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This category includes articles that apply to crowdfunding in general and may include policy, practice and other stories relevant to everyone.

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Millennial Philanthropists Raise $240,000 At New York Cares’ Rising Leaders Council Annual Soirée

Press Release – (May 19, 2017, New York, NY) – More than 500 New York City young professionals and philanthropists came together to raise over $240,000 at the annual Rising Leaders Council (RLC) New York Cares Soirée to support volunteer endeavors the city. The Rising Leaders Council engages young professionals in New York Cares’ philanthropic efforts by spearheading projects as team leaders, painting murals in NYC schools at New York Cares Day Fall, and raising donations at their own fundraiser, the annual Soirée. Now in its 13th year, the 2017 Soirée raised more funds than ever before, and surpassed the original fundraising goal of $175,000.

Scott Silverstein, Leasing Manager of Equity Office, was the philanthropic honoree at the evening’s festivities. The masquerade-themed event featured Tarot Card readers, The Haiku Guys, and a masseuse, and included local New York treats from OddFellows Ice Cream Co., Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Li-Lac Chocolates, a paella bar, and wine and cheese tastings.

New York Cares is celebrating 30 years of service to New York City. Since 1987, New York Cares has facilitated approximately six million hours of volunteer work in New York City, collected and distributed nearly two million winter coats to those in need, and served nearly three million meals to New Yorkers in need. From granting children’s Winter Wishes, to planting local gardens, to providing SAT prep for college-bound students, New York Cares and its volunteers have spent 30 years working hard to brighten the lives of all New Yorkers.

“Our Rising Leaders Council epitomizes the millennial spirit of philanthropy; they don’t just give, they do!” Said New York Cares Executive Director Gary Bagley, “We are so grateful to the Rising Leaders Council, and the many young philanthropists who have raised funds and donated their time to help New York Cares continue its 30 year legacy of service to the City and people of New York.”

The money raised by the Rising Leaders Council Soirée will go to New York Cares to help the organization continue its volunteer services within the five boroughs, making New York a better City for all its residents.

About New York Cares

New York Cares is the largest volunteer network in the city. Last year, more than 64,000 New Yorkers made the city a better place by volunteering in New York Cares programs at over 1,300 nonprofits and schools – improving education, meeting immediate needs, and revitalizing public spaces. For more information, visit newyorkcares.org.

Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation March To Kick Off MuttNation Foundation Adoption Drive At CMA Music Festival On June 8

Meet Adoptable Dogs At Music City Center And Enter To Win A Trip To Make-Over A Shelter With Miranda

Press Release – Nashville, TN – Vanner Records/RCA Records Nashville GRAMMY Award-winner and 13 time CMA Award winner, Miranda Lambert announces details surrounding her MuttNation events to take place during CMA Music Festival in Nashville, TN, June 8th through the 11th.

To kick off the MuttNation festivities, Lambert will host the inaugural MuttNation March on the morning of June 8, where Lambert and her rescue dogs will get their “paws” marching from Nissan Stadium, over the Nashville Pedestrian Bridge, and ending in downtown Nashville. “So many shelter pets need a home, so we are going to march to raise awareness,” says Lambert. “Country music has the best fans in the world and together we can help so many animals find amazing homes.” Fans and their mutts are encouraged to join in on the celebration and help spread awareness for shelter pets. Registration for the inaugural MuttNation March begins TODAY at MuttNationFoundation.com. The cost to register is $15 per person and includes an event t-shirt to wear during the MuttNation March.

Miranda’s MuttNation March concludes just steps away from the Music City Center where the MuttNation Foundation Adoption Drive will take place inside CMA Fan Fair X. The drive will take place throughout CMA Fest. The MuttNation Foundation Adoption Drive will feature a photo booth, the MuttNation mobile unit and the family favorite, “Puppy Corral”, but as always the goal is to find shelter dogs forever homes. The MuttNation Fueled by Miranda Lambert Pet Collection will be available to purchase, with a portion of those proceeds benefitting MuttNation Foundation.

If you cannot physically be in Nashville for the March, don’t worry, you can still participate! Starting today and running through June 19, fans can visit MuttNationFoundation.com and enter the MuttNation Shelter Day Sweepstakes, where you and a guest have a chance to win a day with Miranda Lambert making over an animal shelter in need. Fans are rewarded at higher donation levels with a handful of unique incentives including exclusive merchandise, meet & greets and more.

For more information on MuttNation events visit www.muttnationfoundation.com

Charity Crowdfunding Pioneer, Razoo, Announces Management Buyout

Team led by current CEO acquires only fully-integrated platform in the online giving space

Press Release – Alexandria, VA – 15 May 2017 – Razoo Global Corporation (“Razoo”), a leading online fundraising platform with a pioneering legacy in charitable giving, today announced that its management has successfully concluded a buyout of the business from global investment firm and founder of Razoo, the Legatum Group (“Legatum”).

