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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
and corporate social responsibility.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Impact Investing

This category includes articles about people, firms and foundations that invest in social good by investing in social entrepreneurs, social impact or pay-for-success bonds, etc.

Peer-to-Peer Lending Arrives in Real Estate

GROUNDFLOOR completes first-ever secured loan transactions funded by non-accredited investors in the United States; expands successful pilot.

Atlanta – March 26, 2014 – GROUNDFLOOR, a pioneering peer-to-peer real estate lending marketplace, announces the successful closing of its first two crowdfunded real estate transactions. Investors who backed the transactions are now accruing interest at annual rates of 10 to 20 times that of a comparable bank CD. Open to participation by all Georgians regardless of wealth or income, the financing is the first of its kind in Georgia and the United States.

With investments starting at $100, GROUNDFLOOR connects independent developers seeking alternative funding outside the traditional banking structure with mass-market investors who want the superior risk-adjusted returns unique to real estate lending. Displacing banks and black-box Wall Street financial intermediaries from the real estate financing equation allows borrowers to offer GROUNDFLOOR investors rates that far exceed those of comparable investments.

“Institutions and accredited investors have long had the world of direct real estate investing all to themselves,” says Brian Dally, co-founder and CEO of GROUNDFLOOR. “The rest of us have been left only with complex and expensive options for building personal wealth in this lucrative market. We’re opening up the opportunity for everyone to participate in it.”

The two projects funded by the loans provide an early indication of how the Web is poised to change the traditional worlds of real estate finance and household saving and investing:

  • The first property, 908 Tift Avenue, is an $82,000 single-family home fix-and-flip renovation in the Adair Park neighborhood of Atlanta that offered 8% secured interest to its investors. 
  • The second, River Park Townhomes, is a $440,000 new construction of four townhome units for sale in the Atlanta suburb of Woodstock that offered 11% secured interest to its investors. 
  • In both cases, local independent developers are directly managing the projects. 
  • The minimum investment required to participate as an investor in the loans was $100. 
  • Individual investments made ranged from $100 to $5,000. 
  • Additional facts and figures about the funding are available at http://blog.groundfloor.us/first.

Following its initial success, GROUNDLOOR recently expanded its pilot offering under Georgia’s innovative Invest Georgia Exemption. Three new loans are now available for funding at http://www.groundfloor.us/investments. Potential borrowers can submit candidate projects for automatic qualification and optional public listing to enter the funding process.

Developer John Mangham

“Working with GROUNDFLOOR has opened up opportunities to expand our renovation and resale business,” says John Mangham, an Atlanta-area independent developer and the borrower for the 908 Tift Avenue project. “Their cutting edge approach to financing our kind of construction projects is a refreshing change compared to conventional lenders. We’re excited to continue working with GROUNDFLOOR to finance many more projects to come.”

Your Money in the Bank vs. GROUNDFLOOR

For more information on GROUNDFLOOR, to see available investments, and to submit projects for qualification, please visit http://www.groundfloor.us.

About GROUNDFLOOR

Based in the North Carolina Triangle and launched in Atlanta, GROUNDFLOOR champions democracy, transparency, speed, efficiency and freedom as the path to building a new kind of finance. The company harnesses the breadth and scale of the Web to disrupt antiquated black-box models of financing asset-backed transactions. The innovative GROUNDFLOOR platform reduces dependence upon large financial institutions and accredited investors, while making direct real estate investing a viable addition to any savings and investment portfolio.

MEDIA CONTACT
Brian Dally
GROUNDFLOOR Inc.
919-442-8625 
brian@groundfloor.us

NSA Invokes “National Defense” and the Espionage Act to Stonewall MIT Student’s FOIA Request on Nelson Mandela

Lawsuit filed against NSA, FBI, DIA, & CIA  for release of records ranging from Mandela’s 1962 arrest to his inclusion on U.S. Terror Watch List until 2008

[WASHINGTON, DC] Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) PhD candidate Ryan Shapiro filed a lawsuit this morning against the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Defense Intelligence Agency over the spy agencies’ failure to comply with his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records on anti-apartheid activist and South African President, Nelson Mandela. Shapiro’s requests seek, among other records, documents pertaining to the U.S intelligence community’s role in Mandela’s 1962 arrest and Mandela’s placement on the U.S. terror watch list until 2008. Shapiro is already suing the Central Intelligence Agency over this same failure. Shapiro wants to know why the NSA, FBI, DIA, and CIA viewed Mandela as a threat to American security, and what actions the Agency took to thwart Mandela’s efforts to secure racial justice and democracy in South Africa.

A. PDF of Shapiro’s Lawsuit Filed This Morning is Available HERE

http://issuu.com/sparrow/docs/first_amended_complaint_redacted

Notably, in addition to invoking the Espionage Act (Title 18 U.S. Code 798), the NSA’s denial of Shapiro’s FOIA request (see embedded document) invokes “national defense” to support the agency’s refusal to even acknowledge the existence of records about Mandela. Asserts the NSA, “the fact of the existence or non-existence of the materials you request is a currently and properly classified matter [….] to be kept secret in the interest of national defense[.]”

Shapiro, a FOIA specialist, is an historian of the political functioning of national security and the policing of dissent. His pathbreaking FOIA work has already led the FBI to declare his MIT dissertation research a threat to national security. Shapiro is represented by FOIA specialist attorney Jeffrey Light.

