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Consumers Energy Starts Operations of Cross Winds® Energy Park II in Michigan’s Thumb

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 2:22pm

Consumers Energy announced today that Cross Winds® Energy Park II in Tuscola County’s Columbia Township began serving customers and contributing 44 megawatts of renewable energy in Michigan.

“With excitement and pride, we have ‘flipped the switch’ for Phase II of our Cross Winds Energy Park to meet more of Michigan’s demand for energy with renewable wind energy, a clean source that benefits the entire state. The project also firmly supports Consumers Energy’s goal of fulfilling our triple bottom line of people, planet and profits,” said Dennis Dobbs, Consumers Energy’s vice president of enterprise project management, engineering and services.

“I am extremely thankful to the residents and elected officials who welcomed our investment in their community, and I’m especially pleased to announce the project was completed with zero safety incidents.” 

The $90 million Cross Winds Phase II employed 250 workers during construction. Its 44-megawatt capacity is enough to serve about 17,000 residents. 

The project went operational on schedule six months after its groundbreaking and three weeks after Newsweek gave Consumers Energy the top score for Michigan companies in its annual “Green Rankings.”

Cross Winds Energy Park Phase II project is: 

  • Part of a total investment of $345 million comprised of 81 wind turbines in total – including the first phase of Cross Winds – and can produce up to 155 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to serve about 60,000 residents.

  • Helping Consumers Energy meet the needs of large businesses that choose to go 100 percent renewable.

  • Contributing to Consumers Energy’s commitment to add $5 billion into the state’s economy over five years through Pure Michigan Business Connect by buying goods and services from Michigan companies.

Consumers Energy worked with lead contractor White Construction to construct the 19 turbines that are 499 feet tall and make up Phase II of Cross Winds Energy Park.  

Phase III plans have been approved for Consumers Energy’s Cross Winds Energy Park by Columbia and Akron townships. This final phase of the park is expected to go into commercial operation in 2020. Phase I of the energy park began operations in 2014.

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.

Media Contacts

Brian Wheeler, 517-740-1545, or Katie Carey, 517-740-1739

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

Check out Consumers Energy on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConsumersEnergyMichigan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/consumersenergy

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/consumersenergy

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/consumersenergy/

This news release contains “forward-looking statements.” The forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause Consumers Energy's results to differ materially. All forward-looking statements should be considered in the context of the risk and other factors detailed from time to time in Consumers Energy's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.


‘Listen Learn Care Foundation’ Unveiled As New Name of Former Office Depot Foundation

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 2:22pm

The independent Office Depot Foundation, which for more than two decades has served the global community with its charitable giving, has a new name:  the Listen Learn Care Foundation.

Foundation President Mary Wong announced the new Foundation name today, emphasizing that the Listen Learn Care Foundation will continue with the mission and activities that Wong and the Foundation have built for more than 20 years with the generous support of its many donors.

“We are excited to launch the Listen Learn Care Foundation name, which will carry on the legacy and traditions of the Office Depot Foundation, but will no longer be linked to the Office Depot company,” Wong said.  “We are continuing with business as usual and will be reaching out to the community for support in the weeks and months ahead and look forward to an enthusiastic response.”

Wong noted that the Listen Learn Care Foundation’s signature programs will continue under its new name.  These include:

The Foundation’s National Backpack Program will continue in 2018.  It will mark the 18th year of the program, which began in 2001 and has donated more than 4 million backpacks and sackpacks to deserving children since that time. The Foundation also plans to expand its current program of filling these same sackpacks with food so these children do not go hungry when not in school.

The Difference Makers Leadership Forum (formerly known as Weekend in Boca) will take place on March 22 and 23, 2018, at the Old School Square Center for the Arts in Delray Beach.

The Listen Learn Care Foundation Women’s Symposium is scheduled for May 3 and 4, 2018, at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.

The Foundation’s Difference Maker Movement, which was launched earlier this year, will continue to enroll members in the Difference Maker! Network, which entitles them to a variety of special benefits and programs. 

Randy Pianin, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, noted that the Board and organizational structure of the Foundation remain stronger than ever.  “We are thrilled to introduce our new name to our partners and friends in the community.  The Board enthusiastically supports the Foundation and its President, Mary Wong.  We look forward to charting a course for an exciting future.”

Foundation partners applauded the Listen Learn Care Foundation’s new name. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the newly named Listen Learn Care Foundation, working together to serve children, families and communities across the country,” said Jody Thomas, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Women Legislators.

