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The 3BL Media CSR feed - full text version

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    GM will collaborate with three of the nation’s leading electric vehicle charging networks to enable access to the largest collective EV charging network in the U.S.

    SOURCE:General Motors

    DESCRIPTION:

    January 10, 2019 /3BL Media/ - General Motors will collaborate with EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots, three of the nation’s leading electric vehicle (EV) charging networks, to enable access to the largest collective electric vehicle charging network in the United States, including more than 31,000 charging ports. GM plans to aggregate dynamic data from each of the EV charging networks so owners of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV can have a more seamless charging experience with their GM vehicles.  

    “GM believes in an all-electric future, and this is a significant step to make charging easier for our customers,” said Doug Parks, General Motors vice president of Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs. “By collaborating with these three companies, we expect to reduce barriers to create a stronger EV infrastructure for the future. This is an important step toward achieving GM’s vision of a world with zero emissions.”

    Dynamic charging information received from EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots will enhance future versions of the myChevrolet app1. New information to be provided by the charging networks will include real-time data on charge station health to report if a charging station is working, available and compatible with a Bolt EV, offering a one-stop shop for all range and charging data before or during a trip. Importantly, GM also expects to make enrollment for charging with these networks easier by creating an app interface for all three networks to streamline charger access and potentially allow activation of a charging session using the app instead of a membership card.

    The myChevrolet app was recently updated to enable projection of the Energy Assist feature to the vehicle’s infotainment system via Apple CarPlay2 and Android Auto3 for drivers with model year 2017 or newer Bolt EVs. This update enables Bolt EV drivers to access certain features through their vehicle’s infotainment system, such as vehicle range, charging station locations and search, as well as route planning that takes into consideration charging stops along the way if the destination is out of range. Original purchasers of new Bolt EVs will have access to these features at no additional cost for five years from the vehicle delivery date after they accept the myChevrolet mobile app terms and review important information about using Energy Assist features within their myChevrolet app. Vehicle users should see user terms for limitations.

    GM’s Maven Gig and EVgo partnered in early 2018 to deliver the nation’s first dedicated fast-charging network for on-demand drivers.

    GM expects to finalize the terms of its collaboration and agreements with EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots during the first quarter of 2019.

    General Motors is a global company committed to delivering safer, better and more sustainable ways for people to get around. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, CadillacHolden, BaojunWuling and Jiefang brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, and Maven, its personal mobility brand, can be found at http://www.gm.com.

    EVgo is America’s Largest Public Fast Charging Network. EVgo’s fast chargers deliver convenient, fast charges to EV drivers on the go, delivering up to 90 miles of range in 30 minutes. EVgo’s fast chargers are compatible with all EV models currently on the market that accept DC Fast Charging. With more than 1,000 fast chargers and more than 1,000 Level 2 chargers in 66 metropolitan markets, EVgo’s network in 34 U.S. states allows EV drivers to travel further while providing exemplary service by maintaining and operating its charging stations. EVgo offers a variety of flexible pricing options for drivers including Pay As You Go and low-cost Membership options.

    To find out more, or to join the EVgo network, download our app, visit EVgo.com, and follow EVgo on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    ChargePoint is the leading electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the world, with charging solutions in every category EV drivers charge, at home, work, around town and on the road. With more than 58,000 commercial charging spots and thousands of customers (businesses, cities, agencies and service providers), ChargePoint is the only charging technology company on the market that designs, develops and manufactures hardware and software solutions across every use case. Leading EV hardware makers and other partners rely on the ChargePoint network to make charging station details available in mobile apps, online and in navigation systems for popular EVs. ChargePoint drivers have completed more than 45 million charging sessions, saving upwards of 47 million gallons of gasoline and driving more than a billion gas-free miles on dispensed energy. For more information, visit www.chargepoint.com or contact the Global Press Office at media@chargepoint.com or European Press Office at europepressoffice@chargepoint.com.

    Greenlots is powering the future of electric transportation with industry-leading software and services that equip drivers, site hosts and network operators to efficiently deploy, manage, and leverage EV charging infrastructure at scale. Our technology brings together cutting-edge network management software, integrated charging optimization, grid balancing services and a driver-friendly mobile app – all in a single platform. Committed to advancing the promise of electrified transportation, Greenlots delivers new mobility infrastructure solutions designed to connect people to their destinations in a safer, cleaner and smarter way. Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, the company’s global footprint spans across three continents with deployments in 13 countries. For more information, visit: https://greenlots.com/

    1Available on select Apple and Android devices. Service availability, features and functionality vary by vehicle, device and the plan you are enrolled in. User terms apply. Device data connection required. See onstar.com for details and limitations.

    2Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple, and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone.  Data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Siri, iPhone and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

    3Vehicle user interface is a product of Google, and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android™ 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

    # # #

    Tweet me:As part of its #ZeroEmissions, all-electric vision, @GM is collaborating with @evgonetwork, @ChargePointnet and @greenlots to establish access to the largest #EV charging network in the U.S. https://s.gm.com/ta7gk

    KEYWORDS: NYSE:GM, General Motors


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    SOURCE:Cisco Systems Inc.

    DESCRIPTION:

    Cisco technology and people are accelerating global problem solving in ways that have never been attempted before. From solving customers’ business challenges to tackling the toughest social and environmental issues of our time, we are helping to make the impossible possible. 

    We use our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report to share how we are managing and measuring progress against our CSR goals, as well as to respond to a broad set of stakeholder expectations and inquiries we receive throughout the year. 

    Click here to learn more.

    Click here to download our 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report.

    About Cisco
    Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide technology leader that has been making the Internet work since 1984. Our people, products and partners help society securely connect and seize tomorrow's digital opportunity today. Discover more at newsroom.cisco.com and follow us on Twitter at @Cisco.

    Tweet me:.@CiscoCSR showcases the #SocialGood and global problem solving they have accomplished in their FY18 #CSR report. http://bit.ly/2A6RiJ3 #BeTheBridge

    KEYWORDS: NASDAQ:CSCO, cisco systems, cisco networking academy


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    SOURCE:Las Vegas Sands

    DESCRIPTION:

    Sands Cares, the corporate giving and community engagement program of Las Vegas Sands, is dedicated to being a good corporate citizen, committed to its people, communities in which it operates and the planet.   In each region, Sands Cares has Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) leads that manage the program and execute initiatives unique to each region.  Born and raised in Singapore, Joyce Siew graduated with a degree in English and Sociology and began her career in various communications related roles in both the public and private sector, before joining Marina Bay Sands’ communications and CSR team in 2012.  Siew works closely with local organizations that align to the properties CSR charters, which focus on youth and education, to understand the greatest areas of need and assess how Marina Bay Sands can best use their resources to help. 

    “With all of our initiatives, we emphasize Team Member engagement in all aspects,” she said.  “Together with the team and the CSR working committee, I help organize key volunteering activations for the year and also look out for smaller volunteering opportunities that are aligned with our CSR charter.  Our department leads the stewardship of charitable in-kind and cash contributions, so I help evaluate charitable sponsorships requests with guidance from our senior leadership team.  Singapore is a small city-state, peaceful, prosperous and sheltered from natural disasters due to its geographical location. We are very blessed in these aspects, but as a developed nation, we are not immune to the costs of development.  Locally, many areas still lack socio-economical opportunities and this is where Marina Bay Sands, with our resources and talent, can help fill the gaps.”

