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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017 Institute for CSR

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

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

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

Take the Social Value Canada Survey

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

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

Social Value Canada aspires to:

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

CITGO Honors Local Partners at Annual Appreciation Breakfast

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

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

+1 (832) 486-5250

Highlights of 2017: 3p’s Year in Review

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

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

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

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

Coal keeps hitting the skids

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

Going meatless means big bucks

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

Companies step up

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

The fight to displace plastics is on

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

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

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

Originally Published on TriplePundit by Leon Kaye

The Greatest Gift

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

On a Monday morning in August ARG’s plant radio crackled to life, sounding the call, “Man down.”

But let’s go back to the beginning …


Tom Rook is the kind of guy who gets up and goes to work. Simple as that. In 35 years, he has been out sick three times – those on consecutive days and due to, knowing Tom, what must have been the worst stomach virus in history.

So Aug. 14, despite feeling unusually lightheaded, when he grabbed his coffee and jumped in the car for his commute from Kane to Bradford, he did so without the slightest inkling the decision would, quite literally, save his life.


Tom arrived a short time later at his job as senior specialist with ARG’s quality lab knowing only that he just didn’t feel like his usual self. Preparations for the day included some discussion with fellow lab technician John Landes and their supervisor Chris Manning. The conversation finished, they dispersed to set about their work.

“I don’t know what made me turn around,” Manning said.

“But I turned around, and saw Tom just fall … and hit his head off of a drawer handle. I went over to him and got down there with him,” Manning recalled. “He was breathing, but he was just gasping for air and his body was tense. I was trying to just talk to him … keep him with us.”

Manning’s next move set in motion the brief but intense chain of events that would accomplish exactly that.


Anyone who has played golf knows how frustrating that particular game can be. But the weather was fine – in the mid-70s and dry – for Tom to enjoy a Sunday round with his son, Jeff, at Kane Country Club just hours before this story would begin to unfold.

Not playing as well as he’d hoped and distracted, perhaps, by the prospect of starting another workweek, Jeff was feeling that irritation familiar to virtually anyone who has ever played golf. A naturally upbeat and optimistic person even then, Tom took the opportunity to impart some fatherly wisdom.

“I just told him not to worry about it,” Tom remembered. “I said, ‘Every day is good no matter what you’re doing. Every day is a good day.”


“I immediately grabbed the radio and called that we had a man down in the lab,” Manning continued. “Within seconds our Emergency Response Team was there.”

From one end to the other, ARG’s refinery spans literal miles. Safety professional Kitzie Pingie spends almost no time at a desk, being deployed throughout the day to any and all points within the facility. So the odds of her being right next door to the lab in an office were, it’s safe to say, rather slim. Yet, that’s exactly where she was when the call came through.


ARG Emergency Response Specialist Matt Rettger, who came to ARG with more than 25 years of experience in the field (the bulk of which were spent as a paramedic with the Bradford City Fire Department), was thankfully also nearby and arrived quickly to assess the situation. Pingie, a certified EMT and American Heart Association-certified instructor of CPR, AED and First Aid, was already there and performing chest compressions.

Manning described it as, “Chaotic and scary. Very scary. I was just hoping and praying that he was going to be OK.”  

It was a scene where a head wound that would require five staples to be closed was very much a secondary concern. 


Not long before Tom started working at the quality lab in August 2008, ARG added a couple of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to its arsenal of safety equipment. While the company has always been safety-conscious due to the potential dangers inherent to an oil refinery, ARG has doubled down in recent years with an even more concerted effort to improve facility and employee safety. Among many other investments, the company purchased (at an initial overall cost of approximately $2,000 each) additional defibrillators to bring the total number of AEDs on site to nine. Plans are in place to purchase at least two more in 2018. According to the American Red Cross, it would be ideal if all Americans were within four minutes of an AED and someone trained to use it.


Rettger concluded, “I don’t like the way this looks. Get the AED on him.” ERT members at the scene proceeded to cut away Tom’s shirt while Pingie retrieved and prepared the AED for use. Having powered it on, she placed the device’s electrodes on Tom’s chest and allowed it to evaluate his heartbeat; in this case, the lack thereof as Pingie had already established that he had no pulse. The device advised defibrillation – the electrical shock that stops cardiac arrhythmia – and Pingie pressed the button.


Less than one minute later and fewer than 90 seconds after Manning had called for help, Tom woke up. It was just inside of only three minutes before the Bradford City Fire Department had arrived.

