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Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Anka Cooperative, An Initiative That Empowers And Employs Syrian Refugees By Making The Highest Quality Rugs In The World, Turns To Kickstarter To Expand And To Impact The Lives Of Even More Refugee Women

Press Release – Adiyaman, Turkey––March 14, 2017––The Anka Cooperative empowers Syrian women refugees by providing dignifying work creating fine carpets and traditional crafts in a safe workplace for fair compensation.

In 2012, when co-founder Neslihan Jevremovic started the cooperative, 10,000 refugees lived in Turkey. In just five years, as the Syrian conflict raged, this number swelled to over 3 million. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of these refugees struggle to find the work necessary to support their families and provide meaning in their own lives.

“Teaching women how to weave affects them personally. They are providing income for the whole family, so it changes their whole attitude about themselves.” – Co-founder Neslihan

Anka currently empowers 250 weavers in two camps. Only 30 miles from the Syrian border, the Sanliurfa camp is home to one of the oldest refugee camps in Turkey. The residents live in air-conditioned 20-foot shipping containers with their family members. The Anka weaving workshop currently empowers 25 refugees in an air-conditioned, well-lit activity center. The Adiyaman camp is home to nearly 30,000 refugees, and Anka empowers 225 women working in six air-conditioned, well-lit weaving tents. Now, the team is turning to Kickstarter to sell their existing, high quality rugs and raise awareness about this initiative. The funds raised will allow Anka to expand into a third camp and enable even more Syrian women refugees in 2017. Every $7,500 raised will empower and employ one refugee for over 8 months.

The Anka Cooperative has already had an extraordinary impact on women’s lives. One of these women is Neriman, from Damascus, is in her early 40s and has six children. Unlike many of her unfortunate relatives, she made it safely to the Adiyaman refugee camp in Southeastern Turkey. Neriman is college educated, and prior to the war she worked for many years as an accountant. But in the camps, of course, there are no accounting jobs, no freelancer websites to apply her trade. Idle time brings painful memories. She jumped at the chance to work at the carpet workshop. It’s a new skill, but she is learning – and just as important, she is earning.

Neriman is paid the same as her Turkish counterparts. She is saving to buy gold earrings for her daughters, and hopes to save for a home for when they return to Syria. Her smile shines despite the tragedy she has faced, and she is very grateful to have the chance to work again. Neriman is one of 250 women employed by The Anka Cooperative. Together, Neriman and Anka have found the key to alleviating the suffering – if you want to empower refugees, employ them. Neriman represents the 250 Anka weavers who have chosen to make the best of their difficult circumstances, and are the reason Anka exists.

“After seeing the heartbreaking image of young Aylan Kurdi on a beach in Turkey, not far from where I swam with my young daughter that same summer, I knew I had to help these desperate people in a sustainable fashion. We’re teaching these women to fish, not simply giving them fish.” – Co-founder Josh

The Anka Cooperative is a social enterprise in association with award-winning US rug producer Woven Legends. Anka rugs are of the absolute highest quality – handcrafted with handspun wool and natural dyes. An 8’x10’ rug is made of over 500,000 knots.

All proceeds from this Kickstarter campaign will be used to sell existing and create new rugs, further Anka’s mission, train more women, and provide health and educational assistance to refugee families. In exchange for pledges, backers can receive gorgeous carpet coasters, framed carpet fragments, hand woven Christmas stockings, and the empowering rugs themselves. The 30 day Kickstarter campaign will run from March 14th to April 13th.

ABOUT THE ANKA COOPERATIVE

In both Turkish and Arabic, ‘Anka’ translates to ‘Phoenix’, the mythical bird which obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.

The Anka Cooperative empowers Syrian refugees to create a dignified path to self-empowerment and cultural integration through the creation of fine carpets and traditional crafts. Anka does this by training them in the ancient art of weaving rugs by hand while furnishing a safe workplace, fair compensation, and fulfilling employment. The weavers love their work, not only for the income it provides, but also for the companionship and a place to share laughs and to stay active.