    In 2017, the team organized over 30 volunteer events on different scales, coordinating over 4,500 volunteers and at each event where the property averages more than 200 volunteers.  One signature event, Sands for Singapore Charity Festival, has been the biggest initiative for Marina Bay Sands since it started in 2013.  The event utilizes every single facet of the property to give back to the community, where attractions play host to vulnerable communities, meeting rooms transform into venues that enable Singaporean charities to raise funds, and award-winning restaurants open their kitchens to train adults who have lost the means to support themselves due to personal reasons.

    “When it comes to creating invigorating volunteering events, we approach it at two levels,” she said.  “We organize large-scale activities that mobilize Team Members to go out into the community to lend a hand on a quarterly basis.  Some of the work we do ranges from refreshing homes of low-income families or seniors, to giving our time at soup kitchens or food redistribution centers.  Then we also look at tapping into the expertise and experience our Team Members can offer for skills-based volunteerism.”

    One example of skills-bases volunteerism is the Sands for Singapore career workshop, where Team Members engage directly with Singaporean students to share insights about the hospitality industry, what it takes to do the job and how to succeed at it.  The property has also worked with local organizations focused on developing character and leadership for vulnerable youth, placing youth in a two-week apprenticeship with departments such as attractions, retail and the ArtScience Museum.  Another special event unique to Marina Bay Sands is “In Conversation With,” a series where Singaporean youth have the opportunity to meet, be inspired and learn from talent, which in the past has included Tom Holland, Aamir Khan, Corinne Bailey Rae, Sir Julian Fellowes and Gordon Ramsey.  But the largest event that Siew and her team organize is shared amongst Las Vegas Sands properties around the world. 

    “The single, largest event with the largest number of Marina Bay Sands volunteers gathered in one space is the Sands Cares Global Hygiene kit build,” she said.  “This year, we mobilized over 1,000 volunteers who helped to sort boxes and amenities, pack the kits, as well as clear and sort recyclables.  This event is one that we do every year, but we also partner with other organizations annually and have developed a partnership with many of them.  We focus on special needs education, social services and the arts.” 

    Some of the organizations partnering with Marina Bay Sands are Association for Persons with Special Needs, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore and AWWA, a social service organization that works with vulnerable families.  Many of the volunteer efforts for the property revolve around these organizations, with the effort of strengthening the bond between Team Members and the people served by these organizations.  Marina Bay Sands has also supported the Singapore Community Chest since the property opened in 2010, with the Comchest Heartstrings Walk and Race to the Sky becoming the finale to the Sands for Singapore Charity Festival.  Partnering with various organizations in the community has allowed Siew to gain insight into Singapore’s social landscape. 

    “Marina Bay Sands is such an iconic property,” she said.  “Besides in-kind or cash contributions, we have the ability to harness the property’s offerings or tap on opportunities with celebrities and pull together activations that benefit the community. This is also one job that allows me to interact with Team Members from multiple departments, many whom I may never get to work with if it wasn’t for our volunteer initiatives.  What amazes me is that no one says ‘no’ to giving back.  Chefs, event managers, security, finance, HR, casino Team Members and more are all willing to help.  Giving back to the community means a lot to me because my parents instilled those values in me. In this job, not only do I have the opportunity to give back, I can enable many others do so.”

    Tweet me:#SandsCares #CSR Program Lead Joyce Siew brings employees together for #volunteering opportunities throughout Singapore http://bit.ly/2Sc0fYR via @LasVegasSands

    KEYWORDS: NYSE:LVS, Las Vegas Sands


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    SOURCE:Sysco

    DESCRIPTION:

    Sysco and NRG Energy have been recognized by Smart Energy Decisions for their efforts in Renewable Energy Sourcing.

    In June 2018, the two companies signed a ten-year renewable energy agreement, including the construction of three solar garden sites in the Houston and Dallas areas, which will support approximately 10 percent of Sysco’s U.S. electricity usage.

    The results of the second annual Innovation Awards competition, which aims to "recognize the individual and collective efforts of large electric power users, their suppliers, and their utilities in support of the energy transformation currently taking place," were announced on January 7, 2019.

    Click here to see the full list of award winners

    About Sysco

    Sysco is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home. Its family of products also includes equipment and supplies for the foodservice and hospitality industries. With more than 67,000 associates, the company operates approximately 330 distribution facilities worldwide and serves more than 600,000 customer locations. For fiscal 2018 that ended June 30, 2018, the company generated sales of more than $58 billion.

    For more information, visit www.sysco.com or connect with Sysco on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SyscoCorporation or Twitter at https://twitter.com/Sysco. For important news and information regarding Sysco, visit the Investor Relations section of the company’s Internet home page at investors.sysco.com, which Sysco plans to use as a primary channel for publishing key information to its investors, some of which may contain material and previously non-public information. Investors should also follow us at www.twitter.com/SyscoStock and download the Sysco IR App, available on the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Market. In addition, investors should continue to review our news releases and filings with the SEC. It is possible that the information we disclose through any of these channels of distribution could be deemed to be material information.

    Tweet me:.@SmartEnergy2020 recognizes @Sysco, @NRGEnergy for efforts in #RenewableEnergy sourcing http://bit.ly/2TGhVfA

    KEYWORDS: NYSE:SYY, Sysco, NRG Energy, Smart Energy Decisions, Smart Energy Decisions Innovation Award


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    By Margery Moore

    SOURCE:National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM)

    DESCRIPTION:

    I have worked within the environment, health and safety (EHS) field for more than 20 years, and in that time, I’ve seen some dramatic changes in how companies manage their programs, and data. But nothing compares to the technological innovations that are now upon us.
     
    For a long time, the use of technology to manage EHS programs focused on software systems. Now, with what I refer to as ‘Revolution 4.0’, there is less of a focus on EHS software and more of an emphasis on the surrounding ecosystem of the internet of things (IoT’s), such as smart sensors, drones, heptic devices, virtual reality, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).  

    Recently, the MIT Technology Review published an article titled “A calm before the AI productivity storm” on January 2. It noted that despite many new advances in technology the productivity curve in companies has actually been stagnant. They describe what is called a ‘J-Curve’, an accepted path that most new technologies follow before becoming mainstream. First productivity falls, then it rises. The experts say that right now AI is at the curve of the J, and about to take off. Once it does, there will be a new revolution in productivity.
     
    When it comes to AI and ML, in particular, the EHS industry is ripe for disruption. AI uses ML to develop an algorithm to help computers identify new patterns in data and solve problems. Once trained, the machine is able to handle unfamiliar tasks and find solutions in seconds versus days or weeks. 

    In an industry that is always looking to do more with less, AI can help companies do their day-to-day jobs more efficiently and consistently, such as reading complex legal documents for EHS compliance requirements or permits. This frees up EHS managers to focus on high value work, not repetitive, low-value work. This alone promises to fundamentally change the skills required to manage these tasks within companies, if not the profession itself. The impact could be profound. 

    A second way AI is being applied is by EHS software companies who are leveraging it to help customers mine their own data. Insofar as EHS Software systems have mountains of historical data, software companies are now developing new business analytics tools to mine this ‘Big Data’ for insights that have never been revealed before.  One EHS Compliance Software company, for example, has a system that helps safety managers prevent incidents before they occur. With the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning the system helps users interpret data and provide focused metrics. I have seen this system live, and the impact on the audience was notable.
     
