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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: September 2017

Emerging Infectious Disease Threatens Darwin’s Frog With Extinction

Iconic species likely to be wiped-out by amphibian fungus, despite lack of obvious short-term evidence

Press Release – The Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) is the latest amphibian species to face extinction due to the global chytridiomycosis pandemic, according to an international study published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B.

The study has found that Darwin’s frogs are infected with the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and despite an absence of obvious mortality researchers have noted population declines, leading them to believe that these infected populations are at a serious risk of extinction within 15 years of contracting the disease.

Populations of this unique species, currently known as highly threatened, were previously considered to have remained relatively stable in the face of the disease that has ravaged many amphibian species worldwide, but the frogs may have been infected over a decade ago, with the impacts only recently observed.

Led by scientists from Chile’s Universidad Andres Bello (UNAB), NGO Ranita de Darwin, and international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London), working alongside the University of Zurich, this new revelation highlights a need for urgent conservation action.

First author, Dr. Andrés Valenzuela from ZSL’s Institute of Zoology and UNAB, said: “Put simply, this study shows that once an individual animal becomes infected with Bd, it is almost certain to die. Unusually for an infectious disease even at very low rates of infection, and in the absence of the dramatic die-offs witnessed in other amphibian populations impacted by this disease, infected populations of Darwin’s frogs are destined for extinction.”

ZSL’s Professor Andrew Cunningham, who co-authored the study, added: “While this study focuses on the iconic Darwin’s frog, its implications could be equally grave for many other species. We’ve long recognised the dramatic toll chytrid fungus is taking on amphibians globally – but believed the disease’s impact on host populations would quickly become apparent.”

“This ‘cryptic’ nature of infectious disease witnessed among Darwin’s frogs in Chile could potentially be causing similar ‘slow-burn’ declines among wildlife species elsewhere – contributing to longer-term population declines and extinctions despite the lack of obvious mass-mortalities”.

Native to the forests of southern Argentina and Chile, Darwin’s frog was named in honour of Charles Darwin, who first discovered these amphibians during the voyages of the HMS Beagle. It is the only land vertebrate where the male becomes pregnant, carrying and brooding tadpoles inside its vocal sac until they metamorphose and are spat out as baby frogs.

To find out more about ZSL’s work to combat a range of wildlife health threats, including amphibian disease, visit

‘Cryptic disease-induced mortality may cause host extinction in an apparently stable host-parasite system’

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LightWorkers Media, Roma Downey And Mark Burnett Launch LightWorkers.Com A New Inspirational Online Destination Debuts with New Web Series and Exclusive Uplifting Interviews with Niecy Nash, Van Morrison, Jeff Probst and Many More

Carnival Corporation’s Fathom Brand Comes on Board as a Launch Partner

Press Release – September 26, 2017 (Los Angeles) – LightWorkers Media, a joint venture owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, today announces the launch of, an online destination for uplifting and encouraging short-form digital and social content. Featuring expertly produced, socially engaging and personally curated video and editorial pieces, allows Downey to bring her brand of inspiring storytelling to audiences like never before. has a robust offering of emotional, shareable and impactful content that highlights entertainment, lifestyle, faith and family. The content, social media and real-life activations aim to offer visitors achievable ways to make positive changes in their communities, both online and off. It will also create new advertising and sponsorship opportunities for brands, including video franchise sponsorship, custom branded videos and original branded series that align with a shared mission of doing good. already has a hit with “37 Seconds of Good News” which spotlights ordinary people doing extraordinary things in this world. Originally launched on social media, the series has already surpassed 21 million views on Facebook. will also showcase a wide range of content from new and established personalities, including bestselling author Michelle McKinney Hammond telling it like it is in advice series “Tough But Fair”; Brooklyn Wagner, who brings her blunt and boisterously random perspective to “Welcome to Brooklyn”; and Julianna Strickland and Natasha Feldman who’ll take your thoughtful gift-giving game to the next level with “Giftable.” There are also moving profiles of athletes and influencers in our premium docuseries “I Struggle. I Rise.” and celebrity interviews with friends of the LightWorkers family – Van Morrison, Jeff Probst, Cindy Crawford, Ali Landry, Niecy Nash, Brooke Burke and more – opening up like never before about how they’ve persevered through challenges in their own lives.

“LightWorkers has sparked a movement on social media, where we’ve been able to engage across different platforms sharing positive messages of hope and encouragement. We need these inspirational messages now more than ever,” said Downey, President of LightWorkers Media. “My motto has always been that it’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. My hope is that will invite others to do the same, inspiring them to shine their own light within their communities to remind us that there are good people doing extraordinary things everywhere.”

Carnival Corporation’s purpose-driven travel brand Fathom jumped on board for the launch with the collective goal of producing branded content together by telling stories that bring more light to the world. LightWorkers will create and distribute the content, with social and digital support from Carnival Corporation’s cruise line brands, to showcase the power of travel through our storytelling lens.

“MGM has a rich history of award-winning storytelling and we are launching with the mission to share the good and inspiring stories happening around us in a time when we are inundated by negativity in the news,” said Kevin Conroy, President of Digital and New Platforms at MGM. “Not only do we create our own short-form digital series, we offer companies like Carnival Corporation’s cruise line brands’ custom original content through this lens of positivity, distributed in a brand-safe environment to a large and highly engaged audience.”

