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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: November 2017

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Participant Media Names Girl Rising Co-Founder Holly Gordon As Its Chief Impact Officer

Gordon Will Drive Development and Execution of Social Impact Campaigns to Further Strengthen Company’s Mission

Holly Gordon

Press Release – LOS ANGELES (November 1, 2017) – Participant Media has appointed seasoned social impact leader Holly Gordon to the newly created role of Chief Impact Officer. In this position, Gordon will expand the company’s social impact strategy through global, multi-year campaigns that are driven by Participant’s content and powered by strategic partnerships to address the most important issues of our time. She will report to company CEO, David Linde, who made the announcement today.

“Participant was founded on Jeff Skoll’s vision of compelling social action worldwide through poignant content, a vision that is more pertinent than ever today,” said Linde. “With social impact as a cornerstone of our business, we will benefit from Holly’s leadership in activating on our mandate to inspire action among a wide audience on timely initiatives. Her impressive background in both film and social impact programs makes her the ideal fit to drive our distinctive mission.”

Gordon added, “Storytelling is a transformational catalyst for impact and long-term social change and so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the team at Participant, an organization dedicated to using compelling stories to increase peace and prosperity around the world. In this new role, l look forward to partnering with individuals, organizations and governments to create campaigns that connect everyday citizens with meaningful opportunities to shape our future, community by community, one act of courage at a time.”

Participant aims to generate and accelerate conversations about important social issues as a first step to positive social change. In combination with its award-winning films, Participant invests in social impact campaigns designed to build awareness, create community, spark action and accelerate positive change. The social impact team partners closely with non-profits, corporations, civic leaders, policy experts, philanthropists, and governments to deepen audience engagement around these stories and drive measurable results. Most recently, Participant released An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, the follow-up to Al Gore’s critically acclaimed 2006 climate crisis documentary. The sequel’s social impact campaign is one of the company’s largest to date, encouraging NGOs, government and civic leaders, investors, students, and audiences globally to embrace a clean energy future.

Before joining Participant, Gordon co-founded Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls’ education. Selected by Fast Company as a member of the League of Extraordinary Women and named by Newsweek/Daily Beast as one of 125 Women of Impact, Gordon is also an Executive Producer for the Girl Rising film at the center of the movement. Forbes Magazine named the Girl Rising campaign the #1 Most Dynamic Social Initiative of 2012. Gordon serves as the Chair of the Nantucket Project Scholars Program, an accelerator for social change leaders. Prior to launching the TNP Scholars Program and Girl Rising, Gordon served as Director of Content for the Tribeca Film Festival. She came to Tribeca from ABC News, where she worked for 12 years as a producer and booker for the major news broadcasts. Gordon is a member of the 2015 class of Presidential Leadership Scholars and serves on the boards of Girl Rising, Unreasonable Group, All In Together, and the One Love Foundation. Holly graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in International Relations.

Participant’s upcoming film slate includes the highly acclaimed film, Human Flow, from celebrated artist, activist, filmmaker Ai Weiwei; Stephen Chbosky’s Wonder, starring Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts; director Andy Serkis’ Breathe; Steven Spielberg’s The Post; the untitled Entebbe thriller, from Jose Padilha and Working Title; Rupert Wyatt’s Captive State; and the upcoming film On the Basis of Sex, from director Mimi Leder. Next year the company also expands into television with its limited scripted drama series Central Park Five, directed by Ava DuVernay, which will be released through Netflix, and acclaimed documentarian Steve James’ unscripted series America to Me, a year-long look into one of America’s most exemplary and diverse public schools in Chicago’s suburban Oak Park.

About Participant Media

Participant Media ( is the leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant’s content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. Participant’s more than 75 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc., and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 52 Academy Award nominations and 11 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight. Participant’s digital entertainment division, SoulPancake (, is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting digital content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of nearly 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter at @Participant and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter @soulpancake and on Facebook and Instagram.

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NYS Medicaid Special Needs Health Plans (SNPs) to Expand Access to All Medicaid-Eligible Transgender Individuals Regardless of HIV Status

Press Release – New York, NY (November 1, 2017) – As of today, New York State Medicaid Special Needs Health Plans (SNPs) will be open to all transgender individuals who qualify, regardless of their HIV status. Until now, New York SNPs have only enrolled eligible individuals who are HIV-positive or people who are experiencing homelessness (regardless of HIV status). Amida Care, the largest of the three Medicaid SNPs in New York, currently provides comprehensive health coverage and coordinated care to over 6,400 New Yorkers, including more than 400 people of transgender experience.

