International Forum to Be Held January 15–17 in Yangon
World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) will host an international forum on the sustainable development of Yangon, Myanmar, from January 15–17, 2015. The forum, which will be held in Yangon, is in response to the recent political and economic changes in the country and how they are impacting the historic fabric of the former capital, which 100 years ago was one of the leading trade cities of Asia, home to people from across the globe.
Bonnie Burnham, President, World Monuments Fund, noted that “Yangon is one of the few historic cities in Asia with much of its historic character still in place. The most important priority for safeguarding the historic center of Yangon is to make clear its relevance as an economic and development asset and to bring this message to the leaders of the country. These are worldwide issues, and this forum will highlight how cities around the world have successfully featured their historic centers as places vital for the future.”
A decade of rapid change in the country has already demonstrated the pressures facing the historic city as it grapples with modernization. As a result, Yangon and its inhabitants are challenged with shaping its future. A weak regulatory framework, limited professional planning expertise, and mounting pressures for development render historic Yangon vulnerable to hasty decisions with potentially permanent effects.
The Chairman of Yangon Heritage Trust, Dr. Thant Myint-U, said that the forum would be held at an incredibly important time for Yangon. “The decisions taken or not taken over the coming year or two will shape the city for decades to come. Our goal is for the forum to raise practical suggestions, based on Myanmar realities, including the pressing legal, financial, and other challenges facing conservation and urban development in Yangon. The Yangon government has made huge progress in urban conservation, far more than many Asian cities at similar periods in their development; I hope this forum will encourage them further and provide real solutions to the thorny issues they face on a daily basis.”
Yangon was included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch to raise awareness of the value of this historic urban landscape and the need to act quickly to launch a dialogue about its future. The January 2015 forum will bring together more than 50 participants from heritage and development institutions around the world, including representatives from national and municipal government agencies; private interests, including developers, tourism-industry representatives, and foreign investors; local civil society and professional organizations and NGOs; international groups working in Myanmar on development or built environment-related initiatives, including the European Union, Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and ASEAN; and members of the media. The keynote speakers will be U Myint Swe, Chief Minister of Yangon Region Government, and Francesco Rutelli, former mayor of Rome and former Minister of Culture of Italy.
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund’s mission is to protect against the loss of the world’s architectural heritage, including the built environment, the artistic elements that enhance it, and the cultural traditions that it sustains. WMF builds global partnerships to conserve key cultural sites in response to urgent threats, and broadens public understanding about the central importance of heritage in our lives. Our work makes historic places accessible and sustainable, builds and replenishes skills needed to care for our common heritage, and communicates the benefits of this work to the global public. www.wmf.org, www.twitter.com/worldmonuments, and www.facebook.com/worldmonuments.
Yangon Heritage Trust
Established in 2012, the Yangon Heritage Trust promotes the proper conservation of Yangon’s rich urban heritage within a cohesive planning process. It believes that good integration of conservation and development can make Yangon into one of Asia’s most beautiful and liveable cities. The Trust assists in the conservation of urban heritage places, advocates for sustainable and sympathetic development within the historic city, advises on the adoption of planning policies and manages a range of training, public outreach and advocacy programs.
New Education Award to Recognize those Making Contributions to Childhood Education
San Francisco, CA – January 12, 2015 – World of Children Award is now accepting nominations for their prestigious annual Awards program, which honors and elevates heroes who are dramatically improving children’s lives. Nominations can be submitted online at www.worldofchildren.org/nominate
Every year, the organization identifies changemakers who have created proven, sustainable programs for children, and awards grants to advance their work that are presented at an awards ceremony in New York City. For the first time, this year an Education Award will be added to the portfolio of Health, Humanitarian and Youth Awards given.
“We are especially excited to introduce the Education Award because we truly believe a young child’s education can have the greatest impact on their future potential,” said Harry Leibowitz, Co-Founder of World of Children Award.
Nominations for Awards are being accepted in the following categories:
2015 World of Children Education Award – minimum grant of $50,000
Recognizes individuals making substantial contributions to children in the educational arena. This includes individuals who have made and are making education available to severely underserved populations, or those who innovate new and effective methods of learning and teaching, and those whose work creates educational opportunity for children who are challenged or disenfranchised.
2015 World of Children Youth Award – minimum grant of $25,000
Recognizes a young person under the age of 21 making extraordinary contributions to the lives of other children. They must have been doing this work for at least three years, and have created a sustainable program that they plan to continue to lead.
