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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

Nonprofit

This category includes articles about nonprofit organizations and NGOs that are actively working to accomplish a social mission. The work of foundations that primarily work as grantors to other nonprofits is covered in Philanthropy.

Free, Personalized Practice for the Redesigned SAT® Now Available for All Students on KhanAcademy.org

Students can benefit from Official SAT Practice that includes sample questions, quizzes, video lessons, and personalized recommendations

Boys & Girls Clubs of America piloting program to increase student access

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Today Official SAT® Practice for the redesigned SAT goes live on KhanAcademy.org, making free, world-class, personalized online practice available for all students. Today’s launch comes just over a year after the College Board announced a landmark partnership with Khan Academy, a leader in online education. The partnership announcement was a part of the College Board’s introduction of sweeping changes to the SAT, including a move away from obscure “SAT vocabulary words” to the use of relevant vocabulary words in context, an in-depth focus on essential areas of math, and the elimination of the guessing penalty.

The interactive practice tools are designed to help level the playing field for students who are interested in taking the SAT and preparing for college-level courses. Unlike traditional high-priced test prep that focuses on strategies for taking the test and quick cramming, Official SAT Practice supports and reinforces what students are learning in classrooms by helping them focus on the knowledge and skills most essential for college readiness. Official SAT Practice is available today for free, exclusively from the College Board and Khan Academy. It is designed to easily be used by students, families, schools, community organizations, and after-school programs — anytime, anywhere.

“The College Board redesigned the SAT to better deliver to students the opportunities they have earned through hard work in their classes,” said College Board President and CEO David Coleman. “We are equally committed to enhancing instruction and providing resources for students who are behind. There’s no better practitioner of world-class, high-quality instruction for all students at all levels than Khan Academy — and their material just happens to be free. That’s why we are partnering for the first time ever to level the college assessment practice field, and to go beyond test prep by offering content that will also reinforce classroom work and enhance college readiness.”

“Our mission at Khan Academy is a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere, and college readiness is a crucial part of that,” said Khan Academy Founder and Executive Director Sal Khan. “We want to help as many students as possible prepare for college and for life, and since the SAT measures preparedness for college, our partnership with the College Board is a natural fit. We’re excited to join the College Board in empowering all students with world-class tools. And we’re committed to building the best SAT resource available — not just the best free resource, but the best resource, period.”

Starting today, students can access Official SAT Practice on KhanAcademy.org and find:

  • Detailed information about the redesigned SAT, including thousands of practice questions written in partnership with the same developers creating the new exam, explanations of each section of the test, and guidance on interpreting test scores.
  • Interactive questions, video lessons, and reference articles made in partnership with the College Board to help students practice and review the skills that research shows are essential for college readiness and that are tested on the SAT in both Math and Evidence-BasedReading and Writing.
  • Short diagnostic quizzes in both Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing to help students identify the skills they should focus on.
  • Personalized practice recommendations, directly tied to specific skills on the test, to make the biggest impact on student performance and overall college readiness.
  • Four official full-length practice tests written by the College Board, so students can see detailed results of their work and Khan Academy can direct them to the most appropriate materials.
  • Instant feedback on their answers so that students are always learning and seeing their progress.
  • Study tips and suggestions for test day.

To help as many students as possible take advantage of these SAT practice tools, the College Board and Khan Academy are working with community groups, school districts and educators, and college access organizations to incorporate Official SAT Practice into the ongoing work they’re doing to prepare students for college. A crucial partner in this work is Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Serving more than four million members annually at 4,100 Club locations, BGCA has unparalleled ability to reach students — especially those without a computer, Internet access, or a safe place to study. Five Club locations have already started using the SAT practice tools in a small pilot and BGCA is planning a larger pilot program over the summer.

“For more than a century, Boys & Girls Clubs have played a significant role in helping kids and teens achieve academic success through year-round programs designed to help them graduate high school, pursue a college degree, and join the work force,” said Dr. Damon Williams, chief educational and youth development officer at BGCA. “Through the support of Khan Academy and the College Board, our Club teens will now have access to more cutting-edge tools and training to ensure a great future is within their grasp.”

