Monday, July 1, 2013

Miracle-Ear Foundation Better Serves Hearing Impaired

The Miracle-Ear Children’s Foundation has been transformed to the Miracle-Ear Foundation in an effort to further empower underserved Americans with hearing loss. Through its new strategy and framework, the nonprofit will extend its reach to underprivileged children and adults with hearing loss, enhancing people’s life experiences through the gift of sound.

Started in 1990, by Miracle-Ear founder, Ken Dalhberg, the Foundation met the ever increasing needs of under-privileged children’s hearing health care. The Miracle-Ear Children’s Foundation donated more than 6,500 hearing aids to over 4,100 children nationwide. “The Miracle-Ear Children’s Foundation, working in cooperation with Miracle-Ear centers, has impacted many communities across America,” said Jenni Hargraves Miracle-Ear Foundation Director. “But after further analyzing the environment, we found there’s an even greater need to help children and adults alike, so that has driven the change.”

With the launch of the Miracle-Ear Foundation comes an updated hearing aid program, Gift of Sound. This program serves both children and adults with hearing loss that have limited income and have exhausted all resources to improve their hearing health. Individuals who meet specific income and hearing loss requirements can work with any one of the 1,200 locations nationwide to receive hearing aids free of cost. 

The re-launched Foundation also invites potential donors to become Miracle Heroes, by contributing a tax-deductible gift that will enhance lives of people within their local communities.

The Foundation also has a new identity system. Its new logo is meant to complement the existing teal Miracle-Ear logo, while keeping it an identity of its own. Employing the same font as the old logo, the new symbol also includes a bridge icon. The icon represents helping the hearing impaired across the country.

To learn more about the Miracle-Ear foundation, eligibility requirements, or to become a Miracle Hero visit

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Laurie Lang Joins Project Angel Food as CEO

Project Angel Food named Laurie Lang as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1.

“Project Angel Food has been a tireless championof vital nourishment and hope throughout Los Angeles County for nearly 25 years, and I welcome the opportunity to help set its vision for the future,” said Lang. “With ‘food as medicine’ a tenet of the agency’s work, I look forward to further communicating the key role that nutrition plays in better health – and the impact that Project Angel Food is having on people struggling with life-threatening illnesses throughout our community. I commit to our supporters, volunteers, local leaders and, most importantly, those individuals to whom we provide an essential life-saving service that I will work to ensure Project Angel Food honors our long-standing mantra of ‘for Life, for Love, for as long as it takes.’” 

Before joining Project Angel Food, Lang served as president for BrandCentrics Consulting, as senior vice president of Strategic Marketing for The Walt Disney Company, and as executive director for Disney’s “Disney Learning Partnership” program, which involved the management of a $20 million philanthropic portfolio to support the nation’s teachers and schools. Most recently, she served as associate vice president for Marketing and Communications at The Music Center, where she developed and implemented a comprehensive rebranding strategy to revitalize the center. Lang has a graduate degree in Business Administration from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

In addition to her professional experiences, Lang has served on the nonprofit boards of Free Arts for Abused Children and Virginia Avenue Project, and has lent her support to The Philanthropic Initiative, LA Universal Preschool Initiative, The Afterschool Alliance, and others as a valued leader.

“With her breadth of experience, Laurie Lang is the ideal person to oversee the growth and increased impact of Project Angel Food,” said Project Angel Food’s chairman of the Board of Directors, Robert Bauer. “With her creative and strategic thinking, the Board and staff are excited about working with Laurie to ensure Project Angel Food continues to provide life-sustaining nourishment to some of the most vulnerable members of our community – and to explore ways that we could be of even greater service to those in need.”

“The Greater Los Angeles community is well-aware that we provide meal services to people struggling with HIV/AIDS, but what might surprise many is that more than 18% of our clients today are battling some form of cancer, more than 15% of our clients are at end stage renal disease, or that more than 5% of our clients are inflicted with emphysema, and more than 7% have congestive heart failure,” said Bauer. “Over our 24 years of service, we have expanded our service to the people of Los Angeles County and, with Laurie at the helm, will continue to explore ways that we can further contribute to a healthy and vibrant community.”

Project Angel Food cooks and delivers 600,000 nutritious meals each year, free of charge, to the homes of men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. In 2013, 2,200 people, ranging in age from 16 to 97, will receive service, with 30% Hispanic, 30% African-American, and 30% Caucasian. Women represent 42% of all those who receive service.  Every year, more than 3,500 individuals volunteer at Project Angel Food, contributing 42,000 hours to all aspects of the agency’s work.

