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Helping Youth Spark Connection and Create Community to Support Well-Being

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 2:42pm
Originally published by The Hershey Company

During these past several weeks of social distancing, the topics of connection and well-being have come into sharper focus more than ever. Whether it’s navigating new ways to work and learn virtually, coping with not being able to connect with friends and loved ones as before, or noticing how changes both big and small in our lives impact our mental health—the importance of connection and well-being is paramount these days, for old and young alike.

As a company with a longstanding commitment to helping kids succeed, we recognize that children and teens thrive most when they not only have physical health and access to quality education, but especially when they have social and emotional support and skills. This includes meaningful connections to peers, caring adults and their community. That’s why we created Hershey’s Heartwarming Project in 2018 and have partnered with leading youth-serving organizations that support connection and well-being, including Boys & Girls Clubs of AmericaCrisis Text LineMaking Caring Common, and WE.

These days, many of us are deeply concerned about what this pandemic will mean for youth well-being and connection—but we also celebrate the fact that now more than ever, young people are leading the way when it comes to these topics. That’s why we’re excited to partner with WE, a global movement, to sponsor a special one-hour Facebook Live event for youth, featuring youth - exploring the relationship between connection and well-being. LIVE with WE Schools: Spark Connection, Create Community will feature WE ambassadors, students and experts, and will focus on the importance of well-being and connection as we navigate these challenging times together. Please join us for the event or catch it afterwards here.

We’re also excited to announce the expansion of the Heartwarming Project Action Grants program on May 15th, which celebrates teens who take action in their homes, schools and communities to increase connection, empathy and inclusion. This year, we will select 500 teens across the U.S. and Canada to receive $250 action grants to spark connection and create community where they live. Last year, nearly 300 teens received grants to jumpstart amazing projects—such as starting kindness clubs, creating “well-being lounges” to combat stress in high schools, and hosting fun “come as you are” events focused on inclusion. This year, we’re so excited to celebrate even more teens who are finding creative ways to connect and build community during these times.

While the weeks and months ahead feel uncertain and challenging, it’s the stories of connection and care across our communities that bring me hope. So, I’d like to leave you with a challenge if you’re willing: Whether it’s tuning in on May 15th, sharing the Action Grants opportunity with a young person you know, or taking your own “heartwarming” action to boost connection and well-being, how will you spark connection and create community these days?

MLB & MLBPA Distribute $500K to First Recipients of the “Healthy Relationships Community Grant” Program

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 2:42pm

Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) today announced the first recipients of the joint “Healthy Relationships Community Grant” program. The equal distribution of $500,000 is going to ten (10) nonprofit organizations throughout the United States as the first of seven donation phases through 2021 (totaling $3 million). The focus areas for the organizations include support for survivors of domestic violence, mental health resiliency, and developing positive relationship skills with youth.

Organizations were encouraged to apply for funding to cover general operating expenses, allowing for flexibility to support the nonprofits’ greatest needs, or program support to benefit a specific initiative. The recipients are as follows:



Focus Area

Direction of Funding

House of Ruth

Pomona, CA

Survivors of Domestic Violence

General Operating Expenses

Houston Area Women’s Center

Houston, TX

Survivors of Domestic Violence

General Operating Expenses

International Medical Corps

Los Angeles, CA

Mental Health Resiliency

Suicide Prevention in Puerto Rico

Lutheran Settlement House

Philadelphia, PA

Survivors of Domestic Violence

Bilingual Domestic Violence Program

Sanctuary for Families, Inc.

New York, NY

Survivors of Domestic Violence

General Operating Expenses

Texas Advocacy Project, Inc.

Austin, TX

Relationship Skills

Teen Outreach Program

Homefront, Inc.

Lawrenceville, NJ

Mental Health Resiliency

Program for Homeless Youth

Good+Foundation, Inc.

New York, NY

Relationship Skills

Breaking the Cycle of Paternal Absence

Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Inc.

Newburyport, MA

Survivors of Domestic Violence

Children’s Safety Project

YWCA of San Diego County

San Diego, CA

Survivors of Domestic Violence

Becky’s House Domestic Violence Program

“We are grateful for the opportunity to assist these extraordinary organizations doing critical work to support vulnerable communities, especially in this time of crisis,” said Melanie LeGrande, Vice President of Social Responsibility, Major League Baseball. “Our collective support will provide emergency financial assistance and a meaningful contribution to address their greatest needs, which includes strengthening service delivery related to increased incidence of domestic violence and self-harm during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Players remain committed to supporting and promoting healthy relationships, especially during these unprecedented times,” said Leonor Colon, Sr. Director International and Domestic Player Operations. “We are thankful to all the organizations and their staff who are committed to supporting survivors of domestic violence, promotion of mental wellness, and relationship skills. Congratulations to the organizations that have been awarded the first round of grants. Each of them is eminently deserving and a terrific example of what we can achieve together to improve the world around us.”

This overall initiative is a $3 million commitment to provide funding in 2020 and 2021 to organizations that support healthy relationships through programs designed to build and improve relationship skills of the next generation, strengthen and provide critical services to survivors of domestic violence, and improve mental health resiliency among vulnerable populations.

U.S.-based nonprofit and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can still apply for localized support at MLB.com/HealthyRelationships and MLBPLAYERS.com/HealthyRelationships throughout the year, with proposals reviewed on a quarterly grant cycle. Nonprofits and NGOs may apply for grants of up to $50,000 for general operating or programmatic funding for one or more of the following categories: Healthy Relationship Practices/Education, Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence, and/or Mental Health Resiliency. Grant applications will be evaluated quarterly based on assessment of the population served, organization strength, impact, partnerships, sustainability of the programs, and more. Additionally, MLB Club charities and Major League Players have been encouraged to apply for up to $25,000 as part of a gift matching component of the initiative, with grant evaluations based on documentation of direct funding and commitment to the issue.

This initiative is intended as a prevention strategy to empower the next generation to understand the components of a healthy relationship. Organizational efforts supported by grant funding may include public education, with a preference for youth populations, on the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships as it relates to interpersonal violence (e.g., intimate partner, family or teen dating). Examples of education efforts include creating, producing & distributing public service announcements with relevant content and call to action as well as conferences or events focusing on awareness. Funding can also go toward supporting existing, or introducing new, programming on how to break the cycle of violence.

Strengthening and providing services to survivors of domestic violence is of critical importance to this grant initiative. Efforts may include (a) capacity building in support of the organizational mission of the nonprofit or NGO; (b) mental health support; (c) professional and life skills workshops as well as additional education and materials to improve employee readiness and workplace development; or (d) advocacy efforts to reduce domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Efforts toward building and improving mental health resiliency for vulnerable populations may include providing greater access to (a) quality mental health services and wellness programs; (b) preventative programs designed to reduce suicide, suicidal ideations and self-harm; (c) training programs for mental health professionals; or (d) school or community-based interventions.