2015 World of Children Health Award – minimum grant of $50,000
Recognizes an individual making a significant contribution to children in the fields of health, medicine or the sciences. This person must have created or managed a sustainable program that has significantly contributed to the health and well-being of children.
2015 World of Children Humanitarian Award – minimum grant of $50,000
Recognizes an individual making a significant contribution to children in social services or humanitarian services. This person must have created or managed a sustainable program which has significantly contributed to children’s opportunities to be safe, to learn and to grow.
Nominations for the 2015 Awards must be submitted online by 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on Wednesday, April 1, 2015.
Shaw’s and Star Market customers put their fellow neighbors first this past holiday season by donating more than 259,000 pounds of food to more than 140 local hunger relief organizations through the “Spirit of Giving” food drive. Thanks to the generosity of Shaw’s and Star Marker customers, these bags will provide more than 199,000 meals to those in need of local hunger relief. In addition, Shaw’s and Star Market donated an additional $52,000 to support local organizations get food to those in need.
According to the USDA, one in seven U.S. households experienced food insecurity last year. Through the Spirit of Giving program, Shaw’s and Star Market, along with its customers, works to ensure that local food banks are well-stocked and prepared to feed those in need around the holidays and into the New Year.
From November 27th through January 1st, Shaw’s and Star Market customers were able to purchase virtual pre-assembled bags that contain much-needed non-perishable food for $5, $10 or $15. Once collected, the food was sent directly to community food banks and pantries throughout Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island. All 155 Shaw’s and Star Market locations worked to identify local organizations within their communities who will be the recipients of the food.
The conclusion of the Spirit of Giving food drive marked the culmination of several holiday hunger relief efforts from Shaw’s and Star Market. In November, customers raised $220,000 during the company’s “Turkey Bucks” fundraising campaign to help get Thanksgiving dinners on the table of those in need. These donations enabled local food pantries to receive more than 4,000 complete Thanksgiving dinners.
For more information about Shaw’s and Star Market Spirit of Giving program visit http://www.shaws.com/2014/11/spirit-of-giving-food-drive/.
PV-10 Enhanced Tumor-specific Immunity with Co-inhibitory Blockade
Highlights Potential Additional Path for Development of PV-10 for Cancer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PVCT, www.pvct.com), a development-stage oncology and dermatology biopharmaceutical company (“Provectus”), announced today that data on its investigational agent PV-10 for intralesional (IL) treatment of cancer was featured in a poster presentation at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer [SITC] 29th Annual Meeting on Saturday, November 8, 2014. The presentation, titled “Efficacy of Intralesional Injection with PV-10 in Combination with Co-Inhibitory Blockade in a Murine Model of Melanoma,” is available at http://www.pvct.com/publications/SITCposter2014.pdf.
The poster, presented by Dr Shari Pilon-Thomas of the Moffitt Cancer Center, concludes that the new data “support combination therapy with IL PV-10 and co-inhibitory blockade.”
In clinical trials, IL PV-10 has induced regression of both injected lesions and uninjected bystander lesions in patients with melanoma, and tumor ablation with PV-10 has been shown to increase certain T-cell populations in patients’ peripheral blood. In the study reported at SITC, the team from Moffitt measured whether IL PV-10 and co-inhibitory blockade could improve anti-tumor immunity and regression of melanoma in mice.
The testing assessed response of injected and uninjected B16 melanoma tumors in mice receiving PV-10 alone or in combination with one of three agents designed for co-inhibitory blockade. The tested agents targeted either CLTA-4, PD-1 or PD-L1, the three most common clinical targets for co-inhibitory blockade. In each case, combination of PV-10 with co-inhibitory blockade led to improved tumor response and enhanced anti-tumor immunity of T-cells. Further testing with the anti-PD-L1 agent showed that these improvements could apply to both injected and uninjected tumors.
Eric Wachter, PhD and Chief Technology Officer of Provectus, said, “This important work further validates use of an intralesional therapy with a systemic immunotherapy, and solidifies our plans for a promising second path for development of PV-10. In addition to use as a single-agent therapy for cutaneous melanoma (the focus of our phase 3 study), these findings support commencement of clinical testing of PV-10 in combination anti-CLTA-4, anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 agents. We are assessing strategies to allow this work to commence in a timely and cost-effective manner so that we can begin translating these model test results into human clinical data.”