In the coming months, the College Board and Khan Academy will continue to enhance these practice tools based on feedback from students, parents, and educators, adding new features such as:

  • Additional practice tests and practice questions created jointly by Khan Academy and the College Board.
  • A new mobile app from the College Board that will enable students to take an SAT practice test on paper, then instantly scan it and get their score.
  • Scaled scoring for practice tests so students can see an estimate of the score they might receive on the real test and track their growth.
  • A way for students to upload their PSAT scores to Khan Academy to get an even more personalized SAT practice experience.

The College Board and Khan Academy will continue to provide updates as additional features become available.

NC Surf Charity proclaims July ‘Helen Keller Foundation Month’

Descendent of Keller to team up with pro surfer for movie screening

Brazilian pro surfer, Derek Rabelo, blind since birth

Brazilian pro surfer, Derek Rabelo, blind since birth

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. – Thanks to the generosity and support of the Helen Keller Foundation, activities and surf camps are scheduled in July to serve hearing and visually impaired individuals. “We want to leave the world a better place,” said Keller Johnson-Thompson, great grandniece of Helen Keller and Vice President of the Keller Foundation.

Keller Johnson-Thompson and Derek Rabelo, a Brazilian professional surfer blind since birth, will participate in the screening of the movie “Beyond Sight,” the story of Rabelo’s dream to surf the famous and dangerous Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii. The movie will be presented Thursday evening, July 16, at Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

Surf camps for visually and hearing impaired individuals are scheduled in Wrightsville Beach July 13-17 and July 27-30, respectively. Rabelo will assist teachers and students during the visually impaired session. Camps are provided at no cost to participants.

“Surfing is our vehicle, it is not our goal,” said Jack Viorel, Director of IndoJax Surf Charities, referring to the process of building self-esteem and confidence in children while shedding limiting beliefs. “I love making a difference in a child’s life. I love helping a child to be successful, and I really love helping the underdog,” adds Viorel.

In recognition of a three-year grant from the Keller Foundation, Viorel named July as Helen Keller Foundation month. “Thanks to their support, and the support of many other individuals and organizations, we will help a record number of children in 2015,” said Viorel.

The Blockade Runner Beach Resort facility is provided at no cost for the movie screening by the Baggett family, long-time supporters of charitable surf camps at Wrightsville Beach.

Helen Keller Month – Schedule of events:

Jul 13-17: Visually Impaired Surf Camp, Wrightsville Beach
Jul 16: Movie screening: Beyond Sight, Blockade Runner Resort
Jul 27-30: Hearing Impaired Surf Camp, Wrightsville Beach

Surf Camp Registration

Dyslexic Nonprofit Leader Dean Starbuck Bragonier to Make First-Ever 50-mile Swim Around Martha’s Vineyard Island to Raise Funds for Educational Resources for Dyslexic Students.

Noted Dyslexics Carly Simon, Ben Taylor and Sally Taylor to Join Effort

(Cambridge) To launch his national crowdfunding campaign, Dean Bragonier will dive into the chilly Atlantic waters this summer to make the first official circumnavigation swim around Martha’s Vineyard. “I want to launch my nonprofit organization in a memorable way.” Bragonier explains, “I figured a 50-mile, open ocean swim would do the trick. After all, it’s a great metaphor for the dyslexic experience. The challenge is significant, the conditions are perpetually changing and my success will hinge upon my tenacity and creativity.” says Bragonier.

Joining Bragonier for parts of his epic swim are members of his family who have managed to succeed as a result of their dyslexia. “I’ve divided the swim into 27 legs to encourage participation. My mother-in-law, Carly Simon, has dyslexia as well as my wife, Sally Taylor and brother-in-law, Ben Taylor. They’ve all agreed to dip a toe in the water. It should be a terrific community building event.”