    The opportunities these advances present are amazing, but success with using them will ultimately depend on how well they are built, implemented and aligned with a company’s business goals. Unfortunately, there is no one approach that fits all, but industry leaders will be trading best practices and exploring these new tools shortly, at NAEM’s Software, Data Management and Technology Showcase in March of this year in New Orleans. I hope you’ll join my industry peers as we cut through the hype and explore how the digitization craze and the IoT’s are changing our industry.

    Margery Moore is a widely respected expert with 20 years of experience in EHS (environment, health and safety) compliance management. Her accomplishments include the creation of multiple software products that continue to yield millions in annual sales, along with the development of long-lasting strategic partnerships with the largest players in the industry. She has extensive experience working with both public and private sector clients in North America and around the world including many of the Fortune 1000. She is currently the CEO of Moore & Gasperecz Global Inc.

    Tweet me:Artificial intelligence is fueling a revolution in how cos manage their #EHS and #sustainability programs. Learn how: http://bit.ly/2M4W92a @NAEMorg #NAEMTech19

    KEYWORDS: sustainability software, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, EHS software, EHS data, sustainability data, National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM)


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    In the lead-up to the recent International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in the Netherlands, we sat down with Hanneke Schuitemaker, who's hard at work on the holy grail of HIV research: a preventive treatment.

    SOURCE:Johnson & Johnson

    DESCRIPTION:

    By Sheila Weller

    In 1992, as a young HIV/AIDS researcher in her native Netherlands, Hanneke Schuitemaker, Ph.D., now Vice President, Global Head of Viral Vaccine Discovery and Translational Medicine, Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., was devoted to learning as much as she could about the disease—and saw her role as that of a researcher, rather than someone who closely interacted with people who were living with HIV.

    But that quickly changed.

    As part of a patient outreach program, she met a young volunteer—an artist living with HIV who was undergoing treatment and wanted to actually "see” his virus.

    Schuitemaker's team didn't have an electron microscope on hand to make that possible, but they were able to show him the effects of his virus on a cell culture. 

    “He had hoped to see that his virus was gone,” Schuitemaker says. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, and after seeing the fear and despondence in the young man’s face, "I felt so useless," she adds. 

    The artist died shortly afterward, which forever changed Schuitemaker. “I felt not just empathetic, but almost hopeless," she says. "I realized we were so far off from being able to give him something that could help him. But that moment also gave me the energy to work even harder.”

    And that's exactly what she's done ever since—devoting her professional career to uncovering a way to prevent HIV.

    Schuitemaker, who grew up in a town in the northwest Netherlands, is the daughter of an electrical engineer father and a mother who was a bookkeeper—and one of very few working moms in their community.

    She was inspired by her supportive, encouraging mother, who, she says, might have been a feminist in a later time but made do with her solid but modest career—a scenario that served to fuel Schuitemaker's own strong ambition.

     
    Medical research fascinated the insatiably curious young Schuitemaker, and a college biology teacher steered her toward the medical biology field, where research—as opposed to patient care—takes a front-and-center role.
     

    “I can think outside the box, I am curious and I ask the right questions," she says. So it's no surprise that Schuitemaker had the self-confidence to go where the enthusiasm was, and to leave jobs where it wasn’t.

    As a Ph.D. student in oncology, she had a supervisor “who was pessimistic and didn’t give me energy,” she says. So she found a new job at the Netherlands Organization for Blood Supply, where a young head of research was starting to work on the HIV virus, and exuded the very kind of energy she was craving.

    This was the 1980s, when the epidemic was new and rabid, the virus was mysterious—and discrimination against people with AIDS was cruel and intense.

    "I thought it was so unfair that it was hitting young gay men, a community that was already so discriminated against,” she says.

    Intrigued and impressed by the sheer force of the virus, Schuitemaker jumped at the chance to work on something so relevant and, as she puts it, "in the footlights of public interest."

    At the time, it was known that HIV infected cells in the blood. Schuitemaker's research focused on the possibility that HIV could also infect other cells in the body, such as in the brain or lungs.

    She'd “see hope in the eyes” of the patients she and her colleagues collected data from, and who were also giving permission to be autopsied for research in the event of their deaths. “They asked if we were close to a solution,” she says. "I was honest. I said we had nothing to offer them yet.”

    •  
    •  
    •  
     

    But the breakthroughs did eventually come, which, interestingly, coincided with an emotional event in her own life.

    Schuitemaker had married a fellow scientist, and the first of their three sons, Thomas, was born in 1995. Then, in January 1996, researchers at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam contributed to the discovery of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), otherwise known as triple therapy. This new type of HIV drug regimen was composed of three different antiretrovirals that intercepted the rapidly mutating virus at different stages—in a sense outsmarting HIV.

    This was a dramatic turning point for HIV patients: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, death rates from HIV infection in the U.S. declined 47% between 1996 and 1997, thanks to the new treatment.

    “There were finally AIDS drugs that, when used in combination, could help keep people alive,” Schuitemaker says. "People [like that artist] could now be saved.”

    While relishing this breakthrough, Schuitemaker half-surprised herself by falling madly in love with her baby. Not that she hadn’t expected to, but, she says with laudable candor, she was so busy working for years that she was constantly postponing motherhood.

    She laughs. “I was 'rational,' right? I was always on top of my research and thinking I was really a 'head’ person," she says. "And then all of a sudden I was,” she laughs again, and says, “a 'belly' person!”

    Still, she was a classic hard-working juggler: “Science and motherhood! After 10 days of maternity leave, I was working again. There was so much to do! I loved my children tremendously”—her two other sons, Ruben and Job, were born in quick succession—"but I equally felt there was such a big need to work hard and find these disease solutions.”

    Why the Future for HIV Prevention—and This HIV Researcher—Looks Promising 
    Today—about 25 years after meeting that young artist—Schuitemaker's energy has paid off.

    She is now responsible for all viral vaccine programs at Janssen, including efforts to develop an HIV vaccine.

    Although antiretroviral drugs can help extend the lives of people with HIV, they aren't a cure, which is why Schuitemaker is hot on the trail of new prevention tools. “We are closer to finding a vaccine that prevents HIV than ever before,” she says.

    In 2010, Schuitemaker joined Crucell, a biotech company specializing in vaccines that was later acquired by Janssen. Five years later, she published a study in Science—in conjunction with various partners, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School—finding that an investigational HIV vaccine regimen, which first primes and then boosts the immune system to elicit a strong response to the virus, showed promising results in nonhuman primates.

    And this month, The Lancet published results from the APPROACH study that found this regimen induces a robust immune response to HIV in humans.

    Her team will be presenting the first long-term immune response data from this study at the IAS Conference in the Netherlands this week. These findings, says Schuitemaker, “are early stage, but promising. We now have to see if this vaccine can actually help prevent HIV infection.”

    To do just that, a new study that aims to evaluate the vaccine in 2,600 young women is underway in sub-Saharan Africa, with results expected in 2021. Studies like these are critically important because although people with HIV are living longer, the population of infected people is continuing to grow. There were 1.8 million new HIV infections worldwide in 2016, with females disproportionately affected. Women and girls now account for nearly 60% of new infections among young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

    "We're so excited about this study," she says. "'Imbokodo,' the name of the trial, is the Zulu word for rock. It's part of a well-known proverb in South Africa that means 'you strike a woman, you strike a rock,' referring to the strength of women and their importance in the community. We're looking forward to seeing whether the vaccine is able to reduce HIV infection in this population that would benefit greatly from new preventive measures."​

    As luck would have it, these professional breakthroughs are again coinciding with more personal ones for Schuitemaker.

