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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: April 2015

With 300 Million Signatures and Counting, Care2 Expands Network In 2015

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., April 22, 2015Care2, the largest social network of people standing together for good, announced today that its Petition Site has garnered 300 million signatures as the company expands its network of nearly 30 million users. Whether starting and signing petitions, learning about mindful living, or discussing ways to make an impact, Care2’s engaged user base continues to exemplify why the original place for online petitions continues to grow rapidly. The site has experienced over 300% growth in signatures since 2012.

Care2 also reached significant milestones in the first quarter of 2015, with:

  • 136% growth in signatures year over year.
  • 62% increase in monthly unique signers since the start of the year.
  • 105% increase in monthly first time signers since the start of the year.

“The online petition marketing is burgeoning, and Care2’s network is growing faster than ever because our shared value community stands together to support each other’s petitions and efforts to create impact,” Care2 CEO & Founder Randy Paynter said. “By standing together, our passionate global community is able to get results – it is precisely what sets Care2 apart from other petition platforms, and why our nonprofit partners continue to seek us out as they look to meet advocacy and fundraising goals.”

Care2 provides free, personalized support for petition authors to help amplify their message to the Care2 community and beyond. Care2’s experienced Campaign Team helps craft sophisticated campaigns, recruit signers, provide media training and conduct press outreach. Recent victories include a wide range of hyperlocal and national scale successes, including:

  • Texas Tech awarded a posthumous degree to a wrongfully convicted student.
  • The owner of a PA ice cream parlor sent its on-site caged bear to a sanctuary.
  • A Tennessee school pulled a cruel “African Safari” hunt from its annual auction.

For nonprofits, Care2’s behavioral targeting has matched organizations with millions of like-minded donor leads, resulting in an estimated $250 million in donations for nonprofits over the past three years. Care2 has recruited more than 40 million donor leads for nonprofits since inception in 1998.

“Our mission-meets-margins philosophy has helped us thrive by meeting the needs of more than 1,500 nonprofits, political organizations and brands that turn to our network to tap into its enthusiasm for achieving social good,” Paynter said.

About Care2

Care2, the longest running petition site, is a social network of nearly 30 million citizen activists standing together for good. Care2 helps individuals start petitions and make a difference in their community while helping over 1500 nonprofit clients recruit more than 40 million prospective donors worldwide. Care2 is a profitable B Corporation, or social enterprise, using the power of business as a force for good. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

GOT GUTS? Time to Get Your Bike Out and Get Your Guts in Gear — The Ride for Crohn’s and Colitis

Registration Is Now Open for the 2015 Rides in New York and Ohio

PEEKSKILL, NY — (Marketwired – April 22, 2015)Get Your Guts in Gear, The Ride for Crohn’s and Colitis, (GYGIG), has opened registration for its 2015 Rides. Now in its 12th ride season, GYGIG continues to create and produce unique cycling events that provide a supportive community of people from around the country who are affected in some way by Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or ostomy surgery. This year’s Rides will take place in New York’s Hudson Valley beginning and ending on West Point Military Academy on June 13th-14th and in Ohio on Sandusky Bay on August 14th-15th.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system. As many as 1.4 million American adults and children suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. 50,000 children are affected by IBD, and that number is growing.

GYGIG creates an environment where those impacted by these diseases — patients, family members, friends and caregivers — join cyclists and fitness enthusiasts as riders or crew to accomplish an important goal in a fun, challenging and energetic environment. Participants are given all the necessary tools to help them on their journey, including fundraising support, training advice, and assistance.

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“Our events are more than bicycle rides, and are unique in the IBD and ostomy communities” says Gary Beckman, Board President of Get Your Guts in Gear. “GYGIG creates a positive, life-altering experience for participants, many of whom are on a journey with this often invisible disease. We not only raise funds. We create a sense of community that inspires and empowers participants long after our events are done. “

“IBD is a serious lifelong condition for which there is currently no cure,” explains Dr. Anthony Weiss, an assistant Professor of Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where he has served as the Associate Director of the Gastroenterology Training Program, and Director of the Gastroenterology Clinic. “While everyone wants a medical cure for these diseases, GYGIG’s Rides, along with the empowerment and connections they create, help sustain a healthier, more positive way of living with these often isolating diseases today”.

There is a registration fee of $35 per day and a $325 fundraising minimum for all riders.There is no registration fee or fundraising minimum to volunteer on Saturday and a $35 registration fee and no fundraising minimum for Sunday volunteers.

