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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: January 2015

President Of Metropolitan Museum Of Art To Keynote “Fundraising Day In New York”

1800 Fundraising Executives expected for 35th Annual FRDNY Friday, June 12th at New York Marriott Marquis

The Association of Fundraising Professionals-NYC Chapter is proud to announce that Emily K. Rafferty, named by Crain’s New York Business as one of the most powerful women in New York City, will be the luncheon keynote speaker at this year’s AFP NYC’s Fundraising Day in New York scheduled for Friday, June 12, 2015 at the New York Marriott Marqus in New York City. Ms. Rafferty became President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005 after rising through the ranks in the Development Department, where she moved from the position of administrator to Vice President for Development and Membership, and later was named Senior Vice President for External Affairs. She has also served as Chairwoman of NYC and Company, the City’s tourism and marketing Agency; is a member of the Board of Directors of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum; and in 2011 joined the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of which she became Chair in 2012. “As President of the largest and most comprehensive art museum in the country, Ms. Rafferty has a wealth of wisdom and experience to share with the more than 1,800 fundraising professionals who will be attending this event,” explains Susan Shattuck, FRDNY 2015 Chair. “The AFP Board of Directors and event committee are enormously honored to have her join us.”

Emily Rafferty_web size

Founded in 1980, Fundraising Day in New York City is recognized as the premier one-day conference on fundraising leadership and philanthropy. Over the past three and one-half decades it has provided a venue for thousands of fundraisers, and not-for-profit leaders from throughout the United States and overseas to network, take part in forty or more educational programs, workshops, and panel discussions—as well as meet with industry exhibitors and receive career mentoring. All of this in one day—and under one roof!

Register online for FRDNY 2015 at or Following #FRDNY via @NYCAFP and LIKE us on Facebook

EY And MENTOR Release The Business Case For Private-Sector Engagement In Youth Mentoring

Report released at the 2015 National Mentoring Summit

Washington, January 29, 2015: EY and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) together released a report “Mentoring: at the crossroads of education, business and community,” at MENTOR’s 2015 National Mentoring Summit, taking place from January 28 to 30 in Washington, DC.

The report examines how top US businesses collaborate with the public and non-profit sectors to connect youth in their communities to transformative mentoring relationships and the value gained by the business and its employees. According to MENTOR’s report, The Mentoring Effect, released last year, youth with mentors are more likely to be successful in school, leaders in their communities, and to enter young adulthood with opportunities for ongoing education and career choices. And yet, 16 million American youth—one in three—will reach the age of 19 without having had a mentor of any kind, according to MENTOR. The joint report examines the private sector role in addressing this mentoring gap and provides effective practices and case studies from local businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

The report’s call to action for companies to increase efforts to support youth mentoring is reinforced by key benefits that engagement in youth mentoring provides for participating companies.

“Corporate volunteers not only strengthen their communities and contribute to the personal growth of young individuals, but I have witnessed firsthand how working with youth also makes EY mentors stronger leaders within the organization,” said Nancy Altobello, EY Global Vice Chair of Talent. “I have seen many EY College MAP volunteers, transformed by their efforts to mentor underserved high school students to pursue higher education, become more inclusive managers. That in turn makes EY better, and helps us build a better working world.”

College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence), provides support to underserved students as they consider the dream of higher education. The program helps students navigate the application and financial aid process, provides access to resources, and exposes them to the benefits of higher education.

The report offers the following best practices for businesses looking to start a mentoring effort or enhance the results of an existing program, including examples from the companies interviewed.

