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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

Philanthropy

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.

Projects Abroad Offers Volunteer Programs for Students Deferring College in Favor of a Gap Year

Organization gives high school graduates the opportunity to explore the world and make a difference before entering college

NEW YORK – April 15, 2015 – An increasing number of colleges and universities in North America are encouraging students to defer their enrollment for one year in favor of a gap year spent traveling, working, exploring their interests, evaluating their life goals, and devoting their time to meaningful activities. With international volunteer organization Projects Abroad, high school graduates can bring purpose to their gap year experience and use their time to give back to others by volunteering abroad.

“There are a variety of reasons why more and more students are choosing to delay going to college in favor of a gap year,” says Tom Pastorius, Head of Global Recruitment for Projects Abroad. “After a school career spanning twelve years, many feel the need to take a break from the academic grind and they seize the opportunity to explore their interests in a new space, outside the constraints of the school system. Others feel the need to renew their focus and bolster their resumes with useful experience at the same time. Whatever the reason, embarking on a gap year gives students the space and freedom they need to grow and mature. A gap year abroad gives them the chance to see the world and be at the forefront of cultural exchange.”

A Projects Abroad volunteer conducts a medical checkup at a community outreach in Guadalajara, Mexico

A Projects Abroad volunteer conducts a medical checkup at a community outreach in Guadalajara, Mexico

Deferring college to embark on a gap year is an exciting but understandably daunting decision. Projects Abroad is happy to help students every step of the way, giving them the necessary support and information to make planning a gap year a stress-free and fulfilling experience. The organization has a number of options for gap year students who are interested in volunteer programs and internships in developing countries, whether a student has chosen to do a full gap year abroad or just a few months.

The Global Gap program is a pre-designed gap year program for a group of gap year students to volunteer together throughout the course of an academic year (eight months). The group travels together to five countries – Ghana, South Africa, Peru, Nepal, and Thailand – to participate in a wide variety of service projects, including Childcare, Teaching, Building, Conservation, Human Rights, and more.

For students who would prefer to customize their gap year, Projects Abroad offers standard programs which allow students to choose exactly what they want to do, where they want to go, how long they want to volunteer for, and when they want to start. This gives gap year students tremendous freedom when planning their gap year and they can participate in programs in countries across the globe.

For more information about volunteer programs for gap years, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 27 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org

Camp Bow Wow Teams Up with the American Cancer Society as the First National Sponsor for Society’s Bark For Life Program

DENVER, COLORADO (April 14, 2015) – The American Cancer Society recently announced that Camp Bow Wow®, the Premier Doggy Day and Overnight Camp® franchise and an Inc. 5000 company, is supporting the Society’s fight against cancer by becoming the first national sponsor for the Society’s Bark For Life events.

“The American Cancer Society is pleased to welcome Camp Bow Wow as the first national Bark For Life sponsor,” said Sarah Robinson, Vice President, Great West Division Community Engagement, American Cancer Society. “As a premier pet services company in 37 states, their sponsorship offers a new level of support and capability to bring the community’s fight against cancer to a broader audience.”

Last year, more than 20,000 registered canine and caregiver participants at 300 Bark For Life events across the country raised $1.2 million. The fundraising events honor the lifelong contributions of canine caregivers to cancer survivors. The Bark For Life program is part of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life movement. Funds raised help the Society save lives by funding groundbreaking research, supporting education efforts, and providing free information and critical services for cancer patients.

“We are proud to sponsor the American Cancer Society’s Bark For Life events and excited to bring the fight against cancer to the Camp Bow Wow family and our valued customers,” said Julie Turner, Vice President of Marketing, Camp Bow Wow.

To register for an event near you, or for more information, visit relayforlife.org or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. To learn more about Camp Bow Wow, visit campbowwow.com.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of nearly three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 22 percent decline in cancer death rates in the US during the past two decades, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14.5 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We’re determined to finish the fight against cancer. As the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, we’re finding cures and ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, visit cancer.org or call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345.

About Camp Bow Wow®

In 13 years, Camp Bow Wow, the premier pet care franchise, has grown to include over 152 locations across North America, becoming a $71 million brand. The company was recently ranked 214 out of 500 in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list in 2013 and for the fifth year in a row named to the INC. magazine 5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies. The Camp concept provides the highest levels of fun, safety and service for its Campers, and peace of mind for their parents. Dogs romp together in an open-play environment and pricing is all-inclusive. Since the Broomfield, Colorado-based Company started franchising in 2003, Camp Bow Wow has sold more than 152 franchises in 37 states, plus one in Canada, over 41% being women-owned. In August 2014, Camp Bow Wow was acquired by VCA, Inc. (NASDAQ: WOOF), a leading animal healthcare company in the United States and Canada.