In 2015, GYGIG will continue its mission of creating events and fostering experiences that inspire and empower people touched by digestive diseases, forming communities focused on well-being. This year’s Rides will benefit Get Your Guts in Gear, Inc., the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, and the United Ostomy Associations of America. These worthy charities have a wide reach within the targeted community.

About Get Your Guts in Gear

Get Your Guts in Gear – The Ride for Crohn’s & Colitis (“GYGIG”) is an independent, national, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that creates and produces cycling events to raise awareness of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and related conditions, and empower those affected. GYGIG also raises funds that benefit and support IBD and ostomy organizations and patient advocacy groups. Now in their 12th year, they have produced 25 rides in 6 states and donated more than $1.5 million to a number of organizations who are committed to providing advocacy, research, awareness and empowerment within the IBD and ostomy community.

To find out why it is more than a ride, please visit,

Nonprofits and Fraud: Are Leaders Too Complacent About the Risk?

Findings of New National Survey of Nonprofit Leaders Suggests They May Have a False Sense of Security When It Comes to Fraud Risk and Prevention

NEW YORK, NY — (Marketwired – April 22, 2015) – When asked to name their top challengers, leaders of nonprofits were most likely to say “raising funds in a competitive environment with higher expectations for ROI” (74%), “leadership capacity deficit” (54%) and “populating the board with the people with the right fit” (51%), according to the findings of Nonprofit Pulse, a new national survey of 103 nonprofit leaders by accounting firm Marks Paneth.

But only 1% named “fraud by staff” as a top challenge, according to the survey, which was fielded during the fourth quarter of 2014 and whose respondents included Presidents, Executive Directors, Board Chairs, Chief Operating Officers and Chief Financial Officers of nonprofits with annual revenues between $10 million and $100 million.

“On the one hand, it’s encouraging that nonprofit leaders are confident about the integrity of their staff. On the other, it’s probably worth asking whether they’re overlooking or actively not working to mitigate the risk of fraud,” said Michael McNee, CPA, Partner-in-Charge of the Nonprofit and Government Services Group at Marks Paneth. The practice serves approximately 150 nonprofit and government clients.

When asked, nonprofit leaders said they have established practices to reduce the risk of fraud: 85% of nonprofit leaders said that their organizations “have appropriate separation of incompatible duties”; 84% have a “clear code of ethics” that is emphasized throughout the organization; and 72% employ background checks upon hiring.

However, only 20% of leaders said their organizations have a “facilitated fraud risk assessment process.”

“The practices that the majority of nonprofits have in place may in fact just be ‘table stakes’ and probably do not go far enough,” Mr. McNee said. “Fraud at nonprofits is arguably much more common than most organization leaders would suspect.” A third party analysis of federal filings that shows that more than 1,000 nonprofits said they had discovered a “significant diversion” of assets between 2008 and 2012(1). And another study concluded that nonprofits and religious organizations accounted for one-sixth of all major embezzlements, placing the nonprofit sector second only to financial services(2).

When pressed, nonprofit leaders said that there are significant issues when it comes to preventing and identifying and instances of fraud. Many leaders — 43% — said the cost associated with facilitating fraud risk assessment represents a real challenge in that regard. And almost a third (32%) admitted that background checks only go so far in prevention, as many fraudsters are first-time offenders. Further, 37% of financial officers listed collusion as a top challenge to preventing fraud, compared with only 5% of other executives.

“We believe it’s worthwhile for nonprofit executives to ask themselves if they are overlooking fraud risks. It’s easy to do, because one often doesn’t see fraud as a problem until it happens, and, importantly, most nonprofits are not taking the risk assessment steps that would reveal how potentially vulnerable they actually are,” Mr. McNee said.


The Nonprofit Pulse: A Leadership Study from Marks Paneth represents the findings of a survey of nonprofit leaders in the United States. The 103 professionals participating in the research include Board Chairs, Presidents, Executive Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Treasurers, Chief Operating Officers, Development Directors, Vice Presidents and Board members and are with organizations with annual budgets between $10 million and $100 million. The research employed self-administered questionnaires completed online by respondents. The national list of professionals surveyed was compiled by Marks Paneth LLP, the research sponsor, and by Michaels Opinion Research. Interviews were completed during the period of November 12 to December 31, 2014.