    “Three years ago, I got divorced after 31 years of marriage, and it was a shock,” she says. "I had to reinvent myself. I went through therapy, and created more balance in my life. I had always worked so hard; now I do fun things on the weekends, like go on hikes with my dog. I’m giving a TED Talk soon and it’s going to be about the theme of breaking free. My sons call me Mom 2.0. I used to be this impatient mother, always rushing and keeping all these balls in the air, and now I am totally relaxed."

    Ruben, who’s in business school, agrees. “It’s very cool having a mom who’s a scientist," he says. "I’ve learned from her to show respect for people, to never give up and to live up to your dreams. What she’s doing is really amazing.”

    Indeed it is: The recent research results from the APPROACH study her team conducted with Janssen’s partners were "so exciting that, even though we aren’t allowed to have alcohol in the office, I couldn’t resist bringing in a bottle of champagne,” she confesses. “When we got the results, there was yelling and screaming. There were tears in my eyes.”

    So much for being just a "head" person. Schuitemaker is proof that hard work in science can save lives through medicine—and humanity.

    We’re Committed to Helping Lead the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
     
    Read about the many ways Johnson & Johnson is working to #makeHIVhistory.

    Tweet me:Johnson & Johnson researcher Hanneke Schuitemakeris is searching for preventative treatment for #HIV http://bit.ly/2CV7xLb @JNJNews #healthforhumanity #makeHIVhistory

    KEYWORDS: johnson & johnson, NYSE: JNJ, HIV


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    SOURCE:Hormel Foods Corporation

    DESCRIPTION:

    Sabinas is a city of 63,000 residents in the northern state of Coahuila, México. Since 1990, Avomex, the local subsidiary of MegaMex in México, has been producing Wholly Guacamole® dips.

    The company is one of the major local employers in the area, providing about 3,200 jobs.

    Due to the economic conditions of Sabinas, the city did not have a fire truck. So Avomex decided to help. On Dec. 14, 2018, MegaMex Foods and Avomex donated a fire truck to the local fire department. This was a major event in which several local authorities participated. The Mayor of Sabinas, Cuauhtémoc Rodríguez, received the keys to the truck from MegaMex Foods. The modern, fully equipped truck will be used to fight fires and help with other types of local emergencies.

    During the ceremony, Mayor Rodríguez highlighted the great relationship that the company has with the city, and distinguished Avomex as a socially responsible company that constantly helps the local community. “In the name of the people of Sabinas, we are proud that Avomex keeps growing and that is why we are providing all available resources so that the company continues developing and maintains all these jobs. There is no doubt that we have an excellent relationship, in particular with the local management.”

    Santiago Severi, vice president of administration and human resources for MegaMex, stated that Avomex is committed to continue helping the community of Sabinas and providing jobs. “With the help of the people of Sabinas, Avomex went from being a small producer of guacamole to an industry leader in the processing of avocado products. As gratitude, we are here today delivering this fully operational fire truck.”

    During the presentation, Mayor Rodríguez was accompanied by members of his staff; the Sabinas Fire Department chief; Hugo Marquez, general director of Avomex; Mauricio Peña, finance and administration director of Avomex; Fernando Portales, production manager of Avomex; Karla Weideman, vice of operations for MegaMex; Gene Novak, senior operations manager of Fresherized Foods; and other members of the Avomex organization.

    Tweet me:MegaMex Foods donates a fire truck to the city of Sabinas, México http://bit.ly/2AGi37z @HormelFoods

    KEYWORDS: NYSE:HRL, Hormel Foods, Sabinas, MegaMex, AvoMex, Wholly Guacamole®, Santiago Severi, Cuauhtémoc Rodríguez, Hugo Marquez, Mauricio Peña, Fernando Portales, Karla Weideman, Gene Novak


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    SOURCE:CIT

    DESCRIPTION:

    PASADENA, CA, Jan. 10, 2019 /3BL Media/ — CIT Bank N.A., the banking subsidiary of CIT Group Inc., today announced a $350,000 grant in support of Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles (NHS). The grant is CIT’s second for the organization and will provide affordable lending, financial education and real estate services to 4,500 low- and moderate-income residents across Los Angeles County.

    “CIT is pleased to partner with NHS to build stronger, more equitable communities across Southern California,” said Steve Solk, president of Consumer Banking for CIT. “NHS plays a critical role in empowering thousands of local residents to achieve economic prosperity and a better quality of life.” 

    CIT’s commitment will support the Sustainable Communities Initiative, which aims to develop new multifamily and single-family housing units, provide financial assistance for families at risk of foreclosure, and offer homeowner counseling services to local residents. 

    “NHS is grateful for CIT’s partnership as we work to drive transformative change across the region and serve neighborhoods of opportunity,” said Lori Gay, president and CEO of NHS LA. “This grant furthers our ability to revitalize communities, broaden access to resources and improve the quality of life for thousands of local residents.”   

    In 2017, CIT provided its first grant to NHS LA in support of the Sustainable Communities Initiative.  Approximately 3,669 homeowners received financial counseling and 259 affordable loans were originated and closed as a result of CIT’s support.

    CIT’s banking subsidiary is based in Pasadena, California, and includes the OneWest Bank Southern California branch network. CIT is committed to meeting the banking and credit needs of the local Southern California community. For more information on CIT visit www.cit.com.   

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

     

    CIT MEDIA RELATIONS:

    Olivia Weiss                                     

    212-771-9657                                  

    Olivia.Weiss@cit.com        

     

     

    Tweet me:CIT Bank N.A., the banking subsidiary of CIT Group Inc., today announced a $350,000 grant in support of Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles http://bit.ly/2M2xV8U @CITGroup

    KEYWORDS: Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles, cit bank, csr


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    Major announcements, cause initiatives, sustainability and volunteerism among company's 2018 highlights

    SOURCE:Whirlpool Corporation

    DESCRIPTION:

    Whirlpool Corporation welcomes 2019 with much excitement, but we're still taking time to reflect and celebrate the innovation, volunteerism, sustainability and news stories of 2018.

    SEE VIDEO

    Tweet me:Whirlpool Corporation welcomes 2019 with much excitement, but takes time to reflect and celebrate #innovation, #CSR, #volunteerism, #sustainability and the news of 2018. http://bit.ly/2TInB8S

    KEYWORDS: whirlpool corporation, Innovation, csr


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    SOURCE:Duke Energy

    DESCRIPTION:

    Black Enterprise Magazine has once again named Duke Energy to its “50 Best Companies for Diversity” list. The companies singled out for distinction demonstrated a significant commitment to diversity in four key areas: board of directors, employee base, senior management and supplier diversity.

    The announcement reflects Duke Energy’s long-standing commitment to foster diversity in our workplace and communities, as well as with the suppliers and providers with whom we partner to serve our customers. Among the programs that Duke Energy offers to advance diversity and inclusion are:

    • A 20-year-old network of Employee Resource Groups representing African Americans, Hispanics, women, people with disabilities, new employees, veterans and the LGBT community that work to address the needs of employees, communities and customers.
    • Diversity Councils that sponsor local D&I education and awareness activities, and support our diverse customers through volunteerism and community outreach.
    • An award-winning supplier diversity program to support minority-owned businesses. 
    • ​More than $30 million annually in charitable contributions to support diversity within our communities, focusing on education, workforce development and environmental programs.