Two Key Features of Shapiro’s Lawsuit & Broader Pro-Transparency Effort:

  1. Despite longstanding public knowledge of definite (if undefined) U.S. intelligence assistance to apartheid South Africa in general, and likely involvement in Mandela’s 1962 arrest in particular, much of the U.S. and world press has paid distressingly little attention to these issues. Even in the wake of Mandela’s death, these issues, including the fact that Mandela remained on the U.S. terror watch list until 2008, have for the most part remained ignored or discounted. In addition to beginning to fill these massive holes in public knowledge of U.S. intelligence operations, Shapiro’s FOIA efforts will bring much-needed attention to these vital topics, as well as to the U.S. intelligence community’s continued outrageous aversion to transparency.
  2. The Freedom of Information Act is broken. The Department of Justice and the CIA continue to prevent the FOIA release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA torture program, despite the Senate Committee’s call for the report’s release. And as the Associated Press reported last week, despite entering office promising to be “the most transparent administration in history,” the Obama administration cites “national security” to censor and deny FOIA releases “more than ever.” The failures of the NSA, FBI, DIA, and CIA to comply with Shapiro’s FOIA requests for records on Nelson Mandela are further glaring examples of this anti-transparency trend. For this reason, Shapiro is not only turning to the courts to force agency compliance with his FOIA requests, he is also turning to the American people to address the ongoing crisis of secrecy more broadly. To this end, Shapiro is urging all persons with access to unreleased records pertaining to illegal, unconstitutional, or immoral government activities to return those records to their rightful owners, the American people. As Shapiro is quoted below, “See something, leak something.”

According to Shapiro:

Regarding the Mandela lawsuit »
“Though the U.S. intelligence community is long believed to have been involved in Mandela’s arrest, little specific public information exists regarding this involvement. Similarly, though the U.S. intelligence community is long known to have routinely provided information to the South African regime regarding the anti-apartheid movement, little specific public information exists about these activities either. Further, despite now being universally hailed as a hero and freedom fighter against gross injustice, Mandela was designated a terrorist by the United States government and remained on the U.S. terror watch list until 2008.

In bringing suit against the NSA, FBI, DIA, and CIA to compel compliance with my Freedom of Information Act requests, I seek access to records that will begin answering the following questions:

What was the extent and purpose of the U.S. intelligence community’s surveillance of Nelson Mandela prior to his arrest? What role did the U.S. intelligence community play in Mandela’s arrest and prosecution? What role did the U.S. intelligence community play in the broader effort to surveil and subvert the South African anti-apartheid movement? To what extent, and for what objectives, did the U.S. intelligence community surveil Mandela following his release from prison? To what extent, if any, did the U.S. intelligence community continue providing information regarding Mandela to the apartheid regime following Mandela’s release from prison? What information did the U.S. intelligence community provide American policymakers regarding Mandela and the South African anti-apartheid movement? To what extent, and to what ends, did the U.S. intelligence community surveil the anti-apartheid movement in the United States? How did the United States government come to designate Nelson Mandela a terrorist threat to this country? How did this designation remain unchanged until 2008? And what was the role of the U.S. intelligence community in this designation and the maintenance thereof?”

Regarding the crisis of secrecy more broadly »
“Democracy cannot meaningfully exist without an informed citizenry, and such a citizenry is impossible without broad public access to information about the operations of government. Secrecy is a cancer on the body of democracy. The Bush administration initiated a disastrous welter of anti-transparency initiatives, yet the Obama administration has been, if anything, worse. Despite entering office promising unprecedented openness, the Obama administration has provided just the opposite, including bringing more Espionage Act prosecutions of whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, and invoking “national security” to deny FOIA requests “more than ever.” FOIA is broken, and this sad reality is just one component among many of the ongoing crisis of secrecy we now face.

The records of government are the property of the people. Yet, unknown billions of pages are needlessly hidden from the American people behind closed doors and “classified” markings. Undefined “national security” concerns ostensibly legitimize this secrecy. Yet, as wrote Judge Murray Gurfein in his ruling against the Nixon administration’s infamous attempt to prevent the New York Times from publishing the leaked “Pentagon Papers,” “The security of the Nation is not at the ramparts alone. Security also lies in the value of our free institutions.”

Building upon the Pentagon Papers ruling, we as a nation need to foster a broader understanding of “national security.” In the interest of preserving the national security borne not of secrecy and state surveillance, but rather of the free exchange of ideas made possible by “our free institutions,” I call upon all persons with access to unreleased records pertaining to illegal, unconstitutional, or immoral government activities to return those records to their rightful owners, the American people.

It’s not surprising those in power wish to keep their actions secret. What’s surprising is how readily we tolerate it. We are all familiar with the security-oriented signage instructing us to “See something, Say something.” In the interest of promoting a fuller conception of national security, I add, “See something, Leak something.” The viability of our democracy may depend upon it.”

CONTACT

ANDY STEPANIAN, PUBLICIST
ANDY@SPARROWMEDIA.NET
631.291.3010

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IBM Awards Cities and Regions With Grants to Fund Collaborations With IBM Problem Solvers

Winning municipalities to work with top IBM experts funded by IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants

ARMONK, N.Y. – 25 March 2014: IBM (NYSE: IBM) will be helping at least 16 cities and counties around the world this year to address issues ranging from clean water, healthy food, and revenue generation, to job development, efficient transportation, and public safety.

