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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: February 2018

Miracle Flights Performs 570 Free Medical Flights in January

Press Release – LAS VEGAS, Feb. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Miracle Flights, the nation’s leading medical flight charity, today reported a total of 570 free commercial airline flights provided in January to those in need of specialized medical care far from home.

Established in 1985, the Las Vegas–based charity has to date performed a total of 114,437 flights and flown more than 64 million miles to help increase access to life-changing treatments and valuable second opinions for children and adults with complex medical needs.

Patients from 27 states and seven countries, ranging in age from 7 months to 80 years, flew last month to medical hubs around the United States to seek treatment for conditions as diverse as clubfoot, epilepsy, cancer, Sturge-Weber, Ehlers-Danlos, Angelman—and a host of other syndromes and diagnoses too rare or severe to be treated close to home.

“For a majority of the children and adults we fly, there may just be one doctor or hospital that specializes in that condition. Miracle Flights bridges the gap of distance, so families don’t have to uproot their lives and move closer to a treatment facility,” said Miracle Flights CEO Mark E. Brown. “What sets Miracle Flights apart from other organizations is that we are not age restrictive nor are we diagnosis specific. We will fly anyone for any medical condition that requires specialized, distant care—and we’ll fly them as many times as necessary.”

Residents of Miracle Flights’ home city of Las Vegas can help the organization continue its mission by supporting “Mondays Dark” on Monday, March 5. Launched four years ago by Las Vegas performer Mark Shunock, “Mondays Dark” is a twice-monthly variety show that features top performers and celebrities from the Las Vegas Strip. Each performance benefits a select Las Vegas–based charity, raising $10,000 in just 90 minutes.

To purchase tickets for the “Mondays Dark” performance benefitting Miracle Flights, visit Tickets start at just $20.

About Miracle Flights

Miracle Flights is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free medical air transportation to children and adults via commercial airlines throughout the United States. With over three decades of service to families in need, Miracle Flights has coordinated more than 114,000 flights and counting. For more information about Miracle Flights, to request flight assistance, or to make a donation, call 800-359-1711 or visit Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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ImpactAssets Releases Seventh Annual IA 50 Impact Investment Fund Showcase

Industry’s only free, searchable resource of impact investing fund managers features firms that manage $29.2 billion in assets.

Press Release – BETHESDA, February 27, 2018 – ImpactAssets has released its 2017-18 ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50), a free, online database for investors and financial advisors that features a diversified listing of 50 private capital fund managers that deliver social and environmental impact as well as financial returns. IA 50 users can sort and filter across a range of asset classes (debt, private equity and real estate), geographies, size of funds, themes and more.

“As impact investing grows exponentially, the IA 50 has remained a leading and trusted resource for impact investors of all experience levels,” said Jed Emerson, ImpactAssets Senior Fellow, and IA 50 Review Committee Chair. “Our consistent and objective evaluation of impact fund managers is providing financial advisors and their clients with a starting place to make informed investment decisions. And we are helping to catalyze the growth of impact investing by creating a centralized information source in a fragmented field.”

Fund managers included in the seventh annual IA 50 manage an estimated $29.2 billion in assets devoted to creating measurable, positive impact – nearly double the assets managed by IA 50 managers in the previous year. This year’s showcase includes:

  • Larger Funds: Six funds have more than $1 billion in assets under management.
  • Deep Experience: A total of 32 out of 50 fund managers have been operating for more than 10 years.
  • Diverse Management: Nearly half (48%) of all IA 50 funds have investment management teams with 50% or more women and other under-represented groups.

“The 2017-18 IA 50 highlights a strong field of managers across an increasingly rich marketplace of impact fund opportunities,” said Jennifer Kenning, CEO and Co-Founder of Align Impact, and IA 50 Senior Investment Advisor. “We are excited to see the growth of this space as evidenced by the increasing number of high-caliber fund managers, whose strong financial and impact track records position them to serve the growing investor demand for impact investments.”

In addition to Emerson and Kenning, the IA 50 Review Committee includes impact investment pioneers and leaders, including Karl “Charly” Kleissner, Co-Founder of Toniic and KL Felicitas Foundation; Kathy Leonard, Senior Vice President, Investments and Senior Portfolio Manager for UBS; Stephanie Cohn Rupp, Managing Director, and Partner, Tiedemann Wealth Management; Fran Seegull, Executive Director, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, Ford Foundation; Liesel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons, Co-Founders of Blue Haven Initiative; Matthew Weatherley-White, Co-Founder and Managing Director of The CAPROCK Group.