About The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC)
The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit society of medical professionals. Recent advances in immunology and biology have opened up new horizons in the field of cancer therapy, with an upsurge in the integration of new biologic agents into clinical practice. With several high-caliber scientific meetings with a focus on clinical and translational aspects of biologic approaches to cancer treatment and numerous networking opportunities unique to this organization, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) has developed into the premier destination for interaction and innovation in the cancer immunology and immunotherapy community. The goals of SITC are directed towards the rapid dissemination of information in these areas to expedite the safe transfer of both basic and applied research to the clinical setting.
About Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.
Provectus Biopharmaceuticals specializes in developing oncology and dermatology therapies. PV-10, its novel investigational drug for cancer, is designed for injection into solid tumors (intralesional administration), thereby reducing potential for systemic side effects. Its oncology focus is on melanoma, breast cancer and cancers of the liver. The Company has received orphan drug designations from the FDA for its melanoma and hepatocellular carcinoma indications. PH-10, its topical investigational drug for dermatology, is undergoing clinical testing for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Provectus has recently completed Phase 2 trials of PV-10 as a therapy for metastatic melanoma, and of PH-10 as a topical treatment for atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Information about these and the Company’s other clinical trials can be found at the NIH registry, www.clinicaltrials.gov. For additional information about Provectus please visit the Company’s website at www.pvct.com or contact Porter, LeVay & Rose, Inc.
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This release contains “forward-looking statements” as defined under U.S. federal securities laws. These statements reflect management’s current knowledge, assumptions, beliefs, estimates, and expectations and express management’s current views of future performance, results, and trends and may be identified by their use of terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “will,” and other similar terms. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to materially differ from those described in the forward-looking statements. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Such statements are made as of the date hereof, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements after this date.
Risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to materially differ from those described in forward-looking statements include those discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (including those described in Item 1A of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, and in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2014, June 30, 2014, and September 30, 2014), and the following:
13D Activist Fund, the First Mutual Fund to Track Activist Investors, Beats S&P500 In Each of Its First Three Years
Received a Morningstar Rating™ of 5 Stars
Received Morningstar’s Lowest Risk Rating
New York (January 9, 2015) – The 13D Activist Fund (DDDIX), the first mutual fund to offer investors pure exposure to shareholder activism, has achieved a market-beating three-year track record. The Fund’s three-year average annual return of 24.12% compares to the S&P 500 average annual return of 20.41%. The Fund received Morningstar’s lowest risk rating and an overall Morningstar Rating™ of 5 Stars, ranking 12th (2nd percentile) out of 645 funds in the mid-cap growth category, based on risk adjusted returns for its overall history and three years ended 12/31/14. According to Morningstar, a hypothetical investment of $10,000 in the Fund made at inception (December 28, 2011) would have grown to $19,123.06 as of December 31, 2014 versus $17,357.04 for the S&P500.[i] The Fund has assets of approximately $375 million as of December 31, 2014 and is widely available on platforms such as Schwab and Fidelity in addition to select wirehouses.
Inception date of the Fund is December 28, 2011. The total annual Fund operating expense ratio is 1.50% for Class I shares. The performance data quoted here represents past performance. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted above. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate, so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. A Fund’s performance, especially for very short periods of time, should not be the sole factor in making your investment decisions. For performance information current to the most recent month end, please call toll-free 1-877-413-3228. The S&P 500® is regarded as a gauge of large cap U.S. equities. It is not possible to invest in an index, unmanaged index returns do not reflect any fees, expenses or sales charges.
13D Activist Fund was created by portfolio manager Ken Squire who has operated the premier research service on shareholder activism for the institutional community since 2006, has hosted the largest shareholder activist conference, and has written a column on activism in Barron’s since 2007. The Fund is an event-driven mutual fund that focuses on and analyzes activist 13D filings for what Squire believes to be the best investment opportunities.
In the following Q&A, Ken Squire talks about the unique niche the Fund holds, its current strategy, and the outlook for 2015.
Q. Briefly explain the difference between the 13D Activist Fund and what people generally think of when they hear “activist fund.”
When you hear “activist fund” you think of investors like Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman and Nelson Peltz – investors who invest in what they believe to be undervalued companies and provide their own catalyst for unlocking value by advocating for governance, strategic or financial changes. The 13D Activist Fund is not an activist investor, but a fund that invests in what we believe to be the most compelling investments of activist investors.