The Listen Learn Care Foundation’s new headquarters are at 7700 Congress Ave., Suite 1111, Boca Raton, FL 33437.  It can be reached by phone at 561-922-6951.

The Foundation’s website is www.listenlearncare.org.  It can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ListenLearnCareFoundation/, on Twitter as @ListenLearnCare, on Instagram as ListenLearnCareFoundation and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/listen-learn-care/.  The Foundation’s YouTube channel can be found at www.youtube.com/user/ODFListenLearnCare.

About the Listen Learn Care Foundation

The Foundation has applied for a name change with the IRS and remains an independent foundation − tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3). In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that give children tools to succeed in school and in life; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations through collaboration and innovation; help women succeed in business; and help communities prepare for disasters, as well as recover and rebuild afterwards.  For more information, visit www.listenlearncare.org.

UNFCU Foundation Announces 2018 Grant Recipients

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:22am

UNFCU Foundation announced today that it has given grants to 13 organizations that align with its mission to sustain a path out of poverty through education and healthcare for women and children in developing countries and disadvantaged communities in the United States. In addition to the 11 causes supported in 2017, UNFCU Foundation selected The BOMA Project and Women for Women International as grantees in 2018.

“Our 2018 grantees have made remarkable progress in reducing extreme poverty and gaps in inequality,” said Pamela Agnone, president and director of the UNFCU Foundation.  “We look forward to further expanding their impact in the year ahead, so we can empower more women and youth to break the cycle of poverty in their communities.”

The organizations and projects supported by UNFCU Foundation in 2018 are:

  • Batey Relief Alliance, providing job skills training and health services to lift families out of extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic
  • The BOMA Project, providing financial, business, and life skills training for ultra-poor women in Northern Kenya so they can support themselves and their families
  • The Floating Hospital specialized psychological services, counseling, and job mentoring for women suffering domestic abuse in New York’s inner city
  • Keep a Child Alive program for HIV/AIDS-affected families in the Namuwongo province of Kampala, Uganda
  • Trickle Up initiative to help indigenous women in Guatemala start their own small businesses
  • UN Foundation Girl Up campaign to provide educational, economic, and life skills training for girls in Guatemala
  • Women for Women International, teaching poor women living in conflict areas in Nigeria how to build and manage savings groups to support their micro-businesses

About UNFCU Foundation

UNFCU Foundation is a New York-based, non-profit corporation established by the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) with a mission to sustain the path out of poverty through healthcare and education for women and children. Since its launch in 2015, the Foundation has benefitted more than 15,000 women and youth across nine countries through the provision of access to critical healthcare, basic education, and livelihoods training. To learn more, follow UNFCU Foundation’s progress on YouTube, on Twitter at @UNFCUFoundation, and on Facebook at facebook.com/unfcufoundation.

Stowe Beam Named SCS Global Services’ Vice President of Environmental Certification Services

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:21pm
SCS Global Services (SCS) is pleased to announce that Mr. Stowe Beam has been promoted to Vice President of the company’s Environmental Certification Services division. In this role, he will oversee the operations of the division, which manages a wide range of pioneering and internationally recognized third-party certification programs and services for the green building, furniture, energy, life cycle assessment, apparel, consumer products, and mineral extraction industries. In addition, Stowe is joining the SCS Executive Team, which provides strategic oversight for the company’s broader environmental and sustainability auditing, certification and consulting services.

Stowe has been with SCS for more than a decade. Hired initially to conduct field auditing, he has advanced rapidly to assume positions of increasing leadership within the company, including program management, new technology development, and corporate business development.

“Stowe is an extremely gifted individual, capable of undertaking any task, no matter the technical difficulty... READ MORE

Video: Green Building Certification at SCS Global Services

Video: AGRION Interviews Stowe Beam of SCS Global Services

Video: Presidio Commencement Speech: Stowe Beam, MBA

Contact Stowe Beam at sbeam@scsglobalservices.com or +1.704.604.2668.

National Grid to Present the “Not Impossible Ignition Award” to OffGridBox

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:21pm

 National Grid will recognize OffGridBox with the “Not Impossible Ignition Award” at CES® (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas on January 11, 2018. The Not Impossible Awards celebrate the work and stories of people who exemplify innovation in technology. OffGridBox is a modular, compact unit that provides renewable energy and treated water in off-the-grid areas. They will be one of five recipients to receive the award and the only business recognized for their strides in the energy industry.