Lang assumes the post from Margaret Steele, who has led Project Angel Food for the past five years and oversaw the launch of social enterprise initiatives, increased financial stability, grew the involvement of students in the volunteer program, and expanded service in the broader health community. Steele is departing to spend more time with her teenage children and will have worked closely with Lang to ensure a smooth transition.

Sunlight Foundation Supports Data Ecosystem

The Sunlight Foundation is the recipient of a new $4 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to further ongoing work in bringing technology-driven transparency and accountability to government. The grant will also the Washington, D.C.-based organization to serve as a cornerstone in the Knight Foundation’s open government grant making.

Over the next three years, Sunlight will use the Knight Foundation support to make more government data accessible, build tools to bring that data to the public and share with the growing open government community lessons learned from our work. These funds are the second-largest foundation grant received by Sunlight since its founding in 2006. 
“While the ‘open data ecosystem’ is doing exciting things and expanding rapidly, there still remains a disconnect among the public and private sectors,” said Ellen Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation. “Knight’s commitment to help strengthen this community allows Sunlight to play a fundamental leadership role integrating all who work in this sphere from policy makers and data providers to civic hackers and government reformers to newcomers not yet part of this movement.”
“This investment goes one step further in applying technology to help people get the information they need and break down barriers to participation,” said Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation. “Sunlight’s work will help improve access to government data, but also create a standard for turning that data into valuable information.” 
The grant covers four main activities of the Sunlight Foundation’s work in supporting the open data ecosystem:
1. Improve data sets and tools
The grant will allow Sunlight to improve the interoperability, usability and expand how we gather and use data around legislative committee activity in Congress, state spending records and local government proceedings, just to name a few.
2. Strengthen partnerships
From established groups to regional organizations and other nonprofits and media outlets, Sunlight will build partnerships with these key actors and conduct trainings and provide hands-on expertise in how to nurture open government activities at the municipal level. 
3. Build knowledge base
The grant gives Sunlight the ability to develop a team of designers, software developers, journalists and policy experts to evaluate the successes and failures of practices and tools within the field of open government data.
4. Share best practices
Through this grant, Sunlight will share the best practices and human-centered design lessons learned from this work and set priorities for the opengov community.
Sunlight is a nonpartisan, nonprofit supported by foundations and individuals, including Omidyar Network, Rockefeller Family Fund, Hewlett Foundation, and co-founder Mike Klein. This is the third grant received from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; previous support was for a series of National Data Apps. 

The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit to learn more about Sunlight’s projects.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chris Canty Foundation, Police Athletic League and United Way Team Up for Youth Football Camp

United Way, Police Athletic League, Chris Canty Foundation Team Up To Help Underprivileged Kids

The Chris Canty Camp of Champions was in New York for the first time this summer. New York Giants Defensive Lineman Chris Canty and other NFL players taught on and off the field skills to campers, most of who hail from underprivileged families. The two-day camp is sponsored by the Chris Canty Foundation, United Way of New York City, and the Police Athletic League of New York City.

“Achieve all your dreams and make them a priority in your life," Chris Canty told the kids during camp.

"Fitness is a crucial component in battling childhood obesity and increasing healthy lifestyles,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, senior vice president of community investment, United Way of NYC. “We’re proud to partner with The Chris Canty Foundation in presenting the Chris Canty Camp of Champions, which is providing 325 New York City kids the opportunity to learn about exercise and health from their football heroes.”

The Camp was founded in 2007 by Chris Canty, starting Defensive tackle of the Super Bowl XLVI New York Giants. The two-day football camp is committed to elevating the quality of youth football skills for boys ages 8-16 and is a non-contact, fundamental football camp designed to improve a child’s beginning, intermediate, or advanced skill level.

