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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


This category includes stories about philanthropy, typically covering the generosity of individuals, families, groups of individuals and foundations (nonprofits primarily in the business of funding other nonprofits.

BlueOrchard Celebrates 20th Anniversary of its Flagship Fund

  • Largest commercial microfinance fund in the world celebrates 20th anniversary
  • First BlueOrchard Impact Summit to take place in Pontresina (Switzerland) this October

Press Release – Zurich, 18 September 2018 – BlueOrchard Finance Ltd (“BlueOrchard”), a leading Swiss-based impact investment manager, is proud to announce the 20th anniversary of its flagship fund, the BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund – the largest commercial microfinance fund in the world. To further raise awareness for investment needs in developing countries, BlueOrchard has initiated the Impact Summit, taking place in Switzerland this October.

The BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund (BOMF) has become with more than USD 1.7 billion AuM the largest commercial microfinance fund in the world and has achieved competitive returns for its private and global investor base, including banks, insurances, and pension funds. For 20 years, BOMF has been fostering inclusive growth in 69 emerging and frontier markets, providing access to financial and related services to over 20 million low-income individuals and households by investing in 325 microfinance institutions. Today, 53% of the Fund’s clients are women entrepreneurs and 42% live in rural areas. BOMF addresses with its investments 11 out of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“During the last 20 years BOMF has proven that financial returns and social impact go hand in hand. While it has grown to become the largest commercial microfinance fund in the world, it remains under the same mission and vision, committed to fighting poverty and empowering people in emerging countries. We are proud to celebrate today the 20th anniversary of this unique fund, said Peter A. Fanconi, BlueOrchard’s Chairman of the Board.

“We are thankful to our investors for making this milestone anniversary possible. Investors today are increasingly asking for investment solutions that generate a financial return while making a social and/or environmental impact. We will continue to provide our investors worldwide with attractive investment solutions which contribute to solving the social and environmental challenges of our time,” said Patrick Scheurle, CEO of BlueOrchard.

In 1998, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit. The Year was established to promote the contributions of microfinance to creating an inclusive and sustainable financial system, which grants access to financial services to the world’s poor. Under the umbrella of the Year, several initiatives were instigated by the UN to encourage microfinance investments. One of these was the launch of the world’s first fully private and commercial microfinance fund in 1998, the BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund (BOMF). The aim was to furnish proof to the idea that fighting poverty and generating market-rate returns is not an either-or choice.

First BlueOrchard Impact Summit

Today, 20 years later, reducing poverty and inequalities are as important and efforts to tackle these challenges are even impeded by the consequences of climate change. Taking place on the 3rd and 4th of October in Pontresina, Switzerland, the BlueOrchard Impact Summit will therefore focus on how investments in Inclusive Growth, Climate Change, Education and Sustainable Infrastructure can be mobilized at scale to address these challenges in developing countries and to close the alarming annual investment gap of USD 2.5 trillion in key sustainable development sectors.

“The upcoming BlueOrchard Impact Summit is a fantastic opportunity for leaders from around the world to discuss resources required to achieve the SDGs in the years to come”, said Peter A. Fanconi, BlueOrchard’s Chairman of the Board.

The Summit will bring together thought leaders from around the world, from public and private sectors to discuss, exchange, learn from each other’s experience and consequently derive solutions on how to reduce today’s rising inequalities. For more information on the Summit and the speakers, please visit:

About BlueOrchard Finance Ltd

BlueOrchard is a leading global impact investment manager. The firm is dedicated to fostering inclusive and climate-smart growth, while providing attractive returns for investors. BlueOrchard was founded in 2001, by initiative of the UN, as the world’s first commercial manager of microfinance debt investments. Today, BlueOrchard provides investors around the world with premium investment solutions, including credit, private equity, and sustainable infrastructure. Being an expert in innovative blended finance mandates, the firm is a trusted partner of leading global development finance institutions. With a major global presence and offices on four continents, BlueOrchard has invested to date more than USD 5bn across 80 emerging and frontier markets, enabling tangible social and environmental impact. BlueOrchard is a licensed Swiss asset manager of collective investment schemes authorized by FINMA. Its Luxembourg entity, BlueOrchard Asset Management S.A., is a licensed UCITS management company as well as a licensed alternative investment fund manager (AIFM) authorized by CSSF. For additional information, please visit:

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Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser Was Fierce

Dream Foundation’s Fourth Annual Event Raises Vital Funds with Fashion, Music, Food, Drink and Entertainment

Press Release – Santa Barbara, Calif., September 17, 2018 – In an event to rival New York Fashion week, the beautiful Nesbitt Estate in Summerland, Calif. was transformed yesterday into a runway fashion event as Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, hosted its fourth annual Endless Summer Dream. The fun kicked off with a poolside fashion show featuring headlining brand, Wildfox Couture, A Tropical Affair, Bubululu Malibu Bikinis, Jenni Kayne, K. Frank, Lolë, Make Smith, Saltura, Seavees, So De Mel Swimwear and local designer Danielle Rocha of Rocha Swim. The event raised vital funds that will help bring final Dreams to life for terminally-ill adults and their families across the nation.

Top model Alexander Amato was instrumental in rallying twenty-seven of the globe’s hottest talent and the troupe modelled the latest looks down the catwalk to beats from DJ Gavin Roy Presents, accompanied by stunning aerial displays from Santa Barbara Airedanse Collective. Dancer and choreographer Josh Killacky made a surprise appearance, drawing whoops from the crowd. Following a live auction, singer/songwriter Cody Lovaas sang two songs. Along with the show, guests enjoyed food and drink, and visited pop-up shops where they bought clothing and accessories featured on the catwalk.

“It is an absolute honor to have worked on Endless Summer Dream,” says Arlene Montesano, event Co-Chair. “It was a compilation of boundless energy and love from the committee to the sponsors to the general public! We are all thrilled to have helped make so many Dreams come true for our terminally-ill recipients. We love Dream Foundation.”

This year, an exclusive After-Party held on site at the Nesbitt Nightclub featured a sneak-peek runway preview of Wildfox Spring 19 Collection “Riot Girl”, fire dancers, Julia Bowerback and Chelsea Pacheco, and an inspiring performance by Los Angeles- based singer/songwriter, Taliwhoah and her band. Her downtempo dancehall-infused favorite track Details from her album Another Dimension clocked hundreds of thousands of views online and the audience on Sunday night knew why, she was fierce!

Attendees included Kate & Arthur Coppola, Justine Roddick & Christina Schlieske, Brianna Stewart & Jason Olcese, Bachelor in Paradise’s Joe Amabile & Kendall Long, Wildfox Couture CEO, Jimmy Sommers, event co-chair, Arlene Montesano, Ursula & Pat Nesbitt, who graciously hosted, Dream Foundation board members Luke Ebbin, David Nygren, Daryl Stegall, Board Chair Kenny Slaught, and Peter Hilf who made a surprise $50,000 donation during the event.

Endless Summer Dream would not have been made possible without the generous support of its Event Sponsors: Alaska Airlines, Bella Vista Designs, Blue Star Parking, COS BAR – Brandis & Jon Deitelbaum, Carol & Bill Foley, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Daniel Gibbings, Hotel Californian, John Paul Mitchell Systems, J.R. Watkins Naturals, Jump On The School Bus, Monique Jean Event Productions, Ursula & Pat Nesbitt, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, Santa Barbara Airedanse Collective, Brianna Stewart, Studio B, The Tent Merchant, and Wildfox Couture; Food & Spirits Sponsors: Babcock Winery, Beau Joie Champagne, Bibi Ji Catering Connection, Epic Wines & Spirits, Foley Family Wines, Hippy Pop Popcorn, Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant, Lucky’s, Perfectomundo Tequila, Rincon Brewery, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, Santo Mezcal, Soulstruck Winery, Tre Lune, and Yacht Club Vodka; In-Kind Donors: Aligned Pilates, David Alvarez, Santa Barbara Dance Center, Catherine & Elizabeth An, Crustacean, A Tropical Affair, Barefoot Blonde Extensions, Bettina Pizzeria, Beverly Hilton Hotel, Bubululu Malibu Bikinis, Caron Miller Design, Jim Casteel, Coast 2 Coast Collection, CorePower Yoga, Evolutions Medical & Day Spa, Gavin Roy Presents, Daniel Gibbings, Gina Sinotte Photography, gorjana, Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, Hotel Milo Santa Barbara, Hudson Grace, Jacqueline Pilar Photography, Jenni Kayne, Joe’s Café, Juice Ranch, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., Kopu Water, La Fond Winery, Deborah Liu, Lolë, Lucky’s, Marborg Industries, Pauline McLean, Monique Jean Event Productions, Matt Pesendian, Channel Acupuncture, Peebee & Jay’s, Saltura, Santa Barbara Catering, Santa Barbara Winery, Shannon Miller, Shelley Schulte, Sonos, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar, Brianna Stewart, Studio B, The Magic Castle, Vita Perfetta, Westerlay Orchids, Whiskey and Leather, and Wildfox Couture.