The expansion supports the goals of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Blueprint to End the AIDS Epidemic (ETE) in New York State by 2020. The care coordination and integrated social support services that SNPs are designed to provide will now be accessible to more transgender individuals, who often experience significant barriers to care. Despite major advances in both treating and preventing HIV, transgender individuals still face an alarmingly high rate of new infections. The prevalence of HIV among transgender women is nearly 50 times higher worldwide than the general population. For transgender women of color, this health disparity is even greater—from 2007 to 2011, 90 percent of transgender women in New York City diagnosed with HIV were black or Latina.

“We’ve made great strides toward ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but our job won’t be done until we reach every community affected by this crisis. Rampant stigma, discrimination, and socioeconomic challenges prevent the transgender community from accessing HIV prevention methods like PrEP and PEP, getting tested for HIV, and being linked to essential treatment and care,” said Doug Wirth, President and CEO of Amida Care. “Amida Care has a long history of helping the transgender community access respectful, high-quality, culturally competent health care, including gender-affirming services and HIV treatment. We also work with community-based organizations to help our members access support for housing, employment, and legal issues. We’re excited to be able to expand our health plan to reach more transgender individuals and help provide them with the care and services they need to be healthy and live their authentic lives.”

“Amida Care is breaking the mold more than any other health care plan in terms of meeting the needs of the trans community,” said Victoria Ferrell, an Amida Care member and representative on Amida Care’s Member Advisory Council. “At the end of the day, if you’re a member, they go above and beyond to make sure your health needs are met and you’re as healthy as possible.”

By addressing the comprehensive medical, behavioral, and supportive needs of their members, SNPs have proven to be a highly effective care model to help HIV-positive members become virally suppressed, which means they have the chance to live longer, healthier lives, and, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently confirmed, they cannot transmit the virus to others.

Young men having sex with men (MSM) of color also have a disproportionately higher risk of HIV infection, with half of Black gay men and a quarter of Latino gay men projected to be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetimes according to the CDC. SNPs would also be a great resource to support those young MSM of color in remaining HIV negative.

“We now know that undetectable equals untransmittable. We also know that PrEP is more than 90 percent effective in preventing HIV infection,” said Dr. Jerome Ernst, Chief Medical Officer of Amida Care. “Health is about more than doctor’s visits and taking pills – at Amida Care, we take a holistic approach that empowers individuals to access the full spectrum of care and services to get the treatment they need to become undetectable if they are HIV positive. Now, we can apply that same successful approach to helping HIV negative transgender individuals stay negative.”

Reducing the number of new HIV infections also produces large cost savings. The ETE goal to reduce the annual number of new HIV infections in the state from 3,000 to 750 or less by 2020 would result in an estimated medical cost savings of over $804 million. Amida Care has experienced impressive results firsthand, achieving a 78% viral suppression rate among its HIV-positive members. This saved New York State more than $115 million between 2008 and 2015.

Employment is one of the most important social determinants of health. Having a living-wage job is key to staying healthy—physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Transgender people experience unemployment at three times the rate of the general population. Amida Care’s Innovator Consumer Workforce program creates living-wage jobs for graduates of peer workforce training programs. The program provides grants for health service providers to hire consumer workers and is supported by the New York City Council’s Ending the Epidemic Initiative. Many of those jobs involve giving back to others through positions in health navigation and outreach.

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L’Oréal Paris Announces 2017 Women of Worth Honorees

Vote Now to Help Select This Year’s National Honoree to Receive $35,000 To Her Organization

Press Release – NEW YORK (Nov. 1, 2017) – As part of its signature philanthropic program, L’Oréal Paris has announced the 2017 Women of Worth Honorees, recognizing 10 women across the United States who selflessly and passionately commit their lives to better serve their communities and foster positive change. Women of Worth is inspired by the L’Oréal Paris belief that “we’re all worth it” and honors the intrinsic beauty and worth of everyday women making an extraordinary difference. With stories born out of diversity and tragedy, the Women of Worth represent a wide range of causes from supporting survivors of human sex trafficking to raising awareness about mass incarceration.