“OffGridBox is doing impressive work [through their power grid backup and rural electrification projects] around the world to ensure sustainable, reliable electricity,” said Dean Seavers, US President, National Grid. “We share similar core values and are proud to support an organization [finding innovative ways] to improve lives and do the right thing.”

Each Not Impossible Award winner will receive mentorship and resources to incubate and accelerate their work. They will also have access to strategic partnerships across the Not Impossible network comprised of leaders from a diverse group of industries and backgrounds.

“We are honored to receive this award from Not Impossible and National Grid,” said Emiliano Cecchini, Founder and CEO, OffGridBox. “OffGridBox and National Grid have similar missions to deliver access to cleaner energy in an affordable way. At OffGridBox, we are dedicated to finding innovative means of providing basic services like connectivity and clean water to the billions of people who need them and we are thrilled to receive support from likeminded organizations.”

To learn more about the Not Impossible Award ceremony and other honorees, please visit: http://www.notimpossible.com/awards.

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company that supplies the energy for more than 20 million people through its networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain. 

National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Read more about the innovative projects happening across our footprint in The Democratization of Energy, an eBook written by National Grid’s US president, Dean Seavers. 

For more information please visit our website. You can also follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, friend us on Facebook, find our photos on Instagram.

CONTACT: Media Relations – 781-907-3980

A Peek Under the Package: Disruptive Technology Innovations Changing the Future of Sustainable Packaging

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:21pm

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center, in partnership with Tetra Pak Inc., is hosting a “peek under the package” webinar exploring the future of sustainable packaging. Panelists will discuss emerging and future technologies and innovations across the life cycle related to sustainable packaging – including materials, products and applications – that have the potential to disrupt the fast-moving consumer goods and packaging industries. Panelists will also discuss how to bring consumers along as new strategies and innovations are adopted as part of securing a resource abundant future.

Register here: https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/peek-under-package-disruptive-technology-innovations-changing-future-sustainable-packaging

Subaru Encourages Winter Warriors to Seize the Snow Days With the Return of #SubaruWinterFest

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 5:20pm

Subaru of America, Inc. has announced the return of Subaru WinterFest, the automaker’s mountain destination and lifestyle tour that brings together winter warriors across the country for a one-of-a-kind experience. Featuring a blend of entertainment and adventure in amazing places, the 2018 tour will celebrate the winter season, while encouraging attendees to seize the snow day with an array of memorable activities.

In partnership with POWDR, Subaru WinterFest 2018 will feature stops at 11 of the country’s top winter mountain resorts, where winter sports buffs and Subaru owners can enjoy live music, locally sourced food and beverages, daily giveaways, gear demonstrations and more. Through engaging programming executed by POWDR’s experiential division, Human Movement Inc., outdoor enthusiasts are given the chance to meet up, warm up, and relax before or after hitting the slopes.  

At each tour stop, warm treats like craft coffee and s’mores will be available by food and beverage sponsors OZO CoffeeSmash Mallow and Chocolove. Attendees can kick back in one of the upgraded hang out areas, including hammock zones, charging stations and fire pits by Solo Stoves, while playing cornhole, frisbee golf and giant Jenga. Attendees can listen to the music of national DJs provided by SiriusXM and some of today’s best, chart-topping, emerging artists presented by audio partner Harman Kardon®. Each day of WinterFest will feature live demonstrations and giveaways from partners NordicaLib TechThule and Klean Kanteen.

National Ski Patrol Avalanche Dog Training School Scholarship Fund

As a testament to Subaru’s commitment to safety and adventure, this year’s WinterFest tour will also celebrate mountain communities’ hometown heroes, resort avalanche patrollers and rescue dogs. Subaru will once again team up with 20+ year partner National Ski Patrol to send patrollers and their dogs to the Wasatch Backcountry Rescue avalanche dog training school, donating $1 to the Subaru National Ski Patrol Avalanche Rescue Dog Scholarship Fund for every information form received. Designed for teams whose resorts cannot afford the schooling, the scholarships cover the costs of tuition, food, and board.

“As fierce advocates for both the outdoors and welfare of animals, Subaru is proud to partner with the National Ski Patrol in creating a scholarship fund for avalanche rescue dogs,” said Alan Bethke, senior vice president of marketing, Subaru of America, Inc. “Able to search significantly larger areas than human rescue teams, these skilled canines are tremendous assets to patrollers nationwide and we are excited to help expand this important program this upcoming year.”

