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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: November 2018

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Amida Care, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams Host World AIDS Day Event in Brooklyn

Advocates encourage Brooklyn residents to get screened for HIV and learn about HIV prevention and treatment at Brooklyn Central Library

Press Release – (Brooklyn, NY) – Amida Care, a not-for-profit New York-based community health plan, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), representatives from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams’ office, and Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley gathered days before World AIDS Day on November 28 to raise awareness around ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Brooklyn. Throughout the day, representatives of Amida Care, NBLCA, and Bridging Access to Care distributed information and resources to the public about HIV prevention and treatment. Bridging Access to Care also provided free HIV testing.

The event highlighted the power of art as a means to break down stigma around HIV/AIDS. Amida Care recently produced a special community magazine for World AIDS Day about HIV/AIDS and creative arts, and the event featured artwork from community members living with HIV. The event also included remarks from local leaders, community members, and health care providers.

“World AIDS Day is a time for us to remember all of the people we’ve lost, and a time for us to celebrate all the victories. It’s also a time to for us to get reinvigorated and take action, and why not do it in our beloved borough of Brooklyn? We want everyone to get tested. We also want to prevent HIV transmission. PrEP is such a powerful tool for prevention, but how many people in our community know about PrEP? Finally, we want to continue to treat people with AIDS and HIV, because if you’re undetectable it means you’re untransmittable,” said Stephane Howze, Vice President of Member Experience, Amida Care.

“We have come so far in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but much more needs to be done to address the specific needs of communities who continue to be disproportionately impacted by the epidemic. It starts with getting tested and knowing your HIV status. Events like today’s that raise awareness and encourage individuals to get tested, especially in Brooklyn, where the number of new HIV diagnoses are the highest in the city, are incredibly important,” said Lisa Matthews, Ed.D, MPH, Director of Programs at NBLCA.

“As we approach World AIDS Day 2018, we understand that we need to take preemptive measures and proactive steps in our efforts to advance what we’re doing as advocates to diminish the number of new HIV cases to zero,” said Assembly Member Walter Mosley.

“We’ve made great strides in our community regarding HIV/AIDS awareness, but the fight won’t be over until we hit the number zero. While on December 1st we will take a moment to remember those we have lost, we also need to support people living with AIDS and encourage people to educate themselves on the importance of getting tested and receiving services,” said Italia Granshaw, Policy Analyst for Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“Libraries have always been a place to turn for accurate information on the public health issues that impact our communities,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “We are pleased to welcome Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Amida Care, and the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS to Central Library to provide resources about HIV prevention and treatment.”

“HIV and AIDS are present in our community. It’s in the churches. It’s in places where people don’t think it is. HIV and AIDS has no face. It has no name. It has no color. It can affect anyone,” said Dolores Manigault, Health Educator at Bridging Access to Care.

“Many times, stories are too hard to verbalize. That’s where art therapy comes in. Our clients have amazing stories. Some of them are filled with trauma. Some of them are filled with guilt. In the arts, you don’t need words. It’s through the arts that clients are able to tell their stories. It’s not about the product, it’s about the process,” said Donna Alulema, Art Therapist at Harlem United.

“I’ve been living with HIV for 17 years. Over that time, I’ve seen a lot of changes, but a lot has stayed the same. The thing that remains the same is our judgment around stigma. That judgment is what is killing our communities. My encouragement is for us to bring down the barriers that exist between care and access, and address the real needs that people have,” said Roscoe Boyd long-term survivor of HIV, and founding steering committee member of the U=U (Undetectable=Untransmittable) campaign.

There are nearly 30,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Brooklyn today, and the borough accounted for a quarter of new HIV infections in 2016 in NYC– the highest number of new diagnoses out of all five boroughs. While progress is being made to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York, more needs to be done to ensure that education and outreach are reaching higher risk, underserved communities in Brooklyn. Young adults (ages 20-29) account for the largest proportion of new HIV diagnoses in the borough.

The LGBTQ+ community, women, and men of color are also disproportionately impacted. Neighborhoods in Brooklyn with the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses are Bedford Stuyvesant-Crown Heights, East New York, and Williamsburg-Bushwick. Increased access and awareness around HIV testing, treatment, and prevention, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), are essential to address these health disparities.