The joint donation for the “Healthy Relationships Community Grant” represents an ongoing commitment by MLB and the MLBPA to provide support to causes that assist vulnerable populations, which has historically included financial assistance toward disaster relief and recovery as well as human trafficking prevention.

# # #

Steve Arocho or Kerline Batista, Major League Baseball, (212) 931-7878, mlbpressbox.com, @MLB_PR;

Anthony Solis, Major League Baseball Players Association, (212) 826-0808, mlbplayers.com, @MLB_PLAYERS.

NRG Energy Provides Progress on Net-Zero Goal in 2019 Sustainability Report

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 2:42pm

NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE:NRG) today released its 2019 Sustainability Report, providing an update on the Company’s comprehensive sustainability strategy. NRG demonstrated advancement across all of its previously announced sustainability initiatives, including a 41% reduction in carbon emissions, marking significant progress towards its newly accelerated, science-based target of reducing emissions 50% by 2025, and net-zero by 2050, from a 2014 baseline.

Other notable accomplishments included in the report:

  • Achieving best safety year on record

  • More than 11,000 employee volunteer hours, and $3.2 million in charitable contributions

  • Procuring more than 1.6 GW of solar to meet our customer’s needs

“Over the past decade, NRG has grown and evolved into the stronger, more resilient organization it is today.” said Mauricio Gutierrez, President and CEO, NRG Energy. “I believe that our comprehensive sustainability framework is the foundation for our continued success, today and into the future.”

This report utilizes best available standards and frameworks, including the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), continuing the organization’s commitment to transparent reporting practices.

Read the full report at: nrg.com/sustainability

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions and typically can be identified by the use of words such as “expect,” “estimate,” “should,” “anticipate,” “forecast,” “plan,” “guidance,” “outlook,” “believe” and similar terms. Although NRG believes that the expectations are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to be correct, and actual results may vary materially.

NRG undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. The foregoing review of factors that could cause NRG’s actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements included in this news release should be considered in connection with information regarding risks and uncertainties that may affect NRG’s future results included in NRG’s filings with the SEC at www.sec.gov.

About NRG

At NRG, we’re bringing the power of energy to people and organizations by putting customers at the center of everything we do. We generate electricity and provide energy solutions and natural gas to more than 3.7 million residential, small business, and commercial and industrial customers through our diverse portfolio of retail brands. A Fortune 500 company, operating in the United States and Canada, NRG delivers innovative solutions while advocating for competitive energy markets and customer choice, and by working towards a sustainable energy future. More information is available at www.nrg.com. Connect with NRG on Facebook, LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy, @nrginsight.

Collaborative and Risk-focused Engagement (CaRE™) at Alkermes

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 11:42am

Alkermes 2019 Corpororate Responsibility Report

In 2018, we significantly enhanced CaRE™, our proprietary risk mitigation program designed to encourage employees to preemptively identify and address EHSS risks and enhance sustainability.

CaRE has been rolled out across the organization to engage leaders and colleagues from various parts of our business to take an active role in building a preventive and sustainable EHSS risk-focused culture. The program includes a number of components that help encourage high employee engagement and contribute to our low incident rates, including:

  • Workplace “walkthroughs” by cross-functional leaders to improve risk awareness and encourage proactive action, fostering open and honest discussions with employees;

  • Our “Good Save” system to help identify and resolve workplace hazards and risks;

  • Improved data collection and management to support risk mitigation and measurement efforts; and

  • Recognition for those employees engaged in CaRE efforts, to amplify and encourage our collective goal of continuous improvement.

Read more in the 2019 Corpororate Responsibility Report

About Alkermes

Alkermes plc is a fully integrated, global biopharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) diseases. The company has a diversified commercial product portfolio and a substantial clinical pipeline of product candidates for chronic diseases that include schizophrenia, depression, addiction, multiple sclerosis and oncology. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Alkermes plc has an R&D center in Waltham, Massachusetts; a research and manufacturing facility in Athlone, Ireland; and a manufacturing facility in Wilmington, Ohio. For more information, please visit Alkermes’ website at www.alkermes.com.

World’s Largest Lesson Launches Free Learning Resource to Engage Young Children in Making the World a Better Place

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 11:42am

Today, The World’s Largest Lesson, in partnership with UNICEF and supported by Hasbro, has launched Explorers for the Global Goals, a set of free learning resources that give children aged 4-8 the opportunity to explore simple concepts around global issues and develop skills for life.

Since 2015 The World’s Largest Lesson has been committed to introducing children and young people everywhere to the Global Goals, a historic 17-point plan agreed upon by world leaders of the United Nations to end poverty, tackle inequality and fight climate change. In 2019, The World’s Largest Lesson reached 17 million children. Now, for the first time, they are reaching out to a younger age group, to introduce the concepts and characteristics that can help children engage with the world’s “to-do list” for people and the planet. 

These five new learning experiences offer playful activities and some colorful characters to promote empathy, curiosity, creativity, problem solving and communications skills in an interactive, flexible framework. Explorers for the Global Goals incorporates multiple opportunities for children to demonstrate their innate creativity while exploring concepts like peace, nature and home. 

“Millions of children - and their parents - have had their lives disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolated in our homes, it’s easy to feel like our world has shrunk,” said Alison Bellwood, Creator and Director of The World's Largest Lesson, part of Project Everyone. “Our hope is that with these activities, parents can help young children maintain a sense of community and connection with the outside world, by exploring big ideas through play.”

“As a company dedicated to making the world a better place for children and their families, Hasbro is proud to support these valuable resources for children to become Explorers for the Global Goals,” said Kevin Colman, Director of Global Philanthropy and Social Impact at Hasbro. “These playful, creative learning experiences are great activities that parents and caregivers can use to teach empathy, develop important life skills and engage kids during extended time at home.”

Explorers for the Global Goals invites young children and the adults in their lives to take part in shared learning experiences based on play. The activities are simple and flexible, encouraging parents and educators to adapt and get creative. Many of the activities encourage children to engage with nature, in order to foster an appreciation of the natural world and the importance of protecting it. 

You can find the whole set of activities here: https://bit.ly/3bdQYb8.

Parents and educators are encouraged to share photos of the activities in action on social media using #GlobalGoalsExplorers and tagging @WorldsLargestLesson.

These resources were developed and tested in collaboration with teachers and school leaders in the UK, US, Nigeria and Kenya. The lead author is Jennifer Williams, a global expert in education for the Global Goals with nearly 25 years’ of experience as a teacher, professor and activist.