About Marks Paneth

Marks Paneth LLP is an accounting firm with more than 550 people, including over 70 partners and principals. The firm provides public and private businesses with a full range of auditing, accounting, tax, consulting, trade remediation and valuation services as well as litigation and corporate financial advisory services to domestic and international clients. The firm also specializes in providing tax advisory and consulting for high-net-worth individuals and their families, as well as a wide range of services for international, real estate, media, entertainment, nonprofit and medical practice clients. The firm has a strong track record supporting emerging growth companies, entrepreneurs, business owners and investors as they navigate the business life cycle.

The firm’s subsidiary, Tailored Technologies, LLC, provides information technology consulting services. In addition, its membership in Morison International, a leading international association for independent business advisers, financial consulting and accounting firms, facilitates service delivery to clients throughout the United States and around the world. Marks Paneth, whose origins date back to 1907, is the 35th largest accounting firm in the nation and the 9th largest in the mid-Atlantic region. In addition, readers of the New York Law Journal rank Marks Paneth as one of the area’s top three forensic accounting firms for the fifth year in a row.

Its headquarters are in New York City. Additional offices are in Washington, DC, New Jersey, Westchester, Long Island and the Cayman Islands. For more information, please visit

  1. Stephenson, Joe & Flaherty, Mary Pat. (2013, October 26). ‘Inside The Hidden World Of Thefts, Scams And Phantom Purchases At The Nation’s Nonprofits’. The Washington Post. Retrieved from
  2. Marquet, Christopher T. (2013, May 13). The 2012 Marquet Report on Embezzlement. Retrieved from

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol Celebrates 20 Years of Transforming Young Lives in New York and Beyond with 11th Annual Voices Benefit, May 14 at Gotham Hall

Honorees Are Lynn Nottage, Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright and Screenwriter, and Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association

NEW YORK, NY (April 21, 2015)The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis), the nationally recognized non-profit and youth development organization that provides multi-layered support, guidance and academic services to New York City area youth, will mark its 20th anniversary on Thursday, May 14 at New York’s Gotham Hall, with the 11th edition of its annual VOICES benefit.

More than 400 supporters and notables are expected at the event, which will salute two esteemed honorees: Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and screenwriter, Lynn Nottage; and Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association. The organization’s accomplishments over its two-decade history will be marked with inspiring reminisces and video featuring the organization’s leadership, staff and youth and alumni who represent the thousands of young people who have been guided to successful academic and professional lives by Bro/Sis. Also featured will be spoken word pieces from award winning alumnus members of Bro/Sis’s Lyrical Circle and The Peace Poets.

Founded in 1995 by Brown University seniors and New York City natives, Khary Lazarre-White and Jason Warwin, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol provides a comprehensive, long-term support to New York City youth, ages eight to twenty-one, out of its headquarters, a restored, four-story brownstone in West Harlem. Its services include an intensive four-six year Rites of Passage program, including five-day a week after-school care, counseling, summer camps, job training, college preparation, employment opportunities and international study programs in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

As a result of Bro/Sis’s dedicated work, 94% of its students have graduated high school (versus the 68% NYC number), and 95% are working full-time or enrolled in college. Due to the high-profile success of its evidence-based model, the organization has trained over 1,000 educators working in cities across the nation, and its leaders have been sought-after advisers for numerous government and private organizations, on policy related to youth development, mentoring, violence prevention and education.

The evening’s honorees, Lynn Nottage and Michele Roberts, are being feted for their support of the organization and positions as vital role models to the youth who participate in Bro/Sis’s programs.

Brooklyn-born Lynn Nottage graduated from Brown University and the Yale School of Drama before launching her meteoric career as a playwright, which has earned her honors including the Pulitzer Prize and the OBIE, for her best-known work, Ruined, as well as the MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship. Her works, which has included successful and award-winning plays including Intimate Apparel, Fabulations, or the Re-Education of Undine and Crumbs from the Table of Joy, often deal with the lives of women of African descent. Over the year, Nottage has taken her dramatic skill from the stage to the screen with her production company, Market Road Films, whose recent projects include The Notorious Mr. Bout, which premiered at Sundance in 2014 and 2013’s First To Fall. She is presently adapting her 2003 play, Intimate Apparel, into an opera with composer Ricky Ian Gordon.

As Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, Michele Roberts is the first woman to head a major profession sports union in North America. In this role, she serves as the primary advocate for all players, including serving as the lead negotiator in all collective bargaining activities. Raised in a housing project in the South Bronx, Roberts went on to earn her B.A. from Wesleyan University and legal degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. She began her career in 1980 at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, serving eight years and rising to the position of Chief of the Trial Division. Prior to joining NBPA, Roberts was a renowned trial lawyer and member of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s Litigation Group. For many years, she has routinely rated among the top in her profession, in articles and ratings from organizations including Legal Times, Chambers USA and Washingtonian Magazine, which called her the “finest pure trial lawyer in Washington, D.C.

