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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: May 2015

In Wake of Major Climate Votes At BP And Shell, How Will Chevron Shareholders Respond Next Week?

Nearly Unanimous Votes for Greater Climate Transparency to Be Followed by “Tougher” Resolution at Chevron Shareholder Meeting on May 27th

SAN FRANCISCO, CA///May 21, 2015/// The 2015 shareholder season has seen record-high votes by shareholders at BP (98 percent) and Shell (99 percent) seeking greater disclosure of climate-related risks. On May 27th, Chevron shareholders will meet to address a more ambitious shareholder resolution from As You Sow and Arjuna Capital. The filers are asking Chevron to increase dividends to shareholders rather than continue outsized spending on high-cost, high-carbon projects, including Arctic drilling, tar sands, and other ‘unconventional’ fossil fuels, that are increasingly likely to be stranded.

“Chevron’s continuing to pour billions into finding and developing remote, high-cost, high-carbon reserves is increasingly imprudent,” said Danielle Fugere, president and chief counsel at As You Sow. “Shareholders are no longer willing to trust Chevron’s business as usual, head-in the-sand approach to the clear structural challenges facing the industry. Record-high project costs, decreasing and volatile oil prices, competition from low-cost alternatives, and global climate change are increasing the likelihood that Chevron’s high priced reserves will end up stuck in the ground while billions in shareholder capital is wasted.”

As You Sow CEO Andrew Behar said: “While we don’t expect to see the same kind of vote results that were achieved with the climate disclosure resolutions at BP and Shell, we do think it’s important to ask the tough questions and educate the board and shareholders about the fact that Chevron is on an economically unsustainable path. Chevron has lost money in 9 of the last 10 quarters due to poor capital investment decisions. The bottom line here is that shareholders lack confidence in the company’s direction and we don’t think that we have a climate competent board capable of innovative thinking, therefore the capital is better spent as dividends than wasted by stranding more assets.”

The As You Sow/Arjuna Capital resolution goes beyond calling for more transparency, focusing instead on the urgent need for action. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has cautioned: “No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 degrees Celsius goal needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.”

“Profitability is suffering now as Chevron spends unprecedented amounts of investor capital looking for expensive, high carbon oil in remote corners of the earth,” said Natasha Lamb, director of Equity Research & Shareholder Engagement at Arjuna Capital. “Big Oil will not make money the same way it did last century. Chevron faces two physical truths – there is only so much easy-to-get oil in the ground and only so much carbon we can pump into the air. The next hundred years will be defined by these limits. Winning companies will focus on shareholder value, returning a greater percentage of profits to shareholders rather than risk investor capital chasing every last drop.”

Despite increasing concern about the risk of stranded assets, Chevron and other oil majors collectively spend over $700 billion annually to find and develop new fossil fuel reserves — and they are finding fewer barrels of oil at higher cost. Goldman Sachs notes: “In the past two years no major new oil project has come on stream with production costs below $70 per barrel, with most in the $80-100 dollar range, raising the risk of stranded, or unprofitable, assets.

According to a 2014 Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) report, 26 percent of Chevron’s future project portfolio (2014-2050), representing $87 billion, requires at least $95 per barrel for a break-even price, and 14 percent requires a price of $115 per barrel. By the end of 2025, CTI expects high-cost, unconventional projects to represent 36 percent of Chevron’s potential future production.

Shareholders are concerned that, as Chevron digs deep to replace its oil and gas reserves, it is increasingly putting its profits in jeopardy. Profitability has been decreasing in recent years. From 2011 to 2013, while capital and exploratory expenditure increased 44 percent, Chevron’s net income dropped 20 percent. During that same time, Chevron’s debt more than doubled from $10.15 billion to $20.43 billion. Chevron’s spending surge has even drawn the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which demanded disclosure from Chevron about whether its recent capital expenditure jump will increase and affect the company’s liquidity.

For the full text of the As You Sow/Arjuna Capital shareholder resolution, go to

A detailed background memo on the resolution is available online at


As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. For more information visit

Arjuna Capital is the sustainable wealth management platform of Baldwin Brothers Inc., an SEC-registered independent financial advisory firm established in 1974. For more information visit

Brandeis University Goes Conflict-Free

$4 Million Annual Electronics Purchase Policy to Support Peace in Congo

May 21, 2015 – Student activists are celebrating the announcement from Brandeis University of a new policy to ensure computers and other electronic equipment they purchase are not connected to killing, child abductions, and sexual violence in the mining sector of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Spurred by an international student movement called the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, the procurement policy requires that the makers of all of the university’s most commonly purchased electronic equipment be surveyed to determine possible connections to illegal mining and smuggling in eastern Congo by violent armed groups.

Annie Callaway, Senior Advocacy Associate at the Enough Project, said: “The Brandeis resolution shows how far the conflict-free movement has come. Brandeis is the 19th school worldwide to change its procurement policy to favor companies working to make their products conflict-free and support the livelihoods of Congolese miners and their communities. Thanks to the hard work of students leading the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative at Brandeis, the university has taken an important extra step by committing to survey companies on their conflict mineral policies. This proactive industry engagement by Brandeis will further amplify the call for products made with conflict-free minerals sourced from eastern Congo.”

Gina Gkoulgkountina, Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) student leader at Brandeis, said: “After 3 years working to pass a conflict-free procurement resolution, I am proud to see Brandeis joining the growing community of schools actively supporting peace in Congo. Working with the Library and Technology Services, procurement and administration staff to achieve this has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I am confident Brandeis will implement this critical policy in a thorough, responsible manner.”