Since the company’s founding in 2006, Razoo has offered an online service for charities and has grown into the only fully-integrated cloud-services platform that empowers individuals, non-profit organizations, giving event hosts, and teams of people working together to fundraise for the causes they care most about.

“This is a very exciting time for Razoo. Online giving is thriving and, following major upgrades to our product, we’re here to empower philanthropic hearts and minds,“ said Tom Matthews, CEO of Razoo. “We’re greatly encouraged by recent product adoption and by all of the amazing feedback we’ve received from our users. We are committed to growing our community and building the very best online giving platform and experience for non-profits and the next generation of givers.”

Razoo has been a leader in the non-profit crowdfunding sector for more than ten years, enabling over US$550 Million in donations for causes globally.

Mark Stoleson, CEO of Legatum, said, “When we founded Razoo, our vision was to inspire a generation of donors to give directly to the people and causes they care about. We are delighted to see how the sector and personal giving has flourished over the past decade with Razoo mobilising over $550 million in donations.”

Stoleson added: “Tom and the team have created what we believe is the best product in the crowdfunding space today. Under his leadership, the company is well poised for growth and is configured to win in an increasingly competitive landscape. Razoo has a bright future in a sector that is delivering value to millions of givers around the world and we look forward to continuing to partner with its leadership and other shareholders to see the company fulfil its potential.”

Legatum will remain a significant but minority shareholder in the company and Razoo will continue to operate from its Alexandria, VA headquarters. No further terms of the transaction were disclosed.

Sustainability Projects in 15 Cities Get a Boost with New Funding from Partners for Places

$1.7 million will fund environmental efforts across the U.S.

Press Release – Coral Gables, Fla. — Fifteen cities across the United States will receive more than $1.7 million for sustainability efforts as diverse as supporting urban agriculture and reforestation, providing green jobs for low-income workers, and ensuring all residents benefit from their community’s environmental progress.

The funding is through the Partners for Places matching grants program, which pairs city governments with philanthropy to support sustainability projects that promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being for all residents.

These sustainability efforts will take place in cities large and small, from South Florida to the Pacific Northwest, with most benefiting low-income neighborhoods. They include: Columbia, Mo., where an under-used 10-acre site in a low-income neighborhood will be turned into an urban farm and agriculture park; Newark, N.J., where efforts to promote healthier, more energy-efficient homes include a pilot program targeting 6-year-olds exposed to lead; and Boulder, Colo., which will work with Latino-owned landscaping businesses to convert to eco-friendly equipment and develop workforce training programs in renewable energy and efficiency.

“Climate issues are people issues,” said Darryl Young, director of Sustainable Cities at The Summit Foundation. “At the city scale, there’s meaningful work to be done jointly in the public and private sectors. These Partners for Places proposals are where people are rolling up their sleeves and building strong, sustainable towns that strengthen communities and improve lives.”

Partners for Places, led by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, will provide $455,000 in funding to eight cities through its general grant program, which will be matched by local funders. The program is supported by six investor foundations: Bloomberg Philanthropies, The JPB Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, The New York Community Trust, The Summit Foundation, and Surdna Foundation.

Also today, seven additional cities received $405,000 in funding from the Partners for Places Equity Pilot Initiative, providing financial and technical support to a cohort of cities and their place-based foundation partners to develop local approaches for prioritizing equity in sustainability and/or climate action. They are also learning together and sharing their insights with each other to advance their work. This two-year pilot program is supported by the generosity of The Kendeda Fund and The Kresge Foundation.

“Low-income communities and people of color are disproportionately harmed by environmental hazards and the effects of climate change,” said Diane Ives, fund advisor for The Kendeda

Fund’s People, Place and Planet program. “We need to put equity at the heart of community-based sustainability efforts to ensure that everyone has a chance to live in a vibrant, healthy, resilient community regardless of their zip code.”