Anka’s mission is to empower and educate over 20,000 refugees by the year 2020. They will accomplish this not only by expanding their operations into new locations and into new products, but also by partnering with leading charities and social enterprises to improve the lives of those most vulnerable.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ANKA COOPERATIVE

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ankacooperative/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ankacooperative
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ankacooperative
Website: http://www.ankacoop.org

UPTOGOOD Impact Film Festival is Empowering Students and Young Filmmakers to Be the Change they wish to see in the World through Impact Storytelling

Press Release – LOS ANGELESUPTOGOOD, in partnership with New Roads School, is launching its first-annual UPTOGOOD Impact FIlm Festival in an effort to gather a community of students, filmmakers, activists, non-profits and practitioners at the intersection of video storytelling and social impact.

Open to high school, college and film school students across the United States, this unique festival will curate and present the 8 best short films about social issues and the actionable steps we can take towards solving them.

At UPTOGOOD, we believe that combining the power of storytelling with tangible calls to action leads to positive and long-lasting impact that goes beyond awareness. As we empower changemakers to highlight social issues and solutions in our communities and use the film festival to amplify that impact, we hope to inspire others to become enlightened allies to myriad of deserving causes. As we empower young people to lead this charge, we can be more certain that positive change will be seen in our lifetime and beyond.

Combining a traditional film festival with a powerful platform built for video-driven social impact campaigns, the inaugural UPTOGOOD Impact Film Festival inspires students to produce and share videos on UPTOGOOD’s multi-function online venue to catalyze positive social change.

Festival passes are on sale now here until April 22nd.

Festival participants are also invited to attend specially-curated panel discussions before the film screenings. The day includes workshops on bringing social change to the classroom, film case studies on successful impact stories and best practices on campaigning for social change. Attendees will receive an array of thoughtful gifts from Festival Partners, including a tree-kit from ForestNation to mark Earth Day.

Winners of the film festival will receive crucial promotional and distribution support for their film from festival partners in order to gain further audience traction, as well as special consultation to amplify their impact and enhance visibility for their cause. Festival partner, GoPro, will also provide winners with a GoPro Hero5 Session camera.

We are thankful for our influential board of social-impact practitioners who will be judging and speaking at this event, including key partners like Participant Media, the team that brought us films such as Spotlight, Citizen Four, The Cove and An Inconvenient Truth.

Confirmed Judges include:

  • Participant Media
  • Global Citizen
  • Alice Quinian, Engagement and Education Coordinator, POV/American Documentary
  • Caty Borum Chattoo, Director, Center for Media & Social Impact, Executive in Residence, School of Communication, American University
  • Elliot Kotek, CEO/Founder, The Nation of Artists
  • Kait Halibozek, Manager, Impact Distribution, Picture Motion
  • Maureen McComsey, Executive Director/Founding Board Member, Conscious Capitalism Los Angeles
  • Pat Chandler, CEO, Creative Visions
  • Rafael Angulo, Clinical Professor, University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Confirmed Speakers include:

  • Angie Jean-Marie, Social Innovation & Marketing Manager, Goldhirsh Foundation
  • Frederic Da, Film Production and Film Theory Instructor, New Roads School
  • Peter Bisanz, Executive Director, Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment at UCLA
  • Rafael Angulo, Clinical Professor, University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
  • Andrew Morgan, Director, Untold
  • Kim Rocco Shields, Director / Founder, Genius Pictures
  • Sandra De Castro Buffington, Founding Director, UCLA Global Media Center for Social Impact
  • Christina Lindstrom, Managing Director, Lindstrom Impact Strategies
  • Kait Halibozek, Manager, Impact Distribution, Picture Motion
  • Lindsay Guetschow, Film Campaign Director, Malala Fund
  • Kirsten Ludwig, Board Member, Conscious Capitalism Los Angeles / President, IN GOOD CO
  • Linda S. Blanshay, Ph.D, Director, Program Development, Museum of Tolerance

Generous Prizes confirmed include prizes offered by:

  • Ashoka’s Youth Venture
  • Causementary
  • Conscious Capitalism Los Angeles
  • Creative Visions
  • Global Citizen
  • GoPro
  • Participant Media
  • Picture Motion
  • POV
  • The Nation of Artists
  • World Merit

We are also thankful for the support, generosity, and inspiration brought by our many partners. They all play a valuable role in supporting and amplifying the festival winners with their incredible services and communities.