“Tom was in cardiac arrest, meaning his heart was not functioning at a capacity to sustain life,” Rettger explained. “We went from that state, to him being able to stand up under his own power less than five minutes later to get on the ambulance cot. It’s unheard of.

“I’ve seen it before when things like this happen; the patient will go back into cardiac arrest … and he didn’t. In all my years in this field, I’ve never seen anything like it.”


Tom, at 52, had never before experienced heart problems. Testing after the incident revealed Tom’s heart had no buildup or blockages of any kind. His doctors are still not entirely sure what caused the arrhythmia, but stated they could tell him with certainty that if he had not been at work and the ERT not responded as it did, the morning would have reached a much different conclusion.

“They told me that if my coworkers hadn’t reacted the way they did, I definitely would not be here. If I had been at home, my wife (Julie) would’ve found me dead in the kitchen.”

Manning added, “I was so impressed with our ERT, how quickly they responded and how well they were able to deploy their training. There were guys up in man-lifts welding out in the refinery who were down, in a truck and at the lab in what seemed like seconds. It was pretty amazing.”


He soon underwent surgery for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), which can attempt to correct the rhythm of Tom’s heartbeat and, if necessary, deliver a correcting electrical impulse. He admitted that while it feels strange, it is somewhat comforting to have that protection in place.

“The doctor told me I have no restrictions – just don’t be lifting any refrigerators.”

As soon as he was able, Tom paid a visit to ARG.


“What do you say to someone who saves your life? Besides, ‘Thank you’?” My goodness … you can’t repay that,” he said.

So while he was not sure how he “would ever repay everybody,” some heartfelt Christmas gifts seemed like a nice start. Tom’s humble offerings were received with appreciation and the unanimous sentiment that simply having Tom back at work was what everybody valued most of all.

“Hearing his voice was the greatest gift I could have been given,” Manning said, “to hear him say he was coming home.”

“Kitzie was a little uncomfortable with my thank-yous,” Tom said. “She said the AED is what saved my life and she was just trying to help. I said, ‘Kitzie. That’s what makes you special.’”


Tom pointed out that in cases of cardiac arrest, the survival rate is less than 5 percent because people aren’t where they can get help.

“It was a miracle. Somebody was watching out for me that day,” he said, adding rhetorically, “Not seeing my sons (Jeff and Jamie) graduate from college?

“It changes your whole outlook on life. Everything slows down for you, you don’t really worry about stuff so much anymore. It just puts everything in perspective … and not just for me, but for my family and everybody,” he continued. “Kitzie doesn’t know them, but she has a whole big family who loves her.”

Photo cutline: Kitzie Pingie and Tom Rook look over an automated external defibrillator (AED) at American Refining Group Inc. Pingie credits the device with saving Rook’s life earlier this year.


Being Fearless Live Online

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 4:48pm

Race. Climate. Politics. We live in a time of disruption. We need a new way forward. Join us for a 3-day online event, live and on demand, featuring Van Jones, Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, Opal Tometi, and other courageous voices. With a $5 donation or more, gain insight and tools to navigate these complex times and help open the event to thousands.

In 2017, Chevron Suffered a Rough Year in Historic Ecuador Environmental Litigation

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 1:48pm

Chevron endured a “very rough” 2017 in the Ecuador environmental litigation as its scorched-earth campaign to evade complying with a court order that it remediate billions of gallons of toxic waste dumped onto indigenous ancestral lands faltered around the world.

new analysis published on The Chevron Pit outlined the legal and political setbacks Chevron suffered in 2017 as the affected Amazon communities continued with their effort to seize company assets in Canada to force compliance with the judgment. Chevron had insisted the trial be held in Ecuador and was subject to jurisdiction in the country; Ecuador’s highest court unanimously affirmed the company’s liability in 2013, and set damages at $9.5 billion (now $12 billion with interest).

“There is little doubt Chevron suffered a very rough year in the Ecuador litigation and the prognosis in 2018 is potentially even worse for the company,” said Patricio Salazar, the lead Ecuadorian lawyer on the case.

Chevron’s setbacks in 2017 in the Ecuador litigation, considered one of the world’s most successful corporate accountability campaigns, include:

**In Canada, Chevron suffered a third consecutive unanimous defeat before an appellate court in the attempt by the indigenous peoples to seize company assets to recover their judgment. A panel from the Ontario Court of Appeal found that Chevron illegally tried to impose an exorbitant $1 million costs order on the indigenous groups as a way to end the litigation.