Q. Why did you start a mutual fund and not a hedge fund?
After six years of seeing how successful an activist investment strategy has been historically, I wanted to give exposure to the strategy to individual investors who do not have the resources to invest in an activist hedge fund. We have been pleasantly surprised to see that there has also been significant interest from institutional investors who want exposure to the strategy with more liquidity and lower fees than hedge funds tend to offer.
Q. Your fund invests in niche, event-driven situations requiring a unique skill set to understand the wide variety of activists and the many types of activist strategies. What experience do you have analyzing activist engagements?
We have been operating the leading research service on shareholder activism for the institutional investor community since 2006. Over the past eight years we have done nothing but analyze 13D filings and shareholder activism. We really understand the different activists and activist catalysts and the chances that an activist agenda will yield a sizable return. There are over 1,500 13D filings and 4,000 13D amendments each year and we analyze each 13D event to select the approximately 30 situations we feel offer the best risk-reward ratio. Among other things, we analyze the activist, his track record, the sector and his track record in that sector, the activist strategy employed, and the type of returns that strategy typically creates. We also make a judgment on the probability for success of the filing based on the activist’s experience, the shareholder base and other factors.
Q. What is the outlook for activism in 2015?
Each of the past three years more money has been allocated to activist investors. Shareholder activism has become an accepted asset class and is increasingly supported by institutional investors. It is also more widely accepted as a positive way to improve company management and governance. With low rates combined with an improving deal-making environment, we expect the number of activist situations to grow in 2015 creating more opportunities for the Fund Still only a very small proportion of public companies that are engaged by an activist investor. There was less than 2% in 2014. So, activism has a long way to grow while still providing many attractive investment opportunities.
Q. How does the Fund do in down markets?
Activism has often flourished in down markets as it is hard for bad managements to hide and it is easier to get shareholder support for activist agendas. Moreover, when investors cannot rely on up-markets to generate returns, a non-correlated catalyst is even more valuable. As we expected, our Fund has captured more of the gains of up markets, but less of the losses of down markets. According to Morningstar, the Fund’s upside and downside capture ratio over the past three years ending December 31, 2014 is 102.29á and 62.41â*.]
Q. Tell us about a few of your top performers in 2014. Which positions did not do as well as expected and why?
One of our best positions for 2014 was Tessera Technologies, Inc. In 2013 Starboard Value Fund settled a proxy fight with the company pursuant to which Starboard received control of the Board. When you believe in the activist and the activist agenda, the best thing that can happen is for the activist to get control. The stock was trading at 19.71 at the beginning of the year, and closed the year at $35.76, an 81.43% increase. We also did very well with some more transactional forms of activism, with activists getting companies like Beam, Forest Labs, Compuware and Riverbed sold.
Like many funds, we ran into a bit of trouble with our oil and gas companies. With the sector in decline, we decreased our exposure to oil drillers to the two positions we thought had the best activist catalysts. We also increased our position in the company we thought had the strongest activist catalyst – Talisman Energy. In November, with the stock down to $5.75, from our initial price of $13.08 in October of 2013, we more than doubled our position, not because of the price drop, but because we felt there was a very strong activist catalyst for a sale of the company. Carl Icahn had two board seats, the CEO had announced that he wanted to resign by the end of the year, and the Company had been discussing a sale with several potential acquirers throughout the year, and came very close with Repsol when the stock was trading over $10 per share. On December 16, the Company agreed to be sold to Repsol for $8.00 per share. Our other oil driller, Chesapeake Energy, is down to $19.57, from $27.14 at the beginning of the year, but Carl Icahn has a board seat there too, so we know someone is looking out for the shareholders.
*We like to look at Morningstar’s upside/downside capture ratio to gauge how our investment strategy holds up vs. a benchmark. This statistic is a relatively straightforward way to evaluate a fund’s historical performance during both rallies and down markets. The capture ratio shows whether a given fund has outperformed – gained more or lost less than – a broad market benchmark during periods of market strength and weakness, and if so, by how much. If both the upside and downside capture ratios for a fund are 100%, that means the fund moved in lockstep with the benchmark during both up and down markets. For most actively managed funds, upside and downside capture ratios will illustrate a more significant divergence from the benchmark. For example, our Fund’s upside capture for the three years ending December 31, 2014 is 102.29% and its downside is 62.41%. What this means is that the Fund outperformed the benchmark by 2.29% in up markets and captured only 62.41% of its benchmark’s negative performance during market declines. Morningstar benchmarks our Fund vs. the Mid-Cap Blend category. Our downside capture ratio has been consistently low which supports the premise that activism is less correlated to the markets in general.