Last year, Wasatch Backcountry Rescue, in conjunction with Subaru and the National Ski Patrol, awarded scholarships to the following individual's dog teams for the 2017 school year:

  • Nathan Bash – Winter Park Resort, CO

  • Greg Dumas – Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, CO

  • Sam Padilla – Northstar California Resort, CA

The full schedule for Subaru WinterFest 2018 can be found below:

  • January 6-7 – Eldora Mountain Resort, CO

  • January 13-14 – Snowshoe Mountain Resort, WV

  • January 20-21 – Jack Frost Big Boulder, PA

  • January 27-28 – Wisp Resort, MD

  • February 3-4 – Boyne Mountain Resort, MI

  • February 16-18 – Copper Mountain Resort, CO

  • February 24-25 – Boreal Mountain Resort, CA

  • March 3-4 – Lee Canyon, NV

  • March 10-11 – Sierra at Tahoe, CA

  • March 17-18 – Mt. Bachelor, OR

  • March 24-25 – Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, UT

For more information on a Subaru WinterFest stop near you, please visit www.subaru.com/events 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 Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 620 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 FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Whirlpool Corporation Among Top-ranked Companies in 2017 Newsweek Green Rankings

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:19pm

Whirlpool Corporation has risen in the Newsweek Green Rankings to 50 and 82 on the national and global lists respectively. The rankings assess the environmental performance of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. and the world. This year, Whirlpool Corporation was classified as a "top-ranked company," a designation awarded to fewer than 100 companies on either list.

"The people at Whirlpool Corporation continuously strive to protect the planet by being more efficient in how we build innovative products that consume less energy," said Ron Voglewede, director of global sustainability for Whirlpool Corporation. "This distinction is a testament to our commitment to sustainability, which spans our supply chain and sustainable material sourcing initiatives, to our goal of sending zero waste to landfills, and manufacturing products that have a low environmental impact for consumers to use in their own homes. We are proud of all we continue to achieve in sustainability initiatives corporation-wide."

Earlier this year, Whirlpool Corporation released its 2016 Sustainability Report, highlighting the company's current sustainability programs and accomplishments. With goals to increase sustainable practices, Whirlpool Corporation exceeded its own objectives to reduce both energy and water intensity from manufacturing by 15 percent. Those goals were met three years ahead of the original goal of 2020.

Whirlpool Corporation also completed construction on wind farms at its Ottawa and Marion, Ohio plants with future plans to construct additional turbines at the Company's plants throughout the U.S. Once construction at the Ottawaand Marion, Ohio plants is complete, Whirlpool Corporation expects to be one of the largest users of on-site wind energy of any Fortune 500 company in the U.S.

Newsweek Green Rankings is one of the most recognized assessments of the world's largest publicly traded companies when it comes to environmental performance. Both the U.S. and global lists take the following factors into account: Energy Productivity, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Productivity, Water Productivity, Waste Productivity, Green Revenue, Sustainability Pay, Sustainability Board Committee and Audited Environmental Metrics. Monetary Fines and Potentially Harmful Products or Services may deduct from a company's final score.

Click here to see the 2017 Newsweek Green Rankings of U.S. companies.

Click here to see the 2017 Newsweek Green Rankings of global companies.

Click here to access the complete 2016 Whirlpool Corporation Sustainability Report.

About Whirlpool Corporation
Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) is the number one major appliance manufacturer in the world, with approximately $21 billion in annual sales, 93,000 employees and 70 manufacturing and technology research centers in 2016. The company markets WhirlpoolKitchenAidMaytagConsulBrastemp, AmanaBauknechtJenn-AirIndesit and other major brand names in nearly every country throughout the world. Additional information about the company can be found at WhirlpoolCorp.com, or find us on Twitter at @WhirlpoolCorp.

About Newsweek
Newsweek is a premier news magazine and website that has been bringing high-quality journalism to readers around the globe for over 80 years. Newsweek provides the latest news, in-depth analysis and ideas about international issues, technology, business, culture and politics. In addition to its online and mobile presence, Newsweek publishes weekly English print editions in the United States, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia as well as editions in Japanese, Korean, Polish, Serbian and Spanish. Newsweek is owned by Newsweek Media Group. For more information, visit: newsweek.com or newsweekgroup.com

Sodexo Shares Industry Expertise and Best Practices as Part of United States Army’s Training With Industry Program

Fri, 12/29/2017 - 2:07pm

Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company, is working directly with the United States Army in support of its highly coveted Training With Industry Program, an initiative developed to create a group of soldiers experienced in higher level managerial techniques and who have an understanding of the relationship of their industry as it relates to specific functions of the Army.

