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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Benefunder to Offer Its “Philanthropic Marketplace” To Advisors Through American Endowment Foundation

Opportunity for Advisors to Retain Asset Management Role In Directing High-Impact, Intergenerational Giving Strategies

Press Release – San Diego, October 31, 2016 – Benefunder, an organization that enables wealth advisors to offer clients a new solution for high-impact philanthropy by partnering with donor advised funds (DAFs), announced that its unique marketplace of philanthropic opportunities will be made available to advisors and their clients through the American Endowment Foundation (AEF), the nation’s largest independent sponsor of DAFs.

Benefunder offers a highly efficient approach for targeted, high-impact giving to a broad range of initiatives in research and innovation by donors working with advisors. Through Benefunder, donors can gain access to the best and brightest minds in whatever category interests them, with ongoing engagement with the researchers and their work.

New Strategic Initiative Focused on Broadening Access to Platform

The relationship with the AEF is the first step in a new strategic initiative by Benefunder to broaden access among advisors and donors to its platform via DAFs offered by leading wealth management firms.

“We are very pleased to be working with AEF, which is distinguished nationwide for its dedication to fostering the growth of family philanthropy in the U.S.,” said Christian Braemer, Benefunder Chief Executive Officer. “Benefunder will become the philanthropic specialist to AEF’s network of financial advisors, with our unique marketplace and expertise helping advisors broaden their clients’ access to attractive philanthropic opportunities and make their giving far more efficient and engaging.

“With AEF’s support, we are looking forward to introducing the Benefunder platform to an even broader universe of donors as well as advisors seeking a flexible, easily implemented approach for impactful client philanthropy,” he said.

Founded in 1993, AEF currently administers approximately $1 billion in its donor advised funds. In addition to enabling donors to more efficiently target their giving to causes especially meaningful to them, AEF empowers advisors to reinforce client relationships by allowing advisors to manage all charitable assets on their preferred platform, and represents a means for encouraging the next generation to retain the advisor’s support in sustaining the giving strategy longer-term.

According to research by U.S. Trust, 98 percent of high net worth individuals are philanthropic, with “believing the gift can make a difference” their strongest motivation. “More and more, clients are seeking to translate their ‘success into significance,’” said Peter McCrea, Vice President of Development at AEF. “They want to use their wealth to advance causes they feel passionate about and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the recipients of their giving, in order to actually facilitate and see progress and impact.

“AEF and Benefunder will help advisors powerfully address this desire, with an approach for giving that supports tangible solutions for the client’s most deeply-felt concerns. AEF assures financial advisors an indispensable, ongoing asset management role – a role that deepens the relationship between advisor and client, and ultimately the client’s entire family,” he said.

Solving the “Donor Problem”

Over half of all wealth creation since World War II can trace its roots back to a research grant, yielding such fundamental innovations as the Internet, lasers, gene sequencing, and countless medical advances. Though funding research importantly generates vital breakthroughs addressing a broad range of societal problems, identifying and supporting the best research opportunities can be expensive and time consuming. Also, publicly funded research has been stagnant for more than a decade, and less than four percent of the approximately $358 billion in annual U.S. philanthropy goes to support research.

Benefunder seeks to reduce this deficit with a scalable channel for directing more philanthropic dollars to research, with the goal of helping to generate more innovation as well as empowering advisors with a valued service and providing donors a new, smarter way to support their passions.

More than 650 researchers from top institutions nationwide, including eight of the nine Ivy League universities and the nation’s top medical and technological schools, are represented on the Benefunder platform, focusing on research and innovation in life science, new technology, the environment, and the arts and humanities. The programs reflect all stages of research and innovation, including proof of concept, pre-commercialization, clinical trials, and on-campus incubators and accelerators.

About Benefunder

Benefunder is a unique funding channel for research and innovation, providing financial advisors with a better solution for targeted philanthropy and donors with a smarter and more meaningful way to give. Benefunder is the U.S.’s largest donor platform for active research, offering the opportunity to directly support more than 650 top researchers working toward breakthrough treatments and solutions that will greatly impact and benefit society. For more information, please visit www.benefunder.com.

About American Endowment Foundation

American Endowment Foundation (AEF), a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 1993, is the largest independent administrator of donor advised funds (DAFs) in the U.S. AEF’s mission is to expand the capacity of American philanthropy. AEF does not manage or custody any assets. As a neutral, independent charitable administrator, AEF focuses on serving the charitable interests of its individual donors and their trusted advisors.

