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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

Monthly Archives: February 2014

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U-Be-Livin-Smart Debuts First Nutrient Dense Vitamins at Natural Products Expo West

New Food-Based Vitamin Chews Offer Better Absorption

TORONTO, ON — (Marketwired – Feb 27, 2014)U-Be-Livin-Smart (UBLS), an innovative, provider of healthy, affordable nutrient-dense food products, announced today a new product line of chewable vitamins to be presented at the Expo West trade show from March 7-9 in Anaheim, CA.

U-Be-Livin-Smart can be found at booth # 5964 in Hall E, at the Natural Products Expo West at Anaheim Convention Center.

Unlike other vitamins that must be taken with food for optimal absorption, Best of All Nutrient Dense Vitamins™ already contain a “mini meal” of protein, superfruits and extra virgin olive oil, aiding in the vitamins’ absorption and making it a convenient choice for busy consumers.

Sixty four percent of Americans1 and 40 percent2 of Canadian adults take a daily supplement for improved health, increased energy and disease prevention. But many of these supplement users don’t know that taking vitamins with a meal or snack is critical to proper absorption and maximum efficacy. Vitamins need these quality fats, proteins and carbohydrates to be in the stomach to allow the body to absorb them.

When some vitamins are taken only with water, they pass through the body without ever being absorbed. Vitamins require “active transport.” They need to dissolve into food components for the body to absorb them into the bloodstream for optimal utilization. U-Be-Livin-Smart Nutrient Dense Vitamins are made with a patented Food-Activated-Absorption™ formula.

“We are thrilled to introduce this innovative approach to taking daily vitamins to families in North America who seek better health,” said Tim Sinclair, co-founder, U-Be-Livin-Smart. “Many people lose important health benefits when they just take vitamins with water. We as consumers really struggle ‘to remember’ to take vitamins with food so our vitamin chews provide a great tasting solution. By blending vitamins with quality protein, fats, and carbohydrates U-Be-Livin-Smart Nutrient Dense Vitamins offer a better on-the-go choice for busy families. Our new vitamin suite is just the most recent product launch intended to help people live smarter and healthier lives.”

U-Be-Livin-Smart Nutrient Dense Vitamins contain no refined sugars, pectin, colors or any other fillers and are available at Major retailers in both Canada and the U.S. will be carrying the vitamins over the next six to eight months. Each vitamin chew contains two grams of protein, 1/3 a serving of superfruit and 1/2 a teaspoon of olive oil — all specifically formulated to aid in absorption. They come in four formulations:

  • “General Health” is a daily multivitamin and mineral for adults
  • “Kids Health” is a daily multivitamin with Omega 3
  • “Bone Health” is a daily vitamin of calcium-magnesium with vitamin D
  • “Immune Health” is a daily vitamin containing vitamin D with zinc and seabuckthorn

Buy One, Feed One

As part of the Feed 88 Million program, for every purchase of one U-Be-Livin-Smart product, the company will feed one under-privileged, undernourished person, in the consumer’s community.

Nutrient Dense

Eating a nutrient rich diet is beneficial in many ways and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) is a score assigned to whole foods that contain the highest nutrients per calorie by analyzing the many nutrients in a food product.

U-Be-Livin-Smart utilizes a 10 to 1 patent process to protect the integrity of nutrients found in healthy foods while at the same time making the products with no additives or preservatives. Starting with ten pounds of raw ingredients, this process transforms them into one pound of delicious healthy food without losing any of the nutrient and micro-nutrient value. The process is patented due to the complexity of making these products without additives or preservatives while maintaining all the nutrient value of the non-processed ingredients.

U-Be-Livin-Smart produces healthy, great tasting, nutrient-dense foods and snacks. Founded by an experienced food industry team, the company has two affordable nutrient dense products available; its nutrient dense muffin “Karma”ffins and its multi-vitamin line, Best of All Nutrient Dense Vitamins “Bita-Vites.” Focused on delicious products with no additives or preservatives, U-Be-Livin-Smart also works diligently to fight hunger and undernourishment in communities throughout North America.

