,” said Tajuan McCarty, executive director of The WellHouse in Birmingham, Alabama. “We have been able to reach out to more people and have had our newsletters forwarded and shared all over the world. The ease of use and the care that Emma puts into their designs is amazing!”

Emma employees created Emma 25 a decade ago when the company was just getting off the ground. With resources of time and money being scarce, Emma decided the greatest impact the company could make would be by donating their service to nonprofit organizations.

“It’s been rewarding to watch the program grow as Emma the company has grown. A decade in, we have a roster of Emma 25 alumni that represents a breadth of causes we’re proud to support year after year,” said Emma CEO Clint Smith. “We’re celebrating this milestone year in a big way by awarding 100 accounts, and we’re excited to see how we can help this latest, and biggest, group of worthy non-profits do great things in their respective communities.”

Nonprofits that are or have applied to be a 501(c)(3) and have 10 or fewer full-time employees are eligible to apply for Emma 25. Emma is accepting nominations through Monday, December 9. Eligible nonprofits can now apply at

For more information on Emma’s stylish email marketing services, visit

A Gift For Veterans: The New Defenders Lodge

PenFed Foundation puts finishing touches on nation’s largest free hotel for VA outpatients

November 6, 2013, WASHINGTON – This Veteran’s Day, the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation(PenFed Foundation) is giving veterans something very special: The Lee and Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge, the nation’s largest free hotel for veterans receiving medical care. This project, the first of its kind, will serve outpatients at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Hospital in California, and is made possible through a $17 million public-private partnership between the PenFed Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Giving the gift of the Defenders Lodge isn’t just an endowment from the foundation, but from all of our generous donors who opened their hearts and made the idea of a free hotel for veterans come true,” said Christopher Flynn, president and CEO of the PenFed Foundation. “Through the support of our donors and the community-at-large we’ll be able to provide veterans and their caregivers up to 20,000 free nights of stay annually at a hotel with world-class accommodations.”

Set to welcome guests in January 2014, the Defenders Lodge will serve veterans receiving medical care at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Hospital along with their caretakers. As part of a partnership with the VA, the PenFed Foundation is raising $11 million in private donations to pay for construction of the hotel and so far it’s raised about half of the funds.

At over 34,000 square feet, the lodge features 52 first-class rooms and 104 beds, a family room with a fireplace, an upgraded kitchen, an activity room, a laundry room, an open-air atrium, and a library stocked with books. The entire project from the ground up takes accessibility into account. All doorways and bathrooms are wheelchair accessible.

“Our veterans deserve the world,” added Flynn. “And we are starting by giving them the Defenders Lodge.”

To learn more about the Lee & Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge and make a donation

The Control Group Lends a Helping Hand to Amputees Worldwide

SAN DIEGO—(October 31, 2013)—On Friday, Nov. 15, the employees of The Control Group, one of the fastest-growing technology startups in San Diego and developer of, will build prosthetic hands for landmine survivors and amputees around the world who cannot afford prosthetics. The Control Group is working with Odyssey Teams’ Helping Hands program and LN-4 Prosthetic Hand Foundation.

“Our hands are something we take for granted, especially in our field,” said Kris Kibak, co-founder and CEO of The Control Group. “Not only will we get to participate in an afternoon of team building, but we will also use our technical capabilities to create prosthetics for those in need.”

There are approximately 300,000 landmine-related amputees in the third world today—20 percent of those are children. The people impacted are usually unable to afford working prosthetics, which can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $70,000.

“We are excited that our employees will get the chance to participate in such a unique cause,” said Joey Rocco, co-founder of The Control Group. “By putting in a few hours of work we will be creating devices that will change the lives of people who would otherwise not be able to afford prosthetics.”

Partnering with programs like Odyssey’s Helping Hands, the LN-4 Prosthetic Hand Foundation has distributed over 9,000 prosthetic hands in over 60 developing countries throughout the world. They respond to individual requests for their LN-4 hands and ensure that each prosthetic is hand-delivered and fits properly.

“We are so appreciative of The Control Group’s donation to our cause,” said Michael Mendonça, President of the LN-4 Prosthetic Hand Foundation. “With their help, we are that much closer to our goal of providing prosthetic hands to all who need them.”  

