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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: September 2015

1% for the Planet Urges Consumers to “Make Waves”

Environmental network launches campaign to raise awareness of vital water issues

BURLINGTON, VT.1% for the Planet, one of the world’s largest environmental networks, kicks off a new campaign this month, “Make Waves,” calling for individuals to pledge to join the network’s businesses, nonprofits and ambassadors in their quest to protect the planet’s valuable water sources and increase access for all. The pledge encourages everyone to make small changes in the name of protecting our planet while raising awareness for water as an important environmental issue.

By 2030, global demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 percent. That means that we all need to start making smart decisions today that will change the future of our Earth. By pledging to “Make Waves,” consumers agree to join 1% for the Planet members like Klean Kanteen, Pura Vida Bracelets, and Finlandia Vodka in making conscious choices that impact our planet’s water resources.

Interested individuals can begin with four simple steps:

  • Reduce plastic use. Use only what you need, and avoid using plastic, including microplastics, when you can. Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation has found microplastic pollution in roughly 95 percent of the water it has sampled from oceans, rivers and lakes worldwide. Toxins like DDT and BPA adhere to these plastic particles, which enter the food chain when ingested by small marine life. Microplastics come from sources including drink bottles, microbeads manufactured for facewash and toothpaste, and microfibers shed from nylon clothing in the washing machine. Read labels, carry a vessel and buy wisely.
  • Give a dam. Do you know how many deadbeat dams there are that, if removed, would bound rivers back to life and give salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds? Check out DamNation for the story and see for yourself. The science is indisputable: connectivity and cleanliness support healthy ecosystems, sustainable food sources and wildlife. You have the power to help make it so and invite your one to do the same.
  • Live on the edge. Nothing reminds us of our natural resources like long walks on the beach, coastline, riverbank, lakeshore and water’s edge. Thinking about the life it sustains is one thing, appreciating the moment is another. When you’re out there, pick up the trash you see and join the #Litterati on Instagram. Coastal development, water quality, marine, debris, reefs, coastal erosion, clean watersheds, rising sea and access are all at stake. It’s worth a moment to reflect and protect.
  • Worship your water. On average, 70 percent of global fresh water is used for agriculture. You know what’s the thirstiest? Livestock. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into producing a single pound of beef. In contrast, soy tofu produced in California requires a mere 220 gallons of water per pound. Have a Meatless Monday dinner party as soon as possible and don’t forget to eat sustainable seafood!

“Water is the most important resource here on our planet, and there’s no denying we as a society need to change our ways to ensure its availability for future generations,” said Kate Williams, CEO at 1% for the Planet. “We are fortunate to have some incredibly passionate and activated nonprofit and business leaders on the water issue within our network, and we are excited to inspire and enable individuals to join the movement alongside them with our ‘Make Waves’ pledge.”

Water matters to all of us, regardless of who we are or where we live; yet, less than one percent of the planet’s water is fresh and accessible. By joining the pledge, consumers can help increase that number, joining the network’s businesses, nonprofits and ambassadors in their work to protect natural resources while raising awareness for future replenishment. Through the “Make Waves” pledge, 1% for the Planet invites everyone to do what he or she can to work towards a solution, because our planet needs us all.

For more information on 1% for the Planet and details on how to join the pledge, visit

Peer-Reviewed, Innovative Type 1 Diabetes Research Being Done By Promising New Scientists

San Diego, CA, September 1, 2015 – One of every hundred Americans has type 1 diabetes (T1D). Millions of children and adults struggle with this autoimmune disease. Yet, funding has decreased for research to prevent, cure, and better manage the disease. Of the funding available, 97% goes to established scientists. Early-career scientists are often the source of radical new ideas but have difficulty finding money to support them, forcing many to leave the field of diabetes research.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) created a platform which connects donors directly with early-career scientists, enabling them to perform research designed to prevent and cure T1D, minimize its complications, and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease.

Scientists submit their projects to a panel of over 80 leading diabetes experts who review it for innovation, feasibility, value, and achievability. As established scientists, DRC’s panel of experts donates their time and expertise to encourage the next generation of diabetes investigators to push the envelope.