About Dream Foundation:

Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 30,000 final Dreams over the past two decades. The Foundation is proud to maintain Charity Navigator’s four-star rating—its highest—for sound fiscal management, ensuring its donors and partners that their investment will be used wisely. Dream Foundation receives no state or federal funding—we rely solely on private donations. To support our mission please visit

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vineyard vines Partners With Bright Pink In Honor Of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Press Release – STAMFORD, Conn., Sept. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — vineyard vines, the lifestyle apparel brand best known for its smiling pink whale logo, announced their continued partnership with Bright Pink, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. The exclusive collection includes long-sleeve tees and a silk tie bearing the brand’s whale logo paired with the breast cancer awareness Pink Ribbon. In honor of loved ones who have been lost or presently fighting, the brand will donate 30% of all sales from the product collection to Bright Pink. The assortment is available for purchase at and select vineyard vines stores.

“We are proud to team up with Bright Pink for the second year,” said Shep Murray, vineyard vines CEO & co-founder. “Ian and I have seen the effects of this horrible disease and the toll it takes on families. It’s a continued priority for us to educate and raise awareness.” “Bright Pink’s dedication to the education and empowerment of women to live proactively is truly inspiring,” said Ian Murray, vineyard vines CEO & co-founder. “A few years ago we lost our mom to cancer and we are proud to help an organization that focuses on women taking action against the disease.”

“We’re incredibly grateful to have a partner like vineyard vines that shares our vision of empowering millions of women to live their best lives and be their own best health advocates.,” said Bright Pink CEO, Katie Thiede. “We’re also incredibly inspired by Shep & Ian who have shared their personal connection to the cause, and in doing so are helping to inspire other men and women to recognize the importance of being proactive with their health and encourage their loved ones to do the same. Through this campaign, vineyard vines will raise critical funds to fuel Bright Pink’s life-saving mission and amplify our programs that put awareness in action. We’re thrilled to continue working with vineyard vines.”

In addition to the special collection, Bright Pink’s mission and their online detection tools will be promoted by vineyard vines through their social channels, digital ads and in-store events. Vineyard vines will host a storewide event on October 13th from 4-7PM where additional proceeds of all products sold during that time will go back to Bright Pink.

ABOUT vineyard vines®

A company best known for its whimsical neckties and smiling pink whale logo, was founded in 1998 on Martha’s Vineyard when brothers Shep and Ian Murray cut their ties with corporate America to start making ties that represented the Good Life. In addition to signature neckwear, vineyard vines offers a variety of clothing and accessories for men, women and children. Products are sold in over 600 specialty and department stores worldwide, through a seasonal catalog at 1.800.892.4982, online at and at over ninety freestanding stores.

About Bright Pink®

Bright Pink is a national nonprofit focused on the prevention of breast and ovarian cancer. The organization’s mission is to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering them to live proactively at a young age. Bright Pink’s innovative programs motivate women to prioritize prevention, help women assess their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, equip women with personalized risk-management recommendations, and empower women to manage their health proactively in partnership with a healthcare provider. Since 2007, Bright Pink has inspired over a million women to be their own best health advocates. Join us in putting Awareness in Action™ at

SOURCE vineyard vines

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World Of Children Announces Top 2018 Global Nonprofit Leaders

Annual Awards Ceremony & Benefit in New York City to Recognize Five High-Impact Humanitarians for their Heroic Work on Behalf of At-Risk Children

Caryl Stern, Lily Aldridge Followill, Alina Cho and Andy Adler Announced as Event Hosts

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY – September 17, 2018 – World of Children®, a global recognition and funding organization for individuals exclusively serving the needs of vulnerable children, revealed today its 2018 award winners. These five real-life heroes have dramatically improved the lives of at-risk children around the world through high-impact programs in the categories of education, health, humanitarianism, protection and youth helping youth. In addition to providing each Honoree with a substantial multi-year grant, World of Children will celebrate these recipients at the annual 2018 World of Children Awards Ceremony & Benefit on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 583 Park Avenue in New York City.