The Camp Bow Wow brand family also includes:

  • Home Buddies by Camp Bow Wow® – premier in home pet care
  • Behavior Buddies® – premier dog training
  • The Bow Wow Buddies Foundation – a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives and health of dogs everywhere, through foster programs, spay and neuter efforts, disaster assistance, canine cancer research, animal welfare education, therapy dog teams and shelter improvements.

Company Website: www.campbowwow.com

Enviros Blast EnergySolutions Nuke Waste Delay Bid

Enviro Group Calls On State to Reject Energysolutions Nuke Waste Delay Bid

Heal Utah Raises Concern Company Is Hoping To Stall Until Sb244 Goes Into Effect

State officials should move forward with their Depleted Uranium decision, rejecting EnergySolutions’ bid to stall for time, the environmental group HEAL Utah said today.

Late Monday, after the Utah Division of Radiation Control released a report indicating that the company’s Depleted Uranium study remains incomplete, EnergySolutions abruptly called for a delay in the decision-making process, allegedly to answer “unresolved questions” that the state highlighted in its report.

However, as HEAL Utah’s Executive Director Matt Pacenza points out, Utah officials have been asking EnergySolutions to answer these questions since at least Feb. 2014, when the company was asked to respond to a series of “interrogatories,” questions it repeatedly refused to answer. (For a full record of the three rounds of interrogatories between the state and company (and the report released yesterday), see this page.)

“EnergySolutions has had plenty of time to fill in the gaps in their Depleted Uranium study,” said Pacenza. “Gov. Herbert and his environmental officials have more than enough information now to make a decision.”

Perhaps, Pacenza pointed out, the real reason for the company seeking a delay isn’t to answer the “unresolved questions” it’s been ignoring for 14 months, but to wait until SB244, a bill passed this last legislative session, goes into effect.

That bill from Sen. Margaret Dayton — legislation that EnergySolutions backed — “reorganizes” the Division that produced yesterday’s skeptical report. As of July 1, the Division of Radiation Control will be eliminated, replaced by the new Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control. That new Division, which EnergySolutions has lauded for its “efficiency,” would end up making the final Depleted Uranium decision if EnergySolutions succeeds in delaying the decision-making process.

“Apparently EnergySolutions realized yesterday things weren’t going their way,” Pacenza said. “It certainly looks like the company is hoping they can stall the process until less skeptical decision-makers come along.”

These issues will be discussed at today’s monthly Radiation Control Board meeting. While the Board has no formal role in the process — and is being eliminated by SB244 as well — Division Director Rusty Lundberg is slated to update the board about the Depleted Uranium decision-making process. In addition, Pacenza will speak and urge state officials to reject the company’s bid for a delay.

“We’ve learned everything we need to know about Depleted Uranium,” he noted. “There’s no way to prove that waste that grows in hazard for two million years can be safely stored just below ground in a mound in the desert. These aren’t ‘unresolved questions.’ They’re fatal flaws.”

Great Eastern Energy Donates Trees to Communities in Need on Earth Day

30 Days of Green Campaign to Raise Awareness of Sustainable Practices Through Collaboration With Trees for the Future

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Apr 14, 2015) – In celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, Great Eastern Energy (GEE), is collaborating with Trees for the Future for a 30 Days of Green Campaign to raise awareness about sustainable practices and to assist with their efforts in planting new trees in impoverished communities.

As part of this campaign, GEE will post a new green tip on its Facebook page every day from March 24th through April 22nd. GEE will then donate the cost of planting one new tree to Trees for the Future for every post that is liked or shared.

“As an energy provider we take the well-being of our planet very seriously,” says Virginie Glaenzer, EVP Marketing at GEE. “By sharing these posts we hope to raise awareness about simple lifestyle changes that conserve resources and reduce consumption.”

Trees for the Future is an organization dedicated to planting trees, not only for ecological reasons, but to benefit those in need in communities in Africa.

“This Earth Day will be a fantastic opportunity to educate the public about our work and how everyone can help just by educating ourselves on how our daily habits affect the Earth,” says John Leary, Executive Director Trees for the Future. “We are excited to work with Great Eastern Energy, a company that shares our dedication to creating a sustainable future.”

The campaign will culminate with all 30 green tips being available via a PDF download on GEE’s website.

Follow Great Eastern Energy on Facebook to participate in 30 Days of Green: https://www.facebook.com/GreatEasternEnergy

About Great Eastern Energy:

Great Eastern Energy (GEE) is an alternative energy supplier of natural gas, electricity and energy solutions in NY, NJ and MA. By providing full service solutions, we help businesses and property owners thrive, control energy costs and increase their bottom-line. Our mission is to go beyond supplying energy. We build a trusted partnership by delivering cost-effective solutions while maintaining the highest level of service and integrity. GEE empowers people to increase awareness and improve their relationship with energy, building a better future for the next generation. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.greateasternenergy.com/

About Trees For The Future

Trees for the Future is improving the livelihoods of impoverished farmers by revitalizing degraded lands. Since 1989, with our experience in planting well over 100 million trees, we have demonstrated the transformative power of trees in helping smallholder farmers break out of the poverty trap. Today, our work in East and West Africa is helping to build a world where our farmer partners can leave a legacy of opportunity through sustainable practices and productive lands for future generations. For more information, please visit http://www.treesforthefuture.org.