Lisa M. Lynch, Ph.D., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at Brandeis University, said: “From the beginning, a special characteristic of Brandeis students has been how profoundly they care about people around the world and taking action to address problems. Today, I am extremely proud of our students and their initiative to address the human tragedies caused by conflict minerals. After advocacy by our students who are involved with the Enough Project, our policy committee agreed that the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative is consistent with Brandeis University’s commitment to social justice and voted unanimously to make Brandeis a Conflict-Free Campus. We will use the new policy to hold our suppliers and vendors accountable to these standards.”

Brandeis spends an estimated $4 million annually on computers and other products that are potentially affected by the new “conflict-free” policy. The resolution builds momentum for statewide conflict minerals legislation in Massachusetts.


For media use, short version: “The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention research and policy group.”

The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress aiming to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, Central African Republic, Somalia, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research in conflict zones, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. For more information, visit


An initiative of the Enough Project’s “Raise Hope for Congo” campaign, the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) draws on the power of student leadership and activism to help support peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By encouraging university officials and stakeholders – both of whom are large purchasers of electronics and powerful spokespersons – to commit to measures that pressure electronics companies to responsibly invest in the minerals sector, students are voicing the demand for conflict-free products from Congo. Comprehensive reform is needed in Congo to bring about sustainable peace – now is the time is for students to lead the conflict-free movement. Join us:

Atlanta Based Coffee Company Hooks Caffeine-Fiends with Its Coffee-Cause Hybrid Business Model

ATLANTA, GA (May 21, 2015) – Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, according to a recent Huffington Post article. How many of those cups help create better lives for people? Cozzee™, a hybrid word for coffee and a cause, is the new, socially conscious way to buy and consume specialty coffee. The company is leading the way for a new movement that gives 100% of profits to charitable organizations.

Launching today, Cozzee, offers fresh, direct trade coffee from the best producing regions of the world, while simultaneously having a global social impact.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit
  2. Select coffee preference. Choices include: pour-over/drip, French press, cold brew or espresso from various top-producing regions in the world
  3. Select a charity from one of seven different cause categories. Choices include: Water & Wells, Food & Farming, Shirts & Shoes, Health & Healing, Rescue & Restore, Shelter & Stability, and Justice & Jury
  4. Check out and expect your freshly roasted coffee in 48 hours

Cozzee coffee is world class, specialty grade, roasted to order coffee made only with the top 10% of Arabica beans available. Prices start at $15.95 for a 12oz bag, with $2-$3/per bag sold going to the charities. Cozzee’s coffee source and charities rotate on a seven week basis.

Cozzee’s initial charities are:

“Cozzee’s goal is to produce a universally valued product in a socially responsible manner and then offer consumers the opportunity to see their purchase have a positive impact on the world,” said Garry Williams, CEO and co-founder of Cozzee. “Coffee is a natural product choice and at the end of the day, we and our customers are making a direct and meaningful change in the world. Cozzee makes a real difference, one cup at a time.”

Cozzee image

Cozzee’s impact, and that of its consumers’ purchases, can be easily understood by their transparent and clearly spelled out donation affiliations. For example, a two-bag purchase with a charity selection of “Food & Farming” gives a fruit tree to a farming family need; a three-bag purchase with a charity selection of “Shelter & Stability” helps provide a bed for a family that was recently homeless; and a two-bag purchase with a charity selection of “Rescue & Restoration” provides school fees for one survivor of human trafficking.

Through affiliating with global causes, Cozzee brings the charities they support and the people those charities serve to life. Consumers know exactly how much they are helping and just where their money is going. It offers a profound connection between cause and effect for people who could otherwise, just buy coffee from the store.

Cozzee was founded by Garry Williams. With a dynamic background in global business strategy, marketing management and business development, and a strong desire to connect people with worthy causes, Williams developed this unique and powerful paradigm. His hope is that Cozzee will leverage an amazing coffee experience to create positive change in the world.
For more information and to purchase, visit:

About Cozzee

Cozzee is a for-profit organization that gives 100% of its profits to charitable organizations around the world. Cozzee sells fresh, fair-trade, world-class, freshly roasted specialty grade coffee. For each purchase, a customer can select an organization from one of seven categories to receive the direct profits from his/her purchase. Each affiliated cause has identified a specific project to benefit from Cozzee’s contributions. Causes change every seven weeks. Cozzee can be found online, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Governors Give Back Big Money to Washington While Unemployment, Poverty Continues for their Citizens with Disabilities

Bethesda, Maryland —- States around America returned millions of dollars to the federal government that could have been used to enable people with disabilities to get jobs and careers. This is despite the fact that 70% of people with disabilities are out of the workforce, and disability benefits and healthcare are costing billions to taxpayers.

Vocational rehabilitation and workforce development programs, when resources are allocated to proven best practices, can enable people with disabilities to secure stable employment. In 2012, vocational rehabilitation agencies helped 177,172 Americans with disabilities get jobs and careers. These programs operate by having the federal government match nearly $4 for every $1 that is spent by the individual states. However, if the states fail to spend the money or come up with matching funds, then the funds go back to the federal government.

“Denying capable people with disabilities the opportunity to get jobs and careers harms them and wastes tax money,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President of RespectAbility. “It also hurts employers who are missing out on the real talents that people with disabilities can provide them.”

RespectAbility has been meeting with governors across the country to share concrete evidence that enabling people to work is a win-win-win for people with disabilities, employers and taxpayers alike. They have partnered with other national disability groups on a toolkit to help states use the most cost effective programs to help more people with disabilities to achieve the American dream.

The leadership of governors is vital to enabling people with disabilities to get into jobs and off government benefits. A key example of leadership in action is Governor Jack Markell of Delaware and his efforts through the National Governors’ Association. In 2012, the NGA launched the Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities initiative. This effort focused on building partnerships between state governments and employers to create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

One in five Americans has a disability and most people with disabilities want to work, just like everyone else. Some employers miss out on hiring job applicants with disabilities due to negative stigmas and persistent myths. However evidence shows that people with disabilities can be outstanding employees, leaders within companies, and are extremely loyal workers. State vocational rehabilitation programs are just one way of ensuring that people with disabilities can achieve the American dream.

