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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: October 2016

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d.light Secures $7.5 Million from Developing World Markets, Raising Total of $30 Million This Year For Off-Grid Solar

Funding further supports solar lantern and pay-as-you go solar home system development for leading off-grid solar company

Press Release – October 31, 2016, San Francisco, CA; Nairobi, Kenya; New Delhi, India – Coming off a recent $22.5 million Series D funding round, d.light’s momentum continues as it secured $7.5 million in debt financing to expand its existing solar lantern and home system solutions, and to bring new products to market, including a solar-powered TV. The funding from impact investment manager Developing World Markets supports d.light’s mission to transform the way off-grid households and small businesses around the world use and pay for energy.

“We believe that capital markets can create positive economic and social change, and that d.light can provide the kind of financial and social returns we seek from our investments,” said Peter Johnson, Managing Partner of Developing World Markets. “We’re proud to support d.light’s mission to bring safe and affordable solar energy solutions to the more than two billion people without reliable access to energy.”

d.light’s Series D round of funding consisted of $15 million in equity, $2.5 million in debt and over $5 million in grants. With this latest round of debt financing, d.light expects to ramp up sales for its products, in particular of the solar home systems, and also bring new products to market, including solar-powered appliances, such as TVs.

With commanding market share in emerging markets, d.light is the leading provider of solutions in the off-grid solar industry. The company sells hundreds of thousands of units per month, while maintaining excellent quality at scale. d.light operates five distribution hubs in East Africa, West Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and the United States.

“We’re thankful to Developing World Markets for this support, which helps d.light accelerate development and distribution of our increasingly popular solar home systems and our portable solar products,” said Kamal Lath, CFO of d.light. “By enabling us to build on our product offerings, this funding helps us empower people to improve their quality of life.”

As of August 2016, d.light has impacted 65 million people with its solar lighting and home systems, putting it on track for achieving its goal of empowering 100 million lives by 2020. By bringing energy to the 2.3 billion people around the world without reliable access to grid-supplied electricity, d.light has helped base-of-the-pyramid families save $5.2 billion in energy expenses and create 34 billion additional hours of productivity for work and study. d.light products have offset 23 million tons of CO2 and generated 127 GWH from renewable energy sources.

“This new funding better enables us to bring safe and affordable solar home systems to families without a reliable grid connection. We’re grateful for the support of Developing World Markets,” said d.light CEO Ned Tozun. “Their confidence in us is a testament to the hard work of our global team and our many partners. It’s an honor to collaborate with so many people who care about this important work.”

About d.light

Founded in 2007 as a for-profit social enterprise, d.light manufactures and distributes award-winning solar lighting and power products designed to serve the more than 2 billion people globally without access to reliable electricity. Through five distribution hubs in East Africa, West Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and the United States, d.light has impacted over 65 million lives with its products. d.light is dedicated to providing the most reliable, affordable, and accessible solar lighting and power systems for the developing world, with the goal of reaching 100 million people by 2020. For more information, visit

About Developing World Markets

Founded in 1994 as an investment manager exclusively focused on emerging and frontier markets, Developing World Markets structured its first financing in microfinance in 1999. Since 2006, DWM has made more than $1 billion in investments to over 150 impact-oriented institutions in over 40 emerging and frontier countries.

The Company Store® Partners with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Press Release – WEEHAWKEN, N.J., Oct. 31, 2016 — The Company Store®, provider of quality bedding and home décor for over 100 years, is proud to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) by contributing $5 from every pair of their exclusive Heart to Heart sleepwear sold through January 1st. These donations will contribute to the BCRF’s mission of preventing and curing breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research.

“The Company Store is honored to be partnering with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and our customers to further the progress of research on this disease, coming one step closer to a cure,” says Karen Feldman, Public Relations Director of The Company Store.


Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American women. The BCRF has a goal to end deaths caused by breast cancer, and they believe research has the power to do this. Through the Heart to Heart pajama line, the Company Store® is gratified to contribute to funding the research that will lead the BCRF to the core of this disease.