The time from application to funding can be as little as 12 weeks, compared to 18 months for many research grants. In 2015, 100% of research funds go directly to the scientists’ lab. To ensure transparency, each researcher provides updates on their project, posting final outcomes on DRC’s website.

Alberto Hayek, M.D., co-founder and president of the Diabetes Research Connection and world-renowned diabetes expert believes that the lack of funding for early, discovery-stage projects is one of the biggest problems in research. “With DRC, we are giving scientists the resources to test and validate research that departs from conventional thinking, because the opportunity to pursue new paths is when and where breakthroughs occur,” says Hayek.

Dr. Todd Brusko from the University of Florida received $50,000 through DRC to begin working on his project titled, “Can we engineer a patient’s immune cells to stop the autoimmune attack that causes T1D?”

“In six months, my project has made remarkable progress. My lab isolated and expanded a rare population of regulatory T cells (Tregs) to a level that appears to thwart the autoimmune attack when the Tregs are re-infused into type 1 diabetes patients. I teamed up with biomaterial engineers to create nanoparticles which carry the necessary growth factors. Together we found a way to link these particles directly to the surface of the Tregs. My next step is to determine whether these cells are effective at preventing autoimmune disease in animal models,” says Brusko.

Ph.D. candidate, Kristin Mussar, from the University of Washington received $54,000 through DRC to begin working on her project titled, “Creating new insulin-producing cells to repair the damaged pancreas.”
“No other lab in the United States is currently researching macrophages to determine if this type of white blood cell, typically involved in fighting off viruses or colds, may help repair pancreatic beta cells. If successful, my project may lead to finding a molecule or drug that can be given to T1D patients to help them restore their body’s natural ability to produce insulin,” says Mussar.

DRC was established in 2012 by five tireless proponents of diabetes research. Dr. Alberto Hayek, emeritus professor from the University of California and Scientific Director at Scripps/Whittier Diabetes Institute in San Diego; Doctors Nigel Calcutt and Charles King, diabetes research scientists affiliated with the University of California; David Winkler, an attorney, entrepreneur and venture philanthropist who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six, and Amy Adams, a writer and business owner whose son has lived with type 1 diabetes for most of his life.

“As someone who has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years, and who has other family members and friends who have diabetes, I know firsthand how this disease impacts a person’s life and the lives of those around him or her,” says Winkler.

For more information please visit,, or connect with them on Twitter @DiabetesRsrch or

Atlanta Car Donation Provides Unemployed Veterans the Resources to Lead a Better Life

Unemployed US veterans receive a hand up thanks to the efforts of Veteran Car Donations in Atlanta.

Veteran Car Donations, an organization that has been working with a single-minded devotion for the welfare of U.S servicemen and servicewomen, is making an impact in the lives of unemployed US veterans. The Atlanta car donation organization is aimed at reducing the gap in service which the US Government is unable to bridge because of administrative and logistics reasons.

“We are firm in our belief that our valiant veterans have the right to a dignified life,” says the spokesperson for Veteran Car Donation. “We are here to look after the welfare of our military heroes, not merely through assistance but by empowering them. We help veterans acquire both technical and life skills by leveraging the power of our established partnerships and collaborations.”

This Atlanta car donation organization makes sure that every vehicle donation goes above and beyond. They have given the word ‘assistance’ a whole new meaning. Assistance means not merely fulfilling the basic needs of veterans but transforming their lives.

It is estimated that approximately 700,000 service men and women will soon join the growing list of unemployed servicemen as the peacekeeping assignments which the United States has with various troubled overseas countries come to an end. The heroes who have spent the prime time of their lives defending the honor and freedom of our country and ensuring that there is peace in other parts of the world will be back to their homeland but will have an uncertain future staring back at them.

According to the Atlanta Car Donation organization, urgent steps need to be taken by the Government, charities, and organizations with a commitment to social causes to make sure these veterans do not languish in the streets, pleading for basic needs of life such as food, clothing, shelter and medical care even after having given their best years to national duty selflessly.