“The IA 50 has become the go-to database for insights and actionable data on innovative managers creating impact with investment capital, which is especially valuable for family offices and accredited investors getting started in the impact space,” said Stephanie Cohn Rupp, Managing Director, and Partner at Tiedemann Wealth Management. “We’re thrilled to be helping investors connect their portfolios with their passions and drive capital to impact.”

The IA 50 is not an index or investable platform and does not constitute an offering or recommend specific products. It is not a replacement for due diligence. In order to be considered for the IA 50 2017-18, fund managers needed to have at least $10 million in assets under management, more than 3 years of experience as a firm with impact investing, documented social and/or environmental impact and be available for U.S. investment. Additional details on the selection process are here.

About ImpactAssets

ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns. ImpactAssets’ donor advised fund (“The Giving Fund”) and field-building initiatives enable philanthropists, other asset owners and their wealth advisors to advance social or environmental change through investment. The Giving Fund currently has $424M in total assets.

About the ImpactAssets 50

The IA 50 is the first publicly available database that provides a gateway into the world of impact investing for investors and their financial advisors, offering an easy way to identify experienced impact investment firms and explore the landscape of potential investment options. The IA 50 is intended to illustrate the breadth of impact investment fund managers operating today, though it is not a comprehensive list. These 50 firms have been selected to demonstrate a wide range of impact investing activities across geographies, sectors and asset classes.

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Dearth Of Data Spawns Uncertainty Over Extinction Risk To Amphibians

Two thirds of amphibian species have either missing or out-of-date assessments

Press Release – Conservationists are calling for increased effort towards assessing the extinction risk faced by the world’s amphibians, after it transpired that gaps in current data mean that the conservation status of almost two-thirds of species is unknown.

A new study, led by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) alongside scientists from the Australian Museum and the IUCN Amphibian Red List Authority, calls for urgent action to plug these knowledge gaps, particularly in the face of ongoing habitat loss and degradation that continues to detriment amphibian populations worldwide.

Lead author Benjamin Tapley, curator of herpetology at ZSL, said: “The last time that we had a near-complete overview of extinction risk in amphibians was over 10 years ago, in 2004, when the IUCN’s ground breaking Global Amphibian Assessment was published. Since then, more than 1,700 amphibian species have been discovered – but the extinction risk of most of these new species simply isn’t known.”

Already understood to be one of the most threatened groups of animals on the planet, the paper illustrates that over the last 12 years, the assessment of extinction risk of amphibians has not kept up with the discovery of new species and that many existing assessments are now out of date. The new report found that 61.3 percent of all known amphibian species have either not had their extinction risk evaluated, or are suffering from out-of-date information.

Tapley continued: “Some researchers estimate that at least 12,000 species of amphibian might exist. At present about 7,700 of these have been described by science, but we have extremely poor overview of how many of these species are faring. With limitations to our understanding of extinction risk we are less able to prioritise species for conservation efforts, and there is a risk of conservation funding and effort not being allocated to the species that most need it.”

This issue was found to be particularly problematic in those regions that play host to the richest diversity of amphibian species, specifically the tropics. Many of these areas are currently experiencing rapid expansion of human population, putting extra pressure on the newly-discovered species’ habitats and making them particularly at risk. Additionally, newly-discovered species – and indeed those yet to be discovered – are most likely to be more at risk than the average known amphibian species, as they tend to occur only in small areas, meaning they are more at risk from localised threats.

Amphibians play a crucial role in ecosystems across the planet, keeping pest insect numbers down, being a key food source to other species and allowing nutrients to move from aquatic to terrestrial environments as many amphibians develop in the water and move onto land once they metamorphose. The loss of amphibian species from an ecosystem has already been seen to have economic consequences with the over-collection of frogs for the international meat trade being linked to an increase in agricultural pests.

The authors call for adequate funding to be dedicated to IUCN Red List assessments for amphibians, greater incentives to exist for people to contribute to the assessment process and for authors describing new species to ensure they include information relevant to extinction risk assessments in published species descriptions. Through this a better knowledge base can be built to underpin effective conservation work in the future.

