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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe


This category includes articles that apply to social good in general and may include policy, practice and other stories relevant to everyone.

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Nearly 280,000 Have Signed a Petition to Outlaw Female Genital Mutilation in Massachusetts

For Many Months, #EndFGMToday Has Been Calling on Massachusetts to Criminalize Cruel and Barbaric Practice of FGM

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C.—Twenty-two states do not have legal protections in place for women and girls who are at risk for female genital mutilation (FGM). Among them is Massachusetts, and now, residents are taking action to make sure the cruel and barbaric practice of FGM is criminalized in their state.

Along with other groups and impassioned advocates, the national EndFGMToday campaign has been calling on Massachusetts lawmakers to sponsor and pass a law that would punish perpetrators who inflict this unnecessary procedure that leaves both physical and emotional scars for a lifetime.

EndFGMToday leader, international attorney and child advocate Elizabeth Yore points to a petition in Massachusetts to call on leaders to protect girls and women in the state. With nearly 280,000 signers and with a goal of 300,000 who are committed to ending FGM in Massachusetts, the petition is gaining strength.

Yore said that state laws are even more crucial now, as the federal law criminalizing female genital mutilation was ruled unconstitutional by a district judge in late 2018.

“Without the federal law, females in the 22 states that currently do not have their own prohibitions against FGM are particularly at risk,” Yore said. “EndFGMToday has repeatedly called on Massachusetts lawmakers to stand up for girls and women to enact an anti-FGM law in their state. In the absence of a federal FGM ban, it is now more important than ever for states to take initiative to protect their residents, especially as young girls could be maimed for life.”

The Massachusetts petition was started by three women, Mariya Taher, Aisha Yusuf and Hanna Stern, who are “pleading to the Massachusetts State Legislature to pass a law making it illegal for someone to carry out (FGM) on young girls.”

Taher was born in the United States and now lives in Massachusetts, but at the age of 7, she was subjected to FGM in India. Her friends and relatives also living in the U.S. have undergone FGM both in America and in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Australia and many other countries.

Yusuf was subjected to FGM at the age of 5. “I know many women who also got it done,” she says. “Personally, I know people in my community who talk about it as if it’s normal. I was aware of people practicing it behind closed doors, but I also know that some people are looking for ways to keep the practice alive here in the states even though it might mean legal action is taken against them.”

Stern said she came upon the subject of FGM while searching for a global health research topic online for a school project. “I knew nothing about it and was concerned that others would find it uncomfortable and unrelatable,” she said. “My teacher told me that was all the more reason to focus on FGM. It’s not a cultural issue; it’s not a third-world problem. FGM happens all over the world; it is happening in Massachusetts!”

According to the petition’s home page, Massachusetts is known for its progressive policies in terms of reproductive rights, anti-discrimination laws and equality issues, yet the state still does not ban FGM. As FGM is “nearly always carried out on minors, is a violation of the rights of children, and reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes that constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women, we must protect girls from undergoing FGM.” The petition page also points to the fact that Massachusetts ranks 12th in the nation for at-risk populations with an estimated 14,591 women and girls who are at risk for FGM.

Specifically, the petition is intended to reach Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, and State Senators Harriette L. Chandler and Karen E. Spilka.

Yore also noted that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than a half million girls and woman in the U.S. are at risk for female genital mutilation. FGM is also recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women, and over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to FGM.

View the at state-by-state map of those who do have anti-FGM laws and learn more about FGM at or on social media at #EndFGMToday.

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Illumina Corporation Foundation and Discovery Education Inspire Youth to Pursue Careers in STEM and Genomics through New Groundbreaking Program ‘DNA Decoded’

— Illumina Corporation Foundation invests in digitally immersive education curriculum program to pave the way for the next generation of genomics professionals —

Press Release – Silver Spring, Maryland (Wednesday, February 20, 2019) – Illumina Corporate Foundation and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital curriculum resources, digital content, and professional development for K-12 classrooms, today launched DNA Decoded, a program designed to equip middle and high school teachers with the power to unlock the study of genomics to advance the future for their students. DNA Decoded provides easy, ready-to-go, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aligned lessons and activities for educators serving young learners in grades 6 – 12, enabling them to explore genomics in everyday life.

