Wednesday, December 18 at 4 p.m.
Over 50 at-risk children grades K-6 and their families will experience the joy of literacy this holiday season with a theatrical reading led by actress Kimberly Marable, who most recently toured the US and Canada with the blockbuster hit musical The Book of Mormon.
The Brooke Jackman Foundation (BJF), an organization that promotes literacy for at-risk children in New York City, and the Screen Actors Guild Foundation BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), a literacy program through which 2,200 SAF-AFTRA performers read to over 60,000 children every month, are hosting the reading.
Following the reading, BJF will give children’s books to each child in attendance. BJF will also donate additional books to the YM & YHCA of Washington Heights & Inwood.
Erin Jackman, Executive director, Brooke Jackman Foundation
Kimberly Marable, Actress, The Book of Mormon
Maria Cabezas, Director, NY BookPALS Programs, SAG Foundation
Children and families who participate in the Family Literacy Program at the YM & YHCA of Washington Heights & Inwood.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 4:00 p.m.
60 Nagle Avenue
New York, NY 10040
Credentialed members of the media are invited to attend, and RSVP is mandatory. Please contact Brittnie Mabry (email@example.com, 646.490.6446) or Morgan Procida (firstname.lastname@example.org, 646.490.6446)
Nonprofit gave away record $1 million in grants this year through its Dream Makers program
December 26, 2013, WASHINGTON — The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation (PenFed Foundation), a nationally recognized nonprofit organization working to meet the unmet financial needs of military members and their families, announced today it helped more than 200 military families this year alone attain the dream of owning their first home through its Dream Makers program by providing a record-breaking $1 million in grants to cover down payments and closing costs.
“Many families struggle to buy their first home, but for military families it can be even harder,” said Christopher Flynn, president and CEO of the PenFed Foundation. “From frequent moves around the country and overseas to trouble saving money for a down payment, members of our armed services often have to postpone this important milestone. Our Dream Makers program helps bridge that gap.”
The program helps military families who are first-time homebuyers purchase their first home by offering grants for down payments and closing costs. Service members and veterans of all branches of the military are eligible to apply including the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. Widows of service members are also eligible.
Other requirements include having a gross annual income of $55,000 or less, or 80 percent of area median income, adjusted for family size. In order to receive a grant, the borrower must also attend an approved first-time homebuyer’s course by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“The Dream Makers program provides an incredible opportunity for many military families who have sacrificed so much to protect our nation to buy their very own home,” added Flynn. “There are so many ways we can thank the military community for their service and sacrifice and this program is one of the best.”
To learn more about the PenFed Foundation’s Dream Makers program and apply online visit:
About the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation (the PenFed Foundation)
The PenFed Foundation is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization working to meet the unmet financial needs of military members and their families through supporting wounded warriors and providing the military community with financial management assistance and home ownership aid. Through a unique public-private partnership, the PenFed Foundation joined with the Department of Veterans Affairs to fund the new Lee and Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge, a $17 million project. PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) covers all labor expenses for the foundation so nearly every dollar donated goes directly to supporting its programs.
To make a donation or learn more about the foundation visit: http://www.penfedfoundation.org.
Southern California Bakery-Cafes Raise Funds to Fight Hunger and Support Those In Need
LOS ANGELES, CA (December 23, 2013) –Southern California Panera Bread® bakery-cafes are giving back to their communities this holiday season through a variety of local fundraising and volunteer events. These efforts are part of Panera’s long-standing commitment to fighting food insecurity in local communities, which it does year-round through its Day-End Dough-Nation™ and Panera Cares® Community Breadbox™ programs.
“Panera has always been committed to giving back to the communities where our bakery-cafes are located, and these holiday efforts are in line with that spirit of giving,” said Stephanie Wren, Regional Marketing Manager for Panera Bread. “We understand that the holidays can be an especially tough time for individuals and families in need, and we’re glad we can increase our efforts and impact.”
