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Four Leading Foundations Launch New Legal Training Module for the Philanthropic Community

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 5:52pm

Today a new, interactive training tool is available free of charge to help the staff of private foundations explore the rules and potential impact of program-related investments, or PRIs. Like a grant, a PRI supports private foundations’ charitable and programmatic goals. Unlike a grant, a PRI is an investment that typically gets repaid. Private foundations can use PRIs to help organizations seize time-sensitive opportunities, attract capital to support a new sector, scale their efforts for maximum impact and stimulate private-sector innovations that align with foundation programmatic strategies.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation collaborated to create a series of free, online trainings on legal issues that private foundation staff must understand. Each of the animated training modules take users between 30 and 90 minutes to complete and feature “Maya,” an animated foundation program officer who guides participants through each training session.

“Interest in impact investing continues to grow. For foundations, PRIs are a great tool for spurring new innovations and attracting private capital to support the activities we care about,” said Susan Phinney Silver, PRI Program Manager at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. “This course is a great resource to help program officers feel comfortable using PRIs to collaborate with new partners and bring the organizations they work with to a new level.”

The new PRI training module walks users through an investments overview and the requirements of private foundations that make PRIs using a variety of examples and scenarios. The training contains easy-to-follow topics for PRIs such as:

  • Legal Requirements
  • Due Diligence
  • Examples and documentation

The PRIs training – and all of the other legal training modules available in the Learn Foundation Law series – supplement existing in-person workshops and training that legal counsel at private foundations provide to staff. Other training topics include Advocacy and Lobbying Rules for Private Foundations, Expenditure Responsibility Rules for Private Foundations and Electioneering Rules for Private Foundations and Public Charities.  All of these trainings, and a supplemental toolkit to promote them within private foundations, are available at: http://www.learnfoundationlaw.org.


The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation helps people build measurably better lives. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development and population, performing arts, philanthropy, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people — especially those with the fewest resources — have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is a private family foundation created in 1964 by David Packard (1912–1996), cofounder of the Hewlett-Packard Company, and Lucile Salter Packard (1914–1987). The Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations in the following program areas: Conservation and Science; Population and Reproductive Health; and Children, Families, and Communities. Foundation grantmaking includes support for a wide variety of activities including direct services, research and policy development, and public information and education.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation believes in ideas that create enduring impact in the areas of science, environmental conservation and patient care. Intel co-founder Gordon and his wife Betty established the foundation to create positive change around the world and at home in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

The Nestle Creating Shared Value Prize - Final Call for Nominations

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 5:52pm

(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Nestle Creating Shared Value Prize - final call for nominations

Submit your application before 28 February 2015 and win up to CHF
500'000!: http://www.nestle.com/csv/what-is-csv/nestleprize/nomination-form

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txqHfxYCzyI

Photos and logo:

Do you know what the Creating Shared Value Prize means?

Find out more from our 2014 prize winners:

Madison Ayer, Chairman and CEO, Honey Care Africa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybnBccMwRWk

"The recognition and credibility of the award has resulted in important new relationships; and the long-term partnership with Nestle has already expanded well beyond the prize."

David Auerbach, Co-Founder, Sanergy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0TxcP1nQiM

"The Nestle Creating Shared Value Prize enabled Sanergy to develop a great network of partners, mentors and peers as we work to scale up our operations throughout Nairobi."

Dale Young, Director, MSABI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8MX2SQCok

"The Creating Shared Value Prize is a great opportunity for innovative organisations to achieve international recognition and inject the necessary resources to grow exciting social enterprises that benefit society. Apply Now!"

Don't wait any longer to submit your application, the deadline to enter is Saturday 28 February 2015:

Find detailed information on http://www.nestle.com/csv/what-is-csv/nestleprize

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Nestle S.A.

Contact the CSV Prize Team: csvprize@nestle.com


Video CSV Prize call for nominations:

Video CSV Prize Winner 2014 Honey Care Africa:

Video CSV Prize Runner-up 2014 - Sanergy:

Video CSV Prize Runner-up 2014 - MSABI:

‘Stand For Trees’ – A Breakthrough Campaign – Launches to Save Forests, Endangered Species and Curb Climate Change

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 11:50am

 Code REDD announced the launch today of Stand For Trees, a first-of-its-kind consumer campaign that uses the power of social media and crowd-funding to enable everyone to take real and effective action to reduce deforestation and curb climate change.

Through an innovative mobile web solution, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), individuals can now take part in the movement to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) by purchasing Stand For Trees Certificates. Each $10 Stand For Trees Certificate prevents one metric tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) from being released into the atmosphere while protecting threatened ecosystems that sustain forest communities and numerous endangered species.

Academy Award nominated actor Edward Norton, who also serves as the United Nation’s Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, said:  “Stand For Trees can be a game-changer by harnessing the power of crowd-funding to protect forests, the air we breathe, and the climate that sustains us. It offers a clear and affordable way to make a real difference.”

Stand For Trees Certificates are high-quality verified carbon credits based on the proven REDD+ model.  The Certificates meet rigorous standards set by the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance, a partnership of leading NGOs that includes CARE, The Nature Conservancy, and the Rainforest Alliance. The credits are registered on the world’s largest environmental registry services provider, Markit, and meet Code REDD’s peer-reviewed international Code of Conduct.  Independent certifiers on the ground ensure that funding from the Certificates  reaches its intended target and empowers specific forest communities to halt deforestation and shift to more sustainable livelihoods.  

“REDD+ is a sustainable, cost-effective means for mitigating climate change,” said Rajendra K. Pachauri, Ph.D, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  “REDD+ can also provide substantial economic and social co-benefits and help conserve biodiversity and water resources.”

Proceeds from the Stand For Trees Certificates fund the development of sustainable livelihoods and the protection of forests in specific REDD+ projects in various locations around the world. REDD+ funding already has been used to, among other things, build schools and medical clinics, dig clean-water wells, and train and equip forest rangers to prevent illegal logging and animal poaching.

Everildys Córdoba, project coordinator for the Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor, a REDD+ project in northern Colombia, said: “REDD+ has been a blessing to our community.  We now have the resources to protect our forests and our culture, and we take great pride in helping stop global warming.”  The project prevented the emission of 100,000 tonnes of CO2 during its first 18 months, and it expects to prevent the emission of more than 2.8 million tonnes during the project’s 30-year lifespan.