The Illumina Corporate Foundation advances genomic literacy through community outreach, collaborations and partnerships, and contributions to oncology, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and genetic diseases. By supporting the next generation of professionals, through partnerships with companies like Discovery Education and programs like DNA Decoded, the Illumina Corporate Foundation is paving the way, to inspire youth to pursue careers in STEM.

“This partnership with Discovery Education provides an innovative platform enabling teachers to ignite genomic curiosity in students,” said Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications for Illumina, Inc. Karen Possemato. “Supporting and empowering teachers is a critical first step to helping the next generation discover the power of genomics and its potential for solving global challenges, such as how we diagnose cancer and feed the world’s population.”

The Illumina Corporate Foundation is committed to sharing the promise of genomics with communities around the world. Toward that end, DNA Decoded focuses on empowering educators with digitally immersive tools that bring genomics to life in their classrooms. With standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, students across the U.S. will be able to study how genes interact and they will apply the study of genomics to real-world challenges, helping them to realize the hope genomics represents in rare and undiagnosed diseases.

Educators can download the following digital curriculum resources at by visiting

  • Sickle Cell Trait and Reducing Risk in Sports project starter
  • Functional Genomics and Individualized Medicine STEM project activator
  • Deep Space Genomics lesson
  • Agriculture Revolution lesson

“Discovery Education is proud to partner with the Illumina Corporation Foundation to nurture budding young scientists’ boundless curiosity and deepen their understanding of how they can use science to change the world,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Discovery Education Lori McFarling. “Working with educators and students nationwide, we are excited to inspire problem-solving and the exploration of new career pathways powered by the study of STEM.”

The Illumina Corporate Foundation and Discovery Education created DNA Decoded to provide students with engaging digital resources to apply genomics solutions to the challenges for everyday life. DNA Decoded aids educators and learners in examining how STEM professionals use genomics to fight diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and cancer, as well as to boost the health of the world’s food supply. DNA Decoded also helps school communities learn about the impacts of DNA beyond ancestry and gene traits. Students are able to leverage newfound accessibility to genomics by exploring careers in STEM through these stimulating activities and an accompanying educator guide.

“‘DNA Decoded’ has the power to engage students in critical content mastery steps that can launch them into a new world of possibilities in STEM,” said Andy Losik, STEM teacher at Hamilton Community Schools in Hamilton, Michigan. “The program’s digitally immersive tools make learning the complexity of genes, and how they affect the world around us, exciting and fun.”

DNA Decoded resources are available at no-cost at and are also available in Discovery Education Streaming. For more information about Discovery Education’s digital curriculum resources and professional development services, visit Stay connected with Discovery Education through social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest @DiscoveryEd.

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SheTrades Supported Brands From Ghana, Kenya And Nigeria Aim For Success At COTERIE

Press Release – Ten women-owned businesses from Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to attend COTERIE, one of the United States’ top fashion trade shows, thanks to support from the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades initiative.

Taking place at the Javits Center, New York City, on 25-27 February, COTERIE provides an incredible opportunity for these talented brands to showcase their collections and connect with international buyers. All ten companies are part of SheTrades in the Commonwealth Programme, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

In 2018, SheTrades sponsored a delegation of 9 brands from Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria to attend the fall edition of COTERIE, which led to meetings with 100 buyers and secured US $495,000 USD in trade leads.

One of the participating companies was Afrodesiac, a Ghanaian company that has seen tremendous success following its attendance at COTERIE.

‘The International Trade Centre has helped our company reach international markets by giving us access to new buyers through trade shows and exhibitions,’ said Chiedza Makonnen, Founder of Afrodesiac Worldwide. ‘Thanks to support from SheTrades and DFID, we expanded our business by over 50%.’

Makonnen added: ‘New orders secured at COTERIE has had an impact throughout our supply chain, which includes Cadling, a Ghanaian women manufacturer with whom we tripled our orders of raw materials. Thank you SheTrades! Your impact changes lives and empowers female entrepreneurs.’

This year SheTrades is showcasing new brands including Bello Edu, a Ghanaian company, and Lilabare Clothing from Kenya. If you are going to COTERIE, you will find them at the SheTrades booth 1130.