For more information on U-Be-Livin-Smart, please visit
Check us out on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter: @UBeLivinSmart


1 America’s Take on Vitamins” survey from the Vitamin Shoppe, Inc.
2 Statistics Canada’s Community Healthy Survey


UBS and GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Milano Launch Partnership To Promote Culture In The City Of Milan

“YEAR AFTER YEAR. Opere su carta dalla UBS Art Collection“ is the first exhibition in Italy of works from the UBS Art Collection

Curated by Francesco Bonami Friday, March 21 to Sunday, June 21, 2014

Milan, February 2014 – UBS is pleased to present the first exhibition in Italy featuring works from the renowned UBS Art Collection, one of the world’s largest and most respected corporate contemporary art collections. The works will be on view from Friday, March 21 to Sunday, June 21, 2014 in the splendid exhibition space on the first floor of the GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan. The exhibition is the start of a partnership between UBS and GAM that, through various events, will develop and promote one of Milan’s most prestigious cultural institutions.


Caption: Robert Longo, Untitled, 1981, Charcoal and pencil on paper, 243.8 x 152.4 cm© Robert Longo. UBS Art Collection

Curated by Francesco Bonami, YEAR AFTER YEAR. Opere su carta dalla UBS Art Collection (Works on paper from the UBS Art Collection) examines the artistic production on paper through 50 works by 33 acclaimed international artists working from the 1960s to today, including Frank Auerbach, Charles Avery, Georg Baselitz, Troy Brauntuch, Chuck Close, John Currin, Lucian Freud, Robert Gober, Jenny Holzer, Martin Kippenberger, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Longo, Sigmar Polke, Ed Ruscha, Jim Shaw, Cy Twombly and Robin Winters.

Through a singular and focused presentation, YEAR AFTER YEAR. Opere su carta dalla UBS Art Collection examines a medium and a type of work that can open up new aspects and new interpretations. The fragility of paper retains the intimate and delicate nature of the original work, the source of the artistic creation. In the relationship between the lightness of the drawing and the monumentality of the wall, the border of the drawing itself disappears. The exhibition is organized thematically and unfolds along a logical path, resulting in an ideal conversation at multiple levels: between the works, between the works and the artists and between the works and the location.

YEAR AFTER YEAR. Opere su carta dalla UBS Art Collection will be accompanied by a catalogue, and admission will be free of charge to the public.

In addition to making its art collection available for the exhibition, UBS is helping GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Milano to develop and restore art works and the exhibition space for the permanent collection. The partnership’s objective is to launch a project in support of art and culture in Italy, with UBS promoting an interdisciplinary effort to develop a historic, architectural and artistic gem in the city of Milan.

UBS has a long and sustained history of supporting contemporary art so that it can be shared with clients and the public through the Bank’s dedicated platform, which is made up of global partnerships such as Art Basel and the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, the UBS Art Collection, the UBS Art Competence Center in Switzerland and the UBS Arts Forum.

UBS Italy, which serves private clients in the country, has decided to raise its profile in Milan, and in particular with the GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna, in order to launch a campaign for culture in the city and an innovative channel for relations with the Bank’s clients, as well as make its collection available to the public. For more information please visit:

GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Milano
Via Palestro, 16 – 20121 Milano
Ph: +39 02 88445947

Opening hours: From Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30 
Admission is allowed until 15 minutes before closing.
Closed: on Mondays except holidays, May 1

Free entry


image Launches Crowdfunding Platform to Cultivate Food + Drink-Related Startups

From Cookbooks and Food Products to Restaurants and Wineries, fundafeast Promises to Support a Wide Variety of Food+Drink-Related Startups

NEW YORK – Feb. 1, 2014 –, a new crowdfunding platform uniquely designed to help fund startups in the food+drink business launched Feb. 1 to help raise money for a wide variety of food+drink-related ventures.

“Fundafeast is designed for entrepreneurs who want to make a business out of their own food or drink ‘passion’ and need some help getting their venture started,”says Cheryl A. Clements, founder and CEO of fundafeast. “Sometimes all you need to pursue a great food business is a $500 investment, but there isn’t a bank in the world that’s going to help.I myself used GoFundMe to get fundafeast started.”

On fundafeast, entrepreneurs can post profiles of their business ideas and elicit contributions. The page provides details of the food + drink-related business, explains how the funds will be spent and keeps a running total of donations.Fundafeast collects a fee from entrepreneurs that represents only 4% of the money raised versus the 5% charged by most other crowdfunding platforms. Fundafeast doesn’t charge a penalty for clients who fall short of their goal, as some other sites do, such as a higher % rate or not allowing them to keep funding raised short of goal. Entrepreneurs are allowed to keep all funds raised.