International Paper Donates Boxes to The Global FoodBanking Network to Respond to COVID-19 in Mexico

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 11:42am

International Paper (NYSE: IP) is taking action to address hunger and meet critical community needs during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The world’s leading producer of renewable, fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper has committed to donating hundreds of thousands of essential corrugated boxes to The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) to address hunger in the most vulnerable communities around the world.

In Mexico, 200,000 boxes are being used to transport food throughout 22 communities supported by GFN member Banco de Alimentos de México (BAMX), the national food banking association in Mexico. BAMX is reporting an estimated 51-60% increase in demand for emergency food assistance.

Food banks around the world are seeing an overwhelming increase in demand for food aid, and GFN plays an important role in supporting local food banks that are on the front lines of providing hunger relief during this crisis.

“More than half of the food banks GFN serves are in Latin America, where necessary measures to contain the virus are having devastating effects on low-income families. Food banks are on the front lines of this global crisis,” said Lisa Moon, President and CEO, The Global FoodBanking Network. “GFN is providing technical and financial support in all countries where we have members to ensure all vulnerable communities are able access food during this time.”

 “Our products are a critical part of the supply chain required to produce and deliver food, pharmaceuticals, hygiene products and emergency supplies for consumers around the world,” said Dr. Alissa Campbell Shaw, senior manager, Community Engagement, International Paper and executive director, The IP Foundation. “Our boxes are essential for the charities in our communities around the world. They enable these organizations to cast a wider safety net for those in need.”

Since 2018, International Paper has worked with The Global FoodBanking Network to expand child-focused programming to feed food insecure and undernourished children in Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Poland, Spain and Italy. In response to the pandemic, International Paper began working with GFN to determine where its corrugated boxes could be used to ensure the safe transport of healthy and nutritious food within the GFN network.

“When we learned of the increased need in Mexico, a country in which we operate 15 locations, we knew this was an opportunity to provide these communities with the essential products required to distribute food,” said Campbell Shaw. “I applaud all our employees in Mexico, especially those on the production lines at our Monterrey, Nuevo León and Ixtaczoquitlán, Veracruz, box plants who are working safely to produce this essential resource during this trying time.”

About International Paper

International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a leading global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper products with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, North Africa and Russia. We produce corrugated packaging products that protect and promote goods and enable worldwide commerce; pulp for diapers, tissue, and other personal hygiene products that promote health and wellness; and papers that facilitate education and communication. We are headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., employ more than 50,000 colleagues and serve more than 25,000 customers in 150 countries. Net sales for 2019 were $22 billion. For more information about International Paper, our products and global citizenship efforts, please visit internationalpaper.com.

About The Global FoodBanking Network

The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) is an international non-profit organization that nourishes the world’s hungry through uniting and advancing food banks in more than 40 countries. GFN focuses on combating hunger and preventing food waste by providing expertise, directing resources, sharing knowledge and developing connections that increase efficiency, ensure food safety and reach more people facing hunger. In 2018, 943 GFN member food banks rescued over 500 million kilograms of food and grocery product and redirected it to feed 9.6 million people through a network of more than 55,000 social service and community-based organizations. For more information please visit www.foodbanking.org.


3Degrees Announces Formation of Customer Solutions and Innovation Group, New Leadership in Energy and Climate Practice

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 11:42am

3Degrees, a specialist in renewable energy, transportation decarbonization, and other climate solutions, is pleased to announce several new leadership roles and the formation of a new group, Customer Solutions and Innovation.

Erin Craig, leader of 3Degrees’ Energy and Climate Practice, is shifting into a new role as vice president of the Customer Solutions and Innovation group. In this new role, Erin will leverage her deep expertise, as well as the customer insights gained through her advisory work, to create new solutions to climate challenges and bring them to corporate, utility, and institutional clients in partnership with 3Degrees’ business units. Erin will also serve as a senior advisor on select client engagements.

To accelerate these efforts, 3Degrees is welcoming Frederick Freeman to the company as director of Customer Solutions and Innovation. Rick most recently spent eight years leading various strategic initiatives and renewable energy origination projects on the Global Energy Team at Apple. Prior to his time at Apple, Rick worked as an environmental engineering consultant for private and public sector clients, as a computer programmer of web platforms and educational systems, and served as an environmental policy technical expert for the U.S. Department of State.

The Customer Solutions and Innovation team will focus on addressing barriers to renewable energy finance, accelerating the deployment of climate mitigations which bring multiple benefit streams to society, and enabling electrification initiatives through corporate climate action.

To amplify the success of the Energy and Climate Practice, 3Degrees is pleased to welcome renewable energy veteran Rebecca Sternberg as its new leader and vice president. Rebecca has spent more than 15 years in the sustainability and renewable energy field, most recently as vice president of power marketing, at BayWa r.e. where she led origination of several prominent renewable energy projects, including a 100MW aggregation with Bloomberg, Cox Communications, Gap, Salesforce, and Workday. Prior to BayWa r.e., Rebecca led the global Fortune 1000 Commercial team for SolarCity, working with many leading retailers and global technology companies. She has also held prominent roles in EY’s Climate and Sustainability Services group and founded Accenture’s Sustainability Practice.

3Degrees’  Energy and Climate Practice has grown tremendously over the past three years, partnering with major global corporations, including Visa, Mastercard, Mondelēz International, Etsy, and Comcast, to help them craft and execute customized plans to achieve their renewable energy and climate goals. In 2018, the team led the largest renewable energy aggregation to date, with Apple, Akamai, Swiss Re, and Etsy. Rebecca will lead the team’s evolution and growing body of work supporting strategic initiatives for some of the world’s leading corporations and educational institutions, transportation decarbonization initiatives, and renewable energy implementations worldwide.

“3Degrees continues to evolve to meet our clients' growing renewable energy, transportation, and other climate solutions needs,” said Steve McDougal, CEO of 3Degrees. “A key component of our plan is building the strongest leadership in the industry. I'm thrilled that Erin and Rick are spearheading the new Customer Solutions and Innovation group, and that Rebecca will be at the helm of our thriving Energy and Climate Practice. Their collective leadership experience in the renewable energy industry is second to none, and our clients will certainly benefit from their expertise.”


About 3Degrees

3Degrees makes it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change. As a certified B Corporation, we provide renewable energy, transportation decarbonization, and emission reduction solutions to global Fortune 500 companies, utilities, and other organizations that want to join the fight against climate change. The 3Degrees team has deep expertise in sustainability consulting, environmental markets, renewable energy and carbon project development, transportation decarbonization solutions, and utility renewable energy programs. Together with our customers, 3Degrees helps develop and implement creative solutions that ensure environmental integrity and make good business sense. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. Learn more at 3degrees.com.