The latest Partners for Places general grant recipients and their matching funders are:

  • Boulder, Colo. ($50,000): To build stronger and deeper representation of underserved communities in climate and energy decisions by facilitating dialogues with diverse stakeholders on community-defined priorities; piloting a renewable energy and energy efficiency workforce development program; supporting regional coordination on climate and equity, and generating metrics to guide data collection and evaluate progress. (Matching funder: Philanthropiece Foundation)
  • Broward County, Fla. ($25,000): To support a sustainability education and youth leadership afterschool program in a distressed portion of the county that will teach high school students STEM skills, empowering them to become climate sustainability stewards and advocates to address their own neighborhood’s environmental challenges. (Matching funder: Community Foundation of Broward)
  • Chicago, Ill. ($75,000): To better connect low- and moderate-income residents more easily to all of the “green” programs offered by the city, such as recycling, transportation, and energy efficiency, ensuring they can take advantage of the many tools and resources available to make their lifestyles more sustainable and help their household budgets go farther. (Matching funder: Chicago Community Trust)
  • Columbia, Mo. ($100,000): To turn an under-used, 10-acre site in a low-income neighborhood into a multi-use agricultural park that will feature a farmers market, urban farm, outdoor classroom and green space. (Matching funder: Boone County Community Trust)
  • Lincoln, Neb. ($75,000): To implement sustainability elements of a multi-year neighborhood planning process in a low-income neighborhood, such as improving walkability and pedestrian safety and providing green infrastructure, landscaping and urban reforestation, as well as increasing the size, number and potential of community gardens. (Matching funder: Lincoln Community Foundation)
  • Newark, N.J. ($60,000): To develop and implement scalable strategies for promoting healthier, more energy-efficient homes in two target neighborhoods through a pilot program, targeting children under 6 years old exposed to lead. (Matching funders: Victoria Foundation; Greater Newark LISC; United Way of Essex and Hudson Counties; Essex Equities; PSEG Foundation)
  • Syracuse, N.Y. ($25,000): To design and implement a comprehensive and inclusive outreach campaign that creates a unified vision for protecting and growing Syracuse’s urban forest. (Matching funder: The Gifford Foundation)
  • Tacoma, Wash. ($45,000): To create an equitable and healthy food system that promotes healthy communities and people, supporting community members’ research and giving them the tools and resources to implement resilient food system ideas and projects. (Matching funder: The Russell Family Foundation)

The latest Partners for Places Equity Pilot Initiative grant recipients and their matching funders are:

  • Berkeley, Calif. ($30,000): To develop a “racial equity lens” tool that will include a set of questions that guide city policies and programs. The tool would be first used to incorporate racial equity into a community land-use planning process, and ultimately be applied to a broad range of programs and services. (Matching funders: The San Francisco Foundation; The East Bay Community Foundation)
  • Charlotte, N.C. ($75,000): To create an accessible “smart city” platform where residents and government can kick-start collaboration on meaningful projects in categories that include healthy communities, neighborhood transportation, technology training programs, and smart homes and neighborhoods. (Matching funders: Knight Foundation; OrthoCarolina Foundation)
  • Cleveland, Ohio ($60,000): To help improve outcomes in health, access to green jobs, and resiliency through equitable climate action planning and implementation, including workshops in 10 neighborhoods previously under-represented in sustainability efforts. (Matching funders: George Gund Foundation; Cleveland Foundation)
  • Dubuque, Iowa ($50,000): To ensure city departments and partners learn strategies and have the tools needed to put climate-vulnerable communities at the center of decision-making and planning. The project will engage partners throughout the Washington Neighborhood to build non-profit capacity and social resiliency. (Matching funder: Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque)
  • Minneapolis, Minn. ($75,000): To work with community members and organizations to implement a Green Zone pilot project that will address racial equity, improve health, and support economic development using environmentally conscious efforts in a community that faces the cumulative effects of environmental pollution and social, political and economic vulnerability. (Matching funder: McKnight Foundation)
  • Providence, R.I. ($55,000): To incorporate racial equity as a core pillar of the city’s sustainability efforts, including additional training and tools that will support long-term goals specific to environmental and racial justice. (Matching funder: Rhode Island Foundation)
  • Washington, D.C. ($60,000): To establish an equity advisory group of community residents from the Watts Branch neighborhood in order to bring equity and social cohesion into planning and implementation of the District’s climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives through a community-driven process. The project will produce a replicable model for authentic community engagement to be used in future planning efforts. (Matching funders: The Prince Charitable Trusts; Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation)

To date, Partners for Places has awarded more than $5 million across North America in this successful matching grant program, leading to more than $10 million in investments.

Partners for Places will open a new round of funding for the general grant program during the first week of June, with proposals due in late July 2017. To attract additional interest in urban sustainability projects, the program also houses an Idea Bank on the Funders’ Network website, which provides summaries of past project applications.

For more information on Partners for Places, visit the Funders’ Network website at http://www.fundersnetwork.org/partnersforplaces/. Funders interested in becoming a part of Partners for Places should contact Ann Wallace at the Funders’ Network.

About Partners for Places 

A joint project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Network, Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program that improves U.S. and Canadian communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability leaders and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects developed through these partnerships to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy and well-being for all residents. Through these investments, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our communities more prosperous, livable and vibrant.

About the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities

The Funders’ Network is a mission-driven network of grantmakers across North America, working to inspire, strengthen and expand funding and philanthropic leadership that yield environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, and economically prosperous regions and communities.