Confirmed Festival Partners include:

Actuality Media, Art with Impact, Ashoka’s Youth Venture, Beyond Cinema, Bring Change 2 Mind, Causeartist, Causementary, Center for Media & Social Impact, School of Communication, American University, CM Wedding & Events, Connect4Climate, Conscious Capitalism Los Angeles, Convenors.org, Creative Visions, Environmental Charter Schools, Forest Nation, General Assembly, Genius Pictures Goldhirsh Foundation, Global Citizen, GoPro, Green Ambassadors, Groupeezz, Hara Motion Picture Conservatory, Harmony Institute, International Documentary Association, iLiving, Keep a Breast, Kiss the Ground, Lindstrom Impact Strategies, Media Institute for Social Change, Museum of Tolerance, Nadya’s Identity Files, Net Impact, Net Impact (USC Marshall School of Business Chapter), Participant Media, PCDNetwork, Picture Motion, POV, Rizzarr, Rock Your World, Sequoyah School, SIMA, The Giving Back Fund, UCLA Global Media Center for Social Impact, The Nation of Artists, The White Feather Foundation, World Merit

Links:

UPTOGOOD Impact Film Festival Website: http://www.UPTOGOODImpactFilmFestival.org
UPTOGOOD platform: https://www.UPTOGOOD.org
UPTOGOOD Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: @UPTOGOODorg
New Roads School Website: http://www.newroads.org
New Roads School Facebook: @NewRoads

Treviño Family Pledges $32,000 In Matching Funds To March Match Up Campaign

Press Release – (March 15, 2017) — Michael Treviño, whose Bay Area family was inspired by his Aunt Ermelinda Treviño to establish an endowment to help Fresno State students facing food insecurity, has pledged $32,000 in matching funds to the March Match Up campaign supporting the Student Cupboard.

The campaign – a community-wide fundraising drive to battle student hunger issues at Fresno State – was launched March 1 with an announcement from Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefits Programs and accounting firm Moss Adams LLP. Those two community partners promised to match dollar-for-dollar all monetary gifts to the Student Cupboard up to $50,000 throughout the month.

With the additional commitment from Treviño, the total amount of matching funds to support the free food and hygiene cupboard for Fresno State students climbed to $82,000, which means the campaign has the opportunity to generate $164,000 or more for the Student Cupboard when the goal is met.

“This is a family decision,” Treviño said. “We made the choice as a family to make this gift during March Match Up to double the impact.”

The Treviño family’s history of support for this project began in December, 2015 when they established a $25,000 charitable gift annuity in honor of Ermelinda Treviño, or “Tia Linda”. In 2016, Treviño and other supporters gave additional funds to establish an endowment to fund the food and hygiene cupboard.

The funds Treviño announced toward the March Match Up campaign will be used to grow the endowment and provide ongoing support of the Student Cupboard in perpetuity.

Treviño, an alumnus of UC Berkeley and a college friend of Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro, is issuing a challenge to other families, along with UC Berkeley and Fresno State alumni, to give to the March Match Up effort which ends March 31.

Original press releases:

Investment Crowdfunding: What Works And What Needs Fixing

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

On May 16, 2016, Regulation Crowdfunding became effective. Arguably representing the biggest change to securities laws in 80 years, Title III of the JOBS Act passed in 2012 made investment crowdfunding legal subject to the issuance of regulations. Now, almost five years after the law passed, we have enough history with the rules to begin understanding what’s working and what’s not.