Online Care Platform SuperCarers Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Challenge The UK’s Inefficient & Costly Care System

  • SuperCarers launches £500,000 crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs
  • The ‘eHarmony for care’ provides reliable and affordable solution for the four million elderly people in the UK requiring care by 2029
  • Cutting out the agency middle-man enables carers to earn 70% more per hour

Press Release – London, 31st October 2016: SuperCarers, Europe’s leading online care platform, is on a mission to disrupt the UK’s archaic, expensive and inefficient care system. Technology continues to revolutionise the way Brits eat, travel and shop; now care is providing an ageing population with a safe, reliable and affordable solution. The company has today launched a £500,000 equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs to drive its growth.

Two million elderly people in the UK alone have a care related need and four million will need daily help by 2029 and yet by 2025 there will be a deficit of 600,000 carers in spite of increasing demand.* Local authorities can’t keep up with the increasing costs or scale of care, leaving many without the critical assistance required to live their lives with dignity.

SuperCarers is the brainchild of brothers, Adam and Daniel Pike, who witnessed the inefficiencies of the care system first hand as they were growing up. Reflecting on their Gran’s story in 2014 inspired them to leave their city jobs roles and pursue a viable solution to help other families in the same predicament: affordable, world-class care.

Their story is one that millions across the UK can relate to. The boys’ mother had become the primary carer for their elderly grandma but struggled to balance this responsibility with her other full-time role as mum of two young boys. Grandma Pam was desperate to stay in her own home but because home-care agency support was inadequate and unaffordable she was forced to go into a residential care home, where her health and happiness deteriorated rapidly.

The mission to improve the quality of life for older people, families and carers finally began with the launch of SuperCarers in December 2015. The fledgling business offers a unique solution to the gaping hole in the care market, enabling families to work and manage family life with the assurance that their elderly parents can continue to live in the comfort and security of their own homes.

The company curates a personal matchmaking service where families can find vetted, reliable and compassionate carers for loved ones. SuperCarers matches carers with families based on personality and interest, as well as care need, location and timing.

SuperCarers bypasses the high overhead costs of agency middlemen, without forfeiting quality of care via a user-friendly online platform. The smart technology empowers families to monitor, manage and pay for care independently. This in turn generates a saving that alleviates the financial burdens of traditional care and simultaneously improves the quality and pay of carers.

  • SuperCarers earn £12.80/hour, versus a typical £7.40, and as a result the platform attracts motivated and compassionate carers.
  • Smart technology creates a simple and effective platform with transparent payment, care scheduling and communication.
  • A personalised matching process that tailors care to the requirements of each and every individual.

Says Adam Pike, CEO and Co-Founder of SuperCarers: “The UK’s care system is at breaking point. Carers are trusted to look after the elderly, but they are demotivated, poorly paid and as a consequence have limited incentive to deliver the best possible care. In turn, those requiring care often receive an overpriced, poor quality service that doesn’t suit their needs, and they have little to no control over the process.

“SuperCarers solves both issues. We believe that by empowering and connecting people in the same community, care can become more personal, reliable and consistent. It is our mission to make finding, monitoring and paying for care easier and giving families the tools they need to find the right match for their loved ones. We also want to make care a more rewarding profession, one that is not only personally rewarding, but financially too.”

The brand is currently backed by the founders of Innocent Smoothie via their JamJar Investment Fund (other investments include Deliveroo, Graze and Babylon Health) and Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, the former CEO of Marie Curie, now the Chairman of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

SuperCarers’s advisory board is made up of experienced leaders in the sector including Alan Rosenbach, who was until recently Director of Strategy of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Paul Burstow, former Minister of State for Community and Social Care, Jan Burns MBE, Chair of the National Dignity Council and Andrea Pope-Smith, Ex-Director of Adult Social Services at two Councils.

Richard Reed, Partner at JamJar Investment comments: “JamJar is delighted to be an investor in SuperCarers. From our experience at Innocent drinks, we understand how important it is to develop a brand that connects with consumers and wins their loyalty. There is a rapidly growing consumer need for care as the numbers of dependent family members increases every year. Although care should be affordable and delivered to the highest standard by someone who is being fairly rewarded all too often this is not the case. The founders Adam and Daniel genuinely understand the sensitivities and complexities necessary to deliver operational excellence and combine a technically slick back end with a great experience for families, older people and carers.”

JamJar Investments is the innocent drinks founders private investments fund. They love, help and invest in high growth consumer brands. Their portfolio includes Graze, Dojo and Deliveroo.

Alan Rosenbach, Director of Strategy of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) says: “I am immensely proud and privileged to chair the SuperCarers Care Advisory Board. We are committed to make sure that our approach to care and support helps older adults to live independently and with dignity. We are also tackling the challenges of social isolation and loneliness. Our platform gives families and individuals total control of their care because they exercise genuine choice about who provides their care and when it is provided. Our SuperCarers are paid handsomely for their work as part of our approach to recognise what a fantastic job they undertake looking after some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Says Jeff Lynn, CEO and Co-Founder of Seedrs: “We are delighted to welcome SuperCarers onto Seedrs, and we wish Adam and Daniel every success in their crowdfunding campaign. Improving the way care is provided is both a noble and potentially very lucrative ambition, and SuperCarers has a great proposition that is already getting significant traction. Moreover, I have known Adam for many years and have found him to be one of the most impressive and dedicated entrepreneurs I’ve come across. I have very high hopes for this business and its campaign, and I’m thrilled they’ve chosen to work with us.”