“This year’s VOICES benefit is truly special, one where we mark 20 years of helping young people to transform their lives, in New York City and, increasingly, the world beyond,” said Khary Lazarre-White, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Brotherhood/Sister Sol. “After 20 years and documented results – it is no longer a theory. We help young people to change and transform their lives; it is what we do. When I reflect on two decades of work and achievement at The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, I am deeply moved by the personal stories and journeys of our young people. It has been a profound experience to watch so many youth become lovers of education, to come to define their own moral and ethical code – and to be involved in guiding them as they become politically aware. It is a dream fulfilled.”

“We’re also delighted to highlight the great work of our honorees, Lynn and Michele, at VOICES 11,” continues Lazarre-White. “These women represent the types of honorees we seek to celebrate – successful people who engage in work that is important to society and who create art that gives voice to vital social issues of the day.”

Past participants and supporters of VOICES included: Harry Belafonte, Mayor David N. Dinkins, entertainment figures such as Kerry Washington, Rosario Dawson, S. Epatha Merkenson, George C. Wolfe, Michael Ealy, Esperanza Spalding, Boris Kodjoe and Norm Lewis, journalists Soledad O’Brien, T.J. Holmes and Tamron Hall and prominent attorneys such as Theodore Wells and Elaine Jones. Fundraising co-chairs for VOICES 11 are Michael J. O’Brien, Senior Vice President and Secretary, Omnicom Group, and Craig Phillips, Managing Director of BlackRock, and his wife, Liz.

VOICES 11 will take place Thursday, May 14 at Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway (at 36th St.). Reception/silent auction begins at 6:30 pm, followed by formal dinner and awards presentation at 8:00 pm (Dress code: Festive Cocktail Attire).

About Brotherhood/Sister Sol:

Founded in 1995, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis) provides comprehensive, holistic and long-term support services to youth who range in age from eight to twenty-one. Bro/Sis offers wrap around evidence-based programming such as four-six year rites of passage programming, thorough five day a week after school care, school and home counseling, summer camps, job training, college preparation, employment opportunities, community organizing training, and month long international study programs to Africa and Latin America. Bro/Sis is locally based with a national reach as they publish assorted curricula and collections of our members’ writings; train educators from throughout the nation on our approach; and advise on educational policy, violence prevention and criminal justice reform across the country and New York City. Bro/Sis has earned national recognition for their evidence based model, receiving an array of awards, including from Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network Use Your Life Award, and honor from the Ford Foundation, Brown University, New York Women’s Foundation, the Fund for the City of New York, Union Square Awards, and the New York State Department of Education. More information:

Impact Makers Gifts Equity to Nonprofits In Order to Expand Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy

Impact Makers Hits $1 Million Impact Milestone

Richmond, Virginia, April 21, 2015 — Impact Makers has gifted the company’s equity ownership to two nonprofit organizations, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia and Virginia Community Capital. The company took this action, a first amongst social enterprises, in order to preserve and grow its philanthropic mission. The gift also is helping enable The Community Foundation (TCF) and Virginia Community Capital (VCC) to create funds that support charities and invest in B Corps and other companies with a social mission. The Community Foundation now owns 70% of Impact Makers and Virginia Community Capital has a 30% interest.

Impact Makers is a for-profit IT consulting firm that has realized significant growth, making the Inc 500 fastest growing companies list for three consecutive years. As a founding B Corporation, the company has focused on simultaneously helping to improve the community while supporting its clients’ success. Impact Makers has a very unique social impact business model which requires the company to contribute all of its profits over the life of the company as well as pro bono consulting services to charities in the communities that it serves.

The volunteer Impact Makers Board of Directors is retaining the governance of the company and will continue to select the company’s charity partners. Impact Makers announced today that it had achieved a $1 million milestone in its cumulative community impact of financial contributions and pro bono support since the company’s founding in 2006. The company’s CEO and Founder, Michael Pirron, also announced Impact Makers’ goal of creating a $100 million cumulative impact by 2024.

“I started Impact Makers with fifty dollars, a laptop, and one contract with the idea of living my values through my work,” said Pirron, Impact Makers CEO and Founder. “That idea now has grown into a successful consulting company where more than 75 people share those values. We are working together with a common mission of helping our communities by leveraging our business model. Now, we can take this even further by growing Impact Makers, and increasing our charitable support, while we also help to enable other socially minded companies to do the same.”