United Way of New York City

United Way of New York City fights poverty across the five boroughs. It works with individuals, communities and organizations from all sectors to design and invest in outcome-driven programs that help low-income New Yorkers achieve educational success, income stability and good health. Visit

Police Athletic League
Since 1914, the Police Athletic League has been serving New York City’s youth with safe, structured programming designed to engage boys and girls in positive activities that improve their quality of life, present developmental opportunities, and offer the prospect of a brighter future. What started out as the closing of streets by the New York City Police Department to enable the city’s unsupervised youth to play became a citywide Cops & Kids movement and later national model that brought communities and police together in ways that prevail to this day. Visit

Chris Canty Foundation
During the past five years, the Chris Canty Foundation has been dedicated to helping young people by inspiring them to achieve excellence in three distinct areas—education, fitness and community service. Its educational programs and community service activities take a holistic approach to the development of children, engaging not only the kids, but their neighborhoods and families as well. Visit

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hydrocephalus Association Announces Three Million Dollar Campaign

Association To Fund Five-Year Research Initiative

The Hydrocephalus Association (HA) has launched a $3 million dollar campaign called “Reason for Hope” to fund its five-year research initiative plan. Funds raised for the campaign will be dispersed to implement the key priorities detailed in the plan. Initiated quietly with major donors, the campaign has already garnered $1,200,000 in support of HA’s research efforts.

“We anticipate reaching our $3 million goal by the end of 2013,” said Dawn Mancuso, the association's CEO. “With our recent partnership with the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network, we can demonstrate very real improvements in treatments for hydrocephalus that can come from investing in our research plan.”
HA developed its research initiative plan in 2009 with its Mentored Young Investigator Award aimed at solving a critical shortage of new researchers in hydrocephalus research. The plan calls for continued career development grants, research conferences, and the funding of basic science and clinical research. The mission of HA’s research program is to improve treatments and outcomes for those who suffer from hydrocephalus and to eventually find preventions or a cure. Funds raised by the Reason for Hope campaign represent a significant change in the private research funding landscape for hydrocephalus that should lead to increased public funding for the condition.
About the Hydrocephalus Association
The Hydrocephalus Association (HA) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to eliminating the challenges of hydrocephalus, a medical condition resulting from an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within cavities of the brain called ventricles. Hydrocephalus affects people of all age groups across the globe. HA works to meet its mission through the advancement of research, the promotion of advocacy, and the provision of support and education. For information, contact

Thursday, June 21, 2012

15 Young Community Service Leaders Named Huggable Heros

Build-A-Bear Workshop Honors Young Social Entrepreneurs

In celebration of the company’s 15th birthday, Build-A-Bear Workshop® will honor 15 Huggable Heroes this year and donate $150,000 to their education and charitable causes. The national youth program, which recognizes young people for giving back to their communities and around the world, awards each Huggable Hero $10,000 (a $7,500 educational scholarship and $2,500 from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation to be donated to the 501(c)(3) charity or Canadian cause of the Huggable Hero’s choice). This year, in addition to attending an awards ceremony at Build-A-Bear Workshop World Bearquarters in St. Louis, the Huggable Heroes will also participate in a service project at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in Memphis, Tenn. The service project and awards celebration will take place July 18-20.
“The number of Huggable Heroes this year not only celebrates our 15th birthday but also demonstrates the amount of heart that young people have when it comes to giving back,” said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshopfounder and chief executive bear. “We’re thrilled to recognize so many young people who inspire us with their stories and dedication to volunteerism. We believe that encouraging community service at a young age helps establish a lifelong commitment to giving back and making the world a better place.”   
From providing shoes for the homeless, to recycling eye glasses, to making cupcakes to raise funds to assist children with cancer and many other philanthropic projects, this group of young social entrepreneurs has gone above and beyond to help others. Collectively, they have raised nearly $1.4 million, to support worthy causes. The Huggable Heroes have also:
  • Collected 15,500 books and 25 van loads of furnishings for orphaned and abandoned children in India and the US;
  • Made 40,000 meals, put together 6,000 backpacks of food and collected 3,000 canned goods for food banks in Texas;
  • Collected 3,000 pairs of shoes for homeless shelters across the US;
  • Built 27 new homes for the unsheltered in Haiti; and
  • Created 55 cheerleading and dance teams nationwide that include students with disabilities.
This year's honorees are:
Allyson Ahlstrom, 16, Santa Rosa, CA
Allyson created Threads for Teens, a clothing boutique that helps girls, ages 13-17, in need build self-esteem and confidence while giving them hope. Girls have the opportunity to visit the store and shop for items they need, all at no cost. So far, Allyson has raised approximately $75,000 for Threads for Teens and has recruited 30 volunteers to help with her shop. She also helped Girl Scouts receive Bronze Awards by providing opportunities for volunteerism. To date, more than 120 girls have visited her store and she has donated more than 70 backpacks filled with school supplies.
Lulu Cerone, 12, Encino, CA
Lulu created LemonAID Warriors to empower youth in her community to make a difference. Her first event was a boys vs. girls LemonAID war to benefit Haiti. This concept spread across the country and more than 500 kids ordered LemonAID kits to raise funds and the events raised $4,000 in two weeks. She has since organized community events, called “PhilanthroParties,” to inspire her peers to get involved. Lulu raised more than $12,000 to benefit various causes, collected more than 2,000 cans of food and recruited 600 volunteers to help support her efforts. 
Blakely Colvin, 17, Solvang, CA
Blakely created the nonprofit organization, Cupcakes for Cancer, to raise funds to support pediatric research, grant wishes, and assist children with cancer. She and her team of volunteers bake cupcakes that are sold after school and at local events. Through Cupcakes for Cancer, Blakely raised $85,000, granted seven wishes and has been able to provide two $1,000 college scholarships. She also designed a national outreach campaign, Frosting HOPE Across America, to inspire others to bake and donate. Fifteen states now have Cupcake Angels kids and clubs to further the cause.
Sarah Cronk, 18, Bettendorf, IA
Sarah founded The Sparkle Effect, an organization that helps students across the country form cheerleading and dance teams that include students with disabilities. Students can visit The Sparkle Effect website to obtain information on forming their own teams. The website offers a step-by-step quick-start kit for creating an inclusive team, fundraising ideas, practice tips, information on grants for uniforms and free on-site training. To date, the Sparkle Effect has raised more than $150,000 and generated 55 inclusive squads across the country.
Yash Gupta, 15, Irvine, CA
Yash created Sight Learning, a non-profit organization that supplies donated eyeglasses to students in need in the United States, Mexico, and Honduras. To date, Sight Learning has collected more than $35,000 in donations. The organization also organizes and runs eye exam clinics. Yash wears glasses himself and knows firsthand how difficult learning becomes when you do not have the glasses you need. Sight Learning has partnered with other organizations, such as VOSH and New Eyes for the Needy, and was recently recognized as an Official Presidential Volunteer Service Award Organization.