Amida Care Inc. is a not-for-profit health plan that specializes in providing comprehensive health coverage and coordinated care to New Yorkers with chronic conditions, including HIV and behavioral health disorders, and people who are of transgender experience or homeless (regardless of HIV status). Amida Care has a wide network of health care providers throughout New York City and is the largest Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan (SNP) in New York State. For more information, visit www.amidacareny.org.

The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc., (NBLCA) is a 501c3, not for profit organization with a mission to educate, mobilize, and empower Black leaders to meet the challenge of fighting HIV/AIDS and other health disparities in their local communities. Founded in 1987, and headquartered in New York City, NBLCA is the largest nonprofit organization of its kind in the United States.


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Land Trust Alliance Partners with Appraisal Institute to Advance Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act

‘Congress Must Pass This Important Legislation, This Year’

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 29, 2018) – The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, announced today a new partnership to help end abusive conservation easement tax shelters.

The Alliance is now working with the Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers, to advance the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act. One of the first results of this partnership was the Appraisal Institute co-signing a letter urging congressional leaders to swiftly enact the pending bipartisan, bicameral legislation. That letter is available here.

“We ask that this important legislation be enacted into law before the conclusion of the 115th Congress to close this apparent loophole and maintain the integrity of conservation easement donations,” said Appraisal Institute President James L. Murrett. “Congress must pass this important legislation, this year.”

Introduced initially in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Thompson of California, a Democrat, and Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, a Republican, the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act would eliminate the ability of partnership investors to profit from the donation of a conservation easement on land held for a short period of time. A companion bill in the U.S. Senate was introduced by Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, a Republican, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, a Democrat. Both bills make clear that conservation easement donations, like other charitable donations, are not intended to be profit opportunities.

The profiteering tied to abusive conservation easement tax shelters is significant. According to IRS data, approximately $20 billion in tax deductions have been claimed since 2010. In 2016 alone, $6 billion in unwarranted charitable deductions was claimed.

Multiple land conservation organizations previously joined the Alliance in announcing their support of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act, including Ducks Unlimited, The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy and Pheasants Forever, among others. The Appraisal Institute is the first appraisal industry organization to voice such strong support for the legislation.

“We are proud to stand with the Appraisal Institute against fraud and share its concern that a few bad actors risk tarnishing the reputations of honest donors, appraisers and conservationists,” said Andrew Bowman, the Alliance’s president. “We welcome the Appraisal Institute’s work to protect the public trust and help pass this important legislation.”

Murrett said that in addition to co-signing the new letter, the Appraisal Institute plans to alert its more than 18,000 professionals to the ongoing threat that abusive conservation easement tax shelters pose; continue to educate appraisers, land trusts and other stakeholders on the valuation of conservation easements; and lobby on Capitol Hill for passage of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act.

The new letter co-signed by the Appraisal Institute and others comes at the same time another letter is reaching Capitol Hill. This second letter, signed by 53 land trust presidents and executive directors, comes from the Land Trust Alliance Leadership Council. This group of leading local and regional land trusts from across the country also urges Congress to pass the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act. That letter is available here.

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,000 member land trusts supported by more than 200,000 volunteers and 4.6 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.

About the Appraisal Institute

The Appraisal Institute is a global professional association of real estate appraisers, with more than 18,000 professionals in nearly 50 countries throughout the world. Its mission is to advance professionalism and ethics, global standards, methodologies, and practices through the professional development of property economics worldwide. Organized in 1932, the Appraisal Institute advocates equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the appraisal profession and conducts its activities in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. Individuals of the Appraisal Institute benefit from an array of professional education and advocacy programs, and may hold the prestigious MAI, SRPA, SRA, AI-GRS and AI-RRS designations. Learn more at www.appraisalinstitute.org.


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Among At-Risk Populations Worldwide, DKT International’s Social Marketing Programs Help Prevent the Spread of HIV/AIDS Through Education and Contraceptives

World AIDS Day 2018 highlights the importance of DKT’s partnerships, educational campaigns, and contraceptive products that promote safe sex

Press Release – Washington, D.C.: With the World AIDS Day 2018 Red Ribbon Campaign in full swing, DKT International, a global non-profit dedicated to family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention, continues its efforts to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS through its country and regional initiatives to increase condom use.