Bakery-cafes in Los Angeles recently teamed up with Enrich L.A. to donate quality, great tasting food for the annual Thanksgiving Meal at the St. Francis Center, which provides relief and support to homeless and low-income individuals and families in Los Angeles. Panera Bread franchise locations in North Hollywood and Orange County are giving back to their local charities by donating $7,000 in food and supplies to the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission and $25,000 to the Hoag Hospital Foundation, respectively. Holiday activities will culminate with associates from Panera Bread locations throughout Southern California volunteering at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank on Christmas Eve to package food items for those struggling with hunger.
Through their Hunger Action Month fundraising activities in September of this year, Southern California bakery-cafes have raised more than $9,000 for local food banks including the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, Second Harvest Food Bank of Riverside and San Bernardino, Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County, and FOOD Share, Ventura County’s Food Bank.
Panera Bread has worked to help combat the problem of hunger for 25 years and these holiday fundraising commitments are part of Panera’s ongoing efforts to combat hunger and make a difference in local communities. For years, Panera Bread has donated unsold bread and baked goods to local Southern California hunger relief organizations through its Day-End Dough-Nation™ program. Last year, Panera Bread bakery-cafes nationally donated a retail value of approximately $100 million worth of unsold bread and baked goods through its Day-End Dough-Nation™ program to help neighbors in need.
Through Panera’s relationship with Feeding America®, the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief organization, participating member food banks in more than 75 U.S. markets are able to provide the same soup served in Panera’s cafes to local food pantries and other organizations serving those in need. The program is supported by cash donations from Panera customers through the Panera Cares® Community Breadbox™ program in participating bakery-cafes. Half of the donations are used to help fund soup procurement and the other half is donated as cash to support Feeding America food banks’ efforts to provide quality, nutritious food to those in need. A portion of cash donations made by customers in participating bakery-cafes may also be matched by Panera or its franchisees.
About Panera Bread
As of September 24, 2013, there are 1,736 bakery-cafes in 45 states and in Ontario, Canada operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names. This includes 850 Company-owned bakery-cafes and 886 Franchise-operated bakery-cafes. We feature high quality, reasonably priced food in a warm, inviting and comfortable environment. With our identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, we are committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Nearly all of our bakery-cafes have a menu highlighted by antibiotic-free chicken, whole grain bread, and select organic and all-natural ingredients, with zero grams of artificial trans-fat per serving, which provide flavorful, wholesome offerings. Our menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the United States and in Ontario, Canada, our customers enjoy our warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor and free Internet access. Our bakery-cafes routinely donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on our website, http://www.panerabread.com.
Boston Community Capital expands portfolio of solar projects with new $7.5 million deal
BOSTON, MA — Boston Community Capital is announcing a new $7.5 million deal to finance eight new solar power projects across Massachusetts, proving the success and resiliency of BCC’s innovative market-based model, which brings solar savings to the low-income and non-profit communities.
BCC’s affiliate, Solar Energy Advantage (SEA), closed on financing for this round of projects last month with a loan from BCC’s Community Loan Fund and a major tax equity investment from U.S. Bank. This expansion will total 1.5 Megawatts (MW) of solar, producing enough electricity to power more than 300 homes.
The properties hosting these projects will see electricity savings of 30 to 40 percent and will save an estimated $1.3 million over the 20-year lifetime of the panels. Among those benefiting are the New Bedford Boys and Girls Club, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Mill Street Urban Renewal project in the city of Gardner, and several affordable housing developments across the state. A full list of projects is below.
The increasingly volatile prices in fossil fuels and the increasingly visible effects of climate change are driving an interest in solar power among many dollar-conscious and socially-conscious non-profit institutions. Last month, Massachusetts power utilities National Grid and NStar announced increases of up to a 40 percent in electricity supply costs due to the rising costs of natural gas.
“Properly structured, a solar power project can offer significant savings over the long term compared to conventional power,” said Solar Energy Advantage President DeWitt Jones. “And because sunlight is free, the cost of solar electricity is stable over the long term and not subject to the fluctuating prices of fossil fuels. That makes it a great fit for non-profits that are trying to squeeze the most out of every dollar so they can best serve their constituencies.
“But in many cases, the up-front cost of solar is a barrier to non-profits and existing financing programs are not a good match,” Jones said. “We’ve solved this problem by creating a financing model that removes the cost barrier and simplifies the solar development process for our clients. By doing so, we make solar accessible to non-profits and low-income communities. There is no shortage of demand for solar power in these groups.”