Nearly 20% of the world’s population has dyslexia. Marked by challenges in reading and spelling, dyslexia can be an impediment to students. As many as 35% of students with dyslexia drop out of school, 50% of all juvenile delinquents are dyslexic as well as 60% of all adolescents involved in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

However, recent neurological discoveries have revealed that dyslexia carries with it tremendous cognitive advantages: “Spielberg, Branson, Schwab, Einstein? These guys are brilliant… And dyslexic” Bragonier explains. “So are 25% of all CEOs, 35% of all entrepreneurs and 50% of all billionaires. We need to expose students with dyslexia to their strengths and leverage their ingenuity in the 21st century marketplace. It’s my job to give them that opportunity in the classroom.”

Dean Starbuck Bragonier is the Founder and Executive Dyslexic of NoticeAbility, a nonprofit organization that creates strength-based, experiential learning curricula for middle school students with dyslexia. Through a collaboration with leaders from the Carroll School, Harvard School of Education, Tufts University and Harvard Business School, NoticeAbility is creating a portfolio of ‘pre-vocational’ courses in fields where dyslexics historically prosper: entrepreneurship, architecture, engineering and the arts.

DRI Foundation’s ‘Dance for Nepal’ Benefit Event Raises $21,000+ for Earthquake Victims as Elite Members of New York Dance Community Unite to Make a Difference

All Proceeds from Event Have Been Donated to The DRI Foundation Nepal Relief Fund to Fund Resilience-building Efforts in Nepal

New York, NY- July 2, 2015The DRI Foundation, the charity arm of the world’s foremost business continuity certification and education nonprofit Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) International, in partnership with 39 Steps and Red Rope Productions, is pleased to announce that it hosted a sold out, one-night benefit, Dance for Nepal, on Tuesday, June 30 at the Union Square Theater in Manhattan. This phenomenal performance and spectacle was produced by Simona Ferrara and Faye Rosenbaum with the artistic direction of Lloyd Knight. Attendees were treated to a night of world-class dance featuring rhythmic music and classical styles, both mixed with a contemporary flair.

All proceeds, raised through ticket sales and individual contributions, will be donated to the DRI Foundation Nepal Relief Fund to fund DRI’s upcoming Disaster Management Training Program in Nepal and to reinforce long-term recovery, rebuilding efforts in the affected areas, as well as to directly benefit survivors of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that claimed 8,000 lives in Nepal on April 25 where aftershocks are ongoing.

The elite performers danced the night away, leaving over 430 guests dazzled by their outstanding performances. The event really captured a combined effort for a great cause by both the elite dance members as well as the enthusiastic audience. It was an enjoyable night for all, as the dancers awed the audience, all to benefit Nepal.

The elite dancers of the New York Dance Community who performed at the benefit include: Maxim Beloserkovsky and Irina Dvorovenko (formerly of American Ballet Theatre), Ashley Bouder and Amar Ramasar (New York City Ballet), Lloyd Knight (Martha Graham Dance Company), as well as volunteers from FJK Dance, The Francesca Harper Project,Rioult Dance New York, Parsons Dance Company, DorranceDance, Sidra Bell Dance New York, and Paul Taylor’s American Dance Company.

“I couldn’t be happier with the response to this event,” said Anne Marie Staley, DRI Foundation Chair. “Attendance was fantastic, the audience enthusiastic, the caliber of the performances were exceptional. The money raised will go a long way toward continuing our commitment to helping the people of Nepal.”

“This event was made possible through the all-volunteer efforts of amazing artists to send a message of support, help, and hope to those in need,” said Chloe Demrovsky, Executive Director of DRI. “Through our collective efforts, in conjunction with those already assisting in the recovery in Nepal, the DRI Foundation will aid earthquake survivors and support the rebuilding of resilient communities that can better withstand such devastating events.”

“Nepal is a beautiful country so rich in culture, it’s hard to sit back and watch the daily struggle in the wake of these powerful earthquakes without wanting to help. By bringing our community together through the arts, we are offering the Nepalese communities the help they so desperately need,” added Lloyd Knight, Artistic Director of Dance for Nepal.