The Heart to Heart pajamas are sewn of smooth cotton poplin, printed with charming hand-drawn hearts. They are available in 3 different sets— standard pajama set, short set, and nightshirt. To learn more & shop the pajamas, visit:

How the 2016 Philanthropy 400 Was Compiled

By Peter Olsen-Phillips

The Chronicle’s Philanthropy 400 ranks the U.S. charities that raised the most from private sources in the 2015 fiscal year. Donations include cash, stock, land, and goods such as pharmaceuticals and food. Government grants, however, were excluded.

The results were compiled from IRS Form 990 informational tax filings, college fundraising figures compiled by the Council for Aid to Education, a survey sent to nearly 520 tax-exempt organizations, and annual reports and financial statements.

Because the Philanthropy 400 reports only on nonprofits in the United States that solicit donations from the public, private foundations were excluded, as were organizations based overseas and any overseas affiliates of domestic groups. The Chronicle did not include nonprofits controlled by government agencies or organizations that do not solicit donations from the public.

Interorganizational transfers were also excluded, as were conservation easements.

Nonprofits with affiliates were asked to provide consolidated figures that included private contributions raised by those affiliates. In a few cases, organizations with affiliates that did not file a consolidated Form 990 or provide data to The Chronicle were excluded from this year’s rankings.

To provide data for the 2015 fiscal year, some charities relied on draft 990s or unaudited financial statements. Figures that are estimates are noted.

Because fiscal years vary from group to group, the figures in this report do not always cover the same time period. In addition, 2015 figures were not available for 24 organizations, so The Chronicle used 2014 fiscal-year data instead. Those cases are noted.

Historical Data

Because organizations sometimes release or revise figures after publication, we have made updates to our historical data since our last report. Working in conjunction with William Suhs Cleveland, who recently completed his doctorate at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, we have obtained updated figures from GuideStar and the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics and made appropriate updates in this year’s table.

Wherever possible, the data include donations received by affiliates with the same brand or under the same governing-board leadership. Data from Forms 990 showed that in some cases excluded groups should have been in the original rankings, and their figures have been added.

Colleges and Religious Groups

For private and public colleges and universities, The Chronicle uses data collected by the Council for Aid to Education in its annual Voluntary Support of Education survey. Figures obtained from the council, however, are based on a different methodology than is used on the Form 990. Filers of the Form 990 (and respondents to our survey) generally count pledges in the current year, while the CAE survey asks colleges to include only donations received and not unfulfilled pledges. Colleges and universities whose figures come from the council’s survey are marked with an asterisk.

Colleges’ in-kind giving data also come from the CAE survey and include gifts of real estate and other property as well as product and in-kind donations from corporations.

Some fiscal data on this list are for individual college branches and others are for consolidated college systems. In most cases, we used data on individual colleges. However, we included some university systems in this year’s 400 because that’s what was submitted to the Council for Aid to Education. When we used a system’s figures, we excluded the individual branches that make up the system to avoid double counting private support.

This year’s Philanthropy 400 relies on college revenue data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Its annual surveys collect data from every higher-education institution that participates in federal student financial-aid programs. These revenue figures come from the 2014 academic year, the latest for which full data are available. The total-revenue figures for private nonprofit institutions were compiled using the Financial Accounting Standards Board standards and include total income and investment return. Revenue for public nonprofit institutions were compiled using the Governmental Accounting Standards Board guidelines.

Certain religious organizations are exempt from filing a Form 990. The religious organizations that appear in this year’s rankings shared their financial data with The Chronicle or filed a Form 990 anyway. Those that did not share their fiscal information and did not file a 990 are not included.

Fidelity Charitable Pushes United Way Out of Top Place in Ranking of the 400 U.S. Charities That Raise the Most

By Drew Lindsay, Peter Olsen-Phillips, and Eden Stiffman

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, the nonprofit spinoff of big asset-management company Fidelity Investments, knocked United Way Worldwide out of the No. 1 spot in this year’s Philanthropy 400, The Chronicle’s annual ranking of charities that raise the most from private sources.