Through the Training With Industry Program, which was initiated in the 1970s in response to the Army’s critical need for officers with state-of-the-art skills in industrial practices and procedures not available through military or civil education programs, Chief Warrant Officer Four Joey Espanola is spending a year with Sodexo, the nation’s largest federal foodservice contractor.

“The Training With Industry Program offers me a tremendous opportunity to learn best practices from a leading organization in my industry,” said Joey Espanola, Chief Warrant Officer Four, United States Army. “Not only will this year-long program allow me to grow both as an Army officer and foodservice professional, but the lessons I learn from Sodexo and its talented team of professionals will directly benefit the Army and the way we operate.

During his time with Sodexo, Esanola, who served as the Installation Senior Command Food Advisor at Fort Irwin in California, will take a deep dive into both the company's procurment and offer development processes. For the latter, Espanola will explore the development and implementation of the offer, conclusing with a focus on how it is operationalized at Sodexo locations.

“When the opportunity arose, we jumped at the chance to share our expertise with the Army through the Training With Industry Program,” explained Deborah Roberts, CEO, Sodexo Government, North America.  “As an organization that works directly with multiple military branches, we understand how industry best practices can benefit those groups. We are excited to have Chief Warrant Officer Four Espanola join our team for the next year. We will both share learnings as he explores the many different facets of our offer development process,” added Roberts.

With more than 40 years of experience working municipal, state, federal and military clients, Sodexo’s Government segment and its nearly 3,000 employees, improve the Quality of Life for the people it serves at 150 military and U.S. Federal Government locations in 26 states. Headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Sodexo provides a variety of integrated food and facilities management solutions and is the nation’s largest federal foodservice contractor – serving 45.6 million meals annually with a focus on wellness and nutrition.

-XXX-

Sodexo USA is an American business that is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Delivering more than 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life, Sodexo is a leading provider of sustainable, integrated facilities management and food service operations. It employs 123,000 Americans at 12,500 sites across the country and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional U.S. jobs through its annual purchases of $9.2 billion in goods and services from small to large American businesses. In support of local communities across the U.S., the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed close to $30 million over the past 20 years to help feed children in America impacted by hunger.  To learn more about Sodexo, visit SodexoInsights.com and connect with us on Facebook and @SodexoUSA on Twitter.

Contact: Enrico Dinges, Sodexo, Inc., 301-987-4393, enrico.dinges@sodexo.com

Carnival Corporation's AIDA New Year’s Raffle: Donations for SOS Children’s Villages, Mercy Ships and Fly & Help

Thu, 12/28/2017 - 2:06pm

The annual New Year’s Raffle is taking place aboard all of the ships in the AIDA Cruises fleet. The proceeds from the raffle will once again go to a number of different projects.

For more than ten years, AIDA Cruises has supported the work of SOS Children’s Village with its worldwide projects for disadvantaged children. Thanks to our guests, it has been possible to support various SOS Children’s Village measures in Germany, Africa and the Philippines with donations totaling over one million euros.

A portion of the proceeds also benefit Mercy Ships. Free operations and dental treatment are provided to patients with urgent medical needs aboard the world’s biggest hospital ship, the Africa Mercy. AIDA employees are also onboard the Africa Mercy, helping to save lives. AIDA Cruises provides an engineer aboard this ship at all times, and has donated 100,000 euros in 2017 to help Mercy Ships’ work.

Another charity receiving donations generated fro, the raffle is The Reiner Meutsch Fly & Help Foundation. The Reiner Meutsch Fly & Help Foundation is building schools in the Philippines and in the Caribbean regions, both affected by hurricanes in 2017.

Raffle winners have the opportunity for several high-quality prizes, including upcoming AIDA cruises.

Continuous involvement in community projects is an important part of the AIDA corporate culture and a matter very close to the company’s heart. AIDA Cruises supports the work of numerous social, cultural and charitable associations and establishments. To find out more about AIDA’s commitment to the environment and society, please see https://www.aida.de/en/aida-cruises/responsibility/aida-cares-2017.34504.html.

Blind Institute of Technology to Recognize OppenheimerFunds at Annual Gala

Wed, 12/27/2017 - 2:02pm

The Blind Institute of Technology (BIT), a Denver-based organization dedicated to educating companies on how to hire and cultivate success for the blind and visually impaired (BVI), will recognize OppenheimerFunds, the global asset manager, at its third annual Dining in the Dark Gala on January 27, 2018 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado.