Although the world has made progress in curbing the advance of HIV/AIDS and its treatment, in 2017, 36.9 million people worldwide were living with HIV, and 1.8 million people became newly infected. This represents a decline in annual new infections of 18% since 2001; nevertheless, the world continues to grapple with the HIV epidemic. DKT continues to provide high quality, affordable condoms and innovative marketing and education in 24 countries around the world, greatly reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS.

“DKT’s educational efforts and aggressive social marketing campaigns promote condom use every single day in the most underserved and remote regions of the globe from Africa to Latin America and Asia, comprising almost 63% of the world’s population,” says Chris Purdy, CEO and President of DKT International. “By making condoms available and affordable, in 2017 alone, we were able to provide 666 million condoms, contributing to 36 million couple years of protection (CYPs) worldwide. Because complacency is the enemy of progress, we hope people will participate in the many World AIDS Day events and contribute to the organizations working so hard to make HIV/AIDS a thing of the past.”

DKT’s multi-faceted educational and condom promotions are based on the unique needs and culture of each region. Here are a few examples:

  • DKT Brazil/South America
    In Brazil, DKT sold 122,516,120 condoms, conducting “blitz” campaigns in which it distributes free samples of its Prudence brand condoms at festivals, nightclubs, bars and special events, such as Carnival, the World Cup, and the “Terça Trans” festival in São Paulo, one of the largest celebrations for the trans community in Brazil.
  • DKT India
    With multiple programs operating throughout India, more than 522 million condoms were sold in 2017. DKT India operates nationwide, including in many rural villages that have no pharmacies. Villagers purchase necessities from the nearest market towns, where DKT conducts special promotional activities and provides three different condom brands to more than 80,000 retailers.
  • DKT Philippines
    Focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention as well as family planning, DKT Philippines has launched a variety of educational campaigns, including promoting condom use in brothels and hotels. DKT’s TRUST brand of condoms have become the leading condom in the market, with more than 100 million sold.
  • DKT Kenya
    About half of Kenya’s 50 million people are age 25 and under, an important population segment needing both information and products for sexual and reproductive health. The country has a very high unmet need for modern contraception among youth and at-risk populations. Kiss and Fiesta condom sales totaled more than one million. TV ads for Kiss featured Joe Chuma, a popular and outspoken celebrity and candidate for the country’s presidency.

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Tourette Association Of America Raises $1 Million At 2018 Gala

Featured Performance by America’s Got Talent Finalist & Comedian Samuel J. Comroe

President and CEO of the Tourette Association of America Amanda Talty and America’s Got Talent Finalist and Comedian Samuel Comroe.   PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Priest Photography

Press Release – (BAYSIDE, NY – November 28, 2018) – Tourette Association of America (TAA), the premier national non-profit organization serving the Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Tic Disorder community, today announced that it raised over $1 million at the organization’s annual Gala at CAPITALE in the Bowery, gathering hundreds from the TS community. Honored at the event was Domenick A. Cama, President and Chief Operating Officer of Investors Bancorp and Investors Bank. The night featured a comedic performance by America’s Got Talent and Comedian Samuel J. Comroe and a musical performance by Trevor Smith.

“We are so grateful to everyone who came out despite the winter storm to show their support for individuals that struggle every day with the challenges having Tourette Syndrome or another Tic Disorder presents,” said Amanda Talty, President and CEO of the Tourette Association of America. “This tremendous support will allow the TAA to fund innovative research, provide meaningful education, and raise the necessary awareness to remove the stigma and improve the lives of all people affected by this disorder.”

Domenick A. Cama’s award was accepted by his son Michael on his behalf. “Receiving this honor from the Tourette Association of America is extremely humbling and a true honor,” said Mr. Cama. “My family and I are proud to support and work with an amazing organization that is doing so much for the Tourette community.”

Comedian Samuel Comroe was a crowd pleaser and shared how he uses humor to deal with the trials and tribulations of living with Tourette Syndrome, including his experience being bullied. Comroe’s performance at the Gala was one of more than 100 clubs and colleges that he performs at across the nation.