This changing of the guard in American philanthropy is a sign of how the competitive landscape and donor interests are evolving, marking the first time an organization that primarily raises money for donor-advised funds has held this top spot. United Way, a mainstay of American charity since its founding in 1887, was pushed from the top rung for only the second time since the Philanthropy 400’s 1991 debut.

For years, the two organizations had been neck and neck in the rankings. In 2015 Fidelity bolted far out front, collecting $4.6 billion, a 20 percent increase from 2014. United Way saw donations drop by 4 percent to $3.7 billion.

Fidelity, only 25 years old, has rapidly ascended over legacy organizations like the Salvation Army (No. 6), the American Red Cross (No. 31), and Harvard University (No. 14).

Rounding out this year’s top five are Feeding America, an organization that supplies most of the nation’s food banks; Schwab Charitable, another donor-advised fund created by a commercial investment house; and Catholic Charities USA.

Bigger Does Better

The shake-up in the rankings comes as many of the nation’s largest nonprofits continue to outperform smaller ones. The charities on the Philanthropy 400 raised 7 percent more last year than in 2014, compared to the 4 percent increase for all charities tabulated by “Giving USA,” a highly regarded annual report on the state of U.S. philanthropy.

This disparity in growth rates is unsurprising, says Una Osili, director of research at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which does the research for “Giving USA.” Large charities have bigger fundraising staffs and more resources to help them pursue gifts, she says.

The Philanthropy 400 rankings are based on money charities raise from foundations, corporations, and individuals. Altogether, donations to groups on the list topped $104 billion, a new high, and represented $1 of every $4 donated to charity.

Just 119 groups on this year’s list reported a decline in giving in 2015.

United Way’s drop is the latest in a string of disappointments for the venerable charity. When adjusted for inflation, its fundraising is less than two-thirds what it was in 1990.

Brian Gallagher, president of United Way Worldwide, says the decline reflects fundamental economic shifts — including corporate consolidation and wage stagnation — that undercut the charity’s bedrock workplace-giving programs.

“Middle-class Americans haven’t seen an increase in income over 30 years and that affects us directly,” says Mr. Gallagher, who notes that United Way’s average contribution is $365. The minimum a donor must give to contribute to Fidelity Charitable is $5,000.

Technology Boom

Fidelity has boomed in large part because it has invested heavily in making online-giving transactions painless for the donors, says its president, Pamela Norley.

“A lot of what [donor-advised funds] have brought to charities and our donors is really technology,” she says. “It’s an intermediary between the donor and charity that allows the process of giving to be simpler and more transparent and easier for record-keeping.”

A donor-advised fund operates almost like a charitable savings account; donors get the same tax benefit they would receive with a gift to a food bank or homeless shelter, but the money is often held in the fund for many years and invested. Though the nonprofit managing the fund technically controls the money, donors recommend which charities should get gifts and when.

Donor-advised funds could soon account for 10 percent of all giving from individuals, according to an analysis of data from “Giving USA” and the National Philanthropic Trust, itself a donor-advised-fund provider that ranked No. 17 on this year’s Philanthropy 400.

Unlike foundations, donor-advised funds are not subject to any payout requirements. Critics of the vehicles worry that donor dollars can sit in the accounts indefinitely, steering management fees to for-profit parent companies but not benefiting individual charities.

But substantial amounts are making their way to nonprofits’ coffers. With $15 billion in assets under management, Fidelity Charitable awarded more than $3 billion in grants to nonprofits last year, more than double the total from just four years ago. If this trajectory continues, it could soon eclipse the Gates Foundation as America’s biggest grant maker.

Winners and Losers

Social-service organizations still capture more donor dollars than any other cause. However, a 15-year analysis of the largest social-service charities shows several perennial giants declining or flattening while smaller organizations — often bolstered by donations of food, medicine, and other goods — are faring better. While United Way’s drop was most jarring, the Red Cross, Goodwill Industries International (No. 18), and the Salvation Army also faltered. Only four of the top 10 social-service groups increased giving in 2015 — the Y (No. 12), Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity International (No. 20), and the Wounded Warrior Project (No. 56).