Smitten Ice Cream Partners with Five Local Charities to Celebrate Volunteerism

Rewarding 2,500 Bay Area Volunteers with Ice Cream for their Commitment to Service During National Volunteer Month

San Francisco, CA (March 12, 2015) – National Volunteer Month just got a bit sweeter in the Bay Area. Smitten Ice Cream, the beloved San Francisco –based company that churns made-to-order scoops of the freshest, purest, creamiest ice cream has partnered with five local charities; San Francisco Baykeeper, Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, Headstand, SF-Marin Food Bank, and the San Francisco SPCA, to sprinkle joy and decadent ice cream into the lives of 2,500 Bay Area volunteers during the month of April 2015, National Volunteer Month. The campaign, called Smitten Community Rockstars, was created to thank the many volunteers that give their time and love to non-profit organizations that make their Bay Area communities so much better.

“The volunteers are giving their time and energy to help make the community a better place. We are super grateful to them for making an impact on the world, and we think they deserve the best. A scoop of Smitten Ice Cream is our small way to say thank you, ” shares Robyn Sue Fisher, Founder, Smitten Ice Cream.

The selected Smitten Community Rockstars will each be given a “scoop badge” of honor (a specially-designed sticker) by the charity partners redeemable during the month of April for a small ice cream at any of the four Bay Area Smitten Ice Cream locations.

volunteer_sticker Final

Each charity partner participating relies on volunteers to be able to fulfill their mission and make an impact in Bay Area communities. Volunteers can be the silent heroes that make much of the work possible. In today’s very busy world, Smitten Ice Cream hopes to bring scoops of joy to those who commit time to giving back through volunteering.

“Volunteers play a key role in our mission. They work tirelessly — every day of the year — to help animals in need. We couldn’t do it without them! We’re thankful to Smitten Ice Cream for recognizing our volunteers’ dedication and commitment to the San Francisco community,” adds Jason Walthall, Co-President, San Francisco SPCA.

Founded in 2009 by Robyn Sue Fisher, Smitten Ice Cream takes great pride in crafting decadent churned-to–order ice cream for each of their guests by using only the freshest and purest, locally sourced and organic ingredients. Smitten makes everything right down to their proprietary Brrr ™ machine which churns the utmost perfect scoop right before your eyes using liquid nitrogen (at -321˚!). Thanks to the company’s obsessively high standard for quality and chef-driven menu, Smitten Ice Cream is supremely smooth in texture with unparalleled seasonal and traditional flavors – all made-to-order just for you. With four locations across the Bay Area and expanding, Smitten has become a favorite to many who have a passion for the best ice cream in town.

Smitten Community Rockstars will be celebrated and recognized for the entire month of April. To follow the campaign, go to @SmittenIceCream Twitter/Instagram and LIKE www.facebook.com/SmittenIceCream on Facebook.
#SmittenCommunityRockstars #volunteers #BayArea #icecream #NationalVolunteerMonth

More about the Smitten Community Rockstars Charity Partners:

About San Francisco Baykeeper

For more than 25 years, San Francisco Baykeeper has worked to protect San Francisco Bay from pollution. Baykeeper uses legal action, science, advocacy, and on-the-water patrols in the Baykeeper boat to secure strong clean water laws and rein in polluters. Our vision is a San Francisco Bay where the ecosystem is healthy, recreation is safe, and wildlife thrives. www.baykeeper.org @SFBaykeeper

About Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco

Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco builds homes and community in partnership with thousands of annual volunteers, hard-working families, donors, civic leaders and other engaged community members in Marin, San Francisco and on the Peninsula. The work supporters help us do provides a critical path to financial security for families who live and work here and strengthens neighborhoods across the Bay Area. Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco has built more than 200 affordable homes in the Bay Area and is currently building Habitat Terrace, a development of 28 single-family homes in San Francisco’s Ocean View neighborhood, and Mt. Burdell Place, a 10-home development in Novato. We are doing ongoing critical home repairs and park cleanups in San Francisco’s Bayview. Those interested in supporting our work or volunteering with us can find more information at our website: www.habitatgsf.org or can follow us on facebook at facebook.com/habitatgsf or twitter @habitatgsf.