For more information on the work ZSL is doing to conserve amphibians worldwide, visit

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Benevity Acquires TrustCSR, UK-Based Corporate Social Responsibility Consultancy

Market-Leading Software Provider Expands International Footprint to Meet Growing Demand of Global Enterprises to Build Inclusive Workplace Cultures

Press Release – CALGARY, AB – February 27, 2018Benevity, Inc., the global leader in corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software, announces the acquisition of TrustCSR, a UK-based corporate social responsibility consultancy that serves enterprise clients, including Amazon, British Telecom, DHL, EE, Avanade, National Grid and Experian. This acquisition is the latest step in Benevity adding scale and geographic scope to its operations to maximize efficiencies, service its global client base, and reach new markets. TrustCSR’s deep expertise in compliance, regulatory and tax schemes across Europe and other international markets, as well as strategic partnerships within the international charitable ecosystem aligns perfectly with Benevity’s expanding footprint in “corporate Goodness.” On the heels of the company’s recent strategic growth investment, this new location will enable Benevity to serve its growing base of corporations, charities and end users in the U.K., across Europe, Australia and Asia.

According to Gallup’s Worldwide Engagement Crisis report, 87 percent of the world’s workers are disengaged, compared with only 67 percent in the U.S. Global enterprises are increasingly leveraging their employee giving, volunteering and grantmaking programs to support their diversity and inclusion efforts and to build purposeful workplace cultures. Last year, Benevity saw a 91 percent surge in companies using its market-leading international cloud solution, Benevity OneWorld™ to create stronger connections with their worldwide workforces and communities.

Available in 17 languages, Benevity OneWorld enables companies to empower employees, consumers and the public to easily donate time, money and talent to almost 2 million charities and non-profits around the world. Through its proprietary disbursement platform, Benevity delivers 100% of funds electronically to international causes providing global enterprises and their employees with certainty that grants and donations are reaching their intended recipients in a timely and accurate manner.

“Global enterprises are seeking to extend the success of their Goodness programs beyond headquarter locations to more deeply engage and inspire their international employees with a purpose-driven culture,” said Bryan de Lottinville, Benevity Founder and CEO. “But scaling Goodness globally requires more than just addressing differences in languages and currency; it requires knowledge of local regulatory frameworks, cultural nuances and the ability to accurately identify, vet and distribute funds to charities everywhere in a scalable way. This is why Benevity is quickly becoming the de facto choice for global enterprises. We look forward to serving more global clients and their stakeholders from our new location in the U.K.”

“TrustCSR has partnered with Benevity for more than five years and have, from the beginning, been deeply impressed with their vision and commitment to improving the charitable landscape,” said Benjamin Janes, CEO of TrustCSR. “We are thrilled to be formalizing our relationship to bring more of their progressive ethos to companies in the U.K. and across the globe.”

Sage, the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, recently launched Benevity’s award-winning software to power their global Goodness program. “Colleague giving, grantmaking and volunteering programs are allowing Sage to fulfill our most important corporate philanthropy commitments: to support our people and the causes they care about and make an impact in the communities in which we operate,” said Debbie Wall, VP of Sage Foundation. “Benevity’s unrivaled global reach makes it easy for us to scale our programs wherever our colleagues are located, which in turn helps us recruit and retain top talent; showcasing Sage’s ongoing drive to do business the right way.”

About Benevity

Benevity, Inc., a B Corporation, is the global leader in online workplace giving, matching, volunteering and community investment software. Many of the world’s most iconic brands rely on Benevity’s award-winning cloud solutions to power corporate “Goodness” programs that attract, retain and engage today’s diverse workforce by connecting people to the causes that matter to them. With software that is available in 17 languages, to more than four million users around the world, Benevity will process over a billion dollars in donations and 10 million hours of volunteering time to almost 140,000 charities worldwide.

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RSF Social Finance Names New CEO

Jasper van Brakel, former head of Weleda North America, will lead the pioneering social enterprise funder in its next phase of innovation

Press Release – San Francisco, CA (February 27, 2018) – RSF Social Finance has named Jasper J. van Brakel, former president and CEO of Weleda North America, its new CEO effective March 19. In addition to offering proven leadership—van Brakel built Weleda’s brand in the U.S. and Canada and oversaw substantial growth—he brings impact-driven investing experience and a deep connection with RSF’s values to the position.