**In Ecuador, the national indigenous federation (CONAIE) signed a political alliance with Canada's national indigenous group (the Assembly of First Nations) -- which represents 634 chiefs and is considered the world's most powerful indigenous federation -- to hold Chevron accountable for its environmental destruction and violations of indigenous rights in both countries.

**Chevron shareholders furious with CEO John Watson's failure to resolve the Ecuador litigation dominated and disrupted the company's annual meeting in May. A resolution citing Watson's "material mishandling" of the Ecuador litigation received a whopping 39% of shareholder support. Watson was pushed into "retirement" a few weeks later.

** Chevron unceremoniously announced that Watson (who is only 62) will be leaving Chevron in early 2018. One reason, according to informed sources familiar with the thinking of Chevron's Board, is that he grossly overspent on the Ecuador litigation with no results to show for it. One Chevron law firm, Gibson Dunn, reportedly charged the company $1 billion in fees. That firm is now under scrutiny for engaging in potential criminal acts on behalf of Chevron.

**Chevron's highly flawed "racketeering" judgment from a severely compromised U.S. trial judge (Lewis A. Kaplan) is now backfiring (see here and here). Evidence emerged that Chevron illegally paid its star witness, Alberto Guerra, at least $2 million in cash and benefits and coached him for 53 days before he presented false testimony. Guerra later admitted under oath that he perjured himself (see this excellent blog by Paul Paz y Mino of Amazon Watch) while a new forensic report demonstrates that Chevron's lawyers fabricated evidence.

**Chevron and some of its executives face a potential criminal probe from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Ecuadorian communities sent a referral letter to the DOJ demanding an investigation to determine whether the company's obstructionist tactics have crossed over into criminality. Worse, it appears that none other than Chevron lobbyist and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was in Ecuador in May to do some dirty work for the company just prior to his arrest in the Mueller investigation.

**The indigenous groups also picked up some key allies during the year. Rex Weyler, the legendary co-founder of Greenpeace, visited the affected area in Ecuador and accused Chevron of committing "ecological crimes" and showing "disrespect" to the communities where it operated. Phil Fontaine, the thrice-elected leader of Canada's national indigenous federation, said it was  "unconscionable" that the company has been allowed to get away with its environmental atrocities for so long.

“Chevron has spent huge sums (at least $2 billion on 60 law firms) in an increasingly futile attempt to try to get the impoverished indigenous peoples and farmer communities to "give up" and become obedient subjects of corporate power,” asserted the analysis. 

“If 2017 taught us anything about the Ecuador litigation, it is that the affected communities and their supporters will keep coming and coming no matter what massive level of resources CEO Watson throws at them,” it continued.


CBRE Group, Inc. Named to 2018 Military Friendly® Employers List for Seventh Consecutive Year

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 1:48pm

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG) has earned the 2018 Military Friendly® Employer designation by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs® and Military Spouse. This is the seventh year in a row CBRE has been recognized by Victory Media for its military friendly practices.

CBRE earned a bronze status from Military Friendly. The bronze designation is given to companies that have programs that score among the top-ranked institutions.

“We are committed to creating career opportunities for military talent and to supporting the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and have chosen to bring their valuable skills to CBRE,” said Grayson Gill, Chief Operating Officer, Asset Services and Co-Executive Sponsor for the CBRE Military network group.

Companies that have earned the 2018 Military Friendly® Employer designation have exceptionally strong hiring programs and meaningful jobs for transitioning service members, veterans and spouses. In addition, CBRE is now partnering with Hiring Our Heroes – a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities.

“It is an honor to be named to the military friendly list for the seventh consecutive year,” said Scott Reppert, Managing Director, Global Workplace Solutions and Co-Executive Sponsor for the CBRE Military network group. This is a great accomplishment that motivates us to continue to work hard to support those who served and continue to serve in the U.S. military.”

First published in 2003, the list of Military Friendly® Employers is provided to service members and their families, helping them discover the best post-military career opportunities available. More than 200 companies participated in the Military Friendly® Employers portion of the 2018 Military Friendly® Companies survey. Ratings methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Victory Media with input from the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining an organization’s survey score with an assessment of the organization’s ability to meet thresholds for Applicant, New Hire Retention, Employee Turnover, and Promotion & Advancement of veterans and military employees.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2016 revenue). The company has more than 75,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.

