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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: October 2015

OSA To Be Renamed Vera And Donald Blinken Open Society Archives

Budapest, October 27, 2015 – Central European University (CEU)’s Open Society Archives (OSA) will be renamed the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives in honor of the couple, who have provided a major bequest to sustain the institution. Their gift will create a permanent endowed fund, which will allow the Archives to expand its critical work in preserving one of the world’s most valuable archival collections related to the Cold War, human rights movements and grave international human rights violations. The gift and renaming will be celebrated at a dedication event to be held at the Archives on November 3 from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., followed by a reception. This the Blinkens’ second major donation to the archive in a decade, underscoring their commitment to Hungary and to the institution and its mission to secure a record of our collective history, truthfully capturing some of humanity’s brightest and bleakest periods. The latter is most recently manifesting in the tragedy of the ongoing refugee crisis brought on by continuing conflict in Syria and will be the topic of a keynote speech at the OSA dedication by Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres/MSF) and former French minister of foreign and European affairs.

Both Vera and Donald Blinken are deeply connected to Hungary. Mrs. Blinken left Hungary as a child and chronicles her escape and subsequent return in the couple’s 2009 book Vera and the Ambassador: Escape and Return. Ambassador Blinken served as U.S. ambassador to Hungary from 1994-1998. He was instrumental in these critical post-Soviet years in assisting the privatization of the Hungarian economy, guiding Hungary’s successful participation in the Bosnian peacekeeping process, helping restore Hungarian civil society, and supporting Hungary’s membership in NATO and the EU. Upon returning to Hungary with her husband, Vera founded Primavera, the first mobile breast cancer screening program in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2002, for her service to her native country, Vera was awarded the Middle Cross of the Republic of Hungary. The Blinkens’ latest gift will underwrite OSA research activities and dynamic public history programs. In 2006, they made a contribution to establish the Donald and Vera Blinken Collection of interviews with Hungarian refugees from 1957-58, which was digitized on the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. This year, the couple donated their personal records to the Archive.

“Donald and I are very proud to renew our commitment to CEU. With students from more than 100 countries and researchers and human rights activists from all over the world, we are so pleased to support the 25-year legacy CEU has established in educating the next generation of global leaders, as well as the legacy OSA has established in preserving and making available important historical sources and developing important public history programs to activate public memory and engagement,” Mrs. Blinken said. “Given the current global refugee crisis and the dialing back on democracy in the region and elsewhere, we can think of no better way to help preserve public memory and help a new crop of global leaders move into the future with greater understanding of the past. As two people deeply committed to Hungary and the region, as well as to providing access to education and important historical documents, it is both an honor and a privilege to be associated in this way with the vital institution that is CEU.”

The Blinken’s naming gift also sets a precedent in post-communist Hungary, where, generally, institutions are named for people only posthumously. The Blinkens hope their example will serve as inspiration for others in Hungary to create living legacies in line with their principles, harkening back to Hungary’s pre-communist tradition of cultural and educational philanthropy. Other naming opportunities will be available as CEU redevelops its campus, the design of which achieved another “first,” as the inaugural institution of higher education in Central/Eastern Europe to be BREEAM certified in line with strict green-building principles.

Established in 1995 and opened in 1996, OSA’s repository contains 9.5 linear kilometers of paper records and 12 terabytes of digital records related to communist-era political, social, economic, and cultural life. That is equivalent to over 100 football (soccer) fields of paper records and nearly 3,000 DVDs of digital records. It is also one of the world’s largest repositories of Radio Free Europe and underground media holdings. OSA is the official archive of the Open Society Foundations and, importantly, offers open-access facilities to researchers and the wider public free of charge. The Archive also oversees numerous exhibitions, conferences, film festivals and public programs of major historical significance.

Ambassador Blinken, a CEU trustee emeritus, chaired the board of trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) from 1978-1990. He currently serves on the boards of the Council of American Ambassadors, the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, the Rockefeller Institute of Government, and the New York Philharmonic. His son Antony Blinken is the United States Deputy Secretary of State. Vera founded her own interior design firm in the U.S. She served on the board of the International Rescue Committee for more than 30 years, starting in 1978, and is now an overseer. She is on the board of the FAPE – Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies.