“We are thrilled to welcome five of the bravest and most courageous humanitarians from around the globe to our family,” said World of Children Co-Founder Harry Leibowitz. “Three of these Honorees are being recognized for their efforts in countries we have never before had the chance to serve—Afghanistan, Senegal and Bolivia—which is a testament to the reach and growth of our organization and our mission to find and fund the heroic efforts of heroes who are on the ground in some of the most vulnerable places in the world. This is an exciting year, and we look forward to celebrating each of these individuals’ achievements in New York City.

The annual ceremony will also recognize New York-based Devin Beresheim (MARSH Finpro) and his wife Sarah with the World of Children Board of Governors’ Award for their unwavering dedication to the organization and elevating awareness for child advocates.

Caryl Stern (President and CEO, US Fund for UNICEF), Lily Aldridge Followill (World of Children Ambassador, International Model, Child Advocate), Alina Cho (World of Children Advisory Council, CBS Sunday Morning Contributor) and Andy Adler (Sportscaster, Journalist, TV Personality) will serve as event hosts for the evening.

This year’s Honorees include:

  • 2018 World of Children Education Honoree: Ehsan Mehrangais, founder of Afghanistan Demain, a non-governmental organization that provides education, school programs and rehabilitation to disadvantaged street children in three of the poorest neighborhoods in Kabul regardless of their gender or religion.
  • 2018 World of Children Health Honoree: Sandy Kemper, founder of Smiles Forever, which improves the quality of life for impoverished children in Cochabamba, Bolivia, through free preventative and restorative dentistry, and nutritional education to reduce conditions such as life-threatening abscesses, painful cavities and malnutrition.
  • 2018 World of Children Humanitarian Honoree: Phyllis Keino, founder of Lewa Children’s Home and mother to hundreds of orphans and abandoned children in Eldoret, Kenya, providing them with a safe home, medical care, a first-class education and a caring family environment.
  • 2018 World of Children Protection Honoree: Anta Mbow, founder of Empire des Enfants, a child-based shelter based in Dakar, Senegal that leads humanitarian action for children who have been exploited and are at risk of starvation, abduction, physical and sexual abuse after being forced to live on the streets.
  • 2018 World of Children Youth Honoree: Caragan Olles, co-founder of Bright Young Dyslexics, the only organization to offer funding for private tutoring and assistive technology for dyslexic students in Wisconsin, in addition to in-school programs to educate teachers and students on how to accommodate students with learning disabilities.

World of Children receives thousands of nominations from around the world ever year and uses a uniquely rigorous vetting process to select Honorees, including extensive on-site investigations and an independent audit of each finalist. Recognized by the media as the “Nobel Prize for Child Advocates,” Honorees receive funding and educational support to help expand their program and ultimately impact the lives of even more children.

The event’s Honorary Chairs include Faeth Bradley, Daniela Braga, Leonard Gorski, Dean M. Klisura, Rebecca Minkoff and Greg Scott. World of Children is led by Co-Founders Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, retired senior executives from Procter & Gamble and Victoria’s Secret respectively.

About World of Children

World of Children unlocks the future for vulnerable children by funding, elevating and educating the most effective changemakers for children worldwide. Since 1998, the Foundation has dedicated more than $13 million to high-impact programs for children, led by nearly 120 Honorees working in over 50 countries. World of Children is recognized in the media as the “Nobel Prize for Child Advocates” and is the only global recognition and funding program that exclusively focuses on a broad range of children’s issues including health, education, safety and human rights.

World of Children has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, People, Town & Country, and Harper’s Bazaar. World of Children Honorees have also been featured by CNN, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Fast Company, Glamour, TEEN Vogue, TIME for Kids, and USA Today, among other national and international media. The Huffington Post named Co-Founders Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz one of the most inspiring “power couples” in the country for their lifetime commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable children around the world.