About The Urban Sustainability Directors Network

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) is a peer-to-peer network of local government professionals from cities across the United States and Canada dedicated to creating a healthier environment, economic prosperity, and increased social equity. Our dynamic network enables sustainability directors and staff to share best practices and accelerate the application of good ideas across North America.

Real Estate Crowdfunding to Take Center Stage at Crowd Invest Summit

Real Estate Crowdfunding to be major focus at countries largest crowd investment conference.

Press Release – Los Angeles, CA – 5/3/17 – Crowd Invest Summit, the countries largest crowdfunding investment conference, taking place on September 6th and 7th at the Los Angeles Convention Center, has today announced that it will be expanding it’s focus on Real Estate crowdfunding.

Since the signing of the JOBS Act in 2012, Real Estate Investing has been the fastest growing segment of the new Crowdfunding Industry. According to Fundingtree.com, over $3 Billion Dollars has been raised so far.

“We expect over 3,000 attendees at Crowd Invest Summit this September, a significant portion being investors who are looking to learn about new opportunities,” said Alon Goren, co-founder of Crowd Invest Summit. “Real Estate investing has been a major focus at the summit, and because of overwhelming demand, this September we’re expanding on the topic.”

Crowd Invest Summit will feature the crowd investment industry’s top leaders, investors and firms covering real estate investing over the span of two days in September:

“As one of California’s preeminent real estate and business law firms, we are excited to partner with Crowd Invest Summit for its first-ever discussion on the emerging issues and opportunities presented by the ever-growing real estate crowdfunding market.” Said Chuck Jarrell, Partner, Allen Matkins. “Crowdfunding has become an integral part of real estate investing and a topic that will resonate well with conference attendees.”

“We are excited to be back at Crowd Invest Summit this September to discuss how we’ve quadrupled our investor base by combining technology and marketing with an institutional approach to real estate investing,” said Michael Episcope, Principal, Origin Investments.

“Commercial real estate is no longer reserved for the wealthy. Now, everyone has the ability to passively invest in multi-million dollar properties, all thanks to crowdfunding,” said Matt Schuberg, CEO, RealCap Investments. “We are very excited to come back to Crowd Invest Summit in September to bring these types of opportunities to the masses.”

“401(k) and IRA accounts provide access to 12 times more investment dollars than checking and savings accounts,” said Todd Yancey, CSO of IRA Services. “We are excited to teach real estate investors at Crowd Invest Summit how to easily access that capital.”

“Now more than ever real estate companies should focus on the fundamentals and principles in mitigating risks to investors capital. Crowd Invest Summit offers both Real Estate Companies and potential investors to engage first hand and learn more about the risks and rewards of investing in Commercial Real Estate,” said Rayaan Arif, CEO, FundingTree.

In addition to IRA Services, Origin Investments, Allen Matkins and RealCap Investments, Crowd Invest Summit is sponsored by OTC Markets Group, Computershare, iDisclose, Issuer Direct, dbbmckennon, Stradling, New Direction IRA, Krowdster, Crowdfunding Lawyers and FundingTree.

Infosys Foundation USA Commits Funding to Train 1,000 Teachers in Computer Science

Press Release – Palo Alto CA – May 02, 2017: Infosys Foundation USA is pleased to announce the funding of Computer Science (CS) professional development for over 1,000 public school teachers in the summer of 2017. Including teachers supported in previous years, this will bring the total number of elementary and secondary school teachers trained to over 2,100, to benefit more than a million students over the next several years.

“The future is being written in code, and there is a critical need to invest in computer science education today. To prepare children for 21st century jobs it is vital that students can identify and solve complex problems, develop critical thinking skills and learn the computational thinking that is pervasive in a digital economy,” said Vandana Sikka, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation USA. “Teachers are the heart and soul of our children’s education and their role is even more significant in our digital world. One CS teacher alone can help hundreds, or even thousands, of students. Multiply that body of teachers by the thousands, and now you are able to achieve scale to get closer to our dream of making computer science accessible to every child in the United States.”

Inspired by the success of the 2016 CS PD Week, the Foundation is making investments in a variety of computer science teacher training workshops. These workshops make it easier for teachers from rural areas and smaller districts to attend at no cost in July 2017. Participating programs include Exploring Computer Science and Bootstrap at CS PD Week 2017 in Golden, CO; and Beauty and Joy of Computing, UTeach CS Principles, and Mobile CS Principles at various cities throughout the US. The latter three programs will make it possible for teachers to offer the new College Board endorsed Advance Placement CS Principles course to students in their high schools.