  • Align mentoring engagements with your corporate strengths. In order to have a successful mentoring program, businesses should consider how potential programs would fit with their broader corporate mission, as well as their values and capabilities.
  • Collaborate with a non-profit expert or school for maximum impact.  By establishing relationships with non-profit experts or educational institutions, your program will benefit from your partners’experience, robust systems, processes and standards, investment in talent development, and materials and methodologies.
  • Foster employee engagement through an open understanding of where and when mentoring takes place, as well as ongoing support. Employers must realize that mentoring happens in many different ways, and that flexibility is key to encourage, facilitate and support participation. Employers should clearly illustrate which mentoring options are available to employees – short- or long-term, online or in-person, at the worksite or a school – and work with their non-profit partner to provide training, a curriculum, relationship tools, and ongoing support. All 18 organizations interviewedby EY and MENTOR allow employees to volunteer during working hours.
  • Facilitate increased peer learning and idea sharing among service providers and private sector actors focused on mentoring. Corporate funders and partners are uniquely positioned to bring together programs to exchange best practices, explore partnership opportunities or share data. Those with technology platforms can build online environments where practitioners can share case studies and advice. The private sector can also invest in intermediaries that help scale effective programming and provide professional development and mentor training.
  • Invest in proven, evidence-based programming. The private sector is well-positioned to foster broad demand for quality programs that follow evidence-based standards. Companies can support two national efforts to advance rigor in practice, including the recently launched National Mentoring Resource Center, a partnership between the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and MENTOR, as well as the National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS), which provides a structured, systematic process for evaluating how effectively mentoring programs are implemented.

“The investments in quality youth mentoring made by the 18 companies profiled are representative of the variety of investments being made by many more companies. They are direct contributions to the future strength of our communities and our country. They connect young people to the powerful asset that is mentoring, to opportunity, and to success,” said David Shapiro, President and CEO, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. “We are committed to using this report to make the case for more businesses big and small to engage in youth mentoring.”


Eighteen companies participated in the interview process. These companies represent a broad range of industries, including the financial and professional services sectors, technology, entertainment, manufacturing, communications, health care, retail and hospitality. In addition, more than a dozen mentoring programs and youth-serving organizations were interviewed, as were MENTOR’s affiliate Mentoring Partnerships. The following are the 18 companies that were chosen based their existing engagement in youth mentoring, which is representative of the diverse range of approaches the private-sector is taking:



MENTOR is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. MENTOR’s mission is to close the “mentoring gap” and ensure our nation’s young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work. To achieve this, MENTOR collaborates with its Mentoring Partnership Network and works to drive the investment of time and money into high impact mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art tools.

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

SanDisk and Smile Train Team Up to Bring the Power of a Smile to Children in Need

SanDisk Partnership Strengthens Smile Train’s Global Network with Expanded Access to Training and Materials in Connected and Remote Communities

NEW YORK & MILPITAS, Calif. — January 28, 2015 — Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK), a global leader in flash storage solutions, today announced that they have partnered to continue building a sustainable system to address the solvable problem of the cleft lip and palate. Through the SanDisk Foundation, SanDisk’s global commitment is helping to bring life-changing cleft care to children in developing countries by committing support through technology solutions, services, volunteer matching gifts, and grant funds.

“Technology innovations are opening new doors for healthcare access. Partnering with technology leader SanDisk will be instrumental in helping to expand the work that Smile Train has done since 1999, leveraging new technologies to help train local medical professionals so that they are empowered to provide surgery and related treatment to even more children living with unrepaired clefts,” said Susannah Schaefer, CEO, Smile Train. “We are so proud to have a partner that is as committed to leveraging technology for humanitarian good as SanDisk. Working with partners like SanDisk, we look forward to bringing the power of a smile to millions more children around the world.”

“Knowledge is key for medical professionals in the field, and we are excited to see our technologies in action, working with Smile Train to extend their robust network and provide educational reach regardless of location, availability of electricity or Internet access,” said Gisela Bushey, director, SanDisk Foundation and community relations, SanDisk. “As we see every day, technology can have a transformative impact on people’s lives, and we are proud to partner with Smile Train to support efforts to help children in need; we look forward to supporting their great work in the years to come.”