About Headstand

Founded in San Francisco in 2008, Headstand is the leading innovative non-profit working in underserved communities to combat toxic stress in K-12 students through yoga, mindfulness and character education. www.headstand.org

About SF-Marin Food Bank

The Food Bank plays a central role in the food assistance network in San Francisco and Marin, where one in four residents is at risk of hunger. Set up farmer’s market-style, the Food Bank’s pantries enable households to select groceries that can be used to create home-cooked meals. Nearly 60 percent of what is distributed is fresh fruits and vegetables. The Food Bank will distribute more than 47 million pounds of food to the community this year alone – enough for more than 107,000 meals every day. www.sfmfoodbank.org

About San Francisco SPCA

The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported, non-profit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding and is not affiliated with any national organization. Support the SF SPCA by adopting, donating, volunteering and becoming a client of our state-of-the-art veterinary hospitals. In addition to our campus in the Mission neighborhood, as a result of our recent merger with Pets Unlimited we now have a second campus in Pacific Heights. The SF SPCA offers volunteer opportunities to care for shelter dogs and cats, conduct adoption counseling, assist clients and veterinary staff, provide foster care, help with the Community Cats Program, and enrich the lives of people in the community through animal-assisted therapy. For more information about San Francisco pet adoption, call the San Francisco SPCA at (415) 522-3500 or visit sfspca.org.

To learn more about Smitten Ice Cream to go www.smittenicecream.com

Nudge Launches Nudge+Coach; Bridges Gap Between Consumers, Healthcare Providers and Fitness Wearables

Company introduces network of coaches to help users makes sense of health and fitness data, and improve their lifestyle

Richmond, VA. April 14, 2015 — Leading health and fitness app, Nudge, today announced Nudge+Coach, a new program aimed at pairing consumers with health coaches through the Nudge platform. By partnering with one of Nudge’s vetted health professionals, users can gain actionable feedback on how to improve their overall health and make sense of the data being pulled from the various wearables and fitness trackers on the market.

Nudge+Coach is the first program of its kind designed to bridge the gap between consumers using health-tracking platforms and healthcare providers looking to better understand the information being collected from these devices. The new service takes the data being pulled in from the 80 plus devices and apps that Nudge syncs with, and gives users the option to communicate with a specialized health professional from within the Nudge app.

“Our goal is to create an ecosystem where health data goes beyond the consumer and can be leveraged by health professionals to enhance the care model,” said Nudge co-founders, Mac Gambill and Phil Beene. “We created Nudge+Coach to address this problem – a way to standardize the data that’s being pulled in by the various health tracking devices, and the ability for consumers to make sense of this data by pairing up with a virtual accountability partner who can help them improve their lifestyle.”

“At Withings, we’re focused on not only providing people with the tools needed to track and monitor their health levels, but also helping them truly understand what the data collected by our devices means and empowering them to use this information to make the changes needed to reach their personal health goals,” said Cédric Hutchings, CEO of Withings. “We’re thrilled that our devices are now compatible with Nudge+Coach, so consumers can receive an extra element of personal coaching throughout their health and fitness journey.”

Through Nudge+Coach consumers can select a health coach based on their unique needs; whether it’s losing weight, eating better, or reducing stress levels, to name a few options. The Nudge coach will then provide actionable feedback in the form of personalized recommendations, goals, and tailored health plans aimed to the users specific needs. The pricing varies depending on the expertise of the coach, with most packages including introductory phone calls, multiple consultations, and unlimited in-app messaging throughout the month.

“While there are several platforms on the market that incorporate coaching into the user experience, we’re doing so in a way that leverages the health tracking apps people are already using without removing the human element from these interactions,” continued Gambill and Beene. “We believe this will ultimately increase the value in consumer health tracking apps and wearables for both the consumer audience and healthcare providers.”

Starting today, Nudge+Coach is available on iOS, with the Android app coming soon. For more information, visit http://www.nudgeyourself.com. To download the Nudge iOS or Android app, please visit the Apple Store or Google Play.

About Nudge

Nudge is a health, wellness and lifestyle company set to transform the healthcare industry by offering insight into individuals’ lifestyle choices. By tracking dietary intake, level of hydration, minutes of fitness and hours of sleep as well as syncing with the leading apps and wearables, Nudge is the principal curator of the best health and fitness apps on the market. Nudge uses a carefully calculated, evidence-proven algorithm to present users with a Nudge Factor, an indexed number representing the overall level of health of the user, which can be used for comparison with other Nudge users and friends on social media, regardless of apps and trackers used. The Nudge Factor can also be used to see where users can improve upon daily life choices, motivating them to pursue an elevated, overall well being. Launched in May 2014, Nudge is a Richmond- based company co-founded by Mac Gambill, Phil Beene and Chris Garson.

Space Dynamics Lab and Inventor Issued Patent for New Space-Based Telescope

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 13, 2015 – Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued it a patent for an invention by SDL electro-optical engineer Trent Newswander that will enable spacecraft optical payload designers and engineers a new way to realize larger telescopes on small satellites.