According to Jane Henderson, President and CEO for VCC, “We are excited about this transformational, generous gift and the opportunity it gives us to team up with other like-minded, mission based organizations – The Community Foundation and Impact Makers. VCC is looking forward to launching and leveraging the Impact Makers’ Social Enterprise Program, as it will enable us to cultivate and expand social enterprises, such as B Corps. This will ultimately help us enhance lives and communities across Virginia through debt, equity, and grants as we grow this innovative program.”

“In just nine years, Impact Makers has become a leader and model for success among social venture corporations in the Richmond region. Now, Impact Makers is breaking new ground in Virginia by having the confidence to fully commit to its mission by engaging with long term partners in The Community Foundation and Virginia Community Capital,” said Darcy Oman, President and CEO of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. “We are honored to play a part in ensuring that the company’s already impressive philanthropic legacy will continue in perpetuity.”

Bart Houlihan, Co-Founder of B Lab said “This is a true first in the B Corporation and social enterprise world – the gifting of an entire company to nonprofits so that those organizations can offer more philanthropy and fund more social entrepreneurs in their communities. We are thrilled to have two of our certified B Corps, Impact Makers and Virginia Community Capital, working together in this way.”

Impact Makers found the inspiration for its creation from Newman’s Own and its “all profits to charity” business model. “Paul Newman was among the first to promote the idea of businesses doing well by doing good,” shared Bob Forrester, CEO of Newman’s Own. “Impact Makers now has created a similarly innovative model that we hope other enterprises will emulate.”

About The Community Foundation

The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia was founded in 1968 to provide stewardship for permanent endowments that enhance the lives of area citizens. Since that time, the Foundation has grown substantially, reflecting both the vision of its leaders and the extraordinary philanthropic spirit of the people of Richmond and Central Virginia. Today, the Foundation is the largest of Virginia’s 27 community foundations.

Through our work, we strive to create a stronger and more vibrant region, now and for generations to come. We work with donors to build endowment, partner with nonprofits to address needs through grantmaking, and provide leadership on important community issues. Visit

About Virginia Community Capital

With offices in Christiansburg, Richmond, and Springfield, Virginia Community Capital (VCC)

can help businesses prosper by providing the innovative and flexible capital, investment opportunities, and advisory services they need. Beyond traditional financing options, VCC offers funding, expertise, and leadership vital to successful community projects, small businesses, and mission investments. In partnership with our for-profit CDFI bank, Community Capital Bank of Virginia, VCC offers loan capital and bank lending which help promote vibrant local communities throughout Virginia. Visit

About Impact Makers

Impact Makers is a management and technology consulting company based in Richmond, Virginia. The company provides services in Management and IT Consulting, Program and Project Management, Digital Services, Governance, Risk and Compliance, and Healthcare Solutions. Impact Makers is a for profit company that has gifted its ownership to the community and contributes 100% of its net profits to charities over the life of the company. Impact Makers’ charity partners are Rx Partnership, Family Lifeline, Peter Paul Development Center and FLiPM (Future Leaders in Project Management). Impact Makers also is a founding B Corp and received for the third consecutive year a Best for World designation. The company also has made the Inc 500 Fastest Growing Companies list for the past three years. See

Venture Hive and City of Fort Walton Beach Launch National Accelerator for Veteran Entrepreneurs

Applications Now Being Accepted for Summer 2015 Classes

Fort Walton Beach, Fla. – The City of Fort Walton Beach, Florida and Miami-based Venture Hive are partnering to create a new home for the veteran entrepreneurship movement with the launch today of a customized national accelerator for veteran-owned businesses.

Through this public-private partnership, Fort Walton Beach will enable Venture Hive to provide select veteran-owned tech businesses with access to their entrepreneurship education and training programs, and a relevant network to scale their ventures, driving the economic growth of the region. The City of Fort Walton Beach has allocated $500,000 to the initiative and will provide renovated space to house the Venture Hive Fort Walton Beach Accelerator.

Benefits of the program include a $25,000 non-equity grant, a world-class curriculum of highly practical workshops and training sessions, access to a collaborative working space in Fort Walton Beach for a year, mentoring from a vetted network of local, national and international entrepreneurs and experts, exposure to qualified investors and a Demo Day celebration on Veteran’s Day.

The first 12-week accelerator class will run from August 17 – November 11 in Downtown Fort Walton Beach. Applications for the class will be accepted from April 21 – June 1. The members of the first accelerator class will be notified on June 22.