Stand For Trees is being launched at a time when we are losing a forest area the size of New York City every 48 hours. At this rate, there could be no tropical forests left on Earth by the end of this century, a scenario that could have profoundly negative impacts on the climate system and life on Earth.

Trees store carbon, but when forests are cleared that carbon is released into the atmosphere, where it mixes with oxygen to create CO2 – the most prevalent greenhouse gas warming the planet.   With deforestation and degradation of existing forests currently causing more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire global transportation sector, it is widely understood that protecting forests is critical to curbing climate change.

“We should never underestimate the power of grassroots action,” said Karin Burns, Executive Director of Code REDD.  “By standing for trees, every day people can have an outsized impact on saving tropical forests and our climate."

The URL for the Stand For Trees mobile web solution is StandForTrees.org

About Code REDD
Based in Northern California, Code REDD is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support and scale the REDD+ mechanism to realize its full potential to empower people, preserve forests, protect wildlife, and reduce emissions. Code REDD aims to create a world where the REDD+ mechanism is widely adopted within private sector practices, corporate business models, consumer purchases, and regulatory frameworks to drastically reduce deforestation, value ecosystem services, promote low carbon development, and enable a transition to the green economy.

About USAID and USAID’s BIOREDD Program
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the U.S. government agency working to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. Through its Global Climate Change initiative, USAID supports sustainable landscapes and REDD+ projects around the world. Specifically in Colombia, USAID's BIOREDD+ program supports efforts to make forest conservation socially equitable and economically viable by implementing REDD+.  Code REDD and USAID’s BIOREDD+ program have come together to create the Stand for Trees campaign, recognizing the vital need to spread awareness of and engagement with REDD+ to citizens globally.

About REDD+
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) was created under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2007 as a tool to value the carbon storage services of our remaining tropical forests.  By making forests more valuable standing than cut down, the REDD+ model provides forest communities and countries with a new model for economic development – one where both people and planet can benefit.

100,000 Jobs Mission Hires Over 200,000 Veterans

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 11:45pm

The 100,000 Jobs Mission announced today that its coalition of private companies has collectively hired more than 217,000 U.S. Military veterans through the end of 2014 and is now committed to hire another 100,00 veterans for a total of 300,000.

“Four years ago, servicemembers struggled to find meaningful jobs because many employers did not fully understand how to apply veterans’ skills and experience to their businesses. Since then, the 100,000 Jobs Mission has connected more than 200,000 veterans to good jobs that put their skills to good use,” said Maureen Casey, director of Military and Veterans Affairs for JPMorgan Chase, a founding member of the coalition.

“But our work isn’t done yet. With nearly one million military members returning to civilian life over the next few years, the 100,000 Jobs Mission is committed to continuing its mission of helping U.S. veterans and military spouses obtain meaningful careers.”

“JPMorgan Chase and the rest of the 100,000 Jobs Mission should be commended for their leadership and sustained commitment over four years. They have stepped up and joined forces to create opportunities for our nation’s veterans and military spouses,” said Colonel Steve Parker, Executive Director, Joining Forces. “They have been excellent partners with Joining Forces and have made a direct impact on reducing veteran unemployment. We look forward to working with the Mission as they look to hire another 100,000.”

The 100,000 Jobs Mission was founded in 2011 by 11 companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., that pledged to hire at least 100,000 veterans by 2020. The coalition reports its hiring results quarterly and shares best practices for hiring and retaining veterans in their organizations. Many of these can be found on jobsmission.com. Since the coalition’s establishment, membership has grown to 184 companies that represent nearly every industry in the U.S. economy, including Timken, which joined the group in late 2013.

“Timken is proud to be a member of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, and being an active member of the coalition helps us stay on the forefront of best practices for hiring and retaining U.S. military veterans and spouses,” said Shaun Branon, Director, Talent Acquisition. “Military veterans possess the skills and experience that make them successful members of our company.”

Among the companies that joined the 100,000 Jobs Mission in 2014 were Amtrak and Chipotle, whose leaders understand the importance of the Mission and similar initiatives.

“Amtrak values the leadership, reliability and technical skills that veterans bring,” said Joseph H. Boardman, a Vietnam Veteran, Amtrak President and CEO. “We joined the 100,000 Jobs Mission because we want to make an impact on veteran employment. Working with the other coalition companies will help us achieve mission success.”

“Chipotle is growing quickly, and we are always looking for top performing employees that have the ability to empower top performers to achieve high standards. We are committed to hiring veterans from all branches of the military who have this ability, and are eager to watch their success as they help build strong restaurant teams!” said Monty Moran, Co-CEO.

The 100,000 Jobs Mission continues to seek like-minded large employers to join the commitment to hiring veterans and military spouses. 

About the 100,000 Jobs Mission

Launched in 2011, the 100,000 Jobs Mission brings together companies committed to hiring U.S. military veterans and military spouses. The 184 companies now involved have pledged to hire 300,000 veterans. They have hired 217,344 veterans through the end of 2014. For more information on the 100,000 Jobs Mission, visit jobsmission.com.

Coyuchi® Achieves Fair Trade Certification for Organic Cotton Towel Collection

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 5:44pm

 Coyuchi®, the first company to bring organic cotton bedding to the United States, is proud to announce today that the brand’s classic Air Weight™ Towel Collection has achieved Fair Trade Certification under the strict requirements set by Fair Trade USA. This organic cotton towel collection by Coyuchi marks the first-ever Fair Trade USA Certification for towels in North America.

Fair Trade certification for Apparel & Home Goods is the first social, economic and environmental standard that directly benefits the workers who sew the items. It offers companies and consumers an unprecedented opportunity to positively impact the lives of these hard-working people.  For every Fair Trade Certified™ product sold, a percentage is paid directly to a special workers’ fund.  Workers then decide collectively how to spend these funds, based on the community’s greatest needs, including bonuses, scholarships and disaster relief funds, medical care and transportation.