Together, Downey and Burnett have brought powerful stories to theaters and the small screen including “The Bible” miniseries for HISTORY Channel, “A.D. The Bible Continues” on NBC, “The Dovekeepers” for CBS and “Answered Prayers” on TLC. Downey was also an executive producer on several feature films including “Son of God” from Twentieth Century Fox, “Ben-Hur” for MGM and Paramount, “Little Boy” for Open Road Films, “Woodlawn” for Pure Flix and the documentary “Faithkeepers” about the persecution of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East.


37 Seconds of Good News

Even though there’s craziness in the world, there are always organizations and individuals doing extraordinary things and trying to make a difference. This series gives good news a more prominent platform to brighten people’s days and inspire them to share the good. From 101-year-old skydiving grandpas to community refrigerators designed to eliminate food waste while feeding the hungry, we guarantee that this series will bring hope to your feed and a smile to your face.

Tough But Fair with Michelle McKinney Hammond

Bestselling author and expert life and relationship coach Michelle McKinney Hammond provides a quick-talking, 45-second burst of actionable advice to live a better life, be a better friend, have more success in love and think positively through life’s challenges in this 16-episode series. Michelle is tough but fair—the motivator you never knew you always needed. from overcoming obstacles in their lives. Interview subjects include fashion blogger and model Lauren Scruggs, pastors and authors Chad and Julia Veach and boxer and WBC champion Heather Hardy. No matter how tragic the story, these mini-docs provide a feeling of hope and inspiration to viewers struggling with their own life challenges.


Giftable is a series of thoughtful DIYs featuring Julianna Strickland and Natasha Feldman, two best friends who have mastered the art of gift-giving. One part cooking series and one part creative gift box inspiration, the results are what Pinterest and Instagram were made for: unique, adorable and full-of-personality presents that will make you want to be more thoughtful for the loved ones in your life.

Celebrity Interviews

You might think you know your favorite celebrity, but you’ve never seen them like this. Our interview series goes beyond the standard line of questioning, getting to the heart of what makes a person tick, from their unique perspective on life to their work ethic and everything in between.

In My Day

Everyone has something to share, but in our world where news travels at the speed of a tweet, the stories of the Baby Boomer and Silent generations are a bit more analog than what we’re used to. This series captures the insights and intelligence of regular people through compelling storytelling, insuring that our generations and the ones still to come will have a direct line to connect with the wisdom of their elders.


Aaron and Viergeni White, a husband and wife youth ministry team, share their unique perspective in two-minute spoken word slam poetry performances, covering everything from happiness in the age of consumerism to the joys of parenthood.

Welcome to Brooklyn

Oregon native Brooklyn Wagner has a lot to say – about people, relationships and celebrating the small things – in this quirky, stream-of-consciousness peek inside her delightfully realistic and optimistic brain.

The Golden Rule

From inner city teens volunteering to keep their neighborhoods clean, to “volunteer cuddlers” who spend their days with babies in the NICU, this uplifting series spotlights everyday people doing extraordinary things. This is life by the Golden Rule – to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


Do you have an attitude for crafting? Even the most DIY-phobic among us won’t be able to resist this delightfully inspiring series designed to take the guesswork out of answering the age-old question: What should I do with my kids today? Each episode shows simple step-by-step instructions for a unique hands-on craft, noting which important skills it will also teach the little ones. Craft on!

Get Read

For anyone who thinks it’s taboo to discuss religion, this thoughtful book club series will change your mind. Our diverse and passionate panel tackles tough issues from classics and new releases alike, all while pulling out the practical teachings from each of the books they’ve read. Their conversations are real – never preachy – and they’re the perfect entry point to starting your own deliberations with friends and chiming in on ours on social.

Welcome to Adulting

New York Times bestselling author, new mom and record-holding former women’s soccer player at LSU, Mo Isom gives viewers an unfiltered peek at just how messy life can be when you’re playing hard and juggling a lot of balls. She gives 2-minute snippets of her life as a speaker, blogger, wife and mom in this new series.

Office Guinea Pigs

You’ve seen it, you’ve heard about it, you’ve probably Googled it to get the real scoop… if you’re curious about a bizarre new beauty product, our office guinea pigs have done the dirty work for you. Watch, cringe, laugh, share, rinse and repeat – from bubbling face masks to charcoal toothpaste to female face shaving (yes, it’s a thing), we’ll try anything. And yes, we all actually work at LightWorkers… if you thought your office bonding rituals were weird, we’ll bet they don’t ask you to show off your blackheads to the world!

The Brekkie Series

The Brekkie Series proves that easy doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Take back the most important meal of the day, and let’s make breakfast good again – together! Host Kara Elise is a pro at making any kitchen novice feel comfortable and empowered to throw out the recipes and make what tastes good to them. This series combines nutritional lessons with breakfast how-tos – from chia seed pudding and overnight oats to a full-blown brunch for friends – to start your day off right, every day.

A Taste of Grace

International speaker, blogger and children’s pastor Seth Dahl shares the lessons that he has learned since recovering from drug abuse and finding his faith. In this 15-episode series, Dahl discusses becoming a parent and gives viewers a moral of the story that doesn’t feel forced or fake. His authentic delivery, in just over one minute, and adorable children make these teachings easily digestible and infinitely helpful.