About 13D Management
New York based 13D Management, a registered investment advisor and manager of the 13D Activist Fund, is an event driven asset manager that focuses on 13D filings of activist investors. The firm was founded by Ken Squire who is the leading authority on activist investors and also leads 13D Monitor, a research service for major investment banks, top law firms, hedge funds and institutional investors. The 13D Activist Fund is available directly to investors or through Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, UBS, Scottrade, E*TRADE, Vanguard and Pershing LLC, among other major platforms.
Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained within the Prospectus, which can be obtained by calling 877-413-3228. The Fund Prospectus should be read carefully before investing.
The Fund is distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 13D Monitor and 13D Management, LLC and the above listed platforms are not affiliated with ALPS Distributors, Inc.
Overall stock market risks will affect the value of individual instruments in which the Fund invests. Factors such as economic growth, market conditions, interest rate levels, and political events affect the U.S. securities markets. When the value of the Fund’s investments goes down, your investment in the Fund decreases in value and you could lose money. The Fund is a non-diversified investment company, which makes the value of the Fund’s shares more susceptible to certain risks than shares of a diversified investment company. The Fund has a greater potential to realize losses upon the occurrence of adverse events affecting a particular issuer. The value of small or medium capitalization company stocks may be subject to more abrupt or erratic market movements than those of larger, more established companies or the market averages in general.
For each fund with at least a three-year history, Morningstar calculates a Morningstar Rating™ based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a funds’ monthly performance (including the effects of sales charges, loads, and redemption fees), placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of funds in each category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars, and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. (Each share class is counted as a fraction of one fund within this scale and rated separately, which may cause slight variations in the distribution percentages.) The Overall Morningstar RatingTM for a fund is derived from a weighted average of the performance figures associated with its three-, five-, and ten-year (if applicable) Morningstar RatingTM metrics. 13D Activist Fund was rated against the following number of U.S. domiciled mid-cap growth funds over the last three years: 645. With respect to these mid-cap growth funds, 13D Activist Fund received a Morningstar RatingTM of 5 stars for the three-year period. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
© 2015 Morningstar. All Rights Reserved. The information contained herein: (1) is proprietary to Morningstar and/or its content providers; (2) may not be copied or distributed; and (3) is not warranted to be accurate, complete or timely. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Recognizes Need for More STEM Education in Financial Industry
The Financial Women’s Association’s (FWA) executive director and president are available to comment on Friday’s release of the Department of Labor jobs data and Intel’s announcement on Tuesday to invest $300 million in workforce diversity efforts over five years.
FWA Executive Director Jennifer Openshaw notes the following:
On the Jobs Picture
Women continue to lag behind men in both numbers and salaries overall, with a few bright spots in certain job categories.
Compensation continues to be a top issue, both because of the continuing wage gap between men and women, and because of women’s longer life spans.
Women’s growth in the financial advisory space is at odds with the tremendous transfer of wealth taking place chiefly in the hands of women, given their longer life spans.
Both large and small firms need to understand the issues preventing women from advancing and creating a culture conducive to success for women.
On the Intel Move and Tech Jobs:
Intel’s move underscores what the FWA has heard from its corporate partners: hunger for a more diverse pipeline of candidates, including women and minorities.
Financial companies are losing qualified women to competition from major tech firms such as Google and LinkedIn.
Yet, companies are facing tremendous growth in tech jobs: Another top Wall Street firm says they have 8,000 tech jobs globally – about 25 percent of their workforce — another sign of the role technology is playing.
Today’s financial services firms are now thinking of themselves as tech firms. They need to be ready to compete with the next innovation in financial services, or risk losing customers to new and better ways of doing business.
Many tech companies — from Intel and Oracle to Microsoft and LinkedIn —service the financial industry. So they, too, can play a role in preparing women to increase the ranks not only in tech, but in the financial industry.
Increasing STEM education – with the combination of technology and math skills — can propel young women in the financial industry… from accounting and risk management to innovative services and products.
About the FWA
Founded in 1956, the FWA provides a forum to help advance the leadership of women in the financial community. The New York-based organization partners with companies to share best practices and provides opportunities for members to build their careers, meet industry leaders, earn the support of powerful women and major companies, and contribute to the next generation of female leaders. The FWA’s community activities include mentoring, scholarships, and training programs that have helped over 5,000 young people.