*Source: Age UK,, Deloitte: Better Care for frail older people and LaingBuisson: Care for Elderly People UK

Andy Murray Serves an Ace Backing British Entrepreneurs on Leading Equity Crowdfunding Platform Seedrs

  • Tennis champion Andy Murray OBE backs best of British Tech on leading equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs
  • Andy Murray invests in WeSwap and Perkbox through Seedrs
  • Murray’s investment portfolio on Seedrs includes 17 early-stage businesses

Press Release – London, 28 October 2016: Tennis champion, world number two Andy Murray continues to back early-stage businesses as part of his strategic relationship with Seedrs, today identifying two ambitious British Tech companies, Perkbox and WeSwap, investing undisclosed amounts into each.

Perkbox, the UK’s leading perks and benefits scheme, quickly surpassed their £1.5 million target on Seedrs, currently overfunding by 270% with more than £4 million raised through 230 investors in just four days. Murray joins VC firm Draper Esprit which led the round with £2.5 million investment, alongside Zoopla’s Alex Chesterman.

The startup which launched in January 2015, already has over 300,000 paying members including British Gas, BUPA and Deliveroo and has generated more than £14 million in revenues since launch. The company is the go-to solution for combatting staff turnover and low productivity in the workplace, encouraging managers to reward team members.

WeSwap, the world’s first peer-to-peer travel money platform, has so far raised £1.8 million from over 2,200 individual investors including Ascot Capital and is overfunding by 185%. In the past 12 months the disruptive startup has grown by 204%, welcoming over 200,000 new users to the WeSwap community. Called the people’s currency exchange, WeSwap exchanges currency directly between real people, so users receive the fairest rate by cutting out the middleman.

Murray said about the investments, “I’m continuing to grow my portfolio through Seedrs and have tried to choose companies from different sectors as much as possible. I was interested in Perkbox as I employ a number of people through my own sports management company, the 77 Group, as well as a number of independent contractors like physios, coaches and trainers. I’m sure they’ll all be wanting to hear lots more about Perkbox! WeSwap was interesting to me because I travel so much around the world – I thought this was a really clever idea and could immediately see the gap in the market for this business to work”.

Saurav Chopra, CEO and co-founder of Perkbox: “We’re delighted that Andy Murray has chosen to invest in us. He is really carving out a reputation for himself as an avid supporter of fast-growth businesses, and we’re very proud that Perkbox will become part of his burgeoning portfolio of exciting and dynamic businesses. Andy Murray has previously emphasised how important it is for him to back up businesses who hold the same dedication, hunger and professional standards as he does, and we’re thrilled that he sees these very same values manifest in the people here that power the Perkbox brand.”

Jared Jesner, CEO and Co Founder of WeSwap: “We are delighted and overwhelmed to have exceeded our funding target with more than £1.8 million invested into our campaign on Seedrs so far. Over 2200 members of our community have backed WeSwap, all of whom will play a part in our future success. Having a tennis hero like Andy Murray invest in the campaign as part of the crowd has truly been the icing on the cake”

Jeff Lynn, CEO and co-founder of Seedrs: “It’s great to see how active Andy has become in early-stage investment and his recent investments on Seedrs into Perkbox and WeSwap reaffirm this. He is a great example of an investor who understands this asset class and the importance of building a broad investment portfolio, into which these two disruptive tech brands will add even more diversity.”

Nonprofits Can Beat Fundraising Goals by Implementing Smart Marketing Strategies for #GivingTuesday

Annual campaign presents unique opportunity to boost fourth-quarter donations

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Press Release – Charlotte, N.C. – By implementing smart marketing strategies for #GivingTuesday — the nonprofit world’s answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday — organizations have a great opportunity to maximize donor participation and push yearly donations over the top, according to InChrist Communications, a leading faith-based communications firm. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

“#GivingTuesday is a great vehicle for nonprofits that rely on fourth-quarter donations to meet their yearly budgets,” said Palmer Holt, president of InChrist Communications. “Coming just after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, it’s a custom-made opportunity to remind people that ‘it’s more blessed to give than to receive’ — and to make it easy for them to do so.”

#GivingTuesday falls on Nov. 29 this year.

According to Holt, there are eight essential steps to crafting a successful #GivingTuesday strategy, which is described in detail in the agency blog post, “#GivingTuesday — a golden opportunity to boost donations.”

