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Insights Collection Delivers Fresh Summary of 2018 Trends in Corporate Social Investment

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 10:26am

To capture the sum of the social investments and impact made by businesses around the world, CECP has released the year-end edition of Investing in Society, the industry’s annual report providing a comprehensive look back at the biggest trends and insights that defined the year.

The all-digital and interactive report covers the five focus areas of Priorities, Performance, People, Planet, and Policies. Developed from CECP’s original researchthought leadership, findings from the Giving in Numbers: 2018 Edition, thousands of l discussions with more than 200 of the world’s largest companies, and engagement with leading experts and practitioners, Investing in Society is a 360-degree view of the corporate sector’s role in solving some of the world’s most pressing issues. This insights collection delves into what actions companies are taking to identify and effectively meet stakeholder needs, and how leading companies are striving to build a better world through business.

Investing in Society offers updates on the evolving corporate social investment space –traditions have been upended, and disruption is the norm,” said Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP. “Though 2018 was extraordinary in many ways, the world’s leading businesses have emerged as a vital force, increasing their commitments to stakeholders and positive impact on society.”  

Investing in Society guides visitors through five focus areas in which leading companies are aligning their corporate social investment strategies. Each section offers compelling and practical examples of business at its best. While Investing in Society reviews many in detail, highlights include:

  • PRIORITIES: While companies and their leaders are expected to speak on pressing socials issues, companies are taking a more measured and thoughtful approach to appeal to a broader diversity of opinions, points of view, and set of stakeholders. Corporations are approaching issues in collaboration with other companies and nonprofits, showing a united front on issues that make sense given their skills and expertise. Companies are considering their long-term business plans as they identify megatrends that require their activism.
  • PERFORMANCE: CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative continued to scale its efforts to provide a venue for CEOs to share their long-term strategic plans with audiences of long-term investors with nearly 30 CEOs from companies including Johnson & Johnson, Humana, BD, Medtronic, and Unilever making CEO Investor Forum presentations to investors representing more than $25 trillion in AUM. Recent research from SII and KKS Advisors has demonstrated a reaction to a CEO-presented long-term plan and is evidence that the audience of institutional investors finds the information in these presentations’ decision-relevant.
  • PEOPLE: CECP, Imperative, and PwC have published new research on the employee experience around purpose, higher meaning, and fulfillment at work. A staggering 96% of surveyed workers believe that achieving fulfillment at work is possible, and they see their role in making it happen.
  • PLANET: Companies recognized their potential to help in times of crisis after 2017’s unusually devastating run of natural disasters, along with the need for customized, disaster-specific responses. In fact, Giving in Numbers found that Disaster Relief was the program area that increased the most in 2017, doubling in terms of aggregated cash contributions and tripled in terms of median cash giving versus 2015.
  • POLICIES: Companies are concentrated on ensuring effective corporate governance through top-line decisions, such as management responsibilities, internal incentives at the executive level, and employees’ rights. Research has demonstrated that companies with more diverse boards produced a higher return on equity, and companies agree.

As the Executive Letter to Investing in Society, CECP also recently released the organization’s annual trends, which provide a thorough analysis of some of the biggest developments in the corporate social investment field in 2018. These five trends -- Employee Power, Collaborative Advocacy, Responsible Tech, Long-Term Growth Going Mainstream, and Impact Measured -- dovetail with the five focus areas explored in Investing in Society, offering further supporting evidence that companies are making decisions that consider their role in society and ability to effect meaningful change where it’s needed most.

The final 2018 edition of Investing in Society is available for free on cecp.co.

Note to Editors: CECP can coordinate interviews with Daryl Brewster, CEO, and Carmen Perez, Director, Data Insights, who are available for comment on the Investing in Society. Please contact Jackie Albano, jalbano@cecp.co to arrange interviews.




CECP: The CEO Force for Good:

CECP is a CEO-led coalition that believes that a company’s social strategy — how it engages with key stakeholders including employees, communities, investors, and customers —determines company success. Founded in 1999 by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and other business leaders to create a better world through business, CECP has grown to a movement of more than 200 of the world’s largest companies that represent $6.2 trillion in revenues, $18.4 billion in societal investment, 13 million employees, and $15 trillion in assets under management. CECP helps companies transform their social strategy by providing customized connections and networking, counsel and support, benchmarking and trends, and awareness building and recognition.

Argentinian Agribusiness Leader Ledesma Announces Verified Carbon Footprint for Its Office Paper

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 1:15pm

SCS Global Services (SCS), a global third-party certification body, announced today that Ledesma SAAI, an Argentinian agribusiness company that produces 40% of the nation’s printing and writing paper has earned Carbon Footprint Verification for its Office Ream paper product. This internationally recognized verification demonstrates Ledesma’s strong commitment to product transparency as part of its overall leadership in product stewardship and environmental sustainability.

“Ledesma’s decision to validate the GHG emissions of its office ream paper sets an important example for the region’s paper production industry, and establishes a benchmark for further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from paper production,” said Jaime de Monasterio, SCS’ Regional Director for Latin America.

SCS conducted an assessment of the Carbon Footprint (CF) for Ledesma’s Office Ream paper based on the requirements of the WRI GHG Protocol and ISO 14064-3. The product – general office paper for consumers in Argentina – is manufactured at Ledesma’s mills primarily from bleached bagasse pulp (~92%) and softwood pulp (~8%). The verification considered the “cradle-to-grave” greenhouse gas emissions of the product, from raw material extraction through production, transport, use and recycling or disposal.

Bagasse, the spent sugar fiber leftover from sugar cane harvest, comes from Ledesma’s sugar mill operations. The company operates the largest sugar mill in Argentina, producing refined sugar, corn syrups, ethyl alcohols, and other sugar products.

For its softwood pulp, Ledesma is certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody program. “We have been FSC certified by SCS since 2014,” said Marcos Uribelarrea, Paper Business Director at Ledesma. “Our policy to source FSC-certified materials and to use our own waste products in paper production not only meets our sustainability values, but helps our bottom line. Through use of these sources, we are demonstrating our commitment to serving our customers for the long haul.”

FSC certification and waste reuse initiatives are only part of the company’s sustainability leadership. Ledesma has made great strides in reusing water in its operations, installing closed-loop systems, and also designating more than 60% of its owned land as conservation areas, with support from the Argentinian government.

About Ledesma
Ledesma is an Argentinean agribusiness company committed to the development of the country. With more than 7,500 employees, Ledesma leads in the marketplace for sugar, printing paper, notebooks and school supplies. Its paper production alone is more than 700,000 metric tons per year. It also has a significant market share in the fruit and juice concentrates, meat, cereals, alcohol and ethanol, and corn syrups and starches. Its varied products have been satisfying customers and transforming markets for more than 100 years. Ledesma is built upon a legacy of family leadership, dedicated workers and suppliers, and the natural resources and communities found in the Yungas Forest and surrounding area.

About SCS Global Services
SCS Global Services has been a global leader in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for more than three decades. Its programs span a wide cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, power generation, and more. Headquartered in Emeryville, California, SCS has representatives and affiliate offices throughout the Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Africa. Its broad network of auditors are experts in their fields, with a dedication to quality and professionalism. SCS is a chartered Benefit Corporation, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices.

KeyBank Finances the Construction of Affordable Housing for Low- to Moderate-Income Households in Portage, MI

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 1:12pm

KeyBank provided and arranged a total of $17.4 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) financing to Full Circle Communities for the construction of Selinon Park Apartments, providing 75 affordable housing units serving households that earn 30% and 60% area median income (AMI) in Portage, MI.