In addition, Infosys Foundation USA is continuing its funding of Code.org to train several hundred teachers in their high school CS Principles course, as well as in courses designed for elementary school students. Through its partnership with education crowdfunding leader DonorsChoose.org, the Foundation continues to provide CS training opportunities to teachers across America. By focusing on such evidence-based curricula, the Foundation is working to ensure that students benefit from a high quality computing education.

Infosys Foundation USA has already made multiple investments in previous years towards this goal of reducing the digital divide. The Foundation is the leading sponsor of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), the professional association for 23,000 CS teachers worldwide, and supports CSTA’s Continuing Professional Development Pipeline project and Teaching Excellence awards, along with the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). Besides supporting CS PD Week 2016, the Foundation has provided funding for CS training for hundreds of teachers with various partners.

Infosys Foundation USA’s long standing commitment to this cause is demonstrated by its systemic approach to supporting a variety of CS education programs over the past several years. These include funding directed towards curriculum development, afterschool programs, mentoring opportunities, research, evaluation, and boot camps and hackathons.

About Infosys Foundation USA

Infosys Foundation USA is focused on bridging the digital divide in America by supporting high quality computer science education and coding skills with a particular focus on underrepresented communities. It aims to give children and young adults the skills they need to become creators, not just consumers, of technology. In pursuit of this mission, the Foundation has partnered with internationally acclaimed non-profits and institutions like Code.org, New York Academy of Sciences, DonorsChoose.org, and the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition, Infosys Foundation USA committed a million dollars to the Infy Maker Awards to inspire makers across the U.S. to demonstrate creative excellence in making projects with genuine impact. Learn more at http://www.infosys.org/usa/ follow on Twitter @InfyFoundation or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/InfosysFoundationUSA

The Campaign for SDSU Raises $800 Million

SDSU’s first-ever, university-wide fundraising campaign exceeds goals

Press Release – SAN DIEGO, Calif. (April 29, 2017) —The Campaign for SDSU has raised $800 million, exceeding its goal of $750 million, as the first-ever university-wide fundraising campaign comes to a close.

“On behalf of the entire university, I’m extraordinarily grateful to all of our donors,” said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman. He spoke Saturday evening at an event with some of SDSU’s more than 70,000 campaign donors.

“The campaign has changed every corner of the SDSU campus and impacted our entire university community,” he said. “It has laid a stronger financial footing for the entire university and created a culture of philanthropy that is critical to the university’s success today and into the future.”

The university launched The Campaign for SDSU in July 2007 with a goal to raise $500 million to benefit students, faculty and staff. That goal was increased to $750 million in 2014.

“The Campanile Foundation (TCF) believed from the very start that The Campaign for SDSU would succeed,” said Mary Curran, chair of the all-volunteer TCF board, the university’s fundraising auxiliary. “We will continue to find new ways to build momentum and help the university become even more successful through sustained philanthropy.”

Campaign funding supports scholarships, endowed professorships, academic programs, new campus buildings, athletics and KPBS.

Approximately $185 million was donated to endowed scholarships, which will be available to students in perpetuity, including student-veterans, honors students and students studying abroad.

The campaign also raised funds to create or substantially support 20 endowed chairs and professorships that advance the university’s academic strength, including chairs to support programs in the life sciences, biomedical research, entrepreneurship, business, history and public relations.

SDSU received 138 gifts of $1 million or more. Among the most notable gifts of the campaign are a $25 million endowment from Ron and Alexis Fowler to support programs within the newly renamed Fowler College of Business and a $20 million scholarship endowment created by the late Conrad Prebys to support at least 200 students annually.

The Fowlers’ most recent gift was established as a matching gift, which challenges the university and its supporters to raise an additional $25 million for the Fowler College of Business.

While the Campaign for SDSU officially ends on June 30, 2017, the university’s need for philanthropic support is ongoing. State funding provides only 20 percent of annual operating expenses.

“Private giving will continue to be the bedrock of SDSU’s ambitions to advance academic excellence, hire and retain top-tier faculty and develop its research agenda,” said Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president for University Relations and Development, who led the 10-year campaign.

About San Diego State University

San Diego State University is a major public research institution that provides transformative experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom, for its more than 36,000 students. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in 91 areas, master’s degrees in 78 areas and doctorates in 22 areas. Students participate in research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, internships and mentoring, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities. The university’s rich campus life features opportunities for students to participate in, and engage with, the creative and performing arts, a Division I athletics program and the vibrant cultural life of the San Diego region. For more information, visit www.sdsu.edu.