About the DRI Foundation

The Disaster Recovery International Foundation has a vision of resilient communities worldwide. We pursue that vision through promoting disaster risk reduction through partnership and education as well as aiding recovery efforts through fundraising and volunteerism. As a registered 501(c)3 corporation, the DRI Foundation serves as the charitable arm of DRI International.

About DRI

Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI) is the leading nonprofit that helps organizations around the world prepare for and recover from disasters by providing education, accreditation, and thought leadership in business continuity and related fields. Founded in 1988, DRI International has 13,000+ certified professionals in more than 100 countries and conducts native-language training in more than 50 countries, offering in-depth courses ranging from introductory to masters level, as well as specialty certifications. The organization’s annual DRI Conference brings together leading business continuity professionals from both the public and private sector to share best practices and participate in continuing education and volunteerism. Through its Collegiate Conferences series, DRI is helping to create the business continuity professionals of tomorrow, partnering with universities to introduce students and faculty to this rapidly-growing field through day-long networking and educational programs. As a recognized expert resource, DRI acts in an advisory capacity to international organizations and government institutions worldwide, helping to create industry standards and promote greater resiliency through public-private partnerships. DRI is an ANSI-accredited Standards Development Organization. www.drii.org

CITGO-Sponsored Bronx Youth Organization, UpBeat NYC, travels to Venezuela to Expand Their Musical Studies with El Sistema

CARACAS, Venezuela – July 2, 2015 – Forty students from UpBeat NYC, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical training for underserved South Bronx children, have arrived in Caracas to participate in a multi-day music workshop with world-renowned music education program El Sistema. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was made possible by an invitation from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, after he visited the Bronx community in 2014 – and will culminate in a joint concert on July 5, as part of Venezuela’s Independence Day celebration activities.

UpBeat NYC uses the pursuit of musical excellence and ensemble performance to bring about positive change in the lives of South Bronx children. The organization provides free year-round music training and instruments and its programs are designed to provide participants with high-quality musical training spanning their early childhood and teenage years. While some participants may go on to become professional musicians, musical achievement is the organization’s principal objective to promote children’s cognitive, emotional and social development.

“Inspired by the model of Venezuela’s El Sistema, we created UPBEAT six years ago to fulfill a need for access to musical education in the South Bronx. Music connects our youth with their community, and they are also developing life social skills as they work together. Given musical inspiration, with cross cultural exchanges with others around the world who are pursing the same goals is transformative. It allows our kids to seek out endless possibilities. I appreciate the support from the Venezuelan community through CITGO and this opportunity for our students and our organization,” said Liza Austria, co-founding director of UpBeat NYC.

Over the past two years, UpBeat NYC has received support from CITGO, through the company’s Bronx Social & Environmental Programs, for a number of projects, including the Núcleo Mott Haven project, which aims to develop social and musical skills of youth through free pre-orchestra classes, private lessons, sectionals, ensemble playing, peer mentoring and public performance. These social programs supported by CITGO are designed to improve the quality of life of residents of what is known as the poorest congressional district in the United States and has reached 130 children and youth, ages five through 21.

“It is an honor for me to welcome this group of children from New York to Venezuela, who have come to expand their musical horizons with their partners from El Sistema and see how music is truly the universal language of friendship,” said Nelson P. Martínez, CITGO president and CEO. “UpBeat NYC seeks to make a positive change in the lives of these children from the South Bronx, an underserved community, through its music program inspired by El Sistema. For this reason, CITGO, in alignment with the principles of social development of its parent company and the Venezuelan community, have supported this organization for the past two years.”

Together with community leaders, CITGO is dedicated to improving the lives of the people of the South Bronx as part of the ongoing commitment to supporting the underprivileged in the communities in which its many employees, Marketers and Retailers live and work. Since 2007, CITGO has supported the Bronx Community with more than 80 projects, benefiting more than 200,000 people through organizations like UpBeat NYC that focus on a range of critical issues – including arts and culture, education, environmental learning, health and nutrition and financial literacy – all with the common goal of improving the living conditions and outlook for the region’s residents.