Each day, Smile Train provides free surgery for more than 350 children worldwide, and in April 2014, celebrated its millionth free cleft repair surgery. Smile Train uses the “teach a man to fish” model, empowering local doctors to perform cleft repairs in their own communities, and to teach and to train other doctors. This creates a long-term, sustainable system. The SanDisk and Smile Train partnership will strengthen this model by facilitating information sharing across a global network of cleft medical personnel who work and train in remote parts of the world, and by providing resources that these professionals might have barriers to accessing on their own. The partnership will help expand access to medical training videos, photos, and documents that in turn will extend the medical teams’ reach, bringing the power of a smile to even more children in need.

Using SanDisk Connect™ devices, Smile Train and local doctors can wirelessly store and share materials across multiple devices, even in areas where Wi-Fi is not available. This allows them to extend their network of medical professionals, helping to train even more personnel and strengthen the cleft care programs.

About Smile Train

Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Millions of children in developing countries with unrepaired clefts live in shame, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate. Smile Train’s sustainable model provides training and funding to empower local doctors in 85+ developing countries to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery in their own communities. To learn more about how Smile Train’s sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit

About the SanDisk Foundation

SanDisk’s mission as a philanthropic company is to support programs and organizations that address the needs of communities where our company has a significant presence. SanDisk strives to be an exemplary corporate citizen within the global community. The SanDisk Foundation, a corporate advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, helps carry out this vision by making donations to non-profit organizations and community groups within our key focus areas: K-12 education, promoting STEM-focused programs, and children’s health and well-being. Since 2003, the SanDisk Foundation has awarded more than $25 million to over 1,000 charitable organizations worldwide.

About SanDisk

SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company, is a global leader in flash storage solutions. For more than 25 years, SanDisk has expanded the possibilities of storage, providing trusted and innovative products that have transformed the electronics industry. Today, SanDisk’s quality, state-of-the-art solutions are at the heart of many of the world’s largest data centers, and embedded in advanced smartphones, tablets and PCs. SanDisk’s consumer products are available at hundreds of thousands of retail stores worldwide. For more information, visit

© 2015 SanDisk Corporation. All rights reserved. SanDisk is a trademark of SanDisk Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries. SanDisk Connect is a trademark of SanDisk Corporation.

IKEA Group Announces Strong Sustainability Progress

Annual report on People & Planet Positive strategy released

The IKEA Group Sustainability Report for fiscal year (FY14*) 2014, released today, shows its People & Planet Positive strategy is on track and delivering good results. Sustainability performance is announced today alongside strong financial results, which show an increase in total sales to EUR 28.7 billion ($32.1 billion**), a 5.9% increase (adjusted for currency impact) from last year.

Sustainability highlights from FY14:

  • During the year, IKEA Group committed to own a further 87  wind turbines, bringing the total to 224***, and installed 150,000  solar panels, increasing the total to 700,000 and taking the company a step closer to producing more renewable energy than the total energy it uses by 2020. By the end of 2015, we aim to have invested and committed to invest EUR 1.5 billion in renewable energy projects.
  • The sales value of products for a more sustainable life at home passed €1 billion, a 58% increase compared with FY13. These products enable people to save or generate energy, reduce water use, cut waste and live healthier lives.
  • 75% of all lighting products sold were LED or compatible with LED bulbs, which use 85% less energy and last 20 times longer than traditional (incandescent) bulbs. The entire IKEA lighting range will convert to LED by September 2015.
  • €66 million saved through energy efficiency efforts in stores and warehouses since FY10.
  • IKEA Group is one of the world’s largest buyers of FSC-certified wood in the retail sector, and 41% of its wood was FSC certified or recycled in FY14. All wood was sourced from suppliers that meet the IKEA forestry standard.
  • The share of cotton from more sustainable sources used in IKEA products reached 76%, meaning farmers use less chemicals and water, whilst increasing their earnings. IKEA is on track to reach its goal of 100% by the end of August 2015.
  • 47% of managers are women.
  • The IKEA Foundation donated €104 million in 2014 to projects that support millions of children in some of the world’s poorest communities.