Car owners from Atlanta are now having this wonderful opportunity to contribute to this humanitarian cause. They can make a difference to the lives of these veterans by contacting Veteran Car Donations and donating a car in Atlanta. They have made the process of donating a car in Atlanta and surrounding areas simple, hassle-free and quick. Intending donors just have to provide some basic information like the make and model of their car, their contact details and the physical location of the car.

Veteran Car Donations has a system in place which makes sure everything is handled smoothly and with a great degree of precision. They will arrange the towing service to pick up the car from anywhere in Atlanta. All the paperwork the donor may require for the purpose of filing for tax benefits are also handled by the organization and delivered to the donor.

Veteran Car Donation is committed to ensure US veterans live quality and dignified lives. They also care for the survivors of those heroes who have laid down their lives while responding to national duty.

For more information, visit

About Veteran Car Donations:

Veteran Car Donations is an organization committed to the welfare of US military servicemen and servicewomen. They want to make sure that veterans who have selflessly responded to the call of national duty have a dignified existence. Veteran Car Donations aims to bridge the gap of service which the government on its own cannot handle because of various reasons.

GeneSegues Therapeutics Announces Notice of Allowance from U.S. Patent Office Related to GS-10 Program in Solid Tumor Cancers

Newly Allowed Claims Demonstrate GeneSegues’ Innovation in Targeted Oligonucleotide Therapeutics

MINNEAPOLIS (08/31/2015)GeneSegues Therapeutics, a leader in the targeted delivery of RNA and DNA therapeutics in cancer and infectious disease, announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has issued a Notice of Allowance related to the company’s proprietary GS-10 program, for protection of claims that cover methods of inhibiting the targeted Casein Kinase 2 (“CK2”) enzyme in tumor cells.

This proprietary technology relates to the discovery that modified anti-CK2 single-stranded oligonucleotides encapsulated in non-viral 20 nanometer nanocapsules can be efficiently delivered to the perinuclear region of targeted cells in mouse tumor models, engaging RNAi and RNAseH mechanisms and significantly inhibiting growth of primary as well as metastatic lesions. These findings established the strategy of targeting the important CK2 enzyme using genetic cargo advantageously delivered to intracellular sites of action. “The company’s nanocapsule platform is differentiated from other delivery technologies in terms of size, structure, and versatility, and provides GeneSegues and its partners unique pathways to address cancer and other serious diseases,” said Dr. Gretchen M. Unger, Chief Scientific Officer.

“GeneSegues continues to build and strengthen its intellectual property position,” said Laura Brod, Chief Executive Officer. “This Notice of Allowance is another important milestone in the development of our lead cancer drug candidate, which has the potential to be transformative for patients with cancer, and we plan to continue to extend further protections on our therapeutic and drug delivery technologies.” GeneSegues’ patent portfolio includes claims directed to protections around sub-50 nanometer nanocapsule technology and targeted cancer therapies.

Following a Notice of Allowance, the process resulting in final issuance of a patent involves several administrative steps that are typically completed within a year. The issued patent from this application will provide an exclusivity period through January 2028.

About GS-10

GS-10 is a single-stranded RNA/DNA therapeutic encapsulated in tumor-targeted sub-50 nanometer nanocapsules for the treatment of primary and metastatic solid tumors. GS-10 is being developed in a series of IND-directed studies, including studies funded through an SBIR contract with the U.S. National Cancer Institute, aimed at bringing the therapeutic into Phase I clinical trials.

About GeneSegues Therapeutics

Minneapolis-based GeneSegues is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the innovation of RNA- and DNA-based therapeutics, incorporating GeneSegues’ sub-50 nanometer (s50) nanocapsule technology platform. The company is using its novel 50 platform to develop proprietary cancer therapeutics and partnered genetic therapeutics and vaccines using intravenous, subcutaneous and topical delivery approaches.

What’s Next For LGBT Couples?

6 Steps To Creating A Long-Term Budget, Marriage Or Not, From Wealth Manager

For LGBT couples, modern families and society in general, history is being made rapidly. After state after state legally approved marriage equality, the Supreme Court voted to make same-sex marriage a right nationwide.