Apply to be a part of SheTrades in the Commonwealth Programme:

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Peter and Mary Kalikow Pledge $1 Million to The National WWII Museum

First Museum donors provide new gift to support the institution’s capital expansion projects, completion of its New Orleans campus

Press Release – NEW ORLEANS (February 19, 2019) – New York’s Peter and Mary Kalikow – the first donors in the history of The National D-Day Museum – have pledged an additional $1 million to the institution now known as The National WWII Museum to support its $400 million Road to Victory Capital Campaign, which funds the campus expansion. The Capital Campaign, which also supports exhibit design and fabrication, endowment, and ongoing digitization efforts, has raised over $345 million towards its goal.

Peter Kalikow – whose father was a WWII veteran with the US Marine Corps – is the family’s third generation president of H.J. Kalikow & Company, LLC, one of New York’s leading real estate firms. Through an initial gift of $50,000 in 1990, Peter Kalikow helped realize Stephen Ambrose’s dream of creating a museum dedicated to Americans who served on D-Day in Normandy. The early donation represented critical seed money for opening the doors of The National D-Day Museum in 2000.

“In 1990, after Stephen Ambrose hatched the Museum concept, and we were both trying to figure out how to get started, Peter Kalikow was the only person willing to risk $50,000 to pay for a modest feasibility study to test our idea,” said Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, Founding President & CEO, who worked alongside his friend Ambrose to develop the Museum and continues to serve in an emeritus role. “That took courage. In those early days, most thought we were just two crazy historians with an impossible dream.”

The Kalikow family’s additional support for preservation of oral histories in the Eisenhower Center Peter Kalikow World War II-era Collection at the University of New Orleans also provided an invaluable resource for the Museum’s research and publications work. The Museum manages the collection.

Today, The National WWII Museum spans five pavilions featuring several permanent exhibits, which now tell the complete story of America’s road to war and the fight to secure freedom overseas. Permanent exhibits include The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George R. Brown Salute to the Home Front, Richard C. Adkerson & Freeport-McMoRan Foundation Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries, The Duchossois Family Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries and the institution’s original exhibit The D-Day Invasion of Normandy, which recently reopened to the public after undergoing renovations.

“It is my sincere hope that our most recent donation to the Museum will help ensure a successful continuation and expansion of the physical campus,” said Peter Kalikow. “It is imperative that our succeeding younger generations have a permanent place to visit and witness the loyalty, the pain and the sacrifices made by what was truly the Greatest Generation. My wife Mary and I are proud that our contribution will support the final push towards the completion of a world-class facility.”

When complete in 2021, the Museum’s campus will have quadrupled in size since its opening. The Bollinger Canopy of Peace – a 150-foot-high architectural structure – will rise above the institution and become an iconic element on the New Orleans skyline. Additional expansion plans include The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center, an elegant property that will feature 230 guest rooms and more than 18,000 square feet of conference space to support the institution’s expanding visitation and educational programs; the Hall of Democracy pavilion, which will house academic and outreach programs as well as additional exhibit and retail space; and the Liberation Pavilion, focusing on end-of-war and postwar experiences, as well as the war’s meaning for citizens today.

The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that future generations will know the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. The 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards ranks the Museum No. 3 in the nation and No. 8 in the world. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit

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The Solutions Project Announces Groundbreaking Pledge To Fund Frontline Climate Groups Led By Women And People Of Color; Invites US Philanthropies To Join

100% Commitment to Justice aims to correct historic lack of funding and media coverage and promote feminine leadership that builds power from the ground up

Press Release – Oakland, Calif.The Solutions Project, which led the charge for 100% clean energy for all, is doubling down on its commitment to feminine leadership and the diversity it nurtures with a pioneering 100% Commitment to Justice. By next year, the grantmaking nonprofit will invest 95 percent of its resources in innovative frontline leadership of color, with at least 80 percent going to organizations led by women. Research consistently links greater diversity of leadership to more successful results, and when it comes to curbing climate change, success is the only option.

“For a challenge as great as climate change, we need everyone on deck — including women and people of color who are leading clean energy efforts on the front lines of climate change, too often without resources or recognition,” said Don Cheadle, award-winning actor, Solutions Project board member, and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme. “When people who live every day with the effects of dirty energy and a changing climate draw on that experience to create solutions and drive change, the results can be game-changing.”

The Solutions Project’s groundbreaking new strategy aims to address gender and racial inequities in media coverage and in philanthropy, especially as they relate to climate change. Approximately 95 percent of each year’s $60 billion in U.S. foundation funding goes to organizations led by white people, while 70 to 80 percent goes to organizations led by men. About half of climate funding is concentrated in just 20 organizations, with demographics that match this extreme homogeneity in leadership.