In 2015, OppenheimerFunds and BIT commenced building a pilot program to recruit and retain talent drawn from the BVI community. OppenheimerFunds sought to develop a best-in-class diversity and inclusion program that could be scalable across the firm. The first step was for BIT to conduct a review of select departments’ technology and training materials and provide recommendations for making these accessible and optimized for the disabled.

"Clearly OppenheimerFunds is a firm committed to creating truly solutions-oriented People With Disabilities programs, and recognizes the untapped talent that exists within the BVI community. We are happy to leverage our expertise in training and inclusive employment to support their efforts,” said Mike Hess, Founder and Executive Director, Blind Institute of Technology. “Our hope is to facilitate a broader how-to discussion for workers with disabilities in the financial industry and beyond.”

BIT’s mission is to break down barriers to employment for both the BVI community and the employers who hire them. With a focus on tech-related education and training, the organization’s solutions-based programs prepare BVI candidates with essential skills needed to be successful in today’s job market. Its employer programs provide tools and resources that empower their BVI employees and help companies build best in class accessibility ratings for their digital landscape.

“Diversity and inclusion are an important component of OppenheimerFunds’ culture. Recruiting, training and retaining talented individuals with disabilities is an essential part of that,” said Andy Doyle, Chief Human Resources Officer, OppenheimerFunds. “External partnerships with organizations such as BIT help us to implement best practices from subject matter experts and pilot innovative engagements.”

OppenheimerFunds’ employees are also encouraged to join internal Business Resource Groups (BRGs), a network of diverse communities that play a key role in the firm’s inclusion efforts. Through strategic initiatives aligned to education, philanthropy, leadership, culture, professional development, and networking, the BRGs enable members and allies to connect to the experiences of diverse employees in their communities and at the firm. These include the Asian Professionals Network, Black Professionals Network, Disabilities Network, Latino Professionals Network, Military Network, PROUD Network (representing the LGBTQ community) and Women’s Network.

In addition to ongoing partnerships with leaders in the space, OppenheimerFunds will host an event at its New York headquarters in February with Lime Connect, a global non-profit organization connecting high potential university students, professionals and veterans with disabilities, to scholarships, internships and full time careers, and the Center for Talent Innovation, which researches and leverages talent across the divides of gender, generation, geography and culture.

About the Blind Institute of Technology
Founded in 2013, the Blind Institute of Technology is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers solutions-based programs aimed at achieving its mission of reducing the excessively high unemployment and underemployment rate among the BVI community by preparing BIT candidates and the employers who hire them for long-term success. To learn more, visit www.blindinstituteoftechnology.org and connect with BIT on Facebook, @BlindInstituteT and LinkedIn.

About OppenheimerFunds
OppenheimerFunds, Inc., a leader in global asset management, is dedicated to providing solutions for its partners and end investors. OppenheimerFunds, including its subsidiaries, manages more than $246 billion in assets for over 13 million shareholder accounts, including sub- accounts, as of November 30, 2017.

Founded in 1959, OppenheimerFunds is an asset manager with a history of providing innovative strategies to its investors. The firm’s 16 investment management teams specialize in equity, fixed income, alternative, multi- asset, and factor and revenue-weighted-ETF strategies, including ESG offerings, and is a signatory of the UN PRI. OppenheimerFunds and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of products and services to clients, who range from endowments and sovereigns to financial advisors and individual investors. OppenheimerFunds and certain of its subsidiaries provide advisory services to the Oppenheimer family of funds, and OFI Global Asset Management offers solutions to institutions. The firm is also active through its Philanthropy & Community initiative: 10,000 Kids by 2020, reaching children with introductions to math literacy programs.

McKinney Capital & Advisory Brings Holiday Cheer to San Diego’s Kids in Need

Wed, 12/27/2017 - 2:02pm

McKinney Capital & Advisory held a Toy Drive in support of U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots from November 29 to December 22, 2017. Through every commercial real estate transaction and investment, the McKinney team understands the importance of giving back to the community a piece of every success they achieve. President & CEO, Damian McKinney comments, “We are here to bring out the best in others as much as possible, so they can share their gifts with the rest of the world.”

The Toy Drive was launched at McKinney’s Holiday Party – and the box was almost full after just that first night. It was then brought back to the company’s headquarters in Carmel Valley for the rest of the holiday season. To wrap things up, Diana Baker, McKinney’s Culture & Operations Manager, dropped off the box of toys to the Solana Beach Fire Department just before the holiday weekend to brighten up the spirits of San Diego’s children in need.