SC Johnson Donates Mosquito Repellents to Help At-Risk Families in Latin America

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 8:42am

Today, SC Johnson announced it has donated 125,000 units of personal insect repellent and insecticides to benefit families in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The donations come as the countries have seen an increase in the number of dengue cases in recent months.

“Dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases can have a devastating impact on the lives of individuals and on communities,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “With donations such as these and through educational programs, we’re committed to helping families protect themselves against mosquitoes.”

In Argentina and Paraguay SC Johnson donated more than 100,000 units of mosquito repellents and insecticides to at-risk families. The company is also continuing its “Chau Mosquito” campaign which includes mosquito prevention education and training on how to use repellents to best fight mosquito-borne disease. Since the program’s inception in 2016, SC Johnson has provided a total of 58 training sessions and trained 400 local facilitators and 2,255 multiplier agents which include students, community kitchen/center coordinators, health workers, municipal employees and social workers. The initiative has reached 900,000 families in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay with educational resources and more than 1 million donated SC Johnson products.

In Brazil, the company donated approximately 25,000 units and is continuing its partnership with the local non-government organizations (NGOs) Banco da Providência and Associação Saúde Criança to educate adults and families living in extreme poverty in the city of Rio de Janeiro on how to best protect themselves from mosquito bites and the diseases that may be transmitted by mosquitoes, such as dengue fever.

About SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 134-year-old company, which generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com

Benevity Announces Steven Woods as Incoming Chief Technology Officer

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 8:42am

Benevity, Inc., the leading global provider of corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software, today announced that Steven Woods will be joining the executive team as Chief Technology Officer, effective June 1, 2020. Steven will be based in Toronto leading a technology team of more than 200 development, product management, analytics and enterprise platform professionals that spans Benevity’s Calgary, Victoria and Toronto offices.

Passionate about innovation, SaaS and machine learning, Steven brings over 20 years of executive experience in developing proven ideas into mass-market products that can be delivered at scale. As co-founder and CTO at Eloqua, a leading marketing automation platform, Steven led the technology operations for 14 years as the company grew to more than $100 million in annual revenue, an IPO on the NASDAQ and its ultimate acquisition by Oracle.

As the author of a book called "Digital Body Language", Steven’s understanding and deciphering of online user intention will help advance Benevity’s suite of consumer solutions as well as drive greater success in its existing client base of more than 600 companies who use Benevity to power their corporate purpose programs related to employee engagement and community investment. Most recently, his six-plus years as co-founder and CTO at Nudge.ai, an autonomous deal intelligence layer for CRM, will be key to Benevity’s ability to serve personalized content and experiences to its users, leading to better business and social outcomes for Benevity’s corporate clients.

“We are excited to welcome Steven to the Benevity executive team,” said Bryan de Lottinville, Benevity Founder and CEO. “Steve is a seasoned CTO who is not only a brilliant technologist but has also managed successfully through the growth and maturation stages of SaaS companies that will be valuable to Benevity as we continue to scale and innovate our market-leading products and technology. ”

“I am delighted at the opportunity to join Benevity and quite literally put my passion, skills and experience to good use serving humanity,” said Steven Woods. “Over the past few years, it’s been made abundantly clear why companies should be prioritizing purpose alongside profit. As this concept mainstreams, I look forward to contributing my skills in helping Benevity continue to drive market leadership and growth, while helping the company realize its moonshot of ‘infusing a culture of Goodness into the world.’”

Benevity’s announcement of a new CTO is the latest in a series of senior technology hires, including VP Engineering John Mortimer who joined the team September 2019 and VP Product Grant Bryce who started November 2019. Interim CTO Jason Becker – who ably occupied the role for several months during the search - will be staying on with the company to fulfill his role as VP Architecture.

In October 2019, Benevity announced $40M in Series C Funding from General Atlantic and JMI Equity to accelerate the company’s ability to bring increased scale, automation, integration and efficiency to the corporate purpose sector.

About Benevity

Benevity, Inc., a certified B Corporation, is the global leader in corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software, including online giving, matching, volunteering, community investment and purpose driven actions. A finalist in Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards, many of the world’s most iconic brands rely on Benevity’s award-winning cloud solutions to power corporate “Goodness” programs that attract, retain and engage today’s diverse workforce by connecting people to the causes that matter to them. With software that is available in 17 languages, to an employee base of 12 million users around the world, Benevity has processed more than 4 billion dollars in donations and 23 million hours of volunteering time and awarded 974,000 grants to 230,000 charities worldwide.

Nonprofits Are Responding to COVID-19 and They Need Your Help

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 5:41pm

Companies around the world are taking steps to act responsibly in their reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic, and non-profit organizations are no exception.

Indeed, non-profits in healthcare, food access, humanitarian relief, kids/youth and those serving the creative community have all rallied around making a difference during the pandemic. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the non-profits that have programs specific to COVID-19, and how you can help.

I. Healthcare

Direct Relief

Direct Relief is working to get protective gear and critical care medications to as many health workers as possible, as quickly as possible. The organization has been coordinating with public health authorities, nonprofits and businesses in the U.S. and globally to provide personal protective equipment and essential medical items to health workers responding to coronavirus.

Click here to learn more and donate to Direct Relief’s efforts.

Solidarity Response Fund for WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading and coordinating the global effort with a range of partners, to support countries in preventing, detecting, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO tracks the spread of the virus to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information, and to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them.

Click here to learn more and donate to WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund.

Give 2 Asia

Give 2 Asia is an Asia-Pacific nonprofit that is supporting frontline health workers and national public health priorities. The organization has been raising funds to slow the spread of the virus, and has been busy driving donations via public health messaging campaigns. Give 2 Asia is committed to raising funds to prepare health workers and communities to fight this and future epidemics.

Click here to learn more and donate to Give 2 Asia.

International Medical Corps UK

Working with the WHO, International Medical Corps is leveraging its relationships with local and national ministries of health globally to provide expertise, equipment, training, and triage and treatment services. The organization is committed to ensuring that at-risk countries and regions are able to prepare for and respond to potential outbreaks of coronavirus. Priority response activities include personal protective equipment, deployment of screening and triage stations, case management, community outreach and engagement and an epidemic response team.

Click here to learn more and to donate to International Medical Corps.

CDC Foundation

Funds raised by the CDC Foundation through its Emergency Response Fund will be used to meet fast-emerging needs identified by CDC to help respond to the public health threat posed by this virus. These include additional support for state and local health departments, support for the global response, logistics, communications, data management, personal protective equipment, critical response supplies and more.

Click here to learn more and to donate to the CDC Foundation.