Below is a list of states that have had to return money to Washington that was allocated to them from the federal government to enable their citizens with disabilities get and maintain jobs and careers.


Currently, there are 622,600 Georgians with disabilities between the ages of 18 to 64. Sadly, only 31% of those with disabilities between the ages of 18 to 64 are employed compared to 71% of people without disabilities. In 2014, Georgia gave back $42,581,367 to the federal government. This is money could have been used to help Georgians with disabilities get jobs. Governor Nathan Deal has spoken about employment for all and the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency has been developing partnerships to bridge the gap. Just this year, the state legislature gave an increase of $900,000 which will enable the agency to better serve people with disabilities. VR is also partnering with the Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental, the Technical College System of Georgia, the University System of Georgia, and the Dept. of Juvenile Justice. Such partnerships will help to better serve youth with disabilities. There are 40,300 youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 to 20 in the Peach State. Georgia Vocational Rehab has created pathways to serve these youth through things such as inclusion programs at KSU and Columbus State, as well as the High School/High Tech transition program. Georgia has also been host to multiple Project SEARCH sites. This program serves students and young adults with intellectual and development disabilities by connecting them with work experience and skill building during the final year of high school. Project SEARCH exemplifies best practices and is one that other states ought to emulate.

For in-depth data on Georgia, disability and employment click here.


With the small population and limited state resources in Idaho, people with disabilities face big challenges in finding a job. There are 99,100 people with disabilities between the ages of 21 to 64 in Idaho. The employment gap between them and those without disabilities has increased 2.3% between 2010 and 2011.Only 36.7% of working age people with disabilities in Idaho are employed. The problem is magnified for the 7,100 people between the ages of 16 to 20 who have disabilities—most of whom want jobs. Despite these challenges, the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has been working hard to serve clients with the resources they have. In 2014, their efforts helped 1,978 individuals with disabilities to obtain, maintain or retain employment. However, Idaho had to return $736,206 to Washington that could have been used to help the people of Idaho achieve independence and a better quality of life. While Governor Butch Otter of Idaho has signed legislation amending the language of the Idaho code to eliminate discriminatory language, this loss of resources has cost Idahoans with disabilities opportunities and kept more of them on government benefits.

For in-depth data on Idaho, disability and employment click here.


There are 418,400 people with disabilities between the ages of 21 to 64 in Indiana and only 33.8% of them are employed. This number contrasts with the 76% of people without disabilities in Indiana who are working. Vocational Rehab has contributed to 4,729 people successfully securing jobs, and many more want the opportunity to succeed. Despite this the state, under Governor Mike Pence, returned $14,500,000 to the U. S. Department of Education in 2014. This loss of resources has limited Indiana’s ability to help youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20 get a foot in the door to a life of employment, independence and success. There are 25,000 such youth with disabilities in the Hoosier State and each year a quarter of them will age out of school and into an uncertain future. As in other states, Indiana has seen credible results by putting best practices into place. Young people with disabilities in Indiana have opportunities for work and independence through Project SEARCH sites at 9 different employers. This school to work transition program is a cost-effective and impactful method for states to better serve people with disabilities.

For in-depth data on Indiana, disability and employment click here.


Under Governor Terry Branstad, Iowa has been improving their capacity to successful transitioning its residents with disabilities into the workforce. There are 169,300 working age people with disabilities in Iowa and they are well served by the progress their state has made. As it stands, 44.5% of Iowans with disabilities are employed, slowly closing the gap with the 82.1% of Iowans without disabilities who are employed. Such progress is improving the prospects of youth with disabilities in Iowa. Currently, there are 12,500 youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20 and each year a quarter of them will be looking to take advantage of the many opportunities that have become available. Vocational rehabilitation programs have proven helpful in securing 2,244 jobs for people with disabilities.

Iowa is an example of a state that had initially failed to spend its full federal match but has since worked to maximize available resources. In 2014, Iowa failed to spend $2,314,114 for its general population and $596,085 for blind individuals. However, with strong leadership from Governor Branstad and David Mitchell, Director of Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation, things are looking up. Iowa is now receiving full federal funding. Iowa should serve as a model for the rest of the nation on how utilizing resources is a win-win-win for states, taxpayers and people with disabilities. In Iowa, their vocational rehabilitation agency has even experienced success in employing people with vision impairment at 82% which is the second in the nation.

Speaking about his state’s efforts, David Mitchell said that his agency had “…worked collaboratively with the Governor’s Office and the legislative branch and are expected to draw down full federal funds for this budget cycle.” Iowa VR’s success built upon support from a “a multi-system effort occurring leveraging funds and resources through various efforts to provide financial and technical assistance to community providers and direct service staff across the state promoting employment and a better bottom line for business.”

For in-depth data on Iowa, disability, and employment click here.


In Kansas, there are 182,000 working age people with disabilities, 41% of them have been able to find work. While this better than the national average, the Sunflower State under Governor Sam Brownback still has room to improve outcomes for its residents with disabilities. Indeed, 79% of the state’s non-disabled population is employed so the labor force participation gap is massive. In 2012, vocational rehabilitation was able to obtain jobs for 1,619 out of an applicant pool of 6,803 people with disabilities. However, the Brownback Administration gave back $7,500,000 to Washington that could have been used to drive better outcomes and enable more people with disabilities to get jobs. There are 11,300 young people with disabilities in Kansas who will be entering the workforce in the near future. They should not be abandoned at this critical moment.

For in-depth data on Kansas, disability, and employment click here.