“It’s important for nonprofits to craft a well-rounded strategy that will make donors aware of this worldwide movement and motivate them to give,” Holt said. Key elements of an effective campaign include press releases, social media and organic posting, paid ads, blog posts, landing pages and targeted email blasts.

InChrist Communications helps national and international parachurch ministries and churches create all these components, allowing them to maximize the potential of this growing phenomenon.

“We’re always alert to opportunities to increase their visibility and bring their message to the public in a powerful way, which is the key to increasing donations,” said Holt. “For example, #GivingTuesday allows missions organizations to create a toolkit that will generate support for the missionaries and ministries under their umbrella. For churches, it’s an opportunity to give outside the Sunday service.”

Nonprofits of all descriptions have begun paying closer attention to the #GivingTuesday phenomenon, and with good reason. Since its beginning in 2012, #GivingTuesday donations have risen dramatically each year. The total in 2015 was more than $116 million — 145 percent of the previous year’s level. And donations in 2016 are projected to reach $252 million — 116 percent of last year’s total.

Interested nonprofit representatives can click here to learn the eight keys to a successful #GivingTuesday campaign and to schedule a free strategy session with InChrist Communications.

About InChrist Communications

InChrist Communications (www.inchristcommunications.com) is a national, full-service communications firm based in the Charlotte, N.C., area primarily serving faith-based ministries, churches and businesses. Core services include branding, marketing, public relations/publicity/media relations, advertising, social media, crisis communications, creative services and special projects. The company excels in strategic planning, creative concepts and solutions, tactical execution, adherence to timelines and budgets, demonstrable results and customer service.

Wefunder Launches 10 New Regulation Crowdfunding Offerings – the Biggest One-Week Bump in Offerings Since Reg CF Legislation Took Effect in May 2016

Press Release – San Francisco, Calif. – Oct. 24, 2016Wefunder, the most popular platform for Regulation Crowdfunding, today launched 10 new Reg CF offerings – the biggest one-week bump in offerings since the legislation took effect in May 2016.

Before today:

  • 45 offerings had launched across all the FINRA-approved Reg CF portals
  • 43 of those had met their funding goal (30 on Wefunder)
  • In total, companies have raised more than $10M via Reg CF – including nearly $500,000 in the past week (more than half via Wefunder)
  • Three companies have raised $1M plus via Reg CF (all on Wefunder)

With today’s new offering, the total number of companies now stands at 55. The newest Reg CF offerings are:

  • Liquid Piston, which is building compact, powerful, quiet, efficient, low-vibration, multi-fuel capable combustion engines;
  • Bloomery Plantation Distillery, which crafts home-grown, natural fruit cordials;
  • Tampon Tribe, making organic feminine hygiene available to women around the world;
  • Magic Instruments; which offers a new type of electric guitar that anyone can play;
  • Evelo, maker of comfortable and stylish electric bicycles;
  • Monkey Rum, which offers evolved, barrel-aged rums;
  • CrowdMed, which crowdsources diagnosis, helping solve cases for real patients;
  • Daplie, the first home server for everyone; and
  • Airbitz, a blockchain inspired, decentralized, open source, zero knowledge global information security solution.

In addition, Wefunder portfolio company Speakeasy is returning to raise a second round (after raising more than $460,000 via Wefunder in August 2016 – exceeding its initial goal of $50,000).

Mike Norman, President and Co-Founder of Wefunder, said, “In recent weeks, we’ve seen accelerating interest from companies wanting to leverage Reg CF – perhaps after seeing the successful closing of so many Reg CF offerings. We’re also seeing investments ramp up – in the past week alone, Wefunder offerings raised more than $500,000. The numbers show that Wefunder has broken away from the pack to become far and away the number one choice for Reg CF among both companies and investors – it’s really exciting to see this taking off.”

Norman noted that companies with a strong local following tend to do particularly well with Reg CF offerings. “Companies that already have a strong base of loyal customers have a built-in audience for raising money – because often, passionate customers welcome the chance to own equity in the companies they love,” he said.

The Regulation Crowdfunding legislation went into effect May 16, 2016, allowing everyday people (not just the wealthy) to invest as little as $100 in startups and small businesses. Also known as Title III of the JOBS Act, the law allows private companies to raise up to $1 million per year from their friends, customers, neighbors, and communities, by selling either debt or equity.

Wefunder is registered with the SEC and FINRA as a funding portal, eligible to facilitate Regulation Crowdfunding offerings. Wefunder’s founders played a key role in helping to write the JOBS Act Title III legislation and facilitating its passage by Congress in 2012, and they are currently working closely with congressional representatives on the Fix Crowdfunding Act, which ties up several loose ends not addressed in the Title III legislation.