Fundafeast hopes to develop restaurants, wine bars,cookbooks, food products, food inspired art, innovative kitchen gadgets or other food + drink-related ventures.The company wants to help anyone who wants to promote their food + drink-related passion.

About is a new rewards-based crowdfunding platform uniquely designed to help raise funds for entrepreneurs with a wide variety of food- or drink-related business ideas., which went live on Feb. 1, 2014, will give entrepreneurs a page to describe their business idea in detail, set a fundraising goal and track contributions as they come in.Fundafeast will also allow campaigners to keep any and all funds raised and will only be charging a 4% fee.

For more information, contact:
Cheryl A. Clements, Founder& CEO, fundafeast
Ph: (917) 426-6766


Contact Information
Cheryl Clements


USTA Serves To Host Philanthropic Fundraising Reception To Kick Off World Tennis Day

Exclusive VIP Packages Now Available for Purchase at Include Opportunity to Meet Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray

Proceeds to Benefit Four New York Metro National Junior Tennis and Learning Chapters

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., February 20, 2014 – USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association, today announced that it will host a fundraising reception on March 2, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Essex House Hotel in New York City. The reception is part of the World Tennis Day Celebration, and will raise funds to support USTA Serves’ funding of scholarships and programming grants to under-resourced youth at four New York metro National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters.

Supporters can purchase a variety of exclusive VIP packages, ranging from $500 to $50,000 at Packages include a private meet-and-greet during the reception with some of tennis’ top stars, including world No. 2-ranked Novak Djokovic, world No. 6-ranked Andy Murray, and the world No.1-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. All four players are scheduled to compete the following evening at the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. Other packages include tickets to the Showdown as well as an opportunity to watch tennis from the USTA President’s Suite during the 2014 US Open.

Along with celebrity guests and other long-time supporters of USTA Serves, other highlights of the evening include renowned performance painter and finalist from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” David Garibaldi, who will entertain guests with two original paintings. Both pieces will be featured in a live auction prior to the conclusion of the event.

USTA Serves is the official charity of this year’s BNP Paribas Showdown, now in its seventh year. Also set to participate in the showdown are Hall-of-Famer John McEnroe and USTA Player Development General Manager and ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe.



USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the USTA, provides financial support for disadvantaged youth and people with disabilities through tennis and education programs designed to improve health, build character, teach life skills and motivate students to strive for academic excellence. For more information on USTA Serves, visit

The USTA/National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network is a nation-wide group of more than 630 non-profit youth development organizations that provide free or low cost tennis, education and life skills programming to more than 350,000 children each year. NJTL develops the character of young people by emphasizing the ideals and life of co-founder Arthur Ashe. While NJTL’s vary in size and programming, this growing network shares a commitment to positive youth development, the importance of education and tennis as a lifetime sport.

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level, from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 750,000 members, it invests 100 percent of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Emirates Airline US Open Series, linking eight summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA’s national charitable foundation, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and people with disabilities. For more information on the USTA, log on to, “like” the official Facebook page,, or follow @usta on Twitter.

For more information, contact:
Jasmine Sheppard, USTA Communications, (914) 697-2275;

Taxpayers Urged to Take Advantage of IRS Free File for Online Tax Assistance & E-Filing Available at

Free Software & Step-by-Step Help Available to All Americans Making $58,000 or Less; Online Forms Available with No Income Restrictions

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 20, 2014) – Comprehensive tax preparation and e-filing is available to 70 percent of taxpayers, thanks to Free File – a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a coalition of industry-leading tax software companies called the Free File Alliance.

Every taxpayer with a 2013 Adjusted Gross Income of $58,000 or less may visit to prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost using software from Free File Alliance members. Free File also offers a basic federal e-filing service – called “Free File Fillable Forms” – which has no income limitations.

“Free File is here to make tax time less taxing for 70 percent of Americans,” said Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance. “If you made $58,000 or less in 2013, Free File is your portal to free tax software from more than a dozen of the country’s top companies. It’s all online at, and unlike commercial products, there are no pop-up ads when you use Free File to access tax software.”

Hugo continued, “Software from the Free File Alliance provides step-by-step help and calculations to make tax-filing quick, simple and convenient. After you e-file, you’ll receive a confirmation email so you can rest assured that you’re done for the year, and you’ll get your refund in as few as 10 days. Free File is fast, safe and – most importantly – completely free.”