For more information, visit, or join the community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Former NFL Champion Steps Into Food Sport in a “Souper” Way

Former New England Patriot Defensive End Jarvis Green Partners with the World Food Championships

Press Release – ORANGE BEACH, ALA. The World Food Championships (WFC) announced today that former New England Patriot Defensive End Jarvis Green and his company, Oceans 97, has signed on as an Official Food Sport partner for the 2018 competition in Orange Beach, Alabama. As a part of the new partnership, Oceans 97 will be joining Natural Tableware to co-sponsor WFC’s first Soup-or-Bowl Sunday event, which will be held on November 11 during the five-day food tournament. In addition to providing Soup-or-Bowl competitors with Oceans 97 shrimp to use in their dishes. Green will also help to determine this year’s World Seafood Champion as a Top Ten judge.

“We consider WFC competitors as top-level athletes in their own right, as they have to practice extensively and then battle it out in kitchen arena against a clock and other champions,” said Mike McCloud, President/CEO of WFC. “That’s why traditional sporting legends like Green are always a great addition to our event, as they can bring the sports mentality to all things food and help us celebrate culinary achievements.”

Since retiring from professional sports, Green shifted his competitive spirit into entrepreneurial pursuits. The former Patriot and two-time Super Bowl Champ has always enjoyed bringing family and friends together over a meal. After stepping off the football field, Green took his champion attitude and poured it into his love for seafood cuisine, beginning Oceans 97 in 2015.

Oceans 97, Inc. is a National Minority Supply Chain Company, and its shrimp are wild caught from the Gulf of Mexico by U.S. gulf coast fishermen. Green is devoted to sourcing local produce from local fishermen in North America. Oceans 97’s shrimp and shrimp products reflect Green’s commitment to locally sourced and natural products. His passion and drive have made him a leader in educating people about the health benefits of a diet rich in fresh and natural ingredients.

“I’ve heard a lot about Food Sport and the awesome competitors in this arena,” commented Green. “I can’t wait to huddle with the many champions at WFC and see firsthand how creative and passionate they are about the culinary industry.”

To learn more about Jarvis Green’s Oceans 97, visit

Click here to grab your tickets to Soup-Or-Bowl Sunday for a chance to meet Jarvis in person while sampling championship-worthy dishes from WFC Food Champs.

WFC’s Main Event is scheduled for Nov 7 – 11 at the Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama. Stay tuned for more partner announcements about WFC 2018. To keep up with all WFC news, follow World Food Championships on Twitter (@WorldFoodChamp), and Facebook or Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships)

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UH Receives Anonymous $4 Million Gift to Support Creative Writing and Other Liberal Arts Programs

Press Release – HOUSTON, Sept. 17, 2018 – The University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) has received a $4 million anonymous gift in support of its Creative Writing Program, among multiple CLASS initiatives. The gift will also fuel research activity in the humanities and social sciences and advance the college’s mission of transforming today’s students into tomorrow’s global leaders, successful entrepreneurs and industry innovators. This gift comes at a period of unprecedented growth, expansion and opportunity for CLASS and is the single largest donation that the college has received.

“This gift matters because it provides support for key strategic initiatives in CLASS, surrounding student success, faculty success and community engagement. Numerous academic departments/programs, especially creative writing, will benefit from this generous gift,” said Antonio D. Tillis, dean of CLASS and M.D. Anderson Professor in Hispanic Studies. “The University of Houston is fortunate to exist in a community where individual donors want to be stakeholders in everything we do to enhance the academic experience for our students.”

This strategic investment includes funding for a Graduate Student Diversity Endowment, a CLASS Faculty Research Initiatives Endowment, a Creative Writing Program Graduate Student Community Partnership Endowment and two Endowed College Professorships in Creative Writing.

The gift supports and celebrates the college’s commitment to community engagement through the Creative Writing Program and other academic units. Additionally, it will help attract and retain top scholars, particularly in creative writing.

“This handsome gift is an investment in academic quality and faculty, particularly in renowned programs like creative writing and the humanities, helping to ensure that the University of Houston offers enlightened opportunities for its students,“ said Eloise Brice, vice president for University Advancement.

The contribution adds to the goal of raising $1 billion in the UH “Here, We Go” Campaign, the first major fundraising campaign in more than 25 years in support of University priorities, including the arts and social sciences.