Newswander’s invention, known as the Multiple Petal Deployable Telescope deploys its mirrors on-orbit while precisely positioning the mirrors within nanometers. To do this, it requires no positioning sensors and precision positioning actuators typical on prior deployable space telescopes. It uses modern precision fabrication processes and kinematic and semi-kinematic interfaces to accurately position the mirror components.

“This technology addresses the size, weight, and power limitations of small satellites being able to accomplish many optical science missions that require larger telescopes,” Newswander said. “In addition to providing larger telescope apertures on a small satellite, laboratory testing of prototypes has shown that this technology can support visible imaging missions.”

“The patent award for the petal telescope continues SDL’s 55 year legacy of innovating ideas that contribute to advances in our industry,” said Niel Holt, director of SDL. “Trent and the other 450 dedicated professionals at SDL are at the vanguard of technologies and methods to improve ways in which we enable our customers in the aerospace, science and defense communities to successfully fulfill their missions.”

A unit of the Utah State University Research Foundation, SDL is one of 14 University Affiliated Research Centers in the nation. Charged with applying basic research to the technology challenges presented in the military and science arenas, SDL has developed revolutionary solutions that are changing the way the world collects and uses data. SDL’s core competencies are electro-optical sensor systems, calibration, thermal management, reconnaissance systems, and small satellite technologies. Headquartered in Logan, Utah, SDL has operations in Albuquerque, N.M.; Bedford, Mass.; Washington; Los Angeles; Huntsville, Ala.; and Houston. www.sdl.usu.edu/

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Honors Howie Mandel, Darrell Steinberg, Jordana Steinberg, Mary Lambert and Ryan Anderson at Nineteenth Annual Erasing the Stigma Awards

CULVER CITY, CA–(Marketwired – Apr 9, 2015)Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services’ 19th annual Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards will honor several passionate champions of mental health awareness and prevention, including television personality Howie Mandel, former California state senator and President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg and his daughter, Jordana Steinberg, singer/songwriter Mary Lambert and NBA standout Ryan Anderson, a forward for the New Orleans Pelicans. Emceed by comedian Wendy Liebman, the Awards will take place on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

“I commend tonight’s honorees for courageously talking about how mental illness has affected their lives. I’m proud to be emceeing the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards and hope one day we will all be as comfortable talking about seeing the psychiatrist as we are about going to the dentist,” Liebman said.

Mandel will be honored with the Beatrice Stern Media Award, created by the Stern Family to recognize individuals who have used the media to erase the stigma of mental illness.

“For many years, I was scared that bad things would happen if people found out I suffered from mental illness. But honestly, only good things have happened since I started talking about my experience with OCD and ADHD. We need to talk about our mental health in the same way we talk about our physical health — without stigma or shame. I’m thrilled Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is honoring me with this year’s Beatrice Stern Media Award and proud to do my part in erasing the stigma of mental illness,” Mandel said.

Darrell Steinberg will be honored for championing the passage of California’s Mental Health Services Act in 2004, which expanded access to mental health services, while helping provide housing, treatment and recovery for thousands of Californians every day.

“Mental Health does not have to be a life sentence of hopelessness and despair. Recovery happens. That’s why we worked so hard to pass Proposition 63 and SB 82, which have ensured access to mental health care for tens of thousands of Californians. While we still face many challenges, we have made significant progress in the past decade since the Mental Health Services Act went into effect. I am proud to be honored with the Didi Hirsch Erasing the Stigma Leadership Award for our work together,” Darrell Steinberg said.

Jordana Steinberg will receive a leadership award for her courage to speak openly about her own experience with mental illness.

“The more we know about mental illness, the more likely we are to seek help and get better. I’m honored to be recognized by the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services with a Leadership Award for taking a step to help erase the stigma. I hope that by sharing my experience with a severe childhood mood disorder, I can inspire other young people struggling with mental health issues to get help and have hope,” Jordana Steinberg said.

Anderson will be presented with a leadership award for his advocacy of suicide prevention following the loss of his girlfriend and reality television star, Gia Allemand.

Lambert will be honored as the mental health ambassador for her courage and willingness to speak about her experience with bipolar disorder.

“Speaking our truth is one of the most powerful things we can do to erase the stigma of mental illness,” Lambert said. “I feel honored to be recognized by Didi Hirsch’s Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards for speaking my truth about living with bipolar disorder. People carry around a lot of guilt and shame for stuff that shouldn’t matter, and that guilt can be debilitating. What I want to do as an artist is to invite people to let go of that shame, to remind them that everybody has something to overcome and that we can all live full and meaningful lives just by giving permission to be who we really are.”