Specifically, KeyBank’s Community Development Lending & Investment (CDLI) team provided a $13.5 million construction loan and KeyBank Real Estate Capital arranged a $3.9 million Freddie Mac taxable forward commitment permanent loan with a 15-year term and 35-year amortization schedule.

Stephen Sparks of KeyBank’s CDLI team and Jeff Rodman of KeyBank’s Commercial Mortgage Group worked together on the financing.

About Key Community Development Lending/Investment

KeyBank Community Development Lending and Investment (CDLI) helps fulfill Key’s purpose to help clients and communities thrive by financing projects that stabilize and revitalize communities. Experts in complex tax credit lending and investing, Key is one of a handful of affordable housing lenders in the country with a platform that brings together balance sheet, equity, and permanent loan offerings. For its ability to lend to, invest in, and serve its communities – especially low-to-moderate income communities – KeyBank has earned nine consecutive “Outstanding” ratings on the Community Reinvestment Act exam, from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

About KeyBank Real Estate Capital

KeyBank Real Estate Capital is a leading provider of commercial real estate finance. Its professionals, located across the country, provide a broad range of financing solutions on both a corporate and project basis. The group provides interim and construction finance, permanent mortgages, commercial real estate loan servicing, investment banking and cash management services for virtually all types of income producing commercial real estate. As a Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriter and Servicer, Freddie Mac Program Plus Seller/Servicer and FHA approved mortgagee, KeyBank Real Estate Capital offers a variety of agency financing solutions for multifamily properties, including affordable housing, seniors housing and student housing. KeyBank Real Estate Capital is also one of the nation’s largest and highest rated commercial mortgage servicers.

About KeyCorp

KeyCorp's roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $138.8 billion at September 30, 2018. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of over 1,100 branches and more than 1,500 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.

Media Contact: Laura Mimura, laura.mimura@key.com, 216.471.2883


Subaru Celebrates Winter Adventure With Return of Subaru WinterFest in 2019

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 1:00pm

Subaru of America, Inc. announced the return of Subaru WinterFest, the automaker’s highly anticipated, multi-city mountain destination and lifestyle tour offering one-of-a-kind experiences for winter warriors across the country. Featuring weekend takeovers at nine of the nation’s top winter resorts, the 2019 Subaru WinterFest tour combines music, adventure, food & beverage, pets and the environment to create a truly unique experience that speaks to the passion points of outdoor enthusiasts and Subaru owners alike. The automaker will implement additional green event practices this year including expanded recycling collection with TerraCycle® and waste reduction education with Leave No Trace.

In partnership with POWDR, one of the last family-owned adventure lifestyle companies with multiple mountain resort destinations, each stop on the Subaru WinterFest tour will include live music  sponsored by Harman Kardon® from national touring indie/bluegrass/Americana/folk bands such as Lukas Nelson & Promise of The RealLanghorne Slim & The LawG Love & Special Sauce, and The Lil Smokies, as well as music from emerging artists and DJs provided by SiriusXM® radio. Visitors are encouraged to demo the latest gear from top brands such as Nordica, Lib Tech, Thule, Shred and other partners offering daily giveaways at on-site tiny house inspired event trailers complete with rooftop and front decks.

Mountain-goers are invited to play lawn games, relax in hammocks, or warm up at upgraded hangout zones with fire pits by Solo Stove while enjoying winter comforts from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, SMASHMALLOW, Chocolove and KIND Healthy Snacks. Through dynamic programming executed by POWDR’s experiential marketing team, weekend guests are encouraged to engage with experts and like-minded adventure seekers – making time off the slopes just as exciting as on them.

“Adventure and outdoor exploration is engrained in the DNA of the Subaru brand and our owners, so we are thrilled to kick-off Subaru WinterFest for the 2019 season,” said Alan Bethke, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Subaru of America Inc. “Year after year, we are delighted by the growing enthusiasm each stop of the tour receives, and we are excited to integrate new elements of our Subaru Love Promise this year, in addition to the many activities attendees have come to love and look forward to.”

Subaru Loves Pets

Dogs and their people are welcome at Subaru WinterFest, where they'll find games, guided training sessions, photo ops, and giveaways at Super Chewer Outpost by BARK. These basecamps for dog adventures are built at select stops on the tour (Copper, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Boreal, and Mt. Bachelor) in partnership with BARK, the makers of BarkBox.

In collaboration with longtime partner the National Ski Patrol (NSP), Subaru will continue to put a spotlight on outdoor safety by celebrating the mountain communities’ canine heroes. During WinterFest events this season, for every Subaru information form received, Subaru will donate $1 to the Subaru National Ski Patrol Avalanche Rescue Dog Scholarship Fund, created in unison with NSP to send five avalanche rescue K-9 teams of dogs and their handlers to the biannual Wasatch Backcountry Rescue’s International Dog School.

Subaru Loves the Earth

New for 2019, Subaru is working alongside TerraCycle to collect recyclable waste generated during Subaru WinterFest and Leave No Trace to educate consumers on zero landfill practices. In partnership with Klean Kanteen, Subaru event teams will also provide attendees with reusable bottles and mugs (while supplies last), as opposed to single-use cups, throughout each weekend.  

Subaru vehicles, such as the all-new, 2019 Subaru Ascent SUV and Forester Sport, will be on-site for consumers to experience at every stop of the tour. In addition, Subaru owners will enjoy perks such as VIP parking for easy access to the lift and lodge, as well as premium gifts while supplies last.

2019 Tour Dates

A full schedule for Subaru WinterFest 2019, including featured musician/band(s) and Super Chewer Outpost by BARK locations can be found below:


Resort Location


Super Chewer Outpost by BARK

January 12-13

Snowshoe Mountain, WV

The Lil Smokies (1/12)


January 19-20

Jack Frost Big Boulder, PA

The Lil Smokies (1/19)


January 26-27

Boyne Mountain Resort, MI

The Lil Smokies (1/26)


February 15-17

Copper Mountain Resort, CO

Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real (2/16) Langhorne Slim & The Law and Kind Hearted Strangers (2/17)




February 22-24

Snowbird, UT

G. Love & Special Sauce (2/23)


March 2-3

Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, CA

The Lil Smokies (3/2)


March 8-10

Boreal Mountain Resort, CA

The Lil Smokies (3/9)


March 15-17

Mt. Bachelor, OR

G. Love & Special Sauce, Langhorne Slim & The Law (3/16), and Lil Smokies (3/15)


March 22-24

Eldora Mountain Resort, CO

Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real (3/23) and the Lil Smokies (3/24)


For more information on a Subaru WinterFest stop near you, please visit: www.subaru.com/winterfest and follow #SubaruWinterFest.

About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Camden, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 630 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. SOA is guided by the Subaru Love Promise, which is the company’s vision to show love and respect to everyone, and to support its communities and customers nationwide. Over the past 20 years, SOA has donated more than $120 million to causes the Subaru family cares about, and its employees have logged more than 40,000 volunteer hours. As a company, Subaru believes it is important to do its part in making a positive impact in the world because it is the right thing to do.

For additional information visit media.subaru.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Diane Anton
Subaru of America, Inc.                                 

Joe Perri
Jaclyn Bingold

Sourcing Food Products From Developing Countries to Integrate Underserved Communities in the Global Supply Chain

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 1:00pm

Ethical food sourcing company Coconut Merchant has signed on as Business Call to Action (BCtA)’s newest member, with a commitment to focus on sourcing food products from underserved communities and farmers in developing countries to provide sustainable income, and new routes for their products to international markets.