To that end, IBM today named recipients of its Smarter Cities Challenge for 2014, a competitive grant program that sends teams of some of IBM’s most talented experts to select cities and regions worldwide to provide expertise on the most critical issues faced by communities today.

For these pro bono consultative engagements, IBM teams invest months studying a local issue chosen by a winning municipality. They then spend three weeks on the ground in the region gathering and analyzing all relevant data and reports, while meeting in person with dozens of members of the government, citizen, business, and not-for-profit communities. In doing so, they gather diverse perspectives about the factors involved and potential solutions to the opportunity at hand. At the conclusion of these studies, IBM presents comprehensive recommendations for addressing the issue in line with recognized “best practices.” This is followed weeks later by a more detailed, written plan for its implementation.

Smarter Cities Challenge was originally conceived in 2011 as a three-year grant program, but highly positive feedback and significant results have encouraged IBM to extend the initiative. In its first three years, IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge deployed 600 experts on six-person teams that provided strategic and practical advice to 100 municipalities. These highly prized three-week engagements, each currently valued at USD $500,000, have helped local government address key challenges.

Given that effective local governance today relies on the coordination of multiple municipalities, IBM made regional governments eligible for the grant program this year, not just cities. With the previous participation of 100 cities, the Smarter Cities Challenge program now also offers winning municipalities access to fellow leaders with whom to consult on similar issues, so as to share strategies that have been effective elsewhere.

IBM will work with municipalities this year that seek its input on projects such as the following:

  • Improving transportation options by connecting roads, bikepaths, sidewalks and rails
  • Protecting the environment with better water quality
  • Collecting revenue, lowering costs and managing budgets more efficiently 
  • Leveraging local industries and natural resources for tourism and economic development
  • Making more nutritious and affordable food available in urban neighborhoods
  • Harnessing the sun and converting waste products into electrical energy
  • Preserving public safety during dangerous weather and man made events 
  • Decreasing high crime impacts in blighted neighborhoods

Following are cities and regions that IBM is today announcing as winners of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants for 2014:

Abuja, Nigeria
Ballarat, Australia
Baton Rouge, United States
Birmingham, United States
Brussels, Belgium
Dallas, United States
Dublin, Ireland
Durban, South Africa
Jinan, China
Mombasa County, Kenya
Niigata, Japan
Perth, Australia
Suffolk County, United States
Tainan, Taiwan
Vilnius, Lithuania
Zapopan, Mexico

Many previous grant recipients have implemented IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge recommendations and tangibly improved the lives of their citizens. For example:

  • Da Nang, Vietnam and the Delhi-Mumbai, India Industrial Corridor are improving the coordination of municipal agencies as they manage complex projects.
  • Date, Japan now provides more and better information to consumers about the safety of its agriculture — key for a city perceived as near the site of a nuclear power plant disaster.
  • Eindhoven, Netherlands has reduced crime with strategies that include citizens’ use of social media. Meanwhile, St. Louis, USA provides better information about criminals to judges prior to sentencing.
  • Edmonton, Canada has improved road safety by analyzing accident data and improving education programs. Meanwhile, Boston, USA is using data to manage traffic more efficiently and reduce pollution.
  • Jacksonville, USA has hired an economic development officer and passed legislation that streamlines city council processes for economic development. 
  • Ottawa, Canada is developing the neighborhoods near its light rail system by giving incentives to developers and streamlining the permit process. Meanwhile, Providence, USA has streamlined and shortened the process for reviewing and approving construction plans and permits by putting more processes online and by creating a nimble agency. This will improve economic development and inspire the streamlining of other city services.
  • Syracuse, USA created one of New York State’s first land banks, enabling the city to reclaim and work with the private sector to transform vacant properties. This is revitalizing its neighborhoods and restoring its tax base. 
  • Townsville, Australia is reducing its water and energy costs. Its efforts have earned it that country’s prestigious National Smart Infrastructure Award. Meanwhile, Tshwane, South Africa conducted a successful crowdsourcing project to pinpoint and reduce water leaks.

Smarter Cities Challenge is an elite program, having picked only 116 municipalities out of more than 500 applicants over the last four application cycles. Strong applications propose projects designed to address high priority problems of critical importance to citizens. The city or region must be able to share detailed information to help the IBM team analyze the issue. Leaders must also guarantee face-to-face access to city, regional, civic and business stakeholders for interviews with IBM team members so that they may comprehensively assess a given problem and recommend solutions.

IBM dispatches IBMers on these engagements who hail from all over the world, and who offer diverse perspectives and skills in the areas of marketing, communications, technology, research and development, government, human resources, finance, business, legal matters and specific disciplines such as transportation, energy and health.

Jennifer Crozier, IBM’s vice president of Global Citizenship Initiatives, and whose team directs the Smarter Cities Challenge, said, “Congratulations to all of the cities and regional governments that have secured IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants for 2014. If history is any guide, these municipalities can look forward to tapping a treasure trove of skills and knowledge from some of IBM’s best and brightest. By collaborating with our experts, local governments will be receiving valuable counsel that could very well influence the success of issues that are foremost on the local agenda. We hope to be a useful resource to the winning cities and regions and be a catalyst for progress.”

A video summarizing the first three years of IBM Smarter Cities Challenge can be viewed here and more background about the program and its many successes can be found here.