“Sustainability is a key driver of innovation and an integral part of our business strategy. We see it as a great opportunity to improve our business. That’s why we’ve set ambitious 100% targets, for example for our LED lighting range, important raw materials and renewable energy. We are determined to grow IKEA while also having a positive impact on people and the planet,” Peter Agnefjäll, President and CEO, IKEA Group.

“Through our People & Planet Positive strategy, we want to make IKEA completely sustainable. I’m proud to say that we’re making good progress in transforming the supply of key materials, with over ¾ of our cotton and 41% of our wood now from more sustainable sources, and we’re investing in renewable energy to bring us closer to our goal of being energy independent. And by making energy- efficient LED affordable and attractive, we’ve enabled millions of people to live a little more sustainably,” Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group.

*FY14 = Financial year 2014 period is September 1, 2013 – August 31, 2014.
**Dollar to Euro calculated at $1.12, January 24, 2015.
*** This total does not include recent commitments made in FY15 which bring the total to 279.

IKEA US FY14 Highlights

  • IKEA installed additional solar energy systems to more US locations in FY14, with nearly 90% of our buildings outfitted with solar panels. IKEA announced two new stores; Merriam and Miami would open with solar panels. The IKEA Canton, Centennial, and Stoughton stores had their solar energy systems expanded by at least 25%. The IKEA Perryville and West Hampton distribution centers completed phase two of their solar panel installation.
  • The IKEA Merriam store will also have geothermal technology, a heating and cooling system.
  • In April 2014, IKEA US made its first wind farm investment in the US with the purchase of Hoopeston Wind in Hoopeston, IL. When completed, this project will generate enough safe, pollution-free energy to power approximately 30,000 US homes.
  • In the last 18 months, we have dropped the price of our E26 400 lumen bulbs (dimmable and non-dimmable) from $9.99 to $4.49 in order to make LED affordable for the many people; offering the lowest price on the market.
  • For more information on IKEA US community and environment programs, please read here:

About IKEA Group

The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. There are currently 315 IKEA Group stores in 27 countries. Additionally, there are 40 IKEA stores run by franchises. There are 40 IKEA stores in the US. In FY 14, IKEA Group had 716 million visitors to the stores and 1.5 billion visitors to IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, please visit,, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA,,,,

The IKEA Sustainability Report FY14 is available at on each country site (under About IKEA, People & Planet).

National Center President and CEO Gary Davis to Testify at First Senate Indian Affairs Committee Hearing of 114th Congress

Davis is among five witnesses who will discuss Indian Country priorities for the 114th Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (the National Center) President and CEO Gary Davis will testify at the Senate Indian Affairs Committee’s first hearing of the 114th Congress this afternoon on Capitol Hill. The hearing, entitled “Indian Country Priorities for the 114th Congress,” will also feature representatives from the National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Education Association, and the National Indian Health Board. Mr. Davis testified at a similar hearing last June during the National Center’s Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in DC, and the Indian Affairs Committee held a listening session at RES Wisconsin in October.

“There are many challenges in Indian Country, but also many opportunities,” said Davis. “It’s an honor to be able to share our experiences with the distinguished members of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. As the National Center is proving, Indian Country is creating its own business opportunities, but there are ways in which the federal government can be a better partner. I look forward to continuing to work with the Senators and their staffs as they work to implement these important provisions.”

Some of the items Mr. Davis will discuss in his testimony include:

  • Fully implementing and enforcing the Buy Indian Act, including increasing procurement awards by 10%.
  • Enhancing and elevating the Office of Native American Affairs within the Department of Commerce and Small Business Administration.
  • Increasing funding for relevant Native American offices within the Departments of the Interior, Treasury, Commerce, and other agencies.
  • Achieving parity, through appropriate legislation, in Trust Land acquisition, New Market Tax Credit Allocations for Community Development Entities serving Indian Country, Energy development and investment on Indian lands, and tax treatment.