Free File is available at, which provides a list of free tax software offered by Free File Alliance member companies. Users may either choose the company that fits their tax situation or utilize the “Help me Find Free File Software” tool. After selecting a company, users will be transferred to the company’s website to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal income tax returns. The service is also available in Spanish.

Free File Fillable Forms, which allow taxpayers who are familiar with tax law and need no preparation assistance to complete and file their federal income tax electronically, are also available at

Free File has already saved taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion in preparation and filing costs since the program began in 2003. Free File Alliance member companies have continually worked with the IRS to strengthen the Free File program, and taxpayers have consistently reported that it is user-friendly and efficient. Responding to a 2009 IRS survey, 96 percent of users said they found Free File easy to use, while 98 percent said they would recommend the program to others.

About the Free File Alliance

The Free File Alliance, a coalition of 14 industry-leading tax software companies, has partnered with the IRS since 2003 to help low and middle-income Americans prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns online. The Free File Alliance is committed to giving 70 percent of Americans free access to the industry’s top online tax preparation software. About 40 million returns have been filed through Free File since its inception. For more information, visit


Contact: Katie Morgan,, (202) 470-5362

The Hope Gala 2014: Conquering Pediatric Cancer at Capitale

NEW YORK (February 25, 2014) – The Hope Gala will host its 6th annual event to raise awareness and funds for the fight against pediatric cancer on March 1, 2014. The Hope Gala (, which raised more than $74,000 last year alone and more than $150,000 to date, will be held at Capitale and tickets start at $225.The black-tie-optional event unites New York City for the cause and donates all proceeds to Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) whose sole beneficiary is the Four Diamonds Fund. Four Diamonds, in return, assists the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and families in need of financial aid, medical assistance, and emotional support during their battle with pediatric cancer.

Evan Wohl and Gia Kornet, The Hope Gala Executive co-Chairs, have both dedicated the past several years to growing the event and spreading awareness of pediatric cancer within the New York City area and look forward to this year’s gala.

“Guests of The Hope Gala can expect a glamorous evening complete with exquisite cuisine, great music and an incredible silent auction and raffle,” said Kornet of the event. “The big star of the evening is of course the Four Diamonds family. We are honored ever year to have such incredible and inspiring people share their story.”

The event will feature keynote speakers by Pete and Celeste Bush, a Four Diamonds Family whose daughter Sydney is a pediatric cancer survivor, Jay Paterno, former Penn State football coach, and Adam Taliaferro, former Penn State football player.

Sydney Bush, the daughter of the event’s keynote speakers, was diagnosed with Ependymoma (brain tumor) in August 2005. Four Diamonds and THON supported her and her family emotionally and financially throughout her treatment. Bush relapsed in January 2007, but has been cancer free for the past six years.

Jay Paterno, who will be emceeing the event, is the son of the late Joe Paterno. It will be Paterno’s third year emceeing the event and fourth year involved.

Adam Taliaferro will also be in attendance as the 2014 Knight Award recipient. Taliaferro suffered a spinal cord injury following a tackle during a Penn State football game in 2000 and learned to walk again despite being told he would be paralyzed for life.

“Being surrounded by so many people who care so much about making a difference is a powerful thing,” said co-Chair Evan Wohl. “I hope the event can inspire people to always be making a difference.”

Connect with The Hope Gala online to learn more, purchase gala tickets and donate to the fight to end childhood cancer:


About The Hope Gala

The Hope Gala ( is an annual black tie optional event hosted by the New York City and Northern New Jersey Chapters of the Penn State Alumni Association. Created to support fundraising efforts on behalf of The Four Diamonds Fund and The Penn State Dance Marathon (THON™) (, The Hope Gala contributes to the mission of conquering childhood cancer. All proceeds benefit pediatric cancer patients at the Penn State Children’s Hospital and their families in need of financial aid, medical assistance, and emotional support.

Cat Powers
The Hope Gala Media Contact
(609) 602-9976

The School of American Ballet announces 2014 WINTER BALL: Celebrating SAB’s 80th Anniversary

at the David H. Koch Theater on Monday, March 3, 2014

The School of American Ballet (SAB) announces the 2014 Winter Ball at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater on Monday, March 3, 2014, sponsored by legendary French jewelry Maison, Van Cleef & Arpels for the seventh consecutive year. Cocktails begin at 7pm and dinner will commence at 8pm, followed by The Encore dessert and dancing at 9pm. Attire is black tie. To purchase tickets, a table, or for more information, please contact Natalie Schweizer at or (212) 769-6610.