Verizon Makes 250,000 Tree Commitment With the Arbor Day Foundation to Restore Hurricane Destroyed Tree Canopies in Forests and Communities

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 1:48pm

The Arbor Day Foundation announced today an expanded partnership with Verizon as part of its newly launched Hurricane Tree Recovery Campaign. Verizon has committed 250,000 trees as part of the tree restoration efforts in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. This comes on the heels of Verizon’s existing partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, which has planted more than 100,000 trees over the past year and a half.

“Verizon continues to be a leader in tree planting in our great nation, not only as stewards of our national forests, but now, through this commitment, stewards of our communities as well," said Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation President. “Because of Verizon’s expanded commitment to tree planting, communities affected by the recent hurricanes will be on their way to regaining the benefits that the lost trees provided such as clean air and water, as well as natural beauty.”

In October, in the wake of hurricane devastation in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, the Arbor Day Foundation unveiled a brand-new hurricane tree recovery campaign to get millions of trees back in the ground. The hurricanes damaged and destroyed millions of trees in yards, parks and forests across the states and territory. Insurance will often cover the cost to rebuild structures, but not the trees and landscapes of a community.

“Thousands of people are continuing to feel the impact of the hurricanes, including our customers and employees. We have made a commitment to aid in disaster relief efforts, and do our part to repair the communities affected by these storms,” says Jim Gowen, Chief Sustainability Officer for Verizon.  “An important part of this effort is restoring vegetation, and we are proud to expand our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation to join them in this mission.”

The hurricane tree recovery campaign, which is part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Tree Recovery program, will not only be helping the states of Florida and Texas and the territory of Puerto Rico but will also be assisting other communities devastated by natural disasters that occurred in 2017.

To see how you can get involved and make an immediate impact, please visit arborday.org/hurricanes.


About the Arbor Day Foundation

Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. Since 1972, more than 300 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.

As one of the world’s largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees.

More information is available at arborday.org.

About Verizon

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York City, has a diverse workforce of 160,100 and generated nearly $126 billion in 2016 revenues. Verizon operates America’s most reliable wireless network and the nation’s premier all-fiber network, and delivers integrated solutions to businesses worldwide. Its Oath subsidiary reaches about one billion people around the world with a dynamic house of media and technology brands.

Learn more about the Hurricane Tree Recovery campaign

World Agroforestry Centre Publishes a Climate Change Atlas for Central America

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 4:46pm

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in collaboration with Bioversity International and The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) today published an Atlas titled ‘Suitability of key Central American agroforestry species under future climates’. The Atlas presents current and future suitability maps for 54 species that are commonly used as shade in agroforestry systems in Central America. The 54 species that were selected include 24 species of fruit trees, 24 timber trees and six species used to improve soil conditions.