About CITGO

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.

Global Report Sheds Light On Employee Engagement Practices In Five Countries

Research provides guidance for corporate social responsibility practitioners on working in Brazil, China, India, South Africa, United Kingdom and beyond

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — To assist corporate responsibility practitioners as they help international employees give back to their communities, Silicon Valley Community Foundation has produced a report offering practical advice for establishing successful programs in five countries – but the lessons can be applied to other locations as well.

“As we know from working with a growing list of companies that have global operations, when companies try to expand their charitable programs around the world, it can be a complex and daunting task,” said Emmett Carson, CEO and president of SVCF. “This report provides much-needed insight that will help global corporate responsibility practitioners be more efficient and effective from the outset.”

To create the Global Employee Engagement Report, SVCF conducted in-depth interviews with 65 corporate practitioners and nonprofit organizations dedicated to promoting employee engagement, as well as completed a review of existing literature on the topic. Research focused on five countries: Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Among the practical information that experts shared with researchers:

  • Company leaders in Brazil expect their employee engagement programs to add real community value, and may react negatively if they perceive that a program is being rolled out strictly for PR purposes.
  • In China, many companies conduct volunteer projects with “social enterprises,” which are registered as for-profit businesses but operate much like nonprofit organizations. These organizations tend to have less bureaucracy than government-organized nonprofit organizations.
  • In India, the visibility of leaders in employee engagement programs is absolutely vital to success. An email, social media post or appearance from a senior leader will signal approval for lower-level employees to engage in the program.

The five countries studied were chosen for two reasons. First, many companies – including many that partner with SVCF to meet their social responsibility objectives – are interested in expanding their employee engagement programs in these countries. Secondly, these are countries in which cultural or legal landscapes evoke uncertainty, fear or confusion about the customization needed to ensure that a program can succeed locally.

“We embarked on this research to uncover country-specific do’s and don’ts, cultural norms and resources for employee engagement efforts,” said Wen-Chih O’Connell, director of corporate responsibility for SVCF, who led the project. “We hope this research will help position companies for success when they launch their programs internationally.”

Although the report focuses on five specific countries, the topics it addresses – including gauging the landscape of nonprofit organizations, learning about legal and public policy issues surrounding volunteerism, etc. – provide a useful framework for practitioners seeking to develop employee engagement activities in other countries as well.

To view the report, visit www.siliconvalleycf.org/globalcsr

About Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes all forms of philanthropy more powerful. We serve as a catalyst and leader for innovative solutions to our region’s most challenging problems, and through our donors we award more money to charities than any other community foundation in the United States. SVCF has $6.5 billion in assets under management. As Silicon Valley’s center of philanthropy, we provide thousands of individuals, families and corporations with simple and effective ways to give locally and around the world. Find out more at siliconvalleycf.org.

The Thrive Network Hosts Art Exhibition To Celebrate The 25th Anniversary Of The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

BROOKLYN, NY – July 1, 2015The THRIVE Network will host an art exhibition at the SHOPS in the Loom Arts and Commerce complex located at: 1087 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237, from July 24 – July 31, in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This monumental civil rights legislation ensured that all individuals with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else, paving the groundwork for equality and organizations like The THRIVE Network to carry on the tradition of serving their community and helping those in need. This event will include a media preview on Thursday, July 23, 2015, at 1:00pm- 4:00pm with an opening reception to follow on Friday July 24, 2015, from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. The event will be curated by Stephanie George and will include a live performance by jazz percussionist and virtuoso, Ricky Gordon, whose played with the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Carolina Slim, to name a few. All proceeds from this event will benefit The THRIVE Network’s consumers.