“The partnership between Boston Community Capital and The Greater Boston Food Bank is one we truly value,” said Catherine D’Amato, President and CEO, The Greater Boston Food Bank. “The new panels and BCC’s efforts make our 117,000 square foot distribution facility as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. This allows us to use more of our time and resources to acquire and distribute food to help the more than 545,000 people in eastern Massachusetts who are at risk of hunger. BCC is helping to advance GBFB’s mission to provide one meal per day to those in need.”
BCC is rare amongst third-party solar developers both for its mission-driven focus on serving low income communities and its innovative approach. BCC is able to bring solar to non-profit, affordable housing, and municipal facility rooftops by leveraging existing market-based tools to bring down costs and make solar a cost effective investment for these institutions. Many existing solar financing tools rely on tax credits as an incentive, a structure that does directly serve the non-profit world, which generally has little or no tax exposure. In BCC’s model, the non-profit institution pays nothing up front and gets access to solar-powered electricity that’s cheaper than conventional power. In exchange, the institution makes a long-term commitment to buy the electricity produced by the solar panels, which are owned by BCC.
With this latest round, BCC’s project portfolio increases to just over 4 MWs. This makes SEA one of the largest solar providers for low-income communities in the country.
“As the world shifts towards renewable energy, we have to make sure everyone is at the table,” Jones said. “If we don’t work to make sure our energy policies take low-income communities into account, we risk leaving them behind.”
“We’re proud to partner with Boston Community Capital to expand access to solar energy in the region,” said Tracey Gunn Lowell, vice president of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, the community development arm of U.S. Bank. “The arrays will not only create positive environmental impacts, but also generate substantial costs savings that will allow area institutions to more fully focus on their missions of serving the people of Boston.”
There are eight projects in total in this expansion:
Boston Community Capital (BCC) is a non-profit community development financial institution dedicated to building healthy communities where low-income people live and work. Since 1985, BCC has invested more than $975 million in projects that provide affordable housing, good jobs, and new opportunities in low-income communities, connecting these neighborhoods to the mainstream economy.
Survey: Four in 10 Job Seekers Want to Work for Companies That Give Back to the Community
MENLO PARK, Calif., Dec. 12, 2013 — Nice guys may finish last, but a new OfficeTeam survey suggests that nice companies often finish first when it comes to recruiting. More than four in 10 (42 percent) professionals said an organization’s participation in charitable activities is at least somewhat of a factor in their decision to work there.
The survey of office workers was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 400 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.
Workers were asked, “To what extent does a company’s participation in charitable activities influence your decision to work there?” Their responses:
View an infographic of the research results on companies that give back.
“Although not everyone cares about working for companies that give back to the community, the segment of the workforce that values corporate altruism can’t be ignored,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Philanthropy programs can be a selling point when recruiting candidates and also help improve employee retention. Organizations can increase team morale and participation in charitable activities by aligning with causes that resonate with staff.”
OfficeTeam identifies five ways to incorporate philanthropic activities into your company’s workplace:
OfficeTeam is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide. More information, including online job search services and OfficeTeam’s blog, can be found at officeteam.com.
This year, students at Taconic Hills Schools can look forward to enjoying high-quality milk for the first time thanks to the recent partnership between Hudson Valley Fresh and The Farm On! Foundation.
For many years, the Taconic Hills School system had few choices when it came to the quality of food it was able to serve its students, due to the constraints of having to work with whichever vendor submitted the lowest bid. Now, thanks to the innovative partnership between Hudson Valley Fresh, a non-profit dairy cooperative and the Farm On! Foundation this is all about to change.
With a shared mission to promote and support local, Hudson Valley farmers, Farm On! Foundation founder, Tessa Edick and Dr. Sam Simon, president of Hudson Valley Fresh came together using an innovative approach to get HVF milk into the Taconic Hills School system, which will also serve as a pilot program for similar initiatives in other regions. In order to meet the schools’ budget, Hudson Valley Fresh is offering to sell it’s milk at a reduced price, with the Farm On! Foundation supplementing the additional five cents per carton needed to offer the lowest bid.