“Creating products with the highest standard of environmental and social commitment is the essence of our business,” says Eileen Mockus, CEO of Coyuchi. “We are so proud that our classic Air Weight Towels have achieved this certification from Fair Trade USA, and look forward to working together in the future to create fair wage jobs for our partner farmers and workers both here and around the world.”

"We are proud to partner with Coyuchi to not only improve the lives of the factory workers in its supply chain, but also to empower consumers to support these efforts with every Air Weight Towel they purchase,” said Maya Spaull, Director of Innovation at Fair Trade USA. “We applaud Coyuchi’s work to show the industry that good business, beautiful products and sustainability go hand-in-hand.”

This Fair Trade certification comes on the heels of the brand’s Spring 2013 certification to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the world's leading textile processing standard for organic fibers. The Air Weight Towels are part of Coyuchi’s permanent collection, and will launch with the Fair Trade label for Spring 2015.

The Spring 2015 Collection includes a new range of all-natural linen and organic cotton sheet sets, throw blankets, quilts, duvet covers, loungewear and more. This collection also marks the introduction of Coyuchi Mattresses by Naturepedic, a series of fully customizable mattresses, handcrafted in a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified factory in Ohio using GOTS-certified cotton, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)-certified latex, and wool. To view the Spring 2015 Lookbook, please visit: http://www.coyuchi.com/lookbook/lookbook-spring-15.html.


About Coyuchi

As the first company to bring organic cotton bedding to the United States, Coyuchi was founded over 20 years ago in Point Reyes Station, a small town on the Northern California coast. There, surrounded by ocean, forest, beach and bluff, Coyuchi’s "aesthetic ecosystem" philosophy of design was born, leading to a line of home textiles rooted in the innate qualities of nature.  This rustically sophisticated style has become the hallmark of Coyuchi, with every product, color and detail designed to fit harmoniously and evolve repeatedly, for effortless mixing of colors and textures from room to room and season to season. 

Coyuchi products are produced using organic and natural fibers, free of the toxic dyes, bleaches and finishes used in conventional textiles. All Coyuchi cotton is 100% certified organic.  Coyuchi is certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the world's leading textile processing standard for organic fibers. Coyuchi can be found at fine retailers across the US and Canada, as well as available for purchase online at www.coyuchi.com.  Customers can engage with the Coyuchi brand and its fans on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

Founder of Safe Hands for Girls Recognized by Points of Light on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 5:44pm

Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, announced today that it has recognized Jaha Dukureh for her exemplary work to end female genital mutilation– with The Daily Point of Light Award. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that work to tackle the unmet needs of their community through volunteer action.

Dukureh herself is a survivor of FGM and the founder of Safe Hands for Girls, the only grassroots organization against FGM in the United States. “I started Safe Hands for Girls because as a survivor of FGM, I know how hard it was for us having to deal with it alone. And I knew I needed to speak up and support other survivors. It was very important for me to break the taboo and culture of silence.”

Dukureh has been instrumental in awakening public interest in the campaign against FGM in the United States. Her work includes national media outreach and formidable campaign work that preceded the passage of the Girls’ Protection Act of 2010, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Crowley.

The United Nations is expected to commend her work in an official statement today, in honor of International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.

Dukureh, who is working to create a world where young women and girls will never again face the risks of any form of genital mutilation and its harmful effects, also launched a petition on Change.org that currently has more than 220,000 signatories. Says Dukureh, “women's empowerment is allowing women to enjoy their God given rights to sexuality, health and freedom. We were born free and perfect.” Her work has directly saved 31 girls from enduring FGM.

About the Award: 
Originating from the White House in 1989 during George H.W. Bush’s presidency, this award has celebrated the power of more than 5,000 volunteers or volunteer efforts that spark change and improve the world through community service. In a report to the nation on his efforts to engage Americans in service, Bush called these volunteers “points of light,” stating, “Points of Light are the soul of America. They are ordinary people who reach beyond themselves to touch the lives of those in need, bringing hope and opportunity, care and friendship. By giving so generously of themselves, these remarkable individuals show us not only what is best in our heritage but what all of us are called to become.”

About Points of Light 
Points of Light - the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service - mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages more than 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it matters most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org. To learn more about the Daily Point of Light Award, visit http://www.pointsoflight.org/dailypointoflight.

About Safe Hands for Girls
Safe Hands for Girls is a nonprofit organization focused on protecting girls and women from the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and offering support services for victims. Get involved at www.safehandsforgirls.org

Rainforest Villagers Demand Release of New Report That Demonstrates Chevron’s Star Witness Lied In Federal Court

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 2:44pm

Rainforest villagers from Ecuador are demanding that Chevron’s lead appellate counsel Theodore B. Olson and their own government immediately make public the contents of a new forensic report that appears to prove that the oil giant’s key allegation in its retaliatory RICO case is false

The contents of the report could prove devastating to Chevron’s sprawling global litigation campaign to evade paying for a clean-up of its contamination in the South American nation.  The company has admitted using at least 60 law firms and 2,000 legal personnel to defend itself from a $9.5 billion judgment issued by an Ecuador court in 2011 for dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste into the rainforest.

The affected indigenous and farmer communities in Ecuador are demanding the release of a forensic computer analysis that suggests Chevron’s star witness in the RICO matter – crooked former Ecuadorian Judge Alberto Guerra -- lied in U.S. federal court when he testified that the Ecuador trial judge did not write the decision against Chevron. 

Based largely on Guerra’s testimony, U.S. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan imposed a controversial and unprecedented injunction purporting to bar the villagers and their lawyers from collecting the Ecuador judgment anywhere in the world.  (For background on why the Kaplan decision is the result of one-sided proceedings in favor of Chevron, is likely to be vacated on appeal, and is otherwise largely unenforceable, see this document and this appellate brief.)

Argument on the appeal of Kaplan’s RICO decision is scheduled for March 30 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  The same appellate court already reversed Judge Kaplan unanimously in 2011 when he also tried to block the villagers from enforcing their judgment anywhere in the world. 

In the meantime, the villagers are pressing forward with separate lawsuits to seize Chevron’s assets in Canada, Brazil, and Argentina to force the company to comply with the Ecuador judgment and pay for a clean-up of the contaminated ancestral lands.  Chevron is trying to use the disputed Guerra testimony to help defeat the enforcement actions.