Studies consistently show racial, ethnic and gender diversity leads to greater team performance in decision-making and financial results. Startup company teams with at least one woman performed 63% better than all male teams. And in times of crisis, McKinsey research shows, women employ more of the leadership qualities organizations need, and their organizations perform better during and after crises.

“We challenge our fellow grantmakers — especially climate and clean energy funders — to join us in making philanthropic funding reflect the diversity of American leadership. They can start by pledging at least 10 percent of their funding to groups led by women of color,” said The Solutions Project’s executive director, Sarah Shanley Hope.

“It will be exciting to see how members of the philanthropic community respond to The Solutions Project’s challenge,” said Justin Winters, a Solutions Project board member and executive director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is a Solutions Project funder. “Imagine if communities most harmed by dirty energy and implementing the most innovative climate solutions actually had the resources they need.”

“The Solutions Project was in the front of the pack as the first national organization to call for 100% clean energy for all, and now it’s in the lead again with its 100% Commitment to Justice,” Winters said.

The race and gender disparity in climate and clean energy funding also extends to news coverage. While studies show climate change disproportionately affects communities of color and women, a new analysis by The Solutions Project finds these voices are underrepresented in media coverage of climate and clean energy. The media report finds:

  • 7 percent of media stories on climate and clean energy reference communities of color
  • 21 percent reference women
  • 10 percent reference equity or justice

To help remedy the situation, The Solutions Project funds frontline leaders of color and provides media support for diverse leaders who empower communities from the ground up. In New York, for example, PUSH Buffalo’s Rahwa Ghirmatzion engaged neighbors in a low-income community of color to turn an abandoned school into solar-powered affordable housing for seniors and a community center. This was the first solar project in New York to offer discounted energy entirely to low-income subscribers.

“This is energy democracy in action: regular people — working class and low-income — coming together and figuring out how to generate cleaner, healthier energy in their own neighborhood,” Ghirmatzion said. “The Solutions Project understands the importance of getting the word out that no matter what might be going on in Washington, real-world communities are advancing equitable and sustainable economic development powered by clean energy.”

Other grantees of The Solutions Project include the Rev. Leo Woodberry of Florence, S.C., who is engaging community groups across the South in the Justice First movement’s push for 100% clean energy, forest protection and environmental justice. The California Environmental Justice Alliance and its leader, Gladys Limon, are ensuring Sacramento’s commitment to 100% clean electricity by 2045 benefits every California community. Nathaniel Smith and his Partnership for Southern Equity are making sure that equity is at the center of Atlanta’s efforts to meet its commitment to 100% clean energy.

“These leaders embody feminine leadership that emphasizes cooperation, collaboration, empathy, and decisions made from the bottom up rather than top-down directives imposed from on high,” said The Solutions Project’s Hope. “Feminine leadership — practiced by people across the gender spectrum — creates space for all kinds of people to lead. And when it comes to solving climate change, we need everyone at the table.”

“The Solutions Project has a great track record of investing in and amplifying the work of unsung groups led by women and people of color on the front lines of climate change,” said Shamar Bibbins, senior program officer for the environment at The Kresge Foundation and a Philanthropic Trustee of The Solutions Project. “If the 100% Commitment to Justice inspires more foundations to look at diversity in the leaders they fund and see how their funding actually shapes the public narrative in terms of the solutions stories covered by the media, this could make a major difference in our response to the climate crisis.”

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National Domestic Workers Alliance Hosts Star-Studded Awards Night Watch Party in Celebration of Roma

Co-hosts Tarana Burke, Diane Guerrero, Rashida Jones, Eva Longoria, Olga Segura and Karla Souza with honorary co-host Alfonso Cuarón will honor domestic workers as the “heroines in our homes”

Press Release – Los Angeles, CA – The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is hosting a red carpet event on Oscar® night, February 24, 2019, at The Jane Club, a new and innovative women-centric venue in Los Angeles, to honor domestic workers as the true “heroines in our homes.” Inspired by the film Roma, which has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, event attendees will celebrate the incredible success of the film in shining a light on and sparking a conversation about domestic workers in our country. They will be joined by co-hosts in attendance Tarana Burke, Diane Guerrero, Rashida Jones, Eva Longoria, Olga Segura and Karla Souza. The event will have the support of Alfonso Cuarón as honorary host for this special event, as well as Laura Brown, Laura Dern, and Natalie Portman.