In addition, Mr. Davis is in Washington while the National Center is co-hosting the “Women and Energy” luncheon at the American Petroleum Institute. Energy has been a large focus of the National Center’s outreach, and is a frequent topic at its RES events. The next event – National RES in Las Vegas – is will take place from March 9-12. The topics discussed in Mr. Davis’s testimony will be prominently featured at Indian Country’s premier business networking event. For more information about RES, please visit

About the National Center:

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With over 40 years of assisting American Indian Tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development – we have evolved into the largest national Indian specific business organization in the nation. Our motto is: “We Mean Business For Indian Country” as we are actively engaged in helping Tribal Nations and Native business people realize their business goals and are dedicated to putting the whole of Indian Country to work to better the lives of American Indian people- both now… and for generations to come.

Darlene Slaughter Joins United Way Worldwide as Chief Diversity Officer

Alexandria, VA – United Way, the world’s largest privately-supported nonprofit, has appointed Darlene Slaughter as Chief Diversity Officer. Slaughter is leading efforts to expedite and advance US diversity and inclusion strategies, partnerships and initiatives working closely with community-based United Ways, as well as corporate and community partners.

“Darlene is a proven leader in integrating accountability and strategic focus to improve diversity and inclusion in the workforce,” said Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. President, United Way Worldwide. “We’re excited to tap into the expertise and experience Darlene brings from the corporate sector to effectively lead United Way’s continuing efforts to build a stronger workplace that values equal opportunities for all.”

Prior to joining United Way Worldwide, Slaughter served as the Principal Consultant and Chair of Linkage’s Institute for Leading Diversity and Inclusion where she trained corporate leaders on developing and leading diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. Before Linkage, she led an integrated strategy to utilize and support the talents at Fannie Mae and designed the first Executive Diversity Council as its Chief Diversity Officer.

“My vision and also a challenge as the Chief Diversity Officer at United Way Worldwide is to come up with a strategy that is simple yet comprehensive and relevant to all United Way markets,” said Slaughter. “I want to create synergy by connecting the marketplace, employees and affinity groups to uplift the work that United Way is doing to build strong communities across the nation.”

Slaughter’s work in diversity and inclusion has been recognized in various ways. She has won many awards and honors including SAVOY’s 2012 Top 100 Influential Women in Corporate America, Profiles in Diversity Journal’s list of Women Worth Watching, Black Enterprises’ Top Executives in Diversity and Heart & Soul’s Women of Substances in Finance. She is also a frequent speaker on topics such as changing management, women’s initiatives, financial literacy, leadership development and concepts on diversity and inclusion.

Slaughter holds a M.S. in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development from American University and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Howard University.

Rosetta Comet Exploration Team Earns 2015 John L. “Jack” Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration from Space Foundation

To be Presented at the 31st Space Symposium Opening Ceremony


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 27, 2015) — During 2014, the remarkable success of the Rosetta Comet Mission, led by the European Space Agency (ESA), fascinated followers around the world. In recognition of this astonishing accomplishment, the Space Foundation will present the Rosetta Comet Exploration Team with the 2015 John L. “Jack” Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration.

“The 2015 Swigert Award recognizes the ESA-led Rosetta Comet Team’s successful, 20-year mission of exploration, which traversed more than six billion kilometers through the solar system before arriving at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014, and successfully placed the Philae lander on the surface of the comet on November 12, 2014,” said Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer Elliot H. Pulham. “Both Rosetta and Philae accomplished all science objectives, despite the extreme difficulty, complexity and risk profile of the mission.”


While not the first spacecraft to visit a comet, Rosetta was the first to orbit one and the first to send a lander to a comet’s surface. Rosetta’s instruments are studying the comet from orbit, and it is hoped that Rosetta’s findings will help scientists uncover some of the mysteries about how our solar system was formed.