A letter sent today to Olson and his Chevron colleagues demanding the public release of the forensic report can be read here.  A similar request to Dr. Diego Garcia Carrion, Ecuador’s Attorney General, can be read here.  

The report, authored by prominent American computer expert J. Christopher Racich, appeared recently under seal in a private investor arbitration between Chevron and the government of Ecuador.  Donziger and his Ecuadorian clients assert the report has “extraordinary relevance” to the pending appeal and the enforcement actions and therefore must be released.

“According to court filings in the BIT proceeding recently made public, the Racich Report directly contradicts Chevron’s allegations of impropriety regarding authorship of the trial court judgment in that case,” the letter by the villagers to Chevron’s counsel asserted. 

“The affected Ecuadorian communities and those of us targeted by Chevron’s retaliatory litigations have long asserted that your client’s claim in this regard is the product of untruthful and  flagrantly corrupt witness testimony,” the letter continued.  “It is our position that any probative or exculpatory evidence related to the Chevron bribe allegation must be made public under your continuing duty of candor to courts where these issues have been raised, and in the interests of justice for all involved in this long-running dispute.”

The letter also said that the “prompt release of the report” was necessary “to provide full candor to the Second Circuit in its consideration of this appeal” and also for Olson and Chevron’s other lawyers to ensure they comply with their personal ethical obligations to courts where the issue of Guerra’s testimony is being litigated.

If indeed the Racich Report is a forensic analysis of Ecuadorian trial judge Nicolas Zambrano’s actual computer, as it appears to be from a description in a cover brief in the arbitration proceeding, then it would be able to conclusively prove whether the 188-page judgment was written on that computer slowly over the course of many months, as the trial judge has testified. 

After striking his deal with Chevron, Guerra testified that the judgment actually was written by someone else and then copied onto the trial judge’s computer at the last minute, just before it was issued. 

Guerra has emerged as the most crucial witness to Chevron’s strategy to obstruct payment of the Ecuador judgment.  In the civil RICO case, Guerra had tried – without corroborating evidence -- to help Chevron undermine the Ecuador judgment by claiming the court’s opinion was ghostwritten.  The plaintiffs have repeatedly and categorically denied the allegation.

To most objective observers, Guerra’s testimony seemed patently suspect on its face. 

Chevron admitted it had paid Guerra $2 million – including $38,000 in cash out of suitcase – to testify for the company in violation of rules barring payments to fact witnesses. Guerra had previously admitted he had accepted numerous bribes when he was on the bench in Ecuador. A personal diary and emails that Guerra said would corroborate his story mysteriously went missing on the eve of trial.

In additional to plying Guerra with exorbitant cash payments, Chevron also relocated him along with his extended family to the U.S. and provided them with a housing allowance, car, medical care, monthly stipends, and an immigration lawyer.  Prior to receiving money from Chevron, Guerra had been making approximately $500 per month in Ecuador.  He now lives in a secret location in the United States and is completely dependent on Chevron for his maintenance, according to his testimony.

Even with an admitted 53 days of intensive witness coaching by Chevron lawyers, Guerra conceded on cross-examination during the RICO trial that he had changed his story several times as facts emerged to render prior versions implausible.  He also testified that he was paid more money by Chevron each time he changed his story.  (For more background on the many flaws with Guerra’s testimony, see here and here.)

During discovery in the RICO case, Chevron also was forced to release evidence indicating that one of its lawyers, Andres Rivero, persuaded Guerra to offer a $1 million bribe from the company to Zambrano to sign on to the company’s false narrative.  Guerra said his goal was to convince Zambrano to recant his findings that Chevron is liable for the pollution in exchange for a life of leisure in the United States. 

Chevron’s payments to fact witnesses has been strongly criticized by prominent ethics experts such as Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine. 

“What actually happened is that Chevron made illegal payments to a crooked former judge to fabricate a fake story of bribery to try to taint the Ecuador judgment and retaliate against those who held it accountable for wrecking Ecuador’s rainforest,” said Karen Hinton, a spokesperson for Donziger. “It is despicable conduct that we believe should lead to sanctions against the lawyers who did it.”

Eight separate appellate judges in Ecuador – including the five justices on Ecuador’s Supreme Court who heard the case – have unanimously affirmed the finding of liability against Chevron and rejected the company’s complaints that its due process rights were violated.  Chevron had insisted the trial take place in Ecuador and agreed to accept jurisdiction there. 

The unanimous Supreme Court decision in Ecuador affirming the trial court judgment can be read here.

An Ecuador trial court in 2011 found Chevron guilty of deliberately dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest, contaminating rivers and streams relied on by indigenous groups for drinking water, bathing, and fishing.  Evidence before the Ecuador court – which included 105 technical evidentiary reports and 220,000 pages of material -- also demonstrated that Chevron’s dumping caused an outbreak of childhood leukemia and other oil-related cancers. (For background on the cancer and its human cost, see this summary and this photo essay by journalist Lou Dematteis.)  

Hiding damaging information from courts and the public has long been part of Chevron’s litigation strategy in the Ecuador matter.

For the last several years, Chevron repeatedly has asked courts to designate as “confidential” memos outlining its demonization campaign against Donziger, its manipulation of scientific evidence in Ecuador, videos showing its technicians laughing about the pollution, and its efforts to offer funding for social projects to coax Ecuador’s President to violate the country’s Constitution and block the litigation filed by private citizens. 

In the meantime, Chevron’s efforts to evade paying the Ecuador judgment are hitting headwinds. 

An effort by the villagers to seize Chevron’s assets in Canada to force the company to comply with the judgment is before that country’s Supreme Court.  An enforcement action against the company also is moving forward in Brazil before that nation’s highest civil court.

Olson also faces an uphill battle to protect Chevron in the appeal of the civil racketeering decision.  Judge Kaplan repeatedly disparaged the Ecuadorians during the trial – calling them the “so-called” plaintiffs – and refused to admit any of the scientific evidence against Chevron that had been he basis for the finding of liability against the company in Ecuador.

A diagram from a Donziger legal filing illustrating the many hurdles Chevron must surmount to win the RICO appeal is on pp. 3-4 of this brief.  Donziger’s 130-page opening appellate brief – which includes a comprehensive summary of the facts of the case -- can be read here.