The Taconic Hills Schools – Hudson Valley Fresh initiative will not only improve the quality and nutritional value of students’ milk, but is also a testament to the positive effects local farms can have on the community – and despite chefs getting most of the credit, farmers are the real celebrities of the culinary world.
ABOUT THE FARM ON! FOUNDATION:
The Farm On! Foundation and Camp Farm on! is a non-profit dedicated to educating students about careers in the local food system and the entrepreneurial spirit needed to nurture such businesses and ultimately realize that despite chef’s getting all the credit, local farmers are the real culinary celebrities. At each one-week Camp Farm On!, students are given the opportunity to visit local farms and pitch profitable solutions to a panel of highly successful venture capitalists.
Farm On! is the brainchild of Tessa Edick, founder of the Culinary Partnership, a company specializing in launching food products, designed to bring awareness to consumers through the ‘know your famers, know your food’ mission. Farm On!’s goal is to educate the next generation of farmers that farming is not only cool, but can also be highly profitable business. Paring agriculture with an ROI business mentality establishes the foundation necessary for viable livelihoods in the agriculture industry and gives the next generation of farmers the tools and resources to succeed.
ABOUT HUDSON VALLEY FRESH:
Hudson Valley Fresh is a non-profit dairy cooperative comprised of nine farms, dedicated to preserving the Hudson River Valley’s agricultural heritage as one of the premier food regions of the United States.
Founded by Dr. Sam Simon a second-generation farmer and owner of Plankenhorn Farms, Hudson Valley Fresh’s mission is to secure living wages for the cooperative’s farmers and their families and has been instrumental in keeping these farms in business by ensuring a fair price for their goods. HVF is owned and operated by a Board of Directors, mostly composed of independent farmers and members of the local community.
All HVF milk is produced on Hudson Valley Fresh’s nine farms, located within 20 miles of each other throughout New York’s Columbia, Dutchess and Ulster counties – then exclusively processed by Boice Brothers Dairy in Kingston, New York. HVF milk is sold locally in the Mid-Hudson Valley, Long Island, New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut, offering customers high quality food choices with a low carbon footprint, including whole, skim, low-fat and chocolate milk along with half and half, heavy cream, yogurt, and sour cream.
Hudson Valley Fresh farms have won numerous awards for the quality of their products, including the National Dairy Quality Award and NYS Environmental Stewardship Award.
New York, NY/December 18, 2013 – New York-based architecture firm Bromley Caldari Architects today celebrated the groundbreaking of a new 15,000 square foot Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in the Bronx for Safe Horizon. The center will provide support to the victims of violence and abuse, and their families. The facility, Safe Horizon’s first CAC in the Bronx, will be full operational by January 2015.
“Our new Bronx Child Advocacy Center will provide coordinated protection and support to abused children and their families,” said Liz Roberts, Chief Program Officer of Safe Horizon. “Bromley Caldari has been instrumental in the design and planning process and we consider them strong allies in our mission to help victims of violence move from crisis to confidence.”
The CAC brings together staff from law enforcement, the District Attorney’s office, the Administration for Children’s Services, as well as pediatric medical providers. The facility is split into three parts: a place for victim interviews and counseling, administrative offices, and suspect holding and questioning.
The goal of this child advocacy center, which is reflected in its design, is to streamline the interview and counseling process for the victims of abuse and violence and make the children feel as safe and comfortable as possible during a difficult time.
Bromley Caldari designed the children’s reception area to accommodate a high amount of traffic if needed, while not feeling crowded. The reception area also features a place for children to play, large windows to allow in natural light, and a relaxing color palette.
“Safe Horizon provides vital and important services to ensure the safety of families and their children in New York City and we feel privileged to be a part of the team,” said Jerry Caldari, Principal at Bromley Caldari Architects.
Last year, Safe Horizon gave support to over 7,500 New York City children and, with the opening of this new center, Safe Horizon will become one of the largest single providers of child advocacy services in the US.
About Bromley Caldari Architects
Bromley Caldari Architects (BCA) is an independent practice of architects, planners, and technical experts. Since 1991 the firm has served New York City, Long Island, Fire Island, and Upstate New York. Sustainability lies at the heart of BCA’s modernist designs, and the firm often incorporates aspects of green design into its projects. Bromley Caldari is best known for designing New York City’s first rooftop farm, Brooklyn Grange in Long Island City. They have previously worked with Safe Horizon to build a 24-unit safe house in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood, in addition to providing general design consulting services on several other projects. Bromley Caldari have also provided design services for the American Federation of Arts, Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children, and the New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center in the Bronx.