This glamorous annual dinner dance is attended by 500 patrons, including the School’s board members and alumni as well as leaders from the New York corporate and social communities. A highlight of the evening includes a one-time-only performance by the advanced students of The School of American Ballet choreographed by Silas Farley, who was selected by Peter Martins, Artistic Director and Chairman of Faculty for the School of American Ballet, for the second consecutive year.

The proceeds from this event enable SAB to distribute $1.9 million annually in student scholarships as well as support the School’s renowned faculty and state-of-the-art facilities at Lincoln Center.

This year’s event will be a Starry Night celebrating SAB’s 80 years of dedication to the field of ballet. Ron Wendt Design will create an enchanting celestial atmosphere of silver and white.

Famed French jewelry Maison, Van Cleef & Arpels, will again act as the lead corporate sponsor for the gala. This long-standing partnership is a tribute to the friendship shared between SAB founder, George Balanchine, and one of the Van Cleef & Arpels founding brothers, Claude Arpels, who established the Maison in New York in 1939. From their shared passion for exceptional stones was born an artistic relationship that resulted in Balanchine’s ‘Jewels’ ballet and its sumptuous costumes. To celebrate SAB’s 80th Anniversary, Van Cleef & Arpels will debut two unique creations inspired by the Maison’s cherished theme of dance.

image  image

Internationally renowned luxury house, J. Mendel, will sponsor the Winter Ball after-party, The Encore. Following dinner, 200 of the city’s most sophisticated philanthropic young professionals will join the Winter Ball for a night of dancing and dessert. Dinner tickets include admission to The Encore and after-party-only tickets are also available. This sponsorship signifies a continuation of J. Mendel’s direct association with the ballet, since Gilles Mendel, designer and fifth-generation member of the house his Franco-Russian ancestors founded in 1870, created costumes for two original New York City Ballet productions. The most recent of these, “Mes Oiseaux”, was choreographed by NYCB Ballet Master in Chief and SAB Artistic Director, Peter Martins, and debuted at the NYCB Spring Gala in 2012.

Epoch Estate Wines’, a small-production vintner dedicated to crafting wines from its estate vineyards on the west side of the acclaimed Paso Robles wine region, have been donated to the event and will be paired beautifully with the culinary creations of Glorious Food. The event is led by Chairmen Diana DiMenna, Julia Koch, and Serena Lese; and Young Patron Chairmen Noreen Ahmad, Amanda Brotman and Chelsea Zalopany.


The School of American Ballet, the official training academy of the New York City Ballet, was established in 1934 by legendary choreographer George Balanchine and philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein as the first and most essential step in their quest to create an American classical ballet company.

SAB, located at New York City’s Lincoln Center, is the premier ballet academy in the United States, training more students who go on to become professional dancers than any other school. SAB’s former students fill the ranks of the New York City Ballet and other leading U.S. and international ballet companies.


Van Cleef & Arpels was born in Paris’ Place Vendôme in 1906, following Alfred Van Cleef’s marriage to Estelle Arpels in 1895. Always striving for excellence, the Maison has become a worldwide reference through its unique designs, its choice of exceptional stones and its virtuoso craftsmanship, offering jewels and timepieces that tell stories and bring enchantment to life. Over the years, the Maison has remained faithful to this highly distinctive style characterized by creativity, refinement and poetry. Whether inspired by nature, couture or the imagination, its collections evoke a timeless world of harmony and beauty.

In the United States, Van Cleef & Arpels has boutiques in New York (since 1939), Manhasset, NY; Short Hills, NJ; Palm Beach (since 1940); Bal Harbour, FL; Boca Raton, FL; Naples, FL, Chicago; Las Vegas (City Center and Palazzo); Costa Mesa (South Coast Plaza); and Beverly Hills (since 1969). Visit for additional information.


J. Mendel is a fifth-generation luxury brand established on the principles of high quality, style, and craftsmanship. Applying his unique skills and design aesthetic, Gilles Mendel transformed the company from a luxury fur atelier into a full-fledged fashion house with the launch of its ready-to-wear collection in 2002. His penchant for maintaining the highest standards while manipulating luxury fabrics in unexpected ways has attracted top-tier clients who appreciate his timeless, cutting-edge, and exquisitely produced fashions. In recognition of his achievements in women’s fashion, Mendel was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2003, and received the prestigious Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2011.