“Coding Autism” Surpasses $50K Crowdfunding Goal to Help Train Adults with Autism How to Code

Program Aims to Combat Unemployment and Underemployment Rates Among People with Autism; Crowdfunding Campaign Launches to Help Fund Program and Provide Scholarships

Press Release – (Los Angeles, CA) – April 28, 2017 – Coding Autism, a full-service professional coaching and training company that trains adults on the autism spectrum in professional skills such as software engineering, quality assurance and web development, today announced that the company has surpassed its $50,000 crowdfunding goal. The contributions will help fund the program’s first web development bootcamp, and provide for scholarships so that the entire 15-person first class can attend tuition-free.

Every year, the number of people diagnosed with autism rises, however there are simply not enough quality programs designed towards training adults with autism with real-world career skills. As a result, too many are either unemployed or working in menial jobs below their skill level. To help adults with autism learn the fundamental skills necessary to secure an entry-level web developer job, Coding Autism has announced a new program to train those with autism how to code.

Coding Autism crowdfunding campaign can be seen at: https://startsomegood.com/coding-autism-training-adults-with-autism-in-code.

Coding Autism’s first web development boot camp is called the ASPIRE Web Development Immersive. This is a 15-week, full-time course where students will be learning the fundamental skills of coding. The first class will take place at Hub 101 in Thousand Oaks, CA (Greater Los Angeles Area) with online classes planned in 2018.

“We are proud to surpass our funding goal and are encouraged that supporters from coast to coast agree that it is completely unacceptable that our autistic community is experiencing an over 80% unemployment and underemployment rate,” said Oliver Thornton, CEO & co-founder of Coding Autism. “As passionate advocates who have either been diagnosed with autism ourselves or have family members affected with autism, we understand that with the right resources, training, coaching and environment that individuals with autism can thrive in the workforce.”

By founding Coding Autism and launching the ASPIRE Web Development Immersive, Mr. Thornton believes that they can create highly qualified, skilled, and eager to work autistic employees to fill job vacancies in the tech industry.

Research has shown that typical autistic characteristics such as attention to detail, affinity for repetitive tasks and introversion are all traits that lend themselves to becoming a successful employee within the tech industry. With the $50k+ average annual salary for entry-level, full-time web developers, tech is an attractive industry in which to pursue a career.

Over the last decade, companies such as Microsoft and SAP have implemented autism hiring initiatives. This was done not to combat autistic unemployment, but because they have seen that adults with autism can be exceptional employees and drive innovation when provided the right structure, mentorship and on-boarding. Students that want to enroll can sign-up to receive more information at: www.CodingAutism.com

A video can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVybQJSNlS4

About Coding Autism:

Coding Autism is a full-service professional coaching and training company that trains adults on the autism spectrum in professional skills such as software engineering, quality assurance, and web development. We also assist our graduates in finding employment within the software and technology industries. We do so by providing services such as immersive programs and bootcamps, resume workshops, career counseling, interview preparation, and coaching/mentorship, all of which is designed around providing an environment where people on the spectrum can thrive. More information is available at http://www.CodingAutism.com.

Light of Day WinterFest Raises Over Half Million Dollars for Third Straight Year in Global Battle to Defeat Parkinson’s Disease Through Awesome Power of Music

Boxing and Voice Therapy Programs Top Light of Day’s 2017 ‘Boots on the Ground’ Agenda

Press Release – ASBURY PARK, NJ (April 25, 2017) − For the third year in a row, the Light of Day Foundation has raised over a half a million dollars through its annual WinterFest fundraiser, catapulting its 17-year cumulative total past the $4.5 million mark in the global battle to defeat Parkinson’s Disease and the Parkinsonisms, ALS and PSP, through the awesome power of music.

Though Light of Day WinterFest has gained international notoriety for surprise performances by Bruce Springsteen in 11 of its 17 years, fundraising momentum continues to flourish despite his absence at the two most recent festivals. Light of Day WinterFest 2017: The Beat Goes On, attracted 12,000 patrons from around the world to witness over 150 acts at more than 50 shows over a 10-day stretch in New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia. Light of Day WinterFest is the culmination of a worldwide series of shows that began as a one-day affair in Asbury Park, where it still is primarily based. Among the artists who performed in 2017 were Peter Asher, Albert Lee, Jake Clemons, Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers, Willie Nile, Chuck Prophet, Jesse Malin, Jeffrey Gaines, James Maddock, Joey Molland of Badfinger, and Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan.

The Light of Day Foundation regrants money to organizations which fund specific research initiatives, including, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, CurePSP, the Parkinson’s Foundation (formerly the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation), and the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. The Light of Day Foundation also supports “boots on the ground” programs designed to help people with these diseases live better lives on a daily basis, including Joan Dancy & PALS, with a mission to help New Jersey residents in nearby Monmouth and Ocean Counties afflicted with ALS by providing a better quality of life for them and their families.