II. Food Access

Feeding America

Feeding America has launched the COVID-19 Response Fund, a national food- and fund-raising effort to support people facing hunger and the food banks that help them. The organization is partnering with school districts and local government agencies to ensure that the 22 million children who rely on school meals everyday have access to food outside of the classroom. Feeding America has built an inventory of emergency food boxes to distribute to food banks across the country as the need for food assistance increases. It is also providing emergency grants to food banks to support local response efforts.

Click here to learn more and to donate Feeding America.

Akshaya Patra

Akshaya Patra is an India-based nonprofit that has launched the COVID-19 Relief Feeding Program to support the needy with cooked meals and groceries. At the time this article was written, the organization had already served more than 92 million cooked meals and distributed more than 3 million grocery kits throughout India.

Click here to learn more and to donate to Akshaya Patra.

United National World Food Program

Even when supply chains break, people still need food to survive. As the COVID-19 pandemic causes border closures, travel restrictions and supply chain complexities, the World Food Programme (WFP) is on a mission to find ways to continue saving and changing the lives of the most vulnerable. The organization’s experience and expertise in emergency response, logistics and supply chain, emergency telecommunications, nutrition and other key areas, means they are ready to help through this unprecedented crisis.

Click here to learn more and to donate to WFP.

No Kid Hungry

No Kid Hungry is using donations large and small to support kids who are struggling. The organization has already distributed $7.5 million in emergency grant funding to schools and community groups across the U.S. feeding children during the pandemic. With the help of these grants, programs plan to serve 2.95 million healthy meals a day during this crisis.

Click here to learn more and donate to No Kid Hungry.

III. Relief/Humanitarian

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is working in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), seeking people who are fully recovered from the new coronavirus to sign up to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients. Patients who have fully recovered following a COVID-19 diagnosis may have antibodies in their plasma that can help those with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections. Donations to the American Red Cross also fund shelter, meals, relief items, health and mental health services and spiritual care, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to learn more and donate to the American Red Cross.

Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF)

SVCF is leading multiple efforts with San Francisco Bay Area philanthropic, government and corporate partners to protect public health and assist those affected by the disease and its impact. These responses include support for: (1) low-income individuals and families who are most severely affected, (2) nonprofit organizations whose operations are being affected, and (3) small businesses with employees at risk for lost wages.

Click here to learn more and donate to SVCF.

HelpAge India

HelpAge India is committed to helping the elders, homeless and migrant daily wage laborers in India who are facing their toughest times amid COVID-19. The organization is now preparing Family Survival Kits, which include basic rations such as rice, wheat, spices, cooking oil, as well as Coronavirus protective gear like masks, bathing and washing soaps. The organization is also providing free meals to the homeless.

Click here to learn more and donate to HelpAge India.

Action Aid

Action Aid is committed to easing the humanitarian crisis caused by the spread of Coronavirus. The organization provides dry food rations to people every day and also provides facilities with Sanitation kits. The organization is also committed to spreading awareness of COVID-19 to individuals, with support materials to individuals. It has responded in 21 states and 171 districts across India thus far.

Click here to learn more and donate to Action Aid.

IV. Kids/Youth

Save the Children UK

Save the children UK is helping families globally in refugee camps, war zones, and urban slums, who will struggle to cope if coronavirus hits hard. The organization is working to put measures in place to prevent infection – especially in areas where it’s virtually impossible to practice social distancing and safe hand-washing. The organization is helping with vital training of health care workers and community sensitization, as well as providing protective equipment, medical supplies and more in areas where cases are high. The organization is also raising funds to help children learn remotely, getting books and educational resources to the poorest of families, and supporting children to return to school when it is safe.

Click here to learn more and donate to Save the Children UK.

UNICEF Australia

UNICEF Australia is committed to supporting children and families affected by coronavirus in Australia. The organization is asking for donations to help support infection prevention and control, delivery of protective equipment, risk communication and community engagement, and more.

Click here to learn more and donate to UNICEF Australia.

Teach for America

Teach for America is providing resources to support students and communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. The organization is providing teachers with free training to help them with remote learning, and they are also providing resources and plans for school and district leaders who are managing school closures. The organization is advocating to raise funds for vulnerable students and communities impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Click here to learn more and to donate to Teach for America.

V. Creative Community


CERF+ is a critical safety-net for artists who contract the coronavirus. In order to address the anticipated increase in requests for assistance, the organization established the COVID-19 Response Fund. This fund is designed to provide artists with the resources and information they need to sustain their careers and navigate these times.

Click here to learn more and to donate to CERF+.

Americans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts is committed to helping both individual artists as well as arts organizations, and has rolled out a new resource center to provide the community a one-stop-shop for navigating information more quickly. Artists can find Federal Relief Information, helpful webinars and other resources, while organizations can learn about relief funds, get access to impact surveys, articles and news that put the crisis into context.

Click here to learn more and to donate to Americans for the Arts.

The Safety Net Fund

The Safety Net Fund is a non-profit designed to support artists in the San Francisco Bay Area during the COVID-19 crisis. This fund offers grants to artists, with no expectation of repayment, to help provide direct monetary support through this crisis.

Click here to learn more and to donate to The Safety New Fund.

Aramark Salutes America’s Healthcare Heroes

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 2:41pm

As the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Aramark salutes the strength and courage of frontline medical professionals. In recognition of their tireless efforts and in celebration of National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and National Hospital Week (May 10-16), Aramark has made a donation to the American Red Cross Coronavirus Outbreak Fund in their honor.

Across the country, hospitals and healthcare systems are the epicenters in the battle against the coronavirus, and Aramark has been proudly supporting the needs of frontline workers in critical areas such as food nutrition services, environmental services, and facilities management.

“We thank the doctors, nurses and all the dedicated healthcare heroes for keeping us healthy and safe, not just during this public health crisis, but every day,” said John Zillmer, Aramark’s Chief Executive Officer. “Aramark is proud to stand with you and to help our healthcare partners rapidly respond to the critical needs created by COVID-19.”

The Road to a Vaccine, Ep. 4: What Doctors on the Front Lines of COVID-19 Are Now Saying About the Virus

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 2:41pm

This new eight-episode educational video series will examine the latest efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and break down the complex process of developing a vaccine.

Each week our host Lisa Ling will talk to leading scientists and researchers, healthcare workers on the front lines and public health experts around the world working collaboratively to help bring an end to the deadly pandemic.

This week in Episode 4, host Lisa Ling speaks with Dr. Adaora Okoli, an internal resident physician at the Tulane University School of Medicine, about how she contracted Ebola in Nigeria—and recovered—and how she stays positive while treating COVID-19 patients in New Orleans. Renowned epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant discusses what it was like to help eradicate smallpox, and why testing is so important during the current crisis.