Since starting operations in 2014, Coconut Merchant has seen rapid growth, supported by growing demand for healthy, natural products.  They now have the world’s largest range of coconut products and are distributed in major supermarkets, department stores and online retailers in the United Kingdom.

With ethical sourcing core to their business since their inception, BCtA membership has formalised their commitment to expand and support the industrialization of 12 small scale suppliers in Sri Lanka and Thailand by 2022. They have also committed to directly purchase food products from 52 small to medium farmers to provide sustainable incomes in the selected markets, amongst other plans to boost cooperatives and opportunities for trade with small holder famers.  If successful, this will have a direct positive impact on the lives of over 10,000 people, simply through the commitment of one company.

Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power (in 2015 dollars) as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

For many small farmers in developing countries, it is difficult to compete with large scale providers of food products in local and international markets. These farmers often have no reach beyond their local communities, and they rely on selling their products to wholesalers who may not repurchase their products, or will assign low prices to the farmers’ produce.  Coconut Merchant’s commitments provides them access to regular purchase orders and income security, allowing them to plan and invest in future of their families.

With global competition for export markets intensifying, the farmers do not have the resources needed to sustainably grow their businesses and income.  Again, Coconut Merchant’s commitments enables them to keep up with global demand trends and production standards, allowing them to remain competitive.

Viewing the challenges faced by farmers in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, Coconut Merchant was driven to develop a business model where all parties in the supply chain will benefit. They are driven by the mantra “Trade not Just Aid”; acknowledging that there are times when aid is needed, but focusing on developing models that would allow for sustainable economic development through true trade partnerships.  By their model, ultimately farmers are empowered with more selling leverage and support to create new and innovative products that can join the global supply chain.
 “Ethical sourcing has always been core to what we do, however our membership with BCtA means our practices can be formalised into measurable goals.  We’re focused on developing true partnerships with small scale farmers and producers, enabling them and providing sustainable incomes” comments Al Shariat, Director at Coconut Merchant. He further explains, “our ultimate goal is to develop a business model where everyone benefits, from farmers right through to our customers, and results in sustainable economic development.  The BCtA is perfectly in line with that mission.” 

Paula Pelaez, Head of Business Call to Action, said that Coconut Merchant was using an excellent business model and strategy for growth that could be replicated globally.

“Coconut Merchant has identified a need that is shared by many small communities across the world, and the company is working towards promoting inclusive and sustainable communities where farmers and other persons are given the chance to own their destiny and be in control of their financial status. BCtA is pleased to have Coconut Merchant on board, as we celebrate initiatives that encourage the development of inclusive societies, and the creation of economically empowered communities,” Ms Pelaez said.

For further information: 
BCtA: aimee.brown@undp.org    
BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.

About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UK Department for International Development (DFID), and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org

About Coconut Merchant: Coconut Merchant specialises in providing quality coconut products.  They have the world’s largest range of coconut products, with listing in supermarkets, health stores and online retailers, and growing international distribution.  The quality of its products has been recognised by numerous industry awards, and demand for their products continues to grow.  The company also collaborates with international partners and cooperatives to develop new products, while also opening up its partners to new products, trends, and markets.  Coconut Merchant’s mission is to share products that are in every way, packed with love - ethically sourced quality products, which are packed and delivered to customers with love.

2018 EHS & Sustainability Management Forum

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 1:00pm

NAEM's EHS & Sustainability Management Forum is the largest annual gathering of environment, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability decision-makers. Attend this year’s Forum to find answers to some of your toughest EHS and sustainability challenges and network with the best in the industry. This year’s program will include 5 different tracks, over 25 sessions, and will be led by more than 90 EHS and sustainability leaders. Register today before it sells out!

NH Liquor Commission & Jack Daniel’s Emphasizing Responsibility During the Holiday Season

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:50pm

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey are reminding the public to serve and consume alcohol responsibly this holiday season through their award-winning Live Free & Host Responsibly campaign. The innovative and interactive campaign offers holiday-themed food and drink recipes, tips for responsible entertaining and videos on this responsibility-focused webpage.

“The holiday season is a time of celebration and joy and the Live Free & Host Responsibly campaign showcases an array of tips and recommendations for enjoying the season safely and responsibly,” said NHLC Chairman Joseph Mollica. “Responsibility is critically important in everything we do at NHLC. It is imperative we consistently encourage our customers to serve and consume alcohol responsibly year-round. We are proud to partner with Jack Daniel’s on this impactful and interactive initiative, which continues to be a tremendous resource for engaging the public with fun and informative tips and recipes for responsible hosting.”

Live Free & Host Responsibly is now featuring downloadable tips and festive recipes, including a “Rise and Shine” cocktail made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye, orange juice and lemon juice, and an alcohol-free version of the Rise and Shine, which features iced tea instead of whiskey. The webpage also features a recipe for “Jack’s Pecan Fudge,” to cure your sweet tooth this holiday season.

NHLC and Jack Daniel’s initially teamed up for the Live Free & Host Responsibly campaign in 2015, marking the first time a control state had partnered with a fine wine and spirits company on a responsibility initiative. NHLC, which is considered the most profitable and progressive control state, and Jack Daniel’s, one of the most respected and recognized brands in the world, launched this strategic effort to serve as a resource for hosts and servers.

“Responsibility is a core value and priority for Jack Daniel’s throughout the year and the Live Free & Host Responsibly campaign truly captures the importance of our responsibility message in a creative and informative platform,” said Taylor Amerman, corporate responsibility manager for Brown Forman, which owns Jack Daniel’s. “As the holiday season is a time for celebrating with family and friends, we encourage hosts and servers to enjoy the season safely by relying on our tips and recipes offered through the Live Free & Host Responsibly campaign.”

The Live Free & Host Responsibly webpage features an instructional video demonstrating how to prepare holiday food and drink recipes developed by Tim Laird, America’s Chief Entertaining Officer. Laird is an authority on wines and spirits with more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. A connoisseur of fine wines, spirits and champagnes, Laird is also a gourmet chef and master at entertaining. Laird makes hundreds of appearances each year on radio and television programs and has appeared on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Fox & Friends, The Tonight Show, ABC World News Now, CNN, FOX News and CNBC networks.

To access holiday hosting tips and recipes, and all Live Free & Host Responsibly resources, please visit NHLC’s responsibility web page at www.LiquorandWineOutlets.com/responsibility.

About the New Hampshire Liquor Commission 
The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) operates 78 retail Outlets throughout the Granite State and serves more than 11 million customers each year. More than $3.6 billion in net profits has been raised since the first Outlet opened in 1934. NHLC set an all-time sales record in Fiscal Year 2018, generating $707.7 million in gross sales, an increase of $9.6 million over the previous fiscal year. Total liquor net profits reached $155.7 million, of which $148.9 million was transferred to the New Hampshire General Fund, which is used to fund programs including education, health and social services, transportation and natural resource protection. Additionally, $6.8 million was transferred to New Hampshire’s Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund, which utilizes a percentage of NHLC profits to fund addiction treatment and prevention programs.

Visit www.LiquorandWineOutlets.com to locate an Outlet, search for product availability, learn about monthly sales, review wine tasting schedules, and sign up to receive significant savings with monthly Email Extras.

About Jack Daniel’s

Officially registered by the U.S. Government in 1866 and based in Lynchburg, Tenn., the Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, proprietor, is the oldest registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Jack Daniel’s is the maker of the world-famous Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire and Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails.