About Epoch Estate Wines

Located within the Paso Robles wine region, Epoch Estate Wines’ 2010 Estate Blend was just named Wine Spectator’s 25th wine in the world on their Top 100 List for 2013. Epoch, founded in 2004 by Bill and Liz Armstrong, has quickly developed a big reputation for small production and is known for handcrafted wines with abundant personalities. Located on historic York Mountain, Epoch is an ultra-premium producer of Rhone, Zinfandel, and Tempranillo varietal wines from estate-grown vines planted on the west side of the Paso Robles wine region. Stewards of both the historic York Mountain Winery and the Paderewski Vineyard, Epoch is committed to the land and the legacy that is now Epoch. To learn more, visit


Michelle Tabnick, (646) 765-4773,


D.C. Tragedy Reveals Link Between Social PR and Social Awareness

The shooting of an 8-year old girl shows how entrepreneurial tools and crowdfunding can successfully be used for social good, even on a small scale

New York, NY, February 20, 2014 – On Valentine’s Day, 8-year old third-grader Makayla Darden was shot in the chest while leaving her aunt’s house. A crowdfunding campaign, which is being driven heavily by “Social PR” [a combination of social media and PR] has been started to help Makayla and her family as they raise funds to cover the expense of relocating. Makayla is now in critical but stable condition.

Together, Rebekah Marler, founder of Leveraged School Solutions and, Patty Lennon, founder of Crowdfund with Ease, and Donna Cravotta, founder of Social Sage PR, have used a combination of crowd funding and Cravotta’s own “Social PR” strategies to raise thousands of dollars in support of Makayla Darden and her family, as she recovers from gunshot wounds in the ICU.

As of February 20th, efforts on had raised over $5000 [with a goal of $10,000 and beyond] for the Darden family, 100% of which will be used to fund Makayla’s healing and recovery. Fund raising efforts are being led by the Imagine Southeast (ISE) Public Charter School Family, where Makayla has attended since kindergarten, and where Rebekah Marler is working as a consultant.

“Prayers and personal support … no doubt everyone appreciates that. But savvy people who know how to help above and beyond putting donations in the jar is incredible. I’ve been in education 20 years, and it’s amazing the way people mobilize to support. The fact that we, can connect to the outside, to the bigger world, finding people who care about what happens to these kids is mind blowing,” says Rebekah Marler. “We can go above and beyond the four walls of the school.”

You see, in October, Rebekah experienced the shooting of another young student, in Florida. But that time she didn’t have the resources to act beyond her own personal offers of care and support. So what changed? Social PR, in short.

Rebekah was one of the first people to sign-up for Donna Cravotta’s Social PR program, The Total Social PR System™, something Rebekah hoped would drive her two educator and leadership support organizations. But, she was not yet ready to do the work, placing it on the back burner. Recently, however, she was attracted to a webinar Donna offered to members on the subject of crowdfunding. The webinar was led by guest speaker Patty Lennon, founder of Crowdfund with Ease. Marler and Lennon connected, though neither could know at the time how important this would prove to be.

When Makayla was shot, Marler wasn’t paralyzed by her sadness or how huge the situation felt. Instead, by the following morning, Marler was working with others in her school network to launch Makayla’s crowdfunding campaign, which has been heavily promoted and shared via the Internet and social media using, techniques from Donna Cravotta’s Total Social PR System™ and through her tight but expansive network of devoted and active social PR followers, including the 100+ co-members of the program.

Makayla’s mother, a CVS employee, has not been able to work while her daughter is in the hospital. She is also very clear that she does not want to bring her child home from the hospital to live in the location of the shooting. The financial burden is huge, on top of the emotional stress she and her family are experiencing. It isn’t a burden that her community can solve on its own.

“That’s the beauty of crowdfunding. The kids can see their small donations start to grow,” says Marler, of Makayla’s fellow students.
Social Sage PR clients are primarily entrepreneurs and small business owners who desire to take ownership of their PR and social media, through a compelling, practical and actionable program, with great success, in terms of business growth, brand awarenessand financial growth.

Through the power of community, and as a testament to the power of networking and the Internet, Makayla’s story has proven how social PR can serve legitimate social change, not just drum up business.