To register as a potential investor at Wefunder, visit wefunder.com. The minimum investment is $100. To get funded on Wefunder, visit wefunder.com/raise_funding.

About Wefunder

Wefunder helps anyone invest as little as $100 in startups you love, and is the most popular platform for Regulation Crowdfunding. Its vision is to build a new type of stock market (“a NASDAQ for riskier ventures”) that lets the public allocate capital to a wider range of businesses, more broadly and efficiently than banks or venture capitalists. Investors on Wefunder have invested more than $20 million into 130+ companies since 2013, including Zenefits, Checkr and Casetext. Learn more about Wefunder’s story at wefunder.com/wefunder or follow us @wefunder.

The Draw For The 2016 Nike Mag Raises $6.75M To Help The Michael J. Fox Foundation Speed A Cure For Parkinson’s Disease

Press Release – NEW YORK, Oct. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) today announced that the Draw for the Nike Mag raised $6.75 million, 100 percent of which will go straight to high-impact programs to accelerate a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

The Draw and auctions featured a limited-edition release of 88 pairs of the iconic self-lacing shoe, with the final 89th pair to be auctioned to the highest bidder at the Foundation’s benefit gala on November 12 in New York City. The world leader in athletic footwear and apparel has now contributed a total of more than $16 million since 2011 to the Foundation’s mission to eradicate Parkinson’s disease.

“Thanks to Nike, we’ve raised a boatload of money for research and we’ve had tons of fun while doing it,” said Michael J. Fox. “We’re grateful to everyone who’s engaged in our work and we welcome those who have come to learn more about us through this amazing partnership.”

One final chance remains to own the Nike Mag and a piece of pop culture history. The only remaining pair of Nike Mag shoes will be auctioned next month at MJFF’s benefit gala, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s,” in New York.

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Through the Draw for the Nike Mag, Nike set out to raise millions for research, activating new audiences worldwide to support the critical unmet medical need in Parkinson’s disease. Nike and MJFF made the Nike Mag available to everyone through an online draw, with each entry a $10 donation to MJFF. Sneakerheads, pop culture aficionados and the Parkinson’s community all enthusiastically entered for a chance to win. What’s more, donations in the last 12 hours of the Draw were matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous donor.

The Draw ran from October 4 to 11, with hundreds of thousands of entries managed using the nonprofit funding platform RallyUp.com. The lucky winners were notified on October 17. Pairs of the Nike Mag also were auctioned in Hong Kong on October 11 and London on October 14, generating an additional $160,000 combined.

“It’s been an honor to work with Michael and his Foundation over the years on such an important mission,” said Mark Parker, Chairman, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc. “We could never have imagined when we started this journey 30 years ago it would have such a wide-reaching effect — and we can’t wait for what’s next.”

History of the Nike Mag and the Nike-MJFF Partnership

Famously worn on the silver screen by Michael J. Fox, the Nike Mag shoe has since become a cultural icon, captivating sneaker and movie fans worldwide.

Nike has now channeled the excitement of the Mag shoe in 2011 and 2016, infusing it with new meaning in benefit of the Parkinson’s community.

In 2011, a version of the Nike Mag was built for the Foundation in a limited-edition run of 1,500 pairs. These were auctioned on eBay over a 10-day period, raising nearly $5 million which was matched dollar-for-dollar to bring the total raised that year to nearly $10 million. Nike spent years developing new technology that senses the wearer and tightens for each unique foot. On October 4, the revolutionary adaptive-fit Nike Mag was delivered to the world through the now-completed Draw.

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $650 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.

For more information, visit us at michaeljfox.org, on Facebook or Twitter.

About Nike, Inc.

NIKE, Inc., based near Beaverton, Ore., is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned NIKE, Inc. subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, Nike’s earnings releases and other financial information are available at http://investors.nike.com. Individuals can also visit http://news.nike.com and follow @Nike.

About RallyUp

RallyUp, founded by serial technology entrepreneur Steve Bernat, is a an all-in-one fundraising platform for charitable organizations. From events management to donor database and sweepstakes, RallyUp helps nonprofit organizations execute all aspects of their campaigns, from donor recruitment to campaign administration and ongoing program monitoring. For more information, visit rallyup.com.

Kid Ideas Are The Best! See Wellness Projects Target Funded with a $5 Million Donation

Press Release – October 21, 2016: It’s no secret that some of the brightest ideas come straight from the minds of kids. Take this year’s back-to-school season, for example, when they took charge of Target’s first kid-created marketing campaign—directing, designing, composing and starring in a series of TV spots and other materials that appeared throughout the season.