In Its 15th Year, Over 1,000 Blind and Visually Impaired Students Will Compete
Los Angeles – January 5, 2015 — The Braille Challenge®, the only national reading and writing contest in braille for blind and visually impaired students, today announced the 2015 participating cities and dates (see schedule at end of press release). The Braille Challenge, sponsored by the Braille Institute of America, is an academic competition in two stages designed to motivate students emphasizing their study of braille while rewarding their success with fun-filled, challenging local and national events. Any blind or visually impaired student who reads braille is eligible to participate in the first stage of the contest, the preliminary or regional Challenge contest events, which are held from January through the end of March throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Celebrating its 15th year, The Braille Challenge offers students a chance to compete in five categories: reading comprehension, braille spelling, chart and graph reading, proofreading and braille speed and accuracy.
“Fifteen years ago, OrangeCounty hosted the first Braille Challenge which has grown to more than 1,000 participants in North America,” said Nancy Niebrugge, Associate Vice President of National Programs at Braille Institute. “This challenge has influenced so many families who have a child or children who are blind or visually impaired. For many participants, the challenge is their only opportunity to truly test their skills against others academically.”
“Braille is a crucial tool for many blind and visually impaired students as it opens the doors of literacy and drives educational advancement and future employment opportunities,” said Peter Mindnich, President, Braille Institute. “We continue to be more inspired each year by the passion and commitment of the students who compete in The Braille Challenge. Their achievements can empower others who are affected by sight loss to develop their braille skills as well.”
Of all the literacy issues in America, braille literacy is one of the most underrated and overlooked, and advancements in technology have not replaced the need for children who are blind or visually impaired to learn to read using this vital medium. Understanding how essential braille literacy is for success in the sighted world, Braille Institute developed the two-phase, annual competition as a way to encourage children who are blind and visually impaired to fine tune their braille skills and celebrate their accomplishments. Following the first regional phase, contestants with the highest scores are invited to compete in a second, national finals phase.
After receiving all of the individual contestant regional scores, qualifying finalists from around the country will be announced by Braille Institute program organizers in May. Each finalist receives an exclusive invitation to the Los Angeles headquarters of the Braille Institute to represent the 12 top-ranking scores from each of five age groups spanning ages six to 19. Braille Institute provides some financial support to each finalist to help with accommodations while in Los Angeles for the Braille Challenge national finals. At the national finals in Los Angeles in June, there will be a special opening ceremony for the 60 finalists and their families. The finalists will then embark on the daylong competition to showcase their skills at reading braille and typing braille, using a device called a Perkins Brailler®. Following the daylong event, the winners in each age group will be announced at an awards ceremony unparalleled with excitement, pride and celebration.
The dates and locations of the preliminary competitions are:
About Braille Institute of America
Braille Institute of America is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss. It serves tens of thousands of people of all ages each year through an array of integrated educational, social and recreational programs and services designed to help people with vision loss lead enriched and fulfilling lives. Funded entirely by private donations, all services are completely free-of-charge. Braille Institute’s Los Angeles headquarters are located at 741 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles. For additional information, please visit www.braillechallenge.org. or www.brailleinstitute.org. Follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/brailleinstitute and on twitter @BrailleInst
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (January 6, 2015) – Artspace is pleased to announce its recent hiring of Carey Cusimano to join their team as the Development & Community Relations Director. Cusimano most recently was the VP of Development for the Deer Valley® Music Festival, Summer home of the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera where she spent the last seven and a half years growing the support and presence of the Festival in the community. Last year it attracted over 43,000 patrons during the six week Festival and raised $1.7 Million for the organization.
“We are thrilled to have Carey Cusimano join our team. She brings a passion for the arts and over 18 years of fundraising, marketing and community relations experience to Artspace,” says Jessica Norie, Executive Director of Artspace.
Artspace, established in 1980, creates sustainable, affordable live and work space for artists, cultural organizations, nonprofits and others to revitalize and promote stable, vibrant and safe communities. Artspace projects have led the way in demonstrating how low-income industrial areas can be developed to encourage a residential core and promote the arts. The nonprofit is currently planning its newest project, Artspace Macaroni Flats, which will rehabilitate the former Western Macaroni Manufacturing Company warehouse built in 1900. It will include more than 5,000 square feet of affordable commercial space for local artists, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses as well as 13 affordable residential units.