Neha Gupta, 15, Yardley, PA
Neha founded the global nonprofit organization Empower Orphans, which has established five libraries, three computer labs, one sewing school and sponsored the education of 50 children. Neha’s mission is to provide orphaned and disadvantaged children with the skills and environment to enable them to become productive members of society. Empower Orphans also provides food, clothing, footwear, health care and medical supplies to thousands of children. The organization is active in India and the United States and has raised $375,000, and collected 15,500 books and 25 van loads of furnishings.

Yoni Kalin, 17, Washington, DC
In an effort to promote recycling, Yoni founded Color My World (CMW), which collects and repurposes crayons discarded by national restaurant chains and distributes them to shelters and underfunded schools. He also created a coloring book that encourages recycling. Yoni has partnered with 27 restaurants in nine states, encouraging them to recycle crayons in a bin provided by CMW. He then sanitizes the crayons and contacts schools to organize drop-offs. Yoni has raised approximately $10,000 for his cause, collecting nearly 20,000 crayons and recruiting numerous teen volunteers to help manage the project.

Cassandra Lin, 13, Westerly, RI
After reading an article in the local newspaper, Cassandra discovered that many residents could not afford to heat their homes. Inspired by this need, she formed a team of five seventh graders to create TGIF (Turn Grease Into Fuel). She works with local biofuel companies to recycle the grease from residents and restaurants, refine it into biodiesel and distribute it to needy families and local charities. TGIF's efforts have enabled 92 families to keep warm during the cold winters. The organization also drafted and passed a newly enacted law that mandates waste cooking oil recycling in Rhode Island.

Will Lourcey, 9, Fort Worth, TX
Will created FROG, Friends Reaching Our Goals, a service group that creates programs and events to raise awareness and funding for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. As part of FROG, he started the "Hits & Kicks Against Hunger" program, where elementary students fight hunger while playing baseball, softball, and soccer. He also started FROGs at the Plate, which brings together business owners and community leaders to raise money for local food banks. To date, Will and his FROG team have donated approximately 40,000 meals, 6,000 backpacks of food, and 3,000 cans of food. 

Nicholas Lowinger, 14, Cranston, RI
Nicholas started the Gotta Have Sole Foundation, which donates new footwear to children living in homeless shelters across the United States. Shelter advocates send him footwear orders and Nicholas collects, packages, and often hand delivers the shoes. To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Nicholas held a special event to collect and send new footwear to more than 90 children of the first responders. To date, Nicolas has raised $49,000 for purchasing 3,000 pairs of shoes for homeless children.  