About Brown-Forman

Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman is a diversified producer of fine wine and spirits. The company was founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown. His original brand, Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, was America's first bottled bourbon and remains one of Brown-Forman's finest brands today. One of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies and among the top 10 largest global spirits companies, Brown-Forman sells its brands in more than 135 countries and has offices in cities across the globe. In all, Brown-Forman has more than 25 brands in its portfolio of wines and spirits.

New York City Establishes Affordable Housing Fund with $2 Million Grant from Wells Fargo Foundation

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:50pm

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) announced today the City’s Neighborhood Pillars Program with a $2 million commitment from the Wells Fargo Foundation. As part of Housing New York 2.0, the mayor’s plan to finance 300,000 affordable homes by 2026, the Neighborhood Pillars Program will help finance acquisition and rehabilitation of existing rent-stabilized and unregulated buildings to preserve affordability in neighborhoods across the city.

“Through our new Neighborhood Pillars Program, we’re giving community-based organizations the tools they need to compete in a fast-changing market,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “Now, pre-qualified non-profits will have greater access to the capital and technical assistance they need to purchase, and finance, quality affordable housing for generations to come.”

With the Wells Fargo Foundation’s commitment, and $2 million from the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), the city has established the Neighborhood Pillars Down Payment Assistance Fund, a first of its kind fund, that will require at least 30 percent of homes be permanently affordable and at least 20 percent of homes be set aside for formerly homeless households.

Low-cost housing affordability in NYC has declined 12 percent since 2014

Changes in the state rent laws over the last few decades, combined with the surging demand for housing, have led to aggressive real estate speculation in rent-stabilized buildings, which provide a critical source of housing for low-income New Yorkers. Although there has been no significant net decline in rent-stabilized units over the past decade, the city has experienced a substantial decline in the number of low-cost units. Since 2014, the number of units with contract rents less than $1,500 has declined more than 12 percent or about 160,000 units. Neighborhood Pillars is the latest in a series of efforts to address these issues, and both improve the quality and preserve the long-term affordability of the city’s housing stock.

“The Wells Fargo Foundation is focused on making housing more affordable, achievable, and sustainable as we work to build stronger communities,” said Martin Sundquist, executive director of the Wells Fargo Foundation housing philanthropy. “In many neighborhoods access to credit, and to safe, sustainable and affordable housing continue to be critical needs. This collaboration will help revitalize communities throughout New York City and is an example of the positive impact that can be achieved with thoughtful public-private collaboration.”

Program will fund acquisition and preservation of nearly 7,500 homes

The Neighborhood Pillars Down Payment Assistance Fund will be administered by Restored Homes Development LLC, an affiliate of Neighborhood Restore HDFC. Restored Homes will offer assistance to nonprofits in sourcing, underwriting, and negotiating potential acquisitions.

Pre-qualified nonprofits, mission-based organizations, and certified Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises were identified for the program last spring. Potential buyers can apply on a rolling basis. The program will fund the acquisition and preservation of nearly 7,500 homes over the next eight years.

“Our efforts to secure more affordable housing are key to our work in removing barriers and increasing the number of minority and low- to moderate-income homeowners in New York,” said Fred Bertoldo, Wells Fargo New York region bank president. “We are thrilled to support Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan through Neighborhood Pillars and look forward to the progressions that will be made in affordable housing as a result of this effort.”

About the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

As the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency, HPD’s mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026. For regular updates on HPD news and services, follow @NYCHousing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Wells Fargo Foundation

In 2017, the Wells Fargo Foundation donated $22.7 million in support of affordable housing initiatives serving low- and moderate-income households – including for seniors, veterans and families – through community revitalization efforts. Since its inception 25 years ago, the Wells Fargo Foundation has invested more than $212.7 million in such efforts, along with mobilizing more than 4.75 million team member volunteer hours to build and rehabilitate nearly 7,600 homes and counting. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2018 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.



Stephanie Grant +1 (760) 432-5440 stephanie.grant2@wellsfargo.com

20 Questions for Private Foundations from Raffa-Marcum

Sun, 12/23/2018 - 9:35pm

 Raffa-Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group, a service of Marcum LLP, recommends 20 questions that can help guide private foundations in remaining compliant with IRS regulations and avoiding unforeseen penalties.

“Using private foundations is a popular way for corporations or individuals and their families to establish long-term charitable giving programs. Such entities are exempt organizations under IRC § 501(c)(3) and enjoy many benefits. However, these organizations are also subject to many rules and regulations that restrict their activities, some of which are highly complicated or have various exceptions that may apply.  Accordingly, it is important that transactions are structured carefully to avoid any problems and the resulting penalties, which can be quite severe,” said Frank H. Smith, nonprofit tax leader for the Raffa-Marcum group.

1.     Do you maintain a current list of disqualified persons?

2.     Has the foundation engaged in any self-dealing transactions with a disqualified person?

Has the foundation received tickets or other items that were used by disqualified persons?

4.     Does the foundation control another organization?
5.     Does the foundation have net capital losses or plan on selling investments at a loss?
6.     Does the foundation historically pay the 2% tax on net investment income rather than a reduced 1% tax?
7.     Does the foundation have highly appreciated stock it is planning on selling?
8.     Is the foundation meeting its annual minimum distribution requirements?
9.     Has the foundation considered setting aside funds in order to meet the minimum distribution requirements?
10.  Does the foundation have any charitable use assets or program-related investments that it can exclude from its minimum distribution calculation?
11.  Does the foundation invest in what may be considered risky investments (such as puts, calls, etc.)?
12.  Does the foundation own any stock that may be considered excess business holdings?
13.  Does the foundation provide grants to non-public charities or taxable entities?
14.  Does the foundation provide scholarships or other type of grants directly to individuals for travel, study, or similar purposes?
15.  Does the foundation provide grants or wish to provide funding to foreign charities?
16.  Does the foundation engage in political or lobbying activities or have any expenditure related to such activities?
17.  Does the foundation engage in any activities unrelated to its exempt purpose?
18.  Does the foundation use debt to finance the purchase of any income producing assets (including the use of margin accounts)?
19.  Does the foundation invest in partnerships?
20.  Has the foundation satisfied all of the disclosure requirements related to contributions received or its annual return and exemption application?

Disqualified Persons

Disqualified persons are individuals or organizations a private foundation is deemed to be related to and with which the private foundation is limited from engaging in transactions which may create self-dealing or excess business holding issues (discussed below). Disqualified persons include the following:

  • Officers, directors or trustees of the foundation

  • A substantial contributor to the foundation

  • Companies or partnership substantially owned by disqualified persons

  • Spouse and families of any of the above (family in this instance includes ancestors, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their spouses, but not siblings)


A disqualified person is restricted in the types of transactions that can be engage in with a private foundation. These transactions include:

  • A sale, exchange, or leasing of property

  • Lending of money or other extension of credit

  • Furnishing of goods, services, or facilities

  • Payment of compensation

  • Transfer to or use of the income or assets of a private foundation

Generally, these are per se prohibitions. For example, a private foundation could not sell a pencil to a disqualified person for $100, even though such a transaction would be beneficial to the foundation. There are few exceptions to these restrictions, such as the payment of reasonable compensation for the performance of personal services, and the provision of facilities by a disqualified person to a related private foundation without charge.

Due to the complexity of the law in this area and the severity of the penalties, it is recommended that a qualified tax advisor review any transactions involving a disqualified person.