Over all, the social-service organizations on this year’s list chalked up just a 2 percent increase in contributions since last year’s report.

Other trends in the Philanthropy 400:

  • Global groups are rising in the ranks. Twenty-one international relief and development organizations are included in the top 100 organizations. Only eight groups ranked that high 15 years ago.
  • That growth has been spurred in part by a series of major humanitarian disasters, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 Asian tsunami, and the Syrian refugee crisis. Also, the internet and social media have made the world feel smaller, nonprofit leaders say, with disasters brought close to home by images like last year’s news photo of the body of a 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned crossing the Mediterranean.

    The three top international groups on the Philanthropy 400 receive at least half of their contributions in the form of medicines and other in-kind donations.

  • Of the 14 groups making their debut on the Philanthropy 400, four are focused on education.
  • Though some of America’s most recognizable charity brands have struggled with fundraising, it is clear that some groups have staying power — 162 charities have remained on the list since it began. Legacy organizations that serve children and youths, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America (No. 16), the Girl Scouts of the USA (No. 227), and the Y, charting double-digit increases in donations.

Autistic Teen Chef Launches First Cookbook To Fund His Autism Foundation

Autistic teen chef Chase Bailey, whose “Chase ‘N Yur Face” cooking show has proven an online hit, is launching his first cookbook this November with the aim of celebrating life and raising money to help other people with autism.

Featuring over 75 recipes that 15-year old Chase has developed, all accompanied by mouthwatering photography, fun facts and anecdotes, The Official Chase ‘N Yur Face Cookbook (Chase ‘N Yur Face Media LLC, $24.95) goes on sale November 10, 2016 and includes an endorsement from Chef Mario Batali, who Chase had the pleasure of cooking alongside on The Chew.

Using part of the book’s proceeds, Chase has decided to set up his own foundation, the Chase Yur Dreams Foundation, to assist people with autism who are working towards their dreams of living independently.


Chase’s mom, Mary, takes up the story:

“When Chase was little, he had some serious food aversions, which is common among people with an autism diagnosis. He would only eat five different foods. Then one day I noticed how drawn he was to TV cooking programs. Long story short, food became his world—he started overcoming his aversions and even started trying exotic foods. He also decided he wanted to be a chef and have his own cooking show.”

“It began simply enough with me filming Chase cooking at home and posting the results on YouTube. People loved it! Soon Chase started inviting chefs and other foodies to join him on the show. Roy Choi, Becky Reams, Galia Orme, Anne Scioscia, and Fuschia Sumner are just some of the stars who have shared their recipes with him on Chase ‘N Yur Face.”

Chase was then asked to be a guest speaker and chef at the 2015 Autism Speaks Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala, followed by appearances on The Chew with Mario Batali, and the Meredith Vieira Show.

Recently, Chase decided he wanted to help people like him achieve their dreams and that’s when the idea of the cookbook and the Foundation came into being. It seemed to be the perfect combination to raise money to start the foundation as well as share his passion for life and good food with people too.

Land Trust Alliance Honors Conservation Leaders

Three Organizations, Two Individuals Receive Awards at National Conference

Press Release – MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 29, 2016) – The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America, is honoring multiple conservation leaders this week during its annual conference in Minneapolis.

“As evidence of how there are many ways to lead, there are many people we are proud to honor,” said Andrew Bowman, the Alliance’s president. “Our nation’s conservation community is fortunate to benefit from the refined skills and extraordinary commitment of many leaders. And while we could never name them all, we are delighted to honor this year some of our finest.”

Honorees recognized at Rally 2016: The National Land Conservation Conference include:

  • David Hartwell, a pivotal figure in Minnesota’s tradition of land conservation, with the Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award & Fellowship. He helped secure and shepherd billions of dollars for land and water preservation in the North Star State.
  • Arizona Land & Water Trust of Tucson, Ariz., with a National Land Trust Excellence Award. Through the highest caliber work, the land trust has broadened support for land conservation, built understanding and grown the conservation community.
  • Oblong Land Conservancy and Putnam County Land Trust of New York, with a National Land Trust Excellence Award. Recognized jointly for their collaborative efforts, these land trusts demonstrated exemplary behavior in working together to conserve a vital watershed.
  • Peter Paden, executive director of New York’s Columbia Land Trust, with the Ambassador Award. His personable and persistent engagement of key members of Congress helped enact major land conservation legislation in late 2015.