“Such a spider web that is built by open and honest communication amongst the right people,” says Donna Cravotta. “The Internet, when used correctly, is a very, very powerful tool, and an effective way to spread social good.”

Two men, Karie Brown, 19, and Nathaniel Patten, 21, have been charged with assault with intent to kill while armed, aggravated assault while armed and unlawful possession of a firearm, in connection with Makayla Darden’s shooting.


About Donna Cravotta

Donna Cravotta, the “Social Sage”, has pioneered the link between public relations and social media. Founded in 2006, Social Sage PR was born when Donna began to repeatedly see connections between public relations and social media, and that it simply isn’t always best to hand a company’s PR over to a firm. Donna developed the Total Social PR System™ as a program for business owners, entrepreneurs, authors, speakers and thought leaders to learn how to attract clients and to create, manage and maintain their own public relations and media connections through social media and ownership of their PR and their brand in just a few minutes a day.

About Rebekah Marler

Rebekah Marler is a self-leadership and learning expert who left a 16 year career in public education to create a movement that helps the disheartened, visionary educators she loves discover how to transform education from the inside out.

About Patty Lennon

Patty Lennon plunged headfirst into the world of crowdfunding in 2012, when she decided to go outside the sponsor world to raise $45,000 for her Mom Gets A Business Conference through crowdfunding. A former VP at a global bank and business coach, she quickly unlocked the formula to successful crowdfunding and now offers crowdfunding coaching to private and DIY clients.

Media Contact:

Donna Cravotta
P.O. Box 134
Bedford Hills, NY 10507

International Environmental Organization Calls on International Olympic Committee to Stop Building New Olympic Venues Every Two Years and Pressure Russian Authorities to Free Sochi Environmentalists

(BOULDER, Colo.) – February 21, 2014 – Today Global Greengrants Fund sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) asking it to change course on how it chooses future Olympic sites and to call on Russian authorities to release imprisoned environmentalists. The request comes as a final report cataloguing the extensive environmental destruction has been released, and as jailed Russian environmental activist, Yevgeny Vitishko, continues his hunger strike [see New York Times article here] and is transferred to a penal colony for a three-year sentence.

“The environmental destruction caused by the Sochi Games, and the arrest and imprisonment of environmentalists who are simply trying to get the word out, is unconscionable,” said Terry Odendahl, Executive Director and CEO of Global Greengrants Fund. “The Olympic Charter says it is committed to ‘building a peaceful and better world by educating youth,’ and the Sochi Olympics have violated that charter.”

Global Greengrants Fund’s letter to the IOC is posted here.

The Russian environmental organization, Environmental Watch on North Caucasus, a grantee partner of Global Greengrants, compiled an 85-page report that highlights destruction of forests, rivers, and wildlife habitat caused by building the Sochi Games in the middle of the once-pristine Sochi National Park. According to Environmental Watch, the construction effort was possible because officials violated or gutted Russian environmental laws, and when Environmental Watch raised these concerns, the organization’s staff was detained, harassed, exiled, or jailed. The full report is available here, and selections translated into English are available here.

In addition to highlighting the damage to Sochi National Park and the human rights abuses, the Global Greengrants letter also requests that the IOC consider the climate change impacts of building new Olympic venues every two years.

“In this era of climate change, building these small new Olympic cities every two years, which then forces local activists to defend the environment with their lives, is climate denial compounded by an egregious violation of environmental justice and human rights,” continued Odendahl.

The environmental and human rights violations of the Sochi games have been reported in the international press, including in Time, Outside Magazine, Washington Post, and New York Times, shedding a shameful light on these Olympics and the International Olympic Committee’s venue selection for the 2014 Games.

Global Greengrants called on the IOC to intervene and help free the Russian environmental activists, acknowledge the environmental destruction by urging the Russian government to address it, and to create truly sustainable Olympics in the future.

“Our partners in Sochi are just like you and me. They are ordinary citizens and scientists, concerned about the environment and the well-being of our planet. But they’re being treated like criminals,” Odendahl said. “Freezing bank accounts, detaining, harassing, exiling, and jailing environmental activists — that’s the environmental legacy of the Sochi Olympics? The IOC needs to make sure this never happens again.”