Madelyn McGlynn, 17, Belleville, IL
Madelyn co-founded NETwork Against Malaria (NAM) to help save Ugandan children’s lives and keep them in school. Due to malaria, the average Ugandan student misses 60 days of school per year. NAM provides malaria and health education for American and Ugandan students and raises funding for bed net distribution to Ugandan students and pregnant women. She helped raise approximately $75,000 and purchased 5,500 bed nets to protect 16,500 children and pregnant women from malaria. Her leadership has inspired 30 high school and college NAM chapters in 18 states.  

Ceilidh Millar, 18, New Westminster, BC
Ceilidh volunteers more than 40 hours a month as a teen reporter, spokesperson, and peer advocate for bullying prevention. She shares information about the dangers and consequences of bullying through presentations, television appearances and articles. Ceilidh's work has been featured on the National Bullying Prevention Center and Teens Against Bullying websites.

Catherine Mitchell, 16, Oceanside, CA
Catherine founded Beauty 4 Life, a socially minded business offering handcrafted Ugandan jewelry to create dignity, work, and opportunity for Ugandan women. The goal of Beauty 4 Life is to help the Ugandan women educate their children and provide for their families. She has built women’s centers, schools, and childcare centers. She also provided business, finance, health, and English lessons to Ugandan women. Catherine has raised more than $100,000 and donated more than 5,000 pounds of school supplies and basic items to benefit her cause.

Clara Pilley, 10, Mt. Pleasant, SC
Clara started Keys for Hope to raise money and awareness for Crisis Ministries, her local homeless shelter. Clara, with the help of her friends, decorates recycled keys with buttons and other embellishments. After the keys are decorated, each is attached to a card explaining the cause and sold as a necklace, key chain, zipper pull, or ornament. Keys for Hope has sold approximately 2,000 keys and raised $12,000. Clara chose the key because it symbolizes home and the hope for a better future for Charleston's homeless.

Rachel Wheeler, 12, Lighthouse Point, FL
Rachel raised $167,400 to build 27 two-room homes and $132,000 to build a school complete with educational supplies in Leogane, Haiti. She raised funds for her projects through garage sales, lemonade stands, school bake sales and dances, presentations to Chambers of Commerce, and speaking engagements. She supports the efforts of the nonprofit organization Food for The Poor and its quest to house the unsheltered in Haiti. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

NYC Gets New Parks, More Trees and Cleaner Air

New Gardens and Cleaner Are First Legacy of Greening Western Queens Program

New Yorkers will enjoy new parks, more trees and cleaner neighborhoods, thanks to a three-year $8 million investment by North Star Fund. North Star’s first round of grants are already reshaping the community, bringing together unlikely allies to build environmentally sustainable neighborhoods and bring green jobs to the Woodside, Sunnyside, Astoria and Long Island City sections of Queens. In its first year, the Greening Western Queens initiative brought 87 new trees, 10 school and community gardens and educational programs for 10,000 people.

The second round of grants, distributed on March 15, totaled $2.034 million. “In the next year the program will grow exponentially. We expect to build or renovate 10 additional gardens, plant hundreds of trees, and provide over 10,000 youth and adults with green job training and environmental education,” said Hugh Hogan, executive director of North Star Fund. Grantee projects include:

  • Recycle a Bicycle will launch a green job training and bicycle repair initiative, promoting biking as an energy conserving and environmentally sound transportation alternative in Western Queens.
  • The Queens Library Foundation will continue transforming their libraries into multi-lingual environmental resource centers, called “Greening Libraries,” and retrofit several libraries to create signature green spaces.
  • City Parks Foundation will continue its large-scale multi-year tree planting and stewardship program with hundreds of local residents. Queens will gain 850 trees as a result.

“Western Queens is becoming greener and healthier because the entire community is working together to make this program successful. From new immigrants to longtime business owners and from school kids to senior citizens, more than 10,000 people have participated in planning, planting and learning over the past year,” said Hogan. Over the final two years of the initiative, the Greening Western Queens Fund will devote additional resources to build community support for long term care and maintenance of new green spaces.

To select the grantees, North Star Fund brought together an advisory board that included both community members and experts in green infrastructure and urban forestry. A full list of advisory board members and descriptions of grantees is available at

The Greening Western Queens program is supported by an $8 million fund from the New York State
Public Service Commission. North Star was selected to be the distributor of funds because the foundation is skilled at working in partnership with diverse New York City communities.