I Love My Goofy Pet

No matter how silly your pet is, there’s really no love like the love you have for your furriest family members. This funny series of shorts features peculiar pets and the owners that adore them.

An Ode To…

This series features short-form, eye-catching video love letters to niche things we love. From French fries to donuts, these videos are as full of comedic personality as they are of crave-worthy visuals.

The Good Race

Matt Brown is an evangelist, author and co-founder of the non-profit Think Eternity, a digital and live event movement that brings the gospel to millions of people each year. Although short, his one-minute messages help answer some of life’s deepest questions to guide you in the journey of faith.

Animal Classroom

Yes, animals are adorable and awe-inspiring wonders of nature, but they’re also really wonderful teachers. Dogs are fiercely loyal, penguins have fascinating mating rituals and meerkats… well, meerkats are just hilarious to watch. This series spotlights the important life lessons that pets and wild animals can teach us. Class is now in session!

Dad Does Lunch

Featured on “Good Morning America,” The Lunchbox Dad Beau Coffron is a host and food blogger who specializes in creative recipes to spice up your kid’s lunch. Each episode wraps up with a lesson in modern parenting, including patience, problem-solving and slowing down to appreciate life’s everyday moments.

Totally Accurate History!

Kids say the darndest things! This series is like the G-rated version of the ever-hilarious “Drunk History,”instead giving kids the spotlight to tell their versions of how things happened. From explaining the extinction of the dinosaurs to detailing the bizarre history of the waffle, these precocious teachers are way more entertaining than a textbook… and maybe even a tiny bit right.

About LightWorkers Media

Celebrated Emmy-nominated actress and producer Roma Downey launched LightWorkers Media (LWM) in 2011 along with her husband, award-winning producer Mark Burnett. LightWorkers is a joint venture owned by MGM, Burnett and Downey, with Downey serving as President. Under the LightWorkers Media banner, they have produced the 10-hour hit miniseries “The Bible” which was seen in the U.S. by 100 million people and was nominated for three Emmy awards. Additionally, LWM produced the series “A.D.” for NBC, “The Women of the Bible” for Lifetime, “The Dovekeepers” for CBS, “Answered Prayers” for TLC, the feature films “Little Boy” for Open Road Films, “Woodlawn” for Pure Flix, “Ben-Hur” for MGM and Paramount and the upcoming TV series “Messiah” for Netflix.

About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content across all platforms. The company owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content as well as the premium pay television network EPIX, which is available throughout the U.S. via cable, satellite, telco and digital distributors. In addition, MGM has investments in numerous other television channels, digital platforms and interactive ventures and is producing premium short-form content for distribution. For more information, visit

About Carnival Corporation & plc

Carnival Corporation & plc is the world’s largest leisure travel company and among the most profitable and financially strong in the cruise and vacation industries, with a portfolio of 10 dynamic brands that include nine of the world’s leading cruise lines. With operations in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, its portfolio features Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK), as well as Fathom, the corporation’s driven travel brand.

In 2017, Fast Company recognized Carnival Corporation as being among the “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies” in both the design and travel categories. Fast Company specifically recognized Carnival Corporation for its work in developing Ocean Medallion™, a high-tech wearable device that enables the world’s first interactive guest experience platform capable of transforming vacation travel into a highly personalized and elevated level of customized service.

Additional information can be found on,,,,,,,, and

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The Napa Valley Wine Train Announces Return of Beloved Santa Trains

Press Release – NAPA, Calif. (September 26, 2017)The Napa Valley Wine Train, an engaging and memorable experience that echoes the glory days of train travel, is pleased to announce the return of its Santa Trains, an interactive musical adventure in an elegant, nostalgic setting. Transforming the Napa Valley Wine Train into an enchanting holiday journey of delight for both children and adults, the Santa Trains will run from November 18 to December 29. Guests of the Santa Trains will experience games, sing-alongs, and a fun cast of holiday-inspired characters, all while savoring hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies.

In addition, the Napa Valley Wine Train has partnered with the Ticket to Dream Foundation to invite hundreds of foster children aboard the Santa Trains free of charge. The Wine Train will also be hosting a Secret Santa Toy Drive at the train station and will have receptacles to collect new and unwrapped donated toys from generous riders from November 1 to December 17.

“The Santa Train is a special experience that allows children and families to enjoy the holiday season together in a unique way,” said Scott Goldie, co-CEO and partner of the Napa Valley Wine Train. “We’re thrilled to add more interactive features to this iconic journey and invite local foster children to join us through our partnership with Ticket to Dream Foundation.”

Guests of the Santa Trains will embark on an interactive and musical journey from the train station to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole with the conductor, Santa and some of his holiday friends, with magical wristbands and a smartphone app available to enhance the trip. Rumor has it Jolly the Bear was accidentally left behind at the train station and needs the children’s help to make it back to Santa’s workshop to be finished in time for Christmas Day and achieve his lifelong dream – to become an official Santa Train Conductor Bear. Once the children reach the North Pole, they will be given a toy Jolly Bear ornament as a special thank you for their help. The holiday magic continues on the return trip with more songs and games, hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies, Santa and Jolly the Bear handing out toy bears and fairy friends collecting letters to Santa. Additional beverages and snack boxes are available for purchase including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, goldfish crackers, apple sauce and fruit for kids and hummus, chips, cheese, crackers and a delicious treat for adults. A photo booth and social media station is available at the train station for passengers to capture and share their memories.