    Visit our website to learn more about Duke Energy’s commitment to diversity inclusion. To view the full “50 Best Companies for Diversity” list, click here.

    Tweet me:#Diversity councils, #ESGs and #supplierdiversity have made @DukeEnergy one of @blackenterprise's 50 Best Companies for Diversity http://bit.ly/2SOlosi #CSR #inclusion #workforcedevelopment

    KEYWORDS: Duke Energy, Black Enterprise


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    John Lanier, executive director of Ray C. Anderson Foundation is keynote

    SOURCE:Ray C. Anderson Foundation

    SUMMARY:

    Georgia Interfaith Power & Light Green Team Summit focuses on creation care.

    DESCRIPTION:

    The Georgia Interfaith Power & Light Green Team Summit is only a few weeks away! John A. Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation is the keynote speaker. Come get inspired for your community of faith's Creation Care actions in 2019 through workshops such as How Islamic Teachings Inform Earth Care, What Does it Mean to be Jewish and Practice Environmental Stewardship?, EJ: Justice = Love for My Neighbor, and Youth Engagement: One More Generation. Youth, green teams, green organizations and all friends welcome.

    Tweet me:The @GeorgiaIPL Green Team Summit is on 1/27. @johnalanierRCAF is keynote speaker. Get inspired for #creationcare actions for the #environment in 2019 through various interfaith workshops http://ow.ly/ETFc50k9QMD

    Contact Info:

    Valerie Bennett
    Ray C. Anderson Foundation
    +1 (770) 317-5858
    valerie@raycandersonfoundation.org

    KEYWORDS: Ray C. Anderson Foundation, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, creation care


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    The preservation of affordable housing at White Rock Apartment Homes supports the City of San Antonio’s affordable housing initiatives

    SOURCE:KeyBank

    DESCRIPTION:

    CLEVELAND, January 10, 2019 /3BL Media/ - KeyBank announced today arranging $28.4 million in a Fannie Mae affordable housing preservation refinance loan for Commonwealth Multifamily Housing Corporation (“Commonwealth”) for the benefit of White Rock Apartment Homes, a multifamily, 336-unit mixed-income property in San Antonio, TX. The refinance replaces two series of tax exempt bonds issued by the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation more than 17 years ago to develop and construct the property and provides over $2 million in capital for roof replacements and other improvements that will enhance White Rock’s role as Commonwealth’s flagship property. More importantly, the property will continue to provide its historical and much needed affordable housing in the city.

    “KeyBank is proud to partner with Commonwealth and supporting its mission of preserving quality affordable housing for the citizens of San Antonio,” said Robbie Lynn, senior mortgage banker of KeyBank Real Estate Capital. “The preservation of this high quality, affordable community demonstrates a strong commitment towards the city’s housing goals while improving the financial security for families that are heavily burdened by ever-increasing rents in the city and state-wide.”

    Commonwealth is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is the operational core of a small group of nonprofit organizations with a 40-year history of national housing policy advocacy, affordable community acquisition, development and rehabilitation, resident education program implementation and nonprofit oversight.

    “Our officers and directors have spent decades fighting to create and preserve affordable housing in times of crisis, and KeyBank has proven itself to be on the same page in that fight,” offered David Cole, COO of Commonwealth.

    Robbie Lynn of KeyBank’s Commercial Mortgage Group led the financing team with Tiffany Durr of KeyBank’s Community Development Lending and Investment team.

    About KeyBank Real Estate Capital

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

    About Key Community Development Lending/Investment

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

    About KeyCorp

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

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

    ###

    Tweet me:KeyBank Community Development Lending Investment is proud to partner with Commonwealth in supporting its mission of preserving quality affordable housing for the citizens of San Antonio http://bit.ly/2ADKgvS #affordablehousing @Key_B2B

    KEYWORDS: NYSE:KEY, affordable housing, keybank, community development, Community Development Lending and Investment, CDLI, San Antonio


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    The program will help qualified small-and medium-sized LGBTQ-owned businesses reach their next level of growth

    SOURCE:AEG

    DESCRIPTION:

    LOS ANGELES, January 10, 2019 /3BL Media/ - The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce today announced that it has formed a partnership with AEG, the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company, to develop a capacity-building program designed to promote the economic growth and development of LGBTQ owned businesses in Los Angeles. The program will help qualified small-and medium-sized LGBTQ-owned businesses reach their next level of growth through mentoring, partnerships, referrals and promotions.  

    “Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and sustainability of LGBTQ businesses,” said Marquita Thomas, Executive Director of the LAGLCC. “We believe that this initiative will be particularly beneficial to many LGBTQ businesses by addressing important issues of organizational development and effectiveness.  We are thrilled to be partnering with AEG on this exciting program.”

    LAGLCC members can apply to participate in the program by filling out an application by February 28, 2019, the selected business will be announced at the WBA LGBT Economic Summit at the Westin Bonaventure on Friday, March 15, 2019. 

    LA-based organizations that participate in the program must demonstrate strong organizational leadership, have a proven track record of success, and have a strategic business plan. Additionally, they should be able to articulate a clear, well-thought-out vision for how the improvements would advance the organization’s capabilities and long-term viability. 

    “Many organizations work hard to develop strategic plans that can only be realized through internal capacity building,” said Scott Bosarge, SVP of Business Services at AEG. “Our partnership with the LAGLCC helps local organizations to build momentum to move towards their goals. We are thrilled to partner with LAGLCC on this important new initiative.”

    ###

    About LAGLCC
    Founded in 1979, the LAGLCC increases the economic strength of LGBTQ and allied businesses through business development, leadership, visibility and advocacy.

    About AEG
    Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AEG is the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company. With offices on five continents, the company operates in the following business segments: AEG Facilities, which is affiliated with or owns, manages or consults with more than 150 preeminent arenas, stadiums, theaters, clubs and convention centers around the world including STAPLES Center, The O2 Arena, the Sprint Center and the Mercedes-Benz Arenas; AEG Presents, which is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performances, including producing and promoting global and regional concert tours, music and special events and world-renowned festivals; AEG Real Estate, which develops world-class venues, as well as major sports and entertainment districts like STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE; AEG Sports, which is the world’s largest operator of sports franchises and high-profile sporting events; and AEG Global Partnerships, which oversees worldwide sales and servicing of sponsorships including naming rights, premium seating and other strategic partnerships. Through its worldwide network of venues, portfolio of powerful sports and music brands, AXS.com ticketing platform, AXS cable television channel and its integrated entertainment districts, AEG entertains more than 100 million guests annually. More information about AEG can be found at www.aegworldwide.com.

    Media Contact:
    Allegra Batista
    AEG
    abatista@aegworldwide.com
    213-259-9953

    Tweet me:Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (@LAGLCC) + @aegworldwide are teaming up to help promote the economic growth & development of #LGBTQ owned businesses in #LosAngeles. Find out more about the forthcoming capacity-building program: http://bit.ly/2M5yf6P

    KEYWORDS: Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, AEG, LGBTQ, LGBTQ Businesses, capacity-building program


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    As part of his pursuit of the Eagle Scout rank, Boy Scout Tim Maron led a two-year effort to build a tiny home for a homeless military veteran — a project realized with the help of Wells Fargo.