“Domestic workers are the unsung heroines of our families and of our economy, yet they have been written out of our labor laws and overlooked in our culture,” said Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “With this awards night event, and thanks to the support of so many brilliant actors, activists and Hollywood luminaries, we will celebrate domestic workers with the humanity and dignity they deserve. And we will celebrate Roma — a film that so prominently centers on the story of an indigenous domestic worker.”

“From TIME’S UP to Roma, one of the greatest fights in our society today is making sure that all working women are treated with dignity and respect,” said actress Laura Dern. “Roma has truly inspired audiences to reflect on the people who care for them. Domestic workers like Cleo are in the center of our lives, but too often at the bottom of our economy and society. We must do our part to ensure they have the respect and recognition they deserve.”

The event, Honoring the Heroines in Our Homes, will welcome press beginning at 2:45 p.m. PST at The Jane Club with the red carpet scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST and the Awards watch party taking place from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. PST. Special guests will speak throughout the evening and a champagne toast celebrating domestic workers is planned. Interviews will be available with select members of the Honoring the Heroines in Our Homes co-hosts and high profile attendees along with the opportunity to speak with select domestic workers who can offer their personal stories and connections to Roma.

In advance of this incredible evening, Rent The Runway is donating 60 designer dresses to be worn to the party by domestic workers and NDWA staff, and opening up their New York City styling studio for personal fittings. MAC Cosmetics will be providing make-up and makeup artists for the event.

In January, NDWA and Participant Media announced a nationwide effort of Roma community screenings for domestic workers and employers in 12 cities, including New York, Chicago, and Seattle, as part of a larger campaign to encourage viewers to take action. Last week, Netflix announced a portion from every theater ticket purchased in the month of February in the U.S. will be donated to NDWA.

Domestic workers are determined to make 2019 their year to win respect, dignity and rights in the workplace. Days after the new Congress was sworn in, domestic worker leaders visited Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers and raise awareness about the first national Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Set to be introduced later this year, the innovative federal legislation would secure rights for more than two million domestic workers across the United States, the first of its kind on a national scale.

Honoring the Heroines in Our Homes, the National Domestic Workers Alliance Oscar Night Watch Party in celebration of Roma, ultimately aims to effectively spark critical conversations across the country around the domestic workers movement.

To find out more about how to support domestic workers, visit:

National Domestic Workers Alliance is the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for millions of domestic workers in the United States. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Logan Nonfiction Program Announces Incoming Class of Fellows

Diverse Group of Journalists Embarks on 10 Weeks of Critical Work at the Carey Institute

Press Release – Rensselaerville, N.Y.— The Logan Nonfiction Program is pleased to announce its Spring 2019 class of fellows, a group comprised of 21 celebrated writers, photojournalists and documentary filmmakers from across the world. The class is presently beginning work at the Carey Institute for Global Good on critical long-form investigative articles, books and documentary films.

“We are thrilled to welcome this class of accomplished writers, photojournalists and filmmakers to Rensselaerville,” says Program Manager Carly Willsie. “They build upon the success of our previous Logan fellows, whose body of work is making a deep and lasting impact throughout the world. Long-form, independent nonfiction is more critical than ever and we’re proud to support the creation of this essential work.”

Hailing from six countries, the new class of fellows include Rana Sabbagh, the founder of the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ)network; award-winning filmmaker Mikaela Shwer, who received a George Foster Peabody Award for her feature documentary, ”Don’t Tell Anyone/No Le Digas a Nadie”; Katherine Corcoran,former AP bureau chief for Mexico and Central America; and renowned photojournalist Robert Nickelsberg, who was a TIME contract photographer for nearly 30 years; among many other accomplished reporters and filmmakers.

The Logan Nonfiction Program supports nonfiction writers, documentary filmmakers, photojournalists, podcasters and multimedia creators working on deeply reported projects. The program provides fellows with lodging, meals, professional guidance and community for up to 10 weeks on the Carey Institute’s 100-acre historic estate in upstate New York.