All proceeds from the Gala support the Tourette Association of America and its mission to make life better for all people affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders. For more information and to get involved, please visit tourette.org.

About the Tourette Association of America

Founded in 1972, the TAA is dedicated to making life better for all individuals affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders. The premier nationwide organization serving this community, the Association works to raise awareness, advance research and provide on-going support. The TAA directs a network of 32 Chapters and over 80 support groups across the country. For more information on Tourette and Tic Disorders, call 1-888-4-TOURET and visit us at tourette.org, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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Amida Care and Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation Host Thanksgiving Meal and Cooking Demonstration with Support of NYC Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr.

Free Community Wellness Event Promotes Nutrition and Healthy Living

Press Release – New York, NY – On November 17, Amida Care, a not-for-profit New York community health plan, together with Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation, hosted an interactive cooking demonstration, followed by a free traditional meal just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Information about affordable and healthy meals, recipes, and health resources were provided to participants. This event is part of Amida Care’s “Live Your Life” program, a concerted effort to keep healthy living at the center of people’s everyday lives. The event was made possible with support from Brooklyn Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr.

“At Amida Care, we consider the health of the whole person. Doctor’s visits and medication are important, but not enough to maintain wellness all year round. That’s why we offer our ‘Live Your Life’ events that cover all aspects of a person’s health including healthy food, fitness, and mental wellbeing. We’re grateful for the support of Council Member Cornegy to help Brooklynites have access to healthy food this holiday,” said Doug Wirth, President and CEO of Amida Care.

Amida Care holds monthly Live Your Life wellness events throughout the five boroughs of New York City, where members and their guests learn about ways to get and stay healthy. In addition to healthy cooking classes, the events cover topics such as art therapy, dance and fitness, meditation, aromatherapy, and more.

“Amida Care is not your average health plan: they have shown their commitment to their members and to our communities by providing these free events that encourage all of us to think about our wellness in a holistic way. Events like this cooking workshop give Brooklyn residents tools to make healthier choices year-round. I am proud to work with such a great partner in galvanizing people throughout my district to live their healthiest and happiest lives,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr.


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The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) Extends Nationwide Math Outreach Program “MoMath 2 Go: the Family Math Initiative” to Encourage Early Math Fluency

New partnership brings unique program and resources of innovative national network of math institutions to science and art museum in Salt Lake City

Press Release – New York, NY (November 29, 2018) The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) announced the continuation of its innovative math outreach program, MoMath 2 Go: the Family Math Initiative, through a partnership with the Leonardo Museum of Creativity and Innovation in Salt Lake City, UT. Sponsored by the Heising-Simons Foundation, this first-of-its-kind initiative is designed to help families become more comfortable talking about math with preschool through second-grade children and engage parents in local communities who might not have access to the latest in math education.

MoMath designed this program as part of a collaborative study with the University of Chicago Science of Learning Center (SLC), whose previous work determined that fears of math may be formed in children as early as preschool. Led by Susan C. Levine, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology and SLC Director, the SLC team found that structuring conversations about math between parents and children can reduce the math achievement gap between the children of high- and low-math anxious parents and can increase children’s mathematical and spatial fluency. MoMath’s partnership with SLC builds on this research.

“We are pleased to partner with the Leonardo Museum of Creativity and Innovation in bringing the MoMath 2 Go program to reach additional communities,” said Cindy Lawrence, Executive Director of MoMath and creator of MoMath 2 Go. “MoMath’s math outreach program was built on the idea that early math fluency is an essential educational cornerstone for children across America. We want to help families build that foundation with their children.”

MoMath 2 Go: the Family Math Initiative features two popular MoMath exhibitions, “Ring of Fire” and “Miles of Tiles,” both currently on display at the Museum in New York, along with specially created MoMath 2 Go “tip cards” that provide talking points for parents to communicate mathematics to their children more effectively. The two exhibitions demonstrate the ability to stimulate early math fluency among parents and children, who have reported that they had fun and are more likely to continue conversations about math moving forward.