“The main objective of the Atlas is to address a current knowledge gap in detailed information about suitable areas for key agroforestry species in Central America,” said Kauê de Sousa of Bioversity International who is the main author of the study. “The agroforestry practice of integrating trees within cocoa or coffee, silvopastoral or smallholder timber systems is key to the development of strategies for climate-smart agriculture in the region. It is important to know where a species remains suitable under future climatic conditions to be able to give practical advice to farmers and tree growers.”
The Atlas addresses this knowledge gap by providing detailed suitability maps for each species. Detailed mapping was possible by substantially expanding previously available data sets of known presence locations (locations where a species was documented to be suitable in Latin America and the Caribbean) and by applying powerful species distribution modelling methods. The future climates correspond to Representative Concentration Pathways RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 for the 2050s. Four RCPs (RCP 2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5) were introduced in the latest assessment report of the IPCC. These scenarios describe possible future climates that depend on potential changes in greenhouse gas emissions. RCP4.5 represents an intermediate emissions scenario, whereas RCP8.5 is a high emissions scenario.
Ensemble suitability methods were applied using the BiodiversityR package, an open-source software package developed by Roeland Kindt, a senior ecologist at the World Agroforestry Centre and one of the co-authors of the Atlas. The software modelled species distributions with bioclimatic variables obtained from WorldClim for the baseline climate (1960–1990). Distribution maps for the middle of the 21st century were obtained via future climate data generated by 17 global climate change models. Ensemble future distribution maps for each RCP are based on consensus among 17 future distribution maps generated for each species. Maps projecting future distribution were compared with the current distribution maps to evaluate the potential changes in the distribution of each species.
Reflecting on the results, Maarten van Zonneveld of Bioversity International and scientist in diversity analysis for conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources, mentioned that the results indicated that the modelled distribution for 30 species reduces under both climate change scenarios. The most threatened species include N-fixing ice-cream bean trees (Inga spp.), the delicious cherimoya (Annona cherimola), the economically important avocado (Persea americana), and the solid timber species Handroanthus ochraceus. Ten species are expected to increase their distribution under both climate change scenarios including the underutilized fruit species Averrhoa bilimbi, coconut (Cocos nucifera), cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco), Spanish lime (Melicoccus bijugatus) and the majestic rain-tree (Albizia saman).
Jenny Ordonez of the World Agroforestry Centre and a specialist in agroforestry systems and functional ecology emphasizes that “the atlas provides a first approximation of this kind in the region, to assess which species might be vulnerable or tolerant to expected climate change. Agroforestry practices are one of the main strategies for developing climate smart agriculture and as such are widely advocated by research and development organizations alike in this region. The results of the Atlas are therefore an important tool to support the design of agroforestry practices taking into account potential impacts of climate change. The maps provided should be used in combination with other information sources from technicians and farmers to fine-tune the selection of species for designing climate proof agroforestry systems."
Jonathan Cornelius, regional coordinator from ICRAF concludes that “many of the trees that farmers are planting and managing now will need to remain productive up to and beyond 2050. This important publication provides a firm foundation for building the climate-smart agroforestry that farmers need, based on the best currently available information about future climates and species’ requirements.”
This work was made possible through the financial support of the CGIAR research program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA; supported by the CGIAR Fund Donors); the CGIAR research program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS; supported by the CGIAR Fund Donors) and HIVOS.
Suggested Citation
de Sousa K, van Zonneveld M, Imbach P, Casanoves F, Kindt R, Ordonez JC. 2017. Suitability of Key Central American Agroforestry Species Under Future Climates: An Atlas. ICRAF Occasional paper No. 20. Turrialba-Costa Rica. ISBN: 978-92-9059-407-9. URL http://www.worldagroforestry.org/atlas-central-america
About the World Agroforestry Centre
The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is a centre of scientific excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Leveraging the world’s largest repository of agroforestry science and information, we develop knowledge practices, for farmers’ fields to the global sphere, to ensure food security and environmental sustainability.
ICRAF is the only institution that conducts globally significant agroforestry research in and for all of the developing tropics. Knowledge produced by ICRAF allows governments, development agencies and farmers to utilize the power of trees to make farming and livelihoods more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable at scale.

Scotiabank Drafts Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs as its Newest Teammate

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 4:46pm

Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs has joined the Scotiabank team.

"I'm excited about the chance to join Scotiabank's team and the other great players who work to do so much to support kids on and off the ice," said Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs. "I am proud to be associated with an organization that has helped give more than one million children the opportunity to play the game of hockey and I look forward to working closely with Scotiabank to provide other kids with some of the same opportunities that the game has given me."

Matthews was announced recently as a Scotiabank Teammate at the MLSE LaunchPad in downtown Toronto, in front of two Scotiabank sponsored kids' community hockey teams – the Toronto Titans AAA Peewee team and the Etobicoke Dolphins AA Peewee team. All players participated in a Draft Combine, including a series of physical challenges, with both teams being drafted onto the Scotiabank Hockey Club, before being surprised by the Bank's newest Teammate, number 34 and the first overall selection of the 2016 NHL draft, Auston Matthews. Two young hockey players presented Matthews' with his jersey to symbolize him joining the Scotiabank team.

Matthews also surprised the young hockey players in attendance by announcing that Scotiabank is giving them all tickets to attend the Toronto Maple Leafs' Next Century Game presented by Scotiabank, on December 19.

"We are thrilled to welcome Auston Matthews to the Scotiabank team," said Clinton Braganza, the Bank's Senior Vice President of Canadian Banking Marketing. "He is someone that young players admire and who shares Scotiabank's values. Auston grew up playing community hockey, just like the one million kids … and counting, that Scotiabank has helped to support since 2008. He is a role model and we know that he will be a great ambassador as Scotiabank aims to bring more hockey dreams to life for young people across the country."

In his role as Scotiabank Teammate and ambassador, Matthews will:

  • Reinforce Scotiabank's commitment to kids community hockey

  • Participate in Scotiabank sponsored hockey events and special customer experiences

  • Participate in the launch of Scotiabank Arena

Matthews joins Scotiabank's line-up of Teammates, including: Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Lanny McDonald, P.K. Subban and Darcy Tucker.