Also, vaccine scientist Dr. Johan Van Hoof helps us separate fact from fiction around the question: How long could the immunity provided by a potential vaccine last? Finally, Dr. Ed Kuffner, Chief Medical Officer, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, and Dr. Caleb Hernandez, a board certified emergency medicine physician and founder of Certa Dose, talk about volunteering in the COVID-19 trenches at a Brooklyn hospital.

Tune in live at 12 pm EDT Tuesdays on JNJ.comFacebookLinkedIn or Twitter. Come back to this page at any time to watch a replay.

The Corporate Citizenship Imperative During Crisis

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 11:41am

Originally published by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in early January 2020, organizations have stepped up to support first responders and health professionals, remove barriers to health care, and provide products and services to employees, customers, and others who need them most. Among them on the frontlines, FedEx has responded to the call for social responsibility in the time of need.

FedEx is using its strongest capabilities to meet critical demands during the crisis—its logistics network and expertise. With more than 650 aircraft, 180,000 trucks, and 475,000 team members spanning 220 countries and territories, FedEx is well-positioned to be a leader in addressing the global scope of the pandemic. In fact, supporting the relief and recovery efforts related to COVID-19 makes sense given FedEx’s overarching strategy: connect people with goods, services, ideas, and technologies in order to create opportunities that fuel innovation, energize businesses, and empower communities. While the events related to the pandemic are still unfolding, FedEx’s swift actions thus far serve as a case study for companies seeking to think beyond bottom lines and good causes, and more about how to leverage core operations and business strengths to truly deliver impact globally.

Continue reading here

Community Support During the COVID-19 Crisis

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 11:41am

Originally published by Hershey

As the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, relief and response efforts are developing rapidly, with governments, companies and foundations all lining up to support families in communities in need.

Supporting our communities in difficult times is an important part of our legacy. Our founder Milton Hershey’s actions through pivotal moments in our history – whether creating jobs during the Great Depression, or creating ration bars for the U.S. Army during World War II – were grounded in his belief that people are better, together.

And that spirit continues to guide us today. We take great pride in ensuring that our brands can be there for our consumers and communities when physical connection is limited is a responsibility we take seriously. And it’s the remarkable employees and their spirit of togetherness at the heart of this company that allow us to achieve that purpose.

Caring for Our Communities

To date, The Hershey Company has committed millions of dollars in cash, product donations, technical expertise and resources to support COVID-19 response efforts around the world.

Providing Basic Human Needs

In the US, supporting community safety net and basic needs organizations and have temporarily expanded our product donation efforts to include hospitals and health care organizations.

Cash donations thus far have been made to COVID-19 response funds at organizations including United Way Worldwide, Feeding America, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, as well as multiple local United Ways and food banks in communities where we operate.

Caring for the Caregivers

Across the country, healthcare workers are sacrificing to care for others. To lift their spirits and offer our thanks, we have donated large shipments of Hershey products to more than 40 hospitals in communities where we operate and areas heavily impacted by the virus. We are also donating product for New York City health care workers via the #FoundersGive initiative.

At home, we are collaborating closely with the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. We have converted a local warehouse into a temporary logistics space for the expanded supply chain operations of all Penn State Health locations while lending staff expertise from across our enterprise to collaborate on other critical projects as needed. We have also donated a variety of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer stations and refills.

Supporting Communities Around the World

Globally, Hershey continues to make a range of donations of cash and product to support COVID-19 response efforts in key markets, including China, India, Brazil and Malaysia. We are also working closely with our fellow cocoa industry partners to support response efforts in cocoa communities in West Africa. 

Together, the major cocoa and chocolate companies have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to deliver COVID education and protection activities. These donations were coordinated with governments and international relief agencies to ensure that assistance is aligned with emergency response plans and appropriately delivered.

An Essential Part of the Food Supply

Through this crisis, Hershey has operated with a high degree of sensitivity to the impact on our workforce. We have moved swiftly to put increased health and safety measures in place for all employees – with work from home for many, and increased safety protocols and social distancing measures, including flexible and altered work schedules, for our manufacturing and retail teams.

As an essential part of the food supply chain, we take great pride in how we’re able to implement worker safety measures and honor our commitment to keeping shelves stocked with the products consumers love. Continuing to operate safely impacts more than consumers, though. It positively impacts our global network of customers, partners and suppliers across the value chain.

Tetra Tech Featured in the EBJ Emerging Technology Issue

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 8:41am

The Oceans and Fisheries Partnership, Asia-Pacific

Environmental Business Journal (EBJ) released its 2020 "Emerging Technology & the Environmental Industry" publication. In this issue, Tetra Tech’s President, Dr. Leslie Shoemaker, discussed the growing demand for using innovation and new technologies in our projects and how Tetra Tech focuses on Leading with Science® to develop dynamic tools that address specific operational and business needs and create a social impact.

“The technologies we use are tailored to the specific conditions to ensure an optimal experience,” Dr. Shoemaker told EBJ. “We partner our local experts with technical specialists so that technology applications are adapted to local needs as well as specific conditions unique to each project and region.” More specifically, Dr. Shoemaker highlights two new technologies that bring Tetra Tech at the forefront of innovation: our electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability (eCDT) system and our Csoft® predictive control tool.

Tetra Tech is working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on their Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (Oceans) project and designed and implemented new technology to reduce illegal fishing and improve sustainability in Southeast Asia. The electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability (eCDT) system tracks every step of the seafood supply chain from bait to plate. The eCDT system uses a combination of GPS, Quick Response (QR) codes, and mobile phone technology to document seafood to ensure it was legally caught.

Tetra Tech’s award-winning, model-based Csoft control software is designed to improve the management of urban drainage systems and protect human health and the environment. This innovative software is used to manage water systems in several large cities in North America and Europe.

This issue of EBJ covers current deployment of innovative or disruptive technology by leading environmental industry players, forecasts key trends for the decade, and shares survey results on how innovative, disruptive, or cutting-edge technologies are being used for specific markets and services; the impacts that they are having; and how they will evolve in the next 10 years. EBJ also ranks what environmental industry executives think will be the most influential technologies in the 2020s.

Read the EBJ "Emerging Technology & the Environmental Industry" issue.

Environmental Business International Inc., publisher of EBJ, gives Tetra Tech permission to post this reprint on its website, to forward it electronically for marketing purposes only, to print hard copies for marketing purposes only, and to link to it on social media. All copies must show the article in full, with credits and copyright notices.

International Paper Supports Anheuser-Busch’s Donation of Hand Sanitizer to the American Red Cross

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 8:41am

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches resources across the world, manufacturers are retooling their production lines to produce essential supplies. When one of our customers stepped up to make hand sanitizer for their facilities and the American Red Cross, they turned to International Paper, the leading producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper, to help transport the product to these critical operations and relief efforts.