McKinney has been known to be involved with organizations that support children, such as The Molina Foundation, an organization that provides free new books to children and families nationwide. Damian McKinney is also a former board member and current supporter of San Diego Center for Children, San Diego’s oldest non-profit serving children and families. Most recently, three of McKinney’s team members serve on the board of Mona Foundation, which is committed to alleviating poverty and making life better for children. This purpose-driven commercial real estate team plans to continue its involvement with these impactful organizations as their team continues to grow in the next year and beyond.

About the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program: The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during the holiday season and distribute them as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community. The result of their efforts is to deliver a message of hope to less fortunate youth and assist them in experiencing the joy of Christmas.

About McKinney Capital & Advisory:  McKinney Capital & Advisory is an all-in-one commercial real estate wealth management firm. We create opportunities for investors, companies, and owners to maximize their value and return on investment. Our mission is to inspire strategic transformation in our world through commercial real estate investments, brokerage and asset management.

2017 Institute for CSR

Wed, 12/27/2017 - 2:02pm

The Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility offers CSR practitioners the opportunity to earn a Professional Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Johns Hopkins in just six months. This non-credit professional certificate program is an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and is offered in partnership with Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center.

You will learn skills and best practices from some of the nation’s leading CSR practitioners, expand your professional network, and gain the inspiration you need to deliver increased value to your company and the communities you serve. If you're a CSR practitioner looking to develop your skills in the field, this is the program for you! Register and learn more here: http://instituteforcsr.org/

Take the Social Value Canada Survey

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 5:00pm

In late 2016, the SROI Canada network and the Social Impact Analysts Association merged to become Social Value Canada (SVC). SVC is positioning itself to be the national hub for Canadians to connect, learn and exchange ideas about social impact, social value creation and measurement methodologies. SVC is part of an international network of over 45 countries advancing social value measurement as a member of Social Value International.

Social Value Canada aspires to:

  • be the social value hub for Canada - a network that brings people together to share ideas, experiences and methodologies

  • be the place to access training to assess and value impact; and

  • share relevant resources on social impact measurement in Canada and around the world.

Social Value Canada wants to hear from you! Inform the development of Social Value Canada by participating in a short online survey. This is an opportunity to inform the SVC service offering and membership structure based off of your interests and feedback. 

To complete the survey, visit: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/SVC.

For more information on Social Value Canada or social impact, value creation or measurement, please visit the following websites:

http://www.socialvalue-canada.org/

http://socialvalueint.org/

We look forward to hearing from you and to working together to build Social Value Canada.

CITGO Honors Local Partners at Annual Appreciation Breakfast

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 1:59pm

The CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery recently hosted its Annual Partner Appreciation Breakfast to recognize local organizations making a positive difference in the Coastal Bend region. The annual breakfast event, held at the Art Museum of South Texas, hosted guests from local industry; businesses; educational institutions, including Foy H. Moody High School, home of the CITGO Innovation Academy; and non-profit organizations, such as the United Way of the Coastal Bend and the Coastal Bend Food Bank. This year’s celebration was marked with more gratitude for our partners and more shared resolve from everyone in attendance to keep “fueling good” in our neighborhoods, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which showcased how much can be accomplished when organizations and businesses work together. 
 
“CITGO donated 5,000 gallons of gasoline to the Rockport and Aransas Pass community to aid in recovery following Hurricane Harvey. That generous donation kept critical aid to area communities going strong,” said Cleo Rodrigues, Jr., President & CEO of the United Corpus Christi Chamber. “Then CITGO followed that donation with $500,000 to the Coastal Bend Community Foundation to further assist those affected by the hurricane. Corpus Christi has an unbelievable partner in CITGO.”
 
The Partner Appreciation Breakfast is an opportunity to recognize area businesses, organizations, and leaders for their commitment to Corpus Christi, and an opportunity for CITGO to be part of their missions. Guests enjoyed breakfast by Hester’s Café and viewed a video of key community efforts and other important highlights from 2017.
 
“The Partner Appreciation Breakfast is a wonderful time to reflect on the events of the year, and to say thank you to those who shared in our accomplishments and those who helped lead the way,” said CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery Interim Vice President and General Manager Randy Flowers. “CITGO is committed to working with community partners to have a broader impact on the community; because when businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals create and cultivate partnerships that build up their people, it truly makes a city strong.”
 
About CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery
The CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery provides more than 1,000 jobs locally, while generating more than $345 million per year in support of the local economy through salaries, services and taxes. In addition to producing high-quality fuels for its network of nearly 5,300 independently owned and operated CITGO branded stations in 29 States and the District of Columbia, Corpus Christi Refinery employees make a major positive impact on the community. In 2016 alone, CITGO employees in Corpus Christi volunteered more than 1,800 hours of their personal time to local and national charities. Since 2013, the CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery and its employees have provided more than 11,000 volunteer hours and approximately $3.3 million in support of community organizations such as United Way, Charlie's Place, Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Miracle League, Catholic Charities, the Special Olympics and a variety of environmental and preservation initiatives, such as the revitalization of the Gateway to Corpus Christi, Hans and Pat Suter Park and Adopt-A-Beach Clean Up. For more information on the CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery, visit www.citgorefining.com/corpus-christi
 
About CITGO
CITGO Petroleum Corporation, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.

CONTACT
+1 (832) 486-5250
press@citgo.com

Highlights of 2017: 3p’s Year in Review

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 1:50pm

It has been quite a year indeed. A new presidential administration has been tearing down the policies of the previous one at a rapid clip. Natural disasters, from hurricanes to wildfires, have displaced thousands of citizens and further highlighted the risks climate change could exact on the planet.

Yet there is plenty of positive news, even if these bright spots come from a dark place. As we have watched the past couple months, equality in the workplace is moving closer to reality as many high-profile executives, politicians and celebs have lost their jobs and the power that came with them due to past misconduct. Meanwhile, as the White House’s current occupants are reversing course on environmental and social policies, companies are picking up the slack.

Based on how our readers responded to our coverage, here are our picks for the top sustainability and corporate social responsibility stories of 2017.

Coal keeps hitting the skids

President Trump has made reviving the coal industry one of his top priorities, but market forces continue to hasten coal’s decline. Many projections assume solar will displace coal as a top electricity producer within a few years, and one of the world’s largest investment firms succinctly predicted this fossil fuel’s future: “coal is dead.” Of course, that is not stopping the U.S. coal industry from trying to find new markets overseas. Yet, in one of our most-read stories this year, 3p’s Tina Casey explains that in addition to more coal-fired plants closing and the bankruptcy of another major coal producer, coal miners are confronting another problem: the Trump White House keeps trying to gut federal regulations that seek to ensure their safety.

Going meatless means big bucks

Plant protein has become even more mainstream with consumers, as ingredients including pea flour, beet juice, coconut oil and hemp are churned into meat alternatives. And investors are seeing potential; at least $250 million dollars flowed into these companies by the end of this summer. Meanwhile, even large meat producing countries such as Canada are suggesting that their citizens consider more plant-based protein options in their daily diet.

Companies step up

Never mind the political headwinds coming out of Washington, D.C.: companies are charging ahead with their sustainability agendas, even if the murkey reality for now is business as unusual. More of the world’s largest corporations are supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and they are approaching them not as philanthropy, but as a fundamental business strategy. At least 1,400 companies now put an internal price on carbon, and are doing so to manage long-term risks as well as identify new market opportunities. The results have not been just mere talk, but often action. Salesforce, for example, recently announced it achieved its net-zero carbon goals 33 years early. Watch for more bold plans, such as Mars Inc.’s September announcement that it will eventually invest $1 billion in climate change and sustainable supply chain strategies.

The fight to displace plastics is on

Plastics continue to flow into our oceans unabated, and more organizations realize that current efforts are akin to taking a pen knife into a gun fight. Much of this fight, however, will still depend on consumer education. That’s why many of the most popular U.S. aquariums are banding together to fight plastic pollution. And as more studies have suggested that a certain grade of plastics previously believed to be harmless as it degrades actually is not, over 150 companies and organizations have called for banning them in another move to protect the seas. This increasing focus on finding ways to replace or eliminate conventional plastic is one reason why so many readers were inspired by the fact that this automaker has used half a trillion soybeans in its decade-long quest to displace foam derived from petroleum.

While EVs gain traction, hydrogen-powered vehicles are also evolving

Do not count out hydrogen vehicles, as our Tina Casey has repeatedly reminded readers over the course of this year. One startup’s hydrogen-fueled long-haul truck has a chance at leaving the Tesla Semi far behind in the dust. General Motors’ $2.5 billion hydrogen fuel cell gambit could pay off, especially if the U.S. military becomes a customer. More automakers, however, have promised to become more aggressive in electric vehicles (EVs) research and development. Volvo, for example, announced this summer that it will roll out five new all-electric vehicles by the end of this decade.

Originally Published on TriplePundit by Leon Kaye

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