“We are excited to partner with Venture Hive to launch this veteran business accelerator,” said Mike Anderson, Mayor of Fort Walton Beach. “Our area is home to Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, and the 7th Special Forces Group, among other specialized military-related organizations, so we have long been a center of innovation and cutting edge ideas tied to our military. With the launch of Venture Hive we will expand that innovation to cutting edge veteran owned businesses as well.”

This new effort will join exceptional veteran entrepreneurship programs from across the nation in supporting military veterans in their business endeavors. Unlike other programs, Venture Hive aims to help vetrepreneurs build large scale and global market companies that can take advantage of the innovative research already being conducted in the Fort Walton Beach area.

In addition to the full accelerator program, Venture Hive Fort Walton Beach will offer a unique pre-accelerator program to help veteran entrepreneurs begin to develop businesses that are still in their early phase of development. The program is made possible by the support of Gulf Power and other regional business leaders.

The first 12-week pre-accelerator class will run from July 18 – October 12. Applications for the class will be accepted from April 21 – June 1. The members of the first pre-accelerator class will be notified on June 22.

Venture Hive’s existing programs in Miami have shown a $7.3 million economic impact in less than two years of operation, with support from Miami-Dade County and the Miami Downtown Development Authority. The new Fort Walton Beach partnership will bring that impact to the city and to Northwest Florida, ultimately creating entrepreneurs, business growth, and job opportunities. A unique offering of this initiative is access to international opportunities, such as collaborations with entrepreneurs from more than 30 countries currently in other Venture Hive programs.

“We take great care in building individuals to reach their potential so they can execute on their visions – no matter how impossible it may seem,” said Susan Amat, Ph.D., founder of Venture Hive. “We are thrilled to support Fort Walton Beach’s economic development goals by doubling down on the incredible existing talent and resources of a city that offers both a wonderful lifestyle and great opportunity.”

The program is open to any veteran-owned business developing innovative web, mobile or technology product solutions to address a clear market need. To apply and learn more, visit


Revealed as one of 2014’s 10 Happiest Cities in America according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Research, the city of Fort Walton Beach rests in the heart of Florida’s famed Emerald Coast. Serving roughly 20,000 residents, city leadership and staff maintain a commitment to providing high quality, personalized services to visitors and residents while actively supporting the advanced technological pursuits of its military and business communities. To learn more about the coastal melting pot of Fort Walton Beach, visit or follow at


Venture Hive exists to energize, educate, and cultivate entrepreneurs at three levels of engagement. Venture Hive Accelerator and Incubator programs focus on connectivity and guidance for entrepreneurs and startups to maximize regional economic development impact. The Venture Hive Prep and Venture Hive U programs foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the K-12 and university levels. We offer institutions and communities efficient and effective turnkey solutions to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem based on sound educational principles. Learn more at

I LOVE NEW YORK Joins Tourism Cares as First State Agency Volunteer Member

Tourism Cares, the world’s largest tourism-industry volunteer organization, has mobilized major projects at Ellis Island, Coney Island and Fort Tilden

Albany, New York (April 21, 2015) — Empire State Development’s Division of Tourism/I LOVE NY has proudly joined Tourism Cares as a volunteer member, becoming the first state agency in the nation to sign on with the charitable arm of the travel and tourism industry. By bringing together individuals and organizations involved in the tourism industry to achieve focused objectives, Tourism Cares helps the industry maximize its giving and volunteering efforts. The organization, celebrating over 10 years of operation, has grown into the largest tourism-industry volunteer organization in the world.

ESD Division of Tourism Executive Director Gavin Landry said, “Tourism is one of the top industries in New York State. For 2014, we are projecting 227 million visitors, spending an estimated $62 billion and generating more than 852,000 jobs. We are blessed with thousands of natural, historic and cultural treasures and recognize that these are essential to our success. More importantly, we recognize our role as stewards of these valuable resources and are committed to preserving and protecting them for future generations while making them available to New Yorkers and visitors from around the world. We know that many members of our tourism community are looking forward to contributing to the work of Tourism Cares, both in New York State and in other destinations.”

Tourism Cares’ programs focus on industry-wide volunteer events across the country, from the restoration of the USS Iowa Battleship in San Pedro, California to clean-up work on Ellis Island in New York. In 2003, more than 300 tourism industry volunteers spent a combined 1,120 hours raking leaves, painting and cleaning up derelict areas on Ellis Island. Volunteers performed an estimated $300,000 worth of work at the National Park site, which is estimated would have taken a crew of 45 more than a year to complete. In May 2013, Tourism Cares celebrated its 10th year of programs by partnering with NYC & Company, the City of New York and more than 600 volunteers to restore areas affected by Hurricane Sandy at Coney Island and Fort Tilden.