Public Mapping and Data Tool Creates New Way to Visualize and Analyze Well-Being and Inequality in New York City

DATA2GO.NYC offers free, easy access to federal, state, and local data; 350 indicators of New Yorkers’ well-being in each of the city’s 59 community districts

NEW YORK — The nonprofit Measure of America today released DATA2GO.NYC, a free, easy-to-use mapping and data tool that brings together for the first time federal, state, and local data vital to understanding inequality and how multiple factors combine to influence New Yorkers’ well-being in every neighborhood.

Created by Measure of America with a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the DATA2GO.NYC website and mobile app contain 350 indicators for each of New York City’s 59 community districts, 150 of which are also available by census tract. Many indicators were previously unavailable to the public, such as data on homelessness and philanthropic giving, or unavailable by community district, such as important police, voting, and health data.

The nonpartisan research and advocacy initiative also announced the DATA2GO.NYC Visualization Challenge, being organized in collaboration with “sensemaking innovation” firm Humantific, to illuminate neighborhood assets and/or challenges and how they shape the lives, choices, and opportunities of New Yorkers. A $2,000 first-place prize will be awarded to an individual or group whose online submission by January 18, 2016, most compellingly creates new connections between and among indicators. Submission details may be found on the website.

“DATA2GO.NYC users can create unique maps, prepare community district profiles, test relationships between indicators across neighborhoods, and print or share their results at the click of a button,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director, Measure of America. “It’s a tool for policymakers, community-based organizations, philanthropists, social service delivery agencies, journalists and all people working to improve life in the Big Apple.”

“Many data tools focus on one sector, such as health, housing, or employment; DATA2GO.NYC brings them all together,” added Kristen Lewis, co-director, Measure of America. “DATA2GO.NYC enables a deeper understanding of inequality and how a variety of issues interact to shape people’s choices and opportunities.”

DATA2GO.NYC indicators span the following 12 sectors: Demographics; Education; Environment; Food Systems; Health; Housing & Infrastructure; Philanthropy; Political Engagement; Public Funding & Services; Safety & Security; Work, Wealth & Poverty; and the American Human Development Index, a composite measure of health (life expectancy at birth), education (degree attainment and enrollment), and standard of living (median personal earnings).

“DATA2GO.NYC provides a reliable, unbiased resource on well-being and an opportunity to understand trends and connections,” said Tamara C. Fox, director of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s New York City Regional Grants Program. “This data tool offers a powerful, nuanced portrait of human needs by complementing economic metrics with information across many sectors that impact the lives of New Yorkers.”

“While the City is full of so many rich public data sets, they are often out-of-date, in various formats, and spread across dozens of websites,” said Dr. Ben Wellington, TED talker and creator of I Quant NY, a data and policy blog on insights drawn from public data. “DATA2GO.NYC has done the hard work of pulling it all together, enabling anyone to easily draw new connections across data sets that were once siloed. The data will be a catalyst for improving policy, philanthropy, and well-being across the five boroughs.”

About Measure of America

Measure of America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and advocacy initiative of the Social Science Research Council; it provides easy-to-use yet methodologically sound tools that measure what matters for human well-being, freedom, and opportunity. Through initiatives like DATA2GO.NYC, MOA works with partners to breathe life into numbers, using data to create compelling narratives that foster understanding of inequalities and build support for people-centered policies.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1.4 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. The Trust’s New York City Regional Grants Program seeks to identify and solve specific problems that hinder the region’s ability to assist populations in need. For more information on the Trust and its programs, visit

Global Down Syndrome Foundation Raises Record $2 Million

— “Be Beautiful Be Yourself” Fashion Show Attracts Hollywood Stars Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard, Beau Bridges, Minka Kelly, John C. McGinley, Jamie Brewer, Supermodels and Professional Athletes —

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (“Global”) raised a record-breaking $2 Million at the 7th Annual “Be Beautiful Be Yourself” Fashion Show on Saturday, October 24, 2015 at the Colorado Convention Center, it was announced today by Global’s President and CEO, Michelle Sie Whitten.