To further celebrate their talent and potential, Target asked kids to tell us their ideas (big or small) for helping students across the country live healthier, more active lives. Target pledged to fund up to $5 million to help bring some of their ideas to life. In August and September—through a partnership with DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit dedicated to engaging the public to fund school projects—we collected submissions from K-12 public school kids and teachers throughout the country. As part of our commitment to wellness, we were looking for ideas that focused on promoting healthy eating or increasing physical activity.

And the kids really delivered! So many great ideas, in fact, that Target ended up funding a total of 7,621 projects—supporting more than 760,000 students and nearly 4,000 teachers at 2,400+ schools, many of which are high-need. The donation was the largest wellness-education related investment in DonorsChoose.org’s 15-year history.

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Read on to see just a few of the great ideas we’ve funded, and check out the full list here.

Smoothies for Snack Time

Submitted by Mrs. J.’s Kindergarten class, Hallettsville, Texas

“My kindergarteners look forward to their afternoon snack to make it through the day, but they mostly crave unhealthy, sugary snacks. We all know that sugary snacks only keep us going for a little while and then we crash. So the students and I decided having smoothies would be the perfect solution.” Mrs. J.’s class didn’t have a way to make the nutritious snacks, so they requested funds for a quality blender and smoothie cookbook for their classroom. Now, the students are learning about nutrition and healthy eating as they select smoothies from the cookbook, then help make them together for the class’s daily snack.

Hokki Stools Make Sitting Fun

Submitted by Mrs. Cartier’s Kindergarten class, Chateaugay, N.Y.

After a new student was having trouble sitting and listening in class, Mrs. Cartier was touched when his classmate suggested getting him a Hokki stool she saw on TV, which promotes movement while sitting. “I was touched by her empathy and understanding of her peer’s needs. So I found one of the stools—and the change was remarkable! A lot of excess energy was being channeled, which allowed the student to stay focused.” The other students love the stool too, so they requested six more for their classroom. Today, the new seating option is keeping the class focused and active throughout the whole day.

From School Garden to Table

Submitted by Ms. Porter’s 7th grade science class, Nashville, Tenn.

“Living in a food desert, my students often complained about the lack of fresh produce available at their local grocery stores. We learn about flower reproduction and photosynthesis each year in class and saw an opportunity to put science into work.” The class requested supplies to create a vegetable garden at their school, which they’ll actively tend throughout the year. Once harvested, they’ll work together to plan how to distribute the food they grow—through marketing and donations—in their community.

Sports Equipment for ‘Pro Day’

Submitted by Mr. Takeda’s 3rd grade class, Waianae, Hawaii

Many of Mr. Takeda’s students dream of playing professional sports—but after one student declined to join in a game of soccer because his family didn’t have sports equipment at home and he didn’t know how to play, his classmates took action. “What if we had a ‘Pro Day,’ and we brought in athletic equipment and had our whole class go through each sport? We’d learn to stretch, run and jump; throw a football, shoot a basketball, kick a soccer ball and spike a volleyball.” After requesting the needed equipment, the class regularly sets up stations and gets active together, along with ongoing discussion about physical fitness and even the scientific applications of sports.

Keep On Pedaling!

Submitted by Ms. Horn and her 10th grade students, Minneapolis

Ms. Horn’s chemistry students come to class ready to learn and wanting to do well. “They try to make good choices about food and our environment, but often, they don’t get to move around as much as they’d like while doing projects and research. Under-the-desk peddles would allow them to do both at the same time.” After adding 10 of the exercise machines in her classroom, students are now having fun exercising as they study—and even getting a little energy out after class.

How Many Steps?

Submitted by Mrs. Mennonno’s 2nd grade class, Plainfield, Ind.

Fascinated with their teacher’s Fitbit—and the story of her recent weight loss and journey to get more healthy—Mrs. Mennonno’s class wanted to try tracking their physical activity and eating healthier for themselves. They calculated out the cost of some new Fitbits for the class to share, along with other equipment. Now, they’re keeping a step chart (getting their math in too) and tracking their average steps each day. “The students are always wanting to beat their steps from yesterday, so they’re easily getting over 10,000 steps in just in seven hours!”

Target’s support for this program is just one example of our ongoing commitment to giving 5 percent of our profit back to communities—today, that adds up to more than $4 million a week. Learn more about how Target supports communities all year long.

CrowdRise Fundraiser Raises Over $40,000 In 24-Hours To Help 1,200 Displaced Syrian Families In Greece

Survivor Africa winner Ethan Zohn and his new wife release moving video to show donors exactly how that money was spent to make change in a single day

FUNDRAISER LINK: https://www.crowdrise.com/86402-seconds-in-greece
CALL-TO-ACTION VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9I0j8A6vzg&feature=youtu.be
NEW! IMPACT VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpO4vR9xFro&feature=youtu.be

Press Release – Earlier this week CrowdRise set out on a mission to raise $20,000 in just 24 hours to help 1,200 displaced Syrian families living in a makeshift refugee camp in Greece. Third season Survivor winner Ethan Zohn and his new wife Lisa Heywood joined as ambassadors for the CrowdRise 24-Hour Impact Project, and to celebrate a nontraditional honeymoon. On Tuesday morning, the newlyweds posted a moving call-to-action video to their CrowdRise page. The fundraiser did so well that halfway through the day they increased their goal $30,000. By day’s end they had surpassed $40,000, more than doubling their initial goal.