The Napa Valley Wine Train’s partnership with the Ticket to Dream Foundation will involve hundreds of local foster children experiencing the thrill of meeting Santa aboard the Santa Train as well as a Secret Santa Toy Drive from November 1 – December 17. All passengers are welcome to bring new and unwrapped toys, books, games, movies and gift cards to the Napa Wine Valley Train on their departure day to add joy and excitement to the holidays for foster children in Napa.

The Santa Trains will run from November 18 to December 29 and will be closed on December 24 and 25. Beginning with one daily show at 5 p.m. from November 18 to December 17, a second show at 6:45 p.m. will be added from December 18 to 29. The train’s first show will begin at 5 p.m. and return to the station at 7:15 p.m., with the second show departing at 7:15 p.m. and returning at 9:15 p.m.

Train fare for the Santa Trains start at $39 for locals in Napa and Sonoma counties, $49 per person for the 5 p.m. show and $69 per person for the 6:45 p.m. show. Free parking is available in the Napa Valley Wine Train’s parking lot and space is limited. For reservations and more information about the Napa Valley Wine Train, please call (800) 427-4124 or visit

About the Napa Valley Wine Train

One of the few active historic passenger railroads in the United States, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers an engaging and memorable experience that echoes the glory days of train travel, with fine dining service, multi-course meals cooked to order, Napa Valley scenery and ultimate relaxation aboard exquisitely restored antique rail cars. The Napa Valley Wine Train features vintage Pullman rail cars faithfully restored with Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions and luxurious armchairs that evoke the spirit of luxury rail travel at the beginning of the 20th century. Conveniently located in downtown Napa and easily accessible, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers a car-free transportation option that bring guests from San Francisco to Napa Valley via the San Francisco Bay Ferry.

In 2015, Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Ltd. – a collection of luxury hotels and resorts – entered into a partnership with Brooks Street, a California-based real estate development and investment company, for the purchase of the historic and iconic Napa Valley Wine Train. The purchase deepens Noble House’s roots in Northern California, expanding its portfolio to include attractions in the destinations its hotels call home.

About Noble House Hotels & Resorts

A privately held company for more than 30 years, Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Ltd. was founded in 1979 by owner Patrick R. Colee as a commercial property development group, transitioning in 1994 to a hotel ownership management company. Headquartered in Seattle, Wash., the corporation owns and manages an upscale portfolio of 15 distinct and visually captivating properties spanning the U.S. From the historic passenger Napa Valley Wine Train, to luxury resorts in Seattle, Wash. Jackson Hole, Wyo. and the Florida Keys, each property maximizes and showcases its physical setting. Noble House is continuously growing, operating 43 hotel restaurants, bars and lounges, showcasing local culture and inspiration from local surroundings. With a philosophy that emphasizes “location, distinction and soul,” Noble House Hotels & Resorts exemplifies individuality, dedicating itself to creating and managing exceptional properties that contribute to their communities, staying true to local history, culture and ambiance.

About Brooks Street

Brooks Street ( is a California-based real estate development and investment company with offices in Northern and Southern California. The company specializes in seeking out unique opportunities in premier locations where creativity and repurposing creates value in local communities.

About the Ticket to Dream Foundation

Established as a 501(c)(3) in 2008, Ticket to Dream is dedicated to provide hope and opportunity for foster children across the nation, so they can just be kids. We believe it starts with joining forces with local communities to ensure they have school supplies, holiday gifts, properly fitting clothing and shoes. We also provide and fund enriching life experiences and vital support that allow them to heal and grow into their full potential. We create opportunity by funding enriching life experiences like a trip to the zoo, joining the soccer team, music lessons, therapy, help in school, and vital support services that allow them to heal and grow into their full potential.

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South By Southwest Announces Community Service Award Honorees For 2018

Press Release – Austin, Texas – September 26, 2017 – South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals (March 9-18, 2018) is proud to announce the Community Service Award honorees for 2018. These awards highlight hardworking individuals and organizations serving their communities in Austin and beyond, and celebrate the life and work of SXSW Interactive co-founder Dewey Winburne.

“The SXSW Community Service Awards help us honor individuals and organizations whose good works are helping to improve many many lives across the United States and around the world. These Community Grant honorees inspire us all to do more to help those around us — and inspiration to create a better world is a driving force of the overall SXSW mission,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer.

Six individuals and six organizations will receive more than $50,000 in grants as well as complimentary badges to SXSW to help further their goals. When selecting these honorees, SXSW looked for uniqueness, level of impact, clarity of mission, and relationship to Austin and the SXSW community.

“I am astounded by the passion and heart that these individuals and organizations bring to their work. I’m humbled to host them at SXSW in March and can’t wait to showcase the talents that they bring to community service,” said Tammy Lynn Gilmore, Senior Conference Programmer and Non-Profit Grant Specialist.