Kentucky has received millions of dollars to find employment solutions for people with disabilities generally, and in particular for people who are blind. However, the state returned $6,078,400 for its general vocational rehabilitation fund as well as and $1,071,668 from its services for people who are blind. In Kentucky only 26% of working age people with disabilities has work. This is one of the lowest percentages in the country. This is in stark contrast to the 73.7% employment rate for people without disabilities. There are 399,100 Kentuckians between the ages of 21 and 64 with disabilities who deserve the opportunity to pursue the dignity and independence of work. This includes the 67,000 Kentuckians who have a visual impairment. These statistics represent a troubling future for youth with disabilities living in Kentucky. Of the 21,400 people with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20, fully a quarter of them will leave school each year to face an uncertain future in the workforce. Fortunately however, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has cultivated strong collaborations with community partners and major employers for programs around Louisville, Kentucky. At the Best Buy Distribution Center and the UPS Transitional Learning Center, Kentuckians with disabilities have been able to achieve the goal of competitive, integrated employment. The success of such partnerships represents a solid foundation of success. This good work should be supported with resources to expand further opportunities and serve more people with disabilities.

For in-depth data on Kentucky, disability, and employment click here.


People with disabilities in Louisiana under Governor Bobby Jindal have not experienced any tangible growth in moving toward an integrated workforce. There are 366,600 working age people with disabilities in Louisiana. Most of them have yet to gain the chance to demonstrate their potential as they are only employed at a rate of 31.8% compared to the 75.5% of their non-disabled peers. The gap between workers with disabilities and non-disabled workers has increased by 2.9% between the years of 2010 to 2011. In 2014, however the Jindal Administration returned $17,583,295 to Washington that could have been used to help the people of Louisiana. By not adequately supporting their job efforts for people with disabilities, the state was only able to successfully connect 2,012 people with disabilities to employment. This loss of funding also means that many of the 22,900 youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20 in Louisiana will not receive the support that they need.

For in-depth data on Louisiana, disability, and employment click here.


Vocational rehabilitation in Michigan helped to obtain 7,816 jobs for people with disabilities, but they had to return $19,558,448 to Washington because they failed to come up with the local match. People with disabilities living in Michigan only have an employment rate of 29% compared to the 73.4% of those without disabilities. There are 684,000 in working people with disabilities in Michigan and there are 48,500 youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20. These youth need better support as they age out of school and move towards entering the workforce.

However there is good news in Michigan and it speaks to the vitality of leadership at the State level. Governor Rick Snyder has hosted summits about jobs for people with disabilities and is reaching out the businesses to inspire business-to-business best practices. Michigan Lieutenant Governor Kelly and Justice Richard Bernstein have been leading “Hidden Talent Tours” to discuss the value of people with disabilities to local chambers of commerce. Additionally, the state is launching pilot programs to improve and change how transition services, especially for youth, are provided. They are also hosting an orientation for Federal contractors regarding Section 503 and disability hiring. Key funding is needed to build on this success.

For in-depth data on Michigan, disability, and employment click here.


In Missouri, there are 449,660 working age people with disabilities. Like other states, there is a substantial employment gap between people with disabilities and those without disabilities. The employment rate for non-disabled residents is 77.1% while, the rate for employed people with disabilities is only 33%. RespectAbility has met multiple times with Governor Jay Nixon and he express interest in work on these issues. However, the challenge of Ferguson has occupied his attention. There is hope yet that he will make creating jobs for people with disabilities, a priority in Missouri. Last year, The Show Me State gave back $2,000,000 to Washington that could have been used to enable people with disabilities in Missouri to get jobs.

For in-depth data on Missouri, disability, and employment click here.


Nevada has experienced success in helping people with disabilities due to the outstanding leadership of the professionals at the Nevada Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. There are 171,600 working age Nevadans with disabilities and they have been able to find gainful employment at a rate of 39.2% which is well above the national average. However, this compares with the 73.1% people without disabilities who are employed so there is still progress to be made. Governor Brian Sandoval signed an executive order to provide greater opportunities for Nevadans with disabilities. Nevada possesses several inclusive employment sites at PEPSI, Starbucks and Office Depot that should be held up as models of success and the state is in a position to build on that strength. The program at Pepsi has recently received a prestigious award recognizing the work enabled by Nevada Vocational Rehab. However, in 2014 Nevada returned $5,200,000 to the federal government that could have been spent to enable Nevadans with disabilities to get and keep jobs. Connecting job seekers with disabilities to in-demand job sectors is one critical way to achieve better outcomes. For example, hospitality, with gaming and tourism, is responsible for 300,000 jobs in Nevada. New progress has proven that people with disabilities can be model employees in this high turnover industry. RespectAbility recently hosted a webinar on this topic.

For in-depth data on Nevada, disability, and employment click here.


In Ohio, the workforce participation rate of people with disabilities has remained fairly low at only 33.8%. Compare that number with the general population without disabilities who are employed at a rate of where 75.9%. There are 812,500 working age Ohioans with disabilities and of those who are vocational rehabilitation clients, 3,510 were able to find jobs. Governor John Kasich made Ohio an “Employment First” state by decree and there are several model programs, including Project SEARCH, which originated in Ohio. However, progress has been hampered by the fact that the state returned $18,215,538 to Washington. This hurts economic prospects for people with disabilities–especially the 50,300 Ohioans between the ages of 16 to 20 by not continuing to fund these vocational rehabilitation programs.

For in-depth data on Ohio, disability, and employment click here.


Pennsylvania has made partial progress toward improving the employment rate of people with disabilities, but there is still much to achieve before it can arrive at the level of where it should be. There are 831,700 working age Pennsylvanians with a disability and only 33.9% of them have a job. 23,729 people with disabilities applied for jobs through the vocational rehabilitation system but only 9,939 jobs were obtained. Last year, Pennsylvania returned $4,086,378 to the Washington, which greatly limits vocational rehabilitation’s ability to serve people with disabilities. While campaigning, Tom Wolf spoke about the importance of jobs for people with disabilities and there is a chance that improvements can be made to turn this hope into a reality.