“The progress we’ve made as a community and as a society has been amazing, but now a major question looms for many LGBT couples: to marry or not to marry?” says financial professional Holly Hanson, founder and principal of Harmony Financial Strategies (, a firm that focuses in comfort for all families, including those from the LGBT community.

“Financially speaking, there are a number of benefits to be gained from marriage, including gifting, spousal IRAs, filing tax returns as married and more. But there are still issues, such as efforts by many states to overturn the ruling,” says Hanson, who also is author of the book “The LGBT and Modern Family Money Manual.”

Whether couples decide to marry or not, one financial dynamic will always be essential, and that is a capacity to budget life expenses in a shared life, she says.

To that end, Hanson summarizes six steps to creating a budget.

  • Laying it all out: Decide to view the budgeting process as something not to be feared, but rather one in which you can be educated. By embracing your circumstances and truly knowing what you’re working with, you have a better idea of what you can improve and what you can control—and also what you can’t. Start by accounting for everything. Notice what’s necessary, what’s optional, as well as good debt versus bad debt.
  • Track expenses: Know your spending habits. Be realistic and honest, because most of the time we underestimate our spending. To get a complete view of your spending habits, track three months of spending. An expense worksheet may prove helpful.
  • Track income: This is especially helpful for those with irregular income. Ultimately, you may need to examine how you can increase your income, be it through petitioning for raises, switching jobs, changing investments to income-producing or adding supplementary income.
  • Set SMART(ER) Goals: This may be a handy mnemonic device – SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely), or add “ER,” which means Evaluation and Re-evaluation. Rather than fuzzy “someday” hopes, these acronyms may prove helpful in setting and pursuing goals.
  • Prioritize: Financial goals can be highly individualized, so whether one person in a relationship wants to save for a family trip to Europe or to fund their future child’s college tuition, write it all down. Seeing the goals on the page will help you prioritize what’s the most important.
  • Put the budget into practice: A spreadsheet of some kind is needed both to launch and track a budget. Do not get hung up on pennies; round up to the nearest dollar. Whether or not you’re off by a few bucks, the idea is simple – to get an overall picture of what you have to work with. From there, you can make informed decisions.

About Holly Hanson, CFP®, CIMA®, ADPA®

Holly Hanson is founder and principal of Harmony Financial Strategies (, a recent vision that came to her after 16 years of experience in the financial advisory business and having attained the designations of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Certified Investment Management Analyst® and Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor?. Hanson, who is also author of the book “The LGBT and Modern Family Money Manual,” oversees the entire Harmony operation, mentoring and guiding the advisors to provide a unique combination of knowledge, dedication and service to LGBT individuals, same-sex couples and modern families.

With the fall of DOMA and the repeal of Proposition 8 in California, Hanson and her partner, Sophie, were married in 2013, and hope to eventually add children to their family of four dogs. Holly and Sophie are active supporters of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the Human Rights Campaign.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SPIC. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.

India Announces New Partnership to Accelerate Financial Inclusion for Everyone

Government of India joins the United Nations’ Better Than Cash Alliance to share success stories from the world’s largest financial inclusion programme

NEW DELHI / NEW YORK, September 1, 2015 – Government of India is joining the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance. The announcement comes on the first anniversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship financial inclusion programme Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

Under PMJDY, in one year, 175 million new accounts have been opened, with deposits totaling more than $3.4 billion (223 billion Rupees), as revealed by the Government of India.

The new partnership with the Better Than Cash Alliance, made up of governments, companies, and international organizations, is an extension of Indian Government’s commitment to reduce cash in its economy. Digital financial services lower the cost of providing financial services and make it more convenient for poor people to access their accounts.

Mr. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister of the Government of India, said: “The scale of ambition of Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana has been much higher than for any other financial inclusion initiative in the past. The project has been instrumental in bringing almost all families of the country into the formal financial system and enabling citizens at grassroots level to perform financial transactions and keep their hard-earned money safe.”