This news follows the August announcement where Scotiabank and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) shared their expanded sponsorship and philanthropic partnership which will see the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors transformed into the Scotiabank Arena in July, 2018. The announcement is an extension of Scotiabank's love of the game of hockey and its commitment to helping young people reach their infinite potential. The partnership will enhance that support in the Greater Toronto Area and help expand community hockey programs for young people across the country.

The deal between Scotiabank and Matthews was brokered by CAA Sports on behalf of its client.

About Scotiabank Hockey

Scotiabank is the Official Bank of the NHL®, NHL Alumni™, CWHL, Vancouver Canucks®, Winnipeg Jets®, Toronto Maple Leafs®, Ottawa Senators®, Edmonton Oilers® and the Calgary Flames® whose home arena is the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Bank also supports the Montreal Canadiens®. Scotiabank's Community Hockey Sponsorship Program has supported over million kids through its involvement with minor hockey teams in communities across Canada. To find out more about Scotiabank's hockey programs, please visit www.scotiabank.com/the5thseason.

Score big with Scotiabank Hockey Club! You could win amazing prizes like VIP hockey experiences, Shop.NHL.com gift codes, NHL® game tickets, and more! Register today at www.ScotiabankHockeyClub.com.

SOURCE Scotiabank

CVS Health Foundation Announces Grant to Increase Access to Provider Education and Diagnosis Program for Alzheimer’s Disease

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 4:46pm

The CVS Health Foundation today announced a $550,000 commitment to the Alzheimer's Association, extending its support for a new program to enhance disease diagnosis and assessment with clinicians while also educating them about care and support programs available to help families following a diagnosis. The grant is being shared with six local Alzheimer’s Association chapters and brings the Foundation’s total contribution to more than $1 million since 2016.

"The CVS Health Foundation is proud to support the Alzheimer's Association in its effort to ensure that patients and caregivers receive the resources they need following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and are able to maintain a high-quality of life,” said Eileen Howard Boone, president of the CVS Health Foundation. "We’ve seen significant results following the first year of the program and look forward to working with the Alzheimer’s Association to continue to fulfill our program’s mission.”

The new charitable commitment builds upon support from the CVS Health Foundation for a new program established in 2016 to increase diagnosis, disclosure and education for Alzheimer’s disease. The six local chapters that have benefited from this support have all shown significant progress toward their goals of partnering with health care providers to enhance their ability to detect, diagnose, and care for individuals living with the disease and their caregivers, including:

  • Broadened Physician Knowledge – Over 7,000 clinicians were educated on prevention, diagnosis, therapeutics and research related to Alzheimer’s disease. The education was conducted both in person and virtually in the form of micro-learnings, CME events, office visits, staff trainings and multimedia campaigns.

  • Increased Patient Referrals for Support Services - The six chapters increased patient referrals to the Alzheimer’s Association’s care and support resources from clinical health care professionals by 61 percent following diagnosis.

  • Expanded Capacity – Each local chapter was able to expand their internal capacity through hiring of new staff, increased training for existing staff and better utilizing volunteers. As a result, the chapters were able to reach more clinicians, patients and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Through the additional support of the CVS Health Foundation, the Central and North Florida, Desert Southwest, Greater Illinois, Massachusetts/New Hampshire, Northern California/Northern Nevada and Greater Missouri chapters will continue their work to expand health care provider outreach and expand automatic referral process for education and care consultations, with the goal of increasing the number of people in each chapter with access to care.

“The Alzheimer’s Association greatly appreciates CVS Health Foundation’s generous support of the Diagnose, Disclose, and Direct Connect Pilot Grant program,” said Beth Kallmyer, Vice President, Care and Support, Alzheimer’s Association. “The grants have been instrumental in launching innovative programs that are influencing provider behavior in terms of detecting and diagnosing dementia as well as educating physicians about the programs available for individuals and families impacted by this devastating disease.”

The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to rise from over 5 million people today to more than 16 million by 2050, and costs are expected to rise as high as $1.1 trillion. Research shows effective health care provider outreach and education are essential for helping people with Alzheimer's disease achieve their best quality of life.

About the Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit the Alzheimer's Association at alz.org or call the 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900.