“When I heard that RSF is looking for a new leader, I was immediately excited and intrigued,” van Brakel said. “The people who are most inspiring to me are those who take a radical idea and execute it brilliantly in the interest of the whole, bringing ideals from 30,000 feet to ground level, where they can truly work to bring about change. That’s what RSF does as an organization, and it’s what all of RSF’s donors, investors, borrowers, and grantees are doing.”

Impact finance exerts a strong attraction for van Brakel

Van Brakel has long felt a pull toward impact finance. After a long executive career in Europe and North America with Weleda, a pioneer evergreen company committed to organic and biodynamic wellness products, he became a partner in Newpark Capital, which provides private equity for lower- to middle-market impact-driven companies. He also is an advisor to Armonia, a family office that makes long-term investments in projects promoting regeneration, and serves on the corporate boards of two impact companies.

“Jasper is a seasoned executive with experience that spans various for-profit and nonprofit purpose-driven organizations,” said Mark Finser, chair of the RSF board of trustees. “His experience leading Weleda, which is committed to organic and biodynamic wellness products and was co-founded by Rudolf Steiner in 1921, gives him connections to many of RSF’s borrowers as well as to RSF’s mission and values. Together with our outstanding executive team and staff, Jasper will further our goals to revolutionize the way people relate to and work with money.”

RSF has an opportunity to build on its biggest year

Last year was RSF’s biggest ever: it surpassed $200 million in assets and flowed more than $50 million in loans, investments, and grants to organizations with high-impact missions. RSF has the potential to lead on a larger scale, van Brakel said, by continuing to come up with convention-challenging initiatives and building on its existing path-breaking programs. These include community pricing meetings, where investors and borrowers confer on fair interest rates; Shared Gifting Circles, which turn grant making on its head by having the grantees distribute money among themselves; themed philanthropic funds called Collaboratives that support innovative early-stage social entrepreneurs; and the Integrated Capital Institute, which teaches financial activists powerful strategies to leverage capital as a tool for long-term change.

“RSF is the clear leader in integrative, catalytic capital in North America,” van Brakel said. “At the same time, I see the potential to benefit from current trends and expand RSF’s impact in the world while staying true to the organization’s principles and values.”

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The Good Cards Amplify and Extend bé World Happiness Fest with Mission for Global Shared Happiness

World Happiness Fest in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, March 16-18, 2018, uses The Good Cards as the Happiness-Mission-Based Admission Ticket

Press Release – Palo Alto, CA & San Miguel de Allende, MX (26 February, 2018) and The Good Cards are teaming up to provide an online happiness mission that will perpetuate the World Happiness Fest in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, March 16-18, 2018, into the virtual future. In addition, Corey Harnish, CEO of Better World International (BWI), of which The Good Cards is the flagship project, will be featured on the program of the Happiness Fest, along with over 100 other masters, leaders, and gurus from around the world.

The World Happiness Fest supports the United Nations International Happiness Day on March 20, 2018. Social-entrepreneur Luis Gallardo, a member of the UN Happiness Day Council, started bé to unite the world around happiness and well-being, as a new paradigm for human progress. bé is creating a series of summits, festivals, and happiness forums to create a world with more happiness and less misery.

The World Happiness Fest in Mexico is one of several bé events designed to have a positive impact on more than one billion people, worldwide, over the next decade. Upcoming events include:

  • “Prosperity” Retreat: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, March 19 – 23, 2018
  • “The Doubling of Space and Time” Experience with Jean Pierre Garnier Malet: Miami, FL, May 19 – 20, 2018
  • “The Doubling of Space and Time” Experience with Jean Pierre Garnier Malet: New York City, May 26 – 27, 2018
  • “Legacy Building” Retreat: Bhutan, April 4 – 12, 2018
  • “Legacy Building” Retreat: Bhutan, September 25 – October 3, 2018
  • Happiness Fest: Spain, June 22 – 23, 2018
  • Happiness Fest: Colombia, October 26 – 27, 2018

The Good Cards, the digital platform that promotes kindness through an app designed for gaming fun, is partnering with bé, as the admission ticket to the Happiness Fest. Each event attendee will receive a Good Card to kick off their own unique Good Cards’ mission. As the game progresses, The Good Cards mobile app delivers to each user a dynamic journey, based on their personal preferences, that takes them on their custom kindness adventure. As each Good Card travels around the world, the app tracks and maps associated good deeds, connecting people who are committed to making a difference, one kind act at a time.