 (A summary of the overwhelming evidence against Chevron relied on by the Ecuador court can be found here. A video explaining Chevron’s human rights violations in Ecuador can be seen here. A recent article in Rolling Stone explaining Chevron’s unethical litigation tactics can be read here. A profile in Vanity Fair of lead lawyer and Ecuadorian resident Pablo Fajardo, the winner of a CNN Hero award, can be read here.) 

Novo Nordisk Publishes 2014 Integrated Annual Report Emphasising Long-Term Thinking

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 2:44pm

Today Novo Nordisk published its 2014 Annual Report detailing the company’s performance. The report highlights the company’s progression towards long-term targets taking an integrated approach that accounts for financial, social and environmental performance.

“Taking into consideration the financial, social and environmental bottom line is the best way to ensure we operate a healthy business for the long term,” says Jakob Riis, executive vice president, Marketing, Medical Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement. “Our business is about improving the health of millions of people living with a chronic disease. They rely on us, and they should know that we will be there for them with a long-term commitment to manage the company responsibly.”

The 2014 report explains Novo Nordisk’s commitment to prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes, including a look into the company’s new global initiative, Cities Changing Diabetes®, that addresses the link between urbanisation and diabetes. It is a partnership programme to identify and address the root cause of urban diabetes in major cities around the world. The ambition is to identify, share and develop solutions for healthier living – and prevent diabetes.

These are the highlights of the social and environmental performance in 2014:


  • Reaching an estimated 24.4 million people with diabetes care products

  • Creating more than 3,000 new jobs in the company

  • Maintaining a high level of employee engagement and adherence to the Novo Nordisk Way


  • Achieving the long-term target for reduction of CO2 emissions from energy consumption for production: 45% in absolute terms since 2004, despite

  • more than 200% business growth

  • Continuing decrease in energy consumption; a decrease of 1% compared

  • to 2013

The report also accounts for challenges. Water consumption increased by 10% compared to 2013, requiring continued focus on water stewardship. And the company’s diversity ambition to have representation of both genders and more than one nationality in all senior management teams by the end of 2014 was not achieved.

“When we measure and report performance on all three bottom lines we are better able to manage our impacts and steer the business to be more sustainable,” says Jakob Riis.

Novo Nordisk’s Annual Report 2014 is available as a downloadable PDF. Download the report

Reporting standards

In the absence of global standards for inclusive reporting, the report was prepared in respect of international standards for mandatory and voluntary reporting, including:

  • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

  • Danish Financial Statements Act

  • Reference to the content elements and guiding principles of the International Integrated Reporting Council’s IR draft framework

  • The accountability standard, the AA1000 (2008) Framework, which includes AA1000APS(2008) and AA1000AS(2008)

  • US Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements for financial reporting

  • International Standards on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000

  • Danish Corporate Governance Recommendations

In addition, Novo Nordisk publishes its Communication on Progress to the UN Global Compact, with a separate section in accordance with the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership (LEAD), available at novonordisk.com/annualreport.

Novo Nordisk values feedback and welcomes questions or comments about its reporting and performance at annualreport@novonordisk.com.


About Novo Nordisk

Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. We believe that a healthy economy, environment and society are fundamental to long-term value creation. This is why we manage our business in accordance with the Triple Bottom Line business principle and consider the financial, environmental and social impact of our business decisions. The strategic commitment to corporate sustainability has brought the company onto centre stage as a leading player in today’s business environment, recognised for its integrated reporting, stakeholder engagement and consistently high sustainability performance.

For more information, visit novonordisk.com/sustainability

CBRE Launches Innovative Sustainability Training for Brokerage Professionals

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 6:50pm

CBRE Group, Inc. today announced the launch of an innovative broker training video and resource center specifically designed and aimed at understanding and promoting sustainable aspects of commercial real estate assets. CBRE’s training program will be offered to the Company’s more than 2,900 U.S. brokerage professionals. A preview video of the training program can be viewed here

“Sustainability has become a business imperative for many of our clients—tenants and landlords alike,” commented Jack Durburg, Global President, CBRE Brokerage Services. “Many of our brokerage professionals are enhancing their knowledge of sustainable real estate to expand their capabilities and best serve their clients’ needs in a changing marketplace.”

The Green Building Adoption Index, a recent CBRE sponsored study, found that the rapid expansion of “green” space in U.S. has led to green buildings now exceeding 50% of commercial office space in several markets.

“CBRE’s brokerage professionals are often the first contact a prospective tenant meets when considering to occupy space in one of our clients’ buildings and many landlords have made significant investments to improve and promote their sustainability characteristics,” added Dave Pogue, CBRE’s Global Director of Corporate Responsibility. “Our innovative new training will ensure our brokers have up-to-the-minute knowledge and appropriate resources to best serve our clients.”

The Company’s introduction of the broker training initiative joins other sustainability milestone achievements for CBRE, including:

  • Recognized global leader in the certification of 335 LEED EB buildings with another 226 buildings in the current pipeline;

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR Certification Nation 2014 Elite Member, earning a top spot with 361 EPA Energy Star labeled buildings;

  • Trained more than 16,000 attendees through the CBRE BOMA BEEP program since 2008.

“This is a continuation of our goal to provide a market leading sustainability solution at each step of the real estate process. Trammell Crow Company provides this though its development efforts, CBRE Global Investors continues to earn recognition through the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) for its environmental stewardship and our Asset Services efforts have been recognized consecutively for the past seven years as an EPA Sustained Excellence Partner of the Year,” noted Mr. Pogue. 

CBRE’s Environmental Sustainability program includes global commitments in 11 key areas of environmentally sound performance, including resource management, occupancy, communications and training, public policy and procurement. The program provides best practices and initiatives that strengthen CBRE’s own environmental commitment, reflect the best environmental practices for clients’ properties, and provide vital training and education to CBRE professionals.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2013 revenue).  The Company has approximately 44,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through approximately 350 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.