Anheuser-Busch, U.S.-based brewer of iconic beer brands such as Budweiser and Michelob Ultra, has put their capabilities and expertise to work by producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer to accommodate the growing need across the United States. The company’s sanitizer will be used at Red Cross blood donation centers and will support future relief efforts at emergency shelters.  

Corrugated boxes are essential to the distribution of the product. International Paper has donated 5,500 boxes to Anheuser-Busch, enabling them to supply bottles of hand sanitizer to their facilities, the Red Cross and other government relief efforts across the country. 

Both companies are members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP), which provides essential contributions in advance of disasters, powering the organization with strong infrastructure, trained volunteers, innovative technology and critical resources necessary to provide immediate relief and support to those in crisis.

“Our boxes are a critical part of the supply chain required to produce and deliver food, pharmaceuticals, hygiene products and emergency supplies for consumers around the world,” said Dr. Alissa Campbell Shaw, senior manager, Community Engagement, International Paper and executive director, The IP Foundation. “We’re proud to support our customers and our nonprofit partners with essential products as they seek to serve others during this pandemic.”

“At Anheuser-Busch, we know we can’t solve this problem on our own, but we can play a vital role,” said Adam Warrington, Vice President, Better World at Anheuser-Busch. “It’s amazing to see what we can do when we all work together and we are thankful for our partners at the American Red Cross as well as our suppliers, including International Paper, who have made this initiative possible.”

Many thanks to the dedicated employees at the International Paper Buffalo, NY, and Binghamton, NY, box plant who produced the Community Engagement boxes for this effort.

About International Paper

International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a leading global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper products with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, North Africa and Russia. We produce corrugated packaging products that protect and promote goods and enable worldwide commerce; pulp for diapers, tissue, and other personal hygiene products that promote health and wellness; and papers that facilitate education and communication. We are headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., employ more than 50,000 colleagues and serve more than 25,000 customers in 150 countries. Net sales for 2019 were $22 billion. For more information about International Paper, our products and global citizenship efforts, please visit internationalpaper.com.


Virus Vocabulary

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 5:40pm

Drawing on decades of experience in designing and engineering the production of vaccines and pharmaceutical therapies, CRB is actively supporting the global fight against COVID-19. This effort – uniting technology, government and health care in unprecedented ways – has required not only disruptive changes in our daily lives, but also a deeper understanding of the complex science and other factors that will determine how fast we can end this threat.

As part of CRB’s mission to educate and inform, the company has just published a “virus vocabulary” -- a glossary of key terms to help everyone better understand and navigate the COVID-19 pharmaceutical response. CRB clients, scientists and engineers inside the pharmaceutical industry use these terms every day. But the more we all understand about the science and infrastructure behind the world’s COVID-19 response, the better we’ll be.

The glossary supplements a recent CRB Insights piece, “COVID-19 drug development strategies,” exploring the near-term prospects for therapies and vaccines to fight against COVID-19. The piece presents opportunities and challenges the industry will face in the sourcing, development and manufacturing of immunoglobulin, monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. CRB’s “vaccine vocabulary” clarifies key terms to make complex COVID-19 therapy and vaccine discussions more approachable. The glossary breaks down key vaccine terms into the four main categories found in the lifecycle of vaccine development.

About CRB:

CRB is a leading provider of sustainable engineering, architecture, construction and consulting solutions to the global life sciences and advanced technology industries. Our more than 1,100 employees provide best-in-class solutions that drive success and positive change for our clients, our people and our communities. CRB is a privately held company with a rich history of serving clients throughout the world, consistently striving for the highest standard of technical knowledge, creativity and execution.

Chris Clark: 816-200-5234

MENTOR Invites Companies, Foundations to Voice Their Support for Youth-Serving Nonprofits

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 5:40pm

More than a dozen national companies and foundations are urging Congress to remember youth-serving nonprofits as critical networks of support for children, families, and communities and prioritize them amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. MENTOR is calling on others to join these companies in asking Congress to remember organizations on the social frontlines as they continue to work on emergency and regular appropriations bills.

While adhering to guidance from government and health officials, and keeping the safety of staff, volunteers, and young people in mind, youth-serving nonprofits have adjusted programs and services to ensure that youth continue their critical relationships with mentors, tutors, counselors, and other youth-service workers.  These relationships serve as connectors to help youth and families access essential services like food and health care, access to internet and technology to continue schooling, and ensure mentoring relationships continue virtually.

Not only do these organizations need further economic support to keep staff on payroll and their programs adjusted and running at this time, they will need to be prepared for young people to return to their programs when this public health crisis ends. These programs will provide much needed support, stability, and guidance to young people and their families as the country heals and moves forward. They will provide critical child care and before and afterschool and summer programming supporting learning losses due to school closures. They will allow young people who have not been able to access in-person connection access to their mentors, peers, and other caring adults. Others will allow young people to safely and fully engage in physical activity and sports after months of social isolation.

“Now more than ever, caring and consistent relationships are critical, and youth-serving programs are committed to addressing those needs for young people, mentors, families, and communities to combat isolation and disconnection,” said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR. “We’re grateful for the partnership and support from companies and foundations across the country who consistently show up alongside us to provide purpose and belonging for young people and in this case, to join us in asking Congress to prioritize young people during this crisis and in our economic and social recovery.”

Companies and foundations interested in signing the letter to Congressional leaders can lend their names here. The deadline to sign on is Thursday, May 7.


MENTOR is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. Our mission is to expand the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships nationwide. Potential is equally distributed; Opportunity is not. A major driver of healthy development and opportunity is who you know and who is in your corner. 30 years ago, MENTOR was created to expand that opportunity for young people by building a youth mentoring field and movement. The result: a more than 10-fold increase in young people in structured mentoring relationships. Today, we are the expert voice activating a movement that is diverse and broad and seeps into every aspect of daily life – meeting young people everywhere they are from schools to workplaces and beyond. 


Silicon Valley Community Foundation Announces COVID-19 Education Partnership

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 2:40pm

Silicon Valley Community Foundation (“SVCF”) has announced the launch of the COVID-19 Education Partnership, an initiative in collaboration with the San Mateo County Office of Education and the Santa Clara County Office of Education to support the needs of local education systems through the current crisis.

Recognizing the tectonic shifts in the education system as the pandemic unfolds, SVCF pivoted from its usual education grantmaking strategy to form the COVID-19 Education Partnership, which will focus on education challenges caused and exacerbated by the pandemic. SVCF has seeded the initiative with $1 million. Biotechnology leader Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, has matched SVCF's commitment with an additional $1 million to support K-12 students, teachers and schools as part of the company's COVID-19 pandemic response in support of public health and emergency community needs.