    SOURCE:Wells Fargo & Company

    DESCRIPTION:

    Step by step, teenager Tim Maron’s vision of home for a homeless military veteran has become reality in a resurgent, small-town neighborhood once infested with drugs and crime.

    Today, that neighborhood is known for its clean streets and renovated homes, thanks to a local nonprofit, and most recently a modest tiny house project led by Maron, 17, a Boy Scout and budding young community leader in eastern Pennsylvania.

    The tiny house — his Eagle Scout community service project — is destined to become the home for a homeless military veteran in Berwick, about 50 miles southwest of Scranton. At 550 square feet, the small house is comparable in size to a loft apartment in New York City.

    “It is really gratifying to finally see all the pieces come together and have the project be built,” said Maron, who began the effort in 2016. “We’ve come such a long way from where it started. It’s been stressful at times, but definitely worth every hour we’ve put into it.”

    Maron’s work is one of the latest philanthropic projects supported by the Wells Fargo Foundation’s VeteranWINS program, which provides grants to address veteran homelessness and support sustainable housing for veterans.

    His project received a total of $45,000 from the Wells Fargo Foundation: $25,000 from VeteranWINS and $20,000 from the Team Member Volunteer Program. Maron also received $5,000 from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he raised the rest of the funds needed from other groups and individuals. The land for the home was provided by Community Strategies Group.

    The project hit all the right notes and stood out among the competition, said Jeff Chavannes, VeteranWINS program manager and a U.S. Army veteran.

    “There are just moments in life when you have a feeling something is just right,” he said. “Tim’s application was the most unique I had seen. It was clear awarding this grant would not only impact a young man for the rest of his life but also have a sustained impact on the community and veterans for years to come.”


    Perfect timing for tiny house

    The genesis of the idea came more than two years ago, when Maron needed to develop a service project as part of his path to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Scout program. He came up with two options: raising money for a public address system for his school’s track stadium or building a tiny house for a homeless warrior — an idea he got from a National Public Radio story.

    For Maron, the choice became clear: the tiny home. His family has strong ties to the military, with grandfathers, uncles, and cousins all having served in the armed forces. Maron’s older brother Josh, as part of his Eagle Scout work, helped erect a veteran’s monument in a local cemetery where groups now hold Memorial Day services.

    After Maron made his decision, next came the hard part: putting it into action. He needed to find a location, get a zoning change, find an architect, secure a contractor, make a budget, raise money, and learn to write grant proposals, among other things. Most of all, he needed help, said Maron, a top student at Berwick High School who wants to study biology or zoology in college.

    Maron brought his idea to local redevelopment officials Rich Kisner and Josh Nespoli, executive director and deputy director, respectively, of Community Strategies Group, a regional redevelopment agency. They immediately liked what they heard. For nearly a decade, their agency had been cleaning up and renovating homes in a once-blighted, high-crime Berwick neighborhood. The revitalization effort has been financed, in part, by nearly $700,000 from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation and has been energized by team member volunteers, many of whom have pitched in to help build Maron’s tiny home.

    In that neighborhood, there was one undersized, orphan lot that nobody knew what to do with since it was too small for a conventional house, Nespoli said.

    “The timing for Tim’s idea was perfect,” he said. “He wanted to do a small home and this lot seemed to be the perfect spot for it. We felt we could use his project as a pilot to see how it would work so we could duplicate it again in the right situation.”


    Game-changing grant approval

    The redevelopment agency became Maron’s biggest ally, advising him on how to work with government offices on zoning and other issues, contractors on business negotiations and work schedules, and charitable funding sources on grant reviews. Maron filed more than a half dozen grant applications. One by one, however, the rejection letters began to arrive.

    “It was a shocking thing for him when the rejection letters starting coming in,” Nespoli said. “He was zero for his first six. He did raise a few thousand dollars from groups that wanted to help him get started, but he was beginning to lose confidence in his ability to get this thing done.”

    Then Wells Fargo called with the news that VeteranWINS had approved Maron’s grant request, setting off a celebration for the nascent project, Nespoli said.

    “That completely changed the momentum 180 degrees overnight,” he said. “Wells Fargo was the game changer for this whole project.”

    Gay Maron, Tim’s mother, said there was a tremendous sense of joy and relief when Wells Fargo called with the grant news.

    “Tim had gotten so many denials, it felt like we were running out of time and would have to give up on the idea,” she said. “I told Tim that spaghetti dinners weren’t going to raise enough money for this project, but he wasn’t willing to give up. He was so determined.”

    Wells Fargo’s support was “really motivational and energizing,” Maron said. “I know this project wouldn’t have happened without it.”

    From foundation to framing, roofing to plumbing, the tiny home is finally on the verge of completion, despite heavy rains and other bad weather throughout late 2018. Wells Fargo volunteers from eastern Pennsylvania have donated their time to work on the project. The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to select a homeless veteran who will receive the opportunity to live there rent-free.

    “You couldn’t ask for a more compelling story,” said Michael Pany, Wells Fargo’s senior community relations consultant in eastern Pennsylvania, who works with the company’s Regional Foundation projects in the area. “This one is exciting because of its uniqueness. We have no branch in this community, but we have a major investment here, team members who come from across the region to be involved, and we are making a difference in Berwick.”

    Tweet me:Eagle Scout Tim Maron helped build a tiny home for a homeless #militaryveteran with the help of @WellsFargo http://bit.ly/2AE4oOv

    KEYWORDS: scouts, Wells Fargo, military, homeless, veteran, Eagle Scout, Boy Scout


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    SOURCE:Booz Allen Hamilton

    DESCRIPTION:

    Sailors in the U.S. Navy face serious financial and career consequences if they’re caught driving under the influence. A chief who’s served 14 years, whose rank is reduced to first class due to a DUI, could lose $527 a week in base pay alone1. Yet long-standing messages about alcohol abuse weren’t resonating, given an entrenched drinking culture.

    When employees in the Navy Alcohol Abuse Prevention (NAAP) office sought a fresh approach, they turned to Booz Allen. The result was the “Keep What You’ve Earned” campaign, which reached roughly three-quarters of all sailors and contributed to a 51 percent decrease in driving under the influence and a 67 percent increase in friends or coworkers finding a safe ride home.

    A program for sailors, by sailors

    Booz Allen used social marketing—the science of behavior change—to guide their process. Social marketing experts started by asking sailors questions such as:

    • What does responsible drinking mean to you?
    • What motivates you?
    • What barriers do you face that can prevent responsible action?
    • What support or tools would be helpful to reducing those barriers?
    • What are your preferred methods of communication?

    Messaging focused on abstinence or later-in-life risks to the liver or heart failed to resonate. Instead, sailors responded most strongly to the potential impact on their paycheck, ability to reenlist or pursue a certain area of specialization. This drove the campaign’s central message to “Keep What You’ve Earned.”

    “Through this human-centered approach, sailors helped shape the program,” said Booz Allen Senior Associate Kristina Cook.

    “This is by far the most realistic campaign to date,” said LT Erin Thorpe, Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor, Navy Recruiting Command. “It’s a positive message to keep what you’ve earned, rather than scare tactics.”