“We are excited to partner with the National Museum of Mathematics to bring even more interactive experiences to our visitors,” said Drew Ehrgott, Creative Director of the Leonardo Museum of Creativity and Innovation. “Showcasing the Museum’s MoMath 2 Go exhibit will promote creative and innovative thinking to our community, which is what we strive to do as an organization that uses the fundamentals and teachings of Leonardo da Vinci. MoMath’s interactive components will fit perfectly with da Vinci’s passion for engineering and math, and will exceed our goal to engage communities who may not have access to the latest in math education. Math is an intimidating subject for many and with MoMath 2 Go’s help, we can show that it can be fun.”

About the National Museum of Mathematics

The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) strives to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics in daily life. Currently celebrating its fifth anniversary, MoMath has reached more than 1.5 million New Yorkers and visitors from around the world.

The only math museum in North America, MoMath fills a critical demand around the country and worldwide for hands-on math programming, offering a space where the math-challenged, as well as math enthusiasts of all backgrounds and levels of understanding can enjoy the infinite and beautiful world of mathematics through more than 37 unique, state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits.

In addition to MoMath’s home in New York City, Museum exhibitions and content are currently featured in Singapore, Brazil, Germany, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

MoMath received the 2016 Communications Award for Public Outreach from the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics. The Museum was awarded the bronze 2013 MUSE Award for Education and Outreach by the American Alliance of Museums. MoMath has been recognized as the Most Fascinating Museum in New York State by the TripAdvisor vacation site and hailed as the “Best Museum for Kids” by New York Magazine.

MoMath, located at 11 East 26th Street on the north side of popular Madison Square Park in Manhattan, is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. For more information, visit momath.org.

About The Leonardo Museum of Creativity and Innovation

The Leonardo is a science and art museum inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s willingness to follow his curiosity and belief that the arts and sciences were a part of the same enterprise. Through world-class exhibits, public programs, and hands-on activities, The Leonardo encourages visitors of all ages to spark their creativity, awaken their curiosity, and heighten their engagement in the world around them as they explore the connections between science, technology, art, and math. For more information about The Leonardo Museum of Creativity and Innovation, please visit http://theleonardo.org/.

About the Heising-Simons Foundation

The Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation based in Los Altos, California. The Foundation works with its many partners to advance sustainable solutions in climate and clean energy, enable groundbreaking research in science, enhance the education of our youngest learners, and support human rights for all people. Learn more at www.hsfoundation.org.


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Window World Spreads Cheer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® with $1.1M Donation

Window World to Give $1.1M Donation and Gifts to 200 Children Receiving Medical Care

Press Release – MEMPHIS, Tenn. (November 29, 2018) – Window World is excited to make the season brighter for hundreds of children receiving medical care at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® by throwing a holiday party, during which it will deliver gifts to 200 children and donate more than $1 million to the hospital. The party will take place at the hospital in Memphis, Tennessee on Tuesday, December 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Race car driver John Andretti will be on hand to meet the children and help deliver their gifts. Although battling cancer himself, Andretti insisted he attend the party to show his support for everyone fighting life-threatening illnesses. Volunteers will also be dressed up in Santa suits while spending time with the children and their families.

Window World, America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, just passed 10 years of giving to St. Jude through its charitable arm, Window World Cares®. The latest donation will bring Window World’s total contribution to St. Jude to more than $9 million.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support Window World Cares has offered St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital over the past decade,” says Richard Shadyac, Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Anything that puts a smile on a child’s face in turn boosts his or her strength and Window World has played such a key role in our mission. Charitable contributions from organizations like Window World Cares help us continue the groundbreaking research and treatment for children everywhere with childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Chairman and CEO of Window World, Tammy Whitworth, and her late husband, Todd, started Window World Cares in 2008 — inspired by the premature birth of their first child, Anna Grace, in 1999. Anna Grace spent the first days of her life in a hospital. Tammy and Todd decided to partner with St. Jude after gaining first-hand experience of the strain of worrying about a child’s health.

“There is no greater concern for a parent than having a child battle a life-threatening illness,” says Tammy. “St. Jude offers children hope for the future while removing the financial burden. We at Window World are passionately committed to helping further St. Jude’s mission.”

Named for the patron saint of lost causes, St. Jude takes on the most challenging cases of childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. No family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

About Window World®

Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with over 16 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR® partner and its windows, vinyl siding and Therma-Tru doors have all earned the Good Housekeeping Seal. In 2018, Window World was ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Window and Patio Door Retailers” by J.D. Power. For more information, visit WindowWorld.com or call 1-800 NEXTWINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter.