“School closures have significant implications for the education, health and well-being of students, families and communities,” said Nicole Taylor, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “With California schools remaining closed for the remainder of the academic year, these concerns will escalate. The COVID-19 Education Partnership will help fill some of the gaps of local education needs and help improve continuity in our children’s education during this critical time.”

The initial $2 million in funding from the partnership will expand the capacity of local school districts and the county offices of education to address immediate challenges and long-term recovery efforts related to COVID-19, including but not limited to:

  • Social and emotional health and wellness support for students, families and staff

  • Distance learning, including IT infrastructure and equipment, technical assistance and training for teachers and staff, and assistance for students with special needs and dual language learners

  • Emergency childcare centers, including staffing needs, program materials, healthcare and cleaning supplies

  • Continued and/or expanded access to nutrition services

  • Efforts to engage families in their children’s education

  • Other extraordinary measures required to address the crisis and shelter-in-place orders

In this first phase of emergency response, SVCF will provide infrastructure for the fund and distribute grants to the two county offices of education, each of which will play key roles in determining and prioritizing needs in their respective school districts. For example, a county office of education can discern between a school district that has an evenly distributed low rate of children receiving free and reduced lunches, versus a district that has an overall low rate but includes some schools at which a high percentage of families need this type of support.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our students and school communities has been severe and widespread, and existing equity gaps are more pronounced than ever,” shared Nancy Magee, superintendent of schools for Santa Mateo County. “We are grateful to Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Genentech for helping us ensure every student in the county has access to education, food, mental health, and other critical supports necessary for distance learning. My hope is that the San Mateo County community will join in this effort to hold up our students hardest hit by this global pandemic.” 

Taylor reiterated the importance of the community foundation’s partnerships with the local county offices of education in this effort:

“The pandemic is affecting all of our children, and has been particularly devastating to our children whose families earn low or no incomes, and in our communities of color. The county offices of education have deep knowledge of the needs of their students and families, which will help guide funds as soon as possible to the students who need it most. Silicon Valley Community Foundation is proud to work with our community’s education leaders at the San Mateo County Office of Education and the Santa Clara County Office of Education to ensure equity across our education system.”

Dr. Mary Anne Dewan, superintendent of schools for Santa Clara County, emphasized that the ramifications of the virus, including the shelter in place order and school closures, continue to be significant.

“It has impacted all of our lives. Our schools have urgent funding needs to sustain meal provisions, address the deep digital divide to support distance learning, offer services for well-being and engage students, families and community in the months to come,” she says. “The COVID-19 Education Partnership with Silicon Valley Community Foundation and San Mateo County Office of Education emphasizes the importance of leadership and teamwork to help our local districts weather this very challenging and difficult time.”

Of Genentech’s generous funding for the COVID-19 Education Partnership, Kristen Campbell Reed, senior director of corporate and employee giving at Genentech, said:

“We’re so pleased to help provide critical support services for local schools during this period of great disruption. In addition to our seed investment, we are launching a pro bono initiative to connect school districts with expertise in IT, communications and other areas to support remote learning and recovery efforts. Our hope is that what will begin in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties can ultimately serve counties across Northern California.”

To learn more about the COVID-19 Education Partnership or to donate to the fund, visit: https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/education-response

At this time, funding is only available to San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. School districts seeking funding in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties can apply at their respective county office of education website:

San Mateo County Office of Education: https://www.smcoe.org/other/covid-19-response-and-resources/silicon-valley-community-foundation.html

Santa Clara County Office of Education: https://www.sccoe.org/covid-19/Pages/SV-Grant.aspx


About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. We engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here.  Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org.

Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative Invites Certification Schemes to Take Part in Benchmarking Process

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 2:40pm

The consumer goods industry has extended a formal invitation to third party audit & certification schemes to undergo the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative’s (SSCI) Benchmarking Process. This call to action follows the publication of the SSCI’s first set of benchmark criteria, in October 2019, to support the development of responsible supply chains around the world.

The SSCI was created by The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) following a request from the CGF’s CEO-led Board of Directors in June 2017. Designed with the input and support of key stakeholders, the SSCI benchmark sets industry expectations and provides clear guidance on which third-party auditing and certification programmes cover sustainability requirements and apply the appropriate verification practices. 

“Now more than ever, the world understands the critical importance of global supply chains. From stocking grocery shelves to retooling production lines, well-managed value chains are an essential part of any operation. In these times of uncertainty, CGF and the SSCI remain committed to sustainable supply chains.” said Thomas van Haaren, the Senior Manager of SSCI.

Social compliance programmes can begin benchmarking according to the SSCI methodology and provide evidence that all essential social and scheme management benchmark criteria are met. The methodology includes a Self-Assessment, a review by an independent expert, coupled with a public consultation and office visits. The SSCI benchmark criteria are made up of two main parts:

  • Social Criteria: Topics typically found in codes of conduct (e.g. child labour, forced labour, working hours, discrimination, etc.)

  • Scheme Management Criteria: Ensure the effective implementation of the procedures and policies claimed by the programme (eg standard-setting mechanism, independent oversight of audit firms and auditor competence requirements, etc.) 

Requests from regulators and demands from stakeholders require companies to constantly examine the effectiveness of our sustainable supply chain programmes. Our industry can only continue to engage with third-party social sustainability programmes with some level of independent oversight.

Achieving SSCI recognition allows successful certification schemes to be acknowledged by the industry as ready and able to meet our expectations for a credible responsible sourcing programme.  This move signals a strong commitment to not only building trust in the industry’s supply chain work, but also driving continuous improvement. SSCI is not a one and done approach - it continuously verifies a programme’s alignment in a rapidly changing landscape.

To receive the SSCI application materials and begin the benchmarking process, please contact the SSCI team at: ssci@theconsumergoodsforum.com. We look forward to formally recognising your work towards our common objective of credibility and transparency in third-party standards and certification programs. 

— Ends —

About the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative

The Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) builds trust in sustainability standards worldwide by benchmarking third-party auditing and certification programmes and recognising schemes that meet industry expectations. By providing an open-source list of recognised programmes, the SSCI delivers clear guidance on which schemes cover key sustainability criteria and apply relevant verification practices. The SSCI improves transparency in the market, facilitates decision-making on schemes at both buyer and supplier level and sets the responsible sourcing expectations for the industry. The Initiative initially focuses on social compliance with the potential to expand the scope to environmental compliance. The SSCI is facilitated by The Consumer Goods Forum. For more information, visit www.tcgfssci.com.

About The Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com

For further information, please contact:

Thomas van Haaren
Senior Manager, SSCI
The Consumer Goods Forum

Madelaine VanDerHeyden
Communications Officer
The Consumer Goods Forum