Grant recipients will be honored in a ceremony on March 12, 2018, during SXSW. The free and open to the public ceremony does not require a SXSW badge to attend.

Read below for more information about the 12 honorees. Full bios of the Community Service Award recipients can be found here.

Individual Recipients

Chris Diaz – (Action Tank) Chris helped form the Action Tank in 2016 with a group of post 9/11 veterans with a mission to solve tough problems aimed at improving the social conditions of their community by harnessing the experiences, skills and relationships of service-minded citizens. The Action Tank has spent the past year working to combat the opioid epidemic by introducing policy and legislation that will reduce opioid related overdoses and save lives.

Catalina Escobar – (MAKAIA) Catalina co-founded MAKAIA and has led it since its inception 11 years ago, transforming an idea into an organization that has served hundreds of nonprofits and social projects in Latin America. MAKAIA is a not-for-profit organization that promotes capacities for social development through cooperation, technology and innovation. MAKAIA’s work is implemented based on two pillars, technology for social change and international cooperation and partnerships. MAKAIA has reached more than 25,000 people and 3,600 organizations abroad.

Char Hu – (The Helper Bees) Char Hu has dedicated his career to one goal: improving the lives of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Dr. Hu founded and is CEO of The Helper Bees, a technology company in Austin which provides intelligent in-home caregiver-to-senior matching. The Helper Bees allows seniors with early dementia to extend the time they can live at home, an affordable and life-affirming choice.

James Jack – (human-I-T) James is a social entrepreneur with the keen ability to see how innovations in technology can come together to create social impact. James co-founded human-I-T as a platform for putting donated technology into the hands of low-income households. Since human-I-T’s inception in 2012, it has grown from a two-man operation to a national organization with multiple locations.

Linda Novick O’Keefe – (Common Threads) Linda’s experience and desire to develop innovative solutions to social problems, combined with her passion for food, led her to start Common Threads with chef Art Smith and artist Jesus Salgueiro in May 2003. Under her leadership, Common Threads has grown from the basement of a Chicago Hyde Park church to providing in-school, after-school, teacher, social service training and family programming to more than 750 schools and community partner sites in nine major US cities and will expand throughout Texas this year as a SNAP-Ed Program Provider.

Celeste C. Smith – (1Hood Media) Celeste C. Smith is the Chief Curator of Cultural and Strategic Initiatives for 1Hood Media, a collective of conscious Hip Hop artists and activists who utilize Hip Hop as a means of raising awareness around issues affecting oppressed people around the world. Celeste is also a founding member of the Nefertiti Alliance, an organization dedicated to raising awareness around the importance of self care and protecting the cultural capital of Black women in the arts, and serves as the organization’s chair.

Organization Recipients

Allies Against Slavery – Allies Against Slavery works to build Slave­ Free Cities, places where traffickers cannot exploit the vulnerable and where survivors have access to all they need to heal. Slave ­Free Cities are built by empowering survivors, connecting partners and building tools that help professionals overcome human trafficking together. Allies is working to solve the problem of victim identification by developing a screening tool that helps frontline agencies rapidly and effectively identify sex trafficking victims.

Creative Action – Creative Action is a nonprofit, arts-based, youth development organization that provides dynamic and engaging creative learning programs in the classroom, in after-school settings, and in the community. Their Youth Cinema Collective is a program that provides a space for teens who are passionate about filmmaking and film’s ability to share stories that may otherwise go untold. Teens produce original films that speak to their communities, tell new stories, and address social issues they care about.

Gamers Outreach – Gamers Outreach is a 501(c)(3) charity organization that provides equipment, technology, and software to help kids cope with treatment inside hospitals. Their organization aims to inspire and heal patients through the power of interactive play. Gamers Outreach primary initiative is Project GO Kart, GO Karts are portable, medical-grade video game kiosks which enable nurses to easily provide bedside activities to children unable to leave their rooms in hospitals.

Jeremiah Program – Jeremiah Program’s mission is to transform families from poverty to prosperity. Researchers have determined that two-generation models like Jeremiah Program achieve significant educational, health, and economic benefits for both children and their parents. This is achieved through career-track college education for parents, high quality early childhood education for children, as well as safe and affordable housing.

Kids In A New Groove (KING) – Kids In A New Groove (KING) provides Texas youth in foster care with a committed one-on-one mentoring relationship through weekly, private music instruction, giving students the ability to build concrete strategies for life-long success. Music Mentors travel to students’ homes and KING provides each student with an instrument, lesson materials, and a reward system – to help create a sense of achievement and confidence.

Urban Roots – Urban Roots’ mission is to use food and farming to transform the lives of young people and inspire, engage, and nourish the community. For the past 10 years, they’ve provided paid internships to young people on their 3.5 acre farm in East Austin. This grant will support opportunities for 45 youth as they spend five months learning to grow food while serving the community and growing as leaders. Together they grow more than 25,000 pounds of fresh food each year, 40 percent of which is donated to those in need through hunger relief partners.

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2018 will take place March 9-18, 2018.

SXSW 2018 is sponsored by Capital One and The Austin Chronicle.