Awards to Hartwell, Arizona Land & Water Trust, Oblong Land Conservancy and Putnam County Land Trust were bestowed Oct. 28 during a welcoming dinner. Paden received his award Oct. 29 at the opening session of Rally 2016, the nation’s premier gathering for conservation leadership and training. For more information about Rally 2016, visit

In conjunction with his award, Hartwell was named to serve in the Kingsbury Browne Fellowship at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy for 2016-2017. For the fellowship, Hartwell will engage in research, writing and mentoring with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a think tank focusing on land policy that’s based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The fellowship and award are named after the land conservationist who inspired the Alliance’s founding.

About the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is an independent, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to help solve global economic, social, and environmental challenges to improve the quality of life through creative approaches to the use, taxation, and stewardship of land. Learn more at

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C. and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at

Guardian US Receives Major Grant to Create Change within the Homelessness Crisis

Press Release – New York, October 28, 2016 – Guardian US today announced funding of $550,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to produce a year-long series of sustained and deep reporting on the growing homelessness crisis in the western United States. The project will focus on bridging the gap between journalism and activism by engaging with readers and inspiring them to take action to spark real change via new technology provided by Speakable.

While homelessness has been steadily declining nationwide since 2007, it is a critical issue in the western US, where tent cities have become a defining feature of major cities and local governments are increasingly declaring “states of emergency” over the number of people lacking shelter.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s most recent annual homeless assessment, California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii were four of the five states with the highest increases in homelessness in 2015. California alone accounts for 21% of the nation’s homeless population.

Support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will allow Guardian US to expand and deepen its coverage of homelessness through reporting and investigations, interactives, films and deep engagement with readers and viewers. Speakable’s innovative Action Button, which will be added to all the journalism produced in the series, will enable and encourage readers to take action to address some of the issues highlighted throughout the series, for example to donate to, or volunteer with, local organizations working on the ground to combat homelessness throughout the western US.

Guardian US editor, Lee Glendinning, said: “At Guardian US, we’re committed to reporting on some of the most prevalent and troubling issues that face America every day, such as the homelessness crisis. This kind of journalism can often leave readers wanting to find ways they can do something to help, and we’re so pleased this groundbreaking partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will allow us to experiment with new ways in which our journalism can motivate our community to take action. By engaging deeply with our audience throughout this series, and by encouraging them to be part of the solution, we hope to collectively create genuine change on this devastating issue.”

Audience engagement metrics and insights from the 12 month project will be studied carefully to better understand the effectiveness of this new model of action oriented reporting that translates into meaningful participation and action by readers.

The project will be run from the Guardian’s San Francisco bureau and overseen by its west coast bureau chief, Paul Lewis, who commented: “Homelessness is a devastating problem in the western states – but shockingly underreported. We’re thrilled to have an investment of resources that will enable sustained reporting on this subject – and similarly excited to have the opportunity to innovate with a new technology that will encourage our readers to take action.”

Hyatt Regency Trinidad Champions Community Development with Give Back Campaign

Hotel’s “Hyatt Thrive” initiative encourages employee participation in local community service programs throughout the year

Press Release – Port of Spain, Trinidad – October 26, 2016 – Global corporate responsibility continues to be a growing trend as hotels recognize the importance of giving back to the local community and environment. Hyatt Regency Trinidad, the Caribbean’s leading business hotel, encourages its employees to take part in community service throughout the year by sponsoring events, donating to non-profit organizations and encouraging healthy lifestyles. All of these efforts are supported by Hyatt’s corporate responsibility program, Hyatt Thrive, which helps ensure that the company, its hotels, employees and communities grow thoughtfully.