Erasing the Stigma is an initiative that supports the work of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a leading provider of mental health, substance use and suicide prevention services. The more people can openly discuss mental health issues and depression, the more likely they are to receive the help they need.

“Most people are amazed that about half of us will have panic attacks, depression or other mental disorders at some point in our lives,” said Dr. Kita Curry, president and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. “By bravely sharing their personal stories, our honorees let others know they are not alone and ease the shame that prevents them from seeking help.”

Tickets for the event are available by clicking here. Additional information about the awards event is available at erasingthestigma.org.

About Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

With more than 70 years of experience, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services transforms lives by providing quality mental health and substance abuse treatment in communities where stigma or poverty limits access. From 11 locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties and about 100 schools, Didi Hirsch helps more than 90,000 children, families and adults each year.

Founded in 1958, Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center helps people at risk of suicide, concerned loved ones and those who have lost someone to suicide. The first in the nation to establish a 24-hour hotline, the Suicide Prevention Center’s crisis counselors answered more than 62,000 calls, chats and texts in 2014. The Center offers support groups for people who have attempted suicide or are grieving a suicidal loss. It is one of five in the nation taking calls for the national Disaster Distress Helpline. Learn more at www.didihirsch.org.

Is Technology Slowing Us Down?

Ways That Technology Might Be Inhibiting Our Efficiency and Solutions to Maximizing its Benefits

By Benoît Gruber, VP Corporate Communication Sage Enterprise Market Europe & Sage ERP X3

Welcome to the Digital Age. Gone are the days of typewriters, Polaroid cameras and rotary phones. Computers, digital cameras and smart phones have not only replaced their prehistoric counterparts in our ever-advancing technological world, but they are seemingly as much a necessity to one’s survival as food and clothing. Why? Simply put, they are the normal means of communication, productivity and solutions in both the corporate world and our personal lives. As technology continues to advance, however so must our understanding of how it all works and how to use it correctly. Failure to utilise technology correctly can negatively impact communication and efficiency. Here are three signs that the technology you are using may actually be slowing you down, and solutions for improvement and maximizing its benefits.

  • Despite the use of technology, your tasks are taking you the same amount of time or sometimes longer to complete.

Business solutions programs and management software can be of great benefit to companies and are being adopted at a rapid pace. If these systems are not implemented or maintained correctly, there can be costly consequences. There are a number of factors that could be contributing to the common problem of technological systems slowing down productivity. The most obvious being a lack of training and knowledge of how to use the systems you are operating under. A system can only be as efficient as the user navigating it. It is of the upmost importance that when a computerised business program is implemented, that any and all individuals expected to use it be properly trained. There are often many hidden “shortcuts” among the obvious buttons and tabs of a program. The amount of time it takes for a person to learn as they go can be a great cost to a business. Initial and ongoing training with system update demonstrations are essential to efficient use of business solutions programs.

Another time ticker is a backed up system. Just like a good old fashion filing cabinet, technological devices only have so much storage space. As this memory is used up, the systems become sluggish. We have all seen this happen with our smart phones, cameras, computers and even our digital video recorders. Without fail, our systems always slow down on us or get locked up just when we are reaching deadlines, trying to digitally capture important moments or even want to record our favorite television show. This can be avoided! Schedule routine back-ups to other drives and delete old files that are no longer needed. Clean out your digital device, just as you would a filing cabinet. It is also important to run checks on computer system hard drives to look for viruses, adware and other debilitating files that the system may have picked up. The best way to stay on top of this is to have a computer tech available to run routine checks and computer maintenance.

Finally, you must make sure that you have implemented the most appropriate software systems for your business. The system must be adequate enough to handle all aspects of your business, yet not so complex that they are overwhelming or unnecessary to your operations and employees. Sometimes, less is more. A customizable system is always a great option if you cannot find a standard program that suits your needs.

  • Electronic communication is poor at times and taking longer than necessary.

In business, effective communication is essential. To be successful, you need to communicate clearly and concisely to customers, business associates, and partners. Conversely, poor communication can lead to a drain on productivity and negatively affect the bottom line.

Because of the disjointed nature of electronic communication, we may not be as clear and concise when communicating. Vague email messages requiring extensive clarification can greatly affect a company’s workflow. Instead of wasting time going back and forth, make an effort to communicate succinctly and as clearly as possible in all of your communications. To ensure written communication is effective, the following are a few practices to adopt:

  • Prior to hitting send, take a moment to re-read your communication to ensure you are fully addressing the subject matter.
  • Ensure the structure of the email is easy to follow by using bullet points rather than long paragraphs.
  • Make sure you are answering every question in your reply to others who are seeking answers in their initial email.
  • At the close of the email, ask the recipient to confirm receipt of the email, ask them if they agree or disagree with your thoughts, and ask them to share their feedback.
  • If you sense a lack of effective communication occurring via email, picking up a phone or speaking in person might be the best option to avoid wasting time and misunderstandings.