“We are thrilled to have I LOVE NY as part of our community,” noted Mike Rea, Tourism Cares’ CEO. “It is the first state-level economic or tourism promotion agency to become a member and we are looking forward to working together to mobilize resources to give back to the destinations we love and, in many cases, improve the products that are our livelihood. The stronger our membership, the greater our impact can be. Working with I LOVE NY, we also hope to activate a regional network so that the smaller local entities can become more involved.”

The program also provides assistance with capacity building for nonprofit tourism sites, scholarships and mentoring opportunities. In addition, Tourism Cares’ efforts include advocacy and education across the travel industry. As a volunteer, members are offered the unique opportunity to work together within the industry to contribute to powerful outcomes. In addition, the informal networking and sharing of best practices with peer volunteers are invaluable.

The Alpha Workshops to Host Annual Awards on May 12th

Jamie Drake, Best & Company and Founding Board Members Will Be Honored as The Alpha Workshops Continues to Celebrate Its 20th Anniversary

NEW YORK (April 2015) – This year marks two decades of success for New York City-based non-profit The Alpha Workshops, an organization that provides creative HIV-positive individuals with industry-specific training and employment in the decorative arts. The 20th Anniversary celebration will continue with the annual Alpha Awards on May 12, 2015 at The Broad Street Ballroom in the Financial District.

The benefit will honor Alpha’s founding Board Members, Barry Head, Ellen Levy, Elinor Polansky and Barbara Small; Chip Brian and Michael Daddio of Best & Company; and Jamie Drake, in conjunction with the launch of the Alpha Workshop’s Scholarship Fund. For the first time, Alpha will introduce a specialized endowment to finance the tuition of incoming students, encouraging their studies in high-quality craft and focused artistry.

“All of our Alpha Awards honorees have given so much time and generosity to The Alpha Workshops,” says founder and Executive Director Kenneth Wampler. “It has been incredibly rewarding to work with such talented individuals over the past two decades and we are ever so thankful for their contributions. We look forward to another twenty years of changing lives through decorative arts education.”

Over 350 influential New Yorkers will come together in an effort to raise awareness and funding in support of The Alpha Workshops’ $300,000 Benefit goal. In addition to live and silent auctions, guests and supporters of the organization are encouraged to participate in an online auction, where bidding is slated to begin on April 28, 2015. Please visit for more information and an opportunity to bid on offerings including luxury travel, dining experiences, and home decor items, among others.

Sponsors of the 2015 Alpha Awards are: Event Co-Chairs Steve Symonds and Jonathan L. Raiola, Auction Co-Chairs Guy Clark and Jerry Austin, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Jamie Drake, Mary Fisher, Ellen Levy and Gregg Horowitz, and Steve Symonds.

The Alpha Workshops Gallery is located on the ground floor of 245 West 29th Street.

Please visit for more information.


Dedicated to creating beauty and changing lives, The Alpha Workshops is the nation’s only non-profit organization providing creative HIV-positive individuals with industry-specific training and employment in the decorative arts. Founded in 1995, the multi-faceted organization encompasses The Alpha Workshops Studio School (AWSS), a vocational school licensed by the New York State Department of Education, and Alpha Workshops Studios, an award-winning professional design and decorative arts atelier staffed exclusively by AWSS graduates. In March 2015, The Alpha Workshops opened its first exhibition of fabrications and finishes in its new storefront gallery below its school and studio space. The venue will serve as a multipurpose atelier, showroom, exhibit and event space. Alpha’s staff of artists also produce hand-painted wallpapers, custom built and hand-finished case goods, hand-fabricated lamps, and accessories made to specification and available through select showrooms.

Dream Foundation’s 5th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon will Raise Funds and Honor Dedicated Volunteers

Special farm-to-table luncheon at exclusive Santa Barbara County venue will celebrate vital community program that delivers hope and compassion to those in need

Santa Barbara, CA – April 2015 – Dream Foundation — the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness—will hold its 5th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon on Wednesday, May 13th. Net proceeds from the event are vital to supporting the volunteer-driven program.

“We are thrilled to share an afternoon with the community that has been instrumental to the program’s sustainability and growth throughout the past 19 years,” says Kisa Heyer, Dream Foundation Executive Director. “We are tremendously grateful to the businesses and individuals who generously donate their time, goods and services to make a difference in this community we cherish.”