Received Tickets 

Foundations often receive tickets to fundraising events in return for its contributions. The use of such tickets by disqualified persons or individuals related to disqualified persons could be considered a self-dealing transaction. For example, if a disqualified person gives the tickets to a spouse or employee of a related corporation, the IRS has ruled that an act of self-dealing has occurred, even if the disqualified person personally pays the fair market value of the ticket in question. An exception exists if the person who attends the event is a representative of the foundation and has the responsibility to evaluate or review the activities of the grantee organization.

Controlled Organizations

Acts with controlled organizations are generally treated as though the act was performed by the private foundation itself. An organization is treated as controlled by a private foundation if the foundation, one or more foundation managers, or disqualified persons of the foundation can, by aggregating their votes or authority, require the organization to engage in the self-dealing transaction.

Net Capital Losses

Capital losses from the sale of foundation investments can only be used to offset capital gains in the same tax year. The capital losses cannot be used to offset other investment income, nor can they be carried back or forward to other tax years. Therefore, when possible, foundation managers and investment advisors should manage the sale of such investments to avoid large losses in one year and large gains in another year.

Reduced 1% Tax

A foundation can qualify for a reduced tax rate of 1% if it makes qualifying distributions during a tax year that is at least equal to a certain amount that is based on the average percentage of assets distributed in the prior five tax years. Your tax advisor should be able to advise you as to the amount of distributions that are necessary for the current year in order to qualify for this reduced rate. With proper tax planning, a foundation can maximize the benefit of this reduced tax by timing its distributions and the sale of any highly appreciated investments.

Highly Appreciated Stock 

In order to take advantage of various tax laws, private foundations often receive highly appreciated stock from its donors. Sale of such appreciated property would normally generate net investment income that is taxable to the foundation. However, if a foundation contributes appreciated property to a public charity, the foundation gets a qualified distribution for the full fair market value of the property, but does not have to pay taxes on the amount of the appreciation.

Minimum Distribution Requirements

Generally, a foundation is required to distribute an amount equal to approximately 5% of the fair market value of its assets every year. Qualifying distributions include actual disbursements paid to accomplish an exempt purpose, set-asides, purchase of charitable use assets, program related investments, and reasonable and necessary administrative expenses. Due to the fact the foundation has a one-year grace period for meeting the minimum distribution requirement, a qualified tax advisor should be able to advise you as to the amount of the distribution which is required in order to avoid excise taxes on undistributed income.


A foundation’s qualifying distributions are normally calculated solely on a cash receipts and disbursements method. However, certain amounts set aside for specific purposes may be treated as distributions before the amounts are actually paid. Generally, unless the foundation is in its initial startup phase and meets specific requirements, the foundation must first receive advanced approval for the set-aside.

Charitable Use Assets 

Assets used directly in carrying out the exempt purposes of the foundation can be excluded from the foundation’s minimum investment return calculation, which will decrease the amount required to be distributed by the foundation. For example, the building in which the foundation operates or the computer equipment its staff uses to track donee information would qualify as charitable use assets.  

Program-related Investments 

Amounts paid to acquire or operate program-related investments are treated as qualifying distributions for satisfying the minimum distribution requirements. A program-related investment should possess the following characteristics:

  • Primary purpose is to accomplish a charitable, educational, or similar purpose

  • Production of income or appreciation of property is not a significant purpose of the investment

  • Investment is not made in order to influence legislation or campaign on behalf of a candidate for public office

Risky Investments

While the IRS has noted that it will not consider any type of investment a “jeopardizing investment” per se, there are certain categories of investments that it will closely scrutinized, such as puts, calls, warrants, etc. An investment would be considered to be a jeopardizing investment if the foundation managers, in making the investment, fail to exercise ordinary business care in providing for the long and short-term financial needs of the foundation.

Excess Business Holdings

Generally, excess business holdings would exist if a private foundation and all disqualified persons combined own over 20% of the voting stock of an incorporated business enterprise. Under certain circumstances, this percentage may increase to 35%. In addition, there is a 2% de minimis rule in situations where the foundation itself owns 2% or less of both the voting stock and value of all outstanding shares of the business enterprise. There is also a 5-year grace period for business holdings that are obtained through gift or bequest.

Grants to Non-Public Charities or Taxable Entities

Normally, most private foundations meet their minimum distribution requirements by making grants to public charities. Making grants to other organizations may not be considered qualifying distributions and may also be considered taxable expenditures, subjecting the foundation to various excise taxes. However, if such a distribution is made to a non-public charity or to a taxable entity, the foundation can avoid the excise taxes by satisfying the requirements for expenditure responsibility. The expenditure responsibility requirements can be met by establishing adequate procedures, obtaining certain documentation, and accurately reporting the expenditure to the IRS. Before making these types of distributions, you should consult a tax advisor to minimize the risk of making a distribution that may be considered a taxable expenditure.

Grants Directly to Individuals

In general, grants awarded to individuals for travel, study, or similar purposes are taxable expenditures. However, such a grant will not be considered to be a taxable expenditure if it is awarded on an objective and nondiscriminatory basis, and is made with advanced approval by the IRS. In addition, the foundation can make other types of grants to individuals, including employer-related scholarships, as long as it meets certain requirements.

Foreign Charities

Private foundations can make distributions to foreign charities, but need to show that the foreign charity is the equivalent of a public charity, or the foundation will need to exercise expenditure responsibility as discussed above. Due to the difficulties of obtaining documentation from some foreign countries, meeting these requirements may not be easy. However, a qualified tax advisor with experience in this area should be able to assist in satisfying these requirements and the additional procedures should not prevent a foundation from making foreign grants in furtherance of their exempt purposes.

Political or Lobbying Activities 

Charitable organizations in general are limited in the extent to which they can participate in attempts to influence legislation. Private foundations are subject to even stricter limitations. Private foundations cannot pay or incur any amount to carry on propaganda or otherwise attempt to influence legislation. However, they can support programs that involve public policy and social advocacy issues as long as the activities do not involve attempts to influence legislation (whether through direct lobbying or grass roots lobbying). Exceptions do exist for supporting nonpartisan studies of broad social and economic issues or amounts related to self-defense legislation. 

Unrelated Business Income

Similar to public charities and most other exempt organizations, private foundations are subject to taxation on any unrelated business income. All activities of the foundation should be analyzed to determine and document the relationship to the exempt purposes of the foundation. 

Debt to Finance the Purchase of Any Income Producing Asset

Private foundations must include income from debt-financed property in their calculation of unrelated business income. Generally, debt-financed property is any property that is held to produce income and has acquisition indebtedness at any time during the year. In addition, any property that is disposed of during the year may be subject to tax if there was acquisition indebtedness with regards to the property at any time during the 12 months prior to the disposal. Depending on the facts and circumstances, the use of margin accounts in a private foundation’s investment portfolio may cause the organization to be subject to taxation.


Activities engaged in by a partnership in which a private foundation is a partner (whether a general or limited partner) is considered to be engaged in directly by the foundation. A foundation needs to pay attention to the activities of such organizations, because the activities can inadvertently cause many problems for the foundation.

Disclosure Requirements 

Private foundations are subject to many disclosure and reporting requirements. In addition to some special reporting requirements noted above, examples of some basic reporting requirements are as follows:

  • Substantiation requirements – must acknowledge donations greater than $250

  • Quid pro quo reporting requirements – must acknowledge donations greater than $75 when goods or services are given to the donor in return

  • Annual reporting requirements – required to file federal Form 990-PF and possibly additional state filings

  • Public disclosure rules – must make the annual report and exemption application available for public inspection


Raffa-Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group provides expertise and service across a variety of essential, interrelated financial, technology and consulting competencies. The group is dedicated to serving as a catalyst for positive systemic change in the community, by serving as a go-to partner for compliance and operational excellence, freeing its clients to remain focused on their missions.