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Mazda and Chase Partner with Operation Homefront to Host Military Appreciation Day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Press Release – September 23, 2017: Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that builds strong, stable and secure military families, recently partnered with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) to host Military Appreciation Day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to surprise two military families with a brand new Mazda vehicle and award a mortgage-free home donated by Chase, for their selfless service to their county.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Don DeGuzman and Marine Sergeant Ricardo Mendez were elated to learn they weren’t just at Mazda Raceway for an exciting weekend of racing, they were there to be honored in a very special way for their courageous service to our country. They were awarded brand new Mazda cars.

“This is amazing – thank you to Operation Homefront, Chase, and Mazda,” said Ricardo and Adriana Mendez. “This means that I will have a dependable car and not have to struggle to get by – it’s one less burden we don’t have to worry about.”

“I really feel appreciated – this is life changing,” said Don. “It is really going to help out financially because our car is almost done – so, it will help us out tremendously.”

Army Staff Sergeant Toure Williams was awarded a mortgage-free home in Jackson, New Jersey, through Operation Homefront’s Homes on the Homefront program.

The Homes on the Homefront program began in 2012. Since inception, Operation Homefront has placed nearly 600 veterans and their families in mortgage-free homes providing more than $56 million in deeded value to military families. Toure and his family will participate in one-on-one homeowner counseling services for one to three years. The family will also participate in a customized transition plan, including financial counseling and savings planning.

“It’s our biggest dream to get a home of my own,” said Toure. “This is a new beginning, something that we as a family can work on together, make our own home that we have dreamed of. Thank you very much, Operation Homefront, Chase, and Mazda – I appreciate everything you have done for me and my family.”

Robert Davis, senior vice president of U.S. Operations at Mazda, and Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray, Jr., President and CEO of Operation Homefront, were in attendance to award the home and cars to the three military families. Each family participated in Military Appreciation Day at Mazda Raceway with different activities.

“This moment is just as special for us as is it for our veterans,” said Robert Davis, senior vice president of special projects for Mazda. “These Mazda vehicles are a small token of our appreciation and a way to say thank you to our veterans for their invaluable service to our country. We are honored to be here with them this weekend.”

“I am extremely grateful to have such amazing partners, like Chase and Mazda, share our commitment to building strong, stable, and secure military families,” said Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray, Jr., President and CEO of Operation Homefront. “By working together, we are able to give them a real opportunity to thrive, not simply struggle to get by, in the communities — our communities — they have worked so hard to protect.”

Each of the families who were awarded a new Mazda will get to select the model of their choice from the current Mazda vehicle lineup. From there, the vehicle will be delivered to the family at their local San Diego Mazda dealership in the coming weeks.


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SDSU to Offer Black Minds Matter Course

The course will be broadcast online and is expected to reach more than 10,000 educators nationwide.

Press Release – SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2017) — Starting in October of this year, San Diego State University professor Luke Wood will offer a nationally broadcast course called Black Minds Matters – A Focus on Black Boys and Men in Education. The course connects themes from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to issues Black boys and men face in today’s education system.

The class is organized around the BLM movement’s guiding principles of loving engagement, collective value, and restorative justice.

“It’s time to create a paradigm shift in the way educators view their role,” said Wood. “Educators need to understand their new role in training, preparing, and mobilizing their classrooms as sites that promote racial justice for Black males.”

In order to achieve racial justice, Wood is suggesting an approach of civil resistance against unjust policies and practices.

By civil resistance, Wood is referring to teaching strategies that empower students and communicate care, rather than methods that undervalue and criminalize them.

“I think it is important to emphasize that Luke’s research demonstrates that in our educational systems today, Black students, especially boys and men, are among the least likely to succeed by any measure,” said Joseph Johnson, dean of SDSU’s College of Education. “Our College of Education, and Luke’s course specifically, seeks to influence the improvement of educational systems in ways that will generate better outcomes for all students.”

The course has already enrolled more than 10,000 educators who will be participating in the public portion of the class via the internet. Thirty SDSU graduate students, many of whom were part of a group who asked for the course to be established, will be enrolled in the full course.

Wood and his team have established 130 broadcast sites nationwide., including at elementary schools, community centers, colleges, and universities.

The class will feature numerous guest speakers, among them Patrisse Cullors, -co-founder of Black Lives Matter and Ilyasah Shabazz,an educational advocate and daughter of Malcolm X.

The class was developed in collaboration with several outside organizations, including the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Moms of Black Boys United, Center for Organizational Responsibility and Advancement, Our Scholarship Matters and the Education Trust-West, which released the Black Minds Matter report in 2015.

“Black boys are significantly more likely to be placed into special education or exposed to disciplinary practices such as suspensions or expulsions that remove them from learning environments,” said Wood. “The Black Minds Matter course can help address these concerns by providing educators with strategies and practices that can improve their success with this critical student population.”

About San Diego State University

San Diego State University is a major public research institution that provides transformative experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom, for its more than 36,000 students. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in 95 areas, master’s degrees in 78 areas and doctorates in 22 areas. Students participate in research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, internships and mentoring, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities. The university’s rich campus life features opportunities for students to participate in, and engage with, the creative and performing arts, a Division I athletics program and the vibrant cultural life of the San Diego region. For more information, visit

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Humanitarian And Investor Ibrahim AlHusseini Joins Rainforest Action Network Board Of Directors

Press Release – LOS ANGELES, CA (September 26, 2017) – Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has appointed Ibrahim AlHusseini to its Board of Directors.