About the Control Group: The Control Group, co-founded by Kris Kibak and Joey Rocco, is one of the fastest-growing technology startups headquartered in San Diego.  It is a web development and online marketing agency that builds and markets its own products and services. The company’s flagship product is, one of the largest people search engines in the world. The Control Group’s team is made up of entrepreneurs, graphic designers, developers and optimizers. For more information please

Morgan Stanley Establishes Institute for Sustainable Investing

Institute to Drive Capital Toward Investments Supporting Global Sustainability and Advance Innovation and Scholarship to Broaden Market-Based Approach

Nov 1 2013 | New York

Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman today announced the establishment of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing.  The Institute will build on Morgan Stanley’s ongoing work to advance market-based solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges, operating from the foundational principle that sustainable investment can only achieve significant scale by attracting a broad range of private sector capital.  Through product innovation, thought leadership and scholarship aimed at expanding opportunities for sustainable investing, the Institute will seek to drive capital toward investments promoting sustainable economic growth. 

The Institute for Sustainable Investing will pursue three focus areas: financial products and solutions that enable clients to invest in sustainability-focused strategies seeking risk-adjusted financial returns; groundbreaking thought leadership that will help mobilize capital toward sustainable investing opportunities; and strategic partnerships with the public, private and nonprofit sectors designed to build capacity and best practices within the field of scalable sustainable investing.

The Institute’s first major commitments include:

  • Setting a goal of $10 billion in total client assets through Morgan Stanley’s Investing with Impact Platform in the next five years.  By developing new products, innovative thematic portfolios and sustainable investing thought leadership, this platform will meet rapidly increasing client demand for opportunities to invest for positive environmental and social impact in addition to the goal of achieving risk-adjusted financial returns.
  • Creating new products − in coordination with Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Long-Only and Alternative Investment Partners businesses − in which positive social and/or environmental impact is a core part of the underlying investment strategy.
  • Establishing an annual Sustainable Investing Fellowship program at Columbia Business School that will enable a select group of graduate students to pursue thought leadership in sustainable investing, coupled with an internship at Morgan Stanley to gain hands-on experience in product innovation, thought leadership and investment strategy.
  • Investing $1 billion in a sustainable communities initiative to provide rapid access to capital for the preservation and enhancement of quality affordable housing units that are at risk of deteriorating into uninhabitable conditions or becoming unaffordable to low- and moderate-income households.  The initiative will also seek to drive the integration of affordable housing with access to health care, healthy foods and other vital services.  Morgan Stanley is partnering with leading community groups, including the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and NCB Capital Impact, on the sustainable communities initiative.

    “This program takes our long partnership with Morgan Stanley to a new level,” said Michael Rubinger, LISC President and CEO.  “It doesn’t just finance buildings; it fuels opportunity and focuses on quality of life.  Together, we will be able to help low-income families live better and make their communities stronger and healthier.”  

    Terry Simonette, President and CEO of NCB Capital Impact, said, “The sustainable communities initiative is the type of transformative investment that will help ensure the financing so desperately needed to provide access to healthy foods and other critical resources in our poorest communities.   We are proud to partner with Morgan Stanley on this effort.”

Through these and future initiatives, the Institute for Sustainable Investing will further Morgan Stanley’s commitment to providing individual and institutional investors with products and strategies that address sustainability challenges at scale.

Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman launched the Institute in a speech at Columbia Business Schooltoday.  Mr. Gorman said: “Morgan Stanley is in a unique position to harness the capital markets to help address the most pressing challenges facing society today, connecting governments, investors and businesses with the capital to execute at scale.  Our philosophy is clear – the most effective solutions to sustainability challenges are those that can be brought to scale.  Our clients are increasingly turning their attention to what it takes to secure the lasting and safe supplies of food, energy, water and shelter necessary for sustainable prosperity.”

Mr. Gorman will chair the Institute’s Advisory Board, which will include individuals from the private and nonprofit sectors with expertise in various aspects of sustainable investing including finance, policy and management (for a list of members, see the note to editors below).