The 2015 Swigert Award will be presented April 13 during the opening ceremony of the 31st Space Symposium at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA. The ceremony is co-sponsored by Northrop Grumman, and the award is given annually to the person or organization that has made the most significant accomplishments in advancing the exploration of space during the previous year.

About the Award

The John L. “Jack” Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration honors astronaut Jack Swigert, a Colorado native who served with retired U.S. Navy Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., and Fred Haise on the legendary Apollo 13 lunar mission, which was aborted after the perilous rupture of an oxygen tank en route to the Moon. People around the world watched as NASA overcame tremendous odds to return the crew safely to Earth. Before joining the Apollo program, Swigert was a combat pilot for the U.S. Air Force in Japan and Korea and an engineering test pilot for North American Aviation, Inc., and Pratt and Whitney. In 1982, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but died of cancer before taking the oath of office. The Space Foundation, founded in 1983 in part to honor Swigert’s memory, created the Swigert Award in 2004 in tribute to his lasting legacy of space exploration.

Previous Swigert Award Recipients:
2014 No award
2013 NASA Mars Science Laboratory Mission Team
2012 NASA Kepler Mission
2011 No award
2010 The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Mission Team
2009 NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander Team
2008 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
2007 The California Institute of Technology
2006 NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
2005 NASA’s Mars Exploration Team from JPL NASA Mars Science Laboratory Mission Team

About the Space Symposium

The Space Symposium is the annual gathering of all sectors of the global space community, to be held April 13 – 16 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Visit for secure online registration and complete conference information.


a.i. solutions; Aerojet Rocketdyne; Airbus Group; Arianespace, Inc.; Artel LLC; Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.; Colorado Space Coalition; El Pomar Foundation; Inmarsat; Intelsat General Corporation; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Northrop Grumman; Orbital; Raytheon; Scitor; Space Generation Advisory Council; Spincraft; SSL; Stellar Solutions; United Launch Alliance (ULA). Aviation Week, Satnews and SpaceNews are media partners.

About the Space Foundation

Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium, in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.” Space Foundation World Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a field office in Houston, and conducts government affairs from its Washington, D.C., office. It annually publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space Certification and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, and read our e-newsletter Space Watch.

The International Rescue Committee Adds Highly Regarded Sector Leaders to Senior Team as Organization Begins to Implement New Strategy

  • New Leaders from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and International Rescue Committee To Join IRC Leadership Board
  • Team Will Play Key Role in Implementation of New Five-Year Strategy

NEW YORK, Jan. 26, 2015 – The International Rescue Committee (IRC) today announced that it is expanding its Leadership Board, adding three sector leaders as the organization begins to roll out a new global strategy.

Ciarán Donnelly, who has served in a series of domestic and international roles since joining the IRC in 2001, will become the organization’s Vice President, International Programs. Jodi Nelson, who previously served at the IRC, will rejoin as Senior Vice President, Policy and Practice. Nelson currently is the Director of Strategy, Measurement and Evaluation at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And Amanda Seller, who currently serves as Head of Private Fundraising for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, will become the IRC’s Senior Vice President, Revenue.

“Those we serve need the very best,” said IRC President and CEO David Miliband. “We are thrilled that these sector leaders are joining our team and our efforts to continue to meet the needs of the millions worldwide whose lives have been shattered by conflict and disaster.”

According to Miliband, Nelson, Seller and Donnelly will assume key roles in guiding the organization as it implements an ambitious global strategy developed during the past year in collaboration with IRC staff and sector experts. Built on the organization’s existing strengths, the new strategy is designed to help the IRC – and the sector – meet the evolving needs of the world’s refugees and displaced people with increasingly evidence-based, higher-impact and more cost-effective programming.