Window World received the highest score among Retailers in the J.D. Power 2018 Window & Patio Door Satisfaction Study of customers’ satisfaction with their windows and/or patio doors purchase. Visit jdpower.com/awards.

About Window World Cares®

Window World Cares® was founded in 2008 by Tammy Whitworth and her late husband, Todd. The foundation provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, where it was honored with the hospital’s Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, the foundation has raised over $8 million for St. Jude. To discover more about Window World Cares or to donate, visit WindowWorldCares.com. Learn about St. Jude’s mission to find cures and save children by visiting StJude.org or following St. Jude on Facebook.com/StJude and Twitter.com/StJude.


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Amnesty International USA In Partnership With Sofar Sounds Host Write For Rights Concert And Letter Writing Event On 12/8 With Special Performance From Singer/Songwriter Lauren Jauregui

Event Is Part of the Annual Write for Rights Campaign, This Year Focusing on 11 Women Human Rights Defenders Under Threat for Speaking Out & Taking Action Against Rights Abuses

Press Release – New York, NY (November 30, 2018) – On Saturday, December 8, human rights organization Amnesty International USA in partnership with live music events startup Sofar Sounds will host a powerful evening of collective action along with an intimate concert experience in New York City. The event, Write for Rights, is aimed at securing justice for women human rights defenders under threat and in need of urgent help as a result of speaking out and taking action against various human rights abuses. Write for Rights will feature a letter-writing session during which members of the public will be asked to write government officials in support of specific cases that are emblematic of its broader work on human rights both within the U.S. and around the world. Afterwards, celebrated singer/songwriter and activist Lauren Jauregui will perform an intimate, stripped-down set for an audience of 150-200 lucky guests. Announced with support from social media partner, Tumblr, the event will bring guests and artists together in an everyday space (secret to confirmed guests until a few days before the show) that will be transformed into a captivating concert venue by Sofar Sounds.

For more content from the event, including a Tumblr video Answer Time with Lauren Jauregui and fans, go to www.amnestyusa.tumblr.com.

“At a time in our collective history when the importance of using our voices to affect change can’t be overstated, I’m really excited to partner with Amnesty International for an event that’s encouraging people of all ages the world over to speak up against human rights abuses”, said Jauregui. “The 11 incredible women across the globe that we’re advocating for have spoken up and acted out on behalf of some of the most pressing issues of our time, and I want to encourage everyone to do their part as well.”

Write for Rights is Amnesty International’s largest annual human rights campaign and works through engaging citizens around the world to write letters on behalf of people who need urgent help. Through the power of collective action, these letters convince government officials to free people unjustly imprisoned and end other abuses. This year’s cases of women human rights defenders under threat include: Awad of the United States (refugee and activist seeking safety in the US); Geraldine Chacón of Venezuela (persecuted for empowering youth); Pavitri Manji of India (harassed for standing up to big business); Nonhle Mbuthuma of South Africa (targeted for defending her ancestral land); The Sengwer Indigenous People of Kenya (violently evicted from their ancestral land); Gulzar Duishenova of Krygyzstan (disability rights activist facing discrimination); Nawal Benaissa of Morocco (persecuted for her social justice activism); Vitalina Koval of Ukraine (violently attacked for supporting LGBTI rights); Atena Daemi of Iran (in jail for opposing the death penalty); and Marielle Franco of Brazil (killed for defending human rights)

“Lauren has been an outspoken ally in the fight for human rights, and we’re thrilled to work with her as part of Amnesty’s longstanding tradition of inspiring people to take global action through the power of music and activism,” said Robyn Shepherd, director of media relations at Amnesty International USA. “The wonderful thing about this evening is that it provides simple but meaningful ways to really make a difference, all while having a great night out. Everyone here tonight is having an impact by supporting women defending human rights around the world.”

The night will feature Lauren Jauregui who will perform new solo music in addition to another female artist. Prior to the performances we will have a writing session for guests to write letters on behalf of the 11 female human rights defenders highlighted by Amnesty.