Audrey Choi, who leads Morgan Stanley’s Global Sustainable Finance group, will be CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Investing.  “As the world’s population grows toward 9 billion and beyond, meeting the exponentially growing needs for quality education, healthcare, housing and security will far outstrip current models of business, government or philanthropy,” said Ms. Choi.  “The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing is committed to playing a catalytic role in forging innovative cross-sector partnerships that develop solutions to mobilize capital efficiently and effectively to meet these challenges at scale.”

Learn more about the Institute at

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services.  The Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals from more than 1,200 offices in 43 countries.  Since 2006, Morgan Stanley has committed more than $7.8 billion to strengthen underserved communities.  For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

Resqme, Inc. Saves Lives in Honor of Car Crash Victim Ashley Neufeld

Los Angeles, CA – Four years ago today, college athlete Ashley Neufeld, 21, and two of her softball teammates, Kyrstin Gemar and Afton Williamson, went out on a stargazing trip to a local field when their SUV crashed into a farm pond in Stark County, North Dakota. Tragically, Ashley and her friends, unable to escape when the car became submerged in water, never returned from their adventure.

An accomplished softball player, valued teammate and aspiring softball coach, Ashley grew up in Brandon, Manitoba, where she competed in several Canadian and Western Canadian Championships and as part of the Manitoba Team at the 2005 Canada Summer Games.  As a result of her fruitful early career, she attended Dickinson State College in North Dakota on a scholarship, where she met the two young women who were with her on November 1, 2009, the day her life was tragically cut short.

In the wake of Ashley’s fatal accident, friends and family created the Ashley Neufeld Memorial Fund to honor Ashley’s life and raise funds with a customized resqme tool with her name on it. The foundation came up with two primary goals: do whatever possible to prevent a similar incident from happening again and honor Ashley’s life by supporting local softball leagues.

It was then that a partnership with car safety device company resqme, Inc., was forged. Originally designed for emergency personnel, the resqme device is an easy to use, lightweight and extremely powerful tool equipped with a protected sharp blade to cut jammed seatbelts and a spring-loaded spike to shatter car windows in the event of vehicle entrapment.

“My niece and I were friends of the Neufeld family and after the event had several conversations about what we might be able to do for the family and to honor Ashley. We came up with the idea to find a device that might save someone in similar circumstances,” said Ashley Neufeld Memorial Fund co-founder Brett Turner, “The girls were not killed in a collision, they died because they couldn’t escape the car.  We found the resqme tool though online searches and contacted the company. A group of softball coaches in Brandon formed the Ashley Neufeld Memorial Fund and we began selling the resqme tool in Ashley’s name.”

The Ashley Neufeld Memorial Fund thought the resqme tool was a perfect fit for fundraising efforts because of its reliability and commitment to saving lives. Thus, the “Ashley tool” was born—a resqme device bearing Ashley Neufeld’s name.

Since resqme and the Ashley Neufeld Fund began their partnership, over 7,000 resqme tools have been sold and over $520,000 has been raised in Ashley’s memory. Most importantly, the Ashley Neufeld resqme tool is saving lives.

In Ashley’s home of Province of Manitoba, several incidents of vehicle entrapment have come to the foundation’s attention in which the “Ashley tool” was used to save lives.

First, a young man used his “Ashley tool” to escape his submerged vehicle after he lost control and rolled his truck into a ditch. Another young man was trapped in his vehicle after rolling into a ditch, this time dry, and was able to escape his locked seatbelt using the sharp blade on his resqme keychain.

In a separate incident, the Ashley resqme tool helped save the life of a baby girl who was accidentally locked inside a vehicle on a hot day. Her mother, in a panic, tried to break into her car with no success until a good citizen with an “Ashley tool” was able to break the window and free the baby.

In honor of the fourth anniversary of Ashley’s fatal accident, the Ashley Neufeld Memorial Fund and resqme hope to continue to raise awareness about car safety and funds for local softball leagues through resqme sales. Despite having raised enough money to begin construction on two new softball diamonds expected to be completed this coming spring, the foundation is looking to raise $680,000 more to complete their project.

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