California Directs State's Largest Utilities to Offer Green-e Energy Certified Green Power Programs

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 3:34pm

In a landmark decision last week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the "Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program," a measure that will give millions of California residents and businesses the chance to participate in a utility clean energy program for the first time. The decision, which benefits the majority of the state's businesses and over 38 million residents, directs the three largest investor-owned utilities—Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison Company, and San Diego Gas and Electric Company, which together cover nearly 80% of the state—to offer a Green-e Energy certified 100% renewable energy option to their customers. The measure also encourages the three utilities to develop a range of green power options that will allow ratepayers at all income levels to use more renewable energy than the state's current requirement of 33% by 2020.

The measure, which passed the Commission in a 5-0 vote on January 29, directs utilities to seek Green-e Energy certification for their programs. "Green-e Energy certification will provide consumers with assurance that the product meets the Green-e Energy National Standard," it says. "Green-e Energy certification will also provide customers with standardized, understandable information on the energy's attributes." The measure also underscores Green-e's open-stakeholder process, explaining that it is "developed with input from the public, including electricity users, generators, consumer protection groups, environmental policy and advocacy groups, renewable fuel companies, environmental regulatory bodies and others."

"California continues to lead the way by ensuring households and businesses across the state can make the choice for clean energy," said CRS Executive Director Jennifer Martin. "This historic decision means that pent-up demand for renewable electricity can soon be met, and will drive new clean energy development."

The Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program is the first step in implementing Senate Bill (SB) 43, which passed in September 2013 and requires the three utilities to develop green pricing programs for their customers that go over and above the amount of clean energy currently required by the state.


About Green‑e and Center for Resource Solutions
A program of the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions, Green‑e is North America's leading independent consumer protection program for the sale of renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the retail market. Green‑e offers certification and verification services through Green‑e Energy, a renewable energy certification program; Green‑e Climate, a greenhouse gas emission reduction certification program; and Green‑e Marketplace, a program that provides forward-thinking organizations a simple, nationally recognized logo they can use to communicate their renewable energy and climate commitment to their customers and stakeholders. To learn more about Green‑e Certified products and programs available in all 50 states and Canada, visit www.green‑e.org.

©2015 Center for Resource Solutions. For more information, see us at www.resource-solutions.org or call 415-561-2100.

MLB, MLBPA Announce Education Initiative with USAID in the Dominican Republic

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 3:34pm

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced today a partnership with the United States Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to focus on education in the Dominican Republic.

The announcement was made earlier today at a press conference at MLB's Latin American headquarters in Santo Domingo. Among those in attendance were Kim Ng, MLB's Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations; Ian Penny, Senior Labor Counsel for the MLBPA; Pedro Martinez, 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame electee; Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers All-Star outfielder; Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins All-Star pitcher; United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James W. Brewster; and Mark Feierstein, Associate Adminstrator of USAID.

The program will concentrate primarily on education in the Dominican Republic, in addition to initiatives supporting children with disabilities and combating domestic violence.

"Improving education has consistently been one of the primary goals of Major League Baseball's efforts in the Dominican Republic," said Ng. "It is essential for the future of our game to provide these young players with the opportunity to develop in vital areas away from the diamond. We are encouraged that the launch of this program with USAID and the Players Association will continue to strengthen Baseball's educational initiatives in the Dominican Republic and build upon the progress we have made thus far."

"The people of the Dominican Republic hold a special place in the hearts of all Major League baseball players," stated MLBP Executive Director Tony Clark. "With so many of our members calling the Dominican Republic home, it is an honor to join with Major League Baseball and USAID to provide funding that will help improve the lives of children and their families throughout the country."

"Playing professional baseball requires dedication, sacrifice and lots and lots of practice," said Ambassador Brewster. "This partnership with MLB and the MLBPA allows the people of the United States to share these values with young people throughout the Dominican Republic."

"The partnership with Dominican baseball superstars will help USAID reach thousands of at-risk youth and encourage them to graduate high school, granting them more job opportunities," said Feierstein. "We also want to support the Dominican Government's efforts to enable all children, irrelevant of need, to attend school, and help parents to provide a healthy home environment."

Advanced Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Training (IEMA-Approved)

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 3:34pm

5 Continents, 30 Countries, 5000 Executives have experienced CSE's sustainability training.

Now, CSE will host this course in Dubai and invites you to be a part of it.

CSE courses are accredited and approved by IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment), the leading international membership-based organization for Sustainability Professionals with more than 15,000 members based in 83 countries.

Key issues to be covered:

This challenging 2-day training program enables participants to acquire the skills and competencies required for the effective use of the GRI Framework, GRI reports and publication of CSR/ Sustainability Reporting in alignment with the new GRI G4 Guidelines.

The training provides insight on the conceptual introduction and preparation of the GRI reporting process, covers all the issues related to the dialogue with stakeholders and credibility of the reporting process, defines the content of the report and the monitoring process and explains in detail the preparation and communication of the final report.


Upon successful completion of the course, trainees will be able to submit a 2-year sustainability action plan that will enable them to earn the globally recognized certification as CSR Practioners. Attendees will also update their CSR knowledge, successfully implement and upscale sustainability strategies taking place within their organization and network with other professionals in the field.


1. Sustainability (CSR) and the Business Case for Adoption

2. Current Global & Local Legislation for CSR and GHG Emissions

3. Sustainability (CSR) Strategy and Related Global Standards and Guidelines

4. The Importance of Sustainability (CSR) in Supply Chain and Carbon Footprint Reduction

5. Sustainability (CSR) and Integrated Reporting based on GRI and IIRC Guidelines

6. External Assurance and How to Communicate and Gain Credibility in Your Report

7. The Role of the Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner / Future Trends and Practitioner Assignment

Who should attend:

CSR Professionals

 Public Relations Communication and Marketing Managers

 Human Resources Managers

Sustainability and Environmental professionals

General Managers

GRI (G4) Certified Training on Reporting

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 3:34pm

CSE is offering the Certified GRI Training program for the effective creation of CSR/ Sustainability Reports in alignment with the new GRI G4 Guidelines.

Key issues to be covered:

This challenging 2-day training program enables participants to acquire the skills and competencies required for the effective use of the GRI Framework, GRI reports and publication of CSR/ Sustainability Reporting in alignment with the new GRI G4 Guidelines.