“The THRIVE Network’s focus is providing individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to learn new skills needed to reach their highest level of independence, while insuring they experience the same privileges and opportunities enjoyed by all members of our society. During the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we want to showcase the talent and artistic capabilities of some of these individuals we support, by shining a spotlight on them. The implementation of the ADA has changed the lives of so many people we support and furthermore, has allowed a provider agency like ours, stronger opportunities to advocate for individuals with disabilities. We aim with this event to show the community that there should be more focus on one’s abilities and progress as opposed to a diagnosis,” said Charles A. Archer, The THRIVE Network, CEO.

“Between yesterday and tomorrow is mediation on the present. Exploring the qualities of ‘HERE’ as a place, declaration and moment resting between history and visions of the future, ‘HERE’ uses visual art to reflect on the legacy of the 1990 Americans with Disability Act (ADA) through a unique lens; the right to creativity. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, The THRIVE Network is proud to celebrate Brooklyn-based artists that persevere against all odds—creating in spite of and beyond their disabilities. Since its inception 20 years ago, The THRIVE Network’s art collection has steadily expanded to include the works of prominent local artists,” said Stephanie George, Art Curator for the exhibition.

Tickets for the art exhibition can be purchased at: http://thethrivenetwork-2109.wedid.it/ and will include wine and other refreshments.

For more information, please contact: MJ Pedone – Indra Public RelationsMJ@indrapr.com (646) 593-7220.

Wyakin Warriors Join Indian Motorcycle’s “Veterans Charity Ride To Sturgis 2015″ Epic Event

Three Wyakin Warriors will ride cross-country on Indian Motorcycles with fellow Wounded and Severely Injured Veterans to the 75th Anniversary of the Legendary Sturgis Bike Rally.

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Boise, Idaho – The Wyakin Warrior Foundation has been selected as one of the charities benefiting from the 1st Annual “Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis” (July 27th to August 9th). This event, intended to raise support for severely wounded and injured veterans, will offer a group of former military service members, including three Wyakin Warriors (George Nickel, David Maxwell, and Tommy Montgomery), the opportunity to ride from Los Angeles to Sturgis, South Dakota just in time for the 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. More than a dozen veterans, from various military branches and of varying ages, will participate in the weeklong motorcycle journey.

The group will spend six days riding spectacular scenic back roads and exploring some of America’s greatest national treasures including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Capital Reef National Park, The Arches and Moab, Utah. From Utah the group will continue their journey through the Colorado National Monument, Hahn’s Peak Colorado and Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming, arriving in Sturgis on Sunday, August 2nd.

The entire journey will be captured by Emmy award winning director Robert Manciero and his production company Full Vision Productions. “Our team will also be using an interactive media platform that will enable fellow veterans, Indian Riders, motorcycle enthusiasts and the general public to follow the riders and campaign in real-time interacting with the veterans on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We hope to achieve a sense of community, involvement, and unity amongst the group while encouraging other Veterans to join us on this adventure,” said Robert Manciero.

“Going to the Sturgis Bike Rally has been on my Bucket List for many years. Riding to the 75th anniversary with fellow veterans and my brothers from the Wyakin Warrior Foundation is a dream come true. I cannot thank Indian Motorcycle and Full Vision Productions enough for including us in this adventure of a lifetime and supporting Wyakin and their programs,” said Boise resident and Wyakin Warrior program graduate, George Nickel, a veteran Army Airborne Combat Engineer with 16 years of service, 3 deployments to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.

For more information on the Wyakin Warrior Foundation, or to make a supporting donation, visit the Wyakin Warrior Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis website at: https://wwfsturgis.afrogs.org/#/index

For more details about the campaign, videos and specifics of the route and excursions, visit the Veterans Charity Ride official website at: www.veteranscharityride.org

About The Wyakin Warrior Foundation

The Wyakin Warrior Foundation® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that enables severely wounded and injured Veterans to achieve personal and professional success as business and community leaders.

About The Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis

The Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis includes veterans from all branches of service, coming together to share their experiences and passion for motorcycles. Veterans created this ride and campaign to bring greater awareness to the issues veterans are facing in their daily lives, promote worthy veteran charities, and invite the participation and support of the general public.