Marcum LLP is one of the largest independent public accounting and advisory services firms in the nation, with offices in major business markets throughout the U.S., as well as Grand Cayman, China, and Ireland. Headquartered in New York City, Marcum provides a full spectrum of traditional tax, accounting, and assurance services; advisory, valuation, and litigation support; managed accounting services; and an extensive portfolio of specialty and niche industry practices. The Firm serves both privately held and publicly traded companies, as well as nonprofit and social sector entities, high net worth individuals, private equity funds, and hedge funds, with a focus on middle-market companies and closely held family businesses.  Marcum is a member of the Marcum Group, an organization providing a comprehensive array of professional services. For more information, visit www.marcumllp.com.

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EPA Recognizes Sodexo for Food Recovery Achievements

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 12:15pm

Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company committed to Quality of Life, was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its food recovery achievements during the 2017 EPA Food Recovery Challenge. In honor of the company’s ongoing commitment toward food waste prevention, Sodexo was named as the EPA’s national Endorser of the Year.

“We are proud to be recognized by the EPA for our commitment to food recovery,” said Ted Monk, vice president for corporate responsibility at Sodexo. “As always, we strive to integrate food waste prevention into our business through training and awareness, which is outlined in our Better Tomorrow 2025 strategy.”

Sodexo was recognized with the national Endorser of the Year award for educating businesses/organizations, including its clients, about the importance of sustainable management of food and the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. Within the past year, Sodexo influenced 60 of its sites to join the challenge including Loyola Marymount University, New Mexico State University and Kansas State University among others.

To drive this message, Sodexo hosted hands-on waste reduction training for Sodexo employees and clients, redeveloped and revamped a waste reduction action plan available to all Sodexo operators and deployed Sodexo’s WasteWatch by LeanPath program, a technology combining sustainability and efficiency through an automated food waste tracking and analytics platform, at all applicable Sodexo sites globally.

Acknowledging that waste is one of the planet’s biggest collective challenges, Sodexo has committed to eliminating avoidable waste globally by 2025 through the company’s Better Tomorrow 2025 corporate responsibility roadmap. Included in this roadmap is Sodexo’s commitment to endorse and advocate for initiatives such as the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge.

“EPA is proud of the commitment [Sodexo] demonstrated to reduce food waste from the environment,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, Cosmo Servidio. “Through EPA's Food Recovery Challenge, EPA partners with municipalities, businesses, nonprofits and other entities to reduce the amount of food in landfills and help them save money on waste disposal.”

About Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 72 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. The company employs 150,000 people at 13,000 sites in all 50 U.S. states and Canada and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional jobs through its annual purchases of $9.2 billion in goods and services from small to large American businesses. Sodexo is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion and safety, while upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility and ethical business conduct. In support of local communities across the U.S., the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed close to $32 million over the past 20 years to help feed children in America impacted by hunger. To learn more about Sodexo, visit SodexoUSA.comSodexoInsights.com and connect with us on FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitter and YouTube



Heidi Marino
Sodexo, Inc.


UN Global Compact Mandate Renewed by Member States

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 12:15pm

The United Nations Global Compact was today encouraged to continue engaging the private sector in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals with a renewed resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly.

The resolution, under General Assembly agenda item 27 — Towards global partnerships: A principle-based approach to enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners — reiterates the broad mandate of the UN Global Compact, which is “to advance United Nations values and responsible business practices within the United Nations system and among the global business community.”

UN Member States also encouraged the private sector to enhance its involvement in combating climate change, and welcomed the commitments to leadership on climate action already made by relevant stakeholders. Recognizing that the private sector has an important role to play in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Member States also called attention to the Global Compact Local Networks as helping to provide an avenue for diffusing United Nations values and principles and facilitating partnerships with business on a broad scale.

UN Member States also recognized “the vital role that the United Nations Global Compact Office continues to play with regard to strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to partner strategically with the private sector.” In this context, the resolution expressed support for the work of the UN Global Compact to encourage all businesses to adopt principles for responsible business and investing and to take account of the environmental, social and governance impacts of their activities.  The key role of the integrity measures of the UN Global Compact was also emphasized as Members States are looking for best practices and ways to improve transparency and accountability in multi-stakeholder partnerships involving the UN.

UN Global Compact CEO & Executive Director Lise Kingo commented: “We thank the UN Member States for their expression of strong confidence towards the work of the UN Global Compact and for renewing their support to us.  We welcome the Member States’ emphasis on accountability, transparency, coherence and risk management in UN-business collaboration, and look forward to continuing our work to ensure that partnerships deliver tangible impact in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The progress of the UN Global Compact in engaging the private sector to implement responsible business practices and support UN goals will next be reviewed in 2021.

UN Global Compact Mandate Renewed by Member States

Leila Puutio
+1 (646) 884-7523
UN Global Compact

Raffa-Marcum to Kick-Off 2019 Mentoring Program for Women Entrepreneurs

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 3:08pm

 Marcum LLP announced today that on January 15 it will host a special kick-off event in its Washington, D.C., office for a mentoring program designed to support women entrepreneurs from around the world. Entering its second year, the Empowering Vital Leaders Initiative is a virtual mentoring partnership with Vital Voices (VV) that was successfully piloted by Kathy Raffa, office managing partner of Marcum’s offices in the nation’s capital.  

Following the recent merger of Raffa, P.C. into Marcum LLP, the national accounting and advisory firm will deploy the combined power of Raffa- Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group to support a second cohort of women entrepreneurs at the forefront of global change. The event will feature a presentation by Alyse Nelson, president and chief executive officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership.

In the initiative’s first year, a roster of Vital Voices network members collaborated throughout 2018 alongside a team of 23 Raffa executives to enhance a select cohort of the VV100 leaders’ knowledge and skills, to help them tackle their individual leadership and organizational challenges. The goal for 2019 is to refine the model and improve the approach by expanding the mentor network to include outside professionals who offer diverse skills and expertise, and then in 2020, to scale the program with mentors from across Marcum to support additional cohorts of VV entrepreneurs.

“This initiative provides a great opportunity to connect professional women across our firm with other leaders in our backyard and across the country who share a mutual passion to help women around the globe achieve their greatest potential.  The extraordinary women in the Vital Voices network are visionaries, risk-takers and pioneers –– creating progress in their communities and beyond,” Ms. Raffa said. “By mentoring and lending our diversified professional expertise pro bono, one year at a time, around a key challenge and priority, we can bolster these heroes’ capacity to achieve even greater systemic change.”

About Marcum LLP

Marcum LLP is one of the largest independent public accounting and advisory services firms in the nation, with offices in major business markets throughout the U.S., as well as Grand Cayman, China, and Ireland. Headquartered in New York City, Marcum provides a full spectrum of traditional tax, accounting, and assurance services; advisory, valuation, and litigation support; managed accounting services; and an extensive portfolio of specialty and niche industry practices. The Firm serves both privately held and publicly traded companies, as well as nonprofit and social sector entities, high net worth individuals, private equity funds, and hedge funds, with a focus on middle-market companies and closely held family businesses.  Marcum is a member of the Marcum Group, an organization providing a comprehensive array of professional services. For more information, visit www.marcumllp.com.

About Vital Voices Global Partnership

Vital Voices Global Partnership invests in women leaders who improve the world. Guided by the belief that women are essential to progress in their communities, we have partnered with leaders from more than 140 countries who advance economic opportunity, increase political and public leadership, and end violence against women. Our programs in strategic planning, business, advocacy and communications build critical skills needed for creating transformational change.