Today, Ethan and Lisa posted a video update to their CrowdRise page chronicling their impact. Giving donors the opportunity to see their immediate impact is at the core of the CrowdRise 24-Hour Impact Project and gives people a peek into the type of work that young humanitarians are capable of.

This past June, 1,200 Syrian refugees near Thessaloniki, Greece were moved between refugee camps to Vasilika Refugee Camp: an old, abandoned warehouse converted into barracks with tents. Of the 1,200 refugees, 600 are children, who have been out of school for months, some for years. The camp at Vasilika provides them no opportunity for learning, playing or socializing.

Next to Vasilika, a group of European volunteers recognized the needs of this community, and have created a safe haven called EKO Project which provides a school, communal kitchen, and welcoming place for children to play. This project is a place of hope to refugee children and their parents who are trying to rebuild their lives.

As shown in Ethan and Lisa’s follow-up video, the work of EKO Project is vital to this community’s survival. One volunteer explains, “the people here in Vasilika are exactly like my friends and my family and my uncles and my aunties. They had a lot of things and they had a lot of freedom and now it’s all been taken away and they’re stuck here because they have to be. They’re doctors and lawyers and bankers and architects and musicians.” Ethan chimes in saying, “They’re like everyone else. They’re like us and they just want to live a happy, fulfilled life.” Lisa, holding back tears, explains that they asked these people what they want most: “a life,” they said, “what everybody wants.”

The original $20,000 goal was to help EKO Project with school supplies, winter clothing, fresh food, building materials, setting up a library, relocation support, and fulfilling a “wish list” of basic needs. $10,000+ was added to the goal in hopes of continuing to support EKO Project volunteers, who plan to stay in Vasilika as long as the refugees, which could be years.

The day culminated with a large soccer match between the refugees. For Ethan, a former soccer pro, it was immediately clear how important bringing play back into these children’s lives would be. After winning the CBS reality show, Survivor Africa, Ethan used his prize money to co-found the organization Grassroot Soccer (GRS) that uses the power of soccer and the energy of youth to educate, inspire and mobilize communities to improve health. The game was made possible by generous donations from 4POINT4 and One World Play Project.

The project was met with lots of encouragement from friends of the couple as well as from the soccer community. Tweets about the project came from Survivor’s Jeff Probst and soccer stars such as Heather O’Reilly, Jimmy Conrad, Alexi Lalas, Cobi Jones and others. Even Olivia Newton John and Katie Couric voiced their support of this initiative.

Donations are still being accepted and any additional funds will support the sustainability of this project. To learn more, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/86402-seconds-in-greece

Now You Can Be A Shark! Learn How At Crowd Invest Summit

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

If you are a regular GoodCrowd.info reader, you know that you can now invest in startups via FINRA-registered web portals. You can now be a venture capitalist, “shark” or perhaps, more benignly, an angel investor.

In May, the Securities and Exchange Commission implemented rules for investment crowdfunding under the 2012 JOBS Act. Alon Goren and Josef Holm have organized the first conference, the Crowd Invest Summit, focused exclusively on investment crowdfunding since the rules went into operation.

Alon has provided GoodCrowd.info readers with a special discount on registration. Use the discount code “GOODCROWD” to receive 30 percent off the registration fee!

The speakers will include Robert Herjavec, star of ABC’s “Shark Tank”; James Altucher, the famed author and entrepreneur; Tim Draper, one of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capitalists and long-term crowdfunding advocate; and, Dara Albright, one of the leading minds in crowdfinance. Conference organizers have also invited me, Devin Thorpe, to speak.

“As the first event of its kind in the United States, the Crowd Invest Summit connects retail investors and top crowdfunded investment opportunities,” said Josef, founder and CEO of crowdfunding marketing and PR software firm Krowdster. “Given the recent shifts in the equity crowdfunding industry, we created this event to be inclusive of all types of investors. Our first summit will take place in Silicon Beach and we’re already exploring a series of domestic and international events to follow.”

Alon Goren, courtesy of Crowd Invest Summit

Alon Goren, courtesy of Crowd Invest Summit

Alon added, “Until now, crowdfunding events have been predominantly focused on debating the potential rules and laws that are now finally in place and available. In contrast, this will be the first large-scale event in the crowdfunding sector focused on companies and investors raising real money and closing actual deals. We want all Americans to know that any of them can become venture capitalists now.”

On Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern, Alon will join me here for a live discussion about the conference and the opportunity all Americans have now to invest in startups. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Crowd Invest Summit:

Twitter: @crowdinvestsmt

Crowd invest summit is the country’s premier investment focused crowdfunding event.

Alon’s bio:

Twitter: @alonymous

Alon is CEO and co-founder of Invested.in and INVST. He has developed technology that powers websites and financial transactions for Fortune 500 companies and well-known foundations such as Coca-Cola, ATB Financial and Global Philanthropy Group. He also created a white label fundraising portal for individuals and businesses hoping to crowdfund ventures independently of major platforms. His support of the JOBS Act and day-to-day interactions with investors and financial professionals inspired him to create INVST (http://inv.st) a solution for marketers hoping to attract investment firms and hedge fund managers. Utilizing proprietary social technology, INVST streamlines and amplifies the capital introduction process, while offering relationship, tracking and deal management tools for fund managers, third-party marketers and investors.

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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

 

Crowdrise Launches 24-Hour Flash Fundraiser to Help 1,200 Displaced Syrian Refugees in Greece

Survivor Africa winner Ethan Zohn and his new wife travel to Greece with CrowdRise’s 24-Hour Impact Project to bring relief to hundreds of displaced families 

FUNDRAISER LINK: https://www.crowdrise.com/86402-seconds-in-greece
YOUTUBE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9I0j8A6vzg&feature=youtu.be

Press Release – DETROIT, October 18, 2016 / This morning, online charitable crowdfunding platform, CrowdRise launched a 24-Hour flash fundraiser to help improve the lives of 1,200 displaced Syrian refugees. As part of the CrowdRise 24-Hour Impact Project, TV personality, former pro soccer player and two-time cancer survivor Ethan Zohn and his new wife Lisa Heywood Zohn are spending their honeymoon volunteering in Greece to bring attention to the refugee crisis.

This past June, 1,200 Syrian refugees near Thessaloniki, Greece were moved between refugee camps to Vasilika Refugee Camp: an old, abandoned warehouse converted into barracks with tents. Having escaped the turbulence of conflict in their home country they are now faced with the reality of living conditions that barely meet minimum standards of health and sanitation, while they wait for what comes next. Of the 1,200 refugees, 600 are children, who have been out of school for months, some for years. The camp at Vasilika provides them no opportunity for learning, playing or socializing.

Next to Vasilika, a group of European volunteers recognized the needs of this community, and have created a safe haven called EKO Project which provides a school, communal kitchen, and welcoming place for children to play. This project is a place of hope to refugee children and their parents who are trying to rebuild their lives. Today, Ethan and Lisa, in partnership with CrowdRise are attempting to crowdfund $20,000 in just 24 hours to help.

In a moving call to action video posted to the couple’s CrowdRise page, Ethan and Lisa speak to many of the children living in the refugee camp. One young girl tells Lisa why her family had to leave Syria: “there was a bomb…it broke my house.” Another young boy proclaims, “Syria not good. Syria very bad.” Ethan candidly explains, “they were forced out of their homes and out of their country with nothing, and they come here and they’re just waiting.” Yet when that same little boy is asked if he wants to go back to Syria he says, “I do not. I don’t like.

Two sisters in particular, Helena and Elena, stood out to Ethan and Lisa. The newlyweds write on their CrowdRise page: “These young girls had endured so much, fleeing Syria with their family, crossing by foot into Turkey, and then by boat into Greece. They’ve been trapped at borders, slept outside in the rain, spent their life savings, and still have no security for their future.”

The $20,000 raised will help EKO Project with school supplies, winter clothing, fresh food, building materials, setting up a library, relocation support, and fulfilling a “wish list” of basic needs.

CrowdRise, which organizes the 24-Hour Impact Project, will serve as the hub for all fundraising activity, and video updates at crowdrise.com/86402-seconds-in-greece. As with all of CrowdRise’s 24-Hour Impact Projects, the entire process will be filmed, and once the money has been raised, CrowdRise will share an impact video that captures the progress and implementation of the funds, so that donors can see their immediate impact.

For Ethan, it was immediately clear how important bringing play back into these children’s lives would be. After winning the CBS reality show, Survivor Africa, Ethan used his prize money to co-found the organization Grassroot Soccer (GRS) that uses the power of soccer and the energy of youth to educate, inspire and mobilize communities to improve health. As part of the impact, Ethan and Lisa will also be hosting a massive soccer game made possible by generous donations from 4POINT4 and One World Play Project.

To donate to Ethan and Lisa’s fundraiser, visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/86402-seconds-in-greece

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