For in-depth data on Pennsylvania, disability, and employment click here.


Governor Jay Inslee is working to make the state a model employer of people with disabilities. He is inspiring companies and making state government a model employer of people with disabilities. However, the population of individuals with disabilities living in Washington State is sizable and there are difficulties that remain in helping them to transition to independent living. There are 425,700 working age people with disabilities and within that population, 36.4% are employed compared to 74.7% of people without disabilities. Such limits cloud the future of the 25,400 people young people with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20. Washington State gave back $250,000 to Washington, thus limiting the ability of people to pursue the American dream.

For in-depth data on Washington, disability, and employment click here.


Of the states that have been listed above, Wyoming has come to the closest to achieving parity for people with disabilities entering the workforce. 79.4% of people without disabilities are employed and 50% of people who have disabilities are employed. While Wyoming is to be commended for that figure, the state still returned $858,951 to Washington that could have been used to enable more people with disabilities to find and succeed at work. From 2001-2012 Wyoming used this pot of money to draw down funding to help support their Wyoming Business Leadership Network, which eventually operated in 9 communities and made extensive business training and education possible. Part of the good reason for higher levels of employment in this state is due to assistance given to Wyoming businesses to assist them in the hiring and retention of individuals with disabilities. This funding was eliminated in 2012 and has been a tangible loss to this state’s impact on the employment numbers for people with disabilities. Even with a small population and limited resources, Wyoming can still make further and better progress for people with disabilities by reconsidering this use of funding to help their new Employment First Initiative and the one BLN still operating to make a difference moving forward.

For in-depth data on Wyoming, disability, and employment here.


In 2013, 1,156,000 individuals from ages 13 to 25 received $8.7 billion in Supplemental Security Income benefits. These young people face distinct challenges in transitioning to work and economic self-sufficiency. Resources need to be directed to programs that work, are cost effective, and give people with disabilities the ability to pursue the American Dream. To help them overcome these challenges, the Social Security Administration sponsored the Youth Transition Demonstration, which did not show as much promise as hoped. Results here.

However, Project SEARCH and Bridges to Work continue to get outstanding results for employers, people with disabilities, and taxpayers around the country. Experts on the front lines of this field find that it is also vital to partner with employers who have business-driven talent needs. Ideal partners for this include the United States Business Leadership Network, and their Affiliates in 26 states. Federal Contractors are also important partners because of new rules that they must be inclusive employers. Transportation issues must also be taken into account as many people with disabilities rely on public transportation.

The new Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act will provide states access to a pool of $17 billion a year to help create opportunities for people with barriers to work. Every state must have a pre-approved plan in place by March 2016 and once those plans are in place they will be frozen for four years. That is why it is vital for states to focus on best practices today. For a free webinar and toolkit on best practices go to

New Report Reveals Enormous Hidden Price of Jails

Vera Institute of Justice Research Shows How Price of Jails Significantly Exceeds Department of Justice’s $22.2 Billion Estimate

New York, NY – Hidden costs make jails far more expensive than previously understood, according to a new report released today by the Vera Institute of Justice, The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration. Because other government agencies, whose expenditures are not reflected in jail budgets, bear a large share of costs, the report finds that Americans significantly underestimate how much of their tax dollars are being spent on incarceration.

While the U.S. Department of Justice estimated that local communities spent $22.2 billion on jails in 2011, that figure fails to take into account significant costs such as employee benefits and inmate medical care that may not be included in jail budgets. For example, in addition to the $1.1 billion spent by the City of New York Department of Corrections in 2014, other agencies spent $1.3 billion on jail employee benefits, health care and education programs for incarcerated people, and administration, bringing the total cost to $2.4 billion—more than double the official jail budget.

“A look at who is currently in jail, and why, makes it clear that, after decades of rising numbers of people incarcerated, the costs of jail surely outweigh the benefits,” said Vera President Nicholas Turner. “Many local governments are now looking at how they too can help solve the problem of mass incarceration. And it is at this local level that there is a chance to make good on the oft-told promise of community reinvestment.”

Despite growing national attention to the large number of Americans confined in state and federal prisons, significantly less attention has been paid to local criminal justice systems, where over-incarceration begins. There are nearly 12 million local jail admissions every year—almost 20 times the number of prison admissions, and equivalent to the populations of Los Angeles and New York City combined. The report found that the high cost of jails is most directly tied to inmate population and associated personnel costs, rather than to misspent funds in any one particular budget area.

The report’s findings are based on surveys of 35 jail systems, representing small, medium, and large jails in 18 states from every region of the country, and representing 9% of the total jail population. The survey results confirm that determining the total cost of a jail is not a simple task, even for the agency that runs it. In documenting jail expenses—which in every case surveyed extended beyond the reported corrections budget—and who pays for them, the report finds that, by and large, local taxpayers foot the bill for jails, and the costs are much higher than most people realize.

“Jails are a tremendous public cost,” said Julia Stasch, President of the MacArthur Foundation, which supported the report. “This new report proves those costs are even higher than previously thought, adding urgency to the need for reform that addresses their overuse and misuse in fiscally strapped jurisdictions nationwide.”

In addition to developing a first-of-its-kind survey for jurisdictions to use that accurately measures all of the costs of running a jail, the report reveals:

  • Hidden jail costs typically fall into six categories: employee benefits, inmate health care, capital costs, administrative costs, legal costs, and inmate services.
  • The largest jail costs are those associated with personnel. Because these expenses are driven by jail population, jurisdictions that wish to lower their costs must take steps to reduce the number of people in jail.
  • Cuts to inmate programs and administrative costs have a relatively small impact on jail spending, because they don’t affect personnel.
  • Fees charged to inmates for phone calls, purchases, and medical services can be considerable for incarcerated people and often leave them in debt, but this inmate-generated revenue only recoups an average of 3% of jail spending.