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Julie Gross Gelfand, APR
(631) 414-4302

CIT Donates 1.5 Million Meals This Holiday Season in Partnership With Feeding America

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 12:08pm

 CIT Group Inc. today announced it will donate one and a half million meals[1] this holiday season in partnership with Feeding America®, exceeding the original goal of its One Million Meals campaign by 50 percent.

“Thank you to the customers, followers and employees who participated in CIT’s campaign to help provide meals for people in need this holiday season,” said CIT Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Gina Proia. “The engagement for this program allowed others to help direct our giving and enabled us to make an important contribution in battling hunger for both kids and adults this season.”

To participate, individuals could follow the #GiveLikeYou hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and vote for one of three Feeding America® Programs. CIT also contributed meals for every opening of a Savings Builder account at CIT Bank, the company’s national online bank.

Among the three programs, the Senior Grocery Program obtained the most votes from participants and will receive half of the meal donations. The Mobile Pantry and BackPack Programs will each receive approximately one quarter of the remaining meals.

“Feeding America® serves an estimated seven million seniors across our network each year,” said Doug Montgomery, managing director of New Partnerships for Feeding America®. “We are extremely grateful for CIT’s generosity and the tremendous support from across their network.”

Feeding America® is a nationwide network of 200 local food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs that together serve more than 46 million people each year. CIT’s campaign kicked-off on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, and ran until Dec. 20.


About CIT

CIT is a leading national bank focused on empowering businesses and personal savers with the financial agility to navigate their goals. CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) is a financial holding company with over a century of experience, approximately $50 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, 2018, and operates a principal bank subsidiary, CIT Bank, N.A. (Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender). The company’s commercial banking segment includes commercial financing, real estate financing, equipment financing, factoring and railcar financing. CIT’s consumer banking segment includes its national online bank, CIT Bank, and a Southern California branch bank, OneWest Bank. Discover more at cit.com/about.


CIT MEDIA RELATIONS:               

Olivia Weiss                                       


[1] $1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks.

YourCause, Charity Charge Collaborate to Drive Fundraising Innovation for Nonprofit Partners Through Recurring Credit Card Purchases

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 6:08am

YourCause, the leader in global enterprise philanthropic technology, and Charity Charge, the exclusive provider of Mastercard credit cards capable of automatically earning tax-deductible cash donations for the cardholder’s preferred charity, have partnered to drive fundraising innovation for both nonprofit organizations and their socially conscious supporters.

Through this partnership, Charity Charge becomes the first featured partner within the YourCause NPOconnect Nonprofit Portal, serving over one hundred thousand registered nonprofit administrators. YourCause's nonprofit partners are the first to gain access to Charity Charge's new credit card product in which no guarantor is required, ultimately reducing risk and liability for the nonprofit. The Charity Charge partnership also provides YourCause nonprofit partners a way to earn cash back rewards on their organizational spending through the first-ever “business” credit card designed specifically for nonprofits as well as an opportunity to engage current and prospective donors who may wish to support a favorite charity by automatically generating donations through their daily credit card spending. Charity Charge plans to release their new credit card product to the larger nonprofit community in early 2019.

As cited on NBC News, each year, 31% of credit card users allow rewards to expire, representing $16 billion in lost value according to Bankrate’s Money Pulse Survey. By selecting Charity Charge as a corporate credit card solution, nonprofits realize the automatic benefit of 1% cash back to their organization with no risk of loss or expiration. Furthermore, by offering this consumer-friendly donation method to individual supporters, nonprofits can transform one-time and sporadic donors into long-term, recurring donors with high, lifetime value. In doing so, nonprofits are able to focus more of their resources on their mission and impact, and less on donor acquisition and retention.

“As the YourCause Global Good Network grows, we have an increasing responsibility to innovate for our nonprofit partner community through technology, services, and now, strategic partner offerings. Charity Charge is committed to the cause of helping nonprofits take advantage of the enormous fundraising potential of credit card rewards programs. Almost one-third of the economic value of these programs goes to waste by not benefitting consumers or the causes they care to support. By introducing Charity Charge to our nonprofit partners, we hope to ensure the success of an exciting new fundraising and donor acquisition channel that will allow nonprofits to maximize their social impact,” said Brant Barton, chief strategy officer of YourCause.

"We’re excited to partner with YourCause to impact the nonprofit community at large. From day one, the leadership team at YourCause has made it clear that they are committed to further serving and supporting the nonprofit community through innovative and out-of-the-box tools, products and services. This partnership is a testament to the commitment to think bigger, and we are all looking forward to the good that Charity Charge and YourCause can do together," said Stephen Garten, CEO & Founder at Charity Charge.

"Since Whole Planet Foundation started working with Charity Charge, our cardholders have earned thousands of dollars to directly support our mission and programs. Offering Charity Charge to our donors has helped to increase our recurring revenue and the engagement of our donors, who know they are helping Whole Planet Foundation with every purchase they make," explained Olivia Hayden, Digital Fundraising Specialist at Whole Planet Foundation.

To learn more about YourCause's products and services, strategic partners, and the Transparent Giving Philosophy, visit YourCause.com. To learn more about Charity Charge, visit CharityCharge.com.

About YourCause
YourCause LLC is a Dallas, TX-based Software as a Service (“SaaS”) provider of the CSRconnect Employee Engagement Platform (“CSRconnect”) and the GrantsConnect Corporate and Foundation Grants Management Platform (“GrantsConnect”), and integrated, fully hosted solution for corporations to more effectively deploy and manage their employee giving, volunteering, disaster relief, grant management, fundraising, and overall corporate social responsibility and philanthropy programs. Ranked on the Inc. 5000 list for four consecutive years, and named a best place to work in Dallas, YourCause is rapidly expanding its operations through the ongoing deployment of end-to-end solutions for enterprises, nonprofits, and do-gooders. YourCause’s Transparent Giving model allows the company to maximize impact across its Global Good Network benefitting millions of nonprofits around the world.

Consumers Energy, MI Department of Corrections Partner to Save $900,000 through Energy Efficiency Measures

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 12:02pm

The Michigan Department of Corrections, in partnership with Consumers Energy, has saved $900,000 by completing energy efficiency upgrades, part of the energy provider’s commitment to helping all customers across Michigan lower their energy costs.

“We all have a role to play when it comes to energy conservation and I am pleased we have taken another step forward in our prison facilities to help curb future costs,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “This is yet another example of the power of partnership and working together. The benefits of this partnership between the state and Consumers Energy will bring cost savings for taxpayers and help ensure the state continues to do our part when it comes to energy conservation.”

“Consumers Energy works every day to help families, businesses and our state government eliminate energy waste because it's good for people, the planet and Michigan's prosperity," said Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy. "We are proud to stand with the Department of Corrections to fulfill their mission of affordably serving the state and its residents."

The rebate incentive is the result of energy efficiency improvements to various prison facilities around Michigan including Jackson, Ionia, Muskegon and Adrian. The Department of Corrections completed 23 projects to their facilities, estimated to reduce enough electricity to power 244 houses and heat 496 homes. The 23 projects are expected to save the State $900,000 each year.

“Our mission at the Department of Corrections is public safety and to help create a better and safer Michigan. And we have been pleased to partner with Consumers Energy which helps us to not only protect the public, but protect the environment and provide real savings to taxpayers,” said Heidi Washington, Director of the Michigan Department of Corrections. “These substantial energy saving projects are just some of the ways we have been working to green our prisons and our state and we look forward to going even farther in the future.”