Ibrahim AlHusseini is a humanitarian and investor dedicated to financing companies that implement market ready solutions to our greatest social and environment challenges. He is Managing Partner of FullCycle Energy LP and The Husseini Fund. As founder and Managing Partner of FullCycle Energy, he is dedicated to addressing our growing global waste crisis and financing projects that convert our costly environmental problem into clean, valuable fuel to power communities around the world. In addition, The Husseini Group has over a decade of funding ventures that embrace social enhancement and ecological sustainability with numerous notable holdings.

“I am pleased to join the Board of Directors at Rainforest Action Network. I will be joining a group of individuals who are equally dedicated to making this world a cleaner and better place, which is incredibly important to me,” said AlHusseini. “Our climate crisis is serious and Rainforest Action Network is an effective and innovative activist organization whose members understand this, in addition to the fact that clean energy is the next technological and economic frontier.”

Equally passionate about gender equality and the arts, AlHusseini supports several NGOs advancing social and cultural change in societies that adversely impact women and girls. In addition to RAN, Alhusseini serves on the boards of Synova Power, Cornerstone Capital, The Culture Project, The Global Partnership for Women and Girls and The Biomimicry Institute.

Established in 1985, Rainforest Action Network fights for people and the planet by working at the intersection of three core issues: preserving rainforests, protecting the climate, and upholding human rights. And, unlike other organizations, RAN achieves this by focusing on corporate accountability. RAN’s work challenges corporate power and systemic injustice by targeting the companies and industries that act as the greatest drivers of deforestation and climate change. RAN also has a long history of partnering with and directly supporting frontline communities who feel the greatest impact of climate change and deforestation — and who frequently hold the best strategies to protect our planet and our climate.

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“Domino for Good” Catalyzes the Impact of Data Science Beyond the Enterprise

Social impact initiative offers technology, mentorship and data science access to nonprofits, academia and students

Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)Domino Data Lab, the makers of an innovative, collaborative data science platform, today announced the launch of Domino for Good, a social impact initiative that provides nonprofits, academia and students with access to its technology, mentorship and data scientists. The program’s commitment to advancing society through data science collaboration aims to have a wide-reaching, profound impact on global issues such as poverty, disease and public safety.

The launch materializes Domino’s long time commitment to social impact. “We founded the company with the belief that being data-driven will fundamentally change the way all organizations operate,” said Domino Co-founder and CTO Chris Yang. “Our mission is to help all organizations that are using data science, such as non-profits, and educational programs, we well as our commercial and government customers.”

Early adopters of Domino, including the Audubon Society, MDRC, and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, have used Domino for research core to their missions, from studying how climate change will impact wildlife to how genetic sequences influence cancer.

“As interest increased and we began to see how nonprofits and groups could use our platform to effect change, we hired Dr. Lisa Green who has dedicated her career to figuring out how to leverage data science for social good,” said Nick Elprin, CEO of Domino. “She brings with her a wealth of experience and a rich network. We’re excited to see how she can build on our vision.”

Dr. Green, who joined Domino to lead the initiative, has more than 10 years of experience advocating for open innovation, digital rights and data science for social good. Most notably, Dr. Green initiated a program to advance open science at bioinformatics leader Illumina. She also established an open, international data policy at nonprofit Creative Commons and then went on to build a nonprofit dedicated to open data called Common Crawl. Dr. Green received her PhD in Physical Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The success of Common Crawl validated my belief in the impact of open data, empowering valuable research by academia, large businesses, startups and individuals,” said Dr. Green. “Domino for Good, to me, represents an equally significant opportunity to help organizations and individuals with limited resources make the biggest impact possible using data science.”

The Domino platform helps individuals and organizations develop and deploy predictive models more rapidly, to advance science faster and to benefit society as a whole. This is especially critical for nonprofits that generally suffer from “hand-off” issues when volunteers work on projects part-time and the work is not transferred to the next person.

“Volunteer data scientists are an important tool for nonprofits who make use of analytics and data science–but they often work in short or temporary stints, and are distributed across physical locations spanning different time zones. This makes reproducibility and collaboration essential to success,” said Peter Bull, co-founder of DrivenData. “Domino for Good ensures that nonprofits get that reproducibility and consistency that enables distributed projects to thrive.”

Domino for Good has partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Data for Democracy, DrivenData, Ice911, MDRC, Thorn, University of Virginia and others.

Program participant Dr. Leslie Field, founder and CEO, Ice911, shared how her organization is using Domino for Good: “We rely heavily on the use of data science to achieve our mission of slowing climate change. Domino for Good helps us make the most of limited resources by giving us access to the Domino platform, which would have otherwise been beyond our means. We are working faster, smarter and more collaboratively today than ever before.”

For more information about the initiative, visit

About Domino Data Lab

Domino is the world’s most advanced data science platform, powering organizations that are using predictive models to drive their business. Companies including Allstate, Coatue, Mashable, Monsanto and startups alike use Domino to accelerate breakthrough research, increase collaboration and productivity of data scientists, and more rapidly deliver models to drive business impact. Founded in 2013 and based in San Francisco, Domino is backed by Sequoia Capital, Bloomberg Beta, and Zetta Venture Partners. To learn more, visit

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Poetry Foundation Appoints Two New Members to Board of Trustees

Press Release – CHICAGO – The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of two new board members, Eugene Y. Lowe, Jr., Assistant to the President of Northwestern University, and Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director of Illinois Humanities, to the Poetry Foundation Board of Trustees.