In addition to receiving $10,000 to support her charitable cause, each 2017 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Honoree will have opportunities for networking, marketing support and a platform to tell her story. Beginning today, the public is invited to support the Women of Worth by voting for one woman to become this year’s National Honoree, who will receive an additional $25,000 to support her cause for a total of $35,000.

Visit to learn about the 2017 Honorees’ stories and vote once per day through November 29, 2017 for the woman’s organization with the mission resonates with you the most.

“This year’s ten Women of Worth Honorees represent women of very diverse ages, backgrounds and circumstances who are working daily to improve the lives of the people they serve,” said Tim Coolican, President, L’Oréal Paris. “It is the greatest honor to help these extraordinary women expand their reach, touch more lives, and create even more positive change throughout the world,” added Karen T. Fondu, President Emeritus and Chairwoman of L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth.


Selected by a distinguished panel of judges including leaders in business and media, the 2017 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Honorees were chosen from thousands of nominations for their unwavering commitment, drive and desire to better the lives of those around them.

  • Rana Abdelhamid – Palo Alto, C.A.; Founder, the International Muslim Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment or WISE, a self-defense, social entrepreneurship and leadership development movement for young Muslim women.
  • Lulu Cerone – Encino, Calif.; Founder, LemonAID Warriors, a non-profit youth-activism organization that connects children to worthy causes and provides unique action plans to create tangible social good.
  • Theresa Flores – Worthington, Ohio: Founder, S.O.A.P. Project, which stands for “Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution” raises awareness and provides resources for victims of human trafficking by placing educational materials and bars of soap in hotels and motels across the country with information on how to seek help.
  • Leanne Huebner – Los Angeles, Calif.; Co-founder, Minds Matter National, an educational nonprofit that transforms the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success.
  • Deborah Jiang-Stein – Minneapolis, Minn.; Founder, unPrison Project, an organization that works to build literacy, mentoring and life skills for women and girls in prisons and for their children to help cultivate critical thinking tools to plan, set goals and prepare for successful life after prison.
  • SreyRam Kuy – Missouri City, Texas; Partner, Dog Tag Bakery, a nonprofit organization that sells baked goods and trains veterans in business and the first female Cambodian refugee to work as a surgeon in the U.S.
  • Cassandra Lin – Westerly, R.I.; Creator, project Turn Grease Into Fuel (TGIF), a sustainable system that collects used cooking oil from residents and restaurants, coverts it to biodiesel, and distributes the biofuel to local families for emergency heating assistance, developed by Westerly Innovations Network.
  • Charolette Tidwell – Fort Smith, Ark.; Founder, Antioch for Youth & Family, a nonprofit that provides supplemental food assistance to approximately 7,000 people in the community, in addition to youth development services and family assistance through a variety of personal enrichment programs.
  • Valerie Weisler – New York, N.Y.; Founder, The Validation Project, an international organization that works with more than 6,000 teenagers in 105 countries, providing them with the resources and guidance they need to develop confidence and gain self-worth.
  • Shandra Woworuntu – Corona, N.Y.; Founder, Mentari human trafficking survivor empowerment program that provides direct services, resources, advocacy, education and mentoring initiatives to help survivors as they reintegrate into society.

To learn more about this year’s Honorees, read their stories and vote for the 2017 Women of Worth National Honoree, visit, and L’Oréal Paris on Facebook ( and Twitter ( Join and follow the conversation using the hashtag #WomenofWorth.

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More Financial And Technical Support Needed For MSMEsin ASEAN, A Key Recommendation From Report Launched At ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit

Key recommendations from 12-month study jointly presented by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Oxfam, ASEAN CSR Network and AVPN

Press Release – Manila, 6 Sept 2017 – A comprehensive report, titled “Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in the ASEAN Economic Community”, and key recommendations based on this research, were presented to ASEAN leaders today on 6 Sept 2017. The focus of the report and the recommendations was on how ASEAN could build up the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, with greater financial and technical support to ensure their growth and prosperity.

The report covering 10 ASEAN Member States is a result of a 12-month study which began in September 2016. It comprised primary and secondary research which included interviews and stakeholder consultations with investors, foundations, farmer groups, business associations, women entrepreneur networks, ASEAN bodies, incubators/accelerators, government agencies and others.