Global Greengrants is the leading environmental fund that supports grassroots action on a global scale. The organization creates opportunities for individuals, foundations, and corporations to invest in local leaders and communities to protect people and the environment, restore places and ways of life that have been harmed, and transform systems to create a sustainable future. In its 20 years, the organization has made over 7,000 grants in 140 countries, worth $37 million. The ultimate goal of Global Greengrants is to create a sustainable future in which all people live with dignity and in harmony with the environment.

Kris Abrams, Communications Director
Global Greengrants Fund
Cell: 303-518-3755

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum And Basno Partner To Create Official 9/11 Memorial Badge For Supporters Worldwide

The digital badge creation platform, Basno, and the 9/11 Memorial designed a badge for all of those who support the nonprofit Memorial and Museum by visiting, donating and more

NEW YORK — February 21, 2014 – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum ( and digital badge creation platform Basno ( today announce the official 9/11 Memorial Supporter badge. The digital badge will recognize all of the people who support the Memorial and Museum in various ways, including making a donation and visiting the national site of remembrance at the World Trade Center.


The 9/11 Memorial Supporter badge is a token of gratitude for all of those who support the Memorial and Museum, and believe in its mission to honor, preserve and educate. It also provides online communities a way to learn more about the history of 9/11 and unite behind a worthy cause.

Basno’s badges are uniquely designed and distributed, and can be shared on popular social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Each badge is linked to a homepage that provides detailed information about the badge and its issuer. To receive a 9/11 Memorial Supporter badge, one can plan a visit, sponsor a cobblestone, make a donation or more.

The design of the 9/11 Memorial Supporter badge is simple but visually striking. It includes the 9/11 Memorial’s logo, a reflecting pool and distinctive steel “tridents.” Elements of the badge design were taken from the 9/11 Memorial, which has two acre-sized reflecting pools that sit within the original footprints of the World Trade Center towers. The tridents are enormous steel remnants from the facade of the North Tower, now permanently installed in the entry pavilion of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which opens this May.

More than 11.5 million people from all 50 states and around the world have visited the 9/11 Memorial since it opened in September 2011. Memorial officials and Basno hope that this badge is the first to be claimed by 1 million people.

“Every day we create strong connections and share personal experiences through social and digital media that often times reveal what matters most to us and others around the world,” said Michael Frazier, SVP of Communications and Digital Media for the 9/11 Memorial. “In partnering with Basno, the Memorial and Museum created a special way for our supporters to show why the history of 9/11, and the way it continues to affect our lives, is important to them and to all of us.”

Through its platform for the creation and distribution of digital badges, Basno aims to help people receive recognition and value for the commitments and accomplishments that define them. The New York based startup provides the platform where organizations from the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society and NYU-SCPS to the TCS New York City Marathon have created and distributed badges to deserving people. With this collaboration, Basno hopes to imitate the meaning and importance of the iconic yellow Livestrong bracelet, into a digital form of recognition that can be shared on all forms of social media. By claiming a verified digital badge, individuals can convey their accomplishments, experiences, loyalties and commitments with portable and discoverable credentials.


“As a proud New Yorker and supporter of the 9/11 community, I am thrilled by the 9/11 Memorial’s decision to issue the 9/11 Memorial Supporter badge,” says Trip Cowin, VP of Business Development at Basno. “Not only will claiming this badge give owners access to a verified community of fellow supporters, but it will allow them to express their support in the places where they are most visible – social networks- with the power of the 9/11 Memorial behind them. The 9/11 Memorial Supporter badge will help individuals communicate their dedication to a great cause, and will inspire others in their networks to take similar action.”

About Basno

Founded in 2011 by Nicholas Thorne, Henrik Werdelin and Kjartan Olafsson, Basno aims to help people receive recognition and value for the commitments and accomplishments that define them, by providing a platform for creating and collecting digital badges.

About the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is the not-for-profit corporation created to oversee the design, fundraising, programming, and operations of the Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center. The Memorial and Museum are located on eight of the 16 acres of the World Trade Center site. The Memorial was dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and is now open to the public.

The Memorial remembers and honors the 2,983 people who were killed in the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. The design, created by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, consists of two reflecting pools formed in the footprints of the original Twin Towers and a plaza of trees. The Museum will display monumental artifacts linked to the events of 9/11, while presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning, and recovery that are central to telling the story of the 2001 and 1993 attacks and the aftermath. It will communicate key messages that embrace both the specificity and the universal implications of the events of 9/11; document the impact of those events on individual lives, as well as on local, national, and international communities; and explore the continuing significance of these events for our global community.

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