The report, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, is a part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, a new initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails. Through the Challenge, the Foundation will make an initial five-year $75 million investment in local systems reform, research, experimentation, and communications in an effort to reduce over-incarceration in America. On May 27, the Foundation will announce twenty jurisdictions selected to receive support through the Challenge for efforts improve their local justice systems.

The full report, including detailed information about each surveyed jurisdiction, is in the attached PDF document (please disregard the “draft” and “not for distribution” language) and will be available online here:


Celebrating 50 Years Of Changing Lives

Community Action Partnership of Orange County Works to End Local Poverty during National Community Action Month


GARDEN GROVE, CA (May 20, 2015) – Each May, Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAPOC) marks National Community Action Month by mobilizing the community to work together in order to end local hunger and poverty.

Community Action Partnership of Orange County was established in 1965 to wage the war on poverty on a personal level within Orange County’s low-income communities by promoting self-sufficiency in order to ensure that all residents are able to live in dignity; by implementing innovative and cost-effective programs to improve the lives and living conditions of the impoverished; by providing support and instruction for everyone in need of assistance; and by being a major voice of reason in establishing welfare system reforms.

“Community Action Month is a wonderful time to honor and celebrate the impact Community Action has in the lives of families and communities across the country,” stated Alan Woo, Director of Planning Community Action Partnership of OC. “Agencies are successful every day in helping families achieve economic security. Given that the needs of each family and community are unique, Community Action is able to use a range of resources and programs to meet local needs in creative and impactful ways.” On Saturday May 2nd, Community Action Partnership of Orange County’s corporate partners, donors, volunteers, board members, and other non-profit and governmental agencies came together at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach to celebrate the organization’s 50th Anniversary of moving Orange County residents out of poverty.

Despite experiencing budget cuts, shrinking resources, and increased demands for services during these challenging economic times, Community Action Partnership of Orange County has been remarkably successful assisting the low-income veterans, senior citizens, families, children, students, and disadvantaged individuals of Southern California to achieve and maintain economic security. “Our staff is committed to their task of replacing disadvantages with opportunities because it is right, because it is wise, and because, in our hearts and minds we believe it is possible to conquer poverty in our lifetime,” noted Connie Jones, Chair of the Community Action Partnership of Orange County Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Southwest Community Center.

In celebration of Community Action Month, CAPOC will be hosting a series of activities: Their Community Partnership and Services Department will host a discussion on “Successful Lessons from Three Orange County Cities: Working in Tandem with Government and Community Advocates of a Healthy City”, Wednesday, May 27th (7:30-9:30 AM), at Northgate Gonzalez Market Corporate Offices (1201 N. Magnolia Ave., Anaheim CA 92801). Please RSVP to Marleen: 714-897-6670 x3404

The public is encourage to attend their Public Hearing on “Ending Poverty in Orange County” on Wednesday, May 27th at 4:00 PM at their CAPOC’s offices at 11870 Monarch Street, in Garden Grove.

You can also participate in National Community Action Month by volunteering with one of their programs: Packing food boxes to feed the hungry at the OC Food Bank; tutoring youth and helping seniors at their two Family Resources Centers; hosting a canned food drive; hosting a school supplies drive for their Backpacks for Success program; donating to CAPOC in support of their anti-poverty and community action programs; donating funds to help low-income residents to conserve energy; or by raising awareness that in Orange County more children are going hungry every day.

Reasoning Mind Wins Deloitte RightStep™ Innovation Prize

Deloitte recognizes Texas-based nonprofit for its innovation in technology and education with $100,000 cash award and the opportunity to receive $100,000 in pro bono services

NEW YORK, May 19, 2015 — Today Deloitte, as part of its ongoing commitment to developing tomorrow’s leaders, announced the winner of its RightStep™ Innovation Prize, Reasoning Mind, an organization committed to providing a first-rate math education for every child. Learning math skills has proven to be a critical step in preparing students for college. For example, studies show that students who complete at least Algebra II in high school are twice as likely to complete a four-year college degree.1 However, 74 percent of our nation’s 12th graders are not proficient in math.2 Reasoning Mind seeks to address this issue head on by changing the way students learn math skills. Deloitte’s cash award and pro bono services will help the organization scale their proven solution to reach more students across the country.

“Deloitte’s judges were impressed by Reasoning Mind’s dynamic online learning system which adjusts moment-to-moment to respond to student’s ongoing performance,” said Global Chief Innovation Officer John Levis, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. “However, this is not a standalone, off-the-shelf solution. Reasoning Mind offers the wrap around support for schools and teachers to help make sure their technology achieves results.”

Deloitte designed its RightStep™ competition, which launched in November, to recognize an innovative education solution with a demonstrated track record of success. Through the six-month process, Deloitte has engaged more than 100 Deloitte professionals and conducted three rounds of intensive screenings to narrow down the initial pool of 116 applicants. Deloitte selected the winner based on a number of criteria, including the organization’s commitment to underserved youth, its technology solution’s level of innovation, how scalable the solution is in terms of impacting target beneficiaries, and how the mission aligns with Deloitte’s education initiative.

Reasoning Mindimplements an interactive online math curriculum in partnership with school districts and provides robust teacher training to reinforce this innovative approach in classrooms. The organization, which currently operates in Texas, West Virginia and California, has a track record of success validated by 10 research studies including multiple evaluations that demonstrate increased student achievement on standardized math tests, improved attitudes towards mathematics and increased concentration rates measured by percentage of time students spend on task in math classrooms.

“We are honored and excited to be selected as the winner,” said Alex Khachatryan, co-founder and president of Reasoning Mind.