About FULL VISION PRODUCTIONS

Located in La Crescenta, California, Full Vision Productions was founded in 1994 by producer / director Robert Manciero. Since then it has grown into a full service production company and agency with 11 Emmy awards and several festival awards to their credit. Originally specializing in extreme sports, Full Vision Productions has expanded into commercial, promotional, and documentary film work for networks, major corporations, and government agencies.
Please visit www.fullvisionproductions.com for more details.

About INDIAN MOTORCYCLE®

Indian Motorcycle, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII), is America’s first motorcycle company. Founded in 1901, Indian Motorcycle has won the hearts of motorcyclists around the world and earned distinction as one of America’s most legendary and iconic brands through unrivaled racing dominance, engineering prowess and countless innovations and industry firsts. Today that heritage and passion is reignited under new brand stewardship.

How To Navigate Today’s Entrepreneurial Landmines Without An MBA

The ‘Meat & Potatoes’ Approach To Efficiency And Success, From A Veteran Businessman

Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Richard Branson. Marc Zuckerberg. Ted Turner. They are just some of the world’s business giants who’ve never earned a college degree.

“Higher education certainly has its benefits; but based on experience, the data that’s out there and what others have told me, there can be better ways of preparing for a life in business than beginning one’s earning years tens of thousands of dollars in debt from college,” says Ed Basler, a veteran entrepreneur and CEO of E.J. Basler Co., (www.ejbasler.com).

“Hard work, working smart, listening and abiding in the examples of those who’ve been successful are the keys to success in business. College doesn’t necessarily impart those attributes to students. The price of an MBA is certain, but its value is not.”

Nearly 70 percent of seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2013 had student loan debt, which averaged $28,400 per borrower, according to The Institute for College Access and Success.

If a costly college degree doesn’t necessarily deliver the goods on what works in business, then what does? Basler, author of “The Meat & Potatoes Guide to Business Survival: A Handbook for Non-MBA’s & College Dropouts,” briefly explains key principles.

  • Respect the power of your vision. It may sound hokey to some, but not to dreamers like Walt Disney – another giant who succeeded without a degree. In fact, those who criticize the dreams of visionaries are those who’ve either failed or never dared to dream in the first place. To put it simply, big vision = big results; small vision = small results; no vision = no results. Never mind the naysayers. Listen to those who have something to say, including those who fully support your dream, and those who offer constructive criticism. Talk it out with anyone who’ll listen. Be open to improvement.
  • Fly with eagles. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Join your industry’s trade association. It is a wealth of ideas, information and networking opportunities. Meet the leaders in your fields. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and find a seasoned experienced mentor. They can be found.
  • Never pay retail. In some ways, a college degree is retail. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get the expected result, such as a good job, but you certainly pay a financial price. In business, frugality pays. The easiest and most frequently cited price is usually one that can be improved. You can buy office furniture at a store, or you can cut those prices by half or more by going to an auction. Always be on the lookout for a more cost-efficient way.
  • Use a checklist. No, this is not an app or a new way of thinking about business. Instead, it’s an old, tried, tested and true way of accounting for the most important things that need to be done. As the leader of your business, you need it, but you should also encourage everyone under you to keep a list, too. If something is worth doing at work, then it’s worth the extra daily reminder. Put the most important item at the top and then check it off once done. This lets you know with certainty that the task has been accomplished and clearly indicates what’s needed next.
  • Deadlines orient your attention to goals with each passing hour. What if President John F. Kennedy did not announce his ambitious deadline on May 25, 1961, to safely send a man to the moon by the end of the 1960s? We may never have made it. Ambitious deadlines foster excitement for accomplishment. Our attention as human beings is prone to wandering. Deadlines guide us back to our ambition.
  • There’s no end to improvement. There’s no end to improvement. Everything you are currently doing can be improved. Ignore this at your own peril. Your competition believes this and is ready to pass you up the moment you become complacent and settle for the status quo. If you are not growing in innovation, quality, and customer service, you may soon find yourself out of business.