Effective business communication skills are crucial to successfully completing any project, whether that is selling a widget to the customer in front of you or completing a presentation with a colleague in a different department. By communicating clearly and concisely, you will be more efficient as well as a good example to your colleagues.

  • Too many different technology devices are overwhelming and difficult to manage.

You have your laptop in front of you, a large monitor behind it, your smartphone to the side of your laptop and your office phone in the corner. As you try to focus on the current task at hand, text messages are buzzing in, emails are popping up on your monitor and the phone is ringing off the hook. Multitasking is especially true for younger generations, who have been juggling technology devices since they were able to walk. How do you get anything done? The answer is that you probably do, but not efficiently! To increase productivity and use your time efficiently, here are some ways to manage your time and reduce distractions:

  • Schedule specific times throughout your workday to read and respond to emails. Good times might be first thing in the morning, right after lunch and at the end of the day, before leaving the office. Do not make a habit of stopping to read an email every time it pops up.
  • Implement one form of communication for urgent matters only, such as inner-office instant messaging.
  • Turn your smart phone ringer/vibrate off and use the “Do Not Disturb” function to limit notifications. Dedicate a couple times throughout the day to check for messages or missed calls.
  • If your office phone rings while in the middle of a project or work task, let it go to voicemail. You can check your message and return the call when you are not knee deep in thought and focus.

You will find that you work far more efficiently without the constant texting, phone calls, and email notifications rattling your brain and disturbing your focus all day long. Your work will be of more quality and done in a timelier manner without such distractions.

The ongoing advancement of technology offers us diverse and instantaneous forms of communication, business solutions and entertainment options. Its use can be greatly beneficial to a company’s productivity, success and growth with the proper training, maintenance, set limitations and efficient utilization of these technological systems.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Benoît Gruber joined Sage in 2008 and is, since October 2013, VP of Corporate Communications and Brand for Sage Enterprise-Market Europe and Sage ERP X3. He leads, defines and implements the strategy of corporate and digital communication in cohesion with the overall business strategy. He acts as a spokesperson and an expert in solution with opinion leaders, analysts, press and customers. He was previously VP Product & Alliances for Sage Mid-Market Europe solutions. In this capacity, he was responsible for global product strategy of Sage ERP X3 solution. He is in charge of Product Management & Marketing for Sage ERP X3 globally and ensuring the Operating Company teams are aligned behind the product strategy. He also serves as the solution expert when dealing with thought leaders, analysts, and press.

Prior to working at Sage, Benoît worked at SAP (from 2000-2008), where he held a variety of marketing and product management positions before becoming Sr. Industry Principle (Product & Business Development). He was a member of the EMEA Manufacturing Industries Business Group. Prior to working at SAP, Benoît worked in different management consulting, technology service companies dedicated for ERP, business intelligence, and new technologies. He also had his own company in the media and publishing sectors.

Publicolor Honors Paula Cooper at Annual Stir, Splatter + Roll Gala

On Thursday, April 9th, 2015, Publicolor will honor the visionary contemporary gallerist Paula Cooper at their annual Stir, Splatter + Roll gala. The evening, emceed by Mark Mitten, includes painting alongside some of our city’s leading architects, artists and designers, a silent auction of one-of-a-kind totes created by leading designers, and a live auction all held at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School (122 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City) with cocktails beginning at 6:00 PM and the dinner and program beginning at 7:30 PM. For a preview of the totes to be auctioned the night of the event, visit www.publicolor.org.

This high-energy fête will draw 500 dynamic New Yorkers and luminaries in the worlds of business, fashion, politics, design, education, and philanthropy. Lydia Fenet of Christie’s Auction House will be the auctioneer extraordinaire.

”I have such admiration for Paula,” says Ruth Lande Shuman, Founder+President Publicolor. “She was prescient when she opened the first art gallery in desolate Soho, and then again when she moved to Chelsea. I love that her gallery has always been more than walls to view art. It’s an idea exchange, welcoming artists from many disciplines, and hosting events to raise awareness for both social and political causes. Most importantly, I admire Paula’s steady integrity in an art world that’s undergone some major changes. She’s been steadfast in her commitment to her artists.”

“Publicolor is a direct and brilliant avenue to a first giant step in changing our precious children’s lives,” says Paula Cooper. “I am thrilled to be honored by Publicolor and hope that others, especially those associated with the art world, will join in support of this remarkable organization.”

All proceeds go toward Publicolor’s mission to engage disconnected students in their education, while teaching them strong and transferable work habits so they are prepared to be productive in both college and career.

Gala Co-Chairs are: Jeffrey Banks, Sascha Bauer, Gene and Barbara Kohn, Michael Kors, Elissa and GreatNeck Richman, and Publicolor’s Founder+President Ruth Lande Shuman.