Hollywood superstars who escorted brilliant and beautiful models with Down syndrome on the runway and showed their support for Global included Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard, Beau Bridges, Minka Kelly, John C. McGinley, models Beverly Johnson & Amanda Booth, Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson, and professional athletes from the NBA and NFL, among several others.

On the red carpet, actor and advocate John C. McGinley stated:

“The Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s work is so important because it’s grounded in medicine and science. Global’s at the tip of the sphere when it comes to being ahead of the class in medical advances for people with Down syndrome.”

“Empire” star Terrence Howard accompanied by his wife said:

“We remember when we were having our child and during the genetic testing they talked about chromosome 21 and things of that nature, and if it was positive they gave us the option to terminate – the idea just broke our hearts because you always give life a chance.”

Jamie Foxx, whose sister DeOndra Dixon was one of the featured models who happens to have Down syndrome, further remarked:

“Global really gets down to business when it comes to bringing awareness to Down syndrome.”

The “Be Beautiful Be Yourself” fashion show is the single largest fundraiser in the nation benefiting people with Down syndrome. The celebrity gala attracted 1,400 guests, and has raised over $12M since launching seven years ago. The money raised provides crucial funding for research at the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, medical care at the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and education and advocacy, particularly in the emerging field of research into the connection between Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome. Because Down syndrome is among the least-funded genetic conditions by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), research and medical care rely heavily on private funding.

“We are truly humbled by the outpouring of support we receive,” expressed Whitten. “On behalf of the thousands of families we serve, I sincerely thank my team, our volunteers, and all of our generous supporters who make it possible for us to continue to do incredible work each year.”

Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a public nonprofit dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Global supports two affiliates which together constitute the only academic home in the United States committed solely to research and medical care for people with Down syndrome: the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome. Global also publishes Down Syndrome World, a national award-winning quarterly magazine.

For more information, visit or

Follow Global Down Syndrome Foundation @GDSFoundation.

Georgetown University’s Beeck Center Releases New Publication on Transforming Government, Presents Recommendations at the White House

The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation’s new publication recommends strategies for achieving transformational systems change in government to deliver social impact.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 28, 2015) — The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University today released its new publication Smarter Government for Social Impact: A New Mindset for Better Outcomes, which recommends strategies for transforming the public sector and shifting billions of dollars in public spending to incentivize and pay for policies and programs that deliver impact.

The Beeck Center presented the publication’s key recommendations on how to transform government yesterday to a group of cross-sector leaders and government officials at a White House convening “A New Paradigm for Government: Adopting an Outcomes Mindset.” During the convening, Beeck Center leadership provided an overview of the publication and moderated a roundtable discussion, highlighting the publication’s call for a system-wide shift to an outcomes mindset.

“Transforming systems requires public sector leaders to foster an environment focused on achieving successful outcomes,” said Sonal Shah, Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation. “Our latest publication provides a blueprint for government leaders to implement a new outcomes mindset and build the supporting infrastructures that can help drive meaningful impact.”

The paper, co-authored by Jim Shelton, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and current Chief Impact Officer at 2U, details how systems change is a highly complex and trying process. Meaningful transformation will only occur when government adopts a fresh, outcomes mindset.

“Washington, D.C.’s influential Beeck Center argues for disrupting one of our nation’s largest industries — government — through innovation in its most recent publication Smarter Government for Social Impact,” said Sheila Herrling, Senior Vice President of Social Innovation at the Case Foundation. “A must read for change makers looking to deploy data and technology to solve our most pressing social challenges.”

Smarter Government for Social Impact recommends four strategic steps critical for meaningful systems transformation. The steps must be implemented together as they rely on one another for the continuous learning and support that is critical for a successful new government system.

  • Create an outcomes mindset. Foster a new institutional culture across government and stakeholders to change how policy operates within public programs;
  • Rally support for change. Create the necessary political and civic context for sustainable change;
  • Develop the supporting infrastructures. Construct the human and administrative capacity to support new policy and invest in robust data and evidence systems for adaptive learning; and,
  • Build an outcomes marketplace. Shift the structure of public funding to encourage diversity and competition in the public service market and increase opportunities for innovation.

Co-author Jim Shelton underscored the critical importance of the publication’s call-to-action, noting that “Americans deserve a government that rewards programs that achieve the desired outcomes, make the best use of every dollar, and improve the lives of citizens.”