About the CVS Health Foundation
The CVS Health Foundation is a private charitable organization created by CVS Health that works to build healthier communities, enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives. The Foundation provides strategic investments to nonprofit partners throughout the U.S. who help increase community-based access to health care for underserved populations, create innovative approaches to chronic disease management and provide tobacco cessation and youth prevention programming. We also invest in scholarship programs that open the pathways to careers in pharmacy to support the academic aspirations of the best and brightest talent in the industry. Our philanthropy also extends to supporting our colleagues' spirit of volunteerism through Volunteer Challenge grants to nonprofits where they donate their time and fundraising efforts. To learn more about the CVS Health Foundation and its giving, visit www.cvshealth.com/social-responsibility.

The Joy in Childhood Foundation℠ Makes the Holidays Bright for Millions of Children With $2.7 Million Commitment to Address Child Health and Hunger Needs

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 10:46am

With the holidays upon us, the Joy in Childhood Foundation is making a special gift to help address critical child health and hunger needs. The Joy in Childhood Foundation, the charitable foundation supported by Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, today announced a new $2.7 million commitment to help bring joy to sick and hungry children. As part of this commitment, a $1 million grant will be awarded to Feeding America®, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization, and $1.7 million in grants from local Joy in Childhood Foundation Chapters will be distributed to nearly 200 non-profit organizations in local communities, including Boston, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia and New York, that address children’s health and hunger issues.

In 2017 alone, including with these most recent grants, the Joy in Childhood Foundation has awarded over $5 million in grants to help bring joy to sick and hungry kids nationwide.

“The Joy in Childhood Foundation brings joy to kids year-round, but to have an opportunity to bring joy to kids facing hunger and health issues during the holiday season is very special to us,” said Karen Raskopf, Co-Chair, Joy in Childhood Foundation. “We know that this time of year can be difficult for children and their families and it’s also an especially busy time for the food banks and health organizations they rely on. Our new commitment will help ensure that children in our local communities who are facing hunger and health issues can experience the joy of the holidays – just like any other child – without having adult-like worries, such as where their next meal will come from.”

The $2.7 million in funding reinforces the Joy in Childhood Foundation’s commitment to bringing joy to sick and hungry kids nationwide. Earlier this year, the Joy in Childhood Foundation announced a three-year, $3 million commitment to Feeding America and Starlight Children’s Foundation®.

“We are very grateful for the generous support we have received from the Joy in Childhood Foundation and are proud of the impact we’ve been able to make in the lives of children facing hunger,” said Nancy Curby, Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships and Operations, Feeding America. “The holiday season is a critical time for our network of food banks.  The support we are receiving will help us provide programs that will bring joy to millions of children nationwide who face hunger and will help keep them healthy so they can reach their full potential.”

In the 2016 – 2017 school year, the Foundation helped provide more than 2.4 million pounds of food – the equivalent of more than 1.4 million meals – to children and families struggling with hunger in communities nationwide through grants made to the Feeding America network of member food banks. Feeding America and the Joy in Childhood Foundation have partnered together for over a decade to help fight hunger.

To learn more about the Joy in Childhood Foundation, visit http://www.dunkinbrands.com/foundation.

About the Joy in Childhood Foundation 
The Joy in Childhood Foundation, the charitable foundation supported by the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands, provides the simple joys of childhood to sick and hungry kids. The Foundation brings together a wide range of stakeholders — including franchisees, crew members, employees, partners and guests — and partners with food banks, children’s hospitals, and nonprofit organizations directly committed to serving sick and hungry kids to fund joyful environments, joyful experiences and joyful expressions to ensure that children whose lives are compromised by hunger or sickness have the support and essential services to find joy in their daily lives. Since launching in 2006, the Joy in Childhood Foundation (formerly the Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation), has granted more than $16 million to hundreds of national and local charities across the country.

About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Israeli Innovation for Good Life: What's Happening at Tel Aviv's International Conference

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 4:45pm

Recycled shampoo bottles and two new CSR bond-indexes were launched at the second annual Maala International Conference, which was held on 29-30 November by Maala – Israel's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) organization, with the theme of innovation for good life.

The next steps in sustainability via innovation were presented by global corporations such as Microsoft and P&G, as well as leading Israeli companies like Strauss, Teva, Bank Hapoalim and Shikun & Binui. Innovative products that support meaningful relationships; solutions for smarter sustainable cities; and food-tech to improve people's nourishment. "What was really impressive was to actually see how in banking, hi-tech, pharma, utilities and construction – sustainability is authentically imbedded in R&D work, in a way that makes one optimistic on how Israel can contribute to the SDGs" said Maala CEO, Momo Mahadav.