About Ed Basler

Ed Basler is a longtime entrepreneur and CEO of E.J. Basler Co., (www.ejbasler.com), which provides precision-machined parts and solutions to companies worldwide. He is a sought-after motivational speaker and president of Fresh Eyes Coaching, a firm that helps small businesses identify profit opportunities and obstacles. Ed and his wife, Cathi, also founded and ran a nationally recognized not-for-profit youth organization for 15 years. He is the author of “The Meat & Potatoes Guide to Business Survival: A Handbook for Non-MBA’s & College Dropouts.”

Can Updating The Narrative About Black Men And Boys Improve Race Relations?

Social Entrepreneur Says It’s Time To Tell The True Story And Not An Outdated Stereotype

Black Americans are increasingly uneasy about race relations in the United States, ranking that as the nation’s No. 1 problem along with unemployment, according to a new Gallup poll.

Much of their concern, which began growing last year, is driven by highly publicized police shootings of unarmed black men, Gallup reports.

The fact that race relations ranks so high is not surprising because of how often the news and entertainment media highlight stories that associate black men with violence, crime and poverty, says Trabian Shorters, founder and CEO of BMe Community, a network of all races and genders committed to building better communities across the U.S.

“When black males are portrayed everywhere we look in a negative light, our brains – no matter our race or sex – are prone and primed to believe that this portrayal is correct, even the norm,” Shorters says. “In fact, it’s not. Not by a long shot.”

One way to address the problem is to update the narrative with a more full picture of black men and boys, says Shorters, who also is co-editor with Ben Jealous of the book “Reach – 40 Black Men Speaking on Living, Leading and Succeeding” (www.Reachwithus.com).

Just as an example, he says, more than 80 percent of black males 25 and older have at least a high school diploma. And a much-repeated myth – that there are more black men in prison than in college – is not true and probably never was, according to a study by Ivory Toldson, a professor at Howard University.

The United States is bursting with black males who are educated, good businessmen and great fathers, yet their contributions to society are overlooked, Shorters says.

He cites several reasons why America needs to update the way it views black males:

  • The nation is in the middle of perhaps its biggest cultural transfer in history. Over the coming years, the baby boomers will give way to the millennials as the largest generation in history. As that happens, America will no longer have a racial majority. “All of the social myths will be updated for better or worse,” Shorters says. “If we make a concerted effort to understand each other over the next decade, I think we can change them for the better.”
  • Recognizing that black men are assets opens up opportunities for all people to build better cities by working with those black men who are willing to uphold important values and take constructive action. “We must stop ignoring the overwhelming amount of good that black men do for our country,” Shorters says.
  • Letting go of stereotypes about black males will help more than just black males. Valuing all members of the human family is the most prosperous way forward for a nation as diverse as the United States, Shorters says. All of us should reject any narratives that denigrate people and prejudice one group against another. “That’s why at BMe Community we are committed to working with people of all races and genders to bring about a more caring and prosperous country,” Shorters says.

“We can each be the hero in the story of America’s future,” Shorters says. “As black men and as a nation, our challenges are real, but our contributions are more real. What you focus on has power over your life. So, as black males and as Americans, we make our future when we make our choice.”

About Trabian Shorters

Trabian Shorters is co-editor with Benjamin Jealous of the bestselling book “Reach – 40 Black Men Speaking on Living, Leading and Succeeding” (www.Reachwithus.com). He also is a social entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in diverse fields including national service, technology, nonprofit, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. In 2011 he launched BMe Community while serving as vice president at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Shorters left the Knight Foundation in July 2013 to focus on growing BMe Community. BMe builds caring and prosperous communities inspired by black men. As vice president of communities for Knight Foundation from 2007-2013, Shorters directed a $300 million portfolio in 26 cities as well as the field-leading Knight Community Information Challenge (KCIC), which enticed more than 300 foundations to experiment with funding news projects. He graduated with honors from Michigan State University in 1991 with a degree in journalism. He is also a Cranbrook Educational Community graduate and a 2015 Ashoka Fellow.

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