“Angel and Gene bring to the Poetry Foundation Board knowledge and experience that is critical to carrying out our mission – a strong history in the cultural life of Chicago and a deep understanding and appreciation for education and social policy,” said Henry Bienen, President of the Poetry Foundation. “We are thrilled to have them join us as we continue to work to raise poetry to an ever more influential place in American culture.”

Eugene Y. Lowe, Jr. joined the senior administration of Northwestern University in 1995 and has served as assistant to the president since 1999. He also holds faculty appointments in the Religious Studies Department in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and in the School of Education and Social Policy, where he teaches in the master’s program in higher education administration and policy. From 1983-1993, Lowe was dean of students at Princeton University. He received an A.B. magna cum laude in Religion from Princeton University in 1971, and a Master of Divinity (1978) and Ph.D. (1987) from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

A historian of American religion of the social gospel, Lowe’s writings about religion, race and American culture have appeared in a number of publications. His book, Promise and Dilemma: Perspectives on Racial Diversity and Higher Education (1999) is based on his work sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

A trustee of Berea College, Lowe chairs its committee on educational policies. He is also a trustee of ITHAKA, a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable applications of digital technology in higher education, and has served as president of the Board of Episcopal Charities and Community Services of Chicago. Lowe has also sat on the external advisory board of the Stanford University Center of the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity and was a consultant-evaluator for the United States Department of Education and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Angel Ysaguirre has been the executive director of Illinois Humanities since 2014. From 1999 to 2005, he was also the director of programs, creating programs that included The Odyssey Project, Einstein’s Revolutions, and Brown v Board 50 Years Later: Conversations on Race, Integration, and the Law. He was deputy commissioner at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events from 2012 to 2014, where he managed the City’s public art program, creative industries offices, and arts programming. From 2005 to 2012, he served as director of Global Community Investing at the Boeing Company, overseeing the company’s grant making program in 60 offices throughout the globe. He began his career in Chicago as a program officer at the McCormick Tribune Foundation.

Ysaguirre currently serves as a volunteer on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Cultural Advisory Committee and Arts Transition Team, and in the past, has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Theater Communications Group. He was co-chair of their 2010 conference. Ysaguirre has also served as the chair of the Board of Directors for Blair Thomas & Co, and the International Contemporary Ensemble.

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RedRover Awarded $433,000 To Keep More Domestic Violence Survivors and Their Pets Together

Safe Housing and Safe Escape Grant Programs to Expand 50 Percent

Press Release – Sacramento, CA – RedRover, a national nonprofit animal welfare organization, was recently awarded a $433,000 grant from an anonymous foundation in support of the RedRover Relief Domestic Violence Assistance Program, just in time for October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This generous grant will allow RedRover to offer more financial assistance for safe pet boarding and veterinary care through the Safe Escape program, increase their Safe Housing grant amounts from $6,000 up to $20,000 and launch a pilot program that enables domestic violence shelters to create their own plan to help survivors of domestic violence and their pets escape abuse together. The grant also funds general operating costs for the program.

All too often, domestic violence victims stay in abusive homes for fear of subjecting their animals to abuse if they leave. RedRover Relief Safe Escape grants pay for temporary boarding and/or veterinary care to enable a domestic violence victim to remove pets to safety so that no member of the family is left behind. RedRover Relief Safe Housing grants pay for on-site space to house pets at domestic violence shelters.

RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth said, “This generous grant saves lives by expanding this vital program to more domestic violence survivors across the country, so they can escape abusive relationships safely with their precious pets. It also allows us to launch a Safe Housing expansion pilot program to identify boarding options beyond those just onsite.”

Since helping its first victim of domestic violence with a RedRover Relief Safe Escape grant in 2007, RedRover has awarded 382 grants to help 688 people with 13,897 nights of boarding for their pets. Since the inception of the Safe Housing program in 2012, 58 grants have been awarded to domestic violence shelters for a total of $238,720.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 70 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their batterer had injured, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or psychological control. As many as 48 percent of domestic violence victims don’t leave their abusive situations because they fear what will happen to their pets when they leave.

According to Sheltering Animals and Families Together (SAF-T), a national initiative that guides family violence shelters on how to welcome families with pets, only a fraction of the 2,500 domestic violence shelters in the United States report having the ability to house animals onsite.

RedRover is partnering with SAF-T to work toward the goal of having at least one pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in each state. Shelters in the following nine states do not currently house pets onsite and are encouraged to apply for Safe Housing grants: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

Deadlines to apply for Safe Housing grants are May 15 and October 15 each year. To learn more, visit:

More information about RedRover’s domestic violence resources can be found at

About RedRover

Now in their 30th year, RedRover focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the human-animal bond through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. Through their RedRover Relief program, they have helped thousands of animals and provided thousands of safe nights across the United States and Canada. For the third consecutive year, RedRover has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. To learn more, please visit You can view their media kit at

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