To work through the issues, I reached out to leading crowdfunding practitioners and experts for their reactions to the first nine months of practice in the space.

Bernard Loyd, a social entrepreneur and President of Urban Juncture, Inc., was among those who have had good experiences with the new rules. “Our experience has been that it provides efficient access to a broad pool of potential investors, many previously unknown to us. The online platform provides significantly better access to potential investors who share our passion for investing in economically-challenged, under-resourced urban enterprises with whom we otherwise would not have been able to connect.”

Bernard Loyd, courtesy of Urban Juncture

There is consensus that while Regulation Crowdfunding is working for some issuers, changes in the law or regulation would allow it to work for more entrepreneurs. Joy Schoffler is the Principal of Leverage PR, which represents clients in the crowdfunding space. Her reaction was typical, “I see it working for many companies already.”

The biggest challenge with the rules is the $1 million cap on crowdfunding offering. David Weild, IV, Chairman and CEO of Weild & Co., said, “The gross proceeds cap of $1 million is overly limiting. It should be eliminated altogether. Remember, there is a dollar-exposure-limitation ($5,000) per non-accredited investor so there is no need to limit the aggregate raise. Why do we care if there are 200 investors at $5,000 each or 20,000 investors at $5,000 each when the individual investor has the same risk limit? It is an arbitrary and poorly thought-through limitation.”

David Weild, courtesy of Weild & Co.

Kendall Almerico, a JOBS Act and crowdfunding attorney, largely agrees. “Congress set the $1 million limit far too low. It should be raised to at least $5 million.”

Alon Goren, Co-Founder, Crowd invest Summit, would go one step further, eliminating the restrictions on individual investors. “I think that anyone should be able to invest in what they want. I think that the limits are un-American, both on the size of the raise and on the investor.”

Congress is working on fixes, notes Philip Racusin, CEO of EnergyFunders. “The Fix Crowdfunding Act is a start in that it would allow for the use of special purpose vehicles to aggregate together investors (for the benefit of the investors and the business owner), and raises the maximum fundraise to $5,000,000.”

Special purpose vehicles or SPVs are used to manage large numbers of small investors, simplifying the capitalization table and ownership structure from the perspective of the issuer. SPVs are specifically prohibited by the current rules. Sara Hanks, CEO of CrowdCheck, and Douglas Ellenoff, Partner at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP, a crowdfunding lawyer, agree that allowing SPVs is a necessary fix.

Douglas Ellenoff at the National Press Club on February 19, 2013 with Sherwood Neiss.

Another problem with the rules that experts say needs to be fixed is the prohibition on testing the waters. Title IV of the JOBS Act authorized the SEC to issue new rules for Regulation A offerings, raising the limits and specifically allowing issuers to expose a potential offering to the market publicly before launching the offering formally, even allowing the issuer to collect formal, non-binding expressions of interest in advance.

Hanks, Vincent Bradley, former CEO of FlashFunders, and Dan Baird, CEO of Crack the Crowd, among others, agree that adding testing the waters to Regulation Crowdfunding is essential.

Almerico explains why, saying, “No pre-launch marketing is allowed, which prevents a company from effectively soliciting investors until the offering is live. With a rewards-based campaign on Indiegogo or Kickstarter, successful companies spend months conditioning the market, generating leads and building up social capital before their launch. You cannot do that with Reg CF, and it means a company is behind the eight ball when they start their offering, because their marketing has not even begun yet.” He notes that the SEC has unilateral authority to change this rule.

Kendall Almerico, courtesy of Kendall Almerico

Several practitioners, including, Weild, note that the limitations on marketing a crowdfunding campaign even after it launches are unnecessarily strict. “Don’t you find it fascinating,” he says, “that anyone can sell anything (except securities) on Kickstarter without limitation and buyers are given zero upside for their purchase money and the companies are only subject to criminal fraud? Regulation Crowdfunding gives the buyer upside. Why should securities be treated so differently from commerce, especially for smaller companies? There is no systemic risk concern for Government.”