The new leaders bring a unique mix of major accomplishments, knowledge and experience to their respective roles:

Ciarán Donnelly, Vice President, International Programs

As Vice President, International Programs, Donnelly will oversee IRC’s humanitarian field operations in more than 30 countries, as well as the organization’s response to new emergencies as they arise. Donnelly joined the IRC in 2001, having previously worked for the Irish humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide, and has extensive overseas experience in East Timor, Burundi, Uganda, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Jodi Nelson, Senior Vice President, Policy and Practice

As Senior Vice President, Policy and Practice, Nelson will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for IRC program technical units – including Research and Evaluation, Advocacy and Strategic Communications worldwide. Nelson joins IRC after six years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she was the organization’s head of strategy, measurement and evaluation, working across program areas in global health, development, advocacy and U.S. education.

Nelson has an especially relevant connection to the IRC’s new strategy given that she built and led the organization’s global Research and Evaluation team from 2001 to 2008. Her intellectual leadership and innovative efforts to bridge the gap between academic research and field programs started IRC on the path it is currently on to become a leader in evidence-based policy and practice.

Amanda Seller, Senior Vice President, Revenue

In her role as Senior Vice President, Revenue, Seller will lead the evolution of the IRC’s financial and public engagement efforts with an emphasis on private fundraising. With global oversight of five major functions and as key spokesperson, she will play a critical role in developing, articulating and communicating the future vision of the organization. During her six-year tenure at UNHCR, Seller led fundraising programs in 27 countries and a six-fold increase in UNHCR’s private income.

In the coming weeks, Nelson, Seller and Donnelly will join the following as members of the IRC Leadership Board:

  • George Biddle, IRC executive vice president
  • Danusia Dzierzbinski and Pamela Kournetas, co-CFOs (acting)
  • Madlin Sadler, senior vice president of operations and strategy
  • Jennifer Sime, vice president of U.S. programs
  • Carrie Simon, general counsel
  • Jane Waterman, IRC Europe senior vice president


The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. Every year, the IRC resettles thousands of refugees in 22 U.S. cities. Learn more at and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.

More Than Half Of Individuals And Families In The U.S. Now Eligible For Free Tax Preparation And Filing Assistance

Nonprofit Partnership Kicks Off the 2015 Tax Season with Nation’s First Free Online Tax Assistance Initiative Available in All 50 States and the District of Columbia

ROCKVILLE, MD — More than half of individuals and families in the United States earned $60,000 or less last year, making them eligible to receive free tax preparation and filing assistance this tax season. Unfortunately, many of these families are unaware of their options and may pay, on average, more than $200 to file their federal and state tax returns. is the first free online platform that can be used to file federal and state taxes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Offering free English and Spanish tax support, MyFreeTaxes provides qualifying filers access to tax coaches for in-person, self-preparation assistance. The online tool allows taxpayers to self-file for free using a simple step-by-step process that includes free telephone, email and online chat support from IRS-certified volunteer specialists. More than 47 million people self-prepared their tax returns last year, a six percent increase from 2013 filing data, according to the IRS. There are many free options for filers; however, since 2009, MyFreeTaxes is the first nationwide initiative that has enabled millions of individuals and families to claim billions of dollars in tax credits and refunds.

“Making sure that free tax preparation assistance is available to everyone who qualifies provides a valuable service to the taxpayers who need it. These free tax education and assistance programs can also help to ensure that people get the tax credits they qualify for, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. We certainly appreciate our partners who offer these services to taxpayers,” said Dietra Grant, director of Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication, Wage & Investment Division, Internal Revenue Service.

Funded by the Walmart Foundation and operated in partnership with Goodwill Industries International, the National Disability Institute and United Way, MyFreeTaxes works with filers to maximize their refunds and help eligible families and individuals claim valuable tax credits to keep more of their hard-earned money and invest in their futures.