“As Maya Angelou once said, ‘People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.’ I’ve always believed that at its essence Light of Day was a feeling,” said Tony Pallagrosi, executive director of the Light of Day Foundation. “Every year that we produce Light of Day WinterFest, we hope folks come away with a feeling of community, joy, participation in something bigger than themselves, and the anticipation of and hope for what is to come. We utilize the awesome power of music to that end, to help us feel better and bring us together in the way that only music can as we battle to defeat Parkinson’s, ALS and PSP in our lifetime.”

Leading the Light of Day Foundation’s 2017 agenda is the launch of a pair of new Parkinson’s therapy programs, Boxing for Bob and the Parkinson Voice Project. Boxing for Bob, already underway in Forked River, NJ, is named for Bob Benjamin, the artist manager and music industry veteran who has been living with Parkinson’s since 1996, two years before he co-founded Light of Day with Pallagrosi, whose mother, Dolores, died in 2002 from the effects of PSP.

The Light of Day Foundation subsidizes Boxing for Bob, modeled after the Rock Steady program founded in Indiana a decade ago, to enable Parkinson’s and PSP patients at the Jersey Shore to participate at no charge. The Foundation is looking to open at least two more locations by the fall.

The Parkinson Voice Project, based outside of Dallas, TX, preserves the voices of individuals with Parkinson’s and related neurological disorders through intensive speech therapy, follow-up support, research, education, and community awareness. Its use of music as one therapy to increase the volume and clarity of patients’ voices, which deteriorate as Parkinson’s progresses, is a natural fit for the Light of Day Foundation. As such, the Foundation is working toward bringing the Parkinson Voice Project to the Jersey Shore by the end of the 2017.

Also in the Light of Foundation’s sights is the establishment of a Light of Day storefront location as a resource center “to host seminars, boxing, lectures, films − all having to do with Parkinson’s and PSP,” says Pallagrosi. “We hope to have programs for caregivers, too, because they’re the unsung heroes. In their own way, they’ve suffered a great deal.” Additionally, the Light of Day Foundation is planning a “Park on the Beach,” modeled after JT’s Grommet Island Park in Virginia Beach, VA, an accessible beach playground and park for children and adults with disabilities that allows everyone to “have their day at the beach.”

The next scheduled fundraising event is the Light of Day Mini Golf Classic, Saturday, June 10 from 1pm-8pm at Barnacle Bill’s Amusements, Route 35 North, Ortley Beach, NJ (Rain Date: June 11).

The Light of Day Foundation also is presenting Happy Together 2017, starring The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, The Association, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night, The Box Tops, The Cowsills, and The Archies starring Ron Dante, Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, with a portion of proceeds benefitting the Foundation. Tickets are on sale now at www.countbasietheatre.org.

More fundraising events for 2017 will be announced.

Complete information on all Light of Day activity can be found at www.lightofday.org. Donations to the Light of Day Foundation can be made through the website as well.

“Even though my heart breaks for every year that goes by without a cure, I am humbled by the fact that we have been doing what we do for almost 20 years and that Light of Day keeps growing, raising more awareness and money for research and support programs every year,” adds Pallagrosi. “I want to thank our sponsors, the venues, the production teams, the great City of Asbury Park, the Light of Day Foundation Board, the wonderful musicians who ‘bring it on’ year after year after year, all of the amazing folks who attend and support our mission and I want to especially thank Bob Benjamin, our founder and guiding light, who when diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 38 had a feeling to try to do something about it, a feeling that I believe enriches us, energizes us and resides in all of us who participate.”

ABOUT THE LIGHT OF DAY FOUNDATION

The Light of Day Foundation, Inc., utilizes the awesome power of music to raise money and awareness in its continuing battle to defeat Parkinson’s disease and related neuro-degenerative diseases, specifically Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), within our lifetime. The Foundation’s mission is to fund research into possible cures, improved treatments and support for patients who suffer from those diseases, their families and their caregivers to help improve their quality of life. Gifts to the Light of Day Foundation, Inc. are tax-deductible to the full extent of the Internal Revenue Code. The Light of Day Foundation, Inc. is designated by the IRS as a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization. The Light of Day Foundation, Inc.’s Federal ID # is 20-1560386. Light of Day – the concerts and the organization – grew from a birthday party and fund-raiser held in 1998 at the Downtown Cafe in Red Bank to celebrate the 40th birthday of artist manager and music industry veteran Bob Benjamin, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1996.

Miracle Foundation Launches Unique Mother’s Day Campaign to Benefit Orphaned Children

Non-Profit Hopes to Raise Money to Support Children Who Don’t Have a Mom

Press Release – AUSTIN, TX – There are millions of orphaned children in the developing world, many of whom languish in sub-standard institutions with deplorable conditions, where even their most basic needs are not met. That’s why Miracle Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers orphans to reach their full potential, is launching its unique Mother’s Day campaign. The 501(c)(3) charity, which brings life-changing care to the world’s orphans, hopes to raise funds by May 14th to provide clean water, nutritious food, healthcare and a quality education for mother-less children—all in a stable, loving, nurturing environment.