Jenny Kassan, an attorney who consults with social entrepreneurs and women-led businesses on capital strategies including crowdfunding, noted, the marketing “restrictions are nonsensical,” adding, “this could be done without legislation.”

The JOBS Act requires crowdfunding issuers to file an annual report with the SEC. Kassan believes this requirement should be lifted, noting, “I think this would require legislation.”

Jenny Kassan, courtesy of Funds for Good

While the rules do not define any of the costs of a crowdfunding offering, the rules do impose costs. Racusin highlighted the need to reduce the regulatory burden to reduce the costs of offerings, especially those over $500,000.

Among the other lessons learned, Weild noted, “The $1 million cap is not large enough to entice broker dealers and investment bankers to become involved so they don’t and the companies really could use the advice/involvement of experienced professionals.”

As the crowdfunding rules were being drafted, there was a lot of discussion about fraud and the corollary need to protect crowdfunding investors from it. Ellenoff noted, “That all of the expressed concern over fraud has not borne out as a legitimate reason for frustrating the legislation.”

Scott Picken, founder and CEO of Wealth Migrate, similarly noted, “There is significant demand and while the regulation is important to ensure that the consumer is protected, social proofing also goes a long way to protecting the consumer.” He added, “Most importantly investing is common sense and everyone has common sense.”

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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!

Eosera Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for New Earwax Impaction Solution on International Women’s Day

Founder Elyse Dickerson aims to garner support with Give 1 and Get 1 campaign

Press Release – Fort Worth, TX, March 8th, 2017 — Biotechnology innovator EOSERA™, Inc., launched their GIVE ONE AND GET ONE crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo today. Eosera is a Fort Worth-based company that developed Earwax MD™, the first innovation in earwax removal drops in decades. The campaign will allow Eosera to give away free product to elderly in need and will also help raise funds for production. Earwax MD will be commercially available in the U.S. in April 2017.

“We are launching this campaign on International Women’s Day for two reasons. First, women worldwide are great proponents of improved healthcare and catalysts for change. I co-founded Eosera to develop healthcare products that address unmet medical needs. Earwax MD will change the lives of millions of people who suffer from earwax impaction. Second, biotech innovation is still a challenging career path for girls and women around the globe. I want to ask for support for our Give 1 Get 1 campaign and serve as an example by proving that starting a successful biotech company (as a woman) is possible,” said Elyse Dickerson, Founder of Eosera, Inc.

Earwax impaction is a severe healthcare issue facing over 153 million people around the world and over 18 million Americans. The US healthcare system spends about $600 million US dollars each year to extract impacted earwax. Consumers spend approximately $63 million US dollars every year on over-the-counter earwax removal products. Current over-the-counter earwax removal products have been proven no more effective than water for removing earwax.

Clinically proven to remove earwax in 15-30 minutes, Earwax MD is a game-changer. To bring Earwax MD to market, the company needs to ramp up manufacturing and production. Make a donation to GET ONE and GIVE ONE! Adults 65 years and older, and especially those with hearing aids, are disproportionally affected by earwax impaction. So, for every contribution made to the campaign, Eosera will donate product to elderly individuals in need, with a strong focus on those suffering from hearing loss.

About Elyse Dickerson

Elyse is the CEO & co-Founder of Eosera Inc. She has a successful track record of launching worldwide healthcare products. She spent 13 years working for Alcon, a Novartis Company, where, she focused on ophthalmic and otic pharmaceutical products. Elyse managed a portfolio of over $1.7 billion in annual revenues. She has spent her career developing products for unmet medical needs and bringing healthcare solutions to patients around the world. Elyse actively mentors women who pursue careers in healthcare and technology. She is also a strong advocate for gender equality and women in business. Among her numerous industry honors are The Trailblazer Brand Champion Award and The 2016 Women in Technology Award from The Dallas Business Journal. Just last month, Elyse won the Mary Kay Pink Tank Business Pitch Competition! She holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.