Follow all of IBM’s citizenship initiatives by visiting the CitizenIBM blog at www.citizenIBM.com and on Twitter, at @citizenIBM. For more information about IBM citizenship, please visit www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility

Contact(s) information

Ari Fishkind
IBM Media Relations
914-499-6420 
fishkind@us.ibm.com

IPIHD Hosts 3rd Annual Global Forum Bringing Together Healthcare Leaders to Discuss Promising Innovations in Health Delivery

Whether delivering babies at ¼ the cost of the United States, creating a “one-stop-shop” for diabetes care, performing heart surgery for $2,000 (compared to $20 100K in the US) or building mobile platforms to help diagnose patients remotely, solutions to some of our most pressing health problems are already at hand: just not here in the US.

The innovations being delivered by the above organizations – LifeSpring Hospitals, Clinicas del Azucar, Narayana Health, and ClickMedix – represent only a handful of promising solutions developed to improve access, affordability, and quality of healthcare for patients around the world, including the US.

What happens when the founders and leaders of these disruptive and award-winning organizations convene all in one location to share their innovative models and stategize new ways forward, together with senior corporate and foundation leaders from companies including Baxter, Novartis, Medtronic, McKinsey, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Health Foundation?

It’s called the IPIHD Forum, held on April 6th just outside of Washington, DC.

IPIHD is an impact-driven non-profit launched in 2011 by the World Economic Forum, McKinsey & Company, and Duke Medicine to improve affordable access to high quality care globally. IPIHD identifies proven and potentially transformative health-focused innovators and connects them to senior healthcare leaders, investors/funders, and other partners and resources to help scale and replicate the impact of their work. IPIHD also leverages knowledge from this work to help transform health systems globally, and translate the lessons learned across borders.

Fittingly, the IPIHD Forum kicks off US National Public Health Week. As our world becomes increasingly connected, the notion of ideas and innovations crossing boundaries is exciting. It now seems possible that a bright idea catching hold in Vietnam could be applied with similar results in Brazil.

What makes an innovation ripe for adaptation to a new context? Are there common traits among innovations that succeed in multiple geographies?

At IPIHD, these questions are at the heart of what we do.

IPIHD encourages the media to attend this event – and is facilitating 1:1 meetings with select members of the press. To inquire, please contact Eleni Vlachos at 919.681.5411 or eleni.vlachos@duke.edu.

Healthy Home Winners Announced In “People & Planet” Green Small Business Contest

$5,000 Prize Awarded to Three Companies in California, Maryland and Ohio for Their Dedication to Building Healthy Homes

WASHINGTON, DC — March 24, 2014 — Three winners were announced today for Green America’s quarterly “People & Planet Award,” which recognizes innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that deeply integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. Each of three winners will receive $5,000. The winners are: Green Broom Brigade, Lompoc, CA; Community Forklift, Edmonston, MD; and Ecohouse, Galloway, OH. Winners were selected by the public during a month-long open voting period online at Green America’s website.

This round of the Awards focused on green businesses that have taken superior steps to improve sustainability and healthy living in the home.

Alisa Gravitz, president, Green America, said: “For most Americans, the home is their biggest investment. Therefore, it’s also their chance to make the greenest possible statement about who they are and the world in which they want to live. This quarter’s winners of the People & Planet Award demonstrate everyday how green home building and products can make a huge and positive difference in our world.”

The winning companies are:

  • Green Broom Brigade, Lompoc, CA, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Broom-Brigade-All-Natural-Cleaning-Cooperative/272172802918018. The Green Broom Brigade is a professional cleaning company and cooperative that sources exclusively environmentally friendly cleaning products and methods. The Brigade also employs an all-female workforce, composed of company co-owners. Green living and financial empowerment are thus joint tenets of the Green Broom Brigade.
  • Community Forklift, Edmonston, MD, http://www.communityforklift.com/. Community Forklift is a reuse center for home improvement supplies. The company collects unwanted and salvaged building materials during building demolition, then provides them to the public at very low prices, and donates them to individuals in need. Discarded building materials make up 40% of our nation’s solid waste. Community Forklift is on the frontlines of finding better ways to recycle and reuse these products – whether for the arts, for job training, or for strict recycling.
  • Ecohouse, Galloway, OH, http://www.ecohouseohio.com/. Ecohouse is a leading solar electric systems installer and comprehensive energy auditor in central Ohio, helping more than 3,000 home owners and small businesses reduce their energy use and environmental impact since 2008.

Nancy Vasquez Louth, manager of the Green Broom Brigade cooperative said: “Thank you to Green America and to all our supporters and voters in Southern California and the rest of the world for casting a winning vote for us. Now with this award we want to help continue the wave of growth and creating new green cleaning enterprises, especially cooperatives. Winning this prize money will definitely give us the opportunity to purchase needed equipment so that we could expand into commercial cleaning using our same green friendly products!”

Nancy J. Meyer, CEO of Community Forklift said: “At Community Forklift’s reuse center, we collect unwanted and salvaged building materials, then provide these supplies to the public at very low prices, and donate them to nonprofits and folks in need. By turning our region’s waste stream into a resource stream, we’re demonstrating that reuse can create green jobs and build local economies. We’re thrilled that Green America members support this work!”

Kevin Eigel, president of Ecohouse said: “Ecohouse would like to thank everyone who voted for us. We are happy to be recognized for our work of helping central Ohio homeowners and businesses to go solar and reduce the impact of climate change. We thank Green America for the gift of $5000. We will use this money to help put up a solar electric system for Third Hand Bike Co-op (a nonprofit that makes cycling accessible for everyone in central Ohio), and to expand solar in central Ohio.”