The aim of the study is to comprehensively assess the opportunities and challenges faced by MSMEs in ASEAN – particularly those with inclusive and responsible business practices such as Social Enterprises (SEs)– with regards to access to finance, technical support, and an enabling environment for their sustainability and growth.

This press release is in two parts – a summary on the findings of the study and the key recommendations made.

The findings of the report showed that MSMEs in this region faced some key challenges, particularly with regards to access to finance. There exists a ‘missing middle’ phenomenon, where MSMEs in early- to growth-stage remain underserved by financiers. MSME’s entrepreneurs typically exceed upper thresholds for smaller loans such as microfinance, and yet are perceived by financial institutions to be risky and costly customers.

The uptake of available financing options by MSMEs has generally been low, with loan applications typically facing rejection due to incomplete financial records, small sized enterprises, non-participation in production networks and lack of sound business plans. Women entrepreneurs tend to face more formidable financial hurdles than their male counterparts. Challenges frequently cited by women when obtaining bank loans include lower levels of financial literacy, lack of a support network and cumbersome land titling process which affect their ability to use land as collateral. Various surveys indicate that for MSMEs, including women entrepreneurs, own savings and funds from family and friends remain the dominant source of finance.

The study also found that while alternative finance and inclusive financing mechanisms are growing in the region, there continues to be a lack of patient capital available for early-stage inclusive business models (such as SEs). This includes financing mechanisms such as financial technology (fin-tech) and impact investment.

“MSMEs are critical to the economic development and growth of the ASEAN region and comprise 95-99% of all business establishments, generating between 51% and 97% of employment. It is great to see ASEAN’s commitment to strengthen this sector in the ASEAN 2025 Blueprint. Oxfam and its partners are happy to play a role in supporting the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in its initiative”, says Oskar Haq, Oxfam Global Advisor, Enterprise and Economic Empowerment.

Key recommendations from the report:

  1. Strengthen responsible and inclusive conduct among businesses, including to encourage larger corporations with the capacity to support MSMEs through their value chain
  2. Deepen technical support for MSMEs to improve access to finance, including training on hard business skills and strengthening entrepreneurial networks for peer support
  3. Promote alternative finance with an emphasis on inclusive financing options
  4. Provide targeted support to improve women’s access to finance
  5. Promote responsible finance – i.e. factor Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria into lending decisions

Further action needed:

Based on the study’s findings and the recommendations, the project partners are keen to share information and enable financial support for MSMEs.

ASEAN CSR Network (ACN)’s CEO, Mr Thomas Thomas, reaffirmed this, saying “We will work on implementing these recommendations among key stakeholders in ASEAN, including face-to-face meetings and technical consultations with ASEAN bodies, national governments and businesses.”

ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) has been working closely with private business partners in pushing for MSME empowerment and Inclusive Business. Its (Acting) Executive Director, Mr Gil Gonzales says: “We are encouraged that ASEAN Leaders fully recognise the importance of developing MSMEs as the new engine of growth in the region, working hand in hand with big business and corporates who promote inclusive business. Otherwise, AEC will never achieve inclusive growth as set out in the AEC 2025 Blueprint. Our true aspiration is not just prosperity for a few, but prosperity for all.”

AVPN, a network of 380 Asian Social Investors, plans to use the report findings to promote the expansion of responsible and inclusive finance amongst their membership. “There is a spectrum of social investment tools that can be used to support responsible and inclusive enterprises in ASEAN – from grants to soft loans or convertible debt and equity,” says Managing Director, AVPN Knowledge Centre, Kevin Teo. “We are working to increase awareness of these different tools and encourage more funders to address this ‘missing middle’.”

The report also includes a 160-page Directory of SME Financing and Technical Support Options which will serve as a valuable resource for MSMEs in the region.

The study was jointly conducted by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), Oxfam, ASEAN CSR Network (ACN) and AVPN, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Government of Sweden.

The full report was launched at 12 noon on 6 September 2017 at the Marriott Hotel, Manila.

[1] from as low as USD5,000 to up to USD2 million

[2] Patient capital is another name for long term capital. With patient capital, the investor is willing to make a financial investment in a business with no expectation of turning a quick profit. Instead, the investor is willing to forgo an immediate return in anticipation of more substantial returns down the road.

[3] E.g. financial projection and operational management

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