“We aim for all facets of our work to enhance the local community and environment, while instilling a greater level of camaraderie amongst our team, which ultimately translates into a better guest experience,” said General Manager Russell George. “Our team continues to lead by example by working hard to enrich Port of Spain and the surrounding communities.”

Hyatt Regency Trinidad’s Hyatt Thrive highlights of 2016 include:

  • 25 Hyatt Associates and their families participated the Health & Wellness Walk Sunday, March 13th, 2016 to create awareness of the importance of personal health & wellness.
  • Hyatt Regency Trinidad hosted the ‘Day of Caring’ from Monday, April 4th through Friday, April 8th, 2016, which associations donated non-perishable items that were donated to Rainbow Rescue home for boys, which houses socially displaced boys from the ages of 11-17.
  • On May 22nd, 2016, the hotel participated in United Way’s ‘Day of Giving’ during which 45 Hyatt employees donated their time and resources for two days to repaint the exterior and perimeter walls of Rainbow Rescue home for boys.
  • From June through October, each department embarks on a departmental activity of their own, keeping in line with the Thrive Pillars. Some employees plant trees, others spend time with children or the elderly and some participate in educational drives to spread awareness of initiatives including organ and blood donations. For the Christmas season, the hotel also partners with one of the organizations they work with during the year to support and bring some love and cheer to the community.
  • During the months of July and August, Hyatt Regency Trinidad sponsored a Back to School Drive, encouraging associates to purchase stationery items and school supplies for boys staying at the Rainbow Rescue home to help them prepare for the upcoming school year.

As part of Hyatt Thrive, Hyatt associates come together in a brand-wide effort to improve the many communities around the world that they call home. This initiative empowers over 90,000 Hyatt associates at more than 480 hotels worldwide to help communities do one thing ­– thrive – by focusing on four areas:

  • environmental sustainability
  • economic development and investment
  • education and personal advancement
  • health and wellness

For more information on Hyatt Regency Trinidad, please visit

Learn more about Hyatt Thrive at

LA84 Foundation Celebrates Playing Forward at Its 5th Annual Youth Sports Summit

Ibtihaj Muhammad, Julie Foudy, Janet Evans, Luc Robitaille and Mayor Eric Garcetti, Among Guest Speakers

Press Release – LOS ANGELES, CA – October 27, 2016 – The LA84 Foundation presented its 5th annual Summit on Thursday, October 27th at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live.

The Summit was standing-room-only with 400 attendees and brought together civic leaders, sports industry executives and top athletes including, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Kings President Luc Robitaille and Chairman of the LA 2024 Bid Committee Casey Wasserman, as well as Olympians Janet Evans, Ibtihaj Muhammad and Gary Hall Jr. among others.

Emceed by Olympic gold medalist and World Cup-winning soccer player Julie Foudy, the Summit was themed PLAYING FORWARD: The Present and Future of Youth Sports, highlighting the LA84 Foundation’s commitment to leveling the playing field and reinforcing the importance of youth sports. The Summit kicked off with an address from Mayor Eric Garcetti and opening remarks from LA84 Foundation President and CEO Renata Simril.

In a day filled with calls for positive change and collective solutions, the LA84 President set the tone early on. “Today demonstrated the power of sport to drive social change, it’s meaningful that we’re literally saving kids’ lives by the work that you all do,” stated Simril.

Later in the day, Olympian and Vice Chair and Director of Athlete Relations of LA 2024 Janet Evans and Chairman of LA 2024 Casey Wasserman tackled the important topic on the impact of the Olympics on youth sports in the LA area.

“The LA84 Foundation is ensuring proof of the power of sport to serve our communities and it has inspired our work to bring the Games back to a city that loves and continues to benefit from the Olympic Movement,” said Wasserman. “If elected as the 2024 Host City, LA 2024 looks forward to building on the success of the LA84 Foundation to inspire and serve the next generation of Angelenos around the positive values of sport.”