Future rounds of Green America’s quarterly award for green businesses with 50 or fewer employees, will focus on community banking projects and companies that make “green” products for kids.

The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Katie Galloway and Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Reed Doyle, Seventh Generation; Jonathan Reinbold, Organic Valley; Jenny Burns, Honest Tea; Bena Burda, Maggie’s Organics; Lindsay Dahl, Safer Chemicals/Healthy Families; Alline Anderson, Milkweed Mercantile; Andrew Korfhage and Fran Teplitz, Green America.

ABOUT GREEN AMERICA

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Will Harwood, (703) 276-3255 or wharwood@hastingsgroup.com

Citrix Extends Free Tech Tools to Nonprofits

New Citrix Podio sponsorship program puts best-in-class tools in the hands of those who need them most

Monday, March 24, 2014 – Citrix today announced the availability of Podio for Nonprofits, a free program designed to help nonprofits organize the work they do everyday, improve work processes and ultimately be more effective. The global program includes free premium access to Citrix Podio and hundreds of Podio apps through the Podio App Market, along with onboarding support and resources. Podio sponsorship is open to all nonprofits with US 501(c)(3) or equivalent status. Citrix invites all registered nonprofits to sign up for Podio sponsorship.

“Research shows there is huge untapped potential for more social impact groups to utilize tech tools to reduce the time and cost it takes to deliver services, fundraise and engage stakeholders,” said Tommy Ahlers, vice president and entrepreneur in residence, Citrix SaaS Division. “We want to remove the technology adoption and implementation hurdles these organizations face so they can spend more time making life-changing contributions to their communities, and less time managing how they get their work done.”

According to Columbia Social Work Review’s 2013 report, the uptake of cloud, social and mobile technologies will allow the nonprofit sector to provide more effective services through improved productivity and efficiencies; yet the most common barriers to technology adoption remain lack of resources: funds, time and IT expertise. The report shows that while most NPOs use information technologies such as websites, email and databases to deliver services to clients, few of them employ software systems and mobile technologies that would enable their workers to improve client communications and access to information off-site. An estimated 35 percent of nonprofits use mobile devices and applications to manage work, while only 20 percent use software systems to record data for things like client and volunteer management. A recent McKinsey study found that companies see a 20-25 percent increase in productivity by using social technologies like Podio, because they simply get work done faster.

More than 2500 nonprofits have already applied and received sponsorship status through Podio, including The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), sustainable travel group Project Cordillera, pet-health services group PetChance and Music Nova Scotia.

Nonprofits streamline teamwork and boost productivity

GirlsOnTheRun.org is a physical-activity-based youth development program for girls in grades 3 to 8, teaching life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. In 2013 Girls on the Run served 150,000 girls across North America through 215 councils.

“Each council is as unique as the girls they serve, with its own strengths and its own challenges,” said Elizabeth Kunz, president of Girls on the Run. “Podio has been a way for our councils to collaborate, share, ideas, best practices and documents, and support one another with many miles in between them. With a way to network on a daily basis, our councils are able to more effectively serve their territories and continue to help girls grow in strength, courage and confidence.”

DANSIC, a Danish student-led organization whose mission is to inspire social innovation by supporting companies targeting both social impact and economic sustainability, has been using Podio for more than two years to help coordinate its flagship annual event, the Social Innovation Conference in Copenhagen. DANSIC relies on Podio for project management, communication and coordination of all aspects of the conference, as well as keeping all 60 student-members of the organization connected and in sync. Watch DANSIC’s Podio story.

Nonprofits that sign up for Podio sponsorship have access to world-class support services and onboarding assistance through the Podio Help Center, in addition to access to a community of Podio users who share best practices and learnings with each other every day through the Podio Help forum. The Podio Help Forum provides a knowledge base of expert advice, instruction on the use of Podio and other tools, as well as tips intended to help nonprofits take full advantage of Podio.

Until now, Podio sponsorship status was granted on a case-by-case basis, but in response to the growing need for cloud-based tools that make nonprofit teams more efficient and productive, the program will today be rolled out as a formal Citrix Podio offering.

About Citrix

Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leader in virtualization, networking and cloud infrastructure to enable new ways for people to work better. Citrix solutions help IT and service providers to build, manage and secure virtual and mobile workspaces that seamlessly deliver apps, desktops, data and services to anyone, on any device, over any network or cloud. This year Citrix is celebrating 25 years of innovation, making IT simpler and people more productive with mobile workstyles. With annual revenue in 2013 of $2.9 billion, Citrix solutions are in use at more than 330,000 organizations and by over 100 million people globally. Learn more at www.citrix.com.

For Citrix Investors

This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Those statements involve a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, including risks associated with the impact of the global economy and uncertainty in the IT spending environment, including in revenue growth and recognition of revenue, products and services, their development and distribution, product demand and pipeline, economic and competitive factors, including risks associated with international growth and IT consolidation, as well as other risks detailed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Citrix assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.

The development, release and timing of any features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion and is subject to change without notice or consultation. The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not a commitment, promise or legal obligation to deliver any material, code or functionality and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions or incorporated into any contract.

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Phoenix Impact Exchange Prototype Unveiled

PCG launches game – changing data platform to lead new solution economy.