“This Mother’s Day, we invite you to honor your mom in a very meaningful way, by participating in our campaign,” said Caroline Boudreaux, Founder of Miracle Foundation. “Doing so will engage both you and your mom in the lives of less fortunate children in the developing world. What better way to pay tribute to your mother than by giving to children who don’t have one?”

To honor a mom, gift-givers simply visit www.MiracleFoundation.org/mothers. There, they can make a tax-deductible donation in the name of their mother—or other special woman in their lives. Supporters at all donation levels will receive a beautiful certificate they can share with their honoree for Mother’s Day.

In addition to the special Mother’s Day certificate, donors at two levels will receive additional perks:

  • $60 & up: eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store (electronic code sent to donors via email, within 1 business day after donation)
  • $125 & up: Gourmet chocolates from Maggie Louise Confections (chocolates sent to honorees via mail, within 2 business days after donation)

“We believe in quality over quantity, in supporting the whole child and breaking the cycle of poverty. Our Mother’s Day campaign represents a meaningful new way that every person can make miracles for orphans and honor their mother at the same time,” added Boudreaux. “Helping children go from hopeless and head-down, to empowered and standing tall, with bright futures ahead of them, is one of the most fulfilling endeavors in the world.”

Launched on Mother’s Day in 2000, Miracle Foundation turns struggling, institutional orphanages into stable, loving, nurturing homes where children thrive. The Austin, TX-based organization partners with existing orphanages to implement its proven and systematic method for providing a home where the fundamental needs and rights of growing children are met, from the day they arrive until the day they graduate into adulthood.

“While our goal is to find a loving family for every orphaned child, that isn’t always possible. For orphans with nowhere else to go, we ensure that orphanages are in line with international standards and guidelines. And we provide excellent training for caregivers, a top-notch education for the children, nutritious food and plenty of love,” added Boudreaux.

Currently, Miracle Foundation supports 24 orphanages in the developing world (starting with India), and offers its wide range of capacity-building training—focused on child protection, child rights, caregivers, life skills education, governance and more—to anyone running or donating to an orphanage around the world. With an increasingly global focus, Miracle Foundation is also partnering with organizations in Egypt, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and more to redefine the role of orphanages and bring life-changing care to the world’s orphans.

Miracle Foundation is unique in that its metric-driven method is measurable, scalable and transparent, guarding against corruption and ensuring that all donations go directly into nurturing and transforming the lives of orphaned children. Through its work, Miracle Foundation has given thousands of children without parental care a childhood that would have otherwise been impossible.

“Miracle Foundation proves that one person can make a difference,” said Shelley Seale, donor. “I have witnessed first-hand what my monthly donation can do to change the lives of many. I’ve traveled to India and visited the orphanages and have seen the difference my investment makes in orphans’ lives. We are empowering children to be the best that they can be.”

Miracle Foundation has been honored with the highest possible rating of four stars by Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates U.S. charities’ effectiveness and financial transparency: http://bit.ly/1nJC7wq

About Miracle Foundation

Miracle Foundation is an Austin, TX-based non-profit organization that brings life-changing care to the world’s orphans. The ultimate goal of the Miracle Foundation is to find a loving family for every orphaned child. That means we explore every possible avenue to reunite children with a parent or relative, if possible. In fact, we have reunited approximately 25% of our children with their families. We do this by allocating resources to more efficiently support alternative care options and ensuring that excellent family support services are in place. And, for orphans who have nowhere else to go, we ensure that orphanages are in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and international standards and guidelines. We provide excellent training for caregivers, a top-notch education for the children, nutritious food and plenty of love for them to thrive.

Together with our supporters, we work toward a common goal of providing a loving home, a quality education and a promising future to each and every orphan. Because when you bring together those who have, with those who have not—miracles happen.

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

About Maggie Louise Confections

Maggie Louise Confections is a creative confections company that brings haute couture designs to the world of chocolate by combining handcrafted creations with nostalgic flavors, modern design, and meaningful bespoke details. Made in Austin and packed with personality, MLC chocolates and candies are gifting perfection.

Launched in 2013, Maggie Louise Confections has reinvented the classic sampler box with color, personality and a unique customization platform making each box of chocolate a fun and memorable experience to both create and gift. The collection is designed seasonally and takes cues from the fashion and entertaining worlds to create a collection that feels fresh, fun and spirited.

For more information, please visit http://www.maggielouiseconfections.com/

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