“This exciting role with Artspace allows me to continue working in the arts community by providing affordable live/work spaces for artists, non-profits and small businesses so they can pursue their passions in an affordable way. In my first month on the job, I have been inspired by the unique array of tenants and their creativity and talent. I look forward to being a part of Artspace’s future projects that will continue to drive creativity and revitalization downtown” says Carey Cusimano.
It’s Time to Use the Power of Food Education to Teach Every Child the Truth about Food
Sacramento, CA — Bound by the belief that it’s a child’s human right to have access to real food, chef activists Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver, Ann Cooper and their foundations, have announced that they are forming a coalition calling for food education for all children by adopting #foodtruth as their mission.
“Sadly, children today live in a Fast Food world, where their understanding of– and access to– food is often manipulated by big food companies that prize profit above all else. As a result, many kids believe that food is a packaged product that comes off a shelf or out of a drive-thru window, “ said Jamie Oliver.
Alice Waters continued, “The words we could once trust to identify foods that are healthy for humans and the environment have been co-opted and distorted by the food-and-beverage industry, so that ‘organic,’ ‘natural,’ ‘sustainable,’ and even ‘healthy,’ are rendered empty and meaningless.”
Alice, Jamie and Ann believe it’s time to be loud and clear about what these words actually mean – and what they don’t. It’s time to recommit to real food – food that is grown by people who take care of the land and are invested in our children’s health and future.
“It’s time to teach kids from the earliest ages how to know the difference between real food truths and Fast-Food falsehoods,” said “Renegade Lunch Lady” chef Ann Cooper.
This powerful coalition believes food education:
Alice Waters, Ann Cooper and Jamie Oliver have spent the greater parts of their careers fighting for real food, nutrition and edible education for kids. Each one of them has been so inspired to create change that they have formed non-profit organizations (The Edible Schoolyard Project, Chef Ann Foundation, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation) to help kids and communities eat healthier and gain knowledge of culinary skills through comprehensive food education. Now all three are coming together for the first time to launch this important and exciting coalition.
The coalition has adopted #foodtruth as its mission and will be working on a number of awareness initiatives in 2015 to champion food education in every school and support partnerships with local, sustainable farmers who can feed them these essential values every day.
AUSTIN, Texas — A renowned pediatrician for more than three decades and a father for nearly as long, Dr. Steven Abrams nevertheless sometimes wanders through a grocery store’s infant formula aisle, observing the imposing set of options — and, occasionally, the intimidated grown-ups shopping there — “just so I can see what new parents must face and advocate for them.”
The veteran physician and researcher is bringing that expertise and concern for children and parents to The University of Texas at Austin, where he will serve as inaugural chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Dell Medical School. The neonatologist will also be a professor of pediatrics at the medical school, which will welcome its first class of students in July 2016.
“We are building this medical school, in part, around innovations that will help train doctors to work in multidisciplinary teams and treat patients as people with real needs, lives and loved ones — not just carriers of health problems,” said Dr. Clay Johnston, the medical school’s dean. “Steve brings a huge amount of experience, empathy and creativity to the effort.”
Abrams was formerly a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston – which boasts the nation’s second-highest-rated pediatric neonatology program, according to U.S. News & World Report. He was also a professor of pediatrics, director of the fellowship program in neonatal-perinatal medicine, and medical director of the Neonatal Nutrition Program at Baylor College of Medicine. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he studied medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and was a pediatric resident at Akron Children’s Hospital. He also had fellowships at the National Institutes of Health in nutritional research and Baylor in neonatology and in nutrition.
“The Dell Medical School has a truly unique opportunity to transform the way doctors care for people at every stage in their lives,” Abrams said. “I want to help create not just a new medical school, but a legacy that helps generations of children and parents who need our help in creating healthier futures for their families.”
Abrams is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, including its Committee on Nutrition, and the Society for Pediatric Research. He is also an executive committee member of the American Society for Nutrition’s Medical Nutrition Council, and a former associate editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. He is a member of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 2015, which advises the government on food programs. His research is focused on the mineral requirements of children of all ages, particularly calcium, zinc and iron metabolism. His clinical interests have focused on the growth of preterm infants and the use of specialized nutritional practices.
This department chair appointment is the third for the Dell Medical School, which announced chairs of the departments of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Surgery late last year.