ERIE, Pa. (@ SXSW 2014) – Promising a solution to the Achilles heel of nonprofits and the age-old conundrum for philanthropists and funders, Phoenix Impact Exchange, a division of Phoenix Cosmopolitan Group (PCG), unveiled a prototype of its proprietary data platformat SXSW 2014.Designed to provide access, transparency and aggregated intelligence for the players who are trying to solve some of society’s biggest problems, the platform is scheduled to go into beta by Spring 2014 and fully functional by end of year.

“Phoenix Cosmopolitan Group is a leader in the growing new solution economy,” said CEO Tamarah Black. “Impact Exchange is a game-changer for every stakeholder in the philanthropic industry – giving nonprofits the ability to satisfy the ever-increasing data demands of funders and providing the performance reports funders are looking for but rarely get.”

When Impact Exchange goes fully live later this year, it will serve as an online community that reimagines the logistics of philanthropy by uniting data, analytics, performance measurement, grant management and storytelling on a cloud-based social network platform to connect every stakeholder in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits will provide Impact Exchange with data about their organization, using gamified technology, so they can finally reap rewards parallel to the data and effort they provide. Funders – foundations, philanthropists, institutions – receive access to the cloud data platform and nonprofit intelligence dashboard to access the information, create reports, get matched up with nonprofits that align with their funding initiatives, and make grants to the organizations in a few quick clicks.

As a result, nonprofits get to tell their story to an interested audience, build new relation-ships with funders, raise more money, confirm their impact, cultivate volunteers, reduce administration fatigue and become “investment ready.”Funders are able to receive secure direct, immediate exposure to the results of grants and investments, monitor and evaluate grants, manage a strategic portfolio, measure portfolio performance against third-party sector benchmarks, obtain sector insights, trends and reports and obtain criteria based “opportunity “alerts for joint ventures and projects.In addition, constituents and volunteers get to provide feedback, suggest ideas, share their experiences, connect with others, see what’s needed and get matched with nonprofits based on their interests and skills.

“Impact Exchange uses existing technology and reimagines it’s application to address the barriers to accelerating progress particular to the philanthropic sector,” said Black. “We aren’t re-creating the wheel, it’s more like swapping a horse and buggy for a Porsche.They’ll both get you there but why wouldn’t you want to go faster?”

ABOUT PHOENIX COSMOPOLITAN GROUP:

Founded in 2011, Phoenix Cosmopolitan Group (PCG) is a triple bottom line shared value social enterprise with the mission of increasing and accelerating impact of every stakeholder in the philanthropic sector. PCG is comprised of four divisions: Phoenix Impact Exchange reimagines the logistics of philanthropy by uniting data, analytics, performance measurement, grant management and storytelling on a social network cloud based platform to connect every stakeholder in the nonprofit sector; Phoenix Impact Advisors provides a spectrum of services that capture, manage, and transform big data into actionable insights for decision-makers; Phoenix Impact Media, which provides video capture, distribution and engagement services that help organizations communicate and educate more effectively; and Phoenix Impact Analytics (2015) will monitor progress and identify opportunities for policymakers, funders, nonprofits and social entrepreneurs to create more effective solutions. PCG is located at 1001 State Street, Suite 907, Erie, PA 16501. Further information may be gleaned from the company website: www.PCGImpact.com.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Marjory Hawkins | 512.219.1972
HAWKINS PUBLIC RELATIONS mhawkins@hawkinspr.com

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Capgemini Named as a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company® by the Ethisphere Institute for the 2nd Year Running

Paris – March 21, 2014Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, today announced that it has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent center of research promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance, as a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company®.

This is the second time that Capgemini has been honored with this award, which recognizes organizations that continue to raise the bar on ethical leadership and corporate behavior. World’s Most Ethical Company honorees understand the correlation between ethics, reputation and daily interactions with their brand and that the award belongs as much to their associates, as it does to them. Capgemini is one of only six companies in the ‘business services’ industry honored this year.

Hervé Canneva, Ethics and Compliance Officer at Capgemini said “We are delighted to receive this award and to have our global ethical business practices recognized for a second year running. At Capgemini ethics, compliance and corporate social responsibility are a central part of both our Group policy and our client engagements. We recognize that ethics aren’t just a legal or reputational issue but instead are a key part of doing business in the 21st century.”

“The entire community of World’s Most Ethical Companies believe that customers, employees, investors and regulators place a high premium on trust and that ethics and good governance are key in earning it,” said Ethisphere’s Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Erblich. “Capgemini joins an exclusive community committed to driving performance through leading business practices. We congratulate everyone at Capgemini for this extraordinary achievement.”

The World’s Most Ethical Company assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient™ framework. The Ethics Quotient framework has been developed over years of effort to provide a means to assess an organization’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. The information collected provides a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies, rather than all aspects of corporate governance, risk, sustainability, compliance and ethics. The Ethics Quotient framework and methodology was determined, vetted and refined by the expert advice and insights gleaned from Ethisphere’s network of thought leaders and from the World’s Most Ethical Company Methodology Advisory Panel.

Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (25%), reputation, leadership and innovation (20%), governance (10%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (25%) and culture of ethics (20%).

The full list of the 2014 World’s Most Ethical Companies can be found at http://ethisphere.com/worlds-most-ethical/wme-honorees/.

Capgemini’s Ethics & Compliance Program was launched in 2009 by the Group Board of Directors. This program is based on the culture of ethics which has been a core part of the Group since its inception in 1967 by Serge Kampf. As part of this program, Capgemini set up a network of Ethics and Compliance Officers and launched a Code of Business Ethics, an Anti-corruption Policy and a Competition Laws Policy to reassert its values in every country in which it operates. The program is supported by a significant global training program with dedicated online training sessions for each of the three policies and several face-to-face training options.