“The Good Cards will extend the value of the Happiness Fest long after our attendees have left the weekend’s event,” said Luis Gallardo. “I admire the way The Good Cards tribe, all volunteers from around the globe, have created this gaming platform and set of happiness missions that can enhance other organization’s events, as well as an individual’s happiness.”

“We’re excited to join with Luis in extending the first Happiness Fest from the physical into the digital realm,” said Corey Harnish, CEO of Better World International, the nonprofit creator of The Good Cards project. “In addition, I’m looking forward to meeting other happiness-focused leaders and groups, as we combine our energy to accelerate the growth of happiness worldwide.”

Sign up to attend the World Happiness Fest in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico at: Reference GOODCARDS, in the Coupon section at the checkout, for a 10% discount on the festival ticket.

bé and World Happiness Fest

Luis Gallardo had the great idea of uniting the world around happiness and well being, as a new paradigm for human progress. He created bé and a series of summits, festivals, and happiness forums and has already united thousands of people, who belong to this unstoppable movement. They are moved to create a world with more happiness and less misery. The goal is to impact, positively, one billion people in 10 years. Learn more about bé at:

About Better World International and The Good Cards

Better World International is a tech-gaming nonprofit that combines a vision of a better world with technology-driven solutions for social change. Its series of real-life games are being developed to encourage a global trend of doing good, while empowering people to take small positive actions and see their impact in real time. The Good Cards, a Better World International project, is an innovative, online-gaming platform and app that engages people, worldwide, in doing good deeds for happiness and global sustainability. Better World International is a 501(c)(3) and is soliciting donations to sustain its growth. Learn more about The Good Cards and please donate:

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Georgia’s House Bill 51 Would Be Disastrous To Efforts To Combat Campus Sexual Assault

By S. Daniel Carter

Students Against House Bill 51 and the GT Progressive Student Alliance marched from the campus of Georgia Tech to the Georgia State Capitol to protest House Bill 51 on March 3, 2017. S. DANIEL CARTER

The Georgia House of Representatives passed legislation, House Bill 51, last Wednesday that student activists, victims’ rights advocates, and national experts like myself believe would be disastrous to efforts by colleges and universities to combat sexual assault in their campus communities.

The bill as passed by the House would take the decision away from adult sexual assault survivors about whether their case is reported to law enforcement which will have a chilling effect on reporting, and would place limits on the ability of colleges and universities to investigate reports of sexual violence that likely run afoul of federal civil rights requirements under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The bill is now pending before the State Senate’s Judiciary Committee where activists and advocates are actively working to defeat the measure. As a Georgia citizen myself, I’m urging my lawmakers to oppose passage of this deeply flawed bill.

While the House passed version of the bill, unlike the measure as originally introduced, provides that information that identifies a sexual assault survivor may not be shared with law enforcement without the survivor’s consent, it still requires colleges and universities to “promptly report” sexual assaults to either campus police or another law enforcement agency whether the survivor consents to the disclosure or not.

“If there is absolutely any duty to report any details of someone’s assault to the police, students will not come forward,” said Grace Starling, a law student and one of the activists leading efforts to oppose House Bill 51. “Sexual assault victims lose control over their own bodies when they are raped, and this bill will further deny victims the ability to take back control by forcing them to share their stories without their consent. They will not come forward in fear that they will be forced to speak to the police or the police will in some way find out who they are.”

Title IX affirmatively obligates schools to internally investigate, and to “take immediate action to eliminate…sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.” Although the House passed version of this bill, unlike the original, recognizes this obligation it still would likely interfere with the ability of colleges and universities to fully meet this important obligation putting both campus safety and federal funding for colleges and universities, which Title IX is tied to, at risk. Institutions could also face millions of dollars in damages under private Title IX lawsuits brought by campus sexual assault survivors if they fail to act.