The program brings together diverse applicants working on an array of socially relevant political, health, environmental, human rights and justice topics. Seeking to strengthen democracy and contribute to an engaged and informed public, the Logan Nonfiction Program assembles an inclusive community of fellows at work on projects that ignite constructive dialogue and create sustainable change.

Applications are currently open for the Fall 2019 class of Logan Nonfiction fellows. Long-form nonfiction creators working in all media are encouraged to apply on the Logan website by June 15.

Primary funding for the Logan Nonfiction Program is provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation supports organizations that advance social justice by empowering world-changing work in investigative journalism, arts and culture, and documentary film.

Additional foundation support for the fellowship is provided by the Open Society Foundations and the European Journalism Centre.

The Carey Institute for Global Good is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2012 by Wm. Polk Carey and is dedicated to building a strong, educated and just society. We provide education, tools and resources to practitioners of the global good to help them succeed. We put practitioners first—teachers, journalists, farmers—because we know that they have the power to change their communities and inspire others to do the same.

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Los Angeles Team Mentoring Receives Grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation

Funding helps the nonprofit mentoring organization provide after-school mentoring for middle school students in Los Angeles

Press Release – Los Angeles, CA — February 12, 2019 — A grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation was received by Los Angeles Team Mentoring (LATM), Los Angeles’ pioneering non-profit organization guiding middle school students from challenging urban neighborhoods to reach their full potential and develop their leadership skills. The funds will be used to support the TeamWorks program, an after-school program for 6th, 7th and 8th graders, a very critical and formative period in a young adult’s life. The program utilizes a team model to promote positive self-image, build strong peer-to-peer and peer-to-adult relationships, increases school engagement and on-time grade promotion, and emphasizes the importance of teamwork and diversity.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation, founded in 1989, is a private family foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of people’s lives by supporting nonprofit organizations and their work in our communities.

“We are experiencing a continuous trend where the cost of living in Los Angeles is rising dramatically, while comparatively, wages remain stagnated,” says Maria Melton, LATM’S Executive Director. “This has forced many parents to work longer hours outside the home in order to support their family, leaving kids susceptible to negative outside influences and the opportunity to make crucial, potentially life-changing decisions in the absence of adult supervision or guidance. Our program focuses on the critical out-of-school hours (after-school) to ensure students have a safe and structured environment, as well as positive role models, information, and collaboration. We are proud that a recent study conducted by ERC, 3rd party evaluation experts and sole contractor to LAUSD for data gathering and analytics, revealed that 95% of LATM mentees graduate high school, as compared to LA County School District’s rate of 73%. These findings confirm our mentees are moving on to higher education at a higher rate than their peers—and that the impact of our mentoring program remains long after students leave our care. We are grateful to the S. Mark Taper Foundation for supporting these students, and this much needed program, with this extremely generous grant,” adds Ms. Melton. LATM students are between the ages of 10 and 14, with 29% living in a home where no parent/guardian has graduated from high school, 35% living with a single-parent, and 89% of students living in very low-income households.

Since its inception, the organization has impacted the lives of over 27,000 young people through two and a half million hours of after school mentoring. Now in its 27th year, LATM was born out of the 1992 civil unrest, launching its first program at Horace Mann Middle School immediately thereafter, located just three miles from the epicenter of the Los Angeles Riots. Its team-based mentoring model, developed by the Princeton Center for Leadership, was instituted to train and encourage that leadership, the benefits of which have long been helping to modify the effects of gang activity, violence, poverty and high school drop-out rates of young people.


LATM’s core team mentoring model, TeamWorks, includes a team of three mentors consisting of a teacher, a college student, and a community/business volunteer that utilize an activity-based curriculum enabling students to develop social emotional skills and resiliency. In addition, LATM conducts Summer Leadership Camp which gives students the college knowledge needed to become competitive applicants. The LATM program is available in 11 middle schools:

• Bethune Middle School in South LA • Wilmington Middle School in Wilmington • John Burroughs Middle School in Mid-Wilshire • Peary Middle School in Gardena • Para Los Niños Charter Middle School in Skid Row, Downtown LA • James Madison Middle School in North Hollywood • Johnnie Cochran Middle School in Mid-City • Webster Middle School in West LA • Thomas Edison Middle School in South LA • Pacoima Middle School in the San Fernando Valley • Richard Merkin Middle School in Downtown LA/Pico-Union •

For more information, please visit

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Nikon Announces The Second Year Of The Nikon Storytellers Scholarship, Reaffirming Its Commitment To Education For The Next Generation of Creators

Press Release – MELVILLE, NY – Nikon Inc. has announced that applications are now open for the second “Nikon Storytellers Scholarship.” The program, launched in December 2017, is designed to celebrate the power of visual storytelling by supporting the education of aspiring content creators. Beginning today, eligible students in the United States and Canada can apply for the chance to be selected as one of ten winners to receive a $10,000 USD academic scholarship to further their development as visual storytellers and help them in their passionate pursuit of compelling stories.