“We’ve seen not only tremendous growth over the last five years, but also tremendous impact and student outcomes as a result of our work. With Deloitte’s support, we know we can even further scale the reach of our effective programming to more students, transforming the way students learn math in schools.”

“Research shows that mathematics instruction in the U.S. requires a comprehensive approach to be successful. And, we know that math learning is a key indicator to future student success and achievement,” said Bill Copeland, vice chairman, U.S. Life Sciences & Health Care leader and Corporate Citizenship Education champion, Deloitte LLP. “Deloitte is focused on how to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders, and math learning is a critical part of the equation. We look forward to investing our resources and the time of our people to help advance Reasoning Mind’s effective solution and make it more accessible to students nationwide.”

For a complete overview of the prize including rules and regulations, please visit:

About Deloitte’s RightStep™ Programs

A classroom full of children or young adults is never just that – at Deloitte, we see a room full of CEOs, CFOs, doctors, public servants, and teachers to name a few. But we’re doing more than seeing their potential. We’re taking steps to help them achieve success. Through our RightStep™ programs, Deloitte is helping these children unleash their full potential by building confidence, inspiring leadership, fostering trust and taking the right steps to build brighter futures.

RightStep™ is part of Deloitte’s larger commitment to corporate citizenship. Deloitte’s corporate citizenship programs range from pro bono services and skills-based volunteering to nonprofit board membership, service sabbaticals, and a range of community involvement activities. Deloitte promotes a stronger economy and society by serving the public interest, building a culture of purpose, and inspiring leadership in others – within and outside Deloitte.

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a U.K. private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte’s more than 210,000 professionals are committed to becoming the standard of excellence.

150 Scholarships Available for SOCAP15, Applicants Eligible for Gratitude Awards

SOCAP (Social Capital Markets), the world’s largest conference on social enterprise and impact investing, announced they will award up to 150 outstanding entrepreneurs with a scholarship to attend SOCAP15 at The Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, California, on October 6-9th.

Applications for the Entrepreneur Scholarship Program will be accepted now through June 30th, 2015.

“Social entrepreneurs are the core of SOCAP,” said Kevin Jones, founder of SOCAP.

“Since our first conference in 2008, SOCAP has supported the most promising entrepreneurs with scholarships and, along with our growth, we have consistently increased the value offered through the SOCAP scholarship awards. Some entrepreneurs have found funding at SOCAP, some have found new partners or team members, others have launched new projects or startups influenced by their SOCAP experience.”

SOCAP15 Entrepreneur Scholarship Program recipients will receive the following:

  • Free SOCAP15 full conference pass (valued at $1395)
  • A ticket to Impact Accelerator @SOCAP
  • Hostel accommodations for the duration of the conference
  • Recognition and high visibility in the SOCAP program
  • Dedicated mentorship from notable impact leaders
  • Online entrepreneur and mentor community supported by StartGrid

The Gratitude Awards @SOCAP

For the second year, SOCAP will partner with The Gratitude Network to host The Gratitude Awards @SOCAP, recognizing innovative early stage social ventures in education, community development, and environment/sustainability. All SOCAP Entrepreneur Scholarship Program applicants working in these areas will be considered for the Gratitude Awards.

This additional award opportunity brings unique recognition and resources, in a year-long program that includes:

  • One year of hands-on mentorship in business strategy/execution and fund-raising
  • Designation of a well-known “super mentor”
  • Connections/introductions to influential business and social impact leaders
  • Corporate donations from several participating partners

The 2014 Gratitude Awards winners were selected from a pool of 500 applicants to the Scholarship Program, and awarded to LaborLink from Good World Solutions for Community Development, DrinkWell for Health and Wellness, and Springboard Collaborative for Education. Jail Education Solutions was awarded the Audience People’s Choice award.

“We will have a team of knowledgeable experts and leaders evaluating applications to bring to the SOCAP audience, identifying the most exciting ‘change-makers’ in the fields of community development, education and sustainability,” said Randy Haykin, co-founder of the Gratitude Network which produces the Gratitude Awards.

“As former Silicon Valley executives, our team recognizes the value of leverage. The goal for the Gratitude Awards is to identify social entrepreneurs coming to SOCAP who have the ability to impact the lives of millions with their organization and offering.”


SOCAP (Social Capital Markets) is a world-renowned conference series dedicated to increasing the flow of capital toward social good. Our annual flagship event in San Francisco is the leading gathering for impact investors and social entrepreneurs. We take a unique approach that emphasizes cross-sector convening and gathers voices across a broad spectrum to catalyze unexpected yet impactful connections. From the leading edge to established players, SOCAP brings together global innovators, investors, foundations, governments, institutions, and social entrepreneurs to build the world we want to leave to future generations. We actively seek out opportunities to accelerate the market at the intersection of money and meaning and, in pursuit of that goal, have convened more than 10,000 people since our founding in 2008. SOCAP is a convening platform operated by Mission Hub LLC (MissionHUB).

About the Gratitude Network

The Gratitude Network is a 501c3 non-profit foundation with a mission to seek out, mentor, fund, and empower entrepreneurs around the world to create lasting change in several key issue areas. In partnership with SOCAP, The Gratitude Awards recognize outstanding innovation and leadership in the social impact space, and are given to social entrepreneurs in the areas of education, community development, and environment/sustainability.

Medical Internships Abroad Gaining Popularity Among Students

Increasing numbers of North American students are choosing to travel and intern with Projects Abroad on medical projects in developing countries

NEW YORK – May 20, 2015 – As students across North America prepare for a busy summer, Projects Abroad is pleased to report that internship programs in the field of Medicine & Healthcare are becoming increasingly popular, especially among pre-med and high school students. This year, hundreds of students are choosing to spend their summer break abroad as interns, working toward adding valuable experience to their resumes and broadening their clinical, procedural, and cultural skills.