Although it is generally recognized that Title IX procedures work parallel to any law enforcement investigation, the House passed bill contains potentially confusing language that no Title IX “investigation shall obstruct or prejudice an ongoing criminal investigation.” This could lead campus officials to hold back on taking important steps to protect a survivor or other students that no law enforcement process can afford them, such as promptly removing a dangerous sexual predator from the campus. The due process rights of the accused students at state institutions are protected by no less than the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution which can be vigorously enforced in court.

In my role as a Board member of the national not-for-profit and victim rights organization SurvJustice, I hear reports from our legal staff of how the criminal justice system routinely fails survivors on campuses and just how important a robust response from their college or university is to ensuring ongoing access to education guaranteed as a civil right under Title IX.

“You really have to be completely detached from the issue of sexual assault to even suggest law enforcement is somehow better capable,” my colleague Laura Dunn, Executive Director of SurvJustice told the Associated Press. “We have cases all the time where survivors go to the police first and nothing is done; no report is filed, there’s no follow-up.”

In my role as a campus security consultant I work with dedicated higher education professionals across the country who have devoted their careers to assisting campus sexual assault survivors, including professional investigators and disciplinary officers. These professionals in Georgia who have devoted their careers to this important work should be allowed to do their jobs unimpeded by this misguided legislation.

This story was originally posted here.

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A Letter from S. Daniel Carter to The Honorable Gregory H. Hughes, Speaker Opposing HB 254

February 26, 2018

The Honorable Gregory H. Hughes, Speaker
Utah House of Representatives
Salt Lake City, UT 84114

Dear Speaker Hughes:

I was one of the primary national experts consulted by The Salt Lake Tribune for their Pulitzer Prize winning 2016 series investigating rapes at Utah colleges, and am greatly concerned that state policy makers may have incorrectly concluded that HB 254’s forced reporting provisions could be an effective solution to those problems. Notably, allegations against Utah State University (USU) student Torrey Green were reported to the Logan Police Department on four separate occasions without effective action to address those allegations being taken by anyone. Also, USU is now facing a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, and a private lawsuit concerning their compliance with existing federal Title IX obligations that are designed to require actions to be taken to protect survivors and others on campus.

Better support for survivors not mandatory reporting is the key to both getting them the help they need, and to increasing reporting so that justice can be served. Since we as a nation have adopted this perspective the number of reported forcible sex crimes on campus increased from 2,200 in 2001 to 6,700 in 2014, a 205 percent increase, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Know Your IX and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) conducted an online survey to gauge survivors’ beliefs about the criminal justice system, victim autonomy, and reporting. Eighty-eight percent (88%) said that, were campuses required to turn rape reports over to the police (without survivors’ consent), they believe fewer victims would report to anyone at all.

Finally, HB 254 is at odds with requirements in the federal Jeanne Clery Act that afford adult survivors at colleges and universities with the rights to “Be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the victim so chooses” or to “Decline to notify such authorities”.

HB 254 is bad policy that will disempower survivors, re-victimize them, and lead to less not more reporting. It will not make campuses safer. I would ask you to please oppose this measure, and encourage your colleagues to do likewise.




S. Daniel Carter, President
Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses, LLC


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Mandatory Reporting to Off-Campus Police Isn’t the Solution to Campus Sexual Violence

Posted on February 17, 2018 here by S. Daniel Carter

Following several high-profile campus sexual assault incidents, Utah’s legislature recently advanced a bill, HB 254, out of their House Judiciary Committee that would provide for colleges and universities to report sexual assaults to “off-campus law enforcement” over the objections of adult victims if there is an articulable threat. While this may seem like a common-sense solution to some, it is a horrible idea that will chill reporting, and decrease the chances of threats being reported to the police and survivors getting the help they need. It may also be at odds with federal law on the subject, and certainly would be at odds with the spirit of that law.

While there is limited data on this subject, as only two states – California and Virginia – have enacted somewhat similar laws in just the last few years, my opinion is one informed by having worked directly with campus sexual assault survivors since 1991. For them the main issue is the loss of control. As a survivor they lost control of their own bodies when they were assaulted. Taking away their control again is typically among their greatest fears, and precisely what such a policy would accomplish. Even the mere possibility that they may lose control of the report is enough to lead to this fear, so even a limited mandatory reporting requirement presents a problem.