About EOSERA/EarwaxMD

EOSERA™, Inc. is a majority woman-owned biotech company committed to developing products that address underserved medical needs. Eosera operates by putting purpose before profits and is proud to be one of the pioneering companies in a movement called Conscious Capitalism. Eosera exists to heal humans through innovative healthcare products. Eosera’s first product, Earwax MD™, is a novel, patent-pending topical drop that uses a dual-action technology to dissolve impacted earwax. Using an evidence-based approach, the team at Eosera developed the first earwax removal innovation that is highly successful in removing excessive or impacted earwax in a single treatment. The combination of innovation backed by scientific evidence has been lacking in this area since the introduction of the category over 50 years ago. In 2015, Eosera won a $50,000 pitch competition by Comerica Bank, which helped raise the startup’s first round of seed funding reaching $1.2M. For more information, please visit www.eosera.com

The GiveNetwork Launches CharityBomb To Give Donors The Opportunity To Give Back And Win

Designed to Fuel the Support for and Growth of Smaller Local Nonprofits, CharityBomb Offers Donors the Chance to Win Cash Prizes up to $175,000

Press Release – LAKE FOREST, Calif. – February 28, 2017 – The GiveNetwork, a mobile giving platform designed to encourage support for charitable fundraising initiatives, today announced the launch of CharityBomb, which hosts regional online fundraising campaigns designed to fuel the support and growth of smaller local nonprofits working within a targeted area of philanthropy.

The first campaign will support five Southern California charities dedicated to helping local youth with opioid addiction, grief recovery, drug education, overdose recovery and end or life care for critically ill children. The participating charities include: Solace Foundation, OUR HOUSE/ Camp Erin, GRASP/ Broken No More, Kristie’s Foundation, and California Youth Services. The goal is to raise $5 Million dollars for these organizations by August 2, 2017. The funds will be distributed evenly amongst all five.

“We are excited about the launch of CharityBomb, especially this first campaign,” stated Bob Jones, CEO of the GiveNetwork. “We lost our youngest son to an opioid overdose in 2014. The journey of our grief led us to the organizations that are included in this campaign. They all do such great work, but they are small and underfunded. They need the support of the community to continue to do the work they do and help families like mine get the help they need.”

CharityBomb offers donors the unique opportunity to win while supporting charity. As part of reaching the $5 million campaign goal, six winners will be randomly chosen to share in overall cash prizes of $175,000.

Five different drawings will be held for each of the five collected donation stages. Each stage is triggered with each $1 million raised. Once a stage is triggered, a donor will be selected to receive a cash prize of $25,000. Once all five stages are reached, a bonus drawing will be held to select a winner from ALL donors to receive a bonus cash prize of $50,000.

“California Youth Services is thrilled to participate in the first CharityBomb campaign, which benefits many worthy causes,” said Kelly Scott, M.A. Ed., program director at California Youth Services. “This event will support our efforts that help children, teens, and families facing life’s many struggles, such as mental health issues, substance abuse, learning disabilities, and legal challenges. We have been making an impact since 2005 and grateful to be part of a collaborative effort to make a difference in young people’s lives.”

“Our mission at the Solace Foundation is to reduce the number of opioid related deaths in Orange County by expanding access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone. We have saved over 500 lives in the past 12 months! We believe EVERY life matters and that everyone deserves a second chance. Supporting this campaign will help us continue to help and save even more,” said Aimee Dunkle, executive director of Solace Foundation OC.

For more information on CharityBomb and to make a donation and enter to win the sweepstakes, please visit http://www.charitybomb.us.

For more information on the charities included in the CharityBomb campaign, please visit their respective web sites:

About GiveNetwork

The GiveNetwork fundraising platform was developed for one ultimate purpose: to effectively engage the community in philanthropic support while on the go. With today’s consumer increasingly engaging via mobile and social media, a tool for “responsive engagement” has become an absolute necessity. The GiveNetwork platform enhances charitable fundraising initiatives and allows donors to engage with and support their favorite charity from their smartphone. For more information, please visit http://givenetwork.biz/.