About Capgemini

With more than 130,000 people in over 40 countries, Capgemini is one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2013 global revenues of EUR 10.1 billion. Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business and technology solutions that fit their needs and drive the results they want. A deeply multicultural organization, Capgemini has developed its own way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM, and draws on Rightshore®, its worldwide delivery model.
Learn more about us at www.capgemini.com.

Rightshore® is a trademark belonging to Capgemini

About the Ethisphere Institute

The Ethisphere® Institute is an independent center of research, best practices and thought leadership that promotes best practices in corporate ethics and governance and enables organizations to improve compliance, mitigate risk, and enhance relationships with employees, business partners, investors and the broad regulatory community. Ethisphere evaluates and benchmarks compliance and governance programs, honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies® recognition program and publishes Ethisphere Magazine. Ethisphere is also the leading provider of independent verification of corporate ethics and compliance programs that include: Ethics Inside® Certification, Compliance Leader Verification™ and Anti-Corruption Program Verification™. More information about Ethisphere can be found at: www.ethisphere.com.

Launching Xeelion – the #1 Crowdfunding platform for students

Xeelion: efficient Crowdfunding

The crowdfunding industry is growing rapidly. It is no more people who invest in smaller companies that launch games and devices on Kickstarter but it’s becoming a real profitable industry. With volumes that reached $2.7 billion in 2012, and are expected to reach $5 billion in 2013, crowdfunding has emerged as a viable, scalable alternative to public and private finance across the globe, with a lot of new platforms announcing the launch every months.

Under these assumptions, a small team of international entrepreneurs is launching a platform with some new concepts, Xeelion – xeelion.com. But is there a real need of another platform in such a crowded industry? Fabio Bancalà, founder and Chief Executive at Xeelion, says: “Crowdfunding is currently booming, especially equity crowdfunding because small investors will be allowed to invest in high-growth and profitable startups after the approval of the Title III by the SEC. But equity-based platforms are mainly run by former Venture Capitalists who basically keep their attention to the investors’ needs. This means that young entrepreneurs, especially those who are at their first experience as founders, have to run their campaigns over investors-oriented platforms. Our mission is to provide an entrepreneurs-oriented platform to help young entrepreneurs during the vital phase of seeking capitals”. This is absolutely a great concept, and it is in line with the process of democratization introduced by crowdfunding, which has started as a  democratic movement and is currently turning into a real worthy industry. But the question is how will Xeelion allow only young entrepreneurs to start a campaign over its platform?

Xeelion’s business model is very easy: it is a crowdfunding platform for students who attend U.S. universities. This means that you will need a student@university.edu email to start a campaign. Everyone can join Xeelion’s community, fund reward and donation-based campaigns and after the platform will meet the SEC requirements even the equity ones, but only students are allowed to  start a campaign. Fabio, who is an Italian registered broker dealer with more than 15 years’ experience in startup and finance, explains how they are building an entrepreneurs-oriented platform: “The issue is that while students are close to startup space, they are often far from capitals. Students lack expertise and connection to capitals and professionals. At Xeelion we aim to offer specialized services to entrepreneurs with great ideas but few experience. For example we  will provide them with a tool to draft an effective business plan, or to report periodically their performances to investors”. This is one of the key elements of this new platform, because investors are often worried not to hear from the entrepreneurs they have invested in, and Xeelion’s strategy goes to the right direction while educating startups’ managers to communicate with their investors. The lack of flows of information is one of the most relevant problems of crowdfunding, especially equity crowdfunding, and startups which will ensure periodically reports to investors will gain their trust and raise capitals more easily. But Xeelion has also a high propension to social networking. In fact, it has developed an effective, easy-to-use social tool which will enable startuppers to easily spread the word within their own communities, not only by sharing their campaigns but also by inviting friends directly to see, like and follow their projects. This social tool will also be useful for investors. They will be able to share information about companies, talk about investment opportunities with other investors, follow Venture Capitalists and angels, and create club deals. Xeelion also differentiates itself from other platforms because allows only scientific projects which meet requirements of sustainability. The concept is that investors feel happy when they invest in profitable companies with sustainable business models, because they believe they are giving their contribution to build a better world. In addition, the fields in which Xeelion allows entrepreneurs to raise money are considered the most profitable ones by VCs and professional investors in general, how a recent research performed over more than one thousand VCs from the National Venture Capital Association has shown. The platform has achieved some milestone, even before the official launch. Some promising startups and entrepreneurs have already joined Xeelion and will run a fundraising campaign soon.

Not Alone, LLC for example, founded by Alex Watler, a Harvard student, is developing a GPS-enabled smart bracelet that will revolutionize the security industry as we know it; or Vision Industries, an e-commerce platform for independent brands founded by students at Johnson & Wales; or Thao, who is launching a project to help low income people in Vietnam, her beloved Country. “We feel a lot of interest around our venture” Says Mrs Jun Gong, graduated in Economics from University of Shanghai, MBA from Hult University of San Francisco, Chief Operating Officer at Xeelion and responsible for the Community Managers Program, a program of Universities Ambassadors launched by the company to increase the platform awareness within the campuses. “Many students are applying for a position of Community Manager. I receive many requests from our website every day, from all the main U.S. universities. And we also receive requests from entrepreneurs who are looking forward to running a campaign with Xeelion”. This shows that the managers are going to the right direction and Xeelion will soon become a lead player within the crowdfunding industry. “We will go live by April” ends Fabio “and allow investors and backers to invest from July 4th, a date that all the Americans can easily remember. Additionally, entrepreneurs and investors who will join our community before that date will not pay any fee on the campaigns”. So it seems that Xeelion has all the potentiality to become a niche platform, market leader for young entrepreneurs and #1 platform among students. A lead player and part of a great revolution, made by common people, for common people.