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Brenner Foundation Announces Inaugural Veteran Services Gala at The Venetian in Garfield, NJ; Proceeds will Install Diaper Banks in New Jersey

Press Release – GARFIELD, NJ – Brenner Foundation will be holding its inaugural Veteran Services Gala at The Venetian in Garfield, NJ on Thursday, October 18th. Proceeds from the Veteran Services Gala will support a partnership with two powerhouse organizations that are well known in the community for their work with veterans. The Bergen County Division of Veteran Services and the Catholic Charities SOS Stakeholders Group will work in association with Brenner Foundation to install diaper banks in New Jersey, which will ! provide access to clean, dry diapers to struggling veteran families in need.

The honoree at the Gala this year is Ariel “AJ” Luna who is an Army veteran and the Director of Veteran Services for Bergen County. His years of dedication in assisting veterans of the county on the various programs and benefits available to them will be recognized. “I am humbled to be the honoree for the Brenner Foundation’s Veteran Services Gala,” said Luna. “In a short period of time, I have witnessed the positive impact that they have had in northern New Jersey.”

Brenner Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a wide range of services to veterans and homeless individuals. Based in Wallington, New Jersey, their mission is to provide aid to local veterans and their families, and to support efforts to combat homelessness around the country.

Brenner Foundation was founded by Christine Brenner in 2017. “As a federal contractor, manufacturing field medical equipment for our service men and women, it is both my pleasure and my passion to support our veterans in any way I can when they return home,” said Brenner.

Bergen County Division of Veteran Services/Tracers Program

“Assisting homeless veterans is a top priority for the Bergen County Division of Veterans Services. Their volunteers’ primary mission is to locate homeless veterans and link them to community-based and VA sponsored programs and benefits.”

– AJ Luna, Director of Veteran Services for Bergen County

Cathol! ic Charities Stakeholders Group / Unmet Needs Fund

“Established to assist a Veteran with a sudden short-term financial need such as a utility bill or auto repair. 100% of the funds go to help Veterans.”

– David Pearson, Assistant Director of Veteran Services, Catholic Family & Community Services

For more information on this press release visit:

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2nd Annual ISTO Conference Brings Together Global Surf Therapy Nonprofits Changing Lives Through Surf Therapy

A consortium of 25 leading global Surf Therapy organizations, Ph.D. students and researchers gathered in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa to share latest research & practice in the Surf Therapy sector

ISTO Members (with AritzAranburu)holding the International Surf Therapy Declaration, signed by numerous professional surfers including Kelly Slater, Carissa Moore, Steph Gilmore and Courtney Conlogue.

Press Release – JEFFREYS BAY, SOUTH AFRICA (July 20, 2018) The 2nd Annual International Surf Therapy Organization Conference was held in Jeffreys Bay. Twenty-eight individual representatives attended, representing Surf Therapy and research institutions from 11 different countries around the globe. The International Surf Therapy Organization (“ISTO”) was formed in Cape Town in September 2017 by eight founding contributors. Conceived by South African NGO Waves for Change, with funding support from Comic Relief, The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the World Childhood Foundation, ISTO connects practitioners, shares best practice, and executes global research studies so that understanding and support for Surf Therapy grows.

Now in its second year, the ISTO conference brought together practitioners and researchers from across the globe to share best practice and present emerging research in the Surf Therapy space.

The results from the first global survey of the Surf Therapy sector were also shared. The survey documents surfing’s impact on at-risk populations around the world. Organizations working with veterans, children with different abilities, survivors of trauma, children in conflict with the law and adults with anxiety and depression submitted aligned data that shows Surf Therapy is improving the mental and physical health of children and adults from myriad backgrounds.

Held concurrent to the World Surf League 2018 Corona Open J-Bay surf contest, several of the world’s top male and female surfers visited the conference and signed the International Surf Therapy Declaration. The Declaration’s stated goal is to raise awareness of Surf Therapy as a health intervention and treatment, and to connect the public to the growing body of evidence that surfing and the ocean positively impact our mental health.

The conference also released a shared online toolkit for ISTO member researchers and practitioners involved in Surf Therapy around the world. Developed with contributions from leading international Surf Therapy organizations, this collaborative toolkit provides essential information for organizations looking to establish, grow and evaluate Surf Therapy programs, helping them reach and impact their target populations.

Additionally, for the first time in recorded history, Ph.D.s in Surf Therapy will be pursued by two ISTO members who aim to execute ground-breaking research in Surf Therapy and its efficacy.