    Straightforward resources, digitally delivered

    To get the campaign’s message out to sailors, Booz Allen developed a comprehensive communication plan featuring interactive content and digital outreach, such as video PSAs with sailor on-the-street interviews.

    One particular tool, the “Pier Pressure” mobile app, provides games, access to ride-share services, and an anonymous self-check to gauge drinking behavior at sailors’ fingertips. Sailors have used the app more than 40,000 times.

    “Through continued user testing and focus groups, we were able to refine messaging and the mobile app experience,” Cook said. “We also gained insights for thinking differently about potential solutions.”

    Booz Allen is now helping the Department of Defense revamp its substance abuse programs, testing what resonates with soldiers, marines, and airmen.

    Learn more about the Keep What You’ve Earned campaign and social marketing at Booz Allen.

    https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/support/21st_Century_Sailor/NAAP/campaign_events/drinkresponsibly/Documents/KWYE_Leadership%20Messaging_2018_v5_LR%20WEB.pdf

    Tweet me:How a positive message encouraged proactive steps for responsible drinking @BoozAllen #socialmarketing http://bit.ly/2SNrVUf

    KEYWORDS: Booz Allen Hamilton, NYSE: BAH, Social Marketing, responsible drinking, military, U.S. Navy, apps, digital innovation, behavior change


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    by Jim Witkin

    SOURCE:TriplePundit

    DESCRIPTION:

    It’s been nearly 25 years since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that all food and beverage packaging carry the Nutrition Facts panel. These labels, now found on over 700,000 products, provide the consumer with information like serving sizes, calories per serving, ingredients and nutritional content.

    The original idea was to help people make informed choices about the types and amounts of food they eat, especially for those with particular dietary needs who want to avoid foods high in things like saturated fat, sugar, sodium or cholesterol.

    According to the latest research from the FDA, 77 percent of all U.S. adults say they use the Nutrition Facts label always, most of the time, or at least some of the time to learn about the contents of a product. But does this information help reduce the incidence of diet-related chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes? If you ask health experts this question or review the available research, you’ll get a range of answers from yes to maybe to definitely not.

    Most experts agree, though, that the labels could be improved from their original format. Consequently, in May 2016, the FDA released a proposal to update the labels to enhance their usefulness and to reflect the latest nutritional research.

    For a start, serving sizes will be changed to more accurately reflect the actual portions consumed by the typical American. This was a big area of confusion for consumers. The new labels are supposedly based on the latest dietary intake research that demonstrates what common or average consumption actually looks like.

    For example, a 20-ounce soft drink will now be labeled as a single serving because most people will consume this amount in one sitting. At the same time, the nutrition facts will change to align with this larger serving size amount.

    The new labels will no longer list the amounts of Vitamin A and C in the product, because the latest research shows that most Americans are not deficient in these nutrients. Instead, the amount of Vitamin D and potassium will be listed, two nutrients where many Americans diets are deficient.

    The new labels will also reflect the latest research on the link between sugar and disease—particularly obesity—by showing the amount of “added sugars” in a food product, which are defined as “caloric sweeteners with no nutritional value.” This change reflects the U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ recommendation to eat no more than 10 percent of total calories from added sugars. This works out to about 50 grams of added sugar per day for someone on a 2,000 calorie diet.

    Food manufacturers with annual sales exceeding $10 million have until January 2020 to update their packaging with the new labels, while the deadline for smaller manufacturers falls a year later. Many have already rolled out the new labels on their packaging.

    While debates will continue over how to improve food labeling, there is general agreement that the labels are a good thing for consumers. As John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, once said, “People have a right to know what is in their food.”

    This effort to increase transparency is less clear cut when it comes to disclosing some ingredients, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Consumers overwhelming support (89 percent) mandatory labels on genetically modified foods. This prompted states like Vermont to pass laws requiring GMO labeling and other states to consider such legislation. At the national level, in July 2016, President Barack Obama signed into a law the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), which directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a national standard for disclosing when a food product contains “bioengineered” ingredients. The USDA issued its final rule for these standards on December 21, 2018.

    The NBFDS represents the first mandatory standard for such labels at the national level and will preempt regulations already passed at the state level. Again, large food producers will have until January 2020 to comply, while smaller producers will have until January 2021.

    Read the available commentary, and practically none of the consumer groups are happy with the NBFDS standard. In fact, it has been dubbed the DARK Act for “Denying Americans the Right to Know,” which strikes a blow for food transparency. Jeffrey Smith, executive director at the Institute for Responsible Technology,calls the new national standard“a blatant attempt to help food companies hide the GMO content from concerned consumers.”

    While many companies in the food industry have resisted mandatory labeling, others have taken a more proactive approach by voluntarily disclosing which of their products are GMO-free. The leading voluntary labeling standard is offered by the Non-GMO Project, an advocacy group that provides a widely-used verification process for determining GMO content.

    To comply with the new national NBFDS standard, companies that have already verified their products through credible schemes like the Non-GMO Project will not be required to provide additional verification. General Mills, for example, has several of its brands enrolled in the Non-GMO Project.

    The bottom line is that regardless of where one stands on the safety of bioengineered foods and other ingredients, consumers should at least be able to make informed decisions about their food and know their options.

    Clearly, consumers do have a right to know what is in (or not in) their foods. However, the debates on the best way of achieving this transparency will likely continue for some time.

    Tweet me:What will the newly improved #nutrition labels mean for food producers, consumers, & governments in the U.S.? @GeneralMills explores how labeling changes might impact the #foodsector http://bit.ly/2yDCKAb via @JIMWITKIN @TriplePundit

    KEYWORDS: SS:GenMills2018, NYSE:GIS, General Mills, triplepundit, Jim Witkins, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Nutrition Facts, U.S. Dietary Guidelines, John Mackey CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) and Barack Obama, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), DARK Act, Jeffrey Smith, Jeffrey Smith executive director at the Institute for Responsible Technology

     


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    SOURCE:Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

    DESCRIPTION:

    "Even if I wanted to be adopted, who would adopt a 17-year-old?" Maci had come to terms with being alone. “I was scared. I was lost. I felt hopeless." That all changed when Gigi Kean asked Maci, “Would you be interested in us adopting you?”

    Read their full story here.

    Tweet me:"Even if I wanted to be adopted, who would adopt a 17-year-old?" The Kean family proves you're never too old for family. See Maci's story here: http://bit.ly/2sggNDE #fostercare #adoption #foreverfamily @DTFA

    KEYWORDS: Dave Thomas, foster care, adoption, Recruiter, forever family, Wendy’s, National Adoption Month, Instant Family, Mark Wahlberg, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, maci kean, teen adoption


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    Michele Thornton Ghee, senior vice president of media sales for BET Her, says she's representing women 'as a steward of this company.'

    SOURCE:Viacom

    DESCRIPTION:

    By Lauren Streib

    “There are still not enough decision makers in the industry that look like the changing face of America,” says Michele Thornton Ghee. She’s worked in media and entertainment for two decades. As a speaker and author, she’s an advocate for female empowerment. As the Senior Vice President of Media Sales at BET Her, she’s an executive tasked with proving the value of an underserved audience and the power of a diverse sales team. As she explains, “no matter what stage I stand on, I’m representing women, as a steward of my business and a steward of this company.”