Consumers Energy has helped Michigan customers save over $1.5 billion through energy efficiency programs since 2009. Earlier this year, the company announced its Clean Energy Plan. In the plan, Consumers Energy announced the company will reduce carbon emissions by over 90 percent and no longer use coal to generate electricity by 2040.  

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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Media Contacts

Governor Snyder: Ari Adler, (517) 335-6397, adlera@michigan.gov

Consumers Energy: Katie Carey, (517) 788-2395, or Brian Wheeler, 517-788-2394

Dept. of Corrections: Chris Gautz, (517) 241-0363, GautzC@michigan.gov

For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.

Check out Consumers Energy on Social Media Facebook | Twitter YouTube

ELEVATE Acquires BSD Consulting

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 9:01am

ELEVATE, the leading business risk and sustainability solutions provider, has acquired BSD Consulting (BSD), headquartered in Zurich with 9 offices on 4 continents.  

Founded in Switzerland in 1998, BSD is an international consultancy providing knowledge and solutions for sustainable management and development. For 20 years, BSD has engaged and partnered with organizations across sectors to advance social justice, sound environmental practices and sustainable livelihoods. A Certified B Corporation (B Corp), BSD carries out industry-leading projects such as sustainability reporting, stakeholder engagement and supplier capacity building.

The addition of BSD further positions ELEVATE as one of the largest standalone sustainability consulting groups globally with a complete suite of solutions across all parts of the value chain and local teams on 4 continents. BSD supplements ELEVATE’s historic strength in the apparel, retail, consumer goods and electronics sectors with further expertise in agricultural, automotive and mining sectors. BSD also brings deep working relationships with not-for-profit organizations and development agencies. This expanded coverage will enhance ELEVATE’s ability to support its customers and partners in their commitment to joined-up, sustainable, balanced and inclusive economic growth.

“We are delighted to welcome BSD and are pleased to share the belief that the economic power of business can activate sustainable development in society to improve people’s lives,” said Ian Spaulding, Chief Executive Officer, ELEVATE. “Together, as one of the world’s largest sustainability organizations we are uniquely positioned to lead and deliver innovative sustainability solutions in local markets globally.”

“BSD’s strengths in sustainability strategy, reporting, sustainable supply chain management, and GRI consultancy and training highly complement ELEVATE’s existing offerings,” added Felipe Arango, Partner, BSD Consulting. “We are also now able to deliver assessment, monitoring and verification services to our corporate clients in Europe by leveraging ELEVATE’s extensive on-the-ground teams throughout Asia’s major sourcing markets.”

The entire BSD team has joined ELEVATE and will continue to implement its existing programs and client work. This includes Felipe Arango, Beat Grüninger, and Peter Teuscher who will lead BSD as part of the emerging ELEVATE Consulting portfolio.

– ends –


ELEVATE is the leading business risk and sustainability solutions provider. We deliver improved organizational performance through sustainability and supply chain assessment and auditing, consulting, program management and analytics. We shape the industry with our innovative solutions to complex problems, by designing and implementing customized programs and technology that provide complete insight into risk and improve supply chain and sustainability performance. ELEVATE is headquartered in Hong Kong, and the company's 500 employees oversee work in over 110 countries through dedicated offices in Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, USA and Vietnam.

For more information, please visit www.elevatelimited.com

About BSD Consulting

BSD Consulting — business. sustainability. development — founded in Switzerland in 1998, is an international network of consultancy firms providing knowledge and solutions for sustainable development. BSD engages and partners with organizations across sectors to advance social justice, sound environmental practices and sustainable livelihoods. Headquartered in Zurich, the network extends to 9 offices on 4 continents, including Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United States.

For more information, please visit www.bsdconsulting.com

Make a Difference

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 9:01am

No child should grow up alone. That’s why, across 135 countries, SOS Children’s Villages International offers the most vulnerable children more than just food and shelter. It also gives them the chance to have a loving family and a bright future. In March 2018, Radisson Hotel Group was proud to join the cause, launching its global partnership with SOS Children’s Villages. We firmly believe in young people and the future they can create, so it makes sense that – as a leader in the hospitality industry – we do what we can to help SOS Children’s Villages provide the loving, safe and healthy life that all children deserve.

As part of our partnership, our hotels around the world work with SOS Children’s Villages to provide food, shelter and a better future for children. They do this through fundraising efforts, skill-based volunteering, donations, and by offering traineeships to young people moving on from the SOS Children’s Villages and into adult life. This is our way of positively contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; in particular to No Poverty (Goal 1), Good Health and Wellbeing (Goal 3), Quality Education (Goal 4), and Reduced Inequalities (Goal 10).

You can see the positive effect SOS Children’s Villages has in the countless success stories of individual children who had lost the care of their parents and today have become successful independent adults. One example we’re hugely proud of at Radisson Hotel Group is the story of Luis Pedro, who has now been working at one of our hotels in Maputo, Mozambique for more than five years. His success is wonderful, and we’re proud to have him on our team.

Another similar story is that of Dalitso, a young man in Zambia who grew up in an SOS Children’s Village. He was invited to participate in a training program at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Lusaka – and was an instant hit with the team. Due to Dalitso’s dedication and hard work, his managers were delighted to offer him a job as a chef at the hotel. He has so much talent, which gives him the financial freedom and independence to support not just himself but his family, too. All he needed was that one opportunity – and that’s exactly what SOS Children’s Villages and Radisson Hotel Group gave him.

These stories are amazing and emotional, but we at Radisson Hotel Group recognize that need to do more. Our target at Radisson Hotel Group is to help many more children make the journey along the same path and achieve similar fantastic growth. That’s why, as part of our Destination 2022 strategic plan, Radisson Hotel Group aims to provide 1,400 young people with training opportunities every year. As a further step, within the wider industry, the largest hotel brands have collectively committed to training a million underprivileged young people by 2030 – and we’re keen to play our part in this.

As well as offering training, we take part in fundraising for SOS Children’s Villages, which is done in various ways. One that really stands out is our Make A Difference campaign. This is driven by a desire to create massive momentum for SOS Children’s Villages by informing our guests about the organization’s vital work as we promote our business. Running across our Asia Pacific (APAC) hotels from 22 October 2018 to 31 March 2019, the campaign helps our guests get involved. For every room night booked directly, we’ll donate $1USD to SOS Children’s Villages. You can watch the video clip below to see more:

What’s pleasing to see is that our efforts are making more of a difference as our teams become more involved. To date, our hotels around the world have supported the education and upbringing of roughly 700 children, but we’re always working to do more. Our pledge is to have every single one of our hotels and the members of our leadership team sponsoring at least one child each.

We’re finding new ways to give our guests the opportunity to offer support as well. As of December 2018, millions of Radisson Rewards members around the world have the chance to donate their Reward points to SOS Children’s Villages. And people are keen to be part of the effort, with funds being used for the full spectrum of SOS Children’s Villages’ work: quality care, safeguarding children, advocacy, teaching & training and protecting children in emergencies.

With the Festive Season just around the corner, our hotels are adding a little bit of extra sparkle to their activities with their Wishing Trees. The idea behind this is that, in hotels and offices, guests and employees alike can purchase cards and write wishes to the SOS program participants. The proceeds of the card sales are then donated to SOS Children’s Villages. And, once the tree is full of cards, it’s donated to the local SOS Children’s Village along with the funds raised. It’s yet another way to give something back to our communities.

We’re delighted to be partnered with SOS Children’s Villages and are committed to ensuring that no child grows up alone.


NHBSR 2018 Sustainability Slam