Guests planning to attend: Christo, Joel Shapiro, Barbara Bertozzi, Michelle Oka Doner, John + Ann Ehrenkranz, Borough President Gale Brewer, Sherry Bronfman, Dana Bronfman, Charles + Rita Bronfman, Rudy Crew, Mark DiSuvero, Robert Grosvenor, Julian Lethbridge, Ellen Phelan, Meg Webster, Jackie Winsor, Bing Wright and Andy Oshrin.

Team Leaders participating that night include: John Box Bricker, Alissa Bucher & Rob Rogers, Carlton DeWoody, RaineyDay Erwin, Kate Falchi, Wendy Evans Joseph, Maira Kalman & Rick Meyerowitz, Julian Lethbridge, Frank Lupo & Mimi Taft, Jonathan Marvel, Justin Matherly, Takaaki Matsumoto, Nicole Miller, Michelle Smith, Peter Stamberg & Paul Aferiat, Tucker Viemeister, Madeline Weinrib, Saya Woolfalk, Bing Wright, and Gerard Yosca.

Tote Designers for the Silent Auction include: Morris Adjmi, Ross Bleckner, Laura Bonn, Aubry Clodagh, Judy Collins, Francisco Costa, Angela Cummings, Laura Day, Jonny Detiger, Kyle DeWoody, Jamie Drake, Sam Edelman, Debrah Pearson Feinn, Tom Geismar, Joseph Giovannini, Nancye Green & Michael Donovan, Barbara & Paul Haigh, Dolores Jansen, Betsey Johnson, Rashid Johnson, Wendy Evans Joseph, Alexander Julian, Nikki Kule, Jonathan Marvel, Louis Nelson, Giovanni Pellone, Jean & Tom Phifer, Karim Rashid, David Rockwell, Rob Rogers, Michelle Smith, Aida Sulova for Henry Myerberg, Mickalene Thomas, Gael Towey & Stephen Doyle, Calvin Tsao & Zack McKown, Vadie Turner, and Patricia Underwood.

The event’s Artist Committee includes: Tauba Auerbach, Lynda Benglis, Sam Durant, Liz Glynn, Melissa Kretschmer + Carl Andre, Christian Marclay, Justin Matherly, Kelley Walker and Dan Walsh.

Publicolor was founded in 1996 by Ruth Lande Shuman with the mission to counter our inner- city public schools’ alarming dropout rate by engaging young people in their education through a continuum of 5 design- based programs, academic support and teaching career readiness skills. Publicolor directly addresses two of the root causes of poverty in America: the under-education of public school students and their lack of preparedness for the workforce. Unique to Publicolor—and central to its mission—is the beautification and revitalization of public and civic spaces through the hard work of our students and the power of paint, color, design, and collaborations that engage students and the community as a whole.

For more information, please visit www.publicolor.org.

About Ruth Lande Shuman:

1A dynamic and passionate innovator, Ruth Lande Shuman is an award-winning industrial designer and Founder/President of Publicolor. Ruth has been deeply committed to community-based volunteer work for over thirty years, most notably as founding trustee of the Big Apple Circus, where she now serves as Trustee Emerita. She was also a board member of the Wiltwyck school’s union-free school, a board member of the Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund at Pratt Institute, and as the Mayor’s representative to the board of the Museum of Art & Design in New York City. Ruth founded Publicolor in 1996 to use color, collaboration, design, and the discipline of the commercial painting to engage at-risk students in their education, targeting the most underserved communities, most underperforming schools and most seriously disadvantaged middle and high school students. Ruth currently runs a colorful midtown, NY staff that believes that Publicolor not only transform buildings, they transform lives.

About Paula Cooper:

2Paula Cooper opened the first art gallery in SoHo in 1968 with an inaugural exhibition to benefit the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. In 1996, she was once again a pioneer in relocating the gallery to Chelsea. Committed to presenting art that is conceptually unique and visually challenging, she has nurtured the careers of Lynda Benglis, Robert Gober, Donald Judd, Sherrie Levine, Christian Marclay, Rudolf Stingel, Kelley Walker and many others. She continues to represent artists who participated in the gallery’s first shows, among them, Carl Andre, Mark di Suvero, Robert Grosvenor and the Estate of Sol LeWitt. Beyond its immediate artistic program, the gallery has also regularly hosted concerts, performances and other artistic events to benefit various organizations. For 25 years until 2000, the gallery presented a much-celebrated series of New Year’s Eve readings of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans. A board member of The Kitchen for 22 years and president for 10 years, Cooper now serves on the Board of Advisors at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. She is the recent recipient of the award of Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government (2014). In 2003 Cooper and her husband, the publisher Jack Macrae, opened the independent bookstore 192 Books.

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