Smarter Government for Social Impact is the second publication in the Beeck Center’s Better Outcomes Series, building off the findings in its first publication, Funding for Results: How Governments Can Pay for Outcomes. Funding for Results illustrates how the public sector can realign funding to reform social service delivery and improve results. Governments traditionally pay for the number of people served, or they have arbitrary benchmarks and protocols that often become the main focus of administrators at the expense of driving results. Funding for Results provides a guide for leaders looking to design programs to ensure public funds are properly managed to attain results.

Projects Abroad Prepares to Welcome Volunteers to Belize

Volunteers to begin arriving in November to contribute to Care, Teaching, Public Health, and Conservation Projects

An aerial view of islands just off the coast of Placencia, Belize, where the new Diving & Marine Conservation Project will be based

An aerial view of islands just off the coast of Placencia, Belize, where the new Diving & Marine Conservation Project will be based

NEW YORK – October 28, 2015 – In just a few days, Projects Abroad will begin welcoming the first volunteers to its newest destination, Belize. The Central American nation is an increasingly popular destination for tourists, with more than one million people visiting each year. However, Belize still faces major development challenges, resulting in poverty, a lack of resources, and a high prevalence of communicable diseases, such as malaria. As such, volunteers will have a hugely significant impact in Belizean communities, with the introduction of Care, Teaching, Diving & Marine Conservation, and Public Health programs.

“Our goals in Belize are similar to what we want to achieve in all of our destinations,” shares Tom Pastorius, Head of Global Recruitment for Projects Abroad. “We aim to uplift local communities by implementing projects that focus on sustainable development and improving quality of life. These new programs will develop according to the needs of the community and each of our volunteers will be able to use their skills, time, and energy to benefit others. We look forward to seeing the positive change that our volunteers will help effect in Belize, and we anticipate that the country will have just as much of an impact on the volunteers themselves!”

Projects Abroad has opened offices in San Pedro, with qualified full-time staff present to coordinate projects and support volunteers. All placements are located in San Pedro, with the exception of the Diving & Marine Conservation Project, which is based in Placencia. Volunteers can choose from a variety of placements, including supporting children in care centers, helping local teachers raise literacy levels, increasing public awareness of health issues on outreaches, or preserving and protecting the Belize Barrier Reef.

The minimum commitment to volunteer in Belize is two weeks and volunteers can start at any time and choose their own duration. In 2016, Projects Abroad will also be offering specialized programs for high school students during the summer and over spring break for college students.

Projects Abroad is also thrilled to announce a second new destination opening in January 2016: Madagascar. The island is famous for its extraordinarily diverse wildlife, lush rainforest, and extensive coastline. Unfortunately, at least 69% of the population lives below the poverty line, despite the fact that tourism and agriculture are both major sources of growth.

The impact of volunteers becomes even more important when taking those factors into account, says Pastorius, adding, “Education is crucial in Malagasy communities. By giving children this support in care centers and schools, volunteers can give them the skills they need to secure their futures. In addition, we will take steps to help preserve the rainforest, a biodiversity hotspot where scientists have identified hundreds of new species in the past ten years alone, and teach local communities about the importance of protecting rainforests. In doing so, we hope to play a part in enriching the lives of the Malagasy people for years to come.”

Projects Abroad Madagascar will be based in the town of Moramanga, where volunteers can get involved in Care and Teaching programs. The Rainforest Conservation program, as well as a summer program for high school students, is based in the heart of the forests bordering the Indian Ocean, east of Moramanga. Like Belize, the minimum commitment to volunteer is two weeks.

For more information on volunteering in Belize with Projects Abroad, please visit If you would like to learn more about volunteering in Madagascar, please 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 30 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

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

WTOP & Select Auto Imports Kick Off Annual Veteran’s Day Fundraiser

Washington D.C. – WTOP Radio 103.5 FM and advertising partner Select Auto Imports, have once again joined forces to co-sponsor a Veteran’s Day donation drive to benefit the Walter Reed Society.

Now through Veteran’s Day, WTOP is promoting a campaign calling for donations. Select Auto Imports will match the donations up to $10,000.