About Safe Horizon
Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading victim assistance organization and touches the lives of more than 250,000 affected by crime and abuse each year. Whether Safe Horizon is responding to child abuse, domestic violence, or other violent crimes in New York City, Safe Horizon helps victims and their families heal and rebuild their lives. For more information, please visit www.safehorizon.org.
West Hollywood, CA December 19, 2013
Founder of non-profit organization The Dream Builders Project, Mayer Dahan hosted his first inaugural Flash Mob charity event to feed the homeless on December 15, 2013. Over fifty charitable individuals including the entire staff of Dahan Properties and its affiliates enthusiastically volunteered their services and support.
Various companies donated toiletries, pre-packaged food, and clothing items to The DBP with the objective to offer the items to the less fortunate during the difficult holiday season. The event took place at Pan Pacific Park in West Hollywood where crowds gathered to prepare a baggie of essential items for those in need.
Among the items were pre-made sandwiches, salads, fruit, Band-Aids, combs, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Once the bags were filled, the volunteers dispersed throughout different areas of Los Angeles to distribute the bags to the less fortunate. Members of the West Hollywood community who had no knowledge of the event prior to production, eagerly joined in to participate.
The responses received from the less fortunate and volunteers alike were overwhelming. Designer Marialia Pacitto, CEO of Marialia was especially moved, “Maple & 9th all the way past 7th street if anyone is looking for places to give bags to. I just had an experience that literally brought me to tears. These women were so grateful. I wish I had a million bags.” The volunteers were not the only ones inspired by their charitable deeds and positive community reactions.
CEO Mayer Dahan was thrilled with the turn out of the event. “One of the most rewarding aspects of the Flash Mob was seeing everyone in different walks of life gather together. This event was a melting pot of do-gooder Angelenos. We had models from Slater Model Management, tech professionals from Silicon Beach, actors, fashion designers and staff of The DBP participate. All with an equal passion for philanthropy.”
L’Pomala, The Manna Room, Out of the Closet and Landmark Enterprises donated food, toiletries and clothing items to The Dream Builders Project. “The versatile crowd of adults and children, photographers, press and unexpected strangers willing to participate, serves as a reflection of how eager people are to give back to the community.”
CEO Mayer Dahan’s company Dahan Properties launched The Dream Builder’s Project. The Dream Builder’s Project’s Flash Mob charity event was a step towards The DBP’s mission statement to enhance community involvement while inspiring those in need. Thus far The DBP has contributed to influential organizations: Habitat for Humanity, LATO, The Polaris Project, Restore NYC, Lupus LA, Team Fox and The Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Due to the success of this event, Mayer Dahan intends of hosting a bi-monthly Flash Mob charity.
Zurich, December 18, 2013 – RepRisk’s latest “Special Report on Consumer Electronics: The Human Toll Behind the Mining” highlights the social and environmental issues associated with sourcing the minerals required for the manufacturing of everyday electronic products.
While the sale of cell phones, laptops, tablets and other consumer electronics is booming, mining of metals and minerals worldwide have been directly linked to violence, armed conflict and grave human rights abuses. Many developing countries rich in mineral resources have been torn apart by brutal conflict as a result of their natural wealth.
Certain studies have suggested that 40 percent of all intrastate conflicts in the last 60 years have been linked to natural resources. Human rights groups have repeatedly drawn attention to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in particular, where minerals have spurred regional conflict by helping to finance various domestic and international armed groups.
RepRisk has identified numerous news articles, which have linked mining activities to violent repression by police and armed forces, forced displacements, overuse of water and other basic necessities, environmental degradation, child labor, as well as poor and dangerous working conditions.
This special report highlights the fact that, to date, the consumer electronics industry has failed to sufficiently address these severs issues. Due to the complexity of global supply chains and limited traceability, many companies unfortunately cannot guarantee that their products are free from minerals extracted under problematic conditions.
To read the report, click here
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