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Contact Fabio Bancalà
Cell +39 334 6867 807 
Email: fabio@xeelion.com
Website: www.xeelion.com

Landmark Agreement With Shareholders: Exxonmobil Agrees To Report On Climate Change & Carbon Asset Risk

Withdrawal of Shareholder Proposal Seeking Disclosure on Stranded Carbon Assets Leads to Agreement with Largest U.S. Oil and Gas Producer

NEW YORK CITY – March 20, 2014 – In response to a shareholder resolution, Exxon Mobil (XOM) – the largest U.S. energy company, for the first time ever has agreed to publish a Carbon Asset Risk report on the Company website describing how it assesses the risk of stranded assets from climate change. The report will provide investors with greater transparency into how ExxonMobil plans for a future where market forces and climate regulation makes at least some portion of its carbon reserves unburnable.

Arjuna Capital, the sustainable wealth management platform of Baldwin Brothers Inc., and As You Sow, a non-profit promoting environmental corporate responsibility, have agreed to withdraw their shareholder resolution in exchange for ExxonMobil providing information to shareholders on the risks that stranded assets pose to the Company’s business model, how the company is planning for a carbon constrained world, how climate risks affect capital expenditure plans, and other related issues.

“We’re gratified that ExxonMobil has agreed to drop their opposition to our proposal and address this very real risk. Shareholder value is at stake if companies are not prepared for a low-carbon scenario,” said Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement at Arjuna Capital. “More and more unconventional ‘frontier’ assets are being booked on the balance sheet, such as deep-water and tar sands. These reserves are not only the most carbon intensive, risky, and expensive to extract, but the most vulnerable to devaluation. As investors, we want to ensure our Companies’ capital will yield strong returns, and we are not throwing good money after bad.”

“That the largest American oil and gas company is the first to come to the table on this issue says a lot about the direction that energy markets are taking,” said Danielle Fugere, President of As You Sow. “Companies need to acknowledge that preparing for a low-carbon future is a necessity, not a choice. Companies that prepare early for a future with reduced carbon emissions will likely perform better than those who delay — and investors need transparency and disclosure about these company choices.”

This is the first successful withdrawal with an oil and gas producer on the carbon asset risk issue this proxy season. The proposal reflects increasing investor concern about the issue of stranded assets and builds on a shareholder initiative coordinated by Ceres, in which shareholders representing $3 trillion in assets under management, asked 45 companies for increased disclosure about whether they are addressing carbon-related risk, the impact on capital expenditure decisions, and whether they are implementing strategies to avoid stranded assets in a carbon constrained world. Carbon Asset Risk proposals were filed at 10 fossil-fuel companies this year.

These proposals underline a growing awareness of carbon asset risk. World governments agree that if catastrophic warming over 2°C is to be avoided, no more than one-third of current proven carbon reserves can be burned. These reserves, currently on the balance sheets of the 200 largest coal, oil, and gas companies are valued at $20 trillion. Yet, a recent Unburnable Carbon report calculates that in 2012 alone, the 200 largest publicly traded fossil fuel companies collectively spent an estimated $674 billion on finding and developing new reserves – reserves that cannot be utilized without breaking the world’s carbon budget.

ExxonMobil’s agreement to report publicly on carbon asset risk is an important step in addressing the likelihood that Exxon’s reserves are at risk of devaluation in a carbon-constrained future, and how the Company is responding to the long-term financial risks climate change poses to its business plans.

“A careful and detailed assessment of the potential for stranded assets is an important first step for all fossil fuel companies, and we’re encouraged by Exxon Mobil’s commitment to publish this report,” said Andrew Logan, Director of Ceres’ Oil and Gas Program. “Moving forward, Ceres and its Investor Network on Climate Risk will be looking for concrete commitments by companies to avoid making riskier investments in the most carbon-intensive assets, which would demonstrate the companies’ ability to adapt as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy.”

This resolution and withdrawal with Exxon follows a first-of-its-kind proposal and vote on the risk of stranded assets filed by As You Sow at CONSOL Energy last year, which was supported by almost 20% of voting shares, representing over $1 billion in assets. This level of shareholder support is rare for a new resolution, demonstrating the depth of concern from large institutional investors.

“Investors are the canary in the coalmine and will move their money to avoid material risk,” said Lamb. “Forward thinking companies need to re-assess how they allocate shareholder capital and act strategically to shift their business models. If Big Oil can’t redirect capital to low carbon energy alternatives, investors will.“

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Arjuna Capital is the sustainable wealth management platform of Baldwin Brothers Inc., an SEC-registered independent financial advisory firm established in 1974. For more information visit www.arjuna-capital.com.

As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. For more information visit www.asyousow.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com; Natasha Lamb, (978) 578-4123 or natasha@arjuna-capital.com ; and Danielle Fugere, (510) 735-8141 or dfugere@asyousow.org

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