    Thornton Ghee came to Viacom to lead media sales for Centric in 2012. After just 18 months, she was promoted to SVP based on her success driving revenue for the channel. In a defining move, she pushed for the rebrand of Centric to BET Her to target a female, African-American demo-graphic. “I knew that black women had enough spending power, enough influence, and I knew how much TV they were consuming,” she says. “There was a lot of qualitative research to prove that this audience deserved a network devoted to them.”

    When she discusses her success, she’s quick to credit her team, mentioning that her administrative assistant, Brittney Dorsette, even crafted the initial designs of the network’s logo.

    Her hiring process started by looking at internal candidates who had a strong work ethic and a proven ability to think quickly. It was a chance to elevate talent who hadn’t been able to get ahead within the traditional networks of the media industry, who have had to prove themselves repeatedly, even in the aftermath of success. “I gave them an opportunity—one I know they wouldn’t have anywhere else,” she says. “’09 I was able to launch my career by going someplace that was out of my comfort zone and her perspective is the result of her own unconventional path to leadership.

    She cleaned houses and worked the front desk at a hotel to put herself through college, earning a degree at 31. After a stint in the finance department of a telephone company, she moved to media sales at The Weather Channel. “I was like a unicorn there,” she once described. “I was able to launch my career by going someplace that was out of my comfort zone and didn’t look like me.”

    When asked how she’s seen diversity lead to a competitive advantage, she mentions this year’s inaugural BET Her Awards. The channel was looking for a presenting sponsor. She was connected to Bumble, the social and dating app, which was interested in reaching more women of color. The foundation of the eventual partnership was built on a mutual respect for the audience.

    “When clients are honest about needing help reaching a demo in the right way with the right voice, we have an opportunity to bring our talents to life in a way that’s magical,” she says. “It can be an amazing experience.”

    Tweet me:“There are still not enough decision makers in the industry that look like the changing face of America,” says @BETherTV's Michele Thornton Ghee. Learn how an empowerment mindset is creating opportunity at BET Her http://bit.ly/2SPHnyQ

    KEYWORDS: NASDAQ:VIA, Viacom, Michele Thornton Ghee, BET Her


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    By Daniel Hill

    SOURCE:EDF+Business

    DESCRIPTION:

    Where else can you bring creative projects, like a handheld printer that can imprint on any surface or soap that smells like bacon, to life? I’m a big fan of Kickstarter. So when I heard the company was inspiring its creators to make environmentally conscious decisions, I immediately wanted to learn more.   

    As the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter has built a global community that aims to bring creative ideas to life. Since its launch in 2009, more than 155,000 creative projects have been successfully funded, and over $4.1 billion dollars pledged.

    I recently spoke with Heather Corcoran, outreach lead at Kickstarter, to find out more about the company’s sustainability philosophy, its recent environmental features, and her favorite Kickstarter product to date.

    Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation.

    How does sustainability fit into Kickstarter’s mission?

    When Kickstarter reincorporated as a public-benefit corporation (PBC) in 2016, the impetus was to move away from asking companies to optimize profit over everything. We want our creators to think about what they're making and how they can strike a balance between profit and other interests, including reducing their environmental footprint. These ideas support the mission of bringing creative projects to life because they show Kickstarter as a company that cares about who we are in the world, and it earns us trust with creators.

    Sustainability is also top of mind across the entire organization. Every single decision we make is on the backdrop of that PBC charter, which includes the explicit commitment to limit our impact on the environment.

    We've also taken a number of steps over the years to limit the environmental footprint of our staff and our headquarters, but we know that the biggest opportunity to limit our environmental impact will come from embedding sustainability into our creators’ products. I also think there's a growing interest from project supporters to have a deeper engagement with products and learn about their sustainability profile.

    What sustainability issues are top of mind for creators?

    Kickstarter now has entirely new categories of innovation in the design and tech space, which is really exciting. But it also means we have a challenge and an opportunity to make an impact when it comes to issues like e-waste, a huge concern and one of the fastest growing areas of waste. While the market for electronics has grown exponentially, the lifespan of those products has grown shorter.

    The material extraction that goes into making anything with a circuit board is also resource intensive, particularly around energy consumption. Emerging technologies like blockchain and AI are energy-intensive technologies – but it’s an area that I'm personally the most passionate about, especially because Kickstarter has become well-known as a platform where new technologies flourish.

    One of my favorite projects that addresses the e-waste issue head on is Transparent Speaker. It's designed from the outset to be repairable, so the parts are easily replaceable. They use common screws and common parts. For repairs that people can't make at home, they'll take back the product. And the thing that I love the most about Transparent Speaker is it's just beautiful. It's transparent, so you can see inside of it. It's an educational tool that gets people away from thinking about the “black box” of electronics.

    You recently introduced a new resource to help creators think about sustainability from the get go. How do you see it impacting future product development on the platform?

    There are actually two new features on Kickstarter. The first is a section on project pages that allow creators to detail environmental commitments they make when they bring their projects to life. When creators are building their projects, they can commit to reducing their environmental impact in five key areas: long-lasting design, reusability and recyclability, sustainable materials, environmentally friendly factories, and sustainable distribution. Their commitments will appear on their project page for potential backers to see.

    The second feature is an information hub called the Environmental Resource Center where creators can learn about sustainability and best practices.

    These two features promote transparency and curiosity. Backers want to know details about how products are being made and manufactured, and we want creators to become curious about the tangible steps that they can take to reduce their environmental impact. Small tips can go a long way, like using screws instead of glue. Or one that I think is fascinating is that black plastic is harder for recycling centers’ optical sensors to see, meaning it goes into the landfill more often than other colors.

    An EDF fellow worked with you last summer to help bring the environmental resources to life. Why did you decide to seek outside help?

    We had the idea for the Resource Center, and we’d seen the work that EDF has done in working with companies to reduce their environmental impact so we reached out to EDF to ask whether there were any existing resources or guides to help us. The EDF Climate Corps program – a first-of-its-kind fellowship program that brings together an arsenal of top talent, resources and expertise in a variety of subject matters and industries to help organizations meet their climate and energy goals – was a really good fit for us.

    We have a number of very passionate environmental advocates here, including myself and the rest of our environmental working group, but we didn't have the sustainability expertise on staff to tackle this with confidence. And I use that word deliberately. It was about confidence. So, bringing in Alexandra Criscuolo was really about alleviating that fear and giving us confidence that we'd have both the support and the watchful eye over the process.

    Do you have a favorite Kickstarter project that you’ve backed?

    There is one project that I love which is called Splatware. It's a set of tableware by this ceramics studio called Granby Workshop based in Liverpool. But what's really amazing about the project is the story behind it. The residents set up the ceramics studio as a social enterprise to bring money and visibility back to the Granby Four Streets neighborhood.

    The Kickstarter project allowed them to start making things in the thousands rather than in the tens or hundreds. They bought this machine—it's called a RAM Press—and it helped them produce this incredible, absolutely beautiful range of tableware. So now when I eat off their plates or serve food to friends on them, it's an in-depth connection to how the plates were made, rooted in the history of this beloved neighborhood.

    Tweet me:"These features promote transparency & curiosity. Backers want to know how products are made & we want creators to be curious about the tangible steps they can take to reduce their environmental impact" says @Kickstarter in an interview with @EDFbiz http://bit.ly/2SR3Ewo #EDFCC

    KEYWORDS: EDF+Business, Creativity Is Kickstarting Sustainability


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