For pre-med and high school students, the experience of interning in medical facilities abroad is invaluable and helps gives them the confidence to pursue a career in medicine. Not only do they have the opportunity to learn new methods of diagnosis and treatment from local medical professionals, they get to observe illnesses and conditions not seen in North America. They also experience an environment where doctors and nurses work with limited resources and equipment.

A Projects Abroad Public Health intern helps check a child’s vitals under the supervision of a local doctor in Mexico

A Projects Abroad Public Health intern helps check a child’s vitals under the supervision of a local doctor in Mexico

“All in all, I had many life changing experiences in the hospital and expanded upon my current medical knowledge, learning things that I can bring back to America and help me tremendously. To be able to have had these experiences before I even graduate college is amazing and I am certain that I want to pursue a career in medicine,” shares Jenna C, a pre-med student and former intern at a hospital in the Philippines.

Rebecca K, a high school senior who volunteered on a summer program in Argentina, says “I learned more about medicine in the two weeks I lived in Cordoba than I could have ever imagined. I saw many surgeries including brain surgery, tumor removal, and even part of a long open heart surgery. The surgeons almost always offered to explain what they were doing and encouraged all of the students to have a closer look. It was amazing to be so close to such intricate procedures.”

The organization offers a variety of Medicine & Healthcare programs for interns in the fields of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Midwifery, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Nutrition, and Public Health, in more than 25 destinations across the developing world. These internships are built to suit varying levels of experience and interns can choose to join at any time, from one to four weeks or more. Projects Abroad also has an extensive range of worthwhile medical programs specifically designed for high school students.

For more information about Medicine & Healthcare internships with Projects Abroad, please visit For information about medical programs for high school students, visit

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 28 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at

Anti-Smoking Commercials Burn Out Over Time

An SDSU health researcher found that the CDC’s “Tips From Former Smokers” ad campaign had a short-lived effect.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (May 18, 2015) —  The massive, federally funded anti-smoking campaign “Tips From Former Smokers”—“Tips” for short—fizzled more than it popped. That’s the conclusion behind research published this week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by San Diego State University public health researcher John W. Ayers, along with a team of investigators at the Santa Fe Institute and University of Illinois Chicago.

In the new study the team was able to look at the first two years of the campaign for the first time by monitoring the nation’s internet search behavior. They used the contents of these search queries to infer whether Americans were searching for smoking-related diseases, whether they were thinking about quitting smoking, and when they were thinking about these topics.

The “Tips” campaign was produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has received more than $200 million in federal funding. Launched in 2012, “Tips” has run about a dozen commercials featuring a smoker who had suffered some costly and frequently shocking injury or debilitation as a result of tobacco use.

Some of the more graphic commercials highlighted people who had limbs amputated or required laryngectomies. Others showed people who suffered from asthma, stroke, or heart problems.

Does it work?

Yet, very little is known about the effectiveness of the “Tips” campaign.

“‘Tips’ is the nation’s most costly tobacco control initiative,” Ayers said. “We need to know if it’s working and have this knowledge in a timely fashion to make changes going forward.”

Collaborating with Benjamin Althouse at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico and Sherry Emery leader of the Health Media Collaboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the team delved into internet search data provided by Google. Using data corresponding to the precise timing of the campaign, they sought to find whether internet users’ searched more frequently for the risks being highlighted by “Tips” as a marker for engagement with the campaign.

For example, did searches for “smoking and asthma” or “does smoking cause asthma” and all queries for smoking and the risk increase during the campaign. Additionally, they looked to see whether internet users searched more frequently for topics related to quitting smoking, as a marker for campaign effectiveness.

During the first round of commercials in 2012, internet searches went up for more grisly risks like amputation or throat cancer resulting in a tracheotomy. But searches stayed flat for less visually shocking and better-known conditions such as asthma, heart attack and stroke. Internet queries for smoking cessation also rose by about 16 percent.

In the first half of 2013, “Tips” ran the same series of commercials as before, but this time they seemed less effective. The previous spike in searches related to the most gruesome and novel smoking consequences was cut in half, and on the whole there was no increase in smoking cessation related searches.

Gruesome gravitas

“Content that motivated people’s interest during 2012 only seemed to motivate them about half as much when presented with the same content again in 2013,” Ayers said. “The timing of these advertisements did not correspond to any increase in smoking cessation related internet searches.

In the second half of 2013, the CDC aired a new set of anti-smoking commercials focusing on diseases such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung diseases. In the wake of this new crop of advertising, Ayers and his team saw no increase in internet searches related to either the diseases or cessation.

“In 2013 ‘Tips’ stopped being effective,” Ayers said, “but we can improve the campaign to make it even more effective than when it began.

Reflecting on the campaign as a whole, he added that visually shocking commercials tended to prompt more internet searches, but that shock becomes less effective over time.

“Our analysis shows we can’t keep hammering on the same subject,” Ayers said. “For campaigns like ‘Tips’ to remain effective they need to be generating new content on new themes. If the same themes stopped resonating in 2013, can we really be expecting the current 2015 campaign to be working?”

Better campaigns

The good news? By analyzing internet search data in real time, anti-smoking advocates could tailor future campaigns to better respond to the public’s reaction.

Ayers noted that the campaign’s early successes indicate that the concept has potential, but that the CDC would be better served by harnessing big data sources like internet search behavior to stay on top of the campaign’s effectiveness. They could then modify the campaign’s messages to take advantage of commercials that appear to be working and stop spending resources on ineffective ones.

Thomas Novotny, an SDSU professor of epidemiology who is unaffiliated with the present study, said this method for teasing out the public’s interest in an idea using internet searches could be an important tool for public health researchers and officials.

“It’s a very new way of assessing people’s motivations, but it seems legitimate,” Novotny said. “It’s certainly worth looking at big data in this way.”

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