Behind the Numbers: What World Nomads’ The Footprints Network Has Meant to One of its Partners, the Australian Himalayan Foundation

The micro-donation program has helped train teachers and rebuild classrooms in Nepal

Press Release – The micro-donation platform The Footprints Network recently crossed a major threshold, topping the $3 million mark in funds raised. Founded by the World Nomads team in 2004 in response to the Southeast Asian tsunami, the idea was to create a way for the company’s e-commerce customers to give back to the places they travel via small micro-donations at the point of purchase.

In 2016 alone, 138,020 charitable World Nomads customers made a micro-donation, resulting in over $350,000 raised to help fund 22 community development projects in 14 countries around the world (compared to 2015, the number of donors increased by 8% and the total amount raised increased by 32%). Since the program’s inception in 2004, nearly 1.2 million people have given more than $3 million to help support 156 global community development projects.

To put those numbers in some context, here’s what The Footprints Network has meant to just one of those 150-plus partners, the Australian Himalayan Foundation (AHF).

The Australian Himalayan Foundation was set up in 2003 to improve the quality of life for people in the remote communities of the Himalaya. The AHF strives to ensure the long-term viability of sustainable health, education and conservation programs in the poorest, most under-resourced areas of the Himalaya across Nepal, Bhutan and Northern India. These programs help to reduce poverty and address human rights like gender quality, children’s rights, and the rights of marginalized groups in rural regions throughout the Himalaya.

“The support we have received from The Footprints Network since 2006 has been enormous,” says AHF communications and fundraising manager Siobhan Reynolds. “World Nomads customers have raised more than $400,000 to fund both our Teacher Training and Quality Education program and our Rebuild Nepal efforts, which were set up last year following the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in 2015.”

The TTQE project is focused on improving the quality of teaching that is offered in public schools across the lower Solukhumbu region of Nepal, and with funding from The Footprints Network it has expanded its training programs across a number of areas in the region. The result has been an increase in primary school enrolment rates, a reduction in dropout rates of children from low socioeconomic backgrounds, improved overall attendance rates, and increased enrollment rates of the most vulnerable students.

“The funds raised for our Rebuild Nepal efforts currently total more than $70,000,” says Reynolds. “To rebuild a classroom costs $15,000, so this money has already funded four-and-a-half classrooms, which is an amazing result.”

Space Nation Astronaut Program Raised $3.4 Million Through 541 New Space Investors

Space Nation gives everyone a chance to participate in space travelling. It’s an opportunity to learn and train for a space mission, and ultimately to become a crew member on board the International Space Station.

Cohu Experience recently closed a $3.4 million crowdfunding round in Finland for its Space Nation Astronaut Program. Cohu raised its first million in only 43 minutes.

“Space travel is a universal dream and we are proud to welcome everyone to join Space Nation as investors or participants. This is an inclusive program so anyone in the world can participate. We really want to democratize space,” said Kalle Vähä-Jaakkola, the CEO of Cohu Experience.

“Space is something that interests us all, no matter where you live or how old you are,” said Michael Suffredini from Axiom Space. Suffredini is a member of Cohu Experience’s Advisory Board and former NASA International Space Station Program Manager.

“Space travel has been, until now, only accessible to a very limited set of people, but Space Nation is here to change that. The Program is truly the adventure of a lifetime, and it will offer something for everyone.”

Space Nation Astronaut Program (SNAP) is being developed together with NASA’s astronaut trainers. The program commences with a freemium smartphone app that develops its users’ physical, mental and social skills through an array of tailored challenges. Participants who have gained the most points will be selected for a televised training competition under the supervision of NASA’s astronaut trainers.

A central element in the astronaut training program is the transmedia concept. It allows participants to create teams and attract fans to support their efforts to win a ticket to space. Even if you were not destined to become an astronaut, you can learn new skills and have fun while cheering for your favourite participant.

The next funding round will take place in the United States in the coming weeks via Fundable.com.

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