The program is in its 9th year, and has raised more than $150,000 for the Walter Reed Society, which serves the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Listeners can find out more information and donate by visiting, search “Walter Reed” through Veteran’s Day.

About The Walter Reed Society

The Walter Reed Society (WRS) is a tax exempt 501(c) 3 charitable organization incorporated in the District of Columbia and registered in the State of Maryland. Originally organized in 1996 for the benefit of Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), the Society now serves its successor organization, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), and its educational, patient, treatment and research activities. Membership in the Society is open to all – officer, enlisted, active duty, Reserve, National Guard, retired, civilian, patient, family member, and friend of WRNMMC.

About Select Auto Imports

Select Auto Imports is the largest exclusive independent luxury import dealership in the entire Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Since 1986, they have exclusively specialized in providing the finest selection of premium Certified Pre-Owned luxury import automobiles at the best values to clients with the most discriminating tastes; from Capitol Hill lawmakers, K Street powerbrokers, high tech/IT pioneers, Pentagon brass to professional athletes and coaches.

About WTOP

WTOP Radio has served the Washington region since 1926 and has been Washington’s all-news radio station since 1969. WTOP can be heard and read 24/7 on 103.5 FM in the metro, 103.9 FM in Frederick, 107.7 FM in Stafford and on any mobile device at WTOP and its sister station Federal News Radio are owned and operated by Hubbard Radio, LLC.

Unveiling SDSU’s Rock ‘n’ Roll History

A mural unveiling celebrates the importance of artistic and musical history at SDSU.

The mural will be unveiled on Oct. 29.

The mural will be unveiled on Oct. 29.

Some say music isn’t as important as it used to be. They argue that songs don’t contain the same social, cultural and political charges as they did in earlier decades. But according to Seth Mallios, an anthropologist at San Diego State University, popular entertainment remains a catalyst for social change.

“The acts that have played at SDSU have defined crucial moments in history — and they continue to do so,” Mallios said.

Mallios has spent the last five years studying SDSU’s rock ‘n’ roll history which dates back to the early 60s. More than 3,000 concerts have taken place on campus, featuring big names such as Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, The Ramones and Lady Gaga.

Although genres have shifted over time, messages in music are a constant — stories of love, heartbreak, loss, uprising and revolution are present in the songs, regardless of the decade.

Many of these songs were echoed in a tiny concert venue located in unfinished lanes in SDSU’s old bowling alley. The Backdoor served as the stage for a number of classic acts, many of whom unknowingly walked past a vibrant painting located near the rear stage entrance.

Mallios has been instrumental in restoring the Backdoor Mural, which is one of the most important cultural artifacts of SDSU’s rock ‘n’ roll history. With the support of donors — such as Aztec Parents, Steve and Susan Weber, the President’s Leadership Fund and dozens of supporters through SDSU Strive — the now infamous Backdoor mural is getting a second chance in the spotlight.

An Oct. 29 ceremony will unveil the coveted mural and explore SDSU’s role in chronicling musical history. The event will include a release of a five-volume book anthology on the history of live popular music at SDSU, and will also feature a performance by famed songwriter, SDSU alumnus and Backdoor mainstay Jack Tempchin.

”Let it Rock!” will be available in hardcover and eBook formats.

”Let it Rock!” will be available in hardcover and eBook formats.

About the Backdoor Mural

Painted in 1976 by students in Professor Arturo Anselmo Roman’s Chicano art class, the artwork serves as a glimpse into the height of SDSU’s bustling music scene which simultaneously coincided with pivotal moments for Chicano activism.

“SDSU’s rock ‘n’ roll history is extraordinary; yet most San Diegans have no idea,” Mallios said. “So many of us have had favorite musical moments on Montezuma Mesa, but virtually no one knows how they all fit together to make this campus the rock ‘n’ roll epicenter of the region.”

Let it Rock!

Mallios and his co-author Jaime Lennox’s anthology titled “Let it Rock!” details SDSU’s concert repertoire. According to their research, SDSU has hosted more live music shows than nearly any other college campus. The books include an array of performances, from Joan Baez to the Grateful Dead, Ray Charles to Adele.

Each book contains pictures and personal accounts from concert attendees.