The Summit concluded with a panel featuring four athletes who competed in Rio, Track & Field Paralympian Lex Gillette, Taekwondo Olympian Steven Lopez, Olympic Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammed and Track & Field Olympian Barbara Nwaba. The athletes shared their personal journeys towards the Olympics and what playing sport meant to them growing up. “As an athlete that benefited from sport through a nonprofit, I recognize that the LA84 Foundation has such a vast reach and positive impact on our youth,” said Ibtihaj Muhammad. During the panel, Lex Gillette delivered a spontaneous rendition of the national anthem, and then left the audience with his motto, “Sight shows us what is, and vision shows us what can be.”

Topics at this year’s Summit included:

  • Life Transformed Through Sports: Setting a New Course
  • The Impact of the Olympics on Youth Sports: LA84 + LA24 = Legacy2 The Power of Girls Who Play
  • Equity in Play: Safety, Space & Money
  • Playing Smart: Solutions to the Youth Sports Dropout Problem
  • Voices from the Field: Today’s Athletes
  • Elevating the Field: Maximizing Impact through Collaboration
  • Striving for Excellence: Stories from the Rio Olympics + How They Began

The LA84 Foundation Summit not only addressed the power of youth sports, but also shared the results of a first of its kind Los Angeles County Youth Sports Participation Survey. The survey found that the LA youth sports participation rate was higher than the national average in 16 of the 20 sports analyzed and more than 80 percent of youth between the ages of 6-17 in the Los Angeles area are active in sports.

The LA84 Foundation Youth Sports Survey: Los Angeles County, 2016 and summit interviews, images and video content are available on to learn more about the LA84 Foundation and for more information about the LA84 Foundation Summit, please visit

Several of the Summit panelists also joined close to 50 Olympians and Paralympians at the LA84 Foundation headquarters last night for an official “Welcome Home from Rio Celebration.” 18 of the athletes who competed in Rio joined the Southern California Olympians and Paralympians (SCOP) alumni group. The event comes on the heels of other Team USA post-Rio celebrations at the White House and at the USOC Assembly in Colorado Springs.

Sponsors for the Summit included: Fox Sports West, The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, County of Los Angeles District 2, Los Angeles Football Club, Cal State Northridge, LA2024, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and KCRW.

Generous Publishers And Visionary Director Honored At Goddard Riverside Gala

Press Release – New York, NY (October 27, 2016) — Goddard Riverside Community Center honored the publishing community and outgoing Executive Director Stephan Russo at its Annual Book Fair Gala last night at Cipriani 42nd Street. The event raised $930,000 to fund the programs of Goddard Riverside.

Publishers and booksellers have partnered closely with Goddard Riverside for three decades, after organizing a book fair to fight homelessness in 1987. Today, the annual book fair is an Upper West Side tradition, while publishers sit on the agency’s board and play a major role in shaping its future.

“The seed of an idea born of some genius publishing legends long ago has 30 years later turned into an important and lasting partnership between Goddard Riverside and the publishing industry,” said Mary Ellen Keating, Senior V.P. of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Barnes & Noble, who presided over the festivities. “And, at the very core of this partnership are shared values – of building community and making a difference.”

Stephan Russo is a pioneer of homeless outreach and supportive housing, and a champion of services that strengthen families and communities. Russo began his career at Goddard Riverside in 1976. He quickly rose into management, playing a lead role in both youth and housing programs before becoming Executive Director in 1998.

Evelyn Grant, whose children attended Goddard Riverside’s programs, and who has served on the organization’s board, said Russo has always responded to meet the community’s needs.

“Whether it was Early Learning, housing for seniors, or outreach to the homeless, Stephan wanted Goddard to take the lead. Stephan has a social worker’s heart and the vision of a leader, with a love for children and youth,” said Grant.

“The publishing community’s long-term commitment to the issues we care about is in full force this evening,” said Russo. “All of you here illustrate the impact of the collective – we are much stronger when we recognize our common bonds and build on our strengths rather than go at it alone.”

The award-winning Young People’s Chorus of New York City sang a medley from The Sound of Music to open the festivities.

The Book Fair Gala leads into the annual Book Fair, which will take place Nov. 19-20 at Goddard Riverside’s headquarters at 593 Columbus Avenue.

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