Planned every year around Human Rights Day, December 10, Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign runs through February 28, 2019. Members of the public are asked to sign up, write and mail letters by January 31, and report letters by February 28, 2019.

The letters and messages generated by the campaign have had an enormous impact. Last year alone, over 5.5 million actions were taken on behalf of 11 individuals and cases. Through letter writing, Amnesty International activists have helped free tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience, people imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs or identity.

This is not the first time Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds have collaborated. Last year they worked together on the ‘Give a Home’ campaign, a first-of-its-kind global day of live music events taking place in people’s homes, in which nearly 1,000 musicians performed at over 270 concerts in more than 200 cities globally. The event took place on September 20th, 2017, and brought together musicians, refugees, and music fans in the aim of uniting people to welcome refugees.


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Made in NYC Kicks Off Gifted & Talented, Its 2018 Holiday Shopping Campaign.

Made in NYC’s Gifted & Talented guide is the go-to resource for those “impossible to shop for” friends and family members who have an appreciation for locally-produced products that give back to NYC communities.

Press Release – Brooklyn, NY November 29th, 2018 – Made in NYC (MINYC), an initiative of the Pratt Center for Community Development funded by the New York City Council to help New York City’s manufacturing businesses, launches its 3rd annual “Gifted & Talented” online holiday campaign. Featuring a collection of 50 curated gift ideas sourced from Made in NYC member companies, the guide provides consumers the opportunity to support businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers creating exceptional products across New York City’s five boroughs.

This year’s Gifted & Talented campaign shines a spotlight on the diversity of NYC’s local food and beverage products and the businesses responsible for this collection of award-winning items, which includes everything from specialty coffee from Brooklyn’s Ludwig Coffee to piquant Malaysian Curry Paste from Queen’s Mama Lam’s to the distinctive superfood blends of Sustainable Snacks from The Bronx.

The mouthwatering selection of food-based gifts is matched by an exceptional array of gift ideas that will surprise and delight. Among these are apparel made from sustainable fabrics from Bronx-based Miakoda, up-cycled bow ties from Taz the Taylor in Brooklyn, and the pet-lovers’ favorite, Amuse Pooch dog treats from Queens.

“This holiday season, I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to support our local entrepreneurs and do their holiday shopping from vendors featured in Made in NYC’s Gifted & Talented guide. I know I will. Thank you Made in NYC and the Pratt Center for Community Development for their commitment to New York City business this holiday season,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson

The Gifted & Talented guide links consumers directly to each manufacturer’s online store. Buying directly from businesses expands opportunities for consumers to become better acquainted with the people behind the products and learn the unique stories of the entrepreneurs and pioneers remaking the image of 21st-century urban manufacturing.

“If you want to keep New York authentic, diverse and a city of neighborhoods, shop this year’s Made In NYC’s Gifted & Talented holiday campaign,” said Adam Friedman, Executive Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, which hosts MINYC. “Buying locally is always a good idea. Particularly during the holiday season, supporting NYC’s homegrown entrepreneurs truly serves to build community and create local jobs.”

Made in NYC’s social media channels will broadcast the campaign by highlighting products and companies through the end of December 2018. Connect with this experience by following Made in NYC on:

Experience the 2018 Gifted & Talented Holiday Gift directory online at: madeinnyc.org/articles/holiday-2018 running now through December 31st, 2018.

About Made In NYC

Made in NYC (MINYC), an initiative of the Pratt Center for Community Development funded by the New York City Council, the US Economic Development Administration, and private contributions, was created to support the entrepreneurs and innovators creating high-quality, high-value products made locally by New Yorkers for local and global distribution. Our member businesses advance New York City’s vibrant and diverse economy by creating sustainable jobs in communities across the five boroughs. Close to 1,200 companies representing all major industrial and manufacturing sectors in NYC are represented on the MINYC website. For more information and where to find and support local NYC manufacturing businesses, please visit: www.madeinnyc.org.

About Pratt Center for Community Development

The Pratt Center for Community Development has worked for the past 50 years for a more just, equitable and sustainable city for all New Yorkers by empowering communities to plan for and realize their futures. As part of Pratt Institute, the Center leverages professional skills in planning, policy analysis, and advocacy to support community-based organizations in their efforts to improve neighborhood quality of life, attack the causes of poverty and inequality, and advance sustainable development. Visit us at www.prattcenter.net.