Standing out in the connection between sustainability and innovation was Virginie Helias, VP Global Sustainability at P&G, who presented the first ever recycled plastic shampoo bottle, comprised of 10% plastic washed up on shores and 90% plastic recycled by consumers. The participants were handed samples of the shampoo bottles, which will be available in Israel in April 2018.

The conference featured roundtable discussions with international ESG investors, analysts and raters, alongside top Israeli companies with the topic of how can Israeli market leaders attract sustainable investors. The session was moderated by Yael Almog, who heads a unique new C-suite position at Bank Hapoalim of engagement and stakeholder dialogue. As part of the discussion, Sasja Beslik, Head of Group Sustainable Finance at Nordea Bank, emphasized his commitment to fully explore on the ground the positive impact on local communities that each investment could bring. This was echoed by Ulrika Hasselgren, Global Head of Responsible Investment Strategy and ESG Integration at ISS, who reminded the importance of putting local stories into an outsiders perspective and warned investors from the hazard of the stories being lost in translation.

This session coincided with the launching of two new ESG bond indexes on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). As the CEO of the TASE, Ittai Ben Zeev, explained, "Given the high performance of the existing Maala index, we found it fit to expand the family with new CSR indexes, thus creating a new platform for international investors to invest in the Israeli market".

Participants from more than 120 businesses, 80 organizations and government agencies were among the 800 attendees of the two-day Conference. Among others, the conference showcased a unique side event where, Bank Leumi, one of Israel's largest banks, acknowledged a number of its suppliers that entered the Maala mid-size CSR index, thus expressing that the company will reward its suppliers who are committed to CSR. Maala pointed out that this is a way to expand CSR work to the tier of small and mid-size companies.

During the conference's second day, participants had the opportunity to explore some of the innovative CSR practices executed by Israeli companies in a range of field tours throughout the country. As one of the participants expressed, "it was mesmerizing to feel the sustainability work on site. As was shown on my tour, Shikun&Binui's innovation lab, 'Buildup', exemplifies how companies and startups from all sectors join forces to innovate and create our future cities". Building on their success, the tours will also be featured in the 2018 conference.

In addition, there were numerous other companies and organizations involved in the conference, such as Noble Energy, ICL, Israel Discount Bank, El Al, Unilever, Adama, G1, Netafim, Intel, Thinkstep, Goodvision, BDO, The Israeli Forum for Diversity, JDC Israel Tevet and The Association of Oil and Gas Exploration Industries in Israel.

Look out for more stories on Israeli innovation in the next few months, and stay tuned for the Maala 2018 conference.

Citi Earns Perfect Score on LGBT Workplace Equality Scorecard

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 4:45pm

For the 14th consecutive year, Citi received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The national survey benchmarks corporate policies and practices for LGBT workplace equality.

"We are proud to be among the leading companies included on the CEI that are working to promote and maintain workplace equality. We have recently revamped our diversity strategy to reflect our belief that unique individuals, collaborative teams and inclusive leaders have far-reaching impact and are the engines of new ideas," said Terry Hogan, Global Head of Diversity and Director, Talent Management.

As part of Citi's revamped diversity strategy launched this year, executives from the CEO's leadership team lead our Affinities that represent the broad ranging demographics of employees, one of which is the LGBT (Pride) community. This initiative builds on the work of Citi's Global Employee Network Program, first established in 2002, and now comprising 157 self-organized and run chapters with over 16,000 members around the world. The Citi Pride Network has 24 chapters around the globe.

“Citi is focused on actively promoting a workplace that both respects and protects the rights of LGBT people. We want to create an environment where all employees feel comfortable to be themselves at work and can contribute to being the best for our clients. It’s a responsibility that each of us holds and one that requires a continuous commitment to diversity across our firm,” said Jamie Forese, President of Citi and Head of Citi’s Institutional Clients Group and executive co-lead of Citi’s Pride Affinity.

The 2018 CEI evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBT community. Citi satisfied all of the CEI's criteria results with a 100 percent ranking and the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.

For more information on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/cei.

Disaster Coordination Call for Hurricane Harvey

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 4:45pm

Extreme flooding in Texas over the past few days in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has damaged homes and businesses, displaced families and individuals, and left at least two fatalities in the region. In the wake of disasters such as these, a multi-sector response effort is critical.

Join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center for a coordination call on the flooding crisis in Texas. On the call, hear from companies, NGOs, and multilateral organizations about the situation on the ground, current humanitarian efforts, and what your company can do to help. Register here: https://goo.gl/2CZ7mH