Event details

The Backdoor Mural unveiling event runs from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29 on the third floor of Love Library.

The event is free and open to the public.

Goddard Riverside Community Center Honors Scholastic Chairman And CEO Dick Robinson

In an evening that celebrated the power of books and reading to change the lives of children, Goddard Riverside Community Center honored a man who has devoted his life to making sure all children have access to great books and the opportunity to learn to love to read. Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic is that man. All of us at Scholastic congratulate Dick and thank him for his tireless leadership and inspiring words that keep us working every day to “Open a World of Possible” for children everywhere.

Chairman and CEO of Scholastic, Richard Robinson, center left, poses with authors, from left to right, Jon Muth, Dav Pilkey, Sonia Manzano and Craig Hatkoff at Goddard Riverside Community Center's Annual Book Fair Gala at Gotham Hall, New York, N.Y., Tuesday, October 27, 2015. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Scholastic)

Chairman and CEO of Scholastic, Richard Robinson, center left, poses with authors, from left to right, Jon Muth, Dav Pilkey, Sonia Manzano and Craig Hatkoff at Goddard Riverside Community Center’s Annual Book Fair Gala at Gotham Hall, New York, N.Y., Tuesday, October 27, 2015. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Scholastic)

Director of the Institute of Politics at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Margaret A. Williams honors Chairman and CEO of Scholastic, Richard Robinson, during Goddard Riverside Community Center's Annual Book Fair Gala at Gotham Hall, New York, N.Y., Tuesday, October 27, 2015. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Scholastic)

Director of the Institute of Politics at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Margaret A. Williams honors Chairman and CEO of Scholastic, Richard Robinson, during Goddard Riverside Community Center’s Annual Book Fair Gala at Gotham Hall, New York, N.Y., Tuesday, October 27, 2015. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Scholastic)

Chairman and CEO of Scholastic, Richard Robinson addresses guests as he is honored for his remarkable career in the publishing industry and longstanding commitment to promoting children's literacy, during Goddard Riverside Community Center's Annual Book Fair Gala at Gotham Hall, New York, N.Y., Tuesday, October 27, 2015. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Scholastic)

Chairman and CEO of Scholastic, Richard Robinson addresses guests as he is honored for his remarkable career in the publishing industry and longstanding commitment to promoting children’s literacy, during Goddard Riverside Community Center’s Annual Book Fair Gala at Gotham Hall, New York, N.Y., Tuesday, October 27, 2015. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Scholastic)

Executive Director of Goddard Riverside Community Center, Stephan Russo, left, recognizes honoree Richard Robinson, Chairman and CEO of Scholastic, right, for his remarkable career in the publishing industry and longstanding commitment to promoting children's literacy, during Goddard Riverside Community Center's Annual Book Fair Gala at Gotham Hall, New York, N.Y., Tuesday, October 27, 2015. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Scholastic)

Executive Director of Goddard Riverside Community Center, Stephan Russo, left, recognizes honoree Richard Robinson, Chairman and CEO of Scholastic, right, for his remarkable career in the publishing industry and longstanding commitment to promoting children’s literacy, during Goddard Riverside Community Center’s Annual Book Fair Gala at Gotham Hall, New York, N.Y., Tuesday, October 27, 2015. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Scholastic)


Bamboo Finance and Louis Dreyfus Holding Launch Impact Investment Fund NISABA, Focusing on Agribusiness in Sub-Saharan Africa

Combining agribusiness and impact-investing expertise with long-term capital to increase capacity, promote more equitable value chain development, foster innovation and streamline distribution for smallholder farmers and their communities.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND and AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS 28 October, 2015 — Bamboo Finance, a private equity firm specializing in investing in business models that benefit low-income communities in developing economies and Louis Dreyfus Holding, which owns a controlling stake in leading global agribusiness Louis Dreyfus Commodities, announced today a partnership to launch and jointly manage NISABA, a US$50 million impact investment fund project with a focus on small- and medium-sized agribusiness enterprises (SMEs) in Sub-Saharan Africa. As project sponsor, Louis Dreyfus Holding will invest US$10 million to seed NISABA.