The 5th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon will be held at an exclusive oceanfront meadow in Summerland, CA. The event will feature a luxurious outdoor setting complete with farm-to-table fare, exciting silent auction items, a raffle for a 7-day cruise, and wonderful surprises.

This year’s Flower Empower event will honor and recognize the following individuals:

  • Tim & Diane Brown, 2015 Flower Empower Sponsors
  • George & Lisa Hagerman, 2015 Flower Empower Sponsors
  • Lauren Nelson and Bill Bonds, Volunteers of the Year
  • Casey Slaught, Youth Volunteer of the Year
  • Jill Marie & Jean-Michael Carre, Chocolats du Cali Bressan owners, In-kind Donors of the Year

The Flower Empower program relies on dedicated volunteers who gather each week to deliver hope and compassion – in the form of fresh bouquets – to those in need. In addition to bouquets, flower recipients enjoy fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates and cards handmade by school children. In 2014, Flower Empower delivered, on average, 150 bouquets each week to recipients from Goleta to Ventura.

“We are looking forward to acknowledging those that have been fundamental to Flower Empower’s success,” says Heyer. “This program simply would not be possible without their devotion and efforts.”

Also in attendance and serving as hosts, will be NewsChannel 3’s Shirin Rajaee and Alan Rose. Rajaee and Rose are long-time and dedicated supporters of Dream Foundation, its mission and its programs, including Flower Empower.

Tickets to this event can be purchased online through the Dream Foundation website for $95. Tickets are limited to 225 attendees and the event is expected to sell out, so the public is encourage to act fast to take part in this unique event.

Flower Empower receives no federal or state funding, relying solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants. Dream Foundation hopes to raise awareness and its impact with its 5th annual Flower Empower Luncheon.

About Dream Foundation

The first and largest national dream-granting organization for adults, Dream Foundation enhances the quality of life for individuals and their families battling life-threatening illness. Dream recipients are those individuals who have been given a year or less life expectancy. Dreams range from basic need items, like a working stove, to bedside reunions and meaning experiences with children and loved ones.

Founded in 1994, Dream Foundation serves more than 2,500 dreams each year and relies on a network of volunteers, sponsors, and individual donors.

For more information, visit

1% For the Planet Announces New CEO

Network veteran Kate Williams tapped to lead network

Burlington, Vt.1% for the Planet, one of the world’s largest environmental networks, is excited to announce that Kate Williams, the network’s Director of Partnerships, will step into the role of CEO, effective May 1, 2015.

Williams has been part of 1% for the Planet since early 2014, following her nearly decade-long tenure as Executive Director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a 1% for the Planet nonprofit organization. Williams has dedicated her career to the stewardship of and advocacy for the outdoors, a commitment which is shown through her former role as Chair of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Board of Trustees. Since joining 1% for the Planet, her commitment has already led to the creation of new strategic and impact partnerships that have led to new opportunities for network engagement.

“We are thrilled to support Kate in her new role,” said Adam Forest, 1% for the Planet’s Chair of the Board. “Not only does her personal ethos align perfectly with the network’s mission to protect the places we work and play, but her professional success towards these goals has been well-demonstrated through her many years of achievement and recognition in the industry. We know the network is in good hands with Kate at the helm, and we look forward to the continued progress we know will come under her leadership.”

1% for the Planet was created in 2002 by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, as a way to connect environmentally conscious brands with likeminded businesses and nonprofit organizations. The network works with over 1,200 member businesses worldwide across all verticals, including: outdoor, food and beverage, business services, apparel, and more. The movement, which began with only 21 brands, has contributed more than $115 million in cumulative giving. The network now welcomes not only business members and nonprofit partners, but ambassadors, media partners, trial partnerships, and next, individuals through its soon-to-be-launched Blue Crew program.

“I truly believe in the 1% for the Planet model and the role business has to play in creating a healthy planet,” said Williams. “We have a strong internal team, a powerful network of member companies and nonprofit partners, and amazing collective potential to increase our scale and positive impact. With only 3% of current philanthropy going to the environment, 1% for the Planet’s cultivation of a global network of corporate environmental philanthropy couldn’t be more important. I am honored to lead this organization into its next chapter.”

Williams will replace interim CEO John Tashiro who had stepped into the role following former CEO Terry Kellogg’s departure in 2014. The transition will begin in April, with the role becoming official on May 1.

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