The specialized training, provides insight on the conceptual introduction and preparation of the GRI reporting process. It covers all the issues related to the dialogue with stakeholders and credibility of the reporting process, defines the content of the report and the monitoring process and explains in detail the preparation and communication of the final report.

The Certified Training Program aims to disseminate knowledge on sustainability reporting around the world. It has been developed especially to help report makers and users to more effectively use the GRI Framework and utilse GRI reports.


Upon successful completion of the course, trainees are able to apply their knowledge in all levels of CSR and Sustainability Reporting according to GRI G4 guidelines and will receive course certificates directly from GRI confirming their acquired knowledge on Reporting. 


  •  Planning and coordinating the GRI sustainability reporting process Identifying and managing  relationships with stakeholders 
  •  Deciding on report content, concept and reporting process 
  •  Conforming with internal procedures  
  •  Assuring quality of information, data and deciding on application lever 
  •  Selecting and prioritizing material issues 
  •  Conforming to environmental, economic and social performance indicators 

Who should attend:

  •  CSOs Sustainability 
  •  CSR Directors 
  •  Health Safety and Environment Managers 
  •  Public Relations, Communications Managers 
  •  HR Managers Supply Chain
  •  Operations managers 
  •  Environment Executives 
  •  Sustainability Consultants

2013 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 3:34pm

Novo Nordisk Annual Report 2014

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 11:39am

Community Works Teams With U.S. Agencies on Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 11:39am

(Globe Newswire) - The community leaders of Toronto have called upon Community Works Canada to gauge modern day slavery, human trafficking, and sexual violence in North America with
the support of United Nations War on Human Trafficking Association and U.S. Task Force on Human Trafficking Coalition.

Human trafficking accounts for over 30 million in 2014 and the victims are very transparent in society to the extent where they blend within the communities of America.

UNWHT President Cary Lee Peterson comments, "We should never turn a blind eye on the issue." Thus, United Nations War on Human Trafficking Association has worked to broaden awareness globally through events, interventions, and workshops.

CWAO has partnered with UNWHT in a joint venture to enable victims and work with law enforcement to prosecute traffickers and criminals who violate human rights of victims who may otherwise live life in fear and are not aware of their civil rights.

CVS Health Foundation Commits $5 Million to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 11:39am

 The CVS Health Foundation today announced a $5 million five-year commitment to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to launch its new “Making the Next Generation Tobacco-Free” grant program.  Through the program, the CVS Health Foundation will partner with Tobacco-Free Kids to provide grants to organizations committed to implementing public health strategies to reduce youth tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

"The CVS Health Foundation is committed to helping people lead tobacco-free lives and working toward the goal of making the next generation tobacco-free,” said Eileen Howard Boone, President, CVS Health Foundation. “We are proud to partner with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the leaders in youth tobacco awareness, prevention and advocacy, through this grant program to empower youth and provide them with the resources needed to reduce tobacco use among young people.”

The “Making the Next Generation Tobacco-Free” grant initiative will support programs that help to reduce youth tobacco use, especially among at-risk populations, educate the public about the problem of and solutions to youth tobacco use in local communities and increase youth engagement in tobacco prevention activities. The first grant recipients will be announced on Kick Butts Day, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and mobilize their communities on youth tobacco issues, which will be held this year on March 18, 2015.

“Together with the CVS Health Foundation, we hope we can raise even more awareness of the serious problem of tobacco use that virtually always begins with youth and accelerate progress toward our shared vision of a tobacco-free generation,” said Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.  “This innovative partnership comes as we mark one year since the announcement that CVS/pharmacy locations would no longer sell tobacco products, demonstrating the ongoing commitment of CVS Health and its Foundation to continue to help people live tobacco-free.”

February 5th marks the one-year anniversary of CVS Health’s announcement that it would stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,800 CVS/pharmacy locations. This made CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take this very important step in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has publicly urged retail and pharmacy outlets to end tobacco sales and shares CVS Health’s commitment to help millions of Americans quit smoking and help those who don’t smoke to never start.

About the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco. We work to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.

About CVS Health
CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through our 7,800 retail pharmacies, more than 900 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 65 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, we enable people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at www.cvshealth.com.

Urban Institute and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Announce Multi-Year Collaboration to Help Strengthen the Firm’s Philanthropic Impact

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 11:39am

The Urban Institute and JPMorgan Chase & Co. today launched a multi-year program that aims to inform and assess the impact of JPMorgan Chase’s key philanthropic initiatives.

JPMorgan Chase will commit $10 million over five years for Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization, to examine the firm’s Corporate Responsibility initiatives and philanthropic programs focused on increasing economic opportunity and strengthening communities. Urban will draw upon its deep policy expertise to produce research and analysis that will further strengthen these programs and provide wider knowledge and understanding of critical economic and social challenges.

JPMorgan Chase’s Corporate Responsibility programs focus on the economic growth of cities, strengthening workforce systems, and achieving household financial stability, among other areas. Urban will draw from its scholars and the work of its research and policy centers to:

  • Identify critical barriers to success and provide research and analysis that point the way to overcoming them;

  • Assess whether JPMorgan Chase’s philanthropic programs are achieving intended long-term outcomes;

  • Establish a learning network for JPMorgan Chase’s grantees and other leading experts to share best practices; and

  • Share lessons learned from these programs with the broader field of scholars, local leaders, practitioners and policymakers.

As part of the program, JPMorgan Chase is also committing to support the institutional modernization and capacity-building that will strengthen Urban for the future.

The decision to collaborate comes as JPMorgan Chase has launched significant, long-term efforts to expand economic opportunity, such as the firm’s $250 million, five-year New Skills at Work initiative to help close the skills gap and its $100 million commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery. The firm now seeks additional data and insight on the effectiveness of these programs.

Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell explained that Urban’s goal is to elevate the public debate with evidence-based social and economic policy solutions. “Our job as researchers and analysts is to ask and answer the hard questions – ‘Is this program really working?’ ‘Have lives improved?’ ‘How can we do this better?’  JPMorgan Chase is committing to learn from the answers we provide, and our organizations each will play an important role in sharing that knowledge across sectors.”