“We are excited to apply an integrated investment approach with a vast network of local expertise for the benefit of smallholder farmers and their communities, while demonstrating the value of impact investing,” said Bamboo Finance CEO, Jean-Philippe de Schrevel. “This is a pioneer partnership that will merge multinational sector expertise with access to finance and impact investment know-how, in order to actively co-manage investments from pipeline to exit. This type of active collaboration represents an important milestone in the field of impact investing”.

“Agribusiness development is at the crossroads of major challenges for Africa. With an estimated population of 2 billion by 2050, and 330 million young Africans expected to enter the labor market by 2025, global agricultural production is not keeping pace with population growth. We believe that through appropriate financing tools like impact investing, the private sector must take an active role in addressing such challenges,” said Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, Chairperson of Louis Dreyfus Holding.

NISABA will target a balanced portfolio of countries, activities and commodities, and will invest in financing gaps across the agribusiness value chain in growth markets. The focus will be on SMEs that combine social, environmental and financial returns by improving efficiency through access to data, finance and risk mitigation, training and technology innovation; strengthening market access by linking producers to end-consumers; and building local capacity through post-harvest handling and storage, value-addition or processing solutions, among others. More information is available on

Through its controlling stake in Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Louis Dreyfus Holding has a 164-year-old global presence in the agribusiness sector, with expertise in a wide range of commodities, participation in various diversified businesses and a strong presence in Africa.

The SME agribusiness sector in Sub-Saharan Africa represents untapped potential for investors and smallholder farmers alike to foster sustainable and inclusive economic development, while capturing the value of early-stage growth.

Global Leadership Awards Dinner to Recognize Leaders Working Alongside the UN to Advance Human Rights & Global Health

United Nations Foundation and UNA-USA Honor Leadership on Most Pressing Global Issues

October 27, 2015, NEW YORK, NY The United Nations Foundation and the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) will host the 2015 Global Leadership Dinner Tuesday, November 3, 2015, in New York to recognize the achievement of leaders from multiple sectors who have helped tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. The gathering represents a moment to honor and thank those from all walks of life who help the United Nations do its vital work in achieving short-term humanitarian goals and long-term development goals.

The 2015 Global Leadership Dinner honorees include:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon for his enduring commitment to empowering women and girls; galvanizing global action on climate change; giving a voice to the world’s most vulnerable, including a pioneering stance on LGBTQ rights; and the completion of a framework for global collaboration to eradicate extreme poverty.

Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chobani LLC, for his humanitarian commitment to refugees around the world and devotion to advancing the UN’s work to respond to the urgent needs of families escaping violence, as well as long-term recovery and economic stabilization efforts.

Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust for its collective role in battling the Ebola crisis, helping to equip, train, and deploy African health workers to fight the Ebola epidemic, and saving countless lives across the continent.

The Free & Equal Campaign for its unprecedented global public education campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, engaging millions to promote the fair treatment of LGBT people and generate support for measures to protect their rights.

Ahmed Shaheed for his outstanding leadership as Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, shining a light on soaring numbers of executions, the jailing of journalists and activists, and worsening discrimination against women and minorities.

“Our esteemed honorees have each contributed in significant and very different ways to the success of the United Nations’ goals for helping people around the world live healthier, more productive lives,” said Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the UN Foundation. “Their leadership goes even further by inspiring other individuals, companies, and organizations to get involved in helping to solve the world’s most pressing global issues.”

In addition to drawing attention to the work of the UN and supporters who are helping the UN build a better and more prosperous future, the Global Leadership Dinner raises funds to benefit UNA-USA and its work to inform, educate, and inspire Americans in support of the UN.

About the United Nations Association of the United States of America

The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. For 70 years UNA-USA has worked to accomplish its mission through its national network of Chapters, youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation. UNA-USA and its sister organization the Better World Campaign represent the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world. Learn more about UNA-USA’s programs and initiatives at

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation links the UN’s work with others around the world, mobilizing the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organizations to help the UN tackle issues including climate change, global health, peace and security, women’s empowerment, poverty eradication, energy access, and U.S.-UN relations. The United Nations Foundation is honored to work with the United Nations to foster a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. Learn more about its mission, its relationship with the UN, as well as the campaigns and initiatives it has developed and sponsored to connect with the UN’s work.

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