About Pratt Institute

Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is a global leader in higher education dedicated to preparing its 4,700 undergraduate and graduate students for successful careers in art, design, architecture, information and library science, and liberal arts and sciences. Located in a cultural hub with historic campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Pratt is a living lab of craft and creativity with an esteemed faculty of accomplished professionals and scholars who challenge their talented students to transform their passion into meaningful expression.


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Social Innovation Meets Energy Transition: Bank of the West Honors Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator at Ninth Annual Philanthropy Awards

A $100,000 grant award will advance energy transition and support women-owned start-ups in the clean energy economy

Press Release – Bank of the West has awarded Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) its annual Philanthropy Award and related grant in recognition of the nonprofit’s mission to transition society to renewable energy sources and increase participation of women entrepreneurs and people of color in the new, green economy.

LACI will direct the Bank of the West Philanthropy Award’s $100,000 grant toward integrating women entrepreneurs and underrepresented groups into the cleantech sector through access to capital, support within its world-class incubator, and workforce development programs.

“The Bank of the West Philanthropy Award is just one highlight of our business and philanthropic commitment to economic growth, inclusion of underserved populations, and preservation of resources,” said Pierre Ramadier, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of the Wealth Management Group. “We are pleased to recognize Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator for their socially and environmentally responsive approach to a sustainable future. Their programs and leadership are creating scalable businesses with a positive impact on society.”

Since 2011, LACI has helped more than 70 start-ups bring pioneering clean technology products or services to market. Their portfolio of companies, in areas such as zero emission transportation, water conservation, solar power, and eco-friendly consumer products, has generated $220 million in revenue and created approximately 1,700 jobs for diverse populations. View video to learn more about LACI.

Earlier this year, the bank announced a $1 billion commitment to finance clean, efficient and renewable energy as part of a new multi-year effort to support a sustainable energy future.

“We are honored to receive the 2018 Philanthropy Award,” said LACI President and CEO Matt Petersen. “Recognition and support from Bank of the West will directly impact LACI’s mission to provide pathways for underrepresented groups to work in the technology sector and participate in the new clean energy economy.”

Padma Lakshmi, host and executive producer of Emmy-winning show Top Chef, women’s rights advocate, and philanthropist, was the guest speaker at the Bank of the West Philanthropy Awards event held at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on November 28.

About Bank of the West

The fundamental belief that a bank should have a positive impact on society drives Bank of the West. At a time when people demand more from companies, we are taking action to ensure our activities help protect the planet, improve people’s lives, and strengthen communities. That’s why we are investing where we can have a real impact: supporting energy transition, helping enable female entrepreneurs and financing innovative start-ups. As the bank for a changing world, Bank of the West is committed to sustainable finance along with our parent company BNP Paribas, which is one of the only financial organizations in the world to adopt the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through Digital Channels and offices across the U.S., Bank of the West provides financial tools and resources to more than 2 million individuals, families and businesses.

Deposit and loan products offered by Bank of the West, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. © 2018 Bank of the West. Doing business in South Dakota as Bank of the West California.

About the Bank of the West Philanthropy Awards

Since 2010, the Bank of the West Philanthropy Awards have highlighted nonprofits that foster lasting impact and change lives for the better. The annual event introduces leaders from the philanthropic sector to like-minded individuals in the community and encourages participants to leverage personal and professional expertise for positive social impact. Awardees are chosen by a jury comprised of Bank of the West committee members along with external foundation and nonprofit leaders. Last year, Bank of the West provided philanthropic support to more than 450 nonprofit organizations. Volunteerism is integral to the bank’s commitment to community. In 2017, bank employees volunteered 39,000 hours toward positive impact across the bank’s footprint.

About Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is a private nonprofit organization creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation (through working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies), transforming markets (through partnerships in transportation, energy and sustainable cities) and enhancing communities (through workforce development, pilots and other programs). Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. In the past six years, LACI has helped 73 portfolio companies raise $184M in funding, $220M in revenue, create 1,700 jobs, and deliver more than $379M in long term economic value. Learn more at laci.org.


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