Finally, the conference laid out a 12-month strategy which will culminate with the 3rd Annual International Surf Therapy Conference in Southern California, USA in October 2019. In the run-up to California, ISTO will be conducting outreach to include more Surf Therapy organizations from around the globe, including Asia-Pacific and South America regions.

For more information on the International Surf Therapy Organization and the International Surf Therapy Declaration, please visit

Current Contributing Organizations: Waves for Change, Wave by Wave, A Walk on Water, Waves of Wellness, Liquid Therapy, The Surf Project, Kind Surf, Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, Wave Project, Indo Jax, Live for More, AmpSurf, Warrior Surf Foundation, Surf4Dem, Urban Surf for Kids, City Surf Project, Groundswell Community Project, Grom Nation, Waved Foundation, One Wave, Stoked Research, University New South Wales, Edinburgh Napier University, UNICEF, Antioch University, Comic Relief, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, World Childhood Foundation, RTI.

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The Good Class: A Gamified Social Emotional Learning Program That Mobilizes Students To Actively Participate In Doing Good

By Corey Harnish

The Good Class may be a leading solution to transform how education treats social emotional learning pedagogy

How would you feel if there was an easy way to engage youth in doing good?

What do you think would happen if being kind, volunteering, or doing, say, an environmental clean up was actually fun?

Imagine the shift that would happen, if good was the new cool.

People would want to help others!

They’d want to make a difference, right?

We think so too, and we believe that together we can make this a reality.

Introducing The Good Class

A gamified social emotional learning (SEL) platform that guides teachers and their students through a series of hands-on lessons, allowing all to experience the power of kindness and positive thinking. The Good Class includes a set of lessons that will engage students in a way that makes doing good a fun and meaningful experience.

The best part is that it’s connected to The Good Cards, our digital platform and mobile app that motivates people to go on real life kindness missions, do good deeds, and track their ripple effect.

Connecting a gamified experience with learning about SEL is a way to let students experience the positive impact doing good has on themselves and others.

Okay that’s cool! So what is social emotional learning all about anyway?

For starters, there’s a really exciting shift happening in our education system.

In the last ten years schools and districts all over have been integrating SEL into their curriculum.

Lesson plans, activities, discussions focused on important soft skills like emotional intelligence, compassion, mindfulness, and self-awareness have become a norm for many classrooms.

It’s happening right now!

Thanks to this educational shift, our youth are being empowered to not only be the leaders of tomorrow, but the Kindness Leaders of tomorrow.

Sounds awesome! Does it work?

As far as the research is showing, yeah it really does.

“In the long run, greater social and emotional competence can increase the likelihood of high school graduation, readiness for postsecondary education, career success, positive family and work relationships, better mental health, reduced criminal behavior, and engaged citizenship. (Hawkins, Kosterman, Catalano, Hill, & Abbott, 2008; Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015).”Edutopia.

What’s more, a 2015 study by researchers at Columbia University discovered that the measurable benefits of SEL exceed implementation costs, often by considerable amounts and researchers have also found that SEL programs are particularly beneficial for disadvantaged or low-attaining students. [1]

Since optimal results are achieved with SEL when approaches are embedded into routine educational practices and supported by professional development and training for staff we’ve integrated The Good Class into the curriculum. [2]

By doing this we are affecting these students for years to come, as a 2017 meta-analysis conducted by CASEL, University of Illinois, Chicago, Loyola University and University of British Columbia discovered that SEL continues to benefit students in terms of their social skills and academic performance years after being taught it. [3]

It’s happening right now in schools and classrooms across the world and is available for any teachers and community leaders who want to use it.

I’m a teacher, how can I bring The Good Class to my school?

Sign up today! The Good Class is live and ready for you to get involved.

We’ll help you with everything from getting the program approved by Administration to how to use The Good Cards, and even getting local press coverage like the youth at Gorzycki Middle School did!

I’m not a teacher, can I get involved too?

Sponsor The Good Class in a school near you!

Make a $50 donation to Better World International, the not-for-profit behind The Good Cards project, and we will bring The Good Class to a school or classroom of your choice!

There’s always something we can do together, so if you love the idea but are not sure about what to do, don’t be shy. Reach out to us at or you can always learn more about The Good Class here.

Further reading




Help us share the stories of those who are doing the most good in the world. Get an autographed book from Devin when you pledge just $2 per month. Visit

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