Urban has a well-established track record in serving as an advisor to prominent national foundations and is also well known for its expertise in assessing government programs at local, state, and national levels. In addition to hosting prominent programs on nonprofit performance management, it has been a leading center of independent thought about innovative strategies that strengthen communities across a range of policy silos. Urban has had long-standing, large-scale research collaborations with government agencies and national philanthropic foundations, and this new effort with JPMorgan Chase marks its largest collaboration with a corporate foundation.

 “Urban Institute is at the leading edge of social policy research, and JPMorgan Chase is privileged to partner with them to better inform and strengthen our efforts to address some of society’s biggest challenges. Over the next five years, our firm will deploy $1 billion dollars towards our philanthropic programs focused on creating economic growth and expanding access to opportunity.  We believe corporate responsibility includes a commitment to impact, measurement and accountability, and this partnership helps to reinforce those goals,” said Peter Scher, Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Responsibility at JPMorgan Chase. 

Urban and JPMorgan Chase hope this program will encourage other private sector entities to measure what works and ask how they can leverage their resources to make a bigger difference in communities.

“JPMorgan Chase is committed to sharing insights with Urban and the broader philanthropic community on the unique contributions that private sector players can bring to bear in communities through our scale and global expertise. Sarah Wartell’s leadership has been instrumental in developing this partnership, and we are very pleased to be able to support the new vision and strategy for the Urban Institute,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and Head of Global Philanthropy.

Later this year, Urban and JPMorgan Chase will begin to share findings through publicly available reports, briefings, and convenings.

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and delivered evidence-based solutions that improve lives, strengthen communities, and increase the effectiveness of public policy. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the fiscal health of government across a rapidly urbanizing world.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.6 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

Spence-Chapin Adoption Services Announces March 5th Benefit

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 1:57pm

 Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children will host its second annual benefitthe Modern Family Ball (www.modernfamilyball.org) - on March 5th at Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. Celebrating families formed through adoption, the event is a time to toast the contributions of extraordinary individuals in the adoption community. Hosted for a second time by Cat Greenleaf, adoptive parent and two time Emmy Award-winning host of “Talk Stoop With Cat Greenleaf”, the Modern Family Ball will honor actor and adoptive parent Willie Garson, actor (Sex and The City, White Collar, NYPD BLUE). Spence-Chapin’s volunteer Interim Care Providers will receive the first ever Flicka Van Praagh Award and welcome special guest actress, filmmaker and Spence-Chapin adoptee Samantha Futerman, who will share her reunion experience and a clip from her new documentary Twinsters.

The Modern Family Ball is Spence-Chapin’s main fundraiser and all proceeds will benefit the organization’s mission to find loving homes for the world’s most vulnerable children – older children, sibling groups, and children with special needs.  “The barriers to adoption can be overwhelming to potential parents. These include financial obstacles, as well as emotional and legal challenges,” says Maud Welles, Board Chair of Spence-Chapin. “Adoptive parents want to offer a loving family to children of all ages, nationalities, and special needs but struggle to envision where help will come from.  We rely on events like the benefit to raise critical funds needed to help the thousands of children that need families and to sustain our work,” says Ms. Welles. 

With philanthropists, members of the adoption community, as well as celebrities in attendance, Spence-Chapin has attracted a diverse and adoption-knowledgeable crowd. A silent and live auction rounds out the event, featuring fabulous trips, jewelry, and rounds of golf at National Links, Meadow Brook Club, and Winged Foot.

For tickets to Spence-Chapin’s Modern Family Ball benefit, visit www.modernfamilyball.org or contact Kristen Lyndaker at (212) 360-0237.


Spence-Chapin is an adoption and family service agency bringing over 100 years of experience in finding families for children.  Spence-Chapin’s fundamental belief is that every child deserves a family. To underscore this commitment, Spence-Chapin has eliminated many financial barriers for families who consider embarking on the adoption journey. Through their Modern Family Center, Spence-Chapin has broadened their impact and provides support, workshops, and counseling services for: birth parents, adoptive parents, families formed through adoption, teens, children with special needs, and adoptees at every life stage. 

YourCause Breaks Gender Trends in 2014 Diversity Report

Wed, 02/04/2015 - 1:57pm

YourCause LLC, provider of CSRconnect Employee Engagement Platform, has published the first employee diversity report since starting the company nearly 7 years ago.  The report demonstrates YourCause’s ongoing commitment to a diverse workforce and highlights the company’s achievements during the nearly 100% growth in headcount during 2014. The 2014 Diversity Report compares YourCause’s diversity profile to the averages from other companies within the Technology industry. The data shows that ethnic diversity at YourCause aligned with the Technology industry; however, the company is significantly more diverse in gender diversity, with a greater than 30% difference in female to male talent.

“Since the very beginning I’ve always sought to find the best talent - period. I do my best to make sure we never lose that mindset, as I believe it has played a critical role in our company getting to where it is today. The current state of our diversity profile is nothing more than a result of attracting the most qualified talent for the industry in which we are operating,” stated Matt Combs, Founder and CEO. 

Diversity reports evaluate gender division in three core areas: overall company talent pool, leadership positions, and technology positions. In all three areas, YourCause reported a 30% difference from the average, differentiating themselves as one of the few technology companies to staff predominantly female talent.  The report disclosed overall company talent division at 38% male and 62% female. Of those employed in leadership positions 43% are male and 57% are female. Of those in Technology positions 67% are male and 33% are female.

“Our team is expected to grow by nearly 50% in 2015 and ensuring we find the most qualified talent for all positions will be our utmost priority. We fully recognize the value in the diversity of our company, its influence on our culture, and how that translates into the development of our product and operations. As such, we will continue to maintain our existing diversity in everything we do,” added Matt Combs. 

To view the full report visit http://csrconnect.me/2014-Diversity-Report.html. Findings detail gender and ethnic diversity in the areas of overall company standing, as well as leadership and technical positions. All statistical data was gathered via the YourCause Human Resources department and includes self-reported employee data.


About YourCause
YourCause, LLC (“YourCause”) is a Software as a Service (“SaaS”) provider of the CSRconnect Employee Engagement Platform (“CSRconnect”) that provides a fully hosted and managed solution for community involvement programs. CSRconnect is a robust and highly configurable platform that caters to each client’s programs with giving, volunteering, and feature-rich engagement tools.

To learn more about CSRconnect and YourCause visit: csrconnect.me