“We are so excited to be able to continue to offer scholarship support to talented students across the US and Canada who are exploring their creative passions,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “In launching this program for a second year, Nikon is reaffirming its dedication to supporting and encouraging the next generation of creators in their pursuits to become the confident, fearless voices of tomorrow.”

The Nikon Storytellers Scholarship, which received over 1,000 submissions in its first year, is once again open to undergraduate and graduate students in the United States and Canada who are pursuing degrees in visual arts, fine arts, journalism, film, photography and multimedia/content creation, and have completed their freshman year of college or the academic equivalent.

The scholarship includes two stages of submissions. The first round consists of academic and professional references. If selected, students will advance to a semi-finalist round in which they submit an original piece of creative work to be evaluated by a committee of industry professionals. This year, building on its legacy of developing innovative optical technologies that help creators bring their creative vision to life in new and compelling ways, Nikon is challenging students to showcase what “Capture Tomorrow” means to them and how they are pushing the creative boundaries of their craft.

The ten emerging visual creators will be awarded an academic scholarship for use in the 2019-2020 school year. Qualified students are invited to visit for more information about submitting an entry, including eligibility details.

The Nikon Storytellers Scholarship Key Dates (2019-2020)

  • Application Open: January 29, 2019
  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2019
  • Recommendation Deadline: March 1, 2019
  • Semi-finalist Open: March 18, 2019
  • Semi-finalist Deadline: April 15, 2019
  • Notification of Selection Results: June 2019
  • Funds Disbursed: August 2019

For those interested in learning more about the Nikon Storytellers Scholarship, please visit For more information on the latest Nikon products, please visit

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The Wilderness Society Announces Melyssa Watson As Executive Director

Joins President Jamie Williams to lead one of the country’s largest conservation nonprofits

Press Release – Durango, CO (February 15, 2019) – The Wilderness Society announces the promotion of Melyssa Watson, formerly vice president of conservation, to a new role as executive director of the organization. In this role, Melyssa will lead The Wilderness Society’s programmatic work from regional and national campaigns focused on public lands and energy policy, to making public lands part of the climate solution and ensuring more equitable access for all to the outdoors. Jamie Williams continues his role as president, leading the organization and its overall vision for public land conservation.

“For the past 20 years, Melyssa’s outstanding leadership at The Wilderness Society has been the foundation on which our conservation successes rest,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “She has been focused and unwavering given the unprecedented political threats facing our nation’s public lands and has a successful track record of finding locally-driven, bipartisan solutions and lasting protection for America’s wild places. We are thrilled to chart a future vision for our organization with Melyssa in this role.”

Melyssa served most recently for the last six years as vice president of conservation for the organization. She oversaw 11 regional offices as well as our science, policy, national campaign and government relations teams with a total of 75 staff working within both rural and urban communities closest to the nation’s diverse public lands system.

During Melyssa’s tenure, The Wilderness Society has permanently protected more than ten million acres of public land via wilderness and other conservation designations, national monument proclamations, and other means. Key achievements over the past five years include launching the People Outdoors program, securing strong climate and energy policies for public lands, and facilitating collaborative, landscape-scale conservation plans for sage grouse across the West—all in the face of recent administrative and congressional challenges to the concept of protecting parks and public lands in perpetuity.

Melyssa came to The Wilderness Society in 1999 and co-founded the Wilderness Support Center, working to build and lead grassroots wilderness campaigns across the country. She has served in a variety of leadership roles, including Director of the Wilderness Support Center, Senior Director for Wilderness and Assistant Vice President for Southwestern Regional Conservation.

She works from the organization’s Durango, Colorado office, and enjoys exploring the Southwest’s wildlands and rivers with her family.

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