“Providing greater economic opportunity for American families is a priority for the Walmart Foundation,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. “We’re excited to partner with leading nonprofits to offer MyFreeTaxes, a free tax-filing service for those who are eligible. We expect MyFreeTaxes will help return billions of dollars in total tax refunds, credits and tax preparation savings this year to many American families.” is an interactive resource for information regarding tax preparation, valuable credits including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and personal finance, as well as access to free, in-person tax preparation sites. This partnership is made possible through the collaboration of nearly 1,000 partners including colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and state and local government agencies. In 2015, the partnership launched an improved filing experience and customized data reporting for its community partners.

Personal finance columnist, best-selling author and financial speaker Patrice C. Washington is the national brand ambassador and spokesperson for Washington has written three books and is a regular contributor on the Steve Harvey Morning Show. Washington supports MyFreeTaxes as an easy-to-use tool for tax filers to save money and ensure their maximum refunds. The availability of in-person tax coaches and a toll-free helpline provides filers with added confidence that they will not be alone during their filing experience.

About MyFreeTaxes

MyFreeTaxes provides free federal and state tax preparation and filing assistance, both online and in person, to individuals and families with household incomes of $60,000 or less in 2014. is the first free online platform that can be used to file federal and state taxes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for those who qualify. The national initiative is funded by a $4.1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation and championed by three leading nonprofits: Goodwill Industries International, the National Disability Institute and United Way. To learn more visit or follow us on Twitter @MyFreeTaxes and find us on Facebook at MyFreeTaxes.

About Philanthropy at Walmart

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts that draw on the strengths of Walmart in the arenas of sustainability, economic opportunity, and community. As part of our commitment to creating a more sustainable food system worldwide, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States. They recently exceeded a $2 billion goal to fight hunger one year ahead of schedule and have donated more than 1.5 billion pounds of food to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit

All-Star Team to Judge at Food Challenge Prize Presented by The Food Lab at The University of Texas at Austin

Industry Leaders From Across U.S.A. Will Help Award $30,000 to Food System Innovators

AUSTIN, Texas — As Showcase Day approaches on February 14, 2015, The Food Lab at The University of Texas at Austin announces an all-star lineup of judges who will decide which teams take away $30,000 in cash awards at the first-time Food Challenge Prize. A panel of 14 judges, representing a wide range of industries from technology, venture capital, culinary education, start-up incubation, marketing and social entrepreneurism, have signed on to review the 21 finalist teams narrowed down from a pool of more than 120 entrants last summer. The Food Lab Challenge was launched in 2014 to encourage innovation at all primary touch points of the global food system including agriculture, distribution, packaging and consumption.

The Food Lab’s advisory team recruited leaders and innovators from throughout the United States such as Steve Wanta, global program director for Whole Planet Foundation; David Palmer, president and CEO of PreMark Health Science; Caleb Harper, director of development of MIT’s CityFARM group and Elise Golan, director for Sustainable Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Austin leaders of note include Claire England, the new executive director of Central Texas Angel Network; Molly Bray, a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin and Aimee Olson, executive chef with Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. For full list of judges, click here.

“I’m honored to be part of this exciting new program on the future of food and inspired by the entrepreneurs devoted to their ideas. The innovation we’re seeing here could surface game-changing solutions for improving our food system,” said Marissa Duswalt, a judge and registered dietitian from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Twenty-one teams from Texas, Massachusetts, California and Georgia, including one student team, have been working with select industry mentors since November in preparation for Showcase Day.

Prizes will be awarded in four food system categories: 1) Healthy Eating; 2) Inputs and Production; 3) Processing, Packaging and Safety; and 4) Storage and Distribution, along with one Grand Prize winner.

Showcase Day for the Food Lab Challenge is free and open to the public on Saturday, February 14th, 10:30am – 4:00pm. The Norman Hackerman Building is at 100 E. 24th Street; map, parking information, RSVP, etc. via link here. Local food entrepreneurs such as Third Coast Coffee, Noble Pig, East Side King, Austin Beerworks and Honest Teas will provide food and beverage samplings throughout the day; live music from Bonfire Choir will take place later in the afternoon.

For more information on the Food Lab Challenge Prize, please visit the website.

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