India’s announcement comes ahead of next month’s United Nations special summit in New York, when Prime Minister Modi and other world leaders will launch the adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Digital financial services are a key tool for the implementation of the goals, and advocates hope India’s leadership inspires other governments to harness the power of digital payments as a strategy for achieving the SDGs.

“India’s leadership and progress are inspirational for countries around the world,” said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of the Better Than Cash Alliance. “By making the digitization of payments to achieve financial inclusion a top priority, the Indian Government is showing its commitment to improving the lives of its people and driving inclusive growth.”

One year ago, the Indian Government announced PMJDY with a goal of covering every household with a bank account in less than five months’ time. The programme focuses on citizens excluded from the formal financial sector, including women, small farmers, and labourers. To ensure that these accounts are actively used, the Government is delivering financial products, such as credit for economic activity, as well as remittance facilities, insurance, and pension directly into the accounts.

“We have been recognized by the Guinness World Records for opening over 1.8 crore (10 million) bank accounts in a single week,” added Finance Minister Jaitley. “As a next step, the aim is to utilize these accounts for extending insurance, pension, and credit facilities to those who are currently excluded from these benefits.”

Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, Secretary for the Department of Financial Services of the Government of India, said: “PMJDY has been a game changer in the country’s financial inclusion efforts. The initiative has demonstrated that when we converge the efforts of all stakeholders, and work in unison with clearly defined goals, unprecedented results follow.”

The financial inclusion programme, along with Aaadhar biometric unique identity cards that make it easier for the Government to identify social benefit recipients and the widespread use of mobile phones, are driving financial inclusion in India. It is also resulting in cost savings. The fuel subsidy programme, which is the world’s largest cash transfer programme, saved $2 billion (131 billion Rupees) by paying cooking gas consumers directly into their bank accounts, according to a new paper by Columbia University.

Success stories

There have been many success stories since the launch of PMJDY. For example, Canara Bank opened 12 million accounts and delivered financial literacy and educational tools to poor people in rural areas. Union Bank of India has also prioritized financial inclusion in rural areas, with a particular focus on women by providing weekly education trainings in villages and garment factories.

Rama Devi’s story highlights the impact on people’s lives. A resident of the small village of Nawadkheda, she opened her bank account during PMJDY’s launch one year ago that included extensive outreach to the community. Prior to opening a bank account with IDBI Bank, the mother of three who helps her husband in his general store did not have a bank account or any idea of the benefits of having one. She now transacts on a regular basis and plans to open recurring deposit accounts for all her children.

By joining the Better Than Cash Alliance, the Indian Government will have a research, technical, and policy partner as it continues to create a digital financial economy. Other Government members of the Alliance will also benefit by gaining access to the lessons and insights of India’s experience and growing expertise.

SDSU Fundraising Campaign Recognized for Sustained Excellence

University is among 15 in the nation to be honored for overall performance.

SAN DIEGO (Sept. 1, 2015) — San Diego State University is one of 15 universities nationwide to be recognized this year for the comprehensive excellence of its fundraising program.

The award is from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the premier professional association serving educational institutions worldwide and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development and marketing.

CASE recognized The Campaign for SDSU for superior overall performance in 2015 and for sustained excellence based on the judges’ analysis of the last three years of fundraising data.

Launched in 2007, the campaign has raised more than $625 million to support students, faculty and academic programs and initiatives. The university raised a record $96.3 million in fiscal 2015 and grew its endowment to $192 million.

“This honor recognizes three consecutive years of fundraising excellence and professionalism—placing the university in the company of schools like Harvard and USC—and brings national distinction to San Diego State University,” said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman.

More than 53,000 donors have contributed to The Campaign for SDSU, including 113 who gave more than $1 million, and 1,500 newly minted donors from the Class of 2015. Recent graduates were asked to contribute at least $10 to SDSU’s general scholarship fund when they picked up their caps and gowns, and sixteen percent of them did so.

Through the campaign SDSU has endowed the Susan and Stephen Weber Honors College, and will support construction of a new Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex, where researchers and entrepreneurs will work collaboratively to develop real-world applications for research discoveries that address the complex interdisciplinary challenges of our time.

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