The data that does exist bolsters this view. “Know Your IX and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) conducted an online survey in March 2015 to gauge survivors’ beliefs about the criminal justice system, victim autonomy, and reporting. Almost 90% of survivors said that campus victims should retain the right to choose whether and to whom to report. Eighty-eight percent (88%) said that, were campuses required to turn rape reports over to the police (without survivors’ consent), they believe fewer victims would report to anyone at all. Seventy-two percent (72%) were concerned that such requirements would lead to survivors being ‘forced to participate in the criminal justice system / go to trial.’”

Federal student privacy guidelines hold that nothing in the law “prohibits an educational agency or institution from contacting its law enforcement unit, orally or in writing, for the purpose of asking that unit to investigate a possible violation of, or to enforce, any local, State, or Federal law.” Reporting is generally permitted only to the institution’s police department, not off-campus police. The only exception is that an “institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record to appropriate parties in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.” (Emphasis added)

Additionally, the federal Jeanne Clery Act requires that colleges and universities afford adult sexual violence survivors control over whether or not their incident is reported to police. Specifically, institutions must afford them options to “Be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the victim so chooses” or to “Decline to notify such authorities”. This was enacted recognizing that supporting survivors in going to law enforcement is likely to be more effective than forcing them to.

Mandatory reporting to off-campus police isn’t the solution to campus sexual violence. A robust system for supporting survivors, and a thorough disciplinary process that affords safeguards for both accuser and accused alike is the proper course of action. Instead of potentially re-victimizing survivors states should support their colleges and universities in taking these steps.

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Pha Tad Ke Launches Second Phase Fundraise Drive

Press Release – Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden in Luang Prabang, Laos is excited to announce the fundraising campaign for the second phase of its development: the creation of its regional biodiversity research and education centre. This centre will represent the first living collection of plants in Laos dedicated to research and education, which will ensure the preservation of the exceptional biodiversity of Laos.

On November 7th 2016 the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden opened to the public, and over ten thousand people from around the world have visited, enjoyed its tranquility and appreciated its focus on conservation.

Founded by curator and publisher, Rik Gadella, Pha Tad Ke is the first garden of its kind in Laos. It has taken eight years of developing botanical collections, scientific research, landscaping, and employee capacity building to create this unique botanical garden with a deep focus on ethnobotany and medicinal plants.

Pha Tad Ke is setting new standards in responsible tourism by giving back to Lao communities, preserving local culture and protecting the environment. The garden provides jobs to over 40 local villagers and creates a nurturing platform for young talent to develop new skills in gardening, science, education and hospitality. Publications and manuals in Lao language have been written by the staff and provide learning opportunities for Lao communities through workshops and student trainings.

The installation of the regional biodiversity research and education centre will represent a major step forward for Pha Tad Ke as it pursues its conservation goals.

Rik Gadella

Worked in the art world in Amsterdam, Paris and New York for over 25 years and is the creator of world- renowned events such as Paris Photo and Parcours des Mondes. In 2008 he visited Luang Prabang for a short holiday and fell in love with this UNESCO heritage town, and its natural surroundings, and decided to move here to create the first botanical garden of Laos.

Here’s some of what Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden has accomplished since we began our project in 2008 to create the first botanical garden in Laos:

  • 14 books published and 3 educational manuals;
  • 30.000 copies of our books distributed free of charge to Lao schools and libraries;
  • 2.400 school children have visited PTK as part of organized garden excursions, and over 1.200 university and college students;
  • 12 school gardens installed with teacher training programs;
  • 130 plus botanical fieldtrips undertaken;
  • 1.500 different plant and tree species in our living collections;
  • 2.500 staff training days organized in Laos; over 980 staff training days completed internationally;
  • 8 scholarships given to Lao students;
  • 74 workshops given to Lao college and university students in Field botany, Green horticulture, Ecology, Management coaching, Photography and Botanical Drawings;
  • 22 art exhibitions organized in Laos and internationally;
  • 38 articles in the press, 22 blogs, 5 radio interviews and 3 TV documentaries featuring PTK;
  • 52 staff working in the garden;
  • 10 hectares of garden open to the public, 2 hectares of work area/nurseries and 25 hectares of mountain reserve.

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